The Michigan Militia Corps'

Weekly Update
Internet Edition

Volume 4, Issue 18

Week of May 26, 1997

Tiny Bugs Cause Insidious Health Damage Viruses, bacteria cause everything from cancer to obesity

By Charlene Laino MSNBC
Evidence is mounting that a variety of common germs long thought to cause only mild, short-lived illnesses such as the flu play a role in causing chronic health problems ranging from allergies, asthma and arthritis to obesity, heart disease and cancer.

Long after one recovers from the microbe's initial insult, viruses, bacteria and other germs silently chew away at the body's tissues and organs, causing insidious, permanent damage, experts believe.

Microbe hunters now estimate that anywhere from one third to more than one half of chronic diseases will eventually be explained by infection with a variety of microorganisms. They point to new research that links germs to some forms of infertility, kidney disease, diabetes, stomach problems and even obsessive-compulsive disorder.

It wasn't easy getting the medical community to accept such a paradigm shift in thinking. But new testing methods that allow molecular biologists to detect the footprints of the microscopic creatures long after any symptoms disappear are slowly winning over even the most recalcitrant.

The findings have enormous implications for treatment, suggesting that, in many cases, anti-viral drugs, antibiotics and vaccines may be the best bet, germ scientists say. They also point to a role for anti-oxidant vitamins, which can sop up some of the damaging molecules that the bugs leave in their wake.

No one can avoid the myriad microorganisms. Within minutes of birth and continuing throughout our lives, our bodies are exposed to virus after virus, bacterium after bacterium. But under normal circumstances, the body's natural defenses fight off harmful microbes, explains Gail Cassell, one of the nation's foremost virus hunters.

But when our immune systems are weakened, when our normal defense barriers are not intact, or when we come in contact with a highly invasive infectious agent that is either new to our bodies or present in large numbers, the balance shifts; in favor of the microbes, says Cassell, chairman of microbiology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

Modern living has helped to tip the scales in favor of the tiny, microscopic bugs, she adds. International travel, misuse and overuse of antibiotics, and air pollution, to name a few, all improve the efficiency by which germs spread from person to person and place to place.

Exactly how germs act to cause chronic disease is still a mystery. But scientists believe that the microbes may stimulate white blood cells to aggregate, causing the chronic inflammation that has now been implicated in asthma, allergies, heart disease and other disorders.

Alternately, the bug may induce a so-called autoimmune response, says Dr. Vincent Fischetti of Rockefeller University in New York. "There are molecules on the surface of bacteria and viruses that resemble human versions of these molecules," he explains. "When infected with these organisms, certain people respond by producing substances that attack their own tissue."

In trying to fight off an infection, in other words, your body's defense cells are tricked into attacking the healthy tissue.

Among the microbe-disease links now suspected or proven: Ulcers. After years of being shunned, Dr. Barry Marshall's theory that ulcers can be caused by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori is now accepted medical doctrine.

"The link between infectious diseases and cancer is becoming increasingly clear," Cassell says. According to the World Health Report, up to 84 percent of certain cancers, notably, stomach, cervical, and liver, are attributable to a variety of germs.

About 550,000 new cases of stomach cancer each year are attributable to Helicobacter pylori, the same bacterium that causes ulcers. Human papilloma virus, a sexually transmitted infection of the cervix, confers a very high risk of developing cervical cancer. And over eight in 10 cases of liver cancer are thought to be caused by infection with the hepatitis B or C viruses.

A so-called adenovirus, the same type of germ that causes the common cold, may be to blame for the excess pounds you can't seem to shed, according to Nikhil Dhurandhar of the University of Wisconsin in Madison. In a study of 154 obese people, 15 percent had evidence of infection with an adenovirus called Ad-36.

Baltimore scientists reported this year that they have found the first hard evidence that viral infections can cause asthma and allergies in humans, suggesting that vaccinations against the viruses could prevent the diseases.

In test-tube studies of human cells, the researchers showed that weak viral infections can cause immune system cells called B cells to produce immunoglobin E or IgE, a protein that orchestrates the reactions that cause allergies and many cases of asthma.

Still other studies have implicated mycoplasmas, germs of intermediate size between viruses and bacteria, and the lung bacteria pneumoniae in asthma, Cassell says.

Evidence is mounting that coronary heart disease may be caused in part by inflammation that silently simmers away for years inside the blood vessels, and that chronic infection with common bacteria or viruses may play a role in causing the chronic inflammation in the first place. Among the suspected culprits: the ulcer-causing bacteria H. pylori or herpes virus, or even chronic tooth decay.

The common respiratory bug Chlamydia pneumoniae has been linked in new studies to arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. And still other studies have shown that regrowth of plaque in patients who have undergone surgery to open up clogged arteries may be spurred by cytomegalovirus a bug found in almost two out of three elderly Americans.

New evidence suggests that both the common respiratory bug Chlamydia pneumoniae, as well as another type of germ called mycoplasma, can cause arthritis. The findings may explain why so many arthritis patients get relief from joint pain and swelling after antibiotic treatment.

Cassell's team has found that mycoplasmas can live in a woman's reproductive tract, causing infertility, premature birth and spontaneous abortion.

In perhaps the most startling finding off all, researchers recently found that infection with group A Streptococcus, the same organism that causes strep throat, can cause this psychological disorder, Fischetti says.

And the list will keep growing, predicts maverick researcher Marshall, whose finding of a link between bacteria and ulcers spurred much of the new research.

"The scientific community moved so rapidly into high-tech medicine in the 1980s that it overlooked ordinary things, such as infections, that can cause disease," he says. "But now that we're looking, we may find infections explain a significant proportion of all disease." [Ed. Note: This editor does not necessarily recommend vaccination as the solution to these problems, but strongly advises people to investigate nutritional and other natural methods ( now called "Alternative" medicine) as they are showing a great deal of promise in dealing with these problems.]

Saving People or Species?

Again this spring, as in the past few years, major flooding around the U.S. has demonstrated that man is at the mercy of the elements when conditions grow extreme. While man is required to plan and implement strategies for managing his land resources -- and does so with remarkable ingenuity and efficiency -- on occasion those strategies prove inadequate to the terrible forces of nature.

Witness the devastating floods which have wrought untold sorrow, death, and destruction on those living in the Red River Valley of North Dakota. The flood, the type which experts say hits a given area perhaps once every 500 years, defied flood control systems that had been put in place over the years, causing an estimated $1 billion in damages. While there is some proof that flood-control programs in the most devastated areas were not as aggressive as they might have been (at the time of the flood Grand Forks was in the planning phase of a $40 million project to complete it's partial levee system), experts agree that North Dakota's "Flood of '97" would have defied even man's most conscientious efforts to reject its fury.

Unfortunately, some of the spring flooding in recent years has been exacerbated by environmental regulations which have delayed or eliminated necessary flood-control measures. In particular, through the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), the "protection" of various "endangered" species of plants and wildlife haw halted vital flood-control projects that would have saved lives and billions of dollars in property in California and along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers during flooding from 1993-97.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and state and local governments enforcing the ESA actively obstruct day-to-day flood control work -- all for the stated purposes of protecting the habitat of such "endangered" species as the fan shell mussel, the rough pigtoe mussel, and the white warty back mussel, to name just a few. For several years, the clearing of weeds, trees, and silt from flood channels has been halted by wildlife agents, severely compromising the structural integrity of earthen levees and clogging channels.

Two California Republican congressmen, Representatives Richard Pombo and Wally Herger, attempted to address the ESA obstacle through H.R. 478, the Flood Prevention and Family Protection Act. While the bill, which would have exempted current flood control projects from pertinent ESA restraints, was effectively gutted in House floor action on May 7th and then withdrawn from consideration, it points out that there are key conservative lawmakers who are concerned about the problem.

Steve Thompson, spokesman for Representative Herger, told THE NEW AMERICAN that in California, over 30 levees failed during winter and spring flooding this year. These floods killed nine persons, displaced 100,000 people, and caused $1.6 billion in damages to public and private property. According to Herger's office, the losses were worsened due to levee repair projects delayed over the last four to six years.

Recently Representative Pombo, a strong advocate of ESA reform and property rights, brought California flood-control experts before the House Resources Committee. His witnesses flatly blamed part of the California flood losses on the ESA. They reported overrun riverbanks, clogged tributaries, and broken levees along the Sacramento, Feather, Bear, Consumnes, and San Joaquin Rivers. Major flood damage could be found along a nearly 300-mile river basin front north and south of the Delta drain into San Francisco Bay. Levee experts said that a good share of the damage could have been prevented had it not been for years of ESA-enforced neglect of routine flood control maintenance, which led to overgrown rivers and compromised levees.

In Pombo's district, years of accumulated silt and weeds clogged up the San Joaquin River basin. Alex Hildebrand, a director of both the South Delta Water Agency and the California Central Valley Flood Control Association, explained the problem: "We need to take the sediment out of the bottom of the river and put it up on top to thicken the levees.... They [EPA enforcers] won't allow you.... The river bottoms have come up about eight or nine feet.... they haven't been dredged in years." Similarly, in early 1995, floods along the Pajaro River caused $240 million in damages in Monterey County alone. California State Assemblyman Peter Frusetta blamed the flooding on seven years of ESA delays in Pajaro riverbed maintenance. Despite denials by environmentalists, the Monterey Grand Jury declared that unkempt rivers were "a very dominant" force in the 1995 flood. Phil Larson of the Fresno Farm Bureau charged that ESA restrictions on silt removal and levee maintenance led to a flash flood washout of a bridge under California's Interstate 5 that killed eight people in 1995.

Recognizing the need for some relief for flood-control repairs, in 1995 California Governor Pete Wilson ordered state enforcers of ESA measures to back off and allow "general permits" to be issued for needed maintenance and repairs. In early 1997 he formed the Flood Emergency Action Team (FEAT), headed by Douglas Wheeler, State Secretary of Resources. But in the February issue of Inside California, investigative writer Sarah Foster noted that Wheeler had previously worked for the World Wildlife Fund and the Sierra Club and thus could not be expected to "choose flood control measures over wildlife habitat." Nonetheless, Wilson's March FEAT report claims that the State Department of Fish and Game (DFG) was on the 1997 flood scene expediting cleanup and repairs. Concerning the levees, the DFG determined which "mitigations" were necessary to protect species and issued permits to repair levees.

Unlike the DFG, the federal FWS was, noted the FEAT report, "not issuing permits and [was] deferring all mitigation.... This could affect the speed and... ability ... to complete the repairs.... The USFWS may require mitigation for the emergency repairs. This ... will reduce the funds available for [actual] levee repair." Bureaucratic obstruction of vital flood-control works is done in the name of some very peculiar critters and vegetation protected under the ESA and conveniently found at sites in desperate need of repair. These "endangered" species include: Parrot Feather Weed. Sarah Foster reported that near Gridley, California a state DFG game warden arrested a backhoe operator for clearing weeds from a drainage ditch without a DFG permit. Finding the noxious parrot feather weed during a rainy November, the local Reclamation District 777 assumed they needed no permit under the "general permit" order. "It's crazy," Robert Millington, an attorney in the case, told Foster, "Either we're going to maintain the flood control ... as we have since 1907 ... or [the DFG] will turn this valley into a wildlife habitat." Giant Garter Snake. Claiming habitat for garter snakes near Robbins, California DFG agents ordered a halt to work on a weakened levee. The DFG did not want to disturb hibernating snakes. According to Representative Wally Herger, no snakes had been seen in the area.

Dante John Nomellini, manager of California's Central Delta Water Agency, said that the ESA "prohibition of dredging and ... of fill for levee maintenance and the creation of shaded riverine aquatic or emergent marsh habitat ... for delta smelt" created flood losses in 1997 in the Sacramento Delta.

Elderberry Bushes and Elderberry Beetles. There are "large numbers of elderberry bushes and their ... protection ... for a limited number of endangered elderberry beetles is ... an abuse of the ESA," wrote Nomellini. Bushes and beetles were an ESA priority throughout most of California's vast Central Valley as early as 1993.

Long-toed Salamander and Steelhead Trout. California Assemblyman Peter Frusetta notes that "the Pajaro River being designated ... habitat for the long-toed salamander and steelhead trout made it impossible to clear the river of excess trees, vegetation, and debris, causing excess flooding." In Missouri and Mississippi.

After their Missouri constituents faced ESA-enhanced flood damage along the Mississippi and the Missouri Rivers, Republican Missouri Congressmen Kenny Hulshof and Jo Ann Emerson signed on to H.R. 478. Hulshof's office told THE NEW AMERICAN that levee repairs in Missouri were delayed many months after the 1993 Missouri River floods. Carl Lensing, a farmer and the founder of the Missouri River Levee and Drainage District Association, told us that the delays took some eight months. Environmentalist officials insisted upon preserving trees for eagle nesting. "Nesting birds outrank people along the Missouri," Lensing mused. Afterwards, they saved potholes caused by rushing floodwaters and preserved "borrow" pits from which earth had been removed to shore up levees -- new spawning locations for minnows, crawdads, and "mud bugs." David LaValle, spokesman for Rep. Emerson, told us that the ESA continued to "slow down repairs of levee structures" even after the Mississippi floods of 1993 and 1995.

George Grugett of the Lower Mississippi Valley Flood Control Association, which represents private and public flood organizations from Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico, detailed ESA protections of "endangered" species during levee repair. One species was the Fat Pocket-book Pearly Mussel. According to Grugett, "Shortly after work began a dead mussel ... was discovered.... Since [it] was ... listed as endangered, [dredging] work ... stopped.": Another "protected" species is the Louisiana black bear. The FWS proposes to designate three million acres in Louisiana and Mississippi as critical habitat for the Louisiana black bear. Grugett predicts that "we will be hard-pressed to bring those 300-plus miles of deficit levees ... to the required grade and section. When those levees fail ... not only will the Louisiana black bear be in critical danger, but so will about 4 million people...." Gary Heldt of the Missouri Farmers Association recounted the efforts to "protect" Bald Eagles: "We had to get all together downon the river bottoms where we inspected each tree -- determining which tree to cut and to save." Trees four inches in diameter at head height were saved, just in case "an eagle on the ESA list might fly by and decide to nest there." Tom Waters of the Missouri Levee and Drainage District told us that environmental regulations protecting the eagle not only caused costly delays in flood control, but were part of a "land grab" agenda. Carl Lensing speculated that the whole scheme is a "fraud, using bug, fish, or worm to convert private property to public use." H.R. 478 would have bypassed relevant provisions of the ESA whenever "building, operating, maintaining or repairing" any current flood control measure was designed to prevent an imminent threat to public safety or a catastrophic natural event. Also outside the reach of the ESA was any "routine operation, maintenance, rehabilitation, repair or replacement" of a flood-control project which had previously passed federal muster. Passage of the measure might have cut back the magnitude of lESA meddling and mayhem. The FWS alone had consulted on 18,211 federal government projects by 1994, according to the GAO -- not counting local and private projects.

Of course, there are those "environmentally correct" souls who fight any efforts to protect people and property. California State Senator Tom Hayden, chairman of the state senate Committee on Natural Resources, would like to see the Los Angeles River restored to its natural state -- complete with droughts and flash floods. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt just wants to blow up dams. The American River Association wishes to return the Missouri River to its natural state -- what Missouri farmer Carl Lensing describes as "a meandering morass of muddy swamps and sloughs." In 1996-97, new wetlands regulations gave the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expanded environmental authority which could well impede both recovery from the 1997 floods and preparations for future floods. The Nationwide Permit Program requires the Corps to "minimize adverse effects on the aquatic environment [to] ensure that endangered species and their habitat are fully protected." It also imposes increased reporting, notification, and review requirements on persons seeking development permits in wetlands. The Water Resources Development Act of 1996 requires the Corps to restore environment degraded by Corps projects, to build small aquatic ecosystems, to plan improvements of watersheds and ecosystems, and to develop "nonstructural flood control technologies." Any legislative efforts, such as H.R. 478, face tough opposition from environmental extremists plugged into key positions in the Clinton Administration and other government and quasi-government agencies. It is a classic battle between the vast collectivist army of environmental bureaucrats and activists and the champions of private property and individual freedoms.

By Roger B. Canfield, The New American

Kennesaw Update

March 25th marked the 5th anniversary of Kennesaw, Georgia's ordinance requiring heads of households (with certain exceptions) to keep at least one firearm in their homes. Since the ordinance was enacted, there have been only two murders (one each in 1984 and 1989), both with knives.

After the law went into effect in 1982, crimes against persons plummeted 74 percent compared to 1981 and fell another 45 percent in 1983 compared to 1982. And the crime rate has stayed impressively low. In addition to virtually non-existent homicide, the annual number of armed robberies, residential burglaries, commercial burglaries, and rapes have averaged, respectively, 1.7, 30.2, 20.6, and 1.6 through March of this year.

By Robert W. Lee, The New American

Harry Browne's Futilitarian Argument Against Government

by Michael Cloud

America is a `Can-Do' Culture. We are pragmatic and practical people. Tinkerers and inventors. Practical scientists.

Whatever we can do, we must dare. Settle the west? We must. Build the railroads? We must. Soar the skies and even land on the moon? We must.

This Yankee Ingenuity, this `Can-Do Practicality' is the heart of free enterprise, the backbone of business.

It's natural that Americans would try to bring this very trait to government. Politician after politician calls for running government like a business. Why can't we make government more responsive, more efficient, more effective, and `user-friendly'? Why can't we run government like a business?

In his book Why Government Doesn't Work, Harry Browne shows why government can never operate like a business.

Businesses cannot force people to give them money. Governments do.

Businesses cannot force people to do things their way. Governments do.

Competition keeps businesses responsive, efficient, effective, and customer-friendly. Government is a monopoly. It forbids competitors.

Bad businesses fail. Bad governments grow.

Government is not subject to competition, consumer choice, and the need to continually do better.

Free enterprise is based on the Utilitarian Premise: Whatever Can Be Done Must Be Done. The marketplace demands that businesses strive to make things cheaper, easier to use, and better.

But the Utilitarian Premise has a corollary -- the Futilitarian Premise: Whatever cannot be done must not be done.

Whatever government cannot do, it must not do.

Whatever government cannot achieve, it must not attempt.

Whatever government is incapable of, it must leave alone. Must not raise taxes for, spend money on, or create programs for.

Government doesn't work.

Government programs are ineffective. They don't solve the problems they're created to solve. They don't produce the results they were intended to produce.

Government programs often make things worse for the people they're trying to help.

Many government programs, while failing to accomplish their missions, while making things worse for those they're aiming to aid, create new problems for these same people.

Harry Browne's Why Government Doesn't Work documents and demonstrates how and why government programs are inherently futile. They are ineffective and counter-productive. They are pointless. And they are expensive.

The Futilitarian Warning says to Government: When what you're doing doesn't work, stop doing it.

And stop taxing people for what doesn't work.

If `ought' presupposes `can', then `can't' demands `must not.'

If `Government ought to' presupposes `Government can', then Harry Browne's elegant Futilitarian argument against government is the most powerful argument imaginable: it combines the moral and the practical case for radically slashing back government.

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