An Energy-Related Reason Why US Healthcare Outcomes are Awful

Back in January 2013, the US Institute of Medicine published a report called U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health. This poor health outcome for US citizens is in spite of the US spending twice as much as a percentage of GDP on healthcare as other high-income nations.

As an example of the problems the US has, the report showed the following exhibit, pointing out that the US has made much smaller advances in life expectancy since 1980 than other high-income nations.  The US is now seventeenth of the seventeen countries analyzed in male life expectancy, and sixteenth out of seventeenth in female life expectancy.

Figure 1-6 Female life expectancy at birth

I am sure I do not know all of the reasons for the US divergence from patterns seen elsewhere, but let me try to explain one energy-related reason for our problems. It has to do with a need to get a wide variety of nutrients at the same time we need to balance (Energy In) = (Energy Needed for Life Processes), in a period of time when the food we eat is increasingly of the “processed” variety. There may also be an issue of eating too much animal protein in our food mix, thanks to today’s ability to ramp up meat production using grains grown and shipped around the world, using fossil fuels.

An Overview of Energy-Related Modifications to Food

If we look at primates in general, it is pretty clear that all of the nutrients such animals need come prepackaged in the food that they gather with their limbs. They get the level of exercise they need from gathering this food and from their other daily activities. They have a pretty good balance between (Energy In) = (Energy Needed for Life Processes), without any special effort.

We humans have been modifying food for a very long time, dating back to the days of being hunter-gatherers. Our earliest changes were successful from the point of making humans more dominant. They allowed us to grow larger brains and allowed human population to grow.

The changes made in recent years, thanks to abundant fossil fuels, seem to be excessive, however. The new processed foods are often missing necessary nutrients and fiber, providing mostly empty calories. It becomes a balancing act to get enough of the right nutrients without filling our bodies with calories we don’t need. Some foods (juices, added sugars, very finely ground grains) are sufficiently different from natural foods that our systems don’t react properly to such food. Also, the exercise our body was expecting is often much reduced.

The way our current system works, the food that is closest to its original form is hardest to ship and store, so tends to be highest-priced. The most calorie-dense, over-processed food tends to be cheapest. As a result, the least-educated people (who tend to be poorest) tend to be most damaged by our poor food supply. According to one study, at age twenty-five, men with less than a high school education have a sixteen-year shorter life expectancy than men with a graduate degree.

Remaining Years of Life_prbOf course, at least part of the problem is the disproportionate lack of health care of less-educated US citizens. There are no doubt effects related to feeling like second-class citizens as well, because of reduced work-opportunities for those with poor educations. But having to work around a poor food system with an inadequate income is an issue that likely plays a major role as well.

How Did Humans Develop Larger Brains?  

There is a popular belief that eating meat made us human. While meat eating may have played a role, there seem to be other factors as well. National Geographic in an article in the September 2014 issue, The Evolution of Diet, observes that modern day hunter-gatherers typically get about 30% of their calories from meat. When meat supplies are scarce, they often live for long periods on a plant-based diet. The article says, “New studies suggest that more than a reliance on meat in ancient human diets fueled the brain’s expansion.”

The point National Geographic mentions is the one I have brought up previously–the theory advanced by Richard Wrangham in Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human. It seems to be the ability to control of fire, allowing humans to burn biomass, which set us apart from other primates. This allowed us to cook food, and in doing so, allowed the food to be more easily chewed and digested. Reduced chewing time freed up time for other activities, such as making tools. Nutrients could be more easily absorbed from cooked food. The fact that the food was easier to chew and digest allowed chewing and digestive systems to shrink, and brains to increase in size. It probably also made it easier for more human children to survive.

Furthermore, we now know that some other primates eat meat, so humans are not unique in this regard. Chimpanzees even hunt animals for their meat. National Geographic reports that baboons eat birds, rodents, and even the young of larger mammals, such as antelopes and sheep. But meat makes up only a small share of their diet. We also know that when monkeys are fed a diet that includes very much meat, they gain weight and experience degenerative diseases like humans.

Food Processing: A Little of a Good Thing vs. Too Much of Good Thing

The experience with cooking some food back in hunter-gatherer days shows that a little help in getting more nutrition from foods can be helpful. Plant cell walls are made of cellulose. Cooking vegetables helps break down these cell walls, making nutrients more accessible. There are other ways of processing food–pounding meat to make it more tender or using a blender to chop it into fine pieces. Humans have been milling grains for a very long time.

But it is easy to overdo the processing of food, especially with the help of fossil fuels. Grains can be ground very finely, far more finely they would have been ground, years ago. Sweeteners of various types can be derived from sugar cane, sugar beets, and corn, and added to products of many types. Parts of fruits and vegetables that are deemed “less desirable” such as skins can be removed, even if these parts have a disproportionate share of the nutrients in them.

There is even a second order kind of change to the food supply that can be put in place. For example, before recent “improvements,” cattle ate a mixture of grasses and digested them in their four-part stomachs that are designed from that purpose. Now cattle are being fed all kinds of foods that are not suitable for their digestive systems, including corn and dried distillers grain, a byproduct of making ethanol from corn. There are many other shortcuts taken, from hormones to antibiotics, so as to produce more meat at less expense. Our bodies aren’t necessarily adapted all of these changes. For one thing, there is much more fat in the beef, and for another, the ratio of Omega 3 fatty acids to Omega 6 fatty acids is badly skewed.

There is the additional issue of whether plants actually contain the nutrients that they did years ago. Many of us have learned Liebig’s Law of the Minimum, which states that plant growth is not controlled by total amount of resources available, but by the scarcest resource. In other words, a plant needs all of its nutrients–just adding more of the most abundant nutrient isn’t good enough. But Liebig’s Law of the Minimum doesn’t remove all deviations in nutrient quantity. Plants will still grow, even if some of the trace elements are present in smaller than the usual quantities. Adding fertilizer (or even crop rotation) does not entirely fix this situation. We still end up with soil that is deficient in some micronutrients. This situation tends to get worse with time, as our sewer systems send human wastes out to sea.

In recent years, we have been hearing more about the role intestinal bacteria play. The processing of our food is especially likely to remove the less digestible portions of our food that these bacteria depend on for their nutrition. This adds yet another dimension to the problem of food that deviates from what our bodies are expecting us to eat.

Thanks to fossil fuels, processing of all kinds is cheap. So is adding sugar, artificial colors and artificial flavors to help cover up deficiencies in the original crop. The shortcuts farmers take, including heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides, are ways to produce food more cheaply. The food we end up with is inexpensive and convenient, but doesn’t necessarily match up well with what human digestive systems are adapted to.

What Kind of Exercise Do We Need? 

The story I keep reading is that we need a certain amount of high-intensity intermittent exercise to help our bodies operate as they are intended to. Running for even an average of five or ten minutes a day is said to reduce cardiac causes of death by 30% to 45%, and to increase overall life expectancy by three years. We can easily imagine that hunter-gatherers quite often needed to sprint from time to time, either to avoid predators or to catch potential prey. The finding that human beings need short bursts of high intensity exercise, such as running, would seem to be consistent with what our ancestors did. We also can’t sit for long periods–something our ancestors didn’t do either.

How about strength training? One thing that occurred to me when I visited India is how unnatural it is to have chairs to sit on. Much of the world’s population, even today, sits on the ground when they want to sit down. Needless to say, people who don’t sit on chairs get up from the floor many times a day. This is a type of fitness training that we in this country miss. We in the West also don’t squat much–another type of fitness training.

Even with the beneficial effects of exercise, some researchers today believe that food plays a more important role than exercise in obesity. (Obesity is linked to ill health and shorter life expectancies.) A recent study by Herman Pontzer and others compared the energy expenditure of the Hazda hunter-gatherers to Westerners. The study found that average daily energy expenditure of traditional Hazda foragers was no different from that of Westerners, after controlling for body size. The body seemed to compensate for higher energy expenditure at times, with lower energy expenditure at other times.

Conclusion

It seems to me that our appetites don’t work correctly when we fill ourselves with overly processed foods that are lacking for essential nutrients. We often don’t stop eating soon enough, and then we quickly feel hungry again. In part this may be from eating highly processed foods that would never be found in nature; in part it may be because the foods are missing the micronutrients and fiber that our bodies are expecting. Low-income people especially have a problem with such diets, since diets rich in fruits and vegetables are more expensive.

Many people believe doctors can fix our health problems. Looking across countries, diet and public health issues tend to be much more important than the medical care system in the health of a population. With most chronic health conditions, doctors can only take bad health situations and make them somewhat better. High rates of illness and increased mortality remain, similar to what we see in the United States.

Many of us have heard about the so-called calorie restriction diets of monkeys. This is a misnomer, in my view. In at least one version of it, it is a comparison of monkeys fed a low calorie diet that provides a wide range of nutrients found in vegetables, with a diet typical of Americans. If, in fact, we humans also need a wide range of nutrients found in vegetables, we should not be surprised if we have similarly poor health outcomes.

NYT 31aging_graphic_lgAccording to the graphic, Owen, 26, is affected by arthritis. His skin is wrinkled and his hair is falling out. He is frail and moves slowly. His blood work shows unhealthy levels of glucose and triglycerides. Canto, 25, is aging fairly well.

I personally have been eating a diet that is close to vegetarian for twenty years (heavy on vegetables, fruits and nuts; some fish and diary products; meat only as flavoring in soups). I also cut way back on processed foods and foods with added sugar or corn by-products. When I first changed my diet, I had a problem with arthritis and was concerned that I was at high risk for Type II diabetes. I lost weight, and my arthritis disappeared, as did my blood sugar problems. In fact, I rarely have reason to visit a doctor. In many ways, I feel like Owen on the right.

As I pointed out at the beginning of the post, we need to get a wide variety of nutrients at the same time we need to balance (Energy In) = (Energy Needed for Life Processes). Back in hunter-gatherer days, this was easy to do, but it is increasingly difficult to do today. Besides cutting back on processed foods, eating a diet that is low in meat may be a way of doing this. Studies of people who eat mostly vegetarian diets show that they tend to have longer life spans. There is also direct evidence that diets that are higher in animal protein tend to shorten life spans. These findings don’t necessarily correlate with studies of what works best for losing weight, which is what most people are concerned about in the short term. Thus, we are deluged with a lot of confusing findings.

Food and health problems are issues that tend to strike a nerve with a lot of people. I can’t claim to be an expert in this area. But stepping back and looking at the issue more broadly, as I have tried to do in this article, can perhaps add some new perspectives.

658 thoughts on “An Energy-Related Reason Why US Healthcare Outcomes are Awful

  1. Well, last check the little fella was at full speed…so FUNNY
    Rest Easy, BAU will be here for at least one more day:

  2. The cellphone companies are hot on the idea of the cellphone becoming the tricorder that provides your health care. They are advertising the retirement of babyboom doctors and the need for some other source of medical care.

  3. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2014/09/18/june-july-august-set-record-for-warmest-summer-on-earth-says-noaa/

    Summer 2014 was record warmest on Earth, says NOAA

    It was the warmest summer on Earth since records began in 1880, according to a monthly climate report by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. In addition, August 2014 was the warmest August on record for the globe, according to all three major organizations that track the earth’s temperature.

    Over land and ocean, NOAA reports that August ended 0.75 degrees Celsius above the 20th century average, while the summer months, June through August, were 0.71 degrees warmer than normal.

    Read some of the deniers posts afterwards. Hilarious!

    • OVER 300,000 participated in the People’s Climate March today in NYC. Most Americans were unaware of the event because of the fixation on sports, especially NFL.
      In a couple days when the so-called leaders meet to actually agree, this mass demonstration will likely be a fainted memory.
      Yes, our fossil fuel emissions are warming the planet (ocean’s included) and changing the ecosystem life support system.

  4. America Created Al-Qaeda and the ISIS Terror Group

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/america-created-al-qaeda-and-the-isis-terror-group/5402881

    Much like Al Qaeda, the Islamic State (ISIS) is made-in-the-USA, an instrument of terror designed to divide and conquer the oil-rich Middle East and to counter Iran’s growing influence in the region.

    The fact that the United States has a long and torrid history of backing terrorist groups will surprise only those who watch the news and ignore history.

    The CIA first aligned itself with extremist Islam during the Cold War era. Back then, America saw the world in rather simple terms: on one side, the Soviet Union and Third World nationalism, which America regarded as a Soviet tool; on the other side, Western nations and militant political Islam, which America considered an ally in the struggle against the Soviet Union.

    The director of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan, General William Odom recently remarked, “by any measure the U.S. has long used terrorism. In 1978-79 the Senate was trying to pass a law against international terrorism – in every version they produced, the lawyers said the U.S. would be in violation.”

    During the 1970′s the CIA used the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as a barrier, both to thwart Soviet expansion and prevent the spread of Marxist ideology among the Arab masses. The United States also openly supported Sarekat Islam against Sukarno in Indonesia, and supported the Jamaat-e-Islami terror group against Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in Pakistan. Last but certainly not least, there is Al Qaeda.

    Lest we forget, the CIA gave birth to Osama Bin Laden and breastfed his organization during the 1980′s. Former British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, told the House of Commons that Al Qaeda was unquestionably a product of Western intelligence agencies. Mr. Cook explained that Al Qaeda, which literally means an abbreviation of “the database” in Arabic, was originally the computer database of the thousands of Islamist extremists, who were trained by the CIA and funded by the Saudis, in order to defeat the Russians in Afghanistan.

    America’s relationship with Al Qaeda has always been a love-hate affair. Depending on whether a particular Al Qaeda terrorist group in a given region furthers American interests or not, the U.S. State Department either funds or aggressively targets that terrorist group. Even as American foreign policy makers claim to oppose Muslim extremism, they knowingly foment it as a weapon of foreign policy.

    The Islamic State is its latest weapon that, much like Al Qaeda, is certainly backfiring. ISIS recently rose to international prominence after its thugs began beheading American journalists. Now the terrorist group controls an area the size of the United Kingdom.

    In order to understand why the Islamic State has grown and flourished so quickly, one has to take a look at the organization’s American-backed roots. The 2003 American invasion and occupation of Iraq created the pre-conditions for radical Sunni groups, like ISIS, to take root. America, rather unwisely, destroyed Saddam Hussein’s secular state machinery and replaced it with a predominantly Shiite administration. The U.S. occupation caused vast unemployment in Sunni areas, by rejecting socialism and closing down factories in the naive hope that the magical hand of the free market would create jobs. Under the new U.S.-backed Shiite regime, working class Sunni’s lost hundreds of thousands of jobs. Unlike the white Afrikaners in South Africa, who were allowed to keep their wealth after regime change, upper class Sunni’s were systematically dispossessed of their assets and lost their political influence. Rather than promoting religious integration and unity, American policy in Iraq exacerbated sectarian divisions and created a fertile breading ground for Sunni discontent, from which Al Qaeda in Iraq took root.

    The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) used to have a different name: Al Qaeda in Iraq. After 2010 the group rebranded and refocused its efforts on Syria.

    There are essentially three wars being waged in Syria: one between the government and the rebels, another between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and yet another between America and Russia. It is this third, neo-Cold War battle that made U.S. foreign policy makers decide to take the risk of arming Islamist rebels in Syria, because Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, is a key Russian ally. Rather embarrassingly, many of these Syrian rebels have now turned out to be ISIS thugs, who are openly brandishing American-made M16 Assault rifles.

    America’s Middle East policy revolves around oil and Israel. The invasion of Iraq has partially satisfied Washington’s thirst for oil, but ongoing air strikes in Syria and economic sanctions on Iran have everything to do with Israel. The goal is to deprive Israel’s neighboring enemies, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Palestine’s Hamas, of crucial Syrian and Iranian support.
    ISIS is not merely an instrument of terror used by America to topple the Syrian government; it is also used to put pressure on Iran.

    The last time Iran invaded another nation was in 1738. Since independence in 1776, the U.S. has been engaged in over 53 military invasions and expeditions. Despite what the Western media’s war cries would have you believe, Iran is clearly not the threat to regional security, Washington is. An Intelligence Report published in 2012, endorsed by all sixteen U.S. intelligence agencies, confirms that Iran ended its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Truth is, any Iranian nuclear ambition, real or imagined, is as a result of American hostility towards Iran, and not the other way around.

    America is using ISIS in three ways: to attack its enemies in the Middle East, to serve as a pretext for U.S. military intervention abroad, and at home to foment a manufactured domestic threat, used to justify the unprecedented expansion of invasive domestic surveillance.

    By rapidly increasing both government secrecy and surveillance, Mr. Obama’s government is increasing its power to watch its citizens, while diminishing its citizens’ power to watch their government. Terrorism is an excuse to justify mass surveillance, in preparation for mass revolt.
    The so-called “War on Terror” should be seen for what it really is: a pretext for maintaining a dangerously oversized U.S. military. The two most powerful groups in the U.S. foreign policy establishment are the Israel lobby, which directs U.S. Middle East policy, and the Military-Industrial-Complex, which profits from the former group’s actions. Since George W. Bush declared the “War on Terror” in October 2001, it has cost the American taxpayer approximately 6.6 trillion dollars and thousands of fallen sons and daughters; but, the wars have also raked in billions of dollars for Washington’s military elite.

    In fact, more than seventy American companies and individuals have won up to $27 billion in contracts for work in postwar Iraq and Afghanistan over the last three years, according to a recent study by the Center for Public Integrity. According to the study, nearly 75 per cent of these private companies had employees or board members, who either served in, or had close ties to, the executive branch of the Republican and Democratic administrations, members of Congress, or the highest levels of the military.

    In 1997, a U.S. Department of Defense report stated, “the data show a strong correlation between U.S. involvement abroad and an increase in terrorist attacks against the U.S.” Truth is, the only way America can win the “War On Terror” is if it stops giving terrorists the motivation and the resources to attack America. Terrorism is the symptom; American imperialism in the Middle East is the cancer. Put simply, the War on Terror is terrorism; only, it is conducted on a much larger scale by people with jets and missiles.

    • A lot of the incursions the US involve themselves in I think is for the MIC to test new equipment, communication and boots on the ground tactics and response capability. In other words they spend about 700 billion a year tax money and without conflict there is no way to know how equipment and personnel will respond under military pressure unless tested in the field. I don’t advocate this approach, but I am sure they do through DC support. The review process during and after conflicts I am sure is quite extensive.

      • Just to add to that, I don’t think the MIC cares whether the US technically wins or loses, or about inciting terrorists response. In fact, inciting response just leads to more paranoia and that keeps their tab rising. The most valuable moments for the MIC are our worst moments of infamy, pearl harbor and 9/11.

        • The Taliban were created by the Soviet Invasion in late 1970’s.
          The Saudi’s provided “teachers” to the displaced Afghan children and they were mainly focused on extreme religious doctrine. No doubt the CIA provided weapons to the Taliban, but the Soviets got the ball rolling

    • very well summed up Paul, clear and lucid.
      If I can add a further two pennorth, that this largely consists of stupid young men who enjoy firing weapons without restrictions.
      Watch newsclips carefully. You’ll notice young guys hold an AK47 or whatever at arms length above a wall or out of a window and just fire off a full magazine while effectively waving the weapon around in the air, aiming it at nobody in particular
      this is a new toy, if it kills people so much the better.
      they enjoy it.

  5. Pingback: Article(s) of the day (Page 2) - Off-Topic | Big Mike Trading

  6. French Farmers Upset Over Falling Prices, Torch Tax and Insurance Offices, Dump Produce
    Posted: 20 Sep 2014 10:18 AM PDT

    As a direct result of sanctions on Russia, there is an overabundance of fruits and vegetables in France, Spain, Poland, and elsewhere in Europe. Basic law of supply and demand dictates prices of crops would fall. And they did.

    While most foolishly want to stick it to Russia, few actually are willing to pay the price if it affects them.

    Here is another case in point: French Farmers Torch Tax Office in Brittany Protest.
    French vegetable farmers protesting against falling living standards have set fire to tax and insurance offices in town of Morlaix, in Brittany. The farmers used tractors and trailers to dump artichokes, cauliflowers and manure in the streets and also smashed windows, police said.

    Prime Minister Manuel Valls condemned protesters for preventing firefighters from dealing with the blaze.

    The farmers say they cannot cope with falling prices for their products.

    A Russian embargo on some Western goods – imposed over the Ukraine crisis – has blocked off one of their main export markets.

    About 100 farmers first launched an overnight attack on an insurance office outside Morlaix, which they set light to and completely destroyed, officials said. They then drove their tractors to the main tax office in the town where they dumped unsold artichokes and cauliflowers, smashed windows and then set the building on fire.
    Everyone Loses

    The French protest underscores the stupidity of sanctions. No one wins. Russia does not get fruits and vegetables, but European growers lose income.

    France actually the worst end of it, with a tax office destroyed and widespread discontent spreading. In Russia, support for Putin is at all-time high.

    Sanctions will never work.

    Mike “Mish” Shedlock
    http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
    Mike “Mish” Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction. Visit http://www.sitkapacific.com/account_management.html to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.

  7. A most excellent idea….

    The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement

    In 1967, there were three billion people on planet Earth. One year later, the idea that overpopulation would eventually kill us entered mainstream consciousness with the publication of Paul Ehrlich’s book, The Population Bomb. But if consciousness was raised, it didn’t do much to slow population growth. Today there are 7 billion people and counting.

    As far back as the 18th century, a clergyman named Thomas Robert Malthus warned that as the population increased, resources would dwindle and famine and disease would result. Malthus never anticipated some of the horrific side effects of overpopulation we are seeing today, like species extinction and environmental disaster. But in many ways, the idea of population control has taken a back seat to what seem like even more pressing concerns like cutting carbon emissions.

    One group, however, is offering a radical solution to our Malthusian mess: the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. Their motto is: “May we live long and die out.” An informal movement that coalesced in the ‘70s, the Extinctionists value the Earth and its millions of species more than human survival. Their goal is to convince humans to stop breeding, cease making new babies altogether and allow the human race to slowly disappear—quietly, peacefully and without the suffering and pain overpopulation has wrought on so much of the world. Only then can the world and all the surviving species recover and prosper.

    More http://www.alternet.org/environment/radical-environmental-solution-youve-never-heard?akid=12275.312354.83LkG0&rd=1&src=newsletter1020138&t=3&paging=off&current_page=1#bookmark

  8. The circular entanglement of American involvement in the Middle East and radical Islamic terrorism are products of the system and are both needed by the system. The system in this case, being dollars for oil.

    Permanent war is the official policy of the United States. Wars are no longer fought and “won”. If a war was ever won, and followed by peace, the system would collapse.

    • Without continuous American engagement in the MIddle East most of us would already be dead of a nuclear WWIII triggered by Soviet perfidy, Arab strongmanism, Islamic fundamentalism, anti-Semtism and sheer third world incompetence. American leadership, albeit flawed and inconsistent, has kept a “Nostradamus moment” from happening for the last 30 years. The role of the Indispensable Nation has kept the monkey off of all of your backs and you should at least be aware of it if not grateful that you weren’t sent over there to do the dirty job yourselves.

      • InAlaska wrote:
        “Without continuous American engagement in the MIddle East most of us would already be dead of a nuclear WWIII triggered by Soviet perfidy, Arab strongmanism, Islamic fundamentalism, anti-Semtism and sheer third world incompetence.”

        I bet you think this goes for American “activity” all over the globe. America the omnipresent good cop – hurrah!

        • Yep, pretty much. Everyone else in the West gets to hide behind Dad and complain about him behind his back.

          • If one were to watch this presentation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTbdnNgqfs8 one might be inclined to think that the US was operating like a mafia overlord….

            As in you don’t have any choice but to be ‘under the protection’ of the guy with the big stick…

            As in the guy with the big stick will protect you — from him… (kinda like how the neighbourhood mafiosa says hey bud — we’d hate ta see yor store burned down … you need us to make sure a dat — ya know wad i mean?’)

            As in ‘you are either with us – or against us’ — we tell you what to do — if you don’t like it then I whack you across the face with the big stick… if you still don’t get it I beat you to death and sink you in the ocean with a stone around your neck

            There is no such thing as independent action — independent thought — you cannot choose to align with Russia, or China — even if you think that is in your interests… because it is not in AMERICA’S interests…

            Case in point – Mohammed Mossadegh – Iran – democratically elected — wanted to nationalize his country’s oil industry and sell to whomever he wanted — but no no no no …. the Brits and the Americans were not on with that — so they labelled him a communist — threw him out and installed their boy – the Shah – we all remember the Shah right? — the guy who’s Savak – with CIA training tortured anyone who made the slightest negative comment about his highness…

            This is not “A Conspiracy Theory’ — Operation Ajax is real – when the Shah was overthrown the Iranians pasted together shredded documents at the US embassy that provided evidence of this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat

            Red pill….

          • InAlaska wrote:
            “Everyone else in the West gets to hide behind Dad and complain about him behind his back.”

            Ha ha – you’re a funny guy! Try living somewhere else than America for a few years and see a different world…

  9. Hmmm… I guess the solar panels and windmills grew on trees….

    This Scottish Island Is Nearly Free of Fossil Fuels

    Eigg’s main grid is powered mostly by wind, water, and sun.

    The Scottish island of Eigg takes pride in its own self-reliance. Electricity included.

    After being bought by the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust in 1997 (a partnership between island residents, the Highland Council, and the Scottish Wildlife Trust), Eigg has seen not only an uptick in population (currently home to 83 people) but also the creation of its own electrical grid after depending on diesel generators for years. As locals tell Reuters photographer Paul Hackett, Eigg’s new grid gets as much as 95 percent of its energy from a mix of wind, hydro, and solar power.

    The grid was subject to referendum discussions in recent months, at the same time as Scotland at large debated its vote on independence from the U.K.: Campaigners for the ‘No’ vote claimed that Scottish independence would have meant higher prices for renewable energy since the cost would no longer be shared throughout Britain. Nationalists felt that having more control over Scotland’s own resources would have meant an easier path to harnessing its own energy potential.

    More http://www.citylab.com/tech/2014/09/this-scottish-island-is-nearly-free-of-fossil-fuels/380534/

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