Statins – should you be on them

September 18, 2016

Statins: A Disturbing Study about Adverse Side Effects

I have just discovered a fascinating paper which describes the results of gathering and collating information from self-reported accounts of adverse reactions to statins (1). It has been published on the internet by the Journal of Independent Medical Researchers, which enables individuals to present their thoughts and ideas. All those involved give their time free so that no money changes hands.

The experience of patients

The report is based on information contained in self-reported accounts from patients who had signed an e-petition which will be sent to the World Health Organisation (WHO). About half of them were from the USA and most of the remainder were from Europe. In total 888 people had signed the petition. Of these, reports from 351 were considered to provide useful information.

All of these had experienced adverse reactions to treatments with statins. Of these, 61% stated that they had stopped taking the statins because they were unable to cope with the severity of the side effects. Sixty three patients reported they had sustained permanent damage and 120 continued to experience adverse reactions which were still not resolved. Eighteen patients were suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)/motor neurone disease, with one case of ALS being diagnosed within six weeks of starting statin therapy. There were 29 cases of major neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson?s disease, Alzheimer?s disease (AD), multiple system atrophy, progressive supra-nuclear polyneuropathy, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy and ALS/motor neurone disease. Sixty nine patients experienced memory loss and 18 patients complained of cognitive impairment, and 6 experienced transient global amnesia.

The clinicians’ perspective

The comments from the patients reveal some valuable insight into the attitudes and approaches by the clinicians. Here are some examples:

  • Patients who experience difficulties while taking their prescribed statin medication find that it is not easy to persuade their treating clinicians that it is the statins which are responsible for causing their adverse reaction symptoms.
  • It was found that there were 82 clinicians who did not associate their patients’ symptoms with an adverse reaction to statin therapy.
  • There were actually a number who would not accept that statins could be the cause of the adverse reactions.
  • Several of the respondents had described how statins had been prescribed without any clinical consultation. When the results of routine analysis of blood samples became available, clinicians instructed the practice receptionist to ask the patient to call for the prescription. This means there was no opportunity to provide the relevant advice or explain about the potential adverse side effects. If this description of events is accurate then it means that no consent to the treatment would have been given.

The report notes that it is a particularly worrying time for a patient when an adverse reaction is experienced. The person is likely to have fears about damages to his/her health and even premature mortality. If these concerns are met by ridicule on the part of the clinician, then it is likely that the patient will begin to have serious doubts about the competence of the clinician, not only with respect to statins but more generally.

When complaints were made about adverse side effects it was revealed that the response was to prescribe some different statins in addition, which provoked the comment:

The prescribing of two or three different agents, on the back of complaints about unwanted effects that were caused by the initial prescription, betrays a lack of knowledge about the action of statins. The prescribing of six different agents under precisely the same circumstances displays an unexpected indifference to the healthcare needs of patients.”

This study also shows that there was a very high incidence of major degenerative diseases. To find 18 cases of ALS from 351 reports is extremely worrying and about 10,000 times greater than would have been expected, based on the accepted norms.

It is established that treatment with statins lower cholesterol by inhibiting the mevalonate metabolic pathway (MMP) which also means that the synthesis of Ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q10) is also inhibited. Ubiquinone plays a vital role in the body and if the level is reduced it is likely to cause myopathy, which is one of the established side effects of statin therapy. In the light of this, it would be expected that anyone prescribed statins would automatically also be prescribed with ubiquinone. But the reality is that this just happen regularly.

Other important biochemicals which are synthesised in the MMP are Heme A and dolichols.

A reduction in Heme A interferes with the efficient functioning of the mitochondria, which are the “powerhouses” of the cells. Reductions in Heme A may also cause damage to the nerves and to DNA. Any reduction in Heme A may lead to the accelerated decay of mitochondria. . The inhibition of the MMP also has implications for the production of other substances which have a critical role in the body.

Dolichols are required for cell identification, cell communication and immune system functionality.

Memory loss was reported in almost 20% of the respondents. Unfortunately many doctors do not take this seriously and often just shrug it off as an inevitable consequence of the aging process. Nevertheless it has finally been recognised as likely side effect.

Just under 10% reported that they had suffered from depression and this is quite consistent with research which shows that this is one of the consequences which can arise with low levels of blood cholesterol.

Over half of the respondents had not been able to resolve the statin-induced side effects, while just less than one fifth claimed that the damage was permanent.

CONCLUSION

No doubt there will be those who dismiss this study on the grounds that it is based on individuals who have prepared their own reports and that they cannot be validated and may be biased. Even allowing for some inaccuracies, the information here provides valuable insight into what is happening in the real world. There is plenty of evidence to demonstrate that the reporting of adverse side effects to drugs is minimal. This report confirms that many clinicians are not interested and may even be in denial when it comes to identifying these reactions. The rather widespread failure to recognise the impact of statins on the normal and essential metabolic pathways is unbelievable.

Many people who are being prescribed statins would be shocked to learn about the information in this report. NICE accepts that 77 people have to be on statins for 3 years for one person to benefit (2), which according to Malcolm Kendrick is an extra 6 months of life (3). This only applies to those who have had previous heart disease. For others the benefits are even less but the side effects are the same are the same. How many patients would agree to statins if they were made aware of this information at the outset?

REFERENCES

  1. http://www.joimr.org/JOIMR_Vol7_No1_Dec2009.pdf
  2. http://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g4694
  3. http://drmalcolmkendrick.org/2014/12/01/what-is-t/

‘ANC Scoundrels Destroy & Disappoint

June 19, 2016

‘ANC Scoundrels Destroy & Disappoint’

All white apartheid rulers were scoundrels, but they prioritized the welfare of their own people. From the inception of the Union, the white nationalists had a plan. They had a plan for the “poor white problem”, for affirmative action, for the mining-industrial-agriculture complex and for “the native problem”. Black nationalists, too, responded with their own plan. They forged unity among their people, promoted education and encouraged blacks to be self-reliant and to roll back the frontiers of oppression.

Today, black “nationalists” don’t have a viable plan for the “poor black youth problem”. Unlike Afrikaner nationalists, our black “nationalists” prioritize the interests of the elite. Whilst whites created the IDC, Eskom, LandBank and railways for the mining-industrial-agriculture complex, black “nationalists” use these as feeding troughs for the elite. Black SMEs cannot get a loan unless they have a politician on their board. Our NDP is held hostage by perfidious premiers, unionists and others in the inner circle.

Boer leaders were scoundrels, but they delivered.

Our scoundrels destroy value.

Gauta Komane

Women over 40 :)

April 3, 2016

As I grow in age, I value women over 40 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:

A woman over 40 will never wake you in the middle of the night and ask, ‘What are you thinking?’ She doesn’t care what you think.

If a woman over 40 doesn’t want to watch the game, she doesn’t sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do, and it’s usually more interesting.

Women over 40 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won’t hesitate to shoot you if they think they can get away with it.

Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it’s like to be unappreciated.

Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 40.

Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 40 is far sexier than her younger counterpart.

Older women are forthright and honest. They’ll tell you right off if you are a jerk, if you are acting like one. You don’t ever have to wonder where you stand with her.

Yes, we praise women over 40 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it’s not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, hot woman over 40, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year old waitress. Ladies, I apologize.

For all those men who say, ‘Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? Here’s an update for you…………….

Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it’s not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage!

Andy Rooney

The winter of our discontent

March 30, 2016
R.W. Johnson

South Africans have, for several months now, been enduring an exceptional torrent of accusations and counter-accusations of racism. Such accusations have, of course, provided much of the steady badinage of South African politics for twenty years, but even when seen against that background the recent period has been special.

Penny Sparrow, a South Coast estate agent, provided a convenient initial focus with her virtually Neanderthal depictions of blacks as monkeys: what the French would call le racisme primaire. Thereafter all manner of essentially harmless folk have been caught up in the storm and have suffered penalties of one sort or another for a few words or sentiments a mite out of place – or not even that.

The situation has now become so ridiculous that when Helen Zille says how pleased she is by the heavy usage of Cape Town’s municipal libraries, she is accused of racism for having implied surprise that blacks read books.

On many university campuses there is a frankly anti-white frenzy. We have seen delighted declarations that “whiteness is burning” when valuable pictures are torched.

What to conclude from this? A first conclusion might be, for god’s sake avoid social media. Almost everybody who has found themselves in trouble has done so as a result of some unwise and trivial post on Twitter and Facebook. One only has to remember how her addiction to Twitter undermined Helen Zille’s leadership of the DA to see what a hostage to fortune such media constitute.

Why all the fuss over racism?

But what is this hyper-sensitivity about? The answer is not simple. For many years it has been commonplace that black commentators insist that “we must debate race”. On the face of it, there is little to debate. We all know that biologically speaking, no such thing as race exists. It is also common cause that black people have suffered badly from segregation and oppression by whites.

Nobody wishes to defend or exculpate apartheid. So what is the debate about? Usually, it seems, debate is just the wrong word: most often what seems to be meant is a further opportunity to rehearse all the multiple ways in which black South Africans still feel aggrieved. This is not a debate, nor even truly a conversation and very seldom is there anything new to say. It is also purely backward-looking.

All the heat and energy is about past grievances (student radicals frequently attack their opponents for the mistreatment of their parents or even grandparents): there seems to be little constructive thought about the future – or even much interest in it. The picture has been further clouded by attempts to reify “whiteness”, philosophically and sociologically a very dubious notion.

The key factor: ANC failure

The main new fact driving the current hypersensitivity is just that the ANC is visibly failing. No one is in any serious doubt now about this. It even passes the taxi driver test: take a taxi from OR Tambo and the driver will soon tell you that the ANC will soon lose power, either nationally or a least in Joburg. It’s literally on the street.

The ANC elites, anxiously aware of this, feel the cold whiff of change in the air. Hence Gwede Mantashe’s paranoid mutterings about the role of the US embassy in allegedly fostering regime change. It has now dawned on the ANC leadership, that far from being in place “until Jesus comes”, they could meet their Maker quite a lot sooner than that.

It is not clear, after, all, how the ANC’s claim to rule would survive the loss of Pretoria and/or Joburg. Hence, too, the much sharper focus now on the possibility of relegation to junk bond status. When I brought out my last book in May 2015 (How Long Will South Africa Survive? The Looming Crisis) the notion of such a relegation was rather recherché stuff.

The oddity was that although almost nobody was willing to review the book, its central ideas quickly passed into the main conversation. The possibility of relegation to junk bond status thus became the key symbolic test of whether ANC government had failed. The result, belatedly, was to make every ANC spokesman vow to avoid such a relegation at almost any cost.

The notion of ANC government as an evident failure triggered complex psychological reactions. Since this was South Africa’s first African government its imminent failure was seen as an enormous symbolic defeat for the black race by certain black intellectuals – first and foremost in their own eyes.

This in itself was almost unbearably painful, as can be seen in innumerable letters to the editor from black readers saying how personally humiliated and let down they feel by the government’s failure. Second, many black intellectuals were quick to imagine whites sitting on their verandahs of an evening, gin and tonic in hand, saying “I told you so” – an almost unbearable image.

Third, and for that very reason, this produced a renewed anti-white animus, a determination that, if the ship was to go down, at least the whites must go down with the ship too.

Julius Malema, with his usual unerring instinct, taunted the ANC with the thought that some whites were actually enjoying the prospect of a black government failing.

The hardening of opinion

There is a smidgeon of truth in this. It is undeniably true that under the weight of government incompetence and corruption, much white opinion has hardened. This is obvious in a host of ways and certainly to any reader of the PoliticsWeb comment section.

Nonetheless, the overwhelming majority of white South Africans still want their country to succeed, irrespective of politics. Yet at the same time there has always been a tiny fringe of white apologists for black racism – it will be hard to convince future generations how much of the damage was done by whites.

Frequently such folk will find sophistical arguments for the proposition that only whites can be racists, although ordinary common sense shows plainly enough that this is a disease that anyone can catch. Blacks and whites can both be racists in the same way that blacks and whites can both be fast food addicts, both be thieves, both be religious nuts and so on.

What seems to drive such folk, oddly, is a strong sense of collective guilt. They would all insist that their own treatment of black people has been blameless (so individually they are not guilty) but they believe that all white people should feel collective guilt about the past. This despite the fact that all the churches, the UN and no end of judicial eminences have declared that the doctrine of collective guilt – used by anti-Semites down the ages to justify their persecution of the Jews – is not only invalid but an offense against humanity.

The doctrine of collective guilt was invoked by the Nazis when they murdered whole communities in reprisal for the acts of a few resistants. It is a deeply inhuman and reactionary doctrine. So guilt can only be individual. No doubt we should all examine our own consciences, but that is far as one can go.

The history of non-racialism

When the ANC was in its pomp under Mandela, it was proudly non-racial and did not stoop to anti-white racism. The person who really reintroduced racism to South African public life was Thabo Mbeki who repeatedly conjured up loathsome visions of blacks as dirty, diseased, plundering and rapacious folk, an imagined white stereotype, though one which Mbeki himself found weirdly believable.

Mbeki relied more and more on “campaigns against racism” (read anti-white mobilizations), held a World Conference Against Racism and said this would be the guiding theme of his entire presidency. This was all very telling. With the Mandela magic gone, Mbeki felt paranoid and insecure and his first instinct was to fall back on anti-white racism.

Zuma was, at first, much better. With Mbeki’s defeat at Polokwane, anti-white racism faded from the scene. But as the cumulative weight of the ANC’s economic blunders became apparent, this has changed. When the ANC has to fight for survival its last card is racial nationalism: vote for us because we are black, vote against them because they are white.

This situation has been dramatically transformed by the emergence of the EFF. The ANC has always most feared attacks from its left and it can see Malema’s radical anti-white rhetoric gaining traction.

This panics it completely and its response is to attempt to ensure that, whatever else, it will not be outflanked on that theme. It must fight to ensure that racial nationalism works in its favour, and not in Malema’s. Thus whites find themselves on the wrong end of a Dutch auction on anti-white racism.

It must be understood that this is all part of the logic of multi-party proportional representation. A new development to the Left of the ANC will have a ricocheting effect right across the system as one billiard ball after another feels the colliding motion of the next. The eruption of an anti-ANC left has immediately set up a new field of force right across the system.

The eclipse of the old Left

Most obviously, of course, it has had dire effects on the SACP and Cosatu – the old ersatz Left. Nobody bothers to mention the National Democratic Revolution any more. Indeed, the NDR seems to be just as dead as the NDP (the National Development Plan), which is to say, as dead as a dodo. If there is a radical vision held out to the radical young it is Malema’s furious return to the Freedom Charter with forced expropriation of all white assets.(Malema carefully omits the Charter’s strongly non-racial stance.) The SACP can’t compete with that. The best it can do is just stay quiet – rather like Blade Nzimande, who is staying as deliberately invisible as possible during the current university troubles. So much for the SACP’s vanguard role.

In effect, neither the SACP nor COSATU brings anything very substantial to the ANC now. They continue purely on sufferance. The hoary old mythology was that the ANC relied on Cosatu to mobIlize the urban vote for it. But the ANC is losing precisely in the cities, and is relying more every year on the great vote banks of the old bantustans, in which Cosatu plays no role.

The budget has set the stage for a further intensification of racial nationalism. As Anthony Butler commented, its boundaries were “set by cronyism, the power of public sector unions, antipathy towards the private sector and public discontent about the economy”. That is, Gordhan could not go further without disturbing or dislodging the patronage networks on which Zuma’s rule depends.

The ANC clock: always slow

The result is weirdly reminiscent of the National Party dramas of the 1970s and 1980s when enormous pressures for change would be met by the fact that the NP’s clock was set not by those pressures but by the purely internal consideration of the relative strengths of the verligtes and verkramptes.

It is the same now with the ANC. It can proceed only at the pace set by its internal clock, which depends on the balance between its factions, its patrons and their clients. This is way behind the pace required by the international political economy of which South Africa is part.

In effect what this means is that the ANC is simply not able to carry out the sort of reforms necessary to guarantee its own survival. Instead it has adopted a defensive crouch which it will maintain through possible local election losses and a further ratings downgrade. As these things occur its mood will get increasingly sour, panicky and paranoid.

Its recourse to racial nationalism will become increasingly shrill. It will be a good time to remember the old adage that “sticks and stones may break my bones but hard words will never hurt me”. But, of course, it is playing with fire and, as recent university incidents have shown, it is all too easy for this sort of racial mobilization to tip over into inter-racial violence. Should that occur on any scale it would undo the whole post-1990 settlement and leave the country in no man’s land.

The conundrum of student protest

Finally there is the difficult question of how to interpret the current wave of student protest. While this younger generation is just as affected as others by the emotional consequences of ANC failure, there are clearly extra factors – grievances over fees, over accommodation, over the language of instruction, over exclusion because of indebtedness, as well as fear of academic failure born of poor schooling and a weak culture of study, discomfort (of some) at finding themselves in a mainly “white” environment for the first time, unhappiness at the sight of white and Indian students often scoring higher marks and anxiety over the high rate of youth unemployment.

As if this wasn’t enough, the student movement has quickly been hijacked by out-sourced workers wanting to be in-sourced and by ambitious black academics wanting more affirmative action in academic hiring and promotion.

On top of that there is a general fear that ANC fat cats have feathered their own nests by selling out the next generation, a fear sometimes phrased as the Mandela generation selling out to “white monopoly capital”.

That is already eleven separate factors and doubtless there are more. It is this hydra-headed nature which accounts for both the protest movement’s power and its confusion.

However, as the political theorist Michael Oakshott argued, no political movement is born or exists in a vacuum. In practise it intimates its new meanings and demands in terms of the existing political traditions in that society. In that sense the students had to choose between three competing traditions:

1. The Freedom Charter’s non-racial stance – “South Africa belongs to all those who live in it, black and white, and no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people”.

2. The PAC/Black Consciousness alternative. Although Robert Sobukwe and Steve Biko both insisted that they did not believe in black domination or racial animosity towards whites, their followers have generally interpreted this tradition to mean just that. In addition, BC enthusiasts generally favour de facto racial segregation, with separate racially-based organisations for black students, lawyers, businessmen etc.

3. The radical “Struggle” tradition inherited from the ANC’s thirty years in exile when the party fought for the total overthrow of the system, the “conquest of power”, and a full-on socialist programme. Once the negotiated settlement was reached at Codesa this tradition was cut short but it continued in the popular mind and various leaders bid for its leadership – Chris Hani, Peter Mokaba, Winnie Mandela and Julius Malema among others.

Although Nelson Mandela invoked the first (non-racial) tradition in 1994 as the basis of the new settlement, the truth was that it belonged to the period of Albert Luthuli’s leadership of the ANC and had largely been eclipsed since his death.

But strong traces of it remain for it is still the presumptive base of the Constitution and the entire post-1994 dispensation. In essence Luthuli was a Christian liberal. The black and white students who joined together to pray for peace on their campuses lay exactly within that tradition.

In practice most student activists seem to mix the second and third traditions with little regard for theoretical coherence, just as Malema attempts to combine the (incompatible) first and third traditions.

In truth, the situation is confused. The third tradition has been formally ended; the second was defeated by the ANC and is thus not in power, while the first, though theoretically the basis of the present dispensation, is widely ignored and flouted. The result is literally anarchic.

Thus although some of the activists believe we need to revisit the 1994 settlement and change it, the situation is now quite different from 1990-1994. That period was dominated by the approaching certainty of an irresistible ANC hegemony. Today that hegemony finds itself under assault from all directions with no real certainty about what the new balance will be.

We thus have a period of rough water ahead of us – which could be quite prolonged. It will be a time forvasbyt, for holding fast, for remembering that whatever the accompanying noise, the vast majority of South Africans simply want peace and growth, and remembering too that the country has come through far worse times during the Anglo-Boer War, during the Depression of the 1930s, during the Second World War and during apartheid. It is a resilient country in which it is rational to be an optimist.

R.W. Johnson

March 3, 2016

JOHANNESBURG. Italian sports-car manufacturer Maserati has described as “groundbreaking and chassis-bending” reports that Khulubuse Zuma, who has his own gravitational field, was allegedly clocked at 181kmh in his convertible on the weekend. Meanwhile President Zuma’s nephew has defended his driving, saying his was practising for when the workers wise up and he has to get the hell out of Dodge.

Mr Zuma was reportedly a taxi-driver before he became a mining magnate (a leap not considered unusual in Limpopo), and his former mentor, veteran taxi-aimer, Skidmarks Bhudu, said he still remembers young Khulubuse fondly.

“Days were dark and friends were few,” Bhudu told journalists as he expertly manoeuvred a taxi into vacant pedestrian. “He was a dream lover for the industry. We all knew he was going to be a Golden Banana one day.”

Zuma was to lose his boyish figure in a tragic altercation with a hamburger, but since then he has dealt bravely with his imposing bulk by sitting down as often as he can, and employing highly-tuned Italian V8 engines to move him from location to location.

This morning his spokesman, Deepfried Shisanyama, defended the alleged 181kmh joyride, saying that Zuma had merely been practicing an “emergency strategic high-speed relocation”.

“At some point the worker-comrades are going to be indoctrinated by vile Western ideas like ‘money’ and ‘salaries’, and are going to stop being content to live off dust that they scratch with a stick from the ground,” explained Shisanyama. “And when that happens, we don’t want to be around.”

Maserati, the makers of Zuma’s convertible, say they are “thrilled beyond their wildest dreams” at the news, saying that they never expected their cars to hold up under that kind of strain.

“We only test our top-end models with top-end models,” explained engineer Fellatio Cornucopia. “22 years old, forty kilos, D-cups. You know, standard dummies.”

He thanks Mr Zuma for taking Maserati into a “brave new world of high-speed transport for the planetoidally-proportioned”.

Meanwhile the South African government has slammed the media attention given to Zuma’s speeding infraction.

“Why do you people launch these personal attacks on high-profile individuals just to taint the reputation of Government?” demanded spokesman Incredulus February.

When it was put to him that high-profile individuals were already tainting the reputation of Government by personally attacking the wellbeing of their poverty-stricken workers or voters, February said that the government “will not be coerced into debating with people who are able to debate,” and stormed out.

Angry gays say Zwelithini is more of a queen than a king
CAPE TOWN. Outraged homosexuals and people who have passed grade three have hit out at King Goodwill Zwelithini following a speech in which he described gays as being rotten. One critic of the king suggested that Zwelithini was probably well placed to comment, saying that a grown man who dressed in leopard print skirts, feather hats, elaborate beaded necklaces and who surrounded himself with half naked warriors was probably more of a queen than a king anyway.

Zwelithini, who has married five different women, reportedly to remind himself that he prefers girls to boys, has also fathered upward of 27 children, a fact experts say must mean that he has had sex with a woman at least 27 times.

But they were quick to point out that, despite his virility and his predilection for looking at teenage girls in grass skirts, Zwelithini was still inclined to wear outfits that even Elizabeth Taylor would not be caught dead in.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean anything,” said sex expert Zinza Wonderland. “He’s probably just one of those artistic men who likes to dress up and hang out. You know, like Elton John or Italians.”

Asked how the King knew that gay people were rotten, Wonderland said it was usually quite easy to tell, provided that you knew what to look for.

“It’s a bit like buying a mango or a paw-paw,” he said. “You’ve got to finger the fruit.

“It mustn’t be too hard, but it mustn’t be soft either,” he said, before adding, “If you are in any doubt a firm poke is the way to go.”

Meanwhile royal courtier, Chelmsford Mabena, said that the King shouldn’t be blamed for his statements on the weekend.

“He was frustrated by not being allowed to condemn criminals to be eaten by hyenas,” said Mabena, who added that Zwelithini had realised being king of the Zulu nation was “not all that”.

“In Shaka’s day the King could do whatever he wanted and nobody said anything,” said Mabena.

“Now even the gays hit back. It’s like there are no benefits to being king anymore.”

He added that while the King’s comments were controversial, they were definitely grounded in reality. “If God had meant for men to like men he would have sent boys to queue for the reed dance.”

Mabena would neither confirm nor deny suggestions that Zwelithini was considering abdicating in order to take up a position as King of Uganda.

Union: Eastern Cape teacher go-slow too much like work as usual
BHISHO. Teachers’ union SADTU has slammed the poor quality of the go-slow underway in the Eastern Cape, saying that some teachers are working “almost as fast as snails” in direct violation of SADTU’s call that they work “as fast as bricks”. Meanwhile physicists say they may have witnessed another violation, this time of the Law of Conservation of Momentum, as some teachers cease to move even on a molecular level.

Furious SADTU spokescommisar, Gaudeamus Gwede, said that he had been shocked by the behaviour of Eastern Cape teachers he had observed this week.

“They arrive any time between small break and lunch, sleep under their desks, and then send a learner to buy then chips and a Stoney from the corner cafe,” fumed Gwede. “What the hell are these brown-nosing overachievers trying to prove?”

He said that SADTU had instructed all teachers in the province to conduct teaching at specially sanctioned “coma speed”, but added that “some of these Dead Poets Society speed-freaks are clearly teaching at a snail’s pace”.

School principal Gestetner Twala defended his staff, however, saying that they were fully committed to slowing to “barnacle speed”.

“I know that to the casual observer, say, a school inspector pausing at our window before we throw bricks at him, the go-slow looks like teaching as per normal,” he explained. “But we’ve actually taken major strides backwards since the start of the mass action.”

Twala revealed that he had reduced the number of random beatings meted out to learners, and had enforced slightly lower than normal blood alcohol levels in his staff, “to get their metabolisms to slow down”.

SADTU’s Gwede acknowledged these efforts, but said that if teachers were going to reach the level of glacial slowness required for them to be truly revolutionary, they would have to “go deep inside their comfort zone”, possibly learning ancient Buddhist techniques of slowing their heart rate through intense meditation, “or intense ingestion of Stoney”.

Asked what learners thought about the go-slow, Gwede said, “What do the who think? This is about education, fool! Why are you talking about children?”

Meanwhile, scientists at the nearby University of Fort Hare are reportedly thrilled at the possibility that the go-slow may be the first ever observed violation of the Law of Conservation of Momentum.

“Basically, the law states that any body, if acted upon by a large enough force, will move in the direction of that force,” explained Dr Sagan Mbuli. “But what we’ve seen over the past few days is a total cessation of movement, even at the molecular level, of SADTU members.

“Even the full weight of responsibility for the future of the country’s youth pressing against them has failed to propel them into any kind of movement.”

Time For All

March 3, 2016

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbour. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete…

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Remember, to say, “I love you” to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

AND ALWAYS REMEMBER:

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

South Africa: Only a matter of time before the bomb explodes

March 3, 2016

by Moeletsi Mbeki: Author, political commentator and entrepreneur.
12 FEBRUARY 2011

I can predict when SA’s “Tunisia Day” will arrive. Tunisia Day is when the masses rise against the powers that be, as happened recently in Tunisia. The year will be 2020, give or take a couple of years. The year 2020 is when China estimates that its current minerals-intensive industrialisation phase will be concluded.

For SA, this will mean the African National Congress (ANC) government will have to cut back on social grants, which it uses to placate the black poor and to get their votes. China’s current industrialisation phase has forced up the prices of SA’s minerals, which has enabled the government to finance social welfare programmes.

The ANC inherited a flawed, complex society it barely understood; its tinkerings with it are turning it into an explosive cocktail. The ANC leaders are like a group of children playing with a hand grenade. One day one of them will figure out how to pull out the pin and everyone will be killed.

A famous African liberation movement, the National Liberation Front of Algeria, after tinkering for 30 years, pulled the grenade pin by cancelling an election in 1991 that was won by the opposition Islamic Salvation Front. In the civil war that ensued, 200000 people were killed.

The former British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, once commented that whoever thought that the ANC could rule SA was living in Cloud Cuckoo Land. Why was Thatcher right? In the 16 years of ANC rule, all the symptoms of a government out of its depth have grown worse.
• Life expectancy has declined from 65 years to 53 years since the ANC came to power;
• In 2007, SA became a net food importer for the first time in its history;
• The elimination of agricultural subsidies by the government led to the loss of 600000 farm workers’ jobs and the eviction from the commercial farming sector of about 2,4-million people between 1997 and 2007; and
• The ANC stopped controlling the borders, leading to a flood of poor people into SA, which has led to conflicts between SA’s poor and foreign African migrants.
What should the ANC have done, or be doing?

The answer is quite straightforward. When they took control of the government in 1994, ANC leaders should have: identified what SA’s strengths were; identified what SA’s weaknesses were; and decided how to use the strengths to minimise and/or rectify the weaknesses.

A wise government would have persuaded the skilled white and Indian population to devote some of their time — even an hour a week — to train the black and coloured population to raise their skill levels.

What the ANC did instead when it came to power was to identify what its leaders and supporters wanted. It then used SA’s strengths to satisfy the short-term consumption demands of its supporters. In essence, this is what is called black economic empowerment (BEE).

BEE promotes a number of extremely negative socioeconomic trends in our country. It promotes a class of politicians dependent on big business and therefore promotes big business’s interests in the upper echelons of government. Second, BEE promotes an anti-entrepreneurial culture among the black middle class by legitimising an environment of entitlement. Third, affirmative action, a subset of BEE, promotes incompetence and corruption in the public sector by using ruling party allegiance and connections as the criteria for entry and promotion in the public service, instead of having tough public service entry examinations.

Let’s see where BEE, as we know it today, actually comes from. I first came across the concept of BEE from a company, which no longer exists, called Sankor. Sankor was the industrial division of Sanlam and it invented the concept of BEE.

The first purpose of BEE was to create a buffer group among the black political class that would become an ally of big business in SA. This buffer group would use its newfound power as controllers of the government to protect the assets of big business.

The buffer group would also protect the modus operandi of big business and thereby maintain the status quo in which South African business operates. That was the design of the big conglomerates.

Sanlam was soon followed by Anglo American. Sanlam established BEE vehicle Nail; Anglo established Real Africa, Johnnic and so forth. The conglomerates took their marginal assets, and gave them to politically influential black people, with the purpose, in my view, not to transform the economy but to create a black political class that is in alliance with the conglomerates and therefore wants to maintain the status quo of our economy and the way in which it operates.

But what is wrong with protecting SA’s conglomerates?

Well, there are many things wrong with how conglomerates operate and how they have structured our economy.
• The economy has a strong built-in dependence on cheap labour;
• It has a strong built-in dependence on the exploitation of primary resources;
• It is strongly unfavourable to the development of skills in our general population;
• It has a strong bias towards importing technology and economic solutions; and
• It promotes inequality between citizens by creating a large, marginalised underclass.
Conglomerates are a vehicle, not for creating development in SA but for exploiting natural resources without creating in-depth, inclusive social and economic development, which is what SA needs. That is what is wrong with protecting conglomerates.

The second problem with the formula of BEE is that it does not create entrepreneurs. You are taking political leaders and politically connected people and giving them assets which, in the first instance, they don’t know how to manage. So you are not adding value. You are faced with the threat of undermining value by taking assets from people who were managing them and giving them to people who cannot manage them. BEE thus creates a class of idle rich ANC politicos.

My quarrel with BEE is that what the conglomerates are doing is developing a new culture in SA — not a culture of entrepreneurship, but an entitlement culture, whereby black people who want to go into business think that they should acquire assets free, and that somebody is there to make them rich, rather than that they should build enterprises from the ground.

But we cannot build black companies if what black entrepreneurs look forward to is the distribution of already existing assets from the conglomerates in return for becoming lobbyists for the conglomerates.

The third worrying trend is that the ANC-controlled state has now internalised the BEE model. We are now seeing the state trying to implement the same model that the conglomerates developed.

What is the state distributing? It is distributing jobs to party faithful and social welfare to the poor. This is a recipe for incompetence and corruption, both of which are endemic in SA. This is what explains the service delivery upheavals that are becoming a normal part of our environment.

So what is the correct road SA should be travelling?

We all accept that a socialist model, along the lines of the Soviet Union, is not workable for SA today. The creation of a state-owned economy is not a formula that is an option for SA or for many parts of the world. Therefore, if we want to develop SA instead of shuffling pre-existing wealth, we have to create new entrepreneurs, and we need to support existing entrepreneurs to diversify into new economic sectors.

Mbeki is the author of Architects of Poverty: Why African Capitalism Needs Changing. This article forms part of a series on transformation supplied by the Centre for Development and Enterprise.

Go Sailing !!

March 3, 2016

The Clock Of Life

The clock of life is wound but once,
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.

To lose one’s wealth is sad indeed,
To lose one’s health is more,
To lose one’s soul is such a loss
That no man can restore.

The present only is our own,
So Live, Love, toil with a will —
Place no faith in ‘Tomorrow’ —
For the clock may then be still. [Go and follow that Dream]

Robert H. Smith

The Pursuit of Money !!

March 3, 2016

The last words of Steve Jobs –

I have come to the pinnacle of success in business.
In the eyes of others, my life has been the symbol of success.
However, apart from work, I have little joy. Finally, my wealth is simply a fact to which I am accustomed.
At this time, lying on the hospital bed and remembering all my life, I realize that all the accolades and riches of which I was once so proud,
have become insignificant with my imminent death.
In the dark, when I look at green lights, of the equipment for artificial respiration and feel the buzz of their mechanical sounds, I can feel the breath of my approaching death looming over me.
Only now do I understand that once you accumulate enough money for the rest of your life, you have to pursue objectives that are not related to wealth.
It should be something more important:
For example, stories of love, art, dreams of my childhood.
No, stop pursuing wealth, it can only make a person into a twisted being, just like me.
God has made us one way, we can feel the love in the heart of each of us, and not illusions built by fame or money, like I made in my life, I cannot take them with me.
I can only take with me the memories that were strengthened by love.
This is the true wealth that will follow you; will accompany you, he will give strength and light to go ahead.
Love can travel thousands of miles and so life has no limits. Move to where you want to go. Strive to reach the goals you want to achieve. Everything is in your heart and in your hands.
What is the world’s most expensive bed? The hospital bed.
You, if you have money, you can hire someone to drive your car, but you cannot hire someone to take your illness that is killing you.
Material things lost can be found. But one thing you can never find when you lose: life.
Whatever stage of life where we are right now, at the end we will have to face the day when the curtain falls.
Please treasure your family love, love for your spouse, love for your friends…
Treat everyone well and stay friendly with your neighbours.

7 secrets to kidney health

September 30, 2015

7 secrets to kidney health

You can do a number of things to keep your kidneys functioning properly and keep them as healthy as possible at every stage of life.

  1. Hydrate, but don’t overdo it. “Contrary to popular belief, no studies have proven over-hydration as an effective practice in enhancing kidney function,” says nephrologist James Simon, MD. So, while it’s always a good idea to drink enough water, drinking more than the typical four to six glasses a day probably won’t help your kidneys do their job any better.
  2. Eat healthy foods. Your kidneys can tolerate a wide range of dietary habits, but Dr. Simon points out that most kidney problems arise out of other medical conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. Because of this, he suggests you follow healthy, moderate eating habits to control weight and blood pressure. Preventing diabetes and high blood pressure will help keep kidneys in good condition.
  3. Exercise regularly. If you’re healthy, getting your exercise is a good idea because, like healthy eating habits, regular physical activity can stave off weight gain and high blood pressure. But do be mindful of how much exercise you do, especially if you’re not conditioned.“Overexerting yourself when you’re not fit and healthy can put a strain on your kidneys, especially if you exercise so much that you cause excessive breakdown of muscle tissue,” says Dr. Simon.
  4. Use caution with supplements and herbal remedies. Excessive amounts of certain vitamin supplements and some herbal extracts may be harmful to your kidneys. Talk to your doctor about any vitamins and herbs you plan to take.
  5. Quit smoking. Smoking can damage blood vessels, which decreases the flow of blood in the kidneys. When the kidneys don’t have adequate blood flow, they can’t function at optimal levels. Smoking also increases the risk of high blood pressure as well as the risk of kidney cancer.
  6. Don’t overdo it when taking over-the-counter medications. “Common non-prescription pills like ibuprofen and naproxen (NSAID’s) can cause kidney damage if taken too regularly over a prolonged period,” Dr. Simon says. If you have healthy kidneys and use these medicines for occasional pain, they probably don’t pose a risk. But Dr. Simon says that if you take them for chronic pain or arthritis, you should talk to your doctor about monitoring your kidney function or finding alternative ways to control your pain.
  7. If you’re at risk, get regular kidney function screening. “If you have either diabetes or high blood pressure, your physician should screen for kidney dysfunction as part of routine care for those conditions,” Dr. Simon says.