Sunday, October 05, 2014

Another knock on the head for acupuncture

Placebo effect only -- and even that was temporary

Acupuncture for Chronic Knee Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Rana S. Hinman et al.


There is debate about benefits of acupuncture for knee pain.

To determine the efficacy of laser and needle acupuncture for chronic knee pain.

Design, Setting, and Participants
Zelen-design clinical trial (randomization occurred before informed consent), in Victoria, Australia (February 2010-December 2012). Community volunteers (282 patients aged ≥50 years with chronic knee pain) were treated by family physician acupuncturists.

No acupuncture (control group, n = 71) and needle (n = 70), laser (n = 71), and sham laser (n = 70) acupuncture. Treatments were delivered for 12 weeks. Participants and acupuncturists were blinded to laser and sham laser acupuncture. Control participants were unaware of the trial.

Main Outcomes and Measures
Primary outcomes were average knee pain (numeric rating scale, 0 [no pain] to 10 [worst pain possible]; minimal clinically important difference [MCID], 1.8 units) and physical function (Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index, 0 [no difficulty] to 68 [extreme difficulty]; MCID, 6 units) at 12 weeks. Secondary outcomes included other pain and function measures, quality of life, global change, and 1-year follow-up. Analyses were by intention-to-treat using multiple imputation for missing outcome data.

At 12 weeks and 1 year, 26 (9%) and 50 (18%) participants were lost to follow-up, respectively. Analyses showed neither needle nor laser acupuncture significantly improved pain (mean difference; −0.4 units; 95% CI, −1.2 to 0.4, and −0.1; 95% CI, −0.9 to 0.7, respectively) or function (−1.7; 95% CI, −6.1 to 2.6, and 0.5; 95% CI, −3.4 to 4.4, respectively) compared with sham at 12 weeks. Compared with control, needle and laser acupuncture resulted in modest improvements in pain (−1.1; 95% CI, −1.8 to −0.4, and −0.8; 95% CI, −1.5 to −0.1, respectively) at 12 weeks, but not at 1 year. Needle acupuncture resulted in modest improvement in function compared with control at 12 weeks (−3.9; 95% CI, −7.7 to −0.2) but was not significantly different from sham (−1.7; 95% CI, −6.1 to 2.6) and was not maintained at 1 year. There were no differences for most secondary outcomes and no serious adverse events.

Conclusions and Relevance
In patients older than 50 years with moderate or severe chronic knee pain, neither laser nor needle acupuncture conferred benefit over sham for pain or function. Our findings do not support acupuncture for these patients.

JAMA. 2014;312(13):1313-1322. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.12660


Leftist whitewashing of Islam is just another episode of the Left whitewashing America's enemies

For logic-minded Americans still genuinely puzzled as to how it could be that our presidents and secretaries of state and generals and pundits keep hammering home the big lie that Islam has nothing to do with jihad, that the religion of conquest is a "religion of peace," I have a special warning. Such widespread, politics- and mass-media-driven brainwashing is nothing new.

Just as today's opinion-makers seek to divorce Islam from its impact -- for example, brutal conquest, forced conversion, religiously sanctioned sex slavery, beheadings -- past opinion-makers worked equally hard to divorce communism from its impact -- for example, brutal conquest, forced collectivization, concentration camps (Gulags), mass murder.

It worked. Unlike Nazism, communism has never been judged guilty or even held responsible for the carnage and suffering it has caused. On the contrary, it remains a source of "liberal" statist ideas such as Obamacare. My book "American Betrayal" delves deeply into this dangerous double standard. In short, it not only enables collectivist policies to strangle our remnant republic, but also explains why American students can find a drink called Leninade, emblazoned with a hammer and sickle, for sale on a college campus. It is also why silkscreens of Warhol's Chairman Mao, history's top mass murderer, are sought-after items for the homes of the wealthy.

There are no such trendy portraits of Hitler, and who would want them? Who would want to swig a bottle of Hitlerpop, decorated with a swastika? So, why Leninade? Not only does the stench of death not follow the Communist murder-cult, the brand lives.

Barring a groundswell of common sense, I predict that Islam, the brand, will most likely remain separate in the public mind from the violence and repression it causes and has caused for more than a millennium. That's certainly the direction leaders from both political parties have been relentlessly herding us in for over a decade, insisting against all reason -- against all sacred Islamic texts -- that "Islam is peace."

This means that not only must we contend with this cycle of expansionist jihad -- a recurrence that should be familiar from Islamic history were it, too, not subject to whitewash -- we must simultaneously withstand a campaign of lies designed to subvert our understanding of how Islam, in fact, has everything to do with beheadings and other violence both in the Islamic world and in the West.

And yes, such whitewashing has happened before. Stalin's Red Army occupied half of Europe at the end of World War II, but Americans were told they had won the war and that "Uncle Joe" was a great guy. Then there is the whitewash of the transformation the Cold War wrought at home, where agents, agents of influence, fellow travelers, and dupes worked to advance Moscow's will just as Soviet tanks (and agents, too) imposed it abroad. The conventional wisdom, however, set forth by academics, historians, think tank analysts, journalists, filmmakers (whether "liberal" or "conservative"), remains suspended in the amber of the "Red Scare," the 1950s period during which anti-Communist "witch-hunters" searched for "Reds under the bed," allegedly in vain. Never mind that many hundreds of American traitors had infiltrated the federal government in previous decades. The important thing, says the conventional wisdom, is not to connect the dots and examine whether these proxies for Stalin influenced the "American Century."

That, of course, is exactly what "American Betrayal" does, thus enraging all keepers of conventional wisdom. No matter. The more I continue to learn about the extensive penetration by Stalin's secret agents into the federal government over the two decades that FDR and then Harry Truman held the Oval Office, the clearer it is that the American ship of state had too many hands loyal to the USSR pushing at the rudder, influencing, to varying degrees, the direction of U.S. policy and strategy, even if not especially during World War II.

Such is the once-hidden history that comes into closer focus since the U.S. and Russian governments released some subset of their vast secret archives -- intelligence documents, FBI files and the like. Reigning "court historians" keep looking the other way, hoping Americans never notice the big picture: that FDR presided over the biggest national security disaster in U.S. history, the massive infiltration of the U.S. government by agents of a foreign power.

Ken Burns' new PBS documentary, "The Roosevelts," typifies this blackout. For example, take the series' treatment of the Yalta Conference, the final meeting of the so-called Big Three wartime leaders. Old news footage shows the conference table, from Stalin to FDR to Churchill. The camera also shows a man who sure looks like Soviet military intelligence agent and U.S. State Department official Alger Hiss. Next to him is top White House aide and, according to some experts, Soviet agent or asset Harry Hopkins. Both men are seated behind the dupe-ish secretary of state Edward Stettinius.

Does Burns inform viewers of the identities of these notorious figures seemingly "boring from within" before the viewer's eyes? Does he note the existence of scholarship confirming covert agent Hiss' outspoken role at the conference, and evidence that he may have exerted influence over deliberations on China policy, war reparations including German slave labor, and other vital issues in the USSR's favor? Is there any mention of the troubling questions about Hopkins' single-mindedly pro-Soviet stance that caused George C. Marshall to describe "Hopkins' job with the president" as being "to represent the Russian interests"?

Silence. Or rather, Burnsian chatter about the big secret of Yalta being FDR's grave health -- something obvious to anyone who looked at him. The series' ultimate mission is accomplished, however. A re-gilded FDR is burnished to a starry sheen, blinding a worshipful audience.

Is that what history is for?



Boycotts on Israel -- update

Boycott-related pressures have continued to increase from Europe. New European Union regulations designed to pressure Israeli communities in the West Bank have gone into effect. These do not ban Israeli agricultural products directly but do not recognize veterinary inspection by Israeli monitors, thus disqualifying them from the European market. Poultry products have already been affected, but regulations on dairy and fish products have been delayed.

Ostensibly the European Union seeks to separate all Israeli products originating inside the 1967 borders of Israel from those originating across the Green Line. It is likely this rationale masks the effort for using economic pressure to force desired outcomes in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

A more explicit boycott threat regarding Israeli-Palestinian negotiations has come from Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard. In an interview he stated “If nothing happens at the peace negotiations this time, and if we don’t see a new reaction pattern from Israel, then we will discuss new steps, including a change in our trade relations with Israel.” Lidegaar also called for the blockade of Gaza to be lifted and for “illegal settlements” to be dismantled.

Danish Trade Minister Mogens Jensen disagreed with Lidegaard, stating “You can use sanctions when there is international approval for doing so… I don’t think that it makes sense for Denmark to go it alone, because then it will have no effect. And I don’t feel that I can say there is a need for sanctions yet.”

Outside of the European Union and European governments, the record for BDS remains mined. The Dutch pension fund ABP, for example, recently announced that it would not divest from Israeli banks, despite a plea to do so from Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

As usual, however, trade unions generally remain BDS supporters. One recent development saw Britain’s Trade Union Congress (TUC) passing a resolution condemning Israel over the Gaza war and calling for Britain “to end immediately arms trading with Israel including all military-industrial collaboration. The TUC should, working with the relevant unions, press those companies involved in supporting Israel’s military to cease to do so.” The resolution also called for “the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement until the rights of the Palestinians are established” and for corporations and pension funds to shift investments away from the “Occupied Territories.”

Several commentators have suggested that the resolution represents not only a success for BDS activists in the United Kingdom but a dramatic failure for pro-peace advocates in the British labor movement and for Israeli diplomacy. The impact of the call on the Labour Party remains unclear.

In contrast, in a speech to the Holocaust Education Trust Conservative Party chief whip, Michael Gove, criticized Israel boycott calls and noted “the conflation of anti-Israeli agitation and straightforward antisemitism.”

Reports now suggest that the SodaStream company, located across the Green Line north of Jerusalem and which was the subject of intense BDS pressure, may be relocating to an industrial area of the Negev. Company management has stated that the move, if it occurs, will be prompted by Israeli tax incentives and not BDS. Some 900 Palestinians are currently employed by SodaStream.



After 9 years of politically motivated prosecution, Tom DeLay Found Not Guilty by State’s Highest Court

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was found not guilty today by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. This is the highest appellate court in Texas for criminal cases and thus brings DeLay’s political persecution to an end.

The court upheld the ruling last year from the Texas 3rd Court of Appeals. That decision tossed out the convictions on money laundering and conspiracy charges. At that time Justice Melissa Goodwin wrote “The fundamental problem with the state's case was its failure to prove proceeds of criminal activity,” according to a September 19th report on Breitbart News.

In a phone conversation with Breitbart Texas, Tom DeLay said, "I am elated that I can now get on with my life. After nine long years I am finally free. I give all the credit for this verdict to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and my attorney Brian Wice."

DeLay said they thought the decision might be posted by the court today and he was on the phone with his attorney when the decision was posted. "We were elated and joyful when we heard the news even though it has been nine long years."

DeLay said he has not felt the burden of this ordeal because of his faith. "I don't know how someone could go through this without Christ," he said.

On June 18th, Breitbart Texas legal analyst Lana Shadwick reported the Travis County District Attorney’s Office was appealing the 3rd Court of Appeals decision to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

"The Delay case should never have survived a motion for directed verdict.” Shadwick said today in reference to the Court’s ruling. “The trial court judge should have never submitted the case to the jury. Any time the appellate court, as it did here, finds as a matter of law that there is insufficient evidence to sustain the verdict, there was no evidence for the jury to decide under the law." Shadwick has served the State of Texas as a judge, a prosecutor and an appellate prosecutor.

"Tom and I are gratified and elated but not surprised by our overwhelming victory today in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals,” DeLay’s attorney, Brian Wice said in a phone conversation with Breitbart Texas. “The Court concluded that the rule of law matters more in the end than a partisan prosecution's attempts to criminalize our system of politics."



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