U.S.A.–Bought and Paid for

Over 300,000 people are unable to drink or bathe in water contaminated by a chemical spill by a company whose spokesperson does not want to answer for their crime against nature and the people.

Politicians, many of whom are funded by wealthy corporations, make decisions that negatively affect thousands of people who are poor, under-educated, unemployed, and minorities or considered outside the norm, yet are re-elected by pandering to emotional causes such as abortion or gun control.

Massive political lobbies, wealthy individuals, and wealthy corporations control politics at all levels so that they continue to get wealthier while most Americans get poorer and become trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty.

The United States of America has changed from the Land of Opportunity to the Land of Greed and Plutocracy. We are no longer governed under the principles of being governed of the people, by the people, and for the people. We have allowed our country to be governed by the wealthy for the wealthy and to hell with anyone who is not lucky enough to make it to the top 1% in wealth. Face it, America is bought and paid for by these wealthy individuals, corporations, and special interest groups. We have allowed this to happen through being brainwashed into thinking that big business cares about the well-being of our nation.

We have been duped into believing that paying the lowest price is always the best way to go. It is the best way to go, for the corporate executives that know those cheap products we consume will need to be replaced shortly because they are of cheap quality. These corporations have moved the jobs out of our country to save money rather than keep them here and help our economy by creating jobs. What they are creating is more wealth for the executives since they continue to lay-off workers and/or move more jobs overseas. They fight against unions claiming they cost jobs because they exist to make working conditions better for the worker rather than the executive. They fight against affordable healthcare because they may lose some profit when they care for their employees needs by spending a little extra on insurance for them. They want fewer regulations claiming it will save or create jobs, yet refuse to admit that fewer regulations means causing environmental and human disasters that will kill people, some in time and others more immediately.

We shop at stores that are filled with junk at affordable prices that we do not need because they have undercut the local shops and sent them out of business. We are made to believe that these store care since they donate a pittance to the local schools or churches. However, we fail to see how much their executives make on the backs of their workers through low wages, no benefits, and fewer hours.

We dine on fast food because we are indoctrinated into it as children as the chain restaurants show cartoon characters who lead us into the world of low quality, calorie and chemically laden foods that are killing us physically, but our wallets still have some cash and we needed to do nothing to get the food but pull through the drive through or order it over our phones and computers. We refuse to see that the cheap food comes at a cost to our health and the ability of people to make a decent living, as the wages in these jobs are low as well as the skills needed to perform them.

We have sat by idly as we have elected people who care more about their next campaign than the people who elect them, except when it comes around to election time. Then, they drag out sound bites paid for by wealthy donors to scare us into believing our rights will be infringed if we elect those “liberals”. Ironically, it is those politicians who are sucking the lifeblood out of our country and our democracy as they pander to the chemical companies who now are in the business of selling genetically enhanced seeds to our farmers and to the oil companies who find new ways of polluting our natural resources rather than clean ways to provide energy that will save both lives and money.

It is time for people who truly care about America to stand up and say enough is enough!

It is time for real Americans to perform an election-driven revolution and unseat the greedy from office and put people into elected positions who will perform the will of the people with openness and honesty. People who will create laws that benefit all rather than the few. Politicians who will raise taxes on those who can afford to pay more and lessen the tax burden on those who cannot. Politicians who are statesmen rather than puppets. Politicians who will do more than promise a better America.

It is time for real Americans to stop patronizing the big box stores and shop locally at stores owned and ran by their neighbors instead of the distant corporations.

It is time for real Americans to realize that value means more than price. Paying a little more for a quality product is worth it in the long run. Putting fellow Americans to work is better than allowing corporations to move their business overseas.

It is time for real Americans to stand up, realize, and demand healthcare for all so that more people can work and contribute to the economy rather than suffer from illnesses and have to work simply to pay their medical bills.

It is time for real Americans to demand regulations on corporations that will protect the welfare of the people and the environment. We only have one earth and

It is time for real Americans to demand that our schools teach usable knowledge rather than teach so that students can pass a test. Bring back vocational courses so that those who want to work in a trade have the ability to learn that trade. With this comes the creation of jobs here for these students after they graduate rather than allowing corporations to move those jobs elsewhere.

Genetically Modified Foods aka Frankenfoods are Dangerous

I recently took a vacation to my hometown in Ohio. While driving down the interstate, I noticed a couple of billboards taking a stand in support of genetically modified food crops. (At least one of these was sponsored by the largest manufacturer of GMOs, Monsanto). At the time, I had a vague sense of an idea as to what these crops were. The information given to the public states the purpose of these crops is to grow more food easier as genetically modified crops are more disease, drought, and insect resistant. Sounds like a great idea on the surface. Face it, if farmers can grow crops faster and lose less to environmental problems, then they will make a better profit and consumers will have an abundance of food making prices lower and products more available. It is a win-win situation, right? I decided to check up on these genetically modified crops, hereafter referred to as GMOs or GEs for genetically engineered.

What I found was some scary stuff. Most of this comes from a group called GM Know. They are a group of concerned citizens who have been studying this for years on their own. Their website is gmknow.org and that is from where a great deal of this background information comes. I thank them for posting this information and for helping to inform consumers about GMOs and GEs.

First off, genetically engineered foods are created in a lab rather than naturally occurring. What happens is that food scientists insert a gene, virus, or bacteria from one type of plant or similar species of the same plant into another to change how the plant reacts to insects, diseases, or environmental conditions. Another way to put this is to imagine that you spray an insecticide on a plant, but rather than being able to wash it off prior to eating it, that you cannot and it becomes part of the plant. Guess what happens when you eat the plant. You ingest that insecticide. Sounds tasty, right? The advantage is that there are primarily usually only six foods sold in the US that are genetically engineered: Corn, Soybeans, Canola, Sugar beets, Cotton, and Papaya.

Wait a minute! Corn, Soybeans, Sugar beets, and Canola? Aren’t those found in a great number of foods that we eat either completely or in part? Sure they are. We use corn in many ways. We eat it whole, in cereals, in its oil form, in most pre-packaged foods as corn syrup or hydrogenated oil. We feed it to livestock to fatten them up faster. We use soybeans in much the same way. Sugar beets are used to make, what else, sugar. Canola is considered healthy oil. So this means that every day, people are possibly eating products made using GMOs/GEs. The scarier part is that you do not know if you are eating them or not since the FDA does not currently call for mandatory labeling of products containing GMOs or GEs. However, other countries have done a great deal of research about them and the facts are startling. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I will refer to a list of four studies done on animals in other countries as posted on the GM Know website.

They state that Scotland studied “GE potatoes” that were “fed to rats.” The study “showed lowered nutritional content and suffered damaged immune systems, smaller brains, livers and testicles and enlarged intestines” (GM Know). In addition, the Austrians studied “that mice fed GE corn had fewer litters and fewer total offspring” (GM Know). The French “found that GE corn previously thought harmless revealed hormone-dependent diseases and early signs of toxicity in rats” (GM Know). Finally, the Australians found that “a harmless gene in a bean engineered into a pea produced immune reactions in mice, indicating allergic reactions and/or toxins” (GM Know). Here in the United States, the FDA has relied on the data given to them by the companies who create the GMOs and GEs and “they’re not required to give all their data to the FDA” (GM Know). Like too many things in the US, the reliance on the companies to self-monitor is much like putting the criminals in charge of the jail. Rarely do they tell the whole truth, especially if profits will suffer.

In an article that I gathered from the Cornucopia website, Maria Rodale, CEO and Chair of Rodale, Inc., cites a number of independent studies that point to the dangers of GMOs/GEs. One study she cites, taken from a journal entitled Nature Biotechnology, states “after we eat GMO soy, some of the GMO genes are transferred to the microflora of our intestines and those GMO genes are still active” (Rodale). She goes on to state that a study found in the journal Reproductive Toxicology, “found Bt-toxin (used in genetically modified Bt corn) in the blood of 93 percent of the pregnant women studied and their babies. The study authors suggest that aside from eating products made from GMO crops, eating meat from animals fed GMO crops make lead to a ‘high risk of exposure’”(Rodale). She finally lists a study performed Italian researchers that was published in The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that discovered “that in young and older mice fed Bt corn, there were changes to their immune systems that corresponded with allergic and inflammatory responses. In humans these same inflammatory changes are associated with arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, and autoimmune diseases” (Rodale).

Now, wait another minute! Do you notice something here? There have been a great number of reports claiming that Americans, especially American children, are suffering from more allergies and autoimmune diseases than ever before. Could there be a link to this and the use of GMOs/GEs? I am not a scientist and will not pretend to be one; however, if these independent studies are showing the possibility of GMOs/GEs causing changes in animal tests, then what is to say they cannot also changes to humans? Someone needs to look into this further. There are more and more children becoming victims of cancer at younger and younger ages. We owe it to our children to demand independent studies on these GMOs/GEs, rather than allow the corporations to police themselves and tell us all is well based on their tests. More about their testing follows.

What this boils down to is that while the companies creating these GMOs/GEs state that these products are safe for human consumption saying that the cooking process will destroy the traces of GMOs, those companies have been proven wrong by independent studies and these products are indeed not safe for human consumption. If they are truly safe, then the companies must release all of their data to prove it. They will not and the politicians who receive donations from these big companies will not force them to release all of their data either. The studies they have were also performed using money from the companies, which would affect, in turn, the results as it is difficult to find a researcher who is hungry for funding that will also go against those who are giving them money for the research in the first place.

In order to be fair, I thought I would check out Monsanto’s website and see where they stand. After all, they are one of the largest producers of GMOs/GEs. They refer to “a large body of documented scientific testing showing currently authorized GM crops safe” (www.monsanto.com) through a body called the Center for Environmental Risk Assessment (CERA). They were even kind enough to give a link to CERA’s website. There I found a list of people who make up the Advisory Council for CERA, which their website says “is to act in an advisory and consultative capacity for CERA’s Director and staff” (cera-gmc.org). One of the members of this advisory council is Dr. Jerry Hjelle, Ph.D. Take a guess as to whom he works for. He is the Vice-President for Science Policy for Monsanto and the Vice-Chair of the International Life Sciences Institute Research Foundation Board of Trustees. So, one of the advisors for the place researching the safety of GMOs/GEs also works for one of the largest companies that manufactures GMOs/GEs. Somehow, that does not sound like an unbiased affiliation to me, or am I missing something here?

As Americans, we need to demand to know what is in our food, especially when it comes to these ‘Frankenfoods’ that are not as nature intended them to be. We need to be allowed to decide to purchase those products that have been or contain genetically modified organisms or not, but that cannot happen if the labels are not there in the first place to let us know or not. An alternative is to go entirely organic and attempt to increase the demand for organic foods, which will then lower the price on them to make them more affordable than their non-organic counterparts.

The fear that is evident from the money these companies are spending to keep us from knowing should be our warning that something is amiss with our food supply. It is also evident in their having people working for them who are also part of the same researchers that say their products are safe. This is not right. We need to demand independent research be performed to prove the safety of GMOs/GEs. While they say it is not practical to hold long-term studies on humans in order to determine that GMOs/GEs are safe, that practicality comes from a profit-driven motivation rather than a human well-being motivation. Our health as well as the health of our children is at stake. That should be the motivation, not how much money can be made regardless of safety and having to clean up the potential mess down the road.

http://www.cornucopia.org/ (Rodale)