Thursday, June 27, 2013



With respect and congratulations to Mayor Mussatto and the council of North Vancouver City for planning to pass a by-law banning the sale of genetically engineered seeds, crops, plants, vegetables, meat, fish and poultry in the city.  This brings much needed attention to the subject of genetically engineered foods.  However, as there aren’t likely to be any genetically engineered seeds, crops or plants in the City of North Vancouver, it shouldn’t be too difficult to keep these out.
All Genetically engineered seeds, crops and plants are held under jealously guarded patents and are grown under the auspices of large agriculture contracts or closely guarded experimental farms.  There are as yet no genetically engineered meats or poultry produced for the market but a genetically engineered salmon (Frankenfish) may enter the food chain within the next year or so as it gains approval from US authorities.
 In fresh produce, the Hawaiian papaya has been genetically engineered as has a non-browning apple, US zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, and of course corn.  But even when a non-genetically engineered fruit or vegetable is packaged, frozen or canned, there may be GMO additives.  I think we are all relatively safe from genetically engineered foods at the moment that might be sold as fresh foods as the number as yet is very low.   However, for the present, none of us are safe from the tidal wave of genetically modified organisms, or GMO’s, that we confront every time we food shop.
The difference?  When genetically engineered corn gets processed into corn syrup, this process signifies a modification of the corn kernels, thus while the syrup still contains the original engineering, the engineered corn becomes modified by the chemical process, thus the name…Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMO’s.  Our grocery stores are swamped with GMO’s.  Some estimates tell us that as much as eighty per cent of all packaged food goods in our grocery stores contain GMO material, with corn syrup, corn meal, soy beans and canola oil all being high on the list.
 Most of the European countries (as well as countries like Japan, South Korea) outright refuse to import genetically engineered products.   The US at the moment, in the service of Monsanto, is trying to strong arm many resistant countries into accepting US genetically engineered crops. So far they are not making much progress with the resistant countries.  And the “rogue” genetically engineered wheat recently found growing in a farmer’s field in Oregon many years after Monsanto experimented near there, was enough to panic the export wheat growers in both the US and Canada. If genetically engineered wheat is found to have contaminated the wheat of the US and Canada for export, the growers export business will be over.
Other countries are also being spooked by a recent report on genetically engineered crops with possible repercussions on human health. The Environmental Scientists Europe just recently published (March 1, 2013) the report of a study done by team of scientists led by Gilles-Eric Seralini at the University of Caen in France who fed rats genetically engineered corn.  The results were not pretty.  The rats in one generation developed organ disruptions with kidney and liver dysfunction.  Second generation female rats developed genital cancers and had altered body weights.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture suggests that at least 70 percent of processed food in US supermarkets now contain genetically modified ingredients: 93 per cent of soy, 86 per cent of corn and 93 percent of cotton and canola planted in the US in 2010 were genetically engineered (this from the Healthy Life Web site).  We can only assume that roughly the same holds true in Canada.  We also import much packaged stuff from the US.
 And remember, GMO products, even though they have been modified, that is, distilled in some chemical way and perhaps combined with non-GMO products, still contain the original genetic engineering of the original plant done by Monsanto scientists and others.  Banishing genetically engineered seeds and plants from North Vancouver is a piece of cake compared to what it will take to banish GMO’s from our food chain.  This will take enormous public will, perseverance, and yes, sacrifice. But it can certainly be done.  And in my opinion, the first step would be a campaign to signal to the Harper government that we demand labeling.  We have a constitutional right to know what is in our food.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


There are billions of words being written about the Syrian war right now when, in my opinion, only a few words would do.  These few words are thus…
The US government is bankrupt.  US banks, of course, are doing beautifully; the biggest international banks are doing super beautifully.  In American now the largest US manufacturing base is arms and military equipment.  However, without a hot war going on the US government has accumulated a stock pile of weapons.  Like any business, the US government needs to move this inventory.  But with austerity hitting the average American, the economy can no longer depend on US citizens or drug cartels to buy enough assault weapons to keep the US economy going.  The US government has decided they need an all-out war to kick start the American economy.
But they can’t seem to get one.  They had been doing so very nicely with military adventures and expenditures on weapons that blows everything up and kills many people as in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan ( see Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein).  These activates not only used up much of the military inventory used by US troops in combat, but also stimulated US military sales in the surrounding areas.  The US, being the largest exporter of military equipment in the world, knows how to get things done and how to get the planes, rockets, small arms, drones, to the necessary customers.  When an entire invaded area was leveled with broken buildings, bones and blood, then shoddy, corrupt US reconstruction corporations could move in.  Which in turn called for more debt based paper money amounting to billions of dollars which US taxpayers will eventually have to pay back with their debased, inflated hard earned money.
 Whatever, this US government work program was keeping things going  and the US was moving right along and happily anticipating the outright  US invasion of Syria and then on to Iran.  These two events would keep the US economy going for some time.  But first, there had to be an enormous financial outlay, as usual.  And having allowed the banks and Wall St. to suck all the real money out of the US economy, the US would have to borrow the money for the invasions.   But from whom?  The Chinese elephant, of course.
China already owns most of US debt.  And China is indicating that they are tired of US fiscal irresponsibility and even more tired of the US seeking to expand their faltering powers with inflationary money and violent invasions of other nation’s national sovereignty.  China certainly no longer loves the US dollar.  Neither does Russia.  Nor Brazil, India or South Africa. They are in the process of starting their own international banking system. China is also pissed (pardon the unladylike expression) about Obama’s hypocritical threatening posture over computer hacking.  China hasn’t yet publically responded to Obama’s announcement of new lethal arms to aid the rebels in Syria. The Chinese will take their time to respond publically but you can bet your knickers there is plenty of conversation going on privately between the two countries. In my opinion, the result of these private talks will result in sparse aid to Syrian “rebels” by the Americans.
The fight in Syria is not about Assad and “the rebels”.  It’s about the faltering US economy needing a war and Obama and the neocons needing ego reassurance that they are still no.1.  And it’s about China saying no.  It’s about Russia saying she will protect Syria from US invasion.  It’s about China saying she will protect Iran from US invasion which also means if push comes to shove China will protect both Syria and Iran from US invasions.   In my opinion, in spite of corporate media spreading the neocons necrophilia desire to embroil the entire planet in a burning holocaust, the die has been cast.  There will be no third world war. The Chinese elephant stands in the way.  And I appeal to the Mother Of Us All to inspire the Chinese elephant not to move.  

Sunday, June 09, 2013


Can Monsanto escape responsibility for endangering the entire US wheat market by claiming as it is now doing that their unapproved GMO wheat found growing in a farmer’s field in Oregon is the result of sabotage? In other words, Monsanto is suggesting that a person or persons opposed to GMO food deliberately planted the wheat in the farmer’s field.  Who would do such a thing? To what purpose?  I have this horrible suspicion. 
By suggesting sabotage, Monsanto could deflect any suspicions from themselves that they had found a way to push their genetically modified wheat on the world in spite of the world’s objections.   Because if the entire global wheat growers’ fields have become contaminated with Monsanto’s GMO wheat as the result of an act of vengeance against them, then what is the world to do?  The world might just have to accept the GMO wheat if it wants wheat at all.  Is this suspicion just too crazy?  Maybe, except for one thing.  A thing that seems so coincidental that it’s eerie.
 On March 28, 2013 President Obama signed the “Monsanto Protection Act”.  This act was tacked on to Bill H.R. 933, a continuing resolution spending bill and “grossly protects biotech corporations such as Missouri- based biotech corporations such as Monsanto company from litigation” (Breaking News 3/30/ 2013).   What this means is that even if the US courts should rule that a GMO food is unsafe, this legislation will overrule the court and Monsanto will be able to proceed no matter what the court says. But there is a time limit on this absolute protection for Monsanto. It was allowed only for six months and runs out on September 31.
This act, or rider, was written by Monsanto along with US Sen. Roy blunt (R-Missouri), (New York Daily News (5/3/2013).  All out in the open.  Apparently no need to hide the fact that Monsanto wrote their own bill to give themselves absolute legal protection no matter what damage they do.  A class action suit is forming in the US by the wheat farmers and wheat growing states.  These wheat farmers and wheat growing states are already being drastically affected by a partial or all out ban on their wheat from Asia and Europe who don’t want GMO wheat.  But what recourse would the farmers and wheat growing states actually have against Monsanto if the world’s wheat pools have already become significantly compromised? And when this Monsanto protection rider runs out, what next?  Will Monsanto just write another one?
The fact that this bill came to be in effect just in time for the discovery of the Monsanto GMO wheat found growing in a farmer’s field in Oregon is very peculiar.  I believe Monsanto already knew their experimental, but never approved GMO wheat, was already growing in Organ and perhaps elsewhere, having put it there themselves, or at least knew that it was there. Which explains the scramble to protect themselves legally.
If Monsanto deliberately planted the wheat themselves then they must figure that after the initial outcry and perhaps a boycott or two and jillions of dollars of propaganda explaining why GMO wheat is actually good for humans, then they will have certainly cornered the market once and for all. If the GMO wheat is already in the world’s wheat supply, then we will all be eating GMO bread and cakes and cookies. Even if it was truly accidental the damage is still there. Monsanto has already taken the necessary steps to protect itself legally, and in the end GMO will certainly prosper in unthinkable ways…as controllers of the world’s supply of many of the world’s basic foodstuffs  they can, more or less, rule the world along with the international banks.
I hope I’m wrong.  I hope Monsanto didn’t do this deliberately.  But intentional or accidental, we may have to rethink eating wheat altogether.  I love bread.  I really love bread.  But I think I will begin to research how to make bread from beans or potatoes.  Yes, potato bread would be good.  I read where Prince Edward Island has had very poor potato markets lately because of the idea that potatoes are too heavy in carbs.  But there are two good things about potatoes including sweet potatoes.  First, they are delicious. And as yet, they are not genetically modified.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

They just shot themselves.  It took seven years for the ammunition to get here, but the final bullet came last week. The Associated Press reported today that the US Agriculture Depart announced last Wednesday that a lawsuit recently brought by an Oregon wheat farmer claiming that Monsanto’s genetically engineered experimental wheat (perfecting Roundup Ready Wheat) was found growing in his 80 acre field in Oregon is now being joined by other wheat farmers. There has been no GMO wheat approved for human consumption is the US or Canada.
Although the wheat is the same strand that Monsanto was experimenting with, it was never approved.  In fact, Monsanto claims they shut down the experiment seven years ago.  And while Monsanto does not deny that the wheat found in the farmer’s field is the same strand they were experimenting with (from 1998-2005) they don’t know how the GMO wheat got into the farmer’s field.  They claim their experiments weren’t anywhere close to the farmer’s fields which make this news even scarier.  But as there was, and is, no other agency experimenting with this kind of GMO wheat production according to reports, it can only be Monsanto’s wheat.  But I think these law suits from individual farmers are the least of Monsanto’s worries. 
Monsanto (and the wheat farmers) biggest worries have to be what these announcements (which are actually a week old, CBC is seriously amiss in this story) will do to foreign trade.  The US exports half of its wheat crop. The rest of the world is uneasy about GMO foods and some Asian and European nations take a zero tolerance toward them.  Japan and South Korea are already canceling orders for American wheat and the European Union has said it will test all US wheat and block any shipments found to contain genetically modified organisms.
  Russia earlier has suspended the import and use of Roundup Ready corn made by Monsanto after the Caen Study in France found that rats fed with Roundup Ready Corn suffered more tumors and severe diseases than rats fed with regular corn.  Some other countries are not far behind.  With the US and Canada already finding growing resistance to all GMO products this final GMO wheat contamination will cause severe economic penalties for wheat growers and the US as a whole. 
And what will the Harper government do?  Continue to ignore the announcements as the CBC and other Canadian media is doing?  Hope it will go away?  But that border doesn’t mean anything to seeds borne on the winds.  Is it too much to hope that the Canadian public might hear some in depth discussions about this dire threat and perhaps some assurance from the Canadian government?

Sunday, June 02, 2013


North Dakota is very much in the lead with “The War on Women”.  Last March the North Dakota legislature passed “a personhood abortion ban” declaring that a  newly fertilized human egg is a “person” and has all the rights of an American citizen.  Of course a newly fertilized egg can’t vote yet, hold a job, go to school or run for office, nevertheless this bill does what it is intended to do…make US women cringe and be afraid of the powerful men who lust after the control of their eggs.
 By elevating a fertilized egg to that of a citizen, it guarantees that women will lose their citizenship…their own personhood.   Because this is what these right wing fundamentalist Christians really care about…to control women, to crush the personhood of women, otherwise women might turn on them and call them what they really are…sick bullies of the maximal kind.  

It is glaringly obvious this “personhood” bill passed by the North Dakota legislature is not about caring for and about babies.  Republican right wingers (responsible for this bill) in fact hate babies other than their own, especially poor babies, as they loath every cent spend on poor babies of poor women in the US.  Their actions show they also hate women in general, even when the religious right wingers are women, because right wing religious women can speak and yell the extreme fundamentalist Christian rallying cry to crush other women’s personhood as well as any group of vicious, misogynist men.  After all they don’t have a personhood, why should other women?  Any woman who has no say so over her own eggs has no legal personhood.

Women the world over treasure their babies.  It’s built in. For the most part women will sacrifice their own lives for their children.  A lot of men will, too.   But it is women who make the babies, who breast feed them, who also go out to work for them, who struggle with this separation, who give, every day, to their children, to the society, to their partners, to the economy of the US and of Canada.   There are now more women in the work force in Canada than men, more women in universities, more women out front everywhere in Canada in spite of their motherly duties (whether they are already mothers or just preparing, most women want children at some point).

In my opinion, one could do a psychic interchange between the North Dakota legislature and Stephen Harper’s back benchers ( and Stephen Harper himself) on the subject of women’s’ personhood, and get the same ignorant, misogynist mind set.  In fact, I believe one could psychically interchange fundamentalist Christian men with the radical Muslims who pray and fight for the return of Sharia law to destroy Muslim women’s personhood rights, rights that Muslim women have attained in Canadian law.   The Christian Bible is an affront to women as is the Quran, regardless who believes these doctrines and presents them as divine law.  Fronting misogyny with religion doesn’t cut it anymore.  At least with increasing numbers of women the world over.
 Women must stop being nice about these religions and the men who use them to make women serve their illusions of grandeur.  A large part of the world is being torn apart from religious in-fighting while we all face the specter of nuclear weapons, the never ending war on terrorism compete with drones, the tensions surrounding the environmental wars, the war on drugs which is turning Mexico into a failed state, and in Canada and the US as well as in Europe the ensuing struggle with austerity while the fat pigs of finance swill in the trough, slurping up  the last of working peoples wages and savings. This world needs more woman power, not less.

 Harper’s back benchers, emboldened by North Dakota, are ever so slyly trying to re-open the conversation around “when human life begins”.  They think this argument around “personhood” has legs.  Don’t these men have anything important to do like maybe trying to figure out how to feed the undernourished children in their own ridings instead of trying to terrorize and criminalize women who desperately need social help with the children they already have?  How about a universal  seven or ten dollar a day  registered child care program so mothers don’t have to worry about their children while trying to earn the money to feed them?

 Yes, Mr. Right Wing Religious Back Benchers who so yearn for fertilized egg control, let’s have a personhood bill for mothers and future mothers that would guarantee a good life for babies already here.   Especially considering that BC courts have ruled that people don’t have an inherent right to legal aid, to food or even to clean water.  Without legal aid mothers don’t know how to challenge the courts on their constitutional rights for themselves and their children. However, I understand that men of Christian fundamentalist persuasion don’t really approve of affordable, registered day care centers supported by the government. 
 Then perhaps we need more people in office who can get their minds off women’s eggs, and onto needy children, a category that more and more children are falling into.  We need more women (and men) in office who know the difference between a fertilized egg and a child.  Men who confuse these two things aren’t smart enough to be in public office.