The Good – The Bad – The Possible

Over the years, I’ve written about Peak Oil, Community Exchanges, Shop Local, Campaign Finance Reform, Education Reform, Alternative Healthcare, Big Pharma, Corporate Monoculture Farming, Sustainable Living, Renewable Energy, Self-Healing and Spirituality.

I’ve read, listened and researched.

I’ve talked, argued and thrown my hands up in despair.

I’ve ranted, I’ve raved, tried sharing information through humor and How – Not – Too.

I’ve been on fire with enthusiasm and sick with despair when I believed that my passion for these subjects had no interested audience.

I’ve dreamed, I’ve hoped, I’ve struggled to make a difference through my lifestyle choices, purchasing decisions, writing topic choices and personal belief system improvements.

And now, all that experience has been encapsulated into one extraordinary two-hour film, “Thrive: What on Earth Will It Take?”, which I discovered this morning via a post by recOveryhealth.

(I embedded the film below – yes, it’s that important – I don’t want you to even have to click twice to start watching it  –  *You can donate to the producers here.)

So instead of digging through my archives, you can now glean all that info with the simple investment of a couple hours of your time – you can even watch in increments if you like…

The Good

From the beginning to about 33 minutes – the film highlights the creator’s background and reason for researching.  His quest for truth and the form he found it in echoes the conclusions found throughout the history of the spiritual, the religious and the scientific.  It has been postulated by the prophets, the holy men, the gurus, metaphysicists, cosmologists, cellular bioligists and quantum theorists:

There is a code to the Universe – to Life

If we  figure it out, we can work in harmony with it,

Instead of paddling upstream all the while…

And though I’ve had my crisis of faith moments and believed the Universe to be one big Chaotic mess, bent on destroying me – – I’ve found the only way for me to continue in this life with any semblance of happiness is to embrace the Code story in it’s many variations.

The Bad

Around 33 minutes, you enter the Bad phase – the phase that examines the problems facing our world and the inter-connected,  complex structures  that are contributing to or causing-on-purpose the disasters we fear and seek refuge from.    It digs deep into systems and mind-sets that contribute to the misery of our lives –

You may not agree with all the viewpoints referenced as causing our global problems, but only the truly oblivious could say we have no challenges regarding our continued existence given our present course.

It’s not always a pleasant or comforting place to be, confronting our fears – though I believe this film does it’s best to present the information within a space of hope – – which brings us to…

The Possible

At around 1 hour, 38 minutes – after you’ve delved into a story you really hope isn’t true -but suspect is –  you get to watch the What’s Possible portion.

(If you’re already worried and depressed about the state of things and you feel powerless in being able to do anything about it – skip from :33 to 1:38 on the film.

Choosing not to wallow in the problems portion will not keep you from being inspired by the Possible section; however, if you’re one of those who must know Why? before you do – best just take your lumps and confront your fears.  Watch with a friend and the lights on if it helps – – )

The Possible portion will inspire you – it will show you easy-to-integrate ways to make a difference, right now, today, with what you already know and  have, with who you already are.  To quit contributing to the problems and instead, become part of the solution – you don’t have to do them all – – any forays you make into your favorite arenas makes a difference – just pick one and start.

Without further ado – here’s “Thrive: What on Earth will it Take?”:

For myself, I’m continuing on through my day ‘off’ by meandering through the ThriveMovement website – – – they sound like my kind of folks….

No Wonder…

we are in the condition we are.  We simply cannot agree about anything.  Even eggs.

After months of complaining about Yahoo headlines showing up before my email in-box, I’ve adjusted.   I now peruse the morning news.

Hey!  You can teach an old dog new tricks.

One of the headlines that caught my eye today:  228M eggs recalled following salmonella outbreak.

Yes, I skim-read the story.   But in my usual manner to get to the bottom of what’s really going on, I skipped pretty quickly to the comments section.

I figure reading the comments gives me a better idea of where my fellow citizen stands on various issues.

I’m now convinced that S510 will probably pass.   As will Codex Alimentarius.  Simply because scanning the comments revealed cries that the government is not doing it’s job, maybe now folks will see what a great thing S510 is and so on…

Meaning security is more cherished than liberty, to my mind.

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I also noted there are either a lot of Obama opponents, or there are a few who have managed to sign up and use several different screen names.   Somehow, someway, many commentators managed to link his holiness to the present “poisoning of Americans”….

I enjoy a good conspiracy theory, but c’mon now, really?

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The majority of the comments I read (I made it through the last 90 of 900+), were peppered with the logical:

“Proper cooking and cleanliness while in your kitchen protects you from this.” (20+ comments)

The budget-conscious:

“I’m sick of hearing “buy local from the farmer”.  I use 6 dozen a week!  I’m stickin’ with Costco” (4+)

The trying-to-be-self-reliant:

“I have nutritious, honorably raised produce, but stores want me to sign a contract saying I will consistently deliver X amount every week.  Impossible for a small farmer” (2+)

The vegetarian:

“See?  If you would quit eating animal products, you wouldn’t have to worry about this” (3+, although, apparently, they’ve forgotten about the recent Tomato and Lettuce recalls…)

The brave:

“Read this while slurping down my morning protein shake with 4 raw eggs in it.  Feel great!”(17+)

The fearful:

“When are our elected officials going to protect us from death?   I’m so tired of them not doing their job.”(15+)

The detail-oriented:

“Why didn’t they give us information on when the eggs hit the store shelves and what code I’m supposed to look for to tell if the eggs in my fridge are on the recall list?”(5+)

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Sigh.   Reading the comments shows me that I fall in the same group as those who have boycotted reality TV (the minority).

On the bright side, I am reminded again of how great Freedom of Speech is…

See, now I have plenty to think about this morning:

  • How do the folks who lost a loved one to food poisoning feel about this?
  • Have Obama aides alerted him that several folks with funny screen names think he’s behind the outbreak?
  • Will Ms. small farmer survive in her chosen lifestyle?
  • Will Mr. protein shake be alive tomorrow?
  • Will Ms. Clean’s kids be in therapy someday, complaining about  her choice of ‘safe, clean kitchen’ over ‘cooking with my kids’?
  • How will my life look in 5 years, if so many around me would rather have security than choice?

Have plenty of food for thought to keep me entertained…

Not My Problem….

I was going to take the day off.   But my email inbox lured me in…

Lynne McTaggart, author of The Field and The Intention Experiment, posted a blog regarding Codex Alimentarius this a.m. (Here’s my view on the subject.)

In a nutshell, she is calling for help.   Seems conferences designed to unite and inform those who would be detrimentally affected by the passage of Codex, resulted in poor attendance (hey, not my problem) and also in bickering among those who DID attend (remember the motto, “United we Stand, Divided We Fall”?).

Those organizations who have shown steadfast in their efforts to fight this legislation are broke.  And worn out…. and discouraged…

So over I mosey to read the final draft of the 33rd session of Codex Alimentarius European Position.  For your reading displeasure, I submit the following text, direct from the horse’s mouth:

“This is a continuation of the lengthy discussion on the definition of consensus. Some delegations have insisted on developing a definition for consensus because in their view it would add transparency in the Codex decision making process. Many other delegations, including the MSEU, were not in favour of creating such a definition as in their view a rigid definition for consensus could be counterproductive for the Codex decision making. As there was not enough support for creating a definition for consensus at CAC 32, Malaysia proposed additional text to be inserted in the Guidelines to Chairpersons in the Procedural Manual containing elements of earlier proposals for a consensus definition. CCGP 26 agreed to insert the Malaysian proposal to the Procedural Manual: ““Where there is opposition to an issue under discussion, the chairperson should ensure that the views of concerned members be taken into consideration by striving to reconcile conflicting arguments before deciding whether consensus has been reached”. (Text compliments of: 33rd Session of Codex Alimentarius European Position, Final Draft .pdf, Page 4, near the bottom)

In case you pooped out reading in the first line, I’ll give you my paraphrase:

“In 33 sessions of discussing this, we can’t even agree on what constitutes agreement.

We also have a goodly number of members supporting a purposefully murky definition, so this insane issue can become world law, based on the votes of 2 or 3 members, although we will give appearance of valuing dissenters’ opinions by ensuring you bark eaters get some floor time.”

(I’m reminded of, “Define sexual relations.”)

Again, I am by turns, relieved and worried.

Relieved because if 33 sessions has not resulted in a consensus regarding the definition of consensus, then these folks will continue running around in the dark trying to find their own arses with their own hands and Codex will remain a pipe-dream.

(Although Sexual Harassment suits may increase, due to unknowningly grabbing what you thought was your arse, and Surprise!  it’s not….)

Worried, because recent local election results tell me if you keep folks distracted long enough with pretty campfires, the evils we say we are so ardently against will become law or the next  elected official because we were too busy fighting among ourselves,  denying  proposed regulations have anything to do with us, too busy to research or to0 lazy to ask the hard questions.

Or we simply got tired and worn out.

Or we’re not independently wealthy enough to continue surviving without donations from our fellow Freedom Fighters or (worse) a paycheck from those who commit fraud and blackmail on a daily basis.

Or we blindly believe committees formed and backed by government and big business truly have our best interests at heart.

C’mon now, look at your circle of friends.   Who among them would starve while giving you their last crust of bread?

Do you really think these national and international committees are more interested in your welfare than those you know and love?

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I will say I canceled my subscription to one of the Codex Freedom Fighters email list, simply because:

  • Messages were consistently full of typos and hate-filled speech
  • Allegations (but little verifiable proof) were continuously made regarding Big Brother shutdown  via internet communications.

It’s not that I didn’t believe them – I’m open to conspiracy theories.   But I also avoid Raving Fanatics as much as I can.  Even when we have a foe in common.

Simply because, from my viewpoint – “You’re making us all look like a bunch of uneducated, illiterate and prejudiced jackasses.”

Yes, I know you’re mad.  And scared.   And discouraged that what you so vehemently oppose and have so arduously fought against is seen as ‘not my problem’ by your fellow man.

But, please, give me some verifiable information and research regarding the different sides of the issue, so I can become informed on what the Real Issue is.

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I realize that Lobbyists, Organizations and Freedom Fighters hold the front line while us troops in the back get our crap together.

But I also submit my ardent belief that lasting change only comes about via grass roots movements.

Our War for Independence was not won by well-dressed, well-fed, well-paid troops, riding expensive war-horses.

It was won by those who marched barefoot in the snow, on bleeding feet, with boiled shoe leather causing great pains in their tummies and brains full of, “What if the British are at my house, raping my wife and killing my kids, right now?”

Slavery didn’t end because someone made a law against it -or even because a war was fought.  It’s demise began when enough average citizens said,

“I don’t care what the law is.  This is wrong!  And I will follow my heart and do what is right, imprisonment or death be damned.”

I refer to the Underground Railroad.

Raw milk isn’t available in our state because some representative said, “Let’s give people a right to choose where they get their food and support our local entrepreneurs.”

Nope, it came about by average citizens doing their homework and saying,

“Hey, guess what?   We’ve figured out how to get the nutrition we deserve and want, all while playing by your complex rules.”

(Although, in all fairness to opposing views, I will admit most historians agree the witch hunt borne out of the Salem Witch Trials came to an abrupt end when the Governor’s wife was accused.)

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Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the disagreement and not sure who is right?   Are you wondering what the heck you can do when an international committee cannot even define ‘consensus’?

(It means casting informed votes and counting those votes, you…you…Margarine Eaters.

Thanks Sharon for sharing this wonderful non-curse word label that speaks volumes about my beliefs)

Think your voice is not heard and not heeded by those elected for the sole purpose of representing you?

Do not despair, dear reader.   You do have power.   You do have a voice.

It’s called daily life actions.

Know your farmer, rancher, neighbor.   Put your means for survival in the hands of those who live within walking distance of you.   Band together and form your own local Community Exchange System.

Quit looking at campfires and instead, say “No” to the chains that enslave you, via promises of safety and security.

Figure out your plan for the worst case scenario (Yellowstone Blowing) and tell me who, exactly, is going to save you then.

From there, start working back towards current reality.

Turn your back on those who make promises they not only have no intention of keeping but aren’t even capable of fulfilling.

NAIS, Codex Alimentarius, Bill S510 and Other Bedtime Stories to Guarantee Nightmares

Are food protection acts really for our safety? Can they be properly implemented? And who, by the way, will pay for these programs?

Thanks to my good friends on Facebook, I was alerted that the ugly head of the government is once again poking its’ large and obnoxious nose into places it doesn’t belong.   Yes, I realize this is a inflammatory statement, hence, my writing here, instead of posting this as a comment at the www.opencongress.org website.  (which, if you’d like, you can visit and look at the hoopla going on over various bills.)

So, let’s take a look at each of these and try to make sense of them.

NAIS – The National Animal Identification System.   In brief, this idea is supposedly born of the desire to quickly identify and destroy animals that pose a threat to both food supply and our existence. (mad cow disease, avian bird flu, anyone?)

What is not so clear is how anyone thinks any of this will really work.   Number 1, the folks that want to implement this currently employ thousands to audit tax returns and apparently have not been successful in creating a database or secure electronic means of verifying taxes or conducting a paperless census (which, by the way, we filled out, returned and apparently was ‘lost’ as a census person showed up at my house saying they didn’t get ours.   On the flip side, my mom got 2 censuses to fill out and a friend never received any….)

Now, if these folks have not centralized, streamlined and made efficient the operations they have been in charge of for decades, how in the world are we to believe they can implement this kind of system and let us know about diseased food within 20 years of our consumption of it?

Number 2 – current figures show that given the ‘requirements’ of the system, most of the costs will fall on the small farmers and ranchers – courtesy of Wikipedia is the following:

“The costs of becoming NAIS compliant for a U.S. beef producer were found to be a minimum of $2.08 a head for large producers and as much as $17.56 a head for smaller operations, with an estimated average cost to cow/calf producers of $6.26 per animal, according to research by Christopher Raphael Crosby of Kansan State University’s Department of Agricultural Economics published in 2008.”

Does anyone hear “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer”?

Number 3 – Historically, outbreaks of disease occur in close population, improperly nourished animals.   Farmer John who has 15 head of cattle and 160 acres of pasture does not face the same challenges as Mr. Beef, who has crammed 5,000 cows into a feedlot the size of a Wal-mart parking lot, where calves play on hills of cow patties and drink milk produced from the ingestion of soybean and corn meal (when cows have evolved to do just fine, thank you very much, on grass.)

Plus, Farmer John really depends on his herd for his food, to feed his family and perhaps a neighbor or two and to bring in some extra cash to pay the ever-increasing cost of living expenses.  So he has a HUGE investment in making sure his herd is healthy and well-nourished.  The loss of even one cow can make or break him.

Mr. Beef can depend on tax breaks, an adjustment of market prices, government bailouts, etc, if he somehow manages to lose his herd to disease.   So who do you think takes better care of their herd?

On to the next – Codex Alimentarius – Proponents will tell you it’s an international effort to ensure the safety of food for all – as well as to keep me from accidently killing myself from taking too much Vitamin C.

Again, these efforts are brought to you by folks who can’t even balance their own budgets and settle disputes among themselves in a peaceful manner.  Do you really think they know how much Vitamin C I can handle and furthermore, if I were receiving nutritious food, would I even need a supplement?   If they are so invested in “Nutritious, Safe Food to further the health and well-being of the populace” then why did they ignore the published findings of biochemist Dr. Mary Enig in the 70’s, who warned of the dangers of trans-fats and hydrogenated fats to the human body?  Um, no, took about 40 years before they figured that one out (if they even have yet……………)

I also find it interesting that many countries within the World Effort of this measure are ARDENTLY opposed to GMO foods and have been very insistent on pushing for foods containing those types of ingredients to be Labeled.   Those who have a vested interest in controlling both seed and food supplies, by getting ‘patents’ on their genetically modified seeds and plants have kept up the pressure and keep taking a run at getting that ‘pesky little nuisance’ of required labeling for GMO foods buried under the rug.

All in all, I cannot see the reasoning for extending all this effort on the Codex other than for countries who take their food and health seriously to put up a ‘fence’ to keep those exports out from countries that do not.  (meaning, US)

So with the history of these two long-running dramas, I now come to the most recent – Senate Bill S510.

Innocuously titled, “FDA Food Safety Modernization Act”, it lists high-sounding ideals and includes some of the following:

  • food facility re-inspection (um…I worked as a waitress for 12 years, I can tell you, restaurants get inspected every year……)
  • food recalls (aren’t they already allowed to do that?)
  • a voluntary qualified importer program (have these people never heard of eating locally?)

So those violently opposed to this bill read it and see how easily seed and food control could be placed in the hands of those who have no business telling us what we can grow or eat, share with our neighbors or sell at the local farmer’s market.   And I agree with them to a point; while the bill does not specifically state any of these intents, the large generalized points of it are open to all kinds of interpretations.

History tells me the interpreters will translate it for the benefit of themselves, their agency budget and their large campaign contributors (corporations) before they will for my health and well being.

Again, if you look to history, deaths and illness related to the consumption of contaminated, diseased foods, has been linked to large corporate mono-culture farms, not the small local producers.  Why?  Well, because the small local producer not only feeds you, but their own family.  They don’t have the time or the energy (or the insanity) to grow one garden with ‘good stuff’ for their family and another with ‘questionable stuff’ to sell at the local market.

In addition, if I get ‘bad food’ at the local farmer’s market, I know exactly who to go to with my accusations.   When large farms put out questionable produce, it has also traveled through one or more broker warehouses, a packaging plant or two, the transportation gamut….on and on and its’ so easy to pass the buck on who exactly is to blame.

I’m also curious as to why Homeland Security is one of the committees listed on the bill’s information page.  What, are they afraid terrorists are going to send us toxic bananas?   Newsflash, if everyone ate organic and locally, this fear would be laughable.  And I can tell you, any terrorist shows up at our local farmers market with evil intent on his mind, I can guarantee there are enough ‘rednecks’ around here that are just waiting for an opportunity to show the world what real Homeland Security looks like.

I also wonder just where they are going to get the money to implement all this when they are already crying about ‘deficits’ and ‘budget cuts’.   To my mind, this has less to do with feeding the nation safely and more to do with feeding the oversized monster we call our government, as well as nudging out any competition to the large centralized food companies.

Implementation, testing and compliance enforcement take money – some of that money will come from those who want to ‘buy into the market’ (meaning smaller operations won’t be able to afford to be in the market) – but most of the money will come from you and me, the consumer.   What?  You don’t think so?  Just who do you think is paying for the Tobacco Company Settlements?   It isn’t the companies or the government, its’ the consumers.  But I’ll leave that debate for another time.

The legislations listed above can only make sense in a climate of fear.   They can only pass when we blindly believe the government is really trying to protect us.  When we believe that death is more heinous than liberty. (Oh where is Patrick Henry when you need him?)

Quit looking to the government to save you from harm.   Know those who grow your food.   Have a relationship.  Trust me, they are much more invested in your health and well being than the FDA is.  Because without you, they don’t have a livelihood.  The FDA and government don’t either, but they have forgotten.

Remind them.