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….

Rule through Distraction, Take II

My recent post regarding the distraction power of egg recalls reminded me how effectively the masses of history have been diverted from focusing on the true nature of their existence.

Threats of eternal fire and torture worked for centuries and still holds power over many.

Malnutrition and long work days by laborers have been the status quo since we got numerous enough and technologically advanced enough to specialize.

Having a majority of the actual producers of goods and suppliers of services kept in line through oppression is very profitable for those at the top.  Some examples:

  • Slavery
  • Serfdom
  • Indentured Servants
  • Low Wages coupled with Inflation and  High Interest Credit systems
  • Social class divisions
  • Taxation
  • Nationalized Industries

The working masses are ‘distracted’ from questioning the system they labor under by a variety of means:

  • Promises of eternal reward for those who suffer meekly in this world
  • Guaranteed protection from those who harm
  • Cultural focus on youth, beauty and status symbols
  • Ideology that focuses on Individual freedom, responsibility and choice, leaving the individual with no one to blame but themselves if things go badly.
  • Lavish Entertainment and Leisure activity options
  • Unlimited access to cheap goods via a centralized and complex system that separates the entitled consumer from the woes of the producer by multiple layers.

Think about it…

Freedom of Food Choices

A few years ago, in an attempt to avoid becoming involved in politics, I told a dairy owner how the battle regarding legal access to raw milk would really be won:

“When 80% of the population prefers raw milk over pasteurized, then legislative bodies must heed the voice of the people.  I’ll contribute to the movement by educating people on the benefits of raw milk and the drawbacks of pasteurized.”

Grassroots movements are, to my mind, the only way to bring about lasting change.   The law just tags along in the wake of social reform.

I see now how naive I was.  I stand corrected.

I should have joined the Raw Milk Association of Colorado then.

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I awake to find yet another story of more small dairies raided by local authorities because they dared to give customers what they want – raw milk.  While complying with the local laws.   Which were so broad in nature, they are open to interpretation.

Problem #1

Our complex society contains an equally complex legal system.   Given our desire for “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”, we’ve raced around for more than 200 hundred years, forming new laws whenever it seemed one of the Big Three were being threatened by individuals or groups.

In our quest to be safe, secure and free, with the legal backing to punish those who engage in activities harmful to others, we’re slowly wrapping our heads in a plastic bag.

Which, you’ll remember, your mother specifically told you not to do…

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Katherine Mangu-Ward’s article, Why Buy the Cow? references three dairy farms who have been the target of bureaucratic raids this summer.  All were going forth with their business, secure in their knowledge they were satisfying all laws and regulations, only to find out they weren’t.  Supposedly because the laws where they live are not specifically, item-by-item clear.   In other words:

“Ignorance of our Interpretation of the law is no excuse.”

Sigh…

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As more folks learn the benefits of raw milk, customer base grows.   Instead of proper legislation and regulation reform occurring to support local business, individual freedom of food choice and safety for the individual, we actually see more raids, more destruction or confiscation of private property and all other kinds of personal freedom violations.

Even when no one has gotten sick or filed a complaint.   This tells me Bureaucratic backlash against Grassroots movements does occur.  Around the raw milk industry it happens frequently.

So much for social change via legal,  non-violent means. (First Amendment: Right to Petition)

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Where do you draw the line between public safety and individual choice?

How do you fight to preserve your chosen way of life when you have followed the laws, harmed no one and still the local powers that be see you as a threat to society? (Grazin’ Acres Shutdown)

For those who cry for more Safe Food laws and regulations, I’ll remind you there are already remedies in place.

They are called Civil Litigation and Boycott.

If you purchase directly from a food supplier and end up ill, due to their carelessness (not your messy kitchen) then you sue for damages.   If that financial blow isn’t enough to either get their attention and result in improvement or shut down,  then a Boycott will put them out of business.

(I’m pretty certain there are no Federal Bailout funds for small, locally owned dairies. Warning! Boycotts wield the most power within a Free Market, which is quickly disappearing…)

For those who wish for more Food Safety I ask, “When are you going to take some personal responsibility, too?”

I’m convinced there are many benefits from raw milk, but I also took the time to tour the farm and know my supplier.   I observed how their animals were cared for and what kind of living conditions they had.

After all this, had I become ill, I would have had a comin’ to Jesus meeting with my supplier.   Asked them to pay the doctor bill, if applicable. Then made a choice of whether to continue doing business with them or not.

I can do all that by myself without wasting tax-paid services to go do my work for me…

Right now, I can still do that.  You keep whining ‘keep me safe, keep me safe’ I’ll lose that choice….Please quit whining.

(Whining really grates on my nerves…)

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If you’ve lost a loved one to food poisoning, then perhaps you’re thinking, “She just doesn’t get it.  If she had lost someone, she’d be taking this seriously.”

Well, newsflash, I’ve lost a son.   He was 17. Killed by bacterial meningitis.   He saw a doctor on Friday and a doctor on Monday morning, with phone consultations on Saturday and Sunday.   Monday morning he got some shots and was sent back home.  Quit breathing about 2 hours later.   Went into a coma.   Spent a day on life support and was brought back from the pearly gates 3 times before I was told there was no hope.

I was assured no mal-practice took place, via a coroner’s investigation.

Who cares?  I took him to folks with a license proclaiming they are legally permitted to  ‘practice medicine’.   I knew what I was getting into.

You don’t see me storming the nation’s capital shouting, “Hey!  I’m tired of all this practicing.  Can you please make it illegal for these folks to be in business unless they damn sure know what they’re doing?   Can you please pass another law so people will quit dying?”

People get sick and people die.  Yes, we would like to prevent it.  Yes, we have an emotional investment.   But please quit blindly calling for laws that cannot possibly prevent all death and illness, but will severely hamper our freedoms in their quest to attempt to.

Sheesh…how many times do I have to say it?

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Ben Franklin, Memoirs of the life and writings of Benjamin Franklin

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Research Notes: I was aware of news stories of illness traced back to a goat milk-share farm in Colorado around late June, early July.   I wanted to find an update on that investigation.

A google search of the keywords, “raw goat milk farm in Colorado, July shutdown” produced:

6,740 links in .26 seconds.  The first 11 revealed three bloggers screaming about food safety, 6 watchdog groups relaying information about raids and seizures on personal food stores, and 2 organizations calling for action before our freedom to eat the way we choose is lost.

I like Google.   It both tells me when my search skills need polishing and also gives me an idea of what the national climate around a subject is.  It highlights who knows how to tag, keyword and Search Optimize and who doesn’t.

Those who fight for Freedom of Food Choice are not only good at footnoting their articles, but they also know how to properly SEO their stuff!  Thus ending the allegation that those who prefer raw milk are “uneducated, illiterate country hicks.”

Legal Blackmail

Okay, I had logged off of everything, ready to call it a day, but Yahoo conveniently shows me top news stories when I sign out from my inbox….

How Race to the Top is re-writing US Education caught my eye.

Scanned the article.   Seems some kind of legislation allowed schools around the country to compete in a ‘contest-like-arena’ for funds.   Okay…I’m okay with tax dollars supporting free public education (even though just registering my son for school this coming week is going to cost me a minimum of $150 even before he signs up for extracurricular activities….)

But the following quote by Representative George Miller , D- Calif. , chairman of the House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee, set my teeth on edge:

“These are my best hopes,” he said in May. “You see people doing things that a year ago they said they would never, ever agree to.”

States starved for funds and unable to have control over their local economies are prime targets for legal blackmail, also known as ‘federal funding requirements’.

If you don’t believe me, revisit the legislation passed in 1984 concerning legal drinking ages and being able to receive highway infrastructure funds.  My memory is that Montana and Wyoming held out…at least for awhile.  Wikipedia informs me South Dakota tried (unsuccessfully) suing under the spirit of the 10th Amendment.

My thoughts at the time were, “Okay, we’re old enough and responsible enough to vote, join the army, drive or fly billion dollar military equipment and die for our country, but not old enough to have a beer?”

My thoughts on the matter have not changed much.

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I, for one, am investigating and supporting activities that inform and educate folks on the topics of local resilience, community exchange systems and individual rights and free markets.

Cuz when we don’t need your greenbacks, we regain our freedom of choice.

Grazin’ Acres Update

This update is outdated – I sorta went on sabbatical and didn’t go where internet services were available.  (I also let this slide from my to-do list…)

But in short, an organic dairy farmer, with an Amish background, has operated a successful “feed thyself and thy neighbors who trust you with their stomachs” business for awhile now.   Agreements were made between individuals on who produced what, who got to consume it and how trade was to be negotiated.

Complaints regarding the arrangement are not forthcoming from any of the parties involved.

They are, however, coming loudly from local authorities.  (Agencies and personnel who depend on taxation/permit and licensing fees for their salaries and their annual budgets, I suspect.)

If the owners of Grazin’ Acres were not truly afoul of the law before, they sure are now.   Owners and customers Broke Evidence Seal tape placed by local authorities in order to access the food they needed for their sustenance.

On the flip side, I think valid charges of Vandalism or Destruction of Private Property can be levied against the raiding officials – apparently they put blue dye in a huge tank of nutritious, organic milk, so as to make it unsellable.

Hmmm… reminds me of slash and burn tactics of armies and the weird actions of abusive spouses – if we  don’t want it, can’t have it or make a profit off it, let’s destroy it so no one else can either…

Thank goodness the owners have some kind of religious faith and background.   Freedom of Religion is sometimes the last Constitutional defense you can use that will hold up against government interference. (Hey! I don’t begrudge anyone their tax-free status – just wish it was for everyone…)

Being a gnostic heretic myself, if I ever come afoul of the law, I’m screwed.

(Note* translation of ‘gnostic heretic’ is as follows: “One who has free thought regarding spiritual topics”)

What reminded me to check in again on the saga of Grazin’ Acres was the fact that zealous profiteers (aka local government agencies) are now passionately fighting the battle against unlicensed, no-permit Lemonade Stands.

(Thanks to NimblePig for alerting us to this use of valuable resources.)

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Granted, I’m glad I can make consumable purchases and not worry if I’m going to die each and every time something crosses my lips.   I realize inspection and the funds for such are needed in order to provide this public service.

But I’m reminded of a friendly debate with Ms. Capricorn-Bookkeeper recently regarding regulation, taxation, the Free Market, the benefits and evils of capitalism and about any other highly controversial topic you can name. (that is the true benchmark of friendship – how many subjects can you debate and remain friends?)

To save you pain, I’ll paraphrase the conclusions of that hour long conversation in the following clip:

In a free market, those whose products are unsafe or crappy go out of business.   People quit buying from them.   We don’t need all these laws and regulations in order to realize 3% growth each year via bigger government and increased public spending ventures.   My gawd – there is literally no ceiling on the ingenuity we possess.   We can come up with all kinds of really needed and really cool products and services.

Really, who’d have thought you could talk to your friend while cosily at home in your jammies and not have to actually clean house in preparation for company? Thank you Mr. Bell.

I am not suggesting we return to the days of milk poisoning or selling cocaine as the elixir that heals.  And I’m not silly enough to think getting rid of all regulatory laws and institutions tomorrow is a viable idea.

On the other hand, I truly question our current system of ensuring food safety.   When those who inspect, enforce and oversee food safety also depend upon income via permits, licensing fees, fines and penalties to shore up their out-of-control budgets, then me thinks we’ve just let the fox into the henhouse.

I also am highly wary of the revolving door between agencies who oversee food safety, production and sales and corporations who like to patent life.  (See Future of Food for details and information.  Trust me, it’s worth the hour and a half out of your day.)

How about American ingenuity and entrepreneurship in the form of affordable home food safety testing kits?

Consumable product (our society has been trained to love consumable goods!), food safety for the individual, a new booming business guaranteed to save lives and enable the destruction of those who poison their neighbors while making a fortune.  It would also mean new jobs… hopefully based in America….

Unfortunately, I’m not a business person, chemist or investor.  But you go right ahead.   I’ll just take an annual stock dividend check as a thank you for the idea….

Any takers?