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I was struck with the closed-minded vitriol of Van Jones in his heated exchange with Jeffrey Lord on CNN on March 1, 2016. My impression of the exchange is that Mr. Jones is offended by the reaction of a certain candidate who was endorsed by a certain group.

“I can affect change by transforming the only thing I ever have control over in the first place, and that is myself.” ~ Deepak Chopra

 

First of all, the Ku Klux Klan is as offensive to most black people as the swastika is to Jewish people, especially when the last documented lynching of 19-year old Michael A. Donald occurred in 1981. Racial resentment has been an infected wound which refuses to heal, in part, because those who carry the torch of resentment keep digging at the wound instead of allowing it to heal and develop scar tissue, which is far tougher and stronger than the broken skin.

Before you make a snap judgement about me, know that I am a woman of color. My mother is Korean. I can only trace back my Korean heritage as far as my great-grandparents, partly because of the language barrier and partly because with the onset of the Korean War, where I’m fairly certain a good portion of my family was stuck in the north. And my father’s side is Irish, where the aggrandized “indentured servant” really means slavery; where King James VI made the Proclamation of 1625 to sell Irish prisoners to English settlers in the new world.

Here’s my question: How many generations of separation does it take to look at one’s heritage before you can say, “Oh, well, that sucked. Moving forward”?

Listen, I’ve been called “chink” and “gook” and told to go back to my country up until I was about 22-years old…by black people, of all beings. And yet, I do not hold all black people accountable for the bad behavior of a few. I don’t hate England because of Irish slavery. And, well, even if Kim Jong-un is a creepy, narcissistic dictator, I don’t hold him personally responsible for the separation of 60,000+ families during the Korean War.

As the first-generation born on American soil from my mother’s side, and third-generation born on American soil from my father’s side, I have an emotional disconnect from the grave injustices experienced by my ancestors. And it does suck what happened – but I don’t live in that reality. I choose not to be held in a catatonic state of perpetual outrage. It’s in my history – but not my story.

So, going back to Van Jones’ censure of Donald Trump… The condemnation would be deserved if Trump actually wore the hood. Can we simply agree that his disavowal of the KKK is appropriate enough? Trump cannot possibly have the same emotional or visceral response of a black person because of an imposed endorsement. It would be ridiculous to expect him to have any level of righteous indignation on that subject matter. To demand an intrinsic response is just as prejudiced.

That being said: I have no historical ties to the KKK and I have absolutely no reason to disavow them – but do not mistake that for condoning them either. There is a huge difference and I think we need to recognize the distinction.

 

Citations

CNNs Van Jones, Jeffrey Lord launch into fiery debate. http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/01/politics/jeffrey-lord-van-jones-cnn-debate/index.html

Divided Koreans prepare to meet after lifetime of separation http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/19/korean-family-reunions-separation

In the Bad Old Days, Not So Long Ago http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/13/arts/television/13lynch.html?_r=0

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Pardon my language but…  What the fuck, Rep. Mike Pomeo of Kansas?  And SHAME on the House of Representatives!  Dear public:  Did you know that the House voted 64% yes to remove labels on state & federal levels for GMOs?

HR1599 passes by 64% in the House

Here is a short summary of the bill:

The bill would prevent FDA from requiring the labeling of bioengineered foods only on the grounds that the foods are bioengineered, FDA could require that alterations of nutritional properties, allergens, or other characteristics of food be listed on food labeling. Regulations would also prohibit the labeling of food as not bioengineered if it had been planted with bioengineered seeds. Dairy products from animals fed bioengineered foods and foods developed using bioengineered processing aids or enzymes could still be labelled as non-bioengineered. The bill would also prevent states from issuing their own food labeling requirements for bioengineered foods.

Apparently legislation is far better for us than a “patchwork” of GMO labeling laws. Oh, and in case you are completely BLIND to the dying bees and how GMOs affect our environment and a documented increase of cancer and other maladies, Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas states, “GMOs are safe and have a number of important benefits for people and our planet.”

Sounds to me like you’ve whored yourself out and got both hands down Big Agri-Pharma’s pants.  Crude?  Perhaps.  But I’m spitting mad!  How dare you fly in the face of scientific evidence to say GMOs are safe AND then patronize the American public.  But you go a step beyond reasonable.  You have effectively stomped MY RIGHT to know what’s in my food.  Why bother with strict nutritional labeling if you intend to poison us anyway?

Do any of you wonder WHY there is such an increase in cancer, neurological disorders, and gastrointestinal diseases?

Monsanto is not the only ogre under the bridge

Don’t be fooled.  GMOs are BIG BUSINESS.  And Monsanto has been the face of this issue – but they aren’t the only ones.  Bayer CropScience and Syngenta are two more companies who share responsibility in slowly poisoning us.

So I did a little research and found a report published by the University of Minnesota back in 2003.  I’m going to briefly touch on a few of their major points:

Allergies:

Genetically Modified food may cause food allergies because it introduces a foreign substance in your body which may prompt an increase in immune response.  In other words, your body detects something unnatural and is trying to combat it.

Toxicity:

By altering plant & animal genes we are introducing toxins into our body.  According the the report, “the new gene could interfere with a metabolic pathway causing a stressed plant to produce more toxins in response.”

One example includes genetically modified potatoes created to be disease-resistant for higher crop yields but they have been found to create higher levels of glycoalkaloids.  What’s that?  Believe it or not, they are natural toxins found in plants and tubers and act as pesticides and fungicides to deter animals, insects and fungus which might attack them.  So if it’s natural, why is it so bad in GM products?  Glycoalkaloid poisoning causes gastrointestinal (digestive), circulatory (blood), neurological (brain & nervous system) and dermatological (skin) problems.

Decreased Nutrition

If you have someone who is hungry enough, they’re going to eat anything that isn’t going to kill them…right away.  This is the case of GM food.  There is a decrease in nutritional value because phytates bind to necessary dietary minerals and calcium which hinders the absorption of those nutrients into our system.  Now, according to Dr. Weill “Phytates in your everyday meals should not be an issue for you as long as you’re eating a balanced diet.”  But that’s the point.  If GMOs are present in the majority of our food, then we aren’t eating a balanced meal.  We are simply filling our bellies with junk so we don’t feel hungry.

Antibiotic Resistance

Is it really a mystery why bacterial strains are becoming more and more resistant to antibiotics?  This is what is happening.  As the genetically modified food sits in your system, there increases a chance where your body develops a resistance to antibodies needed to fight off poisons.

“If one oversteps the bounds of moderation, the greatest pleasures cease to please” – Epictetus

We all have those moments of weakness where we give in to a craving.  I love my ice cream and cookies as much as the next person, but I don’t indulge all the time, and certainly not for every meal.

My point here is this:  Perhaps GMOs are not terrible in moderation BUT if it’s in all our food – and yes, I mean all of it, then it is not consumption in moderation, it becomes full immersion.  And if H.R. 1599, which passed the House of Representatives by a 64% margin, then passes through the Senate, we will not be able to monitor or watch what we eat.  We will be unwittingly poisoning ourselves and our environment.

But that must be okay because you’ve just given Big Agri-Pharm a “happy ending.”

Citations:

Lawley, R. (2013) GLYCOALKALOIDS.  http://www.foodsafetywatch.org/factsheets/glycoalkaloids/

Summaries for the Safe and Accurate Food Label Act of 2015.  https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr1599/summary

University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Environmental Health Sciences.  Genetically Modified Organisms: Harmful Effects of the Agent.  http://enhs.umn.edu/current/5103/gm/harmful.html

Weill, A. (2013).  Are Phytates Bad or Good?  http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400758/Are-Phytates-Bad-or-Good.html

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You’ve seen it on your Facebook news stream, right?  USDA Says: Okay To Ship U.S. Chickens to China for Cheap Processing Then Back Home For You to Eat

chicken

I got curious because I didn’t see any citations or credits, okay?

I’m not going to pick on the particular site that posted this because they have a little “new” flag next to the article but the truth is – it’s a repost of a story released by the New York Times on November 7, 2014, and the first use of the photo I could find in a Google search is dated April, 2011.

Now, the article caught my eye because the photo is, well, disturbing.  Anyone who has ever worked in a commercial kitchen knows how disgusting chicken can be.  And because the high risk of salmonella poisoning and cross-contamination, no other food is placed near raw chicken and all knives, cutting boards and surfaces in contact with raw chicken is doused with bleach to disinfect the area.

So I see this picture and I’m thinking Gross!  They’re not even wearing gloves!

Okay.  So, I’ve established that this is old news with an even older photo.  So what gives?

It’s my growing outrage with imported products MADE IN CHINA.

Last time I went grocery shopping there was an excellent deal on frozen tilapia. I looked to see where the fish came from – hoping and praying it was a local fishery.  No such luck.  It came from China, of course.  Why am I not surprised?  I put it back and walked away.  There is fresh tilapia and bass in the lake.  I just need to get off my ass, get a fishing license and go fishing!

What’s my beef against MADE IN CHINA?

Think about it, folks. How many toy recalls have there been for children & pet toys coming from China because they contain delightful things like lead, arsenic, mercury, bromine, and cadmium? Too many.

 Let’s see what these contaminants do:

  •  Lead: According to the Mayo Clinic, NO amount of lead in the system is good.  In infants, lead may impair growth.  In children, it leads to damage to the nervous system, kidneys, and brain.  It is directly linked to developmental delays.  For adults there could be joint and muscle pain, memory loss, abdominal pain.  In all cases, too much exposure may cause death.
  • Arsenic: According to the CDC, arsenic poisoning affects all organ systems.  Skin lesions, pigmentation, muscle pain and weakness, gastrointestinal issues, renal issues, failure of lungs, kidneys, heart, and liver are common.  Then there is epilepsy, brain damage and hearing loss just to name a few – oh yeah – and death.
  • Mercury: Neurological and nervous system damage tops mercury poisoning symptoms.  Prolonged exposure also affects your bone marrow.  That’s the stuff that’s supposed to create healthy blood cells for your body.  Guess what? If you don’t have healthy blood, you die.
  • Bromine: Now Bromine is a natural substance.  In fact, millions of people use bromine in their pools to replace chlorine.  How can that be bad, right?  Well, prolonged exposure or systematic poisoning will cause lung problems, kidney and brain damage, and gastrointestinal issues like nausea, vomiting and stomach pain.  Okay, so this might not kill you right away, but you’d wish you were dead.
  • Cadmium: Prolonged exposure increases your chances for lung disease, COPD, kidney stones, kidney failure and renal dysfunction.  It also affects the calcium in your bones.  A slow, painful way to die.

Sorry about the morbidity.

Keep all that in your mind because if you remember back in 2007, toy manufacturer Mattel imposed the largest toy recall in history.  Mattel recalled 436,000 Chinese-made die-cast toy cars because they were covered in lead paint 180 times over the permitted lead limit.  That was estimated to be about 18 million products congruently because there were also toys which had powerful magnets that are harmful to children if swallowed.  For full disclosure, the magnet thing, though manufactured in China was in fact to Mattel’s design specifications.  Does it make you feel better knowing that?

Baby bibs, clothes and blankets made in China had traces of formaldehyde and lead too.

Now think about all the plastic stuff you have around the house.  Most of us know that putting plastic in the microwave is not exactly safe.  That’s because some (not all) plastic has BPA or bisphenol A.  It’s a cancer-causing agent that seeps out of the plastic when it’s heated.  Maybe you don’t “nuke” plastics.  Okay.  That’s good.  But I bet at some point you participate in outdoor activities and bring that nice bottle of refreshing liquid with you…just baking in the sun’s delightful rays.  Just sayin’…

Additionally

Did you know that China held $1.261 trillion in U.S. Treasuries in March, 2015? So not only do they OWN us, they’re slowly poisoning us too.

Don’t believe me?  In 1971, the U.S. lifted the ban off trade with China.  It allowed U.S. exporters to sell “non-strategic” items.  Here’s a short list: farm, fish and forestry products, fertilizers, agricultural, industrial and office equipment, and certain electronic and communications equipment.

And all so they could sell it back to us processed, poisoned, and in pretty packages.

I did a little more digging.  In a report submitted by several prominent doctors involved with cancer research, “the number of persons living with cancer increased from 3.0 million (1.5% of the U.S. population) in 1971 to 9.8 million (3.5%) in 2001.”  And according to the American Cancer Society, as of January 1, 2014, nearly 14.5 million Americans with a history of cancer were alive.  That number does not include the amount of cancer related deaths.

Well, you know…  Call me crazy or paranoid.  But if it acts like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.  And as a rule, I generally don’t believe in coincidences.  We’re owned and slowly being killed.  Maybe our tombstones will have MADE IN CHINA stamped on the back of it too.  How very cyclical.

But hey – going back to that chicken thing that was mentioned at the beginning of this article…  The message seems very clear to me.  Big business keeps exporting precious raw materials and importing poison.  I think it’s their way of saying FUCK YOU to the American people because their bottom line is more important, right?

Citations for some eye-opening reading:

American Cancer Society.  Cancer Facts & Figures 2015.  http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@editorial/documents/document/acspc-044552.pdf

CDC.  MMWR Weekly. Cancer Survivorship — United States, 1971–2001 http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5324a3.htm

Kilpatrick, C. (1971).  U.S. Ends Ban on China Trade; Items Are Listed

Curbs Lifted on Shipping to Red Bloc  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/longterm/flash/june/china71.htm

Reuters.  (2015).  Who’s Your Debt Daddy? China tops list of US foreign creditors once more.  http://www.cnbc.com/id/102684920

SpokaneCares.org.  Toy Safety.  http://spokanecares.org/index.php?c_ref=713

Story, L. and Barboza, D.  (2007).  Mattel Recalls 19 Million Toys Sent From China.  http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/15/business/worldbusiness/15imports.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Strom, S.  New York Times. (2014).  U.S.D.A. to Allow Chicken From Chinese Companies.  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/07/business/usda-to-allow-chicken-from-chinese-companies.html

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