Archive | September, 2013

The World of Plants

15 Sep

A good video on the position plants take in affecting our health can now be found in The Numen Film. The “Healing Power of Plants” is what 80% of the humans on this planet use routinely when faced with health problems. While the US ranks #38 in the World Health Organization (WHO) ranked health systems, it ranks #1 in cost.

In a previous blog, I discussed The Flexner Report. “Flexner sounded the death knell for the for-profit proprietary medical schools in America.” The Flexner report was the death knell for homeopathy in the US, yet a report from the Milken Institute in 2007 shows what the financial differential is between a more homeopathic solution (avoidable treatment costs) and the actual costs (Output losses).


The negative impact of processed foods, environmental chemicals, and genetically modified foods on our health cannot be overstated. The Numen Film brings together several experts on the subject highlighting the reality that over the history of humanity, plants have always been and will continue to define our health.

Do We Really Need To Buy Chicken Nuggets from China?

11 Sep

In an article this week, The US Department of Agriculture “quietly” announced ending a ban on processed chicken imports from China. The US food industry can now import chicken nuggets without the need to state the country of origin. The four initial plants approved for shipments to the US can (for now) only ship product made from birds imported from the United States, or Canada.


To me, this is egregious in many ways. For starters there is the concern for the quality of the product. There must have been a reason in the first place that these imports were banned. And, of course, the implications are that birds raised in China will be next in line for the nugget machines. Are we to assume that the Chinese birds are of the same quality level acceptable by the US Department of Agriculture?

Beyond the potential quality issues is just the simple fact that the creation of chicken nuggets is highly automated. Is it to be believed that the labor costs in China are so low that a fully automated process in China can be so much more cost effective that it can absorb the transportation costs to and from China for these chickens? Or is it that Chinese chickens are what are so inexpensive? The plan may be for this initial approval (and lack of country or origin label) to allow for the US consumer to experience a “transparent” transition from American chicken nuggets to Chinese chicken nuggets.

There is a company in China, sometimes referred to as the eBay of China, with sales in excess of Amazon and eBay combined. Known as The Alibaba Group (Alibaba.com), it is a business to business entity where anybody can buy pretty much anything. In the case of automated chicken nugget making machines, Alibaba.com offers quite a selection.

I suggest that it would be cheaper to buy these machines and use them in the US to process domestic chickens. Was there some other reason, beyond cost that motivated the Agriculture Department to approve these imports?

Now back to the original question: “Do we really need to be buying chicken nuggets from China?”

Corn – The #1 Subsidized Crop in America

10 Sep

A naturally occurring source of high protein is now a nutritionally deficient, inedible, bio-engineered product for commercial use only. The genetically modified corn in the US is used to produce ethanol (40%), high fructose corn syrup, and animal feed. The animal feed is primarily used as feed for cattle (to generate protein) who cannot survive on such a diet without the use of antibiotics. The high fructose corn syrup is used as a food additive in breadscereals, breakfast barslunch meatsyogurtssoft drinkssoups, and condiments. In King Corn, two college students followed the progress of field corn they raised on an Iowa farm from the field to the table.


The transition from simple farming in the 1950’s to the industrial production today did not occur overnight. Any changes will take time to implement. It is clear that America has been sold, and is buying cheap food. The consequence of cheap food is exhibited in the increased rates of obesity and diabetes. Below are two studies on the effects genetically modified corn on laboratory rats. (USA leads the world in biotech crops with approximately a 90% adoption rate across all biotech crops. – ISAAA Publication)

Three different genetically modified corns were used to compare their effects of on mammalian health” :

“Effects were mostly associated with the kidney and liver, the dietary detoxifying organs, although different between the 3 GMOs…. Our analysis highlights that the kidneys and liver as particularly important on which to focus such research as there was a clear negative impact on the function of these organs in rats consuming GM maize varieties for just 90 days.”

Excerpted from “Long-term Toxicity of a Roundup Herbicide and a Roundup-Tolerant Genetically Modified Maize“:

This is the first long-term peer reviewed toxicity study into the health impact of a GM tolerant maize crop and the world’s most popular herbicide, Roundup. The research shows that consuming even relatively low levels of the commercial NK603 Roundup tolerant GM maize or of the herbicide, Roundup, can result in greatly increased levels of mammary tumors, kidney and liver damage, and premature death in laboratory rats.

Between the genetically modified corn seeds through the commercialization of the product itself a fresh look at corn is in order.

Industry Battles to Deny Contribution to Bee Disorders (CCD)

6 Sep

The chemical industry that generates the chemicals designed to kill insects is denying their activity (products) affects bees. To protect their revenues from neonicotinoid sales losses, Syngenta and Bayer filed suits against the European Commission who placed a two year ban on these pesticides.


The FDA in the US is under pressure to take action against the use of neonicotinoids for the same reasons the European Commission took action.

More than a year ago, three “new” studies associated neonicotinoids to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

  1. “researchers found that exposure to small, sublethal doses of a neonic called thiamethoxam significantly affects bees’ ability to find their way back to their hives—”at levels that could put a colony at risk of collapse.”” Science
  2. “Given the scale of use of neonicotinoids, we suggest that they may be having a considerable negative impact on wild bumble bee populations across the developed world.” Science
  3. Experimental results show that the environmental release of particles containing neonicotinoids can produce high exposure levels for bees, with lethal effects compatible with colony losses phenomena observed by beekeepers. US National Library of Medicine

The use of these pesticides could place the US food supply in jeopardy, yet the punishment for violating the bans does not offer much of a deterrent. In Florida, a Corporation violated state law twice, killing millions of bees and was fined $1,500. The economic impact to the beekeeper was placed at $240,000, mostly due to loss of honey sales.

“it’s estimated that commercial beekeeping adds up to almost $16bn in value to US agriculture every year.”

This week it was announced that a pilot study reveals that more than half of garden plants attractive to bees sold at Home Depot and Lowe’s have been pre-treated with pesticides that could in fact be lethal to the bees.

The legal system could very well delay the suspension of the use of neonicotinoids. The Guardian has set up a Question and Answer site just for the subject of Beekeeping, colony collapse disorder and the future of bees. It is moderated by Allison Benjamin, author of A World Without Bees.

A Brief History of Fracking

4 Sep

In 1974, Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). It is “… the main federal law that ensures the quality of Americans’ drinking water.” “The law was amended in 1986 and 1996 and requires many actions to protect drinking water and its sources: rivers, lakes, reservoirs, springs, and ground water wells.”

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In 2005, Congress passed the 2005 Energy Policy Act. There was a clause written into that act, now commonly referred to as the “Halliburton Clause”, named after Dick Cheney’s relationship to Halliburton. It is interesting that Dick Cheney held no commercial positions in his entire life as a public servant, except for his 1995-2000 tenure as Halliburton’s CEO, served just prior to becoming Vice-President. Below is the “Halliburton Clause”:

SEC. 322. HYDRAULIC FRACTURING.

Paragraph (1) of section 1421(d) of the Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S.C. 300h(d)) is amended to read as follows:

(1) UNDERGROUND INJECTION.—The term ‘underground injection’—

(A) means the subsurface emplacement of fluids by well injection; and

(B) excludes—

(i) the underground injection of natural gas for purposes of storage; and

(ii) the underground injection of fluids or propping agents (other than diesel fuels) pursuant to hydraulic fracturing operations related to oil, gas, or geothermal production activities.’’.

Now, as hydraulic fracturing around the world is being attributed to groundwater contamination, the industry is paying “hush money” to people who file legal cases against the industry. Drillers are trying to silence any criticism with regards to their activities.

This last week, a more public water issue came to light from a Forbes article concerning the death of some “Federally Protected Fish”.

The relationship between the “Halliburton Clause” in 2005 which gutted the SDWA and groundwater issues from hydraulic fracturing today, is not a coincidence.

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Consumer Awareness of Genetically Modified Foods

3 Sep

There has been growth in the organic food segment and, organics cannot contain any GMOs per the USDA. Now with the push to identify GMO products with labels and non-GMO products with labels, the decision by the consumer is becoming easier.

Non-GMO-Label

If GMO products were so great for the environment and our health, you’d think the industry would want to specifically identify products as GMO. The response from Monsanto is:

 “Such mandatory labeling could imply that food products containing these ingredients are somehow inferior to their conventional or organic counterparts.”

 The implication from that statement is that there is no “meaningful difference” between GMO and Organic, so per the FDA, no specific labels are required.

As the bio-engineering industry fights the labeling of GMOs, food suppliers are moving toward promoting non-GMO products. A common quote from the president of Whole Foods is that “…some of their suppliers have seen sales increases of 15 percent in foods they have labeled… (non-GMO)”.

Whole Foods business is currently 40% organic. As they drive to label GMOs in their stores, and Chipotle restaurants do the same, we should soon see in the mainstream Kroger’s and Safeway stores non-GMO products being placed directly next to their GMO counterparts. At that time, the market will determine the fate of GMO products. The consumer is in control of this issue and we are indeed reaching a tipping point.

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The Cost of Doing Business

2 Sep

It came out this week that the legal fees for the largest banks in the US will exceed $100B. That was only a portion of the $700B provided to these large banks in 2008.

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In the Quarterly Report to Congress from the Special Inspector General for TARP, the current obligation on that money stands at $456B. This “Special Inspector General” is also responsible for all litigation with regards to the TARP bailout.

It is interesting to see all of the litigation listed in this report. Of special note is that of all (107 convictions) the people prosecuted, it appeared that none of them worked for these big banks. They were what one might call small potatoes. Of the 51 listed in the report, all (with reported employers) came from one of the companies listed below :

American Mortgage Mount Vernon Money Center
Appalachian Community Bank Nations Housing Modification Center
BBR Group, LLC Network Funding
C&C Holdings, LLC New Point Financial
Colonial Bank Omni National Bank
Compliance Audit Solutions Inc. Orion Bank
First Community Bank Oxford Collection Agency
FirstCity Bank ProTrust Management, Inc.
Friends Investment Group Taylor, Bean & Whitaker
Galleria USA, Inc. Team Management, LLC
Home Front, Inc. The Shmuckler Group, LLC
Mortgage Solutions Specialists Timelender

A separate report from SIGTARP does list Bank of America as one of the companies prosecuted, and working up the economic ladder, there was Angelo Mozilo, head of Countrywide, who sold BofA $40B of toxic assets, who avoided any criminal prosecution.

This $100B cost of doing business seems like a bargain.