The Price to Pay for Paying Attention

While this research posits that abstaining from meat can be detrimental to your mental health, there is mention of factors that can muddy that a bit. Keep in mind this publication deals in research before published peer review.

Perhaps it is the ever present mental and physical stress of our ‘profit over people’ system. The mental issues they blame on lack of meat may have been there already and were the source of the change in diet. Might just be the result of a reality based outlook. The anxiety of being overtly aware of the plight of most people on the planet. Those with severe enough cases have a strong impulse to actually do something about it. Some just live with, either not knowing what to do or figure it is the price of being a normal caring person in our current self destructive world.

Many people choose to eat substantially less animal products because of negative factors associated with meat as part of the ‘normal American diet’. Might be the massive animal harvesting industry and environmental factors associated with it. Might be the death and cruelty. Maybe it’s the reality that most meat, food in general for that matter, available today is not produced in a sustainable and healthy way and does not contribute to good health. Much of this death and destruction ends up in the dumpster behind your favorite junk food eatery. Or absorbed into a market that produces far more food than is needed.

Whatever it is, some people are just naturally aware everyday of the depressing, joy killing, and otherwise soul crushing reality of the way our society operates. In a big way indicated by its continuing tacit approval of the continuing destruction of the planet we need to survive.

Much the same, I think, as the idea that those that don’t believe in god(s) are not as happy as those that do. Maybe non-believers just see a natural world where we have the ability to create a well adjusted highly functional society and it has nothing to do with the supernatural. It is up to us. There is no reason to think we will be rescued by some benevolent species that takes pity on our stupidity. Likely just the opposite, I afraid. It is a reality that can certainly effect your mental state everyday, like it or not, know it or not.

There is a mental and emotional price to pay for keeping honest reality in the forefront, in order to fight for a better world.

Just some thoughts.

Do We Really Care About Our Planet?

Letter to the Editor circa 2005. Could still apply ( as in ‘no progress’).

Don’t be so surprised

My sympathies to Ms ##### of Waxahachie (Letter to the Editor 5/11/05). With regard to the polluting industries here in Midlothian and all across America, for that matter.

We may convince our local leaders that we as a community would like to clean up these problems, but is that really enough. The current leadership running this country has shown absolutely no concern for the downward spiral our planet has taken, while at the same time giving big business everything it asks for. Since taking office over 4 years ago, more than 300 environmental laws have been weakened, in addition to those simply not enforced. While I think they have faltered badly and should have been impeached yesterday, I see them as a reflection of society

James Watt, Interior Secretary under President Reagan publicly expressed the feeling that his god was going to return the planet to anew. Polls indicate that close to 40% of the population is in agreement with him, 20% of which believe it will happen in the next 50 years. With this sort of philosophy guiding our country, then as well as now, why are we surprised that resources are not devoted to averting long term environmental problems.

The bottom line is there is a price to pay for having a safe, happy, and healthy planet. We have not been willing to pay the true cost of what we consume. We want highways everywhere and inexpensive houses, but we don’t want the dirty air cheap cement gives us. We want local jobs and main-street prosperity, but we continue to buy the cheapest foreign junk we can find. We want healthy food for our family but we put family farmers out of business by the hundreds a year and then feed our kids processed fast food from factory farms. We don’t want polluted skies but gas guzzling SUV’s are the biggest sellers. Heart disease and cancer are the top killers in this country, yet we still consider meat and dairy good for us. We want cheap power but we gripe about the pollution from coal and gas and the danger of nuclear. If we paid the true cost for what we consume by not trashing our planet in the process, a gallon of gas would be 15 dollars, a fast food burger would be 50 dollars, and the cost for highways and houses would jump 100 percent

What can you do? Jump up and down and hope someone is not afraid to ask why, really. Get every person you know to pick an issue and look deep and hard. Tell them ahead of time, it won’t be pretty if not downright upsetting, whatever the subject. Stop listening to the corporate news media. If you’re ready to have your comfortable world upset for the near future and likely beyond, take a couple of hours to visit some of the news sites listed on (like These sites are offering unfiltered news from real people. You can then choose to return to the comfort of the status-quo, those of us jumping up and down will not hold it against you. At least you know.

America has been in the comfort zone too long, both locally and internationally, and the first step is a big one. Hopefully we’ll take it sooner and not later, there is too much at stake.

John McClean

Midlothian Texas

We are Still Not in Control

Repost from the archives. It would be nice to say these ideas are no longer useful, but they are.

My sympathy’s to ( name withheld ) Opinion, The Midlothian Mirror Jan ,2003) and the dismay felt with regard to the world around us. It has taken us a while to get here and the trip back would be a long one, even if it were possible. Just because the problems are complicated, does not mean we aren’t able to apply a few simple ideas to bring back that sense that we have a say in what goes on in our world.

A major problem in this case is a loss of control by the individual to effect change for society. We appoint others to manage the bigger world for us, a perfectly valid concept, then wake up one day to realize that we have lost our say in the big picture. We can often have a profound effect on those around us and make the world better that way, but still feel powerless to sway the course of society in general. There are times when we have to gather together and make our voices heard. If you have some area of interest with ideas for change, seek like-minded groups. Regardless of the interest, there are groups out there. You may not always outnumber those that feel the opposite on particular issues, but don’t underestimate the power of large groups to be wrong. There are also many things going on today that only need the light of day to expose less than honest motives behind them.

Don’t be silent, VOTE. Use it as one of your most cherished rights and let those in control know it will be exercised regularly. Use it to decide what kind of a world you want to live in and the world you wish to pass onto those that will have it for eons to come. I can understand those that say the issues are too complex and their vote would not be an informed one. I suspect adding a few hundred million active voters would go a long way towards making sure the issues got explained in terms everyone could understand.

Spend your resources where they will count. Almost just as powerful a force for change is your money and what you choose to spend it on. Spending it as close to home as possible may translate to a more powerful voice for change and perhaps build a stronger community. This is especially important when you buy food. I’m afraid the future will show us what a grave error we make in allowing the family farm to disappear, not startling news to most of us. When you do part with your money, be informed about what kind of corporate citizen you support. In many cases they may be marketing one image and contributing to something totally different in practice. Perhaps that cheap price at the national discount store is costing you more that you think, in terms of contributing to things you don’t like about the world. Don’t buy from that company that pays it’s top management over 20 times what the average worker gets. Don’t buy from that corporation that just moved its headquarters to a PO Box in the Bahamas to avoid taxes. Your dollar is one of your most important tools of change. – and don’t forget to vote.

Do what you can to guard against negative influences in your life. Turn off the TV, and then only use it intentionally. There are tons of things to do instead of watch TV, most of them substantially more rewarding. Our media feeds on itself and is not working to our benefit. Its business is to make you consumers and attempt to entertain in the process, only so you perceive value. Choose carefully what you do watch and who is paying the bill. Especially if you have children and are concerned what they are being subjected to. The same goes for the computer, your kids can be computer literate without having to spend 5 or 10 hours a week staring at the monitor. Keep an eye on those that market to our children in the classroom. Sometimes it’s not easy to spot, but the corporations know how important your children are to future revenues. They spend enormous amounts of money to create new consumers. Ask our teachers, they are likely aware of the influences and may also feel powerless to stop it. – Vote

Don’t Waste, conserve and recycle – we are a nation of consumers, and not very astute ones, at that. The ‘happiness by consumption’ doctrine can be an incredibly negative force in our daily lives. We expend a great deal of personal energy on collecting things that offer very little to improve our lives before they get discarded. Then we pay someone to take them away and store them in the ground somewhere, usually in a part of town or the world that has little say about it. Trust me – the stuff is in someone’s backyard. Tell the fast food place you don’t want the latest bobble, made 3000 miles away, stuck in your lunch sack. Look at what you buy in terms of how it contributes to a better world and is it sustainable. I think most everyone sees our planet going downhill and think it has too much momentum and is to powerful to stop. Perhaps this destruction of our own ‘house’ saps our pride and makes us feel powerless. That’s a high price we’re paying for so-called progress – Vote

Be Informed – As long as the Internet is still relatively uncontrolled, we have a wonderful tool to get diverse opinions and network with those that feel as we do. If you’re getting all your news from network television and conglomerate news, you likely have no idea what’s really going on, and why. A good percentage of the major media sources in this country have no reason to really inform you, it leads to change. The Internet is a necessity for anyone that is tired of the direction this world is going. Initially, what you find out will not make you feel better. But it is a necessary first step to getting better control over what goes on around you, and feeling better that your doing all you can for the things that concern you.

Oh Yea – Vote.

Do we need GM food

In short, the research indicates no negative consequences have yet been discovered or documented in the 20 or 30 years GM products been in circulation. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that those products were introduced 25 years ago and that most of the testing has been done since then, pretty much admitting that we have been test subjects of Monsanto et-al. I’m glad the research turned out in our favor since the products were already released into the world and would be impossible to take back. A concept that I cannot over stress. I’m also glad to see the we ditched the idea that GM is the same as hybridization.

The companies pushing GM foods are simply not to be trusted, based on history. They are not interested in helping humanity. They are in it for the money. It would take weeks to go through the list and disqualify those that had monied interests that might influence their science, or their take on good science. What to look at, what to ignore. When you get players this big and this powerful, you really have to respect the influence. Eliminate those that have ties to government ( after NIST and their political version of science, not to mention, have you really looked at our leadership and who they work for? ), questionable Boards or Directors, and getting money from bio-tech and agribusiness. A serious look at the peer review process and who controls technical journals would be a good next step. Once again, the revolving door. These corporations are very good at eliminating roadblocks to power and profit.

I was watching a doc on water politics and one of the lawyers that was working on the case recalled what a mentor told them. Don’t ever underestimate what people will be willing to say and do when power and money is threatened ( and I add, when threatened by power and money ). We see it everyday in the destruction of our world for, you guessed it, money and power. Follow the money, it should be the first question.

I will try to disregard the fact that science is very politicized these days and that a good percentage of the sources cited either are part of the government and/or agribusiness or depend heavily on their money. I will also disregard that many of the sources cited simply stated their reliance on testing done by other sources. I think true science in the public interest is what we need. We don’t need science in the corporate interest. Altruistic science would be great. Do the science and put it out in the public sphere, regardless of what interests are helped or harmed. Although I am certainly not advocating releasing science and technology that would, by almost all accounts, do most of the world harm.

American Medical Association: ”There is no scientific justification for special labeling of genetically modified foods. Bioengineered foods have been consumed for close to 20 years, and during that time, no overt consequences on human health have been reported and/or substantiated in the peer-reviewed literature.” Broken link

20 years is not long enough test period, especially when they say ‘no overt consequences on human health have been reported and/or substantiated’. When you consider the under-whelming superiority of GM, this is quite the experiment we are all taking part in, reluctantly I might add.

Food producers don’t care about scientific justification for labeling, they do what they can get away with, most of the time within the bounds of the law, or at least laws worth the trouble to prosecute. They would put all manner of nonsense on the label if they thought it would help sales.

This is the same AMA that refuses to recognize Cannabis as a therapeutic medicine even after decades of scientific study showing that it is. They are taking a position based on the money at risk by them and their profiteering brothers, the pharmaceutical industry. The same AMA that waged a war on plant based medicine that had worked for hundreds of years ( explains the position on Cannabis ). An honest approach would be to find out what worked and what didn’t, regardless of its origin. Nope, they demonized it all in from the start, in favor of their pocketbooks. Everything they do and every position they take should be suspect by default, based on, again, follow the money. Same with hemp, BTW.

Don’t forget 50 years ago, it was common ( and allowed by the AMA ) to recommended cigarettes for several common ailments, such as anxiety or nervousness. They’re trustworthiness has not changed much, just our access to information. The only reason they lost strength, people finally had enough of the deception and they lost too much profit. About the time they realized it was over, they bought into the snack food industry. Hint.

It seems many tout the future benefit of GM agriculture in reference to some future condition or very limited problem set. Those benefits appear to be pretty dubious and, in quite a few cases, not quite up to par with conventional crops. Quite a risky experiment for a problem that has other more practical solutions but does not generate the income for certain global concerns.

It can be argued that there are much better ways to address the problem than GM food. But they have already unleashed this technology on an unsuspecting population. Now trying to convince everybody how safe it is, when we now have little choice. They have failed to show a clear advantage in each case to warrant dumping it on the world. Why not show everybody how much better it is in controlled studies. When it has an obvious advantage, for each individual product, people are more likely to allow it. They have not shown anything close to a clear advantage.

Golden Rice hasn’t exactly been a success story for the decades it has been experimented with. More nutritious? There are working programs to get people in need of more vitamin A simply to plant small patches of carrots or other high Vitamin A crops. Not to sell, but simply for nutrition. The big agribusiness giants don’t care about helping some small community deal with a changing market and climate. They want to sell them seeds for plants that the farmers can’t save seeds from year to year and only grow when sprayed with their chemicals. Most simply end up deep in debt, with many committing suicide because they lost it all.

In cases where GM is touted as more nutritious. Perhaps more nutritious than what you get from food grown on depleted soil, which is what happens to much of farmland under conventional farming practices. I suspect it is not as nutritious as food grown on properly fed soil. Growing smaller markets that involve many small players. Following the advice of vulture corporations has not been a success. Feed the soil not the plant. Proper crop rotation. Applications of compost with proper humus ratios and beneficial soil bacteria. Less harsh chemicals.

From WHO: Gene transfer from GM foods to cells of the body or to bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract would cause concern if the transferred genetic material adversely affects human health. This would be particularly relevant if antibiotic resistance genes, used as markers when creating GMOs, were to be transferred. Although the probability of transfer is low, the use of gene transfer technology that does not involve antibiotic resistance genes is encouraged.

Low probability if done properly? Is it done properly? Or is it just encouraged?

National Academy of Sciences: ( Broken Link

So, while the science is almost unanimous that it is has not produced harmful effects in the relatively short time it has been thrust upon us, I think we have yet to see that, at best, it will not fix anything except make certain corporations more powerful. More powerful over our food supply. At worst, it could be a disaster for areas of the world that have relied on tried and true methods of food production and will buy into the promise of something better. When what they really need is sustainable production methods instead of western chemical farming that has laid to waste millions of acres and left many without viable production land.

There was also a tendency to mix GM food and GM medicine. They have different markets. I can see putting up less of a fight about GM medicine because of the risk/benefit rational. I’m sure they will continue to push both on those that don’t need it.

American Dietetic Association: ”It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that agricultural and food biotechnology techniques can enhance the quality, safety, nutritional value, and variety of food available for human consumption and increase the efficiency of food production, food processing, food distribution, and environmental and waste management.”

“Can” would be the pivotal word here. Just not much evidence that it does over properly grown conventional food. “Increase the efficiency of food production, food processing, food distribution, and environmental and waste management.” Sounds like a pretty broad statement for the ADA. Sounds like they are just parroting others’ research. While not bad, it is disingenuous and the sort of testimony that shows up a lot.

American Phytopathological Society: ”The American Phytopathological Society (APS), which represents approximately 5,000 scientists who work with plant pathogens, the diseases they cause, and ways of controlling them, supports biotechnology as a means for improving plant health, food safety, and sustainable growth in plant productivity.” (

They went on to say that appropriate consideration should be expressed considering the power of this technology. Implying that we should not rush into putting our hopes behind this technology over tried and true methods. Likely, if given the chance, they would have advocated not letting it into the public to the level we have.

American Society for Microbiology: ”The ASM is not aware of any acceptable evidence that food produced with biotechnology and subject to FDA oversight constitutes high risk or is unsafe. We are sufficiently convinced to assure the public that plant varieties and products created with biotechnology have the potential of improved nutrition, better taste and longer shelf-life.” (

This one just screamed of ‘if they said it was ok, then we do too’. Much the same touting of potential. Again, do we have to unleash it on the world before we find out?

American Society of Plant Biologists: ”The risks of unintended consequences of this type of gene transfer are comparable to the random mixing of genes that occurs during classical breeding… The ASPB believes strongly that, with continued responsible regulation and oversight, GE will bring many significant health and environmental benefits to the world and its people.” ( Damaged link

Again, I don’t think they can honestly say that the unintended consequences of this technology is equal to that of conventional breeding. It might bring benefits. Lets figure out in the lab, then when the time comes, apply it where really needed. Not to overlook: “ … believes strongly that, with continued responsible regulation and oversight, GE will bring many significant health and environmental benefits to the world and its people.”. Yea, about that oversight and regulation. Oh yea, I was going to dismiss the conspiracies between industry and the regulatory bodies that govern it. Another article, I’m sure.

There is no reason for pushing GM foods, hybrid yes, GM no. Unless you believe that we can’t feed all of our people, which I think is nonsense. We waste tons of food. Who gets food and its quality and quantity are political. Starvation is about, you guessed it, money and control. The biggest tool being war and debt. The benefit from GM is mainly to the bio-tech companies that produce it. It does not help most of the farmers, ask India. It helps those that sell the seeds and the chemicals. Taking the pejorative ‘conspiracy theorist’ label, just for a moment, I suspect control of food is on the future agenda, and of course water. GM crops help large agribusiness with millions of mono-cropped acres. It does not encourage farmers to take care of the land and the soil. It does not encourage food diversity, something we really really need. It even endangers food diversity by polluting heirloom varieties by accidental cross-pollination. Unfortunately there will come a day when GM will be our last hope. When the water, air, and soil is so dead and polluted that it won’t grow conventional crops. Then GM, and the companies that have patented our food, will be our only hope. That in itself should scare people silly.

Why not just label it? The idea that they can’t track the ingredients is nonsense, that’s what computers are for. They do it with ‘organic’, it’s the same tracking process. Where there is money there is a way. Charge more money, increase profit, let people choose based on whatever they want. Most of the major food producers have no problem with putting nonsense on the label, especially if it makes more money. You know what ‘natural’ means, absolutely nothing, but they stick it on everything. Where marketing is concerned, if the science is on their side, great. If not, no matter. They are certainly willing to make millions off ‘organic’. If you think there is no difference between conventional and ‘organic’, don’t buy it. The industry has shown no reluctance to take advantage of the ‘organic’ market. They have not refused that market on the grounds of deceiving the consumer. They take the money. Why such a fuss over GM? Why don’t they just hike the prices and reap the profit? They are putting up a really big long expensive fight, one has to ask why. Loss of revenue is not really a valid reason, since they could just continue buying up the competition.

If we didn’t have, or sorry, used to have, regulatory agencies that controlled the crap they put in food, they would/do put all kinds of claims on the label and crap in the food to make it more profitable and simpler to sell. All of the sudden they don’t want to offer a product that caters to those that see no use for GM and don’t want to ingest it? There is something deeper here, they have not all of the sudden taken a stance on principle.

Conclusion. GM, for the most part, is a solution waiting for a problem. Those peddling GM are trying hard to insert the technology everywhere they can, needed or not. The desperation to get payback appears to take precedent over any real need. I say, keep it in the lab until there is a demonstrable benefit over properly implemented conventional technologies that have been around for a century or more. I’ll use properly labeled GM products if I need the product and it can’t be supplied any other way. The same as I might use a stronger chemical when the job requires it. The simplest solution and safest should be tried first. I will buy ‘organic’ as long as GM ( oh, and sewage sludge ) are not allowed. When those pushing GM, pay to get GM allowed in ‘organic’, there will always be those food producers that value good food. I will not be part of widespread indiscriminate use when there are conventional tried and true ways to deal with the problems GM food purports to fix. GM is offered as way to fix a broken food system. A system broken, in part, by those now offering the solution. We need more food diversity not less. GM food is being sold as a solution to a problem of agribusiness’s own making. One that puts more control in the hands of corporations and less in control of conventional small farmers and producers. The more small entities growing our food, the more food security we have. The less we rely on large mono-cropped agribusinesses, the better our food security will be and IMO the better our food will be. I want to see Farmer’s Markets with hundreds of producers selling generations old varieties and no two have exactly the same product.

Food grown for power and money is not food, it’s a commodity. Food as a commodity is a recipe for control. To them, it is not about feeding people. As the bumper sticker goes “Every time you spend money you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want”. I don’t want a GM world.