Gaza & More

I see lots of clever videos about the situation in Gaza. So far almost all have been clever, but distorted propaganda pieces, for one side or the other. I would suggest that if you did not think that it is hopelessly complicated, you have not been doing your research.

Just to make my position clear, I support Israel or something very much like it, existing in that area. Permanently! So, for all of the, “Fight to the death! There can be no Jew alive in the Middle East, or some say the world.” I have a strong word that refers to the output of bulls after they have finished processing their food.

Somehow, a whole bunch of people, but I’m convinced a very small percentage, have convinced many Muslims, that killing Jews, Kurds, and even each other, is a direct order from God. Here I use that same strong word. I even pile it deeper.

You can find any opinion you want on the Internet, and use it to prove that you are right, and everybody else is wrong. Personally I like these videos about Islam.

http://www.ted.com/search?q=Lesley+Hazleton

Where I believe that she clearly says, that Islam, when read ACCURATELY, does NOT condone the massive violence, that the media blames on it.

I strongly believe that any religion that condones hatred, violence, or any antisocial activity, has been perverted. Bad humans have been at work. Do not believe that God tells you to be bad. Do not believe that hatred violence and antisocial activities are good.

I have met many, very nice Israelis, and I consider them friends, and hope that they can consider me a friend, after finding out that I believe that BOTH sides have huge lists of provocations, and justifications for their actions. In my opinion BOTH sides have wonderful excuses to keep fighting, yet each has done many things to provoke the other.

I’m not there on the scene to know what is REALLY happening. Because of my views, I probably should not ever go there. I have no desire to be arrested for not agreeing with someone. I’m still a, “freedom of speech” kind of guy. Even from people that are ridiculously wrong, which perhaps I am.

One of the complications is that, as far as I know, the actions of Israel, are the actions of a central government. While the actions of provocation against them, often come from individuals. This makes everything even more complicated.

If a single American, starts randomly blowing up things in France, is France justified in going to war against America? I hope not.

And to me that makes the provocations from Israel, harder to ignore. And for the Israelis that say “What provocations?!?”

I am talking about things like this article:
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118846/israel-palestine-history-behind-their-new-war

With things like increased Israeli settlement in the West Bank, and statements from government leaders that sound like they have no interest in ever finding a solution. And the whole dividing up the West Bank into a very complicated concentration camp, and then offering it to the Palestinian government, as their homeland. And being surprised and feeling justified, when they refuse that generous offer. That does not pass the sniff test.

I am very aware that this could all be twisted propaganda. It certainly seems to be everywhere.

I believe, and post on my sites, links that say that there is no reason for Jews, Muslims, or anybody, to be enemies. People may have to make compromises, but we can all get along. We don’t have to screw each other. We certainly should not shoot each other.

Given the seemingly accurate, but bleak perspective in this video:
http://www.globetoday.com/one-of-the-most-beautiful-accurate-and-true-cartoons-ever-a-masterpiece/

I wonder if Gaza is solvable. Perhaps the best solution would be to declare some defined zone, around the Middle East. Some large area, but not too large, were all the warmongers can go and just have a wonderful time. They are not allowed nuclear weapons, but otherwise they can just shoot the poop out of each other! I’m sure the Ukrainians would appreciate it, if some people near them would relocate to another area. With all the death and destruction among Muslims in the Middle East, they would not need to relocate very far to have a legally sanctioned bloodbath. Syria, Iraq, just a whole bunch of places could suddenly become peaceful.

The rational people in this new free fire zone, would need to be able to relocate to some sane part of the planet. But perhaps since humans are incapable of learning to not want to shoot people, or stab or strangle, perhaps we can give any defective humans, a single playground, so they don’t bother the rest of us.

The military-industrial complex, should find this very appealing. They can sell their cool toys. From my years in Baltimore, I know that Baltimore would be happy to export a few hundred people, to go play there. Mexico and Central America can send some druglords. The KKK and many zealots from America, would look so much better over there than disturbing things in America. This could work. Think of the reality TV franchise.

I have great sympathy for Israelis, Palestinians, Ukrainians, all of the groups that are at each other’s throats. I suspect that the vast majority of you, are wonderful people. Love your families, just good guys and gals. But some small percentage of you have been programmed, by not so good people, to feel totally justified in hating. I don’t how to undo that, but if you hate, then you’ve been tricked. And you will pay a terrible price. You probably are already.

I was born in Houston Texas, in 1943. A time when people of color, and that definition was pretty much whatever any white man wanted it to be, had to use special bathrooms, special drinking fountains, where the water actually was not colored at all, kind of confusing. They had to ride in the back of the bus, if they could find a seat, because many white people, just for fun, would slide the marker that signified the dividing line, way back to the back, so that there would be 25 seats for three white people, and five seats for 9 black people. What a great sense of humor, Billy Bob!

Uppity (N word here) were too frequently hung, by white men as recreation. They did not need to be guilty of anything. Just accused by a white bigot.

In the early 1970s I chose to wear a beard. Apparently people haven’t noticed, but human males have active hair follicles on their face. Seems like God made them that way. What was she thinking?

When I started my beard, it was already fairly common in the Pacific Northwest. So, I was certainly not a trendsetter, by any means. But when I would visit relatives in Houston, I had a hint of what black people in the South, and hated people everywhere, go through. I could be dressed nicer than anybody else in the store, yet when I walked into the shop, it immediately became very frosty. The staff and many of the customers, literally bristled when they saw me. They didn’t know or care anything about me. I had a beard. Therefore I was bad. A blight on humanity. Fortunately if any of them thought that God had ordered them to smite me, they kept it to themselves.

I was very aware of what was going on. All I had to do was shave it off and I would be a good old boy again. I was born there. I could talk the talk. But it bothered me. Mostly, how can they be that stupid? So I tried to be an ambassador.

“Hey Bubba, I was over at the Piggly Wiggly yesterday and there was this bearded Yankee ass hole. But, he almost seemed nice. I was really surprised.”

I’ve still got the beard and no plans to shave.

What ever happened to, “Make love, not war.”?

In that irony that is life, now Madison Avenue has me pimping for a deodorant company. I think you really need to watch this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63b4O_2HCYM

You’re welcome,

Dave

PS, Oh and about what’s going on in my life. Last Monday, Jul 14, I dislocated a rib, which then pinched a nerve and I could only take about a 5% breath. The National Lung Association has it right when they say, “When you can’t breathe, nothing else matters.”

Naturally it was at midnight, but I woke up my dear friends John and Maggie and John was able to snap it back in place. It was instantly almost perfect. There were a couple of relapses, but after about three days, things got back very close to the normal. Now I’m just trying to get rid of the indigestion caused by the NSAID’s that the doctor prescribed me. It makes me kind of worry when they give you two things to help the problem, and another, very powerful drug, (proton pump inhibitor) to try to counteract the side effects of the first two.

And when the third party website says of the NSAID, “Take the smallest possible dose, for the shortest possible time.”

But, the rib seems to be completely fine, although I’ve been told to pamper it for a month to make sure of no relapse. And I sure as Heck don’t wanna relapse.

We need to get more folks to watch that video. The Ukraine and Gaza are just two of the places that come to mind. The propaganda mills of all the major governments, are working three shifts. Be very skeptical of ANYTHING you hear about either place. There is a TON of baloney floating around. Don’t jump on any bandwagons. The people that drive them rarely have your best interest at heart.

Guns and statistics

Yesterday I found some very interesting statistics online. Many people are very sharply divided about guns. “An epidemic in America!” Some of them have their minds so firmly made up, either pro or anti, that there’s no point in talking about it.

But, I think that one homicide is too many whether it’s by firearm, or using a wet dishrag.

I just want to show you some interesting statistics.

This one says that Americans own more guns per capita than any other nation. 0.97 guns per person
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_of_guns_per_capita_by_country

Yet, Switzerland, for example owns half as many per capita. 0.457 guns per person

This link shows how many intentional homicides by firearm there are per capita.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

Yet, Switzerland only has 0.6 homicides by firearm per capita.
As opposed to the US with a number of 4.8. I think they have 1/8 as many homicides by firearm, because they raise better people. There are 16 times as many guns, available per homicide. Correct?

I think it is just better people.

Which I find very interesting, because I think that the primary problem is how we raise Americans. This includes ingrained attitudes that are learned as they are growing up, while they’re watching Saturday morning cartoons, the propaganda is everywhere. Not including KKK meetings.

Add to that a welfare system that may have begun with noble intentions, but seems to me to trap people into welfare. I’ve known single mothers that, every so often, have another baby because that will increase their welfare payments.

What could be more noble than motherhood?

And just the whole idea of a single mother. Clearly, with the right mother, that can be a wonderful environment, but I think a lot of factors conspire to have unwanted children, that are unloved, and are raised in an environment that poisons their mind. Check out a rerun of the TV series, “The Wire.”

Do those people look like they got a healthy upbringing? Did they live in Mr. Rogers neighborhood, eat organic food, and play with Lassie every day?

I think that bad choices in nurturing have really screwed up America. And then what happens when one of these challenged people, goes to jail? Because America puts 707 out of every hundred thousand people in jail. Switzerland puts 87 out of 100,000 in jail. It says that San Marino has no one in jail. Do they just shoot them? Or are they really nice people?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_incarceration_rate

I see American jails as an incubator for gang membership, and a continuing education program for learning antisocial behavior. And then you put these people back out on the street and have them raise little criminals. Little rapists. Little drug dealers.

I think it’s no mystery, but is a big, tragic, problem and it is complicated. And, unless someone starts trying to fix it, then we need to just get used to it.

Switzerland is certainly not the only country to look at. There’s a lot of interesting data in these tables. You might want to have an honest conversation with people that you know, about these subjects. Who knows, you might change the world.

The total deaths, accidental, and intentional from firearms in America, are 9.42 per hundred thousand. As compared with Venezuela, which is 50.9. And that was just the worst one I noticed. There could be worse. Switzerland was 3.84. Since their homicide rate was 1/8th that of the USA, does that mean they have more gun accidents?

Far, far more people die every year in America from driving while using alcohol, drugs, or sleep deprivation, or some combination. And vastly more are injured due to those very preventable causes. Like one a minute. Yet most Americans just ignore it. Many countries don’t. And they have far fewer problems as a result.

Back in the early 1970s, one single drunk, hit 5 different automobiles in five, totally separate, accidents. And those are just the ones I know of, because they were five of my very good friends. This happened within the space of a couple of months. In each case my friend’s car was parked. One time, the car was inside of a backyard with a six-foot high wooden fence around it. It was always at night right after the bars closed.

Does that mean the solution is to not close the bars? Or to not tolerate drunk driving?

Does that mean the solution is to not close the bars? Or to not tolerate drunk driving?

IMHO, it is because, in America, drunk driving is OK. It is a badge of honor for many. How many times of you heard self-aggrandizing stories, about someone who was so drunk, but they did blob blah blah, and got away with it?

When will being pie faced drunk, not be cute? Or the sign of a ‘real man.’

Like the Marlboro Man, “Wow! He looks so manly, riding that horse, with his chaps, his gun and his big hat, and his handsome wrinkly face. I want to run out and buy a carton of Marlboros, so that I can pretend to be a real man too!”

Change it over to, “He looks so manly with that nearly empty whiskey bottle in his hand.” Hopefully, you get the idea.

When we returned to America aboard Alegria, in 1989, it was way before cell phones, and we needed to call my mom and dad, which meant a pay phone.

We were traveling along the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW) which is a very nice canal system that runs from Brownsville taxes almost all the way to New York City. There are a few small gaps.

It was built for commercial barge traffic, but it can be a lot of fun, if you have the right attitude.

We were somewhere near Corpus Christi, Texas, and we pulled out of the canal system, and into a small river that drained into the Gulf of Mexico. As we got ready to anchor we happily noticed a pay phone on shore, right by our anchorage.

There used to be more of them in those days. This one was right next to a tavern, and while I called my parents, Janet stood around in watched in amazement. There was a lot of automobile traffic coming and going at the tavern.

Janet said that almost everyone arriving, had difficulty walking to the door of the tavern.

These people were right on the verge of falling down drunk, when they arrived! And nobody cared.

Texas was one of the last states, to have an open container law. Generally that means that, you are not allowed to have a container of alcoholic beverage, in the passenger compartment of a vehicle, if the seal has ever been broken.

Obviously, these laws are done in the hopes of reducing the number of drunk drivers on the road. I think that it was only a couple of years before that, that it became technically illegal, in Texas. This will be really hard for most rational Americans to believe. But, I think until 1985, somebody help me out here. No. I will go look.

Holy Mackerel!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_open_container_laws

Seems to say that there is still very little control in America. Well, impaired driving, only injures about one person a minute, in America. So, it is clearly not worth worrying about.

I often get into unnecessary arguments with people, well actually for lots of reasons, but in this case I was thinking, because I often recognize a literal, and logical, interpretation of a statement, where most people use a more practical, and realistic interpretation.

For example, I am certain that it is perfectly possible to safely drive an automobile while drinking a bottle of beer. We have the issue of the distraction, that is, just how well can you be driving, while you are lifting something up to your mouth and drinking it? And I completely recognize that that impairs your driving. So does tuning the radio. The new cars with a touchscreen display, where you must focus your full attention on a low part of the dashboard, while inputting surprisingly complicated commands, scare the hell out of me.

I totally admit that even carrying on a conversation in a car, is a distraction of the driver. And of course the movies where, they show the driver staring at the passenger, for frighteningly long periods of time, while arguing or expressing love or some powerful thought. All the while I’m going, “HEY! Guacamole brain! Drive the G*d d*mn car, or park it!”

I realize that most of us have driven a lot. Usually we have discovered that 95% of the time there’s not a lot going on. We can think about other things. We can be bored out of our minds. But, that’s the whole point. It’s that 1/100 of a percent of the time, when that little girl walks out in front of your car, while teasing her parents and playing runaway.

Lots of disasters happen in a blink of an eye. If driving does not have your full attention, every single second that the car is in motion, then you’re not really driving. And I admit that I am very guilty of not giving it 100% attention. But, I usually get away with it. I think that’s the excuse all of us use. “Well, the way I drive usually works just fine.”

But, back to alcohol. I don’t think that most of us believe that one drink, for example a SINGLE, 12oz American beer in a can, will dangerously impair a 200 pound man, who is in good health, and has plenty of sleep. Even though that may not be actually true. You may actually be able to measure impairment. But I think most people are comfortable with that level of impairment. “It usually works just fine.”
And, if someone is then driving down the road, while extremely cautiously, paying full attention to their driving, eyes on the road at all times, catlike reflexes, sipping on a beer, it might not be a problem.

The problem comes with reality. I think that in reality, by no means all, but a few of us, did not know when to stop. Alcohol, sleep deprivation, arguments with the person in the car, even talking on the cell phone or texting, the list goes on. We think of the limited of safety as being an extremely gray area.

In the real world, I think mistakes are very common. So, I for one am willing to give up the right to enjoy an alcoholic beverage. Which is easy for me to say since I barely drink alcohol. But, an open container law, seems like a reasonable sacrifice, in the interest of public safety.

And, I believe that the police department of the City of Everett, should have looked at the driving record, including any other location anywhere, that had data on this particular driver. The one that hit five of my friend’s cars, and who knows how many other cars?

I don’t think they had to be a statistician, or specialist in alcohol and its perils, to realize that this guy should not be on the road, even under America’s very lax ideas about public safety versus the joys of alcohol.

The problem was, that they didn’t care. It’s a democracy and when most people don’t care, nothing happens. Well, actually plenty happens. Five cars were hit that I know of. But, useful laws do not get past.

I’m told that some countries that allow alcohol, have a zero, or near zero tolerance to alcohol while driving. I assume that means if they can detect alcohol in your system at all, and you are driving, that the poop hits the fan! The penalty is severe.

I recognize that that is unfair to someone who was not measurably affected, and was no threat to society, but I also recognize that it is a relatively low-cost way to delineate a situation, in order to keep us all much safer.

IMHO, America looks the other way on alcohol-related dangers, far more than it should. So, too close by wrapping this back to the beginning, it seems to me that intelligent laws regarding driving under the effects of alcohol, prescription and nonprescription drugs, sleep deprivation, and several other factors, can save a whole lot more lives, than some of the, in my opinion, poorly constructed gun laws, that try to get passed in America.

And, I have no problem with intelligent gun laws. I think there are some.

Let’s put on our thinking caps, minimize ‘knee-jerk reactions’ and try to come up with good laws on MANY subjects in America. Let’s try to encourage, intelligent laws, that make America a much better place to live.

hallucinogens

“Everyone knows that hallucinogens are evil.” Right? Even those that abuse them.

I will bet that
1) You think you know about this subject.
2) If you will just watch this 15 min film, you will change your mind.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Xz3CFD2pCXE

Will any one take that bet?

(Everything that she did was legal where and when she did it.)

See also http://reset.me/

Let’s support logical laws that also benefit humanity, not Monsanto, not Drug Cartels.

I am opposed to harmful activity. I am not a Party Animal. I mean, I try to eat Organic! I am not a druggy.

I also support HONEST research and rational laws. If you don’t, please don’t let me know about it. It can be your secret.

Dave

Unwise use of antibiotics in America

Excerpts from articles about unwise use of antibiotics in America:

Nearly 25 million pounds of antibiotics are administered to livestock in the US every year for purposes other than treating disease, such as making the animals grow bigger faster.

In other parts of the world, such as the EU, adding antibiotics to animal feed to accelerate growth has been banned for years. The antibiotic residues in meat and dairy, as well as the resistant bacteria, are passed on to you in the foods you eat.

Eighty different antibiotics are allowed in cows’ milk. According to the CDC, 22 percent of antibiotic-resistant illness in humans is in fact linked to food. In the words of Dr. Srinivasan:

“The more you use an antibiotic, the more you expose a bacteria to an antibiotic, the greater the likelihood that resistance to that antibiotic is going to develop. So the more antibiotics we put into people, we put into the environment, we put into livestock, the more opportunities we create for these bacteria to become resistant.”

This is a much bigger issue than antibiotics simply being left behind in your meat. For instance, bacteria often share genes that make them resistant. In other words, the drug-resistant bacteria that contaminates your meat may pass on their resistant genes to other bacteria in your body, making you more likely to become sick.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

After Denmark implemented an antibiotic ban for its pork industry, the country had drastically reduced antibiotic-resistant bacteria in their animals and food – and their pork industry grew by 43 percent.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Learn more about the danger to your loved ones. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria infect two million Americans every year, causing at least 23,000 deaths.

More GMO news 19 Nov 2013

Here is another link.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/11/19/gmo-labeling-initiatives.aspx

I say again, that I do not always agree with Dr. Mercola, but I think he often has a lot of good information. I do agree that he often sounds controversial. By that I mean, that I think he likes to surprise you. So he might say something in a way that catches your attention, even though it is actually fairly ordinary information.

He usually credits his sources, and so you can easily see where he’s getting his information. Which most of these guys do not do.

And lastly, I subscribed to his newsletter, but you do get quite a bit of mail from him if you choose that path. I have not tried to cancel it, but hopefully one could. So, be careful what you commit to on his website.

I’m not aware of any danger in just looking at it. And one solution might be to just visit his website from time to time and look at the list of articles that he has written. He seems to come out with about two articles a day. Many of them I enjoy very much.

On that subject of being careful what you sign up for, I have recently wanted to contribute an answer to a question or a comment about an article or that sort of thing on many websites. But they wanted me to use my Facebook account or my Gmail account or other things too, “make it easier for me to login.”

In actual fact, it was often the ONLY available way to login. This would be no big deal, however, if you read the fine print, you agreed to hand them your complete address book or contact list. So, I assume that these websites are really just email harvesting machines, so that they can plague all of your friends with spam. I do not choose to sign up for them or allow them to know anything about me. Be careful. It’s a jungle out there.

Dave

Two critically important G words.

There are two important topics in this single post. I will put the short one first, in case you do not make it to the bottom of the long one.

Here is a wonderful, short video from the TED series. Movie titles aside, it shows the critical importance of, TRUE GRIT.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tedtalks/angela-lee-duckworth-tedtalk_b_4277459.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

The second, and also extremely important topic is that my friend Janell sent some wonderful links regarding the GMO studies that she had mentioned previously. For those of you who know how to find it, it is in the comments for my post that is labeled, “GMO”. But, if you don’t know how to get to that, fear not. I think that this link will take you to her most recent comment:

http://alegria1976.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/gmo/#comment-1431

A related link:
http://www.biosicherheit.de/pdf/aktuell/zentek_studie_2008.pdf

Sometime soon I will post another post on the subject. Janell’s links also link to other equally great links and I need time to digest the information.

At the moment it looks like the summary of what that’s going to say is, that people, pretending to be scientists, who just happen to have millions of dollars at stake and desperately wanted GMO foods to be approved, did very short-term studies (90 days) and felt that these studies proved that their inventions were safe. It seems to me that the depth of idiocy that that displays should not, cannot, be allowed in the scientific community. Maybe another way of saying it would be, that it is just not science. It is been known for thousands of years that some poisons, some diseases, etc., are slow acting and have diverse side effects. Lead poisoning, Mercury poisoning, thalidomide, syphilis and a lack of vitamin C, come to mind, and the technology of healthcare is certainly not anywhere close to anything I have been trained in. So, if I can see that this is nonsense, then what about the professionals, and experts in the field?

I think pretty much everybody agrees that if there were any GMO product that made the animal immediately fall over dead, that the product would not be in the marketplace. What concerns me are long-term effects, and surprising and/or subtle effects. The links that Janell sent me, demonstrate many rigorous scientific studies, from all over the world, show frequent devastating long-term effects. Here is a brief quote from one of the articles that shows what happens when the truth gets in the way of people making millions of dollars.

“Scientists who discover adverse findings from GMOs are regularly attacked, ridiculed, denied funding, and even fired. When Ermakova reported the high infant mortality among GM soy fed offspring, for example, she appealed to the scientific community to repeat and verify her preliminary results. She also sought additional funds to analyze preserved organs. Instead, she was attacked and vilified. Samples were stolen from her lab, papers were burnt on her desk, and she said that her boss, under pressure from his boss, told her to stop doing any more GMO research. No one has yet repeated Ermakova’s simple, inexpensive studies.

“In an attempt to offer her sympathy, one of her colleagues suggested that maybe the GM soy will solve the over population problem!”

Anyone that knows me, knows that I am not a Luddite. I welcome new technology and new ideas. And I also think that truth is absolutely essential.

For example, I hope I am crystal clear when I say that I have nothing whatsoever against Catholicism. Many bigots will proudly say that they are not anti-XYZ. Some of their best friends are XYZ.

I can happily say that some of my best friends are Catholics, and I do not wish to offend them. However I have a great deal of suspicion and concern about the gigantic industry that was and is managing Catholicism.

I have grave concern over how it treated someone who was foolish enough to point out that the earth was not the center of the universe.

I have grave concern over how it dealt with the idea of what we now refer to with the Greek letter pi. It is my understanding that the organization that controlled Catholicism ordered that pi would be defined to be exactly 3.000.

For an organization that claims to be the best and indeed the only highway to God, I’m more than a little concerned that it had not noticed that God had already mandated that pi should equal something closer to: 3.14159265359. And that it was one of those numbers that the more accurately you calculated it the longer it got. As far as anyone knows it will never have a long string of zeros at the end. At least in the numbering system that we presently use.

On a much broader stage, I am more than a little concerned over any person or organization or disorganization that does not believe that truth is extremely important. Particularly in scientific endeavors. I really bristle at what I believe to be mandate and dogma.

The more we can understand about how the universe actually works, the better we are armed in our journey through life. If we don’t believe in bacteria and think that cholera can be driven away by certain kinds of loud noises, I believe that we quickly become candidates for Darwin awards. Like the people that were convinced that malaria was caused by bad air. Giving rise to its name, malaria.

I certainly am aware that the truth is not always what we wanted to hear, but I believe that it is always what we need to know.

For me, the whole geometry of the GMO situation, screams out that the people behind it know that it is dangerous. Why else would they spend $70 million to keep it a secret? But, what I really hope to find out is the truth. If it is wonderful, or like most things in life, it is more accurately, a double edge sword, that has some wonderful aspects and some not so good aspects, then we need to know that.

When we were traveling through the American State named Louisiana, many of the people there would explained that they had the best politicians money could buy. Not a very good endorsement. But I think that a society can work better with bought politicians, than it can with bought scientists. I believe a dishonest scientist is far worse than no scientist at all. And, it seems obvious to me that it is sarcasm to describe someone as a dishonest scientist. It is an oxymoron. There is only one kind of scientist. That is a person who tries to the best of their ability to learn the truth. As I’ve explained before several times, it is by no means rare for them to make mistakes. And we always need to be careful. But one of the ways to minimize that is to have many other minds, that are also skilled in whatever particular art, to examine their work and try to replicate the experiment. This is usually called peer review.

I will close with the quote,

“Cherish your doubts, for doubt is the attendant of truth. Doubt is the key to the door of knowledge; it is the servant of discovery. A belief which may not be questioned binds us to error, for there is incompleteness and imperfection in every belief. Doubt is the touchstone of truth; it is acid which eats away the false. Let no one fear for the truth, that doubt may consume it; for doubt is a testing of belief. The truth stands boldly and unafraid: it is not shaken by testing: for truth if it be truth, arises from each testing stronger, more secure.”

Robert T. Weston (Unitarian Universalist minister, died 1988)

Big Oil sued in South America

I suspect that some of you know a lot more about this case than I do. This link is all I know about it.

Starting from zero knowledge, I find the article a little confusing, but very interesting. Have a look:

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-10-14/chevron-on-the-attack-the-19-billion-trial-of-the-year-starts-today

As they say, the rule of law is often very different in other cultures.

Janet and I had a sailing, cruising friend, who passed over to the other side some years ago. We first met him in San Carlos Mexico, in perhaps 1983. But, before we met him, we heard countless improbable rumors about him and thought that he was some sort of Walter Mitty.

The things we heard, through the coconut telegraph, seemed impossible for one man to have lived through in a single lifetime. We thought they were tall tales. However, as we got to know him, we learned that all of these things were true. He had just led a very interesting life, and was an accomplished storyteller, in the accurate documentary aspect of the phrase. Rather than having made things up.

He was also accomplished in the sense that you both could spend an afternoon together and see exactly the same things. But later he would be telling someone else who was not there, about several of the things that transpired. He would very accurately relate what happened, but from a very interesting perspective that you had not thought of it all at that time.

He was fun to follow around and learn from. Not quite a guru, but it was fascinating to see how his very powerful mind worked.

One of his major careers during his lifetime was to be an American attorney. I think he had risen as high as district attorney in a significant city and the American Southwest before we met him sailing in Mexico.

He and his wife sailed onto Panama and got jobs there and lived there for some years. One of his jobs was to teach Panamanian law students about some of the important ideas incorporated an American law.

Just so that you understand my biases, based on what I believe to be my personal experiences with the American legal system, my lawyer jokes tend to be sort of dark and gallows humor in nature. I have known, and still know, several lawyers that I believe are excellent people, fighting hard for all of the things that I want out of the legal system. They are “Fair, Honest, Intelligent.” All of the good things. Unfortunately, I have been the victim of several lawyers that were very evil. It could have been worse. As far as I know, they did not try to have me killed. But, they certainly raped and pillaged my bank account and consumed years of my life. And the most frustrating thing was, even spending years trying to rectify the problem, was a waste of my time. No other lawyers that I could find would help me. They said that loosing $50,000 was not worth them going after.

That was probably perfectly correct from their standpoint. But I have been living on less than peanuts for many years, in order to be able to continue cruising and not get a regular job. $50,000 was a gigantic fortune in my mind. And most importantly, it used to be my gigantic fortune. Until I was fleeced by these crooked lawyers.

But the relevant part of the story is that, one of the aspects of American law, that the Panamanians had great difficulty even understanding, never mind agreeing with, was the following example.

Suppose you buy a recreational property, a weekend retreat, out in the jungle of Panama. You take your family and friends there and it is just paradise. You’re happy right?

Then, your neighbor who has been living there for many years, or perhaps bought his property after you bought yours. That aspect is not really important as far as I was told. But, your neighbor decides to make some money by slaughtering hogs, and melting them down for the lard. He cooks them over fires that are partially fueled with the parts of the hog that he does not want, so the smell is indescribably bad. Maybe he burns an old truck tire once in a while.

Unfortunately he lives upwind of you, and now your property is virtually uninhabitable. Certainly your family wants no part of it.

Under US law, as far as I understood this story, you have recourse. You can get your neighbor to stop being a nuisance.

But, also as far as I understood, the Panamanians could not grasp what the problem was. Of course he can do whatever he wants. It’s his property. How can you tell your neighbor not to do what he wants to do on his own land?

I heard the story many years ago and obviously I may not of completely understood it. But I present it here as a possible example of different attitudes in different cultures.

Therefore, I personally think that, even though I may not agree with how other people do something, I feel that almost always, I should try hard to let them do it, if that is the norm for their culture.

Of course, their attitude is almost certainly, of course you let me do it! What business is it of yours? And I know plenty of Americans who would not just bristle, but would probably pop a blood vessel, if they thought someone in another country was going to tell them what to do.

Those who know me will be quite aware that, refusing to give women equal rights, or refusing to educate women, or killing all the girl children, the dangerous idiots not doing an adequate job of cleaning up the nuclear mess in Japan, and many other things, I would continue to hope to change.

But, it may not always be self-evident to other people, that in order for me to have freedom to do what I want, I need to respect a great deal of freedom, in others.

That’s how I see it. I welcome your freedom to see it anyway you want. But, of course I know that I’m seeing it the right way. <grin>

Dave

GMO comment

I had the following nice comment about the recent GMO post:

Comment:
I read somewhere that rats (or maybe it’s mice) fed GMO are sterile by the 3rd generation. I don’t mean cleansed of all germs, rather unable to reproduce. I’ll try to find the data.

Janell

Thanks Janell,

And to those of you who wonder, we are all quite aware that GMO food is an extremely broad term for a large variety of foods and plant products. Certainly no thoughtful person thinks that every single GMO food has the same characteristics. Whether good or bad. Otherwise, we just test one and we know everything about every one of them. That’s not going to happen.

I would just speculate, that most of them are no better or worse then food that grew the way nature made it. And I would also speculate that some GMO foods might be better, even much better, then the variety that had not been tinkered with. And a few are probably worse. Perhaps even very dangerous. These are things we need to find out before we put them on our dinner table.

My concern is that, by their own admission, in fact they seem proud of it, the promoters of GMO have combined things that could not possibly ever be combined in nature. Like plants and animals, and parts of plants and animals, that glow in the dark.

Another recurring theme seems to be, “Roundup resistant.”

When I can do so without a huge penalty and cost and/or bother, I buy organic food. One of the reasons I do that, is because it is well known that the modern chemicals used for pest control, are among the most toxic chemicals known. Many are based on nerve gas. Some disrupt the ability of cells to produce certain parts of the body, or disrupt the metabolic function of cells.

Virtually all of the pesticides are almost like catalysts in that a very, VERY tiny amount causes a catastrophic reaction. Obviously this reaction is INTENDED for the pest. But, just as obviously, pretty much all of the pesticides are very harmful to humans. The label even says so.

And, clearly they design them to be tenacious and remain attached to the plant. They don’t do much good if they immediately fall off, wash off, or evaporate.

Therefore, I would prefer to not eat very much pesticide. I would prefer to not learn firsthand, what kind of damage it can do to my body. So I like to buy organic.

For all of the above reasons, it seems insane to me, to be proud of developing a food that can be virtually drenched in one of the most dangerous and toxic chemicals we have come up with.

This is literally the Uber-ANTI-Organic food.

I believe that quite some time ago, they found that human breast milk in America, could not be sold in the stores, because it usually has too many contaminants that are known to be dangerous. The mothers have a lot of known, problem chemicals in their bodies already.

If we were Canables we would only be able eat Health Food folks. If Whole Foods Market ever figures out that they could have a trapdoor in the toilets and skim off a small percentage of their customers, to sell to the cannibals, they could command a high price for people that go to the trouble and expense of eating organic.

But don’t tell Whole Foods about it. I plan to shop there again when I get back to the states.

Doesn’t our government tell pregnant mothers, to not eat more than one serving a week of fish, or perhaps it is seafood? Bbecause there is so much mercury and other known toxins contaminating our oceans and getting into the flesh of marine animals that we eat. We must be careful to not eat very much of it or we will die even sooner than otherwise.

So, back to Monsanto being very proud of creating a food that can survive being drenched in these toxins at a far higher level than ever before. Yet people don’t seem to see anything wrong with that?

Can you spell, ‘tunnel vision?’ Or is the phrase, ‘brain-dead?’

Also, do you need to be an environmental scientist, to know that the poisons that we use to protect our plants from pests, wash downstream into lakes and rivers and pretty much all of them eventually end up in the oceans. Hopefully some of them break down and become harmless over time, but many do not, and what if some become much more harmful over time?

So, someone is very proud of learning a way that they can put, perhaps 10 times as much toxin on the ground, so that it can wash down to the oceans?

And, like drug resistant bacteria, we are already seeing, ‘super weeds’ adapting to be resistant to Roundup. I’m told that was the original reason for making Roundup Ready plants.

It’s not a question of putting on their thinking caps. I don’t understand what these people use for brain cells.

And I really can’t understand how they can sell these ideas to the American public. Yet they do. I can only assume that these are the reasons that, especially the Republicans, want to have less education available to people. It is an unnecessary expense. If people have never learned how to think, then the government can tell them anything. Monsanto can tell them anything. And as long as it comes in a snappy video, with lots of gorgeous women and handsome men, all smiling and happy, it must be great!

Sort of like the advertisements for pharmaceuticals, that after you’ve been out of the US for a while, you may think that they are an attempt at humor.

“Be sure to ask your doctor about the purple pill. It is so pretty that you will surely want to get a prescription for them. It is so pretty that we won’t bother to tell you what, if anything, it might try to accomplish. It is so pretty that even though we tell you many of the known frightening things that it will cause as side effects, we know you will still want it.”

Or, things like:

“Do you sometimes have trouble going to sleep right away? Then you should buy XYZ. It will make you gorgeous and happy just like this impossibly beautiful woman that we are showing you. And only a few of the people taking it have committed suicide, or had their legs fall off, or become incontinent, or had anal leakage. The heart attacks, and asthma, and Alzheimer’s, that seem much more common if you take it, will surely be a reasonable risk, and order to go to sleep right away.”

I guess the assumption is that people have a five second attention span, and only hear the first five seconds of the commercial. Then, they can say anything they want at the back of the commercial, and everyone ignores it.

Back in the 60s, and early 70s, when the use of recreational drugs beyond the very traditional, alcohol and tobacco, was increasing dramatically, there was an expression, “Better living through chemistry.”

It was meant, when used by the original chemical company that started saying it, as an honest, and valid statement. Good news.

We have learned a lot of genuinely good things in the last hundred thousand years. The Chinese figured out that boiling their water to make tea, usually made it safe to drink perhaps thousands of years before the Europeans figured it out.

In fact, several experienced travelers, have assured me that if you’re in an area where travelers diarrhea is a serious threat, to go eat at a Chinese restaurant. The very nature of the way they cook Chinese food, significantly reduces the danger of travelers diarrhea and other similar problems. It could be true.

The Europeans figured out that wine and the granddaddy of beer, was much safer to drink than water from a stream or a polluted well. People have told me that the Mayflower was really planning to go further down the coast of the New World to form the colony. But they ran out of beer.

I was told that this was not a joke. The very mild beer used in those days was the only safe liquid to drink. The trip had taken longer than planned, and they had to stop at Plymouth Rock.

Eventually, sailors figured out, that a lack of vitamin C, cause scurvy and other serious and fatal health problems.

And many countless and innumerable good things have been found to have better living through chemistry.

But in the 60s, it became a catchphrase for popping some pill to make you feel good, at least temporarily. You might feel quite miserable in an hour to. Just like people that drink alcohol to feel good now, knowing that they will feel like hell soon. But they think “Hey, I’m a ‘Now kind of guy.'”

And so even when the legitimate dangers of many, probably most, carefully made and pure, recreational drugs were widely known, people still took them. Even when it was widely known that many, probably most, were made in laboratories that could care less about being careful of dangerous contaminants, people still took them.

And the most amazing to me, is that, I am told, that it is by no means rare, for someone to pop a pill, or liquid, or injection, or whatever method, of introducing a totally unknown substance into their body, just to see how much fun it might be.

Feel free to call me old-fashioned, if that’s what it means.

But, back to the original thought of this post. I have no problem at all with honest and thorough research into what would happen if we changed something? That is one excellent way of learning things. But you must be honest and thorough. Clearly Monsanto and others do not have that reputation.

It has been shown that a lot to have money in opposition of truth in labeling, has been donated secretly. So, clearly we will never know how much the bad guys have spent on this.

But, they have admitted spending over $56 million in California and Washington to keep us from knowing what is in our food. To me that says they are certain that we would not buy it, if we could figure out which package it was in.

As Janell points out, a lot of this research takes many years and generations to learn the dangers.

There are many examples of seed grains being protected from pests using a mercury based product. You then plant the seed and grow the rice or whatever and it is generally considered to be very safe to eat.

However, with poorly educated people that happened to be starving in remote countries, it became very common for them to think that the prohibition of eating the seed rice, or seed wheat, etc., was foolish because people would say, “I ate some for dinner, and look at me. Absolutely nothing is wrong.” So, more people would eat some of it, because they were very hungry, and they could not remember that if they planted it, they would get many thousands of times more rice. But that would be months from now, and today is today.

They also could not imagine that whole families would die within weeks, from mercury poisoning. It was a slow poison and that caught them by surprise.

The Romans figured out that processing wine in vats that were lined with lead, which was an easy way to make a liquid proof container, also seem to make the wine taste sweeter and more palatable. They had no idea about the dangers of lead poisoning. And some sources think that that was an important factor in the fall of the Roman Empire. More and more, primarily rich, people were becoming goofy as they succumb to lead poisoning.

A famous Arctic expedition used food stored in metal cans that were cutting edge technology at the time. The whole idea was brand-new and they did not appreciate that using the old-fashioned, lead solder, was poisoning them. They then lived on a diet of canned food that was unbelievably high in lead, and they became so irrational, that when they needed to escape their trapped ship and take dog sleds to the south and warmer, safer lands, even though they were traveling as lightly as they could, they took a cast iron bathtub with them.

As far as I know, no one has ever learned exactly why that seemed like a good idea to them. Perhaps to melt snow and make drinking water. But no one alive today knows why, because all of them died as a result of the chronic lead poisoning. They became not very bright. In a land where you had to be clever in order to survive.

Thalidomide was a wonderful and powerful drug and widely used because everyone knew it was very safe, until they finally realized that unless we want our children to all be born without arms and legs, we need to be careful how we use it.

A few years ago, I read that thalidomide was now being used again, because it was the best choice for something or other. But, they clearly did not give it to anyone who could become pregnant.

So, apparently some of us have learned nothing, by watching a hungry farmer eat a bowl of rice, laced with mercury, and feeling full and strong for the first time in months, but dying within weeks, even though he was a young man.

I do not propose bans on very many things. I do not propose a band on GMO or GE. What I propose is honest, intelligent, and thorough research, into the characteristics and results of, any new technology. Hell, we still don’t have honest, intelligent, and thorough research, into the results of many old technologies. Just look at all a confusion about what kind of diet is best for humans. Although, it is widely understood by 95% of the world, that the Standard American Diet, (SAD) is not a good choice.

It certainly appears to me, that dozens, or clearly hundreds, of philosophies of eating, can be written up in a cute book or video, and sold for a fortune. Millions of us are looking for answers. And obviously, not finding them.

To me, it seems statistically certain, that most of these proposals are largely wrong. And entirely possible that all of them are wrong, because we really just don’t know. Not yet. I have certainly never heard of one that always works as predicted for everyone. Not one.

But, some work really well for a few years.

This food thing is a tough puzzle to solve. Because, in my opinion, we don’t yet understand the variables very well, and there are a zillion of them.

Most of us that figured out that there is more to healthy eating then beer and cans tamales, with a Mars bar for dessert.

But, WOW! Can we ever get some argument started, if we just expressed an opinion about what to eat and what not to eat? Diet is a subject that is very controversial. At least in America.

People have diet jihads. Few subjects can elicit such a rabid response from otherwise bright people. Diet, politics, religion, and boat anchoring, are safest when not mentioned in public. When you hear them come up in public, get your coat and go for a walk. After the police of left, and the crime scene tape has come down, you can go back in your house.

Therefore, what I propose is honest, intelligent, and thorough research, into the characteristics and results of, any new technology and even many of the old ones. From anchors to zebra mussels.

Dave