When they tie-up my hands, I use my words. My philosophy is fairness in a complete essence. And I try to live my life by it. So when I feel that it’s fair to point fingers at the problem, I don’t shy away, and I have no mercy. Most people advice me not to piss off powerful and connected people, but I don’t take pleasure in pissing off the weak. That being said, I have no illusion of reputation or legacy for myself. You could have a picture of me wearing nipple-piercing making sweet love to Captain Kangaroo on the balcony of the congress, and I could give less than a vertical shit. After all, ‘ those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.’
So what does piss me off? Well, many things. Garbage food, over-cooked steak, bad mashed potato, blue cheese dressing, soft rice, Mexican cooks trying to cook Italian food, Italian cooks trying to cook Mexican food, too much rain, disloyal friends, putting on my socks inside-out, bad customer service,… but that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I’m here to talk about injustice on a grand scale. The fairness that isn’t there, and greedy criminal corporations who suck the air out of air to make another buck.
When leaving the United States, I had no misapprehension of the adverse effects of American free market on the American soil, but I was too naïve to see the real impact abroad. Many times I get reminded of the economy situation, by people of modest means, and I keep thinking to myself why?! Why are things the way they are? Why aren’t we more conscious of our actions and their consequences? And why because of our indecisiveness, bunch of brown people have to pay the price? What is the solution? And why aren’t we doing something about it?
That’s a lot of questions, even more than my food irritations. When I order my food at a restaurant, I want it the way I ask for it. If I say that I want my steak rare, I don’t mean well done – I mean to bring me out a piece of meat from a cow that has been mildly sunburned under cloudy skies. And it’s normal. So why is it that we can control the way our food is prepared, but not the way that it’s grown? After all, the retail share is only a small margin of the profit, and the rest goes to the real food industry: farmers, ranchers, meat packers, chemical companies and lobbyists. So why can’t we ask for a piece of meat from a cow that hasn’t been fed fish and chicken scraps? Because that has become the norm too.
People have failed to question the food industry for decades now. What comes in a cellophane wrapped package is considered to be safe food as long as it bears the FDA approval, and the marketing gimmick of some fancy farm or ranch picture on the label. But is it really food? No, and that’s not what I’m here to talk about either. My concern is not so much the existence of imitation foods in American supermarkets; my concern is how this garbage gets there, and the impact it has on the rest of the world. But to ask one more question, why is it that there is an “acceptable amount” for rat droppings in our food? I don’t even want to know what Food and Drug Administration considers an “acceptable amount,” all I know is that I don’t want rat shit in my hotdog, even one turd in a million metric ton. And I sure as hell don’t believe a word that FDA publishes. People who think rat shit belongs in food should never be overseeing the quality of our food.
Our problem is that we contemplate on solutions, and forget about the problems. The problem is not the existence of composts we call food in the market, the problem is the monopoly of a few corporations who alter, manipulate, and modify what we consume to the scale of their profit. The problem is that our health is measured by dollar sign not nutrition factors. And with that comes the total disregard for the consumers, workers, and the environment.
Not long ago México was the corn heaven of the world. There were more varieties of corn grown in México by traditional ways than we have brands of cereal in Wal-Mart. The once glorious crops of the Aztecs are now in danger of extinction, because the American bosses cannot tolerate a free state to grow their own seeds. The North American corn is highly subsidized by the US government, and its flood into México after NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) has upset the market price. The North American corn costs half as much as the Mexican corn, and as the result corn farmers in México struggle to feed their families on lands they owned for generations because of genetically modified invasion of North American seeds. In fact, over a million Mexican farmers lost their jobs because of this.
It’s not just the market price that affects corn farming in Mexico; the bigger problem is the contamination of pure seeds with transgenic DNA’s. That means very soon, the local seeds will be wiped out, and every farmer would have to buy seeds every season to plant corn. And with the seeds being protected by American patent laws, they can never save their own seeds for the next season. And why do I care? These corporations are orchestrating a global famine, deliberately and skillfully. For another buck, they kill off millions of people, and never look back.
The State of Iowa grows more corn than the whole country of Argentina. And it’s interesting to know that Argentina is a BIG corn grower. So you can imagine how much corn comes out of only one teeny tiny state. Then we have Nebraska, Indiana, and the rest of Midwest that grow pretty much noting but corn. That’s a lot of corn. I only eat corn on 4th of July so someone somewhere is eating billion ton of corn. Well not exactly. People don’t eat that much corn although the trace of corn is in every food item we buy. So where does it go? Into the stomach of cows, chickens and fish. But none of these animals are designed by evolution to consume corn! Won’t they get sick? Won’t they make us sick? Shut up. Eat your meat. Why the hell do you care?
Corn in the United States is heavily subsidized by the government? Why? Because our government is in food business. The hell with the oil, people won’t drive if it’s too expensive, but they will eat no matter how expensive it is. You can sell a cup of low-fat no-good latté in US for $5 and no one complains, but selling $5 a gallon gas would be an abomination. Let me rephrase that. 250 ml liter of brown water that really costs 20 cents can be sold for $5 with no problem, but 4,560 ml of gas for the same price makes the national headline. Am I the only one who pays attention to these things?
The semi-tropical Paraguay was wiped off of its trees to plant the much prized soy beans. Thousands of unmarked sacks of seeds started to flow into the country, and in the hands of poor Paraguayan farmers to be planted on 100 million acres. These very same bags came with a very powerful chemical made by an American corporation. This herbicide killed everything, but the unmarked genetically modified seeds of the very same corporation. As the result, generations will be affected with this chemical, a complete and irreversible change in eco system, and it has left Paraguay poorer than what it was before.
Much of Southern Paraguay is a desert as a result of this mono crop. It’s not like the Mojave, it’s actually very green, but don’t let it fool you. It’s a desert with only one product: soy bean. The families in these areas are not able to grow their own food anymore as the detrimental effects of deforestation, chemical treatments, and single cropping the land has been devastating. The introduction of genetically modified soy beans has irreversibly destroyed the bio-diversity of the region and brought more poverty, crime and famine to this poor nation. Each year over 100,000 Paraguayans migrate out of rural farms to urban slums, because they can’t feed their families anymore. And do you know what company these seeds belong to? Monsanto, the American Chemical murderers who call themselves a food company these days. And the name of its number one chemical killer? Roundup. This is the very same company that developed “Agent Orange” to destroy the forests in Vietnam, killing thousands of civilians and affecting their lives for generations not to mention thousand cases of cancer, nerve, digestive, skin and respiratory disorders amongst the Vietnam veterans. Somehow it is one of the most powerful players in the food industry.
In India, cotton was grown traditionally for centuries, with India being the third largest producer of cotton in the world. Then Monsanto got there. They promised a quicker profit, more yield for the farmers, and less investment for using genetically modified cotton seeds of Monsanto. But those words never held any weight. Less than ten years later the traditional seeds were wiped off the market, and one corporation controlled nearly 100% of the monopolized industry. The farmers had to buy their seeds so one bad season would leave thousands of farmers bankrupt and landless. They would turn to money lenders with high interest rates to buy seeds that were priced 4 times higher than traditional seeds, but they had and have no choice. Thousands die of hunger and suicides every year while a handful of people get richer in the United States. And it will go on. Monsanto is there to stay. You may say what the hell cotton has to do with food? By itself nothing. But its revenue is used to acquire food. So what food crops have been touched by Monsanto in India? Rice, wheat, mustard, cauliflower, okra… they are not leaving anything untouched.
Mexico, Paraguay, and India are not the only countries. Argentina was the same. Brazil is the same, and in fact much of the world is infected by GM crops protected by American patents, and it has changed the lives of millions. Not for greater good, but for more famine, higher food prices and more death. I’m not even counting the environmental impacts of clear cutting of forests and poisoning the land, waters and animals by their chemical agents.
And these people have the audacity to rattle-on about “corporate responsibility.” If I’ve ever heard an oxymoron it must be that phrase. These corporations have no responsibility to private citizens. Not in reality they don’t. Our modern history is filled with corporate wrong doings, and in most cases the public have lost. Many don’t remember the Bhopal disaster of 1984 in India. 18,000 men, women, and children perished and two generations afterward is still affected by the shameful refusal of the company to clean up the site after the contamination. Union Carbide, the American chemical giant settled the matter with the Indian government after the gas leak, and explosion of its pesticide plant in Bhopal, India for 470 million dollars. That means that of over 150,000 victims, the families of the dead got $2,200 on the average. Warren Anderson, the CEO of Union Carbide at that time held a press conference, and assured the company share holders that the families of the victims will be “fairly and equally compensated” with no ”adverse effect on the company.” He was right about one thing; there were no adverse effects on the share holders, but thousands continue to suffer to this day.
Seventeen years later, DOW Chemical Co. purchased Union Carbide, and it got even more interesting. The very first thing that DOW did was to settle with victims of Union Carbide’s chemical incidents in the United States. Do you care to know how much 14 plaintiffs in the state of Texas got out of the deal? Two billion dollars. And for Bhopal? They never paid a dime to victims of Bhopal. If you have ever watched network television, I’m sure you’ve seen DOW’s name on the stock scrolls. Do you even want to know what DOW advertising slogan is? It’s painfully shameful: “Nothing is more important than human element.”
So what do chemical companies have to do with food? Everything. They make pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, antibiotics,… and these are the main ingredients of our foods. Gone are the days of organic farming and healthy foods. Gone are the grass eating cows, and worm eating chickens. Fish don’t eat other fish anymore, they eat dog food when they are not busy nibbling on million tons of toxic wastes down the oceans.
So when I hear that the economy is not doing well I just laugh. Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with the economy. It’s going as it was planned in Wall Street, the Congress and the Whitehouse. Key corporations worldwide are reporting more profits every year while the people lose their jobs, get their home foreclosed, and 36 millions die of hunger every year. The economy is just fine. Finally it’s where it was intended to be: more money in pockets of investors, and share holders of bloodsucking entities worldwide. And who launders their money? The friendly neighborhood bankers: JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo, HSBC,… So who the hell are you who are complaining about the price of a gallon of milk? Shut up, sit down and watch more American Idol. By the way, it’s not even milk in that carton; it’s industrial sewage.
Food industry is the most profitable industry in the world. Everyone has to eat, no matter black, blue or white. People can say no to almost anything when needed, but they never say no to food. And these corporations know that fact. What these corporations are achieving with controlling the food, would not be achievable with millions of bombs and bullets. They control the market from the second that the seed goes into the ground, until it’s packaged and served on your table. They have a power that no military in the world possesses; they own our food. These guys actually make Halliburton looks like a humanitarian organization.
It is estimates that, 16,000 Americans are murdered every year. Compare this to the 56,000 Americans who die every year on the job or from occupational diseases, let alone the tens of thousands of other Americans who fall victim to pollution, contaminated foods, hazardous consumer products, and hospital malpractices. These deaths are often the result of corporate recklessness, and in most cases known by the corporations, but covered up to make more profit. Yet, they are rarely prosecuted as homicides or as criminal violations of federal laws. And unfortunately corporate criminals are the only criminal class in the United States that have the power to define the laws under which they live. Mafia and gangs don’t even have that privilege.
For every corporation convicted of bribery or of giving money directly to public officials in violation of federal law, there are thousands who give money “legally” through political action committees to candidates and political parties. They profit from a system that effectively has legalized bribery. Phil Angell, Monsanto’s former director of corporate communications once said: “Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is FDA’s job.” He forgot to mention that FDA was sold, bought, and paid for a long time ago by his company.
So where is our government in all this? Shouldn’t our government be protecting us from these criminals? The short answer is: our government is made up of these criminals. These corporations don’t need lobbyists anymore. They are the government. I used to say to write to your senators, congressmen and your elected officials. But when your elected and selected officials ARE the criminals, what good is writing to them? Is it time to throw used tires around their necks and light them on fire? That sounds a little cruel, but if that’s the route you want to go, you have to act fast, because it won’t be long before they start genetically modifying tires too, so it can only burn with their matches.
Just In case you got a used tire handy, and feel American, here’s a list to start with:
George Bush (Senior and Junior), Bill Clinton, Barak Obama, and their appointed criminals: Clarence Thomas (Supreme Court Justice), Donald Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft, Mickey Kanton, Robert Shapiro, Wendel Murphy (Senator), Margaret Miller (FDA Branch chief), Linda Fisher (EPA deputy administrator), Michael Taylor (FDA Deputy Commissioner for Policy), Tom Vilsack (Head of USDA), Roger Beachy (Director of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture), Islam Siddiqui (Agriculture Negotiator for the US Trade Representative), Ramona Romero (General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Agriculture), … and if by any chance you finish this list, and still have some tires left around, feel free to write me and I’ll give you more names.
So my final questions – what are you going to do about it? Are you going to eliminate the problem or find another solution to the problem? Do I ask too many questions? I guess that’s why they don’t let me in churches anymore, I annoy the priests.
“When his life was ruined, his family killed, and his farm destroyed, Job knelt down on the ground, and yelled up to the heavens, “Why god? Why me?” And the thundering voice of God answered, “There’s just something about you that pisses me off.” S.K
Whoooooooooweeeee! Rant on brother! You will certainly offend some, shock others, leave still others with their heads buried deeply in the sand of ignorance, and it may be only pissing into the wind in the end. Never the less, humanity has always required those willing and able to shout the truth from the rooftops. Sometimes they are considered prophets. Some times lunatics. Sometimes they get themselves killed for their efforts, or locked up in insane asylums. Sometimes a few people actually hear, and very slowly, usually, some small change, or maybe even some major change results. The outcome is out of your hands, but the “speaking truth to power” is of inherent value by itself. Try not to give yourself too much in the way of stress related illness though! To quote Allan Ginsberg: “Follow your inner moonlight. Don’t hide the madness”.
Be well, Chris.
There is an excellent documentary called “King Corn” out there about the pervasiveness of corn in much of our food. Check it out.
BTW, I still have 2 used thc motorcycle tires laying around here – haha!
Rich criminals have always been above the law. They have and do literally make the law.
This is true in America, Europe, China, and everywhere else. Perhaps it is more true in the US because there is more money here than anywhere else, and of course the rat follows the cheese. IMO our elected officials and bureaucrats, now even down to lowly positions like “school board”, are in the middle of this, willingly or not.
They are (or once in office become) the tools of criminal enterprise, or else they find themselves disgraced, displaced, or dead.
But now in this age of globalization, to bring down the “American System” to anarchy, by revolution (and believe me anarchy is exactly what would result, people being people) would just mean a total power vacuum in which the US (and essentially therefore North America) is taken over by the next level down of rich criminals, who would still exist.
See it’s not just the USA. This is the situation everywhere. Money makes the law and since the time when money could buy muscle it has always been so. International corporations are unto themselves virtual nations, competing with each other over the entire earth, and ignoring the geo-political boundaries of the map as they dominate the ruling powers within them to their will.
This system can’t change unless it changes worldwide, and it can’t change unless a majority of 7 billion people can change as a whole. I do not see that ever happening.
What I do see is this: History will repeat itself in ever more pronounced cycles of revolution, re-organization, and re-corruption. Ours against Britain was small compared to what eventually happened in Russia, and the one which followed in China was even larger. I can’t say where the next will start, but I’m certain it will be bigger and bloodier than ever.
And I’m certain that it will eventually happen.
This is EXACTLY why I can’t understand the mentality of trusting corporations over governments to run certain things. I’m not against capitalism, but only as long as there are checks and balances and that important things like water are affordable and not profit-based. Monsanto and big corporations own most of the politicians, though, so in essence, the corporations are already in charge. I don’t see a bright future these days. I feel sorry for the people who think they’ll be able to eat the gold they’ve been stashing. Well, only a little.
You are referring to what is known as Round-Up ready corn, engineered by the monsanto company. I agree this stuff and the laws that protect this crap is bullshi+. Even if the seed blows down the street and plants itself in a farmers field that crop is now the property of Monsanto. Complete BS.
And oh miss fab if you think water is still free check this movie out.
Oh, no – I am well aware of the oncoming water crises we’ll be seeing here on our soil (I said ‘affordable” not “free”), but that is a good link. Water is already a serious issue in many places, and while there have been little-known water crises around the globe already, and even disputes between GA & FL over the last few years, I don’t see how physics will allow this issue to get any better, but only worse.
I have to agree with most of what you said. I believe this is also what is causing the big increases in cancers and asthma and many other diseases
I haven’t commented on your adventure until now,but I’ve been watching.
Your post today reminds me so much of Che Guevara’s “Motorcycle Diaries” that I felt the need to comment. It was on a trip through South America with a fellow Medical Student that Che was forever changed by the effect of colonialistic capitalism on the local people. I enjoyed reading it and gained a lot of insight into the effects of the US on South America.
Don’t start nothing in Bolivia….OK? RJ
Yes, many similarities between his experiences and the movie….BTW, Mr.Granado (Che’s friend) died a couple weeks ago, at age 88.
[….In December 1951, Mr. Granado and Che set out from Córdoba on Mr. Granado’s overloaded, beat-up motorbike, La Poderosa II, or the powerful one. Their eight-month journey, both a madcap coming-of-age road trip and a journey of political discovery, made a deep impression on both men and set Che on a course that transformed him into a revolutionary icon.
The bike, which Mr. Granado said looked like a “huge prehistoric animal,” had endless mechanical problems and made it only as far as Chile. The companions, however, traveled thousands of miles together, scrounging rides and food, and finally parting in Caracas, Venezuela.
The travelers were moved and shocked by the poverty in which so many South Americans lived. Both men kept journals, which became the basis for Walter Salles’s 2004 film, “The Motorcycle Diaries,” starring Gael García Bernal as the 23-year-old Che and Rodrigo de la Serna as Mr. Granado. In a 2004 interview with The New York Times, Mr. Granado talked about how “Motorcycle Diaries,” published in the early 1990s, had given rise to a new incarnation of Che, that of the romantic youth.
During a visit to Brazil, Mr. Granado said, young people wanted to talk not about politics but about how “two normal people, but dreamers and idealists, set out on an adventure and with optimism and impetuosity” achieved their goal… ]
Good, long posts.
Industrial agriculture was good for one thing: producing huge amounts of food cheaply. Experience has shown that industrial agriculture also hurts us in ways that are not obvious. We’ve learned enough in the last half-century to change agriculture so that it can feed us without destroying the soil and poisoning us. But the moneyed interests abhor such changes, because we would not longer be in their control.
Chris, I have believed a lot of the same things for a long time but negativity with no plan or solution just feeds hate and anger. As you said we really have lost our ability to vote in the traditional sense for such big deals as this but the solution is to VOTE with our dollar. In the united states we have lowered the % of our income that goes to buy food by a huge margin in the last say 50 years but at what cost?
I know you say you like your steaks and meat but buying from factory farms and dollar menu burgers is funding this global atrocity. We need to think about where the food is coming from, who is getting paid for what and what we are supporting. Bring back the victory farms and grow some of your own greens, its disgusting how much we Americans spend in time and money to fertilize, seed, water and tend our personal crops of a green lawn… toss out some wild flower mix, section off a corner and grow some food, start a compost pile and do some good. Also look to local farms for your food, I am lucky to have several crop share farms around me and farmers markets and sources for meat should I want it that isnt full of corn and chemicals.
Big government and big corporations want us to feel weak cause we are so small, in reality they are the minority and we have the power… we just need to wake up and realize it. Change starts within so look to yourself and your family and start there.
Also want to say, I think your first hand accounts and pictures to the REAL cost of our American life is a big part of why I wanted to help on this project. I can tell coworkers till I am blue in the face the issues with our massive meat diets and sources of our cheap food but first hand accounts mean so much more. I hope you can give those people you meet a voice and a way to share their stories. That was the biggest thing the people in Haiti requested of me, not food or money or supplies, they said do not forget us and please share our story with others.
Thanks for the great read. Keep it up!
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Yes, yes and yes! The Occupy Movement has begun the revolution.
Monsanto must be stopped. Some countries have banned its GM seed, but ALL countries need to do the same. I only hope it’s not already too late.
You’re doing good things, Chris — all power to you!