First here’s some background to catch you up to speed:
Monsanto is a chemical company that has slowly, steadily begun taking over the American food supply. It would be safe to assume they harbor global aspirations, but outside North America, their products have been continually rejected as unsafe or unfit for the local population. Most widely known for the weed killer RoundUp, their chemical arsenal includes/included PCBs, Agent Orange, DDT, and rBGH. They have a stranglehold on genetically modified seeds, tinkering with the chemical makeup of harvest staples like corn, soy, wheat, and cotton. With a motto that once was, “Without chemicals, life itself would be impossible,” this is the company that is feeding your family.
If you read their innocuous website, one would presume they are the helping hand to Middle America’s farming agriculture. With annual revenues around $12 billion, though, this ain’t your typical Midwestern feed store. A quick Google search reveals that the corporation has health nuts, conspiracy theorists, and generally concerned citizens openly questioning the harm Monsanto is causing the food chain and, ultimately, the consumers of that food – you and I.
There is a ton of background and nuance to the GMO debate, but it boils down to is this: Monsanto can control the food supply – and the pile of money that goes with it – if and when they patent the seeds that grow the food the world consumes. They can only patent genetically modified seeds, nearly all of which are never tested for adverse effects on humans. How do they do this?
First, by creating a synergy between their biggest product (RoundUp) and the seeds they sell. Those GMO seeds are manufactured to withstand RoundUp while killing off surrounding weeds. Consequently, the crop produced is dosed with RoundUp, and the resulting harvest yields a double-whammy of genetically-modified food that has been drenched in pesticides.
Second, by bullying every small farmer they can find in the heartland. Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds are patented and licensed, so when the crops die off each season and the seeds replanted, Monsanto wants a cut of the money. Every year. Forever. If, by some chance a Monsanto seed gets cross-pollinated with a non-Monsanto seed, they still want their money, even if the farmers don’t want their engineered seeds in the first place. It’s not unlike Paulie from Goodfellas asking to be paid.
Third, just like other big industries, by greasing the wheels in Washington – this is where the real health concerns kick in (a real shocker). Monsanto employees get appointed to policy-making positions within government, most notably former Monsanto attorney/former deputy commissioner for the FDA Michael Taylor, who conveniently returned to Monsanto as the VP for Public Policy, before jumping back to the FDA as Deputy Commissioner for Foods. The FDA, and now the EPA, bends or changes laws to benefit Monsanto and other chemical firms, like doubling the allowable amount of the pesticide glyphosate on crops. Doing this despite studies showing that glyphosate, the main toxin in RoundUp, feeds cancer cells – particularly breast cancer – and causes chronic cellular inflammation, damaging cells throughout the body and inducing a variety of “Western diet” diseases. Agencies that should be independent and accountable to their constituents – the American people – have become the wolf guarding the hen house.
It’s not just Monsanto; Delaware-based DuPont doesn’t exactly have its hands clean in this GMO mess, and many seed and agriculture companies work alongside or in concert with the chemical giant, notably BASF, Bayer CropScience, and Dow Chemical. Heck, the leading ones even have their own GMO biotech website to tell their version of the GMO story, and contribute heavily to anti-GMO food labeling initiatives (here’s a cheat sheet of some of those companies). But Monsanto has become the massive figurehead – the rural Microsoft.
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) scientists recently cooked up something entirely different. In an effort to create a new and effective cancer treatment, they combined features of thalidomide, a familiar pharmaceutical anti-nausea medication, with those of turmeric, a common kitchen spice. What did they find? The hybrid molecules they created from the two wildly different ingredients proved effective in killing multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells, the white blood cells that produce antibodies.
"Overall, the combination of the spice and the drug was significantly more potent than either individually, suggesting that this hybrid strategy in drug design could lead to novel compounds with improved biological activities," Steven Grant, M.D., research member at VCU Massey Cancer Center, stated in a press release.
Scientists from the University of Pittsburgh turned human pluripotent stem cells into precursor heart cells, then used a mouse heart 'scaffold' to grow them into heart muscle. Researchers say the findings are a small step towards being able to manufacture transplant organs.
Scientists this week marked progress in the quest to manufacture transplant organs.
Scientists said Tuesday they had used stem cells to grow human heart tissue that contracted spontaneously in a petri dish -- marking progress in the quest to manufacture transplant organs.
A team from the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, used induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells generated from human skin cells to create precursor heart cells called MCPs.
iPS cells are mature human cells "reprogrammed" into a versatile, primitive state from which they can be prompted to develop into any kind of cell of the body.
The primitive heart cells created in this way were attached to a mouse heart "scaffold" from which the researchers had removed all mouse heart cells, they wrote in the journal Nature Communications.
For 50 years, Monsanto and 6 other chemical companies have gotten away with murder. The weapon used, most predominantly during the Vietnam War, was Agent Orange, second only to radioactive waste. During the Vietnam War era, Monsanto produced agent orange at 1,000 times greater the potency vs. the other 6 companies. Hundreds of thousands globally have died including members of Children Of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance and will continue to die drastically before the average human lifespan.
Today, half of Agent Orange’s chemical compound, 2, 4,-D, and other pesticides like roundup, are the chemicals being sprayed on GMO (genetically modified organism) crops, resulting in triple the danger of food that is not organic. Imagine what happens to a body already exposed to agent orange like myself, Truth Teller, that consumes these GMO pesticides and foods. In a nutshell, Agent Orange was, in essence, the chicken before the GMO egg.
As I said before, for the last 50 years, Monsanto has gotten away with this crime. If there is no unity between organizations fighting for Agent Orange justice and those fighting for the labeling & banning of GMO’s, how many more years do you think it will take before you see a change? The answer, can simply be only one…. TOO MANY.
This is a call for ALL to educate themselves, others, & those that fight against us to UNITE. My only question left to ask now is, are YOU in or are you out?
(C) Kelly L. Derricks, Co-Founder/President
(COVVHA) Children Of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance INC.
If you become ill with a blood cancer or other disease that requires a stem cell transplant, here’s an uncomfortable fact: Your race matters. Diversity is a strength in much of life, but it’s a curse when finding a stem cell donor match.
For a successful transplant, donor and recipient must have nearly identical genes regulating certain immune cells. These genes evolved in response to the disease threats people faced long ago. “Tell me where your ancestors lived 500 years ago, and I’ll tell you who your potential donors are,” says Jeffrey Chell, an internist who leads the National Marrow Donor Program, also known as Be The Match.
African Americans have the most diverse genetics because their ancestors have been around the longest and because of intermixing with whites, Native Americans and Hispanics since Africans arrived in the Western Hemisphere. When all of humankind’s relevant genes are considered, there are 10 billion possible combinations. That means that “if your ancestors were on two or three continents,” Chell says, “it’s going to be harder to find a match.”
Genetics make the mathematics difficult for people of color. Cultural traditions, mistrust of medicine and ignorance about the need for donors make it worse.
“I didn’t know anything about bone marrow transplants until I learned that I might need one,” says Anthony Thomas, 49, a financial consultant from Randallstown, Md., who has chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Among his African American friends and colleagues, there’s little awareness of the importance of donating, he says, although “you can bet that if Lil Wayne or Beyoncé got leukemia, that would change.”
Much to our delight, Mama brings her 3 little ones to eat, climb and frolic on a daily basis.
I've determined that the mother is not a raccoon. She's a PIG. Talk about an eating machine. Notice the picture of her with food on her nose. (She must still be nursing...after she tucked the kids away, she came back to eat more, then strolled into some shade and laid on her back for awhile.... her teets were still enlarged)
All too often we rely on the state to tell us what to eat and which companies are ethical. And all too often the companies that the state deems ethical and safe are proven to be quite the opposite. The giant agricultural companies that produce GMOs and use millions of tons of chemicals are able to do so because of monetary support. As long as we continue to purchase their products they will continue to pollute the environment and our bodies.
You and I have the power to stop this madness. We can choose to support those companies that do not use GMOs. The best way is to buy from a local organic farmer, or to grow your own; however there are plenty of ethical companies out there that you can support who practice sustainable methods and source from farmers that do not use GMO.
Below is a list from the NON GMO Project of brands that offer, specifically, NON GMO products.
There is no way to avoid seeing, hearing or reading news about the Affordable Health Care Act, better known as Obamacare these days, but understanding the content of this information is nearly impossible for those of us lacking law degrees and 20 years of political experience. Even some of those elected members of Congress just shook their heads and signed their approval, because of peer pressure, to a program they did not understand.
Remember Nancy Pelosi’s famous, “We have to sign it into law so that we can see what is in it” statement? Well, it is here now, and we still don’t know what’s in it.
One thing that has become clear now: If you do not have some kind of acceptable insurance coverage in the very near future, you will be charged a special tax by the IRS.
So where does that leave the veterans and their families? I can give the official answer, thanks to Fred Daniels, one of our VSOs at Trinka Davis Clinic.
If you are enrolled in one of the following VA health care programs, you have coverage under the standards of the health care law: Veterans health care program, Civilian Health and Medical program (CHAMPVA), Spina Bifida Health Care Program. If you are enrolled in VA health care, you don’t need to take additional steps to meet the health care law coverage standard. The health care law does not change VA health benefits or veterans’ out-of-pocket costs. If you are not enrolled in VA health care, you can apply at any time.
Bottom line is: If you are enrolled in one of these programs, you are already covered under the requirements of the law. If you are not covered under these programs and need insurance to be covered, get in gear and apply for your veteran benefits before the taxes hit you for non-compliance. Jump for More
Celebrating 29 years of marriage in December '17. After over 7 years of remission, Dom's Multiple Myeloma (Cancer of the blood plasma cells- attributed to Agent Orange Exposure while Dom served in Vietnam) has returned. Much of this blog concentrates on our adventure leading up to a Stem Cell Transplant, his remission, and our new adventure.