Monthly political posting

It’s that time again, folks…

  • Last night, inbetween Doctor Who episodes on videotape, my antenna-less VCR managed to pick up Channel 25, the local French-language repeater for the CBC. They had the translated version of this BBC Panorama story about squeezing more dollars out of chicken by pumping it full of water prior to selling by weight. That might be unethical (some of the tested samples were as much as 49% water!), but the clincher is truly disgusting: they use hydrolized protein made from other animals, including pork and beef. One company interviewed found a way to mask this beef and pork protein by removing the DNA from the cells so it couldn’t be tested for by the authorities. This is immoral, unethical, dangerous (and not just because of BSE and CJD). Check your purchased chicken patties and hams, folks. Or better yet, insist on organic, free-range, local produce.
  • I’m hoping most of you have already heard about the Project for a New American Century (if not, give them a read). The underground media in the US has been clamoring about this for a while, but I’ve found that many of my Canadian friends don’t know about their agenda. Read the (clearly biased) reviews of what they do here and here, then make up your own mind. Post about it here; let’s get a discussion going. Postulate 1: The US has been a colonial empire at least since WWI. Discuss.
  • Been following the Diebold scandal yet? Even Wired has an article about it now. Check out the original company memos here (or websearch for them if the site’s been taken down). Rumor has it that “…no fewer than five elections” were lost by “exactly 18181 votes.” That’s a nasty coincidence, but the security of the product is what’s really at question here. Anyone with even a basic understanding of computing can tell that the system is completely insecure. Read more from Bev Harris at Black Box Voting.
  • Torture. Love it when it’s consentual. Decry it when it’s not. But Alan Dershowitz thinks it should be made legal by “torture warrant.” Of course, it’s “just for terrorists.” What happens when they decide you are a terrorist? Think about it.

Mmmmmm, milk.

sent me this lovely link about genetically engineered human breast milk with a really hot image attached.

My reply:

Having four breasts, and being able to give you some of my milk would be fun! It would be my choice for my body…ugh, not THAT cliche again…

(Tangent mode on…felt like I wanted to write about this…)

Doing so to feed the populous is a scary concept, precisely because we
don’t know the far-reaching effects of genetic engineering. In my
opinion, the reductionist philosophy of science is scary at times. “All
life activity is controlled by DNA” will probably prove to be false;
it’s just the bit of activity we care about most right now, because it
helps us solve the problems currently facing us. We’ll find some
smaller structure, perhaps quantum-related, or perhaps the mitochondrial
DNA or mRNA itself might deal a blow to the centralization theory of
cellular activity.

I think the real concern is that splicing things around in food might
help us all eventually, but putting those GM foods into general
circulation without at least a few human generations’ worth of case
studies is pretty dangerous. The reasons for doing the GM right now are
to further corporate control, to continue centralization and ensure
profit margins. (The “killer gene” that Monsanto created, and the patent
control over genes — give me a break! — has a lot to do with my
current viewpoint…)

This all is geared toward assisting the continued centralized food
production model. I’m opposed to this concept fundamentally, so
naturally I don’t really want to see it become encoded in DNA as well.
(Go to the grocery store and buy a pint of regular US hothouse-grown
strawberries, and a pint of locally grown organic ones. Tell me which
ones you think taste better.) Yes, adapt nature to help us better, but
in as minimally invasive of a way as possible, potentially *returning*
energy to nature rather than just consuming it.

Just think, though, we might raise an entire generation of people so
adjusted to GM food that they could never digest non-GM food…and there
we go, we’ve just limited our own ability to adapt. Worse, what if the
company’s knowledge about the GM foods disintegrate for whatever reason?
Humans could become so dependent on the technology that we couldn’t ever
revert to traditional farming, or hunting and gathering techniques.
That’s pretty darn scary.

So we make decisions for future generations, just as the ones before us
did for where we’re at. It’s interesting to watch this play out, and to
see where people end up. I heard a very, very enlightening discussion
about all of this on National Public Radio a few years back (1998?). I
should try and find the tape; they’re all available for online access.
The Monsanto representative really believed he was doing the world a
favour. And his work did reflect nothing but the best intentions. When
challenged on his underlying assumptions, though, he had a big blind
spot, an inability to concede that he didn’t know everything about what
he was dealing with – typified by Renaissance-era phrases like “Plant
biology is relatively simple, we know everything there is to know about
them.” How could he be sure? Rather, he wants to be sure *enough*,
which begs the question — what makes Monsanto the authority to
determine what’s safe enough for the public?

Fortunately, we still have the final say, with our dollars at the
grocery store. It’s just unnerving to see this thrust upon the billions
of people who don’t research their food as much as I do (did you know
that it’s not even required to label GM foods in most countries? Guess
who’s behind the lobbying factions preventing this from occurring…)

But perhaps we’ll learn to GM ourselves to produce better milk for our
babies, and for the rest of the world. Distribution of power, and
individual enablement of control, rather than the continuing trend
toward centralization, would make that work best.

But I’d still love to have four breasts and feed my lovers in the middle of sex. ;)

As well as any children I might have. I always feed the hungry if I can.