Post for May 4-10 2014

TaN: [last-minute inclusion] Last night (May 6), in the STORIES program featured a video concerning Al Jazeera during the invasion of Iraq by the USA-led Coalition of the Willing forces, a question was raised in my mind: Where is the line drawn in reporting of the Truth?  At what cost should the Truth be told?  [“Truth” is defined as facts untainted by tact or diplomacy or anything that will or can distort the veracity or accuracy but must be ethical without bias towards or against any group’s interest.  Truth must remain pure and chaste, devoid of any trappings that may skew it even the slightest, no matter how “ugly” the Truth may look like.]

In the video, the invading Coalition reacted to, complained about, and condemned the reportage of Al Jazeera that ran contradictory to that of the media accredited by the Coalition, claiming that the videos aired violated the articles in the Geneva Convention pertaining to the treatment of/for prisoners of war.  Clearly there was a slant on the side of the Coalition media because Al Jazeera had dared to reveal what was being intentionally excluded from the viewing public.  (This is the main reason why several polls revealed that foreign — relative to the USA — media, especially those of the UK, like the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) and The Guardian, enjoyed the highest credibility as compared to CNN (Cable News Network), Fox, ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, etc.)

Al Jazeera‘s argument and defense was that, being a media organization, they are duty-bound to provide the public with the Truth and it is something they will never compromise and serve as a propaganda machine.  Al Jazeera‘s goal was to show enough of the truth about conflict, violence, and war that people will just be appalled to the point of pressuring their respective government’s to stop and withdraw all participation — to stop the cruelty, the inhumanity, the senseless carnage, the insanity.

In hindsight, Al Jazeera was right in standing their ground and to stick to their conviction — report the Truth as it is, nothing more, nothing less.

TaN: In another of God’s miraculous and enlightening epiphanies, I understood God’s wisdom of putting chilies and other such hot spices in the tropics and not in cold climates.  Science has discovered that, aside from its spiciness, the true nutritional benefit of (hot) chilies is its high Vitamin C content, which makes it an excellent blood thinner.  Vitamin C, aside from being an excellent antioxidant, is an equally excellent natural blood thinner.

At first, it did not make sense to me why put something that tastes so hot in a region that is already hot.  Then, like a bolt out of the blue, it struck me.

In hot (tropical) climates, people tend to loose large amounts of water even just from sitting down, especially during the hot summer season.  In aid of rehydration, aside from providing such wonderful fruits such as watermelon (which is one of nature’s sources of flavored water) and coconuts (with its essential and unparalleled electrolytic nutrients) and melons and papaya and all the rest of the juicy fruits, God has also generously and all-so-wisely given us the chilies.

Besides providing a means to rehydrate with “watery” fruits, Vitamin C also helps in the production of collagen, which is what makes blood vessels pliable and stretchable.  Ingesting hot chilies not only makes a person eagerly reach out for a glass of water — which forces us to drink more water, commonly mistaken to think that it will wash away the burning sensation when it actually only spreads the sensation — but causes the blood vessels to easily expand so as to ease the flow of blood which may be viscous because we “forgot” to rehydrate regularly, thereby preventing an increase in blood pressure and saving the heart from having to pump more forcefully.

God is just so mind boggling, isn’t He?

TaN: It just dawned on me (again), if the conventional mantra of business to gain big profits is to produce products with high obsolescence rates, why does it keep using parts and components that are not easily or highly biodegradable?  This is the principal reason why we have landfill and garbage disposal crises everywhere and the increasing floating islands of man’s unsustainable “civilized” activities in the once-pristine oceans and open seas.  If our products are made with very biodegradable components or ingredients, our wastes can easily be turned into compost and returned to the ground (for recycling).

The best reasons I can imagine are: (1) since business cannot be sure when (or how soon) their products will be bought and “consumed”, business needs components that will not biodegrade before the products are bought and (2) once the product is purchased, business must make sure that their products will not last long otherwise they cannot make another sale/repeat business.

In addition, by making components that do not biodegrade easily, business creates more business — those who maintain and lease out landfills, those that cart away the trash consumers discards to the landfills (and incinerators), and those that eke out a livelihood from recycling (like the renowned Rags to Riches project et al).  And, in the case of recycling, it just gives Big Business all the more reason and justification to continue and increase its use and production of not-so-easily biodegradable materials and products.

Unless and until Big Business changes its product-design and production strategy, our trash problem will only exacerbate with no end in sight.

TaN: Everything good is (or should be) free; we only pay for bad things.  It only makes sense that what is good must likewise be free, otherwise it would not or cannot be good.  Air is good and vital to us — it is free (at least as of this writing).  Water is good and vital to us — it is free (except for those gullible enough to buy bottled water).  Free is good; it is a good thing; it is (or should be) part of the characteristics of anything good.

We should pay only for bad things — like vices and sins.  Good things should be freely shared; their being free is integral to their being good, while bad things must exact payment (as a form of punishment or penalty) because they are bad.

It is illogical that we should pay for things that are good.  People who are industrious, thinking, compassionate, honest, thoughtful, fair, kind…should not be made to pay for being so, but those who are lazy, unthinking, bullies, cheaters…should be made to pay for being such.  How can something be good if we have to (monetarily) pay for it.

Making people pay for being intelligent, for being hardworking, for being helpful would be an injustice.  It goes against fair play and is an impediment to people who want and are able to do things for themselves.  But people who are lazy or do not make use of their intelligence and have others do things for them should be made to pay for their laziness or dumbness.  [This is one of my main arguments against patents and other intellectual properties.  These stifle and obstruct people’s right to flourish and improve/advance oneself.  No one should have the right or the power to prevent me from pursuing my development and happiness, for as long as I do not trample on or exceeds the limits of the exercise of my rights.]

TaN: The problem with corporate control of seeds (our food supply) is that we are too dependent on a limited variety of foods — food (seed) supply diversity is the key to break corporate stranglehold.  Concentrating on a limited variety of food is both detrimental to health and leaves us vulnerable to control and manipulation from and by Big Business.  In both instances, there are easy ways to counteract the harmful effects, but it is easy only if one is honestly and sincerely willing to take the necessary steps and not just pay lip service.

Having or depending on a limited variety of food is a danger to health because, unlike many animals, man is one of the few that are totally dependent on food to get the essential nutrients not only to stay alive but to be healthy — just like the flying fox and the guinea pig, man’s body cannot produce its own vitamin C.  Not all foods contain all the nutrients we need in the quantity that we should get to be healthy.  Moreover, there are different foods that provide the appropriate quantity of specific nutrients that we need but are unique to isolated regions, so it is not necessary that everyone eat the same specific food — like shipping and transporting malunggay all over the world because of its abundance of high-quality nutrients that are superior to many other foods.

To overcome or prevent nutrient deficiency — hence, contracting a disease or sickness due to the imbalance resulting from the dis-harmony — one simply increase the variety of food in one’s diet.

But, more important — i.e., as far as the prevailing trend today of genetic alteration/modification and subsequent patenting — since there is only a limited variety of plants that serve as our staple, it is easy for unscrupulous mega and transnational corporations to have complete control and monopoly over these staples to have a choke-hold on global food supply.

In this regard, the easiest and most sensible way of breaking (or preempting) that tightening grip around the throat is to diversify our staple or, better still, do not have a staple food so that Big Biotech and Big Ag will not have a target to home in on.  If our diet is flexible and localized (i.e., we get our food from what is endemic or locally available and “unique” to the immediate locality), it becomes uneconomical for anyone with monopolistic designs to control our food supply.

Let Big Biotech and Big Ag keep their patented seeds.  We will merely shift to another staple food source.  It is time to wean ourselves from “globalized” food staples that have been monopolized.

In the economies of scale, economic viability occurs in mass production — i.e., a commodity becomes profitable only when there is enough of it produced to offset the (fixed) cost of production.  The selling price becomes prohibitive (i.e., beyond the capability or desire of consumers to purchase) when only a few items are produced because the cost of producing a commodity will have to be distributed to only a few.

Given this, Big Biotech and Big Ag will not “invest” in monopolizing and controlling — through patents and intellectual property rights — something that is not profitable.  So, refusing to “jump on the bandwagon” of staple food and localizing our diets is the best — simplest, most economical (in the long term), and most environmentally sustainable — way by which we can break the shackles of Big Biotech’s and Big Ag’s chokehold on our food supply.

TaN: I agree, the most profitable man-made (because it does not occur naturally in its familiar form or state but is extracted) product in the world — the one generating the most in world economic profits — is SUGAR.  It is also the one responsible for a great majority of the world’s misery and suffering — from economic exploitation to health issues to land grabs to widespread poverty.

For economic exploitation, sugar primarily comes from Third World and underdeveloped or developing countries where (plantation-type monoculture) farm workers are not unionized and severely underpaid and overworked but have no choice because they know no other form of livelihood or means of earning a living.

As for health issues, Big Food — through the studies it has funded — knows that, when it comes to taste, there are only three things that our taste buds seek constantly: sweets, salt, and fats.  In a video, entitled “Salt Sugar Fat  NY Times Reporter Michael Moss on How the Food Giants Hooked America on Junk Food” from Democracy Now (see URL: http://www.democracynow.org/2013/3/1/salt_sugar_fat_ny_times_reporter), it was revealed towards the latter half of the video, in the interview NYTimes Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Michael Moss, how the (processed) food industry is concentrating on the “bliss point” of foods to hook and keep consumers to their products.  Although you find all three (i.e., sugar, salt, and fats) in practically all processed foods, in the ingredients list, you will always find sugar ahead of fats and salt, which means it has the greatest volume in the product of the three.

In the case of land grabs, sugar must be extracted from plants and massive tracts of open land is needed.  To feed the hunger of Big Food for sugar, more and more land must be made available.  First, they started with cornering the sugar industry by buying up most of the sugar production.  When it was no longer enough, they began to “persuade” traditional non-sugar farmers to shift to sugar.  Then, when that was no longer sufficient, they began to buy up idle lands — from both public and private owners — and produce their own.  Finally, when even that was not adequate to satisfy their never-ending and ever-growing hunger for more sugar, they began to “use” government to “convince” (read: chase and evict) often poor and nomadic people off the land they occupy (but do not own, basically squatters and homeless people) so that Big Food and mega corporations can gain rights to the land — land grabbing.

And, widespread poverty is mainly because the farmers and farm workers are overly exploited — the farmers are often deep in debt and their produce are very underpriced while the farm workers are frequently un-unionized and receive slave wages as well as deep in debt too.  It is even worse in places like India (where the caste system works against those in the lower caste, preventing them from rising out of their status in life, and those who become so hopeless in debt that they resort to suicide to escape the misery and relieve their family of the debt burden) and Africa (where a great majority of the population have a nomadic lifestyle, herding their cattle and animals and following the cycle of nature).  The prevailing economic system is designed to keep the poor in poverty and while making the rich wealthier.

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