June 1, 2013 – by Gregory Franklyn
Over 2 Million people worldwide got out into the streets last weekend to make a bold statement about GMOs, (Genetically Modified Organisms), in foods. While I agree that Monsanto and Dow are pretty bad companies with a solid track record of disregard for the safety of their products, I don’t agree that genetic modification is always a bad thing.
Biological Grafting, for example, is a genetic modification. You take one plant that produces a fruit but is not hardy enough to be grown in some climates and graft a hardier plant to it to overcome the fragility so that the plant can produce the fruit in nearly ANY climate. You take the seeds from THAT plant and develop a hybrid that can overcome the weaknesses of both plants and increase crop yields. That’s a good thing.
I’m no farmer, but I learned that process in basic biology in high school. It’s the method used to genetically modify wheat, so the stalks could be strong enough to keep the wheat from falling over once it matured. The modification increased wheat crop yields so that less plants could produce more wheat and feed more people. That’s how Africa got Dwarf Wheat, which ended up saving millions of lives that would have otherwise been lost to starvation, and made a living for thousands of Farmers who would have otherwise gone under from the resources required to grow wheat that couldn’t produce enough yield to keep them afloat. Genetic modifications like what I’m suggesting here is a good thing when you take into consideration how many people need to be fed and the dwindling acreage available, and or useful, for growing food.
What I do agree with my 2 million friends this past Saturday is when the process of developing genetic modifications is chemical in nature and produces dangerous ingredients in the food grown. There’s very little research being done on the effects of chemical modifications on the resulting crops and any dangers that might result to humans as a result. There’s plenty of hype, though. I’ve seen the pictures of the lab rats from the French Study, but the methods in that study are suspect. I’m not ready to buy the science just yet.
Cell Phones, sweeteners, cosmetics, pesticides, marijuana, cleaning products, hundreds of food additives, nearly everything we come in contact with in an average day, have been found to cause cancer in lab rats. I know of no study that looks at the possibility that lab rats are unusually prone to cancer. If rats are produced for testing, they are born to rats that have been used for testing and just like a hybrid plant, couldn’t scientific research labs be developing a breed of rats that ARE unusually prone to getting cancer?
I’m willing to admit that my theory on lab rats is reaching a bit, but rats aren’t human beings, and assigning things that cause illness for rats doesn’t necessarily mean it will have the same effect on human beings. It’s a good reason to look into it further, to be sure, and I agree that more study is needed on GMOs. I’m with my partners on that score. If they are found to be dangerous, I would oppose them. We just don’t know yet whether they do or not.
What we DO know about GMOs is the corporate behavior of companies like Monsanto and Dow. Attempting, and nearly universally succeeding, to legally ruin any farmer who does NOT agree with and use Monsanto or Dow’s GMO seeds, and overpowering the market place with what amounts to a monopoly on agriculture, IS a good reason to hit the streets in protest. If even part of the stories told in the documentary â€śFood Incorporatedâ€ť about MonsantoÂ are true, we have a BIG problem on our hands.
I favor scientific alterations to natural agricultural procedures to make them better and more productive. We all need to eat. But when you completely dominate the market on food, you have gone WAY too far into the area of greed and avarice.
It’s the BEHAVIOR of Monsanto and Dow that has me out in the street with my protest signs, not GMOs, necessarily. This controversy is yet another example of Too Big To Fail. If Monsanto and Dow were smaller companies, they wouldn’t be able to dominate so much of the nation’s food production. The fact that they spend a good healthy chunk of their fortunes on STOPPING others from competing in the marketplace through intimidation and harassment. That’s not the spirit of a company that honors integrity. That’s the spirit of a savage predator. And that, dear reader, is why I oppose GMOs.
April 22, 2013 â€“ by Gregory Franklyn
I got a parking ticket over a month ago. The third I’ve gotten in my life. In the first two, I was guilty, I paid my fine, and that was the end of it. This time I was innocent and wanted to defend myself. So I took a picture of my car, the parking sign I was obeying when ticketed, and the ticket I got anyway, all in the same frame. I took the ticket home and read the instructions. Those instruction gave me three options about how to proceed. I could write a letter to the circuit court pleading my innocence, I could request a trial, or I could simply be guilty. All three options required me to pay the fine FIRST before I could avail myself of any of them.
I elected to write a letter and plead my innocence. The court arbitrarily decided that my letter was a request for a trial and set a court date,,, on a work day. The fine was a couple dollars shy of the amount of money I make in a day of work. I would have had to take a day off, lose the day’s pay, go to court and get the money back, that I had already paid, for a total loss of a day’s pay. Given the fact that I would also have had to endure the humiliating experience of being searched in order to enter the courthouse, I decided it didn’t matter enough to me to go through it.
Searches, in the post-911 US are a little different for me than for most Americans. It’s a little more sensitive to me because I have an Arabic type look to begin with, and if I wear a small hat, like a baseball cap, or heaven forbid, a Kufi, I WILL be mistaken for a middle aged Arabic male. I don’t get on planes anymore because of it. There are precious few places that I want to go badly enough to volunteer for public humiliation like that. (I was born in Detroit, by the way, and I’ve never been over-seas in my life). The City of Portland is a little wealthier and I got hosed by the standard operational procedure of law enforcement. That’s just how it is.
I’m tying this incident in with a lot of other things that have been going on in the United States since 9-11, not the least of which are the explosion in West Texas (just outside Waco) and the Boston Marathon Bombing this past week. Now, I want to go on record by joining the chorus of voices who deplore these two tragedies. I want to mention my gratitude to the men and women who ran TOWARD these horrifying and tragic scenes to help the victims, rather than running AWAY like I certainly would. Some even lost their lives and my heart goes out to the families and friends of these brave souls. It takes a special kind of psychological make-up, selfless love for humanity, and a personal power, to want to be a first responder and put one’s self in harms way to benefit others, nearly ALWAYS total strangers. I believe we do not honor these special men and women nearly enough on pay-day for what they contribute to the quality of all of our lives. And I harbor a measure of anger at those politicians, overwhelmingly Republican, who want to hire less of them and pay those who remain, less money and benefits for their labors.
That said, I am uncomfortable with what I see transpiring in my country, particularly in times of distress. Which is a nearly constant state of being in the post 911 United States. I sometimes imagine people in places like Israel, Palestine, Jourdan, Lebanon, Iraq,,, well the whole region actually, laughing at us for being in a panic with this level of distress, when the Boston Marathon Bombing and the Waco Fire are pretty much a daily occurrence where they live.
That level of panic hasn’t been a constant here but it is gradually becoming more frequent. 2 in one week is a new record. Granted, one is still an accident as I write this, but the deaths, injuries and displacements are identical and the jury isn’t in yet on the events in West. But it’s our response that is what is at the core of what disturbs me.
In Waco, in particular, first responders were breaking into individual homes to see if there were people stranded who needed help. I can certainly understand that under these circumstances, and God Bless them for doing it. But when I look at the course of our lives over the past 12 years, it’s only a matter of time before it won’t take an explosion like a fertilizer plant where people may be stranded, to justify first responders walking or even breaking, into homes unannounced. FISA searches are already being conducted where law enforcement breaks into a home, leaving no trace of entry, conducts a search and leaves, sometimes with items of that person’s property. All without notification to the homeowner before or after the fact, and it’s all perfectly legal. The homeowner doesn’t even have the right to know that it happened. What is a citizen’s recourse to determine if a warrant was even thought about, much less obtained?
In Boston we became more aware of how little privacy US citizens have in a post 9-11 world. Particularly in concentrated population centers like cities. There is a camera, surveillance and otherwise, on you, nearly everywhere you go in your day to day lives. Most of us now have cellphones with cameras on board both for video and still images. If you have State Issued Identification, which everyone is required to carry, that ID has your picture on it. That picture is held in a database which is available to Homeland Security AND every Police Department in the country on-demand.
When you get on a plane, enter a building, go to court, attend a sporting event or concert, or in many cases, go to school, you and your belongings can be searched as a matter of standard operational procedure. No suspicion of any wrongdoing is required! That search is a fishnet for anything that may be of interest to law enforcement not just terrorist threats. If. In the course of a search for bombs or weapons, law enforcement stumbles upon a joint, you go to jail. It’s hard not to think that threatening events are being taken advantage of as justification for the continued erosion of the privacy, autonomy and civil rights of American Citizens. Your 4th Amendment rights are GONE, dear reader. Completely and thoroughly GONE!
Our fear has turned us into the very people we are spending more than half our collective wealth to defend ourselves against. After 9-11 we were taught that Islamic Terrorists want us dead because of our freedom. Our response has been to do what they wish. We have dismantled our own freedom to save them the trouble of doing it themselves. Not for a temporary period while a threat exists, but permanently! We are now in a constant state of war. The War on Terror has been ongoing for 12 years and counting and the War on Drugs has been going on for almost 30 years and counting. I guess the War on Poverty is over but I must have been drunk or on vacation the day that victory was declared.
Doesn’t it seem like every time we have several months of relative peace, something will happen to send us into another panic? And, every time we are in another panic doesn’t it seem like more and more of our privacy and civil rights are whittled away? This time, while we were panicking over Waco and Boston, while our heads were turned, CISPA was passed through Congress, eroding more of our civil rights. We can only hope that the Senate turns it down. In this case it’s a thankful thing that the Senate is where legislation goes to die!
This is happening with enough regularity that I no longer believe that it is coincidental. These events that distract our attention from what is continuing to happen are being used to continue our march towards martial law on behalf of big business, that is gradually accelerating to a dead run, while we are trying to recover from big tragedies like the Boston Marathon, and the Fertilizer Plant in Texas, and the Sandyhook Middle School shooting, and the Aurora Theater Massacre, and Columbine High School shootings, and the Virginia Tech Shootings, and the Alabama Tar Sands Pipe Rupture, and the…
It’s becoming more and more difficult to draw a distinction between the bad guy and the hero who is supposed to be protecting us from him. Our policy of military intervention into other countries, as another example, has graduated from defense to offense. We are now taking military action against the POTENTIAL of threat to our interests. We no longer require an actual threat. We are PRO-ACTIVELY aggressive in our foreign policy.
If our pro-activity were based on moral duty, we would be involved in countries where we have no financial interests. Somalia, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Darfur jump to mind. It is about the money, not any sense of moral duty to protect the innocent, that we pull out the biggest most powerful weapons on planet Earth. We are pro-active against those who might, at some point in the future, threaten our financial interests. It doesn’t puzzle me in the least that countries scattered throughout the world want us dead. We’ve become bullies! But that isn’t even the most horrifying thing about what I’m seeing. What’s truly frightening to me is WHAT we are being bullies FOR! We are using the very lives of our citizens to protect the investments of a dwindling number of wealthy people! We are not defending OUR interests in these wars, we are defending someone else’s wealth.
Our government will even go after its own citizens if they mess with the money. That was never more clear to me than when I spent the evening at Lownsdale Square in Downtown Portland last year watching the police scaring the shit out of the Occupy Movement with a display of saber rattling. Virtual SWARMS of anonymous looking robots dressed up like ninjas with their guns and police shields. They were anonymous because there was nothing on their attire that suggested that they were police. They were all Unmarked, dressed in military gear, all in black. You couldn’t see any of their eyes. They were purposely dressed to LOOK anonymous and all the same. I do not recall ever seeing anything like it before. Not even during protests against the Viet Nam War in my youth. Law enforcement has become more sophisticated at threatening theater over the past half century. And. It’s no accident that those theatrical threats look the same in every city in which they occur.
They are all being trained by the same few multinational corporations that are supplying arms and technology to the world’s armed forces. Along with those tools, they provide the training in how, and when, to use them. All of those things are expensive and police departments nationwide are under more and more pressure to justify such expenditures. Which in turn, leads to more use of them. Like the Occupy Movement I attended last year.
At the core of ALL of this is fear! We, the individual people in the world, must be kept in a constant, or nearly constant, state of fear in order for big business to gain more and more control over our lives and to demonstrate over and over who is really in charge. Make no mistake about it. These changes to our Constitution and our way of life are about power and control of our lives on behalf of financial interests. I fear it may already be too late because the more news I watch, the more hopeless this march toward corporate totalitarianism, becomes. From my relatively meaningless little individual incident of getting hosed by a meter-maid, all the way up to global foreign policy there are more and more indications that everything we know is wrong about how the world, and our place in it, works.
I’m scared too, but maybe not for the same reasons you are. I’m scared that our glorious experiment in democracy has failed. I’m scared that we will never get it back.Â I am scared that I am a part of the last generation to live under the protections described in the Constitution of The United States of America. My greatest fear is that it may already be too late! The orchestration of fear and loathing, the corporate take-over of the United States of America may have already taken place, and I fear that I was never really in the game.
April 27, 2013
Â· GLFranklyn Â· Comments Closed
Tags: Afghanistan, civil rights, Corporate Greed, Current Events, Democratic Philosophy, financial, Media, Politics, wall street, War in Iraq Â· Posted in: Politics
April 7, 2013 â€“ by Gregory Franklyn
A lot of things bend my mind to the breaking point, these days. When I was young, I had to take Psychedelic Drugs to get mental sensations like this. Now, all I have to do is tune in to FOX Views. During the recent Supreme Court hearings of 2 Marriage Equality cases the subject of Marriage was all over the news channels and even on the more sane ones, I kept hearing things like â€śMarriage has been defined as one man â€“ one woman for the last 2 to 5 THOUSAND years, (depending on whom you ask) and has been the foundation for civilized society throughout the ages.â€ť
I think my head may explode the next time I hear a stupid phrase like that. â€śThe Sanctity of Marriageâ€ť is another one that produces mind bending results for me, as well. It doesn’t take much research to come up with the truth about marriage. Even intellectually lazy, knee jerk morality thugs wouldn’t have to spend more than a few minutes on Google to blow that theory out of the water. Lets have a look.
I haven’t even opened my browser yet and I’m looking at the book that SOME lazy minded morality thugs are using to make the assertion that I shouldn’t be able to marry whom I choose. In fact, before I even open that book I can point to, what was it, 700 wives for King Soloman along with his concubines, and we also know that Abraham had at least three wives, and we can name them. Sarah, Hagar and Keturah. During the time Jesus was physically here, men having several wives was common and marriage was a financial transaction more-so than anything that involved love or commitment. Women were traded in marriage for goats and cows between families. There’s not much that is sacred about that.
Marriages were arranged based on tribal strength and what a girl’s father could offer as a dowry to marry his daughter into a better or bigger family/tribe. You see, at the time, there was no police force to protect anyone against pillaging, In fact, the only force at the time that could be comparable were the Roman soldiers, who were doing a lot of the pillaging themselves. That’s how Rome became an empire. So the tribes had to provide protection for themselves. Marrying a daughter into a bigger family/tribe gathered a larger tribe that could be called upon to help with defense against pillagers and keeping the folks in the tribe relatively safe from harm. Marriage expanded the power of tribes.
Next we get to the concept of the â€śTemple Prostituteâ€ť which were women who had sex with parishioners in exchange for contributions to the temple. Almost every man of marrying age, in that social structure, was married so I guess we know who these early-day call girls were making whoopie with. The subject of a definition of marriage as One Man-One Woman is one that, as recently as yesterday afternoon, Christians have not been able to adequately resolve among themselves. A handful of divisions of Christianity still practice polygamy as of yesterday when last I checked.
The new testament stories about what Jesus said, and did, clearly favor monogamy in the marriage model, but Jesus does not go so far as to condemn polygamy. He just doesn’t seem to care that much about it. That absence of condemnation has been interpreted by people who favor multiple wives, as an open door to consider it as ordained by God as any other marriage model. Personally, I wouldn’t attribute any of those models as â€śOrdained by Godâ€ť. I attribute a lot more class to the supreme being than to have ordained a mess like THAT!
Interestingly enough, Jesus didn’t seem to care much about homosexuality either despite the fact that it was happening all around him as much as it is today. Kissing and hand holding between men was common enough to be referenced several times involving Jesus himself. Do you honestly believe that every man at the time stopped at kissing and never went any further? These were some pretty lusty folks if the Temple could make money by employing prostitutes for men who already had pussy waiting for them at home. Let’s get real here. We’re talking about some real sex FREAKS here. Abstinence hadn’t been invented yet.
The One Man â€“ One Womanâ€ť model of marriage is a relatively new social concept. Certainly not 2000 years old. Have a look at Christianity on the African Continent. There are a handful of African Christians there who are still working with the more traditional tribal structure. The model of marriage we think of today is more of an aspiration about what marriage can be, rather than a reflection of what it is. Even for Christians.
And that brings me to the subject of marriage as we know it today. Sacred? I don’t think so. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. It’s every bit as much of a squalid institution as it always has been. How it occurs in the modern world is a convenience for a lot of reasons. For one example, two incomes are pretty much required these days, for the overwhelming majority of human beings, to sustain anything above a poverty existence in any country you choose. That takes two or more breadwinners. In the West, particularly, tabloids have no trouble coming up with stories, week after week, about the revolving door that is marriage and we even elect leaders from among serial monogamists and adulterers, election cycle after election cycle. It just doesn’t seem that sacred to me.
I’m not trying to profess that marriage is a bad institution, (you couldn’t tell could you?) I just can’t stand the rampant fantasy that it’s some holy and sacred thing that is the moral foundation of society. It is so entirely NOT that! It’s a contract like any other, and contracts are regularly broken. That’s why there are courts of law.
It’s a legal contract that two people make, fully intending to keep it for life. But, like any other contract, it doesn’t always work out as planned. What angers me is that people who don’t even respect marriage themselves are trying to insure that I’m not good enough to be considered equal under the laws, regarding marriage, because I would choose a partner that they don’t fancy. My question is this: What business is it of these people, whom I marry. What possible damage does that cause to that other person and their spouse,,, or any of their string of spouses for that matter?
Marriage is a legal contract, and at present, some Americans are allowed to enter into it and others are not, and that’s the problem with it for me. I am a Citizen of the United States of America. But not completely. Other people get to marry whom they choose, for whatever reason they may have, and I don’t. For ANY reason what-so-ever!
I don’t object to straight people getting married. Good for them! I wish them all the happiness their souls can stand. I do object to straight people being ABLE to marry while I am prevented from doing so, by law. That’s wrong, and it’s not fair. There are legal benefits to being married, somewhere over a hundred of them, that sets me apart from full citizenship and inclusion in those benefits, and that is contrary to the core principles upon which this Nation was founded.
If the power and greatness of this nation is crumbling before our eyes, and it IS, it is because we do not honor our promise to one another to treat each other as equals under the law. We don’t do that, in fact we haven’t done that for,,, well,,, ever! The reason why it has been necessary to amend the Constitution of the United States so many times, to include people who are not white, Women, and now Corporations is because we have never honored our promise to one another. So we have to name each individual one by one until we are all included in the original term of, â€śManâ€ť, as specified in the original concept.
As an aside, the Supreme Court has decided that everyone, among white males, then later non-white males, then even later, women and now corporations, has civil rights. Corporations have the right to marry whom they choose now too. They always have. Their marriages are called â€śMergersâ€ť and include legal benefits just like marriage does. So. NOW, everyone in the United States, including a business concept that isn’t even flesh and blood and doesn’t even have the ability to reason independently, can marry whom they please! But I can’t, because some Christian Morality Thugs don’t fancy who I’d choose? WTF!