Wednesday, June 15, 2011

J. Stanton On Government Subsidies: Why Americans Eat So Much Corn, Soy, and Wheat

"One reason grains are so cheap in the USA, of course, is gigantic subsidies for commodity agriculture that, while advertised as helping farmers, go mostly to agribusinesses like Archer Daniels Midland ($62 billion in sales), Cargill ($108 billion), ConAgra ($12 billion), and Monsanto ($11 billion)—and result in a corn surplus so large that we are forced to turn corn into ethanol and feed it to our cars, at a net energy loss!

There isn’t one grain of anything in the world that is sold in a free market. Not one! The only place you see a free market is in the speeches of politicians. People who are not in the Midwest do not understand that this is a socialist country.

- Dwayne Andreas, Former CEO of Archer Daniels Midland

A bushel of corn weighs 56 pounds and costs $6.85. That’s 12.2 cents per pound.
A bag of Tostitos contains about 10 cents worth of corn, and costs $4.00.
That’s a 4000% increase.

A bushel of wheat weighs 60 pounds and costs $7.62. That’s 12.7 cents per pound.
A loaf of Wonder Bread contains about 16 cents worth of wheat, and sells for $4.40.
That’s a 2700% increase.

A bushel of soybeans weighs 60 pounds and costs $13.64. That’s 22.7 cents per pound.
A box of 'Silk' soy milk contains about 4.5 cents worth of soybeans, and sells for $2.90.
That’s a 6400% increase.

In other words, it’s highly profitable to turn the products of industrial agriculture—cereal grains and soybeans—into highly processed 'food'.

In contrast, pork bellies cost $1.20 per pound today.
A pound of bacon costs about $5.
That’s a 400% increase…

…which looks like a lot until you compare it with 2700%-6400% for grains. Also, unlike grain products, bacon must be stored, shipped, and sold under continuous refrigeration—and it has a much shorter shelf life.

It’s clear that it’s far more profitable to sell us processed grain products than meat, eggs, and vegetables…which leaves a lot of money available to spend on persuading us to buy them. Are you starting to understand why grains are encased in colorful packaging, pushed on us as 'heart-healthy' by the government, and advertised continually in all forms of media?"

- J. Stanton

Stanton's excellent blog post can be found in its entirety here:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sorrows Unseen

“Do not assume that she who seeks to comfort you now, lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. Her life may also have much sadness and difficulty, that remains far beyond yours. Were it otherwise, she would never have been able to find these words.”

- Rainer Maria Rilke

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weston Price On Native Nutritional Wisdom

"In my studies of these several racial stocks I find that it is not accident but accumulated wisdom regarding food that lies behind their physical excellence and freedom from our modern degenerative processes, and, further, that on various sides of our world the primitive people know many of the things that are essential for life — things that our modern civilizations apparently do not know. These are the fundamental truths of life that have put them in harmony with Nature through obeying her nutritional laws. Whence this wisdom? Was there in the distant past a world civilization that was better attuned to Nature’s laws and have these remnants retained that knowledge? If this is not the explanation, it must be that these various primitive racials stocks have been able through a superior skill in interpreting cause and effect, to determine for themselves what foods in their environment are best for producing human bodies with a maximum of physical fitness and resistance to degeneration."

- Weston Price, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration

An excellent examination of Weston Price's work:

No Turning Back

"While preparing for the journey, you own the journey;  once you step onto the path, the journey owns you."

- Author Unknown -

Monsanto's "Roundup" Herbicide Has Been Linked To Birth Defects For Decades

"WASHINGTON -- Industry regulators have known for years that Roundup, the world's best-selling herbicide produced by U.S. company Monsanto, causes birth defects, according to a new report released Tuesday.

The report, 'Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?' found regulators knew as long ago as 1980 that glyphosate, the chemical on which Roundup is based, can cause birth defects in laboratory animals.

But despite such warnings, and although the European Commission has known that glyphosate causes malformations since at least 2002, the information was not made public.

Instead regulators misled the public about glyphosate's safety, according to the report, and as recently as last year, the German Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety, the German government body dealing with the glyphosate review, told the European Commission that there was no evidence glyphosate causes birth defects."

Entire Article:

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Shortcomings of Science and Religious Fundamentalism

"One Side becomes nihilistic and can't really believe in anything at all, while the other side believes one thing no matter what evidence to the contrary might say, believes all the more because what it believes cannot be verified.  Each side tries to prove the foolishness of the other, yet each remains literalist in its own way.  These are two sides of the same concretized coin.  Each views the world with a single vision and can't quite open the eye of imagination or loosen the mind enough to become 'double-minded.'

Each side gains some surety at the cost of a tragic loss of imagination and a dramatic reduction in the sense of wonder at the immediate world.  Literalism takes the mystery out of life and eventually takes the life out of the mysteries.  From there, it's a short journey to expecting the whole thing to end at any moment.  Literalist attitudes in modern sciences and within mass religions lead people to envision an actual end to the created world, albeit for different reasons.

When simple belief replaces wonder and fear replaces the awe proper to seeing the beauty and surprise of life, then something essential has been lost.  The loss of wonder for the living world and awe at being part of it grows as part of the cost of literal thinking, be it scientific positivism or religious fundamentalism.  As wonder becomes reduced to the facts of the matter or restricted to fixed beliefs, the end of the world seems near indeed, either a fact to be reckoned with or a necessary evil to await."

- Michael Meade, The World Behind The World:  Living at the Ends of Time

Useful Uselessness

"If you learn to use a perfect afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, then you’ve learned the true meaning of life."

— Lin Yutang