The Failure of Proposition 37:
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – Is Anybody Interested?
Gabriel Cousens, MD, MD(H), DD
The failure of California’s Proposition 37, a bill that would require the labeling of genetically modified ingredients in foods, represents a shocking commentary on our collective ability to make informed and responsible choices in favor of our health and happiness. This failure at a time when nearly 20 US states are discussing GMO-related legislation, including moratorium bills, and nearly 60 countries worldwide, who have taken significant steps to mandate the labeling of or who have outright banned growth or import of genetically modified crops. Prop 37, which would have required GMO ingredients to be labeled as such, was voted down 53% to 47%, due, in no small measure, to a cynical misinformation campaign staged by none other than Monsanto, whose stated intent is to “control the world’s food supply”.
It is reported that Monsanto and associates spent nearly $46 million on a “No on 37” campaign, which engaged in what can only be construed as calculated illegal activity to disrupt a Prop 37 victory that would have struck a powerful blow to their Frankenfood empire.
According to polls, 93% of the American population wants to see GMO’s properly labeled. So how did Monsanto dupe California voters? According to Ocean Robbins’ article in the Huffington Post, Monsanto illegally included the FDA and Stanford College logos in a “No on 37” mailer to state residents to feign their support. Neither the FDA nor Stanford were publically politically positional on the matter. Monsanto also paid a PR firm to generate a misleading “study”, designed to show that the proposition would raise food prices by $400 per state resident per year. The truth is that other countries requiring GMO labeling have shown no rise in food costs. Monsanto said there have never been any documented ill-effects from GMO consumption, while Jeffrey Smith’s book, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, stands as a definitive compilation of much evidence to the contrary. The real question that remains is – “How long can Monsanto and associated companies get away with telling these big lies when people’s health and evolutionary wellbeing require accurate information to make informed choices?”
It is now estimated that 80% of processed foods contain insufficiently tested genetically modified ingredients. Genetically modified corn and soy are chief amongst these. In addition, plants that are not directly genetically manipulated are fertilized and indirectly affected by the manure from cows fed GMO crops. This sinister cycle of hollow and toxic nutrition is literally the current physiological foundation of American life. The possible dangers of eating genetically engineered foods and/or foods that contain genetically modified substances were powerfully highlighted by the research of Dr. Arpad Pasztai, a senior scientist at the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland. He fed genetically engineered potatoes to rats. The rats developed smaller hearts, livers, and brains, and had weaker immune systems. Some rats showed significant brain shrinkage after only ten days of eating genetically modified potatoes.
On September 19th, 2012 a study titled, “Long-term Toxicity of a Roundup Herbicide and a Roundup-Tolerant Genetically Modified Maize” was published online by Food and Chemical Toxicology. The study was conducted over 2 years (a rat’s lifetime) and was designed to study any adverse long-term effects resulting from feeding rats on relatively low levels of the commercial GM maize NK603 and Roundup, both individually and combined. Doses of Roundup started within the range of levels permitted by regulatory authorities in drinking water and as chemical residues in GM feed. Doses of NK603 were consistent with those used in previous Monsanto studies. Researchers found that even consuming low levels of NK603 and Roundup, separately or combined, can cause serious health problems, but these only became apparent when the rats were older than 90 days. The first tumor was observed after 120 days, but the majority of tumors were only detected after 18 months. These findings enunciate the deleterious long-term effects of genetically modified organisms on the health of the consumer.
One of the biggest problems with genetically engineered plants is their presumed ability to tolerate unlimited pesticides. Where GMO’s are grown, a glut of pesticides follows. Because of the way these crops are commercially grown, they are less nutritious. Some studies have found a reduction in IQ of up to ten points in the generation of children brought up on these “green revolution” foods. Genetically engineered crops – because they are so tied to a monoculture approach, chemical fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides – will probably cause an increase in all of the health and mental health problems associated with the “green revolution”, and possibly on a grander and more serious scale, because the gene pool will have been disrupted. One clear example is the significantly increased use of Round-Up, the Monsanto herbicide that is sold along with the Round-Up Ready crops of soy, corn, and canola. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, at least 74 plant species are endangered by Round-Up, and it kills fish at concentrations of 10 parts per million, impedes the growth of earthworms, and is toxic to soil microbes that help plants take up nutrients from the soil. The active ingredient in Round-Up is glycophosphate. In the 1990’s, glycophosphate was listed as the third most common cause of all forms of pesticide-related illness in California. Studies have also linked exposure to glycophosphate with an increased risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the third-fastest-growing cancer in the U.S. Already, the Round-Up Ready crops are needing higher doses of Round-Up to control the pests that commonly attack them. In the late ‘90’s, the FDA tripled the amount of Round-Up active ingredient allowed to remain on crops, since the residue levels were exceeding the allowable legal limit set previously.
The potential threats any given GMO crop poses to the delicate balance of an ecosystem are significant. One of the most serious ecological threats is crops carrying a gene from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). The Bt gene transferred into corn and cotton kills leaf-eating caterpillars. Every cell of these plants contains the Bt gene and produces Bt toxin. Bt is one of the world’s most important biological pesticides. This is a direct threat to organic farmers. In 1999, the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements joined with the Center for Food Safety and Green peace in a lawsuit against the EMP, which approved genetically engineered Bt cotton, corn, and potatoes. Monsanto’s Bt cotton harms a wider range of insects, including lacewings and ladybugs, and causes bees to be confused in their ability to distinguish the different smells of flowers. Monarch butterfly caterpillars, according to the journal Nature, were being killed by pollen from Bt corn. What potential damage might Bt toxin crops have on the flora that live in our own intestines?
Genetic engineering companies try to make the claim that these genetically engineered foods are natural and equivalent to the original genetic strains. This is untrue. For example, although the industry has presented more than 1,400 examples of analyses demonstrating that Round-Up Ready soy is the “substantial” equivalent of natural soy, the manufacturer’s own studies on cows suggest that when the herbicide Round-Up is sprayed on Round-Up Ready soy, the defensive response of the plants leads to increased plant estrogen levels. This implies the obvious possibility that sprayed soybeans contain a higher level of plant estrogen than the natural beans. A significant number of people have become allergic to soy protein with stronger allergies than before, when exposed to genetically engineered soy. Keep in mind that this soy is used to feed cattle, the manure of which is used to fertilize both conventional and organic produce.
One optimistic point is that California Prop 37 highlighted the GMO issue. Though anti-GMO lost this political battle, it will hopefully win the war in the years to come. Food self-sufficiency is the only answer to this dilemma. It is no longer enough to simply “buy organic”. For example, according to Organic Spies, anywhere from 20% – 30% of Whole Foods products contain GMOs.
Organic veganic farming specifically is emerging as a way to offset this modern malady, and it is no accident that we at the Tree of Life Center US are offering the first veganic farming Masters program in the world as our answer to this looming GMO crisis. (For more information on the Tree of Life Center’s Sustainable Vegan Farming Masters program click here). Over the course of many seasons we have developed our particular method of veganic farming with great success, and we are now ready to share it with the world through our newest university degreed educational program. Our focus is on high desert veganic farming, drylands vegetable production, and greenhouse and sprout-house production. This year-long veganic garden Masters program will be a life-changing and challenging experience for committed, flexible, spiritually-focused, hardworking individuals.
Organic veganic farming (sometimes called vegan organic farming) is the organic cultivation and production of food crops with no exploitation or harm to any animal in the process. Veganic farming uses no animal products or by-products, such as bloodmeal, fish products, bone meal, feces, or other animal-origin matter. Therefore, there is no exposure to GMO bacteria via fertilizer feces. Significantly, veganic farming potentiates a system closed to the negative influence of genetically modified organisms, as well as maximally avoiding any cruelty to animals.
The veganic permaculture we teach refuses the use of domesticated animals. It is essentially the same as permaculture except for the addition of a fourth core value, Animal Care, to traditional permaculture values of Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share. Veganic permaculture recognizes the importance of free-living animals, not domesticated animals, to create a balanced ecosystem. Moreover it emphasizes that these free-living animals should sustain themselves on their natural food in accord with their God-given instincts, rather than being penned and force-fed a diet of genetically engineered, unnatural substances proven to cause cancer in laboratory tests.
The sale of animal agriculture by-products supports animal agriculture and animal exploitation. A new risk to using animal biproducts for agriculture has emerged, as these animals are invariably fed a diet of genetically modified feed. Using any material from animals raised on such a diet has both speculative and unforeseen consequences. For example it has long been reasonably hypothesized that GMO’s mutate bacteria in the gut. This mutant bacteria is then spread en masse through the distribution of manure fertilizers. Veganic farming directly avoids this risk potential.
As I have written about extensively, animal agriculture is a major ever-increasing disaster for the land, air, water, and local ecosystems, as well as using 10-20 times more energy than veganic farming. It is an earth-depleting hoarding of resources. We are in the midst of a hitherto unseen environmental crises supported by fossil fuel production, deforestation, animal agriculture, and now the nefarious threat of GMO contamination. Veganic farming moves us strongly toward a viable alternative solution to our current situation.
From a spiritual perspective, the karma associated with the animal agriculture and traditional farming sustained by animal exploitation does not support the awakening of the higher expressions of human consciousness on the planet. The way we eat determines the way we live, and the way we eat is determined by the way we farm. Food production represents our relationship with the earth. If this relationship is contingent upon exploitation and cruelty, how does this affect the content of our minds and lives? In this light, the infractions suffered upon basic human rights throughout history make sound spiritual sense.
Conversely, the popularization of vegetarianism and veganism roughly correlates with the civil rights movements and cultural revolutions that have illuminated the need for equality amongst all peoples in our societies.
In addition to little attention to life (health) by the general public demonstrated by the failure of Prop 37, it is noteworthy that the bells for liberty, in general, are ringing for help. President Obama signed the 2012 NDAA in December of 2011. Of particular question and concern is Title X, Subtitle D, entitled “Counter-Terrorism”. Sub-sections 1021 and 1022, deal with detention of persons the government suspects of involvement in terrorism. The detention provisions of the Act have received critical attention by, among others, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, and some media sources which are concerned about the scope of the President’s authority, including contentions that those whom they claim may be held indefinitely could include U.S. citizens arrested on American soil, including arrests by members of the Armed Forces. The right to petition for a writ of habeas corpus has long been celebrated since the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 as the most efficient safeguard of the liberty of the subject. It was suspended by Obama with the aid of Congress on December 31st, 2011. Our fundamental right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are seriously being taken away and few are noticing or complaining. Neither major party even mentioned it as an issue in their recent election campaigns.
Sadly the proposed prolonged detention of terrorism suspects is just another example of the tyrannical incrementalism US citizens are becoming increasingly tolerant of. It doesn’t seem to matter that these seemingly calculated reactions undermine our sovereignty and threaten our freedom. At least everyone is being treated equally. Both men and women can equally be held in indefinite detention according to the NDAA. In this backward way, women’s and gay rights are indeed being protected.
Another persistent assault on our freedom is the continual barrage of legislative attempts to control the internet; first through SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and then through PIPA (Protect IP Act).
Why are these issues not foremost important in the public eye? How can the public be so manipulated into triviality? Without health (life) and liberty (sovereignty), we cannot readily pursue happiness outside of ourselves. The deeper question is – “Have we become so trivialized in our consciousness that we are no longer interested in ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’?” What is going on?
As indicated in the Mayan tradition there are different cycles for humanity. There is Oxlajuj Tiku, which is a positive cycle for humanity; a time when harmony and justice prevail. Another cycle is called B’olom Tiku’ and is a negative cycle when obscurism prevails dominated by imperialism, frivolity, ego-worship, and mechanization of human beings occurs. It is a time when the biggest wars and greatest tribulations of history have taken place. The last, B’olom Tiku’ began when Cortez came to America. He became known as the Lord of the Great Dark Night for his ferocity and the horrors he visited upon the indigenous peoples. This period began on August 17th, 1519 and ended on August 16th, 1987 – also known as the Harmonic Convergence. August 17th, 1987 marked the beginning of the transition that lasted for 5 years. This period was called Wayeb Tiku’ and lasted until August 16th, 1992. On the next day began a new Oxlajuj Tiku’ began with an interval of peace and harmony and a return to what the Mayan’s call “the Natural Order”. Before that period began there was a lapse of 9 years, the Alanem (gestation). This ended on August 16th, 2001. This correlated with the prophecies of Nostradamus, the Great Pyramid, Edgar Case, and Parravicini. At the end of this period a cleansing was to happen during the next 20 days. Fortunately everything happened during the 20 days following this, including the destruction of the Twin Towers on Manhattan Island. Many of the Mayan prophecies during this time became true including the destruction of the Towers and global warming. It is said that there would be a period of 13 years before the Oxlajuj Tiku’ takes root. This is, again, a period of light, harmony, and love to begin in 2014. Some of these cycles are discussed in the prophetic books of Chilam Balam. As we begin to understand this, we begin to understand a little bit about the world of delusion that has been created. A period of 20 years, from April 5th, 1993 to December 20, 2012, wherein the prophecy of Six Ajaw K’atun was to occur is discussed thusly in the books of Chilam Balam –
“This reign will be one of shameless looks and foolish talk. The lecherous will share lies, illusion, and deceit. Life will be hypocritical, for deceit and the breakdown of the truth will reign. Usurpers of the mat will reign. Arguments, violent disputes, hidden and deceitful disputes… There will be disputes among the subjects, and these will be hidden. So says Six Ajaw. Trees will be consumed. There will be insufficient food; even stones will be sought. Great famine will occur if the damage is not corrected, if the imposter, he of the lecherous word, is not stopped. Death will sit on his mat. This will be his throne. The Halach-winic rulers will be persecuted, the false ones who do not know their position or duty because they are not noble and there is no limit to their ambition… Nothing will be beneficial. So shall the lies and lechery end… A somnambulance will begin with the new reign of a new god… All will fail under the lies told in flattering words in the subsequent hope of resuscitation that will come with this new law and new prophet, this one who allows no other stars in the sky. The lecherous word will make men drowsy. Few will be honest with this new Ajpop (Lord of the Mat). He will be a false Halach-winic. His word will be twisted and his powers humble. Nearly everyone will come to his palace. Foolish, lecherous words are the first burden of this K’atun. God the Father will come down to lay blame and to judge the falsity of the word. Thus the people will be servile. The people will be half asleep. They will eat and they will die and thus they will be judged. This is the burden of Six Ajaw K’atun. Six Ajaw K’atun is a tenth of what is told… Ardent is the power on the face of the train that will lie with foolish and lecherous words…”
These prophecies speak of a lying, lecherous government and especially false prophets – those that dominate politics through lies and illusion. These Mayan prophecies warn of events that are happening now. The lecherous governments with their lies, the ways that we have allowed ourselves to be subjugated, and the false promises are glaringly obvious. We are being controlled by the system and manipulated by politicians offering false promises. There is chaos worldwide. When we add in the wanton consumerism incited by the mass media and the damage that is done to Mother Earth, the result is absolute human recklessness. We are suffering the consequences of this on many levels – climate change, pollution, religious and racial hatred and intolerance. This results in war and famine. Globalization as a panacea for the world ultimately forces humanity to live under a single vision, one of consumerism. It disrespects the individual and annihilates traditions. Essentially, globalism is the basis for much of the world’s conflicts today. They impose their interests on other cultures, ignoring people’s right to self determination. We are only 16 years into this period, but more conflicts are in store. Without a doubt the combination of lies and subjugation is changing values, drawing people into a state of unconsciousness – all in the name of religion that has lost its true purpose and must return to its beginning and reclaim the true transcendence upon which it was based. We are in a warning time of what can happen. Prophecies in regard to changes in store for human kind during the next K’atun (Four Ajaw) are much more benign. According to the books of Chilam Balam, Quetzal, or green bird, will arise bringing hope, harmony, a fourth vomiting of blood (purification), and with it will bring a new age and a reestablishment of humanity.
Within these Mayan prophetic contexts we can begin to understand a little of what is happening in the world today. People are half asleep, but are ready to awaken into harmony and the great natural way of living in the world in harmony with the world. In this context we can see this all as a blessing. Our work is to stay durable and strong in bringing the light and harmony into the world, so that the natural way of the Divine will reestablish itself on the planet.