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Transpartisan Review Blog #45

Educate Girls Globally (EGG), founded by Lawry Chickering nearly twenty years ago, has enjoyed extraordinary success promoting positive social changes in the most “difficult” populations in rural India. The most important of these are cultural—from premodern, pre-individualist, role-driven values to more modern, individualist, conscious values.

Transpartisan Review Blog #44

September 11, 2001 (9/11) Canadian air traffic control diverted 38 wide-bodied, US-bound airliners to the Gander, Newfoundland, Northeast Canada airfield. The town of Gander, population 10,000, suddenly found itself host to 6,600 stranded passengers and several hundred crew. Come From Away, the Broadway musical story of their five days together in Gander, captures their shared experiences.

Transpartisan Review Blog #43

March 6, 1857, Roger B. Taney, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, wrote the 7-2 Dred Scott opinion finding that “a negro, whose ancestors were imported into [the U.S.], and sold as slaves,” whether enslaved or free, could not be an American citizen.

On March 6, 2017, the 160th anniversary of that infamous decision—the worst in court history, historians say—Justice Taney’s descendant, Charles Taney of Greenwich, Connecticut, apologized to Dred Scott’s great-great-granddaughter under the gaze of a Roger Taney statue installed on the Maryland State House grounds in 1872.

Transpartisan Review Blog #42

transpartisan matrix

Ownership As Key To Empowerment

Revisiting the Transpartisan Matrix

by A. Lawrence Chickering and James S. Turner

The Four-Quadrant Transpartisan Matrix distinguishes the values of freedom (self-expression) and order (tradition for the right, justice for the left) that are important for both conservatives and progressives. We believe the “four-quadrant” format more completely represents what most people value than the simple left-right spectrum now used to describe our politics.

Although the “political debate” tends to emphasize one or two of the quadrants—order-left, freedom-left, order-right, and freedom-right—more than others, all quadrants matter and contain part of “the truth.” Much of our political dysfunction (we believe)—the failed policies, paralyzing conflict, many voters opting out, and two-term presidencies rarely accomplishing succession—occurs because neither party represents an effective combination of values (especially freedom and order) of most voters.

TTR explores, both in theory and in practice, real experiences, showing how four-quadrant programs, featuring all quadrants, both bring people together and solve problems.  

Our current political system focuses almost exclusively on governments as the dominant instruments of justice, with citizens having little or no role in school reform or reducing ethnic and racial conflict or foreign policy or any other public policy. Motivated by this weak concept of citizenship, two sides focus on electing “their people” to office to pursue or impose the “correct” (narrow, often single quadrant) policies.

Governments alone cannot effect four-quadrant engagement. Citizens too must be engaged. From our perspective we believe the intensely committed Trump supporters and resisters and the large number of individual citizens dissatisfied with the choices in the last election, including the ninety million non-voters, and the social activists from all sides, demonstrate the existence of a core group of citizens working to broaden our political framework. We offer the four quadrant approach as one way to understand and relate to current political activity.

A new, reformed — we would say expanded — politics will depend on a strong concept of citizenship, promoting citizen engagement that integrates the essence of left and right: for example serving the disadvantaged (order-left) in civic engagement with people “close-by” (order right) in institutions promoting free, voluntary commitment (recognizing that you can’t force people to be human — freedom-left and right).

This vision requires a strong role for civil society and civil society organizations structured to engage people across apparent differences and overlooked similarities in shaping change. Busing people far from home to internally-segregated schools failed to accomplish school integration. At best such objective integration accomplishes little, if anything. Real integration depends on internal, subjective engagement. As an example, school reform fails when bureaucratic mandates command obedience from depressed teachers, who pass their depression on to their students. School reform happens when full stakeholder ownership of schools brings empowered parents, teachers, and kids together to make schools as good as they can be.

Shared ownership of public spaces is a key to the subjective change that is at the heart of the transpartisan vision. It is the key to four-quadrant, transpartisan programs such as Delancey Street drug rehabilitation center (San Francisco), the All-Stars leadership program (New York City), and the UNICEF Girls Community Schools (Upper Egypt, a thriving hope in the epicenter of Islamic terrorism in Egypt).

Empowered ownership of public spaces drives the transpartisan vision. We offer the Transpartisan Matrix as a way to understand empowered ownership within the pandemonium of our current political milieu.

Transpartisan Review Blog #41

Critics left, right, and other, including us from time to time, find it easy to pillory and mock President Trump’s erratic, unpredictable, and apparently highly inconsistent style of leadership. They call him “child,” “clown,” and bumbling amateur. Then the President’s response to the horrendous pictures of gassed civilians leading to the American bombing of Syria reminds us that, as President, he wields enormous power that deserves, nay, requires, more than mockery.

Transpartisan Review Blog #40

transpartisan

Transpartisan Tax Time

by A. Lawrence Chickering and James S. Turner

Now Tax Reform arrives on the Congressional agenda. Congress sees the problem as not enough money to pay for all the projects, programs and material that everyone wants. The budget remains unbalanced. Lawmakers feel pressured by constituents, who they feel want all kinds of services but balk at paying taxes for them.

The last time federal income fell unacceptably short, near the end of the 19th century, Congress embraced the income tax, which the US finally adopted with a 1913 Constitutional amendment. Since tariffs, then the government’s primary financing source, fell short, Congress found a new money supply—the income tax.

Today individuals and groups from a variety of political viewpoints suggest a new source of government money for the 21st century: The Automated Payment Transaction (APT) Tax.

“Capitalizing on financial data processing technology,” according to the APT website, “we can create a tax system for the 21st century that is simple to understand and easy to administer. The concept for this transaction tax was developed by the distinguished University of Wisconsin Professor of Economics Edgar L. Feige.”

The website for the book, “The Economist’s Tale,” which presents the red, blue and green spheres shown below, says, “We tax the $16 trillion in income we earn, the small blue sphere in the diagram.”

Red – Current Taxes     Blue – Current Collective Income     Green – New Money Source

“We don’t tax the whopping $5,000 trillion in payments that occur each year, the large green sphere. Our government’s budget is $4 trillion, the tiny red sphere.”

“The red sphere takes a big bite out of the blue sphere – which is why income tax rates are so high. But the red sphere takes a tiny bite out of the green sphere.”

“If we taxed payments at the miniscule rate of 1/10th of 1% we’d have a trillion dollar surplus.”

Summarizing the impact on an individual, the site says, “Taxes on $100,000 would drop from $31,000 to $100, and the budget would be balanced.”

“The author of this plan estimates that this system could save $500 BILLION ANNUALLY (yes you read that right) for the government and citizens by completely replacing the enforcement and collection of taxes.’” Read Daily Kos article here.

“According to the computations of the proponents, the rate would be 0.35%.”

Read Forbes article here.

We present this concept of a new source of governmental income as an important idea that Congress, other policy makers, individuals in the Tax Reform debate, and citizens at large might find useful in their Tax Reform efforts.

We make a key transpartisan point when we say that our conventional left-right debate often overlooks possibilities that might be useful and fall outside current ideologies.

We believe the APT deserves to be part of the deliberations on Tax Reform currently underway in Congress.

(Image of Ben Franklin keeping vigil over the certainty of taxes from his post on the $100 bill from pexels.com.)

Badditives!

In Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid Them, Linda and Bill Bonvie, who for several years wrote the Citizens for Health “Food Identity Theft” blog, identified a rogues’ gallery of the “worst of the worst” ingredients out there. We were fortunate to be able to bring you selections below from this important book.

The Bonvies have graciously agreed to provide further insights and information about the dangers lurking in our food and beverages. Check out The Bonvie Blog here.

July 8, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Next up in the list no one would want to be a part of – Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid ThemrBGH or rBST – The Banished Badditive That Never Quite Went Away:

In some respects, the saga of recombinant bovine growth hormone, or rBGH (also known as rBST) appears to be a tale of a Monsanto-made Badditive – the predecessor to those GMOs – that finally got its comeuppance.

 

As we found out, that’s not always an easy question to get an answer to.

 

That’s because the use of rBGH has never been officially banned in the United States (even though it has in many other countries). Since there’s no requirement that its presence be announced, it’s not something you can look for on an ingredient label, although you can find dairy products that state they are produced from rBGH-free cows.

 

Actually, rBGH (or rBST), which is sold under the name Posilac, has the distinction of being the first agricultural product on the market to have been genetically engineered (by inserting the gene responsible for producing it into an E. Coli bacterium).259 Like the Roundup Ready seeds that would follow, it was created by Monsanto’s biotechnology division as a supposed economic boon to farmers. Its approval by a company-compromised FDA would cause a good deal of dismay throughout scientific circles, perhaps best summed up by the Consumer Policy Institute’s Michael Hansen description of it as “the most controversial product ever authorized” by that agency.260

 

…Originally submitted to the FDA in 1987, rBGH wasn’t given an official stamp of approval until 6 years later while former Monsanto counsel and future vice president Michael Taylor was serving as deputy commissioner for policy there, during which he also approved the first transgenic Monsanto seeds. (For the record, Taylor, whose career has been a flagrant example of the “revolving door” between private corporations and regulatory agencies, has since returned as deputy commissioner for foods under the Obama administration.)

 

The FDA approval was one based on two rat studies submitted by Monsanto, one that lasted four weeks and the second three months, in which the animals were fed rBGH to see if it affected their gastrointestinal systems. In both cases, it was said to have had no effect, a conclusion that Dr. Hansen has disputed.

 

Contrary to the agency’s claims, Hansen told author and activist Marie-Monique Robin (as noted in her book The World According to Monsanto) that antibodies were produced in 20 to 30 percent of the rats studied, meaning “their immune systems had been mobilized to detect and neutralize pathogenic agents.” He also charged that the publication of an article on the subject, written by two FDA scientists in the journal Science, was “pure and simple manipulation”, especially since it was peer-reviewed by a Cornell professor whom Monsanto had paid to test rBGH on cows.264

 

The purpose of injecting dairy cows with rBGH on a twice-monthly schedule was to increase their output of milk by 15 percent265 – which at the time it was introduced was uncalled-for at best since the market was already glutted with milk.266

 

While it may have temporarily boosted the bottom lines of some dairy farmers (along with Monsanto’s), the use of rBGH also raised fears among leading scientists and watchdog groups that it was subjecting Americans to some new and wholly unnecessary risks, especially given that children are the prime consumers of milk in this country. As consumer advocate and author Robyn O’Brien pointed out in a 2015 blog, a recent study published in the Journal of Allergy and Immunology found that milk is now the most common food allergy trigger in the US, having achieved that distinction in the last decade.267 Coincidence?

 

259. Robin, Marie-Monique, The World According to Monsanto (New York: The New Press, 2010), p. 91.

 

260. Ibid, p. 105.

 

264. Robin, op. cit., pp. 97, 98.

 

265. Ibid, p. 90.

 

266. Innvista, “Milk,” http://www.innvista.com/health/foods/genetically-engineered-foods/milk/.

 

267. Robyn O’Brien, “Dirty Dairy: Why Breyers’ Ice Cream Dumped Artificial Growth Hormones”, 2015, http://robynobrien.com/dirty-dairy-why-breyers-ice-cream-dumped-artificial-growth-hormones.

June 28, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Next up in the list no one would want to be a part of – Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid ThemPartially Hydrogenated Oils – The Final Act of a Trans Fat Tragedy:

Consider for a moment the cost in human lives of three of the best-known tragedies of modern times. When the luxury liner Titanic sank in the North Atlantic in 1912 after hitting an iceberg, the official tally of passengers and crew members who died was 1,517. Japan’s December 1941, attack on the American fleet in Pearl Harbor killed some 2,402 people all told, including several dozen civilians. When the United States was attacked by terrorists on September 11, 2001, the death toll, which included people inside the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the four hijacked airliners, was put at 2,996. When combined, the total number of people who perished in those three catastrophic events was 6,915.


Now, add another 85, and you’ve got the approximate number of Americans said to be dying every year in an ongoing disaster of a far different sort—the great trans fat tragedy.

 

These are the hidden victims of the industrial trans fats found in partially hydrogenated oils, or PHOs, which are oils that have been solidified via an infusion of hydrogen gas. Such oils have long been routinely added to a variety of processed foods to improve their texture and “flavor stability” and prolong their shelf life—even as they cut short the lives of those consuming them.

 

If you think the comparison offered above is somewhat of an exaggeration, it’s actually based on figures provided by the US Food and Drug Administration—an agency hardly given to hysteria or hyperbole when talking about additives it has long allowed to be used in our food supply. According to an FDA estimate, that one ingredient alone is responsible for approximately 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 related deaths per year.230

 

Of course, what makes the trans fat tragedy different is that it strikes people down one by one, with neither media coverage nor even any formal recognition of the real, underlying cause of their demise. While a victim’s death certificate might attribute their passing to “coronary artery disease,” for example, it won’t mention those boxes and boxes of Girl Scout Cookies they consumed, which listed “partially hydrogenated oil” among their ingredients.

 

That’s the bad news.

 

The good news is that after decades of so many commonplace products being laced with these artery-clogging materials, the FDA has finally ordered the PHOs that contain trans fats to be removed from the “generally recognized as safe (GRAS)” list and from most everyday food products by no later than June 18, 2018. “This action responds, in part, to citizen petitions we received,” notes the agency’s decree, adding that the determination was based “on available scientific evidence and the findings of expert scientific panels establishing the health risks associated with the consumption” of trans fat.231 (The trans fat issue here, incidentally, is the kind added in the form of PHOs, and should not be confused with relatively small amounts of naturally occurring trans fat found in dairy products and meat from grass-fed cows, such as conjugated linoleic acid [CLA]. Research has found this form to have “potent anti-atherosclerotic effects,”232 meaning that it’s actually apt to be beneficial in reducing plaque buildup in the arteries.)

 

Up until that deadline, however, and likely even beyond it, you will still find partially hydrogenated oil listed as an ingredient in a variety of processed products, from baked goods to frozen foods. Even afterwards, there may be numerous exceptions to the new rule, which the Grocery Manufacturers Association has indicated it hopes to wheedle out of the FDA.233

 

In fact, the pending prohibition on the further use of PHOs in grocery items has actually been a long time coming—and it hasn’t come easy, by any means.

 

230. Sabrina Tavernise, “F.D.A. Sets 2018 Deadline to Rid Foods of Trans Fats,” New York Times, June 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/17/health/fda-gives-food-industry-three-years-eliminate-trans-fats.html.

 

231. Department of Health and Human Services Food and Drug Administration, “Final Determination Regarding Partially Hydrogenated Oils,” https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2015-14883.pdf. (File downloads.)

 

232. Sarah McClelland et al., “Conjugated linoleic acid suppresses the migratory and inflammatory phenotype of the monocyte/macrophage cell,” Atherosclerosis, July 2010, http://www.atherosclerosis-journal.com/article/S0021-9150(10)00101-2/abstract.

 

233. Ibid.

June 22, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Next up in the list no one would want to be a part of – Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid ThemMSG and Its Various Disguises – The Hidden “Glutamic Bombs” in Our Food:

The strange symptoms that investment banker and former hospital administrator Jack Samuels began suffering in 1989 had all the earmarks of Alzheimer’s. As his wife Adrienne later recalled, they included “days of fatigue beyond imagination” and times when he “couldn’t put a sentence together.” However, “worst of all were the afternoons when he couldn’t remember what he did in the morning.”

 

…It wasn’t until the couple’s oldest son suggested they read a book published the previous year by George Schwartz, MD called In Bad Taste: The MSG Syndrome that the cause of Jack’s sudden affliction became obvious. Right there, on the cover, was the same tuna fish Jack had been eating every day for lunch.

 

The canned tuna, as it turned out, wasn’t nearly as innocuous as it seemed. In addition to the actual fish and water, it contained an ingredient often added to tuna to make it taste better: hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), which contains the same form of glutamic acid found in monosodium glutamate.* Glutamic acid just happens to be a neurotransmitter – a chemical that relays signals between nerve and brain cells…

 

…Once Jack eliminated the tuna fish, along with other similarly adulterated foods, from his diet, he lost his Alzheimer’s-like symptoms, along with the frequent chest and joint pains  and other symptoms he had suffered.198

 

…In that regard, Jack Samuels was very much like the proverbial canary in the coal mine, and his ordeal resulted in the couple’s founding of Truth in Labeling, and organization dedicated to identifying concealed sources of glutamic acid in processed foods that may be impacting the health of countless Americans, often without their realizing it. (Adrienne Samuels, who holds a PhD in research methodology, has chronicled all of this in a book entitled, The Man Who Sued the FDA.)

 

There is certainly no shortage of such sources. “In fact, pretty much any processed fast food is likely to contain added MSG, unless it specifically says otherwise,” admits Phillip Broadwith, the business editor for Chemistry World, in a promotional pitch for glutamate. Only Broadwith’s statement, which appears on the website of the Royal Society of  Chemistry, is itself misleading. That’s because many products that claim to have “no added MSG” actually do contain it in one or more of those disguised forms.200

 

What all of these foods have in common is that their taste is artificially enhanced. In a sense, they can be compared to athletes who use performance-enhancing drugs to artificially boost their scores. But whereas the practice of “doping” in sports is considered cheating, no such stigma is attached to the use of flavor enhancers to turn a cheap recipe or unenticing product into a “taste sensation” (as illustrated by a jingle for the standard supermarket brand of monosodium glutamate: A little Accent, like a little love, surely helps.”) While those who use anabolic steroids, human growth hormone, and other doping agents are usually aware of the risks involved, countless consumers who are being exposed every day to MSG in its various forms have no clue about the dangers these ingredients might pose to their health.

 

 

*A scan of tuna fish cans in our local supermarket showed that HVP no longer seems to be used as an ingredient; however, “vegetable broth,” which may be a source of MSG, can now be found in some caned tuna products.

 

198. Adrienne Sanuels, The Man Who Sued the FDA, 2013, pp. 1-3.

200. Broadwith, Phillip, “Glutamate”, Royal Society of Chemistry, June 2011, http:www.rsc.org/images/IC0411-glutamate-food_tcm18-233514.pdf.

June 15, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Next up in the list no one would want to be a part of – Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid ThemMeat Glue – Pink Slime’s Far More Sickening Sibling:

Back in 2012, an ABC news lead story about Pink Slime (called in the industry by the more appetizing name “finely textured beef”) struck a chord of disgust in the meat-eating public.


 

Petitions were formed to get the substance out of the school lunch program, and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver conducted pink slime demos where he put beef scraps in a washing machine and then soaked them in ammonia and water.


 

Right before the slime hit the fan, however, ABC news affiliates spilled the beans about another underground meat practice. It was the use of an enzyme called transglutaminase, or, as it’s more commonly referred to, meat glue.

 

Now, even though meat glue has the potential to be a lot more hazardous to your health than pink slime, for some reason, the public couldn’t quite seem to wrap its head around it in the same way.

 

While some stories appeared in the press at the time, there were no petitions or consumers calling on the FDA or USDA to do something about it. In fact, some big-name chefs even came out in praise of meat glue.

 

For example, Wylie Dufresne, who was both chef and owner of the super-pricy [sic] Manhattan eatery wd~50 (which closed in 2014), was quoted in Meat Paper as saying he had “concocted all manner of playful and bizarre food products with meat glue, including shrimp spaghetti, which he made by mixing salt, cayenne, deveined shrimp, and meat glue in a blender.”

 

“Meat glue,” Dufresne declared, “makes us better chefs.”189

 

However, even if you’re dining at an elegant establishment like wd~50, you may want to think twice about eating “glued” food. That’s one of the problems with this stuff – the appearance of food in which it has been used can definitely be deceiving.

 

189. Lily Mihalik, “A Fish Without Bones: The rise of meat glue,” June 2011; http://meatpaper.com/articles/2011/mp_fifteen_meatglue.html.

June 10, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Next up in the list no one would want to be a part of – Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid ThemHigh Fructose Corn Syrup – It Does a Body Bad:

 

High Fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, first began showing up as a food and beverage ingredient more than three decades ago for reasons that had nothing to do with health – and everything to do with food industry profits.

 

As cane sugar prices began rising, largley due to quotas and tariffs, the cost of government-subsidized corn started falling. This just happened to coincide with a strange new sweetener, one much cheaper than sugar, that was then becoming available.

 

The sweetener was the sort of concoction that could have come out of a mad scientist’s laboratory. Manufacturing it is a complicated process involving an enzyme called glucose isomerase, developed back in 1957, which can magically turn the glucose in corn into fructose.

 

The resulting gooey, syrupy white substance is really, really sweet – so sweet that, in 1984, the soft drink world’s big brothers, Coke and Pepsi, began using it to replace sugar in their beverages. Before long, it had begun appearing in just about every type of processed food and drink imaginable, from yogurt, soup, and ketchup to bread, peanut butter, and jelly.

 

Of course, like so many other things added or done to our food for economic reasons, no one really bothered to figure out if consuming all that high fructose corn syrup might be having any sort of adverse effect on the health of consumers – at least, not initially. However, as we’ve since discovered to our dismay, HFCS is sickeningly sweet – a major factor in the rapid rise of a whole slew of health problems now plaguing us, ranging from obesity and diabetes to fatty liver disease and pancreatic cancer. It may even be an impediment to those recovering from traumatic brain injuries.

 

While the corn refining industry has done its best to try to convince us that their product has been unfairly blamed for the skyrocketing increase in such infirmities, independent scientific research has increasingly confirmed that their relationship to the ubiquitous use of HFCS is anything but purely coincidental.

June 1, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Next up in the list no one would want to be a part of – Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid ThemGMOs – The Alien Life-Forms on Your Dinner Plate:

Before we even go into the bizarre background story of how GMOs were allowed to invade our farmlands and food supply (a subject on which much has been written), there’s something you need to know right up front. It’s the fact that whatever you may have heard about how completely “safe” genetically modified foods are, and how they’re essentially no different from those that haven’t been bioengineered, it is all part of an elaborate con job – one designed to protect the profits of both Big Food and the biotechnology industry at the expense of your family’s health.

 

Perhaps the best indicator of how patently false those notions are comes from those consumers whose honesty you can always depend on – the animals in our midst. As Jeffrey M. Smith, Executive Director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, notes in his book, Genetic Roulette, when given the choice, animals usually make a point of steering clear of genetically altered foods.

 

  • Geese that landed annually on an Illinois pond and habitually fed on an adjacent fifty-acre soybean field wouldn’t go near the Roundup Ready GM soybeans newly planted on half of the field, according to agricultural writer C. F. Marley. They continued to eat the conventional soybeans on the other side.
  • Cows in Iowa refused to eat from a trough containing genetically modified (GM) Bt corn, opting for one containing corn that hadn’t been gene

    tically engineered instead.

  • Some cattle ignored a field of Roundup Ready corn and actually broke through a fence to get to a field of non-GM corn.133

 

Are they merely being finicky, or might those geese, cows, and other creatures who have exhibited similar reactions know something we don’t? It certainly seems that way given what researchers have discovered about the effects of GMOs on animals in studies that have been conducted. After ingesting Roundup Ready soy, the livers and testicular cells in mice underwent changes and their pancreases stopped functioning normally. The offspring of mother rats fed the same type of soy died at more than five times the rate of those whose mothers were given a nonbioengineered variety. That’s not to mention the sheep and cows that reportedly died after feeding on genetically engineered Bt cotton and corn.134

 

It turns out there’s an awful lot we don’t know about the hidden effects of altering an organism’s DNA, and the consequences on any person or creature that happens to consume it.

 

133. Jeffrey M. Smith, Genetic Roulette (Fairfield, Iowa: Yes! Books, 2007), pg 59.

134. Ibid, pp. 32, 38-44, 48.

May 24, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Next up in the list no one would want to be a part of – Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid ThemFluoride – Hazardous Waste in Our Water That Ends Up in Our Food:

What better, healthier way to start the day than with a steaming bowl of organic oatmeal, sweetened with organic honey and maybe topped with some organic strawberries? What could possibly be wrong with that?

 

Well, how about the addition of a small amount of hazardous industrial waste?

 

We know – it probably sounds ridiculous. Where would such an unlikely toxic badditive even come from? The oats? The honey? The strawberries that are supposed to have been grown in a chemical-free environment?

 

The answer is: none of the above, but rather the water from your kitchen faucet you used to make the oatmeal. The same water that you my have taken the precaution of filtering against contaminants.badditives

 

But then, this particular contaminant isn’t one that’s there by accident, as so many forms of water pollution are. Rather, it’s been deliberately added in many locales for many years, in amounts ranging from 0.7 to 1.2 parts per million (ppm) for the purported purpose of protecting your children’s teeth against cavities.

 

It’s fluoride, a toxic substance once used to poison roaches and rodents…

 

But isn’t fluoride something your dentist recommends – a substance found in most toothpastes and mouthwashes? How could it be that bad if the government actually encourages locales to put it in the water?

 

The answer is intertwined with intrigue. What if we told you that it is precisely because fluoride is so toxic that it ultimately ended up becoming an added ingredient in our water, and, in turn, in various foods and beverages? In fact, it appears that the original purpose of adding fluoride really wasn’t to protect children’s teeth; instead, it was a question of “national security”, that is, to shield our nuclear weapons program – as well as a number of major industries – from liability for damage that this toxic substance was causing to people’s health and properties.

 

Admittedly, that may sound rather perverse and more than a little bizarre, which may be one reason you’re not hearing it from major media outlets. However, the records that substantiate this claim would be hard to refute.

 

May 20, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Next up in the list no one would want to be a part of – Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid ThemCarrageenan – The Thickener That’s a Sickener:

Judging from the number of commercials on television for drugs designed to relieve various gastrointestinal ills, one can easily conclude that millions of Americans are afflicted with a variety of such problems, ranging from bloating and discomfort to serious conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis.

 

Could it be, however, that many of these maladies are the result of a single badditive, one that’s long been considered so safe by virtue of being “natural” that it’s even allowed in organic food, despite a growing body of scientific evidence that it’s anything but?badditives

 

The answer is a resounding “yes.” If you’re among those who suffer from chronic stomach issues, it’s quite possible that they might be alleviated simply by removing from your diet any processed foods that contain the ingredient carrageenan as has been attested to by some of those who have done just that…Carragenenan is used in a wide variety of processed foods and beverages, ranging from coconut water, low-fat dairy products, and dairy substitutes to nutrition bars, deli meats and precooked chicken It serves as a thickening agent, giving food a nice texture and fatty “mouth feel”.

 

However, this tasteless, non-nutritive seaweed derivative has long been shown to cause harmful gastrointestinal inflammation and intestinal lesions.

 

It can also be replaced with safer ingredients that serve similar purposes, such as guar gum (which FDA researchers back in 1988 found did not produce colon damage in lab rats, whereas carrageenan did91). In some instances, all it takes to achieve the same effect is simply to shake a product’s container before consuming its contents. Yet carrageenan continues to be used by many food companies, including some that claim to have only “healthy” ingredients in their products.

 

91. The Cornucopia Institute, “Carrageenan: New Studies Reinforce Link to Inflammation, Cancer and Diabetes,” 2016, p. 18, http://www.cornucopia.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/CarageenanReport-2016.pdf.

Picture of infant formula label courtesy of the Bonvies.

May 13, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Next up in the list no one would want to be a part of – Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid ThemBHA and BHT – From the Battlefield to Your Breakfast Table:

The industrial preservatives BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), like artificial colors, are derived from petroleum. So it should perhaps come as no surprise that these substances, which are used to give a wide range of processed food a longer shelf life, have also been the focus of behavioral and other health concerns, including cancer, for decades, even as the FDA has continued to declare them safe for use in food products (as well as medicines and cosmetics).badditives

 

In fact, by adding this problematic pair to the list of ingredients he eliminated from the diets of kids being treated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Dr. Benjamin Feingold, the creator of the Feingold Program, saw the program’s success rate rise from between 30 and 50 percent to 70 percent or more.78

 

…“Food is supposed to spoil eventually, but of course you want to eat it before it does,” observes the Feingold Association’s Jane Hersey. “These preservatives give food the appearance of being fresh—but it also doesn’t take much of them to trigger serious health and behavioral problems in sensitive individuals.”80

 

The latter concerns should certainly come as no big surprise, given that both BHA and BHT, which are banned in Japan and most European countries, have long been known to alter brain chemistry in mice exposed before birth. Back in 1974, researchers discovered that including 5 percent BHA or BHT in the diet of pregnant mice caused “a variety of behavioral changes” in their offspring. The baby mice exposed to BHA were slower learners and slept and groomed themselves less than control mice, while those given BHT, besides getting less sleep and showing decreased learning ability, also exhibited increased aggression.81

 

78. The Feingold Association of the United States, “Let’s Not Forget the BHT, BHA, & TBHQ,” http://www.feingold.org/enews/03-2010.html.

80. Phone Interview with Jane Hersey by Bill Bonvie

81. The Feingold Association of the United States, The Feingold Bluebook, 2012, http://www.feingold.org/DOCS/Bluebook-phone.pdf, p. 44.

Picture of BHT Molecule: This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

May 5, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Next up in the list no one would want to be a part of – Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid Them Aspartame – The Dangerous Drug Posing As A “Healthy” Sweetener:

One of the rules governing pharmaceuticals, and their advertising, is that side effects have to be listed. That’s the reason drug commercials include all those warnings about possible adverse reactions.

 

But there’s a drug that’s been on the market for several decades, one that countless unsuspecting consumers are encouraged to use as a supposedly healthy sweetening agent. It is added to numerous “sugar free” products, whose only mandatory warning is directed at people who suffer from a relatively rare health problem – a condition called phenylketonuria, or PKU, which affects an estimated 14,500 Americans.39

 

For everybody else, aspartame – a chemical mixture of two amino acids, phenylalanine and aspartate, and methanol (wood alcohol) – is regarded by the US Food and Drug Administration as “safe for the general population”. In fact, an agency bulletin describes it as “one of the most exhaustively studied substances in the human food supply, with more than 100 studies supporting its safety.”40badditives

 

Unfortunately, that assessment doesn’t jibe with thousands of complaints about aspartame’s side effects reportedly received by the FDA’s Adverse Reactions Monitoring System, as well as many, many more that have been logged by the Aspartame Consumer Safety Network, a Texas-based organization formed in 1987 that no longer actively collects any but the most serious case histories from consumers, according to its founder, Mary Nash Stoddard. “The tens of thousands of documented cases we have in our files convince us we are accurate in our pronouncements that aspartame is harming, and in some cases, killing users around the globe,” says Stoddard.41

 

…In an epidemiological study that appeared in the Journal of Applied Nutrition back in 1988, the late Dr. H. J. Roberts, a diabetes specialist from Palm Beach, Florida, analyzed reactions from 551 affected individuals and found that the most common included headaches, dizziness, confusion and memory loss, severe drowsiness, eye problems such as decreased vision, blurring, bright flashes and tunnel vision, severe depression, anxiety attacks, and extreme irritability.

 

A smaller number of respondents suffered from auditory problems, including tinnitus, extreme noise intolerance, and hearing impairment, eye pain, pins and needles, convulsions and blackouts, slurring of speech, tremors, palpitations and rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain, severe joint pain, restless leg syndrome, and various skin problems, including severe itching and hives. A few reported things like pain on swallowing, actual weight gain, low blood sugar attacks, bloating and fluid retention, burning on urination, thinning of hair, and, perhaps scariest of all, blindness in one or both eyes.”44 (Dr. Roberts went on to provide a detailed account of these reactions in a book more than one thousand pages long, which he called Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic, published in 2001.)

 

39. National PKU Alliance, “About PKU,” http://npkua.org/Education/About-PKU

40. United States Food and Drug Administration, “Additional Information about High-Intensity Sweeteners Permitted for us in Food in the United States, 2015, http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/FoodAdditivesIngredients/ucm397725.htm

41. Phone Interview with Mary Nash Stoddard.

44. United States Food and Drug Administration, “Reported Aspartame Toxicity Effects,” 2003, http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dailys/03/jan03/012203/02p-0317_emc-000199.txt.

Picture of Aspartame Molecule is made available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation.

April 25, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Next up in the list no one would want to be a part of – Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid Them Artificial Colors – Agents of Food Fraud That Are Putting Kids on the Road to Ritalin:

Of all the cheap tricks used by food processors to mass-market their commodities while compromising the health of customers, the use of synthetic dyes is the one that really takes the cake when it comes to being flagrantly fake.

 

While such fakery in the bakery isn’t that hard to distinguish, what may be less apparent are many of the packaged products, ranging from cereals to salad dressings, which have had their appearance artificially enhanced through the use of coloring agents made from petroleum derivatives.badditives

 

Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are no longer falling for this pervasive form of food fraud – especially after being made aware of the behavioral effects it can have on their kids, for whom many of these prettied-up products are intended. A number of major companies, as a result, have begun to respond by simply dispensing with these deceptive dyes and replacing them with more natural substances.

 

However, that’s not to say there aren’t plenty of processed foods dressed up in counterfeit colors that still remain on supermarket shelves, many of which are deliberately designed to appeal to preschoolers. That’s why we can’t afford to let our guard down – and why it’s so important to keep up the pressure on the industry to drop the deceptive and damaging disguises they use to lure innocent children and unwary grown-ups…

 

…It’s hardly surprising that so many supposedly “harmless” synthetic hues have been found to be otherwise when you consider their origins and backgrounds. In fact, the passage of the original federal food safety law, the 1906 Pure Food and Drugs Act, was largely designed to curtail the use of hazardous coloring agents to disguise the appearance of various products…

 

…In spite of… [such] measures, our processed food products have continued to be colored with synthetic compounds that research is increasingly revealing to be hazardous to our health (and especially that of our children) – badditives that only recently have begun to be replaced with substances more fit for human consumption.

Picture of Food Orange 7 Molecule is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

April 18, 2017

Washington, D.C. – As promised, we bring you another selection from Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid Them. Today’s excerpt is from the first chapter, Aluminum – The Metallic Menace to Your Mentality:

Like other substances of questionable safety, this most commonplace of metals came into widespread use in consumer products during the post-World War II period. In various forms, it was officially accorded GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status as a food additive by the FDA back in 1959—meaning that as something in “common use” by then, it required no clinical testing or risk-benefit analysis (which translates to: it must be safe, because people have been using it for a while without any immediately apparent ill effects).

 

In fact, after President Nixon in 1969 directed the FDA to undertake a systematic safety review of all GRAS substances, a select committee of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) was contracted to do a “re-review” on the status of aluminum. The committee concluded: “There is no evidence in the available literature on . . . acidic sodium aluminum phosphate [and other forms of aluminum] . . . that demonstrates, or suggests reasonable grounds to suspect, a hazard to the public when they are used at levels that are now current or that might reasonably be expected in the future.”²

 

Interestingly enough, although “noting that care should be taken by patients with kidney disease when consuming food containing high levels of Al (aluminum) salts,” the authors of that report “did not mention either dialysis encephalopathy, which has been attributed to aluminum, or “the controversial role of Al in Alzheimer’s disease. Description of these clinical problems began about the same time,” notes Robert A. Yokel, a University of Kentucky pharmaceutical sciences professor.³…

 

…Consumers were constantly reassured that there was never enough “proof” of an aluminum–Alzheimer’s association to be concerned about it, especially given that the victims were mostly older people and no direct cause-and-effect association was ever clearly established.
All that changed, however, in 2014, when much stronger evidence of such a link emerged—strong enough to move aluminum from something regarded with mere suspicion into the category of an official “suspect.”

 

2. Yokel, Robert A., Aluminum in Food: The Nature and Contribution of Food Additives, p. 206, http://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs-wm/28917.pdf
3. Ibid, p. 205

April 11, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Today is officially Read Your Labels Day #RYLD! (Yes, we are a little nerdy when it comes to the work to which we have dedicated ourselves.) As promised, we bring you another selection from Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid Them.

Today the Bonvies share a selection from their Introduction – a glimpse into what motivated them to provide such an important resource for managing what we feed to ourselves and our families. And if you like the “taste” you get from these selections, please support more important information like this by purchasing a copy of the book using the link above. Enjoy!

From the Introduction of Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid Them:

The purpose of Badditives! is to acquaint you with what we have come to regard as the “worst of the worst” in terms of food ingredients, how they came to be an accepted part of our diet, the adverse effects they can have on your health and well-being, and how to steer clear of them. In most cases, of course, the best method of avoiding them is, whenever possible, to buy certified organic products, which not only are grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers, but are free of most of the substances discussed in this book as well. However, even these aren’t perfect, as you’ll learn in the chapter on carrageenan, a “natural” ingredient that isn’t nearly as harmless as it’s made out to be.

Many of the concerns you’ll find discussed in these pages have been addressed at length in some excellent books, documentary films, and a good deal of scientific and historical information—some of which is cited here and can also be found on the Internet. (Of course, “Internet rumors” and “conspiracy theories” are two of the favorite terms used by industry propagandists in an attempt to dismiss most of the kind of carefully researched information you’ll find here and elsewhere, as if conspiracies—defined as schemes devised by two or more people—were nonexistent, and the Internet was nothing more than a source of unsubstantiated hearsay.) Some of the books we would recommend for those of you who would like to learn more about these issues have been used as references and are mentioned in the chapters that follow.

Hopefully, by the time you finish reading about the damage done by the motley gang of “badditives” to which these chapters are dedicated, you’ll realize that there’s a lot more to worry about in the products you might assume to be safe than merely the amount of sugar (which is actually used much less than it was in years past), sodium (a certain amount of which is actually necessary to keep us alive), and calories they contain. And once you start examining the lists of ingredients on food packages (if you’re not already doing so), you’ll see just how many of them are out there waiting for you and your family to ingest—often half a dozen or more strong in a single product.

At that point, you’ll realize it’s well worth the effort to bar them permanently from your home, your life, and your body.

April 4, 2017

Washington, D.C. – April 11, 201, marks 5 years since the very first CFH Read Your Labels Day #RYLD, the day that serves as a reminder to do everything you can to learn and understand what goes into the things you eat and drink. To commemorate this milestone, Linda and Bill Bonvie have offered to share portions of their new book Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid Them.badditives

Starting on 4/11/17, once a week the Bonvies will share new content from this excellent new resource in the battle to be informed about what we eat, drink, and feed to our families. Feel free to visit this page weekly to check if the latest addition has been posted, or wait to receive the email from us that it is ready to review. Don’t want to wait? Use this link to order a copy for yourself: Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid Them.

We’ll get things started with a selection from the foreword, written by CFH Board Chair, James S. Turner:

Journalists Linda and Bill Bonvie have been on the food beat for a number of years—most recently as the writers of twice-weekly articles for Citizens for Health’s blog Food Identity Theft from 2010 to 2015.

Their articles laid out in detail the debasing of the American food supply, for example, by manufacturers using industrial sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), “flavor enhancers” like monosodium glutamate, and other brain-damaging excitotoxins and artery-clogging trans fats, all of which have been directly linked to the unprecedented health problems that now plague our society.

The articles formed the basis for Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet—and How to Avoid Them, which zeroes in on the worst of the unnatural substances currently found in processed foods, how they got there, and the ways in which they impact our health (beginning with the first of the alphabetically ordered chapters, which reveals links between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease).

Such ingredients give mechanized foods false color, taste, texture, and stability. Without them most of such processed products would taste bland and appear pale, limp, and inert. Various performance-enhancing chemicals, however, can turn these pasty, unappealing, nutrition-deficient discharges from processing machines into the brightly colored, happy-tasting, feel-good stuff we put into our mouths and call food. They carry real risks, as do other substances covered in the following pages, such as GMOs and fluoride, that adulterate our food for even more devious reasons. Along with chronicling how these badditives came to be accepted by federal regulators, the authors advise you on how to banish them from your diet and thus avoid the pitfalls of the easy, lazy, incurious shopping habits that Big Food encourages.

Stay tuned for more – and don’t forget to commemorate Read Your Labels Day #RYLD by being extra-vigilant about examining what Big Food is putting into what you eat and drink. If you find anything especially egregious, or you want to share examples you’ve seen of what we share from the Bonvies’ book, share it with us and other Citizens for Health on Twitter (@citizens4health) and Facebook.

Transpartisan Review Blog #39

transpartisan aca

Transpartisan Health Within Reach?

by A. Lawrence Chickering and James S. Turner

Through the smoldering ruins of the most recent healthcare financing reform effort we see the faint outlines of a transpartisan approach to health care.

Former President Barack Obama issued a statement on the 7th anniversary of passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), one day before current Congressional Republicans pulled their proposed ACA ‘repeal and replace’ bill from the House floor.

The former president laid out the accomplishments he saw from the ACA and recognized the need for change, saying:

I’ve always said we should build on this law, just as Americans of both parties worked to improve Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid over the years. . . . But we should start from the baseline that any changes will make our health care system better, not worse for hardworking Americans. That should always be our priority.

In assessing the failure of his own bill President Trump said:

Look, we got no Democratic votes.  We got none, zero.

The plan Trump campaigned for, and for which his supporters voted, included affordable ‘insurance for everybody’ and a ‘demand‘ that drug companies negotiate directly with Medicare and Medicaid and lower their prices, saying they will no longer be ‘politically protected.’

After his health care financing failure, House Speaker Paul Ryan said we need to learn ‘what we could have done to do it better’. Ohio Governor John Kasich, the last Donald Trump primary opponent, said ‘Trump needs to work with Democrats on health care.’ Senator Bernie Sanders asked the President to consider pending Senate legislation lifting the ban on federal health programs negotiating drug prices.

White House: Trump is serious about working with Democrats’, writes The Hill. ‘Republicans and Democrats need to work together on healthcare,’ says Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins, after opposing the House bill, urged Democrats and Republicans to work together on health. Bipartisan serves as word of the day. We see transpartisan—bipartisan expanded—more likely to work than bipartisan alone.

By transpartisan we mean recognizing the tension in both parties between members seeking order—the leadership, the establishment, the elite—and the agitators for freedom—the freedom caucus, Bernie Sanders, and, in his populist guise, President Trump. To us transpartisan means a sound health plan incorporating interests from all four quadrants—free right and left and order right and left.  See the Transpartisan Matrix.

Large numbers, probably well over fifty percent, of Americans use complementary, alternative, integrative, natural healing—paying billions for nutrition, chiropractic, massage therapy, acupuncture, and over 100 other recognized health modalities—as part or all of their personal health promotion efforts. Virtually none of these health approaches formally appears in the current health care financing system of government and insurance company payments for drugs, surgery, radiation and diagnostics.

We believe the absence of the voice of these consumers from the health financing debate accounts for a significant amount of the dissatisfaction with both the ACA and its offered replacement.  Too many voices not heard.

These numbers track voter turnout for the 2016 presidential election. President Trump is a minority president. The vast majority of eligible voters did not vote for Trump—66 million voted for Clinton and 90 million stayed home, 63 million voted for Trump. This need not be a crippling factor. Thomas Jefferson squeaked into the White House after a tied Electoral College vote and 36 Congressional ballots and went on to have a consequential presidency.

We think a transpartisan process will strengthen any policy deliberation. Non-voters affect daily politics. Office holders write them off at their peril. At a minimum, current office holders need to consider how their actions might provoke previous sideliners to vote and how. We think this form of ‘survival anticipation’ played a key role in the failure of the ACA replacement.

The health financing bill failed to integrate the interests of the four quadrants—liberal and progressive Democrats and order and freedom Republicans—and, for that reason, we suggest, failed to become law. When the four quadrant interests integrate the natural healing community and other underrepresented populations into the health care financing discussion, the nation will take the next steps toward a workable—and we would say transpartisan—national health policy.

Through the haze we see the outlines.

(The above image is the work of the U.S. federal government and in the public domain.)

Transpartisan Review Blog #38

Our friend and colleague Steven P. Cohen, scholar, spiritual leader, and transpartisan activist, passed away at the age of 71 at his home in Teaneck, NJ, on January 25, 2017. For three decades Steve was the “silent broker” of peace talks in the Middle East—”the lone guerilla warrior of peace,” one Israeli politician called him.