The following video is by a good friend of mine that I have known for 35 years. Listen and comment please.
Dr Asante says they're the same
I have considered myself Afrocentric even before the term Afrocentricity was coined by Molefi Kete Asante. When the book came out, it was like, it gave intellectual expression to what I and others felt intuitively. According to Asante during the l960s a groups of Afrikan American intellectuals in the newly-formed Black Studies departments at universities began to formulate novel ways of analyzing information. In some cases, these new ways were called looking at things from “a black perspective” as opposed to what had been considered the “white perspective” of most information in the American academy. In the late l970s, Asante began speaking of the need for an Afrocentric orientation to data. By l980 he had published his Afrocentricity: The Theory of Social Change, which launched the first full discussion of the concept. Although the word existed before Asante’s book and had been used by many people, including Asante in the l970s, and Kwame Nkrumah in the l960s, the intellectual idea did not have substance as a philosophical concept until l980.
Several years ago I spoke with Asante at a colloquium in Brazil on Pan Afrikanism, and we have talks several times since then. I took the occasion in Brazil to ask him a couple of questions. One of the most salient was, "Is there a difference between being Afrocentric and Afrikan centered?" He said they were the same thing and that folks in Chicago, in a rift with him and Karenga, had started this "schism." The reason I asked him this, is I had noticed the increasing us of the term "Afrocentric" in contexts that I thought were incongruous. For example, the "Afrocentric movement" was growing among Black churches. There was talk of Afrocentric clothing and the likes.
Was it possible for a church to be Afrikan centered? What did that mean? Was painting Jesus Black and wearing Kente or celebrating the Maafa all that was needed to be Afrocentric? Can we paint Santa Claus Black, believing, now, as a result, black children will develop healthy senses of cultural appreciation, racial pride and self-esteem? I don't think so! In fact, the same materialism and cultural values that preserve Western “civilization” are inculcated in our children, whether Santa is Black or white. In order for something to be Afrocentric or Afrikan centered it must be based on the Afrikan worldview. And there are key concepts that comprise the Afrikan worldview, such as unity, harmony, reciprocity, sacrifice, taboo, and order. Foremost is the concept of harmony, with its idea of masculine and feminine complementarity. If you currently espouse or believe in a system of thinking that excludes male-female complementarity, then it is not Afrocentric/Afrikan centered. Here I am speaking more anthropologically, referring to cultural intentionalities. But on a more down to earth level, the Afrikan worldview encompasses system that allow for veneration and communication with those who came before us--the ancestors. If your present system does not allow for this then again it is not Afrocentric/Afrikan centered!
It is this last element of the Afrikan worldview that has been under attack by monotheists or the longest. Terms like Black magic, and holidays like Halloween, were both associated with ancestral worship. It is time we became really Afrikan centered and stop toying with the concept. I am well aware that Afrocentricity is a process, but the sooner we get on board the better. None of what I have said is meant to contradict what Asante has developed, it is supplementary.
Being Healthy is Revolutionary
The Li Min or Afrikans of ancient China wrote about the soybean as far back as 3000 B.C. The Emperor listed the virtues of soybean plants for regenerating the soil for future crops. His praises centered on the root of the plant, however, and not the bean. This might suggest that the people recognized the unfitness of soybeans for human consumption in their natural form. The most recent Afrikan to revive the virtues of the soybean was George Washington Carver.
Carver's concern was the promotion of alternative crops to the monoculture of cotton cultivation, which had depleted the soil. Carver advocated the planting of nitrogen-fixing crops, such as peanuts, sweet potatoes, two Afrikan crops, and the Asian soybean. These crops would both nurture the soil, and also provide nutrition for poor families. However, Carver primary and secondary foci was the peanut and sweet potato respectively. He developed and promoted about 100 products made from peanuts that were useful for the farm and house. He produced such items as cosmetics, dyes, paints, plastics, gasoline, nitroglycerin, axle grease, buttermilk, bleach, chili sauce, , fuel briquettes, ink, instant coffee, linoleum, mayonnaise, meat tenderizer, metal polish, paper, plastic, pavement, shaving cream, shoe polish, talcum powder, synthetic rubber, and wood stain. Carver in his 1922 sweet potato bulletin listed many recipes. Carver did the least of his work on the soybean. Perhaps he was aware of its anti-nutritive elements when not properly prepared or consumed.
When I first made major dietary changes, the soybean was championed as the Superfood of Health. Only after eating more than my fair share of soy, which was made to imitate every possible meat, did I realize how harmful soy was. After lengthy soaking and cooking do soybeans become edible. This process produces tofu. Other fermented soy products are tempeh, miso, and natto. Unfermented soybeans are the problem. In their natural form, soybeans contain phytochemicals with toxic effects on the body. Soybeans three major anti-nutrients are phytates, enzyme inhibitors and goitrogens. According to Dr. Mercola, these anti-nutrients are the way nature protects the soybean plant so that it can live long enough to effectively reproduce--they function as the immune system of the plant, offering protection from the radiation of the sun, and from invasion by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. If they are not removed by extensive preparation such as fermentation or soaking, soybeans are one of the worst foods a person can eat.
What health problem are related to eating unfermented soybeans? Contrary to popular belief, thousands of studies have actually linked unfermented soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility—even cancer and heart disease. There's more, soybeans have also been linked to PMS, endometriosis, ADD and ADHD, and loss of libido. Damn, seems like I was better off before I changed my diet. I'm just saying.
Mapmakers are for certain
The earth is round. The challenge of any world map is to represent a round earth on a flat surface. There are literally thousands of map projections. Each has certain strengths and corresponding weaknesses. Choosing among them is an exercise in values clarification: you have to decide what's important to you. That is generally determined by the way you intend to use the map. The Mercator Projection was intended to foster or reinforce imperialism or white supremacy. It makes the areas of the world where Europeans live look larger than their actual size.
The Peters Projection World Map is one of the most stimulating image of the world. Why? Because Peters' map more fairly displayed third world countries than the "popular" Mercator projection map, which distorts and dramatically enlarges the size of Eurasian and North American countries. When this map was first introduced by historian and cartographer Dr. Arno Peters at a Press Conference in Germany in 1974 it generated a firestorm of debate.
While the Peters projection does (almost) represent land of equal area equally, all map projections distort the shape of the earth, a sphere. Below, however, is a representation of Afrika's size in relationship to other nation based on land mass alone--i.e., area!
Polygyny shows that reciprocity is the guiding principle in Afrikan thought. Of the different purposes polygyny served, the most important was providing society with more children. In this regard a man held a unique value for it was through him that progeny increased. Hypothetically, one man with five wives can produce the same number of children as five monogamous men. Conversely, a woman practicing polyandry cannot increase the number of children fivefold in the same time frame. This demonstrates the male productive ability and procreative utility. This had two consequences for society: (1) the selecting of men to conduct warfare; (2) the development of polygyny. Males are expendable, but a long as one survives, life can continue. These dynamics aided the evolution of polygyny, i.e., one man with many wives. However, for a society to maximize its reproductive capacity, it needs women — they are indispensable. This exercise in “reproductive mathematics” reveals why polyandry — one wife, many husbands — did not or rarely existed in Afrika, and why polygyny did. Polyandry fails exponentially to increase the number of children in the way polygyny does. In this light, the latter was an expression and avenue for the reproductive capacity of males, while it also allowed every female the opportunity to fulfill her reproductive capacity by participating in the cycle of life through childbirth.
PEDERASTY IN ANCIENT AND EARLY CHRISTIAN HISTORY By Robert T. Francoeur
For some readers, it might be interesting to note that Jesus, most probably, had an encounter with a pederast and made no judgment on the practice. One cannot understand the history of the first century C.E. in Palestine without understanding the cultural context. Greek and Roman concepts were widely accepted and promoted by Hellenizers. It is likely that they were not trying to overthrow their ancestral way of life and customs but, like many in the 20th century, were trying to get their people to "keep up with the times" and modernize their approach to life; thus, many Jews were very accepting of common customs and practices of the Romans.
Jesus of Nazareth lived in a cultural context highly influenced by Greek and Roman tradition. There is a story in the gospels of Matthew (8:5-13) and Luke (7:1-10) that most certainly illustrates pederasty as not having a negative value in Jesus's thought. Most versions of the Bible are not accurate in their translation of the story of the centurion and his servant "boy." Most translators just use the term "servant" or "slave," leaving the implication of an adult. However, the Greek word used is the same as a youth in a homosexual relationship with a man (or a pederastic relationship). Biblical scholars believe that Matthew and Luke basically tell the same story taken from a common source, known as the Q source. Matthew's story reads as follows:
When Jesus arrived in Capernaum, a Roman army captain came and pled with him to come to his home and heal his servant boy (italics added) who was in bed paralyzed and racked with pain. [Note: Luke's version adds that the servant boy was very dear to him.]
"Yes," Jesus said, "I will come and heal him."
Then the officer said, "Sir, I am not worthy to have you in my home; (and it isn't necessary for you to come). If you will only stand here and say, 'Be healed,' my servant boy will get well! I know, because I am under the authority of my superior officers and I have authority over my soldiers, and I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes, and to another, 'Come,' and he comes, and to my slave boy, 'Do this or that,' and he does it. And I know you have authority to tell his sickness to go——and it will go!"
Jesus stood there amazed! Turning to the crowd he said, "I haven't seen faith like this in all the land of Israel! And I tell you this, that many Gentiles (like this Roman officer), shall come from all over the world and sit down in the Kingdom of Heaven with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And many an Israelite——those for whom the Kingdom was prepared——shall be cast into outer darkness, in the place of weeping and torment."
Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, "Go on home. What you have believed has happened!" And the boy was healed that same hour!
(The Way: The Living Bible)
Since pederastic relationships were so common and accepted in the ancient world of Jesus, it is likely that, as the story indicates, Jesus himself had no problem with the practice of pederasty. In fact, Jesus was deeply impressed with the Roman army captain and states, "Nowhere, even in Israel, have I found such faith." From what we know, the relationship of the army captain to his beloved servant boy was probably as a mentor and educator into the world of manhood, as well as sexual. His role would be to introduce the young man to people who would later help him in his advancement, and the captain would teach him how to be a good citizen. It was probably also assumed that when the servant boy got older he would take his place in the world as a heterosexual (or bisexual) man, have a family, and initiate a new boy lover. Increasingly, however, the Romans became uncomfortable with the aristocratic and ruling class having their young men in this relationship and instead assigned young slaves to the pederastic relationship.
This increasing discomfort with pederasty may account for the view of Paul in the New Testament. In his letter to the Romans (1:27), Paul writes, "And the men, instead of having a normal sex relationship with women, burned for lust for each other, men doing shameful things with other men." Many biblical scholars believe that Paul is referring to the practice of pederasty in this passage, in that the Greek phraseology used in this verse is the same used to describe the pederastic relationship. He wanted to make the new religious expression based on Jesus Christ very distinct from Roman and Greek practices, so he would attack those customs and practices he felt to be alien.
Today, we would refer to the practice of pederasty as pedophilia or, in the case of early adolescence, ephebophilia. In the context of our culture, this is considered harmful and damaging to individual development. Indeed, in the context of our culture, this is often true. This illustrates how important cultural context is to understanding any particular sexual behavior. There seems to be nothing inherently harmful or damaging in sexual acts alone, but rather harmfulness and damage must be interpreted within the context of the way each particular behavior is seen in each culture and in terms of its long-range effects on the individual.
Duberman, M.B., M. Vicinus, and G. Chauncey, Jr. Hidden from History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past. New York: New American Library, 1989.
Ford, C.S., and P.A. Beach. Patterns of Sexual Behavior. New York: Harper Colophon, 1951.
Haeberle, E.J. The Sex Atlas. New York: Seabury Press, 1978.
Kloppenborg, J.S., et al. Q Thomas Reader. Sonoma, Calif.: Polebridge Press, 1990.
Lawrence, R.J. The Poisoning of Eros. New York: Augustine Moore Press, 1989.
Murphy, F.J. The Religious World of Jesus: An Introduction to Second Temple Palestinian Judaism. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1991.
Strong, B., and C. DeVault. Understanding Our Sexuality. 2d ed. St. Paul: West, 1988.
Female Genital Modification/Cutting/Surgery refers to a series of continent-wide practices that are part of female initiation systems. These practices include the following: elongation of the labia; the removal of the prepuce of the clitoris (excision — which is what is usually identified as female circumcision); removal of all of the clitoris (clitoridectomy); or removal of the clitoris, labia major and minor (and sometimes accompanied by the sewing up of the vulva or keeping the areas in contact until the skin heals covering the urethra and most of the vagina (infibulation)).
Traditional female circumcision usually consists of the removal of the prepuce, and sometimes the entire clitoris. It was the complementary operation to male circumcision. Non indigenous or foreign influences of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) have done much to pervert this practice. The misogyny of these faiths has synergized with traditional practices, and has perverted them resulting in infibulation or Pharaonic Circumcision, which is the least practiced, the most harmful, and the most dangerous. (There is not evidence that infibulation was practiced in Kemet, female circumcision was however. This makes the name a misnomer.) The Abrahamic religions' stress on premarital virginity has caused some societies to develop the added practice of “sewing up.” This custom, used to prevent sex before marriage, was primarily practiced among the Galla and Somali (in the East Sudan) and in parts of Ethiopia that fell under Islamic and Christian influences.
For an early, more comprehensive perspective on the custom of female initiation of which circumcision (excision) is an element, the reader can examine Jomo Kenyatta’s, Facing Mount Kenya, Chapter 6.
The Egyptian medical doctor Nawal El Saadawi in The Hidden Face of Eve gives a curdling description of the practice in Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, and other Islam- influenced countries of Western Asia (today’s Middle East).
I have provided an excerpt from an excellent article on Female Genital Cutting/Surgery below. Please read the entire article, which I have provided the link for.
By Fuambai Ahmadu | An Excerpt
I will attempt to reconcile "insider" representations with "outsider" perspectives. I seek to contextualize my own experience within the broader framework of initiation in Sierra Leone's Kono society and then contrast dominant Kono paradigms with conflicting international debates that focus on female "circumcision" as a peculiar manifestation of women's global subordination.
My main quarrel with most studies on female initiation and the significance of genital cutting relates to the continued insistence that the latter is necessarily "harmful" or that there is an urgent need to stop female genital mutilation in communities where it is done. Both of these assertions are based on the alleged physical, psychological, and sexual effects of female genital cutting. I offer, however, that the aversion of some writers to the practice of female "circumcision" has more to do with deeply imbedded Western cultural assumptions regarding women's bodies and their sexuality than with disputable health effects of genital operations on African women. For example, one universalized assumption is that human bodies are "complete" and that sex is "given" at birth.' A second assumption is that the clitoris represents an integral aspect of femininity and has a central erotic function in women's sexuality. And, finally, through theoretical extension, patriarchy is assumed to be the culprit that is, women are seen as blindly and wholeheartedly accepting "mutilation" because they are victims of male political, economic, and social domination. According to this line of analysis, excision is necessary to patriarchy because of its presumed negative impact on women's sexuality. Removal of the clitoris is alleged to make women sexually passive, thus enabling them to remain chaste prior to marriage and faithful to their husbands in polygynous households. This supposedly ensures a husband sole sexual access to a woman as well as certainty of his paternity over any children she produces. As victims, then, women actively engage in "dangerous" practices such as "female genital mutilation" (FGM) to increase their marriageability (see, for example, Chapter 13 of this volume), which would ultimately enable them to fulfill their honored, if socially inferior, destiny of motherhood.
When attempting to reconcile Kono practice with dominant anti FGM discourses, a number of problems arise, starting with the alleged physical harm resulting from the practice. Part of the problem, as Bettina Shell Duncan, Walter Obungu Obiero, and Leunita Auko Muruli lucidly argue in Chapter 6 of this volume, is the unjustified conflation of varied practices of female genital cutting and the resulting overemphasis on infibulation, a relatively rare practice that is associated with a specific region and interpretation of Muslim purdah ideology.' Kono women practice excision, the removal of the clitoris and labia minorae.3 As several contributions to this volume suggest (see Chapters 1, 5, and 6), the purported long term physical side effects of this procedure may have been exaggerated. It can be argued, as well, that although there are short term risks, these can be virtually eliminated through improved medical technology (see Chapter 6).
Furthermore, among the Kono there is no cultural obsession with feminine chastity, virginity, or women's sexual fidelity, perhaps because the role of the biological father is considered marginal and peripheral to the central "matricentric unit."4 Finally, Kono culture promulgates a dual sex ideology, which is manifested in political and social organization, sexual division of labor, and, notably, the presence of powerful female and male secret societies. s The existence and power of Bundu, the women's secret sodality, suggest positive links between excision, women's religious ideology, their power in domestic relations, and their high profile in the "public" arena.
The Kono example makes evident underlying biases of such culturally loaded notions as the "natural" vagina or "natural female body." The word "natural" is uncritically tossed around in the FGM literature to describe an uncircumcised woman, when actually it needs definition and clarification. Kono concepts of "nature" and "culture" differ significantly from Western ones, and it is these local understandings that compel female (and male) genital cutting. In essence, what this chapter amounts to is a critique of a profound tendency in Western writing on female "circumcision" in Africa to deliver male centered explanations and assumptions. Scholars must be wary of imposing Western religious, philosophical, and intellectual assumptions that tend to place enormous emphasis on masculinity and its symbols in the creation of culture itself. In traditional African societies, as is the case with the Kono, womb symbolism and imagery of feminine reproductive contributions form the basis of meanings of the universe, human bodies, and society and its institutions social organization, the economy, and even political organization can be viewed as extensions of the "matricentric core," or base of society. Female excision, I propose, is a negation of the masculine in feminine creative potential, and in the remainder of this chapter I will show how the Kono case study demonstrates this hypothesis.
This chapter is a culmination of several years of informal inquiry as well as formal research into the meaning of female "circumcision" and initiation, particularly among my parental ethnic group, the Kono, in northeastern Sierra Leone. This study constitutes an analysis of five stages: (1) my subjective experience of initiation from December 1991 to January 1992, which lasted just over one month; (2) indigenous interpretations from other participants, mainly ritual leaders and their assistants, recorded at the time; (3) later academic study, when I returned to Kono for an additional two months in December 1994 and December 1996; (4) a total of nine months conducting formal and informal interviews among Kono immigrants in and around the Washington, D.C., area; and finally, (5) approximately three months spent between January and July of 1998 traveling back and forth between Conakry and Freetown talking to Kono refugees and women activists, mainly about their more immediate survival concerns but also about "circumcision," initiation, and the future of women's secret societies. These discussions included informal interviews as well as formal semistructured interviews with three ritual officials: two traditional circumcisers, or Soko priestesses, and one digba, or ranking assistant to the Soko.
The cumulative data are drawn from interviews with a broad range of Kono men and women: young, old, university educated professionals in Freetown and in the United States, as well as illiterate villagers and traditional rulers in Kono. If I have sacrificed quantification, it has been for the benefit of collecting detailed qualitative data that would enable my search for meaning and significance, both of which I felt could be best obtained through carefully selected, knowledgeable informants. What this study attempts to explain are the views, beliefs, and rationales of supporters of initiation and "circumcision." The extent to which these attitudes reflect those of all or the majority of Kono women is left open for future research.
My specific aims in this chapter are, first, to elucidate the significance of female initiation and "circumcision" in terms of indigenous Kono cosmology, culture, and society and to demonstrate how and why it is that bodily operations both male and female are viewed as necessary and important processes in the dynamics of sex and gender constructions and kinship relations. My second objective is to interrogate specific areas relating to international discourses on eradication of female "circumcision," using my own personal experience as well as Kono ethnographic data and the accounts of the experiences of individual Kono women. Finally, my goal is to discuss avenues for compromise on the "debate" about female "circumcision" and to suggest alternative strategies to current hard line approaches.
To read the entire article click http://www.africanholocaust.net/fgm.html
If your white you're alright, if you're yellow stay mellow, if you're brown stick around, and if you're black stay back?
This is my fourth post concerning this issue. All the post have focused on the continent, and I made one reference to Jamaica. Skin bleaching was very common in the U.S. after the turn of the 20th century. It was so common that one could even find ads for bleaching cream in Garvey's Negro World. In general skin bleaching as an element of popular culture in the U.S. has disappeared but might it be making a come back? Many of the gossip websites are always outing someone, someone they have accused of bleaching. I do not know if any of the claims are true. They could just be Photoshopped. At any rate, in some cases the skin bleaching seems obvious, in other cases not so much. I have not included the names of the artists, but just the images for your perusal. Are they or aren't they? And if so, why? Black aint beautiful enough as it is? My fear is that these celebrities might trigger a popular trend in skin bleaching. Apart from the lack of self-esteem, racial pride, color prejudice, and all it may be a reflection of, bleaching is unhealthy, even dangerous. We suffer from enough health concerns, now to add another that's based on an inferiority complex, is ridiculous. The point is, that skin color continues to plague Afrikan people whether at home or abroad. Aint White Supremacy a "mother" you know what!
P.S. What's up with the hair?
Last year I blogged about the possibility of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) classifying Pedophilia as a “sexual orientation,” thus destigmatizing it. Well apparently, they have been called to task. A number of media outlets including the Washington times have made inquiry regarding this change in “orientation.” The APA had stated that its new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, known as DSM-5 or DSM-V, had erroneously use the phrase “orientation” and it will be corrected soon in its manual on mental illnesses. Was this a real error or the imprinting of the idea on the American psyche.
Well, the West is at it again, only this time, it's using its entertainment medium to attack our sensibilities and the issue is incest. In Afrikan societies sibling incest (including in the royal family in Kemet and elsewhere) has been a longstanding taboo. For that matter incest has been a nearly universal taboo. But in recent times, television programs like Game of Thrones have brought the issue to the forefront by glorifying the “twin-cestuous” relationship between the characters, Cersei and Jaime Lannister. This has popularized the ideas and has attracted millions of viewers and discussion about incest in popular Reddit threads. Also, the MTV show “Happy Lands” just announced its upcoming brother/sister incest plot, with the show's star Bianca Santos making headlines for declaring, “Incest is hot, and we’re going to have fun!” There they go opening up more cans of worms!
Recently an Australian Judge, Garry Neilson, came under fire last month for suggesting that society may no longer see sex between siblings as “unnatural” or “taboo,” Sydney Morning Herald reported. Neilson’s comments arose from an incest case he presided over earlier this year in which a 58-year-old man was charged with repeatedly raping his younger sister in 1981, when she was 18 years old and he was 26. (The judge refused to admit evidence to the jury that the defendant had earlier pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting his sister when she was 10 years old and he was 17 in 1973, “reasoning” that the sexual abuse that occurred previously was not connected to the sex that happened when she was 18.)
In his controversial statement, Judge Neilson said just as homosexual sex used to be socially unacceptable but is now recognized, “a jury might find nothing untoward in the advance of a brother towards his sister once she had sexually matured, had sexual relationships with other men and was now ‘available’, not having [a] sexual partner.”
He went on to say that the “only reason” incest was still a crime was because of the high risk of genetic abnormalities in children born from consanguineous relationships “but even that falls away to an extent [because] there is such ease of contraception and readily access to abortion.” Predictably, the judgment sparked mass public outcry, most notably from child protection and gay rights advocates, and leading to a full investigation by the New South Wales Judicial Commission and disciplinary review. Nielson was subsequently stood down from criminal trials and the ruling set aside.
What in th hell is going on here?
Politics as usual
President Obama signed his name to H.R. 933, a continuing resolution spending bill approved in Congress several day ago. However, buried 78 pages within the bill exists a provision or rider that protects biotech corporations such as the Missouri-based Monsanto Company from litigation. Hence, the provision or rider has been dubbed “The Monsanto Protection Act.” Though the bill was ostensibly written by freshman Senator Roy Blunt, who according to The Center for Responsive Politics received $64,250 from Monsanto towards his campaign committee between 2008 and 2012, Monsanto practically crafted the exact language of the document. The maligned corporation will benefit greatly and directly from the bill, as it essentially gives companies that deal with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and genetically engineered (GE) seeds immunity to the federal courts, among other things. Moreover, the bill states that even if future research shows that GMOs or GE seeds cause significant health problems, cancer, etc, that the federal courts no longer have any power to stop their spread, use, or sales. The one caveat concerning this bill is it will only remain in effect for a limited time.
Obama had no problem signing it into law and for reasons you will see in this blog. He was well aware of the controversy regarding the rider. Once a concerned public became aware of the rider, realizing that congressional approval was likely, more than 250,000 people signed a petition asking the president to veto the spending bill over the biotech rider tacked on. “But Obama ignored [the petition],” as the International Business Times (IB Times) notes, “instead choosing to sign a bill that effectively bars federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of GMO or GE crops and seeds, no matter what health consequences from the consumption of these products may come to light in the future.”
There are those experts that argument not enough research has been done yet to accurately determine the effects that GMOs have on human and animal health. But much of the independent research done thus far should be cause for alarm. This bill sidesteps that completely though, and simply states that even if there are problems, that the federal courts can no longer do anything about it. And this bill is now law, thanks to President Obama and the U.S. Congress. Furthermore, while GMOs may or may not cause problems for human health, they present problems for a number of additional reasons. One being, that many do not even do that they were supposedly designed to do. For example, new research from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) has found that genetically modified Bt cotton crops, which contain the Bt toxin poisonous to the primary enemies of cotton, have considerably weaker defenses against their secondary enemies, when they were suppose to have more.
President Obama has made no efforts to lead America towards healthier food production. He has made no temporary halts to GMO foods while further comprehensive research is conducted to determine their long term side effects. In fact, he has not even pushed to simply label GMO to protect babies, pregnant women and those with chronic diseases. Moreover, his presidency has filled key posts with Monsanto people, many in federal agencies that wield tremendous force in food issues, such as the USDA and the FDA. The following are all Obama appointees along with their background and accomplishments thus far: at the USDA, as the director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Roger Beachy, former director of the Monsanto Danforth Center; as deputy commissioner of the FDA, the new food-safety-issues czar, the infamous Michael Taylor, former vice-president for public policy for Monsanto. (Taylor had been instrumental in getting approval for Monsanto's genetically engineered bovine growth hormone); as commissioner of the USDA, Iowa governor, Tom Vilsack (Vilsack had set up a national group, the Governors' Biotechnology Partnership, and had been given a Governor of the Year Award by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, whose members include Monsanto); as the new Agriculture Trade Representative, who would push GMOs for export, Islam Siddiqui, a former Monsanto lobbyist; as the new counsel for the USDA, Ramona Romero, who had been corporate counsel for another biotech giant, DuPont; as the new head of the USAID, Rajiv Shah, who had preciously worked in key positions for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a major funder of GMO agriculture research; and we cannot forget that Obama's secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, once worked for the Rose law firm. That firm was counsel to Monsanto. And last but not least, Obama nominated Elena Kagan to the US Supreme Court. Kagan, as federal solicitor general, had previously argued for Monsanto in the Monsanto v. Geertson seed case before the Supreme Court. It seems that from the very beginning, Obama was in Monsanto's pocket! Either he and Michelle were on different pages, or they both were lying. I believe they were on different pages.
I believe, Michelle Obama in earnest launched the Let's Move campaign, which gave facts, tips and advice on how schools and families can create healthier meals and incorporate more physical activity into their daily lives. Mrs. Obama has modeled behaviors such as planting gardens, exercising and talks about what she does at home to keep her children healthy. Eating wholesome organic food was part of her diet. In fact, Mrs. Obama insisted, during Obama's presidential campaign in 2008, that their family has been on an organic diet for the past few years. However, she was forced to change her tone. Just a few days after Michelle Obama invited local fifth graders to help plant the White House Kitchen Garden, the Mid America CropLife Association (MACA), a group which represents and is comprised of former executives from Dow AgroSciences, Monsanto and DuPont Crop Protection, sent the White House a letter expressing their disappointment that she had not “recognize[d] the role conventional agriculture plays in the US.” Moreover, the group went on to provide a dose of propaganda educational information, including little known fact that “technology allows for farmers to meet the increasing demand for food and fiber in a sustainable manner.” The lobbyists instructed Michelle Obama to use “crop protection products” meaning using Round Up, Monsanto GMO seeds and non-traditional chemicals. In effect Michelle Obama's organic crusade was squashed. We have to conclude from Mrs. Obama's run-in with biotech companies, that one cannot even have an organic garden. We commend the First Lady's efforts. And yes, exercise is good but you can't exercise off a bad diet, and especially one that contains GMOs, such as High Fructose Corn Syrup (made from GMO corn), which although it is a sugar, is metabolized as fat, and contributes to obesity and type 2 diabetes. I wonder what Michelle Obama said to Barack after he signed the bill. I guess nothing, after all, they had silenced her already.
In the final analysis, and incorporating an Afrikan centered perspective, we must beg the questions, “When did traditional methods of producing food stop working?” (Can't they be upgraded or improved rather than humans tampering with plant DNA?) “Why does Western science want to continue to play “God?” “Hasn't the Supreme Being done a superb enough job thus far?” “Why do some people believe they can do a better job creating food than the Creator?” (“How do you even think you can out-create the Creator?”) Oh well.