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Thursday, June 30, 2016

America's GMO-Labeling Law About to Be Tossed Out by the Senate? │ A Potential Solution to Peanut and Maybe Other Allergies

Today has not gone at all as I had hoped.

My wife Jack arrived home late last evening as she had said she would, but I did not expect that she would be spending the night.

That threw off my plans for today.

I think it was 12:40 a.m. when I got to bed, and apart from rising once to avail myself of the bathroom, I remained in bed until a time-check revealed it to be something like 9:03 a.m.

Time to rise!

I did so, finding my youngest step-son Pote up.

Incidentally, he and his friends had not gone to Kelowna as their target destination early Sunday morning ─ they went to Tulameen.  One of the friends ─ Julian ─ has grandparents there, and that is where they stayed.

I think that it was around 3:25 p.m. when Pote and his girlfriend Prianka came through the front door yesterday afternoon, ending my welcome drought from their seeming omnipresence here in the house.

He evidently was going to have to work today, but not with too early a start.

I was engaged with the foundation of a new post at my website Omatsu Okiya when he came upstairs later in the morning and rapped on the bedroom door, waking up his mother to drive him to work so he wouldn't have to bother busing.

It is evidently irrelevant that he is bothering his mother who well may have to work later in the day herself.

This lazy habit of his annoys me, but at least it afforded me the opportunity to finish that post foundation, for when Jack is away like this she generally runs errands and is not quick to return here.

I had wanted to make a beer hike this morning, but that was not going to be possible.  I am by no means low in my supply ─ I just wanted to pad my stock, freeing me up to do some grocery shopping tomorrow morning.

After Jack returned home, she was in a rush to have a shower ─ she had a doctor appointment at the Centricare Medical Clinic on Scott Road here in Surrey.

She drove away shortly after 1:00 p.m.

She had not been there before, and I think she is going to have a little trouble getting to it from Scott Road (120th Street), as this Google map displays.  It appears to me that its easier access is from 120A Street.

There is a median with planted trees running down the centre of Scott Road, and Jack will be on the opposite side of that median from the clinic ─ she would be coming 'down' Scott Road from the top of the map.

Unfortunately, she was in too much of a rush to bother to look at alternate proposed routes from our home to the clinic that I had found, and was just going to take to Scott Road.

Anyway, she said that she would not be coming home from the clinic ─ perhaps she will return directly to Vancouver to work at Mango Thai Restaurant.  But she said that she will be back again (probably late) this evening.

By that, I am anticipating that my plans for tomorrow are going to be abolished just as was the case for today.

I could have gone to the government liquor store this afternoon after Jack had left, but I am just not into it.  The day is too busy out there.  Besides, it would eat up too much of my afternoon, since the round-trip takes 1½ hours.

I can but wait and see what happens tonight ─ whether I have Jack's company once again into yet another morning.


It was good having Jack here last night and today ─ she was in a good mood, which makes 'all the difference.'

Last night she was talking on her iPhone 6 via video with an old friend from her Thai village of Nong Soong ─ I had met this Pun a couple of times.

I even have a photo of her somewhere. 

I think the first time I met her was in 2003 when Jack and I were growing close on my first visit to her country.  I went with Jack and Pun to a huge pond or small lake outside of Udon Thani (city) where some enterprising Thais had erected roofed structures that extended out over the shore of the lake.

Visitors could select one of these open-sided hut-like structures, and then staff would take food orders and serve drinks.

It was very idyllic.  I recall lying on the floor with my head on Jack's lap while she and Pun talked on and on.  

I was drifting in and out of sleep, thanks to the bottle of booze we had ordered.

The second time I met Pun was in Bangkok, but I'm unsure if it was the same holiday, or if it was my second visit to Thailand in 2004.

She took us out very late one night in an effort to find a dance club that she knew of that had action beyond the normal closing hours ─ it required a ride off to the Chao Phraya River, and from there we had to take some sort of water taxi.

I believe I took the photo of Pun while we were on this watercraft.

I believe that by the time we were nearing our destination, Jack and I had lost interest ─ it had taken far too much time.

So we sat for awhile at some spot while Jack and Pun talked for a time, and then there was nothing for it but to return to downtown.

I am curious about that video call, though ─ it seemed to me that Jack and Pun talked for at least a half-hour last night.

Apparently Pun now spends time in Germany ─ she managed to hook herself a German 'boyfriend.'  She may even have been in Germany when she and Jack were talking.

I just hope that it wasn't a long-distance call!


Although the subject in the following photo has no meaning to me ─ I never met him ─ I want to post it anyway.

The description beneath the photo is from the Google album where I have the scanned image stored ─ I had to scan the photo from where it is glued into a photo album:

The photo must be from 1974 or 1975, and probably features Herman ─ the father of my younger brother Mark's girlfriend back then, Catherine Jeanette Gunther.

Jeanette was from a Saskatchewan town, and had made a trip back to the family home to visit ─ I am at this point unsure if Mark went, too.

I have been reading quite a lot of alarm-sounding concerning the very real possibility that the U.S. state of Vermont's mandatory GMO-labeling law is going to be overturned.

There are politicians who are so eagerly and shamelessly sucking every bit of 'nectar' from whatever bodily orifice Monsanto and their ilk point these suckers towards, there is the danger that these deceivers will have their way.

If you are American, please act:

The DARK Act may have just come back from the dead -- and that's bad news for all of us.

For months I've been warning you about this legislation, which would kill labeling of GMO foods.

We all worked together to stop the DARK Act from being passed in March -- but now a new bill has surfaced that may be even worse.

It's a massive handout to companies like Monsanto, and it would keep you from ever knowing whether the food you're eating is genetically modified.

And when Congress is back in session after the 4th of July holiday, we may have just a few days to try and stop it in its tracks.

Just a short three months ago we celebrated when the DARK Act (for Deny Americans the Right to Know) was defeated.

It would have slammed the door shut on any state or federal GMO labeling laws, even though polls have showed that most Americans want GMOs labeled.

At the time I said that, although we won that battle, the war might not be over yet. And that we can't let our guard down.

Well, now it's time to act, and act fast. Because should this new bill go forward, any legitimate GMO labeling, such as what is going into effect in Vermont on July 1st, will be out the window.

This legislation is called the Roberts-Stabenow GMO labeling bill, proposed by Sens. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan). And it's nothing more than a zombie DARK Act coming back to haunt us.

Stabenow is a favorite of Dow Chemical, the manufacturer of a new Roundup herbicide. Dow, in fact, is her top contributor. Roberts is the chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee -- and the guy who first introduced the DARK Act in the Senate.

Here's what this Christmas-in-July present to the GMO industry is all about. First, it would remove the biggest thorn ever from Monsanto and other GMO companies -- the Vermont labeling law starting up this Friday.

Big Food companies such as Campbell's Soup and General Mills are already shipping products with labels saying whether they're made using any GMOs, in anticipation of the Vermont law. But believe me, those labels will be ditched in the blink of an eye should the Roberts-Stabenow bill go ahead.

Second, the bill will permit the FDA to set the bar on GMO "thresholds" so out of reach that "many, or most" of these Frankenfood ingredients wouldn't have to be listed at all, according to the Organic Consumers Association (OCA).

And the most outrageous part of all in this bill is a special loophole that could allow corn and soy -- the two biggest GMO crops in the U.S. -- to somehow be exempt!

But there must be something in this about labeling, right? After all, it is called the "GMO labeling bill."

Well, there is, but wait until you hear how that would work.

You would have to use a smartphone to scan a special bar code-type label to get any information!

Can you believe it?

Of course that means you would need to own a smartphone, have everything installed (such as an app and bar code reader) and start scanning all the foods you put in your cart. It would be laughable if it wasn't so serious.

If Campbell's and General Mills can (and have) easily labeled their products already, then obviously it can be done.

The OCA said that it believes "Monsanto's hired guns will move heaven and earth to ram this bill through Congress," and I believe they're right.

And that's why we have to act fast.

The DARK Act failed the first time because people like us flooded our members of Congress with phone calls, letters, and emails.

And we need to do it again.

Please contact your Senators today and tell them that how they vote on the Roberts-Stabenow bill will dictate how you vote come election time.

Tell them real GMO labeling is something we all want. And it's time to stop keeping it from us.
The Organics Consumer Association sent out their own alerts about this threat ─ I will now post the main thrust of two of them.  You can go to the Organics Consumer Association website that is linked to just below if you care to learn more:

June 29:  This basic right tossed out? Without a single hearing in the Senate?
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably fought side-by-side with us for the right to know if your food contains genetically engineered (and pesticide-laden) foods.

Like us, you probably celebrated passage of Vermont’s mandatory labeling law, a landmark win for the GMO labeling movement.

Then you probably rolled up your sleeves to help us defend Vermont’s law, against lies and lawsuits and all manner of treachery and trickery.

Now, like me, you’re probably hopping mad. But please, don’t give up.

When Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) unveiled her industry-friendly, anti-consumer, anti-democracy version of the DARK Act last week, she had the gall to say: “For the first time ever, consumers will have a national, mandatory label for food products that contain genetically modified ingredients,” she said.

That’s an outright lie. And an insult to anyone with a brain.

The Roberts-Stabenow DARK Act calls for a convoluted, costly, discriminatory scheme of barcodes and phone numbers—but no labels. This latest masterpiece, orchestrated by Monsanto, is not mandatorybecause there’s no enforcement mechanism, and no penalties or consequences of any kind for defying the “law.”

This darkest of DARK Acts can hardly be hailed as a “label for food products that contain genetically modified ingredients”—because it’s so full of loopholes and exemptions that only the barest minimum of products would meet the standard.

And here’s another interesting fact about the Roberts-Stabenow DARK ACT—not only would this bill overturn Vermont’s GMO labeling law, it would also nullify Vermont’s 12-year law requiring labels on GMO seeds.

Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy quickly spoke out against the new DARK Act. He defended Vermont’s GMO labeling law, pointing out that the Vermont legislature spent two years debating it, held more than 50 committee hearings, heard testimony from more than 130 representatives on all sides of the issue.

Yet Monsanto’s puppets in the Senate want to throw out Vermont’s law without holding a single hearing on the issue of labeling foods or seeds.

When we launched our summer online fundraising campaign, we thought, or at least hoped, that the Senate had run out of time to produce a bill to preempt Vermont. We were eager to move on to bigger and better campaigns—including campaigns to end our disastrous GMO grain-fueled factory farm model.

After all, nearly 40 percent of the GMO corn and soy crops grown in the U.S. are used to feed animals imprisoned in Confined Animal Feeding Operations. And the growing of those crops is poisoning and depleting millions of acres of soil.

But, here we are again, marshalling all our resources to once again defend a right so basic, that it’s already the law in 64 other countries.

Since the DARK Act reared its ugly head again last week, we’ve been working behind the scenes with food companies who are honest and transparent, and with the (few) politicians who are on our side, to do everything in our power to defeat this outrageous attack on consumer rights.

And of course, we are collaborating with the many grassroots organizations who have worked so hard, for so many years, on this issue.

And please, we all need to call our Senators to demand that they let us know whether or not they plan to support the new DARK Act. If your Senator says he or she is “still undecided,” call the next day. And the next. Until you get an answer.

If you hear that your Senators are supporting the DARK Act, complain—loudly.

Anger serves a useful purpose when it comes to fueling a movement. But anger alone won’t win the battle. We need hope. We need action.

We need you.
June 30:  You know it's bad when . . .
You know things are bad when even the FDA, which so often fails the public when it comes to food safety, sides with consumers.

Yesterday, the FDA pointed out what DARK Act opponents have been saying all along—the Roberts-Stabenow GMO “non-labeling” bill would exclude a host of products from ever having to be labeled, including some of the most common GMO ingredients, like soybean oil and GMO sugar beets.

According to the FDA, the bill also sets a very high bar for even the bill's "make believe" labels (QR codes and toll-free phone numbers), because it would apply only to those GMO crops "for which the modification could not otherwise be obtained through conventional breeding or found in nature."

Yet the FDA’s critique has done nothing to slow down the anti-labeling train.

And we have only a few days left to keep that train from taking us over the cliff.

The U.S. Senate yesterday held a “test vote” on whether or not to push forward by limiting debate on the Stabenow-Roberts DARK Act.

The motion passed—68-29.

Our job is to work relentlessly over the next few days so that when the Senate holds an official vote early next week, this outrageous anti-consumer, pro-Monsanto bill fails. For good.

Despite the lies, this bill gives Monsanto and Big Food everything they want—and gives consumers nothing.
The Roberts-Stabenow DARK Act calls for a convoluted, costly, discriminatory scheme of barcodes and phone numbers— but no labels.

This bill is not a mandatory labeling law—because there’s no enforcement mechanism, and no penalties or consequences of any kind for defying the “law.”

This bill, as even the FDA confirmed yesterday, is so full of loopholes and exemptions that only the barest minimum of products would meet the standard.

With your help, we are working 24/7 to prevent this attack on consumer rights, states’ rights and democracy from passing.

Meanwhile, I urge you to call your Senators and remind them that even the FDA doesn’t believe this bill provides consumers with the right to know if their food is GMO.
I linked to the website, as I said earlier.  However, anyone with the wherewithal and a strong desire to donate can learn about it here.

As far as I'm concerned, Monsanto is EVIL.


I have consumed massive amounts of peanut butter since childhood, so it's apparent I evidence no allergic reaction to peanuts.

But it's a very common issue now ─ it seems to worsen with each new generation of children.

Might this be an answer to eradicating the problem? 

If you have a child or grandchild with a serious food allergy, you know how frightening it can be.

Just one mislabeled meal at a restaurant -- or a shared snack in the school cafeteria -- can turn into a dangerous situation fast.

But now researchers from Australia may have found a way to stop potentially deadly allergic reactions before they ever start.

It's not a pill or a shot. It's just one simple diet change you can start making today.

Although anyone can have a food allergy, children are twice as likely as adults.

And that's scary, because we all know kids aren't always careful about what they eat.

That's what makes this new research out of Monash University in Australia so important -- and potentially life-saving.

Researchers bred a group of mice to have severe allergies to peanuts -- the same allergies that cause deaths and hospitalizations every single year.

But once the mice were fed a diet rich in fiber, they became much less sensitive to peanuts. And their allergic reactions were a lot more mild.

And if you have a young person in your life who is allergic to peanuts, I bet that sounds awfully good.

Incorporating more fiber into our diets is easy. Lots of the foods we eat every day, like peas, raspberries, apples, and even oatmeal are loaded with it.

These fibers get broken down into short-chain fatty acids in our guts. And those fatty acids boost our production of something called dendritic cells.

And here's why that's important -- it's actually those dendritic cells that determine whether you have an allergic reaction or even go into anaphylactic shock. In fact, a lot of the immunotherapy research that's been conducted to treat allergies has focused on these dendritic cells.

Vitamin A is also important for producing dendritic cells, so it's important to get enough of it. Fortunately, some foods that are high in vitamin A also have fiber, like carrots, dark, leafy greens, lettuce, and even apricots.

So, basically, a diet that's heavy on fibers with vitamin A can help your immune system work properly. And it may keep you -- or a child you love -- from rushing to a hospital or for an EpiPen injection the next time you eat something you shouldn't.

The next step is going to be human trials. But if you ask me, there's no reason to wait. There's no downside to loading up on fiber and vitamin A now, and incorporating more foods that are rich in both into your meals.

If you know someone in your life with a serious food allergy (or who has a child with one) please take a moment to forward this email to them.

Just this one small change may make a big difference in controlling allergies -- and it could even save some lives.
Here are a couple further reports about this:


And now it is time for me to close with an entry from my journal of 41 years ago when I was 25 years old, and living in a basement housekeeping unit in New Westminster.

Two days earlier, I had gone on a hiking/camping trip with my younger brother Mark, his girlfriend Catherine Jeanette Gunther, a fellow named Charlie Little, and Mark's German shepherd Daboda.

We were finishing our second night in the mountains, having the first day hiked to what I believe may have been Eaton Lake (see descriptions here, here, and here).  

Not only did we find ourselves above the snowline at the lake, but the lake was useless to us ─ its shoreline was lost beneath snow-covered ice that stretched well out into the lake.

Fishing was impossible, as would have been any boating.

We had left on a Saturday, and it was now Monday morning.  

We had forsaken the lake the day before because there was no longer any purpose in being at it; and we had camped at a creek that served as the half-way point between the lake, and the start of the trail where we had parked our two vehicles.
Monday, June 30, 1975

I slept well until daylight, when I got cold; but at least I was in a complete bag, thanks to Cathy.

We spent this Monday morning dallying, then eventually broke camp, and headed back.

In all, Sunday, about half a dozen people had been sighted using the trail.  We met more returning.

It was rather satisfying getting back to the cars. 

We went back to Chilliwack and had a couple beers in the Empress with a bite to eat, then headed home in the sun.

I nodded off frequently in Charlie's convertible before getting to Mark's just before 2:00 p.m., I think.

After he left, Mark & Cathy bought a bucket of chicken and some salads, and we ate.

Later I went with her, while Mark slept, to pick up the kids at mom's.  It was difficult staying awake.

My only mail was some Armstrong material.

We didn't stay long, then returned; I had a bath, and by now Mark was up.

We watched TV, I hoping Bill would come and take me home so I could sleep.

About 10:15 p.m. Cathy retired.

About 11:00 p.m., Mark asked if I wanted a ride home, and we were away.

My $160 cheque was here.
The first night, I had slept in a sleeping bag that lacked a zipper; I awoke early in the morning to find myself very cold, lying on the bare ground with the open bag over-top me.  

Jeanette ("Cathy") must have had a spare bag for me ─ or else she somehow effected some sort of repairs. 

Anyway, we started the drive back, stopping for a couple of beers and breakfast in the Empress Hotel in Chilliwack ─ I see from this Facebook post that the historic hotel was demolished in the latter half of 2010.

I don't remember a convertible ride with Charlie back to where Mark and Jeanette were living in Whalley ─ they rented a house together that was located on Bentley Road, not too far from the intersection of 108th Avenue & King George Highway. 

Charlie would have been very tired, and disinclined to visit.

So Mark, Jeanette, and I had a darned good chicken feed.  And then Mark sought a nap while I rode with Jeanette to pick up her two little girls from where they had stayed with my mother Irene Dorosh and her husband Alex over in the Kennedy Heights area of Surrey.

My mother and Alex loved Jeanette and those little girls ─ the three of them were like family.

My mother's home ─ it has since been demolished ─ had long been my mailing address:  12106 - 90th Avenue.  However, nothing of note had shown up ─ just some Worldwide Church of God literature.

After getting back to Mark & Jeanette's home, I had that needed bath.  

My old friend William Alan Gill often visited them, so it was quite possible that he might have dropped by.  But he did not ─ hope as I might have done.

So I spent the evening watching T.V. with Mark and Jeanette; and eventually, Mark drove me to my room in a house located on Ninth Street & Third Avenue in New Westminster.

I only worked one day a week, but payday had come ─ all $160 of it.
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