My Turn: Know what you eat by Rep. Geran Tarr

RepGeranTarr

By REP. GERAN TARR
FOR THE JUNEAU EMPIRE
Source: http://juneauempire.com/opinion/2015-03-09/my-turn-know-what-you-eat

What could be more wholesome and American than apples and apple pie? Or salmon. What could be healthier and more Alaskan than feeding your family salmon? There’s nothing more basic than feeding yourself or your family. But in the strange, new world of genetically modified foods, do Alaskans really know what we’re eating? Pending state and federal legislation requiring food labeling would give Alaskans basic tools to make informed choices about what we’re feeding our families.

As many Alaskans already know, the federal Food and Drug Administration is considering an application to approve the first genetically modified fish. A Massachusetts-based company produced a freakishly fast-growing salmon by implanting genes from an eel-like fish and Chinook salmon into Atlantic salmon. We’ve come to know this genetically modified animal as Frankenfish. It’s the first time the FDA would approve a genetically modified animal for human consumption. Just a few weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved apples that have been genetically modified. Welcome to our plates, the Frankenapple.

Genetically modified organisms are plants or animals modified to include genetic material from a non-related species. Genetically modified foods present many risks.

For salmon, there are concerns about the fish’s impact on the market and the risk of genetically modified fish escaping into the wild. Research has shown that the genetically modified fish can out compete their wild relatives and contamination of our wild salmon would be devastating. Adequate testing has not been done to whether there are long-term health impacts from eating engineered fish. Over 1.8 million individuals as well as broad range of fishing trade groups, consumer and health advocacy organizations, and leading chefs oppose approval of Frankenfish. Sixty retailers, including Safeway and Kroger, representing more than 9,000 grocery stores across the country, have pledged not to sell Frankenfish.

For crops, concerns include increased pesticide use; pesticide resistant weeds; losing genetic diversity in food crops; and questions about long-term health effects.

Despite federal action, Alaskans continue to lead the opposition to the dangerous introduction of Frankenfish and other genetically modified foods. An important strategy we’ve adopted is to require the labeling of genetically modified food so that consumers know what we’re putting on our plates.

On the federal level, Senator Murkowski has offered amendments to the 2015 Agriculture spending bill to require labeling of genetically engineered salmon.

On the state level, I, along with Rep. Kawasaki, have introduced House Bill 92, “GMO Labeling”. This bill would require labeling of genetically modified food products sold in Alaska.

The United States is one of the few industrialized nations that does not already require labeling of genetically modified foods. Over 60 other countries, including China and Russia, require labeling if food includes genetically modified ingredients. Many of these same products are sold on the shelves of our supermarkets without labeling. Since these companies are already producing products with labeling for their products sold worldwide, it shouldn’t take much to switch the packaging to show the genetically modified ingredients for products sold in the US.

Labeling of genetically modified foods is already required in Maine, Vermont, and Connecticut. Legislation to require labeling is pending in 20 other states.

To give Alaskans a chance to learn more, events are scheduled across Alaska the week of March 9-13. We’ll be screening the award-winning film “GMO OMG” and giving Alaskans the chance to ask questions about genetically modified foods.

If you’re in Juneau, I invite you to stop by the capitol for some of my homemade non-GMO apple pie on Friday, March 13 and learn more.

• Geran Tarr represents the Anchorage neighborhoods of Airport Heights, Mountain View and Russian Jack in the Alaska House of Representatives. She can be reached at 907-360-4047 or Rep.Geran.Tarr@akleg.gov

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Letter to the First Presidency: One Week Later

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Prior to posting my letter to the First Presidency on March 1st, I had only communicated with one other LDS who had diligently researched the vaccine issue and decided against vaccinations for her family. So when I addressed Church leadership “on behalf of the Latter-day Saints from around the world who share concerns related to vaccinations and the Church’s blanket endorsement of vaccines,” I knew such people were “out there,” but it wasn’t until I posted my letter that I learned how large that number really is.

In one week’s time, nearly 37,000 people have accessed the letter. In addition, more than 4,900 people “Like” it and more than 1,400 people have shared it. There are over 300 comments below the letter. Several people have responded with gratitude, saying that they had intended to write a similar letter. Some stated that they’re either going to print, endorse, and mail my letter to the Church or they’re going to send in their own letter.

Questioning the wisdom of America’s aggressive vaccination schedule and questioning the increasing loss of medical liberty due to reduced exemption options, stronger vaccination mandates, and increasing consequences for defying the vaccine-industrial complex routinely gives rise to hate-filled animosity. Doing so in the context of the Church only intensifies the negative response. In the past week, Latter-day Saints have slung several epithets at me that even my swearing mother would blush to hear. The rancor grew so intense in one Mormon-based FB group that the moderator had to shut down the conversation. The peak of the lows this week occurred when a Christian friend called me a murderer.

These individuals aren’t “bad” for declaring that we have no right to decide what the government puts in our bodies and the bodies of our children, they’re just scared. Their fear is proof that propaganda works. The government and the vaccine industry spend millions of dollars to massage and manipulate our fears. And it’s money well spent. Increased fears results in increased compliance and increased corporate profits. Unfortunately, it also results in a corresponding loss of freedom. Inciting fear is a technique taken from a page of an old playbook that works equally well whether applied to fascist wars, GMOs, or forced vaccinations.

But in the age of the Internet, the industry-controlled mainstream media is no longer the exclusive gatekeeper of information. The Internet provides humanity with the tools to recognize propaganda for what it is: a tool used to incite fear, to control the masses, and to make obscene amounts of money.

Fear is good. We just need to fear the people who incite and profit from our fears. Those people—the criminal elites—are not concerned about national security, feeding the world, or wiping out infectious disease. Their sole purpose is to increase their power and their wealth. And they have no qualms about doing it over our enslaved, injured, or dead bodies.

The questions of vaccine safety and efficacy are crucial. But don’t get sucked into the false argument that those issues are best left to corporate science and corporate scientists or that those issues are the primary issues. Even as you read these words, lawyers, lobbyists, and legislators are working in concert with the power hitters in the vaccine industry. Their common goal is to vaccinate your children and grandchildren prior to their births, on the day of their births, and then to vaccinate them throughout their lives until death. And in the world the fear mongers are currently crafting, only the wealthy and the privileged will be able to resist. As an example of such privilege, did you know that over 64% of Congress refused to answer the question, “Do you vaccinate your children”? (If you click on this link, notice how NBC buries this revealing statistic.) The rest of us will find ourselves unemployed, uninsured, unable to use public means of transportation, and denied access to a public education. We’ll also find our children removed from our homes and our custody. And as is currently happening in other countries, we may find ourselves vaccinated at gunpoint.

We who care about personal liberties are not members of a fringe group. Being made to feel so is reminiscent of the people who opposed the loss of personal liberty in the years leading up to Hitler’s Germany.

Medical liberty is a human right. When we roll up our sleeves and “consent” to mandated vaccines we simultaneously consent to yet another lost American freedom. I for one am unwilling to do that.

I must add that the government has no right to require American citizens to prove their religious beliefs or to require the names and contact information of ecclesiastical authorities on religious exemption forms. And Americans who do not belong to an organized religion still qualify for a religious exemption if they hold spiritual-based objections to vaccinations. The National Vaccine Information Center states it this way: “Whenever there has been a legal challenge to state vaccine laws with very restrictive language requiring an individual to belong to an organized religion or state recognized church with tenets opposing vaccination, the state’s vaccine law has been ruled unconstitutional. Americans have the right to hold sincere spiritual beliefs that are not part of an organized religion or state recognized church.”

It is imperative that healthcare and teachers’ organizations, pro-vaccine groups and individuals vigorously support religious, philosophical, and medical exemptions to vaccinations. Should they fail to do so, they are only contributing to what is fast becoming a totalitarian state.

It is also imperative that religious organizations unite in support of all people who stand in favor of or who oppose vaccinations based on spiritual and/or religious beliefs. Not doing so is not only a threat to individual Americans, it is also a threat to American churches and to the freedom of religion.

Barbara Loe Fisher, the mother of a vaccine-injured child and the Co-Founder and President of the National Vaccine Information Center, addressed the topic of informed consent and the role the government plays in our lives in a presentation delivered to the National Vaccine Advisory Committee.

I’m sharing her message below because it resonates with truth and power. I pray that it may do the same for you.

The National Vaccine Information Center represents a very different constituency from the one we represented when Kathi Williams, Jeff Schwartz and I co-founded our non-profit, educational organization in 1982. Fifteen years ago, our membership consisted only of parents whose children had been injured or died from reactions to the DPT vaccine.

While we continue to represent many families of children and adults who have suffered reactions to DPT, MMR, Hib, hepatitis B and polio vaccines and receive calls every week from parents whose children are suffering vaccine reactions, a great many of our active supporters are health care consumers and health care providers who want to make informed health care choices, including vaccination choices, for themselves and their children.

Many parents, who support our work, are not philosophically opposed to the concept of vaccination and do not object to every vaccine. However, they are philosophically opposed to government health officials having the power to intimidate, threaten, and coerce them into violating their deeply held conscientious beliefs in the event they conclude that either vaccination in general or, more commonly, a particular vaccine is not appropriate for their children.

The National Vaccine Information Center represents citizens from every state, who support the principle of informed consent to medical treatment, which has become a central ethical principle in the practice of modern medicine and is applied to medical interventions which involve the risk of injury or death. Implicit in the concept of informed consent is the right to refuse consent or, in the case of vaccination laws, the right to exercise conscientious, personal belief or philosophical exemption to mandatory use of one or more vaccines.

The National Vaccine Information Center has not advocated for the abolishment of vaccination laws as other groups have proposed. However, we have always endorsed the right to informed consent as an overarching ethical principle in the practice of medicine for which vaccination should be no exception.

We maintain this is a responsible and ethically justifiable position to take in light of the fact that vaccination is a medical intervention performed on a healthy person that has the inherent ability to result in the injury or death of that healthy person. In consideration of the fact that there can be no guarantee that the deliberate introduction of killed or live microorganisms into the body of a healthy person will not compromise the health or cause the death of that person either immediately or in the future; and with very few predictors having been identified by medical science to give advance warning that injury or death may occur; and with no guarantee that the vaccine will indeed protect the person from contracting a disease; and in the absence of adequate scientific knowledge of the way vaccines singly or in combination act in the human body at the cellular and molecular level, vaccination is a medical procedure that could reasonably be termed as experimental each time it is performed on a healthy individual.

Further, the FDA, CDC and vaccine makers openly state that often the number of human subjects used in pre-licensing studies are too small to detect rarer adverse events, making post-marketing surveillance of new vaccines a de facto scientific experiment. In this regard, the ethical principle of informed consent to vaccination attains even greater importance.

The reason that informed consent has been increasingly adopted, since World War II, as the guiding ethical principle governing the patient-physician relationship, is as deeply rooted in the comparatively new discipline of political science as it is in more ancient philosophies. At the heart of medicine’s struggle to come to grips with a human being’s right to informed consent to medical intervention, is a challenge to one tenet of the Hippocratic philosophy in the practice of medicine, that is, that the physician and the physician alone should determine which medical intervention will benefit the patient.

This traditional paternalistic medical model is increasingly being rejected by today’s more educated health care consumers and, along with this challenge, is also an historic challenge to the supremacy of the allopathic medical model as the only means of maintaining health and preventing disease. The movement toward a more diversified, multi-dimensional model health care system is a phenomenon occurring not only in the United States but in many technologically advanced countries.

These are contentious and sometimes frightening days, both for consumers and non-allopathic health care providers fighting for the right to have better information and more health care choices, as well as for medical doctors and the institutions they dominate, who understandably do not like the intrusion or disruption of the status quo. While social change is never easy for the challenger or the challenged, in an enlightened society, change can often present a remarkable opportunity for growth and renewal for everyone if perspective is maintained and neither side engages in a take-no-prisoners mentality.

Together with a general rejection of the historically paternalistic character of the patient-physician relationship in favor of one based on truth-telling and a more equal decision-making partnership, the post-World War II concept of the right to informed consent has centered on an acknowledgment of the inviolability of the individual’s human right to autonomy and self-determination. This ethical concept, born out of unparalleled tragedy, has emerged as the single most important force in shaping modern bioethics.

In the centuries prior to World War II, religious scriptures as well as some of the greatest philosophers in history have acknowledged that the very meaning of life itself in great part hinges on the ability of the individual to choose his own fate. Aristotle, that masterful defender of empirical knowledge and creator of virtue ethics, insisted that wisdom and moral virtue comes from within each individual, from cultivating the feelings that cause us to act in compassionate, truthful, and noble ways. Aristotle’s respect for man’s unique ability to reason and choose to be virtuous convinced Thomas Aquinas, who in turn convinced a threatened Catholic Church that religion did not have to be afraid of acknowledging man’s ability to discover truth through reason and sense experience, as well as through spiritual revelation.

After the Protestant Reformation led by Martin Luther, when individual responsibility began to be considered more important than obedience to religious doctrine, the 16th and 17th centuries saw dramatic scientific discoveries such as those by Galileo and Isaac Newton that spawned a new breed of philosopher like Thomas Hobbes, who developed a scientific system of ethics emphasizing organized society, the state and political structures.

Toward the end of the 18th century, the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant maintained that the ultimate moral principle, which is known as the categorical imperative, is the golden rule in its logical form, that is, “Act as if the principle on which your action is based were to become by your will a universal law of nature.” Kant insisted that no human being should ever treat another human being as a means to an end no matter how good or desirable that end may appear to be.

But Kant was challenged by British philosopher Jeremy Bentham, a contemporary of Jenner, who developed an ethical and political doctrine known as utilitarianism. Utilitarianism, which is a consequentialist theory, judges the rightness or wrongness of an action by its consequences and holds that an action that is moral or ethical results in the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. With its emphasis on numbers of people, Bentham created utilitarianism primarily as a guide to state legislative policy and, according to Arras and Steinbock, modern cost-benefit analyses “are the direct descendants of classical utilitarianism.”

Utilitarianism, which was a philosophical influence on Marxism, was implemented in its most extreme and tragic form by those in control of the German state during World War II. In a remarkable series of articles by physician bioethicists and lawyers published in a November 1996 issue of JAMA, there is a compelling description of how physicians in service to the state employed the utilitarian rationale that a fewer number of individuals can be sacrificed for the happiness of a greater number of individuals. In scientific experiments designed to find ways to cleanse the German state of all infection of it by individuals the state had decided harmed the public good, including physically and mentally handicapped children and adults as well as those suffering from serious diseases, physicians and public health officials played a leading role.

Out of the Doctors Trial in Nuremberg came the Nuremberg Code, of which Yale law professor, physician and ethicist Jay Katz has said “if not explicitly then at least implicitly, commanded that the principle of the advancement of science bow to a higher principle: protection of individual inviolability. The rights of individuals to thoroughgoing self-determination and autonomy must come first. Scientific advances may be impeded, perhaps even become impossible at times, but this is a price worth paying.”

In another article, Dr. Katz said that the judges of the Nuremberg tribunal, overwhelmed by what they had learned, “envisioned a world in which free women and men, after careful explanation, could make their own good or bad decisions, but not decisions unknowingly imposed on them by the authority of the state, science, or medicine.”

Bioethicist Arthur Caplan concurred when he said, “The Nuremberg Code explicitly rejects the moral argument that the creation of benefits for many justifies the sacrifice of the few. Every experiment, no matter how important or valuable, requires the express voluntary consent of the individual. The right of individuals to control their bodies trumps the interest of others in obtaining knowledge or benefits from them.”

The First Principle of the Nuremberg Code is “The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision.”

The Nuremberg Code, which speaks most specifically to the use of human beings in medical research but also has been viewed by bioethicists and U.S. courts as the basis for the right to informed consent to medical procedures carrying a risk of injury or death, was followed by the passage in 1964 of the Helsinki Declarations by the World Medical Association. Like the Nuremberg Code, the Helsinki Declarations emphasized the human right to voluntary, informed consent to participation in medical research that may or may not benefit the individual patient, science or humanity.

But even if the Nuremberg Code and Helsinki Declarations had never been promulgated and pointed us toward the morality of accepting the human right to informed consent to medical interventions that can kill or injure us, there is the strong Judeo-Christian ethical tradition that protects the sacred right of the individual to exercise freedom of conscience even if it conflicts with a secular law of the state. This freedom is considered so inviolable in Catholic canon, that the definition of moral conscience is discussed in detail in the catechism of the Catholic Church, which holds that “Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he is going to perform, is in the process of performing or has already completed. In all he says and does, man is obliged to follow faithfully what he knows to be just and right. It is by the judgment of his conscience that man perceives and recognizes the prescription of the divine law.” In even stronger terms, the Catholic Church warns that “a human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself.”

In the Old Testament of the Bible, which is the basis for Jewish law and the guide for each believer in Jewish law to discover the will of God, Abraham is asked by God to sacrifice his son to demonstrate his faith. Although Abraham is willing, God does not force Abraham to sacrifice his son. In fact, God makes it clear that human sacrifice to demonstrate allegiance is not appropriate. Why should physicians in a modern state have the power to ask more of a parent than God asked of Abraham?

George Annas and Michael Grodin, both bioethicists, said “Whenever war, politics or ideology treat humans as objects, we all lose our humanity.” Or, as Elie Weisel said, “When you take an idea or a concept and turn it into an abstraction, that opens the way to take human beings and turn them, also, into abstractions.”

In any war, whether it be a war using humans armed with guns in an attempt to defeat other humans, or a war using humans injected with vaccines in an attempt to eliminate microorganisms, it is easy for those in charge to view the instruments of that war – human beings – as objects and a means to an end. But the great moral tradition of Judeo-Christian western thought does not support this dangerous concept.

David Walsh, an ethicist and political scientist, who spoke at the May 1996 Institute of Medicine Risk Communication Workshop, made it clear that the only time the state has the moral authority to override a human being’s inviolable right to autonomy and force him to risk his life for the state, is when the very survival of the community is at stake. When, during a workshop break, several participants asked him to define what that means in terms of communicable disease, Dr. Walsh replied “when the number of deaths caused by a disease in a community outweigh the number of births.” It is interesting to note that no plague in history, not even the Black Plague and certainly not any vaccine preventable disease we have today, nor the AIDS epidemic, meets that standard.

Philosopher Hans Jonas, in one of the most brilliant and moving essays I have ever read on the subject of bioethics, reminds us that a state may have the right to ask an individual to volunteer to die for what the state has defined as the common good but rarely, if ever, does a state have the moral authority to command it. Like Dr. Walsh, Jonas warned of the extraordinary emergency circumstances that should be in effect before the state can ethically override individual autonomy. He concluded, “Let us not forget that progress is an optional goal, not an unconditional commitment, and that its tempo in particular, compulsive as it may be, has nothing sacred about it. Let us also remember that a slower progress in the conquest of disease would not threaten society, grievous as it is to those who have to deplore that their particular disease be not yet conquered, but that society would indeed by threatened by the erosion of those moral values whose loss, possibly caused by too ruthless a pursuit of scientific progress, would make its most dazzling triumphs not worth having.”

Even Bertrand Russell, a confirmed agnostic and sometime devotee of the utilitarian ethic, warned that “our conduct, whatever our ethic may be, will only serve social purposes in so far as self-interest and the interests of society are in harmony.” He added, “It is the business of wise institutions to create such harmony as far as possible.”

I would suggest that it is not in the best interest of the citizens of this free society or of public health officials in positions of authority in the federal or state government to use the heel of the boot of the state to crush all dissent to mandatory vaccination laws and force individuals to violate their deeply held conscientious beliefs. It is not in the best interest of those of you, who deeply believe in the rightness of using vaccines to eliminate microorganisms, to be mistrusted and feared by the people being forced to use the vaccines you create and promote for universal use.

It is very hard for people to trust government officials who track and hunt children down to ensure compliance with mandatory vaccination laws that are now equating chicken pox with smallpox and hepatitis B with polio. It is terrible when Americans live in fear of state officials who show up on parents’ doorsteps with subpoenas charging them with child abuse for failing to vaccinate; who threaten parents for refusing to vaccinate their surviving children with the same vaccine that injured or killed another one of their children; who strip, handcuff and imprison a teenager for failing to show proof he got a second MMR shot; who deny children the right to go to school; who deny poor pregnant mothers the right to get food or welfare unless all their children are vaccinated with all government recommended vaccines. How can the people believe or want to do what public health officials say when they live in fear of them?

We as parents, who know and love our children better than anyone else, we, by U.S. law and a larger moral imperative, are the guardians of our children until they are old enough to make life and death decisions for themselves. We are responsible for their welfare and we are the ones who bear the grief and the burden when they are injured or die from any cause. We are their voice and by all that is right in this great country and in the moral universe, we should be allowed to make a rational, informed, voluntary decision about which diseases and which vaccines we are willing to risk their lives for – without fearing retribution from physicians employed by the state.

Argue with us. Educate us. Persuade us. But don’t track us down and force us to violate our moral conscience.

On behalf of the growing number of American citizens, who the National Vaccine Information Center represents, we ask the National Vaccine Advisory Committee to support the ethical principle of informed consent, which in this case includes conscientious, personal belief or philosophical exemption to vaccination. (http://www.nvic.org/informed-consent.aspx)

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The Mormon Church and Vaccines: A Letter to the First Presidency

LetterGraphic

March 1, 2015

Dear President Monson, President Eyring, and President Uchtdorf,

My name is Brett Wilcox. I am a life-long member of the Church. I am writing to you on behalf of the Latter-day Saints from around the world who share concerns related to vaccinations and the Church’s blanket endorsement of vaccines. I am hopeful that you will be receptive to our concerns and that you will consider the difficulties some of us experience due to the Church’s pro-vaccine position. By way of disclosure, I am not necessarily anti-vaccine or non-vaccinating, but I am absolutely anti-vaccine corruption and anti-mandatory vaccine. Stated in the affirmative, I am pro-vaccine informed consent and pro-vaccine choice.

As you know, the topic of vaccines has recently risen to national attention and far too often to vitriolic debate. Members of the Church are seeking Church counsel on the subject and many are, no doubt, choosing to vaccinate their children based on the Church’s prominent statements in support of “immunization campaigns.”(1)

Indeed, Church statements are so strong that many members of the Church will likely arrive at the facile conclusion that God is pro-vaccine and choosing not to vaccinate is in violation of God’s will.

Many members of the Church disagree. And contrary to what the First Presidency has stated in the past, our opposition to vaccines does not stem from ignorance or apathy.(2) Members or not, as a whole those who choose not to vaccinate possess higher than average levels of education, and in our increasingly coercive vaccine culture, abstaining from vaccines requires a vigilant and courageous pro-active stance.(3)

I respectfully suggest that it’s critical for the Church to support Latter-day Saints who choose not to vaccinate and I offer seven points in support of this suggestion.

1. Agency
Agency is one of the fundamental doctrines of the Church. Pharmaceutical companies and the U.S. government promote a one-size-fits-all vaccination policy. Vaccine exemptions are under attack, including religious exemptions.(4-6)

The American Medical Association’s Code of Ethics protects the right of physicians to abstain from vaccines for medical, religious, and philosophic reasons.(7) However some doctors subject non-vaccinating parents to abuse or deny medical care when those parents exercise their right to decline vaccines for medical, religious, or philosophic reasons. In addition, parents have lost custody of their children for refusing to vaccinate.(8) People have declared that parents of unvaccinated children should be fined or jailed.(9) Health care workers have been fired for refusing the flu vaccine.(10) Teachers, daycare employees, and others are targeted as well.(11) These events foreshadow the advancement of a vaccine police state summarized in a recent draft of the government’s “National Adult Immunization Plan.”(12)

Any government that has the power to force its citizens to submit to medical interventions that carry the risk of injury or death has too much power. Unless we believe that God mandates vaccines and approves of punishing non-vaccinators, then the U.S. government’s move to further restrict vaccine choice is a clear violation of our God-given agency.

2. The Church’s pro-vaccine position jeopardizes non-vaccinators’ agency
Every U.S. state provides different vaccine exemptions. Utah provides three exemptions: philosophical, medical, and religious. All but two states, Mississippi and West Virginia, offer religious exemptions. Alaska, the state in which my family and I live, provides two: medical and religious.(13) Medical exemptions are growing increasingly difficult to obtain and require a doctor’s signature. This means the only exemption option parents have in Alaska and several other states is the religious exemption.

The official religious exemption form in Alaska reads as follows: “I/We affirm that immunization conflicts with the tenets and practices of the Church or religious denomination of which the applicant/parent/guardian is a member.”(14)

In addition, many health care organizations across the nation—including my employer—have implemented mandatory flu vaccine policies. The religious exemption form my employer provided includes the same language as quoted above and also requires that I submit the name and contact information of my local ecclesiastical leader.

The Church’s unequivocal support of vaccines provides no support for its members’ religious-based opposition to mandatory flu vaccines for health care employees or mandatory vaccines for children. Indeed, the Church’s pro-vaccine policy works against members who would otherwise be able to claim a religious exemption.

I am grateful to the administrators at my place of employment who generously approved my religious exemption, but no doubt there are other Latter-day Saints who have been fired under similar circumstances because the Church does not appear to support its members’ rights to exercise their agency and decline vaccinations based on religious beliefs. If the Church truly values agency, it must demonstrate that value by declaring that Church members have the right to decline vaccines in accordance with their religious beliefs.

3. Moral and ethical challenges
Vaccines present moral and ethical challenges for some members. Following are a few of these challenges:
• Vaccine development sometimes involves the use of aborted fetal tissue and some vaccines include “human diploid cells.”(15,16) Some members do not want to participate in an industry dependent upon the use of aborted babies.
• In addition to fetal tissue, some members believe that God does not want their bodies or the bodies of the babies injected with neurotoxins, heavy metals, animal tissues, genetically modified organisms, live or attenuated viruses, cleansers, adjuvants, stabilizers, preservatives, etc.(16) They believe that those substances compromise their immune systems and destroy their health. They believe that there is nothing in vaccines that improves their health. They believe that God designed their bodies to function perfectly well without injecting foreign and toxic substances directly into their blood supply. And they believe that doing so violates the will of God.
• Vaccine manufacturers use unethical practices that would never be sanctioned in U.S.-based research as they conduct vaccine clinical trials on poor people in developing countries.(17,18)
• Vaccines injure and kill an unknown and uncounted number of vaccine recipients.(19) Some members refuse to participate in a system that willingly and knowingly sacrifices its most vulnerable participants for “the greater good.”

4. One size doesn’t fit all
Church members live throughout the world and vaccination schedules vary by country. Overall, those schedules have been increasing with the U.S. leading the way with one of the most aggressive vaccination schedules in the world.(20)

While the Church may issue a blanket endorsement of “immunizations,” the implications of that endorsement vary by country and indeed by time.

One or two vaccines from the 1950s had swollen to 34 doses of 11 different vaccines by the year 2000.(21) Today American children receive 69 doses of vaccines for 16 different viral and bacterial illnesses.(22)

But the industry is just getting started, boasting in a 2013 report that “nearly 300 vaccines are in development.”(23) Some of these include: “hepatitis C and E, syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes, HIV, cytomegalovirus, entrovirus, ecoli, adenovirus, obesity, high blood pressure, acne, [and] tooth decay.”(24)

Furthermore, five major institutions including the World Health Organization have been developing anti-fertility vaccines for over two decades.(25) Women and girls of childbearing age in developing countries have been duped into receiving such vaccines.(26-28) The Church’s pro-vaccine stance renders girls and women vulnerable to “the evils and designs of conspiring men” who fund and facilitate such unscrupulous vaccination practices.

In addition to infertility vaccines, LDS parents around the world have legitimate concerns that call into question the wisdom of the Church’s support of a one-size-fits-all vaccination recommendation. Consider some of these concerns from the USA:
• The government specifically targets pregnant women, describing them as an “adult population” and advising them to receive vaccines that are not approved for infants, let alone for developing fetuses.(12)
• The Hepatitis B vaccine is administered on the day of birth and provides immunity from seven to twelve years. Prostitutes and IV drug users are most at risk of contracting Hepatitis B. How many of our children will become IV drug-using prostitutes within the first twelve years of their lives?(29)
• The CDC recommends that 11 and 12-year old girls and boys receive the Gardasil vaccine to protect against genital warts and cancers of the reproductive system.(30) Teens who engage in unsafe sex are most at risk of contracting the viruses that lead to these diseases. As of June 2014, more than 35,000 adverse events to the Gardasil vaccine have been reported.(31) Experts agree that only one to ten percent of adverse events are reported.(32,33) Should LDS parents subject their children to this vaccine?
• Should parents who have lost a child to vaccines vaccinate their other children?
• Should parents who have a vaccine-injured child continue to give that child additional vaccines according to the schedule?
• Should children who have genetic vulnerabilities to vaccines receive vaccines regardless of those vulnerabilities?
• Should children who are immunocompromised receive vaccines?

Clearly the government’s one-size-fits-all vaccination policy is flawed and dangerous. And the Church’s endorsement of this policy is equally flawed and dangerous.

It’s time for the Church to acknowledge that individual circumstances vary and that members have the right, responsibility, and stewardship to make vaccination choices based on their circumstances, not on ever changing and ever increasing national mandates.

5. The vaccines-are-safe-and-effective myth
The government ruled in 1986 that parents of vaccine-injured children could no longer file suit against vaccine manufacturers. It established a body commonly known as the “Vaccine Court” in which parents of vaccine-injured or deceased children could submit their cases for review and compensation.(34) Even though it is tremendously difficult to prove vaccine injury, to date the vaccine court has paid out over $3 billion in compensation to such people.(35) No wonder the U.S. Supreme Court declared in 2011 that vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe.”(36)

Vaccine defenders routinely claim that vaccine injuries are extremely rare. Yet, the U.S.A. ranks 30th in infant mortality and according to the non-profit group Save the Children, “The United States has the highest first-day infant death rate out of all the industrialized countries in the world.”(37) Rates of ADHD, asthma, allergies, autism, eczema, diabetes, cancers, infertility, autoimmune disorders, and developmental delays are skyrocketing. It would be foolish to claim that vaccines are the sole cause of these problems, but it would be even more foolish to continue to claim that our aggressive vaccine schedule doesn’t play a part in the declining health of our posterity. One need look no further than the National Library of Medicine’s pubmed.gov to see that researchers link vaccines to more than 200 distinct adverse health effects, including death.(38)

In addition, we now know that the artificial immunity produced from vaccines is only temporary which means that adults have no more immunity to infectious diseases than the unvaccinated.(39) The government plans to solve this problem by implementing a coercive cradle-to-grave, one-size-fits-all vaccination program.(12)

We know that viruses mutate, rendering vaccines against specific diseases ineffective.(40,41) We know that vaccinated children shed vaccine viruses for a period of time after vaccination, spreading the disease to others.(42) That would explain why Johns Hopkins Hospital gives immunocompromised individuals the following advice: “Tell friends and family who are sick, or have recently had a live vaccine (such as chicken pox, measles, rubella, intranasal influenza, polio or smallpox) not to visit. . . . Avoid contact with children who were recently vaccinated.”(43)

We know that reduced rates of chickenpox due to the vaccine have resulted in an increased rate of shingles among young people and that the U.K. does not use the chickenpox vaccine because the risks exceed the benefits.(44) We know that vaccinated breastfeeding mothers do not pass on the same level of immunity as the mothers who have natural immunity. We know that disease outbreaks occur in highly vaccinated communities, calling into question the efficacy of vaccines and the theory of herd immunity.(45)

Our overzealous use of vaccines may one day result in the mutation of viruses for which we cannot vaccinate. We have a similar scenario currently developing due to our overzealous use of antibiotics.

One particularly contentious and politicized medical concern is the part vaccines play in the current autism epidemic American children are experiencing. The American Medical Association reported in the 1970s that the U.S. autism rate was one in 2,500.(46) Today one in 68 U.S. children have autism and one Senior Research Scientist at MIT states that one in two children born in 2025 will develop autism.(47,48)

Nearly 100 studies implicate the rising number of vaccines as a contributing factor in the autism epidemic.(49) The Amish don’t vaccinate and their autism rate is just above zero.(50) The CDC has known of the vaccine/autism relationship since at least 2001.(51) In August 2014, a high-level CDC whistleblower declared that the CDC had hidden data linking the MMR vaccine to autism.(52) Doctors who treat and reverse autism do it, in part, by removing heavy metals from the body, the same heavy metals found in vaccines.(53-56)

If the Church’s medical advisors dispute these facts, go easy on them; they’re suffering from “ignorance and apathy” as well as dangerous levels of industry indoctrination.

6. Industry/government corruption
The Book of Mormon provides a detailed account of bandits known as the Gadianton robbers. These robbers had entered into a secret pact to murder and steal “to get gain.” We are taught that our knowledge of the Gadianton robbers was preserved as a warning to us in these days. Today’s pharmaceutical industry makes the Gadianton robbers look like school kids by comparison. In the past five years alone, drug makers have paid the U.S. government $19.2 billion in criminal and civil fraud penalties.(57) Industry executives are indeed guilty of murdering and stealing “to get gain.” They do this through government corruption, conflicts of interest, sham research, preying upon poor families in developing countries, and an industry/government revolving door. The vaccine industry in particular operates with no accountability and no liability.(58)

When we participate in the vaccination system, we are complicit in the poisoning of every person who participates in the system. How? When we vaccinate, we conduct business with modern day Gadianton robbers.(59) We maintain the demand for thimerosal, formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals. We give our consent to the industry and the government to continue poisoning their customers and constituents, our children and our grandchildren.

The government has declared its intentions to target people of faith “through faith-based organizations and individual faith communities,” because faith-based organizations “can deliver education that is culturally sensitive and tailored to specific subpopulations.”(12)

In 2013 the New York Archdiocese of the Catholic Church locked arms with modern-day Gadianton robbers by denying vulnerable members the right to claim a religious-based exemption.(60)

Will the LDS Church follow suit? Will its leaders and spokespersons become “immunization champions” as the government proposes or will they stand up and say no to our corrupt and dangerous vaccine system?(12)

7. Liability
Vaccination is a medical procedure that carries the risk of injury or death. The Church has no more medical authority to instruct its members to receive vaccines than it has to instruct its members to receive heart surgery. Such instruction has already resulted in injury and death among its members. As previously stated, the government has paid out over $3 billion in compensation for vaccine related injuries and deaths. If it hasn’t already happened, the day will come when Church members will seek compensation from the Church for the harm they experienced because they followed the Church’s medical advice to vaccinate.

In recent years, the U.S. government has successfully chipped away at our individual liberties. Far too few of us are yet aware that the government is destroying our medical liberties as well. We blindly follow behind an army of vaccination pied pipers, rushing toward a vaccination precipice. Some have already fallen over the edge. Among the victims we find the unemployed and unemployable, the diseased, the chronically injured, the brain damaged, and the dead. In the future we may also find the imprisoned.

As Church leaders, you have the moral obligation to oppose governmental and medical tyranny. You have the moral obligation to divest Church-owned stocks and sever business relationships with the companies that profit from that tyranny. Should you fail to do so, you risk losing all moral authority.

The pied pipers will soon pass their newest pipes to you. Will you play their instruments of propaganda as expected and lead your people off the cliff?

On behalf of all freedom-cherishing members of the Church and all such Americans, I implore you to seize this opportunity to stand for vaccine truth, vaccine informed consent, and vaccine choice. Show that support by condemning vaccine corruption and compulsion. Issue a strong statement in support of members’ rights to receive or decline any and all vaccines “according to the dictates of their own conscience” and their unique personal circumstances.

Thank you for considering this crucial matter.

Sincerely,

Brett Wilcox
Sitka, Alaska

P.S. to readers added 3.9.15:

I am solely responsible for the content of my letter to the First Presidency. I stand by the wording. I knew before posting the letter that some would find it offensive. I knew some would accuse me of heresy. I knew some would wish ill upon me and my family. I am not responsible for the myriad reactions my letter has produced. I am pleased that 5000 people have “Liked” it and 1,500 people have shared it. That said, I am not leading a cause, I am not encouraging divisiveness, but I am hopeful that people will at least consider that the issue is far more complex and involves far more than just the safety and efficacy of vaccines. Corporate and governmental interests have stolen some of our most basic liberties in recent years. Stealing our right to determine our own medical care is beyond horrifying! If we don’t resist the theft of our liberties, then we are complicit with that theft.

I have little hope that the First Presidency will ever see my letter. They get far too much correspondence to read and respond to every letter. If, however, they get many letters addressing the same issue, they will be more likely to consider the issue.

I expressed myself as I deemed appropriate in my letter. Whether you like or abhor the tone of my letter, little will come of it unless other people write as well. If you support mandatory cradle to grave vaccinations, write the Brethren if you feel so inclined. If you oppose any and all vaccines, write the Brethren if you feel so inclined. If you believe that people who write letters to the Church are Satan’s spawn, write the Church (or not) as you feel so inclined. I’m all about honoring your agency. I’m merely asking the Church to show support for members’ rights to honor our agency as well. Without that support, Latter-day Saints will find themselves unable to “qualify” for religious exemptions to vaccines.

An official statement acknowledging that people have the right to determine their own medical care would help members deal with each other with more compassion and understanding. Most of us already know that we have that right, but based on some of the comments, some people believe that God supports any and all vaccines produced by America’s legal drug cartels.

I have found little to be gained by arguing with people who view this issue differently than I. I am months behind schedule in completing my second book on genetically modified organisms. I’ve got to get back on schedule, which means I may or may not respond to further comments. I maintain the right to delete any comments that are egregiously malicious, but thus far I’ve posted every comment made . . . regardless.

If you feel inclined to metaphorically burn me at the stake for apostasy, so be it. But focusing on me or my (un)worthiness or the state in which I reside detracts from the deeper issues at hand.

Please remember that we are in unison on wanting what is best for our families, even though we may disagree on how to achieve what is best.

Many organic blessings to each and every one of you!

Brett

Notes

1. “Church Leaders on Child Immunization,” LDS Living, February 7, 2015, http://ldsliving.com/story/78000-church-leaders-parents-have-an-obligation-to-protect-their-families-through-immunization

2. “Immunize Children, Leaders Urge,” Liahona, July 1978, https://www.lds.org/liahona/1978/07/immunize-children-leaders-urge?lang=eng

3. Emily Foxhall, “Parents who oppose measles vaccine hold firm to their beliefs,” LA Times, January 25, 2015, http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-measles-oc-20150126-story.html#page=1

4. Louise Kuo Habakus, “Religious Exemption to Vaccination Under Attack,” Middletown Patch, October 13, 2012, http://patch.com/new-jersey/middletown-nj/bp–religious-exemption-to-vaccination-under-attack-if9968a3b4c

5. “You Need to Act Now – Vaccine Exemptions and Mandates Threatened in Even More States,” National Vaccine Information Center, February 23, 2015, http://www.nvicadvocacy.org/members/National/ActionAlertDetails.aspx?itemid=649&Page=True

6. “Vaccine Mandates: Your Right to Informed Consent Is Under Attack Starting with Oregon SB 442-3,” Thinking Moms’ Revolution, February 27, 2015, http://thinkingmomsrevolution.com/vaccine-mandates-right-informed-consent-attack-starting-oregon-sb-442-3/#comment-115625

7. “Opinion 9.133 Routine Universal Immunization of Physicians,” American Medical Association, http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physician-resources/medical-ethics/code-medical-ethics/opinion9133.page

8. “Cry For Vaccine Freedom Wall,” National Vaccine Information Center, http://www.nvic.org/Forms/Cry-For-Vaccine-Freedom-Wall.aspx

9. Mac Slavo, “Measles Police State: “Parents who do not vaccinate their children should go to jail,” Freedom Outpost, January 30, 2015, http://freedomoutpost.com/2015/01/measles-police-state-parents-not-vaccinate-children-go-jail/

10. “Hospitals crack down on staff refusing flu shots,” CBS News, January 12, 2013, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/hospitals-crack-down-on-staff-refusing-flu-shots/

11. Dawn Richardson, “2014 State Vaccine Legislation in America: Battle Lines Are Drawn & Your Participation is Needed!” National Vaccine Information Center, February 11, 2014, http://www.nvic.org/NVIC-Vaccine-News/February-2014/2014-State-Vaccine-Legislation-in-America—Battle.aspx

12. “National Adult Immunization Plan,” National Vaccine Program Office, February 5, 2015, http://www.hhs.gov/nvpo/national_adult_immunization_plan_final.pdf

13. “State Law & Vaccine Requirements,” National Vaccine Information Center, http://www.nvic.org/Vaccine-Laws/state-vaccine-requirements.aspx

14. “State of Alaska CHILD CARE & SCHOOL IMMUNIZATION REQUIREMENTS Packet,” June 2013, http://www.epi.hss.state.ak.us/id/iz/factsheet/IZReqPacket2013.pdf

15. “Vatican Document,” immunize.org, June 9, 2005, http://www.immunize.org/concerns/vaticandocument.htm

16. “Vaccine Excipient & Media Summary: Excipients Included in U.S. Vaccines, by Vaccine,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/B/excipient-table-2.pdf

17. “Human Lab Rats – Exploiting the world’s poor for clinical trials,” Journeyman Pictures, November 4, 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-a6_x3EvM8

18. “The Human Laboratory, BBC Television: Horizon, November 5, 1995, http://www.whale.to/vaccine/horizon.html

19. “Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS),” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Activities/vaers.html

20. Julian Whitaker, MD, “The Truth About Vaccinations,” National Vaccine Information Center, http://www.nvic.org/Doctors-Corner/JulianWhitakerMD/The-Truth-About-Vaccinations.aspx

21. “Notice to Readers: Recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule — United States, 2000,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United States, 2000, http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm4902a4.htm

22. “Recommended Immunization Schedule for Persons Aged 0 Through 18 Years,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United States, 2015, http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/child-adolescent.html

23. “Vaccines: A Report on the Prevention and Treatment of Disease Through Vaccines,” America’s Biopharmaceutical Research Companies, 2013, http://www.phrma.org/sites/default/files/pdf/Vaccines_2013.pdf

24. Anne Dachel, “NVIC’s Barbara Loe Fisher on Vaccine Debate,” Age of Autism, February 6, 2015, http://www.ageofautism.com/2015/02/nvics-barbara-loe-fisher-on-vaccine-debate.html

25. “CALL FOR A STOP OF RESEARCH ON ANTIFERTILITY ‘VACCINES’,” Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights, November 8, 1993, http://www.finrrage.org/pdf_files/Contraception/Stop_Research_Anti_Fert_Vac.pdf

26. “CATHOLIC DOCTORS SPEAK: TETANUS VACCINATION CAMPAIGN IS ALL ABOUT POPULATION CONTROL‏,” Matercare International, http://www.matercare.org/news-publications/medical-news/catholic-doctors-speak-tetanus-vaccination-campaign-is-all-about-population-control/

27. “Anti-Fertility Drug Experiments?” Population Research Institute, March 1, 1995, http://pop.org/content/anti-fertility-drug-experiments-1709

28. “Anti-fertility vaccines,” American Life League, http://www.all.org/nav/index/heading/OQ/cat/Mzc/id/NjgyOA/

29. Dr. Sherry Tenpenny, “Dr Tenpenny, What the CDC documents say about vaccines,” April 29, 2013, 1:23:00, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1VwVBmx0Ng

30. “HPV Vaccines,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/vaccine.html

31. “HPV Vaccine,” A Shot of Truth, http://www.ashotoftruth.org/vaccines/hpv-vaccine

32. “VAERS Data,” Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, https://vaers.hhs.gov/data/index

33. “Hiding adverse reactions ploy,” http://www.whale.to/vaccines/ploy1.html

34. “National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/data.html

35. “Data & Statistics,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, February 2, 2015, http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/data.html

36. “BRUESEWITZ ET AL. v. WYETH LLC, FKA WYETH, INC., ET AL.,” Supreme Court of the United States, February 22, 2011, http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-152.pdf

37. Michelle Castillo, “U.S. has highest first-day infant mortality out of industrialized world, group reports,” CBS News, May 7, 2013, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-has-highest-first-day-infant-mortality-out-of-industrialized-world-group-reports/

38. Sayer Ji, “200 Evidence-Based Reasons NOT To Vaccinate – FREE Research PDF Download!” GreenMedInfo.com, February 22, 2015, http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/200-evidence-based-reasons-not-vaccinate-free-research-pdf-download

39. Rouderfer V, Becker NG, Hethcote HW, “Waning immunity and its effects on vaccination schedules,” Math Biosci. 1994 Nov;124(1):59-82, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7827424

40. “Ebola becoming harder to treat —US experts: rapid mutation could ‘render treatment and vaccines ineffective’,” The Extinction Protocol, September 1, 2014, https://theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/ebola-becoming-harder-to-treat-us-experts-rapid-mutation-could-render-treatment-and-vaccines-ineffective/

41. Sydney Lupkin, “Flu: This Year’s Vaccine Is Worse Than We Thought,” ABC News, January 15, 2015, http://abcnews.go.com/Health/flu-years-vaccine-worse-thought/story?id=28249130

42. Sayer Ji, “The Vaccinated Spreading Measles: WHO, Merck, CDC Documents Confirm,” GreenMedInfo.com, January 30, 2015, http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/vaccinated-spreading-measles-who-merck-cdc-documents-confirms

43. “Patient Guide,” The Johns Hopkins Hospital, p. 113, http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/kimmel_cancer_center/patient_information/Patient%20Guide%20Final.pdf

44. Toni Bark, M.D., Suzanne Humphries, M.D., “Bought Movie Bonus Short- Chicken Pox Vaccine,” Jeff Hays Films, February 1, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVi4270412Y

45. Suzanne Humphries, M.D., “‘Herd Immunity.’ The flawed science and failures of mass vaccination, Suzanne Humphries, MD,” International Medical Council on Vaccination, July 5, 2012, http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org/2012/07/05/herd-immunity-the-flawed-science-and-failures-of-mass-vaccination-suzanne-humphries-md-3/

46. Journal American Medical Association 285: 1183-85, 2001, http://www.vaccinationnews.org/Scandals/Feb_15_02/skyrocketing_autism.htm

47. “CDC estimates 1 in 68 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March 27, 2014, http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0327-autism-spectrum-disorder.html

48. “Half of All Children Will Be Autistic by 2025, Warns Senior Research Scientist at MIT,” Alliance for Natural Health, December 23, 2014, http://www.anh-usa.org/half-of-all-children-will-be-autistic-by-2025-warns-senior-research-scientist-at-mit/

49. “No Evidence of Any Link,” Adventures in Autism, July 24, 2013, http://adventuresinautism.blogspot.com/2007/06/no-evidence-of-any-link.html

50. Sharyl Attkisson, “Where are the Autistic Amish?” sharylattkisson.com, July 20, 2014, http://sharylattkisson.com/where-are-the-autistic-amish/

51. “Senior Government Scientist Breaks 13 Years’ Silence on CDC’s Vaccine-autism Fraud,” Age of Autism, August 2014, http://www.ageofautism.com/2014/08/senior-government-scientist-breaks-13-years-silence-on-cdcs-vaccine-autism-fraud.html

52. “August 27, 2014 Press Release, ‘Statement of William W. Thompson, Ph.D., Regarding the 2004 Article Examining the Possibility of a Relationship Between MMR Vaccine and Autism’,” Morgan Verkamp LLC, August 17, 2014 http://www.morganverkamp.com/august-27-2014-press-release-statement-of-william-w-thompson-ph-d-regarding-the-2004-article-examining-the-possibility-of-a-relationship-between-mmr-vaccine-and-autism/

53. “Autism Spectrum Disorder,” Reverse Autism Now, http://reverseautismnow.org/treatments

54. Jaquelyn McCandless, MD, Children with Starving Brains: A Medical Treatment Guide for Autism Spectrum Disorder, Bramble Books, 2007, http://www.amazon.com/Children-Starving-Brains-Treatment-Spectrum/dp/1883647177/

55. Kenneth Bock, M.D. and Cameron Stauth, Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies, Ballantine Books, New York, New York, 2008, http://www.amazon.com/Healing-New-Childhood-Epidemics-Groundbreaking/dp/0345494512/

56. Stephen M. Edelson, Ph.D. and Bernard Rimland, Ph.D., Recovering Autistic Children, Autism Research Institute, San Diego, California, 2006, http://www.amazon.com/Recovering-Autistic-Children-Edelson-Stephen/dp/0974036013/

57. Tracy Staton, “Pharma shelled out $3.75B in fraud penalties in record-setting year, feds say,” FiercePharma, February 26, 2014, http://www.fiercepharma.com/story/pharma-shelled-out-375b-fraud-penalties-record-setting-year-feds-say/2014-02-26

58. “No Pharma Liability? No Vaccine Mandates,” National Vaccine Information Center, March 2, 2011, http://www.nvic.org/NVIC-Vaccine-News/March-2011/No-Pharma-Liability–No-Vaccine-Mandates-.aspx

59. Kristine M. Severyn, Ph.D., “Profits, Not Science, Motivate Vaccine Mandates,” Well Being Journal, Spring 2001, Volume 10, #2, https://www.wellbeingjournal.com/profits-not-science-motivate-vaccine-mandates/

60. “Interview with Attorney Patricia Finn on Vaccine Exemptions,” VACTRUTH, October 3, 2013, minute 30:30, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SND6sTx5yWw

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Loving Our Enemies: An American Mormon Perspective

Loving Our Enemies:
An American Mormon Perspective
By Brett Wilcox

In memory of Eugene England.
May he rest as he lived, as an advocate for peace.

Loving Our Enemies: An American Mormon Perspective

I delivered a version of the following talk in Sacrament Meeting in Sitka, Alaska, on 15 February, 2015.

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:43-45)

This scripture, perhaps more than any other, illustrates the tremendous gulf that exists between the Natural man and the Savior. How do we bridge that gulf? By loving, blessing, praying, and doing good to our enemies, or by asking God to bless us as we hate, curse, or kill our enemies?

As people of faith, Muslims, Jews, Christians, Catholics, and Protestants have all killed in the name of God. Mormons did the same at Mountain Meadows in 1857, and American Mormons have, for the most part, endorsed and participated in America’s wars for over a century.

During that century Christian America routinely evoked the image and words of Jesus to inspire Americans to take up arms to kill our enemies. In World War One, the Prince of Peace appears in an army recruitment poster, dressed in khakis and sighting down the barrel of a rifle.(1) World War Two posters include an image of a black soldier brandishing a rifle and bayonet. The text reads, “Pvt. Joe Louis says . . . ‘We’re going to do our part . . . and we’ll win because we’re on God’s side’.” Another depicts the close up image of hand grasping a 12-inch knife. The knife is piercing the Bible. On the man’s coat sleeve we see a Nazi Swastika.(2)

Religious themes dominated the Korean, Vietnam, and Cold Wars. If we were righteous, God would help Christians defeat godless atheist communists.

And if we are to believe the rhetoric that supports America’s war against Iraq, then Jesus consults with the Pentagon, or if not, He should be. In 2013, a candidate for the U.S. Senate said, “We’ve got all the technology in the world and we’re losing that because we’re taking Christianity out of the military.”(3)

In January 2015, a Fox News analyst shared what he believed Jesus might say to the man who inspired the hit movie American Sniper. “I’m no theologian, but I suspect Jesus would tell that God fearing, red-blooded American sniper, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant for dispatching another godless Jihadist to the lake of fire.’”(4)

We pay lip service to loving our enemies while we engross ourselves in movies that turn war into entertainment. The more these movies manipulate us into hating “the bad guys,” the greater our identification with “the good guys,” the greater our satisfaction when we vicariously destroy these enemies, and the more righteous we feel for having done so. While serving in the First Presidency, J. Reuben Clark, a former State Department officer, described this phenomenon two years after World War Two had ended:

Popular feeling is being flogged into a support of this plan [to wage more war]. The press, the movies, the radio, the rostrum, all are deliberately used to build this terrible aim in our hearts. Enormous sums are expended by the military in propaganda, to scare us civilians into a blind following of their insanity. Often this propagandizing is crudely done, at other times it is carried on with great craft and cunning. We are to be made so jittery with fear that we shall follow with eyes shut where they lead.(5)

Are Mormon people who profess to believe in the concept of loving our enemies justified in killing in the name of God? The Book of Mormon contrasts righteous and unrighteous justifications for war. The unrighteous fight for power, with the intent to enslave, control, and profit from the labor and resources of others. The righteous fight in support of “their lands, and their houses, and their wives, and their children, that they might preserve them from the hands of their enemies; and also that they might preserve their rights and their privileges, yea, and also their liberty, that they might worship God according to their desires.” (Alma 43:9)

In modern times, the Lord admonishes us to “renounce war and proclaim peace,” (D&C 98:16) and then provides the rare and specific circumstances in which retaliatory violence is justified. We are told to “bear it patiently” once, twice, and three times and “revile not against them, neither seek revenge.”

The Lord, then, authorizes the use of violence, but even then, He promises greater blessings for those who forbear:

“And then if thou wilt spare him, thou shalt be rewarded for thy righteousness; and also thy children and thy children’s children unto the third and fourth generation.” (D&C 98:30)

Were it not for the following verses, we might falsely conclude that this standard applies only to individuals and families, with no application to nations.

“And again, this is the law that I gave unto mine ancients, that they should not go out unto battle against any nation, kindred, tongue, or people, save I, the Lord, commanded them.
Behold, this is an ensample unto all people, saith the Lord your God, for justification before me.” (D&C 98: 33, 38)

As of 2013, the US has invaded 70 nations—some of them multiple times—in its nearly 250-year history, including American Indian and Alaska Native nations, Mexico, Nicaragua, Argentina, Chile, Haiti, Hawaii, China, Korea, Panama, Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, Samoa, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Germany, Russia, Yugoslavia, Guatemala, Turkey, El Salvador, Italy, Morocco, France, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, India, Burma, Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Austria, Hungary, Japan, Iran, Uruguay, Greece, Vietnam, Lebanon, Iraq, Laos, Indonesia, Cambodia, Oman, Laos, Angola, Grenada, Bolivia, Virgin Islands, Liberia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Somalia, Bosnia, Zaire (Congo), Albania, Sudan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Macedonia, Colombia, Pakistan, Syria, Uganda, Mali, and Niger.(6)

If the U.S. government had consistently employed the Lord’s specific and limited justification for war, including authorization from God Himself before invading foreign nations, how many of those invasions might have been prevented? President Spencer W. Kimball had surely pondered such a question when he authored a 1976 Ensign article titled “The False Gods That We Worship.” His conclusions challenge the cherished concept held by American believers—regardless of faith—that “God is on our side.”

We are on the whole an idolatrous people, a condition most repugnant to the Lord. We are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord. When enemies rise up, we commit vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel—ships, planes, missiles, fortifications—and depend on them for protection and deliverance. When threatened we become anti-enemy instead of pro-kingdom of God; we train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus . . . perverting the Savior’s teaching: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:44–45). . . . What are we to fear when the Lord is with us? Can we not take the Lord at his word and exercise a particle of faith in him? Our assignment is affirmative; to forsake the things of the world as ends in themselves; to leave off idolatry and press forward in faith; to carry the Gospel to our enemies, that they might no longer be our enemies. . . . We must leave off the worship of modern-day idols and a reliance on the “arm of flesh,” for the Lord has said to all the world in our day, “I will not spare any that remain in Babylon.” (D&C 64:24.)(7)

How vast are the resources we’ve committed to fabricate our “gods of stone and steel?” And how much power do these gods possess in the world today?

“The U.S. operates and/or controls between 700 and 800 military bases worldwide. There is a confirmed U.S. military presence in 156 countries.(8)

We “Americans spend more money on our military than any other nation, amounting to about 45 percent of the whole world’s military expenditures. The top 15 nations account for 83 percent of the world’s military spending, and the United States spends more than numbers 2 through 15 combined.”(9)

I was a 15-year old boy when President Kimball identified as idolatry the American and Mormon love affair with our instruments of war. I used to join with thousands of other people, many of them Latter-day Saints, on summer days to watch the United States Air Force Thunderbirds perform. Like the ancient Greeks who worshipped their pantheon of gods in the starlit skies, we turned our eyes upward, transfixed as this team of fighter jets shot through the sky, performing with stunning precision their loops, twists, and turns. Our bodies shook with the power of these killing machines. With the memory of the Vietnam War still fresh on my young mind, and with the thoughts of my teen-aged brothers and I possibly fighting Communists in the next war, I was grateful for American gods of steel that might one day deliver us from our enemies.

As a child, war filled our minds and our conversations. I remember gluing myself to the TV night after night, absorbing Walter Cronkite’s sober description of the day’s events in Vietnam. I can still feel the apprehension in my gut as I waited for the number of the day’s dead to appear on the screen. Fear and hope would rise and fall with those numbers.

War in those days was an event, with distinct beginnings and endings. Now, we don’t war against nations; we war against terror. And inasmuch as terror will always exist, we hold out little hope or belief that the carnage will ever end. With no end in sight, war has largely dropped from public consciousness. Which terrorist groups are we at war with at this moment? To which nations, tribes, or races are we supplying arms, cash, and military training? Do we even know? Do we even care?

It is a tragedy that our children may never know the day in which our country is not waging war on foreign soil. It is a greater tragedy that many of our children don’t even know that our country is at war. Not knowing, they can’t pray, work, or advocate for peace.

President Kimball is one of several modern prophets to indict American warmongering. More than a century earlier, Brigham Young declared:

Our traditions have been such that we are not apt to look upon war between two nations as murder; but suppose that one family should rise up against another and begin to slay them, would they not be taken up and tried for murder: And why not nations that rise up and slay each other in a scientific way be equally guilty of murder? . . . Does it justify the slaying of men, women, and children that otherwise would have remained at home in peace, because a great army is doing the work? No! The guilty will be damned for it.(10)

Joseph F. Smith shared his thoughts on World War One in The Improvement Era: “For years it has been held that peace comes only by preparation for war; the present conflict should prove that peace comes only by preparing for peace, through training the people in righteousness and justice, and selecting rulers who respect the righteous will of the people.”(11)

Following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, a time of nationalistic fury, President Clark spoke in General Conference on behalf of the First Presidency saying, “The Church is and must be against war. . . . It cannot regard war as a righteous means of settling international disputes; these should and could be settled—the nations agreeing—by peaceful negotiation and adjustment.”(12)

In the same conference, George Albert Smith, J. Reuben Clark and David O. McKay declared in a First Presidency statement: “By building a huge armed establishment, we shall belie our protestations of peace and peaceful intent and force other nations to a like course of militarism . . .”(13)

David O. McKay called for forbearance and spelled out the circumstances in which war may be justified:

There are conditions when entrance into war is justifiable, and when a Christian nation may, without violation of principles, take up arms against an opposing force. Such a condition, however, is not a real or fancied insult given by one nation to another. When this occurs proper reparation may be made by mutual understanding, apology, or by arbitration. Neither is there justifiable cause found in a desire or even a need for territorial expansion. The taking of territory implies the subjugation of the weak by the strong—the application of the jungle law. Nor is war justified in an attempt to enforce a new order of government, or even to impel others to a particular form of worship, however better the government or eternally true the principles of the enforced religion may be.(14)

In an essay titled “United States Foreign Policy,” Ezra Taft Benson commented on several of the reasons political leaders offer to justify war:

Nothing in the Constitution nor in logic grants to the President of the United States or to Congress the power to influence the political life of other countries, to ‘uplift’ their cultures, to bolster their economies, to feed their people, or even to defend them against their enemies.(15)

In the General Conference that followed World War Two, President Clark referred to the act of destroying two Japanese cities with Atomic Bombs as “the crowning savagery of war.”

And the worst of this atomic bomb tragedy is not that not only did the people of the United States not rise up in protest against this savagery, not only did it not shock us to read of this wholesale destruction of men, women, and children, and cripples, but that it actually drew from the nation at large a general approval of this fiendish butchery. Thus we in America are now deliberately searching out and developing the most savage, murderous means of exterminating peoples that Satan can plant in our minds. We do it not only shamelessly, but with a boast. God will not forgive us for this.(16)

Based on the Savior’s command that we love our enemies, and with so many scriptures advocating for peace and so many prophets—both ancient and modern—condemning nearly all war in nearly all circumstances, including modern American wars, one might expect Mormons to be known as pacifists and Conscientious Objectors to war. Such is not the case. Loyalty to country is a highly regarded virtue among Mormon people. Inasmuch as the church was restored in the USA, loyalty to country has traditionally meant loyalty to the United States. As much as most Mormons might have disapproved of American Mormon Conscientious Objectors during the Vietnam War, we speak in reverence of the Conscientious Objectors in the Book of Mormon who buried their weapons of war out of love for their brethren. We also view as heroes Helmuth Hübener, Karl-Heinz Schnibbe and Rudi Wobbe, three German Mormon teen-agers who actively resisted the Third Reich.

Thus we see that our gut level aversion to Conscientious Objectors is more about to whom and to what people object, rather than the objection of war as a matter of conscience. Notwithstanding, the First Presidency issued the following statement during the Vietnam War:

As the brethren understand, the existing law provides that men who have conscientious objection may be excused from combat service. There would seem to be no objection, therefore, to a man availing himself on a personal basis of the exemptions provided by law.(17)

The advent of the nuclear weapons era provides yet another reason to object to modern warfare, not only for the exponentially increased capacity to destroy human life, but also for the inconceivable and nearly eternal capacity to destroy the environment. As previously quoted, J. Reuben Clark warned of that capacity in 1946. World leaders didn’t listen. As of 1998, seven different nations were responsible for more than 2000 nuclear bomb detonations, with the U.S. accounting for more detonations than the other six nations combined.(18)

Both the bomb blasts and the radioactive waste products generated in the production of the bombs have contributed to what the original atomic bomb scientists warned would be “an era of devastation on an unimaginable scale.”(19)

David and I experienced a small piece of that devastation last summer while enjoying the snakes, turtles, and scenery on Missouri’s beautiful Katy Trail. The trail features numerous markers and displays designed to enlighten travelers such as ourselves. One such display provides a brief history of Weldon Spring, a city the government created when it purchased 47,000 acres and relocated the citizens from three different towns from that land.

The display tells the story of the nearly one billion dollar, 16-year, uranium-processing cleanup project. “The project involved encapsulating about 1.5 million cubic yards of radioactive chemical waste in a 45-acre [seven-story] disposal cell.”

Burying the toxic waste from our toxic weapons is reminiscent of the Lamanites who buried their weapons as a covenant that they would never murder again. Sending a powerful message of peace and love to their descendants, they even opted for death rather than take up arms again.

The display at Weldon Spring sends a different message: “Long-term stewardship should ensure that the Weldon Spring site is fully protective of human health, public welfare and the environment.” It then explains that “the uranium waste in the cell has a half-life of 4.5 billion years” while the disposal cell is designed to last only a thousand years. It also acknowledges that “technologies and governments change over time. Because of these concerns, long-term stewardship activities include having citizens visit the site and understand the actions that have taken place. This will help ensure the safety of the site for many generations.”(20)

Our government could have used the display to shine light on and take responsibility for the appalling consequences of our nuclear arms program. Instead it poisoned the site yet again with its shallow propaganda.

But at least the government leaders of that era had sense enough to bury the waste. Their successors now fashion bombs and bullets from depleted uranium and, in the name of peace and freedom, they use those weapons to kill our enemies. In recent wars, 90% of those “enemies” are civilians.(21)

Leuren Moret, an international expert on depleted uranium, explains the profound implication of DU bombs:

The U.S. has illegally conducted four nuclear wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and twice in Iraq since 1991, calling DU “conventional” weapons when in fact they are nuclear weapons. Since 1991, the U.S. has released the radioactive atomicity equivalent of at least 400,000 Nagasaki bombs into the global atmosphere. That is 10 times the amount released during atmospheric testing which was the equivalent of 40,000 Hiroshima bombs. The U.S. has permanently contaminated the global atmosphere with radioactive pollution having a half-life of 2.5 billion years.(22)

Of course depleted uranium doesn’t discriminate between Iraqi civilians and U.S. soldiers. In addition to DU, American soldiers have also been exposed to series of experimental and unrecorded vaccines, pesticides, organophosphates, nerve agent pre-treatment tablets (NAPS), and smoke from burning chemical weapons and burnt-oil. What are the consequences? According to the Boston Globe, as of 2012:

A staggering 45 percent of the 1.6 million veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now seeking compensation for injuries they say are service-related.
. . . What’s more these new veterans are claiming eight to nine ailments on average, and the most recent ones over the last year are claiming 11 to 14.(23)

But Western soldiers leave the polluted ecosystems of war and return back home. Home for many Iraqi citizens now includes what one writer describes as a “hellish mixture of nano-particularized heavy metals and other toxins generated by the US military occupation and heavy bombardment of Iraqi cities. . . . Levels are now much higher than those recorded among survivors of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. . . . [C]ancer, child cancer and birth defects (BD) have reached historically unprecedented levels in Fallujah and other Iraqi cities.”(24)

Dr. Al Sabbak, an Iraqi gynecologist visited the US in the fall of 2014 to increase awareness of the terrifying consequences of the U.S. War on Terror. He states that the Iraqi city of Basra has experienced “a 17-fold increase in child birth defects between 1995 and 2003,” including “limb deformities, stunted extremities, cleft lips and palates, internal organs on the outside of the body, and hands and feet on which all fingers and toes are fused together.”(24)

In a 2003 article titled “War on The Earth,” we read:

Following the Pentagon’s 2001-2002 military campaign in Afghanistan, the Uranium Medical Research Center (UMRC) sent two scientific teams to Afghanistan to examine the effects of U.S. bombing on Kabul. Many residents, the UMRC teams found, had symptoms consistent with uranium exposure (joint pains, flulike illnesses, bleeding mucous membranes, etc.). One fourth of the Kabul newborns examined had health problems consistent with uranium, including lethargy, skin rashes, and enlarged heads.(25)

The atrocity of the Vietnam War’s Agent Orange era with its ongoing intergenerational illness, disease, and birth defects pales in significance when compared to the billion year consequences of our leaders’ strategy to free oppressed people by bombing their neighborhoods with nuclear weapons.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.”(26) Nowhere is that permanence more evident than with nuclear weapons.

On April 4th, 1967, Martin Luther King delivered what may have been his most courageous sermon when he publicly denounced America’s illegal war in Vietnam and when he declared his government to be “the greatest purveyor of violence” on Earth.(27)

His allegiance to God over government proved to be just as subversive as was Jesus’s allegiance to God over the Roman Empire. One year to the day following King’s historic sermon, the most violent government on Earth arranged for and carried out the preacher’s assassination, a crime for which it was found guilty in an American court of law some 32 years later.(28)

If Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, David O. McKay, Spencer W. Kimball, Reuben J. Clark and so many others were alive today, surely their hearts would break to see the growth of violent, American imperialism as it spreads throughout the Earth, not unlike the cancers that spread throughout the bodies of the babies in the neighborhoods we bomb. What would they say? What would they do? More importantly, what are we saying and what are we doing?

Do we still believe our government when it tells us that our children are killing and being killed to defend American freedom, that they’re killing for peace, that the people we oppress view us as liberators, that it’s our God-given right to invade sovereign states, steal their resources, and set up puppet governments? Or do we stand up as many church leaders have done and condemn our unethical, illegal, and catastrophically toxic wars?

In former days, when the government and the criminal elite maintained control of the airwaves, we might have had a limited excuse for believing government lies. But with the advent of the Internet, that excuse is gone.

We now know that the only weapons of mass destruction that Iraq possessed were those the USA gave Iraq, we know that the USA used 9/11 to lie its citizens into supporting yet another war with Iraq, we know that the government fabricated the Tonkin Gulf incident to lie Americans into a war in Southeast Asia, we know that the Japanese secret attack on Pearl Harbor was anything but a secret to U.S. military leaders, we know that dropping Atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was needed only as a worldwide display of our brutality, not as a means to save American lives or to end the war with Japan, and we know that American bankers and industrialists conducted business with and profited from the Nazi war machine.

Nowadays, choosing to believe government lies is just that: a conscious choice. By choosing to bury the truth in the dark recesses of our minds, we also bury our capacity to feel empathy for our sisters and brothers whom we oppress, starve, and kill.

As President McKay said in General Conference in April 1942:

War impels you to hate your enemies. The Prince of Peace says, Love your enemies. War says, Curse them that curse you. The Prince of Peace says, Pray for them that curse you. War says, Injure and kill them that hate you. The risen Lord says, Do good to them that hate you. . . . It is vain to attempt to reconcile war with true Christianity.(29)

The irony in this situation is that Christian people such as ourselves do pray for our enemies every time we pray for our government leaders, blind to the fact that some of the very people we ask God to bless are responsible for far more death and destruction than the people they would have us fear and hate.

Whenever my thinking becomes clouded and my soul becomes darkened with nationalistic propaganda, I ask myself the simple and sometimes derided questions, “What would Jesus do?” Or “What would Jesus have done?”

Would Jesus have dropped Atomic bombs on his family members living in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Would Jesus drop depleted uranium bombs on his family members living in Afghanistan or Iraq? Would Jesus implement economic sanctions against Iraq, knowing those sanctions would result in the deaths of half a million of his young siblings?

Even though Jesus would never commit such acts, based on our understanding of the atonement, He experienced the terror of those acts some 2,000 years ago. If we’re going to continue killing our enemies, let’s at least have the decency to stop doing it in the name of the Jesus.

Better still, let’s add our voices to those of Dr. King, Gandhi, a host of ancient and modern prophets, as well as the Prince of Peace himself. Our power to destroy has never been greater; therefore our love for others has never been more needed. Let us not only love and pray for our enemies abroad, let the power of our love and good will transform our enemies into allies.

Our active commitment to peace may not change the course of history, but it will change our hearts. With hearts open, we are free to take responsibility for and repent of the part we play in the hatred countless nations and people understandably feel toward the U.S. government. With hearts open, we are free to expose and cleanse the system that fuels that hatred.

J. Reuben Clark’s prophetic warning and call for peace rings as true today as it did in 1946. I conclude with his words.

If we are to avoid extermination, if the world is not to be wiped out, we must find some way to curb the fiendish ingenuity of men who have apparently no fear of God, man, or the devil, and who are willing to plot and plan and invent instrumentalities that will wipe out all the flesh of the earth. And, as one American citizen of one hundred thirty millions, as one in one billion population of the world, I protest with all of the energy I possess against this fiendish activity, and as an American citizen, I call upon our government and its agencies to see that these unholy experimentations are stopped, and that somehow we get into the minds of our war-minded general staff and its satellites, and into the general staffs of all the world, a proper respect for human life.”(30)

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Notes
1. David Swanson, “Fahrenheit 11/11/11,” War Is a Crime .org, November 8, 2011, http://warisacrime.org/content/fahrenheit-111111
2. “U.S. religious propaganda posters from World War II,” Reason & Society, February 26, 2010, http://reasonsociety.blogspot.com/2010/02/us-religious-propaganda-posters-from.html
3. “US Senate Candidate: American Military Needs ‘More Jesus’,” Fitnews, December 18, 2013, http://www.fitsnews.com/2013/12/18/us-senate-candidate-military-needs-jesus/
4. “American Sniper Chris Kyle Was Full Of Lies, Just Like The Movie,” The Young Turks, January 26, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ej_SRJNz9ls
5. “Slipping from Our Old Moorings,” in David H. Yarn, Jr., ed., J. Reuben Clark Selected Papers, vol. 5 (Provo: Brigham Young University, 1987), 161, http://archive.lewrockwell.com/orig8/boyack4.1.1.html
6. Dr Gideon Polya, “The US Has Invaded 70 Nations Since 1776 – Make 4 July Independence From America Day, Countercurrents.org, July 5, 2013, http://www.countercurrents.org/polya050713.htm
7. President Spencer W. Kimball, “The False Gods That We Worship,” Ensign, June 1976, https://www.lds.org/ensign/1976/06/the-false-gods-we-worship?lang=eng
8. Jules Dufour, “The Worldwide Network of US Military Bases,” GlobalResearch, November 15, 2014, http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-worldwide-network-of-us-military-bases/5564
9. David Swanson, War is a Lie, Charlottesville, Virginia, 2010, p. 49
10. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 16 vols. (London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot. 1854–86), 7:137.)
11. Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, comp. John Widtsoe (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1939), 421.
12. Ibid.
13. In Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6:241.
14. In Conference Report, Apr. 1942, p. 72.
15. Ezra Taft Benson, “United States Foreign Policy,” Quoted in Essays on Foundations of American Constitutional Government, by Robert D. Gorgoglione Sr., 2010, p. iii, http://www.amazon.com/Essays-Foundations-American-Constitutional-Government-ebook/dp/B0041HXOCY/
16. In Conference Report, October 1946, 89, http://archive.lewrockwell.com/orig8/boyack4.1.1.html
17. Letter signed by Joseph Anderson for the First Presidency, January 1968, reprinted in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought (Spring 1968):8. 13
18. Nils-Olov Bergkvist & Ragnhild Ferm, “Nuclear Explosions, 1945-1998, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, p. 15, http://www.iaea.org/inis/collection/NCLCollectionStore/_Public/31/060/31060372.pdf
19. “Leo Szilard’s Petition to the President,” atomicarchive.com, July 3, 1945, http://www.atomicarchive.com/Docs/ManhattanProject/SzilardPetition.shtml
20. The photo of the display is the 6th from the bottom on this blog post. http://www.runningthecountry.com/thank-goodness-for-missouris-katy-trail/
21. “Academics and scientists on preventing war,” Scientists As Citizens, May 15, 2014, http://scientistsascitizens.org/2014/05/15/academics-and-scientists-on-preventing-war/
22. Leuren Moret, “Depleted Uranium is WMD,” Battle Creek Enquirer, August 9, 2005, http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article9728.htm
23. Marilynn Marchione, “45% of new veterans file claims for disability,” Boston Globe, MAY 28, 2012, http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2012/05/27/almost-half-new-veterans-seek-disability-benefits/sYQAAY00ddXBRoqfsKMheJ/story.html
24. Thomas Gaist, “Toxic fallout from US war produces record child birth defect rates in Iraq,” World Socialist Web Site, October 13, 2014, http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/10/13/fall-o13.html
25. Bob Feldman, “War on the Earth,” Dollars & Sense, March/April 2003, http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2003/0303maps.pdf
26. “World Religions: War and Peace, Peace Pledge Union, http://www.ppu.org.uk/learn/infodocs/st_religions.html
27. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Beyond Vietnam,” April 4, 1967, http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/encyclopedia/documentsentry/doc_beyond_vietnam/
28. “Court Decision: U.S. “Government Agencies” Found Guilty in Martin Luther King’s Assassination,” GlobalResearch, January 21, 2013, http://www.globalresearch.ca/court-decision-u-s-government-agencies-found-guilty-in-martin-luther-kings-assassination/5320024
29. Improvement Era, May 1942, 31
30. In Conference Report, October 1946, 89, http://archive.lewrockwell.com/orig8/boyack4.1.1.html

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GMOs: Public Opinion vs. Corporate Science

Note: The Daily Sitka Sentinel printed the following Letter to the Editor on February 2, 2015.

The Sitka Sentinel ran an AP story last Thursday titled “Poll: Gap Between Scientists’, Public View.” The premise of the article is that science and scientists make up a monolithic body that deals only with facts, and when the public disagrees with that body, then science is right and the public is wrong.

Partys Over Monsanto

The article quoted as evidence opinions gathered from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, “the country’s largest general science organization. … In the most dramatic split, 88 percent of the scientists surveyed said it is safe to eat genetically modified foods, while only 37 percent of the public say it is safe and 57 percent say it is unsafe.”

Unfortunately, much of American-based science is bought and paid for by multi-national corporations. In 2012, GMWatch published an article titled “AAAS captured from the top down” which exposes the corporate bias of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The agri-business giant, Monsanto, is a regular major sponsor of the group’s annual gatherings. And yes, sponsorship has its privileges:

At AAAS’ 2010 annual meeting Robert T. Fraley (Monsanto’s Chief Technology Officer and an AAAS fellow) delivered a half-hour keynote speech that was little more than a futuristic infomercial about how GMOs will soon feed the world and eliminate hunger. No one was invited to rebut Fraley, not even a representative from the Union of Concerned Scientists who was present in the audience, but instead was shunted off to the side, where all he could do was hand out a few leaflets.(1)

Best selling author, Michele Simon, further implicates the AAAS for releasing a statement “on GMO labeling that sounds like it was drafted by Monsanto.”(2)

Dr. John Ioannidis spent his career challenging his peers by exposing their bad science. Not surprisingly, he found that corporate-backed science is tainted by corruption from start to finish. Ioannidis said, “There is an intellectual conflict of interest that pressures researchers to find whatever it is that is most likely to get them funded.”(3)

The biotech industry claims that “The GMO debate is dead,” and “There is scientific consensus on GMO safety.”(4) Nothing could be further from the truth. Numerous scientific organizations and independent experts state that GMOs are not safe, and that they should be labeled or banned.(5)(6) And no less important, countless moms report that their children have been cured of serious health conditions when they adopt a GMO free diet.(7)

Don’t expect Monsanto to change its tune any time soon regarding the dangers of GMOs. It still claims that Agent Orange “is not the cause of serious long-term health effects.”(8)

The question of GMO safety is important, but so are many other questions that lie beyond the purview of science—questions regarding the ethics and morality of GMOs. For example: Is it ethical to patent and privatize nature? Is it ethical to contaminate nature (salmon, trees, corn, etc.) with GMOs? Is it ethical to sue farmers whose crops have been contaminated by GMOs? Is it ethical to turn food crops into pesticide delivery systems? Is it ethical to kill soils with repeated applications of Roundup and other chemical cocktails? Is it ethical to block state, federal, and international legislation to label GMOs? Is it ethical to bribe legislators and government leaders? Is it ethical to fill key positions in regulatory agencies with Monsanto employees? Is it ethical for the U.S. government to provide aid to foreign countries on the condition that they accept GMOs? Is it ethical to use war to replace Iraq’s bio-diverse agricultural system with a handful of patented GMOs? Is it ethical to declare seed saving to be a criminal act? Is it ethical to commercialize Terminator technology, the technology that renders seeds sterile?(9)

On January 30, 2015, Alaska Representatives Geran Tarr and Scott Kawasaki introduced a GMO labeling bill.(10) That means Monsanto lobbyists and propagandists will soon infest Alaska, and they will employ the same scare tactics and disinformation campaigns they used to narrowly defeat GMO labeling in California, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado. Last summer, the citizens of Vermont prevailed against the multi-billion dollar GMO industry to become the first state to mandate GMO labeling. Let’s become the second—the second of fifty states to label GMOs. But remember that GMO labeling is so much more than a safety issue; it’s part of our stewardship as human beings and Alaskans to protect the Earth, sustainable food systems, and this precious state we call home.

— Brett Wilcox, Author of We’re Monsanto, Feeding the World, Lie After Lie

Notes
1. “AAAS captured from the top down,” GMWatch, November 2, 2012, http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2012/14388-aaas-captured-from-the-top-down
2. Michele Simon, “Serving Science or Monsanto?” Eat Drink Politics, October 29, 2012, http://www.eatdrinkpolitics.com/2012/10/29/serving-science-or-monsanto/
3. David H. Freedman, “Lies, Damn Lies, and Medical Science,” The Atlantic, October 4, 2010, http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/11/lies-damned-lies-and-medical-science/308269/
4. Jon Entine, “AAAS Scientists: Consensus on GMO Safety Firmer Than For Human-Induced Climate Change,” Huffington Post, January 30, 2015, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jon-entine/post_8915_b_6572130.html
5. “‘No scientific consensus on GMO safety’ statement published in peer-reviewed journal,” European Network of Scientists, January 29, 2015, http://www.ensser.org/media/0115/
6. “After opposition: Monsanto patent on tomatoes revoked: Monsanto implicated in fraud and abuse of patent law,” No Patent on Seeds!, December 22, 2014, http://www.no-patents-on-seeds.org/en/information/news/after-opposition-monsanto-patent-tomatoes-revoked
7. http://www.momsacrossamerica.com/
8. “Agent Orange Victims Sue Monsanto,” CorpWatch, http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=11638
9. F. William Engdahl, Seeds of Destruction, Global Research, 2007
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0973714727/
10. Tarr, Kawasaki, “House Bill No. 92,” January 30, 2015, http://www.legis.state.ak.us/PDF/29/Bills/HB0092A.PDF

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Merry Christmas 2014 from the Wilcox Family

We will long remember 2014 as an epic and wonderful year. We met so many beautiful people as David and I ran across the USA. And Kris and I became first-time grandparents in November. Merry Christmas and many organic blessings throughout the coming year.

DSC09490

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Sitka’s Incredible and Inspirational Cross Country Invitational

David and I spent a lot of time together on the road . . . anywhere from five to nine or ten hours a day. People sometimes ask what we talked about while we were running. That’s assuming we talked at all. I remember the day I broke the news to David that we might not be returning to Sitka. No job, no Sitka, I said. That was not our best day!

You see, David spoke of three major themes while running: video games, high level cross country athletes, and getting back to Sitka so he could run with his high school cross country team. He had it all planned out. Not just the 2014 season. He was already looking to the years ahead, thinking about the younger runners—both boys and girls—that would take their team to the next level.

MEHS sign

Prior to the run, David and I naively assumed that our 3,000-mile jaunt across the U.S.A. would make us stronger and faster runners. It didn’t. Running 20 miles per day, six days a week took its toll. David got to know five or six chiropractors and a few massage therapists in the final months of the run. Each was helpful, but none could reverse the effects of all the daily wear and tear on David’s body.

Girls Start

And speaking of naïve, when we set David up with four Internet-based classes to complete while we were on the road, we assumed that—in addition to running all those miles everyday—we would have stable Internet connections and David would have the time to get his classwork done before the fall semester. Neither turned out to be true. On occasion we’d travel up to a week with no wifi and often when we had it, it was slow and unreliable. And to be totally honest, Internet-based lectures hold David’s interest like a salmon net holds water.

Girls Bridge

At any rate, when school started a few weeks ago, David had one big, fat letter—the letter “I”—repeated four times on his report card from last semester. And that “I” does not stand for Incredible or Inspirational. It stands for Incomplete. And when it comes to school sports, the policy reads: Incompletes Shall Not Compete.

Kris and I were there when David got the news. And I have to say that David’s response then and now continues to be both Incredible and Inspirational.

Girls Finish

David took the news in stride and figured out what he’d need to do get himself back on the team. And in the mean time, David continues to work out and ice with the team, although he does alternate workouts such as the elliptical and biking to give his body the time it needs to heal.

Boys Start

My father had a massive heart event in July of 2013. That event gave me the opportunity to spend the next three months with Dad, Mom, and my siblings down in Utah. Because of that, I was unable to watch David run last year when he became the 3A region champ at the age of 14.

Boys Crowd

Yesterday I had my first opportunity to attend the Sitka Cross Country Invitational and attend I did. But it was a bit hard knowing that, rather than lining up at the starting line, David would be cheering his teammates on from the side. Of course, David was both incredible and inspirational. It wasn’t about David, it was about supporting his team.

Boys Trail

Kids learn a lot of things from their parents, but I’m humbled to write that David has taught me some incredible and inspirational lessons on our shared journey. He’s taught me to dream big and to work hard. He’s taught me to buck up and to make the best of hard stuff. He’s taught me to support the team, even when he’s not leading the pack. And he’s taught me the power of forgiveness, as he’s forgiven me more than a few times when I mess up as a dad.

MEHS Finish

Things haven’t turned out as we hoped for since our big Run. Monsanto’s still running the country and David is hardly able to run. I never thought I’d write this, but I’m glad that David is ineligible to run for now. If he weren’t, he’d be doing some serious running when his body needs some serious rest.

Colin Finish

Life is not a sprint. It’s not a 5K, a marathon, or even a transcontinental run. Life is life long. My dad’s temporal life ended a year ago today. He thought our plans to run across the USA were crazy. He’s right, of course. Crazy or not, I’d like to believe he enjoyed watching the show from up above. No doubt, he would have agreed with me: David is one incredible and inspirational young man.

Riley Finish

I look forward to running with Dad sometime in the distant future, but for now I’m cherishing each moment with Kris and our kids (furry and otherwise). And I’m feeling so blessed to share this moment and this journey with such an incredible and inspirational family.

Posted in Blog, Running, Running The Country | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I Changed My Mind About GMOs!

After writing a book exposing fifty of Monsanto’s top lies, and after running across the country with my son speaking out against the problems associated with chemical intensive GMO-based agriculture, I’ve changed my mind. I now agree with Tony the GMO-Loving Tiger, GMOs are great!

PregnantRoundupHeartsSmall

Just kidding, of course. But I’m intrigued by the people who have switched from an anti to a pro-GMO position. Take Mark Lynas, for example. He claims to have seen the light after starting out as an anti-GMO activist. (Never mind that other anti-GMO activists had never heard of Mark until he announced his conversion.) Now an industry poster child, Lynas travels the world promoting the alleged benefits of genetically modified organisms. How did he and a handful of others make the change? What are their motivations? What are the social costs and benefits?

And if Mr. Lynas can make such a dramatic turnaround, what would it take for me to do the same?

Following is a list of 53 change points that I’d need before I would cross the line to routinely eat and cheerlead for the chemical giants, their GMOs and companion poisons:

1. I’d need to believe that GMOs have never and will never contaminate their natural counterparts.

2. Since that’s not possible, I’d need to believe that pesticide companies have a right to contaminate our biological and cultural heritage with GMOs.

3. I’d need to believe that genetic contamination of native and natural plant and animal varieties benefits farmers, the environment, and human health.

4. I’d need to believe that chemical giants have no moral, ethical, or legal liability to the farmers’ whose crops and livelihoods are destroyed by GMO contamination.

5. I’d need to agree with the U.S. Supreme Court that organic and conventional farmers have no legal recourse or protection from genetic contamination. (http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs122/1104248386985/archive/1116242775724.html)

6. I’d need to believe that small-scale agro ecological family farms and their communities are best relegated to the history books. (http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/the-family-farm-is-being-systematically-wiped-out-of-existence-in-america)

7. I’d need to believe that GMOs really are needed to feed a hungry world. (http://www.organicconsumers.org/ge/tenreasons.cfm)

8. I’d need to believe that GMOs should be pushed and promoted onto world markets before long term environmental, animal and human feeding studies have been conducted. In other words, I’d need to believe that the Precautionary Principle is poppycock. (http://www.i-sis.org.uk/prec.php)

9. I’d need to believe that horizontal gene transfer is no different than traditional crossbreeding and hybridization processes.
(http://consumersunion.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Wide-Crosses.pdf)

10. I’d need to believe that turning plants into EPA-registered pesticide-producing factories provides lasting benefits to farmers, consumers, animals, and the environment.
(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/bt-corn_b_2442072.html)

11. I’d need to believe that Roundup resistant GMO crops really are safe for the environment, animals, and human health.
(http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/10/23/1249978/-Monsanto-Poisoning-Argentina-The-World#)

12. I’d need to believe that Roundup is safe. Or if not safe, I’d need to believe that drinking and breathing Roundup, and feeding Roundup-contaminated breast milk to babies is more beneficial than not doing so.
(http://naturalsociety.com/3-studies-proving-toxic-glyphosate-found-urine-blood-even-breast-milk/)

13. I’d need to believe that agrochemical poisons cease to be poisonous when we eat them.
(http://www.stonyfield.com/blog/why-i-choose-organic/)

14. I’d need to believe that privatizing seed through patents is ethical, responsible, and in the best interest of farmers, consumers, and the environment.
(http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/10456-moyers-vandana-shiva-on-the-problem-with-genetically-modified-seeds)

15. I’d need to believe that farmers have no right or business saving and replanting seeds.
(http://www.foodnotbombs.net/seeds.html)

16. I’d need to believe that plant and animal biodiversity is of little value or importance.
(http://www.globalresearch.ca/genetically-modified-crops-and-the-contamination-of-america-s-food-chain/19860)

17. I’d need to believe that agricultural imperialism that results from GMO patents benefits poor servant farmers more than it benefits chemical company masters.
(http://www.naturalnews.com/046016_el_salvador_monsanto_gmo_seeds.html)

18. I’d need to believe that monocultures benefit the environment and reduce global warming.
(http://www.navdanya.org/attachments/Latest_Publications9.pdf) (http://www.organicconsumers.org/bytes/OrganicBytes441.pdf)

19. I’d need to believe that turning GMO corn into ethanol is ethical and provides sound fiscal and environmental policy.
(http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/11/12/time-to-kill-the-corn-ethanol-mandate/)

20. I’d need to believe that it makes sense for the government to burden organic farmers with fees, rules, and bureaucratic nonsense while subsidizing GMO farmers and the chemical companies that own the GMOs with U.S. taxpayer dollars for products that U.S. taxpayers neither need nor want.
(http://www.foginfo.org/policy-work/action-alerts/)

21. I’d need to believe that GMOs really do have identifiable consumer benefits.
(http://www.responsibletechnology.org/10-Reasons-to-Avoid-GMOs)

22. I’d need to believe that GMOs really are substantially equivalent to their natural counterparts. Which means, of course, I’d need to believe they no more merit patent protection than their natural counterparts.
(http://gmoinside.org/substantial-equivalence/)

23. I’d need to believe that as government and industry leaders have concluded, U.S. consumers are too stupid to understand GMO food labels.
(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/10/gmo-labels-congress_n_5576255.html)

24. I’d need to believe that labeling GMOs must be avoided at all costs, even if that means subverting the American democratic process as the industry has done in California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Vermont, and indeed the entire nation. Why? Because GMOs are a skull and crossbones to the GMO industry. And if the market shrinks and dies, then millions of people will also die because GMOs are necessary to feed a growing world. (See number 7.) (http://www.alternet.org/story/154951/millions_against_monsanto%3A_the_food_fight_of_our_lives?paging=off&current_page=1#bookmark)
(http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/12/vermont-gmo-idUSL2N0OT20620140612)
(http://www.eatdrinkpolitics.com/tag/california-prop-37/)

25. I’d need to believe that farmers should continue to grow GMOs in spite of the overwhelming consumer rejection of GMOs.
(http://www.gmeducation.org/latest-news/p217765-new-us-consumer-poll-shows-massive-rejection-of-gmo-foods.html)

26. I’d need to believe that pollinators are dispensable members of the web of life.
(http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_29307.cfm)

27. I’d need to believe that we’re better off without the birds, fish, and other animals impacted by GMO-based agriculture.
(http://thecalloftheland.wordpress.com/2011/03/29/latter-day-luther-nails-troubling-thesis-to-gm-farm-food-citadels/)

28. I’d need to believe that the animals that refuse to eat GMOs don’t know what’s good for them.
(http://tv.naturalnews.com/v.asp?v=C5A58EEADAD40EE44DB101D0C360F763)

29. I’d need to believe that killing the soil with repeated applications of Roundup and other poisons is the foundation of sound modern agricultural practices.
(http://www.rodalenews.com/roundup)

30. I’d need to believe that super weeds and superbugs are beneficial byproducts of GMO-based agriculture.
(http://www.utne.com/environment/superweeds-superbugs-and-superbusiness.aspx#axzz3DsNAIhxH)

31. I’d need to believe that killing super weeds and superbugs with ever more toxic chemicals makes moral, environmental, and fiscal sense.
(http://gmoinside.org/another-strike-gmos-creation-superbugs-superweeds/)

32. I’d need to believe that good science includes bullying, shaming, belittling, intimidating, and silencing scientists and others who oppose GMOs.
(http://www.globalresearch.ca/gmo-researchers-attacked-evidence-denied-and-a-population-at-risk/5305324)
(http://guardianlv.com/2014/05/monsanto-silences-scientist-who-explores-risks-of-gene-modification-video/)

33. I’d need to believe that good GMO related science includes sham research methods that produce sham research results.
(http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2010/12571-sham-science)

34. I’d need to believe that pesticide companies have the right to control the editorial boards of scientific journals.
(http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/06/seralini-study-toxic-effects-gmos-glyphosate-republished/)

35. I’d need to believe that industry-influenced scientific journals have the right to retract scientifically sound, unfavorable research.
(http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Retracting_Serallini_study_violates_science_and_ethics.php)

36. I’d need to believe that agrochemical companies have the right to control political figures and processes through bribes, donations, and lawsuits.
(http://nodisinfo.com/the-ultimate-crime-syndicate-the-gmo-industry-bribes-racketeering-and-more/)

37. I’d need to believe that regulation of the GMO industry is best performed directly by the GMO industry or only slightly less directly through the industry/government revolving door.
(http://occupy-monsanto.com/tag/revolving-door/)

38. I’d need to believe that chemical companies have the right to control the GMO story spun by the mainstream media.
(http://www.nongmoreport.com/organic-nongmo/the-biotech-industrys-assault-on-balanced-journalism/)

39. I’d need to believe that agrochemical companies have the right to fashion international trade agreements such as the TPP and TAFTA, agreements that are favorable to the GMO industry, agreements that supersede member nations’ rights to govern the industry.
(http://www.naturalnews.com/042158_trade_agreements_monsanto_gmo_labeling.html)

40. I’d need to believe that agrochemical companies have the right to enter public schools to indoctrinate our children regarding GMOs.
(http://www.trueactivist.com/monsanto-biotechnology-book-for-kids-caught-brainwashing-children/)

41. I’d need to believe that agrochemical companies and/or farmers have no moral or legal obligation to disclose what, when, and where they spray Roundup and other toxins.
(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrea-brower/exceptional-volume-of-pes_b_5498415.html)

42. I’d need to believe that agrochemical companies and/or farmers have no moral or legal obligation to disclose where their GMO crops are planted.
(http://healthimpactnews.com/2014/oregon-wants-to-map-gmo-farms-but-biotech-companies-refuse-to-reveal-locations-of-gmo-fields/)

43. I’d need to believe that it’s good that Monsanto—the same company that produced and profited from PCBs, DDT, and Agent Orange—has seized control of much of our food supply.
(http://www.seedbuzz.com/knowledge-center/article/visualizing-consolidation-in-the-global-seed-industry-1996%E2%80%932008)

44. I’d need to believe that parents who choose to feed their kids organic, non-GMO foods are fear-based and irrational, and it’s good that the mainstream media exposes them to public ridicule, name calling, and shame.
(http://nypost.com/2014/04/19/the-tyranny-of-the-organic-mommy-mafia/)

45. I’d need to believe that pesticide industry executives routinely feed GMOs and associated poisons to their own children.

46. I’d need to believe that a proper function of the U.S. State department includes the promotion of GMOs around the world.
(http://documents.foodandwaterwatch.org/doc/Biotech_Report_US.pdf)

47. I’d need to believe that the U.S. government and the World Bank have the right to provide aid to developing countries only when those countries agree to accept and promote GMOs.
(http://sustainablepulse.com/2014/06/08/u-s-government-ties-el-salvador-usd-277-m-aid-package-monsantos-gmo-seeds/#.U5W4iijihfZ)

48. I’d need to believe the U.S. government has the right to destabilize foreign countries such as Ukraine in order to expand the U.S. corporate empire including the Biotechnology Industry with its patented, chemically dependent, genetically modified seeds.
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzR8ob43dsw)

49. I’d need to believe that the U.S. government has the right to use war and foreign occupation to force foreign farmers to use GMOs as it did in Iraq through Paul Bremer’s infamous Order 81.
(http://www.commondreams.org/views/2012/06/24/patenting-staple-foods-bremers-order-81-ruinous-iraqs-agriculture)

50. I’d need to believe that doing business with and/or purchasing products containing GMOs is morally defensible.

51. I’d need to believe that Monsanto and the other chemical giants’ place the public good over their bottom line.

52. I’d need to believe that industry executives and scientists are wiser than Mother Nature and/or God.

53. I’d need to believe that the Earth’s seven billion inhabitants should trust Monsanto and gang.

Based on the previous list, the chances that I may one day see the GMO light, fill my pantry and my kids bellies with chemically saturated, pesticide producing GMOs, write a book about Monsanto’s beneficence, and run across the USA with my son to promote the GMO industry is a bit of a long shot.

What would it take for you to become the next Mark Lynas? Or if you currently support GMOs, what would it take for you to follow the lead of one-time pro-GMO scientists such as Arpad Pusztai, Belinda Martineau, Thierry Vrain, Shiv Chopra, Jane Dever, Tyrone Hayes, who, through their scientific research, have concluded that GMOs are not safe? What would it take for you to conclude, as nearly 600 scientists who participated in the International Cartagena Biosafety Protocol concluded, that “the greatest threat to mankind in the new millennium is not nuclear war, but genetic engineering”?

One last thought. Science plays a key role in any discussion regarding GMOs. But history has shown us time and time again that science without ethics and morality is dangerous. Such science has been used and continues to be used to justify human and environmental atrocities. Many of the world’s “elites” (a euphemism for obscenely wealthy sociopaths), trampled and continue to trample ethics and morality by profiting from scientifically created chemical concoctions such as Agent Orange, PCBs, and agrochemical poisons long after those poisons were proven dangerous. The vastness of the wealth of these sociopaths is exceeded only by the vastness of the human and environmental devastation produced by the immoral, unethical and ongoing misuse of such poisons.

Brett Wilcox gave away more than 3,000 free downloads of his book, We’re Monsanto: Feeding the World, Lie After Lie prior to running from coast to American coast with his 15-year old son, David, to promote a GMO Free USA. You can support Brett’s efforts by purchasing his book or by making a donation here.

Posted in Blog, GMOs, Monsanto, Running The Country | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Running For a GMO Free USA Run Stats

Running For a GMO Free USA Run Stats

January 18, 2014 – July 19, 2014
150 Running Days
183 Total Days or 6 months and 2 days
Average miles/day: 19.77
Total miles: 2965
Longest day (June 9): 33.75 miles
Shortest day (January 22): 3.4 miles
Longest week (June 23-28): 163.01 miles, averaging 27.19 miles/day
Elevation Gain: More than 108,440
Elevation Loss: More than 108,443
Painkillers and anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals: Zero

Photo Credit: Donna Conner. Available at gettyimages.com.

Photo Credit: Donna Conner. Available at gettyimages.com.

My Garmin watch worked quite well for a good half of the trip, then something short circuited and the display light would not turn off. That meant I would only get about 4 1/2 hours per charge. When this problem first manifested, I’d have to use Google Maps to calculate the distance after the watch died for the day. Eventually we bought David another Garmin watch and as mine died, we’d turn David’s on. When I used Google Maps to calculate the distance, I did not get an elevation reading for that part of the run. That’s why I noted the elevation gain and loss with “More than . . .” I have no idea how much actual elevation gain and loss we did not record, probably no more than 3 or 4% of the total figures. I also estimated time on the road on a few days when we had to use Google Maps or when the watch gave a screwy reading.

Photo Credit: Donna Conner. Available at gettyimages.com.

Photo Credit: Donna Conner. Available at gettyimages.com.

We were quite meticulous in starting the watch exactly or slightly behind where we turned it off the previous day. Of course over the six months we were on the road, we we on our feet for many more miles than the 2965 officially recorded miles.

David ran in six pairs of shoes. I ran in four.

20140823_150505

Run # Run Name Start Time Distance Elevation Gain Elevation Loss
1 From Huntington Beach 1.18 Sat, Jan 18, 2014 12:23 PM 2:04:56 9.21 108 83
2 Santa Ana River Trail 1.20 Mon, Jan 20, 2014 9:13 AM 1:50:21 9.37 181 37
3 Anaheim 1.21 Tue, Jan 21, 2014 10:08 AM 2:53:23 12.84 273 69
4 Approaching Corona 1.22 Wed, Jan 22, 2014 10:43 AM 00:45:00 3.40 120 48
5 Riverside 1.23 Thu, Jan 23, 2014 9:08 AM 4:40:58 18.04 1,015 688
6 Moreno Valley 1.24 Fri, Jan 24, 2014 9:12 AM 4:37:30 15.78 1,779 728
7 Beaumont 1.25 Sat, Jan 25, 2014 1:38 PM 4:51:04 16.81 1,321 680
8 Beaumont-Banning-Cabazon 1.27 Mon, Jan 27, 2014 11:29 AM 3:38:13 12.60 266 749
9 Cabazon to White Water 1.28 Tue, Jan 28, 2014 12:52 PM 4:32:54 16.01 525 1,279
10 To Desert Hot Springs 1.29 Wed, Jan 29, 2014 12:59 PM 2:34:32 7.25 398 306
11 Desert Hot Springs to Yucca Valley 1.30 Thu, Jan 30, 2014 10:13 AM 5:28:18 17.27 2,873 1,044
12 29 Palms 1.31 Fri, Jan 31, 2014 11:04 AM 5:48:27 21.51 229 1,561
13 Leaving 29 Palms 2.1 Sat, Feb 1, 2014 8:46 AM 6:31:44 24.59 1,230 785
14 Approaching Amboy 2.3 Mon, Feb 3, 2014 1:46 PM 3:49:06 15.15 0 1,703
15 Beyond Amboy 2.4 Tue, Feb 4, 2014 10:02 AM 5:42:41 19.33 367 236
16 Essex 2.5 Wed, Feb 5, 2014 10:26 AM 6:45:23 23.46 1,082 88
17 Goffs 2.6 Thu, Feb 6, 2014 9:25 AM 5:06:34 18.00 865 0
18 Goffs Shortcut Bee Farm 2.7 Fri, Feb 7, 2014 10:10 AM 6:11:15 20.71 39 1,409
19 Into Arizona 2.8 Sat, Feb 8, 2014 12:12 PM 5:08:54 17.29 84 852
20 Through Oatman 2.10 Mon, Feb 10, 2014 8:57 AM 6:53:19 20.37 2,513 183
21 Nearly to Kingman 2.11 Tue, Feb 11, 2014 1:05 PM 6:14:29 21.88 1,584 1,458
22 Through Kingman 2.12 Wed, Feb 12, 2014 8:57 AM 4:12:06 16.00 665 257
23 Through Valentine 2.13 Thu, Feb 13, 2014 10:48 AM 6:57:31 24.85 811 188
24 To Buck and Doe Rd 2.14 Fri, Feb 14, 2014 12:28 PM 4:01:30 14.19 1,286 138
25 To Grand Canyon Caverns 2.15 Sat, Feb 15, 2014 11:24 AM 4:15:00 15.16 982 376
26 Leaving Grand Canyon Caverns 2.17 Mon, Feb 17, 2014 11:57 AM 4:49:38 20.44 384 473
27 Through Seligman 2.18 Tue, Feb 18, 2014 1:01 PM 5:14:45 19.83 880 973
28 Ash Fork Detour 2.19 Wed, Feb 19, 2014 9:45 AM 6:27:21 20.56 913 411
29 To Williams 2.20 Thu, Feb 20, 2014 10:10 AM 5:54:14 21.50 1,731 693
30 Leaving Williams 2.21 Fri, Feb 21, 2014 10:12 AM 6:16:54 21.20 1,210 680
31 Bellemont to Flagstaff 2.22 Sat, Feb 22, 2014 1:55 PM 4:30:39 16.93 276 704
32 Leaving Flagstaff 2.24 Mon, Feb 24, 2014 10:22 AM 3:52:17 22.45 280 1479
33 Entering Leupp 2.26 Wed, Feb 26, 2014 10:30 AM 5:04:24 18.96 285 1,158
34 Leaving Leupp 2.27 Thu, Feb 27, 2014 7:40 AM 1:06:00 5.15 47 35
35 To Pyramid (Epic scenery marathon run) 2.28 Fri, Feb 28, 2014 9:33 AM 7:25:03 26.42 997 233
36 To Dilkon Leaving Dilkon 3.1 Sat, Mar 1, 2014 12:21 PM 3:34:21 15.88 765 138
37 To Greasewood Springs 3.3 Mon, Mar 3, 2014 9:07 AM 6:39:33 25.44 869 1,091
38 Leaving Greasewood 3.4 Tue, Mar 4, 2014 10:00 AM 5:15:32 19.31 603 197
39 Through Ganado 3.5 Wed, Mar 5, 2014 9:39 AM 5:40:49 20.19 1,416 453
40 Defiance Plateau into New Mexico 3.6 Thu, Mar 6, 2014 8:50 AM 7:18:20 21.61 833 1,083
41 To Gallup 3.7 Fri, Mar 7, 2014 12:45 PM 5:24:41 21.46 784 1,326
42 Leaving Gallup 3.8 Sat, Mar 8, 2014 1:57 PM 3:30:31 12.57 505 344
43 To Thoreau 3.10 Mon, Mar 10, 2014 12:21 PM 5:53:53 21.54 542 232
44 Leaving Thoreau 3.11 Tue, Mar 11, 2014 11:56 AM 5:07:50 20.72 37 535
45 Through Milan and Grants 3.12 Wed, Mar 12, 2014 9:28 AM 5:42:11 17.04 154 437
46 To Laguna Pueblo 3.13 Thu, Mar 13, 2014 11:53 AM 6:43:59 24.59 390 843
47 Free Way Run 3.14 Fri, Mar 14, 2014 12:23 PM 6:30:48 24.45 774 1,132
48 BJ Timoner, Cold Wind 3.15 Sat, Mar 15, 2014 1:56 PM 3:45:42 11.37 687 437
49 Through Albuquerque Mon, Mar 17, 2014 11:58 AM 6:37:56 22.84 1,011 864
50 Past Sedillo (Mike and Susan evening) 3.18 Tue, Mar 18, 2014 3:25 PM 3:57:55 15.99 1,447 531
51 From Mike and Susan’s Place 3.19 Wed, Mar 19, 2014 1:36 PM 5:02:07 20.12 218 686
52 Through Clines Corners Thu, Mar 20, 2014 9:38 AM 5:40:36 23.05 1,094 895
53 Birthday Run to Rest Stop 3.21 Fri, Mar 21, 2014 10:36 AM 6:01:23 25.32 797 1,640
54 To Santa Rosa 3.22 Sat, Mar 22, 2014 11:08 AM 6:09:17 21.86 558 1,404
55 Santa Rosa to Cuervo 3.24 Mon, Mar 24, 2014 11:29 AM 5:50:27 21.00 1,122 941
56 Cuervo to Montoya (Two Ghost Towns) 3.25 Tue, Mar 25, 2014 10:27 AM 5:31:02 22.75 343 884
57 To Tucumcari 3.26 Wed, Mar 26, 2014 10:10 AM 4:28:04 20.00 427 681
58 Tucumcari to Logan 3.27 Thu, Mar 27, 2014 9:27 AM 5:47:39 23.82 390 619
59 Leaving Logan 3.28 Fri, Mar 28, 2014 5:49 PM 1:34:19 8.29 256 171
60 To Nara Visa 3.29 Sat, Mar 29, 2014 4:04 PM 3:33:17 16.02 385 118
61 Entering Texas 3.31 Mon, Mar 31, 2014 1:57 PM 5:09:11 20.24 486 590
62 Late Start Short Run Toward Dalhart 4.1 Tue, Apr 1, 2014 6:13 PM 2:04:31 8.44 31 75
63 To Dalhart 4.2 Wed, Apr 2, 2014 9:41 AM 5:49:24 20.44 182 229
64 Leaving Dalhart 4.3 Thu, Apr 3, 2014 8:34 AM 6:03:52 22.54 70 324
65 Through Stratford 4.4 Fri, Apr 4, 2014 1:20 PM 5:26:09 21.53 89 348
66 Entered Oklahoma 4.5 Sat, Apr 5, 2014 10:50 AM 4:56:19 19.25 79 290
67 Through Guymon 4.7 Mon, Apr 7, 2014 10:07 AM 6:01:58 19.45 216 460
68 Through Hooker 4.8 Tue, Apr 8, 2014 12:49 PM 5:26:57 21.06 100 193
69 Entered Kansas 4.9 Wed, Apr 9, 2014 10:38 AM 4:38:22 14.75 299 374
70 Through Plains (Widest Main Street) 4.10 Thu, Apr 10, 2014 10:37 AM 7:23:40 25.79 571 607
71 Through Meade 4.11 Fri, Apr 11, 2014 3:10 PM 5:13:35 21.33 303 557
72 Through Minneola 4.12 Sat, Apr 12, 2014 11:58 AM 5:47:39 23.23 417 302
73 Approaching Greensburg 4.14 Mon, Apr 14, 2014 4:06 PM 4:03:32 18.46 312 591
74 Through Greensburg 4.15 Tue, Apr 15, 2014 10:00 AM 4:09:06 18.89 351 472
75 To Pratt 4.16 Wed, Apr 16, 2014 10:44 AM 6:13:07 25.32 361 643
76 Leaving Pratt 4.17 Thu, Apr 17, 2014 10:50 AM 6:53:10 24.88 486 758
77 Through Kingman 4.18 Fri, Apr 18, 2014 4:07 PM 4:09:58 15.67 446 495
78 Approaching Goddard 4.19 Sat, Apr 19, 2014 3:15 PM 5:07:39 22.13 386 498
79 Through Wichita 4.21 Mon, Apr 21, 2014 2:55 PM 5:20:41 19.63 146 286
80 Leaving Wichita 4.22 Tue, Apr 22, 2014 10:01 AM 5:34:42 19.25 443 536
81 Leaving Augusta 4.23 Wed, Apr 23, 2014 12:25 PM 4:24:05 17.00 518 291
82 To Severy 4.24 Thu, Apr 24, 2014 12:01 PM 5:47:39 24.19 810 1,111
83 Leaving Severy 4.26 Sat, Apr 26, 2014 11:01 AM 6:26:29 24.27 884 1,132
84 By Fredonia and Neodesha 4.28 Mon, Apr 28, 2014 11:00 AM 5:04:41 21.37 332 444
85 To Parsons 4.29 Tue, Apr 29, 2014 11:06 AM 5:06:48 22.42 771 647
86 Leaving Parsons 4.30 Wed, Apr 30, 2014 10:27 AM 5:13:22 19.78 299 346
87 Through Cherokee 5.1 Thu, May 1, 2014 5:47 PM 2:49:21 12.19 224 166
88 Entered Missouri 5.2 Fri, May 2, 2014 9:51 AM 5:58:28 20.07 253 267
89 Day Before Spring Planting Festival 5.3 Sat, May 3, 2014 2:32 PM 5:18:47 20.95 433 213
90 First Night at Willard 5.6 Tue, May 6, 2014 9:13 PM 4:22:19 17.66 652 759
91 Through Everton 5.7 Wed, May 7, 2014 3:12 PM 6:57:23 22.53 1,260 1,195
92 To Bolivar 5.8 Thu, May 8, 2014 1:20 PM 1:39:17 6.51 170 273
93 Leaving Bolivar 5.9 Fri, May 9, 2014 10:08 PM 3:10:20 13.50 627 600
94 Crossed Pomme de Terre Lake 5.10 Sat, May 10, 2014 5:41 PM 5:58:47 20.89 1,000 1,033
95 Through Climax Springs 5.12 Mon, May 12, 2014 4:09 PM 6:54:35 23.44 916 949
96 To Toll Bridge of Lake of the Ozarks 5.13 Tue, May 13, 2014 8:13 PM 5:08:24 17.84 1,357 1,602
97 Through Lake Ozark and Crossing the Bagnell Dam 5.14 Wed, May 14, 2014 4:40 PM 6:34:51 21.21 1,180 1,084
98 To Monticello Road 5.15 Thu, May 15, 2014 3:02 PM 4:54:57 15.56 511 708
99 Through Jefferson City 5.19 Mon, May 19, 2014 9:42 AM 8:33:48 22.94 1,424 1,490
100 From Tebbetts to Bluffton 5.20 Tue, May 20, 2014 1:14 PM 7:15:58 20.71 828 859
101 From Bluffton to Bernheimer 5.21 Wed, May 21, 2014 8:53 AM 7:24:08 22.36 745 768
102 To Augusta 5.22 Thu, May 22, 2014 10:00 AM 7:22:26 23.11 767 770
103 To Discovery Bridge 5.23 Fri, May 23, 2014 9:51 AM 7:47:06 24.48 1,180 1,137
104 To Monsanto 5.24 1.7 miles already subtracted Sat, May 24, 2014 8:13 AM 7:18:11 13.41 520 475
105 Through St. Louis 5.26 Mon, May 26, 2014 11:13 AM 6:51:44 17.34 363 615
106 Through East Saint Louis 5.29 Thu, May 29, 2014 2:13 PM 6:16:19 17.84 328 175
107 Three Rains to Highland 5.30 Fri, May 30, 2014 11:32 AM 1:59:31 15.80 68 132
108 Through Pocahontas 5.31 Sat, May 31, 2014 9:32 AM 7:08:00 21.49 260 225
109 Through Vandalia 5.2 Mon, Jun 2, 2014 10:19 AM 7:05:00 21.17 56 105
110 To Effingham 6.3 Tue, Jun 3, 2014 7:50 AM 6:00:00 23.38 82 39
111 Leaving Effingham 6.4 Wed, Jun 4, 2014 9:51 AM 5:15:00 21.26 98 88
112 Through Casey To Martinsville 6.5 Thu, Jun 5, 2014 11:48 AM 5:00:00 19.58 90 106
113 Nearly to Terra Haute 6.6 Fri, Jun 6, 2014 1:10 PM 5:30:00 22.96 431 443
114 Through Terra Haute 6.7 Sat, Jun 7, 2014 2:20 PM 3:10:00 13.21 66 135
115 Through Brazil 6.9 Mon, Jun 9, 2014 8:38 AM 11:00:00 33.75 351 203
116 Approaching Indianapolis 6.10 Tue, Jun 10, 2014 11:47 AM 6:00:00 24.35 277 280
117 Through Indianapolis 6.11 Wed, Jun 11, 2014 4:26 PM 3:00:25 9.43 131 92
118 Through Philadelphia 6.12 Thu, Jun 12, 2014 11:54 AM 5:00:00 19.83 148 90
119 To Dunreith 6.13 Fri, Jun 13, 2014 9:25 AM 4:15:00 17.04 178 183
120 To Centerville 6.14 Sat, Jun 14, 2014 2:25 PM 6:00:00 24.87 184 253
121 Through Lewisburg 6.16 Mon, Jun 16, 2014 9:26 AM 10:00:00 33.05 555 402
122 Through Englewood 6.17 Tue, Jun 17, 2014 9:59 AM 4:45:00 18.50 512 679
123 Through Springfield 6.18 Wed, Jun 18, 2014 9:00 AM 6:00:00 22.90 253 82
124 Through Jefferson City 6.19 Thu, Jun 19, 2014 8:48 AM 6:15:00 25.69 258 323
125 To Columbus 6.20 Fri, Jun 20, 2014 3:16 PM 3:28:08 10.95 54 257
126 To Reynoldsburg 6.21 Sat, Jun 21, 2014 3:38 PM 3:00:00 11.91 92 65
127 To Linnville 6.23 Mon, Jun 23, 2014 7:37 AM 10:00:00 32.71 796 725
128 Through Zanesville 6.24 Tue, Jun 24, 2014 9:31 AM 6:56:50 23.61 1,423 1,373
129 To Old Washington 6.25 Wed, Jun 25, 2014 8:59 AM 9:33:21 28.95 2,017 2,152
130 Detour through Small Towns 6.26 Thu, Jun 26, 2014 9:53 AM 8:29:50 26.47 2,010 1,561
131 To Wheeling 6.27 Fri, Jun 27, 2014 9:49 AM 7:13:19 21.76 2,078 2,672
132 To Washington 6.28 Sat, Jun 28, 2014 8:11 AM 9:34:05 29.51 3,067 2,690
133 To Monongahela 6.30 Mon, Jun 30, 2014 11:41 AM 5:13:47 17.35 1,508 1,464
134 Through Monongahela 7.1 Tue, Jul 1, 2014 10:39 AM 7:18:15 19.97 2,078 2,089
135 Massive Hot Hill 7.2 Wed, Jul 2, 2014 10:44 AM 6:42:03 19.79 2,593 1,954
136 To Somerset 7.3 Thu, Jul 3, 2014 10:53 AM 5:30:40 18.44 2,478 2,007
137 To Bald Knob Summit 7.4 Fri, Jul 4, 2014 9:13 AM 7:17:44 21.91 1,942 1,928
138 To Sleepy Hollow Camp 7.5 Sat, Jul 5, 2014 6:36 PM 2:06:24 7.96 622 1,351
139 To Breezewood 7.7 Mon, Jul 7, 2014 8:45 AM 6:48:55 23.94 1,793 1,863
140 Two Huge Mountains 7.8 Tue, Jul 8, 2014 9:03 AM 8:40:15 28.74 3,899 4,424
141 Through Chambersburg 7.9 Wed, Jul 9, 2014 10:15 AM 7:07:36 20.47 993 852
142 Almost to Gettysburg 7.10 Thu, Jul 10, 2014 1:27 PM 4:28:17 15.19 761 1,109
143 Through Gettysburg 7.11 Fri, Jul 11, 2014 12:30 PM 6:52:28 23.71 748 846
144 To Columbia 7.12 Sat, Jul 12, 2014 11:03 AM 6:58:31 22.12 749 950
145 Through Lancaster 7.14 Mon, Jul 14, 2014 11:49 AM 6:49:10 21.63 1,009 974
146 Through West Chester 7.15 Tue, Jul 15, 2014 10:50 AM 8:22:32 29.87 1898 1963
147 To Liberty Bell 7.16 Wed, Jul 16, 2014 10:34 AM 6:53:51 23.71 874 1,255
148 From Independence Square 7.17 Thu, Jul 17, 2014 10:15 AM 8:04:43 22.40 396 286
149 To May’s Landing 7.18 Fri, Jul 18, 2014 2:03 PM 5:10:06 23.43 265 392
150 May’s Landing to Ocean City 7.19 Sat, Jul 19, 2014 8:55 AM 4:50:21 22.20 167 178
Posted in Blog, GMOs, Running, Running The Country | Tagged | Leave a comment

Sitka Family Adjusts to Life Not on the Run

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer
Source: http://sitkasentinel.com/7/2012-05-10-22-08-10/local-news/7632-sitka-family-adjusts-to-life-not-on-the-run

A month after David Wilcox became the second youngest person to run across the country, life has just about returned to normal for the Wilcox family. Well, as normal as it gets for this busy family.

JS17OliviaKrisDavidBrettThe Wilcoxes pose in Ocean City, NJ, at the end of their cross-country trek. (Photo provided)

A recent visit to the Wilcox home found David, 15, catching up on the last of his six months’ worth of home school coursework on a laptop computer and recovering from a running injury. Sister Olivia, 13, who accompanied David in the support van, is curled up in a living room chair with her eyes glued to a smartphone. Mom Kris is talking with a visitor while tending to the needs of a new pit bull-mix dog they picked up on the cross-country journey, while dad Brett is salvaging meat from an old salmon for the two family dogs.

By most counts, the cross-country run was a success, with David and his dad averaging 18 to 20 miles a day on the 2,966-mile trip, finishing in time for David to be back for the start of the school year.

At stops along the seven-month journey, the family distributed a message expressing their opposition to genetically modified food products and to the corporate giant Monsanto, which developed and markets the genetically modified seeds from which a high percentage of farm products are grown today.

The Wilcoxes’ run started at Huntington Beach, Calif., on Jan. 18 and finished on July 19 in Ocean City, N.J., where the whole family celebrated with a dip in the Atlantic Ocean.

Brett said he felt the long-distance run and the message about genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) went well together to promote a healthy lifestyle. “For us, it’s all one and the same,” Brett said in an earlier interview.

Are they happy to be home?

For Olivia, the answer is an emphatic “yes,” but the others had to think a little before answering.

David is swamped with homework from last semester, while nursing an injury he sustained on the run and which has kept him sidelined from the start of high school cross country competition this year.

Kris is happy to be home, and eagerly waiting to move back into the family house, which they rented out for the first half of the year.

Brett commented: “I have mixed feelings about it – I was on an adrenaline high for two years, doing everything to prepare, talking to people, talking about my book.” (Brett’s self-published a book, “We’re Monsanto: Feeding the World, Lie after Lie” was completed last fall.)

David, a talented high school distance runner, originally had the plan for running across the country, inspired by a similar feat by another U.S. teen. Brett, also a running enthusiast, was quickly on board, deciding to accompany his son in the challenge. Kris was also eager to support her son’s dream, and served as the support and logistics team with Olivia.

The group left Sitka on Jan. 8, and took a detour through the Southwest before starting the run on Jan. 18. They had a rough first day, starting after only three hours of sleep and covering only nine miles, far short of the 17 to 18 miles a day they had planned.

“It sucked so much,” David said of his low-energy day. It was better after that.

“Later, we went past 20 and kept going, and it stopped being such a big deal,” he said.

The Wilcoxes mainly stuck to their schedule, giving interviews with TV stations and newspapers when possible, passing out some of the 3,000 packets of GMO-free garden seeds they carried, and speaking to groups. Some days were busier than others.

“In the desert, in the southwest, we would go two or three days without passing out a seed packet,” Brett said. “The big shift happened after we crossed the Mississippi.”

David and Brett were mostly on their own as they ran, pushing a stroller containing their flyers as well as food and water for themselves and sometimes for the family dogs.

Kris drove the truck, pulling a travel trailer, while managing the $45,000 budget for the trip and locating cheap – or free – places to stay. Olivia helped keep house, prepare meals and set up camp.

They said their message about genetically modified crops was generally well-received, as they passed out the donated lettuce seed packets from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co. to passersby.

Brett and Kris said it was gratifying to go into the poorer neighborhoods, and to be able to talk to people outside on the streets and on porches. East St. Louis, Mo., West Philadelphia, Pa., and Camden, N.J. – all known as rough cities – were high points, Brett said.

“We ran right through and had a blast doing it,” he said. “We had a lot of nice conversations.”

Among the speaking engagements they had were one at The March Against Monsanto demonstration at the company’s headquarters in St. Louis, where Brett and David were keynote speakers. The family said they were surprised at the level of security for that event. Brett said that by his count there were eight different law enforcement groups present.

“They had enough security (as if) we were criminals,” Brett said.

While most of the trip went as planned, there were a few surprises. For Brett, it was the validation and support the family received for their GMO-free message across the country. “I was expecting resistance and hostility,” he said. “Nearly every person we met in 3,000 miles said, ‘we support you,’ ‘good on you.’”

Many people weren’t aware of the GMO issue, and Brett was more than happy to spread the word. “We did our part the best we could,” Brett said.

David said his “good surprise” was meeting a semi-professional runner at a shoe store in Flagstaff, Ariz., and learning about trying to make it as a pro, and some of the challenges.
“It was just cool meeting someone who runs at that level, although he’s not professional and may not make it all the way,” said David, who was the Region V 3A champion in last year’s cross country season.

He commented that a “not nice surprise” was speaking at the May 24 March Against Monsanto, where he said he was not particularly comfortable talking to the crowd of 100.

“He did fine,” his dad said. “He did a great job.”

For Brett and Kris, a low point was when injuries slowed David to a walk for two months until they found the right medical help in McMurray, Pa. A chiropractor who was recommended to them promised David he would be up and running within two days. And he was.

“As parents we were always questioning whether what we were doing was in David’s best interest,” Brett said, adding, “He’s still injured now.”

But overall, the family said it was a good experience, and a learning experience for everyone. “It changed the way I look at people in a huge way,” Kris said. “So many people were so open. They opened their homes, they opened their hearts. Some of the time it was our cause, some if it just because they saw it was a family doing something cool.”

Kris said the family held fundraisers before starting the run, and wanted to do as much as possible on their own, but found it was not possible to do everything. “People jumped in, and did something – because they wanted to,” Kris said. “I never want to be relying on other people, but we found people were there to hold us up. … We couldn’t be all on our own.”

“I’m glad we did it,” Brett said. “It was a once in a lifetime. It’ll always be there. It was hard; it was a challenge, but absolutely.”

Brett said David is now the second youngest person to run across the U.S.

David’s Nov. 9 blog says that the title for youngest goes to a boy named Tobias Cotton, who did it in 1928 when he was a few months younger than David was when he started his run. Tobias was one of 198 competitors, and one of five African Americans, in a foot race across the United States, finishing in 35th place.

David said that although Tobias didn’t win the $25,000 prize, the famous entertainer William “Bojangles” Robinson, who was appearing in a musical at the time, organized a special fundraising performance with all earnings going to the Cotton family.

Posted in Blog, GMOs, Running The Country | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The GMA and The Customer Servitude Industry

On my first day back on the job with my former employer, I sat through my second Customer Service presentation. Which means I sat through my second viewing of Bob Farrell’s video and presentation titled “Give Them the Pickle.”

bob-farrell

Among other business ventures, Bob has launched several different restaurant chains. Back when Bob was just starting out, he got a letter from a disgruntled customer who explained that on his most recent visit to Bob’s restaurant, the waitress informed him that she’d be happy to bring him his requested pickle . . . for 75 cents. Pay for the pickle? That was a first. And consequently the customer informed Bob that he would never return to Bob’s restaurant again. Ouch!

Who Funds Anti Labeling Campaigns

Obviously a smart man, Bob recognized that he gained far more than he lost when his employees gave out pickles as requested. He told his employees, “Give them the pickle.” That line became his mantra and the basis for his successful career as well as his “Give ‘em the pickle” presentations.

The first time I watched Bob’s presentation some nine years ago, I considered its meaning in relationship to the people I serve at work. Although I had similar thoughts this time around, in as much as my son and I recently finished our transcontinental Run For a GMO Free USA, I couldn’t help but also apply Bob’s solid customer service principles to the GMO industry—an industry that includes the White House, Congress, regulatory agencies, universities, The Grocery Manufacturers Association, chemical companies such as Monsanto, Dow, and Dupont Pioneer, the junk food and soda industry such as Mars, Pepsico, and Coca Cola, grocery stores, farmers, and consumers.

junkfoodmafia

Bob Farrell is one of many good spokespersons for the customer service industry. The Grocery Manufactures Association is one of many giant organizations representing the customer servitude industry, an industry that is so large and so powerful that it has, thus far, successfully controlled government policy at the top while snubbing consumer preference on the bottom. In contrast to Mr. Farrell’s Give-‘Em-The-Pickle business model, the GMA makes its money by routinely giving consumers the finger.

In Bob’s world, the customer is king and boss. The customer pays Bob’s mortgage, his kids’ educations, vacations, etc. In the GMA’s world, the industry itself is boss, king, and lord over mindless hordes of hungry consumers. It maintains sufficient control of the food supply that it leaves Americans with little if any choice at all at the grocery store.

The GMA represents, protects, and promotes some of the biggest players in the GMO industry including of course Monsanto, one of the most hated companies in the history of the world. The successful introduction of GMOs into the food supply provides proof of the monopolistic power of the GMA over America’s food policies. Consider this: No one has ever gone to the grocery store to intentionally buy genetically modified organisms or products containing GMOs. In other words, there is no consumer market for GMOs. None. Zip. Nada. Not only is there no consumer market, millions of Americans want GMOs banned, and if not banned, they want them at least labeled so they can readily and easily avoid buying them.

Bob Farrell recognizes the wisdom in giving people a pickle, but he wouldn’t dream of forcing his customers to buy and eat pickles filled with unnatural ingredients they neither need nor want. He wouldn’t dream of overrunning D.C. with lobbyist to get those unnatural ingredients labeled as natural.

GMA-outlawing-GMO-labeling

Not so with the Omnipotent GMA. The GMA insists on selling people GMO-contaminated products they neither need nor want, while also insisting that those unwanted and unneeded products remain unlabeled. And when millions of people rise up and declare that they don’t want to eat those products, or at the very least, they want those products labeled, the GMA responds with multi million-dollar misinformation campaigns to scare people into voting against labeling. And when Vermont passed the first no-strings-attached GMO labeling bill, the GMA filed suit against the state of Vermont. There is something seriously wrong with an organization that wields sufficient power to thwart what little remains of American democracy!

vermontgmo

The GMA claims it’s committed to promoting the health of American consumers. Such claims would be laughable if they weren’t also deadly. Regardless, it can claim to be interested in the health of American consumers until the genetically modified cows come home, but Americans are seeing through the lies. Ultimately, the hubris of an organization that profits by giving people what they don’t want while refusing to give people what they do want, not to mention its obscene level of political influence, will some day prove to be its downfall.

We’re tired of being lied to. We’re tired of being told to shut up and eat our unlabeled, poison-saturated GMOs. We’re tired of being told that we’re not smart enough to understand the meaning of GMO labels. In spite of the GMA’s money, influence, and lies, millions of people from California to New Jersey are standing together, demanding GMO labeling and in some cases demanding GMO Free zones. (We had the privilege of meeting hundreds of these people in our run across the USA.)

VermontGovStatement

The GMA doesn’t know it quite yet, but Bob Farrell is right. We customers are king. And it’s long past time for us to banish the likes of the GMA and reclaim American democracy. A crucial first step to doing so is to label GMOs.

So when GMO labeling hits the ballot in your state, be prepared for the GMA to roll in with its propaganda and its lies. And remember that the GMA has only shown up to get you to shut up, fork over, and chow down. Don’t do it. Raise your voice and cast your vote.

And when you ask for a pickle at one of Mr. Farrell’s establishments, make sure it’s free—GMA and GMO free.

Sources:

http://www.giveemthepickle.com/bob.htm

http://www.RunningTheCountry.com

http://www.gmaonline.org/

http://www.fooddemocracynow.org/blog/2014/jan/18/big_foods_arrogant_move_in_the_gmo_labeling_wars

http://www.gmaonline.org/news-events/newsroom/gma-statement-on-defeat-of-proposition-37-in-california/

http://www.gmaonline.org/news-events/newsroom/gma-files-lawsuit-to-overturn-vermonts-unconstitutional-mandatory-gmo-label/

http://www.gmaonline.org/about/for-consumers/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/10/gmo-labels-congress_n_5576255.html

http://organicconnectmag.com/two-gmo-victories-oregon/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/GMO-Free-Los-Angeles/130864966978664

Posted in Blog, GMOs, Monsanto | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Coast to Coast Thanks to You!

On January 18, 2014, 15-year old David and I launched our transcontinental Run For a GMO Free USA from the Pacific Ocean in Huntington Beach, California. Kris and 13-year old Olivia served as our support crew.

On July 19, 2014, we completed our run in Ocean City, New Jersey. Our epic finish was made even more so due to the fact that Kris and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary on that date. We owe the deepest debt of gratitude to hundreds of people who contributed to the success of our run and mission. Following are but a few:

Sitka Conservation Society financially partnered with us. This partnership allowed and continues to allow supporters to make tax-deductible donations at our website, RunningTheCountry.com/donate.

20140823_150505

Owen Kindig devoted weeks to the creation of two Indiegogo fundraising campaigns. (See the first campaign here and the second campaign here.) The professional quality of those campaigns resulted and continues to result in significant donations from far and near.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company supplied us with some 3000 seed packets, which we freely gave to people as we crossed the country. Those packets, prominently labeled “GMO Free USA,” served to pique the interest and start important conversations.

seedpackets

Luan Van Le and Diana Reeves with GMO Free USA repeatedly publicized our run, mission, and ongoing need for donations. David Waredy or “Coach David,” winner of the 1992 “TransAm” transcontinental race and advisory board for the Race Across USA, was present for our run launch in Huntington Beach and offered support, advice, and encouraging words throughout our run. Ted Laufenberg took care of all the details involved in renting our home and apartment in our absence. Patty and Rod Ady handled our mail, keeping us up to date on important correspondence. Clint Simic took care of the licensing requirements for our truck and travel trailer. The Fulton family opened up their home to David while Kris, Olivia, Angel, Jenna, and I made our way back to Sitka via road and ferry. Michael and Crystal Bricker provided a home for us to stay in for a few weeks while our home is still rented out. Hundreds of other people donated, time, talent, housing, and other resources along the way.

Our Run proved to be financially and physically difficult, but extremely validating. We learned that virtually everyone in the USA shares our concern with the multiple problems associated with chemically saturated, genetically modified, monocrop agricultural systems. We are now witnessing that when we consumers act together, we have the power to protect the environment and put healthier foods back on our plates.

Kris and I agreed to support David in his quest to run across the country because we wanted David to learn that, with enough effort, dreams can become realities. We deeply appreciate everyone from Alaska to California to New Jersey and beyond who helped David achieve his dream.

Run Map Final

Our run is finished, but our work continues. Kris and I will be paying off the run’s expenses for a good, long time. And in the coming months I’ll publish at least one more GMO related book and will produce a documentary based on our run.

We deeply appreciate ongoing contributions to help us with these efforts. Tax-deductible donations can be made at our website RunningTheCountry.com/donate. Contributions can also be made online until August 31st at Indiegogo.com. Search for “Help the Wilcox Family Finish Strong” in the search bar.

Much thanks, tons of hugs, and as always, many organic blessings to you!

Posted in Blog, GMOs, Running The Country | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Our Final Day’s Run for a GMO Free USA!

When we initially planned our route to run across the USA, we chose Atlantic City, New Jersey, as our final destination. Karen Stark with GMO Free PA and Barbara Thomas with GMO Free NJ didn’t want to step on our blistered toes, but they said that Ocean City would provide us with a more enthusiastic welcome. We told them we didn’t know one New Jersey city from another. Timbuktu, New Jersey, would work for us if it worked for them.

As it turns out, beyond “working,” ending our run in Ocean City was pure inspiration. Thanks to a phone call or two from Donna Conner, our last night’s house host, professional photographer, and personal friend of food critic and radio show host, Ed Hitzel, we were scheduled to be on Ed’s show in Linwood on our final day’s run, just six miles shy of our Ocean City destination.

Photo Credit: Donna Conner. Available at gettyimages.com.

Photo Credit: Donna Conner. Available at gettyimages.com.

The run would be a piece of cake: 13 miles to Linwood, then another six miles to the ocean. All we needed to do was follow the blue line on my phone’s map. Easy enough, right? Wrong. I took a wrong turn that turned our 13-mile run to the radio station into 15 miles. No problem. We covered the distance and arrived at the station with three minutes to airtime. Donna photographed the last few steps of our run to the station. She also joined us in the recording studio and took some great shots during the interview. David, Jenna, and I had a good time with Ed, his co-host, Pastor Dave Delaney, and two other guests.

JS2

Following the radio show, Ron Stark joined us for our final six mile run to Ocean City. As we ran along a beautiful bike path, Ron told us that Ocean City is a “dry town.” No sale of alcohol is permitted. He wasn’t the first to tell me that, but I was still in shock. Donna had explained over an amazing late night dinner the night before that Atlantic City had enjoyed many years as a gambling and drinking boom town, but with gambling sites popping up all over the East coast and on-line, Atlantic City was in decline.

JS3

Ocean City, however, had built itself as a family friendly town and destination, and as such, it’s thriving.

JS4

When we arrived at the World War Memorial Bridge we met Clint, our personal motorcycle riding police escort. Kris’s sister, Julie, pedaled down the bridge wielding a camera and a Go Pro.

JS5

Shortly after starting up the bridge, a group of local runners joined us. And then Kris joined in, something she had been unable to do during our six months on the road because she was always occupied with the truck, trailer, meals, shopping, laundry, logistics, phone contacts, finances, etc. You get the picture, Kris was one busy woman and our run would not have been possible without her presence!

JS6

Our run through the Ocean City streets was certainly a highlight of the entire run. As was the clapping and cheering crowd awaiting our arrival on the boardwalk. Of course, the crowd had been informed of our arrival and had also received GMO Free USA seed packets.

Photo Credit: Donna Conner. Available at gettyimages.com.

Photo Credit: Donna Conner. Available at gettyimages.com.

Barbara Thomas with GMO Free NJ graciously introduced us and mentioned that we still need help covering the considerable costs of our transcontinental run. Karen Stark with GMO Free PA presented us with beautiful flower bouquets including a dozen red roses for Kris in honor of our 25th wedding anniversary. Yes, we finished our run on our 25th wedding anniversary! (Thank you, Karen, for taking care of details that I clearly missed!)

Photo Credit: Donna Conner. Available at gettyimages.com.

Photo Credit: Donna Conner. Available at gettyimages.com.

We said a few words, then headed to the beach to complete our six month, nearly 3,000 mile Run For a GMO Free USA.

Photo Credit: Donna Conner. Available at gettyimages.com.

Photo Credit: Donna Conner. Available at gettyimages.com.

We owe the deepest debt of gratitude to many, many people—people who enriched our run and mission in countless ways. More on that later, but for now:

Thanks to all of you! Thanks for your commitment to a GMO Free USA and world. And as always, Organic Blessings to You!

Photo Credit: Donna Conner. Available at gettyimages.com.

Photo Credit: Donna Conner. Available at gettyimages.com.

Our run is finished, but our work and common mission continues. For the sake of our future, our children, and the Earth we share, let’s make it happen!

Photo Credit: Donna Conner. Available at gettyimages.com.

Photo Credit: Donna Conner. Available at gettyimages.com.

Photo Credit: Donna Conner. Available at gettyimages.com.

Photo Credit: Donna Conner. Available at gettyimages.com.

Photo Credit: Donna Conner. Available at gettyimages.com.

Photo Credit: Donna Conner. Available at gettyimages.com.

Photo Credit: Donna Conner. Available at gettyimages.com.

Photo Credit: Donna Conner. Available at gettyimages.com.

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Photo Credit: Donna Conner. Available at gettyimages.com.

Photo Credit: Donna Conner. Available at gettyimages.com.

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We completed our Run For a GMO Free USA on July 19, 2014, but we’ll be paying off our expenses for a very long time. We deeply appreciate donations of any size made either at RunningTheCountry.com/donate or to our Indiegogo campaign titled Help The Wilcox Family Finish Strong.

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GMO Free Event in Collingswood, New Jersey

Before David and I ran through Collingswood, New Jersey, it was just another town like the hundreds of other towns we ran through as we traversed the USA.

Or so we thought.

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But now that we’ve finished our six month, 3000 mile run, Collingswood stands out in a remarkable way: Collingswood is the birthplace of GMO Free NJ. And from what we’ve seen, Barbara Thomas planted and nourished the initial seeds that grew into New Jersey’s vibrant, grass roots GMO Free movement.

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While David and I were busy running across hilly Pennsylvania, Barbara was busy planning an event for our arrival in Collingswood. The Big Day started out with a GMO Free event in Philadelphia’s Independence Square, an event that I will always cherish. Of course, Barbara was present in Philly showing her support.

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Following that event, David and I made our way across the Ben Franklin Bridge, accompanied for the first time since we started our run on January 18th in Huntington Beach, California, by two friends and photographers running by our sides documenting the day’s run: Kris’ sister, Julie, shot stills with her camera, and Karl Stark, son of Karen and Ron Stark, with GMO Free PA, shot video with the Go Pro.

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Camden is the first town on the Jersey side of the bridge and it has a lot of character. Some people will view my use of the world ‘character’ as a euphemism for crime and poverty. No doubt, those things are present, but it’s also got large artistic murals that celebrate the beauty of the local people—many of whom we talked with as they were seated on porch chairs, enjoying the scenery and cooling themselves outside of their un-air conditioned apartments.

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One man, in particular, stands out in Camden. When we handed him a GMO Free USA seed packet, it was as if we lit a fire under him. He talked at length about the evils of the GMO Empire. He said he’s opening a restaurant in Camden and he’s going to do his best to prepare GMO Free meals for his customers.

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After Camden we only had a few more miles before arriving in Collingswood. Kris called me and said a crowd had gathered and they were anxious to meet us. When we finally ran down the sidewalk approaching the library, the crowd cheered, whistled, and clapped. Once the initial greetings were done, we assembled on the steps of the library.

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Commissioner Joan Leonard praised us for our run and mission, and then she presented us with a small clock, modeled after the same design as the clock on the street. She also gave us a check donated by a local bank. Needless to say, I found the moment to be extremely validating.

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Only our run launch back in California compares with a similar level of enthusiasm and support. What made this event even more special was the fact that Commissioner Leonard was acting in the capacity as Commissioner during the event. Her courage served as a symbol for all the government leaders across the U.S.A. that are beginning to stand up and serve their constituents by working for GMO labeling and GMO free zones.

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Barbara continues to be one of our biggest supporters, something we deeply appreciate. But I want to repeat today what I said in Collingswood. We are running on the backs of the GMO Free leaders who have been advocating for clean, healthy, and natural food for decades.

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If our run has any significance at all, it is significant because of the great and challenging work many other people have done prior to our run, during our run, and continue to do now that our run has ended.

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That said, when we ran through Collingswood, there was a special synergy present. We are honored for the part we were able to play at that synergy, and we are deeply grateful for the people of New Jersey (and Pennsylvania) who worked so hard to make it possible.

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GMO free blessings to all!

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Brett and David Wilcox completed their transcon 3,000 mile Run For a GMO Free USA on July 19, 2014. Their run expenses far exceed donations received. You can help change that fact by making a donation of any amount through their Indiegogo campaign fundraiser.

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Sitka’s KCAW Covers our Run For a GMO Free USA

Robert Woolsey from Sitka’s public radio station, KCAW, spoke with us a few days ago when we were parked at the ferry terminal in Cape May, New Jersey, getting ready to ferry our truck and trailer to Delaware. Thanks for the write up, Robert!

Sitka father, son finish 3,000 mile trans-America run
by Robert Woolsey, KCAW
July 21, 2014

Source: http://www.kcaw.org/2014/07/21/sitka-father-son-finish-3000-mile-trans-america-run/

A father-son team from Sitka has completed a six-month run across the United States.

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Brett and David Wilcox ran into Ocean City, New Jersey, on Saturday (7-19-14), after covering 3,000 miles on foot. The project was intended to raise awareness about the hazards of genetically-modified foods.

There were some lonely times for the Wilcoxes, especially in the vast stretches of the Southwest.

But on the eastern seaboard, that had changed.

“We hit the big bridge going into Ocean City, and got a police escort. We were joined by a local runners club, so there were 10 or 12 of us. Kris (Wilcox) joined us. And with a police escort, they would stop all the traffic, even if we had a red light we got to keep running through it. And we ran right on to the boardwalk. There was a huge crowd waiting. They had been informed that we were coming. They were very excited. People had passed out GMO-free USA seeds. So they had some inkling of what our mission was….And it was the culmination of six months of actual running, and a year-and-a-half of preparation and time leading up to that moment.”

53-year old Brett Wilcox and his 15-year old son David are now the first father-teen son team to run across the country. They started on January 18 in Huntington Beach, California. David is the second-youngest runner to accomplish the feat.

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Wife and mom, Kris Wilcox, piloted the support vehicle and handled endless logistics. Team member and sister, Olivia, provided support and dog wrangling.

Covering 20-miles a day, six days-a-week, Brett Wilcox is glad the United States is only 3,000 miles across.

“I’m down 8 pounds, and I bet David is down a few pounds, and up a couple of inches. I don’t think we could sustain that sort of schedule long-term. I think we were eating muscle. And we’re pretty worn out and pretty exhausted.”

The Wilcox family was on a campaign to raise awareness about GMO’s — or genetically-modified-organisms — and their prevalence in the American diet. Trying to live by their ideals, they were often frustrated trying to buy GMO-free food in stores along the more remote parts of their route.

But Wilcox says their message seemed to catch up with their run as they crossed the Mississippi and entered more densely-populated areas of the country.

“The final few days were pretty epic. There were some key people in Pennsylvania and New Jersey who got hold of our run, and really turned it into a mission. From GMO-Free PA and GMO-Free NJ, and they did all sorts of things to make sure the media was aware of what we were doing.”

The Wilcoxes maintained a website and blog during their run, and the number of media events increased significantly as the family moved eastward — and almost sabotaged their grand finale, as they ran to a radio interview only 14 miles from the finish line in Ocean City.

“And I took a wrong turn, even though we have the phone which told us exactly where to go. So 14 miles turned into 16 miles, and we made it to the interview with three minutes to spare, dripping wet.”

The Wilcoxes gave up their jobs, and started an Indiegogo campaign to accomplish their activist run. Their house and apartment in Sitka are leased through August. Though he’s optimistic that he’ll be able to get his old job back as a behavioral health counselor, Brett Wilcox and his family are essentially jobless and homeless.

KCAW – Do you feel it has all been worthwhile, or is it too early to tell?
Wilcox – Right now I would say it has absolutely been worthwhile. It’s been very challenging, very difficult. Day-by-day struggles just making it work, and dealing with the exhaustion and the potential injuries — it has been hard. But I wouldn’t want to have missed this experience for anything.

David Wilcox suffered from an injury for part of the trip. His dad credits a chiropractor in Pennsylvania for diagnosing and correcting the problem. David will be entering 10th grade in Sitka this fall, where his ambition is to try out for the Cross-Country team. Olivia will be entering 8th grade.

And due to some last-minute re-arranging of the itinerary, Brett and David crossed the finished on Saturday, rather than on Monday.

For Kris Wilcox, it was a special day.

“I did tell them that this would be a great wedding anniversary gift for me, if they finished on the 19th.”

Brett and Kris have been married 25 years. They’re headed to Washington DC next, for some additional activism on GMO’s, and plan to be back in Sitka sometime in August.

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Wilcox family of Sitka completes cross-country run from California to New Jersey to raise awareness about GMOs in our food

Thanks to Charles Bingham for writing and posting the following article at Sitka Local Foods Network.

Source: http://sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/2014/07/21/%E2%80%A2-wilcox-family-of-sitka-completes-cross-country-run-from-california-to-new-jersey-to-raise-awareness-about-gmos-in-our-food/

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After nearly 3,000 miles and six months of running, the Wilcox family from Sitka reached its finish line Saturday, July 19, in Ocean City, N.J., to complete its cross-country run across the country to raise awareness about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food system and the roles of large agribusiness companies, such as Monsanto, in making it difficult for consumers to know which food contains GMOs.

Fifteen-year-old David Wilcox decided he wanted to run across country back in 2010, when he read about another teenage runner to complete the USA crossing, so he and his father, Brett, 53, started training. In January, Brett quit his job as a behavioral health clinician and David’s mom, Kris, put her cleaning business on hold, and the family rented out its home in Sitka. Brett and David started the run on Jan. 18 in Huntington Beach, Calif., and started running about 20 miles a day, six days a week. While Brett and David ran, Kris and David’s younger sister, Olivia, 13, drove ahead on the course in the used pick-up truck and trailer the family purchased for the trip. Along the way, Brett and David took turns pushing a runner’s stroller loaded with their supplies for the day, water bottles, lunch, some GMO-free lettuce seeds, GMO literature, a few copies of Brett’s book, We’re Monsanto: Feeding the World, Lie After Lie, Book One, and the 15-year-old family dog, Angel. (Note, after a while, Angel decided she didn’t like riding in the stroller and preferred riding in the truck, so the Wilcox family adopted a new dog, Jenna, while in Texas.)

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“Being able to run 20 miles with David is a good thing,” Brett said. “Running with him for 20 miles a day, day after day for six months across 13 states is a great thing. I got to know David far better than I would have in our routines back in Sitka. I have a lot of respect for David for sticking with it even when it was tough going. Of course our run would not have been possible if Kris and Olivia had not been there to support us. Our last day’s run included a big radio interview and a police escort to the beach. Kris and several other runners joined in and ran with us. We passed through a cheering crowd as we entered the boardwalk. It was a special moment. Of course, the fact that Kris and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary on the same day we finished our run gave the whole occasion a fairy tale sort of ending.”

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The Wilcox family decided to use the run to raise awareness about our food supply because the family is vegetarian, and they don’t like seeing more GMOs enter the food supply, and consumers not being able to find out which foods have GMOs. “Running For a GMO Free USA was the perfect cause for us. We learned that virtually all people — regardless of location — oppose chemically-saturated genetically modified organisms,” Brett said.

Trying to find GMO-free food on the run did become an issue for the family, and for part of the trip they stopped eating corn tortillas because of how much of our nation’s corn now has GMOs (they did find some Navajo corn tortillas they decided to try). GMOs also are in soy, sugar beets, and several other plants, and they may soon be coming to potatoes used by large fast food corporations. Along the way, the Wilcox family passed through St. Louis just in time to participate in the annual March Against Monsanto (an international event on May 24 this year) right outside Monsanto headquarters. Last year, the Wilcox family hosted a March Against Monsanto event in Sitka.

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When they planned the run, the Wilcox family hooked up with several anti-GMO groups across the country, and those groups helped connect the family to local media outlets and runners where they could spread their message. The anti-GMO groups helped the Wilcox family raise some funds and find places to stay for the trip, and there were two Indiegogo crowd-funding campaigns coordinated by Owen Kindig of Sitka (the first campaign raised $7,500 when it closed in January, and the current campaign still has 40-plus days left to run and has raised roughly $1,400). Along the way, Brett and Kris regularly updated the family’s Running the Country blog and Facebook page. Different media groups covered the run (here’s a link to our story before the run), and the media coverage increased as Brett and David neared the finish line. In recent weeks there has been coverage from small media outlets and large ones, such the Philadelphia Inquirer and Runner’s World magazine. Here is a link to the KCAW-Raven Radio story that aired July 21 about the Wilcox family run.

Brett and David trained for the run, but soon realized their training was a little lacking in LSD (long, slow, distance) runs. David won the Southeast Conference (Region V) cross-country running title in October, but most of his runs during the season were about five miles. Brett, a regular bike commuter, also ran shorter distances, and he and David had one or two longer runs a week. Running 20 miles a day, six days a week resulted in a lot of blisters, several worn-out pairs of shoes, and a couple of injuries along the way. Brett was hobbled early in the run by a bad foot, David had a bad leg, and Brett said he plans to have minor surgery in the near future for another injury.

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“I had a couple of months where I couldn’t run, so instead I just walked,” David said. “Probably the best day for me was the day the fourth chiropractor fixed me. He was really nice to us, he let us take a shower. I told him where it hurt, and he told me what was wrong and he told me he was going to fix it and I was sort of wondering if he could really fix it. A muscle that’s supposed to be on the inside of my hip was on the outside. He pulled it over and told me I was fixed. Then he adjusted something else that I didn’t even know was wrong. He also worked on my mom and dad.”

As the miles piled up, the Wilcox family enjoyed the scenery. But sometimes the weather was a bit too hot for folks used to a temperate rain forest and then there were the ticks.

“Pennsylvania was probably the most beautiful state, but I could never live there because it’s too hot and humid,” David said. “I can’t wait to get back to Sitka so I can run the trails and not have to worry about ticks.”

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Now that the Wilcox family is done with the run, the next plan is to go to Washington, D.C., to talk with members of Congress and various agencies about GMOs. They already have meetings scheduled with Rep. Don Young and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, and hope to add a meeting with Sen. Mark Begich. “It will be fun to pass on to them what we learned from our cross-country run,” Brett said.

The family also will be doing more fundraising to help pay for the trip. “Our run is now over but we’ve spent far more than we’ve received from donations,” Brett said. “If you’d like to help us out with our expenses, please donate online at RunningTheCountry.com or at Indiegogo.com. The name of our Indiegogo fundraising campaign is ‘Help the Wilcox Family Finish Strong.’ Thanks to all the people who have helped us help David achieve his big dream to run across the USA.”

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Runner’s World Covers our Transcon Run For a GMO Free USA

Brett and David Wilcox are the second father/son team to do transcontinental run.

By Matt McCue
Published July 21, 2014
Runner’s World Running Times

Source: http://www.runnersworld.com/general-interest/father-and-son-finish-run-across-the-united-states

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On Saturday, Brett Wilcox and his 15-year-old son, David, finished running across the United States. They began in Huntington Beach, California on January 18 and ended in Ocean City, New Jersey. The 2,785-mile route took them across the Arizona desert, through the sticky Midwest humidity and over the Appalachian Mountains in Pennsylvania.

Although there is no official record documenting transcontinental runs, USACrossers.com, a site that tracks coast-to-coast runs, recognizes David as the second youngest person to complete the run. (Toby Cotton, who ran across the country in 1928, also at age 15, is the youngest.) Brett, 53, and David are also the second father-and-son team to cover the continent, according to USACrossers. Tom and Warren Knoll, who did their transcontinental run in 2008, were the first, but, in contrast to the Wilcoxes, they didn’t run together the whole way.

David hatched the idea in 2010 after he learned about Jasmine Jordan completing the run at age 17. “When I got that in my head, I thought it would be really cool, but I never realized how hard running 20 miles day after day is,” David told Runner’s World Newswire.

“I was encouraged to have such a son who had such a big dream, but David was just a boy with a big dream,” Brett said. “I told him it was cool, but we can talk about it later.” David kept bugging his father about it, even after he started running high school cross country in their hometown of Sitka, Alaska.

Brett discussed it with his wife, Kris, and they decided to do what they could to help David to achieve his goal, “even though it doesn’t make very much sense,” Brett said. Kris put her cleaning service business on hold, and Brett quit his job as a mental health therapist. They bought a 1998 Ford F-150 and a white camper that they towed behind it. The trailer became the home on wheels for David, Brett, Kris and David’s 13-year-old sister, Olivia, who went along the ride. (To help soften the fact that she would be away from her friends for seven months, Olivia got her first cell phone for the road trip.)

David, who won Alaska’s Region 5 cross country meet last fall, admits he “didn’t train nearly enough” for the transcontinental run. “I pretty much did cross country training, with runs up to five miles during the weekdays and on the weekends my dad and I would go for a longer run of up to 15 miles,” he said. Brett, who started running in his 40s, prepped in a similar fashion.

The two averaged 20 miles a day in six runs per week. They took turns pushing a baby jogger that contained their supplies for each day. (Kris and Olivia often drove ahead and let them run alone.) The baby jogger was also supposed to hold the family’s 15-year-old dog, Angel, but Angel quickly made it clear that seeing the country from the seat of a stroller was not on her bucket list, and opted for the F-150 for the duration of the run. In Dalhart, Texas, the family stopped at a dog shelter and adopted Jenna, a one-year-old border collie and lab mix. “Jenna was in the stroller about every day since Texas,” Brett said.

David and Brett passed the time with stream-of-conscious conversation. David told his father about his favorite runners, and Brett often waxed philosophical about his favorite topic, genetically modified organisms. (The trip was designed, in part, to advocate for GMO-free food.) “I would talk about stuff that I’m seeing, and then a few weeks after that, I could talk about the same stuff because my dad would have forgotten it by that time,” David said.

David took Internet classes to fulfill his freshman-year schoolwork. “After running six hours a day, it’s hard to focus on school,” he said. “I’m not close to finishing [the work] from the last semester.” He will spend the rest of his summer knocking out the remaining assignments. “It’s quite a serious issue because someone in the school district will have to make the decision whether David has been out playing hooky or has given it his best shot and will be able to compete in cross country this fall,” Brett said.

Father and son battled nagging aches that threatened to stop them. Pain in the balls of Brett’s feet required them to do nothing but walk one day in California, early in the run. “David wasn’t happy about it, but I told him the run was on the line, and that I couldn’t injure my foot,” Brett said.

“You’re never going to have a few days in a row where something isn’t hurting, but if the same thing is hurting a few days in a row, that’s bad,” David said.

By the time they reached Missouri, David’s body became unglued. He felt an angry twinge in his inner thigh that inched up into his hip flexor. “A muscle up at my hip had somehow gotten up and over the hip and on the other side of it,” he said.

The Wilcoxes walked through the majority of Ohio, and David met with three chiropractors, but none could fix him. “I was worried if I would ever be able to be able to run again,” he said. Finally, at a church the family attended near McMurray, Pennsylvania, one congregation member told David’s mother about their local guru, chiropractor Joseph Berger. He was apparently so good that patients needed to see him only once. David visited immediately. “He had to pull the muscle back over [my hip],” David said. “It was a lot less painful than I expected.”

USACrossers lists 279 people as having completed a transcontinental run between 1909 and 2012. The site creator, John Wallace III, finished the trek himself in 2005. Wallace acknowledges it’s not a complete list, but he put a great deal of effort into combing through historical newspaper records as well as scouring the Internet for any alerts he could find on previous and current crossers.

One of those was Toby Cotton. According to the book Bunion Derby: The First Footrace Across America, Cotton was 15 and living in Los Angeles when his auto mechanic dad injured himself on the job and was no longer able to work. When Cotton, the oldest of three boys, heard that the race across America was awarding $25,000 to the winner, he entered to try to win the money for his family. Cotton averaged 41 miles a day, and reached New York City in 84 days, in 35th place. A Broadway star got wind of Cotton’s story and hosted a fundraiser in New York City to raise money for Cotton and his family. It seems like the stuff of lore; then again, a teenager running across American before he gets his driver’s license also sounds like a folktale.

“There is a reason 15-year-olds don’t run across the country,” Brett said. “It’s not a walk in the woods, and it has taught me that David is a special young man. I’m proud to have shared the journey with him.”

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Ten Reasons GMOs are Dangerous

The mantra of the chemical/biotech industry is “GMOs are Safe.” If repetition made something true, then GMOs would be safer than mother’s milk. But sadly GMOs are far from safe, and sadly, even mother’s milk is now contaminated with Monsanto’s glyphosate. Following are ten points illustrating the environmental, social, political, and physical dangers associated with agricultural systems based on genetically modified organisms.

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1. GMOs are invasive species. Most invasive species replace native plants or animals. GMOs contaminate organic and conventional crops. As long as GMOs contaminate, they will continue to be unsafe.

2. GMOs have resulted in severe economic consequences.
StarkLink GMO corn cost as much as $288 million in lost revenue. Bayer’s Liberty Link rice cost some $1.29 billion in lost exports.

When a farmer discovered Monsanto’s unapproved Roundup Ready wheat on his farm, Japan and Korea immediately stopped importing ALL U.S. wheat.

The only reason GMOs have a U.S. market is because, up to this point, the chemical companies and the U.S. government have successfully kept people in the dark regarding the GMOs in their food.

3. Chemical based GMOs create super weeds and super bugs.
Every new weed or bug gives the chemical companies another opportunity to profit on yet another more dangerous chemical.

4. Chemical based agriculture turns farmers into environmental drug addicts. Both drug addicts and farmers develop tolerance and dependence on their drugs or poisons. They both need to use more of their substances to get the desired high or effect. Many drug users eventually die and many farmers eventually kill the soil (or they develop illnesses and diseases due to their exposure to Roundup and other poisons). The cycle ends only when the substance users stop using their substances.

5. Patents on seed turn farmers into indentured servants. Seeds have existed in the public domain since the beginning of time. Patented seeds turn farmers into servants of the chemical companies that own the patents. This servitude is especially dangerous for the peasant farmers in developing countries where they are not supported by farm subsidies and insurance. Thousands have already committed suicide in India to escape insurmountable debt related to GMO agriculture.

6. Patented GMOs destroy biodiversity and increase the risk of crop failure and famine. Much of America’s farmland is covered with GMO corn, soy, and cotton. America’s large-scale monocultures have the potential to make Ireland’s potato famine look small by comparison.

7. Surrendering the control of our seed and food supply to a few chemical (poison) companies results in a food system monopoly. We all know that those who control the food supply control the world. If we’re going to surrender our seeds and food to a corporation, do we want it to be Monsanto, the same company that produced and profited from Agent Orange, DDT, and PCBs?

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8. Opening the GMO door leaves it open to GMO salmon and other laboratory-modified animals. Salmon are sacred to many people. Over 9,000 stores have pledged not to sell genetically modified salmon. Corn is no less sacred to many Mexicans and Native Americans than salmon. Whether GMOs grow from the soil or swim in the sea, they are an affront to mankind’s cultural and environmental heritage.

9. GMOs are proof that American democracy has been lost to corporate interests. Virtually everyone we met on the road in our 13 state, 3000 mile, coast-to-coast run opposes GMOs. Virtually everyone wants GMOs labeled or banned. Of course they want GMOs labeled so they can avoid buying them. And yet, by and large, “our” government is largely unresponsive to what the voters want. The government, however, actively colludes with the chemical giants to keep GMOs in the food supply.

10. Health and Environmental Destruction. Thousands of independent studies implicate GMOs and their companion poisons in human health issues and environmental degradation. From soil organisms, to bees, fish, wildlife, and human beings, GMOs and companion chemicals poison life. Speaking of GMOs and Roundup in our food supply, Dr. Don Huber states, “Glyphosate is a pittance compared to DDT.” He adds, “We’ve pretty much sacrificed an entire generation of children. The longer we go, the more damage that is going to accumulate.”

Sources:
Angry mothers meet U.S. EPA over concerns with Roundup herbicide
Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/27/us-monsanto-roundup-epa-idUSKBN0E72IH20140527

Monsanto Legal Risks Linger With Suit as Wheat Futures Rebound
AgWeb
http://www.agweb.com/mobile/newsdetail.aspx?ArticleId=336468

Largest U.S. grocery stores will not sell genetically engineered salmon
http://www.foe.org/news/archives/2014-03-kroger-safeway-join-trend-away-from-gmo-food

Glyphosate Studies
GMO Free USA
http://gmofreeusa.org/gmos-are-top/gmo-science/glyphosate-studies/

Dr. Don Huber: GMOs and Glyphosate and Their Threat to Humanity
Food Integrity Now
http://foodintegritynow.org/2014/04/08/dr-don-huber-gmos-glyphosate-threat-humanity/

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The Liberty Bell and a GMO Free USA

“Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” – Leviticus 25:10

Thanks to the work of Karen Stark and Annmarie Butera Cantrell with GMO Free PA and Barbara Thomas with GMO Free NJ, our family participated in a GMO Free event just outside the Liberty Bell in Independence Square.

Few locations could provide greater symbolic significance. We Americans are waking up and discovering that we’ve largely lost our seed freedom, food freedom, and food sovereignty. The GMO Free movement is a grass roots for the people, of the people, and by the people movement for freedom and independence.

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I consider it a privilege, honor, and sacred responsibility to have addressed our government’s role in the GMO industry–an industry based on greed and corruption.

Let Freedom Ring!

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Rocky Steps, 6ABC news, and our Run For a GMO Free USA

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Thirty-eight years ago Sylvester Stallone made famous a scene and a set of stairs in his hit movie Rocky. Our run through Philadelphia would not have been complete without running up “The Rocky Steps.” 6ABC news reported (albeit oh so briefly) on our run for a GMO Free USA.

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Thanks to everyone across the country and around the world for your support of our Run For a GMO Free USA.

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Cross-country cause: Food labels

A father and son clock 3,000 miles from California to draw attension to GMOs. The final goal: Ocean City.

By Clark Mindock, Inquirer Staff Writer
POSTED: July 19, 2014

Source: http://articles.philly.com/2014-07-19/news/51714755_1_gmo-labeling-navajo-nation-ocean-city

Brett David Collingswood NJDavid Wilcox, 15, thinks he’s gone through at least six pairs of shoes since January, when he and his father left the Los Angeles area. He and father Brett will finish the trip in Ocean City. (CLARK MINDOCK / Staff)

In his sixth – or perhaps seventh – pair of running shoes this year, David Wilcox, 15, ran from the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia to downtown Collingswood. His father, Brett, his aunt, Julie Stuehser, and the family dog, Jenna, ran along with him.

Since January, David and Brett Wilcox have been running across the country, 20 miles a day, to promote awareness of genetically modified organisms and mandatory GMO labeling on products.

The journey started in a Los Angeles suburb; the goal is to reach Ocean City, N.J., which could be accomplished in days. As they jog through neighborhoods and encounter passersby, the father-and-son team hands out seeds and hopes the message will germinate.

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“I’ve been phrasing him as the modern-day Johnny Appleseed,” said Karen Stark, cofounder of the group GMO Free Pennsylvania.

Coming off the Ben Franklin Bridge, David and Brett ran through the streets of Camden. They talked with people out on their porches Thursday afternoon, inquiring about their food choices and what they knew about GMOs.

Waiting in downtown Collingswood with a dozen supporters of GMO labeling was Kris Wilcox, David’s mother. She prepared a camera and microphone setup to record the small ceremony that would take place once the runners arrived.

Kris and Olivia, David’s little sister, have been making the trip as well, tasked with finding the next spot to park their trailer – pulled by a 1998 Ford F50 they bought for $4,900 with 109,000 miles on the odometer. They’ve added about 3,000 more as they’ve made their way to Ocean City.

“I think they’ve stopped to talk to a few people,” she said, peering down Haddon Avenue, wondering where they were. As a runner approached, the cheers increased, but it was a false alarm – just another jogger.

Along the way, Kris has been faced head on with the message they’re trying to address. When looking for food, it’s hard to find what they want to keep their family healthy – GMOs are ubiquitous. Passing through northern Arizona and New Mexico, they simply stopped buying corn tortillas. Their time going through the Navajo Nation was their one reprieve; they took a chance on Navajo cornmeal.

Brett Wilcox is a mental-health therapist who quit his job for the cross-country run. To fund the effort, they’ve rented their house in Sitka, Alaska, and started an Indiegogo campaign. Brett also wrote a book, We’re Monsanto: Feeding the World, Lie After Lie. They accept donations at runningthecountry.com.

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GMOs have been scrutinized recently as more consumers raise concerns that the foods are harmful to people. GMO Free Pennsylvania and GMO Free New Jersey are two groups working to influence state legislators to require GMO labeling on food packaging. They also hold rallies to raise awareness.

One modification often cited by GMO opponents makes plants resistant to herbicides, allowing farmers to spray the herbicide liberally to kill weeds. The action breeds “super weeds,” which require even more treatment of the crops.

Monsanto, the world’s leading producer of genetically modified seeds and herbicides, says on its website that genetically altered foods are necessary to meet increasing food demand globally. The website adds that engineered scientific advances have been at the front of historic human advancement.

In New Jersey, efforts to pass legislation that would require GMO foods to be labeled as such are “stalled in committee,” according to Barbara Thomas, cofounder of GMO Free New Jersey. The legislation has popular support, she said, but has been met with difficulties from individual lawmakers.

Back in Collingswood on Thursday, the father and son came into sight. They are almost at the end of their journey – one partially inspired by David’s desire to one-up a 17-year-old girl who had run across the country.

The Wilcox family brought a father’s passion for GMO advocacy together with a son’s passion for competition and long-distance running.

“We ran 3,000 miles for this!” Brett Wilcox said, thrusting his arms into the air victoriously as they reached the crowd. “Yes! Somebody cares!”

cmindock@phillynews.com
856-779-3237 @clarrkmindock

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N.J. finish line for cross-country GMO food awareness run by Alaska family

New Jersey News
by Michelle Caffrey

Source: http://newsinnj.com/n-j-finish-line-for-cross-country-gmo-food-awareness-run-by-alaska-family/

The Wilcoxes from Sitka, Alaska, won’t be the only family of four trekking to the shore this weekend, but they’ll probably be the only one that travelled more than 3,000 miles across the country, two of them on foot, to get there.

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Brett Wilcox and his teenage son David set off from Huntington Beach, California, in January to make the journey, all in an effort to raise awareness about GMO foods and the push for GMO labelling laws.

Joined along the way by Wilcox’s wife Kris and daughter Olivia driving with them along the way, the pair are the first father-son team to run across the country. David, 15, will also be the second youngest runner to ever complete the task, which will wrap up in Ocean City on July 19.

Speaking from the road in Newton Square, Pennsylvania, Wilcox said they’ll stop at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia this morning, where they’ll be welcomed by supporters, and then make their way over to Collingswood, the homebase of nonprofit advocacy group GMO Free NJ.

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They’ve been stopping along their travels, meeting with people, handing out seed packets and asking what they know about the issue, anything to spark a conversation about GMOs, or genetically modified organisms.

There’s been a swell of debate around the subject in recent years, as advocacy groups such as GMO Free NJ push for laws that would require companies to label products containing GMO ingredients, most often corn and soy that are modified to resist pesticides.

Advocates from the organization recent rallied at Assemblyman Paul Moriarty’s (D-4 of Washington Township) local office, urging him as chairman of the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee to support a GMO labelling law.

Previous attempts to get a labelling bill before the New Jersey legislature have failed, but a handful of other states have passed labelling laws that would go into effect if a percentage of other states passed them as well. Only one, Vermont, has passed a no-strings attached labelling law, and has allocated more than $1 million to fight legal challenges from food manufacturers.

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“I think we’re making progress, and I think if we can truly get GMOs labelled with a serious label, people will wake up,” said Wilcox, the author of “We’re Monsanto: Feeding the World, Lie After Lie.”

“We vote with our dollars,” said his wife, Kris Wilcox. “If we just make one change, if you start with baby steps and start with one change, giving up buying GMO corn … that way you are giving yourself a healthier body and healthier life. It’s really kind of a no-brainer.”

While the recent ramping up of GMO awareness campaigns and backlash against Monsanto — a massive agricultural biotechnology and agrochemical company —have made headlines, a number of organizations and individuals have expressed caution, saying enough serious research hasn’t been done to prove GMOs negatively impact human health, especially when they can allow farmers to raise crops more efficiently.

Wilcox met a few of those GMO supporters along the way, and did his best to lay out his case.

“We met a farmer who said there’s all sorts of benefits to farmers,” like being able to spray an entire field and have everything die except corn and soy, genetically modified to withstand Roundup pesticides, Wilcox said. “But consumers don’t see those benefits. They don’t find any benefit to eating food that’s been saturated with Roundup.”

That’s the message they’ve been spreading since they started on the long run, first thought up by David after he heard of then 17-year-old Jasmine “Jazzy” Jordan’s run across America.

“‘He said, ‘I want to do that,’” Wilcox said, adding David pressed and pressed to make it happen.

They sat David, already a cross-country champion, down and told him everything it would entail — long, grueling days, both of his parents quitting their jobs to be on the road with him, putting himself in the public eye — but it didn’t phase him.

“‘He said ‘OK, I want to do it,’” Wilcox said. “So it was all systems go.”

The journey began in California in January, and continued through the warm Southwestern states through the winter. They hit the Midwest in spring, and despite physical issues that left Wilcox battling blisters and David unable to run until a recent fix by a chiropractor, the pair averaged about 20 miles each day.

Each morning, Kris Wilcox and Olivia drive the family’s trailer to whatever that particular day’s ending point is, while Wilcox and David spend the day running there, pushing a stroller full of supplies.

Wilcox said it’s been a challenge to make sure their journey stays afloat on their meager budget — there’s an ongoing campaign to raise funds for the trip — but a joy to spend every day with his family in a world where “families rarely speak to each other, and just pass each other in the hallways.

“I’ve gotten to really get to know David, to get to know Olivia and spend good time with Kris,” said Wilcox. “That’s all been the number one [best part of the trip.]“

David said it hasn’t been easy but he’s loved the scenery he’s passed, from the sprawling mountains to flat farmland, and finally to the hilly countryside of Pennsylvania.

“Seeing all of that was really cool,” said David, adding he also appreciated the chance to meet new people at every stop.

But once he finally gets to Ocean City — his first time seeing the Atlantic, a real treat for a teen who grew up along the Pacific Ocean and hasn’t seen the sea in six months — he knows exactly what he’ll be looking forward to the most.

“I’m excited to just sort of wake up and then lay in bed and just be lazy,” he said.

Contact staff writer Michelle Caffrey at 856-686-3686 or mcaffrey@southjerseymedia.com

Source: http://www.nj.com/

Posted in Blog, GMOs, Monsanto, Running The Country | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Running into Philly

Is it possible? After six months on the road are we finally running into Philadelphia, only sixty miles from our destination in Ocean City, New Jersey?

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What an adventure and what a blessing it’s been!

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David and I are running strong. We put in 30 miles of sweat and wet yesterday. Another 23 or so miles today and we’ll arrive at the Liberty Bell.

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Prior to launching our run tomorrow morning from the Liberty Bell, we’ll meet with GMO Free enthusiasts and supporters. Meet us there at 9 am.

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The location, of course, has symbolic significance. The American people have spoken again and again; more than 90% of Americans want GMOs labeled. And yet, overall, our government continues to collude with the chemical industry to keep GMOs unlabeled, because they know the GMO label is a skull and crossbones to their GMO empire. But we’re making progress. Vermont recently passed the first no-strings attached labeling bill. The people of Jackson and Josephine counties in Oregon beat the chemical industry by banning GMOs entirely from their counties. And the people of Hawaii continue to fight against the poisoning of their paradise.

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Virtually every person we’ve talked with between California and Pennsylvania favors GMO labels. Most want GMOs banned altogether.

Together we can make it happen. Seed freedom and food freedom for all!

If you see us on the road today as we run into Philadelphia, honk to show your support for a GMO Free USA.

Clink on this link to see a map of today’s run: http://bit.ly/1r36Suk

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Fine Print of the Food Wars

by Dr. Vandana Shiva – The Asian Age, 16 July 2014

seedindustry

Graphics Source: Seed Industry Structure –
Philip H. Howard Associate Professor, Michigan State University – https://www.msu.edu/~howardp/seedindustry.html

Source: http://www.asianage.com/columnists/fine-print-food-wars-538

Creating ‘ownership’ of seed through patents and intellectual property rights and imposing it globally through the WTO, the biotech industry has established a monopoly empire over seed and food

Monsanto and friends, the biotech industry, its lobbyists and its paid media representation continue to push for monopoly control over the world’s food through its seed supply.

This “empire” is being built on false foundations: that Monsanto is a creator/inventor of life and hence can own the seed through patents and that life can be engineered and machined like an iPhone.

Through ecology and the new biology we know that life is self-organised complexity — life makes itself; it cannot be “manufactured”. This also applies to food production through the new science of agroecology. Agroecology gives us a deeper scientific understanding of how ecological processes work at the level of soils, living seeds and living food. The promises made by the biotech industry — of increased yields, reduction of chemical use and control of weeds and pests — have not been kept. Last month an investment fund sued DuPont for $1 billion for pushing herbicide-resistant crops knowing fully well they would fail to control weeds and instead contribute to the emergence of “superweeds”.

Creating “ownership” of seed through patents and intellectual property rights and imposing it globally through the World Trade Organisation, the biotech industry has established a monopoly empire over seed and food. While they claim ownership of the seeds they sell and collect royalties, when it comes to checks and balances on safety, the biotech industry is systematically destroying international and national laws on biosafety claiming their products are “as nature made them”. It’s ontological schizophrenia!

Biosafety is the multi-disciplinary assessment of the impact of genetic engineering on the environment, on public health and on socio-economic conditions. At the international level, biosafety is international law enshrined in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. I was appointed to an expert group to evolve the framework by the United Nations environment programmme to implement Article 19.3 of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Monsanto and friends have been attempting to deny citizens the right to safe food by opposing Article 19.3 since the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992.

Currently they are attempting to dismantle national laws on biosafety in India, Pakistan, the European Union, across Africa and Latin America. In the United States, they are distorting the Constitution by suing state governments that have passed labelling laws for GMO (genetically modified) foods by claiming that the citizens’ right to know what they eat is superseded by the biotech industry’s right to impose hazardous foods on uninformed consumers as the freedom of speech of a corporation, as if it were a natural person.

Their PR machine is deployed to unscientifically attack scientists working on biosafety, such as Árpád Pusztai, Ignacio Chapela, Irina Ermakova, Éric Séralini and myself. Many journalists, having no scientific background themselves, have become soldiers in this PR assault. Privileged white men like Mark Lynas, Jon Entine and Michael Specter, with no practical experience in agriculture, armed only with BA degrees and ties to corporate-controlled media, are being used to undermine real scientific findings about the impact of GMOs on our health and ecosystems.

Biotech industry uses its PR puppets to falsely claim that GMOs are a solution to world hunger. This denialism of real scientific debate about how living systems evolve and adapt, is backed by an aggressive and massive PR assault, including the use of intelligence agencies such as Blackwater.

In 2010, Forbes named me one of the seven most powerful women in the world for “putting women front and centre to solve the issue of food security in the developing world”. In 2014, Jon Entine, a journalist, wrote an “opinion” piece on the Forbes website, falsely claiming that I have not studied physics. While I have studied physics at a post-graduate level and done my doctorate on the foundations of quantum theory, I have spent 40 years studying ecology in India’s farms and forests, with nature and wise peasants as my teachers. This is the basis of my expertise in agroecology and biosafety.

Good science and proven technologies do not need PRs, intelligence agencies or corrupt governments to prove the facts.

If unfounded attacks on a scientist from a developing country by a non-scientist is one of their tools in shaping the future, they have got it all wrong. They don’t see the growing citizens’ outrage against Monsanto’s monopoly.

In sovereign countries, where the might of Monsanto and friends is limited, the people and their governments are rejecting their monopoly and failed technology. But this news is suppressed by the PR machine.

Russia has completely banned GMOs with deputy prime minister Dmitry Medvedev saying, “If the Americans like to eat GMO products, let them eat it then. We don’t need to do that; we have enough space and opportunities to produce organic food”.

China has banned GMOs in military food supplies. Italy has just passed a law, Campo libre, making planting GMO crops punishable with a prison sentence of one to three years and a fine of 10,000-30,000 euros. Italian minister of agriculture Nunzia De Girolamo said in a statement: “Our agriculture is based on biodiversity, on quality, and we must continue to aim for these without ventures that, even from the economic point of view, wouldn’t make us competitive.”

PR pieces in Forbes and the New Yorker cannot stop the awakening of millions of farmers and consumers to the very real dangers of genetically-modified organisms in our food and the shortcomings and failures of the industrial food system which is destroying the planet and our health.

The writer is the executive director of the Navdanya Trust

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Genetically modified organisms at heart of family’s six-month trip

Thank you, Lauren, for the interview and article!

By Lauren Cappuccio
Public Opinion
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania

Source: http://www.publicopiniononline.com/News/ci_26118740/Family-runs-cross-the-United-States-to-put-an-end-to-GMO-foods

Brett,David,Jenna

CHAMBERSBURG >> Since January, Brett Wilcox and his son David have been running across the United States to bring an end use of genetic modified organisms as food.

A GMO is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. Organisms that have been genetically modified include micro-organisms such as bacteria and yeast, insects, plants, fish and mammals. Many farmers use GMO seeds to help their production.

Brett said these organisms are harmful to humans when ingested.

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The Wilcox family, from Sitka, Alaska, also includes Brett’s wife Kris, and daughter Olivia, who are following them and cheering them on the family vehicle.

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They started their journey Jan. 18 in Huntington Beach, Calif., and have averaged about 20 miles a day. The family hopes to reach Atlantic City, N.J., by July 19 — after 3,000 miles and six months of traveling.

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The idea for the run started when David, 15, a championship cross-country runner, mentioned doing a run across the United States after reading a story about a girl who completed the journey. After dismissing the idea, Brett said he reconsidered and decided that it would be for a purpose.

Getting the word out about GMO products has been something Brett, a licensed counselor, has been passionate about for years and led him to release the first book of a future series in 2013 called “We’re Monsanto: Feeding the World Lie after Lie.” In it, he discusses one of the companies producing GMO products, Monsanto, which produces seeds, weed control products and technology for farmers.

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“The biggest lie is they say to feed the growing population, we need GMO foods,” Brett said. “It is proven that these foods are unsustainable. We are eating insecticide,” he said.

After some backlash, the company tried to change their image to look like an agricultural company, he said, and started selling the chemicals under the pretense that it would grow more product and kill all pests.

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Some farmers he has talked to have agreed that GMO’s do help them and said he respects their opinion.

Brett recommended that while GMO products are not easily distinguishable at first, many of them contain corn, soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, products made from sugar beets and processed foods.

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He recommended looking at GMO shopping guides online to see what products are certified organic, which do not have any GMO’s.

You can follow the Wilcox’s journey at https://www.facebook.com/RunningTheCountry or http://www.runningthecountry.com. Friends of theirs started an online campaign to help with some of the costs for their family as they travel, as both of them took a leave from work to pursue the run: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-the-wilcox-family-finish-strong.

Lauren Cappuccio can be contacted at 262-4754.

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Right and Wrong vs Profit and Loss

David and I have a lot of time to talk on the road. I’ve learned a lot about David in the process. And I’m sure David has learned a lot about me.

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David knows that I grew up in a home with parents who instilled traditional values in their children. And when I say traditional values, I mean the traditional values of working class Christians: Love you neighbors whether you like them or not, do good to those that despitefully use you, we’re all members of the same human family so treat everyone with love and respect, sleep in your own bed, honesty is the only policy, and the Golden Rule.

I grew up believing that all parents at some level believed and taught their children those same values.

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But I was wrong.

A few states ago, I struck up a conversation with a young man at church. Our conversation turned to values and why it is that the ruling class seem to operate by a different set of values. He went on to say that lower working class people are taught to obey societal and religious rules and that the ruling class are taught that they make the rules, and because they make the rules, they are free to break the rules as they see fit.

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And while the working class are doing just that: working, working 9 to 5, working sunup to sundown, working 40, 60, or 80 hour weeks, working their fingers to the bone, working an honest day’s labor for an honest day’s wages, working and wearing their lives away, the ruling class are buying and selling and investing. They’re making millions, sometimes billions, off of the labor of the working class. They’re buying companies, firing employees at will, then turning around and selling the same companies at obscene profits, giving no thought to the fact that their company flipping places working people on the streets and on the dole.

And while the working class are paying their taxes, the ruling class are pulling the strings on their political puppets to create the tax loop holes that enable them to gain millions, by and large, tax free.

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And while the working class are genuinely concerned about the welfare of the human family, the ruling class are concerned only that the working class keep their noses to the grindstone, their shoulders to the wheel, and their mouths shut so the ruling class can continue to profit from other people’s labor.

And while the working class wouldn’t resort to shady means to make a buck, the ruling class don’t give a rat’s ass how they make their bucks or who ends up hurt or dead in the process.

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This analysis may be a bit over simplified and may be a bit too black and white, but then again, maybe it’s a dead ringer.

How else can one explain the fact that corporations like Monsanto, Dow, Dupont Pioneer, BASF, Bayer and Syngenta continue to operate on the values of Profit over Loss, Regardless.

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Regardless of the fact that their chemical and GMO-based agricultural systems are killing the soil, polluting waterways, and poisoning all life, including the lives of their own children.

Regardless of the fact that their large scale, monocultures destroy precious biodiversity and displace millions of peasant who join the ranks of the poorest of the poor.

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Regardless of the fact that many who farm GMOs find that suicide is the only escape from an endless cycle of debt.

Regardless of the fact that by patenting plants and animals, the poisoners become biopirates committing biopiracy as they steal from Nature and from the collective commons.

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Regardless of the fact that their corrupt collusion with politicians makes of mockery of democracy.

Regardless of the fact that virtually nobody wants their poison saturated bastardized imitation food and that the only way they can continue to get people to eat such stuff is to continue to keep GMOs unlabeled, even if that means threatening and suing entire states such as Vermont, or creating global “Free Trade” agreements like the TPP that declare participating governments shall do nothing to infringe on corporate profits including the labeling of GMOs.

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Regardless of the fact that many countries refuse to buy GMO-based corn and soybeans and those commodities are so overproduced in the USA and their value is so low that GMO-based agriculture can only be sustained by billions of dollars in government subsidies.

Regardless of the fact that most farmers are barely making a living and most of the subsidies they receive end up in the bank accounts and investment funds of the poison peddlers.

Regardless of the fact that the poisoners must shield their eyes from the sight of the deformed, disabled, diseased and dead people their policies and poisons have produced.

Regardless of the fact that they must cover their ears to block the cries of their victims.

Regardless of the fact that their alleged science-based research is little more than the science of fraud and deception.

Regardless of the fact that their profit is commensurate only to their skill as liars.

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I am grateful that I was raised with the values of Right and Wrong rather than the values of Profit and Loss. But I want my children to know and understand that there are people in this country and in this world—people they will likely never meet—who care only for their own profit and that those people make and break the rules as they see fit. And those people use their power and influence to ensure that only their political puppets—both democrats and republicans—enjoy the financial backing to win elections or the connections to be appointed to key governmental positions, including the regulatory agencies that are supposedly in place to protect the people and the environment.

I want our children to know that they must assume full responsibility for their own health and well-being. I want them to know that in violation of the Constitution, their conversations are being monitored and recorded, not so much to catch thieves, crooks, and terrorists, but to catch the people who catch government thieves, crooks, and terrorists.

And someday, when enough people have awakened from the collective delusion that corporations care and that the government represents them, I pray that the people who value Right and Wrong will rise up and create a system of government based on the values of Right over Wrong, on the value of loving rather than bombing, on the value of caring for rather than pillaging the Earth and her resources, on the value that all have access to clean and healthy food, education, and health care.

For the sake of the Earth and her inhabitants, may that day come soon.

__

Brett and David Wilcox are within two weeks of finishing their transcon 3,000 mile Run For a GMO Free USA. To date, their run expenses far exceed donations received. You can help change that fact by making a donation of any amount through their Indiegogo campaign fundraiser.

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Help the Wilcox Family Finish Strong

When David first announced that he wanted to run across the country, Kris and I didn’t take him seriously. How could we? Running 3,000 miles at 20 miles per day, six days a week would take at least six months, not including the gearing up and winding down time before and after the run. In addition, seven or eight months away from our jobs was simply not realistic.

Unless . . .

Unless we cast aside our fears and our doubts and we took a 3,000-mile leap of faith.

Family Jenna

Faith that of the millions of people who favor a GMO Free world, even just a few of them would step forward and show their support for our run and mission.

With the help of our good friend, Owen Kindig, we launched an Indiegogo campaign. And thanks to 132 generous contributors, our campaign brought in $7,500. To be sure, seven point five grand is a lot of money. But unfortunately, we’ve spent more than that amount in health insurance alone since we’ve been on the road. (Maybe the next time we run across the country, we should run for the creation of a reasonable and corruption free health care system!!!)

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In addition, many other people have contributed either through our website or directly to us as we’ve run across the country. And we are grateful to every person and for every contribution made thus far, but as of this date our expenses still far exceed contributions received.

We made it clear before we started our Run for a GMO Free USA that we would run regardless of the amount of contributions donations. And so we have.

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No doubt, 3,000 miles ago, many people doubted our ability and our commitment to the run. No doubt, many held back with their donations because there was no guarantee that we would or could actually complete our run and mission. To be honest, we had the same doubts. We now know like some 300 other people know than that running across the USA is no easy task. And for David, running 3,000 miles as a 15-year old boy shows tenacity and spunk not seen since 15-year old Tobias Cotton completed The Great American Foot Race in 1928.

But the time for doubt has passed. We’ve nearly completed our coast-to-coast run and, along the way, we’ve made every effort to speak the truth whether at events such as the March Against Monsanto in Saint Louis, Missouri, or on the streets, or to the media.

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On July 17th at 9 a.m. we’ll speak once again. This time we will join with like-minded people at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, before running the final 60 miles to the beach at Atlantic City, New Jersey. Join us at The Liberty Bell if you can. Run with us if you can.

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Kris and I celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary on July 19th, the day David and I plan to jump into the Atlantic City. What a blessing it would be if we could complete this run free of the debt we’ve picked up while pounding the pavement for the past six months.

That blessing is now entirely possibly because Owen has created a second Indiegogo campaign titled Help the Wilcox Family finish strong.

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If you value our run and our mission, take a look at the campaign Owen created. Watch the videos (5 or 6 to date) and, if you feel so moved, then by all means contribute.

Yes, we’re finishing our run on July 19th, but the work will continue. Once we’re back in our home of Sitka, Alaska, I will wrap up my second book in which I expose and refute another 50 of Monsanto’s lies. We will also be working hard producing the documentary DVD based on our run. (The We’re Monsanto books and the documentary are included as perks in the current Indiegogo campaign.) After that, I plan to compile a book of essays written by religious thinkers and leaders from various faiths in which the writers provide theological and religious arguments against GMOs and supportive of natural agricultural systems.

There’s so much yet to do! Please help us finish strong and to continue our work for a GMO Free USA and world. Contribute now.

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Thank you so much!

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Do GMOs Feed or Enslave the World?

Jason Tutu with Food Sovereignty Ghana posted the following article on July 4, 2014. Mr. Tutu exposes the truth behind the use of GMOs in all developing countries: Agricultural systems based on GMOs are financially, environmentally, politically and environmentally toxic. They are a modern form of colonialism and slavery. So while we Americans celebrate our independence, let us declare our independence from and put a stop to the corporations and governments hell bent on destroying independence on a global scale.

Dr. Shiva Ghana

By Food Sovereignty Ghana

Source: http://foodsovereigntyghana.org/atikpo-flails-away-never-lands-a-blow-on-shiva/

Atikpo Flails Away, Never Lands A Blow On Shiva

Dr. Atikpo and OFAB appear brilliant at building straw men to argue against and tear down with much ferocity. Unfortunately they do not address the points made by Dr. Shiva regarding GMOs. They do not address the real dangers of GMOs to Ghana or to the people who live here. Nor do they address the expressed concerns of Ghanaian farmers and citizens. They ignore Ghanaians who care about the sovereignty and independence of our beloved Ghana.

Dr. Atikpo and OFAB claim that GMOs are not toxic. There are two aspects to the question of toxicity. Dr. Atikpo addresses neither of them and instead batters away at her straw man. We know very little about GMOs themselves because the corporations that own the patents do not permit independent testing. What effects GMOs have on our bodies, what effects they may have over time or that may be inherited through us to successive generations, are not known.

The effects GMOs may have on the environment, on the plants, animals, soil, water, air, have not been explored. The evidence we have so far is not reassuring. The corporations that own the GMO patents work very hard to keep them from being researched or becoming known. They are so afraid of potential problems that they do not even want GMO products labelled GMO. This is the true anti-science position.

The extreme and known toxicity of GMOs is due to GMO plants being pesticide plants. GMO plants are saturated with pesticides. GMO crops vastly increase the use of pesticides. Even though the corporations holding GMO patents try to hide and obscure this fact, much is known about the toxic effects of pesticides.

GMO crops are genetically engineered to have pesticide such as Bt in every cell of the plant, or to absorb huge amounts of applied herbicides without being killed. When we consume the plants, or eat animals that consume the plants, we consume quantities of these pesticides that can injure our heart, lungs, organs, nerves, digestion, blood, skin, immunity, and sexual function and development.

When you eat a genetically modified food crop you are eating pesticides. When you wear genetically modified fibre you have toxin resting on your skin.

Research is piling up showing just how deadly these chemical cocktails can be on all the systems of our bodies, on the growing bodies of our children, and on the development of our unborn babies. Allergies, diseases, birth defects, damages to all the organ systems of the body, even autism have been linked to toxic pesticides. GMOs are designed in the laboratory so that they require these chemicals in order to grow. Do you want these chemicals sprayed and spread through Ghana, on our food and on our families? Does your MP want you fed and sprayed with pesticides?

GMOs threaten Ghana’s independence as a nation. Dr. Shiva warned us that GMOs mean seed colonization and seed slavery. This is the massive looming threat that Dr. Atikpo and OFAB completely ignore. The straw men they build and attack so vigorously are constructed to hide this massive danger. Dr. Atikpo and her cronies are dishonest about the toxicity of GMOs, and try to use the toxicity issue to distract our attention away from the GMO threat to our freedom and the GMO theft of our seed DNA heritage.

The Plant Breeders Bill is part of a foreign corporate plan developed by the G8 and engineered by USAID to control all of Ghana’s agriculture. Parliament has met with the Americans and ignored Ghanaians.

So far Ghana’s Presidents and MPs of both the dominant political parties are going along with this plan. The long term intention of these corporations is that every seed that is planted in Ghana will be owned by the giant agribusiness corporations. They will own the intellectual property rights to every seed. Farmers will have to buy seeds from them for whatever they want to charge. In India seed prices have risen as much as 8000%. Farmers who save seeds will have to pay royalties to corporations if they want to plant their saved seeds.

The Agribusiness corporations can take the DNA, the germplasm of Ghana’s seeds into their laboratories, patent the seeds, and then charge Ghanaian farmers for the same seed germplasm Ghanaians have painstakingly developed over decades and centuries. This is biopiracy. Ghanaian seed breeders will be left out. They do not have the resources to compete with the multinational corporations.

The Plant Breeders Bill puts the multinational corporations above the laws of Ghana, making it impossible for Ghana’s government to protect our agricultural wealth from these predators or protect our farmers and citizens from their predations.

With the Plant Breeders Bill enacted, only those seeds produced and sold by foreign corporations will be available to plant. The rich diversity of Ghana’s crops and seeds, our best protection against climate change, will be lost. Our food supply, what we eat and whether we eat, even the use of our water and soil, will be at the mercy of foreign corporations. The decisions of those corporations are based on how much money and resources they can extract from Ghana. Whether we live or die is a matter of indifference to them. That is what Dr. Shiva means by colonization and seed slavery. Do we want colonization and slavery returning to Ghana’s shores?

The only constituencies supporting the Plant Breeders Bill are the MPs that seem determined to pass it regardless of how it impacts Ghana, the American Embassy, and some Ghanaian academics and researchers whose funding is likely to depend on the GMO agribusiness corporations. Based on all their public utterances, Ghana’s MPs have done nothing to address the concerns in the various petitions to Parliament regarding the Plant Breeders Bill. Short of massive national and international attention, they may go ahead and pass the Bill! They appear to us to be completely ignoring Ghana’s best interests and Ghanaian public opinion.

If your MP is thinking of voting for the Plant Breeders Bill, if your MP ignores Ghanaians and votes for the Plant Breeders Bill, you do not want that person representing you in Parliament. When the announcement was made in Parliament during the sitting on Thursday, 19th June, by the 1st Deputy Speaker, Hon. Ebow Burton-Oduro, Hon. Musaka Mubarak, NDC MP for Asawaso, and Majority Chief Whip, rose to his feet to declare that the Committee would present an “oral report”. Is our Parliament trying to tell Ghanaians, they do not even need to properly let us know whether or not the petitions make any sense to them? And if not why? Is our Parliament trying to tell Ghanaians, they do not even need to properly let us know whether they hear the petitions or respect the petitioners?” Contact your MP and tell them to defeat the Plant Breeders Bill!

OUR FOOD UNDER OUR CONTROL!
For Life, The Environment, and Social Justice!

Jason Tutu
Member, Communications Department
Food Sovereignty Ghana.
Contact: 0540113569
Website: http://foodsovereigntyghana.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FoodSovereignGH
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FoodSovereigntyGhana

Posted in Blog, GMOs, Monsanto | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

‘It’s an adventure’: Father, son running across the country

BY CURT LIBBRA
News Leader
June 4, 2014

Source: http://www.bnd.com/2014/06/04/3240649/its-an-adventure-father-son-running.html

As the Wilcox family of Sitka, Alaska, travels across the country, they hope to sow inspiration in their children, opposition to genetically modified foods, and also, a little lettuce.

Brett and Kris Wilcox, two of their children, David, 15, and Olivia, 13, as well as their dogs, Angel and Jenna, a shelter dog they adopted while crossing through Texas, made a brief stop in Highland last week. They camped Thursday at Glik Park before taking off Friday morning on their way to Atlantic City, N.J.

Highland photo
HALF WAY THERE — The Wilcox family is making their way across the country and stopped in Highland last week. From left Olivia, 13, holds the family’s new pet, Jenna, while her mother, Kris, holds their other dog, Angel. The ladies drive the family’s truck and camper trailer while Brett Wilcox and 15-year-old son David go across the country on foot. The family is talking against genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as they move across the nation.
CURT LIBBRA/NEWS LEADER

The idea for their journey emerged a few years ago when Brett was reading an online article about a teenage girl who had made the cross-continental trek on foot.

“We showed that article to David, and he said, ‘I want to do that,’” Brett recalled.

And the thought never left David’s mind.

“He kept bringing it up,” his father said.

So the Wilcoxes started to put a plan in motion — although the thought of actually going through with it left them feeling some trepidation.

“It scared the heck out of us, because this is not a responsible thing to do,” Brett said.

Responsible or not, the wheels began turning in January. Brett and Kris both quit their jobs — his as a mental health/substance abuse counselor, and hers in a cleaning business. They flew to Salt Lake City and bought a truck and camper trailer, which Kris, Olivia and Angel go down the road in, while the boys and Jenna follow on foot.

They departed Huntington Beach, Calif., (about 30 miles south of Los Angelas) on Jan. 18, with a crowd of well-wishers to cheer them on.

“There were people there to meet us. We didn’t know any of them, just by Facebook,” Kris said.

They made nine miles that first day but have been averaging about 20 miles per day since, even with David nursing a hip flexor strain.

“If I wasn’t injured, I’d be going faster. We’ve just been walking (for about two weeks),” David said.

Going faster is the reason David wanted to take on the challenge in the first place. As a freshman this past year, he won his regional cross country meet. But he hopes for even bigger accomplishments.

“I thought, if I do this, I will come back faster and be able to beat more people,” he said.

But for Brett and Kris, there were parental, as well as political, motivations behind agreeing to the 3,000-mile undertaking.

Brett said he grew up in a working-class household where an experience such as the one he and his family are now on could have only been a pipe dream.

“I really wanted to help David accomplish a big dream… This is an opportunity to rewrite history, to say to David, ‘If you have a big dream, you can achieve it,” Brett said.

“It’s an adventure,” Kris said.

And adventure is something this family is big on. Brett and Kris, who moved to Alaska after having taught English in Japan for several years, also have two older daughters, both of whom they encouraged to do exchange programs. They did, one in Bolivia and one in Thailand.

“I think the world is just an incredible place. I want them to get out and see it while they’re young,” Kris said.

See it they have — 2,000 miles worth across California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri before hitting the Prairie State and resting in Highland.

“Every town has a claim to fame, and we’ve seen them all,” Kris said. “But a big highlight is the people we’ve met.”

As they meet new faces, they tell whoever will listen of their belief that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are harmful. To help cultivate their message, they hand out packets of organic seeds along their way.

A GMO-free world is something they strongly believe in. Brett has even written a book on the subject, We’re Monsanto: Feeding the World, Lie After Lie, which targets the world’s foremost GMO company. Just after walking into St. Louis on May 24, Brett and David both spoke at a “March Against Monsanto” rally at the company’s global headquarters.

You can follow the family’s travels on their website, www.runningthecountry.com, or on Facebook. You can also donate to their cause via the website.

“We are not even coming close to covering the cost (of the trip),” Brett said.

But that’s OK.

“We are doing it for faith, not for money,” Brett said.

Posted in Blog, GMOs, Monsanto, Running The Country | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Cross-country run passes through Valley

Thanks to Faye Irey for being such a gracious hostess in Monongahela and for calling Chris Buckley at the local newspaper! Thanks to Chris for interviewing us. Because of good people like the Irey’s and Chris, we enjoyed our time in Monongahela. Our best to all of you!

By Chris Buckley
The Valley Independent

Sourece: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourmonvalley/yourmonvalleymore/6378419-74/wilcox-brett-david#axzz36Jbbjdmb

Monongahela photo Chris Buckley | The Valley Independent

David Wilcox remembers the day a couple years ago when he read an Internet story about a 17-year-old girl who ran across the country.

“Without thinking about any of the challenges, the competitive part of me said, ‘I want to do that,’” recalled Wilcox, now 15.

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His father, Brett, wondered if his son was prepared for such a challenge. But David Wilcox, who won a cross country title as a freshman at Sitka High School in Alaska, was undaunted.

Still, the teen learned there is a difference between the speed of running 5Ks at 5½ minutes per mile and the much slower pace needed to log the miles it takes to cross the country.
“The first day, we weren’t prepared enough and I thought maybe we made a mistake,” David Wilcox admitted. “But after that …”

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Brett Wilcox notes that he is 53, adding with a laugh, “but my face is 2,600 miles old.”
The cross country trek has only been made by one other 15-year-old, Tobias Cotton, who did it in 1928.

“There’s a reason 15-year-olds don’t do this,” Brett Wilcox said. “It’s a brutally long and disciplined trip. David’s now done something only one other 15-year-old has done. That shows a level of tenacity and commitment.”

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In January, the father-and-son team flew from their Alaska home to Utah to pick up a truck that is their support system. Brett Wilcox’s wife, Kris, is the driver. They drove the truck to Huntington Beach, Calif., and on Jan. 18, began their transcontinental run.

The trip was designed around David’s cross country season. He studied online during the spring semester.

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“It’s been a run of faith — to believe what we’re doing is right and to believe that enough people would support us,” Brett Wilcox said. “For me, the greatest challenge is letting go and believing that God will get us safely through this with missiles flying by at 60 to 70 miles per hour.

“I just have to trust that God is going to take care of us.”

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In Dalhart, Texas, on April 1, the father and son picked up a dog, Jenna, who has made the trip with them since. She sometimes rides in the three-wheel baby stroller where the Wilcox family stores items such as water and food.

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The Wilcoxes arrived Monday in Monongahela, a stop ordained nearly six decades ago in Korea. Brett Wilcox’s father served in the Army in Korea in the early 1950s with Jim Irey, a Monongahela native.

Brett Wilcox visited Monongahela when he was just a child and recalled very little of the city. But as he saw it approaching on his Google Map app Monday, he made some calls and made contact with Faye Irey, the widow of Jim’s brother, Frank Irey.

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The family stayed with Faye Irey overnight before hitting the road by mid-morning Tuesday.

Brett Wilcox didn’t get into running until he was in his 40s. “I was sitting in my office, sore from sitting all day,” Brett Wilcox said. At a trail near his house, he began running, starting with short distances. But one mile turned into three, and then 12 miles on weekend days.

Still that is a far cry from the minimum 20-mile days, day after day for six months. David Wilcox has dealt with a hip injury for weeks. His fourth chiropractic appointment with Dr. E. Joseph Burger in McMurray finally diagnosed and repaired the problem.

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Brett Wilcox wore a tech running shirt that proclaimed their mission,“Running For A GMO Free USA.”

According to the Non GMO Project, “genetically modified organisms are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.”

Brett Wilcox said meeting people on the road, he has learned that the public opposes the use of GMOs.

“There’s no reason for anyone to go to the grocery store to buy GMO products,” said Brett Wilcox, who got into the cause for health reasons.

The trip also has given him an opportunity to connect with his son. “For me, I don’t think I knew David a fraction of what I do now,” Brett Wilcox said. “We’re together virtually 24/7. I’m finding out what motivates him, what he likes, how gentle he is, but the competitive spirit that drives him to run cross country.”

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David Wilcox said he is also learning about his father. “I had faith he could do it, but I thought I’d be running ahead of him,” he said.

Last week, they averaged more than 25 miles a day — nearly a marathon each day for a week.
The goal is to reach Atlantic City on July 19, Brett and Kris Wilcox’s 25th anniversary.
“I want on that day to run into the ocean,” Brett Wilcox said. “That would be a great anniversary present.”

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or cbuckley@tribweb.com.

Posted in Blog, GMOs, Running The Country | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment