The presentation was held at Wailua Elementary School. The people of Wailua, like the people of many communities throughout Hawaii, share land, air, and water with agrochemical companies and many of these people are growing increasingly uneasy with the poisoning of the environment and their children.
GMO Free News recently covered this issue in the following interview:
Ashley gave the same presentation a few weeks before in Molokai. Over 100 Monsanto employees attended, most wearing the same colored T-shirt and carrying Monsanto packets to dispute the findings in the Hawai’i Center for Food Safety’s report. Ashley did a fine job presenting to a scared and hostile audience.
In contrast, the vast majority of the people who attended in Wailua were not there to protect their jobs; they were there to protect their children and the environment.
Since 1987 Hawai‘i has hosted more cumulative field trials (3,243) than any other state. In 2014 alone, 178 different GE field tests were conducted on over 1,381 sites in Hawai‘i (vs. only 175 sites in California).
Due to Hawai‘i’s small size, it has a much higher density of field tests than other states. As a result, more people in Hawai‘i live in closer proximity to field test sites than residents of any other state and run a higher risk of experiencing pesticide drift.
Herbicide-resistance was the most frequently tested trait in GE crop field tests in Hawai‘i over the past five years. This means that plants genetically engineered in Hawai‘i, by and large, are engineered to resist ever greater application of herbicides.
DuPont-Pioneer applied 90 different pesticide formulations containing 63 different active ingredients on Kaua‘i from 2007 to 2012.The company sprayed on two-thirds (65%) of the days over this period and made from 8.3 to 16 applications per application day on average.
The third-most frequently applied class of pesticides is also among the most toxic: the organophosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos was sprayed an average of 91 days each year.
Restricted Use Pesticides (RUP) sales data for Kaua‘i show that 22 RUPs containing 18 active ingredients were applied in agriculture from 2010 to 2012.
81% of RUP active ingredients by weight were applied to corn and 19% to coffee, with negligible amounts used on ornamentals, soybeans, sugarcane, tomatoes, and turf.
PESTICIDE EXPOSURE RAISES SERIOUS HEALTH CONCERNS
In general farmers, farmworkers, pregnant women, and children are at greatest risk: farmers are more highly exposed than the general population; and children are more susceptible to the harmful effects of pesticides than adults.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently published a major report entitled “Pesticide Exposure in Children” that reviewed 195 medical studies; their chief concerns were that pesticides are linked to childhood cancers, neurobehavioral and cognitive deficits, adverse birth outcomes, and asthma.
In adult populations, pesticide exposure has been linked to Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, bladder and colon cancers, Parkinson’s disease, depression, and disrupting our hormonal or endocrine systems.
REGULATION NEEDED TO ADDRESS PUBLIC HEALTH RISKS
We would all like to believe that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) protects us from pesticide harms, but this is often not the case.
EPA requires safety testing only on the pesticide product’s active ingredient, even though “inert ingredients” in pesticide formulations can be toxic in their own right, or increase the active ingredient’s toxicity.
In a failed attempt to better protect human health and the environment from pesticide drift, EPA proposed improved pesticide labeling in 2001, but has yet to finalize and enact the policy.
EPA began to phase-out residential use of the toxic insecticide chlorpyrifos in 2000, specifically to protect children. Yet, rural children remain at risk, as ambient air levels of chlorpyrifos have been found to exceed health standards in agricultural areas.
As of 2014, at least nine states had established no-spray buffer zones around sensitive areas such as schools, hospitals, and public parks, and while eleven states have established notification requirements for pesticide applications near schools. These policy actions evince growing awareness of the serious health threats posed by pesticide drift.
Residents of three Hawai‘i counties have demanded that their local governments take action, under the counties’ authority to regulate agriculture, ensure the welfare of its residents, and fulfill its duty to protect public resources.
For most people who live in non-agricultural regions, their biggest concern with GMOs with in the labeling and content of their food. For people who live near agrochemical farming or research operations, their concerns extend to the air they’re breathing, the water they’re drinking (or surfing), their schools, their neighborhoods, and their environment. Thus, most of the people who attended Ashley’s presentation probably don’t consider themselves to be activists; they’re moms and dads. They’re scared and they’re angry. How is it possible that agrochemical companies can get away with spraying numerous formulations of unapproved biocides right next to their kids’ schools? What does it say about such companies when they take legal action to block buffer zones and public reporting of the poisons they’re spraying?
That’s easy. It says that they don’t give a damn about our kids. While poisoning the air our kids are breathing, they have their audacity to poison their minds and exploit their images.
Read more from the Center for Food Safety:
Hawai‘i parents and residents have had enough. Communities on Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i Island and Maui have spoken – and now it’s O‘ahu’s turn. We want Monsanto out of our schools.
At Waialua Elementary School on the North Shore of O‘ahu, the agrochemical giant is trying to buy community support by infiltrating schools’ activities and curriculum. Monsanto even issued photo permission forms at the school to students for advertising purposes. Meanwhile, the company conducts open-air tests of pesticides within a one mile radius of several schools on the North Shore. Does that sound like a good neighbor to you?
Monsanto’s latest advertising campaign puts a full spin on their public image, trying to convince consumers that community well-being is their number one priority. If this was true, then why would they refuse to tell the public about the pesticides they spray on their fields every week? Do you want to know the real threats this company’s pesticides pose to our children’s health? Get the hard facts and key findings from our newest report Pesticides in Paradise available for free on our website.
Click here to tell the Department of Education that you demand stronger protections of schools and our children from the predatory corporate initiatives by Monsanto or agrochemical companies!
Some months before our recent trip to Hawaii, Mary Lacques, well known for her work with Hawai’i Seed, contacted me. Mary is a friend of David Orr, a botanist with nearly 30 years of experience at Waimea Botanical Garden on Oahu’s North Shore. David describes Mary as a “local hero.” Mary contacted David about giving us a tour. David agreed.
It would be an understatement to say that David loves nature and loves his garden. It might be more accurate to say that he is in love with the thousands of plants he has tended and nurtured for so much of his life. The energy he exuded while sharing with us was palpable. His respect and reverence for nature transformed our time with him from a garden tour to a worship service. He opened our eyes to miracles that would have otherwise remained hidden from our ignorant view.
By the end of the tour, David had shown me once again that humans are as infants in our understanding of the workings of nature, and that our unnatural efforts to engineer or modify the DNA of these creations are acts of desecrations, acts of violence—physical and sexual assaults that could never occur in nature, resulting in mutilated creations that for the most part transform foods into poisons and/or receptacles for poisons, and that possess the potential to contaminate all life on Earth.
Later that evening, Ashley Lukens, Ph.D. with Hawai’i Center for Food Safety drove that point home in a presentation titled Pesticides in Paradise: Our Keiki and Aina at Risk.
Dr. Andrew Wakefield addressed a large audience in Orem, Utah, on October 2, 2015.
Andy addressed a much smaller audience the following morning at a breakfast attended by doctors, politicians, and other influential people. I had the privilege and honor of attending the breakfast where I sat next to Dr. Wakefield, and enjoyed some informal conversation with him.
Andy emphasized the importance the citizens of Utah play in vaccine related issues because Representative Jason Chaffetz is from Utah and he is also the Head of Oversight & Government Reform Committee. He strongly encouraged everyone present to do everything they can to persuade Chaffetz to subpoena the CDC whistleblower, Dr. William Thompson.
After his presentation, Andy responded to questions.
My primary focus for the past few years has been the unavoidable and catastrophic consequences from the global commercialization of GMOs. (My books are available here and here and in Japanese here). So I asked Andy about Dr. Stephanie Seneff’s research in which she states that GMOs and vaccines result in synergistic toxicity.
Following is Andy’s response:
“Stephanie Seneff is a Senior Scientist at MIT, Ph.D. in computer science and artificial intelligence. Her interest is in the interaction of environmental factors that might conspire to produce an adverse outcome.
If one accepts for the moment—and the research is very strong in this—that the gut is central to—because the immune system, 70% of the immune system of the body is contained in the gut—influencing the brain and other organs. Glyphosate is a powerful toxin to the gut. It kills our normal bacterial flora. It’s interesting and I heard a lecture the other day from a scientist in the UK who said, ‘We are 9/10ths bacteria and 1/10th human.’
Our gut bacteria determine not only our immune health, but our brain development and behavior. It’s absolutely fascinating that our gut bacteria are crucial to our normal health and healthy functioning. And just as an interesting observation, children born by Caesarean section have a higher rate of immune disorders than those born by vaginal delivery because they acquire a different flora. They acquire gut flora from hospital bacteria rather than the mother’s bacteria. And their longtime immune health is influenced by the way in which they are born.
So your gut bacteria are emerging as fundamental to your health. Glyphosate damages gut bacteria. It also allows things through that would not normally get through, so the barrier function of your gut to keep bad stuff out and let good stuff in is damaged and it causes toxins like aluminum and other things to get through the gut and thereby access the brain. So the idea that something that can injure the gut like glyphosate and that might interact with something else that operates through the gut like perhaps MMR vaccine, the idea that those might compound the risk of an adverse outcome is entirely biologically plausible.”
The current state of GMOs and vaccines are like ugly twins spawned from the same greedy and corrupt parents. Each results in a host of unforeseen, potentially catastrophic consequences, and when joined together, their effects multiply the toxicity of the other. It is altogether fitting then that the interbreeding of these ugly twins have spawned a second generation nightmare: vaccines containing genetically modified organisms and genetically modified crops that produce vaccines. These mutant creations will undoubtedly result in further destruction of the delicate interplay between DNA, cells, organs, and systems within our bodies as well as the delicate ecosystems of Mother Earth.
Many thanks and blessings to the growing number of scientists, researchers, whistleblowers, and doctors who risk their careers, livelihoods, and even their lives as they speak out against the corruption, greed, and global madness that form the foundation of the biotech and vaccine industries.
Dr Andrew Wakefield – Feast of Consequences – Whistleblower in the Public Interest
(Video and Transcript)
Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here. Thank you very much indeed. It’s really an extraordinary time in this nation. We know about SB277 passage of mandatory vaccination law in the state of California that you will be segregated from public and private education if you do not have your children fully vaccinated according to the CDC schedule. The CDC schedule is something that we’re going to discuss tonight. And the topic that you just heard is an excellent introduction to the issues on which these laws must be fought, and that is on safety and efficacy.
It’s been said that I am not anti-vaccine, but I am anti—for reasons that will become extremely clear—I am anti-vaccine regulators. And I am anti-the pharmaceutical industry.
The notion of protecting children against serious infectious disease with safe and effective vaccines is a laudable one; however, the more research that I’ve done, the more I’ve come to realize that none of the vaccines on the schedule meet any of those criteria.
So I want to talk about whistleblowing in the public interest, about how to take a moderately successful career and flush it down the toilet.
You’ve heard about the growth in autism. Autism is a new disease. Before the 1930s, we can assume that the prevalence, the incidence of autism in the world was zero. It is a novel condition. The best diagnosticians in medicine, the most astute clinicians, the people who described the great human diseases from the beginning of the last century, over the century before, they were people like Charcot in Paris and Pierre Marie described the great diseases. They could do very little for them, but they could describe them in meticulous detail and had a condition as enigmatic as autism existed, it would have been described by those doctors, and yet it was not. It was not until the year Kanner described it many years later when it first became a pattern. But it was rare. It was an anomaly. Physicians and clinicians could expect to see no cases in their lifetime, and then something changed.
We have data now going back to the ’70s. We know that the numbers were 1 to 5 in 10,000 very early on. And then it has risen in exponential fashion.
These are numbers from the CDC, so I suggest you treat them with some caution. You can see now that the rise in this approaches 1 in 68. This is for children who were born in 2002, so these data are many years out of date. The CDC is mandated to provide these data every four years. They have not provided them. That means, I suggest to you, that the news is not good.
The risk from autism, if you extrapolate from this curve, the risk for autism for a child born today in America is 1 in 25. 1 in 25 children.
And if you take this line as an MIT scientist has done and you extrapolate it out, you can tell looking into the future where it will intersect with 1 in 2, and that is in the year, according to her, of 2032. She has reason to believe and has been said publically as you’ve heard earlier that it will happen earlier, perhaps by 2025.
When 1 in 2 of the population has autism, you either have it or you care for someone with it. And that’s it. You have no standing army, no economy, no infrastructure whatsoever. And that is the way this is headed. And there is absolutely no reason to believe that the trajectory of this curve is going to change whatsoever.
And the absence of the latest CDC data gives us cause of concern. This is what is happening. This is the most important issue in America today. Forget foreign policy, forget everything else. If this is going to continue, there is no economy, there is no foreign policy. And the irony is that even without a standing army, no one is going to want to invade this country because it is a country of damaged people.
Please think about that. If you love this country, and you wish only the best for its future, something has to be done to change this. And autism—medicine gives you the sharp end first—it gives you the worst cases, the most easily recognized cases first. What happens if what we are doing to damaged children causing autism is shaving 9 points or 5 points off the IQ of the average American? We know now that the SAT scores have had to be recentered twice in the last decade to get the same pass rate. Boys in particular are failing in schools. Not girls. This is a biological phenomenon. It is not a problem with the school infrastructure; this is a biological phenomenon. And we saw it before with lead poisoning. We saw the sex-specific difference and we’re seeing it again now for autism and IQ problems. And this problem is worldwide.
And what is extraordinary about this is that there is a common denominator, a factor or a set of constrained factors that operated at the same time in different countries around the world: Denmark, Japan, and the U.S. shown in here and in the bottom graph, the trajectory for the world-wide aggregated incidence data.
It happened . . . the hockey stick effect occurred in children born in 1988 and ’89. It is as discreet as that. Something changed in those birth cohorts that lead to this dramatic increase. And the conclusion is that there is some common denominator between these countries. And that must help us to pin it down. This must be environmental. We do not have genetic epidemics. This is definitely environmental. It can be understood, and by looking at what those common denominators might be, we can start to hone in on the cause.
Now this is my introduction to this. I’m a gastroenterologist. When I was in medical school autism was so rare that we were not taught about it. On May the 19th 1995, a mother called me, a very articulate mother, a very clever woman who said,
“My child was developing perfectly normally in speech, language, and interaction with his siblings. He was a happy little boy, then he had his MMR vaccine, his measles, mumps, rubella vaccine. He had a high fever, he slept for three days, and when he woke up, he was never the same again. He was then diagnosed with autism.”
She was not anti-vaccine. She was not looking for something to blame. She was describing precisely what happened to her child. The fundamental rule of clinical medicine is you listen to the patient or you listen to the patient’s parents, because nobody knows that child like them, no pediatrician, no public health doctor. You listen to the mother and she will tell you what happened to that child. If the child had gone to a party and caught natural chickenpox and had regressed within a week, then as doctors we would be saying, “That’s a terrible thing. We need to produce a chickenpox vaccine.” But because it was a vaccine that in the mother’s eyes was the trigger of this problem, it could not be. It was not to be discussed.
She said to me,
“Doctor, my child has terrible gastrointestinal issues which is why I’ve come to you. And I believe that those gastrointestinal issues are related to the autism. When the diarrhea is really bad, when he’s in pain, and I know that he’s in pain because even though he’s lost the ability to speak, to articulate his pain, to tell me where it is, and he’s banging his head against the wall, I as his mother know that he is suffering from pain. When this (the abdomen) is bad, this (the head) is bad. And when I treat this, when I put him on a special diet that excludes gluten or casein or soy, then this (the head) gets better. When the bowel gets better, the brain gets better. There is some link, doctor.”
This was an extraordinary intuition that turned out to be absolutely right. And she said,
“Doctor, I know that there are many, many parents who are calling me and telling me exactly the same story.”
And so we saw twelve of these children. And we published this case series in the Lancet. A case series is where you take a group of patients who have a unique and idiosyncratic pattern of signs and symptom. They represent in such a common way and in such a unique way that they merit publication in their own right. You’re not testing a hypothesis, you’re not saying, “This is the cause or that’s the cause or this is the mechanism.” You’re saying, “Here is the story. This is what we heard, this is what we found, and these are ideas that we have about this going forward, a hypothesis that we might test in the future.” And this is the way in which human disease syndromes are described, be it congenital rubella, Crohn’s disease, be it multiple sclerosis or AIDS, anything you like. This is the way in which the description of human disease syndromes begins. And then a better understanding evolves, an interpretive wave is inferred from that point forward.
This paper was very careful having explained the findings of the bowel disease to say in the final paragraph, “This study does not prove an association between MMR vaccine and the syndrome described. Further work is needed to investigate this.” And yet it has been said in the media worldwide that I have claimed in this paper with my colleagues that MMR vaccine causes autism. Explicitly, that is not what we said. If that’s what you heard, then those people who told you have not bothered to read the paper.
What has happened in the intervening years has been a sideshow, a tragedy, to divert attention from gross regulatory failure, to protect individuals, to protect governments, but finally to protect the industry from past liabilities and future profits. And I intend to discuss that tonight.
And it came down here to Rupert Murdoch and his son, James Murdoch, who was on the board at GlaxoSmithKline, which was the UK’s MMR vaccine manufacturer, he was put on, James Murdoch was put on that board to protect GlaxoSmithKline’s reputation in news international media, and I was his favorite target. And Brian Deer, a journalist working for the Sunday Times owned by Murdoch, published a paper which claimed all kinds of things, that this paper, what we had done was experimentation on children, there was no ethical approval, it was all done to foment a legal case, it was done to make money, all kinds of things. A huge, complex study.
And this is John Walker-Smith.
John Walker-Smith was the world’s leading pediatric gastroenterologist at the time before his retirement. He wrote the textbook that teaches now pediatric gastroenterologists around the world. He was one of the founding fathers on the subject of pediatric gastroenterology. And he said there was a bowel disease, and he investigated these children, and his team discovered that bowel disease along with me and it was his word pitted against that of Brian Deer, of a man with no scientific background and no medical training. And the General Medical Counsel decided that they would side with Brian Deer and believe him.
Well, this finally came, and you will never have heard this, we were struck off, we had our licenses removed, and for the first time when Professor Walker-Smith appealed to the English High Court, this was the first time it had ever come forth before the proper judiciary. And in his appeal the judge said of the General Medical Counsel that they had made “fundamental errors,” there was a distortion of evidence, inadequate analysis, inadequate and superficial reasoning and explanation, inappropriate rejection of evidence, “flawed” and “wrong” reasoning, and “numerous and significant inadequacies, … .” “Universal inadequacies” and some errors on the panel’s determination accordingly go to the heart of this case. They are not curable.” “The panel’s determination cannot stand. I therefore quash it.”
In other words, everything that Brian Deer had said went out the window. Everything at News International had gone out the window. Did this appear in the media? Did the exoneration of Professor Walker-Smith and that study appear in the media? Did they reinstate the study in the Lancet? No, because the fix was in from the beginning.
This is Brian Deer. In was later the case that Brian Deer in the British Medical Journal accused me of scientific fraud, that it was all made up. There were 13 scientists on that paper including some of the world’s leading pediatric gastroenterologists. Unimpeachable careers. We published 5,000 papers between us. Do you think it likely that I could get away with publishing a paper that pulled the wool over all the eyes of all of these fine scientists? Really? But that’s the lie they bought into.
This is Brian Deer. When Brian Deer . . . we sued Brian Deer in the court in Travis County, Texas, where I live and we were denied jurisdiction, ultimately even in the face of precedent we were denied jurisdiction, which is a great shame because in discovery this is the kind of thing that we found in emails between Brian Deer and the editor of the BMJ. This is the kind of objectivity that the editor of the BMJ was looking for in their writers.
“The festering nastiness, the creepy repetitiveness, the weasly, deceitful, obsessiveness, all signal pathology to me.”
“And they wonder why their children have problems with their brains.”
Now this is Brian Deer. They are welcome to him.
So this is the kind of child that we saw at the Royal Free.
By the time I left, we had seen about 180 such children and made a huge advance in understanding what was going on and helping. This child looks like a famine victim from West Africa. As you can see in profile his abdomen is grossly extended. He has no muscle mass. He is clearly, extremely physically unwell. Who is the person who is under investigation in this family? The mother. The mother by CPS, and doctors thought that she was starving her child. And yet behind him is his sister who belies that notion because she is perfectly well nourished. This child had inflammatory bowel disease.
This child, it was said he would do this, he would lean on pieces of furniture for hours a day, hours a day.
“Now this is just repetitive behavior. This is just autism.” No, it is not! This child is applying pressure to his abdomen to relieve the pain that he cannot articulate because he’s lost the power to speak. He is doing something that is entirely appropriate to relieve that pain.
This little boy would sleep on this.
He would sleep on this ball with his head on his little doggie because he was in pain. And we know that because when he was treated, when his inflammatory bowel disease was treated, he stopped do this. He went to bed and he slept normally.
This is self-injury. This little boy was in such pain that he would beat himself unconscious in order to alleviate that pain, to escape from it.
This little boy came to see us in Texas to be investigated, to be scoped. And the parents were in some distress. They had to stop in the car halfway to the emergency room. And can you imagine taking this little boy into an emergency room and what might happen? There only salvation is the doctor in the ER had an autistic child himself and recognized what was going on immediately and helped the child and sent him on his way.
This little boy is trying to kill himself.
This child is in such pain that he is trying to end his life. This is self-injury. This is what I see on a daily basis. So when someone tells me that autism is great and we should accept it, just part of being normal . . . this is what we deal with on a daily basis. The irony of this, we are surrounded by ironies, is that the father of this child is a senior executive in the company Wyeth that produces Thimerosal, the mercury preservative in vaccines.
Data from other scientists and this is now the most common and consistent finding in autism research today is the gastrointestinal link, the disturbance between the gut and the brain.
Why are they in pain? This is an image taken from a pill camera.
So you swallow the capsule, it goes through your small intestine, takes two frames a second. And this shows inflammation and ulceration similar to what you might see in Crohn’s Disease. That picture does not come from us, that picture comes from Dr. Balzola in Turin, in Italy, who has described in the medical literature exactly the same bowel disease.
This is an image of duodenal ulcerations.
This is an extreme sick duodenum, which would have you and I screaming in pain on the floor. In a patient with autism and this comes from Japan. This is a worldwide phenomenon.
These are the papers that are published in addition to the Lancet paper before I left the Royal Free. We had described this disease and characterized it in some detail.
There is this enigmatic link between the gut and the brain. And the chief medical officer who is the equivalent of the surgeon general said to me,
“I just to don’t get this gut brain thing you’re talking about.”
“Well, look, come with me and I’ll buy you a beer and within 15 minutes you’ll understand what I’m talking about.”
And this idiot thought that I wanted to buy him a beer. I can’t stand the man. What I was trying to get across to him is that a neurotoxin from the gut can effect the brain . . . even his brain.
And the important thing about this is that the parents were right. There is a link between the bowel and the brain. It was real, it was common, and it was treatable, but because of the lies told by Brian Deer, the medical profession was terrified of doing its job. And for the intervening years, these children could not get appropriate medical care because the bowel disease was synonymous with vaccine injury and nobody wanted to touch it. So autism remained a psychological thing that was in the brain, it was genetic, and that was it. Put your child in a home; get over it.
So they were right about the bowel disease. Were they right about the vaccine? I don’t know, but we had to take it extremely seriously. We certainly didn’t know at the time. We had an obligation, a duty, to take that seriously. Not to dismiss it because it might be uncomfortable. And all of this may have gone nowhere, all of this may have gone absolutely nowhere, because of the power of the industry’s influence on politicians, and its influence on the media which has been bought by that industry.
If not for one man. If not for one man.
Last year, 2014, Dr. William Thompson, a senior scientist from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention came forward to a colleague and friend of mine, Dr. Brian Hooker who’s the father of an affected child living in Redding, California and scientist. They had been at odds for some time because Dr. Hooker had been seeking through FOIA requests to get access to vaccine safety data from the CDC, and had got into various fights with the scientists who had been allocated, designated to look after him and to deal with him. And that was Dr. Thompson. So it was unusual to say that least that ten years later he should call him out of the blue. But call him, he did.
And the history of this is that in 2000 I presented to Congress to the government’s Oversight Committee. Dan Burton held a series of hearings. Dan Burton was a congressman from Indiana whose grandson was vaccine damaged and autistic. And I presented to that committee, I presented these findings, and I talked about the circumstances in which a child might be damaged.
Why some children and not others? One of the questions that we hear a lot is,
“MMR is given to everybody. Why should some children have problems and not others?”
And one of the things that we were interested in was pattern of exposure. The way in which you’re infected with a particular virus determines the outcome. The age of exposure is critical. If you get measles under one, you’re much more likely to have an adverse outcome than if you get it over one. This is intuitive. The immune system is developed; it’s stronger. And so we put forward the hypothesis to Congress and to the CDC that age of exposure to MMR may be a risk, the younger a child gets the vaccine, the greater the risk. And there was a reason for believing that.
There is an MMR vaccine that was produced by GlaxoSmithKline used in the UK. It wasn’t used here. And there was a mumps strain in it called Urabe AM9. It came from Japan and it caused meningitis. Interestingly, when used alone as the single monovalent mumps vaccine, it didn’t cause injuries. When it was put in MMR it caused meningitis at a rate of more than 1 in 2000. This is a fascinating observation right off the bat. 1 and 1 and 1 doesn’t equal 3. It’s something very different. And this meningitis from the mumps vaccine was recognized in Ontario where they introduced it and they withdrew it rapidly. But the British government wanted that vaccine used in the UK because it was made by the home team, GlaxoSmithKline. And they wanted to give them 85% of the market, so they brought in a doctor, a whistleblower, who came to me later from the government in Canada to advise them on the introduction of that vaccine in the UK.
“Don’t touch it. It’s causing meningitis at an unacceptable rate.”
They ignored him completely; the only thing that changed was the name. It was called TriVirix in Canada and they changed the name to Pluserix in the UK. And they introduced it, GlaxoSmithKline, SmithKlineBeechem at the time, got 85% of the market. Four years later, after meningitis had occurred in exactly the same way, it had to be rapidly withdrawn, and we went to Merck to get the MMR II. At that point, the vaccine should have been destroyed. It’s now been withdrawn in two countries. It should have been destroyed. Was it? No. It was shipped to developing countries like Brazil, where it was used in a mass vaccination campaign. And not surprisingly, there was an epidemic of meningitis.
These are the people you are dealing with. Please understand. There is absolutely no concern for the downside for children whatsoever. And when they studied that epidemic in Brazil, what they found is that those at greatest risk were the ones who got the vaccine youngest. So there you have it again. The younger the age of exposure, the greater the risk.
Another drug that shows this really exquisitely well is Thalidomide. You didn’t use Thalidomide in America. It was a drug taken for morning sickness, It was developed in Germany and then used in countries around the world, not America. It was one of the great successes of the FDA is keeping this drug out of the country.
It was used for morning sickness and children were born like this, no arms, no legs, blind, deaf, no ears. This is phocomelia.
They found the autism risk in two groups of children who were at exquisitely high risk: African American boys and children with what they called Isolated Autism who were developmentally normal for the first year of life irrespective of race.
And that is a whole lot of children. And the most worrying thing about these two groups is the greatest risk was seen in those children receiving their vaccine on schedule, between 12 and 18 months.
And Thompson on this study was the accountant in a money-laundering ring. He was the statistician; he was the guy with the data, the skills and the software. And he went to the meeting and he showed them what they had. And they spent the intervening four years manipulating and covering up those data. In the end, they found that they could not get rid of them altogether so they destroyed the data. They destroyed it. They moved from a level of a scientific fraud with huge consequences for the American population and by proxy the rest of the world to a felony by destroying government documents which were at the time under FOIA request and Department of Justice request.
Dr. Thompson, unlike the others, was a man of conscience. He was a man of conscience, and he was deeply troubled by what was going on. And we have all of the original documents provided to us by him, all of the original data sets, the analyses, the internal emails, the exchanges between him and Julie Gerberding who was head of the CDC at the time, and the head of the National Immunization program, Dr. Walter Orenstein. He alerted them all to this problem. What was happening in 2004, there was a meeting of the Institute of Medicine where they had to present an update on their findings. They delayed them, they had the data gathered in 2001. They should have presented to Congress in 2002 and 2003. They didn’t; they held on to them and they manipulated them further. They had to present them in 2004. And Dr. Thompson was carded to do that presentation, and his conscience was so troubled that he wrote to Julie Gerberding and he said,
“I will have to present data showing an association between MMR vaccine and autism.”
And he wrote to Walter Orenstein, making it absolutely clear to him that there were mistakes in these worrying, these troubling data.
Data are data, they shouldn’t be troubling, but they were unable to get rid of them.
The vaccine went on being given in one, two, and three doses earlier in life. Children were put in danger of risk. Millions and millions of American children were deliberately and knowingly, recklessly put in harm’s way in order to protect what? In order to protect what? Why? They had the opportunity to just change the age at which the vaccine was given. It wasn’t anti-vaccine. They simply could have given the vaccine after three, the group they compared them with and found that the risk of autism was much less.
One thing they should not do and cannot do is mandate that parents have to expose their children to this risk in the face of this obvious federal fraud. That is absolutely unacceptable. When the bill comes around again here, as it will, for you to mandate that your children get this MMR, there can be no mandates, there can be no mandates where there is risk particularly in the face of such an extraordinary problem.
This is the greatest medical fraud in the history of the world.
Let me characterize it. It’s not as though we’re dealing with patients with end-stage terminal cancer who are receiving a drug where the data get bloated in favor of the pharmaceutical industry. You’re dealing with healthy infants, every healthy infant in the country. You’re dealing with the future of the country while destroying the future of the country, willfully and deliberately. What does it prove? It proves once again the parents were right. That’s what it proves. Did I say MMR caused autism? No, but for those parents who came forward and said, “This is what happened,” they were right. Medicine needs to have the humility to go back to its origins, back to its roots and listen. Listen.
So Senator Pan forced through the bill in the certain knowledge that this fraud had taken place in California. I know that because I provided him with all the information. And that deals with the issue of safety. And Dr. Thompson has said himself that the CDC can no longer be trusted to do vaccine safety studies.
While talking about Dr. Thompson and what one should do in going forward, I just want to read to you if I can find my glasses, which I can’t. I can’t see them to put them on.
This is what he said and I want to ask you if your opinion is that this has to come before Congress.
This is a federal crime. It must come before Congress. It must come before the Oversight Committee on Government Reform. That is the appropriate place. And your congressman here, Chaffetz is in charge of that committee. And he must hear this case. He must get Dr. Thompson in front of him. Dr. Thompson is willing to testify under oath to that committee. But that must happen, it cannot be allowed that the pharmaceutical industry can lobby . . . to lobby and buy and put pressure on politicians to the extent that they do not do their job. It cannot be the case that the public health authorities say to that committee, “No, no, we can investigate this ourselves,” which is exactly what the CDC is saying in response to an official complaint that I sent to them. “We can investigate this.” I can already tell you that that is a whitewash; it is an absolute whitewash. And that is what will happen. Nothing will come out of this. It will be business as usual.
This is what he wrote.
Okay I’d really like by outlining where the three of us have common ground, that’s me, Dr. Thompson, and Dr. Hooker.
That’s it, right there. That’s it. That is every reason why he must come before that committee. This is a federal crime. The mantra should be that the CDC once again, note that, once again didn’t share controversial analysis and results, and the CDC can no longer be trusted to do vaccine safety work. . . . The CDC can’t be trusted to be transparent and monitor vaccine adverse events. Just a few thoughts.
What about the efficacy of the vaccine? Let’s just take that same vaccine, MMR, and talk about the efficacy, that is the ability of the vaccine to prevent disease. We’ve pulled one plank from under the case for mandatory vaccination: safety. Now let’s deal with efficacy.
What had happened is that the mumps vaccine in the MMR was not working, and there were outbreaks of mumps around the country, around the world in highly vaccinated populations. So you had college students and all the adults getting mumps after having two or three doses of the mumps vaccine. Now, why is that important? The vaccine wasn’t working. Mumps in children is treatable. Mumps in adults is not treatable. In post pubertal males in particular it can cause testicular inflammation and sterility. So a mumps vaccine that does not work turns a harmless disease into a serious disease. Exactly the same has happened with chickenpox.
Let me move through some slides here. They were told that they would lose their license. The FDA said if you cannot prove that what you say on your product insert—96% efficacy—then you will lose your license. And they knew they couldn’t do that.
Now Merck had two options: you see if you lose the license for mumps, you lose the license MMR in which in this country they have a monopoly. It throws the marketplace wide open. They really, really don’t want that. So they had two choices. They could improve the vaccine in the interest of children, or they could fix the results in the interest of Merck. Which do you think they chose to do? Yes. So the first they did was to say, “It doesn’t work, our test doesn’t work.”
The test in the laboratory was called Plaque Reduction Neutralization, PRN. It doesn’t really matter about the details, but this is the way in which they assessed the potency of the vaccine, its ability to neutralize the virus. It didn’t work against the wild virus, the wild mumps virus that you were worried about, so they got away with using it against the weakened vaccine virus. You’re not interested in that, you’re interested in protection against the natural infection, but the vaccine didn’t work for that so they got away with looking at the weakened vaccine virus, and it still didn’t work. It couldn’t even neutralize the weakened vaccine virus. So then they had a brilliant idea, they would develop a test that allowed the detection of 95% efficacy . . . that allowed it. What do you think?
Does anyone in this room know what Merck did in their laboratory to produce that test that allowed them? They added rabbit’s blood. They added rabbit’s blood to the test. What has that got to do with protection of children against mumps? Nothing. It’s a completely non-specific artifactual effect that gave them the result they wanted . . . except that it didn’t. And here’s why. Because when you look at the efficacy of a vaccine, you take 100 children who have never been exposed to mumps or the vaccine, you take their blood, you then give them the vaccine and six weeks later you take another blood sample and you show that there are no antibodies here and there are antibodies here, and you’ve protected them.
The problem with the rabbit’s blood is that it made these blood samples positive. So they went from positive to positive. Well, big deal. That doesn’t show efficacy. At that stage, they got the scientists into the laboratory and they just said,
“We want you to cross out the offending results that we don’t want and change them.”
And Steve Krahling who was the scientist who became the whistleblower just said,
“No. That is fraud and I’m not doing it. In fact, I’m going to report you to the FDA.”
And he said, “Well, I’m still going to report you to the FDA.”
“Well, you’ll definitely go to prison.” So, Krahling went and he got on his phone and he reported them to the FDA. He reported a serious violation to the FDA. And the FDA were kind enough to call Merck and say,
“We’re coming to do a surprise visit to your laboratory next week.”
You can’t write this stuff, people, you cannot write this. That is exactly what happened, giving them time to destroy the offending evidence, except that Krahling had already secured it. And that is now in federal court in Pennsylvania. Merck have moved to have the case struck out on the basis that, yes, they committed fraud, but the FDA knew about it. Well, no they didn’t. They knew some of it, they were complicit in some of it and that’s their problem, but the judge said, “You are going to trial.”
So there you have it, just one vaccine, MMR, is neither safe nor is it efficacious. And it is absolutely unacceptable under those circumstances to even consider the possibility of mandatory vaccines. Where there is risk, there must be choice.
It’s the greatest medical fraud in the history of the world conducted against your children.
Whether you believe vaccines cause autism or not, you have a moral obligation, obligation as a citizen and parent not to allow this to stand. This must come before the Oversight Committee. You have the power to make that happen right here in Utah. That is your duty, that is your obligation. The future of this country and the future of the world is at stake. (Contact information for Representative Jason Chaffetz)
What happened to me is utterly irrelevant. It happened, it’s just a fact of life. Doesn’t matter. It’s not important. What is important are the children. What is important is the future. So I’m looking to you to make a difference because this cannot succeed when the consumer demands change. The underbelly of all of this, all of this, requires that you trust in the policy makers. And after this, I do not believe anyone can trust in the CDC. It’s therefore important that you call them to account and that we make change. The vaccine is given later, they’re broken up, they’re separated out, vaccines that are not necessary should not be given. They should be spaced longer over time. Vaccines safety research should be completely outside the jurisdiction of the CDC. Their mandate is to make sure that every child in this country gets fully vaccinated. How can they possibly be in charge of vaccine safety at the same time? They cannot. That needs to be put into a completely separate agency.
If a Boeing plane crashes, you do not have Boeing investigating that crash. And it cannot be the same with vaccines. So there are very positive things that can be done to change this. But that must happen and it must happen in the next election. And you must end up voting for the politician who is going to make a difference to this issue, because this is the future of this country.
Thank you very much.
Contact Congressman Jason Chaffetz (Utah), Head of Oversight & Government Reform Committee (OGR) to SUBPOENA William Thompson to testify and release his many CDC Documents linking MMR & Autism.
OGR Committee Office 202-225-5074
In the weeks prior to the event, Mary, a race organizer, and I exchanged emails regarding the race. Mary said we could run with Elianna. She and her husband, Drew, also opened up their home and hearts during our stay in Escalante. After the race, Drew awarded Elianna with a medal as the youngest runner. Thank you, Mary and Drew!
Escalante holds a special place in my heart because in the winter prior to getting married, Kris and I worked together as wilderness counselors for troubled teens on the Hole in The Rock road just outside of Escalante.
How could I help but fall in love with such a woman!
So returning to Escalante some 27 years later with our daughter and granddaughter connected me to the past and future in a marvelous way.
How grateful I am that Kris and I are still alive and kicking, and still able to enjoy our kids and grandkids.
Here’s to many more races and to many more years to come!
In our 26 years of marriage, Kris and I have shared our lives with four dogs: Joe and Gypsy from Japan, Angel from Utah, and Jenna from Texas. After Joe passed away, we thought it a good idea to get a new companion for Gypsy. We saw an ad in the local newspaper and decided to take a look at a young dog named Angel.
Kris said beforehand, “We’ll just look; we don’t have to take her if she’s not right for our family.”
“You know if we go look at this dog,” I said, “we’re going to end up taking her home.”
And so we did.
Angel shared our home and our hearts for some seventeen years. She ran a trail or two in the Uintah Mountains of Utah before moving with us to Alaska. She ran thousands of miles with me on the trails of Sitka. She loved pulling me forward in the local races. Her name appeared next to mine in the race results printed on the Sentinel sports page. She used to run from our home to Medvejie, sit in the front seat of my open cockpit, double kayak while I fished for king salmon, and then she’d run back home. She summited Mt. Verstovia, Bear Mountain, and Mt. Edgecumbe. A few years ago, she outran a bear at Thimbleberry Lake. And although she was too old to run last year, she joined our family as David and I ran from Huntington Beach, California, to Ocean City, New Jersey. Since April 1st, 2014, she has put up with Jenna, the spunky pup we picked up in Dalhart, Texas.
Seventeen years is a long time for a dog, but as all dog lovers know, it’s not nearly long enough.
While hiking Edgecumbe recently, Olivia asked, “Are there dogs in heaven?”
“If there aren’t,” I said, “then there’s no such thing as heaven.”
“What about the people that don’t like dogs?”
“Those people won’t be in heaven.”
Angel’s in heaven now and she’s running—running hard, running fast, and running free.
On July 20, 2015, thanks to Brittany’s persistence, Kris, Brittany, and I finally did what we should have done many years ago: we climbed Bear Mountain to Bear Lake. Brit wanted to do an epic climb before returning to Oahu for her final semester of college.
In the weeks prior to the climb, I asked a few people for specifics regarding the hike, such as where to start and best route. I got a few different answers and finally decided to start at the Green Lake Hydroelectric Project sign posted at the base of the final hill before arriving at the Medvejie Hatchery. (Thanks everyone for sharing your knowledge with us!) I knew exactly where the sign is located because I pedaled to the hatchery ten or so times in the previous six weeks to fish for king salmon.
We got dumped on the day before the hike and the weather was iffy right up to go time. Ever optimistic, we loaded our bikes into our van, drove to the gate on the hatchery road located about a third of a mile beyond the Herring Cove parking lot and trail. With our Texan dog, Jenna, leashed to my bike, we pedaled the 2.5 miles to the sign, powered up two GPSs, and hunted for the trailhead. After a few minutes of searching, we discovered the trail on the left side of the creek directly across from the sign and power pole marked “G74”.
We stayed to the left of the creek for 30 yards or so before crossing and heading up toward the ridge. I was still holding onto Jenna’s leash because she’s a diagnosed and confirmed pathological squirrel chaser. On a previous hike up Bear Mountain beyond Beaver Lake last fall, Jenna’s obsession with squirrels resulted in her separation from her non-squirrel chasing human caretakers. She managed to find her way back down the trail alone to the Herring Cove parking lot where—due to my text message—Kris and David had arrived and intercepted her.
Our ascent to the ridge from the creek was somewhat difficult and steep. At first we found reassurance when we discovered fluorescent orange marking tape hanging from the trees along our path. But the farther we hiked, the more we realized that marking tape is the signpost hung by people just as lost as we were. As I said to Kris, those are the markers that people might have set prior to falling off a cliff. Much farther up the mountain, we shook our heads at two markers that were indeed set on a stretch of rock almost steep enough to be called a cliff. The size of the trail provided much more reassurance than markers dangling from a branch.
Sticking to the ridge proved to be safe and relatively easy. Within a few hours we summited at approximately 3000 feet and saw Bear Lake a half mile or so in the distance. The lake sits in a surprisingly big bowl perched on top of the mountains. At first glance, the lake appears to be nestled deep in the bowl with no escape, but climbing the ridge to the right of the lake, we saw that the surface of the water and the ridge line meet where a stream emerges and quickly flows down the steep mountain side. That location provided the best photo ops. The ever changing clouds made the photos all the more majestic.
The GPS shows the distance from the trailhead to Bear Lake as 1.25 miles. We didn’t record the exact distance we climbed, but it was definitely more than 1.25 miles and with the steep grade we earned every step.
From start to finish we hiked for some ten hours which included a stop at the lake for lunch, a nap, and photos. Fast hikers could do the hike in a fraction of that time.
Our Bear Lake hike was a great way for Kris and me to share our 26th wedding anniversary with Brittany.
Enjoy the photos. Better yet, next time let’s hike it together.
Imagine walking into a school or other public building and reading a sign that says, “As per city ordinance, healthy people are prohibited from entering these premises.” And imagine intelligent people actually supporting such a law.
That’s the situation in which we find ourselves in America today. Some people believe that children should be permanently banned from public schools based on vaccination status, not health status.
The citizens of Leicester, England learned in the 1800s that by quarantining sick people, the incidence of disease decreased. Now, more than a century later we’ve regressed so far that many people believe that healthy, unvaccinated children should be permanently quarantined from public school. Some believe they should be banned from all public places. Some people even believe that working in the health care field should be predicated upon a sworn allegiance to such lunacy.
I invite anyone to produce a study proving that quarantining healthy individuals protects the health of those who are not quarantined. The title of the study would be something like, “Healthy People Pose Risk to Public Health.”
One of the many problems with banning unvaccinated children from public schools is that it perpetuates the myth that unvaccinated children are dangerous and because they’re dangerous they deserve to lose their legal right to a free and public education. It further perpetuates the myth that vaccination and immunization are synonymous terms. They aren’t. Vaccination is the physical act of receiving a vaccine. Immunization is clinically defined as producing a measureable physical response from the vaccine that in theory immunizes one from a particular disease.
Vaccinations produce varying results including a temporary and inferior immunized state, a “non-responder” non-immunized state, spreading the disease to others through “shedding,” or contracting the disease or a mutated form of the disease for which the vaccine is meant to protect you. And even those who meet the clinical definition of immunization in highly vaccinated communities sometimes contract the disease anyway. Industry propaganda turns this particular vaccine failure into yet another opportunity to mandate vaccines.
If more than a decade or so has passed since your most recent “immunization,” you are likely no more immune to the diseases for which you were vaccinated than never vaccinated individuals. In the case of whooping cough, that figure is closer to three years. In the case of the influenza vaccine, it’s only one year. That means, of course, that except for the life-long or near life-long immunity that results from contracting some infectious diseases through natural means, the vast majority of the citizens of the USA are fully vaccinated but virtually unimmunized. Many of those people mistakenly believe they owe their good health to the vaccines they received in years gone by, not to their healthy diets and lifestyles. They have no idea that there is not a single ingredient in any vaccine that promotes health or strengthens the immune system.
Even though the public is largely unaware of these facts, government and industry are fully aware. Temporary and dysfunctional vaccine-produced immunity is a problem solved by cradle-to-grave vaccinations as proposed in the government’s recently released National Adult Immunization Plan.
In the 1960s, the government announced that the measles vaccine would eradicate measles within a few years. Now the government is telling us that our only protection against measles and an ever-growing list of other diseases is an endless series of vaccinations throughout our lives. And current vaccination legislation will make those vaccinations mandatory, regardless of health status, genetic vulnerabilities, and religious or personal exemptions. Thus we find ourselves facing twin epidemics: disease hysteria and vaccine injury.
“Stay home if you’re sick” would be a smarter approach to public health.
But even in the 1800s, savvy citizens recognized that vaccinations are not based on intelligence; but rather on “fraud, force, and folly.”
The fraud, force, and folly of yesteryear have multiplied into a virulent disease of global proportions. This disease fills politicians pockets with money and fills uncritical minds with lies and fear: even the fear of healthy children.
In our fear we’ve forgotten our history. Modern sanitation practices and improved nutrition had already greatly reduced both the incidence and the morbidity of infectious disease before vaccine propagandists entered the stage and claimed the credit.
If we’re going to ban anyone from public places, let’s ban the criminals responsible for filling our minds with lies and fears and filling our children’s bodies with an ever increasing number of toxic vaccines.
And let’s enforce that ban by throwing such criminals in prison.
As I mentioned in my speech, the city of Laguna Beach didn’t allow any sales “on the cobblestone,” so I donated a lot of books to march participants. Kathleen Hallal “organically” volunteered to set up donations through the work that she does at GMO Free News to help cover the cost of my trip and book donations.
Thank you, Kathleen, and thank you, Jack, for your technical expertise in setting up a Go Fund Me campaign. Donations are much appreciated. Whether you provide a cash donation or not, you can “donate” to the cause by purchasing We’re Monsanto, Book One and/or We’re Monsanto, Book Two and then writing reviews on Amazon. Reviews make or break authors. Your review will encourage others to learn more about the multiple problems associated with the biotech industry and genetically modified organisms.
Undoubtedly, the positive reviews for Book One are partially responsible for the fact that a Japanese publisher recently published and distributed my book to bookstores across Japan.
Remember as I said in my speech, glyphosate hates your guts and Monsanto hates gutsy people. Be gutsy and get your glyphosate level tested. This issue is so important to me that I personally purchased 100 urine specimen cups and passed them out both in Sitka, Alaska, and Laguna Beach, California.
The test results will be shared with Congress later this year. By testing for PCB levels, the citizens of Anniston, Alabama, used that information to help them win a judgment against Monsanto for its egregious and willful poisoning of those people. Testing for glyphosate may eventually produce similar results against Monsanto for its egregious and ongoing poisoning of the world with RoundUp. Go to FeedTheWorld.info and learn how to test yourself for glyphosate.
Thanks everyone and many organic blessings to all of you!
P.S. Following are a few of the thoughts from my speech.
Scientists who are willing to sacrifice their own humanity in the name of science, are far too willing to sacrifice the rest of humanity as well.
The foundation of the Temple of science is cracking and crumbling and the priests who officiate in the Temple of science are not prophets or seers, they are toddlers with little understanding and callous disregard to the consequences of their action. And as head thinkers, they are cut off from the more important parts of what it means to be human, members of the human family, and members of the web of life. They are blind, disabled, and handicapped; unable to see what is painfully evident and obvious to the rest of the world.
As complete human beings, we experience truth with our minds, our hearts, our souls, and with an understanding that we are members of the web of life, not masters or creators of the web. As complete human beings, we can ask and answer the questions that corporate scientists and politicians refuse to address.
“The aggregate frauds that have been perpetrated on behalf of genetically engineered foods constitute by far the biggest fraud in the history of science.” — Steven Druker, author Altered Genes, Twisted Truth
“I well remember how horrified I felt when I learned that scientists had succeeded in reconfiguring the genetics of plants and animals. . . . It seemed a shocking corruption of the life forms of the planet.” – Dr. Jane Goodall
“The right to search for truth implies also a duty; one must not conceal any part of what one has recognized to be true.” – Albert Einstein
We do a disservice to organic and non-GMO farmers when we say that GMOs should be banned until proven safe. They’re not safe. That fact was proven the first time genetically modified pollen contaminated a natural plant. And that’s just the start.
Is it safe that GMOs have virtually destroyed India’s conventional cotton and Canada’s conventional canola and is in the process of destroying Mexico’s corn?
Is it safe that agribusiness and GMOs have resulted in a loss of 93% of agricultural biodiversity in the past 80 years?
Is it safe that chemical intensive GMO monocultures are destroying soil biodiversity?
Is it safe that chemical intensive GMO monocultures are leading toward the extinction of birds species, bees, and butterflies?
Is it safe that Monsanto and gang threaten, intimidate and silence scientists who are critical of GMOs?
If it safe that Monsanto regulates Regulatory agencies including the USDA and FDA?
Is it safe that Monsanto and gang buy presidents and bribe politicians?
Is it safe that Monsanto is currently working to making seed saving illegal?
Is it safe that one of the most hated corporations in the history of the world exercises control over governments, trade policy, and the global food supply?
Is it safe that large-scale GMO based agriculture has driven thousands of family farmers from their land to urban ghettos?
Is it safe that thousands upon thousands of Indian GMO farmers committed suicide to escape from debt?
Is it safe that GMOs have decimated the value of US agriculture?
Is it safe that Monsanto and gang spend millions to keep GMOs unlabeled?
Is it safe that chemical companies refuse to disclose the contents of the chemical cocktails they spray around Hawaiian schools and neighborhoods?
Is it safe that the TPP and TTIP will make it illegal to label GMOs and to ban Roundup?
Following is the conclusion of my book We’re Monsanto: Still Feeding the World, Lie After Lie, Book Two:
Revolution and freedom are the unlikely children of oppression and tyranny. Earth’s children will one day rise up and free themselves from oppressive governments and from corporate entities such as Monsanto. On that day Monsanto will cease to exist. And on that day freedom-cherishing Americans will reclaim their country and their liberty.
But long after Monsanto is dead, the seeds of the biotech industry—the seeds of deception, the seeds of destruction, the seeds of death, and the seeds of suicide—will continue to grow, spread, infest, infect, and contaminate the DNA of the world and quite possibly contaminate the DNA of our posterity.
For that reason alone, as well as dozens of other equally compelling reasons, the revolution against the corruption of nature, business, and government must be swift, sure, and where possible, complete.
Success is not optional and failure is not an option.
May the seeds of the revolution we plant today fill the Earth with love, compassion, health, liberty, peace, biodiversity, and a world filled with free and natural seeds of every kind.
We’re Monsanto refutes every major claim Monsanto makes to justify its political corruption, environmental destruction, and take over of the world’s food supply. It demonstrates that the genetic revolution is founded upon greed, theft, and violence, profiting a few wealthy individuals while destroying biodiversity as well as the livelihoods of billions of the world’s farmers and seed savers.
Writing these books has connected me with many amazing people who have dedicated much of their lives and careers to educating humanity about the problems and risks associated with the commercialization of genetically modified organisms, as well as the corruption and fraud that forms the foundation of the biotech industry. I thank all of them for their ongoing efforts and I thank the farmers and seed savers who are resisting the spread of GMOs. Big thanks to the citizens of the world who continue to raise the warning cry against GMOs. We are a movement and what we’re doing makes a difference.
Discounts are available for bulk purchases. Discounted Amazon review copies are also available for Amazon reviewers. Contact me for details. Email: brett@RunningTheCountry.com
Amazon reviews make or break a book’s success. If you or your network of friends and family benefit from We’re Monsanto (Book One and/or Book Two), your positive review on Amazon will encourage others to buy the book, which of course helps spread the message. Please write a review!
Thank you so very much and as always organic blessings to you!
“In We’re Monsanto: Still Feeding the World, Lie After Lie, Book Two, Brett Wilcox goes deeper into the issues of GMOs and toxic chemicals in our food. He exposes the lies behind even the parts of biotech that seem wonderful – like genetically engineering rice to produce beta-carotene (Golden Rice). And he hits hard on Monsanto’s plan to steal farming away from the small farmer, resulting in destruction of the soil, the waterways, and the air. Read this book and then make a vow to help restore sanity to our agricultural program.”
— Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Author and presenter on the effects of glyphosate on human health
“We’re Monsanto leaves no doubt: the biotech industry is not about feeding or taking care of the world’s most vulnerable inhabitants, it’s about stealing their genetic resources, stealing the fruit of their labor, and stealing their seed and food freedom.”
— Ann Aurelia López, Ph.D., Professor, Author, and Director, Center for Farmworker Families
“In We’re Monsanto: Still Feeding the World, Lie After Lie, Brett Wilcox does a fantastic job combing the literature to systematically debunk fifty of the many lies that Monsanto has told, and still tells, to force their technology onto the world. Brett’s book is a recommended read for all GMO Free activists or those just getting introduced to the GMO issue.”
— Diana Reeves, Founder & Executive Director of GMO Free USA
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
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.
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)
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.
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)
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.
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!
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From Huntington Beach 1.18
Sat, Jan 18, 2014 12:23 PM
Santa Ana River Trail 1.20
Mon, Jan 20, 2014 9:13 AM
Tue, Jan 21, 2014 10:08 AM
Approaching Corona 1.22
Wed, Jan 22, 2014 10:43 AM
Thu, Jan 23, 2014 9:08 AM
Moreno Valley 1.24
Fri, Jan 24, 2014 9:12 AM
Sat, Jan 25, 2014 1:38 PM
Mon, Jan 27, 2014 11:29 AM
Cabazon to White Water 1.28
Tue, Jan 28, 2014 12:52 PM
To Desert Hot Springs 1.29
Wed, Jan 29, 2014 12:59 PM
Desert Hot Springs to Yucca Valley 1.30
Thu, Jan 30, 2014 10:13 AM
29 Palms 1.31
Fri, Jan 31, 2014 11:04 AM
Leaving 29 Palms 2.1
Sat, Feb 1, 2014 8:46 AM
Approaching Amboy 2.3
Mon, Feb 3, 2014 1:46 PM
Beyond Amboy 2.4
Tue, Feb 4, 2014 10:02 AM
Wed, Feb 5, 2014 10:26 AM
Thu, Feb 6, 2014 9:25 AM
Goffs Shortcut Bee Farm 2.7
Fri, Feb 7, 2014 10:10 AM
Into Arizona 2.8
Sat, Feb 8, 2014 12:12 PM
Through Oatman 2.10
Mon, Feb 10, 2014 8:57 AM
Nearly to Kingman 2.11
Tue, Feb 11, 2014 1:05 PM
Through Kingman 2.12
Wed, Feb 12, 2014 8:57 AM
Through Valentine 2.13
Thu, Feb 13, 2014 10:48 AM
To Buck and Doe Rd 2.14
Fri, Feb 14, 2014 12:28 PM
To Grand Canyon Caverns 2.15
Sat, Feb 15, 2014 11:24 AM
Leaving Grand Canyon Caverns 2.17
Mon, Feb 17, 2014 11:57 AM
Through Seligman 2.18
Tue, Feb 18, 2014 1:01 PM
Ash Fork Detour 2.19
Wed, Feb 19, 2014 9:45 AM
To Williams 2.20
Thu, Feb 20, 2014 10:10 AM
Leaving Williams 2.21
Fri, Feb 21, 2014 10:12 AM
Bellemont to Flagstaff 2.22
Sat, Feb 22, 2014 1:55 PM
Leaving Flagstaff 2.24
Mon, Feb 24, 2014 10:22 AM
Entering Leupp 2.26
Wed, Feb 26, 2014 10:30 AM
Leaving Leupp 2.27
Thu, Feb 27, 2014 7:40 AM
To Pyramid (Epic scenery marathon run) 2.28
Fri, Feb 28, 2014 9:33 AM
To Dilkon Leaving Dilkon 3.1
Sat, Mar 1, 2014 12:21 PM
To Greasewood Springs 3.3
Mon, Mar 3, 2014 9:07 AM
Leaving Greasewood 3.4
Tue, Mar 4, 2014 10:00 AM
Through Ganado 3.5
Wed, Mar 5, 2014 9:39 AM
Defiance Plateau into New Mexico 3.6
Thu, Mar 6, 2014 8:50 AM
To Gallup 3.7
Fri, Mar 7, 2014 12:45 PM
Leaving Gallup 3.8
Sat, Mar 8, 2014 1:57 PM
To Thoreau 3.10
Mon, Mar 10, 2014 12:21 PM
Leaving Thoreau 3.11
Tue, Mar 11, 2014 11:56 AM
Through Milan and Grants 3.12
Wed, Mar 12, 2014 9:28 AM
To Laguna Pueblo 3.13
Thu, Mar 13, 2014 11:53 AM
Free Way Run 3.14
Fri, Mar 14, 2014 12:23 PM
BJ Timoner, Cold Wind 3.15
Sat, Mar 15, 2014 1:56 PM
Mon, Mar 17, 2014 11:58 AM
Past Sedillo (Mike and Susan evening) 3.18
Tue, Mar 18, 2014 3:25 PM
From Mike and Susan’s Place 3.19
Wed, Mar 19, 2014 1:36 PM
Through Clines Corners
Thu, Mar 20, 2014 9:38 AM
Birthday Run to Rest Stop 3.21
Fri, Mar 21, 2014 10:36 AM
To Santa Rosa 3.22
Sat, Mar 22, 2014 11:08 AM
Santa Rosa to Cuervo 3.24
Mon, Mar 24, 2014 11:29 AM
Cuervo to Montoya (Two Ghost Towns) 3.25
Tue, Mar 25, 2014 10:27 AM
To Tucumcari 3.26
Wed, Mar 26, 2014 10:10 AM
Tucumcari to Logan 3.27
Thu, Mar 27, 2014 9:27 AM
Leaving Logan 3.28
Fri, Mar 28, 2014 5:49 PM
To Nara Visa 3.29
Sat, Mar 29, 2014 4:04 PM
Entering Texas 3.31
Mon, Mar 31, 2014 1:57 PM
Late Start Short Run Toward Dalhart 4.1
Tue, Apr 1, 2014 6:13 PM
To Dalhart 4.2
Wed, Apr 2, 2014 9:41 AM
Leaving Dalhart 4.3
Thu, Apr 3, 2014 8:34 AM
Through Stratford 4.4
Fri, Apr 4, 2014 1:20 PM
Entered Oklahoma 4.5
Sat, Apr 5, 2014 10:50 AM
Through Guymon 4.7
Mon, Apr 7, 2014 10:07 AM
Through Hooker 4.8
Tue, Apr 8, 2014 12:49 PM
Entered Kansas 4.9
Wed, Apr 9, 2014 10:38 AM
Through Plains (Widest Main Street) 4.10
Thu, Apr 10, 2014 10:37 AM
Through Meade 4.11
Fri, Apr 11, 2014 3:10 PM
Through Minneola 4.12
Sat, Apr 12, 2014 11:58 AM
Approaching Greensburg 4.14
Mon, Apr 14, 2014 4:06 PM
Through Greensburg 4.15
Tue, Apr 15, 2014 10:00 AM
To Pratt 4.16
Wed, Apr 16, 2014 10:44 AM
Leaving Pratt 4.17
Thu, Apr 17, 2014 10:50 AM
Through Kingman 4.18
Fri, Apr 18, 2014 4:07 PM
Approaching Goddard 4.19
Sat, Apr 19, 2014 3:15 PM
Through Wichita 4.21
Mon, Apr 21, 2014 2:55 PM
Leaving Wichita 4.22
Tue, Apr 22, 2014 10:01 AM
Leaving Augusta 4.23
Wed, Apr 23, 2014 12:25 PM
To Severy 4.24
Thu, Apr 24, 2014 12:01 PM
Leaving Severy 4.26
Sat, Apr 26, 2014 11:01 AM
By Fredonia and Neodesha 4.28
Mon, Apr 28, 2014 11:00 AM
To Parsons 4.29
Tue, Apr 29, 2014 11:06 AM
Leaving Parsons 4.30
Wed, Apr 30, 2014 10:27 AM
Through Cherokee 5.1
Thu, May 1, 2014 5:47 PM
Entered Missouri 5.2
Fri, May 2, 2014 9:51 AM
Day Before Spring Planting Festival 5.3
Sat, May 3, 2014 2:32 PM
First Night at Willard 5.6
Tue, May 6, 2014 9:13 PM
Through Everton 5.7
Wed, May 7, 2014 3:12 PM
To Bolivar 5.8
Thu, May 8, 2014 1:20 PM
Leaving Bolivar 5.9
Fri, May 9, 2014 10:08 PM
Crossed Pomme de Terre Lake 5.10
Sat, May 10, 2014 5:41 PM
Through Climax Springs 5.12
Mon, May 12, 2014 4:09 PM
To Toll Bridge of Lake of the Ozarks 5.13
Tue, May 13, 2014 8:13 PM
Through Lake Ozark and Crossing the Bagnell Dam 5.14
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.
The 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.
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.”
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.)
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ocean City, however, had built itself as a family friendly town and destination, and as such, it’s thriving.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
GMO free blessings to all!
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.
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
A father-son team from Sitka has completed a six-month run across the United States.
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.
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.
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.)
“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.”
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.
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.
“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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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?
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.”
“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.
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.
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.
Thanks to everyone across the country and around the world for your support of our Run For a GMO Free USA.