Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Four Freedoms Metastasized

During his State of the Union address, 6 Jan 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt discussed four fundamental freedoms that people "everywhere in the world" should share:
  •  Freedom of speech
  •  Freedom of worship
  •  Freedom from want
  •  Freedom from fear
The U.S. must have been a different place back in 1941, because these words of freedom helped to inspire the “Greatest Generation” to soldier-through the years of misery which soon engulfed the nation.

Only a few months after his speech, the U.S. entered WWII and today's world was born of the chaos, destruction and loss of millions of lives that soon followed.

Democracy seemed to work then. But, in 2014, our democracy is not the same as our parents'. There is no doubt that our government is working for the very wealthy. But, it is not working for me and most likely it’s the same for you, too.

Our four freedoms have metastasized into the exact opposite of our parents’.

For instance, how can one profess freedom from fear when the U.S. military, federal agents of all types and the local police department SWAT team can bash in your door, toss in a “flash bang” and, if you survive the encounter, throw you into jail — all without a warrant. (1.)

Or, if every email, tweet or Facebook posting you write ends up in the hands of the FBI or Homeland Security and you can be thrown into jail at anytime, held indefinitely, at their discretion — all without a warrant. (2.)

“Free from want” has turned into a Frankenstein monster. Not only have Americans been turned into a nation of sugar addicts [On average, Americans annually consume, 45.5 lbs of sugar and four gallons of high fructose corn syrup loaded junk food. (3.)] by our government in order to fatten corporate coffers, we are now guinea pigs, subject to an endless stream of genetically engineered food products. It’s sadly mind-boggling to know that not one governmental agency has conducted research as to the long-term effects of genetically engineered food products on humans. What does that portend for us?

Consider Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” crops which are engineered to be herbicide-tolerant. They now account for about 75 percent of all the corn and cotton grown in the U.S. and 90 percent of soybeans.

What’s important about that? According to Michael Pollan, award winning journalist, food and food industry expert (Pollan is also professor of journalism at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and the director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism. He is the author of many books, four New York Times bestsellers and hundreds of articles, and a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine) — “Roundup Ready” genetically engineered corn does not increase crop yields, but it sure does produce herbicide-resistant weeds, prompting farmers to use more and stronger herbicide sprays. And, that causes a slew of “collateral” damage to adjacent crops, wildlife and ultimately humans, too. (4.) (Please see, "What is this STUFF? Agent Orange is Roundup Ready" below.)

Since Monsanto forbids family farmers from saving Roundup Ready seed corn for next-season planting, farmers are locked into a never ending cycle which not only ensures fat profits for Monsanto but guarantees that we have no choice but to eat Frankenstein-corn. World-wide, for farmers and consumers, “forbidden to save seeds” means it’s become more difficult for people to feed themselves.

Some see "Freedom of worship" as a foundation of America. However, American freedom of religion actually translates into: It’s O.K. for you to practice your religion as long as it’s similar to mine — in my eyes. If, for instance, you wear a turban, a veil, some form of garb or dress, display facial hair or the hair on your head in an unusual way — then you may stimulate a visit form the current version of the KKK — the FBI, the IRS, the CIA, or some mentally disturbed person who sees your difference as proof that Satan lives within you. Even worse, perhaps if you actually believe in walking Christ’s path, well, then, that really makes you the ultimate threat to the establishment.

In The Fight for the Four Freedoms What Made FDR and the Greatest Generation Truly Great, historian Harvey J. Kaye, has correctly concluded that today Americans need to take personal responsibility to right the injustices which are now metastasized throughout our society. But throughout his book Prof. Kaye also makes another important point: it was President Franklin D. Roosevelt who made the wheels of government work for all Americans and not against them.

FDR not only faced the Republican obstructionists and regressives of his day, he out foxed and overcame them. And rather than surrendering before the battle began, he went to the American people with new ideas, plus — and most importantly — the means and the courage to achieve them. FDR became the leader we needed when we needed him.

Compared to our leader, President Obama, there is no comparison (save for the usual Republican obstructionists to obsess upon). FDR actually did what he said he would do while our leader, President Obama, has failed us when we needed him most.

Perhaps in learning that we have lost our four freedoms we also have discovered another inconvenient truth. Barack Obama is no Franklin Roosevelt.

What is this STUFF? Agent Orange is Roundup Ready

From the Center for Food Safety January 2014 Fact Sheet, “Agent Orange” Crops: The Next Stage in the Chemical Arms Race”: AGENT ORANGE: CHEMICAL WARFARE IN THE VIETNAM WAR

The first planned use of 2,4-D—to destroy Japanese rice fields in WWII—was preempted by the end of the war. Like many wartime biocides, 2,4-D was “repurposed” for domestic use — the war on weeds — only to realize its original mission two decades later in Vietnam. In what has been called the “largest chemical warfare operation in history,” the U.S. military dumped 11 million gallons of Agent Orange (a mixture of 2,4-D and the even more toxic 2,4,5T) over Vietnam from 1962-1971. The purposes of this chemical warfare were to destroy rice fields and rainforests to deny the Vietnamese food and cover. The Veterans Administration regards Agent Orange exposure as the cause of numerous diseases in Vietnam veterans: diabetes, neuropathy, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, liver dysfunction, chloracne, numerous cancers, as well as birth defects in the children of exposed soldiers. According to one estimate, at least 3 million Vietnamese suffer serious health problems from Agent Orange exposure, including birth defects in children and grandchildren of those exposed. (5.)