Starting From Scratch

Some of my better blog archives from my first homesteading blog started 2009: Peace Corps Worldwide Homesteading: Starting from Scratch




GMOs Part 2: Community Health

Posted by Mishelle Shepard on Saturday, September 27th 2014

“People will have Roundup Ready soya whether they like it or not.”

Ann Foster, spokesperson for Monsanto in Britain, as quoted in The Nation magazine from article “The Politics of Food” [49] by Maria Margaronis December 27, 1999 issue.

What is good for the individual is good for the community, is good for the land, is good for the planet.  It’s difficult to separate these, even just to organize my own thoughts and research.  They all depend on the other; they cannot be separated.

Still, we can try to isolate the concept of “community health” in relation to what GMOs provide, or claim to provide, for the community.

“Better yields!” say the marketers.  In fact, there are no better yields anymore, the weeds and pests have adjusted to the chemicals being sprayed, say the farmers.

“We get the same or better yields, and we save money up front,” crop consultant and farmer Aaron Bloom said of non-GMO seeds. Bloom has been experimenting with non-GMO seeds for five years and he has discovered that non-GMO is more profitable.

“Better drought-resistance!” say the marketers.  In fact, there’s no better drought resistance, say the farmers.

“Despite decades of hype, no drought or flood-resistant GM crops have been brought to market. Instead, GM agriculture is characterized by monocultures of genetically identical plants that are the most vulnerable to climate and pest stresses.”

“Just label them!” says the public.  Unfortunately, the main community-based push is to get GMOs labeled.  Each individual State is left fighting alone against the Agri-giants, with the time and resources of all those well-meaning folks engaged in tiny battles that will never win the war.

What belongs here is far more palpable.  “We are playing massive genetic roulette with our children . . .we have pretty much sacrificed an entire generation.” says Dr. Don Huber:

Unfortunately folks who otherwise care deeply about what they are feeding their children are very confused on what GMOs are, and that’s because the industry wants it that way.

“The hope of the industry is that over time the market is so flooded [with GMOs] that there’s nothing you can do about it. You just sort of surrender”  Don Westfall, biotech industry consultant and vice-president of Promar International, in the Toronto Star, January 9 2001.

The very terminology is meant to be misleading.  GMO proponents are intentionally blurring the line between genetic modification and conventional breeding. A more appropriate term for GMOs is “transgenic food.”

“For example, they claim that conventional plant breeders have been “genetically modifying” crops for centuries by selective breeding and that GM crops are no different. But this is incorrect. The term “genetic modification” is recognized in common usage and in national and international laws as referring to the use of laboratory techniques, mainly recombinant DNA technology, to transfer genetic material between organisms or modify the genome in ways that would not take place naturally, bringing about alterations in the genetic makeup and properties of the organism.”

Furthermore, using the term “biotechnology” to mean genetic modification is inaccurate. “Biotechnology is an umbrella term that includes a variety of processes through which humanity harnesses biological functions for useful purposes. For instance, fermentation in wine-making and breadmaking, composting, the production of silage, marker-assisted selection (MAS), tissue culture, and even agriculture itself, are all biotechnologies. GM is one among many biotechnologies.”

They are using our ignorance of agriculture against us.  They are deliberating fogging the real issues why GMOs are unsafe and pretending this is all just run-of-the-mill plant breeding just like our ancestors have done for centuries.  It’s “substantially equivalent,” they say.  When in actuality that the public calls them “Frakenfoods” is much closer to the truth–these are foods nature could NEVER make.

What makes it all so tragic is because it’s not about life, it’s not about sustainability, and it’s certainly not about the health of the individual or the community, the land or the planet.  It’s about profit, and power.  Profit and progress have become synonymous.  Conquering the market is the stated goal.

Much more on that coming up in the Power segment. “Unnatural selection”

All in the name of progress

Comments are closed or deactivated

Leo Cecchini on 28/09/2014 in 05:25

Neither GMOs or selective breeding is “natural.” They are just different ways for man to modify plants or animals.

mishelle on 28/09/2014 in 10:45

Leo, when the breeding in question requires millions of dollars in equipment and the expertise of a team of PhDs to create, which then must be continually recreated because species grow a resistance, so that the entire agricultural system becomes dependent on a handful of giant corporations, the scale of what’s “natural” flies right off the roof.

Granny on 30/09/2014 in 05:12

Mishelle, I don’t understand Leos comments. To my understanding of selective breeding, if your dog has a litter of pups & my dog has a litter we each choose the calmest pup from each litter to mate & produce a litter of calm pups. However the pups are still genetically canines. On the other hand when Monsanto genetically modifies an ear of corn for example genes from a fish or Round Up or bug poison is added to the corn & what was once a vegetable now becomes a poisoned fish ear of corn. Hardly seems like a natural food product. what am I misunderstanding about his comments?

mishelle on 30/09/2014 in 11:55

Hi Granny, thanks for your comment. I can’t speak for Leo, maybe he will clarify more of his views for us, but I can say this belief is fairly common among GM proponents. I do believe some folks don’t see any difference between what nature can create without science and what science can create outside the boundaries of the natural world. It’s a worldview really, and an unfortunately common one IMO, which is that man is the only organizing principle in the universe and no laws of nature can govern his whims.

Leo Cecchini on 30/09/2014 in 12:06

Granny. You make my point. You, man or woman, make the selection of what dog will breed with what dog, not nature.

Leo Cecchini on 30/09/2014 in 12:10

Man has for centuries been combining one plant with another to produce a new plant. We usually did it with splicing or grafting a shoot from one plant to another. Now we simply modify the genetic stucture on a plant. In either case man is changing what nature gave us.

granny on 30/09/2014 in 13:15

Leo, Sorry I’ve never heard of putting fish genes or attar of roses in an animals genetic makeup to make a dog smell better. When I eat an ear of corn I really don’t want it to be part fish (which negates calling it a vegetable in my world) or be dosed with Round Up. If these were the only alterations I could avoid corn products which would be extremely difficult but Monsanto is not planning to stop there. It surprises me that anyone would be content eating pesticides or weed killer.

mishelle on 30/09/2014 in 15:10

Interestingly, this just showed up on my FB page, how timely 2-minutes to understanding exactly why this false concept exists:

Leo Cecchini on 30/09/2014 in 16:57

I am not familiar with putting fish genes or attar of roses in an animal’s genetic makeup. Is this being done? Why would one put fish genes in corn?
I have no problem eating corn nor any other vegetable grown using pesticides and weed killers. Most farming uses these products. Pesticides and weed killer are designed to kill bugs and weeds, not people.

granny on 01/10/2014 in 06:27

Leo, I think you would benefit greatly from reading Mishelles articles & take advantage of her links. There’s a huge movement in the world against Monsanto & Mishelle could help you better understand what’s happening than I can. Also, I said I’ve NEVER heard of those genes being inserted into a dog so why are you asking me where this is being done. I’m not sure what you misunderstood .

Leo Cecchini on 02/10/2014 in 04:38

Granny. You introduced the comment about putting genes in dogs to improve their smell, not I. I do read Mishelle’s blogs and we have shared some comments. I studied agricultural economics in university and worked summers at the Dept of Agriculture and during the school year at a produce market. I do understand the subject. I suggest you read something about the real world of agricultural production and not the fringe part.

mishelle on 02/10/2014 in 15:58

Granny, thanks for the vote of confidence! Leo, there’s a huge roaring debate on this topic all around the world, surely it’s left the realm of fringe!

granny on 03/10/2014 in 05:53

Mishelle, Again,. thanks for doing all the heavy lifting on this subject. I had read enough info on gmo foods to avoid them for health reasons but when one of your links took me to info on what the difference in profit could be for farmers I learned something entirely new. Of course that means I’ll have to do some more searching on my own. An 81,000 dollar increase on a 1000 acre farm is certainly impressive. Who knows, maybe farmers needing a higher profit will be our greatest allies in leading us away from GMO food. I think it’s true when it’s said “MONEY TALKS.’

mishelle on 03/10/2014 in 07:31

Granny, Handy Hubby has also been researching online as far as prices farmers are getting and it’s quite impressive. A 5-pound grass-fed duck is $45! I think you’re right about being great allies and that’s something I haven’t put much thought into before–makes me hopeful! One site I forgot to mention that’s very helpful on the nutrition side of the argument is the Weston A. Price Foundation, I’m learning soo much from

Joanne Roll on 03/10/2014 in 08:26

I am late to this party, but I did want to add comments. In Colorado, there is a ballot amendment that would require labeling all GMO items. It is being opposed not just by the usual corporate suspects but by farmers who use local farmer markets for their produce, including some year round farmer markets. We have a strong “buy local” ethic.

The problem being cited by the farmers is the difficulty of knowing for sure what is a GMO item, as well as the cost of labeling all produce. This is particularly difficult for organic farmers.

I have heard the arguments from these farmers and I am convinced that they have merit. It may well be the particular wording and implementation of this amendment.

I do not believe in GMO techniques. I think, again and again, our culture values that which is “new” and labeled “scientific” and does not ever consider the unintended consequences. We do not have generational studies of our technologies, because they change so quickly. Ironically, Peace Corps Volunteers represent the best example of the contact and conflict between representatives of the modern industrial age and members of
traditional non-industrial cultures. This is a simplification, I know, and I can hear anthropologists yelling. However, GMO items do not have a generational history in real time. Hybrids do.

granny on 07/10/2014 in 06:44

Joanne,I thought your questioning of your local growers a great idea. I have no local market where I could do the same. I resorted to the net & I was amazed to find out that the cost estimates are all over the map. It makes it easier to understand their resistance to change. The argument of not being able to recognize a GMO or non GMO product I think most animal feed comes from GMO ingredients if it’s in a pelleted form. Must admit I know little about animal feed products. If they’re talking about green crops my understanding is that Monsanto is very protective of their patented GMO seeds & label them quite clearly. On the other hand, sellers of non GMO seeds are very proud of their organic seeds & label them as such very clearly. Since organic products require being GMO free I thought it would be easy to tell the difference. Am I mistaken in this assumption?

mishelle on 07/10/2014 in 08:11

Thanks so much for adding your thoughtful comments Joanne! I so wish we had an already established “locavore” community as you do there. Good point about PCVs and it reminds me I should really reach out more to volunteers who have experience in traditional agricultural methods. I can really understand where those organic farmers are coming from, though it is unfortunate for consumers. We use GMO feed at the moment, because organic is simply not financially feasible. Our goal is to grow our own organic feed, next project
Came across this article yesterday which you might enjoy about healthy organic food enjoyed by Americans in Bolivia!

mishelle on 07/10/2014 in 08:17

Granny, so nice to hear you again! Actually, there’s been A LOT of contamination from GM farms to organic and this is a serious on-going issue for Monsanto and Organic Consumers. Not only that, but part of Monsanto policy has been to smuggle in seed, or “gift” seed, to unsuspecting countries in unmarked boxes, just to get them proliferated in the region so they can then go back and “test” the farms for their seed and then claim their “technology fees” from the farmers. You can read about a few of these instances in the fantastic book “Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation” by F. William Engdahl
Incredibly well-documented research by this “crazy conspiracy theorist” LOL!

Joanne Roll on 07/10/2014 in 08:35

Granny and Mishelle,

Granny, you are right that foods labeled organic are supposed to be GMO free. I didn’t realize that earlier.

I think the objection to the proposed GMO labeling amendment is based on the added cost of accurately labeling food items in local farmer’s markets. The urban markets, here, are run by associations and they evidently would be responsible for insuring that foods were correctly labeled. The protest is the added cost and responsibility of doing so.

mishelle on 07/10/2014 in 16:36

Thanks for the clarification Joanne. I didn’t even realize that all food requires labeling in local farmer’s markets. Something I definitely want to learn more about. I still think of those things as they were the last time I frequented them, in other countries primarily.

Joanne Roll on 07/10/2014 in 17:07


The labeling would be required if the GMO labeling bill, now on the Colorado ballot, would pass. Right now, labeling is not required. There are stands at the farmer’s markets who identify as organic , but no labeling is required.

mishelle on 08/10/2014 in 07:44

Joanne, where do you stand on the topic of labeling? When I think of labeling I think at the supermarket is where it’s more necessary. When you can look into the farmer’s eyes, drive to his place and tour if you like, as in the case of all small to medium operations that I know of, labeling seems like an unnecessary hassle. It’s the foods we don’t know where they come from that need labeling, imo. Is there any push to separate the requirements for the mega-farms untouchable by the public, from those of the small ones?

Joanne Roll on 08/10/2014 in 08:12

I am in favor of labeling in the big markets. The law currently on the ballot does not make that distinction. That is really what the debate is about here in Colorado.

I would prefer not to buy GMO products. I shop at one store that sells only organic foods so there is not problem in deciding what to buy. I think the real problem with GMO foods is not the consumer, but what it is potentially doing ecologically.

The other problem is one I have noted before. Food prices, for all products, are going sky high, here in Colorado. I don’t see how families can afford to feed their children let alone try and focus on organic or non-GMO foods. Milk, for example, has gone up 20% in the last month. I know that there are legitimate reasons for that. Feed crops impacted by the lack of rain, etc.
But, still, I buy organic milk and feel so guilty because I know that young kids need it and their families can’t afford it.

I don’t have any answers, Mishelle. I appreciate so much that you are grappling with these big problems.

mishelle on 09/10/2014 in 07:57

Joanne, thanks, I wish I had more answers, and I find it so essential to listen to the issues individuals from differing demographics are dealing with, so I really appreciate your input. It seems CO is now like CA in that the concentration of money and influence there means you are hit harder and earlier with the issues that then sweep across the country. Not sure if that’s just my impression, but it’s certainly astonishing the transformation of the state in just a couple decades.



GMOs Part 3: The Land

Posted by Mishelle Shepard on Thursday, October 9th 2014

This is the part I most cherish writing and sharing, because more than avid gardener, or future potential farmer, or wanna-be off-grider, or seasoned teacher, or hobby researcher, or concerned citizen, or even happy wife, I consider myself a dutiful steward of the land.

I watched part of a German documentary called Our Daily Bread where, in image-only, they captured the factory farming methods of the industrialized world.  I considered while watching how many people have contributed to the dominance of these methods and are exceedingly proud of their achievements.  I wondered exactly what percentage of people look at these monolithic steel beasts pumping and churning, and think, “Wow!  Man is so brilliant!  This is so beautifully efficient, so clean, so precise, this is the way it should be!”

What a sense of sad estrangement it was to be so very separate, indeed utterly opposed, to such a large percentage of the human race.  No natural light, no grass, no sky or sunshine, animals chained their entire lives to machines, tomatoes showered in chemicals, land the size of New Hampshire farmed by a handful of men enclosed so tightly in their machines that they never even touch the soil.  It makes me feel an anchor of despair across my chest.  I had to turn the film off half-way through in what I would call crippling disgust.

What’s worse is I don’t understand or relate to the arguments on either side of this fight.  That “the Right” doesn’t see the fact that a truly capitalist system does not benefit from our current form of agribusiness is dumbfounding to me.  From the point of view of Land-As-Asset it’s obvious that those who live on the land and need it for their survival will be better stewards of that land than one farming thousands of acres on which he rarely sets foot.  To use up your asset to the point of its uselessness is bad capitalist practice, unless you’re talking “planned obsolescence.”

The number of US farmers dropped by 300,000 between 1979 and 1998 and right before that we lost 88% of our dairy farms.  Since then, when the push from DC became “get big or get out,” the intense farm consolidation has developed into very successful “vertical integration,” but the only ones making a decent profit are those at the top of the pyramid.  Much more on that in the Global Power segment.

The documentary Farmagedden (2011) is an eye-opener.  Proponents of GMOs and other extreme technologies like to wave the ’scare-tactic’ finger at these kinds of films, of which there are many, I admit, but for good reason.  “Don’t let those fear-mongers scare you,” they repeat, “Follow the science! No one is ill!  They are all crazy and uniformed!”

But the folks who are most afraid are the ones who are most informed.  The farmers know, the mothers know, the independent scientists and researchers know there is something very, very wrong happening here and they’ve got little power to change it.  Their kids are sick.  They’ve heard countless stories of the agricultural David and Goliath fight, witnessed the cases of equipment confiscated, livestock put to death needlessly based on bogus charges, intimidation, lawsuits, by Monsanto and by completely corrupted FDA and USDA politics as usual.

Land is not something that fits neatly into a highly centralized, efficient, industrialized mindset.  For communities to be forced into dependency on centralized agricultural is genocide.  How could any team of scientists possibly know all the intricacies of every region of the globe, no matter how degreed they are?

Just on our 50 acres we have micro-climates, soils totally different just 100-feet away from each other, differing elevations, all which affect water retention substantially, all of which affect the soil microbes–the growing medium.  We are required to submit to the requirements of our land.  One can try to create vast farm-like Las Vegases all over the globe, but nature will never submit to this.  You figure out how to work with her on her terms, not the other way around.

The arrogance of these corporations is what gets me most.  They’ve existed for as long as a fart compared to the great cultures living off the land around the world, and oh how I’ll celebrate when they go out stinking just as much.  I firmly believe it’s inevitable, but not because of anything the Left is proposing we do.

On “the Left” what’s mind-numbing is they still accept the premise that this problem can be fixed through more regulation.  There is the obvious labeling battle as a case in point, but there are other more egregious examples of this narrow-mindedness.  The government has no interest in fixing the problem of vertical integration in agriculture, because it’s in their best interest that’s it’s never “fixed.”

Also destructive is the idealistic and unrealistic premise that it’s our job to feed the world.  To be fed by others, GMO or otherwise, is to create dependency and learned helplessness.  Or ancestors migrated for important reasons, like unfertile land cannot carry large populations, proximity to water is important for life, and, careful now . . . climate changes.  Climate changes drastically sometimes, climate is not always predictable, our ancestors knew this and worked with it not as masters of the universe, but as aware offspring of the regenerative needs of our Great Mother.  Interfering with the natural relationship that develops between people and the resources on which they depend, is a no-win for the land and the people.

“This point is often overlooked in discussions of how best to feed the world. Farming methods impact the lives of all who share the ecosystem. They can pollute the environment or make use of what would otherwise have become pollutants. They can affect the nutrient levels in food and the health of farm workers. To assume that the best farming practice is the one that produces the highest yield is like observing that a Lamborghini outraces a bicycle, and thus should be the world’s only vehicle.”

What ever happened to the wise old adage I often heard in my PC days”?  Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

It does not benefit the people of the world to become dependent on us, it’s really that simple.  As for all the reasons why the land does not benefit either from GMOs and the vertical integration that’s required to make the system function, bio-diversity and sustainability are the most obvious.  There are far too many sources circulating for me to list even a small portion of them here.  Argentina, India, and US are the places to look for the many complaints of farmers whose lands have been rendered useless from excessive pesticide use which goes hand-in-glove with GM seeds.

In India where thousands of cotton farmers were forced out of business, soil in india after Bt cotton, was considerably altered and rendered unplantable: “Hardened and white,” complained the farmers.  With the help of activist Andhra Pradesh they were able to ban Bt cotton.  The GMO trilogy on Youtube is an excellent overview of this and many more stories.

Some other interesting articles:

The number of approved crops boggles the mind and grows every day.

How is it so many trained scientists are not using the scientific method when supporting GMOs? More on that next time . . .

Comments are closed or deactivated

Leo Cecchini on 10/10/2014 in 00:23


At the beginning of the 20th Century half the American work force was in agriculture. By the end of the century agriculture employed less than 4 percent of the work force. This is what modern agriculture can do.

And as we all know, the world is becoming increasingly urbanized and there is no end in sight for this trend, in fact we talk now about abandoning suburbs to return to city centers. .I believe you are fighting against the tide. You would probably have been more comfortable in the 19th Century or earlier when we certainly all lived closer to, and more in synch with, the earth.

But do not fear modern, “industrialized” agriculture. It will be replaced when we start manufacturing food from basic chemicals instead of growing or raising it.

I take great exception to your characterization of USDA as being “completely corrupted.” I worked my way through college by working for the USDA and it is perhaps the most successful US Government agency.

mishelle on 10/10/2014 in 09:29

Leo, thanks for your input. I like technology and don’t want to live in the 19th century. I don’t want to eat chemicals, but I guess what folks want doesn’t really matter, the agenda is set. “Completely corrupted” doesn’t mean everyone there is corrupt, it means those who are corrupt hold more power than those who are not, and I will stand by that comment until we see the government respond to the people rather than to the money.


 The Year of Big Data, Bro!

Posted by Mishelle Shepard on Tuesday, March 17th 2015

At the World Economic Forum 2014 one of the speakers referred to our current “Brave New World” without a hint of irony and this struck me as so telling I immediately went to the comments section of the Youtube recording to see if others had noticed.  Indeed, there was a comment or two that the speaker, who was not of the Western hemisphere, did not seem to have garnered the dystopian aspects of the famed Huxley novel.

Similarly, today at a faculty meeting our chairman tells us that what’s coming down from the administration is: “This is the year of big data,” also without a hint of irony.  That we should fall in line unquestioningly with this big data mission is glaringly apparent.  The explanation offered in advance is that retention is an important industry-wide issue and the new policies and “best practices” being suggested are to alleviate this crisis.  I refrained from mentioning it couldn’t possibly be that bad, considering our CEO made $2 million in salary and stock last year even with the decreased enrollment  that has kept all us peon adjuncts patiently pinching our pennies.

In my seven or so years of teaching online at APUS (American Public University System) there have been many, many changes always deemed “improvements” for the satisfaction of the students.  While some have certainly been useful, what all these improvements invariably demonstrate is the corporate model to socialize costs and privatize profits.

Once we as instructors used to be able to enjoy a full weekend away from the computer, but now required to be present every other day, weekends and holidays included, even if our courses have only one student.  Where we used to have observations annually, now we have them constantly and without notice, in the name of “accountability”  of course, not “surveillance.”  We as instructors bare the costs of the constant university upgrades, including the latest push to video office hours and mobile applications, with the time to perfect the usage of these new instruments also assumed and on our dime.

The retention efforts were laid out in a 2-week long required unpaid training that I needed over 30 hours of work to pass.  We’ve been informed that we are to focus on teaching English skills in every course, as well as writing each of our students weekly if they do not participate and informing students of the results of the graded assignments in detail within the day.  These are now the “best practices” of every instructor teaching 1st year students.

All this in the name of retention.  No questions asked.  And really, who would dare to ask them, considering we are all so terribly grateful to have jobs at all, even when that means making less than $20,000 a year, which is the average adjunct salary, while still required to be constantly present for the students and the data-collectors.

The year of big data is not just in academia, but you know once you see it there, it’s about to penetrate everywhere.  They say it’s in the name of retention, accountability, security, economic efficiency, and whatever other excuse they can use to get you to buy into the growing surveillance system.

I stand, like so many of us, between a boulder and a wall–so, do I try to move the boulder, or dismantle the wall?

I know, at the very least, I can stand with the whistleblowers, the ones in the know, who recognize this obvious mission creep because they have inside knowledge of it.  I will go to my chairman with this interview and ask him very frankly, do you really think, as a tenured philosophy professor at a primarily military university, that this is all about student retention?  Seriously?

After all, I’m just an adjunct, I don’t have that much to lose.

Tragedy and Hope interview with whistleblower William Binney, from their site, a brief overview:

A 36-year veteran of America’s Intelligence Community, William Binney resigned from his position as Director for Global Communications Intelligence (COMINT) at the National Security Agency (NSA) and blew the whistle, after discovering that his efforts to protect the privacy and security of Americans were being undermined by those above him in the chain of command.

The NSA data-monitoring program which Binney and his team had developed  – codenamed ThinThread – was being aimed not at foreign targets as intended, but at Americans (codenamed as Stellar Wind) was destroying privacy here and around the world. Binney voices his call to action for the billions of individuals whose rights are currently being violated.

At what point can we agree that Big Brother, like Big Data, is interfering with our freedoms and our peace of mind?

Comments are closed or deactivated

Leo Cecchini on 18/03/2015 in 07:07

Sounds like what I hear from my Tea Party friends.


Statist Recovery: Step 3

Posted by Mishelle Shepard on Tuesday, April 28th 2015

Start a conversation!

I’m on Step 3 now, perhaps indefinitely, and it was the Step 3 of another who got me to Step 1.  I’d love to thank him, but he was a complete stranger at the airport, waiting for a flight, like me.

It was the second to last commercial flight I’ve taken in now over three years.  That might not seem like much to some, but traveling was my primary preoccupation for a few decades before this happened.

He was in his 20s, traveling with another I don’t remember, I was alone.  I don’t remember how the conversation started, but I remember showing him my boarding pass, or him catching a glimpse of it.  I’d just been complaining about always getting 2nd and even 3rd screenings.  ”You’re on the list,” he said, pointing to the SSSS printed at the bottom of the card.  I had no idea what he was talking about and I didn’t inquire further.

It seemed ludicrous, honestly.  Not only that there was some “special” list, but that I would be on it.  When on the next flight it happened again, I felt forced into some sort of action.  I inquired of the attendants, why me again.  They said it was random.  There comes a time when the lies just don’t work anymore–the probability that I get 2nd and 3rd screenings every time I fly is random?  How stupid could I continue to play?  It started with an internet search on the list, and then conversations with family and friends, which did not go well, and then finally, publicly, taking a stand and making a sacrifice–my cherished days of travel are over until the police state is ended.

I spend my time instead unlearning the propaganda and re-learning history and while the initial wake-up and adjustment was not fun at all, there is a rich and diverse community of critical thinkers who are dispelling the myth makers and questioning everything.  It’s every bit as exciting and enlightening as traveling was to me all those years.

I will continue to start conversations now for the rest of my life, in the footsteps of, and walking virtually side-by-side with the courageous folks who have truth and integrity on their side and as their mission.

These are some courageous folks who are speaking truth to power, questioning the official narratives of WWII and 9/11, Isis, and on and on, exposing the lies and corruption, bringing the real data to light and insisting on critical thinking and heaven’s forbid certainly not planning yet another political cult.

James Corbett again sparks my enthusiasm this week, along with a provocative interview on my favorite alternative news venue Red Ice Radio, with Brandon Martinez

Oh the kind of research I’m navigating now–Holocaust and Climate Deniers, Oh my!

This is the kind of revolution we’ve been singing about–a revolution from our beds!  And, of course, from our gardens.

Centralized government is not the only solution to a complex society, otherwise they wouldn’t need so very much propaganda and 12 years of  indoctrination by schooling to convince us they are somehow as necessary to our survival as air.

Corbett’s article this week demonstrates how very ancient some of these ideas are, that are somehow so radical today as to never enter our fields of study.

“The concept of “spontaneous order” has arguably been around since Zhuang Zhou, the Chinese philosopher of the 4th century BC who wrote that “Good order results spontaneously when things are let alone.” The idea was further developed in the 18th century by the thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment and in the 19th century by thinkers like Frédéric Bastiat. It wasn’t until the 20th century, however, that the theory was named, codified and popularized by Austrian-born philosopher and economist F.A. Hayek.

“In one (rather long) sentence of (rather inscrutable) academic jargon, Hayek described the idea of spontaneous order this way:

“The central concept of liberalism is that under the enforcement of universal rules of just conduct, protecting a recognizable private domain of individuals, a spontaneous order of human activities of much greater complexity will form itself than could ever be produced by deliberate arrangement, and that in consequence the coercive activities of government should be limited to the enforcement of such rules, whatever other services government may at the same time render by administering those particular resources which have been placed at its disposal for those purposes”

“In ordinary English, Hayek’s observation is at once embarrassingly simple and mischievously profound: the social order that arises from the free choice of individuals acting to protect their own interests will be more secure and more complex than any rationally ordered system could be.”

The universality of the rules is what creates real civilization

Comments are closed or deactivated

Gerald Karey on 28/04/2015 in 16:19    

Reads like your own propaganda and indoctrination.

So, what is the truthful narrative of World War II and 9/11. Tell me about your research into Holocaust and climate deniers? If not centralized government, what is your solution for managing a complex society, not your homestead and garden. You’ve avoided answering that question several times. Do you wonder why these ancient ideas aren’t governing principles in any society today, except, perhaps, small, isolated tribal entities. Maybe because it would result in anarchy. Oh, wait. You’re okay with that.

“…The social order that arises from the free choice of individuals acting to protect their own interests will be more secure and more complex than any rationally ordered system could be.”

Okay, then. What if my interests conflict with yours? Who or what resolves the conflict? A “rationally ordered system?” Just asking.

I have no idea what Step Three is. Let’s see: five stages of grief, 12 steps to sobriety but only three steps to enlightenment?

I’m sorry, Mishelle, you’ll have to tell me a lot more tell before I’m persuaded that you have truth on your side. But perhaps I’m just a hopelessly brainwashed statist.

Mishelle on 28/04/2015 in 16:40

Gerald, I’m not here or trying to convince you, or anyone, I’m starting conversations and planting seeds. Have I called this 3 steps to enlightenment? There could be 1,000 steps, I’m at 3, thanks for your feedback.

Gerald Karey on 28/04/2015 in 17:09    

But you suggested you might be on Step 3 indefinitely not that there could be an addition 997 steps. And right, you didn’t call it enlightenment, but what is it then?

And since you want a start a conversation, I’m pleased to provide feedback. But you have yet to respond to the questions I raised. That’s hardly holding up your end.

I’m getting the notion that you’re not comfortable if your ideas are challenged? You certainly seem bent on challenging the myths, lies and propaganda we were all lead to believe in our corrupt educational system. What say you?

By the way, whatever its faults and flaws and excesses, we are not living in police state. Anyone who says we are has never experienced a police state.

Leo Cecchini on 28/04/2015 in 18:55

Out of chaos comes order spontaneously. Wonderful. But my order may not be your order therein lies the problem.

Gerald Karey on 29/04/2015 in 08:37    

I think I’ll be dropping out of this conversation because there is no point in continuing. I’ll just add, Mishelle, that while the criticism of the way we’re governed has merit, the seeds you are trying to plant will never germinate.

No Flight Without Freedom!

Posted by Mishelle Shepard on Saturday, August 11th 2012
Day 2 of TSA and Airline BoycottMy friends overwhelmingly believe I’m crazy or taking this too far.  Give up my vacation to take a stand against unlawful search?  There’s got to be an easier way, they insist.  I want y’all to know, I know it’s not going to be easy, I’m already pouting at the thought of missing my much-anticipated escape to cool weather and civilization, not to mention the Fringe Festival and Glamping—more on that later.

And some have joked that they must be on the watch list too, merely for their affiliation with me.  I so hope that’s not true, but consider that too.  As much as I would never want to put anyone else in danger, just consider that, because that’s exactly the way it happens in closing societies.  First him, then me, then you.  I appreciate and enjoy your “humor”, I so hope we are wrong.  But how long can we collectively pretend that this is not incredibly RISKY.  Until we are all being watched, or at least think we are?  The same way it’s happened countless times throughout history.  We think we are immune, we think we are innocent and protected, until it’s too late.

For all you doubting Tina’s and Thomas’ whose line of questioning tried to lead me toward examining if I’m really on the list, I say only, Really?  That’s your main concern, whether I’m on the list, not whether there’s a list at all?!

TSA admits there is in fact a list!

Notice how they word this:  as a myth buster.

BUSTER: There are less than 400,000 individuals on the consolidated terrorist watch list and less than 50,000 individuals on the no-fly and selectee lists. Individuals on the no-fly and selectee lists are identified by law enforcement and intelligence partners as legitimate threats to transportation requiring either additional screening or prohibition from boarding an aircraft.”

450,000 citizens are considered potential terrorist and must have extra screening.  And we collectively find this an OK number.  But one million, well, that’s just crazy.

By being on this list we are being officially tagged without our knowledge, with no indication why we are on the list, and knowing with proof there are many individuals on this list mistakenly.

Thanks to the Patriot Act and the Department of Homeland Security we can be selected for unlawful search on every flight, and because we’re considered potential terrorists if we are thought or accused of committing any crime we can be arrested and held without a phone call, in any number of detention centers around the world, for any length of time without due process.

There are many instances of this happening in our own country with our own citizens who are not terrorists.  Read about the Zeitoun family:

There are many more and I’ll be sharing their stories in this blog over the course of my boycott.

What’s even more astounding is that these stories don’t make the mainstream evening news, although this glowing story about TSA does:

A Gallup poll of 1,014 randomly selected citizens who have decided TSA is doing a stellar job makes the televised NBC evening news.  WOW!  One thousand fourteen people make the news, but 450,000 people suspected of terrorism for unknown and unpublished reasons who are systematically being unlawfully searched and added to a secret list do not.

And no one finds this unusual?


Homesteading: The Where

Posted by Mishelle Shepard on Monday, April 27th 2009

Welcome wanna-be and expert homesteaders and those just curious.   I start today with the where, will  next time approach the what, and follow with the why.  I will then begin to explore the meaty how-to’s and those controversial topics like humanure, appropriate power supplies, the real meanings of organic and sustainable, and anything else that happens to come up.

We bought this place in East Texas three years ago, but until 2 months ago it was our “camp” as they say here in the South, where we would come, schedules permitting, to enjoy the nature and begin building our cabin.  We bought it as raw land, no water, electric, or sewage.  Our first order of business was to build an outhouse and long-drop, our “poop with a view” I named it, and we hauled in drinking and shower water and used a generator for the occasional necessary power tool.  During that time we slept in a tent, including all through winter, which even though it’s Texas the temperature regular hovers around 30 degrees.  I experimented with two garden spots during those first years, but as work, weddings, and evacuations kept us from coming all summer long we were never able to enjoy the proverbial fruits of my labor.  But it’s pretty doubtful there were many anyway.

We have 50 acres and a mule, just as the old family farms used to be, only our mule is a gently used Massey tractor that has been invaluable in helping with such varied tasks as bush-hogging, pulling stumps, tilling the garden, and hoisting up the walls of our cabin.

In East Texas gardening is a bit like playing beat the clock.  The “growing season” reportedly runs from March through November, but the sweltering season falls squarely in the middle of it, burning all but your most robust crops and making your garden upkeep unbearable.  Plus there’s an annual late frost around Easter, occasionally even a snow, so planting most fruit trees is something of a risky business.  The plan is to have a green house by next year, but because the latest garden spot, the now permanent one, needed serious soil adjustment, I had to skip the cool-season crops for now and start straight into the summer stuff.  I won’t bore you with the laundry list, but as a novice gardener I’ll cry tears of joy if just a small fraction survives the lethal combination of perpetual winds, blistering sun, gorging insects, birds, deer, boar, and inexperience.

Meanwhile handy hubby does the skilled labor.  At the moment he is building us a large covered deck overlooking our gently rolling hills, majestic pines, and stately oaks .  Occasionally I am helpful to him, making me feel briefly skilled myself, kind of like a nurse, as he calls out his needs:  clamp, saw, drill, level.   Other than fetching and occasionally holding the tape measure, I am useless to him.  His sketches, complete with math and other foreign elements, might as well be rocket science.

The other most useful tool besides the tractor has been our bi-monthly issue of Mother Earth News.  Seriously informed and surprisingly well-written, who knew those homesteaders and gardeners had such exceptional literary talents along with their astounding how-to skills!

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