Geopolitics again

This blog is largely not being updated any more, mainly because I don’t feel there is much to say. The battle lines have been drawn for many years: a world that promotes sanity and goodness based on bedrock human feeling, or one that is increasingly dominated by financial spreadsheets and bizarre technological shortcuts which devise way to control supply and production in order to maximise profits by basing things on patented or otherwise exclusive methods. In so doing, the latter sort of destroys the basis of its own existence, simple things like clean air and water, beautiful wild and cultivated vegetation and animal life, healthy good-hearted family lives and so forth.

You either get it or you don’t.

You either keep believing most of the compromised crap being promulgated in terms of fake food, or pseudo-organic products, terrorist threats, the stupidity of those into organic food, those skeptical of hysterical warnings of climate change – which conveniently ignores the horrific degree to which our bad agricultural and corporate practices are raping and ruining our world – are ridiculed, just like those who don’t reflexively wave the flag as government after government pass laws edging us into full state control and virtual tyranny, crappy entertainment with stupid plots and characters devoid of most norms of decency, norms, intelligence, good heart and so forth.

You either get it by now, or probably you never will.

Meanwhile, they want to take historically the bread basket of Europe and in a few short years chemialize the soil, ruining it for generations to come and calling it all ‘free market progress’ without pointing out that this always comes with a terrible price for the local people involved. Ask the farmers in Iraq whose thousands-of-years based seed stocks were destroyed after our invasion and have almost lost the ability to feed themselves without first paying our central banks and international corporations.

Meanwhile ordinary human goodness persists, although mainly in the hearts and minds of ordinary good people everywhere, the vast majority amongst us, who struggle to maintain personal and spiritual viability in the midst of this tremendous onslaught. In the end we will ‘win’ because such aspirations and motivations are based on bedrock decency in line with the fundamentally good nature of life and our world. But meanwhile, many bad things will continue to unfold, whilst far too many of us burst into laughter at the canned jokes provided by shallow sit-coms on the goggle box.



Record Cold Temps in US

NASA's Terra satellite captured this picture of snow across the eastern United States on Feb. 19 at 16:20 UTC (11:20 a.m. EST). Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team - Click to enlarge

This increasing trend even during the peak high of the current sunspot cycle, presages ever-colder temperatures in the next few years to come similar to conditions in previous ‘mini-ice ages’ which occurred during the Maunder and Daulton minimums. For the bakery, this will no doubt mean increasing difficulty with spelt harvests given they are planted in the late fall and have to survive the winter. Moreover, I am beginning to suspect that this may be partly why spelt fell out of favour a couple of centuries ago, although have read nothing directly to indicate this.

This is also why the gaff-rigged yawl I purchased last year has such unbelievably rotten superstructure. They had frequent arctic blasts bringing the temperature down to -20C which hadn’t happened in decades. The boat was unprepared for such treatment. Damp which had accumulated in weak spots due to admittedly poor construction as the builder ran out of sufficient funds at the end of the project, were submitted to frequent freeze-thaw cycles as the temperature oscillated rapidly between -10-20C and +10C. By the time  got down there in June, after it had warmed thoroughly in the humid, swampy atmosphere of the Eastern shore of the Chesapeake, many who passed by to say hello as I was trying to effect repairs, including many with decades of experience with boats, expressed disbelief that the boat was only two years old and insisted that I had been ‘had’. However it was simply that the boat was not winterized at all given that usually it is not necessary down there.

This year is even worse. Global warming may or not be a significant trend that has been exacerbated by man-made inputs, but those inputs are minor league compared with longer-range climactic cycles such as the one we are entering. In Cape Breton, luckily, we are buffered somewhat by the Gulf stream which passes from South to East not far from our shores. But many others further inland and on the North East Coast of the US are going to be in for brutal winters the next 10-20 years.

A good time to invest in Florida or Mexico real estate?

After GMO: Synthetic Biology – a ‘new industrial revolution’ on the way

All DNA is made of the same four chemicals in no end of different combinations and series: Synthetic Biology 1Then you make synthetic, Man-Made DNA based on that coded design:

synthetic man-made DNAfrom the article:

“New Form of GMO Sneaking Into Food Supply This Year

Old-Thinker News | March 17, 2014

By Daniel Taylor

Within 50 years we could have more life forms invented in a lab than we have ever identified in nature.” – Fidelity Investments

This year [Evolva] will release a product that has been created by genetically modified yeast that converts sugars to vanillin. It will be the first major synthetic-biology food additive to hit supermarkets.” –

A Switzerland based company called Evolva has developed a synthetic vanilla that is set to be released in 2014. The vanilla is created using a process of genetic engineering called synthetic biology.

Synthetic biology, according to a 2005 European Commission paper is “…the engineering of biology… the synthesis of complex, biologically based (or inspired) systems which display functions that do not exist in nature.” Unlike the older science of splicing genes from different species together, synthetic biology is seeking to create whole new organisms that do not exist on earth.

Evolva’s synthetic vanilla is created by inserting computer coded DNA into yeast. This new method of genetic engineering is called “natural” by Evolva.

Environmental organizations like Friends of the Earth have recognized the potential danger posed by synthetic biology. In its Synthetic Biology Vanillin fact sheet, FoE points out the distinct lack of oversight regarding the health impact of ingesting these engineered ingredients. The organization has launched a campaign called No Synbio Vanilla to tell ice cream makers Haagen Dazs, Dreyers, Baskin Robbins and others not to use synthetic biology vanilla.

Foods that have been genetically modified in the “traditional” method have been linked to sterility in hamsters. The dramatic rise in food allergies has also been speculated to be linked to GMO foods. What health impacts will emerge after eating foods with synthetic DNA that our environment and our bodies have never before encountered?

The Big Picture

Synthetic biology goes well beyond engineering our food. Geneticist Craig Venter is a pioneer in the field of synthetic biology. In 2010 the media hailed his team’s success in creating “the first self-replicating species we’ve had on the planet whose parent is a computer.”

Currently, companies cannot patent naturally occuring DNA. Synthetic biology will allow syn-bio companies a loophole through patent laws. “One could theoretically upload a DNA sequence onto a computer, “print out” an exact copy of that DNA sequence, and patent the synthetic DNA sequence as an invention,” Gene Watch reports.

Google founder Larry Page met with Craig Venter in California at the Edge billionaires meeting in 2010. Also present were representatives from the State department, Bill Gates, Anne Wojcicki, Bill Joy and dozens of other tech company CEO’s and scientists.

The Edge Billionaire meetings have discussed the future of genetic engineering, biocomputation and re-designing humanity in a transhumanist era. Physicist Freeman Dyson described the individuals leading this group as having god-like power to create entirely new species on earth in a “New Age of Wonder”. He describes them as:

“…a new generation of artists, writing genomes as fluently as Blake and Byron wrote verses, might create an abundance of new flowers and fruit and trees and birds to enrich the ecology of our planet.”

In the societal divide that will inevitably ensue over the development of these technologies, Fred Charles Ikle, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy under President Reagan, sees a possibility of “Annihilation from Within.” “The prospect is that in the decades ahead, biotechnology – together with other sciences – may fundamentally change the human species and thus pose an elemental threat to democracy, the world order, and indeed to all civilizations,” writes Ikle.

The technological elite are engaged in a mission to attain full spectrum dominance over life and its complex processes, and in the process re-write the genetic code of the planet.”

From a conference in the video clip:

“We are here to announce the first synthetic cell.”

[Comments:]   If they could first fix the damage done to the soil, plant, insect, fungal and animal species wreaked by modern industry including the overly-simplistic and short-sighted agro-business (aka ‘maximise yield, deplete the nutrients, kill the soil’) model, then maybe they could approach technology like this rather than just ploughing ahead with the next damaging thing just because it is new, it is fancy and it can make a large corporation and their owners (the same cartels which own most of the world’s major businesses and governments) richer.

When is this all going to stop?

When enough of us choose to live differently. Easier said than done, but more of us need to try before it is too late. I hope young people growing up today wake up and have the courage to do something about all this because otherwise the world their children and grandchildren live in will be almost devoid of access to any true nature, and therefore true beauty, true sanity, true simplicity.

Some of my best friends are germs – Pollan again

I like this guy so much I ordered a few of his books last night. Increasingly am using the internet to find things of interest on the radar, so to speak, but if I want to drill down to any level of detail. I buy books. That said, this long magazine article is probably as good as most books.

I like the way Mr. Pollard is a truly excellent writer; you don’t have to agree with him to enjoy his crisp, colourful, and moreover very clear prose. Really a pleasure to read.

And this is a very long article, so I won’t try to summarize or anything. Just take a snippet from a part in the middle I found particularly interesting because I had a lot of dental work (and antibiotics) the past few years (no more, I had all the back teeth taken out so no more work needs to be done!).

These days Blaser is most concerned about the damage that antibiotics, even in tiny doses, are doing to the microbiome — and particularly to our immune system and weight. “Farmers have been performing a great experiment for more than 60 years,” Blaser says, “by giving subtherapeutic doses of antibiotics to their animals to make them gain weight.” Scientists aren’t sure exactly why this practice works, but the drugs may favor bacteria that are more efficient at harvesting energy from the diet. “Are we doing the same thing to our kids?” he asks. Children in the West receive, on average, between 10 and 20 courses of antibiotics before they turn 18. And those prescribed drugs aren’t the only antimicrobials finding their way to the microbiota; scientists have found antibiotic residues in meat, milk and surface water as well. Blaser is also concerned about the use of antimicrobial compounds in our diet and everyday lives — everything from chlorine washes for lettuce to hand sanitizers. “We’re using these chemicals precisely because they’re antimicrobial,” Blaser says. “And of course they do us some good. But we need to ask, what are they doing to our microbiota?” No one is questioning the value of antibiotics to civilization — they have helped us to conquer a great many infectious diseases and increased our life expectancy. But, as in any war, the war on bacteria appears to have had some unintended consequences.

One of the more striking results from the sequencing of my microbiome was the impact of a single course of antibiotics on my gut community. My dentist had put me on a course of Amoxicillin as a precaution before oral surgery. (Without prophylactic antibiotics, of course, surgery would be considerably more dangerous.) Within a week, my impressively non-Western “alpha diversity” — a measure of the microbial diversity in my gut — had plummeted and come to look very much like the American average. My (possibly) healthy levels of prevotella had also disappeared, to be replaced by a spike in bacteroides (much more common in the West) and an alarming bloom of proteobacteria, a phylum that includes a great many weedy and pathogenic characters, including E. coli and salmonella. What had appeared to be a pretty healthy, diversified gut was now raising expressions of concern among the microbiologists who looked at my data.

“Your E. coli bloom is creepy,” Ruth Ley, a Cornell University microbiologist who studies the microbiome’s role in obesity, told me. “If we put that sample in germ-free mice, I bet they’d get inflamed.” Great. Just when I was beginning to think of myself as a promising donor for a fecal transplant, now I had a gut that would make mice sick. I was relieved to learn that my gut community would eventually bounce back to something resembling its former state. Yet one recent study found that when subjects were given a second course of antibiotics, the recovery of their interior ecosystem was less complete than after the first.

Few of the scientists I interviewed had much doubt that the Western diet was altering our gut microbiome in troubling ways. Some, like Blaser, are concerned about the antimicrobials we’re ingesting with our meals; others with the sterility of processed food. Most agreed that the lack of fiber in the Western diet was deleterious to the microbiome, and still others voiced concerns about the additives in processed foods, few of which have ever been studied for their specific effects on the microbiota. According to a recent article in Nature by the Stanford microbiologist Justin Sonnenburg, “Consumption of hyperhygienic, mass-produced, highly processed and calorie-dense foods is testing how rapidly the microbiota of individuals in industrialized countries can adapt.” As our microbiome evolves to cope with the Western diet, Sonnenburg says he worries that various genes are becoming harder to find as the microbiome’s inherent biodiversity declines along with our everyday exposure to bacteria.

Catherine Lozupone in Boulder and Andrew Gewirtz, an immunologist at Georgia State University, directed my attention to the emulsifiers commonly used in many processed foods — ingredients with names like lecithin, Datem, CMC and polysorbate 80. Gewirtz’s lab has done studies in mice indicating that some of these detergentlike compounds may damage the mucosa — the protective lining of the gut wall — potentially leading to leakage and inflammation.

A growing number of medical researchers are coming around to the idea that the common denominator of many, if not most, of the chronic diseases from which we suffer today may be inflammation — a heightened and persistent immune response by the body to a real or perceived threat. Various markers for inflammation are common in people with metabolic syndrome, the complex of abnormalities that predisposes people to illnesses like cardiovascular disease, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and perhaps cancer. While health organizations differ on the exact definition of metabolic syndrome, a 2009 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 34 percent of American adults are afflicted with the condition. But is inflammation yet another symptom of metabolic syndrome, or is it perhaps the cause of it? And if it is the cause, what is its origin?

One theory is that the problem begins in the gut, with a disorder of the microbiota, specifically of the all-important epithelium that lines our digestive tract. This internal skin — the surface area of which is large enough to cover a tennis court — mediates our relationship to the world outside our bodies; more than 50 tons of food pass through it in a lifetime. The microbiota play a critical role in maintaining the health of the epithelium: some bacteria, like the bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus plantarum (common in fermented vegetables), seem to directly enhance its function. These and other gut bacteria also contribute to its welfare by feeding it. Unlike most tissues, which take their nourishment from the bloodstream, epithelial cells in the colon obtain much of theirs from the short-chain fatty acids that gut bacteria produce as a byproduct of their fermentation of plant fiber in the large intestine.

But if the epithelial barrier isn’t properly nourished, it can become more permeable, allowing it to be breached. Bacteria, endotoxins — which are the toxic byproducts of certain bacteria — and proteins can slip into the blood stream, thereby causing the body’s immune system to mount a response. This resulting low-grade inflammation, which affects the entire body, may lead over time to metabolic syndrome and a number of the chronic diseases that have been linked to it.

Evidence in support of this theory is beginning to accumulate, some of the most intriguing coming from the lab of Patrice Cani at the Université Catholique de Louvain in Brussels. When Cani fed a high-fat, “junk food” diet to mice, the community of microbes in their guts changed much as it does in humans on a fast-food diet. But Cani also found the junk-food diet made the animals’ gut barriers notably more permeable, allowing endotoxins to leak into the bloodstream. This produced a low-grade inflammation that eventually led to metabolic syndrome. Cani concludes that, at least in mice, “gut bacteria can initiate the inflammatory processes associated with obesity and insulin resistance” by increasing gut permeability.”

I think that this is important work and an intelligent article; moreover that most if not all problems with bread – which of course concerns me as an organic sourdough baker – derive from this issue, namely a degraded internal system due to degraded (over-processed = overly denatured) inputs.

We all need more fresh air, exercise therein, and fresh and/or well fermented foods. It’s not rocket science.



Article linked in above snippet:


The indigenous human microbiota is essential to the health of the host. Although the microbiota can be affected by many features of modern life, we know little about its responses to disturbance, especially repeated disturbances, and how these changes compare with baseline temporal variation. We examined the distal gut microbiota of three individuals over 10 mo that spanned two courses of the antibiotic ciprofloxacin, analyzing more than 1.7 million bacterial 16S rRNA hypervariable region sequences from 52 to 56 samples per subject. Interindividual variation was the major source of variability between samples. Day-to-day temporal variability was evident but constrained around an average community composition that was stable over several months in the absence of deliberate perturbation. The effect of ciprofloxacin on the gut microbiota was profound and rapid, with a loss of diversity and a shift in community composition occurring within 3–4 d of drug initiation. By 1 wk after the end of each course, communities began to return to their initial state, but the return was often incomplete. Although broadly similar, community changes after ciprofloxacin varied among subjects and between the two courses within subjects. In all subjects, the composition of the gut microbiota stabilized by the end of the experiment but was altered from its initial state. As with other ecosystems, the human distal gut microbiome at baseline is a dynamic regimen with a stable average state. Antibiotic perturbation may cause a shift to an alternative stable state, the full consequences of which remain unknown.”

This page has further links on this topic for those who wish to explore further.

Gluten deconstructed – uh-oh: it’s an ‘abstraction’…

(from: )

Wheat Contains Not One, But 23K Potentially Harmful Proteins


Okay: in previous post about Rye, I went on a bit of rant about how we misuse language sometimes, both in ordinary parlance but also to engender rather serious fallacies in important things like the so-called ‘scientific method’ (which is far more faith-based than most of us are willing to believe!).

From the greenmedinfo gluten article link at top:

Most folks don’t realize that when we are talking about health problems associated with wheat, or gluten, we are not talking about a monolithic entity, a singular “bad guy,” solely responsible for the havoc commonly experienced as a consequence of consuming this grain. After all, how could just one villain cause the 200+ different clinically observed adverse health effects now linked in the biomedical literature to wheat consumption?

No, the problem is that “gluten” is an abstraction, and in its perceived singularity profoundly misrepresents the true extent of the problem, much in the way that the tip of an iceberg does not convey the massive threat submerged below …

Gluten is the Latin name for “glue,” and signifies the doughy complex of proteins within the wheat plant, further classified as either gliadins (alcohol soluble), glutelins (dilute acid or alkalis soluble), or other. Because wheat is a hexaploid species  (doesn’t that sound creepy?), the byproduct of three ancestor plants becoming one, with no less than 6 sets of chromosomes and 6.5 times more genes than found in the human genome, it is capable of producing no less than 23,788 different proteins – a fact as amazing as it is disturbing.[i] “

Dear Readers, I draw your attention especially to this part: No, the problem is that “gluten” is an abstraction, and in its perceived singularity profoundly misrepresents the true extent of the problem, much in the way that the tip of an iceberg does not convey the massive threat submerged below …

Now let us leave aside the gluten argument because AS USUAL, there is no discussion of preparation process and any transformation that may or may not occur therefrom (no difference between raw or fermented soybeans, raw or fermented grains, raw cream or fermented curds = cheese etc. etc. ). But a very good point is being made here: that so-called ‘gluten’ which sounds discrete, identifiable, factual, solid because it has a basic name (‘gluten’) doesn’t really exist as such. In fact the word refers to any one of 23,788 things, and of course each of those things has other variables depending on what else is in the mix, both other ingredients, weather patterns, harvesting timing, dampness, and last but not least, fermentation and final temperature after baking or boiling and so on.

So my rant in the last post may well have been over the top but I take heart from the sheer coincidence which ensued, namely that the next article I opened up from the science.natural news site looking for something comparing wheat and rye after the rye post, happened to go into this business about single, simple terms like ‘gluten’ are abstractions.

Agreed. It’s time to stop dumbing us all down with catchy terms that everyone can too easily glom onto (or rather gluten onto) and go back to using our senses:

This blog author maintains that until there is solid evidence to the contrary – and thus far he has not seen any published – that good quality, preferably heritage grains, properly fermented using natural ‘slow sourdough’ method, and using ideally 50% or more of the whole grain to include the germ and fibre which respectively boost nutritional content and aid the peristaltic digestion process, are basically good foods (in moderation as with all foods, including water).

I am willing to grant that most modern fast-production breads are harmful, but even there we must be a bit more careful: is it due to overly quick fermentation with single strain yeast? Or is it chemicals from the agro-business fertilizers and pesticides? Or some subtle transference of malaise from the sick energy of the sick plants raised in such soils? Or something from the plastic it is usually wrapped in at the supermarket? Or is it the overly refined methods in modern flour, wherein whole wheat, for example, is steel-rolled, i.e. very finely pulverised, white flours, usually bleached, to which is then added some of the bran and germ taken out during the white flour extraction process, albeit this bran and germ comes from different batches of grains? Or is it prolonged storage, wherein fresh-ground flour loses most of its vitamin (and thus no doubt other nutrient) content within a matter of days after being ground? Or over-hybridized grains bread to grow in dead soils with chemical inputs, with short stalks which won’t droop after their diet of elevated nitrogen so the machine harvester can fork them up, and with weaker husks that are less resilient to pests and so require more pesticide coverings but are easier to thresh mechanically, and with higher gluten – up to 40 times according to some reports – so that highly refined white flour products will rise nicely mimicking the soft rise of a natural sourdough 8-36 hour fermentation (depending on amount of starter percentage and temperature)? Or is it simply that food should be made by hand, with care and attention, not by zillions of whirring metal machines and mechanical mixers? Or the additives in the flour to facilitate mechanical mixing which makes for rapid ‘gluten development’ in about 10 minutes which otherwise takes 12 hours with slow fermentation (during which a whole load of other things happen to this so-called ‘gluten’ and which is rarely if ever studied after such transformation), additives such as human hair – which makes the dough initially more stretchy during mechanical mixing and kneading but which then becomes firmer later on to make for a nice, springy loaf), and chalk to make it white, and denatured enzymes to help with dough development, and synthetic vitamins, or the really-bad-for-you ‘refined table salt’ they put in everything?

Is it all or one of these factors that make modern bread harmful? Have there been any solid studies on this? If anyone knows, please contribute so I and other readers may learn more.

I think you will find that by and large there is mainly junk science which I will narrowly define in this particular context as being that science which follows a general fallacy these days, which I can call in shorthand the ‘one-word fallacy’.

Again, as the writer of the greenmed piece RIGHTLY points out: ‘gluten is an abstraction’.

Which also means that nearly all conclusions about gluten are probably little more than guesses.

Oh – I didn’t mention the elephant in the room: let us say that all the problems with gluten are basically correct: is it the gluten or the damaged digestive systems which is to blame? Put another way: will a healthy person have a problem eating

a) properly made sourdough

b) high quality artisan, slow- fermented (now) conventional yeast risen

c) mass produced commercial


Perhaps what we are witnessing is a whole load of sick people brought up on bad, mass produced food, gradually becoming unable to digest certain things, one of them being under-fermented, over-hybridized grain products?

Is there any attempt to really understand all this?

We have trillions of dollars and Euros to spend on building bigger bombs. But understanding something as simple and basic as bread?

Nah, clearly it’s a simple thing: that little word ‘gluten’, obviously that is the culprit, and clearly our ancestors going back 5,000 years were deluding themselves when they though that bread was in any way, shape or form good for you!

PS: please don’t get me wrong. I have both respect and concern for those with gluten issues. I am just frustrated – as a baker who deals with this issue more than most – at how paltry is the research offered despite widespread condemnations and generalisations. Moreover it is clear that not only are many unhealthy gluten-free products flooding the mass marketplace, but also that going back to basics – which is my approach – is both under-studied and under-appreciated. Most importantly for my purposes: I cannot make a fair evaluation of the issue using studies properly conducting by well-trained, impartial experts, because we are so busy building bombs and making fancy financial products and whizz-bang gadgets that we have no time or interest to study basic things, let alone supply them in our modern world.

Basically Good things like:

good butter from pasture-fed cows

good cheese from the same

good bread – made from fresh-ground organic grains grown in local healthy soils

good vegetables, again organic from healthy local soils

good meats – again properly raised on local healthy soils

good clothing made from natural fabrics with regional styles

and so on.

All these simple, basic things are becoming increasingly rare.

Which is why the latest fad in Silicon Valley is…. wait for it… you guessed it…

$4.00 a slice sourdough toast with organic butter and jam!

$4.00 a slice.

Hmm…. maybe I’ll try it at the FM….

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's sourdough

Update Wed 22nd: follow-up on this scientific method business:

Starting with David Hume in the 1700’s there have been serious, substantive objections raised concerning the so-called ‘scientific method’.

I’ll give one very small example relating to climate science concerning the temperature readings. Not only the instruments themselves (see how many of your thermometers give the same reading when put together in the same place!), but also placement: just a few feet higher or lower makes a big difference, also if there are breezes blowing at the time recorded, or not blowing, or some are placed by air conditioning vents, or in parking lots or airport runways which heat up far more than the surrounding zones, and so on.

The point is, that there is far more variability and unreliability in many of the data sets used to make, not scientific conclusions, but merely educated guesses which are then dressed up as science.

A clue: any time you read ‘scientists believe’, pay attention, for in fact that is the truth: they are about to tell you what they believe, not what they know. In other words, what they are about to tell you is not scientific at all even if their jumping-off point is scientifically gathered data. Data is not a conclusion.

Global Citizens Report against Big Ag, Big Pharma and Governments


(many sites have commented on the report, in pdf format, below, so if you search for the title, you might find many other sites, albeit FarmWars is a leader at covering this sort of issue.)

The Report:

Ok: Dr. Michael Milburn, friend and local acupuncturist, traditional chinese-style herbalist, qi gong teacher and healthy diet teacher, sent me the following report, which is a 30-page pdf containing zillions of links to other related reports, some of which I shall copy and paste below, but all of which you will find yourself if you can read through the entire thing which I recommend. It is much longer and denser than the typical 1-4 page internet or magazine article we are nowadays used to reading, but, given the subject matter, no more than a series of well-written notes highlighting various aspects each of which deserve book-length treatment, albeit all of which are well summarized in the title which is again:

Global Citizens against Big Ag, Big Pharma and Governments.

Actually, there isn’t all that much about Global Citizens doing X or Y simply because most of us are too stunned (and indifferent) to do much. Well, that’s a bit harsh: most of us lack the means to organise into bodies that can do slow, expensive, consistent work in laboratories, Courts and via lobbyists and political parties. Large corporations can sustain multi-year mutl-faceted, multi-million dollar campaigns, whereas most ordinary citizens cannot. It’s as simple as that and indeed one of the main functions of political systems (democracy, royalty, communism etc.) is to deal with the inevitability in human affairs of what can loosely be called ‘harmful centralisation’, in other words when too much organised power is concentrated in the hands of too few. It’s as simple as that.

Most of us have forgotten that the original role of the Monarch was to protect the wellbeing of the general citizenry (aka ‘subjects’) from overly ruthless feudal lords who in most societies had life-and-death power over their inferiors. Only the Monarch had life-and-death power over them. Of course the system didn’t always work as intended – like all systems – but we tend to forget that at root, the purpose of that system was to correct against excess of power by the elites in charge, which in those days were ‘nobles’ or ‘aristocrats’ or ‘feudal lords’. This was also the root concern of so-called ‘republics’ (like the US) or ‘democratic nations’ and so forth, the theory being that if the people elect the leaders every few years, corrupt leadership couldn’t possibly develop.

Today, elite power is concentrated in the hands of agencies which increasingly are divided into increasingly few, and in any case often interwovenly owned, keiretsu, or corporate networks, whose clout allows them, increasingly, to infiltrated and more or less control national government policies, which is why in more mature democracies, like the United States, it is increasingly difficult to perceive – on a policy vs. rhetoric level – the slightest difference between, for example, the previous Bush and subsequent Obama administration. The rhetoric might change, especially during campaign season, but the trajectory of national policy, be it military, social, medical and above all financial, does not. Each successive administration appoints people either from prior administrations and/or from leaders in the same industries (such as Big Ag, Big Pharma, Big Weapons, Big Finance – who are the Biggest of the Big since their few top firms outright own about 30-40% of all the other ones as proven by a well-known Swiss study a few years back). The officials’ job is to ‘oversee’ those same industries in the interests of the people (the role of government after all), but in fact for the benefit of those Corporate ‘Special Interests.’

Well, that’s a mouthful for a tiny, little baker on his tiny little blog. But this is an example of how everything is interconnected. It always has been and always will be and on every level, be it spiritual, psychological, conceptual, physical, chemical, phenomenological, ontological, microscopic, para-galactic etc. aka ‘the holographic universe.’

This is why the so-called ‘organic food movement’ – which doesn’t exist in any monolithic organised fashion of course – is important, because who we are both as individuals and as societies, or ‘communities’ as we like to call them in Cape Breton and Nova Scotia, is defined by what we do, and say, and feel, and think, which of course includes what we eat, including where it comes from, and how it is grown, treated, processed.

The lead point in pages 1-2 of the article linked above goes into how new processing methods which involve intense dessication (drying out) of cereal grains in the field prior to harvest use glyphosates, which enter the food chain and also damage microbial populations in soil. So these glyphosates are found especially in non-organic breads, cereals and of course also beer and whiskies.

This introductory section also goes into how both this sort of thing and introducing GM by companies such as Monsanto and Syngenta are being boosted by political leaders who often come from or are paid by those Corporate Special Interests.

To give you an idea of the style of this report, which alternates summarizing sections with links to further information, here is the Page 3 part concerning mainly Glyphosate alone, which is just one of many such issues broadly covered…. I can’t paste it in because of formatting problems….

Page 3 Fight for Life reportHopefully you can click on that to read, but if not just go to page 3 of the ‘Fight for Life’ report linked at the top. Actually, at top of page 4 they have a link to a YouTube video mentioned in the text about the dangers of GM foods:  This video is about how chemicals mess us up, basically, and how chemical toxicity undermines gut microbe integrity which in turn messes up the brain and many other systems, including liver enzyme function and much much more, involving autism, parkinsons, cholesterol cancer, chronic fatigue and so on.

I purchased and read Geoffrey Smith’s Seeds of Destruction a decade or so ago – about the dangers of GM foods – and highly recommend it. Although it’s fair to say that one cannot really determine if eating GM soy is bad for us in small quantities, it is quite clear that there is a pattern of bad science, deception, collusion between governments and Special Interests, and severe diseases in laboratory animals fed GM-based food regularly over time. At the very least there should be a moratorium on the methods and products until far more testing is done. Any fair-minded person reading this book – which is 80% comprised of extracts of a multitude of scientific reports – many of them previously unpublished – conducted by both Industry and govt-sponsored scientists, none of which are editorialized by the author, so you can read these reports and come to your own conclusions, an unusually fair and open way of presenting material. Indeed, I don’t remember ever seeing an argument, even a so-called ‘scientific’ argument, presented in such a thorough, open, objective fashion.

Well, the rest of the report you can read yourselves. The reason I am posting it is because this is also a first for me in that it links hard-core scientific papers dealing with Big Ag, shows the ties between Big Ag and Big Pharma (i.e. Sygenta) not only promote cancer-causing agents in agriculture, but then also own companies providing therapies (rarely cures) for cancer. A classic racket! It’s like the New Jersey mafia who used to have most of the heavy-duty transportation trucking contracts – which break up the roads – and then also the road-repair contracts, so the worse they made the roads and tore them up with their trucking fleets, the more money they made fixing the roads! And then further the corrupt ties between Big Companies and Government.

Indeed, some of the report even goes into the ‘conspiracy theory’ realm in the sense that corruption is so rampant that systemic collapse is almost inevitable, but not only that, it is even assumed, if not desired, that a certain amount of ‘depopulation’ is being planned for deliberately; how war in Syria was planned for two years before the Arab spring; how vaccines for viruses are largely fraudulent.

I cannot speak to the veracity of such viewpoints, but have always promoted organic and local foods – since the early 1970’s when I dropped out of college to go live on a spiritual commune in Munroe NY – mainly because it seems to me that this is a simple, direct intersection of politics, spirituality, economics, culture and so forth. Put another way: if we all ate organic, our entire culture would shift in so many ways – mainly because of resultant shifts in local community employment patterns, featuring people actually working together to make things together, wherein far more people would be making and doing things for local/regional clientele vs. simply selling stuff made in China or grown in Chile/California – that most of the large Corporate Interests and stupid things they make – including rotten films and television shows and controlled media etc. etc. etc. – would simply go away because people simply wouldn’t be buying into all that rubbish in the first place. On a more simple and immediate level, even though we might not be able to organise ourselves well in comparison with large Special Interests and Governments (which increasingly are the same thing), we can have considerable effect by the choices we make every day. And rather than just sheepishly going along with everything presented in Big Box Stores (whose presence is known to undermine small town / local community economies and yet who continually receive tax breaks to come in and drive away most small local businesses and replace them with minimum wage, low-skill jobs, little better than life prison sentences!), including what is offered in Supermarkets, we can choose to do things differently. As much as possible buy from Farmers’ Markets or local suppliers of any goods and services, including local shoe repair, sawmills, local service providers – construction, road repair, energy and other consultants etc. – and so on.


These are the links I opened up – a very small selection – going through the article:  (about corporate espionage)

(Merck vaccine developer admits vaccines routinely contain hidden cancer viruses from diseased monkeys, and how they introduced AIDS to the US from such vaccine operations) (chemical brain drain) (depopulation agenda)

(Note: I have not studied the depopulation agenda story. I am trying to avoid most of these things because am more interested in what can be done positively rather than dwelling on all the corruption. I am now satisfied that most of the elites and our political systems are dysfunctionally corrupt, even if many of the individuals working therein are sincere. I don’t need to keep reading about it any more and prefer not to, at the same time do not want to deny overmuch either.)

PS  a related article I just read, albeit not about this report:

Short article showing disturbing levels of pesticides in organic produce. Yet another reason to support local farmers by asking for and then buying locally grown organic produce!



Joanne Lipman
Sept. 27, 2013 7:17 p.m. ET
I had a teacher once who called his students “idiots” when they screwed up. He was our orchestra conductor, a fierce Ukrainian immigrant named Jerry Kupchynsky, and when someone played out of tune, he would stop the entire group to yell, “Who eez deaf in first violins!?” He made us rehearse until our fingers almost bled. He corrected our wayward hands and arms by poking at us with a pencil.

Today, he’d be fired. But when he died a few years ago, he was celebrated: Forty years’ worth of former students and colleagues flew back to my New Jersey hometown from every corner of the country, old instruments in tow, to play a concert in his memory. I was among them, toting my long-neglected viola. When the curtain rose on our concert that day, we had formed a symphony orchestra the size of the New York Philharmonic.

Mr. K began teaching at East Brunswick High School when it opened in 1958. Kupchynsky Family

I was stunned by the outpouring for the gruff old teacher we knew as Mr. K. But I was equally struck by the success of his former students. Some were musicians, but most had distinguished themselves in other fields, like law, academia and medicine. Research tells us that there is a positive correlation between music education and academic achievement. But that alone didn’t explain the belated surge of gratitude for a teacher who basically tortured us through adolescence.”

This has little to do wtih baking, although somewhere in there is a mention of a generally accepted conclusion that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to master anything. Based on that, I still have a ways to go with making good bread, and actually that’s how it feels – I still feel that am at the level of intermediate, not even advanced intermediate, and quite possibly only advanced beginner.
The point, though, is that I recommend reading the whole article for I think it nails aspects of what has been increasingly wrong with contemporary ‘developed’ societies. It’s not conspiracy theory, it’s not political or financial, but by simply focusing on one topic – academic or learning outcomes, and how they are positively affected by ‘tough’ disciplinary approaches – yields some clear data.
I mean, we all know this anyway even though there is such an effort nowadays to soften everything up. Maybe this is feminism run rampant by mistake, who knows. But if you go to a hospital, for example (leaving aside flaws in the medical-financial model which governs it), you expect discipline in work ethic, hierarchy, communication, procedures, cleanliness, paperwork and so forth. Same in the military. Same in a business, large or small, fire department, library, bus, train, restaurant. We all know this and experience it daily. It’s not news.
It shouldn’t be news.
But when it comes to media, entertainment, news, social analysis & commentary, there is this seemingly concerted push (what US conservative ideologues call ‘liberal media’ or ‘liberal bias’) to break down old norms and impose some sort of mushy, feel-good, always-equal I don’t know what it is. But seemingly anything firm, deliberate, definitive, understandable, culturally homogenous, is pretty much always wrong, and what we need is more diversity, inclusiveness, lack of definition or even cohesion. I am over-simplifying, but still, I think most of us know what I mean.
This tendency, which again seems pushed somehow in the face of daily contrary evidence in terms of what we know works and how we work with each other, is harmful.
It needs to stop.
Meanwhile, back to my 5000th hour!
This week I am trying an experiment to push my skills: because there is a big rival market at Centre 200 in downtown Sydney this Saturday, we’ll have less people. So I thought: maybe I should work a little less hard, not only by making fewer loaves, but fewer different doughs. So am going to combine 4 breads into one dough, then later on add various particular ingredients. So the focaccia, walnut, dark sandwich, and miche will all share the same dough (equal parts fresh ground and white Red Fife with about 20% fresh-ground multigrain starter), and then I will still also have fresh-ground Rye, spelt, sprouted multigrain and mainly white Brioche. So not only is that 8 loaves instead of usual 10-11, but also 4 of them share the same dough. Oh, I’m also going to add fresh organic apples to the walnut and dark sandwich.
Will be interesting to see how it all turns out. I find that pushing myself this way and then charging less if such experiments don’t come out well, is better than getting a recipe perfectly fine-tuned (which have done with many of them at this point) and then making them again and again ad infinitum. I do this with most, but every bake there has to be some loaf (or two) which is experimental, which pushes my skills, and which provides a bit of feedback: if I know what I’m doing I’ll get good results, but if I don’t, the bread will give some ‘tough love’ feedback which I also share with my customers.
Maybe it’s not exactly ‘grit’, but also it’s not playing it safe either in a way which, ultimately, stunts growth and learning.
And I believe that no matter how old we are, learning is quite possibly the single most important thing we should be doing every day, whether in the work place or the bedroom.

Science Natural News site

Science Natural NewsScience Natural News search resultsThis looks like a good website for accessing studies on various foods, medicines etc. I have not read any of these sourdough-related links, but shall begin. Generally, there is little substantive ‘scientific’ research on real foods, cuisines, basic things like bread, wine, beer, cheese, soups and so forth, so even these studies might fall short.

For example, posted last year at some point was a link to studies done in Italy showing that even sourdough white breads, over time, are healthier than commercial yeast ‘whole wheat’ breads. But buried in the fine print is the fact that they used a rather strange combination of ingredients, featuring alot of beans if I remember correctly, as part of their starter culture, something which hardly any normal bakers would do. Why didn’t they just use a typical sourdough starter culture? I don’t know, but it probably has something to do with being able to control things, both in a positive way in order to get consistent results, but also just to be different, aka ‘scientific’, so that ordinary mortals cannot be put on a par with ‘the experts’.

Another problem is that the modern method tends to like to drill down to particulate details, or find individual quanta or compounds which they can then isolate, synthesise, patent and market. But reality – especially on the microbial level – always works with symbiotic, diverse populations. You don’t find single-strain cultures in nature (like we put into modern bread using single-strain commercial yeast for example), although you do find ones with dominant elements of course such as mold growing on the surface of a badly managed sauerkraut culture, or across the surface of an old piece of cheese. Even those latter populations, however, only come into existence as such as part of a cornucopia of variables, which themselves comprise no end of diverse microbial populations. I believe there are 700 types of bacteria, not to mention fungus and yeasts, that live in a healthy human mouth alone comprising population so of many millions, and that’s just the mouth. ( )  The gut, which contains more neural activity than the brain (search for ‘enteric brain’), contains zillions of times more microbial cultures whose chemical reactions – and organismic agenda – greatly effect and in some cases actually manage such neural activity, which is why some have claimed, not without reason, that a good case could be made for saying that human being have been grown by microbes in order to more creatively express their underlying intelligence, i.e. we are a product of their intelligence rather than their merely being some sort of parasitical host in our physical bodies.

Anyway, hopefully there are some good studies and articles in this website.

For example, I did a search on sourdough rye + celiac and this came up top of the list [ excerpt]:

Safety for patients with celiac disease of baked goods made of wheat flour hydrolyzed during food processing.

Publication: Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology : the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association
Publication Date: 2011
Study Author(s): Greco, Luigi;Gobbetti, Marco;Auricchio, Renata;Di Mase, Raffaella;Landolfo, Francesca;Paparo, Francesco;Di Cagno, Raffaella;De Angelis, Maria;Rizzello, Carlo Giuseppe;Cassone, Angela;Terrone, Gaetano;Timpone, Laura;D’Aniello, Martina;Maglio, Maria;Troncone, Riccardo;Auricchio, Salvatore;
Institution: Department of Pediatrics and European Laboratory for the Study of Food Induced Diseases, University of Naples, Federico II, Naples, Italy.
Shortcut link to this study:
BACKGROUND & AIMS : Celiac disease (CD) is characterized by an inflammatory response towheat gluten, rye, and barley proteins. Fermentation of wheat flour with sourdough lactobacilli and fungal proteases decreases the concentration of Gluten. We evaluated the safety of daily administration of baked goods made from this hydrolyzed form of wheat flour to patients with CD.METHODS : Patients were randomly assigned to consumption of 200 g per day of natural flour baked goods (NFBG) (80,127 ppm gluten; n = 6), extensively hydrolyzed flour baked goods (S1BG) (2480 ppm residual gluten; n = 2), or fully hydrolyzed baked goods (S2BG) (8 ppm residual gluten; n = 5) for 60 days.RESULTS : Two of the 6 patients who consumed NFBG discontinued the challenge because of symptoms; all had increased levels of anti-tissue TRANSGLUTAMINASE (tTG) antibodies and small bowel deterioration. The 2 patients who ate the S1BG goods had no clinical complaints but developed subtotal Atrophy. The 5 patients who ate the S2BG had no clinical complaints; their levels of anti-tTG antibodies did not increase, and their Marsh grades of small intestinal mucosa did not change.

CONCLUSIONS : A 60-day diet of baked goods made from hydrolyzed wheat flour, manufactured with sourdough lactobacilli and fungal proteases, was not toxic to patients with CD. A combined analysis of serologic, morphometric, and immunohistochemical parameters is the most accurate method to assess new therapies for this disorder.

PMID: 20951830
This extract/summary does not explain the exact constituents and method of sourdough process or type of breads, but it does generally support the conclusions of other studies I have seen, namely that proper natural fermentation significantly decreases, if not outright eliminates, many of the problem ingredients that provoke celiac reactions. Or put another way: natural slow (‘sourdough’) fermentation alters the chemical/cellular structure of gluten protein in grain flours such that many of the difficulties encountered by people in digesting them are lessened or entirely alleviated.
That said, I don’t like the small number of people used for this study, but that is typical. There isn’t much money for this sort of research.

Elegant lecture challenging modern religion, aka scientific materialisim

Rupert Sheldrake author of The Science Delusion (‘Setting Science Free’ in US).

He lists ten commonly held beliefs which he regards as fallacies. I must confess I have felt exactly the same about each of these fallacies for decades now, so it’s nice to not be alone. I’ll say no more except to add that I’ll be buying the book, and on this blog I might start offering book or article reviews, most about baking but some about topics like this, because how we regard reality affects how we regard food, and how we regard food affects how we regard bread, including my bread. So it not only relevant, but very, very important!!

The Science Delusion Rupert Sheldrake (‘setting science free’ in US)

Monsanto Protection Act in the US – this is not a joke!

I find this website often adds a tad too much emotional spin for comfort, but at the same time he usually covers real issues and real news which few others do so consistently. Personally, I am convinced, having read Seeds of Destruction in full which highlights dozens of peer-reviewed studies on GM crops/foods etc., that GM should be immediately outlawed as a perversion of Nature and something already proven to be harmful to animal and human health. Full stop; end of story.

Of course, that’s not going to happen.

If Mike Adams is right in this article about the thrust, scope and power of this new ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ which is apparently it’s real name, then this is just one more reason why we should start growing our own food again and/or getting absolutely as much as possible from local producers at our Farmers’ Markets. Personally I don’t trust most of the organic stuff at the supermarkets and regard packaged food which can be stored a long time but are pre-prepared and ready to eat, even if organic, as useless. I will buy organic produce there if there is no local equivalent, it’s a way of voting with my dollars, but I am not convinced it is all that much better – a fruit picked weeks too early, even if organic, is really not all that good. We are all so used to prematurely picked fruit that even farmers’ markets vendors do the same thing.

Anyway, a quote from the article:

Corporate-government conspiracy is fascism

This new law forces the USDA to automatically approve all GMO planting permits sought by Monsanto and other biotech firms, effectively granting Monsanto dominion over the U.S. government. This is the very definition of fascism, a form of tyrannical government where corporations conspire with the government to destroy or confiscate all rights, powers and assets, leaving the people impoverished and powerless.”

You might think, reading this in Canada, that it doesn’t concern us. You might be right. But I don’t think so. Health Canada is the same sort of corporate-run fake government that they have in the US, as various Canadian whistle blowers have shown us. Our press is so controlled few Canadians are aware of these things.
In any case: eat organic, grow your own or buy local. Don’t trust these long-distance, over-centralised corporate-engineered imitations of pretty much everything: food, clothing, music, education, medicine, government, law and all the rest.
They are taking money out of peoples’ bank accounts in Europe and this is just the beginning.