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Diversity-The key to life

Bacteria tree of life

From the New York Times article “Scientists Unveil New ‘Tree of Life’” by Carl Zimmer
“The new tree of life that researchers published on Monday. It shows that much of Earth’s biodiversity is bacteria, top, half of which includes “candidate phyla radiation” that are still waiting to be discovered. Humans are in the bottom branch of eukaryotes.”
Credit Jill Banfield/UC Berkeley, Laura Hug/University of Waterloo

I used to think it must be the water when people began to get sick with cancer during my growing up years, because it was so sudden it seemed. One minute it was whispered about and the next everyone I knew was a potential target for its wrath. I would muse that the chlorine in city water surely must be to blame for all the ills that were befalling my parent’s friends and others. Maybe I wasn’t that far off? This article I highlighted here speaks of the lopsided number of bacteria, fungi and lichen that inhabits our world in comparison to the more familiar vertebrate that we see every day. These minute creatures play an outsized role in our lives you can be sure.

In reading my monthly copy of Smithsonian Magazine I took note of an article a couple of years ago that discussed people of Finland having a serious rise in auto immune diseases, while right next door in Russia a genetically similar group of people hardly knew what those same diseases were. The researcher hypothesized the difference in the two communities was simply dirt. The Hygiene Hypothesis was born.
The research concluded that life without the antibiotics and cleanliness of the industrial world kept the Russians next door out of harms way for auto immune diseases.

In the industrial world we have anti bacterial wipes at the grocery store for the cart handles, anti bacterial soaps and anti bacterial laundry detergent. Not to mention bleach that plays a huge role in our lives for anything from white flour to bathroom cleaner and of course chlorine in any municipal water source. Antibiotics we take when we are sick claim a prominent place in our lives as well. Chlorine was designed to keep pipes from developing algae, which tends to grow in the absence of oxygen, but chlorine ended up disinfecting the water to the point there may not be a germ in it. Antibiotics ONLY treat bacterial infections and have nothing to do with the viruses that most often send us to the doctor yet we have gotten in the habit of demanding them for even simple colds doing us no favors.

All living things need different forms of germs and bacteria to keep us all healthy. Without them in our human systems our guts would become nonfunctional and we would die. The Hygiene Hypothesis contends that our immune systems have become “bored” without any credible germs to fight, so the response is to attack our own systems.

Unfortunately, we take things farther yet by spraying, dousing and infusing the earth with anti bacterial pesticide chemicals to the point that our crop soils will not support life on their own. Looking at the above computer model of the “Tree of Life” I would venture that in their natural state plants that we eat would provide us with many fungi’s and bacteria that are now gone from our diet and our ultimate health cycle. Plants ingest nutrients from the soils that feed their growth and manmade fertilizers just can make up for the divergent microbe society that thrives underground when not sprayed with untold chemicals.

To take my thinking one step farther, what do you suppose we communicate to the microbe community when we plant genetically modified crops? At some point GMO plant life must be conveying/signaling to the greater soil complex that we do not need them, perhaps further eradicating life as we know it.

I have planted GMO flower and vegetable seed before, harvested from a pepper I cut up or flowers that went to seed and they positively will not grow. They come up from the soil for a few inches and promptly die because they have been genetically programmed to never repeat their life, which forces us to buy new seeds every year for our gardens. They somehow do not need the building blocks of the soil on their suicide mission, so what do they “teach” or pass on of survival? Will plants forget how to survive going forward?

Apparently human bodies are learning that survival is not necessarily something we need concern ourselves with judging by the auto immune responses around the developed world. We have antibiotics for our sickness, pure water where every last thing has been removed in the way of microbes and minerals and soaps to make sure even our skin will not suffer from microbes in the form of dirt. Trouble is, all of these teachings are not creating knowledge in our cell structure, it is creating laziness.

My conscious responses to the world around me are borne from my parents and their parents and theirs, etc…my physical responses to disease and sickness have similar building blocks no doubt and without those who am I? Right down to cell level I should be a product of germ warfare where survival of the fittest is the doctrine to live by. Do I really want to play with that formula?

Diversity is the key to everything from politics to germs. We cannot survive with a mono-culture in our soils, our bodies or our minds. We were designed with diversity for a reason and we need to get back to that before it is too late.

 

Right Where We Left Off

These past few days I cannot get the politically ridiculous comments of Sarah Palin out of my mind regarding it being a President’s fault that her son does not know right from wrong in domestic behavior no matter what the cause. I know I shouldn’t let her kind of cheap rhetoric get to me, but there are some things here that I just can’t leave unsaid or at very least brought to the fore front. This is right where we left off 6 years ago with her nutty rhetoric. I often wonder why they keep invoking Obama in the first place as none of them are running against him?

Recent history in short, in case you have been on a beach on a remote island somewhere… Palin’s eldest son “Track” smacked his girl friend around on the same night that Sarah went before Trump supporters to endorse his candidacy. At the rally she threw some red meat to see what she had for sharks in the audience by blaming Obama for Track hitting his girlfriend due to poor Veteran care.

Sarah Palin’s son Track Palin enlisted in the service in 2007 two years before Obama took office and the subsequent responsibility of a very messed up Veterans Administration that Bush knew had an incredible backlog and some serious corruption problems during his tenure as President. To Bush’s credit he eventually acknowledged there were some problems and likely they had been on a downward spiral for a long while, but he failed to fix them. The incredible shortages in funding came because, poisoned with “Agent Orange” Vietnam veterans went down like flies over time, with every affliction from Parkinson’s to skin cancers and liver damage to brain tumors. The same chemical you use on your weeds by the way. There was simply too many veterans to treat effectively with the funding they had, so the newer veterans began to feel the pinch of years of monetary neglect.

As with anything in DC who owes who, who knows who and who squeaks the loudest gets the prize so problems in every facet of government get buried because there is more money to be made in layering over a problem than solving one. Obama did roll some heads over the whole VA debacle after it came to light that at least some of the problems were due to internal corruption, but it did not start in this administration and in fact there is no one administration that can be held totally accountable for the long term failings other than the ones who oversaw the application of Agent Orange in the jungles of Vietnam. When Obama did ask to revamp and steer more money to the VA after much squabbling, congress did indeed let funds go for that, but a good share of the GOP voted against the increase, in particular the “rogue” players in the party.

As for Track Palin who has had a few more brushes with the law than most kids, he could very well be suffering from PTSD and even if he is not, there are still, of no fault of their own, combative behavior issues with many vets coming home from the Middle East. However, a quick check of the Internet tells me there are three Veteran facilities in Anchorage alone where he could be seeking treatment. His family is now more than wealthy enough to pay private doctors if they are concerned for his welfare and deem VA services there are inadequate. I would think he would be worth spending a bit of that reality money on a real reality in their family.

Alaska is no stranger to Veterans, and Palin of all people should be and should have been acutely aware if there are/were shortcomings there, as she served as governor before she quit mid-term in the face of corruption charges leveled at her.

Our veterans are not part of some reality game, and to use their injuries as finger pointing tools is really a slap to many who are trying to put their lives back together. It is a slap to any President who has to write or sign letters of condolences to a dead soldier’s family, or meet an incoming transport plane carrying the bodies of soldiers as this President has done several times.  It is also a slap to Track who may well be in need of some serious help. I am glad Track was not one of the bodies coming home and Sarah Palin is lucky to have him at home and ought to pay him some attention if he is in distress instead of using him to gain attention to herself. Her rhetoric at the Trump rally was nothing more than a cover up of Track’s short comings regardless of the cause. He deserves better so he doesn’t end up yet another casualty of these ridiculous conflicts of war.

What Happened to Will?

Will Rogers in famous vaudeville promotional photo.

Will Rogers in famous vaudeville promotional photo.

Will Rogers who was born in 1879, about the time my Grandfather was born. Although not knowing him personally I think he was one of the finest men ever in this country. He represented everything that we only wish for in social, spiritual and political leaders these days; honesty, integrity, politeness and respect for his fellow man. He certainly lived through times like we are seeing now across the globe, but he never followed the crowd. He somehow remained neutral through times of incredible partisanship that stemmed from the corruption around him.

He made jokes of the very people who were feeding the political fires and got away with it because of who he was. Will Rogers never had harsh words for anyone, but his tongue was politely sharp when it came to setting folks straight. We need Will now.

I rack my brain trying to figure out why putting others down is in favor now and part of some bully pulpit for some. I listened to Donald Trump, a candidate for President calling down a quality female reporter and getting cheers for it as if he were in a boxing ring. You can call the outrage “political correctness” if you want, but I call it barbaric when a Presidential candidate is calling anyone names. After several people were hit and killed by a wayward car driven by an African American in Texas one individual stated he hoped the people killed were “Liberals”. Now we have a young woman, an elected official refusing to obey not only her oath to uphold the Constitution, but she defied a court order thus forcing the judge no choice but to put her in jail for contemp. She is claiming her “Freedom of Religion” as her guiding force when in fact no one is challenging, rather her employment as an elected official, paid for with tax dollars that come from all walks to do her job is the crux of this. We cannot simply choose what we will support of the Constitution. We cannot decide individually what we will and will not obey for laws in this country. Mixed church and state is what our young people are dying fighting against right now in the Middle East. Do we really want that in America?

The political rhetoric is to blame for the bulk of this out of control behavior and sometimes downright hatred. The ones pushing this hate agenda are the ones who will benefit be it more guns sold or more money from the insurance companies in the form of kickbacks; all of us are the losers in the name of greed. We are being talked into not trusting our friends even. A good friend told me they could not talk politics with me because they “are republican”. I grew up Republican, but I must confess my heart is independent, so I guess I am inbred with political thinking? What pray tell do we think democracy is all about? Why aren’t we listening to a variety of information sources and ideas, do folks think they will learn by talking to themselves? It takes both a stallion and a mare to throw a mighty fine colt. We are being bamboozled and for good reason…money.

I am happy to hear Trump talking about all the PAC money that is thrown to politicians by their corporate and individual owners although he himself is certainly not in this for the Presidential wages. I have blogged and commented for a very long time about the amounts of money that is used to buy our politicians. No one is understanding just how far the practice has seeped into our livelihoods through exposure to chemicals that are causing us untold ills, the economy that is rigged for the very rich because it has left us monetarily too poor to fight back, and lastly our pride. We used to have pride in being a country of high moral congressional leadership that led the World. We were proud of our education, our economic stability and fellowship in law and community, but over the last few decades we have let that be chipped away without a shrug.

Will would be aghast at how openly the deceptions are practiced and just how ignorant we are when it comes to seeing what is going on around us. He would be shocked at how little people know about our government and how it works. He must have lived through this kind of thing in the 1800’s and perhaps saw then how easily it can happen, but social media and corporate sponsored media has only heightened the misinformation he could have dreamt of.  This nation used to be so prideful that we invented nearly everything that we use today, but those inventions did not happen without education. Even good old farm kids and their families of which I am one, coveted learning. Reading was taught above all else because it was a vehicle to knowledge and knowledge is power.

As we lose the knowledge our power dwindles and that is happening right before our eyes as I write. People have more access to information than ever, yet they will not verify anything they get in an email forward.  Americans are being told that we should only watch certain media presentations, or read only certain email or websites online. These are not dumb people that are buying into the rhetoric and information that is presented to them. Newspapers existed in every town across this country, large or small, young and old during Will Roger’s lifetime. They were coveted as were books and the education from them was celebrated. Now even textbooks are leaving out historical facts and clouding science. I was always taught to not believe everything I read, but I was also given a standard of common sense by which to interpret the words.

I am missing Will Roger’s guidance and his savvy for calling bull pucky when he ran across it. I miss his whit, his knowledge and his chivalry, but I never knew him I read about him from a reliable source and learned from things he said. He led by example and that is what people loved about him. What happened to his example of living?

“We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others”.

Will Rogers

Big Government

Since Obama came to office, we have heard so much rhetoric about “big government” and how we shouldn’t like “big government”. It is spoken of everyday on websites, television and in blogs across the spectrum of “conservative” media. I am certainly not in favor of unenforceable regulation, wasted resources in terms of labor and salaries or a law for every season and occasion, but here are several things of interest to me regarding the use of the phrase “big government”.

Big government to me is a government run by wealthy people and corporations who stand to make millions and even billions on the laws that they get through congress by bribing congressional representatives and senators with BIG money. They are an extension of our government in every sense of the word. The many causes taken up by congress are brought to the legislators by the very rich insiders and many of those causes are more laws that help them, not less laws. It seems to me the more laws we have to confuse issues, the more a good lawyer can get away with and so the very people in power that harangue about “big government” make those same big government laws themselves.

For instance, there are laws made by the insurance companies to require flame retardant on all our clothes, couches, flooring and drapes even though they are proven cancer causing chemicals that only poison us in a fire. The commerce department will not allow chemical free couches or beds to come into this country for retail sale. Why would they do that knowing they were going to hurt people? In short, they continue to require it because the chemical companies make money on the law and constant revisions of it to enable them the sales of their chemicals. To boot, they have insiders implementing the rules inside the agencies that oversee this kind of thing. As well insurance companies and pro football are the only businesses in this nation that do NOT have to comply with anti-trust laws…they can band together and price fix all they want so we have zero competition going on. We wonder why our insurance rates are so high…everyone has a piece of that pie.

The USDA has all kinds of laws and most of them put in place by big industry. For instance in my home area there are many people who want local beef, pork and other home grown or homemade foods. The USDA was both infiltrated and bought off over the years by big farm companies, (think Kroger and Tyson) and big feedlots to require that a packaging plant have equipment that costs thousands and thousands of dollars, effectively pushing out the small packing plants where we all got packaged beef when I was a kid. They had laws made that required testing that cost thousands of dollars unless you happen to have a huge plant where a testing unit can pay for it. The USDA has regulated things through lobbying to the point that I cannot by a jar of jam commercially from someone unless they have bought all the proper machinery to put up that jam. I ask you to think about this a minute. Where do those laws come from and why? On the surface it appears that the laws were done as a burden and by our government…well they are and were, but big corporations made sure of it to cull the small competition. It certainly isn’t because the water boils at higher temperatures at corporate jelly making facilities. It is done to get ahead by squashing the competition.

Chlorine is in our water for one reason and that is to keep the algae from forming in the pipes, but the idea was sold to all of us as a safety measure for our health so the laws are on the books to require the use of it for most developed areas. So, who likes those laws? The chemical companies who lobbied for more and more use of the extremely dangerous chemical. The same thing can be accomplished with an old-fashioned cistern to settle out bacteria and aerate the water so algae does not form, but we have been talked into chlorine instead.

Think about it…who benefits from the laws we have? Follow the money in your mind. You only have to look as far as the food industry as a whole where laws are on the books that make no sense at all and I would bet there are very few of us who would have supported those laws in the first place. Insurance regulators allow laws that only benefit insurance companies. The health care industry is another where we are charged so much for drugs and only because there are laws on the books put there by the pharmaceutical companies that require testing that still doesn’t get us anywhere safety wise, but it allows them to charge more. They have rules in place that shuts out the generic market for drugs until such time as the drug companies make their millions. Think about it…laws come mostly from the folks who stand to gain. So really, what is “big government”? A government that is purchased by big corporations that are headed up by boards compiled from industry, lobbyists and ex-politicians is more what I see from where I sit. Sure, there are a few of us ordinary schmos as stockholders, but we do not have the clout to control these companies.

OK, now there are laws that indeed came to be that seem ridiculous to some of us, but here again let’s think about the whole picture…

Where I am from was a big mining area from the 1880’s through the 1970’s and when the ore petered out or the price for it fell, they left. They left the pipes, cables, piles of tailings and the tailings ponds that go with them. Old trucks, engines, buildings and gaping holes in the mountains and the flats where uranium might be found as well. There were no rules, no one worried about what they left until contaminated water started showing up in folks wells and in their croplands downstream. Eventually, slowly laws were written to force these big companies to clean up after themselves, something I was certainly raised to do. These laws cut into the profits of those companies so over time they came to push back on those rules and decried we had a “big government” trying to control us all. Well yea, my Mother did the same thing, she had rules and I thought of her thus myself. However, those were simply the rules and I had to live by them because I was in her house.

Corporate boards write the laws for us that help them make money and they can’t control themselves or clean up after themselves, so we are forced to put restrictions on them later and it cuts into their incomes. The uranium holes around our house we taxpayers paid to have filled back in. Now why didn’t the companies mining for the stuff fill them in…they had the dozer right there? Instead we are always stuck with the cleanup because big corporations can’t control themselves when it comes to earning money…they have money eating boards who demand to be profitable. The really sad part of it is the small companies who do try to do a good job cannot afford to fight things in court end up taking the brunt of the penalties that eventually blanket the industries.

After thinking on this for some time, and really looking at where the money comes from and goes to, I am pretty convinced that many of the laws are written to benefit someone’s pocket book and have nothing to do with you or me or even the inner desires of our congressmen, they are part of doing business. Part of it is satisfying the board members and their incomes. It all amounts to big government, but things did not get the way they are by government itself, it got that way so someone could make money, or many someone’s from the politicians to the board members. The term of big government would not bother me so much if the very people who created it would not use it so freely. Isn’t it amazing how “big government” is no longer big when another party is in office; like overnight?

Sure there are things that are or seem ridiculous when it comes to laws and they have always been there like, “You shall not ride your horse into the bar”. Well, that seems silly to us because most of us do not know what a horse is for starters, and seriously we think it is a stupid law now. I bet it wasn’t in 1889 however, and maybe mining laws will be looked at in 2050 as being obsolete too, but as of right now there are still gaping holes, contaminated water and whole mountains being leveled. The pharmaceutical companies are still lobbying for rules to charge us more and the USDA is manned by chemical companies. Now THAT is big government.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife Strategic Plan

CPW

03/13/15

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is forming a long range strategic plan for the state CPW and have on online form for public comment. I am encouraging all those who use trails, hunt, Mt. Bike, horseback ride, ranch, motor sport, etc. to please go online and fill it out. It doesn’t take long and may well shape the future of trails, hunting and fishing.

“CPW’s recently completed State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) documented through a public opinion poll that trails based recreational activities are the most popular outdoor recreational activities in Colorado, totaling 250,000,000 activity days per year by Coloradans alone.”

Maybe CPW should do more toward trails as they pertain to not only hunters and fisherman, but also to big game movement, winter feed grounds and grazing permits and not to mention 250,000,000 regular trail users. I am suggesting they couple with the other agencies to make our trails system the best it can be for wildlife and users of all kinds.

http://cpw.state.co.us/aboutus/Pages/StrategicPlan.aspx