Greywater Project Finished!

Getting Bids

Two greywater companies and four plumbing companies came out to bid the job. The highest bid came from Greywater Corps ( and they charged $400 to bid both the greywater and a rainwater project. Out of four plumbers, only 3 gave me bids and they were the next three in terms of total price, but they didn’t have the experience of the greywater companies. The least expensive bid came from Earth Steward Ecology (, based in Long Beach. Ryan Serano, the owner, charged $175 to come out on June 2nd, 2023 and bid both the greywater and another second project for rainwater capture. The bid arrived on June 27th and I called Ryan to tell him he got the job.

It took almost three months between the time I told Ryan he got the job and when actual work commenced on September 19th. I was glad to have the time to have a Chip Drop delivered so I could have enough mulch to cover the greywater line if they needed it. I used most of the Chip Drop to mulch my back yard and the Dirt Lockers. Earth Steward Ecology ended up using just a small amount (about 1 cubic yard) of the chips.

Pump or Gravity Fed?

Installing a pump basin where water is collected temporarily and pumped into the greywater line is more expensive than a gravity fed system, but the later requires that your property be sloped 1/4 inch down every foot of distance from your house. A pump can get the water anywhere you need it, even uphill or across flat distances. My property slopes toward the street, but the amount of digging that would have been necessary to lay the line out at 1 inch of slope every four feet made it prohibitive. Plus, pumping the water meant I could send it in other directions besides just toward the street.

Where to put the pump reservoir (basin)

It makes sense to have the pump at a place where the water is collected near enough to the house that it is holding water draining from your bathrooms and/or washing machine while also near an outdoor electrical outlet or electricity source. The water drains into the pump basin via gravity, so the team had to dig a very deep hole at the corner of my house near where the sewer line runs. My house has a crawl space, and the team spent quite a few days under the house fitting greywater piping from one sink in my master bath (the other sink had too tight an area to fit the greywater piping, so it still drains to the sewer line, but luckily I don’t use that sink very much) and two sinks in the other bathroom, plus both tub drains in the master and the second bathroom. I have a third bathroom that we didn’t capture because they would have had to drill through two concrete foundation walls under the house. The first two bathrooms are the main source of greywater, and the team also captured the water from my washing machine. Washing machines have their own pump so you can move water uphill and therefore, it doesn’t matter if the greywater pump reservoir is uphill from the washer.

Each sink has its own “actuator”

What if you want to put Draino or Liquid Plumber down your drain to clear out a clog? You can still do that IF you have a switch that changes the effluent drain from greywater to sewerline. The team installed switches that activate a diverter valve that directs the flow to either the greywater pipes or the sewer pipes. The actuator switch was installed inside my sink cabinets. The washing machine also has an actuator switch so that if I wanted to use bleach, I could make sure that water goes to the sewer line.

What kind of soaps can be used?

You may have to switch to biodegradable products.
I didn’t have to switch because I already use biodegradable soaps, essential oils, and environmentally sound products. I checked with the company that sells my favorite shampoos and conditioners and they assured me their products are safe for greywater. Here are the products I use:
Dolce Mia: hair and skin products, fantastic scents
Miracle Soap: for body wash, shampoo, and washing the tubs and sinks; basically it washes everything. sells it here:
Lemongrass Spa: face washes, all non-toxic ingredients
Laundry Detergent: Charlie’s Soap at Azure Standard:

What was it like to work with Earth Steward Ecology?

The crew consisted of three men: Ryan Serano who is a licensed plumber, and his employees Noé and Ian who are apprentice plumbers. They came at 9:30 in the morning the first day, and most days they arrived between 8:50 and 9:30 am. They almost always parked in my driveway, necessitating moving their vehicles before I could get out of the garage to leave. But they were always gracious about it and very quick to act.

The crew often worked half days and didn’t come back after lunch. Sometimes they would leave at 1:00, sometimes as late as 1:30, and not come back until the next day or a few days later. Ryan was trying to complete another large job during my project, so he would pull his crew off my job and not come back for several days. This didn’t bother me much because I’m a patient person. Plus, since most of the work was done under the house or outside, it didn’t impact my enjoyment of the house. My favorite thing about the crew was that they were very clean. They would take their shoes off to come through the house, they would vacuum whatever they were working on. They left very little trash and what trash they did leave took almost no time to clean up. When they left their tools and supplies at the house, they put those items in places where I would not have trouble moving around. All in all they were very considerate and respectful. I was really impressed when Ryan bought some touch-up paint that exactly matched the wall behind my washer/drier. I had told him not to bother because, after all, it was behind the washer/drier and I never look back there. He wanted to make sure it was perfect.

Problems occurred:

The piping under the house ran into problems. The crew had to drill through difficult concrete blocked areas, they had to fit into tight spaces, some of which made the job prohibitive (such as under one of the sinks in the master bath), and drilling through two areas of my foundation were quite laborious. They also ran into a problem when the cleanout line was in the way of their pump reservoir’s line. They did a workaround after discussing it for some time. Each problem was met with patience and creative problem-solving. The job took longer than they could have anticipated. And yet, in no instance did Ryan tell me he needed to increase the cost.

How long did it take to install?

Work was completed on October 13th, about 3 1/2 weeks after they started.


I won’t know until two water billing cycles if the cost of my bill will really decrease.

But I do know that only one zone is now watered by the greywater line, and I have a total of 14 watering zones. I don’t expect much of a savings.

What I do enjoy, is that I don’t have to think twice about taking long showers or filling the bathtub up for a bath. I won’t annoy my daughter by asking her to finish her shower quickly. Instead of having the water go right into the sewer lines, it is going to feed a whole lot of fruit trees (there are a total of 13 fruit trees and 8 rosebushes on that zone).

What if I go on vacation? How will the trees get watered?

I don’t want my trees to suffer if I leave and there’s no showers or sink usage. So Ryan set up the greywater system to accept water from one of the valves of my city water irrigation system. So, all I have to do before I leave is turn that one valve back on by programming the controller to deliver water a certain number of minutes. It’s already programmed for frequency and start times.

What does it look like?

The greywater tubing is purple; all repurposed water lines are purple wherever the landscaper captures and directs effluent from greywater sources. The tubing is 1/2 inch thick and has emitters every 12 inches, same as Netafim or the Rainwater dripline or Toro’s dripline has. If you have a gravity-fed system, there is no purple tubing. It’s done with pipe, splitter valves, and mulch basins. Earth Steward Ecology had to put more than one ring around most of my trees, as they are mature and need a lot of ground covered to feed all the roots to the dripline of the tree canopy.

The backflow prevention technique:

Ryan said he installed two valves in the line between the city water source and the pump basin, each one being a one-way valve. Water can only go in one direction and the flow stops if it tries to reverse. It’s called backflow prevention, so greywater won’t get into the city water lines.


Overall, I give the project a thumb’s up. I started getting bids April 6th and it was completed on October 13th, so please be patient if you decide to make this happen for your house. If you are a DIY’er, Greywater Corps teaches classes for $200 on how to hook up your own system. You can find out about their classes by signing up at their website to receive emails. It’s easier to capture water from a washer since it has its own pump, but getting the water to your landscape is the issue. I have concrete sidewalks ALL the way around my house which made it tricky. You may not have the same issues and your job will go easier.

More photos:

Front of house feeds 6 trees
Back of house feeds 7 apple trees
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Fruit Tree Tour 2019

Thanks to all who attended this year’s tour at my garden! Here are a few photos taken by my friend, Mitch Rosen:

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Gardening Word of the Day: Mulching

What is mulch?

Mulch is plant/animal material, usually waste from tree clippings, animal poo, leaves, green waste, bark, or other “outside” organic materials that have been gathered and processed through a chipper, a composting process, or just heaped up in a pile and “seasoned”. If it has been composted, it will contain microorganisms that are good for your garden; the digestive system for plants. If it hasn’t composted much, or it’s too full of nitrogen (such as fresh chicken poo or cow manure), it may burn your plants. Some horse piles, usually layered with hay, will burst into flames when the nitrogen gets too hot!


Mulching your trees and flower beds is the single most important thing you can do to ensure a healthy garden and maximum results. But don’t put the mulch right up against the bark of a tree! If the tree’s roots are all underground, then putting mulch against the trunk may cause phytophthora (a fungal disease organism) to grow and set up the eventual demise of the tree.

I tell all my clients to put a “monster truck tire” sized ring of mulch around their trees.

Benefits of mulching:

1. Reduces the need for water: you water less because there is less evaporation when the water seeps into the mulch and is held there.

2. It feeds the plants and trees: Fertilizer can only be taken up by the roots when the soil is rich with life. The bacteria, fungi, worms, and other critters that feed on organic matter and live symbiotically with the plants’ roots are the ones who make the fertilizer bio available so that it can be taken up by the plant.

3. It looks good. Have you ever seen dry, cracked soil? Not too pretty. Cover that up!

4. Mulch suppresses weeds. It’s harder for weed seeds to germinate when they are too far under a 2 inch (or thicker) cover of mulch.

5. It improves the quality of your soil. If you’ve ever been told to “amend your soil” it is always about adding organic matter. Mulch, being made of organic matter, when mixed with your soil, allows for proper aeration, improves the fertility and tilth (read: structure and suitability) of the soil, and enriches it with each application. You should be mulching every six months, in a perfect world. Adding your own composted kitchen scraps around your plants would be ideal.

6. Mulch protects the soil. Sun and wind will erode your soil and reduce the soil level. Often, tree roots will become visible. The mulch acts as a replacement for the soil, covering those roots and preventing further erosion.

Where to find mulch in the South Bay. Here are five types of mulch and the benefits/pitfalls of each:


1. Gaffey Street Mulch isn’t actually on Gaffey Street; it’s on the access road across from the San Pedro DMV and running alongside the San Pedro Community Garden. It is just North of the recycling and hazardous waste center. The pile is usually available on Saturday mornings and gone by the afternoon. They sometimes drop it off during the week as well. It comes from the City’s composting facilities, which takes the green waste from your cans, chips it, piles it up and seasons it, mixes it. You will find it in varying degrees of breakdown. Sometimes the chips are large, sometimes it is really fine. But you will always find pieces of glass, trash, and debris among the material. It’s not that bad, but if you have small children or barefooted people walking through your garden, don’t get this mulch. Plus, you have to shovel it into containers or a truck because it’s self-serve.

2. Go online and sign up to receive chips from tree companies. You will need to have a driveway large enough to take a huge dumptruckload and you might not be home when it happens. They want the flexibility to come anytime and leave you a “present” in your driveway. They also might come with chips that contain evergreen tree material, which is highly suppressive to growth. Great for making paths and keeping out weeds, but not great for growing fruit trees.

Not free

3. Hy Grade at 25200 Vermont Ave., Harbor City, CA 90710. 310-326-6996 Henry Alvarez sells “planting mix” or “compost” for $25/cubic yard. He has a “scoop” which holds the equivalent of one cubic yard, so the good news is that you don’t have to shovel it into your truck by yourself and it takes very little time to get a truckload. The downside is, the material is not “hot” and as such, it does not contain much biological activity. The stuff he calls “compost” is not made out of the type of material that percolates well. Water will pool or run off of it, not percolate through it evenly. But it is very fine, and it looks quite good. When mixed with your bio-active soil, it provides organic material for the little buggers, so if you already have a thriving garden, it makes a nice topcoat.

4. Kellogg’s Amend, Planting Mix, bags of compost, mulch, bark, etc. at Home Depot, Lowes, Armstrong, etc. You can buy bags of almost any organic material to use as mulch. If you have a small garden, or you just can’t see yourself dealing with trucks and gardeners, this is the way to go. If the bag is still hot, it may still contain microorganisms, and that is a good thing.

5. Mini bark from BD White, 18800 South Broadway, Gardena, CA 90248. 424-285-4129 For top of the line material, you can’t do better than mini bark. It costs $65/cubic yard, and BD White will deliver for an extra fee. They will dump 10 cubic yards, but they will not spread it. This stuff is beautiful, but the most excellent thing about it is that it contains mycorrhizae and bacterial populations that the others might not have. And it will never have termites in it, like the aforementioned wood chips, because it’s from the bark of trees, not the part that would contain termites.

For a dumptruck company, call Garnica Trucking (310) 780-1289; ask for Steve. His truck will hold up to 10 cubic yards. A cubic yard is 27 cubic feet, and the typical bag of material from the garden store contains only 2 to 3 cubic feet.

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Weird Biodynamic Tree Paste

Today, I was reading California Rare Fruit Grower’s recommendations on how to take care of new grafts, and they warned that hot summer sun can damage young tree bark, so protect it using white paint, Kaolin clay, or bio dynamic tree paste. Any time I see “biodynamic,” I think of Rudolf Steiner, the father of the Biodynamic Method.

Rudolf Steiner devised some of the weirdest recipes I’ve ever seen for making soil remediation brews. For example, his cow horn manure preparation: “We take manure…stuff it into the horn of a cow, and bury the horn a certain depth into the earth…provided the earth is not too clayey or too sandy.”

He goes on to explain what this process does to the manure:

“…by burying the horn with its filling of manure, we preserve in the horn the forces it was accustomed to exert within the cow itself, namely the property of raying back whatever is life-giving and astral. Through the fact that it is outwardly surrounded by the earth, all the radiations that tend to etherealise and astralise are poured into the inner hollow of the horn. And the manure inside the horn is inwardly quickened with these forces, which thus gather up and attract from the surrounding earth all that is ethereal and life-giving.”

–Rudolf Steiner, Agriculture Course

Therefore, the brew for biodynamic tree paste has a similar ethereal weirdness:

  • 2 parts silica or diatomaceous earth
  • 3 parts potting clay (or clay from your own soil, if it is mostly clay), soaked for 3 days in enough water to make a slurry
  • 4 parts cow manure (or certified organic cow manure, found at your local nursery or garden center)
  • enough rainwater to make all the former into a paste

To apply, scrub the tree’s bark, removing any scale insects, lichen, or loose material, and paint the bark with this mixture until it is well coated. In theory, the difference between this and the white paint or Kaolin clay is that it actually heals the tree bark or pruning cuts, fighting infestations and bacterial/fungal infections.

I specialize in stone fruit tree care, such as peaches, nectarines, plums. These type of trees often succumb to a fungus called cytospora and leucostoma persoonii, which proliferates more during wet weather. The bark will then peel away and ugly lesions (called cankers) will pop up with amber sap often covering them. See this photo:

When this happens, the tree must undergo surgery as described by The American Phytopathological Society (APS):

Surgically remove cankers. Cankers should be removed, and (if possible) burned, buried, or moved out of the orchard. Cankers on trunks and large limbs can be removed surgically in mid-summer when trees heal most rapidly. Surgery should be performed in dry weather with a forecast of dry conditions for at least three days. During surgery, remove all diseased bark around the canker and about 1 1/2 to 2 inches of healthy tissue from the sides and ends, respectively.

The problem is, the cankers often attack the oldest parts of the tree, including the trunk and main branches. The APS describes the best hygiene to prevent and deal with this condition. There is no known chemical or fungicidal application that provides satisfactory treatment. However, if anybody can cure a tree, it would be Rudoph Steiner and his biodynamic concoction of tree paste. Want to give it a try?

To have your trees coated in biodynamic tree paste in Southern California, call Judy’s Homegrown. For large orchards, see this article from Applied Biodynamics.

For a free Judys Homegrown handout about Fungal Infection of fruit trees, click here.

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Grafting Citrus Trees

Sarawak Pummelo grafted on a Rio Red Grapefruit

Do you have a citrus tree that doesn’t bear fruit, or the quality of the fruit is not what you expected? Maybe that’s because the rootstock has “taken over.”

Or maybe you have a small yard, yet you would like to have more citrus varieties. Grafting is a good solution to add variety and create a “rolling harvest” to your fruit collection. When one type is done, the next type becomes ripe.

Citrus trees are generally made up of two parts: a rootstock and the scion. The nursery attaches some budwood (scion) of the desired cultivar to the top of a seedling. The seedling or “rootstock” has desirable characteristics that make the root system anchor well and exhibits interesting qualities. For example, some rootstocks do better in clay soil than others, some resist pests and diseases, and some allow for prolific production of fruit.

But watch out for that rootstock! They sometimes send up “suckers” below the graft union that need to be rubbed off or strenuously removed with a lopper, depending upon how long you’ve let it go.

If your tree isn’t producing much fruit, there are several common reasons. Most often, the tree is immature. If it is less than 3 years old, it’s still putting most of its energy into growing a strong root system. Once the tree is established, at year 5, if there is still little fruit, it could be that a sucker from the rootstock shot up and crowded out the scion, essentially obliterating it. Other reasons for poor fruiting are lack of water or drought stress. Sometimes it’s because you applied fertilizer at the wrong time for that tree, during flowering. Quite often, it’s an alternate-bearing tree that gives fruit every other year.

If you think the rootstock took over your tree, never fear. Do NOT remove the tree. Instead, have someone “topwork” a scion onto the rootstock, usually with a bark graft. It will fruit much sooner than a new tree that needs three years to get established.

Where do you get scions? The Citrus Clonal Protection Program (CCPP) offers a plethora of varieties, and the best time to get your budwood is February, March, and April while the bark is “slipping” and grafts can be inserted into a cut made in the cambiam layer. To learn how to do grafting, visit your neighborhood chapter of California Rare Fruit Growers (CRFG) and watch their presentations or hook up with an experienced grafter to get a demonstration.

Citrus fall into a special category for budwood. Though CRFG offers a scion exchange once a year, you won’t find citrus there because it’s under quarantine. A devastating disease called Citrus huanglongbing (HLB), previously called citrus greening disease, often carried by the flying citrus psyllid, is under strict observation by officials and citrus industry experts. The CCPP offers disease-free and true-to-type budwood that can be safely applied to your rootstock.

Lane Late Navel on Carrizo rootstock

For more information, contact Judy at Judy’s Homegrown.

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How to Get a Great Night’s Sleep

Tips you won’t find anywhere else.

Nothing is quite like a good night’s sleep. For the past 30 years, I have been collecting strategies for dozing off into the abyss. First, please note that I do not take pills. The following tips work for me without pharmaceuticals or supplements.

  1. Go to sleep lying on your left-hand side. The sphincter between the esophagus and stomach lies closed when you lie on your left. Not so when lying on your right; studies have shown that the sphincter opens, causing undigested food and stomach acids to leak back into the esophagus. Conversely, lying on the right side in the morning aids in elimination of wastes. If you can arrange it, have your bed situated in your bedroom so that you face the door when you lie on your left, because it’s better feng shui for getting to sleep.

This idea of lying on the left is nothing new. In the Jewish religion, it was recommended to lie first on one’s left, and then on one’s right as the night progressed:

A person should train himself to sleep on his side. Sleeping on one’s back or on one’s stomach is a severe transgression. It is beneficial to begin one’s sleep while lying on the left side, and afterwards to change to the right side.

This is beneficial to one’s health, since the liver is on one’s right side, and the stomach on one’s left. When one leans to the left, the liver will lie on the stomach and warm it with its heat. This will hasten the digestion of the food. After the food is digested, it is preferable to lean to the right, thus allowing the stomach to rest and the wastes to descend. One should not turn frequently from side to side.

If you sleep lying on your back, consider elevating your upper body if you’ve eaten too close to bedtime. In general, try not to eat anything at least two hours before sleeping.

  1. Open your hands for sleeping. Lie your palms flat and then relax your hands. Try not to go to sleep with clenched fists. If you learned to sleep with balled fists as a child, and it’s the only way you can sleep, then ignore this tip. I don’t know why this one works, but I suspect it has to do with releasing unconscious tension.
  1. Use a ritual to prepare for sleep. Don’t listen to music that might repeat over and over in your head. Tunes that do this are called earworms. If you have an earworm in your head, break the cycle by playing Deepak Chopra’s A Gift of Love. Works every time. Don’t watch television right before sleeping. Read a book or article with a relaxing theme. Drinking warm tea will settle the body and calm the mind. I enjoy Celestial Seasoning’s Sleepytime, and Nighty Night, Bigelow’s Sweet Dreams, Yogi Soothing Caramel Bedtime, or any chamomile tea.
  1. Use relaxing aromas on your pulse points before retiring to bed. My absolute favorite is Eve Taylor’s Body Oil #10. It contains Mandarin, thyme, lemongrass, cinnamon, and lavender and it smells heavenly. I dab it on my wrists and between my collarbones. It’s a ritual that tells my system to slow down and start relaxing.
  1. Once you close your eyes, don’t open them to look at the clock. Instead of thinking about how you can’t sleep, allow thoughts to float through your mind. If you agonize over staying in bed versus getting up, ask yourself, “should I be sleeping right now?” Are you tired? Then stay in bed and assume that you won’t get up.
  1. One Mind Live. I discovered this fabulous meditation program more than a year ago. Three gifted people, Stephen Fearnley, Naomi Jenzen and Naomi Carling each contribute their magic to, what I consider to be a world-class, weekly, live program that can be repeated whenever desired by member subscribers.

Stephen composes beautiful, relaxing music that underlies each 40-minute session. The first Naomi delivers a ten-minute tapping session. Tapping, or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), invented by Gary Craig, consists of lightly tapping on specific acupuncture points while thinking about a specific topic. Naomi guides the listeners through each point, saying the words that relate to a theme, for example, handling stress, finding your power, dealing with pain, confronting anxiety, using intuition. Meditators repeat after Naomi, as she brings you into your body, into the present moment, and dissolves issues. She neatly prepares members for the next Naomi, who gives a truly inspired, sleep-inducing guided meditation. Her voice is gentle and soothing, and each week she comes up with a different journey for her listeners.

I meditate with them at least five times per week, often right before nodding off in my bed, but sometimes in the middle of the night when my “monkey mind” won’t stop ruminating. I always know that it’s working when I wake up hours later, not knowing what the second Naomi was saying last.

Stephen, Naomi and Naomi are very generous. They will take suggestions for topics, give out many free gifts, and begin each weekly broadcast with a discussion about spiritual topics, the vagaries of life, or fun and interesting banter. You can try them out for free before you subscribe. I love them!

Hopefully I’ve helped you find new ways to relax, rest, and wake refreshed!

For more tips, you can visit the National Sleep Foundation and feel free to leave your favorite ideas below.

Tags: sleep, sleep deprivation, health, healthy living, anxiety, how to deal with anxiety, stress, stress management, stress management tips, insomnia, insomnia tips, rest, tired, tiredness, nighttime, bedtime, bedtime routine, The Late Show, Television, earworms, deepak chopra, One Mind,

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How to Catch a GMO Shill

I wrote a piece about the difference between heirloom, hybrid, and genetically engineered seeds called Should Companies Patent Life two years ago. I wrote:

The problem with genetic modification is that we haven’t rigorously tested the effects of ingesting GM foods. The companies that benefit financially from selling GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms) have had laws passed in Congress that make it illegal for an objective, outside research team to review the GM seeds before they are commercially available. If a drug company tried to release a new medicine without testing it first, they would be stopped by the FDA.

Someone defending GMOs wrote in the comments that I was all wrong. GMOs are tested rigorously on animals. And besides, it would be unethical to test GMOs on humans.

I ask: if it’s so unethical to test humans eating GMOs, then isn’t it unethical to put GMOs into the food supply? And why be so stealthy about it? Why not tell people who are eating GMOs they are now test subjects? Label your GMO products, alright?

But a week after the shill had written that it was unethical to put humans through testing situations with GMOs, I couldn’t find her comment. She must have taken it down, realizing how ridiculous it looked.

The point is, even the shills say it’s unethical to be eating GMOs. They haven’t been proven safe in long-term human studies. And while testing GMOs (liberally sprayed with RoundUp), why don’t researchers add into the mix some mercury (from fish), aluminum (found in sunscreen and ingestibles) and glutamate (a widely used flavor enhancer), all known neurotoxins? You can’t just test these things in isolation and assume that they are safe. Rachel Carson, scientist and author of Silent Spring, warned that chemicals in combination can cause much more harm than they do alone.

Chances are that RoundUp combined with the three things I mentioned above are causing skyrocketing autism, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis, all of which are neurological disorders. But we wouldn’t know, because RoundUp is tested in isolation on rats. Tests beyond 90 days are rare, and much as the industry would like to extrapolate the short-term study results, it’s not the same as what is going on every day in households across the U.S.A.

Whenever a study comes up with results that are less than favorable, the shills are out doing damage control. They say the science was flawed, that the researcher is no good, that the study wasn’t done correctly.

Last week, I wrote another article about GMOs and a shill who probably works for biotech (how many of you are there?) came out with the same argument. But this time, I got it on a screen shot. CAUGHT! It’s unethical to test GMOs on humans.

My point exactly.


Tags: GMO, GMOs, GMO Labeling, label GMOs, genetically modified food, genetically engineered foods, ethics, monsanto, syngenta, Dow Chemical, BASF, glyphosate, RoundUp, herbicides, Roundup herbicide, FDA, fda regulations, FDA food safety, autism, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, MS, food, Fast Food, seeds

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Challenging the Giant GMO

At a private residence in Los Angeles this past Saturday, chimpanzee researcher Jane Goodall revealed that Steven Druker, author of Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public challenged Monsanto to review his research for any inaccuracies.

Ms. Goodall paraphrased Druker’s premise, “if they find something that’s wrong, [in the book] he will investigate and if they’re proved right, he will apologize and withdraw it.” Goodall doesn’t expect the chemical manufacturer to come up with a substantive argument against Druker’s meticulously researched tome.

Druker said:

If the world suddenly gained full awareness of the actual facts about GE (genetically engineered) food and all opinions about them became thoroughly based in solid science, if we adhere to the routine rhetoric of the proponents of the products, we’d have to predict that a universal wave of enlightenment would cause all opposition to them to vanish. Because in the rendition of reality that they propound, opposition has been based solely in ignorance and concerns about risks have been due to lack of scientific understanding.

But in actuality, the phenomenon that would rapidly vanish is not the opposition to GE foods, but the foods themselves. If the actual facts became widely known, the entire GE food venture would quickly collapse. And that is because, as research in several different countries has consistently shown, the more people know about GE foods, the more they learn the facts about them, the more concerned they become. And that’s why, despite repeated pretentions about wanting to educate the public, the biotech promoters have strenuously striven to suppress or distort critical facts.

Moreover, this twisting of the truth has reached massive proportions. My book documents case after case in which eminent scientists and scientific institutions have stooped to deception in order to enable the GE food venture to advance. And it demonstrates that if the truth had been told and the facts openly and honestly aired, these novel products would never have come to market, and we would not be having this discussion this afternoon.

Further, the sheer magnitude of the deception, in itself demonstrates how strongly the evidence weighs against the safety of these novel products because if the evidence were supportive, as their advocates claim it to be, there would be no need to distort it. If you have the facts on your side, you don’t need to do anything except just present them. You don’t distort them, you don’t resort to trickery. The fact that trickery has been resorted to time and time again and that the facts have been misrepresented or suppressed, again, is strong evidence against the safety of GE foods.

The biotech industry asserts the following, each of which Druker addressed in this video.

  1. Genetic engineering (transgenics) is nothing new. Though the biotech industry would have you believe that natural selection and gene transfer from one plant to another occurs on a continuum, of which GE is part of that seamless continuum, Druker cited the late Nobel Laureate George Wald of Harvard University when he referred to genetic engineering as “the biggest break in nature that has occurred in human history,” further stating that “such interventions must not be confused with previous intrusions upon the natural order of living organisms.” Molecular biologist Liebe Cavaliere, representing the position of science prior to release of GE foods, said that scientists who are claiming that GE foods are essentially the same as traditional breeding are perpetrating a “sham.”
  2. GE foods have never caused any harm. Druker devotes a chapter in his book to the epidemic following ingestion of a food supplement of bioengineered bacteria that produced L-tryptophan, where in 1989 and 1990, according to the Center for Disease Control, dozens of people died and 1,536 people were seriously harmed with a rare illness. These cases could be traced back to the company Showa Denko K.K., a Japanese wholesaler that used biotechnology to engineer its tryptophan-making bacteria. Unintended consequences do result because the following assertion is a myth:
  3. GE is precise and perfect; the gene insertion always produces the intended results. FDA scientists themselves have warned that new and novel GE genetic expressions are not reliable, that they may pose serious adverse health effects in the way of allergies, contaminants, and toxins. Despite these warnings, the FDA’s mandate was to further biotechnology.
  4. GE foods are rigorously tested and regulated by the FDA. In fact, the FDA does not require the inspection of GE foods for their safety. According to a paper published by the Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology, the “deadly supplements would have passed as a safe product if the established procedure for approval of GE foods had been used” because “the present safety assessment procedure for GE foods is far too insensitive to detect such dangerous poisons.” Druker further noted that “Not only can GE food be put on the market here in the U.S. without even a smidgen of testing according to the FDA, the manufacturer does not even have to inform the FDA that the food is being injected into the food supply.”
  5. Evidence abounds about the safety of GE foods. The Salk Institute’s David Schubert, a medical research scientist, published a peer-reviewed critique of GE food safety testing. Schubert wrote, “I can state confidently that it is false to say such foods are extensively tested and have been proven safe.” In fact, enough studies on laboratory animals have shown there is cause for concern, even when the studies rarely if ever extend longer than 90 days. When asked if there have been any human studies of the chronic ingestion of GE foods, Dr. Schubert said, “No. There’s not been any long-term studies in humans. There are not even short term studies in humans at all.”

An outspoken critic of GMOs, Goodall discussed some of the effects of RoundUp, the most prevalent herbicide used in the world. RoundUp Ready seeds produce corn, soy, and canola plants which are generously sprayed with chemicals. RoundUp, a combination of glyphosate and surfactants, seeps into the tissues of the food so that it cannot be washed off. In a paper published by the FDA, on page 6, they state:

“Residue Chemistry Branch has determined that the metabolite aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) is formed on plants in amounts that can range as high as 28% of the total residue on the plant. Since the extent of glyphosate metabolism was not adequately addressed in the rat metabolism study, the possibility exists that the AMPA metabolite could pose a hazard to humans that was not evaluated by testing the parent compound, glyphosate.”

In a genotoxicity study by F. Manas et al, RoundUp’s metabolite, AMPA, was found to significantly effect human genes, leading to sections of the chromosomes being deleted, added or rearranged. The study noted in its summary: “Very scarce data are available about AMPA potential genotoxicity.” Keep in mind that these researchers had not looked at the health effects of glyphosate or its metabolite, AMPA, on the brain or on reproductive health.

Tags: GMO, genetically modified food, genetic engineering, genetically engineered foods, Jane Goodall, Steven Druker, monsanto, glyphosate, herbicides, Roundup herbicide, FDA, fda regulations, FDA food safety, GMO Labeling

Posted in Ecology, Vegetables and Fruit | Comments Off on Challenging the Giant GMO

The United Corporations of America

Our government is completely broken. We no longer live in a country that represents the people who live here. In fact, Washington goes out of its way to hurt us. If we were living under a system made “of the people, by the people, for the people,” we wouldn’t let Citicorp get away with inserting a special provision into the last-minute government funding bill (December 11, 2014) to make sure the American taxpayer is on the hook every time their gambling debts (read: derivatives) threaten to crash the world’s economy. We wouldn’t build special pipelines to take dirty tar from Canada to the south where the dirty refineries have special non-laws so they can continue to ruin the ecosystem of the Gulf Coast. We wouldn’t let the insurance companies write their own ticket for selling their products through the government and give the drug companies one hundred and twenty years of patent protection so they can jack up their prices to the moon.

That is why there is a concerted effort by the people to take our government back from the United Corporations of America who are controlling every aspect of our lives, from how much we spend on the war effort, to whether or not a crazy person can easily buy a gun, to how much fossil fuels are ruining our air, soil, water, and our children’s future.

We’ve had it, Congress. And we’re coming for you.

Posted in Congress, Ecology, Economy, Energy, Military, Money In Politics | Comments Off on The United Corporations of America


Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t there a theory that the rich will give charity to the poor, and that is how they will be “taken care of”? Out of pity… That when there are no jobs to be had, even though they are willing, able and motivated to work, and when people are starving in this prosperous country, the rich will tithe and give alms to the poor through their churches and not through the government. That children will be cared for, so please have more children though you may not have enough money to feed them, house them, and give them medicines.

What is the Republican and Libertarian position on the poor who work two jobs and still have difficulty putting food on the table? What is their position on unemployed or underemployed seekers of work who are struggling? Shall we turn a blind eye? I really don’t understand this idea that all the poor people in this country are “moochers.” Tell me where that idea came from, and then show me all the moochers. Do an expose on them, please. Tell me any names of documentaries on the millions of people getting SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or WIC (Women Infants and Children) Program who are taking advantage? Shall we, one of the most prosperous countries in the world, have so many millions of children who go hungry? I don’t understand the callousness of our media (mostly Fox) who drill us with this propaganda that poor people are lazy and living off the government.

“We have a great program of governmental assistance ahead of us in the co-operative life of the nation; but we dare not enter upon that program until we have freed the government. That is the point. Benevolence never developed a man or a nation. We do not want a benevolent government. We want a free and a just government. Every one of the great schemes of social uplift which are now so much debated by noble people amongst us is based, when rightly conceived, upon justice, not upon benevolence. It is based upon the right of men to breathe pure air, to live; upon the right of women to bear children, and not to be overburdened so that disease and breakdown will come upon them; upon the right of children to thrive and grow up and be strong; upon all these fundamental things which appeal, indeed, to our hearts, but which our minds perceive to be part of the fundamental justice of life.

“Politics differs from philanthropy in this: that in philanthropy we sometimes do things through pity merely, while in politics we act always, if we are righteous men, on grounds of justice and large expediency for men in the mass. Sometimes in our pitiful sympathy with our fellow-men we must do things that are more than just. We must forgive men. We must help men who have gone wrong. We must sometimes help men who have gone criminally wrong. But the law does not forgive. It is its duty to equalize conditions, to make the path of right the path of safety and advantage, to see that every man has a fair chance to live and to serve himself, to see that injustice and wrong are not wrought upon any.”

Wilson, Woodrow. “Chapter 9/Benevolence or Justice?” The New Freedom; a Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People. New York and Garden City: Doubleday, Page, 1913. 218-219. Print.


Posted in Economy, | Comments Off on Moochers