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Experiences at the interface of life, law, and motherhood in Cali

The DARK Act: AKA Congress BANS GMO Labeling

In case you missed it, in another example of how our elected officials are so corrupt it will make your head spin, The House passed a bill that will ban states from requiring food manufacturers to label GMOs in their products.

Friends of the Earth voiced deep disappointment at yesterday’s passage of H.R. 1599, a bill which preempts state and local authority to label and regulate genetically engineered food. Dubbed the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act, the bill was backed primarily by Republicans and passed by a vote of 275-150.

  1. As reported by ABC, “The bill prevents states from each passing their own labeling laws”– the tired as hell argument being that these laws will increase food costs. Um no. You may or may not be aware that after a HUGE outcrying of moms regarding the alleged GMOs in Cheerios, gasp! the recipe was changed. No more GMOs in the cereal marketed to babies as a finger food. Eventhough it was clearly a bottom line decision, I applaud General Mills on that point.
  2. “While companies wouldn’t be required to disclose their products containing GMOs, they would have to get certified if they wanted a label that certifies their products do not contain GMOs — meaning you’d still be able to spot those products easily at the supermarket.” THIS IS where the increased costs will come in. You will have to go through a special process and have your product certified to label it as NON GMO. Whereas those who use GMOs would have an incredibly negligible task of simply adding a sticker to previously designed packaging, with no additional process required, those wishing to label their NON GMO foods would not only have the labeling issue, but also an entire additional process. Now that sounds like an added burden and increased food cost. Let us all pray to the universe that Congress doesn’t ban that bane of hope for real food.

Further troubling:

“The evidence is piling up that Monsanto’s glyphosate and other pesticides that go hand in hand with genetically engineered crops may be harming our health. Americans have more reason than ever to want to know whether they are eating GMOs,” Archer said.

In fact: “More than 300 farmer, consumer and environmental groups and the nation’s second largest farming group, the National Farmers Union opposed the Dark Act.”

H.R. 1599 would preempt more than 130 existing local and state statutes, regulations and ordinances in 43 states and block any future similar oversight of GMOs. GMO labeling is required by more than 64 countries around the world and higher food costs have not been reported in these countries as a result of labeling. In 2013 and 2014 more than 30 states introduced legislation to require GMO labeling, and Vermont, Connecticut and Maine recently passed GMO labeling laws.

Friends of the Earth supports the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, bipartisan legislation introduced by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), that would direct the FDA to require labeling of GMOs.

In writing to my Congressman, I stated how HR 1599 is counter intuitive. Not only does it favor corporations over people– who is it again Congress is supposed to serve? It also eliminates the ability for consumer to know and choose what they are eating. If individuals do not care whether they are eating GMOs or not, then they would continue to eat foods that contain GMOs, despite the labels. If, however, what is more likely the case, consumers do in fact care whether they are consuming GMOs, the label may serve as a warning, and discourage consumers from buying those products– which is likely what is occurring here. Rather than giving Americans the ability to determine what’s in their food, The House voted to keep us in the DARK, pun intended. Disappointing.

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Filed under: Congress, Corporate America, Corporate Interests, GMOs, House of Representatives, Legislation, , , , , , , , , , ,

Vaccine Injury Compensation Program is Failing us, Says Stanford Law Professor

Someone sent me the following article, with a link to an article in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. The article, criticizing the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, is written by a Stanford Law Professor. See also

HEEDING VACCINE COURT’S FAILURES

Stanford2.12.14_392The tort system is frequently criticized — for the unpredictability of its judgments, the stinginess (or, some say, profligacy) of its awards, and the slow pace, exorbitant cost and adversarial nature of its operation. In tort’s place, many suggest, we ought to create alternative compensation mechanisms — which is to say, programs that would provide payment to injured individuals outside the traditional court system. The idea is that, within these alternative mechanisms, compensation would be more quickly, more easily, more consistently and more simply delivered, without long delays or adversarial process.

Recently, this idea has been taking hold in the realm of medical injury. Fed up with the medical malpractice status quo, many advocate moving medical-malpractice cases outside the traditional court system into freestanding, dedicated tribunals. More than just a passing fancy, legislation to establish these “health courts” has been introduced in more than a half-dozen states, while bills to charter pilot projects have been introduced in both houses of Congress. If health courts’ many influential supporters are to be believed, these specialized courts are poised to revolutionize medical-malpractice litigation: They would offer faster compensation to far more people, while quelling adversarialism and restoring faith in the reliability of legal decision-making.

But would they? Do alternative compensation mechanisms really operate as effectively as proponents now predict? The best place to look for answers to that question is the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.

Created by Congress in 1986 as the problem of vaccine injury hit crisis proportions, the program is a no-fault compensation system housed within the U.S. Court of Claims and funded by a 75-cent tax on each vaccine dose administered. Since its effective date, the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has adjudicated more than 14,000 petitions for vaccine injury. As such, it offers a rich empirical template to assess whether the advantages thought to accompany alternative compensation mechanisms actually accompany these mechanisms once the rubber hits the road.

DISCOURAGING RESULTS

I have studied nearly three decades of previously untapped material concerning the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program’s operation, and the results are discouraging. Echoing current claims about health courts, back when the program was created, expectations for its operation were sky high. Congress expressed confidence that the program would resolve claims “quickly, easily and with certainty and generosity,” while contemporary commentators predicted that it would offer prompt justice to vaccine-injured children, while guaranteeing equal compensation to similarly situated individuals. So certain was Congress that adjudications would be straightforward that it established a mandatory, statutory 240-day deadline for all vaccine-injury adjudication decisions. Yet, it’s putting it charitably to say that the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has failed to live up to these high hopes.

Despite predictions at enactment that it would “guarantee” equal treatment to similarly situated claimants, a lack of consistency has bedeviled the program. Even though Congress established that each petition would take, at most, 240 days to adjudicate, in reality, the average program adjudication takes more than five years. This is substantially ­longer than similar claims resolved by court judgment or trial verdict within the traditional tort system.

And although claims within the system are supposed to be amicably resolved, in reality their resolution is frequently antagonistic. In the words of a medical expert who has long participated in the program: “What should be a quiet, civil, deliberative discussion of facts and medicine too frequently degenerates into a contentious, vituperative, decibel-escalating exchange.”

The bottom line is that the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was supposed to offer “simple justice” to vaccine-injured children. But it has largely failed to do so.

For two reasons, these findings should give us pause. First, problems that plague the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program should trouble us if we care about the plight of vaccine-injured children and whether the safety net Congress created to protect those who suffer from vaccine injury is working as intended. This concern is especially urgent now.

Vaccination rates in the United States are lower than they should be, with fewer of our children vaccinated for the measles than children in Uzbekistan, for example. And with the recent California measles outbreak, the effects of this comparatively low vaccine rate seem to be coming home to roost.

At the time the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was enacted, many thought a smoothly functioning, reliable compensation system would help to convince Americans to become (in the words of the day) “soldiers in the battlefield in the war against disease.” If we want to convince more American parents to vaccinate their children, improving the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program could help.

Second, these findings shed light on how well other alternative compensation mechanisms, including health courts, might work. There have been many proposals to create alternative compensation schemes in the past and many more will follow. But the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, with high hopes at its enactment yet disappointing performance over the past three decades, stands as a cautionary tale for all of them.

This story was first published on June 29 in the National Law Journal.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Lack of Real Information

My children are fully vaccinated.

I have stayed away from re-stating any controversial conclusions, such as those stating that vaccines cause Autism, essentially because the message has just been repeated so frequently in the media, that it must be true right? I have not looked further into the “CDC Whistleblower” because it must just be a bunch of bs right? Except that the official statement made by the former CDC Scientist is not actually that outlandish. Read it for yourself. IMO, it seems to parallel everything else published by the CDC and CHOP that vaccines can, and do cause injury, sometimes very very serious injuries and death, BUT that doesn’t mean we should just not ever utilize vaccines. We don’t know whether the association with Autism is causation or correlation. However, we do know that data has been falsified in relation to vaccines. This is allegedly the reported reason that Merck has been involved in litigation for several years over their MMR vaccine. (I am not personally familiar with that case, this is just my understanding based on what has been reported)

Instead, I think, we should figure out what the fuck the actual information is regarding risks, and decide whether that is good enough. Is the risk of high fever and collapse of our kids at the reported rate of 1 in 10,000 per dose safe enough when we are giving our kids 5 doses before they turn 2? For an affliction that is almost non-existent? (tetanus) THEN, when we have ALL the relevant information, we can reach INFORMED decision. You know like the term INFORMED CONSENT implies.

I prefer to get information directly from doctors. I respect their medical training. I would like to hear from them what the various risks are. However, my personal experience has been that doctors willing to honestly discuss the risks associated with vaccines are in short supply. So who do I have to track down to hear the unbiased information? I just want to know. This is what the vaccine is made out of, this is what clinical trials revealed, these are the risks of vaccinating, these are the risks if you actually get the disease. All the information.

And I don’t think that is an unreasonable request. And I DO think I am entitled to that information as a concerned parent, and as an American.

************************************************************************************

August 27, 2014 Press Release, “Statement of William W. Thompson, Ph.D., Regarding the 2004 Article Examining the Possibility of a Relationship Between MMR Vaccine and Autism”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE-AUGUST 27,2014

STATEMENT OF WILLIAM W. THOMPSON, Ph.D., REGARDING THE 2004 ARTICLE EXAMINING THE POSSIBILITY OF A RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MMR VACCINE AND AUTISM

My name is William Thompson. I am a Senior Scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, where I have worked since 1998.

I regret that my coauthors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism. Decisions were made regarding which findings to report after the data were collected, and I believe that the final study protocol was not followed.

I want to be absolutely clear that I believe vaccines have saved and continue to save countless lives. I would never suggest that any parent avoid vaccinating children of any race. Vaccines prevent serious diseases, and the risks associated with their administration are vastly outweighed by their individual and societal benefits.

My concern has been the decision to omit relevant findings in a particular study for a particular sub­ group for a particular vaccine. There have always been recognized risks for vaccination and I believe it is the responsibility of the CDC to properly convey the risks associated with receipt of those vaccines.

I have had many discussions with Dr. Brian Hooker over the last 10 months regarding studies the CDC has carried out regarding vaccines and neurodevelopmental outcomes including autism spectrum disorders. I share his belief that CDC decision-making and analyses should be transparent. I was not, however, aware that he was recording any of our conversations, nor was I given any choice regarding whether my name would be made public or my voice would be put on the Internet.

I am grateful for the many supportive e-mails that I have received over the last several days.
I will not be answering further questions at this time. I am providing information to Congressman William Posey, and of course will continue to cooperate with Congress. I have also offered to assist with reanalysis of the study data or development of further studies. For the time being, however, I am focused on my job and my family.

Reasonable scientists can and do differ in their interpretation of information. I will do everything I can to assist any unbiased and objective scientists inside or outside the CDC to analyze data collected by the CDC or other public organizations for the purpose of understanding whether vaccines are associated with an increased risk of autism. There are still more questions than answers, and I appreciate that so many families are looking for answers from the scientific community.

My colleagues and supervisors at the CDC have been entirely professional since this matter became public. In fact, I received a performance-based award after this story came out. I have experienced no pressure or retaliation and certainly was not escorted from the building, as some have stated.

Dr. Thompson is represented by Frederick M. Morgan,Jr., Morgan Verkamp, LLC, Cincinnati, Ohio,

link to original:

http://www.morganverkamp.com/august-27-2014-press-release-statement-of-william-w-thompson-ph-d-regarding-the-2004-article-examining-the-possibility-of-a-relationship-between-mmr-vaccine-and-autism/

Filed under: Uncategorized

The Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
Georgia:
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Column 3
Massachusetts:
John Hancock
Maryland:
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia:
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Delaware:
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Massachusetts:
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Connecticut:
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

Filed under: Uncategorized

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