Monday, April 14, 2014

Neuroscientist Exposes Dangers of Electromagnetic Fields

Activist Post
by Kevin Samson

Neuroscience has come under scrutiny for its involvement in an array of mind control initiatives and other ethically questionable research. But at least one neuroscientist from Sweden has gone on record to caution against the increasing dangers of Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) on human beings and other living organisms, as you will see in the presentation below.

Our modern world is creating an electromagnetic soup filled with electrical pulses, radio frequencies, computer screens, wireless signals, as well as personal devices such as cell phones and gadgets that are emitting damaging radiation. There are many peer-reviewed scientific studies which are drawing conclusions that should concern us all, but particularly young children and pregnant women.

In fact, the debate is heating up to such a level that government agencies are even infighting over the matter, as evidenced when the Department of the Interior recently sent a letter with their own scientific papers chastising the FCC for using standards that are 30 years out of date. As the DOI stated, the concern is not only in the negative health effects upon people, but upon wildlife as well.

Please listen to Professor Olle Johansson, PhD as he offers a comprehensive view of the many issues surrounding EMFs, including an industry-wide attempt by telecom to cover up the negative consequences. His information is echoed by the recent reversal of a ruling in Maine which had everything to do with industry pressure and influence. Professor Johansson also addresses what we can do to protect ourselves and our environment from the impact of EMFs.

Dr. Johansson is Associate Professor in the Neuroscience department of the world-renowned Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. This presentation was filmed at a technical seminar on the Environment and Health in Barcelona, Spain. It is a key presentation, as he is speaking to medical practitioners, not only to a lay audience. Nevertheless, it's a very straightforward and easily understood lecture.

Particularly troubling is his opening sequence which recounts the long history of known negative health effects.

He also asserts that all people are hypersensitive to EMFs and are being radiated in the classical way that we would think of as related to major events such as Fukushima. The health effects are long term - including DNA fragmentation - and also must be addressed as a cumulative threat.

At the very least, Professor Johansson asserts, EMFs very easily can be linked to a growing number of allergies, and he urges us to re-evaluate the rise in allergic conditions in tandem with the rise in the use of electronic devices.

Please share this information and help your friends and family make better informed decisions in a world of increased connectivity. Professor Johansson is no Luddite, but a concerned scientist who would like to see a full open debate based on the very troubling scientific health studies he cites.

This video can help to start a debate in your local community and government, before the lowest standards possible continue to be applied to human health and the environment. If you find yourself grappling with the apathy of others, I'd like to leave you with a quote:

When I die, I want the last thought to be I did my best; not I could have done better. - Professor Olle Johansson

YouTube

Measles Outbreak Patient Zero Fully Vaccinated

ExperimentalVaccines
YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztDWiEA_k-Y

Laboratory-Grown Vaginas Implanted in Patients


Scientists reported today the first human recipients of laboratory-grown vaginal organs. A research team led by Anthony Atala, M.D., director of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine, describes in the Lancet long-term success in four teenage girls who received vaginal organs that were engineered with their own cells.

“This pilot study is the first to demonstrate that vaginal organs can be constructed in the lab and used successfully in humans,” said Atala. “This may represent a new option for patients who require vaginal reconstructive surgeries. In addition, this study is one more example of how regenerative medicine strategies can be applied to a variety of tissues and organs.”

The girls in the study were born with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, a rare genetic condition in which the vagina and uterus are underdeveloped or absent. The treatment could also potentially be applied to patients with vaginal cancer or injuries, according to the researchers. The girls were between 13 and 18 years old at the time of the surgeries, which were performed between June 2005 and October 2008. Data from annual follow-up visits show that even up to eight years after the surgeries, the organs had normal function.

“Tissue biopsies, MRI scans and internal exams using magnification all showed that the engineered vaginas were similar in makeup and function to native tissue, said Atlantida-Raya Rivera, lead author and director of the HIMFG Tissue Engineering Laboratory at the Metropolitan Autonomous University in Mexico City, where the surgeries were performed.

In addition, the patients’ responses to a Female Sexual Function Index questionnaire showed they had normal sexual function after the treatment, including desire and pain-free intercourse.

The organ structures were engineered using muscle and epithelial cells (the cells that line the body’s cavities) from a small biopsy of each patient’s external genitals. In a Good Manufacturing Practices facility, the cells were extracted from the tissues, expanded and then placed on a biodegradable material that was hand-sewn into a vagina-like shape. These scaffolds were tailor-made to fit each patient.

About five to six weeks after the biopsy, surgeons created a canal in the patient’s pelvis and sutured the scaffold to reproductive structures. Previous laboratory and clinical research in Atala’s lab has shown that once cell-seeded scaffolds are implanted in the body, nerves and blood vessels form and the cells expand and form tissue. At the same time the scaffolding material is being absorbed by the body, the cells lay down materials to form a permanent support structure — gradually replacing the engineered scaffold with a new organ.

Followup testing on the lab-engineered vaginas showed the margin between native tissue and the engineered segments was indistinguishable and that the scaffold had developed into tri-layer vaginal tissue.

Current treatments for MRHK syndrome include dilation of existing tissue or reconstructive surgery to create new vaginal tissue. A variety of materials can be used to surgically construct a new vagina — from skin grafts to tissue that lines the abdominal cavity. However, these substitutes often lack a normal muscle layer and some patients can develop a narrowing or contracting of the vagina.

The researchers say that with conventional treatments, the overall complication rate is as high as 75 percent in pediatric patients, with the need for vaginal dilation due to narrowing being the most common complication.

Before beginning the pilot clinical study, Atala’s team evaluated lab-built vaginas in mice and rabbits beginning in the early 1990s. In these studies, scientists discovered the importance of using cells on the scaffolds. Atala’s team used a similar approach to engineer replacement bladders that were implanted in nine children beginning in 1998, becoming the first in the world to implant laboratory-grown organs in humans. The team has also successfully implanted lab-engineered urine tubes (urethras) into young boys.

The team said the current study is limited because of its size, and that it will be important to gain further clinical experience with the technique and to compare it with established surgical procedures.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Genetic Fallacy: How Monsanto Silences Scientific Dissent



 That a former Monsanto scientist should find himself in charge of a specially-created post at the very journal that published two landmark studies questioning the safety of that company's products should surprise no one who is aware of the Monsanto revolving door. This door is responsible for literally dozens of Monsanto officials, lobbyists and consultants finding themselves in positions of authority in the government bodies that are supposedly there to regulate the company and its actions.

Find out more about Monsanto's ability to suppress scientific dissent in this week's edition of the BoilingFrogsPost.com Eyeopener report.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Glyphosate/Roundup & Human Male Infertility

ISIS

Steep decline in human male sperm count concomitant with rise in testicular germ cell cancer, congenital malformations of the male reproductive tract and drop in serum testosterone levels, all pointing towards increasing exposure to glyphosate/Roundup herbicides during the past decades, now corroborated by lab findings Dr Mae-Wan Ho

A fully referenced and illustrated version of this article is posted on ISIS members website and is otherwise available for download here.

“The infertility timebomb: are men facing extinction?”

The headline of a newspaper article published in 2010 [1] refers to findings from decades of research carried out by Niels Shakkebaek, a professor at University of Copenhagen. Male infertility has been rising sharply in industrialized countries worldwide, one in five healthy men between the ages of 18 and 25 produce abnormal sperm counts. The problems start in the womb, says Dr. Gillian Lockwood, medical director of Midland Fertility Services in the UK. Testis development begins in the growing foetus. Factors blamed include too much beef in the diet rich in polycyclic aromatics, obesity during pregnancy, exposure to smoke, pesticides, traffic fumes, plastics and even soybeans.

Shakkebaek first highlighted the issue during a mini symposium at the European Medical Research Councils plenary meeting in Strasbourg in 2009. Semen quality has been declining in the past half century. In men without fertility problems, average sperm count dropped from 113 x 106 to 66 x 106/ml. About 20 % of young men in various European countries have sperm counts below the WHO (World Health Organization) reference level of 2o m/ml, and 40 % of have levels below 40 m/ml associated with prolonging the time to pregnancy [2]. Concomitantly, the demand for assisted reproductive technology (ART) is growing. In Denmark, more than 7 % of all children born in 2007 were conceived using ART.

There are geographical differences in semen quality. Finnish men have 35 % higher sperm counts than Danish men, while Scottish and French sperm counts are in between. Japanese sperm counts are as low as those of the Danes, and Singapore men have even lower sperm counts.

The trend in semen quality has implications for health in general, as men with poor semen quality seem to have increased mortality rates and shorter life expectancy. Infertility is also closely linked to several dysfunctions and abnormalities of male reproductive organs that have been rising concomitantly with infertility.

Infertility trend associated with testicular germ cell cancer, congenital malformations & low testosterone

Testicular germ cell cancer (TGC) is the commonest cancer in young men in many countries, associated with impaired semen quality and lower fertility rates even prior to cancer development. The incidence of TGC has been increasing over the past 40 to 50 years in the majority of industrialized countries coincidentally with the declining trend in semen quality. TGC is initiated during foetal development. The regional differences in TGC incidence in Europe follow the same pattern as observed for semen quality.

Congenital malformations of the male reproductive tract – undescended testis and incomplete fusion of the urethral folds that form the penis – are among the most frequent congenital malformations in human males. These two abnormalities share common risk factors, both associated with reduced fertility; the first malformation is also associated with poor semen quality and considerably increased risk of TGC. Incidences of these malformations appear to have been increasing in the Western world over recent decades.

Testosterone, the male hormone, is the major driver of male reproductive development and function. Suppression of its levels within the adult testis shuts down spermatogenesis and induces infertility. Studies of men with idiopathic infertility – for which the cause is unknown - and low sperm counts often show evidence of abnormal Leydig cells, which produce testosterone in the testis.

In Europe, incidences of TGC and congenital reproductive tract malformations have been going up coincidentally with a downward trend in semen quality and testosterone levels (although there are only data for the latter in Denmark). These disorders share common risk factors and are risk factors for one another. Consequently, it has been proposed that the conditions collectively may represent a syndrome - a testicular dysgenesis syndrome (TDS) - caused by a common underlying causal factor, which is either a change in lifestyle or an environmental toxin, especially endocrine disrupting chemicals such as pesticides. Notably, the review published by the European Science Foundation (an official body that coordinates international research programmes in Europe) fails to mention glyphosate explicitly, even though its use has been rising most rapidly among pesticides in Europe and in the rest of the world since the 1980s to 1990s.

Age-independent testosterone decline reflects rise in glyphosate use with GM crops

In America, there has been a substantial age-independent decline in testosterone that does not appear attributable to observed changes in explanatory factors including health status and lifestyle characteristics such as smoking and obesity. The estimated declines were larger than the cross sectional declines typically associated with age, as shown in Figure 1 [3].

The data are from randomly selected men living in greater Boston, Massachusetts in the United States, not connected with studies on infertility but with aging in general, as considerable loss of serum testosterone is thought to be a mark of male aging.

It is notable that the steep decline in testosterone levels began just after the introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops in 1994 with concomitant increase in glyphosate herbicides use on glyphosate tolerant GM crops. A comprehensive review article has blamed glyphosate for “most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet” including infertility [4], although the precise mode of action, at least in the case of infertility, remains unclear.

Roundup more damaging than glyphosate

There is already evidence that glyphosate is an endocrine disrupting chemical (see later), but the extent of the problem is far greater than it appears. Different glyphosate formulations vary in toxicity, mainly because some of them contain adjuvants that are either toxic by themselves, or else exert synergistic effects with glyphosate. It has long been known that Monsanto’s formulation Roundup, the most widely used glyphosate herbicide, is far more damaging than glyphosate itself (reviewed in [5] Ban GMOs Now, ISIS special report).

Giles-Eric Séralini and colleagues at University of Caen in France clearly demonstrated that POEA (polyethoxylated tallowamine, a major adjuvant surfactant in Roundup) alone was by far the most cytotoxic for several human cell types, at concentrations a hundredth to ten-thousandth that of glyphosate itself and other formulations without POEA [6]. Another study from the same laboratory also showed that Roundup exposure damages testosterone producing Leydig cells from mature rat testis at concentrations a tenth of agricultural use and beginning 1 hour after exposure [7]. Within 24-48 h, the same formulation was toxic to other cells inducing cell death, in contrast to glyphosate alone, which is only toxic to Sertoli cells (feeder cells for germ cells). At 48 h, Roundup induces apoptosis (programmed cell death involving DNA fragmentation) in germ cells and in Sertoli/germ cells co-culture. At the very low, non-toxic concentration of 1 ppm, both Roundup and glyphosate decreased testosterone level by 35 %. These experiments expose a major inadequacy in the regulatory regime, which still regards POEA in Roundup as an inert adjuvant for which no risk assessment is required.

A recent laboratory experiment shows that Roundup has direct, acute impacts on the mammalian testis at levels of exposure orders of magnitude below recommended agricultural concentrations.

Acute Roundup exposure at very low concentrations kills cells in the immature testis

The Brazilian research team led by Ariane Zamoner at the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Florianópolis, and Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, are well aware of the increased toxicity of Roundup compared with glyphosate, and were prompted to investigate the effects of Roundup by the high prevalence of reproductive dysfunction among agricultural workers occupationally exposed to the herbicide. They looked at concentrations of Roundup 2 to 3 orders of magnitude below the 10 000 to 20 000 ppm (10-20g/L) used in agriculture, which is quite realistic in terms of exposure levels for agricultural workers and members of the general public close to or within the spraying range [8].

The researchers found that brief exposure to Roundup at 36 ppm (0.036 g/L) for 30 minutes was sufficient to induce oxidative stress (a failure of energy metabolism, see later) and activate multiple stress-response pathways leading to cell death in the pre-puberty rat testis.

The team concluded [8]: “Altogether, the Ca2+-mediated disturbances by glyphosate-Roundup in rat testis cells around 36 ppm, could contribute to the reproductive effects observed in male agricultural workers exposed to this pesticide at prepubertal age.”

Detailed mechanisms of action identified

The team found that Roundup increases intracellular Ca2+ concentration by opening L-type -voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels – thereby allowing Ca2+ to enter the cells - as well as targeting the endoplasmic reticulum IP3 (inositol triphosphate) and ryanodine receptors (both Ca2+ release channels), leading to Ca2+ release and overload within the cells, setting off cell death. The mechanisms involved were inferred from experiments with specific inhibitors that cancelled out the effect of Roundup as well as Ca2+ influx; and confirmed by the increase in radioactive tracer 45Ca2+ uptake by testis incubated with Roundup at 36 ppm. These events were prevented by the antioxidants Trolox and ascorbic acid, which counteract the reactive oxygen species (see below) responsible for the oxidative stress. Activated protein kinase C, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, and the mitogen-activated protein kinases such as ERK1/2 and p38MAPK all play a role in eliciting Ca2+ influx and cell death.

Roundup also decreases the levels of reduced glutathione (GSH, the tissue’s own antioxidant) as consistent with oxidative stress, and increases the amounts of thiobarbituric acid reactive species (TBARS) and protein carbonyls, which are signs of oxidative damage from reactive oxygen species to lipids and proteins respectively. Exposure to Roundup stimulates the activities of a whole collection of enzymes supporting the down-regulation of GSH levels.

The research team looked at acute Roundup exposure of both whole immature Wistar rat testis and isolated Sertoli cells in culture; and the findings were very similar in the two systems.

Based on their experimental results, the team propose that Roundup toxicity is due to Ca2+ overload, resulting in cell signalling fault, a stress response and/or defence against depleted antioxidant, all contributing to the death of Sertoli cells, thereby impacting on male fertility.

The new findings are consistent with the well-known involvement of Ca2+ in cell death from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress causes Ca2+ influx into the cytoplasm from the extracellular environment and from the endoplasmic reticulum [9]. Rising Ca2+ concentration in the cytoplasm in turn causes Ca2+influx into the mitochondria and nuclei. In the mitochondria, Ca2+ accelerates the disruption of normal oxidative metabolism leading to necrotic cell death. In nuclei, Ca2+ modulates gene transcription and nucleases that control apoptosis (programmed cell death that involves fragmentation of DNA).

There is already evidence that glyphosate may act as an endocrine disruptor for both males and females by altering aromatase activity, oestrogen regulated genes, and testosterone levels in rats [10]. But Roundup acts via different mechanisms. Roundup exposure during pregnancy and lactation at a level that did not induce maternal toxicity in Wistar rats nevertheless induced adverse reproductive effects in male offspring, including decreased daily sperm production during adulthood, increase in abnormal sperms, and low testosterone serum level at puberty. In exposed female offspring, only a delay in vaginal canal opening was observed [11].

Oxidative stress and endocrine disrupting effects specific to Roundup

The key to understanding the action of Roundup on male infertility is the reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated in oxidative stress (see [12, 13] The Body Does Burn Water and Living with Oxygen, SiS 43). Not only are ROS implicated in practically every chronic human disease including cancer [14] (Cancer a Redox Disease, SiS 54), but also play an essential role in the pathogenesis of many reproductive processes as detailed in a review published in 2003 [15]. In male-factor infertility, oxidative stress attacks the lipids of the sperm plasma membrane and the integrity of DNA in the sperm nucleus. In addition, ROS induce DNA damage, accelerate germ cell death and decrease sperm counts, thereby contributing to male infertility.

ROS is so closely linked to male infertility that infertile males generating high levels of ROS are 7 times less likely to initiate a pregnancy compared with those with low levels of ROS. A meta-analysis demonstrated that ROS levels were significantly correlated with the fertilization rate in couples undergoing in vitro fertilization [16].

Ashok Agarwal at the Center for Advanced Research in Human Reproduction, Infertility and Sexual Function, Cleveland Ohio in the United States led a retrospective study on 132 male factor infertility (MFI) patients (failure to initiate pregnancy with fertile partner after one year of unprotected sex) consisting of 24 with all normal sperm parameters, 38 with all abnormal parameter and the rest with 1 or more abnormal parameters [17]. They found that the 34 normal healthy donors (controls) had significantly higher sperm concentrations, motility and morphology compared with all MFI patients. There was a significant association between MFI and ROS with odds ratio of 4.25, independently of sperm parameters and age. They concluded that high ROS is an independent marker of MFI, irrespective of whether these patients have normal or abnormal semen parameters. They proposed that ROS measurement should be included a part of idiopathic infertility evaluation, and treatment with antioxidants may be beneficial for such patents.

ROS are generated as intermediates in the central metabolic process whereby oxygen-breathing organisms obtain energy to fuel all their activities. The energy metabolism takes place in the mitochondria, the tiny membranous powerhouses within cells where fragments from the breakdown of glucose are oxidized ultimately into carbon dioxide and water. It involves a tightly coupled process of oxidative phosphorylation in which electrons and protons are extracted from the chemical fragments, with electrons transported down the electron transport chain and protons transported up the proton gradient, so that their energy can be tapped to make ATP (adenosine triphosphate, the universal energy intermediate of the body) (for a good summary of the entire process see Chapters 21 and 22 of [18]

Living_Rainbow_H2O, ISIS publication). During this tightly coupled process, ROS are generated as partially oxidized intermediates [13]. Consequently, disturbances that uncouple oxidative phosphorylation lead to a failure of oxidation and release the partially oxidized and damaging ROS intermediates into the cell, resulting in oxidative stress.

It is very likely that the primary target of Roundup, especially its POEA surfactant, is the mitochondria, which play a key role in the development of sperm cells and sperm motility [19]. In addition, male infertility could arise from ROS damages to mitochondrial DNA.

Francisco Peixoto at University of Trás-os-Montes, Real, in Portugal compared the effects of Roundup with glyphosate on isolated rat liver mitochondria [20] and found dramatic differences. Roundup collapses the transmembrane potential of the mitochondria and uncouples oxidative phosphorylation, depressing the rates of oxidation, with effects starting at 0.5 mM (7.5 ppm). These effects are most likely due to non-specific permeation of the mitochondrial membrane by Roundup or its adjuvant POEA. In addition, Roundup specifically inhibited succinate dehydrogenase, succinate cytochrome c reductase, and ATP synthase and ATPase, key enzymes in oxidative phosphorylation. Glyphosate, on the other hand, does not have any significant effects on the function of mitochondria up to the highest concentration used, 15 mM (253.5 ppm).


Recall: Something Even Nastier than Usual Lurks in Tyson Chicken Nuggets

Nutritional Anarchy
by Daisy Luther

Just in case chicken “nuggets” aren’t disgusting enough, now Tyson has been forced to recall more than 75,000 pounds of the melded poultry parts because of “extraneous material”.

Due to an issue with some of the processing equipments, consumers may find a little something extra in their “nuggets” – little bits of plastic. The USDA reports:

The problem was discovered after the firm received consumer complaints that small pieces of plastic were found in the products. The problem was traced to a product scraper inside a blending machine.
The company has received reports of minor oral injury associated with consumption of these products. FSIS has received no additional reports of injury or illness from consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness from consumption of these products should contact a healthcare provider. (source)

Sadly, plastic is not the worst thing you might find in chicken nuggets. They are made when the inedible parts of the chicken are washed with ammonia to kill bacteria, “mechanically separated” which means turned into a paste, and squirted out into mini-nugget blobs or patties. The parts included are the entire carcass, the tendons, the gristle…ugh. Then artificial flavors and good old MSG are used to disguise the nasty origins of the “meat” and because it’s Pepto-pink, artificial color is used to make it look like chicken.


According to an article on Mother Jones, only 40% of that tidy little breaded nugget is actually chicken meat.

The implicit marketing pitch goes something like this: “You like fried chicken, right? How about some bite-sized fried chicken chunks, without the messy bones?” When most people think of eating chicken, they think of, say, biting into a drumstick. What they get when they do so is a mouthful of muscle—popularly known as meat
What people are actually getting from chicken nuggets is a bit different, according to a new study by University of Mississippi medical researchers. (Abstract here; I have access to the full paper but can’t upload it for copyright reasons.) They bought an order of chicken nuggets from two (unnamed) fast-food chains, plucked a nugget from each, broke them down, and analyzed them in a lab.
One of them contained just 40 percent muscle. The rest? “[G]enerous quantities of fat and other tissue, including connective tissue and bone spicules.” Mmmm, chicken bones.
The other sample had a whopping 50 percent muscle. The remainder consisted “primarily of fat, with some blood vessels and nerve present,” as well as epithelium, the stuff that glands are made of.
Now why would national fast-food chains be mixing bone and fat and whatnot into the chicken meat they grind into nuggets? I doubt anyone ever woke up and thought, “I’m craving some mechanically formed orbs of chicken parts, including meat, but also with plenty of fat, connective tissue, glands, and bone.” Offal is a lot cheaper than meat—the more you can work in, the more profit you can eke out of this popular menu item. Granted, people should eat more offal, as I’ve argued before. But (a) they have a right to know when they’re eating it; (b) one reason people eat chicken meat is because they think it’s lean—cutting it with chicken fat turns such eaters into suckers; and (c) bone matter, really? Bones are great when they’re gently boiled into highly nutritious broths and stocks. That seems like a much more reasonable use for them than hiding them in chicken nuggets. (source)

So therein lies all of the chicken bits and pieces people wouldn’t normally eat, GMO corn starch, GMO dextrose, and chemical flavors and colors. Big Food is also not well-known for its humane treatment of animals. They are raised in horrific conditions, treated with antibiotics and hormones, and fed GMO corn. Considering all of this nastiness that you can find with a seal of USDA/FDA approval in the freezer section of your grocery store, it’s gotta be bad if there is something included that ups the nastiness quotient to the point a recall is necessary. After all, in the grand scheme of revolting things to eat, are little flecks of plastic really that much grosser than the other stuff contained within that crispy coating?

If you or someone you love happens to have this stuff lurking in your freezer, you can find complete information about the recall HERE.

Our anarchist recommendation? If you are going to eat chicken, try to find a local source of free range poultry. Cook it yourself. It really doesn’t take that much longer to throw a chicken breast on a pan and put it in the oven than to shake “nuggets” out of a bag onto a pan and put it in the oven. If your kids want “friendly” shapes, you can pound the chicken thin with a meat mallet and use a stainless steel cookie cutter to make dinosaurs, butterflies, and whatnot.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Venezuela Enforces Fingerprint Registry to Buy Groceries: What to Do Before Rationing Starts in America

by Daisy Luther

What if you were forced to “register” in order to buy groceries? And what if, through that registration, the food you bought could be tracked and quantities could be limited?

That’s exactly the plan in Venezuela right now. The AP reports that in an effort to crack down on “hoarding” that ID cards will be issued to families. These will have to be presented before foodstuffs can be purchased.

President Nicolas Maduro’s administration says the cards to track families’ purchases will foil people who stock up on groceries at subsidized prices and then illegally resell them for several times the amount…
Registration began Tuesday at more than 100 government-run supermarkets across the country. Working-class shoppers who sometimes endure hours-long lines at government-run stores to buy groceries at steeply reduced prices are welcoming the plan.
“The rich people have things all hoarded away, and they pull the strings,” said Juan Rodriguez, who waited two hours to enter the government-run Abastos Bicentenario supermarket near downtown Caracas on Monday, and then waited another three hours to check out.
Checkout workers at Abastos Bicentenario were taking down customers’ cellphone numbers Monday, to ensure they couldn’t return for eight days. Shoppers said employees also banned purchases by minors, to stop parents from using their children to engage in hoarding, which the government calls “nervous buying.”
Rodriguez supports both measures.
“People who go shopping every day hurt us all,” he said, drawing approving nods from the friends he made over the course of his afternoon slowly snaking through the aisles with his oversized cart.
Reflecting Maduro’s increasingly militarized discourse against opponents he accuses of waging “economic war,” the government is calling the new program the “system of secure supply.”
Patrons will register with their fingerprints, and the new ID card will be linked to a computer system that monitors purchases. On Tuesday, Food Minister Felix Osorio said the process was off to a smooth start. He says the system will sound an alarm when it detects suspicious purchasing patterns, barring people from buying the same goods every day. But he also says the cards will be voluntary, with incentives like discounts and entry into raffles for homes and cars.
Expressionless men with rifles patrolled the warehouse-size supermarket Monday as shoppers hurried by, focusing on grabbing meat and pantry items before they were gone. (source)

Last year in Venezuela, it became a crime to “hoard” food, and the country’s Attorney General called upon prosecutors to crack down on “hoarders” by imprisoning them for the “crime”. Some people may read this and think to themselves, “Why on earth do I care about what happens in Venezuela?”

You’d better care, because this is our future.

Already the Obama administration has moved the pieces into place on the board to be able to appropriate supplies from anyone, at any time. Mac Slavo of SHTFplan warns:

It should be clear from the laws that are already in effect that the government has given itself a legal pretext for confiscating anything they so choose in the midst of an emergency.
Should an emergency befall the United States, the military, national guard, and local police operating under orders from the Department of Homeland Security will have carte blanche to do as they please.
In a widespread emergency where supply lines have been threatened and millions of Americans are without essential resources because they failed to prepare, the government will swoop in and attempt to take complete control.
They will enter our homes and search them without a warrant. They will confiscate contraband. And they will take any ‘excessive resources’ that you may have accumulated. This includes food, toiletries, precious metals and anything else emergency planners and officials deem to be a scarce material. (source)

Just think how much easier it would be to do so if every purchase you make is tracked and documented for future reference.

How Much of a Footprint Are You Leaving?

Now, think about those “loyalty cards” that every grocery store in North America promotes when you go through the checkout. Have you noticed how much more those are being pushed lately? Could there be a nefarious purpose to that? I doubt the person at the cash register thinks twice about it – if these actually are data collection tools, it is something put in place by people far higher up the food chain (pun intended) than the staff of your local supermarket.

I strongly recommend you think twice about collecting “points” – the discounts may not be worth it if it means that your stock-up purchases are in some database, easily accessible to the NSA. If you feel it is imperative to have one of those cards, consider using a pseudonym and false address. You really don’t want to provide an inventory of your stockpile to the government. Some cards, like the one from Target, for example, even take it a step further and link to your credit card or debit account. I can’t even wrap my brain around giving out that type of information to the person who rings up my paper towels and garbage bags.

To take this even further, if you haven’t been convinced yet that you need to begin producing your own food by gardening and raising micro-livestock, this should solidify the importance of not being totally dependent on “the system” for what you eat. Looking at the drought conditions across America’s farmland, is it a stretch of the imagination to think we could soon be facing rationing like that which is currently happening in Venezuela? As the middle class gasps its last breath here in America, we may soon be faced with a situation where only the wealthy can afford to avoid rationing. By becoming independent from the purveyors of food, you can assure that your family will not go hungry at the whims of a government who really doesn’t care.

Plan of Action

Here are a few things that you can do to pre-empt feeling the effects of a system like the one in Venezuela before such a change occurs on our own soil. Start now to leave less of a footprint for the government to follow.

Plant a garden.

Grow food indoors in sunny windows.

Consider an aquaponics set-up in a spare room.

Raise chickens and meat rabbits.

Stock up NOW on long-term staples like grains and beans, before limits are instituted.

Buy heirloom seeds – lots and lots of seeds.

Practice careful OPSEC (OPerational SECurity) when making large purchases. Store longterm food supplies in more than one location. That way if you lose some of your supplies to thugs (government or other varieties), you still have supplies to fall back on.

Learn to preserve food.

Stock up of preservation supplies like lids, jars, etc.

Do NOT use so-called “loyalty cards” or memberships to make large purchases.

When ordering large quantities of supplies, consider having them mailed to some place other than your home.

Use cash or prepaid VISA cards purchased with cash to make large purchases.

Don’t tell others about your supplies and purchases. Teach your children not to discuss things like food pantries and preparedness.

Don’t store your supplies out in the open for anyone who comes into your home to see. Stash your 5 gallon pails away in closets, under beds, or in the basement.

Disengage from the system by purchasing from small local farmers.

Use the barter system whenever possible. When money was tight and I lived in a place where I couldn’t grow much food, I worked on a farm harvesting vegetables in exchange for produce that I could preserve for my family.

Change the way you eat – go with a local, in-season menu that is far more difficult to track than grocery-store purchased items.

Learn to forage. Even in the city, you might be surprised at how many things can be found growing in your own back yard or falling off of the trees in a local park. My children and I picked up one small bag of walnuts a day at a little park down the street one year, resulting in almost 15 pounds of shelled nuts by the time we were through.

Whatever your plan, don’t delay. We need only to read the many articles predicting a food shortage this year due to poor weather conditions to see the writing on the wall. You must become responsible for your family’s sustenance if you don’t want to suffer at the hands of those in power. I have no intention of standing in line for hours with my “ID card”, only to be allowed to purchase a small amount of highly inflated food.

Related:  Could Prepping Become Illegal Here Too? Venezuelan Govt to Detain “Hoarders”