All Meat

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Like everyone else, I was somewhat taken aback recently over the news of the legal case filed against Taco Bell claiming that only 65% of the substance in TB’s foodstuffs that were identified as being meat were actually comprised of meat.  The other 35% was made up of a vegetable mush that was mixed with the meat to extend the amount of what might jokingly be called food before it was tucked neatly into its happy yellow taco.

 

Now, my first response in reading this was the somewhat ironic feeling that perhaps Taco Bell isn’t as bad for you as I thought it was and that perhaps some cruel vegan, who had infiltrated the hierarchy of the Taco Bell empire had managed to work some actual vegetable matter (other than the lettuce and tomato) into TB’s meals.

 

But then I read another article somewhere.  And how I hate that–the somewhere of it all.  I usually reserve my tirades for things that I can at least link to from here at Psora, Psora, Psora, if not present for you right here.  But this time it is the vague “I read it somewhere” that will have to do.  And, at least I have the Taco Bell case itself to fall back on if I have to.  (For those of you who are not up to date on the Taco Bell case, try looking at this link here for an article posted this month from the Los Angeles Times,  or this link here for a statement from Taco Bell headquarters (while watching the video statement, please note just how healthy Taco Bell’s president looks–he’s obviously been eating the tacos himself), or, finally, this link, which I thought addressed the issue rather well.

 

Back to my original point, which had more to do with the bastardization of language and our resultant distrust of nearly everyone and everything, than with Taco Bell and its bastardization of its taco “meat.”  (Although, as someone who attempts to avoid wheat, I find it outrageous that taco bell can legally be allowed to use wheat as an “extender” in what is traditionally thought of as a gluten-free product, a taco.)

 

And my original point had to do specifically with the term “All Meat.”  In the mystery article I read and then misplaced, it was stated that, when the term “all meat” is used in any restaurant’s advertising, such as McDonald’s famous “two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun,”  that only 70% of the meat-containing substance needs to be actual meat.  Which certainly wrinkles up my aged forehead as I ponder the nu-speak meaning of “all.”

 

As I learned it, the word “all” meant:  “used to refer to the whole quantity or extent of a particular group or thing,” as the word is defined in the dictionary that is embedded in my Mac’s Snow-Leopard-addled brain.  In other words, all used to mean “every bit of,” that no part or subset of something was put aside, but the entirety of an object or group was included.

 

But in this new world of austerity and downsizing, “all” now seems to mean “around 70%.”  In other words, when considering what we mean with we refer to “all” of something, about three quarters is good enough for government work.  And in using the term “government work,” I am indeed pointing fingers.  Because it is our government that those wise men and women who make it up, who are allowing for these strange and subtle changes in our language that is shifting our day-to-day speech from English to nu-speak whether we like it or not.

 

And the biggest trouble with this switch is that nu-speak does not come with a dictionary built in, as my computer did.  No, we are left to discover for ourselves what the restaurant world means when it says, “all meat.”  And in the same way, we are left to wonder over the meaning of our credit card statements (Want to leave that in the dust?  Publish a few books and then try to figure out the royalty statements that your publisher sends you.), our tax forms, and every single advertisement on television, in print, on radio or on the internet that has small print or quickly spoken words incorporated.  In other words, when they are using simple words spoken in English to tell you something, or, especially, to sell you something, it is up to you to figure out why and how they are lying…

 

How did we get this way?  How did we let the “all” fall out of all, the way air slips out of a tire?  Don’t even try to tell me that it was Bill Clinton’s fault for asking what the meaning of “is” is.  It goes so much deeper than that…

 

Let’s look to the lobbyists, those fine folk whose job it is to represent the viewpoint of one paying customer to your representatives in government, whether that customer represents your point of view or not (and, in cases such as the misrepresentation of the contents of a simple meal, it is highly likely that they are not), and I think we will find the creators of nu-speak.  The water carriers for these lobbyists are, of course, our representatives themselves, who all too often sell your human rights and mine to the highest bidder.  In this case, they have literally sold our language out from under us so that a term as simple as “all” has taken on a new legal meaning.

 

It Taco Bell wins its case, something more than all beef tacos at low, low prices will be lost.  Our language will be lost.  And with it will be our ability to communicate, to understand and be understood.  Language only works is can all agree on the meaning of the words.  If your version of the meaning of the word “left” is what I consider to be “right” then we are going to have trouble driving on the same road.  And if businesses are continued to be allowed to change the meaning of a word as simple as “all” in order to make a few cents more profit on each of their products, then how far away are we from the day when we have all been so manipulated so often by the misuse and bastardization of our language that we can no longer believe anything that anyone is saying.  There’s more at stake than meat here, boys, there’s a deep and profound course correction that is needed for the sake of us all.  And, by “all” I mean more than 70%.

 

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Obamacare: Should We Beware?

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Since then-candidate Obama began promising us all “Change we can believe in” and, as part of that picture, universal healthcare, I have been wondering what that healthcare would mean to those millions of us who routinely choose the “alternative” route to healing.

And, as a quick aside, let me say that I have always resented the use of that word “alternative” when applied to homeopathy, acupuncture and other forms of treatment that do not march in lockstep with the allopathic concept of medicine.  Just by allowing the use of the term alternative, we allow for all other forms of medical philosophy and practice to be marginalized.  To be defined in terms of the allopathic “norm.”  And, as there is nothing “normal” about allopathic medicine, save the fact that it is culturally dominant, I reject the term alternative and will do what I can to stamp out its current usage.  Therefore, in all future postings, I will use the word “holistic” in its place.  Because one of the major differences between homeopathic and allopathic medicine is this concept of holism.  Homeopathic treatments are holistic in the sense that they are “whole being” treatments.  Allopathic practitioners work from the equally jovial and nonsensical notion that they can treat one or two aspects of the being in something of a vacuum–that they can treat one part of the body without impacting the whole.  (For an example of this sort of thinking, slam your finger in a car door and see how you feel–does that fact that only that small part of your body is wounded impact the rest of your being as well or not?  Do you feel the pain only in that finger or throughout your arm, you body?  Does it affect your mood as well? )

Okay, this brings us to  Executive Order 13544, an order that was signed by our President this last summer and an order that gives new powers both to the dreaded FDA and to the Department of Health and Human Services.  These two departments have now, in compliance with the United Nations’ Codex Alimentarius, been given the power to decide which vitamins and supplements and which forms of alternative–there’s that word again!–are safe and efficacious and which should be removed from the marketplace.  In the name of “our own good”, a government agency that have itself proven to be both ineffective and unsafe is now deciding what is safe and effective FOR US.  (The benign-sounding purpose of the Codex is to give the entire planet access to untainted food, water and medicine.  All well and good.  However, the way it is being enacted in the United States is neither well nor good, as we shall see.)

I have issues with this:

First, I have an issue with anything that gives the FDA more power.  Most especially since they are the body that brought us poisoned eggs, and who made us fear salads, as they are filled with foodstuffs–from lettuce to spinach to tomatoes to spring onions–that have, in recent times, been found to contain harmful toxins.  Now, no doubt, any spokesman for the FDA would portray them as well-meaning and overburdened.  This may be true, but the fact that they already seem to have more “on their plates”  (forgive the pun) than they can handle means to me that they don’t need any new tasks.  Indeed, since they are so overburdened with their well-doing, I suggest we give them all a nice, long vacation and set up a new system that safeguards us from the true threats of tainted foodstuffs and from medication (you see the ads for them day and night on TV) whose side-effects include “coma”, “death” and other startling developments.  In other words, if we are going to sign onto the Codex initiative, let’s actually do what it is supposed to do.

Second, I am wary of this whole process because the panel that is being assembled to judge the quick and the dead in the natural health community is comprised of only allopaths, of proponents of standard Western medicine.  Natural, holistic or “alternative” medical practitioners and providers are not being given a voice.  In a nation in which we lag behind that entire planet with it comes to healthcare, especially natural and holistic healthcare (homeopathy, for instance, is considered a form of standard medicine across Europe, Africa and most of Asia and South America), we are being asked to allow a panel of doctors whose training includes precious little in terms of nutrition, much less homeopathy and acupuncture, to judge the efficacy of something  that they do not understand and have been trained to reject?  Excuse me, but after thirty years of studying, teaching and writing about homeopathy, I think I know a bit more about it than a doctor who still uses the word homeopathy interchangeably with “herbal” or “holistic”.  Note that, while the official government site tells us that the panel will be fair, balanced and diverse, it has yet to prove to be any of those.

Further, I have an issue with the fact that the homeopaths, et al, are not being given a voice because it would not be deemed acceptable in any arena save healthcare.  You could never, for instance, have a panel on “Faith in America” and have only Christians or only Jews on the panel.  And you could never have any political panel the contained only Democrats.  In all other aspects of life and the debate of what is or is not appropriate a mix of voices and viewpoints is called for.  Certainly it is called for here.  And yet, the FDA, the HHC and the precious panel of “experts” are being given the reigns and they may soon make decisions that millions of us will regret.

Do you want to consider a world in which, when you go to your health food store to buy a vitamin or a supplement, you can only buy the chemical equivalent of one because the FDA has found that the natural supplement is not standardized enough–because it is natural?  Do you want to be denied not only the right to buy homeopathic remedies (now over-the-counter medications) or to see a homeopathic physician because the FDA has determined that homeopathy is unsafe or unscientific?  Is it right that those who know the least about a philosophy and practice should have the right to deny it to those who freely choose it and find it both safe and effective?

And, again, do we want the FDA of all agencies, to have the right to judge whether or not anything is safe and effective?  They have proven themselves to be incompetent when it comes to guaranteeing the safety of our food.  Now are we going to let them determine the safety of alternative medicine as well–medicines that have not been shown in any way dangerous or threatening to the commonweal?  It seems to me that giving the FDA more power to determine what is and is not safe to consume is as smart a move as giving the family dog the keys to the car.

I, for one, not only want the right to choose for myself what medicine I will use and what medicine I will not (Hint:  it advertises on TV that its side-effects include coma and death) and, further, I want the medicine that I choose to be fully covered by the insurance that Obamacare will force me to buy.

I believe that Candidate Obama had a vision of a great nation.  But I also believe that that vision has not come to pass.  He has forced through his healthcare plan in a way that will force me to buy health insurance, but will not in any way inhibit the insurer from charging me whatever he wants to, given my age and health.  And now, with the signing of Executive Order 13544, Obama goes a step further and seeks potentially (and please note the word “potentially”–I do not wear a tinfoil hat or typically have paranoid delusions, I am merely noting a potential turn of events) to sweep away a system of health and healing that actually works, that benefits millions of Americans.

This is surely the time to make some noise.  To call our Congressman and Senators’ offices.  To contact the media, to write letters.  To dance the blogger’s dance on the internet.  It is also a very good time for those who don’t understand the principles of holistic healthcare–specifically homeopathy (I am biased, I admit it)–to educate themselves and decide for themselves whether or not we as a nation can afford to hand this all away.  The British have recently been faced with the same question.  In the end, after much debate (they actually allowed all voices to be heard), they decided–homeopathy remains a part of the British health system and is fully covered by national healthcare.  We need to make the same wise decisions here and make them quickly, before it is too late.