October 16, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I still plan to go back into my brain and notebooks and finish my memoir of busking during the Vancouver Olympics. I’ve been working hard with my heavy reggae band Hoffman Lenses as well as holding down a decent working class job in East Vancouver. A while back I recorded this folk album, mostly at the now-destroyed Gladgnome house. I’m happy with it sitting there on bandcamp for now, but I shall do a bit of re-mixing and release it on CD soon. Hoffman Lenses are just about done our first studio EP and we’re about to release a short-run live album recorded at Iron Road Studios.
That’s a lot in the works. Stay tuned. I shoot off letters every once in a while, in a fit, complete with errors. That’s my main contribution to written culture at the moment: firing off angry, sardonic letters here and there between working and playing in the Lenses. Now that the rains are moving in it will be easier to get some inside work done, like writing and finishing my solo “Lush Album” I’ve been working on for a few years.
February 28, 2012 § Leave a Comment
For unrelated reasons I started looking for love / lust on the internet at this time and managed to get a date with a former model. I didn’t know much about her, but I did figure out that she’s from a well off family.
I’d been really busy covering shifts and working with my band Hoffman Lenses preparing for some gigs at Nyala, so I hadn’t made it down to Occupy except to drop off bread. I devised a more efficient way of dropping off the bread, by just leisurely getting out of the passenger side door during the long wait for the dedicated right turn light from Hornby onto Georgia, whipping open the cargo door and dropping the bread somewhere near the kitchen. Sometimes when I was back in the van waiting at the light again I’d see some occupier look in the garbage bags, discover it’s bread and look over to me with a thumbs up and a gleaming smile.
So I decided to take the opportunity, since I was downtown anyway to go on a blind date, to stop in at the Art Gallery to see what was up with occupy. I guess you could say it looked like a crazy campground, but not music festival crazy, tents and tarps and signs and people, and a stage with speakers blaring music or people talking. I noticed a fire in a barrel in the middle of the open area, which I thought was a good idea because it had been getting cold. I, of course, had to stay away from the fire because I was about to go on a date with a classy girl and I sure as hell couldn’t smell like campfire.
I tried to sidestep and dodge the smoke but the wind kicked up here and there. People on the stage were listing off things that had to happen in order for them the dodge the bylaws for another while. Tents had to be such and such feet apart, no more tarp villages, no more stoves in tents… I felt satisfied that I’d gotten in a little for occupy and headed out to meet my date at the Railway Club.
When I got home I saw videos on the internet of scenes that occurred just moments after I left the site, of firemen and police clashing with occupiers in an attempt to put out the barrel fire, which turned out to be burning some kind of sacred alder.
Time kept on ticking by for occupy, and it seemed that more and more it became an issue of camping, park usage and bylaws rather than usury, debt, and media concentration. The fate of the Art Gallery and occupy had become an issue in the civic election. Susan Anton said if she were elected occupy would be removed immediately while Gregor Robertson noted how our local occupy is part of a global movement and could stay temporarily. More and more I started to hear about how the camp and the stage had been taken over by ruffians who were hanging on for the good time. Homeless people started to come up from the downtown east side to camp at occupy because it’s safer than the street or a shelter. Some people noted how the presence of the poor at makes the protest a living reminder of how capitalism creates poverty.
My friend Max had been hounding me for a version of my song This Used To Be A Forest to use in a documentary he was making about how Vancouver has changed over the years. I didn’t have a usable version of that song so I asked him if he wanted to go down to occupy and film me playing the song. We found the time and headed down there one sunny afternoon.
We took some video of me playing that song on the south side of the Art Gallery site, on and near the steps where small groups of foreigners sat and looked over at us. The lighting really played along and we got some good footage of me playing a song lamenting the loss of the forest with the evening sun streaking knives into the into the concrete jungle behind me.
Still more time passed, and in order to win over certain demographics, Gregor Robertson committed to removing the protest from the site by the Grey Cup football game, a marker just beyond election day. I have to admit that it was a smart move on his part to associate his decision with a working class sporting even and win over sports loving voters who may have some anger towards the system but don’t want a bunch of punks and hippies representing it by slumming it up downtown.
One other time I stopped by the site briefly while in the neighbourhood, where I ran into my friend Francis. He and everyone else around were scrambling to get everything tied down and secure because hurricane force winds were coming in. They really were too; I hadn’t seen people trying to camp through wind like that since the Edge of the World Festival in 2006, when the whole festival was nearly blown off the island completely.
He said he’d been staying there for a few weeks and showed me his tent. I asked him what he would do if they had to shut down the camp. “I don’t know” he said, “go to a shelter I guess.”
So, I had played music at occupy, but I still hadn’t gotten up on stage yet, so I made my way down with my guitar one evening. I’d spoken to organizer friends and they said I had a pretty good chance of just showing up and playing. It had gotten really cool and the days short. Asking around, I found a guy who seemed like a stage manager. “Oh yeah, great, live music, cool, we’ll put you on after four more songs okay?” Somebody was playing dance music out of a laptop and a bunch of teenage girls were dancing to it on stage. I went over to the side of the stage, took my guitar out and got it in tune despite the cold.
I had to get up and move around because of the chill. It was hard for me to believe people were camping in this weather. Three songs went by and I went back up to the side of the stage. One more song, and… another. The stage manager, holding a mostly drank 2 litre of cheap cider, came back up and said “two more songs, then you” offering me some cider.
Later, when I came back, I actually expected to be playing so I put my guitar on and stood at the back of the stage. But the DJ just kept playing more songs and the girls kept dancing and I think a joint was going around at the soundboard. I just stood there getting colder.
By the time I finally got up to the mic and the girls left the stage I’d mingled for long enough for word to have gotten around that I was the one who’d brought all the bread. There were sincere thanks all around. “Thanks so much” said one of the dancing girls, “I would have starved way worse if it wasn’t for you.”
When I lived in Prince George I learned how to busk in the cold. You can really only do it for a while before warming up. I remember playing Ain’t Got No Home in this World, Losin’ It and This Used to be a Forest. Over the course of my set I noticed that people gravitating toward the stage and that I was being videoed. It was a diverse crowd: dressed up young clubbers out to see what’s going on in the park before hitting the bars, long-time organizers and activists, street kids and native elders. I also did a version of Sweatshop Union’s Dirty Work and figured I’d give Freedom by Richie Havens a try, since I’d powered through that one quite often as a busker in the frigid North.
Early in the song some dudes came up on the stage and started talking to the soundguy. They were bantering, smoking and passing around cider, somehow completely oblivious to the person playing guitar and singing beside them. One guy stood right in front of me, so close that if I wasn’t busy playing the guitar I would have shoved him out of my way. I couldn’t quite kick him either or I’d lose my vocals.
Seriously several minutes of the song went on with my hands completely numb and this dude standing right between me and the audience chatting and smoking. When I stopped playing and said my goodbyes he came to his senses and noticed I was there and said “Whoa, I was standing in front of you.”
“Yeah” I said back. I have to laugh about it now. That was definitely the first and only set I’ve played where someone has nonchalantly blocked me out while my fingers nearly froze off. I know there’s video of this performance somewhere out there in internetland.
Later I stopped by for a minute as people were finally packing up. “That’s it,” my friend said as tarps and tents were coming down around us “we’re just going to pack up I guess, not much more we can do.” I’m a fair-weather camper myself. We’ll see what the Spring holds.
February 27, 2012 § Leave a Comment
[Written for Northword Magazine in 2006 but never printed]
Mixed Martial Arts started gaining momentum with the Ultimate Fighting Championship series in the mid 1990s. Now it is so popular it should be considered a cultural phenomenon. To some it is a martial arts showdown, where fighters representing their respective styles put the disciplines themselves, not just the fighters, to the ultimate test. To many it is simply a bloody good distraction. Controversial as it may be, Mixed Martial Arts is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. These could be the gladiators of a new empire.
I have never been a fan of Mixed Martial Arts. I watched a couple of the early Ultimate Fighting Championship videos with curiosity. I was not repelled by what I saw, but not fascinated enough to take an interest in the sport. When I saw an ad for a Mixed Martial Arts showdown in Prince George called the King of the Cage, however, I knew I had to go. If one thing is certain about this place, it’s that Prince George likes a fight.
Somehow the sociology and geography of this place collide to produce a culture with an eerie penchant for violence. As such I knew this would be an event to behold. With precious little time to secure a press pass, a last minute phone call from Northword sealed the deal—I would take in the sport and spectacle of Mixed Martial Arts in an ambitious attempt to understand Prince George’s fixation with fighting.
As I approached the arena on foot, the crowd outside seemed not unlike what one would expect to find outside a heavy metal concert or a monster truck show. Trying not to attract attention, I slipped over to the ticket counter where my press pass was waiting.
Or so I thought.
“What? There are no press passes?” The ticket lady seemed as baffled as I was. “I’m with Northword magazine” I announced.
After some nervous shuffling she determined that “they must be at the pass gate.”
“The pass gate, around the other side of the building.”
As I walked toward the back door I knew this would be interesting. Inside sat an old man behind a table littered with papers and pens. His jacket read ‘Security’.
“Hi. I’m with Northword Magazine, here to get my press pass” I said.
“Name here” he said.
“Put your name here, and who you’re with.” He shoved me a piece of unlined paper with scribbles on it and pointed to a hand drawn box with some names in. I put my name and affiliation down and waited for my press pass. But he just sat there with his walkie talkie.
“Don’t I get a pass?” Apparently not, as he just waved me through.
I then found myself backstage at the King of the Cage, right before the festivities, with no press pass and no idea what to do.
The first thing I noticed was a dozen or so pretty petite ladies standing in a circle in matching red robes by the entrance to the floor area talking and giggling. As I wandered in their direction I spied a couple fighters, one bouncing up and down, throwing knees at the wall, and another pacing back and forth loosening up by occasionally shadow boxing, both looked sternly determined. I must have looked very out of place and awkward there, with my scarf and notebook, a tape recorder sticking out of my coat pocket.
Inside I could see the cage and the stands, but how would I get to a seat? After pacing around looking stupid for a few seconds I asked a security guard how to get onto the floor. “Right through there” he said, indicating the path between the barricades leading toward ringside. I heard an announcer pipe up inside.
As I closed in to investigate the path I watched as the assembled cage girls went down it greeted by hoots, applause and heavy metal. I’m supposed to follow them down this path?! I found myself somewhat hesitant. Just then someone beckoned for me to stand back. I did, and one of the fighters stepped forward to make his entrance. This is crazy! I thought; I was ten seconds from wandering into the ring!
I wound up parting a barricade when nobody was looking, and gaining entrance by the waiter’s station. Turning back, I asked the bartender if I can get a drink here and indeed I could.
Caressing my beer I settled into a seat behind some massive middle aged roughnecks who could obviously kick my ass. With no press pass or anything I wound up with great seats right on the floor for one of Prince George’s top fight events of the year.
I heard an explosion behind me and jerked around just in time to see some pyrotechnics. There in the spotlight stood one of the gladiators accompanied by four scantily clad cage girls holding up signs. He walked down the aisle flanked by these beauties and accompanied by heavy music.
The fighting takes place in an octagonal ring called the Cage. After all the announcements and hoopla everyone gets out and the door latches behind them, leaving only two fighters and a referee. When the time comes and the bell rings that eight walled chain link enclosure encapsulates a timeless dance—the ancient rite of hand to hand combat.
The fight starts with a little boxing, with the combatants circling each other, trying to create openings, launching punches and kicks, looking for an opportunity to take the other to the mat. After some punches landed and a successful takedown the action turns to grappling, as the two then struggle for dominance on the ground in a war of attrition.
Eventually one fighter ends up pinned under the other one, who launches punches from various angles toward his opponent’s head from his perch on the unfortunate fellow’s chest. When the top fighter starts landing some blows and the other guy is clearly in trouble the referee stops the fight. The victor parades the ring and the crowd goes wild.
The crowd certainly enjoyed the spectacle, with big screens, fireworks, lighting, music and girls. From where I sat you could even order chicken wings, burgers or other goodies with your booze from one of the many waitresses patrolling the floor. The masses in the stands had no such luxury.
Sinking into my beer and getting comfortable I looked around at the crowd. Would the Prince George fight fans lose grip over themselves and start aimlessly beating each other, frothing at the mouths over the violence and sexuality before them? Or were they simply there to take in the subtle nuances of the primordial ballet of combat?
These were not my people. Nor were they the bloodthirsty masses one might think. I saw jean jacketed bikers, heavy metal shirts, and young couples on dates.
During the intermission I went to check out the concourse. On the way up I asked the security guard if I’d have any trouble getting back on the floor. “Where’s your ticket?” he asked.
“Uh, I’m with the media…they didn’t give me one.” I shrugged and added “remember me.”
I tried to look at everyone; I did not recognize anyone. They were mostly male, mostly white, mostly young—after junk food, cigarettes, beer and merch. They were a cross section of typical working class PG folk, with the odd spattering of scary looking biker types and sketchy looking teens doing their thing.
I saw a shirt that read: Fighting Solves Problems: Talking is for Wimps.
Last year, after being denied by several cities including Las Vegas, promoters secured Prince George as the venue for a hockey fighting exhibition. Public opinion was livid and divided on the issue. The pages of local newspapers filled with letters either pleading to have the event cancelled, as it would tarnish the image of the city and set a bad example to children, or insisting the event go on and for those who disapprove of it to simply not attend. An editorial cartoon that appeared in The Province shows two hockey goons pounding each other under the banner “A Prince George Cultural Event”.
Council had originally allowed the event but bent under pressure and decided to stop it; but facing legal action they flipped back over and allowed the fights after all. It sold well and was broadcast to the world live on pay per view TV.
There’s something about PG. I mean, not even Vegas would host the hockey fights. I’m not from here, but I got intimately involved with the PG fight scene years ago when I worked at a downtown pizza place that sold huge slices, late into the night, and was located between all the bars in downtown. Every weekend at 2:30 am the place filled to the brim with the PG bar crowd in all their drunken glory. The combination of inebriation, sexual tension and bravado produced regular brawls right in front of me at my workplace. Usually it was comical, but often proved quite brutal—twice I saw people go through the window.
There I was in the main nerve of northern aggression every week. But how does that compare to the violence of Mixed Martial Arts? I spent some time contemplating this after fight night, and recalled something I’d stumbled upon online. When you type in Prince George as search terms on Youtube the first thing you find is a camcorder recording of a typical Prince George street brawl. Press play and several drunk pugilists scramble about the street, beating each other and smashing into cars while the assembled bar crowd looks on, having filled the street after closing time. Girls with short skirts and high heels scramble around the fighters, somehow involved in the scenario.
The guy who posted the street fight video goes by the username “violence4life”. Violence4life felt the need to add “WHITE POWER!!!” to the ‘comments’ section of one of his videos. This can be frightening territory indeed.
The brawlers in the video did not look dissimilar to the guys sitting in front of me at the King of the Cage.
While I was on beer three and they had polished off a tray of chicken wings, two smaller judo style fighters went at it in the cage. One guy weighed even less than me. These guys were obviously very well trained martial artists.
The guys in front of me mocked their lean stature. One guy pointed out that one of the fighters had a tattoo across his back, to which the other retorted, “I’d knock the tattoo right off him, and both would hit the ground!”
This fight ended swiftly with a painful looking arm bar and the combatants hugged in solidarity, as is the custom.
This is what makes it worthwhile for me. If two gladiators can engage in full-out combat and then embrace each other in brotherhood then something ugly, like violence, can be celebrated as a cultural form and made beautiful.
To many, I’m sure mixed martial arts would appear to be a couple of dull brutes pulverizing each other into submission for the amusement of bloodthirsty hyenas, but I know the truth—that hand to hand combat can be so sophisticated in it’s form and precision that it can reach the level of an art.
Bruce Lee crafted a philosophy, an art and a science around combat, proving to the world that violence can be a beautiful thing when treated as an art form. At best, Martial Arts are an expression of great human achievement—physical and mental intelligence combined and applied as one.
After all, anybody with opposable thumbs can draw a stickman, plunk a guitar string or take a snapshot, just as any idiot with fists and rage can brawl outside the Generator. It takes great intelligence and inspiration to raise these things to the level of an art, just as it takes great ignorance to turn something potentially beautiful into something terrible.
By the time the Wayne Gretsky truck commercial played on the big screens I was already bored. Despite the martial arts talent at play, I’d spent the last two fights trying to decide which cage girl is the hottest. I am, after all, only human.
Seeing a commercial for big trucks at the hub of PG fight culture instilled in me the overwhelming urge to flee and I did. As I eased out the door I realized that I had just witnessed the modern incarnation of an ancient ritual—brave men square off to win the approval of beautiful maidens; but in this anachronism I found brotherhood artistry and titillation. An interesting night indeed.
February 8, 2012 § Leave a Comment
After the initial buzz of Occupy I started to feel really fired up and righteous. There is, after all, no way whatsoever to defend the actions of Wall Street and their international cabal. Finally the gig was up, I thought, and with the veil was being lifted before our eyes, surely the illuminati would throw their hands up and finally give in. “Alright guys you got us” they’d say, throwing up their hands, “Now you can go ahead with your decentralized egalitarian world system. You’re right; we were wrong.” Well, this is what I fantasized about, even though on that first day the mall clearly didn’t grind to a halt.
I live in a house now. (Sorry for giving away the ending to my Olympic memoirs). And yeah, I have a job-job. So, even though I was feeling really inspired, I didn’t opt to leave my comfy heated home, drag my moldy camping gear out of my van and move down to the site completely, even after that wonderful first day. Instead, I covered a co-worker’s vacation by driving a big truck full of bread around town starting at 5:30 am.
At least this truck has a radio, and Democracy Now! radio comes on at 6am on 102.7 CFRO Co-op Radio. I listened to the passionate and informed broadcasting of Amy Goodman at first, then switched to CBC, where I found very moderate, fluffy articles. “Seriously!” I said to myself, “in the midst of all this they’re carrying a story about a 75 year old marathon runner?” Then, rather than discussing the issues highlighted by the Occupy movement, news and commentary seemed to focus instead on the site of Occupy Vancouver, the lawn and steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery, and if when and how the protest will be dismantled.
When I got home though, the social media world in my computer machine was abuzz with graphics, videos, righteous comments and debate. For me, someone who had been writing and ranting about these issues for several years, it seemed like some crazy dream. What? Finally people actually agree with what I’ve been saying? Finally people are willing to put their bodies on the line to protest the fundamental evil in the world? Are we on the cusp of a genuine revolution, and if so, will my music suddenly be irrelevant once the evils that inspired it cease to be? Dizzying times if you add a 4:45 wake up time to a musician’s lifestyle.
For two days a week I was back to my regular delivery route, in a van with no stereo. For me the bane of this route is the chain store in Yaletown. For those of you who don’t know, Yaletown is where most of the pretentious rich sons and daughters of bitches who give Vancouver a bad name stay for two weeks a year in their overpriced condos and flaunt their gaudy international brands on the sidewalk.
This time though, ripping down 1st ave to the downtown core gave me a fleeting feeling of butterflies. In my job I take the old (but still good) bread off the store shelves and put the fresh bread on, therefore at the end of the day I have a metric shit-tonne of old bread in the van. Now normally we bring the bread back to the bakery at the end of the day and people come to take it to the food bank. But this time, after my delivery in Yaletown instead of turning back to East Van I proceeded deep into the concrete jungle up to Hornby street. Out of downtown business as usual the Occupy site appeared: tarps, tents, people with signs and just people certainly the most active place in downtown. I remember the blue sky peaking in from the skyscrapers too. I turned onto Georgia, stopped right in front of the site, threw my hazard lights on, jumped out the passenger side, whipped open the cargo door and laid 6 garbage bags of bread onto some stunned protesters, one of whom stood with his Guy Fawkes mask apparently debating with a middle aged woman in a business suit. “I got a shitload of bread here,” I said. “Can you get it to the kitchen?” I asked. They put down their signs and started taking the bread. One guy looked in one of the bags. “Hey man” he said, “Thanks a lot!”
And I was back in the van in seconds flat. I really value that job. These days it’s actually hard for me to remember what it’s like to not have a job-job. But I was ready then to tell my boss: “Yes, I went out of my way to give the stale bread to the Occupy camp” and “Yes, I broke traffic laws so I could deliver bread to the Occupy camp knowing full well the brand image of the company was there for all to see” and if he were to fire me I would have accepted it without protest.
November 19, 2011 § Leave a Comment
When I first heard about the Occupy Wall Street movement I got pretty inspired. I could see then that this is a dedicated group of aware individuals who know who is really responsible for the world’s woes and are going to those people to tell them how they feel about it. I started feeling pretty fired up myself because it’s been years since I started talking and writing about the injustice caused by the global banking system and corporate rule, and finally a concrete social movement has arisen to oppose it.
When I heard about Occupy coming to Vancouver I was sure to get the day off to be a part of it. I took my time getting out of the house in the morning and cycled down on a sunny fall afternoon. When I got to Georgia and Howe the light shone down through the skyscrapers on a mass of people beginning to march down Hornby street. The air had this electical feeling to it and you could hear the rush of people amidst the city drone.
I locked my bike and looked around. Smiling people holding placards, some stunned onlookers. I proceeded up Hornby around the side of the Art Gallery. I just walked peacefully with the people. I think this was the biggest march I’ve ever been in. We had many of the token elements of a march like banners, slogans and drumming. Lots of peaceful smiling people of all ages holding clever signs. I’d say the most common theme I heard and saw was We Are the 99%.
The march turned up Howe street, Vancouver’s financial headquarters, and I looked around for bankers. A few suits stood above the crowd recording them with their mobile phone cameras and others just looked on the march with awe and curiosity. Then we arrived back where we started, the Art Gallery, and I felt a genuine sense of hopeful euphoria in the air. The great weather sure helped.
After that I milled about in the crowd. I saw people setting up tents. I saw some familiar faces. On the steps of the art gallery organizers had set up a stage with sound system and people from the crowd put their names on a speakers list to get up and talk. Every person seemed to have something valid to say, all of it revolving around the injustice perpetuated by the global banking elite in some way. We were hearing many voices of the same cry. Some speakers were disabled, others came from a First Nations point of view, and others warned of the dangers of the intercontinental pipeline. Non of them were stars; they were just people with something to say.
I just wanted to stand and be counted and observe rather than taking an active role. As I wandered around the side again I saw some people setting up multiple drum kits. I ran into some old friends around back where the sun warmed the cascading steps. People basked there, as did we. People carefully drank concealed beers and passed around funky smelling smoke to the tune of acoustic guitars.
I lounged for a while and headed back to what was now a full fledged drum jam featuring three drum kits. First time I ever saw a multi drum kit percussion jam. I joined the dancers. Many of the beats floated somewhere around heady hip hop. Sometimes things would go askew for while and then lock right down again. As the jam went on they achieved some interesting polyrythms. The strength of this jam is that the core of it was three professional musicians — the three drummers — and everyone else just filled in the gaps in interesting ways.
One conundrum was where to piss. There were big lineups at the porta-potties. On a tip I crossed over Howe and down the stairs into Pacific Centre Mall, where conspicuous consumption went on as usual, to the food court washrooms. People eyed me like an outsider in that mall. How blissfully insulated this consumer paradise was from the protest. All was well in Babylon.
I emerged and caught a slice of someone’s cell phone conversation: “I’m just going down to check out this crazy protest” she said as she headed that way. “These people are against the banks” an older man informed his companions.
On the way back to the jam I found a sign making station with markers and cardboard. I made my sign: Replace the Stock Market with Mariokart! and flew if from then forward. A few times people came up to photograph me and my sign.
As the evening drew on I took to my bike again and headed to the Media Club to see Kill Matilda. This was the first time I’d seen the Exners for quite a while, as they’d been living out east and criss-crossing the country playing rock n roll. I rocked out hard up front and pounded too many cheap beers and wound up silly drunken G again of course.
September 14, 2011 § Leave a Comment
This is an article I wrote back in university. It still rings true today.
It’s in every building on campus. As a matter of fact it has reached every corner of the globe. It’s in virtually every corner store and supermarket, people ingest it on purpose and it’s a deadly poison. Yes, I’m speaking of aspartame–also known as NutraSweet, an artificial sweetener used in diet sodas, as a sugar substitute and in food products. It is clear to anybody who bothers to look into it that aspartame is a very harmful and even deadly poison, yet almost every day I see people drinking diet sodas on campus.
92% of the independently funded studies on aspartame have found serious health effects. These studies have found several long term effects attributed to aspartame consumption. Aspartame Disease has 96 possible symptoms. These include anxiety attacks, brain cancer, can’t think straight, death, impotency, migraine headaches, seizures, tremors and weight gain to name a few.
Aspartame disease also mimics or worsens the symptoms of many serious diseases, thereby leaving the true cause of the ailments undiagnosed. Some of these diseases are Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Lupus, Alzheimer’s Disease and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Aspartame accounted for more than 75% of all adverse reactions to food products reported to the FDA. This likely only accounts for 1% of the total cases of actual adverse reactions, since most reactions are either unreported or misdiagnosed.
It’s worth noting that the original manufacturer of aspartame, GD Searle, is a pharmaceutical company, and it’s widely known that the pharmaceutical industry has a very heavy (and not exactly benign) influence on the medical community. Could this be why Aspartame Disease is so often misdiagnosed by doctors and it’s disastrous effects ignored by the medical establishment?
What It Does To Your Body
Aspartame is 50% Phenylanine, 40% Aspartic Acid and 10% Methanol. Methanol is a deadly poison when not accompanied by ethanol. In the body it breaks down into Formaldehyde and Formic Acid. Formaldehyde, of course, is the foul smelling liquid used to preserve those lovely cow’s eyes that we were forced to dissect in junior high school. It’s also a deadly neuro-toxin known to cause cancer, retinal damage, and birth defects; it also interferes with DNA replication. Formic acid is commonly used as an activator to strip epoxy and in urethane coatings (not something you want in your body!).
The maximum recommended amount of methanol consumption is 7.8 mg per day, while one litre of diet soda has 56 mg. Heavy users end up consuming over 30 times the recommended limit.
The two other ingredients, phenylanine and aspartic acid, are both amino acids that are neurotoxic when not accompanied by the other 20 amino acids.
The Aspartame Story
The characters in this tragedy are actually quite familiar to those interested in current events. The controversy goes straight to the top of the pyramid–to those who are manipulating the people of this planet, and is indicative of even bigger issues than aspartame itself.
The major player in the aspartame atrocity is the Bush administration’s own Donald Rumsfeld, current Defense Secretary in the “War on Terror”.
His career in politics goes back to the Nixon administration, when he was a member of Slick Dick’s cabinet. After Nixon was ousted he went on to serve under the unelected Gerald Ford as White House Chief of Staff and later became Secretary of Defense in 1975.
After this, Rumsfeld went on to become chairman and CEO of GD Searle, the company that would later manufacture aspartame. While with Searle, Rumsfeld was quite obviously still connected in high places, as he was appointed to a litany of influential and unelected positions by the Reagan and Bush sr administrations. These included President Reagan’s Special Envoy to the Middle East (1983-84) and The Commission on the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States (as chairman)(1998-99) to name a couple.
When the Reagan / Bush administration came to power they fired the FDA commissioner who wouldn’t approve aspartame (because it was known to cause seizures and brain tumors in laboratory animals) and hired Arthur Hull Hayes Jr. In 1981 Hayes went against the unanimous decision of his own board of inquiry and approved the artificial sweetener for use in dry foods. It was his first major decision as FDA commissioner; his last was the approval of aspartame for use in soft drinks.
When he left the FDA, where he approved the use of poisonous aspartame, he took a senior position at GD Searle–the very company that manufactures aspartame (and served to make millions from its approval).
As If this weren’t bad enough, an acting commissioner, six operatives and two attorneys who were supposed to be prosecuting NutraSweet for submitting fraudulent tests all left the FDA to work for NutraSweet. The aspartame industry has also bought out the American Diabetes Association and other seemingly helpful organizations so they recommend the sweetener to their patrons as a safe alternative to sugar.
The conductor of this whole mess was Donald Rumsfeld, who received a $12 million bonus when GD Searle was bought by Monsanto-the evil promoter of Genetically Modified Foods.
This is the same man who is defense secretary of the USA, and thereby responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians from American military campaigns.
What To Do About It
Studies after studies and the experience of a growing number of people have shown that aspartame consumption causes very serious health problems, yet diet beverages are available everywhere and aspartame is present in a wide variety of popular products. Why is this? I, for one, will never understand how people could blindly consume things that are killing them without a second thought. It is indicative of the reasons why this world is in the situation it is in–people give their freedom away by letting oppressive powers control them. Whether it’s sucking back a diet soda or silently consenting to a bloody war, the process is the same–people abandon their intellect and simply do as is dictated to them.
It is recommended that those who think they could be suffering from Aspartame Disease stop ingesting any product containing aspartame for 60 days see if their symptoms diminish or stop completely. Look at labels very carefully. It’s in more things than you may realize.
The facts speak for themselves. Don’t ingest aspartame.