Monday, May 29, 2017

On Making Brussel Sprout Sauerkraut and My Hypotheses on Cancer and Obesity

My homemade Brussels sprout sauerkraut
This week, I've finished fermenting my second batch of Brussels sprout sauerkraut (also known as Kimchi). Sauerkraut or kimchi (the former is German and the latter is Korean for the same thing) is generally fermented versions of cabbage. Leuconostoc bacteria eat away at the vegetable's natural sugar, leaving behind its lactic acid byproduct, which is tangy and sour. As a kid, I used to hate kimchi (maybe I still do), so, why have I turned my mother's kitchen into a fermentation lab? Because, I have a theory that obesity and cancer (and perhaps other diseases) are caused by having a lack of the right types of bacteria.

Nobody, at least that I know of, has stated the following thesis: One of the main driver, if not the main driver, of obesity is because of gut flora.

Of course, this is going to get a reaction from a number of critics, who have their own theory. I suppose the main one is that obese people have little self-restraint and eat too much and eat the wrong things. I agree with that too. But why?

In Jason Fung's brilliant book, The Obesity Code, Fung points out that obesity is really driven by hormonal imbalance with insulin being the main culprit. I reached the same conclusion independently on my trip to Europe this winter. There, because it was Christmas time, I was eating too many sweets and carbs, and I came back about 5 pounds (2.2 kgs) heavier. No good. A surge in insulin causes all kinds of hormonal changes, including but not limited to, increasing the size of fat cells, as well as causing one to be chronically hungry. Because quick food is generally bad food, one can see how hormonal changes makes one fat.

(In fact, I read a report about how a man wasn't eating and was getting fatter. Impossible you say! If no calories comes in, he can't get fatter. Not true. I figured it out. There was a hormonal imbalance in his body. Starving himself caused his body to eat away at his muscles, making more calories available for the body. But instead of the body using it, insulin surges was storing the calories into fat. Hence, it's not always as simple as calories in versus calories out in a complex system, which the human body is.)

The question, is then, what causes such hormonal imbalances? Is it just the foods we eat?

No, gut flora can also cause such hormonal changes. If one has a lot of yeast or fungus in their digestive track, the byproduct is often carbon dioxide and alcohol and other signals that we have yet to identify. The results of having good bacteria has shown to reverse even Crohn's disease. Livescience has this article that demonstrates that obese children have different gut bacteria than lean children. Fat Flora This article shows that bacterial transfer by fecal transplant heals Crohn's disease. Fecal Microbiota Transplantation for Inflammatory Bowel Disease The Russian Nobel Prize winner √Člie Metchnikoff believed that Bulgarian peasants lived long lives because of the yogurt they ate. In other words, the bacteria they ate, helped them live longer.

In any event, my theory has anecdotal support. Surveys show that 80%-90% of all people on a diet regain their fat back. We all know people who have lost weight, only to find that over time, they're back where they started or worse. (Even, I've been there). The 10%-20% who keep off weight, generally do so, through discipline, according to National Weight Control Registry.

But what about those people, who effortlessly don't ever have to worry about putting on weight and can eat what they want? Discipline isn't the answer for them.

Anyways, that's my theory - keeping fat off requires a change in gut flora. (It's not only fat; I think cancer is also driven by this too, but that's a topic for another time.)

Brussels Sprouts before fermentation
Here was how I made my Brussels Sprout sauerkraut.

(1) I chopped up my sprouts.

(2) I smashed in real ocean salt into the sprouts. (Real sea salt is a bluish grey, as all the trace minerals are in it still, because it hasn't been bleached. I think mine comes from the Red Sea. Thus, my sauerkraut also has trace minerals and elements too in it.)

(3) I made a brine of sea salt.

(4) I put everything in a jar and added smooth river stones to press the chopped sprouts. I think the rocks make it taste different, but my mother disagrees and says I'm being silly. Since the sprouts float, you need to have it submerged in water, or else, fungus and mold in the air gets on it.

(5) I let it sit out in room temperature for two and a half to three weeks. Three weeks was too long last time, because it's hotter now in Southern California. The heat makes the bacteria more active, which in turn, makes the greens less crunchy in the end.

That's it, folks. For my American readers, have a Happy Memorial Day.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

On Honoring or Profaning God's Name - the Jewish Thought Corner

Writing in the Sand by Carl Bloch
"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone"
I wanted to go to synagogue this week, but I chose to go on Sunday, instead of Shabbot (Saturday) (it's a habit from going to church most of my life); so, I missed it and had to settle on listening to the synagogue podcast. The talk really forced me to reflect on my own behavior and question if I was behaving in a way that honored God.

Rabbi Sharon Brous gave a short 15 minutes thought-provoking talk titled “Yes, But Are You DECENT?”, which essentially argued that the difference between honoring God's name and profaning God's name is reflected in if we're willing to engage in small acts of cruelty against the outcasted or not. I never thought about how shaming it is to God's reputation to strike out against the outcasted, no matter how petty such acts can be. (She goes on to say that the descendants of Aaron are commanded to honor God's name.)

Rabbi Brous talked about how cruel teenagers could be to the unpopular. I remember once, in middle school there was an unpopular guy in school, and because he looked funny, dressed weird, and talked in a way that irritated me, I treated him badly. No, I didn't break any rules per se. I just ignored him or made fun of him, and I never knew how hurtful it was, until a friend told me years later, "Paul, he still remembers how you treated him." I wasn't a Christian then, but I'm sure even as a Christian I behaved in such ways to other people before.

What I never thought about, though, is how disgraceful it is to act like this, because it shames God's reputation. In other words, it reflect's badly on the master, when others see the servant treat the weak or marginalized with contempt, no matter how small the act. And although the talk didn't directly address why, the answer is pretty clear: Because we're all created and made in the image of God. (1 Gen. 26-27).

Brous goes further to say that when someone engages in kiddush Ha-Shem, the act of honoring God, that person has compassion, kindness and decency to the outcasted or the marginalized. In contrast, to treat the outcasted in a way that is cruel or makes a person feel more marginalized profanes God's name, which in Hebrew is called chillul Ha-Shem. And the only difference between the two is whether we're willing to engage in small acts of cruelty to the weak, of if we're willing to show small acts of kindness and compassion to those in need of them.

The concepts are re-echoed also in the New Testament. Above, is a drawing which illustrates the incident in which the religious leaders brought a woman caught in adultery (certainly someone ready to be outcasted by the community by stoning) to Jesus. The Hebrew law said that such an act merited stoning.

The religious leaders brought her to Jesus, because they wanted to trap Jesus. If Jesus said to not stone her, he would be branded a heretic, as he wasn't following the orthodoxy of the law. If Jesus condemned her, he would be seen as cruel and partook in the killing of a life. So, what did he do?

He wrote on the sand, "Let he who has no sin cast the first stone." When the religious leaders saw this, one by one, they left (more likely than not dropping the stone they held in their hand). When all were gone, except for Jesus, Jesus asked her if there were any accusers of her sin? She said they were all gone. Under Hebrew law, because adultery requires witnesses (at least two in fact), Jesus told her, "I do not condemn you either. Go, but do not sin again." And with that, the lady, who was most likely naked, ashamed, and afraid to die, was set free from her sentence.

Brous's message certainly has me thinking about the two concepts of chillul Ha-Shem and kiddush Ha-Shem more, and how my life reflects on honoring or profaning God's name. It also has me thinking if it's appropriate to disengage with people, who are saying and acting badly towards others and myself. Sometimes I just don't have the patience to deal with people who are behaving too selfishly for my tolerance. I don't know the answer to this one and will be thinking about it for a few more days.

Hope this helps you think about these two concepts as well, no matter what background of faith you come from. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Mayor's Racial Agenda - When Does Diversity Propaganda Turns into Reverse Racial Discrimination

Mayor Manuel Lozano of Baldwin Park
Recently, Council Members Ricardo Pacheco, Susan Rubio, and Cruz Baca voted to fire the new police chief David Salcedo. He must be Baldwin Park's shortest tenured chief, working for about a month. The firing proves the Mayor's racial agenda to rid the city of white employees. Can the Mayor's agenda be a good thing for Baldwin Park? I think not.

There are several instances in which Lozano has explicitly aired his agenda to eliminate white people from Baldwin Park. Around May, 2015, the Mayor used city money to install an art monument in Baldwin Park. This monument stated, "It was better before they [the Whites] came." The Mayor defended the art installation, until too many protesters pestered him to remove it. The art installation is longer there.

When the Mayor hired David Salcedo, who had no experience as a Chief of Police, a number of council people opposed the $200,000 pay he was seeking. In response, the Mayor said, "He better get paid as much as that white boy [the former chief] should make."

A number of sources have told me at special meeting, Lozano told the city attorney that he was only half-Mexican anyways and that he didn't deserve to be there. What does his race matter if he should be there or not? What matters is merit (which in my opinion the city attorney doesn't have).

After the hiring of Salcedo, the executive management team was almost entirely Hispanic, with the exception of the Finance Director - Rose Tam. There's no blacks or whites. The employee racial makeup is overwhelmingly Hispanics as well, with almost not blacks. Myra Smith, a black woman, the only one on staff, told about how much racial discrimination she faced from Manny Carrillo, the Director of Parks and Recreation.

The former chief's actions also prove the Mayor's racial agenda. The chief first sought to bring in seven Hispanic officers from Inglewood. He was also attempting to waive the testing requirement for them. The Tribune also reported that he was making unauthorized contracts as part of a way to destabilize the local police force. Fired Baldwin Park police chief canceled city’s helicopter contract without approval, officials say.

On a number of occasions, when white residents have accused the Mayor of corruption or nepotism, he pulls the race card and tells such residents that they're white supremacists, who hate Mexicans. (Where does he even get this from?)

All the facts here prove, otherwise. It's the Mayor who is racially discriminating against whites and other minorities to promote an empire of nepotism and corruption. Diversity is a good thing, and it has the potential to be an extra check-and-balance against internal corruption. Nonetheless, the hiring and promotion of only one race is not diversity.

The end result is that cities like Baldwin Park fall into a state of becoming like a third world country. Just look at our educational test scores, the quality of our water (which apparently is causing children to be born with handicaps), and the lack of thriving small businesses (a hallmark sign of organized crime controlling the government).

When confronted with such facts, city employees have told me: "We're just taking back what belongs to us."

What's the solution to such a problem, especially when voter fraud appears rampant and voter turn out is low? Unless these city officials and administrators can be held accountable, it brings this entire country down. There's no benefit for the U.S. (or us) to have a sick and uneducated generation to come.

To be sure, I'd like to reecho that I'm a strong believer in diversity, but this is not the case in Baldwin Park. I cannot support a culture of nepotism or corruption, regardless of who is promoting it. Regarding Lozano, this is what I have to say: "From his heart comes all kinds of evil."

Sunday, May 14, 2017

On Money and Debt

Wild mustangs running on the American plains
This week, I've been having conversations with people about money. And a number of these people were in debt and not just debt, but debt that's consuming and growing and taking on a life of its own.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that such gross mis-management of money really shows the state of a person's heart and mind. The trend I find is that such debt reflects consumption rather, than contribution. (Ask any of these people, do they give to charity? I think you'll find they don't.)

And in the end, there's no amount that can satisfy the blackhole of need within. It kind of saddened me.

In any event, Western society runs on incredible debt. It seems like the American government (and others like it) are just on one big Ponzi Scheme, which I predict will end with my generation, which means we'll be ending up paying for the debt of the generation before us. (A Ponzi Scheme is when you have to steal from new investors to pay old bills, but you're not making any business. You're just scamming new customers to pay old customers.) That works for government, as long as the next population is larger than the previous one. It can also work if the next generation makes a lot more money per capital than the previous one. But apart from those two factors, such schemes are doomed to fail.

Sadly, people also run their lives on this kind of mentality. Just look at the high rate of interest these credit cards charge, but people still apply and use them.

In the end, it looks like property and debt are holding some people I know in bondage. It's certainly not freedom. I always thought that you own your properties, but in some cases, I see property owning people.

For instance, I know one guy who bought a German car he can't afford the maintenance on. So, he has to work another job to pay for the maintenance. Is his property working for him? Or is he working for his property?

Well, I've had debt too (for the first time in my life), from a non-dischargeable student loan that's enslaving the educated of my generation. Law school was expensive. When I left, I think UCLA Law was charging $45,000 a year for tuition. Some of my professors, who were part of the 1960's classes, were paying $800 a year for their tuition at UCLA Law. (I told you, the last generation is enslaving us.)

I'm happy to say I'm well on my way to paying it off soon. Then, I'll be throwing a big party to celebrate my financial freedom. It's taken a lot of self-discipline and self-restraint to get there.

But, I think I really enjoyed the journey of learning to live on less and still enjoy life and still give. It truly has been pleasurable.

Here's my insight this week on money. Richard Devos said "Money cannot buy peace of mind. It cannot heal ruptured relationships, or build meaning into a life that has none."

Thursday, May 11, 2017

How the California Public Records Act Is Being Killed

Last week, in Casas v. City of Baldwin Park, I filed a California Supreme Court Petition, asking our Supreme Court to take the case, because the court of appeals held that governments can say I-don't-have-records as a defense to not releasing them, despite having a court order. This defense is apparently true even when the government is lying about not having records. And although the state legislature and our Supreme Court says that they're supposed to assist us to find records, our appellate court said it's ok if city officials don't. I argued to the court they can't allow for this, because if the court allowed for this, governments will start lying about not having records. The court only asked, whether I had a published study to prove this. 

In any event, I'm not holding my breath about the High Court taking the petition. On average, they take 60-80 cases a year, and there could be up to 8,000 filings. So, that's a 1% to 3% chance. But I'd like to explain the importance of open records law, and how it's being killed.

The reason that we have open records law is because the governments tax us. We have to give them a part of our labor. So the theory is that because we're taxed, we should be able to know how elected officials are spending our money. And we should be able to know and voice our knowledge (which is part of our Free Speech right); so, that we can elect and vote out our elected officials. As our revolutionary forefathers said, "No taxation without representation." Because the power to tax, is also the power to destroy. Thus, knowing the truth about our tax money is derived because we're taxed. If we weren't taxed, we'd have no such rights.

Thus, if we're not able to know the truth, how could we ever vote people out who are misspending our tax money or stealing it for themselves and their friends and family? The answer is we can't, and these people can keep stealing our taxpayer money and the citizens in the end suffer. In essence, each of us have more of our labor taken from us. (Ever think about why at the end of the month, you don't have enough money to pay the bills? It's because of paying taxes to public agencies like Baldwin Park.) And, as a society, we become shamefully incapable of producing businesses, services, products, or any kind of scientific innovation. (This is exactly what's happening in the City of Baldwin Park.)

As per the Casas's cases, we see a new trend emerging. The legal battle doesn't appear to be so much about what can or cannot be released. It's more about how to enforce such rights, when one receives the vested right from the courts to have records. How does one enforce such rights against government?

Well, according to the law, it has to be through the courts. But what governments are now doing, when you ask for records that can prove corruption and malfeasance, is saying they don't have records, even when they do. Apart from self-help (which governments discourage: of course, which is why the Los Angeles Riots happened), courts are the only bodies that could help. But with these last cases, at least in California, they don't appear interested in enforcing records laws against cities like Baldwin Park, who don't want to release records. 

Think about this for a second. Why doesn't the Mayor and his gang not want to release records? Because, it probably proves how much money is being misspent. And that's our money. Not theirs. It should be spent on bettering the lives of the people, not their own lives.

In any event, law is worthless if it can't be enforced. (Look at places like India or Afghanistan. They say child labor and marriage is outlawed, but in practice, it's still happening.) And I think in the near future, this will be the new battle field in open records law, not questions about the law itself but about how to enforce it against people like mayors and council people. 

Is there a solution? According to Alex Kozinski, Ninth Circuit judge, who is fed up with lies from prosecutors, there needs to be more accountability for prosecutors who lie. Likewise, I honestly believe that government officials and administrators who lie to us under the penalty of perjury should be tried for a felony with the risk of being sent to prison or be opened up to the possibility of being sued personally (so they could pay for their own legal fees and damages). The people of Iceland did just that to the bankers and government officials and administrators who robbed them; hence, such actions are in the realm of possibilities. I think that'd stop the bad behavior pretty fast. But the court's at this point are disagreeing with me. 

All this reminds me of the words of philosopher Nietzche, who said, "“Everything the [Government] says is a lie, and everything it has it has stolen.” 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

A Brief Update for Early May

Me in Pasadena, California
(Haven't posted a picture in awhile.)
Sorry for not updating so regularly; this week, I finished filing Casas brief to the California Supreme Court. The issue being asked to be reviewed is whether the City can just say records don't exist, even though there's a court order for them to release them?

Anyways, writing a Supreme Court Petition takes a lot of work. It's like being in finals week at school; other parts of your life become neglected. I need to clean the house, pay some bills, and so on and so forth. I just finished washing my car and vacuuming it. It really needed it. I'll update everyone after I get through it all.

Anything interesting this week? Jeh Pan's hunting skills have improved, since changing his diet. He brought home a juvenile possum. It looked like a gigantic rat. My mother freaked out. Also, I found out he likes eating pumpkin, as a piece fell to the floor, and he licked it off. You learn something new every day.

After finishing writing my brief, I also bought myself a small catfish from the Amazon. That made me happy.

Well, it's Sunday in the San Gabriel Valley, Southern California, and it's raining. I'm going to pickle some cucumbers and tidy my life up. Doing so, makes me feel like I have some control over it. Write to you guys soon.