How to Catch a GMO Shill

I wrote a piece about the difference between heirloom, hybrid, and genetically engineered seeds called Should Companies Patent Life two years ago. I wrote:

The problem with genetic modification is that we haven’t rigorously tested the effects of ingesting GM foods. The companies that benefit financially from selling GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms) have had laws passed in Congress that make it illegal for an objective, outside research team to review the GM seeds before they are commercially available. If a drug company tried to release a new medicine without testing it first, they would be stopped by the FDA.

Someone defending GMOs wrote in the comments that I was all wrong. GMOs are tested rigorously on animals. And besides, it would be unethical to test GMOs on humans.

I ask: if it’s so unethical to test humans eating GMOs, then isn’t it unethical to put GMOs into the food supply? And why be so stealthy about it? Why not tell people who are eating GMOs they are now test subjects? Label your GMO products, alright?

But a week after the shill had written that it was unethical to put humans through testing situations with GMOs, I couldn’t find her comment. She must have taken it down, realizing how ridiculous it looked.

The point is, even the shills say it’s unethical to be eating GMOs. They haven’t been proven safe in long-term human studies. And while testing GMOs (liberally sprayed with RoundUp), why don’t researchers add into the mix some mercury (from fish), aluminum (found in sunscreen and ingestibles) and glutamate (a widely used flavor enhancer), all known neurotoxins? You can’t just test these things in isolation and assume that they are safe. Rachel Carson, scientist and author of Silent Spring, warned that chemicals in combination can cause much more harm than they do alone.

Chances are that RoundUp combined with the three things I mentioned above are causing skyrocketing autism, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis, all of which are neurological disorders. But we wouldn’t know, because RoundUp is tested in isolation on rats. Tests beyond 90 days are rare, and much as the industry would like to extrapolate the short-term study results, it’s not the same as what is going on every day in households across the U.S.A.

Whenever a study comes up with results that are less than favorable, the shills are out doing damage control. They say the science was flawed, that the researcher is no good, that the study wasn’t done correctly.

Last week, I wrote another article about GMOs and a shill who probably works for biotech (how many of you are there?) came out with the same argument. But this time, I got it on a screen shot. CAUGHT! It’s unethical to test GMOs on humans.

My point exactly.


Tags: GMO, GMOs, GMO Labeling, label GMOs, genetically modified food, genetically engineered foods, ethics, monsanto, syngenta, Dow Chemical, BASF, glyphosate, RoundUp, herbicides, Roundup herbicide, FDA, fda regulations, FDA food safety, autism, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, MS, food, Fast Food, seeds

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Challenging the Giant GMO

At a private residence in Los Angeles this past Saturday, chimpanzee researcher Jane Goodall revealed that Steven Druker, author of Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public challenged Monsanto to review his research for any inaccuracies.

Ms. Goodall paraphrased Druker’s premise, “if they find something that’s wrong, [in the book] he will investigate and if they’re proved right, he will apologize and withdraw it.” Goodall doesn’t expect the chemical manufacturer to come up with a substantive argument against Druker’s meticulously researched tome.

Druker said:

If the world suddenly gained full awareness of the actual facts about GE (genetically engineered) food and all opinions about them became thoroughly based in solid science, if we adhere to the routine rhetoric of the proponents of the products, we’d have to predict that a universal wave of enlightenment would cause all opposition to them to vanish. Because in the rendition of reality that they propound, opposition has been based solely in ignorance and concerns about risks have been due to lack of scientific understanding.

But in actuality, the phenomenon that would rapidly vanish is not the opposition to GE foods, but the foods themselves. If the actual facts became widely known, the entire GE food venture would quickly collapse. And that is because, as research in several different countries has consistently shown, the more people know about GE foods, the more they learn the facts about them, the more concerned they become. And that’s why, despite repeated pretentions about wanting to educate the public, the biotech promoters have strenuously striven to suppress or distort critical facts.

Moreover, this twisting of the truth has reached massive proportions. My book documents case after case in which eminent scientists and scientific institutions have stooped to deception in order to enable the GE food venture to advance. And it demonstrates that if the truth had been told and the facts openly and honestly aired, these novel products would never have come to market, and we would not be having this discussion this afternoon.

Further, the sheer magnitude of the deception, in itself demonstrates how strongly the evidence weighs against the safety of these novel products because if the evidence were supportive, as their advocates claim it to be, there would be no need to distort it. If you have the facts on your side, you don’t need to do anything except just present them. You don’t distort them, you don’t resort to trickery. The fact that trickery has been resorted to time and time again and that the facts have been misrepresented or suppressed, again, is strong evidence against the safety of GE foods.

The biotech industry asserts the following, each of which Druker addressed in this video.

  1. Genetic engineering (transgenics) is nothing new. Though the biotech industry would have you believe that natural selection and gene transfer from one plant to another occurs on a continuum, of which GE is part of that seamless continuum, Druker cited the late Nobel Laureate George Wald of Harvard University when he referred to genetic engineering as “the biggest break in nature that has occurred in human history,” further stating that “such interventions must not be confused with previous intrusions upon the natural order of living organisms.” Molecular biologist Liebe Cavaliere, representing the position of science prior to release of GE foods, said that scientists who are claiming that GE foods are essentially the same as traditional breeding are perpetrating a “sham.”
  2. GE foods have never caused any harm. Druker devotes a chapter in his book to the epidemic following ingestion of a food supplement of bioengineered bacteria that produced L-tryptophan, where in 1989 and 1990, according to the Center for Disease Control, dozens of people died and 1,536 people were seriously harmed with a rare illness. These cases could be traced back to the company Showa Denko K.K., a Japanese wholesaler that used biotechnology to engineer its tryptophan-making bacteria. Unintended consequences do result because the following assertion is a myth:
  3. GE is precise and perfect; the gene insertion always produces the intended results. FDA scientists themselves have warned that new and novel GE genetic expressions are not reliable, that they may pose serious adverse health effects in the way of allergies, contaminants, and toxins. Despite these warnings, the FDA’s mandate was to further biotechnology.
  4. GE foods are rigorously tested and regulated by the FDA. In fact, the FDA does not require the inspection of GE foods for their safety. According to a paper published by the Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology, the “deadly supplements would have passed as a safe product if the established procedure for approval of GE foods had been used” because “the present safety assessment procedure for GE foods is far too insensitive to detect such dangerous poisons.” Druker further noted that “Not only can GE food be put on the market here in the U.S. without even a smidgen of testing according to the FDA, the manufacturer does not even have to inform the FDA that the food is being injected into the food supply.”
  5. Evidence abounds about the safety of GE foods. The Salk Institute’s David Schubert, a medical research scientist, published a peer-reviewed critique of GE food safety testing. Schubert wrote, “I can state confidently that it is false to say such foods are extensively tested and have been proven safe.” In fact, enough studies on laboratory animals have shown there is cause for concern, even when the studies rarely if ever extend longer than 90 days. When asked if there have been any human studies of the chronic ingestion of GE foods, Dr. Schubert said, “No. There’s not been any long-term studies in humans. There are not even short term studies in humans at all.”

An outspoken critic of GMOs, Goodall discussed some of the effects of RoundUp, the most prevalent herbicide used in the world. RoundUp Ready seeds produce corn, soy, and canola plants which are generously sprayed with chemicals. RoundUp, a combination of glyphosate and surfactants, seeps into the tissues of the food so that it cannot be washed off. In a paper published by the FDA, on page 6, they state:

“Residue Chemistry Branch has determined that the metabolite aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) is formed on plants in amounts that can range as high as 28% of the total residue on the plant. Since the extent of glyphosate metabolism was not adequately addressed in the rat metabolism study, the possibility exists that the AMPA metabolite could pose a hazard to humans that was not evaluated by testing the parent compound, glyphosate.”

In a genotoxicity study by F. Manas et al, RoundUp’s metabolite, AMPA, was found to significantly effect human genes, leading to sections of the chromosomes being deleted, added or rearranged. The study noted in its summary: “Very scarce data are available about AMPA potential genotoxicity.” Keep in mind that these researchers had not looked at the health effects of glyphosate or its metabolite, AMPA, on the brain or on reproductive health.

Tags: GMO, genetically modified food, genetic engineering, genetically engineered foods, Jane Goodall, Steven Druker, monsanto, glyphosate, herbicides, Roundup herbicide, FDA, fda regulations, FDA food safety, GMO Labeling

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The United Corporations of America

Our government is completely broken. We no longer live in a country that represents the people who live here. In fact, Washington goes out of its way to hurt us. If we were living under a system made “of the people, by the people, for the people,” we wouldn’t let Citicorp get away with inserting a special provision into the last-minute government funding bill (December 11, 2014) to make sure the American taxpayer is on the hook every time their gambling debts (read: derivatives) threaten to crash the world’s economy. We wouldn’t build special pipelines to take dirty tar from Canada to the south where the dirty refineries have special non-laws so they can continue to ruin the ecosystem of the Gulf Coast. We wouldn’t let the insurance companies write their own ticket for selling their products through the government and give the drug companies one hundred and twenty years of patent protection so they can jack up their prices to the moon.

That is why there is a concerted effort by the people to take our government back from the United Corporations of America who are controlling every aspect of our lives, from how much we spend on the war effort, to whether or not a crazy person can easily buy a gun, to how much fossil fuels are ruining our air, soil, water, and our children’s future.

We’ve had it, Congress. And we’re coming for you.

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Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t there a theory that the rich will give charity to the poor, and that is how they will be “taken care of”? Out of pity… That when there are no jobs to be had, even though they are willing, able and motivated to work, and when people are starving in this prosperous country, the rich will tithe and give alms to the poor through their churches and not through the government. That children will be cared for, so please have more children though you may not have enough money to feed them, house them, and give them medicines.

What is the Republican and Libertarian position on the poor who work two jobs and still have difficulty putting food on the table? What is their position on unemployed or underemployed seekers of work who are struggling? Shall we turn a blind eye? I really don’t understand this idea that all the poor people in this country are “moochers.” Tell me where that idea came from, and then show me all the moochers. Do an expose on them, please. Tell me any names of documentaries on the millions of people getting SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or WIC (Women Infants and Children) Program who are taking advantage? Shall we, one of the most prosperous countries in the world, have so many millions of children who go hungry? I don’t understand the callousness of our media (mostly Fox) who drill us with this propaganda that poor people are lazy and living off the government.

“We have a great program of governmental assistance ahead of us in the co-operative life of the nation; but we dare not enter upon that program until we have freed the government. That is the point. Benevolence never developed a man or a nation. We do not want a benevolent government. We want a free and a just government. Every one of the great schemes of social uplift which are now so much debated by noble people amongst us is based, when rightly conceived, upon justice, not upon benevolence. It is based upon the right of men to breathe pure air, to live; upon the right of women to bear children, and not to be overburdened so that disease and breakdown will come upon them; upon the right of children to thrive and grow up and be strong; upon all these fundamental things which appeal, indeed, to our hearts, but which our minds perceive to be part of the fundamental justice of life.

“Politics differs from philanthropy in this: that in philanthropy we sometimes do things through pity merely, while in politics we act always, if we are righteous men, on grounds of justice and large expediency for men in the mass. Sometimes in our pitiful sympathy with our fellow-men we must do things that are more than just. We must forgive men. We must help men who have gone wrong. We must sometimes help men who have gone criminally wrong. But the law does not forgive. It is its duty to equalize conditions, to make the path of right the path of safety and advantage, to see that every man has a fair chance to live and to serve himself, to see that injustice and wrong are not wrought upon any.”

Wilson, Woodrow. “Chapter 9/Benevolence or Justice?” The New Freedom; a Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People. New York and Garden City: Doubleday, Page, 1913. 218-219. Print.


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The Bull Moose Party

In the excerpt below, Woodrow Wilson refers to the “new party” or “third party.” In his day, the third party was the faction that supported Theodore Roosevelt and his Bull Moose Progressive Party that ran on a platform of, among many other things, regulating monopolies. Wilson, a Democrat, took 435 electors, Taft (Republican) won 8 electors, and Teddy Roosevelt won 88 electoral votes, (27% of the popular vote), the most that any third party ever won.

“When you have thought the whole thing out, therefore, you will find that the program of the new party legalizes monopolies and systematically subordinates workingmen to them and to plans made by the government both with regard to employment and with regard to wages. Take the thing as a whole, and it looks strangely like economic mastery over the very lives and fortunes of those who do the daily work of the nation; and all this under the overwhelming power and sovereignty of the national government. What most of us are fighting for is to break up this very partnership between big business and the government. We call upon all intelligent men to bear witness that if this plan were consummated, the great employers and capitalists of the country would be under a more overpowering temptation than ever to take control of the government and keep it subservient to their purpose.

“What a prize it would be to capture! How unassailable would be the majesty and the tyranny of monopoly if it could thus get sanction of law and the authority of government! By what means, except open revolt, could we ever break the crust of our life again and become free men, breathing an air of our own, living lives that we wrought out for ourselves?

“You cannot use monopoly in order to serve a free people. You cannot use great combinations of capital to be pitiful and righteous when the consciences of great bodies of men are enlisted, not in the promotion of special privilege, but in the realization of human rights. When I read those beautiful portions of the program of the third party devoted to the uplift of mankind and see noble men and women attaching themselves to that party in the hope that regulated monopoly may realize these dreams of humanity, I wonder whether they have really studied the instruments through which they are going to do these things. The man who is leading the third party has not changed his point of view since he was President of the United States. I am not asking him to change it. I am not saying that he has not a perfect right to retain it. But I do say that it is not surprising that a man who had the point of view with regard to the government of this country which he had when he was President was not chosen as President again, and allowed to patent the present processes of industry and personally direct them how to treat the people of the United States.”

Wilson, Woodrow. “Chapter 9/Benevolence or Justice?” The New Freedom; a Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People. New York and Garden City: Doubleday, Page, 1913. 212-214. Print.

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The New Employment Model

There is a new employment model underway. It’s the authentic production model. When a person is creating their own unique product, art, message, or service and when that good or service could only possibly come from such a worker, he can charge what the customer will pay. Rather than relying on a boss to provide the work, the new jobholder will offer his/her own unique skills to the local market and perhaps the world.

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A Benevolent Boss?

I wonder if we will all come to the conclusion some day that the human race is too defective to sustain itself. That one megalomaniac too many, one sociopath with too much power will prevent us from self-correction.

Would my Libertarian and Republican friends please explain to me: how much money is enough? When will you look back on all you’ve done and decide that you didn’t give a hand to your fellow man?

Is the corporate CEO a master to his employees? Who among us is living in a master/underling paradigm at work? Do employees have to depend upon a benevolent master, or can they receive the respect they deserve? Who is satisfied at work, and who is just doing it for the paycheck?

“I don’t care how benevolent the master is going to be, I will not live under a master. That is not what America was created for. America was created in order that every man should have the same chance as every other man to exercise mastery over his own fortunes. What I want to do is analogous to what the authorities of the city of Glasgow did with tenement houses. I want to light and patrol the corridors of these great organizations in order to see that nobody who tries to traverse them is waylaid and maltreated. If you will but hold off the adversaries, if you will but see to it that the weak are protected, I will venture a wager with you that there are some men in the United States, now weak, economically weak, who have brains enough to compete with these gentlemen and who will presently come into the market and put these gentlemen on their mettle. And the minute they come into the market there will be a bigger market for labor and a different wage scale for labor.

“Because it is susceptible of convincing proof that the high-paid labor of America,—where it is high paid,—is cheaper than the low-paid labor of the continent of Europe. Do you know that about ninety per cent of those who are employed in labor in this country are not employed in the “protected” industries, and that their wages are almost without exception higher than the wages of those who are employed in the “protected” industries? There is no corner on carpenters, there is no corner on bricklayers, there is no corner on scores of individual classes of skilled laborers; but there is a corner on the poolers in the furnaces, there is a corner on the men who dive down into the mines; they are in the grip of a controlling power which determines the market rates of wages in the United States. Only where labor is free is labor highly paid in America.”

Wilson, Woodrow. “Chapter 9/Benevolence or Justice?” The New Freedom; a Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People. New York and Garden City: Doubleday, Page, 1913. 207-209. Print.

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No Plan At All

What did we do in Wilson’s time to deal with monopolistic corporations? We were given a false pretext by Teddy Roosevelt, a “plan” that was no plan at all.

“And I warn every progressive Republican that by lending his assistance to this program he is playing false to the very cause in which he had enlisted. That cause was a battle against monopoly, against control, against the concentration of power in our economic development, against all those things that interfere with absolutely free enterprise. I believe that some day these gentlemen will wake up and realize that they have misplaced their trust, not in an individual, it may be, but in a program which is fatal to the things we hold dearest.

“If there is any meaning in the things I have been urging, it is this: that the incubus that lies upon this country is the present monopolistic organization of our industrial life. That is the thing which certain Republicans became “insurgents” in order to throw off. And yet some of them allowed themselves to be so misled as to go into the camp of the third party in order to remove what the third party proposed to legalize. My point is that this is a method conceived from the point of view of the very men who are to be controlled, and that this is just the wrong point of view from which to conceive it.

“I said not long ago that Mr. Roosevelt was promoting a plan for the control of monopoly which was supported by the United States Steel Corporation. Mr. Roosevelt denied that he was being supported by more than one member of that corporation. He was thinking of money. I was thinking of ideas. I did not say that he was getting money from these gentlemen; it was a matter of indifference to me where he got his money; but it was a matter of a great deal of difference to me where he got his ideas. He got his idea with regard to the regulation of monopoly from the gentlemen who form the United States Steel Corporation. I am perfectly ready to admit that the gentlemen who control the United States Steel Corporation have a perfect right to entertain their own ideas about this and to urge them upon the people of the United States; but I want to say that their ideas are not my ideas; and I am perfectly certain that they would not promote any idea which interfered with their monopoly. Inasmuch, therefore, as I hope and intend to interfere with monopoly just as much as possible, I cannot subscribe to arrangements by which they know that it will not be disturbed.

“The Roosevelt plan is that there shall be an industrial commission charged with the supervision of the great monopolistic combinations which have been formed under the protection of the tariff, and that the government of the United States shall see to it that these gentlemen who have conquered labor shall be kind to labor. I find, then, the proposition to be this: That there shall be two masters, the great corporation, and over it the government of the United States; and I ask who is going to be master of the government of the United States? It has a master now,—those who in combination control these monopolies. And if the government controlled by the monopolies in its turn controls the monopolies, the partnership is finally consummated.”

Wilson, Woodrow. “Chapter 9/Benevolence or Justice?” The New Freedom; a Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People. New York and Garden City: Doubleday, Page, 1913. 204-207. Print.


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Big Business

Who runs our government? Big Business.

“If the government is to tell big business men how to run their business, then don’t you see that big business men have to get closer to the government even than they are now? Don’t you see that they must capture the government, in order not to be restrained too much by it? Must capture the government? They have already captured it. Are you going to invite those inside to stay inside? They don’t have to get there. They are there. Are you going to own your own premises, or are you not? That is your choice. Are you going to say: “You didn’t get into the house the right way, but you are in there, God bless you; we will stand out here in the cold and you can hand us out something once in a while?”

“At the least, under the plan I am opposing, there will be an avowed partnership between the government and the trusts. I take it that the firm will be ostensibly controlled by the senior member. For I take it that the government of the United States is at least the senior member, though the younger member has all along been running the business. But when all the momentum, when all the energy, when a great deal of the genius, as so often happens in partnerships the world over, is with the junior partner, I don’t think that the superintendence of the senior partner is going to amount to very much. And I don’t believe that benevolence can be read into the hearts of the trusts by the superintendence and suggestions of the federal government; because the government has never within my recollection had its suggestions accepted by the trusts. On the contrary, the suggestions of the trusts have been accepted by the government.

“There is no hope to be seen for the people of the United States until the partnership is dissolved. And the business of the party now entrusted with power is going to be to dissolve it.”

Can you imagine the Republican party dissolving the cozy relationship between Big Business and Government?

Wilson, Woodrow. “Chapter 9/Benevolence or Justice?” The New Freedom; a Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People. New York and Garden City: Doubleday, Page, 1913. 201-203. Print.


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Cynics, Gurus, Prayers and Greed

Today I met another cynic who doesn’t believe “it” can be done. You can fill in the blank for her. What do you assume can’t be done? Getting money out of politics? Moving the mountain that would get us to really address global warming? Getting a third party’s presidential candidate elected? Getting money out of politics? Passing a 28th Amendment? How about making sure our ballot box is safe, secure, and counted correctly? What would it take to make young people care enough about politics to vote?

Can we deal with issues like poverty, hunger, homelessness by applying the lessons in a spiritual guru’s self-help books? I’m waiting for a self-help guru to get into the trenches with me. I’ve been places that have really gotten depressing lately. I’d like to know what they do when everyone is telling you it can’t be done. Tony Robbins? Oprah? Marianne Williamson? I voted for Ms. Williamson in the primaries in California’s 33rd District. She wasn’t one of the top two to advance to the general election. Now that’s a dose of reality.

Below is my “favorite” quote from Woodrow Wilson’s book, The New Freedom. I’ve italicized it so that you can see exactly which words need your attention. We have a boogie man in our midst and it’s greed. The whole lot of us are going to have to come into the trenches and not just pray, not just meditate, not just agitate, but organize and activate to fight the greedy bastards. We have to be like the bully’s Mom and set boundaries and tell him “NO!”

You tell them, Woody.

“Shall we try to get the grip of monopoly away from our lives, or shall we not? Shall we withhold our hand and say monopoly is inevitable, that all that we can do is to regulate it? Shall we say that all that we can do is to put government in competition with monopoly and try its strength against it? Shall we admit that the creature of our own hands is stronger than we are? We have been dreading all along the time when the combined power of high finance would be greater than the power of the government. Have we come to a time when the President of the United States or any man who wishes to be the President must doff his cap in the presence of this high finance, and say, “You are our inevitable master, but we will see how we can make the best of it?”

“We are at the parting of the ways. We have, not one or two or three, but many, established and formidable monopolies in the United States. We have, not one or two, but many, fields of endeavor into which it is difficult, if not impossible, for the independent man to enter. We have restricted credit, we have restricted opportunity, we have controlled development, and we have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated, governments in the civilized world—no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and the duress of small groups of dominant men.”

Wilson, Woodrow. “Chapter 9/Benevolence or Justice?” The New Freedom; a Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People. New York and Garden City: Doubleday, Page, 1913. 200-201. Print.


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