“Organic Farmer Dealt Final Blow In Landmark Lawsuit Over Monsanto’s GMO Contamination”- (Ecowatch)

Bloody hell, it never ends with these people, does it?!

Ill get right into it. Today I am picking apart another Ecowatch piece.

Organic Farmer Dealt Final Blow In Landmark Lawsuit Over Monsanto’s GMO Contamination

Steve Marsh, an organic farmer in Western Australia, has lost his final bid in his landmark genetic modification contamination lawsuit against his neighboring farmer, Michael Baxter, who planted Monsanto’s genetically modified (GMO) canola.

Marsh claimed that he lost organic certification on approximately 70 percent of his property in Kojonup, Perth after winds carried his neighbor’s Roundup Ready canola seeds onto his farm in 2010.

Australia has a zero-tolerance organic standard concerning GMO contamination on organic lands and Marsh sought $85,000 in damages against his neighbor and former childhood friend.

Marsh lost the lawsuit in a May 2014 ruling from the Supreme Court of Western Australia and was ordered instead to pay court costs of about $804,000. He appealed the decision to the West Australian court of appeal but in September, the court instead ruled in favor of Baxter.

Today, after six years of legal wrangling, the High Court rejected Marsh’s bid for leave to appeal against that ruling.

The sad element of this story is that the 2 farmers involved were once friends. And its said that this problem could have easily been fixed had Marsh (organic farmer) simply gone to Baxter (GM farmer) about the issue and made arrangements (to pick the unwanted seedlings). But instead, Marsh choose to go to the media. Chose to begin a landmark lawsuit guaranteed to garner international attention with all the right people.

This is the kind of person we are dealing with.

I will borrow some quotes from an Australian farming publication in order to shed more light on the case, and some background.

MIKE Baxter’s anger at his lifelong neighbour – and distant relative by marriage – Steve Marsh for dragging him through a heart-wrenching three-and-a-half year legal battle will take considerable time to dissolve.

The high profile legal conflict was billed as a world-first test-case for an organic farmer pursuing litigation against another farmer for growing genetically modified (GM) crops.

But the campaign’s subtext revealed a more intimate personal story where ongoing uncertainty and pressures contributed to Mr Baxter’s marriage ending, while dividing loyalties and testing friendships within the small Kojonup community in south-west Western Australia.

Mr Baxter largely shied away from the media spotlight, eschewing the opportunity to reject accusations made against his family and farming professionalism.

Despite the vocal sustained campaign against GM crops, the WA Supreme Court ruled comprehensively in Mr Baxter’s favour, rejecting Mr Marsh’s claims for $85,000 in compensation from losing his organic certification in late 2010 when GM canola was detected on his farm.

Justice Ken Martin court ruled Mr Baxter followed the prescribed stewardship rules in planting his GM canola crop with added buffer zones and therefore wasn’t negligent.

The judge also rejected Mr Marsh’s application for a permanent injunction to stop Mr Baxter growing or swathing GM canola in future.

GM canola was declared to be a safe, legal product and any assertion of “contamination” or potential harm to the organic farmer was rejected. However, the judgment was scathing of the flawed processes and procedures underpinning Mr Marsh’s organic certifying body, the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia, which has a zero tolerance to GM material.

“I was impressed by Mr Baxter’s direct and no-nonsense answers to questions and, in particular, his willingness on occasion to make concessions against himself,” the judgment said.

But Justice Martin said trial evidence showed Mr Marsh had “increasing concerns” about the prospect of GM legislation in WA.

“His concerns seem to have intensified throughout 2008 into 2009, prior to the growing of GM canola being made lawful in WA from mid-January 2010,” he said.

“The process of Mr Marsh’s cross-examination across day two and into day three of the trial, exposed Mr Marsh as particularly anxious about a possible future adventitious entry of GMOs to Eagle Rest.

“From about late 2008 ongoing concerns manifested in Mr Marsh becoming, as I assessed his evidence, increasingly fatalistic and anxious about GMOs reaching Eagle Rest and allied financial losses this would cause to him and his wife.

“Assessing his evidence overall, I thought that there presented in Mr Marsh what I would see as an almost self-fulfilling, high-level anxiety from GMOs. This anxiety was increasingly observable up to late 2010, in his correspondence and interactions with people, including the Minister for Agriculture (Mr Redman) and in communications to NASAA and NCO (mostly to Ms Stephanie Goldfinch).”

About 12 months after the original incursion, only eight GM canola plants germinated on the organic farm and were pulled out of the ground by Mr Marsh, the judgment said.

Those eight plants “posed no genetic contamination threat to any other crop or plant species at Eagle Rest as the scientific evidence earlier discussed makes very clear”, the judgment read.

The judgment also panned Mr Marsh’s response to discovery of 245 canola swathes on his farm saying, “Surprisingly, it appears to have taken Mr Marsh until April 2011 to gather up and remove all the swathes and their (attached) canola seed pods”.

“In this period the 245 swathes appear to have been rather afforded the status of infamous celebrities – fenced off and then made the subject of media releases or general publicity,” it said.

“Asked in cross-examination why it took so long to gather up and remove the canola swathes, Mr Marsh, I thought, gave a very unconvincing response for the inertia. He said that he had been ‘too busy’.

“Part of what supposedly occupied his time appears to have been issuing media statements in liaison with NASAA. That is hardly an acceptable explanation.

“Part of what supposedly occupied his time appears to have been issuing media statements in liaison with NASAA. That is hardly an acceptable explanation.

“If there was a serious incursion problem of GM material at Eagle Rest to be dealt with, as Mr Marsh evidently felt there was, clearly it ought to have been addressed immediately, as a matter of high priority, rather than the swathes just being left to blow around in the paddocks of Eagle Rest for a period of about five months.”

Mr Baxter said that intense orchestrated public pre-trial campaigns made him and his family out “to be criminals”.

“Right from the start it was pretty annoying,” he said.

“The first place we really heard about it was in the media when they were slandering us saying ‘the GM farmer has contaminated his neighbour’.

“It was in the news every hour and it was the hot topic of the moment and in all of the papers and it was all really slandering us, as if we were criminals.

http://www.farmonline.com.au/news/agriculture/cropping/general-news/sue-thy-neighbour-gm-case-leaves-scars/2701488.aspx

I think this says it all really. Yet another situation in which the portrayal of the poor organic farmers being screwed over by the GMO seeding CRIMINALS, is a joke.

There is one more aspect of this story that I want to cover however. From the Ecowatch piece:

Incidentally, Monsanto admitted last year that it financially supported Baxter’s legal defense.

“Although we were not a party to the litigation, we respect Michael and Zanthe Baxter’s choice to defend themselves. Their neighbor initiated a legal claim against them when they were responsibly growing a safe and legal crop, as was clearly established in the Supreme Court’s verdict,” Monsanto Australia’s managing director Daniel Kruithoff said in astatement.

Shady business, right?

Also from the Ecowatch Article:

“Both farmers were entitled to seek support for this legal dispute so that their arguments could be heard in court. It was only fair that the Baxters received much needed support given the extensive fundraising efforts of Steve Marsh’s supporters. Monsanto Australia contributed to the Baxter’s legal costs to ensure they could defend themselves in court,” Daniel said.

Marsh’s campaign was supported by the Safe Food Foundation, a nonprofit food advocacy group.

Shady dealings?

No.

More like, a company defending a legitimate customer of its product from a well funded and malicious lawsuit that could well have put them (the farmer, and their customer) out of business (not to mention what could happen to other GM farmers if this suit went the wrong way). I call it a malicious suit because Marsh actually attempted to stop Baxter from growing his GM crop, to no avail.

But fortunately, it seems that the courts seen though the smokescreen and ruled logically. Though emotional scars will be lasting between these 2 former friends (and in the community in general), neither farmer is under water financially. The pseudo-journalists may paint Marsh in distress, but he has nothing to worry about. If there is one good thing about gullible, easily frightened idiots and the modern day internet, its crowd funding. It funded Marshes lawsuit. And it will likely ensure he does not go under. I would be surprised if some campaign for this guy isn’t already running.

Thus making this yet another case in which one has to adjust their perspective in terms of who the real villains are.

“Pro-GMO Group Crosses Ethical Line” – (Ecowatch)

Today I have come across a piece that amused me and raised my eyebrow. Ecowatch (and others) are going after pro GMO group The Genetic Literacy Project for quote “unethical journalistic practices”.

http://ecowatch.com/2016/02/05/genetic-literacy-project-crosses-ethical-line/

First of all . . .

image

With that out of the way, lets see what all the fuss is about.

The Genetic Literacy Project (GLP) has been accused of unethical journalistic practices after it published personal information about individuals opposed to genetically modified food and changed the text of an article without the author’s permission.

GLP is an organization that heavily promotes genetic engineering of foods and attacks critics of the technology.

First off, I would not say that they heavily promote genetic modification. They merely attempt to dispel myths and misinformation on the subject. The kind often pedaled by publications like Ecowatch.

Hey kettle!

Also, I would not say they attack critics of GMO technology. They seem to (for the most part) merely attempt to ensure that the facts as they really are, are available. The opposition may take this as an attack, but its not.

I on the otherhand, have attacked so called GMO critics.
I do not have a problem with people that have a well reasoned argument. But I do have a problem with chronic pedlars of bullshit. Unlike GLP (which exists to educate), I exist to speak my mind when necessary.

And speaking of sources “promoting” an industry, I never cease to be amused by the blind eye given to the trickery of the Organic industry (or Big Organic) and their quest for ubiquitous GMO labeling.

Posting Personal Information “Way Below” Ethical Line

GLP has posted phone numbers, email and home addresses and other personal information about GMO critics. According to David Murphy, executive director of Food Democracy Now, GLP posted the phone number and email and home addresses of Don Huber, Emeritus Professor of Plant Pathology at Purdue University. Murphy contacted GLP asking them to remove the information, which they did, but shortly after GLP posted Murphy’s cell phone number and home address.

“It’s one thing to have a public disagreement with highly trained scientists and activists on a controversial subject like GMO safety, but publishing personal information, home addresses and cell phone numbers, is a new low, even forMonsanto’s smear merchant,” Murphy said. “Does Monsanto really want us publishing their CEO and top scientists like Robb Fraley’s home addresses? One wonders what they really have to hide if they’re willing to employ such slimeball tactics against their critics.”

1.) Monsanto’s smear merchant? LOL!

If I had a dime for every smear piece I ever read or come across in the alternative media about the biotech industry, I would be a rich man.

As for “slimeball tactics” . . . just look up Vandana Shiva and the Monsanto driven farmer suicides in her native India.

The suicides that trace back to a number of possible factors. Or, don’t bother looking it up, as I have a few times already.

https://mbman.wordpress.com/2015/12/07/monsanto-to-be-put-on-trial-for-crimes-against-nature-and-humanity-ecowatch-cue-the-drama/

2.) I will say that the publishing (or doxxing, as its called these days) of personal information IS a bit underhanded.

However, I am not coming up with anything to back this accusation, be it from a 3ed party (or even a rebuttal from GLP themselves!). This does not dismiss the claim. Merely, shows I can not find any proof of it.

What I did find however, were a number of sources that said things like GLC is a Monsanto funded group, or that they hid Monsanto money. Often from websites with truth in their name, or blogs published by doctors.

Ah, the sweet smell of manure. The amount ive sifted though for this piece alone could fertilize the world, and then some.

GLP has also posted personal information about other GMO critics such as Mike Adams, publisher of Natural News; Vani Hari, a.k.a. the Food Babe; Henry Rowlands, publisher of Sustainable Pulse; Jeffrey Smith, executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology; and others. GLP even went so far as to post information about the value of Smith’s house.

I think I have figured out the angle that they are playing here. GLP does have a write up on each individual named, some that contain contact information. However, those that do are for their businesses. Which in some cases, also happen to be the home residence.

Calling this doxxing is a bit like a bar freaking out that its publicly listed telephone number was posted on a blog.

Again, this is not to say that they may not have posted residential details in the past (or that it may be buried in an article somewhere). I am open to your voices in the comments, so long as you have the proof. But I don’t see it.

https://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/glp-facts/mike-adams/

https://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/glp-facts/jeffrey-m-smith/

https://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/glp-facts/vani-hari/

https://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/glp-facts/henry-rowlands/

https://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/glp-facts/don-huber-science-still-looking-for-purdue-professors-gmo-pathogen-time-bomb/

Carey Gillam, research director at U.S. Right to Know (USRTK) and a former veteran senior journalist with Reuters news service, said the practice of publishing personal identifying information such as phone numbers and addresses, was clearly an unethical practice.

“We here at USRTK are intentionally not posting the emails we’ve obtained that include that kind of information because we think it is below the ethical bar. Way below,” Gillam said.

If its the numbers above, then they are hardly personal. Again, unless I am missing something.

Crossed an Ethical Line

In November, pro-GMO journalist Keith Kloor accused GLP of altering his article, “The Story Behind the Story,” without his permission. The article, which was posted on his website, www.keithkloor.com, focuses on science writer Brooke Borel’s Buzzfeed profile of University of Florida scientist Kevin Folta, who was hosting a podcast using a fake identity.

GLP reposted a segment of Kloor’s article on their website with a different headline, “Did Brooke Borel cross ethical line in criticizing Kevin Folta GMO parody site?”

Kloor objected to GLP’s posting the article without his permission and changing the headline and text. In a blog, Kloor wrote: “It’s bad enough that a website built on the aggregated work of journalists takes something that belongs to you without asking for permission. It’s outrageous when the website truncates your text in ways that change the meaning of what you wrote, which is also what Genetic Literacy is guilty of doing with respect to my post. It’s infuriating and unforgivable when the person who stole your text puts his own flatly wrong headline above it … That’s crossing an ethical line.”

1.) GLP did not steal anything. Just as I did not steal anything.

So long as a link to the original material is present, no one stole anything.

https://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2015/11/04/keither-kloor-examines-brooke-borels-controversial-article-criticizing-kevin-folta-gmo-parody-site/

Right under the write up is the source.

This is hardly a violation of ethics (journalistic or otherwise). Certainly not compared to, business as usual for the alternative media.

On a personal note, GLP has also changed the headlines of articles I’ve written that they’ve posted on their website. One headline they changed contained text that was meant to be derogatory to me.

I do not change the title of articles to be derogatory, personally. Nor do I alter quotes or text to suit my needs.

But I cant always say the same for my responses to said quotes or text.

Other authors also criticized GLP’s journalistic practices on Twitter. These included Borel, Helena Bottemiller Evich, a journalist with Politico, and Anastasia Bodnar, policy director at the pro-GMO website Biofortified.org, among others. The authors objected to GLP changing the headlines and text of articles, listing authors as GLP contributing writers when they aren’t and putting author bylines with paraphrased articles.

On Twitter, GLP Executive Director Jon Entine tried to assure the authors that GLP has been responsive “to every concern.” But Kloor responded sarcastically to that claim, asking Entine if he really wrote that “with a straight face.”

This may or may not be true.

I checked a few GLP posted articles from each author listed in the wayback machine, looking for listing as GLP Contributors. I didn’t find any.

Which makes me think that this is just an attack against the rational competition to the alternative and GMO fearing alternative media.

Nice try. But I can smell your bullshit from a mile away.

“Bernie’s Greatest Weakness” – (The Nation)

Today I am looking at an article from The Nation, claiming to illustrate the greatest weakness of Bernie Sanders.

In their words:

Race and gender issues frequently seem like an afterthought to him, and he doesn’t embrace them with anywhere near the fervor he devotes to economic inequality.

There is not much else to say after that, so lets begin.

In politics, few experiences are more unpleasant than being roasted by your allies. Just ask Bernie Sanders, who has spent the past week getting thoroughly barbecued by the left. First, his single-payer healthcare plan came under attack by prominent liberals like Paul Krugman and Ezra Klein. Then, two new Sanders controversies erupted. On Tuesday, his offhand remarks describing Planned Parenthood and the LGBTQ rights organization the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) as “part of the establishment” created a firestorm, particularly on social-justice Twitter. Less than 24 hours later, his tone-deaf comments on reparations stoked even more outrage. Sanders’s left-wing critics have seized on both statements as evidence of his alleged weakness on civil rights, women’s rights, and LGBTQ issues.

There are a few bones that I can pick from this opening paragraph. Lets go in order.

1.) Healthcare

I can understand why Ezra Klein and Paul Krugman are badgering him about the health care proposal. Or as seems the case, the lack thereof.

Ezra Klein’s take:

Sanders promises his health care system will cover pretty much everything while costing the average American almost nothing, and he relies mainly on vague “administrative” savings and massive taxes on the rich to make up the difference. It’s everything critics fear a single-payer plan would be, and it lacks the kind of engagement with the problems of single-payer health systems necessary to win over skeptics.

http://www.vox.com/2016/1/17/10784528/bernie-sanders-single-payer-health-care

To be fair, there is a proposal, and it does indeed look to be a good one. But as in everything, the details are important. They certainly are VERY important for a fellow like Sanders. If your openly calling for higher taxes on the rich among other anti-establishment acts, you better be ready to show your work (or in this case, proposals) in detail. Which appears to be the issue here.

In the absence of these kinds of specifics, Sanders has offered apuppies-and-rainbows approach to single-payer — he promises his plan will cover everything while costing the average family almost nothing. This is what Republicans fear liberals truly believe: that they can deliver expansive, unlimited benefits to the vast majority of Americans by stacking increasingly implausible, and economically harmful, taxes on the rich. Sanders is proving them right.

Indeed.

Paul Krugman has more or less the same viewpoint (lack of true transparency with voters). But he also brings up the very obvious issue that is, forcing private interests to relinquish their business model to socialism. Indeed, the numbers work. And many do not dispute that it would be good all around for the american people.
However, like asking social media platforms to relinquish control and socialize million and billion dollar companies due to their platforms becoming increasingly more crucial to human interaction (spaces that should not really be run from a capitalist perspective), good luck. As I said in that post ( Freedom of speech Revisited ), if Trans-Canada can sue the US over derailing Keystone XL, then that ship is sunk before its left port.

The proverbial Titanic.

Here is the Paul Krugman quote I am referring to.

Sarah Kliff has a very helpful account of Vermont’s attempt to create a state-level single-payer health care system, and why it failed. It’s a bit like the old joke about the farmer, asked for directions, who says “Well, I wouldn’t start from here.”

The point is not that single-payer is a bad idea. It is that given where the U.S. is now, achieving the kind of low costs we see in other countries would involve imposing large losses on many stakeholders, including people with generous policies, health care providers, and more — which is the point I’ve been making. The gains would almost surely be bigger than the losses, but that’s not going to make the very hard politics go away.

And just assuming, as Bernie Sanders does, that you can achieve dramatic cost savings without considering how you’re going to deal with the stakeholders — and therefore lowballing the actual cost of the plan — isn’t helpful, and amounts to not really leveling with your supporters.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/krugman/2016/01/20/lessons-from-vermont/

And here is another article about Bernie written by Paul only today, for those interested. Though supporters be warned, you may not like it.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/01/22/opinion/how-change-happens.html?referer=http://www.salon.com/2016/01/22/paul_krugman_dont_let_bernie_sanders_idealism_veer_into_destructive_self_indulgence_because_hes_going_down/

2.) The Planned Parenthood/Human Rights Campaign Establishment quip

When it comes to Bernie Sanders stirring up shit due to labeling both Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign as being part of the establishment, I cant say I really disagree.

I will quote Bernie himself, from a Rachel Maddow interview.

“I would love to have the endorsement of every progressive organization in America. We’re very proud to have received recently the endorsement of MoveOn.org. We’ve received the endorsement Democracy for America. These are grassroots organizations representing millions of workers.

“What we are doing in this campaign, it just blows my mind every day because I see it clearly, we’re taking on not only Wall Street and economic establishment, we’re taking on the political establishment.

“So, I have friends and supporters in the Human Rights Fund and Planned Parenthood. But, you know what? Hillary Clinton has been around there for a very, very long time. Some of these groups are, in fact, part of the establishment.”

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/bernie-sanders-takes-risky-shot-the-establishment

As noted in the article, Bernie made a slight error, mistaking the Human Rights Fund for the Human Rights Campaign. It happens.

Anyway, I can understand what he is saying. People seem to be getting their panties bunched up because they think he compared the 2 organizations to the Koch brothers, or Citibank. Which is an extremely offensive comparison, being how many view the 2 as being both progressive and grass roots.

While they both indeed do a lot of work at the grass roots level, and both serve a much needed humanitarian purpose, one could say they become part of the establishment should enough of their funding originate from establishment sources.

I know little about the finance structure of HRC, but I do know that PP gets a fair bit of government financing (for good reason, I know! I have written a post defending them from GOP psychopaths before). And im sure both likely get (or have gotten in the past) financial assistance from establishment figureheads. And so they may feel proud (but hopefully not obligated) to stand behind behind such supporters as they advance their political careers.

I do not fault any organization for not being picky in taking endorsements, money or other help from people of all backgrounds that hold out a helping hand. You do what you have to to survive.
But at the same time, I can see how these organizations can also become (even if somewhat involuntarily) part of the establishment. Its just an unfortunate aspect of life as a non-profit in a financially uneven and ideologically driven world.

3.) Reparations

Bernie also ruffled many progressive feathers by (seemingly to them) coming out at the wrong side of a reparations debate. Again, I will quote Bernie himself.

No, I don’t think so. First of all, its likelihood of getting through Congress is nil. Second of all, I think it would be very divisive. The real issue is when we look at the poverty rate among the African American community, when we look at the high unemployment rate within the African American community, we have a lot of work to do.

So I think what we should be talking about is making massive investments in rebuilding our cities, in creating millions of decent paying jobs, in making public colleges and universities tuition-free, basically targeting our federal resources to the areas where it is needed the most and where it is needed the most is in impoverished communities, often African American and Latino.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/01/bernie-sanders-reparations/424602/

Frankly, I agree.

As many Canadians as this next statement is about to piss off, look how much good simply throwing money at our indigenous people has done in the long run.
Money does not help cure deep rooted social imbalances that often manifest themselves in the form of addiction, violence or suicide. Money does not provide meaningful work and existence to those who wish to seek it.

Money simply, corrupts. Sometimes at the expense of the few, while the many live in squalor. Sometimes it fuels a self destructive path whilst almost guaranteeing no hope in finding an alternative way. Or sometimes, it just becomes a privilege. Even though one is from a background that has done alright for themselves, their blood ensures they have a leg up over all others.

Its the reason why I refuse to utilize my own aboriginal (Metis) privilege when it comes to employment, education and other things. Indeed it would help. But if many people around me either have to pay (or get their family to pay) just because of their skin tone, its unfair if I can be skipped ahead just on blood. I did not earn it academically or due to my intellect. So I can find my own way, like the rest of us. Even if it means that I may be run over by less principled people than me.

Its funny that the least receptive audience to this stance of mine, tend to be those that do not have access to these privileges of the blood. Though they bitch about how they at times get railroaded by this, they still chastise or can not fathom someone NOT using the opportunities.
Then again, we live in a selfish and individualistic society. So projection should not be as much of a surprise as I would like to think it is.

But that is enough of my anecdotal material for now. Lets take a quick look at the rest of the reparations article.

Unfortunately, Sanders’s radicalism has failed in the ancient fight against white supremacy. What he proposes in lieu of reparations—job creation, investment in cities, and free higher education—is well within the Overton window, and hisplatform on race echoes Democratic orthodoxy. The calls for community policing, body cameras, and a voting-rights bill with pre-clearance restored— all are things that Hillary Clinton agrees with. And those positions with which she might not agree address black people not so much as a class specifically injured by white supremacy, but rather, as a group which magically suffers from disproportionate poverty.

This is the “class first” approach, originating in the myth that racism and socialism are necessarily incompatible. But raising the minimum wage doesn’t really address the fact that black men without criminal records have about the same shot at low-wage work as white men with them; nor can making college free address the wage gap between black and white graduates. Housing discrimination, historical and present, may well be thefulcrum of white supremacy. Affirmative action is one of the most disputed issues of the day. Neither are addressed in the “racial justice” section of Sanders platform.

When it comes to many of the issues listed, I can not see how Bernie (much less, ANY candidate) would be of much help in tackling. You can legally ban discrimination against anyone in terms of housing, wage, employment and other problem areas. But even that does not solve the issue of embedded bias in individuals. It just pushes the bias into the shadows. Thereby effectively rendering the laws useless (unless your future landlord or employer is Donald Trump).

I don’t fault Bernie for not having touched on this. But I also don’t fault Hillary, or anyone else. Because there is only so much you can do.

Sanders’s anti-racist moderation points to a candidate who is not merely against reparations, but one who doesn’t actually understand the argument. To briefly restate it, from 1619 until at least the late 1960s, American institutions, businesses, associations, and governments—federal, state, and local—repeatedly plundered black communities. Their methods included everything from land-theft, to red-lining, to disenfranchisement, to convict-lease labor, to lynching, to enslavement, to the vending of children. So large was this plunder that America, as we know it today, is simply unimaginable without it. Its great universities were founded on it. Its early economy was built by it. Its suburbs were financed by it. Its deadliest war was the result of it.

One can’t evade these facts by changing the subject. Some months ago, black radicals in the Black Lives Matters movement protested Sanders. They were, in the main, jeered by the white left for their efforts. But judged by his platform, Sanders should be directly confronted and asked why his political imagination is so active against plutocracy, but so limited against white supremacy. Jim Crow and its legacy were not merely problems of disproportionate poverty. Why should black voters support a candidate who does not recognize this?

Oh, I think Bernie understands the argument perfectly well. Having been actively working for the rights of the downtrodden for the whole of his career (though only now breaking out of the shadows), I think he knows EXACTLY what he is talking about.

However, unlike the obviously biased author of this article, Bernie seems to have a vision that is beyond racial tunnel vision. Rather than sit in the past, he is proposing a bright future for EVERYONE in poverty, not just the African American community.

This article is a great example of where identity politics often goes awry.

However,I will now go back to the original piece I started out with.

First off, some good information regarding the Planned Parenthood/Human Rights Campaign issue (much more in-depth than my exploration, as I expect from a real journalist).

Both Planned Parenthood and the HRC are highly sophisticated political players with massive fundraising operations and budgets in the tens (HRC) or hundreds (Planned Parenthood) of million dollars. The HRC has come under fire for actions such as endorsing former Senator Al D’Amato, a conservative Republican who frequently opposed gay rights, and honoring the likes of Goldman Sachs. Of course these groups are part of the establishment, and as such, they would never endorse underdog candidates like Bernie.

HRC, Planned Parenthood, and other big, well-funded political groups tend to envision politics as transactional, and they nearly always endorse either the incumbent or front-runner of the party that is most friendly to them. Sometimes they even support candidates from parties who are hostile to them. Much to the exasperation of their allies, SEIU 1199 used to regularly endorse Republican Joe Bruno, the former New York State Senate majority leader. Sanders himself has received few union endorsements, even though he arguably has the strongest pro-labor record of any politician in America.

Organizations make these kinds of endorsements because they believe it’s the best way to maximize their leverage to get the things they want. Indeed, that strategy is often effective, at least in the short term. But as Sanders implicitly suggests, a relentless tactical focus on proximate gains can come at the expense of a long-term strategy for political transformation.

But I will now move on to more criticisms of Bernie’s reparations stance.

Although some of their attacks on Sanders have been unfair, his critics, regrettably, have a point. For all his political virtues, Sanders has had difficulty connecting his message of economic populism to the other major social justice concerns of the modern left, such race, gender, and sexuality. And unless he overcomes these problems, he will be unable to achieve his goal of expanding beyond his base and sparking a popular mass movement.

The social justice bit made me cringe.

I am not a Bernie expert. But it seems to me that many of their criticisms are more out of short sighted ideological vision than anything else.

The many faces of what we call the SJW movement I have no doubt, started off with the best of intentions. But when you become to self focused as group, you can quickly go from seeking equality to forward momentum, at times insidiously. Though far more visible in some SJW factions than others, this issue can exist in any similar setting.

I truly believe that Bernie envisions a path that is inclusive of all. And as such, I do not think he feels a need to make a detailed and unique pitch to every single group that falls into such a strategy. Nor do I think he should have to pander to everyone individually.

When you become to focused on your own to either move on from the past or accept some compromise to your envisioned utopia solutions, your no better than the force you started out fighting to begin with.

His treatment of the reparations issue, on the other hand, is a political cock-up of the first order. Bernie’s first mistake was his failure to engage the reparations issue in any depth. He dismissed reparations as “divisive” and impractical (“its likelihood of getting through Congress is nil”).

Though opposing reparations is a defensible position, discussing the issue in such thoughtless and insensitive way is distasteful. And for Sanders, the man famous for proposing such implausible (for now) schemes as free college and single-payer, to play the pragmatism card is even worse. His handling of the issue has alienated the very voters (African Americans) that he needs to win over (one recent poll shows Clinton leading Sanders among Latino and African-American voters by some 50 points). The campaign’s failure to return Ta-Nehisi Coates’s calls asking for further comment added insult to injury (and also says not very comforting things about Team Bernie’s competence).

While it is unfortunate that his opinion on reparations is apparently a deal breaker for many African American voters, I think that all of them are being ridiculous. For the very same reasons as outlined just previously, in response to Ta-Nehisi Coates’s article.

And as for calling the Bernie campaign incompetent for not responding to Ta-Nehisi Coates’s request of further comment . . . REALLY?!

All I can see being used as justification for attempting to extort this interview, is his seeming ignorance of reparations. Because clearly, someone would not just breeze over a topic like that in such an offensive and unthoughtful way, unless they don’t get it.
I did use the word extort, because in this case, it seems fitting. A no name progressive journalist from some progressive publication makes an accusation of racial ignorance against a VETERAN of civil rights defense (a man that likely predates us both). And he must respond to these insidious accusations, or risk facing the progressive backlash.

To hell with Ta-Nehisi Coates’s request for clarification.

You are a moron. Everyone that sides with you are morons. And it be a god damned shame if Bernie is not given a fair shake just because a handful of social justice warriors get their knickers in a bundle just because Bernie will not agree with your EVERY word.

I have seen how the progressive media machine can tear to shreds those it despises, at times using the the same tactics that their mainstream counterparts engage in.

NOT COOL.

What’s especially frustrating about this episode is that is such a missed opportunity for Bernie to connect his democratic-socialist vision to issues of racial injustice. 

Knew it!

A number of black scholars have defined reparations in ways that that would be completely consistent with Bernie’s socialist politics. Harvard law professorCharles Ogletree, for example, supports a form of reparations that centers on universal health, education, and jobs programs. And sociologist Sandy Darity and economist Darrick Hamilton are proponents of race-neutral “baby bonds” as a tool to narrow the racial wealth gap.

It’s depressing that Sanders has given reparations so little serious consideration; does he even have close African-American advisers he consults on these issues?

 
I some of those scholars have good ideas, but I think that they would be better applied across the board (under a given family financial threshold?).

Race neutral baby bonds? I am not sure what is entailed by that. So no opinion.

As for asking if he has African American advisers to consult on all his issues (including reparations), REALLY?!
Again with the gender politics.

The one saving grace is that Sanders has shown an ability to learn and grow from his mistakes. Early in the campaign he stumbled over Black Lives Matter issues, but he now discusses BLM concerns in an engaged, heartfelt way. In short, he gets it. Those of us who support him can only hope that he makes a similar recovery from his self-inflicted damage on the reparations front.

Gracious are we!

He done fucked up, but he can redeem himself. He once tried to neutralize his way out of our extremely ideologically centered and biased grasp before, but he came around! Let us hope he does so again!

You want to win, right Bernie?

Both the Planned Parenthood/HRC and the reparations controversies highlight what is perhaps Bernie’s greatest weaknesses: Race and gender issues frequently seem like an afterthought to him, and he doesn’t embrace them with anywhere near the fervor he devotes to economic inequality. Yet his record on racial justice and LGBT issues is excellent, and objectively better than Hillary’s (he was supporting civil unions and same sex marriage long before she was, and he’s also to her left on civil-rights issues like welfare and criminal-justice reform). And on women’s issues, he’s at least as good as she is. (To take one example: Hillary has recently been touting her opposition to the Hyde Amendment, which is fantastic, but Bernie has been voting against it for decades).

That should count for a lot. 

Indeed it should.

I would argue that he is currently the best working politician in the United States. Considering the mess that is the American political scene, American citizens should be proud to have such a man vying to represent them to the world.

However, politics is not only about walking the walk, it’s also about talking the talk. Unfortunately, when it comes to race and gender issues, Bernie sometimes sounds like who he is: an occasionally clueless 74-year old white guy (witness his language about paid leave as a program that would allow “mothers”—as opposed to parents—to stay home with their kids).

Indeed.

Appease the moronic masses, or return back to the very back room from whence you came. Heaven forbid you have a slip of the tongue.

UNACCEPTABLE in this day and age!

But along with his faults, Bernie Sanders is also a leader with rare strengths. He has passion, vision, and courage. His message has a thrilling, wake-the-hell-up forcefulness and clarity that has moved countless people and expanded the boundaries of the national political imagination. Because Bernie cares so deeply, he’s forced us to care as well.

We have common ground here.

Bernie has indeed, invigorated many people this time around (me included). Its unfortunate that he is still unknown to the vast majority of passively involved people however.

Being Canadian, I regularly get a glimpse of what people know about the election and its candidates.
Rare are those that can name all of the candidates (which is fine, since politics isn’t for everyone).
Donald Trump is ubiquitous across the board. Hillary is not far behind (she even came to Canada last year, if memory serves. The prairies no less!). Next would likely be Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz (sorry 😦 ) and possibly Ben Carson.

But almost no one knows about Bernie. Though we can thank much of the mainstream media for that, with luck that will change.

Sanders’s Achilles heel is that because he focuses so singlemindedly on economic inequality, he is not always able to speak to the needs and desires of the modern left, a left that is passionate not only about economic injustice but also about injustices tied to race, gender, and sexual identity and orientation. Today the left urgently needs leaders who are fully comfortable with and fluent in the politics of intersectionality, and who clearly understand that, while race and gender inequality are deeply rooted in economics, they also have separate dimensions that cannot be addressed by economic remedies alone. My hope is that the Sanders campaign will be a training ground for some of those future leaders, and that they can learn from Bernie’s strengths as well as his weaknesses.

Well that is a scary paragraph if I ever saw one. Almost as if the Sanders campaign is done.

Its a bit sad that the columnist seems to have already written off Sanders as a good candidate, over not talking the talk. Not paying lip service by acknowledging openly to apparently EVERY DEMOGRAPHIC HE IS TARGETING, how he plans to help their ENTIRE situation. Not just the biggest thread that runs down the middle of all of them (the proverbial, GOOD PLACE TO START!). But every detail.

Clearly many have not listened to Robert Riche and his cautionary advice of NOT spitting the left on racial lines.

http://www.salon.com/2015/07/25/robert_reich_progressives_partner/

Which is unfortunate.

The 2015 Round Up Ready Alfalfa Disaster

Today I have come across another interesting piece from Ecowatch. A piece about the lie of coexistence of both GMO and NON GMO varieties of Alfalfa due to major problems getting the stuff to market (being that much of it was rejected by Chinese authorities due to GMO gene contamination).

http://ecowatch.com/2016/01/21/gmo-alfalfa-gone-wild/?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=3d54807d4f-Top_News_1_21_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-3d54807d4f-85381601

A recent study by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists shows that genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa has gone wild, in a big way, in alfalfa-growing parts of the West. This feral GE alfalfa may help explain a number of transgenic contamination episodes over the past few years that have cost American alfalfa growers and exporters millions of dollars in lost revenue. And it also exposes the failure of USDA’s “coexistence” policy for GE and traditional crops.

The USDA has long maintained that GE crops can co-exist with traditional and organic agriculture. According to this “co-existence” narrative, if neighboring GE and traditional farmers just sort things out among themselves and follow “best management practices,” transgenes will be confined to GE crops and the fields where they are planted.

The latest evidence refuting USDA’s co-existence fairytale comes from a recently published study by a team of USDA scientists. The study involvedMonsanto′s Roundup Ready alfalfa, which, like most GE crops in the U.S. is engineered to survive direct spraying with Roundup, Monsanto’s flagship herbicide.

In 2011 and 2012, USDA Scientist Stephanie Greene and her team scouted the roadsides of three important alfalfa-growing areas—in California, Idaho and Washington—for feral (wild) alfalfa stands. Because alfalfa is a hardy perennial plant, it readily forms self-sustaining feral populations that persist for years wherever the crop is grown.

Greene and colleagues found 404 feral alfalfa populations on roadsides. Testing revealed that over one-quarter (27 percent) of them contained transgenic alfalfa—that is, plants that tested positive for the Roundup Ready gene. They believe that most of these feral populations likely grew from seeds spilled during alfalfa production or transport.

However, the researchers also found clear evidence that the Roundup Ready gene was being spread by bees, which are known to cross-pollinate alfalfa populations separated by up to several miles. Their results suggested that “transgenic plants could spread transgenes to neighboring feral plants and potentially to neighboring non-GE fields.” While they did not test this latter possibility, there is no doubt that non-GE alfalfa has in fact been transgenically contaminated—not just once, but on many occasions.

First off, though not directly related, we have this article from Forbes.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonentine/2013/04/02/exposing-the-anti-gmo-legal-machine-the-real-story-behind-the-so-called-monsanto-protection-act/#2715e4857a0b145332b5df0e

Gives you a bit of background on some other legal struggles that the Alfalfa (and sugar beat, as it turns out) industries have been dealing with due to hysterical anti-GMO bullshit. Which only makes this disaster of trading the icing on the cake.

As for contamination:

The amount of GMO contamination that might be present in conventional alfalfa is not known. But a December 2011 report by Stephanie Greene, a geneticist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, ARS, said that after Roundup Ready alfalfa was first deregulated in 2005 industry testing of conventional seed lots found levels of contamination as high as 2 percent.

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSL2N0HD1SQ20130917

It is possible I am misreading the numbers presented by both sources (Ecowatch and Reuters). Its possible that the 2% and the 27% figures are results of an entirely different set of data all together, or some other variable. But if they are representative of the same study, there is a HUGE variation. A mere sprinkle, verses a very large figure.

I will now move onto the most interesting part of the article, the 2015 Alfalfa Disaster. Apparently alfalfa farmers of all types (including those of NON GMO varieties) had a lot of issues selling to China and other Asian nations due to genetic contamination. Though the farmers utilized either organic or traditional methods of production, genetically modified genes were still detected in many of the batches, thus causing them to be rejected.
In the case of a Washington farmer, it is suspected that a mislabeled bag of seed may have caused the mess.
It happens. When you work retail, you would be surprised how often competitor (or just wrong items in general) arrive in mislabeled boxes. I suspect such a shipping error has cost me over $700 due to a smartphone of another carrier (than my current one) mistakenly arriving to their programming center. Though proper procedure is to remove the device from carriers system and send it to the correct carrier, I suspect someone got lazy and reprogrammed it to work on the current network. Thus (I STRONGLY suspect) voiding the warrantee before the device even enters a carrier store.

But getting back to the piece, either a labeling error or more stringent (and new) testing methods are suspected of causing the 2015 headache.

Then in September of 2013, a Washington state farmer’s conventional alfalfa crop was rejected by export buyers when it was found to contain Roundup Ready DNA. To GE critics, this was the inevitable consequence of allowing RR alfalfa to be grown alongside conventional alfalfa. Unlike corn, soybean and other GMO crops, alfalfa is a perennial that is bee pollinated. It was assumed that gene drift, the transfer of pollen to conventional plants resulting in seed with GE traits, would be much more likely than in alfalfa than annual crops.  In 2011, Anastasia Bodnar explained in detail why alfalfa is different than annual cropsand how conventional and genetically engineered alfalfa can coexist atBiology Fortified. James McWilliams even covered it in The Atlantic. So how did this happen?

After an investigation, it is likely that this farmer simply got a bag of mislabeled seed, but fear of further rejection prompted calls for more stringent regulations. Traditionally, farmers have used strip tests to check for GE DNA with a threshold of 2-5 percent, but now there are extremely sensitive tests that allow detection at levels of 0.1 percent. This amount can be caused simply by pollen from a GE crop blowing on to conventional hay or genetic material from processing conventional and GE hay in the same machines, even if the crop is 100 percent conventional alfalfa. The USDA chose not to interfere, calling it a commercial issue not warranting government intervention.

So when last summer China began testing alfalfa shipment with the more sensitive test, many were rejected due to the presence of extremely small amounts of unapproved strains in shipments. Containers of alfalfa sat in port rotting before they could be resold. In December, published remarks by President Xi Jinping were taken as a ban of hay imports from the U.S. as China also began rejecting corn shipments they claimed contained unapproved GE strains, even as they approved a new corn variety from Monsanto this January.

https://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2015/02/26/chinas-rejection-of-gmo-contaminated-alfalfa-canary-in-the-mine-of-biotech-failures-or-global-politics/

Here is the statement of Xi Jinping, Chinese president.

When we talk about the quality and safety of agricultural products, there’s one question that must be mentioned, which is the GMO question,” the president said. “GMO is a new technology, but also a new industry, and has broad prospects for development. As a new item, society has debates and doubts on GMO techniques, which is normal. On this issue, I have to emphasize two points: First is to ensure safety, second is to innovate by ourselves. Which is to say, we must be bold in studying it, [but] be cautious in promoting it. Industrial production of GMOs and commercialization must be strictly in accordance with the nation’s specified rules and techniques, moving steadily, ensuring no mishaps, taking into account safety factors. [We] must boldly research and innovate, dominate the high points of GMO techniques, and [we] cannot let foreign companies dominate the GMO market.

Quite a reasonable stance to be taking on the issue. Not allowing the giants of the industry to pave the way, yet also allowing the research and technology to develop. A stance that is further reenforced by the nations spending on genetic modification research (#1 in the world, though much of the data is kept confidential).

So it appears here that we have (again) a case of the hysterical demanding that the baby be thrown away with the bathwater. Due to a seemingly small issue.

None the less, this is an unfortunate problem for an industry that has already taken a shit kicking from the very people that are gloating about foreseeing this problem now. It brings about a question of, how does one prevent this cross contamination (WITHOUT the total bans that Big Organic wants)?
Or a better question may be, where is the line between acceptable caution and ridiculousness?

Finding 2% or so of genetically modified matter in a clean batch is acceptable for rejection. Its technically not what was specified.

But 0.1%? Trace amounts?

Health Canada, the USDA and other entities have less stringent regulations for some genuinely hazardous chemicals when it comes to food and water for human consumption. Were talking proteins that more than likely are inactive to the human digestive system, IN TRACE ANOUNTS. Not DDT or PCB’s.

To the credit of China however, their GMO policies seem a lot more progressive than those of virtually all European nations, the United States and many other nations (including many Eurasian nations).

But none the less, its beyond ridiculous to waste TONS of perfectly safe food (and cause stress for THOUSANDS of innocent farmers) over traces.

Rice is known to often times have MEASURABLE amounts of arsenic. To the point where it is recommended to severely limit the intake of rice and processed rice foods for children. Because very little (particularly for processed foods) can put them at (or above) the recommended limit.

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2015/01/how-much-arsenic-is-in-your-rice/index.htm

Though I am not 100% sure how the arsenic content of rice and rice based foods compares to the amount of genetically modified genes that constitutes 0.1% of an alfalfa shipment, im almost certain that were talking more then traces. Just by the measurements.

An entire shipping container, verses a bowl of cereal, a few rice cakes or a quart of rice milk.

As always, context is everything.

“Taiwan Bans GMOs in Schools, Mandates Strict Label Laws” – (Ecowatch)

http://ecowatch.com/2016/01/13/taiwan-ban-gmos-schools/?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=c31898d992-Top_News_1_13_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-c31898d992-85381601

At this point, I do not find the increasing volume of these articles to be surprising anymore. They spread like wildfire online in the GMO skeptic community and beyond, despite often not containing much (if any!) evidence of exactly WHY these GMO foods are unsafe, unfit for the health of children, or really, anyone.
In fact, we often times do not even know what kind of genetic modifications were dealing with. It is a HUGE topic and branch of science. So huge, that almost everything you find in a grocery store has been touched by the science.

While there are no doubt some areas of concern (one should always be weary of chemicals mixing with food), very few of these articles focus solely on that aspect of the equation. All I ever see is simply GMOS. There are areas of concern, so toss the whole baby with the bathwater by discouraging the usage and research into GMOs at every turn, sometimes utilizing lies and false information to do it.

No.

First off, though these people like to consider themselves skeptics, they are no more rational than a 9/11 truther, or an Obama birther. In fact, they are in a sense worse. Much like anti-vaxxers, they derive many of their conclusions from fear. Which is dangerous to much needed agricultural research in an ever changing climate. And sometimes even inhumane, when the research that is being held back has the potential to feed millions of starving poor in the global south (golden rice and bananas).

But another aspect of this conversation that makes me laugh now, is how its showcased. The so called progressive GMO skeptics painting themselves as the David, in opposition to the big money and influence wielding Goliath that is the various entities of Big Ag and Biotech.

Indeed, both big Agriculture and Biotech have a huge footprint, and more money and influence than anyone should be comfortable with. Yet at the same time, it has been proven that many of the biggest entities on the Organic/Non GMO side are also not beyond yielding influence to push the agenda of labeling GMOs. Though Big Biotech has influence, so to does Big Organic. Both sides are looking out for number one, above all else. Which makes neither no more a friend of the consumer than the other.

Then there is, communications.

There may have been a time when the biggest names of the Biotech industry had a good handle on what information got out about their products, with little internationally available citizen accessible mass communication mediums. But that time is LONG gone.

Now, in a day and age where spreading information is as easy as a click of a button, that tide has TOTALLY reversed. It started as (and really, still is) a good thing. Making it easier to keep companies honest.

But while that was great, it was lost on a populace not taught to question what information they are being fed. Which is funny, since almost everyone knows you cant always trust your TV (I’ve seen the memes!), yet this goes out the window online.

So while the biotech industry may have had communications domination at one time, not anymore. Which would be fine, if much of the information spread was true and factual, and the fears justified. But that is not the case.

Though Big Biotech certainly should not be blindly trusted, in the age of the internet and unquestioning know it all social media culture, they are not the Goliath.
There are a whole lot more web sources backing the GMO Skeptics than there are backing, the actual science.

And it shows, in the changes showing up in the marketplace. Many companies are now either publicly or quietly altering supply chains, all so they can slap a Certified GMO Free label on their product. Though some indeed are treating this a new fad selling point to generate more sales, I suspect others may also be acting in advance of perceived consumer fears. Even if they are irrational fears (compared to the actual harm potential of the product), it still will cost money if they make the product be overlooked.

As such, hearing news of this company ditching GMOs or that nation banning GMOs does not impress me, or legitimize the cause. All it proves to me is how much power that irrational fears can have, when used as a bullying mechanism.

“Monsanto Chief Is Horrible” – (Ecowatch)

http://ecowatch.com/2015/12/04/mark-ruffalo-monsanto/?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=2e03a62a30-Top_News_12_13_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-2e03a62a30-85381601

Today I will be focusing on a piece written by Mark Ruffalo of (I assume) Ecowatch. It is about his recent encounter with the man (Monsanto CEO) at an interview.

First of all, to start this off on a note of amusement (at least to me), the fellow in question’s (Monsanto CEO) name is Hugh Grant. Not the actor.
But moving on, lets get into the article.

He came through the Green Room door ready to do high fives with his press agent and I simply told him this:

“You are wrong. You are engaged in monopolizing food. You are poisoning people. You are killing small farms. You are killing bees. What you are doing is dead wrong.”

Im sure that Hugh has never been faced with this kind of reaction from ignorant activists and pseudo reporters before.

A bead of sweat broke out on his head. “Well, what I think we are doing is good,” Grant replied.

“I am sure you do,” I told him.

When people get paid the kind of money he gets paid their thinking becomes incredibly clouded and the first thing to go is their morality.

And here it comes. The high horse.

He says Monsanto needs to do a better job with their messaging.

Hugh, it’s not your messaging that makes you and your company horrible. It’s the horrible stuff you guys do that makes you and your company horrible. People don’t walk around making horrible stories up about good companies because they got nothing else better to do with their time. People like you and your company are horrible because … you are horrible. No matter how much jumping around you do on morning shows (where no one can really nail you down for the horrible stuff you do), you will still always be horrible and people will always greet you the way I did, when you go around trying to cover up the fact that you are horrible.

This will have to be broken down.

1.) I agree that Monsanto (and other companies and organizations like it) need to try and do a better job with education of their practices. Because in the age of social media ignorance and at times flat out misinformation, NOT providing good counter narratives is not just bad for business, its bad for the science itself. When this is science that helps research how to better feed a growing population on an increasingly hostile planetary environment, everybody looses.

2.) Some people DO walk around saying falsely horrible things about companies. Many of the documentary’s on the company that one is likely to encounter on Netflix or Youtube (often of which turn their viewers into activists, by design) are built on this. The cries about lawsuits against poor farmers, crushed by a Goliath. Even though they broke contract, and all of the proceeds of said suits go to charity.

Then there are those that lie about the Indian suicide epidemic.
There is PLENTY of bullshit to go around.

Also, why are we framing this in a “Good vs evil” manor?

“People don’t walk around making horrible stories up about good companies because they got nothing else better to do with their time.

I do not deal in emotional arguments. I deal in facts. I do not walk around with the assumption that those in this position are automatically good, while others in another are automatically evil. I deal in agendas (what is the backstory?).

People that walk around with the preconceived notion that is “Big biotech = EVIL, Little Farmer = Good” are dangerously gullible.

First of all, as far as I am concerned, there is no such thing as a good corporation. They exist to enrich their shareholders.
This does not mean they can not Do good in the world, or use their status and resources to work on solutions to big problems of the species. However, they are just entities. Imaginary money making entities of human design and creation.

On a side note, this is why I do not swoon over Google, Apple, Facebook or other so called progressive companies. Its all about the bottom line, and its made abundantly clear should you choose to look.
But why would you do that when you can watch “The Social Network” or “Steve Jobs”?

Just as being an unthinking fanboy to a company can blind you to things like forced device obsolescence and manufacturer only parts replacements (and many others), being an unthinking hater of a company can blind you to manipulation utilizing that hatred.

For example, manipulation by farmers that came out on the butt end of a lawsuit of their own making (breach of contract!), yet whom see an opportunity to not only kick the company back, but possibly even make it financially beneficial.

After all, were talking about David vs Goliath. If Goliath went and sued David for libel (or whatever the applicable law), then that’s just playing into the conspiracy.

See how differently these things can look when you don’t at things exclusively from a Good vs Evil, Us Vs Them perspective?

3.) Though containing a great many words, one thing that is lacking of this entire paragraph, is substance. The jist could have been summarized by “You and your company are horrible, no matter how you try and spin it!”.
All I see in this paragraph, is elementary school level tactics. Replace horrible with poopyhead, and I would be fooled.

Moving on in the article, there is a youtube video in which the auther recomends you watch to learn more. Feel free if you want, but I am not linking it here, since it seems to be just propaganda.

The article is concluded by linking and making mention of a number of past Monsanto lawsuits and scandals, including the WHO’s labeling of glyphosate as a “Probable Human Carcinogen”. I played around with this story some time ago by looking into other probable carcinogens we may come across in daily life.

https://mbman.wordpress.com/2015/10/01/monsanto-cancer-lawsuits/

To close, if you view this post as a defence of Monsanto, your an idiot. The various lawsuits against the company do not really surprise me. Corporation’s have a purpose. What I do not do, is let this knowledge blind me.

While this little article may applauded as great fodder by those of its intended ideological target audience, all I see is an empty string of Ad Homs.

And when it comes to horrible people, the non GMO side is often hardly of any credibility. Yellow rice. Possible solution to nutrition problems of the Global South (to speak the language of some of these hippy nitwits), stopped in its tracks. Because of fear.

As I have said before (and will likely say again!), there is a lot of bullshit to go around. No one has clean hands.

As such, one side trying to smear the other by way of parading its worst offences in front of the public spotlight does not impress me.

“Monsanto to Be Put on Trial for ‘Crimes Against Nature and Humanity’” (Ecowatch) – Cue The Drama!

http://ecowatch.com/2015/12/07/monsanto-put-on-trial/?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=9eb729cb7a-Top_News_12_7_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-9eb729cb7a-85381601

I came across this article today in reading my various newsletters. While amusing, it is also enraging. Take this:

“The time is long overdue for a global citizens’ tribunal to put Monsanto on trial for crimes against humanity and the environment,” Ronnie Cummins, international director of the Organic Consumers Association and Via Organica, said. “We are in Paris this month to address the most serious threat that humans have ever faced in our 100-200,000 year evolution—global warming and climate disruption. Why is there so much carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere and not enough carbon organic matter in the soil? Corporate agribusiness, industrial forestry, the garbage and sewage industry and agricultural biotechnology have literally killed the climate-stabilizing, carbon-sink capacity of the Earth’s living soil.”

Oh the drama. Monsanto literally KILLED the earths ability to sustain us naturally (dare I say, organically?).

First, the evil M is but one business in the biotech industry. 2ed, many of you idiot protesters of the tech of Monsanto may not even be ALIVE without biotechnology. I don’t care what you eat now, how organic or carbon neutral your diet is. Mankind out populated the earths organic ability to sustain its entire populace decades ago, so chances are your alive due to the petroleum driven bio-tech wave. You may have moved on from that starting point diet, but you still owe your life to the tech.

No, I am not trying to frame some kind of privilege argument with this. And this does not mean that a system that brought a big boost to the species should not be made more efficient and sustainable, while also being less destructive from an ecological perspective.

I assume that most of these people making the crimes against humanity accusation against Monsanto, think that their existence is a good thing. Therefore it seems odd that a VERY large contributor to this very existence, would be a “crime against humanity”.

And SPEAKING of crimes against humanity. . . Golden rice? Remember that?

A strain of rice that was engineered by Syngenta to develop the same beta carotene as found in carrots. The purpose here being to bring the invaluable nutrient vitamin A easily into the diets of the third world less fortunate. You know, people whom don’t have the option of heading to their local Whole Foods Market and buying organic, non-GMO free range carrots.
Seeing the potential for controversy at the hands of the irrationally GMO fearing masses in advance, Syngenta removed all stakes they had in the project by handing the reins to a charity. Evil deeds afoot!

But even after this, as far as I know, this project is still not implemented. Because of the cries of fear and outrage from the first world GMO fearing morons.
If you look into this, the lies are blatant. Some sources do not even acknowledge that the project was handed away from Syngenta.

And these people are pointing the finger at big biotech for perpetrating crimes against humanity. Fuck you.

Also, why the fuck are we listening to the Organic Consumers Association. ITS AN ORGANIC INDUSTRY LOBBY GROUP YOU MORONS!

Everyone with their fucking bubbles. Perfectly able to see industry trickery on one side, but blind to it on their own.

This whole debate (Big Biotech Vs Humanity) is described as a David Vs Goliath battle. The big evil money hungry biotech firms vs, everyone else.
And in a way, I agree. However, not with how the battle lines are drawn.

Big biotechnology, like any other rich industry, does hold much more political clout and power than they should. Its unreasonable to think that this status does not buy favors that benefit the industry.

But the Organic industry is hardly a saint in comparison.

Though they may not have had the big money (at least to begin with) as big biotech had to throw around, they had social media and the internet.
It does not take long to figure out that the vast majority of people that join online movements do not research them in depth. So all you need to do is foster an air of uncertainty over the safety of GMOs using a flimsy scientific argument, and the work is done. Many go flat out into bullshit claims, but for the sake of this, uncertainty works fine.

Now you have not just cast doubt on GMOs that is very hard (if not impossible) for their representatives to alleviate, but you have also created a market for your wares.
A few months back Ecowatch ran a piece entitled something to the nature of Sales of Organic Foods Up 300%!.
Well, no shit Sherlock!
Its amazing what happens when you destroy your competitors by falsely destroying consumer trust in their products!

Big Biotech has to much influence in the world. But Big Organic is just as slimy, maybe even WORSE!
Everyone has a shareholder to appease, and so everyone is full of shit. You ideologically driven fools are but pawns.

There is nothing wrong with wanting a better tomorrow. But get your head out of your ass.

Vandana Shiva, physicist, author, activist and founder of Navdanya agrees. “Monsanto has pushed GMOsin order to collect royalties from poor farmers, trapping them in unpayable debt and pushing them to suicide,” she said. 

Lie. From a chronic liar. A chronic liar that the left continually holds in esteem. Despite the person being a chronic fucking lier.

People and their boxes!

The sole attribution for the suicide claim in the Al Jazeera story is a hyperlink for “250,00 farmers,” which takes readers to a 2012 opinion column by writer Belen Fernandez (who actually reports the number of suicides as “nearly 300,000”), which she supports by linking to a 2009 op-ed by Vandana Shiva in the Huffington Post. Shiva is a prominent Indian-born environmentalist who, for the past decade, has said repeatedly that Monsanto’s “suicide seeds” have triggered a “genocide” in rural areas of India.

The Monsanto-Indian famer suicide connection is a recurring motif for Shiva. She raises it when she references Monsanto or GMOs in her many writings, media interviews, and public talks. I heard her expound on it during a recent talk on sustainability that she gave at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden in New York City.

Shiva’s words are treated with earnest respect in liberal and environmental circles, where she is held in great esteem. If she insists that Monsanto and its GMO seeds have driven hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers to suicide—and she has said this frequently—then there must be something to it

Do not worry. Unlike my GMO smearing opposition, I prove my claims.

As in much of the developing world, small-holder Indian farmers (those with less than two hectares of land) are most vulnerable to the vagaries of weather and climate change. They also have little access to institutional credit. As the World Bank has noted: “While India has a wide network of rural finance institutions, many of the rural poor remain excluded, due to inefficiencies in the formal finance institutions, the weak regulatory framework, high transaction costs, and risks associated with lending to agriculture.” Consequently, when purchasing seed, fertilizer, and other crop-related items, poor farmers often turn to private money lenders who charge high loan rates.

This financial burden is commonly cited for the wave of farmer suicides that the media—particularly in India—have been reporting the past decade. However, researchers studying the phenomenon also note that it has struck unevenly in cotton-growing regions of central and southern India, where the social and economic stressors vary. For example, a 2012 paper in The Lancet that surveyed India’s suicide mortality rate noted: “Studies from south India have shown that the most common contributors to suicide are a combination of social problems, such as interpersonal and family problems and financial difficulties, and pre-existing mental illness.”

Still, this much is known: More than 270,000 Indian farmers have taken their own lives since the mid-1990s, according to India’s National Crime Records Bureau. And that number is believed to be higher, although firm data is hard to come by. These deaths are real and they are tragic for the surviving families.

Both previously quoted items are from this source. I encourage all to read it in full.

http://issues.org/30-2/keith/

In every story, there are 2 sides. Do not pick one just because the other makes a good case for you to believe theirs.

The world is filled with agendas, propaganda and bullshit. Never assume authenticity without checking first.

Let’s Call Female Online Harassment What It Really Is: Terrorism (Vice)

So, I woke up this morning to come across this.

image

Not to long ago it was being labeled as Cyber Violence. Now we’re just flat out running with terrorism. Because Survivers of 9/11, the Boston Bombing, or any other terrorist situation  (mass shooting?) . . . . your now on par with these people. They know your pain. 

Written by Anne Thériault, the Vice piece is pretty much an exploration of . . . The typical online experience of anyone that chooses to publicly have an online presence. It starts with a threat supposedly directed at the articles auther (Anne) VIA a Youtube comment section, after she took part in a panel on sexual assult.
She was allegedly told that “She deserves to be raped”. To be clear, I do not doubt that some fuckwit would leave such a comment. I just say allegedly, because that is what good reporters say when dealing with content that has more than likely been deleted.

The article goes next into the stories of a few notable names in the GamerGate debate/movement/whatever the fuck. First is Anita Sarkeesian (canceled a talk at a University in Utah after a threat was made on the event. One that even the authorities didn’t really take all that seriously. It WAS taken seriously, just figured not to be legitimate). And then there is Breanna Wu (allegedly forced to leave her home due to a threat of violence).
And then there is Zoe Quinn (a game developer that is alleged to have slept with a media gaming critic. Something that is being called a conspiracy theory here . . . I have no idea), who was doxxed by an anti-femenist into also leaving her home. Also mentioned are a number of Black women that face harassment online after speaking out.

First of all, though sending death threats is apparently common place these days, don’t due it. Though they may be EMPTY threats, there is no such thing as a harmless threat. Even if the only harm is emotional, there are WAY better ways to make a point than to potentially get yourself in legal trouble.
And no, sending threats is not a matter of free speech. You do not have to right to threaten ANYONE’S life. That argument is fucking stupid, so don’t even THINK about using it.

One thing I have to take issue with however, is that digital harassment is a majority women problem.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/04/men-are-harassed-more-than-women-online.html

And no matter what the numbers say, it’s still ridiculous (and offensive, to be honest) to equate words said by idiots/ trolls/ whoever as terrorism. Think of a survivor of (or a family member or friend of a person lost to) terrorism. It’s hard to see this as NOT an insulting comparison!

“I almost died in the Twin towers!”

“People tell me on YouTube and Twitter that I deserve to get raped”

Again, no one should be threatening ANYONE (including those that used the supposedly joke #KillAllMen hash tag. Terrorists!). But come on!

Another thing we must consider, is how insulting these professional victims are to actual victims of abuse. Though no one should have to face death threats, one has to be honest . . . . It’s got its perks. The more media coverage you receieve for being on the tail end of primarily male threats, the more money flows into those patreon accounts. It would be another matter if this was going to charities that help with such issues as domestic and dating abuse and violence. But I have yet to hear of it yet.
So while these people make the rounds of the news media and the UN (and Google!), real victims remain in the shadows. Their pain over looked, because it didn’t happen though a gaming network chat or tweet.

The fact that Vice choose to run this fucking joke of an article, is a really unfortunate statement of their legitimacy lately (though certainly not the only one!). Considering the depths that it’s television program goes though to get some of its pieces (as well as the quality of that reporting), their online side is . . . .lacking.

As for everyone else that is parroting this Cyber Violence and/Or Terrorism narrative in terms of online harrasment of women . . . .stop. Your careless throwing around of deliberately abrasive key words is not just insulting to actual victims/survivers of terrorism, but also to victims and survivers of domestic abuse.

Also, when a person decides to close social media accounts VOLUNTARILY, they have not been “Shut Up”. Having their accounts closed without just cause (but for just being ideologically active) would be a different matter. But not the way author Anne describes.

Another thing I disagree with is that these people are out to silence women, let alone ALL women.
People that attempt to scare people into silence are the worst of the worst, and giving them this attention (or caving to their demands!) is just giving them what they want. Either noteriety (“Look what I helped accomplish!”) or just plain success. Fuck those people.

One thing that is common with these feminist professional victim’s (to borrow a term) is that they also do not respond to legitimate criticism of their work or studies. And yet they want to not just be taken seriously, but also (at times) for their work to be utilized IN the realm of education.

I am not yet in the world of academic post secondary studies, but even I know that in that world, everything is up for debate. That is how stupid ideas are weeded from the good.
If you refuse to aknowledge even layman critical analysis of your work, why should those in academia take you seriously?

Monsanto & Big Biotech Vs. Freedom Of Information

Today I am focusing on an article published on Truthdig, accusing Monsanto and its scientists of creating backlash to FOIA (or Freedom Of Information Act) laws.

This is also an interesting piece, because it was written by Ralph Nader. A name I have not come across since reading Micheal Moore’s book Downsize This! (published prier to the 1995 election, if memory serves). Its funny how many of those names (well known in the political arena of 20 years ago!) are still relevant. Most notable of them all, Hillary Clinton.

But now, on to the article.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/in_the_public_interest_monsanto_and_its_promoters_vs_freedom_of_informatio

Next year, the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) will celebrate its 50th anniversary as one of the finest laws our Congress has ever passed. It is a vital investigative tool for exposing government and corporate wrongdoing.

The FOIA was championed by Congressman John E. Moss (D-CA), who strove to “guarantee the right of every citizen to know the facts of his Government.” Moss, with whom I worked closely as an outside citizen advocate, said that “without the fullest possible access to Government information, it is impossible to gain the knowledge necessary to discharge the responsibilities of citizenship.”

All fifty states have adopted FOIA statutes.

As the FOIA approaches its 50th year, it faces a disturbing backlash from scientists tied to the agrichemical company Monsanto and its allies. Here are some examples.

On March 9th, three former presidents of the American Association for the Advancement of Science – all with ties to Monsanto or the biotech industry – wrote in the pages of the Guardian to criticize the use of the state FOIA laws to investigate taxpayer-funded scientists who vocally defend Monsanto, the agrichemical industry, their pesticides, and genetically engineered food. They called the FOIAs an “organized attack on science.”

The super-secretive Monsanto has stated, regarding the FOIAs, that “agenda-driven groups often take individual documents or quotes out of context in an attempt to distort the facts, advance their agenda, and stop legitimate research.”

Frankly, I agree. Not with Nader’s position. But with the allegations against the anti-Monsanto/GMO side.

No, this does not justify the repeal of FOIA laws. What this means, is that those that are on side of science and fact (as opposed to ideological idiocy) need to do a better job of fighting the anti-GMO media machine.

I do not side with corporations, groups or anyone for any reason besides if I feel them to be on the right track. As such, though the anti-GMO side often frames this argument as a David vs Goliath type battle, I often think they have the roles reversed.

I have seen and looked into enough of these slanted articles to recognize that trickery happens on both sides. Though I may SOUND like I am pro-Monsanto/Big Biotech in many of my pieces, I assure you that I acknowledge it for the multi-national corporation that it is. But this does not mean that you assume nefarious activities and agendas. Or worse, bend the facts to support such an outcome or hypothesis.

Though the Anti-GMO crowd often frames its side as being pro fact (“We want everyone to know what they are consuming!”), they are not beyond similar trickery that they accuse the opposition of. Though much of it may be driven by ignorance or genuine altruism, there are also agendas being pushed.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/09/06/us/food-industry-enlisted-academics-in-gmo-lobbying-war-emails-show.html?referer=

We always knew about big biotech and its usage of whatever resources it could get ahold of to promote its wares. We always knew that, because that is how big companies operate. However, this article exposed another entity, one that I have personally dubbed big organic.
This industry driven entity is also not beyond utilizing whatever measures it possibly can to promote its products (even underhanded campaigns against GMO’s).

While I dislike anyone using trickery, this form is arguably worse than what is done by big biotech. Because no matter who is funding the studies or how the studies are being conducted (and no matter the reason!), the results often garner direct and immediate action from consumers. Which for the GMO ignorant public, often means boycott and condemnation.

http://ecowatch.com/2015/10/05/european-union-ban-gmos/

We are seeing more and more articles such as this with each passing day. Be it nations or big food companies, many are seeing fit to reduce or remove GMO’s from their products ingredient chains. Due to consumer demand.

Which is a good thing. Giving the people what they want. But there is also a sneaky side to this, which comes at the expense of the irrational anti-GMO idiots. And industry.

Thanks to many of these Big organic funded studies and campaigns (or just misinformation campaigns in general, no matter who is paying the tab), the media gets saturated with only that bit of information. And when I say the media, there are a WHOLE lot more anti-GMO platforms and sources than there are rational platforms.
Since these guys are the Goliath of the media market (particularly social media), these guys can (and do!) drive consumer choice and demand. What they push is accepted on its face.

Which means that we have a giant swath of consumers that are not just irrationally fearful, but also vulnerable to marketing. One big example of food pandering that I have bitched about before, is the gluten free movement. While the mass of new products is great for those with genuine gluten conditions (around 1% of the population of Canada, my home), it was embraced by around 10 million Canadians at its peak (numbers are declining in 2015). The majority of these people embraced the trend after either falsely attributing it as a weight loss aid, or just assuming it better because of its price.

http://globalnews.ca/news/1968253/are-canadians-over-the-gluten-free-food-trend/

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/canadian-professor-says-wheat-protein-unchanged-for-100-years-not-cause-of-gluten-intolerance/article24695317/

https://uofa.ualberta.ca/news-and-events/newsarticles/2015/july/cracking-gluten-intolerance

Though gluten intolerance is a genuine problem for a small number of people in the human population, many were swayed into spending often much more money for foods that, had no real beneficial properties for them. And though it was unofficially widely known as a more healthy alternative to traditional foods, this was often not the case (I seen this myself when comparing some items while shopping!).

Despite this, industry did little to steer consumers in the right direction. And why would they? If your sales are tripling from quarter to quarter, why would you want to stop that cash flow?

The same goes for the GMO Free thing (craze? We will see in a few years).

If enough people want products that do not contain genetically modified ingredients, companies will listen and give the people what they want. Because (like gluten free was and is) there is no downside. Your seen as “part of the solution”, which puts you in consumers good books (since most people can’t be bothered to look beyond a positive marketing campaign anymore). And the package marking (certified GMO Free) becomes part of the marketing.

It does not matter if the targeted consumers are only coming to the table with part of the information they need (or flat out false information). In fact, it does not matter if the food itself would not have contained genetically modified ingredients to begin with. The seal sells it all.

But though industry can be the big beneficiary of GMO ignorance, it can also be adversely affected. For example, I wrote a post about Heinz coming under fire for selling baby products containing BT corn.

https://mbman.wordpress.com/2015/09/19/gerber-baby-food-found-to-contain-gmo-corn-mb-man-investigates/

I looked into BT corn a bit, and concluded it not to be a threat. Its not something that I would worry about consuming, nor is it something I would worry about feeding a child.

But everyone is not me. Many people only see a whole shit load of news articles in their social media feeds proclaiming how dangerous the product is, with links to studies. Though these studies are often easily proven as bunk . . . . again, people often don’t do this.

So next thing you know, Heinz (or ANY company in this position) is accused of feeding children poisons, and vilified. Which leaves pretty much no recourse but to drop the GMO’s. If not, these scare tactics may take a nasty bite from their business.

In the great GMO debate, all sides are dirty. No one has clean hands. And anyone that tries to tell you otherwise is either willfully ignorant, or completely full of shit.

Do your research. ALWAYS.

I will now skip ahead a ways in the article (much of what is written I have covered and torn apart in previous entries).

U.S. Right to Know, a nonprofit consumer group staffed by consumer advocates, is conducting an investigation of the food and agrichemical industries, including companies like Monsanto, and how they use front groups and taxpayer-funded professors at public universities to advance their claims that processed foods, artificial additives, and GMOs are safe, wholesome, and beyond reproach.

Based on documents that U.S. Right to Know obtained through the FOIA, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Eric Lipton wrote a front page New York Times article about how Monsanto and the agrichemical industry use publically-funded scientists to lobby, and to promote its messages and products.  For example, Lipton reported on a $25,000 grant from Monsanto to University of Florida Professor Kevin Folta, who had repeatedly denied having ties to Monsanto: “‘This is a great 3rd-party approach to developing the advocacy that we’re looking to develop,’ Michael Lohuis, the director of crop biometrics at Monsanto, wrote last year in an email as the company considered giving Dr. Folta an unrestricted grant.”

Yes, this is the same New York Times article I linked earlier. The article that exposed both big organic AND big biotech’s trickery with academia. But again, you don’t see both sides to that coin here.

I came into this with a positive view of Ralph Nader. But this little article of republished bullshit has changed that a lot.

I can respect a man that is always standing up and looking out for the safety of Americans (and the world, as these changes are implemented elsewhere). But I think your views here, could use some enrichment.

Your better than ideological parroting. Come on.

Monsanto Cancer Lawsuits

Not surprisingly, lawsuits against Monsanto over their branded herbicide formulation Roundup (a glyphosate formulation) have apparently commenced, starting with 2 farmers (and more will likely follow suit). And also not surprisingly, the alternative media has its eye on these suits, and has begun to expose them to the world in the most dramatic of ways.

http://ecowatch.com/2015/09/30/monsanto-sued-roundup-causes-cancer/?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=a8df8ac9bf-Top_News_9_30_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-a8df8ac9bf-85381601

The lawsuits commenced after the International Agency For Research On Cancer (The World Health Organisation’s cancer arm) listed Roundup’s main ingredient (glyphosate) as a probable human carcinogen 6 months back.

One thing I will give Ecowatch credit for here, is that they did not embellish the headline for views. Unlike one of their fellow sources.

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/09/30/monsanto-under-fire-maker-cancer-causing-herbicide-sued-us-workers

This is not really a fact checking piece, as there is nothing to disagree with. Two people are suing so far, and more are likely to join the fray. It is likely that the suits will be thrown out due to lack of evidence. Whether or not you agree with such a conclusion is up to you.
And when that does happen, you can be sure these these anti Bio-tech company news media sources will be all over all the cases, reporting it as a miscarriage of justice and seeing the wheels of corporate conspiracy turning.

Though my opinion does not matter, I do feel that these suits are out of convenience. Its unfortunate that these individuals are having to go though the ordeal of cancer. But read this excert from one of the suits  (from the Ecowatch article):

“Monsanto assured the public that Roundup was harmless. In order to prove this, Monsanto championed falsified data and attacked legitimate studies that revealed its dangers. Monsanto led a prolonged campaign of misinformation to convince government agencies, farmers and the general population that Roundup was safe.”

It reminds me of the uproar that commenced after the Monsanto rep refused to drink roundup after stating it was harmless. Yes harmless, in context. Bleach is for the most part considered harmless as well, but that does not mean it is safe to drink a cup of it. Fucking idiots.

Being that glyphosate is a PROBABLE carcinogen, I doubt that these lawsuits will go anywhere. But since these 2 words (probable carcinogen) are getting so much attention, I think its time that we explore some other items on that list. Not all of them (its a pretty long list!), but some of the ones that you are most likely to come across in daily life.

Acrylamide

My regular readers may recognize this name, because I have written of it before.

https://mbman.wordpress.com/2015/03/10/acrylamide-its-inon-everything/

For those that didn’t see the other post, Acrylamide can be produced on account to the heating of asparagine, an amino acid found in many vegetables (with some potato varieties having high concentrations). Frying, baking and broiling seem to trigger the production of Acrylamide (more so with lengthy cooking times over 120C), while boiling and microwaving seem to not trigger production.

Adriamycin (Doxorubicin)

http://chemocare.com/chemotherapy/drug-info/adriamycin.aspx

Interestingly, this is a cancer treatment drug. Ironically, given the context of this piece. The fellows sued for being exposed to a probable carcinogen, only to be treated with one.

Azacitidine

This is a drug that is used to treat myelodysplastic syndrome (a group of conditions caused by bone marrow producing misshapen and otherwise unhealthy blood cells). The medication helps bone marrow to produce normal cells and kills abnormal cells.

https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a607068.html

Carmustine (BCNU)

This is another anti-cancer drug used in the chemotherapy process. It is known as an alkylating agent (which means that it stops DNA from transcribing into RNA)

http://chemocare.com/chemotherapy/drug-info/carmustine.aspx

http://livertox.nih.gov/AlkylatingAgents.htm

Chloramphenicol<

This is an anti-biotic that prevents many forms of bacteria from forming the proteins that they need to survive.

http://www.medicinenet.com/chloramphenicol-oral/article.htm

Epichlorohydrin

This is a compound that is used to manufacture synthetic glycerin, epoxy resins as well as various polymers.

http://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/epichlorohydrin#section=Top

Malathion

This name I am familiar with, since it is used as a mosquito control measure by my city, and many others. On a personal note, I have breathed this shit 3 times after happening to be out when spraying was in progress.

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/phs/phs.asp?id=520&tid=92

Methoxypsoralen (Bergapten)

This can be found in bergamot essential oil, other citrus essential oils and grapefruit juice.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10812937

If you (like me) ever wondered why so many medications could not be taken along with grapefruit juice, this chemical compound is the reason why. Though that is fine by me (I hate grapefruit).

Nitrosamine

This is used in the manufacture of cosmetics, pesticides and most rubber products. Other sources appear to be some beers and foods.

http://m.jn.nutrition.org/content/134/8/2011.long

http://www.bmj.com/content/317/7162/844.2

Nitrosodimethylamine

That was a mouthful (I am glad this is not an oral presentation!). This is a by-product of some manufacturing processes, and is present (in small amounts) in some cured and smoked meats. It can also be found in cigarette smoke.

http://www3.epa.gov/airtoxics/hlthef/nitrosod.html

Styrene

This is used in the manufacture of polystyrene products. Otherwise known as styrofoam. Which I just learned is a trade marked name (owned by Dow Chemical).

http://www3.epa.gov/airtoxics/hlthef/styrene.html

On an interesting (but unrelated) note, there are now bugs which can eat styrofoam trash.

https://news.stanford.edu/pr/2015/pr-worms-digest-plastics-092915.html

Tetrachlorethylene

This is used as a dry cleaning solvent and a metal degreaser.

http://www3.epa.gov/airtoxics/hlthef/tet-ethy.html

Tris (2,3-dibromopropyl) Phosphate

Once widely used as a flame retardant in plastics and textiles (do you own any old plastic and/or textile items?)

http://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Tris_2_3-dibromopropyl__phosphate#section=Top

Ultraviolet Radiation

Think sunlight and tanning beds.

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/sunanduvexposure/skincancerpreventionandearlydetection/skin-cancer-prevention-and-early-detection-what-is-u-v-radiation

And thus concludes a list of all of the probable carcinogens that a person may come across just in daily life (not considering various work environments that one may find themselves in).

Though glyphosate is indeed one of the more toxic ones, it is also a chemical wherein its class alone (herbicide) would bring about a reaction of cautionary handling. Or if someone is to dim to even figure THAT out, it will be printed on the side of the bottle. Do not be a stupid moron, USE WITH CAUTION.

This is compared to, smoked meats and fish, dry cleaned items and even older plastics and textiles. Or polystyrene (how many times have you eaten or drank heated items out of a polystyrene container?). And of course all of the cancer treatment drugs.

This is not to say that you should be freaked out be your potential exposure to these chemicals with long and scary names. Its all about context.

Glyphosate is not apple juice (and anyone that compares it in such a context is a moron of the highest caliber). But its also not agent orange.
Its nasty, but its better than what predated it. And chances are, though a combination of scientific research and genetic modification, it can be a parent someday to something even better. And I don’t mean “roundup ready” impregnated crops. I mean plants that will be naturally more resistant to pests, drought, disease and many other factors.

All of which are continually retarded by anti-GMO and anti-biotech fear mongering.

CONTEXT.