There seems to be a belief that National Public Radio’s audience is educated, well informed and smart. If the comments in response to an article, The Danger Of GMOs: Is It All In Your Mind? is any indication, that belief seems to be in misguided. Or, maybe its just that the dumbass antis have invaded. My hope is that it’s the latter.
Here are a few comments that is pretty much an example of how the conversation is going, and it’s a long conversation
Altering the genetic makeup of biological organisms and introducing them to the environment introduces change. That is a fact. You change the chemical make-up of a potato, you change the process of digestion. It is not something that requires a lot of excuses. DNA is not DNA. That is why people do not look like trees and trees do not look like dogs. We don’t need GMO’s.
My problem with GMO food is more how it is farmed the the produce itself. The massive monoculture blocks of Rougndup [sic] ready fields are practically dead zones, inhabited only by those GMO crops that survive the torrents of herbicides and pesticides that are rained down upon them by the debt enthralled slaves called farmers who have little or no choice in what and how they can produce. Garbage in garbage out.
We can only hope it’s just an invasion of the imbeciles. There are rational folks there playing whack-a-mole, but it’s a losing battle.
… And in places like Mooney’s Market circa 1920 and 1939, Palmerton, Pa. To whom do these simpletons think farmers sold their food?
Then there’s these two excerpts from an 1872 book by Daniel Mc Cabe, Lights and Shadows of New York Life
With the first light of dawn, and frequently long before the darkness has passed away, the market farmers and gardeners of Long Island and New Jersey crowd the boats with their huge wagons heavily loaded with vegetables and fruits for the city markets.
The stock seems immense, but it disappears rapidly. Fruits command high prices in New York, but sell readily. The market is very rarely overstocked. The same may be said of vegetables. Good vegetables are always in demand. Those who furnish pure, fresh vegetables and meats are sure of a prosperous trade, but the amount of tainted wares of this kind disposed of daily is surprising. Nothing is lost here. Everything finds a purchaser.
Last night I spent a little over an hour experiencing severe cognitive dissonance. I attended a screening of Neil Young’s The Monsanto Years: A Work in Progress. It was a documentary of the making of his new album which is due to be released in June.
I was filled with dread as I waited in line to go in the IFC Center theater. What could I expect? Well, I got what I expected, nonsense filled songs. It also validated my other fear, that I would like the music. I suppose one saving grace is that Crazy Horse wasn’t his backup band. His new band included Willie Nelson’s two sons.
Young was introduced and walked on stage and I thought to myself. Wow. Neil fuckin’ Young. He gave a little intro about the film and said that he saw Monsanto as the poster child for the corporate evil usurping of our democracy, but added that he harbored no ill will for the people who worked for them. Huh?
Monsanto as the poster child for corporate villainy? Banks and oil companies I can see, but Monsanto, a mere $15 billion dollar a year company whose profits are similar to Whole Foods?
Forbes Top 100 US companies in 2014 have Walmart coming in at #1, with Exxon/Mobil and Chevron placing and showing. Hell, Apple comes in at #5. Monsanto comes in at 197. True villain, Bank of America ranked 21st.
Young’s stance and his idea that Monsanto is ultimate evil shows how the anti-GMO movement has skewed the debate about the issue among well-meaning lefties.
The movie started off well enough with a song called Too Big to Fail, which was more an overall indictment of corporations like banks et al, getting away with criminal activity. Okay, so far so good, but I knew what was coming and it came next. It was a song about Starbucks and Monsanto picking on poor little Vermont. It was standard anti-GMO stuff, straight from the anti-GMO playbook.
There were a couple of songs about farmers which led me to think, despite the 30 years he’s been involved in Farm Aid, did he ever once speak to any actual farmers? The songs sure didn’t seem like it.
Two songs were all about how horrible farmers have it due to the villainous nature of Monsanto and how poor farmers are sued into oblivion by the company who forces them to keep buying their seeds. (I never thought I’d ever hear Young sing about seed patents.)
Monsanto, let our farmers grow what they want to grow…
Seeds are not what they once were. God and Mother Nature don’t own them anymore
He bemoans the plight of the sad farmer who wistfully remembers the days when the family farm was pure and not tainted by the greedy hands of Monsanto.
He really has this nostalgic idea for a time that never existed. I don’t know what farming was like in his hometown of Canadia, but I’m sure it couldn’t have been that different from here in the U.S.
The rest of the songs were about the environment and stupid hippie earth loving stuff like how we’re killing the planet etc. Although I did hear the word autism at one point but I couldn’t quite make out the rest of the lyrics.
Oh, and in between songs they had the names being put up on a movie marquee by two guys dressed in hazmat suits.
Left Brain: Oh man, this is nonsense
Right Brain: Neil fuckin’ Young!
Left Brain: He’s singing, bullshit, Mooney
Right Brain: But it’s Neil fuckin’ Young
Left Brain: Stop tapping your foot, idiot.
As much as I wanted to be angry at Young, whose work I have admired since I was a teen, I just couldn’t muster it up. He’s wrong about what he’s singing about, but I think it’s that he’s more of a dumbass than a newly minted anti-GMO activist. He did say the record, is “just what I think.” That’s something, I guess. Next record he’ll be on to something else. It’s what he does.
Still, the antis will seize on this and they already have. Alex Jones and Natural Society have weighed in.
After the movie ended and I was leaving the theater, I was all of a sudden jostled by some guys and then right next to me, as in inches from me, was Young being hustled out to an SUV to make a quick getaway. Man, he’s old.
So, some depressing news came across my digital transom today. Apparently Neil Young’s new album will be an “anti-Monsanto”album called The Monsanto Years.He will be backed by Willie Nelson’s two sons. The anti-Monsanto in itself isn’t the problem. My fear is that he will parrot all the nonsense from the anti playbook and fans will take it as gospel.
What is known is that it contains songs called Seeds, Too Big to Fail, and Rock Starbucks, adding to his statement about boycotting Starbucks because they are in league with Monsanto.
I used to line up and get my latte everyday, but yesterday was my last one. Starbucks has teamed up with Monsanto to sue Vermont, and stop accurate food labeling. Tell Starbucks to withdraw support for the lawsuit — we have a right to know what we put in our mouths. Starbucks doesn’t think you have the right to know what’s in your coffee. So it’s teamed up with Monsanto to sue the small U.S. state of Vermont to stop you from finding out.
Teamed up? Yeah, apparently because both are members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which he calls a shadowy body. Seriously? Drugs are bad m’kay?
And he went to Starbucks every single day? What a chump.
Neil has a history of weird and this seems to be his latest foray into it. Back in the late 1980s he was taken to task for his alleged support of Reagan. He fired back at his critics saying that just because he liked some of his positions didn’t make him a Reagan supporter
INT: You have been known to support Reagan, which a lot of fans thought you were going right wing, and then I think in Rolling Stone you said you weren’t very fond of Bush. I was wondering why you apparently changed political views?
NEIL: Because that’s only an apparent thing. I don’t have a view, I have an opinion that changes because everyday is a different day. I’m not a liberal or a conservative. I’m not like that. With Reagan, some things he did were terrible, some things he did were great. Most people tend to take a president and say you hate…he does one thing you really don’t like. Like he builds excessive amounts of warheads or something. So you write him off completely. Which I think is completely stupid. And I think, is very narrow minded. (my emphasis)
Maybe Neil should heed his old advice when it comes to Monsanto whom he calls them the biggest villain of them all.
He rightly points out that Starbucks has been progressive on LGBT and labor issues in the past…
Well, you hoser, Monsanto was voted one of the best places for LGBT people to work and from what I hear has great benefits and pay.
If I were to get the opportunity to speak Young on this issue I would say, quoting him from one of the interviews where he lambastes his critics about Reagan
You’re an asshole, you know, you don’t know what the hell you are talking about…
Nah, I wouldn’t call him an asshole, but I would say it would be nice if he actually learned something about the issue.
What’s more fucked up about it is that it makes his whole Farm Aid contributions seems less legitimate. If he really did care about farmers, he wouldn’t be against something that farmers find helpful.
I won’t buy the new record and I will still listen to his old stuff, but I cringe when I think the anti groups will be organically unpasturizedly creaming in their hemp jeans about it and we’ll probably see memes like The Needle and the Damage Done (with images of needles sticking in tomatoes) and Rockin’ in the GMO Free World. Maybe I’ll make one, A Man Needs a Brain.
The anti-GMO movement is in a bad place. While they still con people into buying their lies and nonsense, a subtle shift has occurred. Opinion is beginning to turn against them.
Maintream media has been casting a much more skeptical eye and various lefty/green writers have either changed their minds or at least taking less strident anti stances and are willing to be a little more open-minded. It’s hard to say what has been causing the change in these writers. It could be they are starting to realize that scientists aren’t lying to them. It might be that the antis are. It just might be a combination of both.
On top of that, prominent public figures like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye have respectively said, “chill out,” and “I’m going to revise the second edition of my book to reflect my stance on GMOs.” (the latter is not an exact quote)
What do the antis make of all this? Yeah, the same old “bought off” routine. But that song and dance is a bit long in the tooth. There are just so many people who Monsanto can buy off even when you make around $15 billion.
Actually, the anti movement is very much like vaudeville. The same players doing the same routines in city after city. Eventually they were replaced by moving pictures which were more modern, convenient and cost less.
So, what’s an anti to do? You ratchet it up.
Slowly, scientists and farmers have been coming out of their labs and fields and fighting back against the bullshit peddled by the antis. They are outraged at the libelous accusations made against them. This does not sit well with the antis. They ratcheted it up and have engaged in online smears of squints like the excellent science communicator Kevin Folta, who have put themselves out to bring science to the people. They accuse farmers of poisoning people.
Their latest and most disturbing and desperate tactic was taken straight out of the climate deniers playbook. A newly formed group called US-Right-to-Know (US-RTK) have filed FOIA requests against 14 scientists, including the aforementioned Flash Folta, at public universities for all their emails which reference companies like Monsanto. They are looking for payola. Do they have any proof that these squints are on Monsanto’s payroll? Nope. They speak in favor of GMOs. It’s a fishing expedition.
And, even if they do find any ties, tenuous or solid, does that make what they are saying wrong? That’s a big tactic. Since they can’t go after the science, go after real or imagined conflicts. Whether or not any of these squints are getting paid, doesn’t negate the evidence they present. To dismiss out of hand any evidence simply due to industry ties is dishonest.
If you want to know the true duplicitous nature of the anti movement, right-to-know pretty much sums up how full of shit they are. They demand transparency. What is the evil Monsanto hiding? In response to that, the biotech industry, led by Monsanto set up a site called GMO Answers that answers consumer questions about GMOs. They get volunteer scientists and farmers to answer questions. What was the reaction of the antis? Corporate propaganda! Lies!
Readersupportednews.org has a 2013 piece by Alternet’s Katherine Paul Zack Kaldveer that questions the idea of an industry-run answer site
In this case, it’s a new website and forum, introduced by biotech trade groups no doubt with the help of a new PR firm. And a new front group.(emphasis mine) The freshly launched GMOAnswers.com is funded by the biotech industry, which claims it just “wants to talk.”
This week, the New York Times reported on the launch of GMOAnswers.com, a new website intended to “answer virtually any question posed by consumers about genetically engineered crops.” Except, of course, where they’re hidden in our food.(emphasis mine)
Right there, that bolded phrase shows how little Kaldveer knows about GM technology. Where they’re hidden? Hey Katherine, go over to the site and ask them. Kaldveer’s nonsense is similar to a complaint by former Prop. 37 leader Stacey Malkin and now a member of the US-RTK that is demanding the emails. Folta mentions it on his blog
Perhaps my favorite comment by Stacy Malkan is that GMO Answers.com does not address the “peer-reviewed statement” that 300 scientists claim “no consensus”. I hope they do eventually, heck, I might even ask the question on GMO Answers.
Hey, Stace, go over and ask. That’s what they’re there for. Oh, right. Corporate propaganda.
They’re totally full of shit. There is no other way to describe it.
I’m smelling desperation at Anti-GMO Central. Their tactics remind me of how Hunter Thompson described Richard Nixon. He had the fighting instincts of a badger trapped by hounds… Badgers don’t fight fair, bubba.
The FOIA request was so egregious even the normally anti-allied Union of Concerned Scientists issued a report concerning this new activist tactic
Open records requests are increasingly being used to harass and intimidate scientists and other academic researchers, or to disrupt and delay their work…
More recently they added truly bizarre tactic to their arsenal.
You have got to be kidding me. And it’s not just Monsanto they are claiming are anti-science. It’s pro-GMO. It’s Bizarro World. The Organic Consumers Association whose fearless leader is solidly anti-vax is calling others anti- science? Do they really believe this or are they just nuts? They remind me of an old Carlin bit on stupid people. He divided them into three groups: stupid, full of shit and nuts. I think the anti groups are, to paraphrase Carlin describing Dan Quayle, all three.
When the movement started gaining steam, it was a simple straight-forward right-to-know. But that was a red herring. The real end goal was elimination of GM technology which they now admit while still pimping the right-to-know nonsense.
It’s no use trying to change the minds of groups like the intellectually challenged liars at GMOFreeUSA or the lying thugs of the Organic Consumers Association. It’s a losing battle. You can’t change crazy. The best bet for folks like me and you is to counter their nonsense in public forums, online and off. If scientists and farmers keep getting message out, it will cease to become an issue altogether.
But if you look at it the big picture, I don’t think this is a real issue for most Americans. They may give lip service when asked, but they basically only know what they hear from the antis since they yell the loudest. They have more important issues to deal with like making a living wage, paying the rent/mortgage and taking care of their families. The idea that these well-fed, sighted, unprincipled fucks are fighting to stop a useful technology is disgraceful. They ought to be ashamed of themselves for spreading fear and lies. But they won’t. It’s a righteous, religious crusade.
One final afterthought. What the hell is up with them making demands on farmers and companies? They demand farmers do it this way. They demand food companies do it that way. What kind of narcissists are these miscreants that they feel they can dictate that their lifestyle choices should be followed by all of society? I mean, these organic pricks wouldn’t set foot in a McDonalds or buy Kraft Mac n’ Cheese, yet they feel entitled to dictate to these companies to adjust products they don’t and won’t use. to fit the worldview? And farmers? Who the hell knows how to farm better than a farmer, some urban hippie who couldn’t find his ass with both hands and thinks he’s a farmer because he has a plot in a community garden?