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Anti-GMO dumbasses invade NPR

Anti-GMO dumbasses invade NPR

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.

 

Anti-GMO/Organic activists… GIMME! GIMME! GIMME! ME! ME! ME!

Anti-GMO/Organic activists… GIMME! GIMME! GIMME! ME! ME! ME!

MONSANTOMILK

Lately it has occurred to me that along with buying into nonsense and bad science, the Anti-GMO and organic crowd sounds like a bunch of entitled, spoiled children. Look at the GMOInside meme above. The crowd is always making demands about their food.

Who makes demands about their food and drink? Well, fed, affluent, self-entitled westerners, that’s who. More to the point, assholes.

When I was a kid, if anybody went into a store or to a farm and and demanded they sell/grow only things the way we liked, we would have been laughed out of the place. The farmers may have socked you one.

Yet, these organic antis feel they right to demand things. They have this self-entitled idea that they have the right to dictate because it’s what they believe. That’s right, believe.

My dad had a grocery store and people would come in and ask if he could stock this or that. They didn’t demand he stock it, especially at the expense of other products. If some customer came in and demanded that he stock XYZ produce instead of ABC produce, he would have told them to go somewhere else.

What kind of mental disorder does one have to have to fear their entire food supply? This has been written elsewhere, but these people should feel lucky the have ability to bitch about their food. In too many places in the world, people are starving. I think anything that works, whether it be organic, conventional, or GMO should be part of the solution.

Even better yet, how about using the best parts of all those methods? How about using what works?

Anti-GMO goes bananas

Anti-GMO goes bananas

The latest nonsense emanating from the Anti camp is this from our friends at GMOFreeUSA. The stupidity is astounding.

Wait. Aren’t these the same folks who have been screaming there have been no studies of GMOs and their effect on humans?

Anti-GMO: No testing of safety on humans!

GMO banana: Okay. Human testing.

Anti-GMO: OMG! Testing on humans!

Well, then. Let’s have a look-see at the text that accompanied this idiotic image

“GMO proponents claim that they can modify foods to be more nutritious. Just after their flagship GMO Golden Rice, which was supposed to provide enough vitamin A to save poor children in Asia, failed miserably in field trials…”

Bzzz. Sorry, thanks for playing but it didn’t fail. As a matter of fact it was successful. What is holding it up is the anti-GMO NGOS. This study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition begs to differ.

Now there has been some controversy surrounding this trial. Greenpeace raised holy Hell, saying the parents of the children involved didn’t give informed consent. The ethical  breach of the researchers and whether it is true or not is an argument for another time. If they crossed ethical lines, I can’t defend that, but the bottom line is the trial was successful.

“This orange GMO banana, which is being developed in Australia and grown in Uganda, has NOT been subjected to any animal testing for toxicity…”

I don’t know if that is true or not, but I doubt it. Normal procedure is to test on animals before moving on to human trials. “Human trial is a significant milestone for this project which started in 2005 and should see pro-vitamin A-enriched banana varieties being grown by Ugandan farmers around 2020,” Professor James Dale said in a statement to QUT.

Dr Helen Wallace, of GeneWatch, said: “There is evidence that too much beta-carotene can be cancerous so what happens when people who are not vitamin A deficient eat this crop?

Good question, if you’re not a dumbass doctor who should know better. Does Wallace actually believe the people who developed this GM banana didn’t take that into consideration?  Let’s look at the toxicity issue. There is slim to none

For the most part, too much Vitamin A can be harmful, if you eat 3 lbs of carrots a day. Your skin will turn orange.

Bananas weigh in like this: 25 micrograms of carotenoids in every gram of the GM banana. The average banana is 120 grams. 

Cancer? Yes and no. Megadoses of Vitamin in in supplements have shown to increase risk in smokers and those who have worked with asbestos. The levels in the GM banana are nowhere near that level.

Here is a 2011 study published in the African Journal of Biotechnology,  that addresses the Vitamin A issue in Uganda.

There are more effective solutions to these issues such as targeted supplements and diversification of crops.

More idiocy. Supplements are a well and good but again, according to the World Health Organization, it is only a temporary solution. “…supplementation capsules lasts only 4-6 months, they are only initial steps towards ensuring better overall nutrition and not long-term solutions” and“Food fortification (my emphasis) takes over where supplementation leaves off. “

Diversification of crops? What if they are in a region that isn’t good for growing crops that can provide suitable level of Vitamin A?  That statement shows a complete ignorance of agriculture.

These trials have no way of establishing whether these changes are beneficial rather than harmful in the long-term.”

Whether it’s beneficial in the long-term? I don’t even know how to respond to that. No one knows whether it will or it won’t, but in the meantime, real harm is happening to hundreds of thousands of children. Will it be harmful? No. That is such a stupid thing to say. It’s the mindset of well fed, liberal affluent, Westerner.

The point is, the people who developed this did it for all the right reasons and it wasn’t funded by Monsatan.

The $10 million project has been funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This leads us to ask… will Bill & Melinda Gates be the first to sign up for human feeding trials? We think they should. What do you think?

Again, these dipshits are always complaining about no human tests and now that there will be they are whinging about testing on humans? Imbeciles. Is it some bizarro, experimental ingredient they are wanting to test? No, it’s Vitamin A.  They don’t want to test for danger, (my assumption) but to see if it works.

I wonder if these people eat any food that says, “Fortified with Vitamin XYZ?”

Oh, and the idea of experimental being a bad thing? How do these morons think we make progress? I really think these people are unhinged.

If there are more effective solutions, why aren’t these activist groups using their war chests to make those solutions happen; show how their more effective solutions can work?  They won’t because they know they won’t work. If they really cared, they would use their money to help people, rather than denigrate the work of people who are actually trying to solve problems and help people.

The Anti-GMO movement is big fan of autocratic countries

The Anti-GMO movement is big fan of autocratic countries

UPDATE: This is an update of a post I did on 6/13/2014. I felt it needed to be said again, since I just found another authoritarian country the antis love, Gambia.

Since the Anti-GMO movement doesn’t have the facts or real science their side, they hitch their wagon to anybody or anything that promotes their cause no matter how illegitimate. When they’re not doing that they’re making shit up.

Their latest nonsense is favoriting countries with less than stellar democratic leanings who are banning GMOs. Here’s GMOFREEUSA’s latest hero country

thailandcoup1

Seriously? They are celebrating a military coup because they champion organic farming? Time Magazine had this to say about the coup

Since seizing power, Thailand’s military has crushed all forms of dissent, imposed a nightly curfew and imposed severe curbs on civil liberties, and taken over all government departments.

Hey! They like Russia and Putin, too.

And of course, what list be be complete without China?

Again, seriously? Have they not been paying attention to rash of real poisonous food scandals? From Atlantic Magazine, It Will Be Hard to Beat China’s Latest Food Contamination Scandal

The Telegraph has this handy little list Top 10 Chinese Food Scandals

But, NO GMOs!

Could there be a more imbecilic movement than the Anti-GMO movement? Well, the anti-vaccine movement, but then again, many Antis belong to that movement as well.

 

UPDATE: Friend of the blog mem_somerville alerted me to the fact that Syria also banned GMOs. I found this

syria

 

Gambia is the latest fave rave of the antis. The President of Gambia has reportedly said he will “slit the throats” of homosexuals and “no white person can do anything about it”. This March, the EU cut aid to Gambia due to human rights violations. A report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has found evidence of significant human rights violations in Gambia.  See article here

 

 

 

 

 

Fish genes in my tomato? Dumbass.

Fish genes in my tomato? Dumbass.

You hear this nonsense over and over. They’re putting genes from unrelated species into GMOs. This very idea shows how ignorant the anti-gmo activists are when it comes to science and DNA. What this post is about is that you don’t have to be a squint to understand the science.

I’m not a scientist and I’ll admit that before I started learning about GMOs I would have thought the same thing. Fish genes in my tomato? Yikes.

Then, when I started learning about GMOs, I started learning about DNA.  I still only have a basic knowledge of both sciences, but I have learned enough that I now know that it is not some freaky experimental science. These guys and gal squints know what they’re doing. They understand the mechanisms of how it all works. I also found out that genes are genes.

I found out that we humans share quite a few genes with other species.  Speaking of tomatoes; we share 70% DNA. Bananas? 60%

That’s what makes the unrelated species argument silly.

Another nonsensical idea is that for some reason, gene transfer in the lab is somehow more sinister and wrong than “traditional breeding.”

This is what I learned. In traditional breeding, thousands of genes get transferred, willy nilly. You don’t know what you’re going to get. It may take years until you find out whether it works or not. With GM they transfer only the gene(s) they need. Then they work to make sure it works like they want it to. They test for all kinds of unintended consequences. You can’t do that with traditional breeding. You have to wait years to see if you get want you want. How is that worse than conventional breeding?

The allergen nonsense? Yeah, they test for those as well. Think about it. With GM they will be able to eliminate the allergens in peanuts and wheat.

I used to be a technophobe and then I was introduced to the computer in 1982. A friend showed me how it was a great thing for writing. It allowed you to do all things you couldn’t do before. You could cut and paste and move things around and get it just the way you wanted it.

On a related level, that’s what’s happened in the world of genetics.

I still write things on paper. In fact, I do it using a pencil. I love pencils. And that’s the point. No one method is great. It’s whatever works.

GM has its place, It can be a positive; a helpful tool.

 

Organickers/Anti-GMO and pesticides: Fear vs. reality

Organickers/Anti-GMO and pesticides: Fear vs. reality

One of the biggest whines of the Organickers and Antis, (besides take me to Portland)  is how GMO and conventional farming douses, drenches, drowns, their crops in pesticides. And like all their other imaginary facts, this one is imaginary as well; like the idea that organic farming uses no toxic pesticides

A recent post on the Genetic Literacy Project website by an actual real life farmer,  sets the record straight. He shows how they don’t drench or douse their crops in pesticides.

Does GMOFreeUSA actually think we load up big tankers of herbicide and drown our crops with the stuff? First, they don’t understand the meaning of the word drown; second, to really drench a crop we would have to use one of those big tanker airplanes they use to fight forest fires. The video in this link, for example, would qualify as a drenching, probably not a drowning. Sorry, that simply is not what we do on a modern farm.

In fact, it couldn’t be farther from the truth.

You can read the post here: Myth: GM farmers “drown” crops in “dangerous” glyphosate. Fact: Farmers use eye droppers

Here’s the bottom line

So next time you’re at Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks picking up an extra large of your favorite coffee, that’s approximately the amount of herbicide we spread on a football field sized area of a field.

And while we’re on the subject, I came across this website, thegreengok. It is a site written by Bill Chameides and a part of the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment. 

He cites some interesting statistics regarding pesticide use in a post called Statistically Speaking: Lawns by the Numbers

If what he writes is correct, the Organickers and Antis should be going after their lawn owning neighbors and not farmers. What was one of his statistics?

Ratio of pesticide use per acre by the average homeowner versus the average farmer: 10 to 1

Ouch!

Here are some others

  • Percent that include possible carcinogens: 53%
  • Percent that pose a threat to the environment, including water supplies, aquatic organisms, and non-targeted insects: 100%

Another bit of pesticide nonsense is the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen.”  Here’s a great analysis by Steve Savage. How Wrong Is The Latest Dirty Dozen List?

I really wish my tribe would look at facts and evidence rather than nonsense. An even bigger wish, I wish my tribe would believe in science, not just the science which fits their worldview

Guest Post: GMO labels. The purpose is…?

Guest Post: GMO labels. The purpose is…?

Today’s guest “post” comes from friend of the Contrarian, mem-somerville. She’s created a great Storify. As the campaign for labeling heats up,  the true goal of the Right-to-Know labeling crowd is becoming more readily transparent. Through the use of screenshots, she shows the antis in their own words, how their goal is elimination of GMOS and not just a simple label. It’s a beautiful piece of work.

 

What if a corporation isn’t evil incarnate? A progressive’s dilemma.

What if a corporation isn’t evil incarnate? A progressive’s dilemma.

confusedguyIt all used to be so easy. There were the good guys, us, and there were the bad guys, them. Then I meandered into the issue of GMOs. That’s when everything became complicated. I support the use of transgenics for our food supply, simply because I trust the science behind it and because all my research has led me in that direction. What bothers me is the idea that at least tacitly, I find myself in agreement with and sometimes defending corporations.

I hate corporations. They’re greedy, treat their workers like shit and have too much influence in our political system. All in all, aren’t very good citizens. Yet I find myself at times sort of defending corporations like Monsanto. I hate that.

And it gets worse. I agree with opinion pieces written by conservatives and folks from conservative and libertarian think tanks and op-eds by industry trade group representatives. It pains me to agree with a guy like Henry Miller who was a pimp for the tobacco companies, but on this issue he is right.

It all makes me uneasy and I can’t very well forward these articles to friends. They would immediately dismiss them as industry propaganda.

But here’s the thing. The fact that they may be conservative, libertarian and running dog lackeys of the oppressive bourgeoisie, they are actually correct on the issue of GMOs. And I can understand why many people don’t trust them.  If I didn’t know what I know, I wouldn’t trust them either.

These guys may have motives that are less than altruistic, but they are, in a rare instance, using facts and evidence to bolster their case. What are the odds?

I think it’s because the science is the science. It’s solid, it’s known. They don’t have to buy off scientists. They don’t have to spin it. It’s a gift to industry pimps since they don’t have to lie. Of course they don’t lie, but overstate. They overplay their hand as corporations and their apologists do.  New and Improved! This will save the world! It’s called advertising.

But, it still makes me feel queasy.

Yeah, Monsanto has a checkered past. They have since reinvented themselves. As far as evil corporations go, there are worse and more successful with more clout. I mean hell, how bad can they be if they were voted the number one place for LGBT people to work by the Human Rights Campaign? Apparently, it’s a great place to work.

In a blog post over the Real Food blog, Marc Brazeau correctly points out the absurdity of the anti claims about the power of Monsanto.

Let’s put aside the fact that this line of thinking would mean that while fossil fuel behemoths Exxon Mobil (market cap:$394.83B), Chevron (market cap:$215.45B) and BP (market cap:$150.07B) (total: $760.35B) have been completely stymied in their efforts to buy the scientific consensus they desire on climate change, but a medium large company like Monsanto (market cap: $57.43B) has been able to manipulate tens of thousands of scientists performing thousands of studies for three decades with no whistleblowers resulting in a scientific consensus that has been bent completely to their will. 

And that was written by a guy who lives in Portland.

Moving on…

Then there are industry claims labeling will increase costs of food. I’ll admit, I was wary of their claims, my natural reaction to industry claims. Anti-gmo activists claim it’s a minimal cost since it’s just a label. But I have read some non-industry explanations that detail all that is involved for what antis call a simple label. One of the best explanations was this one, a blog written by Jennie Schmidt, a farmer and registered dietician who laid it out in detail on her blog, The Foodie Farmer. It bears out the food industry claims.

Again, it doesn’t seem they are lying.

Can you say cognitive dissidence?

Now, none of this means I’ve fallen in love with corporations. Most are still exploitive and greedy. But sometimes corporations aren’t the epitome of evil. Monsanto seems to be one of those. I’m sure they’ve used what clout they have that isn’t affordable to the average citizen. Do they have lobbyists? Sure, but so does the Organic Industry. But that doesn’t make them completely evil.

A few years back Monsanto was implicated in a bribery scandal in Indonesia. According to the company, take it for what it’s worth, it was the company that brought the bribery to the attention of the feds. The bribery was uncovered in an internal audit. The people involved were fired and Monsanto willingly paid the fine from the SEC.

That doesn’t mean Monsanto is all unicorns and puppies shitting rainbows. But most companies would fight the allegations and try and cover it up.

And this nonsense about wanting to control the seed market. Maybe they do. But what is the organic industry doing by denigrating the conventional and farmers who use gmo crops? They’re trying to gain market share. They want to be the dominant food system. When have you seen companies like Monsanto, et al., denigrate organic farming?

The burning question for us all then becomes how – and how quickly – can we move healthy, organic products from a 4.2% market niche, to the dominant force in American food and farming? The first step is to change our labeling laws. —Ronnie Cummins, Organic Consumers Association

In an age when we are trying to get corporations to become better corporate citizens it seems attacking one that is at least making an attempt to not be completely evil is counterproductive.

Bad behavior is not exclusive to faceless corporations. I wrote about a survey done a few years back by Urban Habitat that found

 in a 2011 survey of 500 organic growers in California found, “only 7.5 percent were in favor of labor standards. Forty-seven percent felt strongly that organic standards should not include labor standards and over 50 percent felt that organic certification should not require growers to provide workers with health insurance, paid sick leave, paid vacation, or the right to unionize.”

Where is the outrage from the anti crowd? Oh, groups like the Organic Consumers Association, one of the leading Monsanto demonizers, pay lip service to improving farm workers’ lives, but where does most of their money go? Certainly not to this issue.

Treatment of farm workers is a real world issue with real victims. The anti-gmo fight is an imaginary one based on imaginary fears built around an imaginary boogeyman. Back in 1951, writer and social commentator Eric Hoffer wrote in True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movement

Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil. Usually the strength of a mass movement is proportionate to the vividness and tangibility of its devil. Like an ideal deity, an ideal devil is omnipotent and omnipresent.

So, maybe I’m getting soft in my old age, or maybe not. I still have an innate distrust of corporations but less knee jerk. The left rightly made fun of Reagan when he made the Freudian slip, “Facts are stupid things,” and correctly recoiled when Karl Rove was quoted as saying  “We create our own reality.” I see the anti-gmo crowd as embracing those very ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vermont inducted into the Scientifically Illiterate Hall of Shame plus more dumbass

Vermont inducted into the Scientifically Illiterate Hall of Shame plus more dumbass

Our latest inductee to the Scientifically Illiterate Hall of Shame is the Vermont legislature for their overwhelming vote to require labeling foods containing GMO “ingredients.”

In addition to that, two Vermont elected officials get the first Golden Scientific Dumbass Award for sponsoring  the law. The first award is shared and it goes to… State Senator David Zuckerman and State Representative Carolyn Partridge.

Why? Because they are in league with our favorite floater, Jeffrey Smith. I was alerted to a video by a friend on Twitter where Smith interviews, via Skype, his two buddies.

In the video, Smith tells Zuckerman that he “totally remembers” staying “on your living room floor” when he visited in 2003. He also mentions how he testified at an Agricultural Committee hearings on the issue.

Zuckerman also talks about going to an Agricultural summit and meeting with biotech lobbyists who “shook their heads” knowing they were “behind the eight ball from all three of our work” (sic) Jesus H. Christ in a chicken basket.

And this Zuckerman douche smugly says that those who voted against the law felt the need to explain why they voted against it as if it was some negative thing… having to explain your reasoning.

The sad thing is I probably agree with Doucherman  Zuckerman and Partridge 99.9% on other issues. Still, if i had the time and wherewithal to go Vermont I would go there and kick that idiot in the nuts. Yeah, I’m mad. I’m mad because that ponytailed hippie is a member of the Progressive Party

I haven’t gotten through the 25+minutes of the video but I will post it here for you to judge for yourself.

 

Scientifically Illiterate Hall of Shame inducts CA State Senator Noreen Evans

Scientifically Illiterate Hall of Shame inducts CA State Senator Noreen Evans

Our latest induction to the Scientifically Illiterate Hall Of Shame (SIHS) is California State Senator Noreen Evans. Evans introduced a GMO labeling law in California and this is her reasoning according to the Press Democrat website

The Santa Rosa Democrat says genetically modified organisms have been linked to health problems ranging from allergies to cancer, and that babies, in particular, are at risk of getting sick, in part because their immune systems are not fully developed.

So, I’m thinning to myself. Who is this dame? I go to her website and as expected I see that on most issues we agree. So, where did she get these nonsensical ideas?

Reading further, I see the original bill was limited to only baby food and then she decided to open it up to all GMO foods. Still wrong, but where did this come from?

As it turns out, the original bill was requested by the California State Grange, which I thought was rather odd. I don’t know what Granges are like these days, but when I was growing up a bill like that would not be on the radar.

So, I go and look and see what is up with this California State Grange.

Ah, jeez. It’s some stupid hippie group whose page automatically plays some fiddle music that you can’t quit and the design is like the early days of the web. They don’t say anything about organic but I’m suspicious. If I’m wrong about this please correct me.

Read on, MacDuff. Director of legislative affairs for the California State Grange, Mike Greene said the grange has about 10,000 members in about 45 California counties. Wait for it…

Greene said the organization passed a resolution at its annual meeting in October calling for GMO labeling on baby foods. He said in November, a coalition of 17 groups, including the Grange, Pesticide Action Network and Organic Consumers Association, amended that stance to call for such labeling on all foods sold for human consumption in California. (my bolded emphasis)

Bingo! There it is. Anti-science, pro-organic, activist groups. And another well-meaning liberal, elected official hustled. Then again, I blame them for gobbling up the nonsense without asking actual scientists what they think. You have staffs, people. Have them research the issue and not rely on groups with agendas.

And it gets worse

Karen Hudson, coordinator of the group Sonoma County Label GMOs, said people “really don’t know what the repercussions” of serving foods with genetically engineered ingredients are. With respect to infants, she said it’s important parents be given the choice of knowing what goes into the products.

She said she doesn’t view it as any different than disclosing whether foods contain gluten, trans fats or known allergens. “All it is saying is it has GMO in the food,” she said.

 

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