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Trump the criminal and his hero and mentor, the demonic Roy Cohn.

Trump the criminal and his hero and mentor, the demonic Roy Cohn.

This is an updated post that originally appeared on 1/25/17

It should come as no surprise that Trump has an attraction to evil leaders like Putin, Dtuerte of the Philippines and and Erdogan of Turkey.  The man who Wayne Barrett called  the personification of evil,  Roy Cohn was Trump’s hero. They talked up to five time a day on the phone. Trump is neither Republican or a Democrat. He is a criminal; a grifter and all around sociopath.

We now have a crime family in the White House. We have President who should be prison and not the White House.

I keep beating this drum and will continue to do so until that miscreant is ousted. Please share this with your dumbass Trump supporters friends and family

In a A Short History of the Trump Family, Sidney Blumenthal writes

Reckoning with Trump means descending into the place that made him. What he represents, above all, is the triumph of an underworld of predators, hustlers, mobsters, clubhouse politicians and tabloid sleaze that festered in a corner of New York City, a vindication of his mentor, the Mafia lawyer Roy Cohn, a figure unknown to the vast majority of enthusiasts who jammed Trump’s rallies and hailed him as the authentic voice of the people.

________________________________________

The recent untimely death of investigative reporter Wayne Barrett left me sad. He was one of my NYC journalistic heroes. He was a giant and his dogged determination led him to expose the fraud and criminal that Trump is.  But no one paid attention. Trump once paid Atlantic City cops to arrest him when he was working on a story about his casino fraud after Barrett turned down his offer of a free apartment to back off the story.

If you want to know Donald Trump all you have to do is look who his hero was. His hero was the hatchet man for Joe McCarthy and later in life was an evil man who was attorney for all five NYC mafia families. Everything about Cohn wreaked of evil and venality. And that was Trump’s hero and mentor.

In an interview with the New Republic in December of 2016, Barrett gave the most apt description of Cohn I’ve ever heard. He actually had lunch with Cohn and this was his takeaway :

Roy Cohn ate with his fingers. I kid you not. He brought a little glass inside of his coat pocket. He would pop little white pills when he thought you weren’t looking. He was the most satanic figure I ever met in my life. He was almost reptilian. I think he’s going to handle the swearing-in at the inauguration. They’re not going to bring a judge, they’re going to have Roy. And then Roy’s going to go back to the White House and fuck a 12-year-old. In the Oval Office.

Trump has long been the FBI radar and was even interviwed by them

R.I.P Mr. Barrett and read the interview.

Update 5/5/17

Here are some links to articles about Trump’s criminality and his association with gangsters, fixers and other lowlifes. I post these links to give those who haven’t lived in NYC for the past 40 years a good idea of who this man is and what a despicable fuck he truly is.

Just What Were Donald Trump’s Ties to the Mob?

“… Trump’s career has benefited from a decades-long and largely successful effort to limit and deflect law enforcement investigations into his dealings with top mobsters, organized crime associates, labor fixers, corrupt union leaders, con artists and even a one-time drug trafficker whom Trump retained as the head of his personal helicopter service.”

FBI agents subpoenaed Trump in 1980 to ask about his dealing with John Cody, a Teamsters official described by law enforcement as a very close associate of the Gambino crime family. The FBI believed that Cody previously had obtained free apartments from other developers. FBI agents suspected that Cody, who controlled the flow of concrete trucks, might get a free Trump Tower apartment. Trump denied it. But a female friend of Cody’s, a woman with no job who attributed her lavish lifestyle to the kindness of friends, bought three Trump Tower apartments right beneath the triplex where Donald lived with his wife Ivana. Cody stayed there on occasion and invested $500,000 in the units. Trump, Barrett reported, helped the woman get a $3 million mortgage without filling out a loan application or showing financials.

The Many Scandals of Donald Trump: A Cheat Sheet, The Atlantic

There have been a string of other allegations, too, many reported by investigative journalist Wayne Barrett. Cohn, Trump’s lawyer, also represented the Genovese crime family boss Tony Salerno. Barrett also reported a series of transactions involving organized crime, and alleged that Trump paid twice market rate to a mob figure for the land under Trump Plaza in Atlantic City. Michael Isikoff has also reported that Trump was close to Robert LiButti, an associate of John Gotti, inviting him on his yacht and helicopter. In one case, Trump’s company bought LiButti nine luxury cars.

And the list goes on. We have a Criminal-Chief and his crime family

One final note. This from an article by a BBC correspondent on the conservative UK Spectator website from January of this year

…  I heard something similar at an impeccably liberal cocktail party in Washington before the election. The crowd were national security intellectuals. ‘If Trump is elected,’ said one of the guests, ‘it will end in a military coup. Tanks on the White House lawn.’ He was the second person to tell me that at the party. Conversations in Washington have taken on a hallucinatory quality. Impeachment — however far-fetched an idea — is not the most outlandish possibility being discussed in this town as the 45th president is sworn into office.

Convicted of laughing at Sessions? Not exactly

Convicted of laughing at Sessions? Not exactly

Credit Alex Brandon/Associated Press

The story is making the rounds and everyone is outraged. A Code Pink protester was arrested and convicted of laughing during Jeff Sessions confirmation hearings. Is this true? Well sort of and not exactly.

61 year-old Desiree A. Fairooz of Bluemont, Va. was escorted from the room after she laughed when Republican Senator Richard Shelby said that Mr. Sessions’s record of “treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented.” Fairooz laughed at that description, rightfully so, but here’s where the two sides differ as to what happened next.

According the NY Times

Ms. Fairooz said that, on hearing that, she let out a giggle.

“I just couldn’t hold it,” she said on Wednesday. “It was spontaneous. It was an immediate rejection of what I considered an outright lie or pure ignorance.”

She said when officers came over, she expected to be warned or told to shush and was surprised to be taken into custody.

The feds have a different story

Ms. Fairooz had “let out a loud burst of laughter, followed by a second louder burst of laughter,” the U.S. attorney’s office said in the filing. The police then tried to “quietly escort” Ms. Fairooz from the room, but she “grew loud and more disruptive, eventually halting the confirmation hearing,” the court papers argued.

As she was escorted away, Ms. Fairooz loudly asked, “Why am I being taken out of here?” She also said that the nominee’s “voting record is evil.”

Before the trial, Fairooz was offered a plea deal which she rejected, insisting on a jury trial. Big mistake.

HuffPo interviewed jurors after the verdict and they said they didn’t convict her on the laughing charge but rather her actions after she was being led out of the room.

She did not get convicted for laughing. It was her actions as she was being asked to leave…

The jurors did say she shouldn’t have been arrested in the first place for laughing

We did not agree that she should have been removed for laughing,” the jury foreperson stated. Some jurors indicated they believed Coronado made a mistake.

“The officer, she was a rookie officer, and I think it was her first time involved in an arrest,” another juror stated. “Make of that what you will.”

They said the rules were so broadly written they had no choice but to convict.

Jurors also said, “If Fairooz hadn’t said anything on her way out… there would have been a different verdict.”

The U.S Capitol Police report stated the protesters “were advised by the committee chair prior to the committee starting that demonstrating in the committee room was an arrestable offense.”

Code Pink are professional protesters. They are well-known on Capitol Hill Police. In an article in The Atlantic from 2015 they describe the relationship as usually cordial and friendly. They quote Code Pink’s national coordinator, Alli McCracken

The signs and t-shirts are a giveaway to Capitol Police officers, who often chat with CodePink members and protesters before the activists head inside. It’s a cordial, friendly relationship, Alli McCracken, CodePink national coordinator, said.

“‘What kind of trouble are you getting into today? Is anybody going to get arrested?’ That’s their standard question after we’ve asked how their kids are doing,” McCracken said.

Sometimes they cross the line and it looks like that happened in this case.

But since Code Pink is a constant presence on The Hill and they are allegedly on good terms with Capitol Hill Police, does their presence and dissent actually do anything positive? Are they thought of as nothing more than goofballs who dress in silly costumes? Are they taken seriously or are they seen as a joke to Congress people? That’s the big question.

 

Be careful what you wish for: Indian Point nuke plant to close by 2021… or 2025

Be careful what you wish for: Indian Point nuke plant to close by 2021… or 2025

The New York Times is reporting that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has reached an agreement with the owners of the controversial Indian Point nuclear power plant to shut it down and its environmental critics are wetting their pants. The fight against the plant has been ongoing for years. This is one of those be careful what you wish for scenarios. Close it down and replace it with what? The article only mentions vague possibilities.

The prospects for replacing that power are so far unclear, but potential options include hydropower from Quebec and power from wind farms already operating across New York, according to the person.

Wind? At present wind provides a tiny 2.6% of all NY State power. Also, it would take 4,000 onshore wind turbines to power just NYC and that would take up about 40 square miles, or about half the size of Yellowstone. Then you have to run new transmission lines which will have an environmental impact.

The Quebec hydropower option called the Champlain Hudson Power Express  is an idea but that too is fraught with problems. The proposed transmission line from Quebec to NYC will run 333 miles, but cost is an issue and even the developers admit it will have to be subsidized by ratepayers since the cost of operating it will cost over $400 million/yr. This doesn’t even include the costs of construction. It cost the Port Authority $1 billion to run a seven-mile line from New Jersey to Manhattan.

New York City’s Department of Environmental Conservation, (DEC) did a study back in 2011 about the various impacts resulting from Indian Point’s closure. They found that the use of hydropower would result in an increase in carbon emissions of 15% statewide and of 5%-10% in NYC. And, the addition of thermal plants would be needed because even the Quebec hydropower wouldn’t be enough.

IPEC is able to provide approximately 2 GW of generation with no direct air emissions. Its retirement will cause a substantial increase in the air emissions from power plants. Our analysis indicates that both the City and State would see approximately a 15% increase in carbon emissions under most conventional replacement scenarios, with roughly a 7-8% increase in NOx emissions. NYC would see similar carbon emissions increases.

In addition:

The state market would see wholesale cost increases of approximately $1.5 billion per year, or roughly a 10% increase under most scenarios. NYC consumers would pay approximately $300 million per year more for wholesale energy, or approximately a 5-10% increase.

The report also predicted that citywide reliability problems beginning within a year of the second reactor’s expiration.

Then you have the taxes and employment. The plant pays $75 million in state and local taxes and employs 1,000 contractors and 1,100 salaried employees and is the region’s major employer

As a former protester in the 70s, I have come around and feel nuclear power should be a major part of the mix. And major climate scientists like the Big Daddy of climate change activists, James Hansen formerly of NASA, support nuke power. I think they should upgrade Indian Point to state of the art rather than shut it down.

And speaking of Hansen, here’s his response to Bernie Sanders’ desire to close Indian Point:

Now, Bernie Sanders says he wants to shut down the plant. If that happened, it would be replaced in substantial part by fracked natural gas that would create the equivalent carbon emissions of adding roughly 1.4 million new cars to the road… For the sake of future generations who could be harmed by irreversible climate change, I urge New Yorkers to reject this fear mongering and uphold science against ideology.

In a press conference called  [LIVE] Conférence presse de James Hansen à La Galerie by World Efficiency. in 2015, James Hansen, along with  Tom Wigley, Kerry Emanuel, and Ken Caldeira spoke and took questions on the issue of nuclear power. All agreed that nuclear should be part of the mix.

Here’s a small clip from the presser posted on the site Atomic Insights by Rod Adams who notes “None of them agreed that a energy system using 100% renewable energy is a valid objective.”

 

Emmanuel, interestingly enough is a Republican. Both he and his wife suffered a barrage of threats from climate deniers in 2012 when he appeared at a climate panel in New Hampshire. His offense? Saying Republicans should take their heads outta their asses regarding climate change. As he told the DESMOG blog back then

“I don’t like it when ideology trumps reason, and I see that the Republicans are guilty of that in spades at the moment… I’ve been toying with the idea of officially switching to independent status,” he adds.

Oh and this is curious. Two years ago, Cuomo fought to reopen an upstate coal-burning energy plant.

 

Trump Team and USRTK: Two peas in a pod

Trump Team and USRTK: Two peas in a pod

We’re all familiar with US Right to Know, (USRTK)  the group that is abusing FOIA to go after scientists they disagree with regarding GMOs. Well, check this out.  The Washington Post reports:

The Trump transition team has issued a list of 74 questions for the Energy Department, asking officials there to identify which department employees and contractors have worked on forging an international climate pact as well as domestic efforts to cut the nation’s carbon output.

The questionnaire requests a list of those individuals who have taken part in international climate talks over the past five years and “which programs within DOE are essential to meeting the goals of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.”

The questionnaire, which one Energy Department official described as unusually “intrusive” and a matter for departmental lawyers, has raised concern that the Trump transition team was trying to figure out how to target the people, including civil servants, who have helped implement policies under Obama.

Remind you of anybody?

I wish the universities that caved to USRTK would have reacted like the DOE:

The Department of Energy received significant feedback from our workforce throughout the department, including the National Labs, following the release of the transition team’s questions. Some of the questions asked left many in our workforce unsettled,” said Eben Burnham-Snyder, a department spokesman. “Our career workforce, including our contractors and employees at our labs, comprise the backbone of DOE (Department of Energy) and the important work our department does to benefit the American people. We are going to respect the professional and scientific integrity and independence of our employees at our labs and across our department.

“We will be forthcoming with all publically-available information with the transition team. We will not be providing any individual names to the transition team.” Burnham-Snyder’s email had the last sentence in boldface for emphasis.

The Post also quoted Rep. Steny H. Hoyer:

 “I am alarmed by the questionnaire sent by the Trump transition team to the Department of Energy seeking the names of career civil servants who have worked on climate change policy,” said Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (Md.), the second ranking Democrat in the House. “This raises serious concerns as to the motivation of such a request and raises questions of possible retribution for following President Obama’s policies.” (my emphasis)

March Against Monsanto claims victory for creating world’s largest agribusiness company

March Against Monsanto claims victory for creating world’s largest agribusiness company

Pesticide and pharmaceutical giant Bayer announced that it would be acquiring seed giant Monsanto. Now you would think this would make MAM howling mad. You would think that. Instead, they are cheering it and counting it as a victory.

Obviously, we should take a brief pause to celebrate our efforts. One has to assume Monsanto, one of the most powerful corporations in the world, probably wouldn’t have curled up and allowed themselves to be gobbled up by Bayer if it weren’t for the amazing efforts of millions of people all over the globe.

What part of consolidation don’t these dipshits understand? While still not commanding a monopoly of the market, they will control sales of 29 percent of the world’s seeds and 24 percent of its pesticides. It will create the largest agribusiness in the world. Let me repeat that…. Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto will create the largest agribusiness in the world.  So yeah MAM! Pat yourselves on the back for your victory.

Monsanto held firm on an earlier offer, but Bayer kept upping the ante until Monsanto couldn’t say no. The $66 billion deal (I believe the actual number is $66.6 billion) is all cash. Since Bayer kept upping the ante and wound up paying about $22/share more than Monsanto’s current price, how toxic can they be?

The most surprising aspect of the merger is the fact that Bayer would be willing to take on the global disdain that many hold for Monsanto.

Sure, if it makes them money you idiots. Why would a company pay $66 billion for a company whose annual profits hover around $15 billion? The Wall Street Journal reports

Bayer plans to pay $128 a share for Monsanto in an all-cash transaction, up from its latest offer last week of $127.50 a share, the companies said. The price represents a roughly 5% increase over Bayer’s original offer in May of $122 a share. Including debt, the deal is valued at about $66 billion.

Oh, and check out this idiocy

We have exposed their corruption, we have made them lose millions, we have been the reason a 1/3 of their workforce has been laid off and we are the reason the word “Monsanto” is the equivalent to “toxic poison” for much of the world.

They’ve gone from totally nuts to totally delusional. These fuckers live in their own world. I don’t think they have any concept how the real world works.

The WSJ:

Tensions have escalated further because global crop prices have fallen for three straight years, squeezing profits and forcing the seed and agriculture industries to cut costs and trim their workforces. Monsanto said last year it would lay off 12 percent of its employees, or 2,600 jobs.*

They are also cheering 2,600 people losing their jobs? These people are vile.

Not all antis are as gleeful. Dave Murphy, the executive director of Food Democracy Now! was quoted on the site EcoWatch

Now the most evil company in Europe has absorbed the most evil company in America. Monsanto and Bayer’s new corporate motto should be ‘Killing bees and butterflies for fun and profit.’

And Murphy’s motto should be, “Being an idiot for a living.” 

Murphy’s take is more in line with most anti sentiment. Ronnie Cummins, the anti-vax head knucklehead over at the Organic Consumers Association also weighed in. He said something like, “BIG POISON! BIG POISON! Arrgghhh” as he scratched at his measles.

That said, the deal is not a done deal.  According to the WSJ, they still have a lot of regulatory hurdles to get through in the U.S. and the Europe.

The deal is likely to warrant intense scrutiny from American and German antitrust regulators, who will assess whether the merger would unfairly lead to higher prices for farmers worldwide. The new company would preside over roughly a quarter of the world’s seed and pesticide supplies.

Regulatory crackdowns have busted several high-profile mega-mergers this year, including a $150 billion deal between pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Allergan.

Justice Department investigators have in recent years launched probes into “possible anticompetitive practices” in America’s Monsanto-led seed industry, though a formal investigation was closed in 2012 without pursuing charges.

The EU opened an investigation into the merger of Dow and DuPont this year and the merger of Swiss seed maker Syngenta and China National Chemical Corp. is also on their radar. The Monsanto/Bayer merger makes it the 5th agricultural merger this year alone. Others have included John Deere/Precision Planting, and Potash Corp./Agrium. All these mergers are coming at a fast past are alarming regulators, not to mention, farmers.

Now, about that John Deere merger. Precision Planting is owned by Monsanto and the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the merger back in August. Renata Hesse, the head of the antitrust division said, “If this deal were allowed to proceed, Deere would dominate the market for high-speed precision planting systems and be able to raise prices and slow innovation at the expense of American farmers who rely on these systems,

If all these mergers go through, around 75 percent of the global agricultural/pesticide and agricultural services industry could end up in the hands of three companies.  Farmers fear lack of competition would raise prices and that concern is a valid one, especially in a time of flat crop prices cutting into their incomes. The concern is so great that Iowa Republican senator and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Charles Grassley has slated a hearing for Sept. 20 to question seed-industry executives and experts.

Grassley said the hearing will focus on the transactions currently being reviewed by antitrust regulators, and the current trend in consolidation of the seed and chemical industries.

The seed and chemical industries are critical to agriculture and the nation’s economy, and Iowans are concerned that this sudden consolidation in the industry could cause rising input costs in an already declining agriculture economy.

And here’s a question. What about the name Monsanto? Good question. Glad you asked. Here we have a bit of confusion. Monsanto says the deal is a merger. Bayer says it’s an acquisition. What’s the difference you ask?

Well a merger is where two companies form a new company. An acquisition is when one firm buys out another and the bought company ceases to exist.

Which will it be? Hmmm. Given Monsanto’s negatives in the PR department, I will go out on a limb, with my limited knowledge, and say this will be an acquisition. Monsanto will be folded into Bayer and Monsanto will cease to exist.


* Here’s what I never got about corporation finances. Look at the above quote. Monsanto didn’t say they were losing money. They said their profits were squeezed. What exactly does that mean? They’re still making money, just not as much as they’d like so, so laying off people seems like a real dick move. In the first quarter of this year their net income was $1.06 billion compared to last year when it was $1.42 billion.  Did they really have to lay off 2,000+ people? Yeah, I know shareholders,  blah, blah blah. But still. This just goes to show that as benign as Monsanto is in relation to other corporations, they’re still a corporation and they act like one when it comes to money. I don’t know this is a fact, but I’m assuming that the execs didn’t take a pay cut during this downturn.

The suits may be nice people, but when it comes to profits, their loyalties lie with the company and not the people who work for it. That’s why I never hopped on the Monsanto bandwagon and bought a shirt or hat etc. as a poke in the eye to the anti-gmo crowd.

Biotech industry files for bankruptcy

Biotech industry files for bankruptcy

Note: This is re-write and update from a 2013 post.

Bankruptcy_monopoly

Days after a group of 107 Nobel Laureates published a letter telling Greenpeace to knock it off with their anti-GMO nonsense, the biotechnology industry filed for bankruptcy, citing their misguided buying everybody off, scheme .

At a hastily called press conference, industry representative and Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant, told assembled reporters

I mean, do you know how many people are in the Nation Academy of Sciences alone? Something like 2,000. So, a few million to a scientific body here and a few million to every independent scientist in the world there, and it begins to add up.” That’s not even including  having to pay those thousands of keyboard jockeys who defend us on internet comment boards. The straw that broke the financial camel’s back were the Nobel laureates. Those bastards didn’t come cheap.”

Anti-gmo activists were left slack-jawed. “We just lost our boogeyman,” one activist lamented. “It’s not fair.”

Asked what was next for the bankrupt industry, Executive VP and CTO, Rob Fraley said it was too early to tell, but excitedly suggested they were thinking of getting into the organic farming business.  “Man, do you know what a cash cow that racket is? I was in Whole Foods the other day and they get like 4 bucks for a freakin’ tomato. Sweet. We’ve gotta get in on that action.”

Hours after the announcement, Organic Consumer’s Association honcho Ronnie Cummins and GM Watch honchette, Claire Robinson had to be talked down off a Maharishi University rooftop after Jeffrey Smith pleaded with them saying, “Cmon guys. We can still make stuff up about beneficial technology.”

In a related story, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said she planned to retire from the Court and buy the Bronx.

Gary Ruskin of USRTK channels Richard Nixon

Gary Ruskin of USRTK channels Richard Nixon

” I mean, I want it implemented on a thievery basis. Goddamn it, get in and get those files. Blow the safe and get it.”–Richard Nixon 

In 1946, when Richard Nixon first ran for Congress he used smear tactics to insinuate his opponent Democrat Jerry Voorhis had Communist ties because he had once been endorsed by the pro-labor CIO-PAC.

In 1950 in his bid for the Senate, he again used the art of the smear against his opponent Helen Douglas trying to tie her to communism.

Nixon was a member of HUAC and later passed along files to McCarthy to aid in his witch hunt to root out Commies. Nixon advised McCarthy not to put exact numbers on the exact amount of commies in the Government saying,  “On the other hand, if you were to say that there were so many people whose records disclosed Communist-front affiliations and associations–this you can prove.”

Fast forward to 1971. That summer, the Nixon White House decided that Daniel Ellsberg, leaker of the Pentagon Papers must be discredited. He exposed the truth about the Vietnam War. To that end, John Erlichman summoned “Bud” Egil Krogh and David Young to find information that could discredit Ellsberg.

In a piece written in the NY Times by Krogh in 2007 he writes

Mr. Hunt urged us to carry out a “covert operation” to get a “mother lode” of information about Mr. Ellsberg’s mental state, to discredit him, by breaking into the office of his psychiatrist, Dr. Lewis Fielding. Mr. Liddy told us the F.B.I. had frequently carried out such covert operations — a euphemism for burglaries — in national security investigations, that he had even done some himself.

Now we come to the present. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has now been in force for decades. Signed off on by a reluctant LBJ, FOIA was enacted so that American citizens could file requests to see what there government was up to.

Through the years, other states started enacting their own FOI laws, like Florida. In Florida, like many other states they don’t call in FOI, they call it sunshine laws

The Florida Sunshine Law, established in 1995, is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to the public records of government bodies in Florida.

Here is where we come to the heart of the matter.

The anti-GMO group US Right to Know (USRTK) headed by anti-corporate miscreant, Gary Ruskin has channeled Nixon, both early and Watergate era Nixon. While not engaging in criminality they have legally abused a law to discredit  those who they saw as the enemy. Why?

Ruskin and his group are vehemently anti-GMO. He and his cohort Stacy Malkin were the brains behind the California GMO labeling law.

They filed FOIA requests for thirteen public scientists. Their main target was Kevin Folta who for years has been doing outreach on the science of GMOS and how to talk about it.

Folta is their arch nemesis–their Dr. No. He is someone who is a smart science communicator and he talks about science, the kind of science, as it turns out, they don’t like. He is very effective in talking about the facts and science. Because of that he must be brought down and his reputation destroyed.

When Folta first got word that Ruskin had requested his emails he called him and said basically, “What do you want, I’ll send it to you?” Ruskin said NO, he wanted the emails.

Ruskin could have just requested funding sources. If he was really honestly interested, that’s all he needed.

Ruskin was looking to find emails that could be taken out of context to discredit Folta. It’s not about truth or transparency. It’s about destroying your perceived enemy.

Yes, Folta’s university, not Folta personally, got money–25 large to be exact, from Monsanto to help fund his public outreach. It wasn’t for his research, which is non-GMO, but to speak about GM science in which he is very well versed.

Basically, they gave him money to continue to do what he was already doing. But I do have to say this. Even though we only met once in person, and I do consider him a friend, I think he brought this on himself. He was being a little circumspect, if that’s the right word, in not disclosing the fact that his university was given money, but that it wasn’t used to fund his research. But that doesn’t negate the fact the accusations against him are unfounded.

He got money from Monsatan, so what? Focus on the science and not the funding. Since the antis don’t have the actual science on their side they have resorted to character assassination.

Gary Ruskin is not looking for transparency, he is looking to discredit scientists who disagree with his anti-science stance.

And what has been the result of this campaign for the truth and transparency? Harassment, death threats, intimidation and the posting online of personal family information including his address, by the anti-GMO contingent.

Will Ruskin step up and denounce this terrorist behavior or is this was he wanted all along? Did he know that by giving raw tainted meat to the starving mutts would create this onslaught of borderline criminality?

They’ve attacked a good man, a man who is trying to make a difference in this world, unlike the miscreants who are attacking him. This is the left we’re talking about, not the right. The supposed good guys. The anti-GMO movement has become Hannity, Beck and Limbaugh all rolled into one.

And now let’s move on to another scientist who is a Ruskin target, Dr. Michelle “Shelley” McGuire a researcher at Washington State University and expert in human milk and lactation.  She read a study commissioned by the anti-GMO group Moms Across America that claimed there were dangerous levels of glyphosate in breast milk. She decided to do a follow-up study and came to the opposite conclusion. She was upfront that she and her team worked with Monsanto, they reached out to the company, but she also noted that their results were sent to a third-party independent lab to confirm their findings.

You can read about it here. Nutritionist Michelle McGuire responds to attacks in wake of ‘glyphosate not in milk’ study

Enter Ruskin. He demanded her emails even though she, like Folta, offered to hand over any relevant funding data.

shelly

Ruskin is a thug. He doesn’t want transparency, he wants to silence and destroy those who have the actual evidence on their side. His group is the left version of the Climategate people, except worse.

If Ruskin has a counterpart in Nixon’s Plumbers, I guess it would be Bernard Barker, who was recruited by E. Howard Hunt to dig up dirt on Ellsberg. Huh, and I guess that makes Ronnie Cummins Maurice Stans, since the Organic Consumers Association is the biggest funder of USRTK

 

Has the Anti-GMO worm turned… more?

Has the Anti-GMO worm turned… more?

liar soxirpath

Back in April, I wrote in a post called Anti-GMO…crazier  than I thought

 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.

Mainstream 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.

Today two pieces were published that add to that worm turning. The first, Unhealthy Fixation by  on Slate is a long form, detailed look at the anti-GMO movement that pretty much, says the same thing I’ve been saying for some time: The anti-GMO movement is filled with nothing but frauds and liars.

Saletan nails it and hits it out of the park. I have to say that I think it is most in-depth and right-on-the money article I’ve ever read on the issue.

If you’re like me, you don’t really want to wade into this issue. It’s too big, technical, and confusing. But come with me, just this once. I want to take you backstage, behind those blanket assurances about the safety of genetic engineering. I want to take you down into the details of four GMO fights, because that’s where you’ll find truth. You’ll come to the last curtain, the one that hides the reality of the anti-GMO movement. And you’ll see what’s behind it.

What Saletan finds is what we’ve all known for some time. The anti-GMO movement is full of shit. Among the issues he tackles are the Golden Rice and rainbow papaya controversies and shows how the antis keep moving the goalposts when one of their lies get blown out of the water.

About the Golden Rice issue he writes

Potrykus and Conway wanted to try everything to alleviate vitamin A deficiency: diversification, fortification, supplementation, and Golden Rice. But the anti-GMO groups refused. They called Golden Rice a “Trojan horse” for genetic engineering. They doubled down on their double standards. They claimed that people in the afflicted countries wouldn’t eat yellow rice, yet somehow could be taught to grow unfamiliar vegetables. They portrayed Golden Rice as a financial scheme, but then—after Potrykus made clear that it would be given to poor farmers for free—objected that free distribution would lead to genetic contamination of local crops. Some anti-GMO groups said the rice should be abandoned because it was tied up in 70 patents. Others said the claim of 70 patents was a fiction devised by the project’s leaders to justify their collaboration with AstraZeneca, a global corporation.

I’ve never seen the duplicitous nature of the antis summed up so succinctly. I can’t praise Unhealthy Fixation enough.  It’s New Yorker sized in its length, but read it. It’s all on one page! It is also the perfect article to forward to your fence-sitting friends or ones who aren’t activists but have bought into their nonsense. If I do have a criticism it’s that I wish I had written it.

The second article is on a blog called The Mind Restrained called An appeal to food activists: You are aimed the wrong direction written by Flynn McEchron

I can get down with fighting the power.  Actually, I’ve spent a lot of time doing just that, and working to affect policy directly.  But GMO has become the unfortunate victim of anti corporate rhetoric, all the while lining the pockets of other corporations that have been decided the Good Guys.

While not as long or detailed as Saletans’s piece, he hits all the nails on their heads regarding the antis. McEhron, concentrates a little more on the corporate aspect of the issue. It hasn’t got as much traction as that other guy, what’s his name’s article, but it is just as valid and on the money

GMOs could help with the crippling Vitamin A deficiency being experienced by their young, who often go blind before puberty. GMOs are not dividing up the planet and its resources, banks and warlords are. GMO has become the unfortunate victim caught in the middle of So who has benefited from the hype of these sorts of issues overlapping?  The Organic industry.

Through social media campaigns, “GMO”, “Monsanto” and “EVIL” have become synonymous. It wasn’t very hard to take the Occupy energy (with all its anti bank, anti corporate jingoism) and let it seep over into the grocer battle that’s taking place in the United States.  Whole Foods is more profitable than 85% of US grocers, with the organic industry as a whole generating nearly 5 billion dollars a year.

For some time I thought I was out there alone, in the sense I wasn’t seeing liberal/left progressives calling out the bullshit of the antis. Read both pieces

What’s sad is I still am out there among some of my friends. They don’t want to hear it. They want to remain in the dogma of The Tribe.

Lying scumbags and dipshits: Frustration has its limits

Lying scumbags and dipshits: Frustration has its limits

bullshit meter

Recently, in a Facebook post, I exasperatingly wrote:

I don’t know if I can do it anymore. I can’t stand going to comment sections and seeing the same bullshit time and time again. I think it’s time to leave it to the pros. I have nothing but contempt and derision for the Hirschbergs, Robinsons and GMOFreeUSAs. They are nothing more than lying scumbags and those who parrot their bullshit are hopeless dipshits. I find it impossible to respond civilly anymore.

Ever since I returned to writing this blog I found myself less and less enthused at yelling about the bullshit propagated by anti-GMO movement. It’s like a game of whack-a-mole with idiots.

Some of the level-headed folks on the FB thread suggested the goal be should changing the views of the honestly misinformed or informing the undecided. That’s all well and good, it’s still a chore. You shouldn’t have to keep dispelling the same lies over and over again.

I use the word lying purposely. By this time, everyone should know that all of that bullshit has been discredited, over and over again, yet they still promulgate it. There is no excuse anymore. None, zilch, nada. Anti-GMO activists and groups have become the FOXNews of the left.

Back in 2012 I wrote:

Activists, on websites and in interviews always trot out the same discredited “facts” about the dangers of transgenic foods.  They point to non-peer reviewed, flawed, discredited, self published studies. This movement is the FOX News of the Left. They keep repeating discredited studies as if they are true. Jeffrey Smith and Ronnie Cummins are masters of that tactic. They’re the Hannity and Limbaugh of the anti-gmo crowd.

I would now add GMO Watch’s Claire Robinson to that list.

It pisses me off that these anti-GMO miscreants are spreading fear about a safe and useful technology that can be a tool in fighting world hunger and help fight disease. And make no mistake about it, demonizing the technology in food will also transfer in the public mind to medicine.

The anti loudmouths should be called out as liars in public. I’m not talking about the dipshits on the comment boards, but the snakeheads and representatives of the anti-GMO groups.

I was altered to a recent BBC Panorama episode about GMOs and they interview former EU science advisor Anne Glover. (NGOs like Greenpeace called for her dismissal.) She was very blunt in her assessment that the anti GMO movement makes stuff up. NGOs like Greenpeace called for her dismissal. The relevant part starts at about 24:30.

I had to remove myself from a Facebook GMO group because they had these stringent rules about civility. I submit that when someone is spreading dangerous lies, despite the medical and scientific evidence and consensus; and gets treated credibly in the media, they should be treated as the menaces they are. I hold no grievances against them. I know some members from other GMO groups. Rules are rules, even if they insist upon a Neville Chamberlain approach.

It’s this pantywaist approach of being civil that has allowed these miscreants, bordering on criminals, to gain traction and get their propaganda out.

Not only are they lying scumbags and dipshits, they are public menaces. These well-fed fucks actively deny those who are poor and starving in developing countries the chance to try this technology. On a recent podcast appearance on Talk Nerdy to Me, hosted by Cara Santa Maria, my fave science communicator. Kevin Folta,  quoted Hank Campbell of Science 2.0 as saying, “these people hate corporations more than they love people.”  (I still contend I said that first, but that’s a minor quibble. I could just think I did. But it’s such a good quote, I probably didn’t)

So what is one to do? One thing one could do is create a group called something like March Against Myths About Modification which works to dispel the nonsense spewed by these scientifically illiterate reprobates. Wait! Someone did.

Three genuinely smart, witty and decent people created that group in response to the recent March Against Monsanto.

They are, as taken from their site

Karl Haro von Mogel is a research geneticist based in Madison, Wisconsin, active science communicator and public speaker. He spends much of his free time helping people understand the complicated science of GMOs.

Kavin Senapathy is a freelance writer, science communicator, and mother of two young children based in Madison, Wisconsin. She promotes the idea that critical thinking is key in raising well-rounded children, and that embracing biotechnology is imperative in this objective

David Sutherland is a Chicago-based artist by profession, vegan & animal rights activist in his free time. As part of his early activism he contributed efforts to anti-GMO activism. With a discovered interest in science and critical thinking he had a change of heart and mind. Now he has a mission and passion to undo those wrongs by demystifying the issues surrounding GMOs and biotech.

I hate these people, because they rock and haven’t given in to cynicism, like this old and tired guy. They still have the ability to interact civilly with the dipshits and the insane. Although, Kavin got to encounter first hand the frustration the insane creates and how civility doesn’t work when dealing with them.

She had the misfortune of meeting, face-to-face Zen Hunnicut. the person I was yelled about on that FB group.

She then asked how much Monsanto or industry paid us to be there. This is when I started losing my cool. I retorted angrily, “How much are YOU getting paid to be here? How much is the organic industry paying you to be here?” She retorted that organic is how “God intended it.” When I explained that organic is a modern construct, she became even more angry.

I explained that I didn’t mean the organic shill accusation, and that I was simply pointing out that the shill gambit is meaningless and irrelevant. She again asked in an accusing tone, “You haven’t answered my question, if even one study shows risk, then why would you subject your children to that?” Karl jumped in to discuss scientific methods but she swiftly silenced him, “I’m not talking to you, I’m talking to her. You don’t have children. You don’t know what it’s like. You haven’t had a child come from your body.”

You gotta read the whole thing. It’s classic.  Science Drama at March Against Myths about Modification, and My Showdown with Zen Honeycutt

I only know them digitally, but they’re younger, smarter and prettier than me (if that’s possible) and still have that fire in their bellies. And they’re fun. You should visit their site and if you’re so inclined, start your own local chapter.

So, what do you do when you’re tired and frustrated? I think I’ve come up with a new angle. Forgot the average dipshits.  Go after the lying scumbags who run these anti groups. Take down the Smiths, the Cummins and Robinsons. Show others in public forums how these assholes are full of shit. Forget the dipshits that use them as sources.

Go after the elected officials who have sponsored or added their names to labeling laws in various states; the ones who use the miscreants like Smith as credible sources. Shame them on blogs, letters to the editors and anywhere else. If they’re one of your local or state representatives,  even better.

Of course, don’t go longshoreman on them like I would.  Be civil, be nice and let them know they are on the wrong side of history. But rest assured, if you do get a response,  it will be some smarmy form letter thanking you for your concern and agreeing to disagree.

If you get a response like that one, then go longshoreman. All bets are off when they remain willfully ignorant.  All civil bets are off.

From 2013:

Last year, I wrote the Connecticut legislature’s GMO Labeling Task Force suggesting they have an actual scientist testify as a counterbalance to Smith’s nonsense. From my email:

I just read that Jeffrey Smith, of the Institute of Responsible Technology will be speaking before your GMO Labeling Task Force on August 8th. I would recommend you rescind this offer as Mr. Smith is a self-styled expert on GMOs. He has no experience in science or agriculture. For some reason he is considered an expert by the media and others.

If this is not possible, I suggest you at least have actual scientists testify on this issue to counterbalance his nonsense.

I received a polite reply from Elaine O’Brien who wrote

“my intention is to gather as much information as possible. I understand that this is not a simple subject and I do not believe we should be rushing to label before we understand the issue”.

What bullshit. They didn’t have any scientists testify and not only that, a member of the legislature even coached an activist on her testimony. I didn’t follow up, which I regret.

In a guest post on Keith Kloor’s blog I wrote about a GMO panel discussion at NYU:

Taking my leave, I went in search of Kathleen Furey of GMO Free NY. I asked her why, in their events around the state they gave credibility to Jeffrey Smith by screening Genetic Roulette. She asked why they shouldn’t screen it. I said because Smith is “fraud and charlatan; a yogic flying dance teacher with no scientific or agricultural credentials.” (That’s my how to win friends and influence people style.)

She asked, “Who doesn’t think he is credible?”

“The scientific community,” I replied.

“Well, I can show you scientists who do find him credible,” she said.

Me: “Like who? Seralini?”

Her: “Oh, so you don’t find him credible?”

Not surprisingly, the conversation degenerated from there. But once more I missed another opportunity when during our exchange, Furey, in defense of Smith’s non-scientific credentials, told me that she wasn’t a politician but she was able to write legislation. I was so focused on her defense of Smith that I missed a shocking revelation.

In August of 2013, I attended a so-called NY State Assembly public hearing convened by Manhattan Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, who sponsored a bill that would require all foods sold in NY that contain genetically modified ingredients to carry a label. Probably the one that Furey said she crafted.

While grilling three upstate farmers she really went bullygirl actually disagreeing with the farmers about their experiences with gmos. She read otherwise, she claimed, dismissing their actual experience. One of the farmers, Beth Chittenden of Dutch Hollow Farm seemed to get the bulk of her bullying.

She accused the farmers of making disparaging remarks about consumers when they suggested labeling might confuse them in thinking there was something wrong with the product. She said that the reason to be against labeling is because they (the farmers) might be afraid of what we might find out.  She also said what they were saying was… “reprehensible is too strong of a word…objectionable”

Jesus H. Christ in a chicken basket. What an asshole. These weren’t industry bigwigs, they were upstate family farmers trying to explain why they used gmos; their own experiences.

Right now I think I need to pay attention to my state and miscreants like Furey and Rosenthal, the latter I probably agree with on most issues

Oh and don’t get me started on the Right-to-Know bullshit. The Right-to-Know doesn’t mean squat if you don’t understand what you know. Yeah, I’m looking at you Gary Hirschberg, you duplicitous, greedy fuck.

Curiously enough, I don’t feel better after letting it out. We’re at almost 2,000 words and I could go another 2,000 easy

Update: As I was editing this post, this came across my digital transom. Kudos, Kavin.

Is Chipotle anti-GMO’s worst nightmare?

Is Chipotle anti-GMO’s worst nightmare?

Earlier this month I wrote this: mainstream 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. 

Then came Chipotle’s major announcement of their decision to jettison GMO “ingredients.” All of a sudden, the cracks in the dam widened. The media jumped all over Chipotle. Here a few examples:

The GMO worm seems to be turning, slowly, but still changing direction. When sites like Gizmodo weigh in, something’s happening.

What’s good about it is that it may have an effect on the average Joe and Josefina, who only hear the loudest and the nuttiest .

 

 

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