Scientists And Corporate Hucksters Want To Experiment On Your Family-- And They Want You To OK It
In Chris Hayes' book about the crisis of authority, Twilight of the Elites, he dealt with the problem of old media gatekeepers being "discredited but not discarded" by delving into the Wikileaks phenomena.
Founded in 2006 as a secure means by which international whistle-blowers and hackers could anonymously publish secret documents, Wikileaks' ethos was grounded in Assange's worldview [total information can provide our salvation] , one distrustful, to the point of paranoia, of any source of authority. "He had come to understand the defining human struggle not as left versus right, but as individual versus institution, the New Yorker wrote in a 2010 profile. "As a student of Kafka, Koestler, and Solzhenitsyn, he believed that truth, creativity, love and compassion are corrupted by institutional hierarchies 'that contort the human sprit'." He is, in other words, the ultimate insurrectionist.Nick Kristof, writing in Saturday's NY Times expands slightly on the right to know theme by dragging in the huge, powerful corporations who have, in many cases, more power over our lives than governments once had. "Who knew," he wrote, "that carcinogens had their own lobby in Washington? [C]onsider formaldehyde, which is found in everything from nail polish to kitchen countertops, fabric softeners to carpets. Largely because of its use in building materials, we breathe formaldehyde fumes when we’re inside our homes. Just one other fact you should know: According to government scientists, it causes cancer. The chemical industry is working frantically to suppress that scientific consensus-- because it fears “public confusion.” Big Chem apparently worries that you might be confused if you learned that formaldehyde caused cancer of the nose and throat, and perhaps leukemia as well."
...Wikileaks' defenders pointed to a simple, powerful principle: Citizens of a democratic republic have a right to know what their government is doing. Daniel Ellsberg, who struck his own blow for openness during the Vietnam War by leaking the infamous Pentagon Papers to the New York Times, defended Assange in precisely these terms. "The founding of this country was based on the principle that the government should not have a say as to what we hear, what we think, and what we read," he told Stephen Colbert in December 2010. "We're not in the mess we're in, in the world, because of too many leaks."
The industry’s strategy is to lobby Congress to cut off money for the Report on Carcinogens, a 500-page consensus document published every two years by the National Institutes of Health, containing the best information about what agents cause cancer. If that sounds like shooting the messenger, well, it is.The American Chemistry Council has a boatload of shills in Congress and they've ordered them to suppress the cancer report. All-around corporate whore Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT, currently a candidate for senator) is leading the charge for them. In 2010 the Chemical Council spent $425,314 bribing Members of Congress, the biggest recipients being Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Eric Cantor (R-VA), Joe Crowley's uber-corrupt New Democratic Coalition, and Richard Burr (R-NC). So far this year, their PAC has raised $442,734 and the biggest bribe recipients to date among House candidates are Cantor again, John Barrow (Blue Dog-GA), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Ron Kind (New Dem-WI), Dan Lungren (R-CA), Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT), Pete Olson (R-TX), Mike Pompeo (R-Koch Industries), Cedric Richmond (New Dem-LA), Mike Rogers (R-MI), John Shimkus (R-IL), who requested that they only donate $4,999 so as not to trigger any curious minds who watch for bribes over $5,000, Mike Simpson (R-ID), Fred Upton (R-MI), Ed Whitfield (R-KY). They also have their own SuperPAC which has raised $648,600, every cent of it raised to beat pro-family Rep. Tammy Baldwin against notorious corporate whore and K Street lobbyist, Tommy Thompson. So what do all these candidates have in common? Every single candidate the Chemistry Council is backing would sell their own grandmother (or daughter) if the price was right. These are among the sleaziest and most disreputable Members of Congress from anywhere, regardless of party, each one a slithering disgrace to democracy.
“The way the free market is supposed to work is that you have information,” said Lynn Goldman, dean of the school of public health at George Washington University. “They’re trying to squelch that information.”
The larger issue is whether the federal government should be a watchdog for public health, or a lap dog for industry. When Mitt Romney denounces President Obama for excessive regulation, these are the kinds of issues at stake.
And that brings us to Prop. 37 in California, a proposition as important in the rest of the country as it is here in the Golden State. The proposition, on the ballot next month, requires food manufacturers to label their products if genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were used as ingredients. Sounds simple, right? A massively funded anti-right-to-know campaign is on here, with millions of dollars being spent by corporations nervous that informed consumers may opt to not buy their "Frankenfood." And their endless barrage of ads are, basically, one lie and distortion after another. Last week the Sacramento Bee pronounced the whole effort somewhat misleading. The Bee singled out 4 false claims from the radio ads the anti-right-to-know forces are blanketing their airwaves with in their $35 million “No on 37” campaign and explains why they are patently false.
• The ads claim that "Prop 37 bans thousands of common food products." But Prop 37 doesn't ban anything. Every single product could still be sold if they're labeled or if the producers go organic or, of course, if they stop using generically engineered materials in the food. The corporations financing the campaign are afraid that if consumers know that's in them, they won't buy them.
• The claim you can't listen to the media without hearing over and over and over is that “Prop. 37 would cost Californians millions more in bureaucracy.” And that's another lie. The SacBee Factcheck concludes that the corporations opposing Prop 37 are exaggerating estimates from the non-partisan Legislative Analysts Office.”
• And in the same claim they usually state that if Prop 37 passes-- and current polls suggest it will-- food costs for a typical family will increase by hundreds of dollars a year. Where'd they come up with those numbers. Here's what the Sacramento Bee said, politely: "That was the conclusion of an economic study paid for by the No on Proposition 37 campaign-- which is funded largely by biotech companies and major food and beverage manufacturers. The report said the typical California household would see a $350 to $400 annual increase in grocery prices if companies switched to non-genetically engineered ingredients. No independent studies have confirmed those estimates."
• And the largely Republican-backed effort tries scaremongering with the old GOP adage about trial lawyers. Prop 37, they claim, was "written by trial lawyers for trial lawyers." The Sacramento Bee looked into the claim-- which Republicans use about anything they don't like-- and found that "there is no evidence the measure was inspired or funded by the Trial Lawyer Lobby.”
Gary Ruskin of the California Right To Know Campaign responded by pointing out that "the same folks who vouched for the safety of Agent Orange, DDT and cigarettes are again deliberately misleading the public over our right to know what’s in our food. The SacBee’s analysis is a reminder that while $35 million can buy a hailstorm of deceptive ads, it cannot buy facts. The fact is that Prop. 37 is a simple measure: it requires companies to label food that has been genetically engineered in a laboratory, in the same way they already label for calorie and nutrition content. Prop. 37 will give consumers the freedom to choose for themselves whether to eat products that a growing body of independent, peer-reviewed research has linked to potential health risks.”
And it wasn't just the Sacramento Bee calling out the highly paid corporate whores who masquerade as "scientists." KQED Public Radio caught them lying as well and Stanford University caught them claiming some hack corporate shill, who makes a career at the right-wing think tank located on the Stanford campus, out of lying for corporate cash was a Stanford professor. He's not a professor and the TV ad was yanked off the air when Stanford's lawyers protested. The TV ad featured an academic, identified on screen as “Dr. Henry I. Miller M.D., Stanford University, founding dir. FDA Office of Technology.” He is standing in an ornately vaulted campus walkway.
Miller contended that the ballot measure “makes no sense at all” because it mandates that some foods be labeled while others are exempted by the proposed law. “It just gives an indication of the arbitrary and completely illogical nature of this ill conceived proposition,” Miller says.Meanwhile CREDO Action is running it's own completely separate campaign in regard to another threat from a GMO crowd that thinks it's perfectly fine to use consumers-- our families-- as human guinea pigs for their experiments... as long as there are huge profits to be made. In an e-mail to CREDO members, they urged them to sign a petition to grocery store CEOs and ask them to make it clear they won't carry genetically modified apples. "Millions of apples," they write, "are packed into our children's lunches every day by parents happy to provide a treat they know is healthy and delicious. But now, for the first time, the USDA could let a safe, popular fruit be replaced by a poorly tested and potentially toxic product from a weird science experiment."
Lawyers for the Proposition 37 campaign complained to Stanford’s general counsel, noting that the Stanford ID on the screen appeared to violate the university’s policy against use of the Stanford name by consultants.
What’s more, Miller is not a Stanford professor but, rather, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank housed on the Stanford campus, the letter said.
Stanford agreed. The university, spokeswoman Lisa Lapin said, “doesn’t take any positions on candidates or ballot measures, and we do not allow political filming on campus.” The filmmakers also are removing “the campus from the background of the video," she said.
Genetically modified apples that won't turn brown when cut are on a fast-track to USDA approval. They're intended for the fresh-sliced apple market, but could find their way into the produce aisle shelves and into juice, juice-sweetened snacks, applesauce and baby foods, all of which are mostly consumed by children. No labeling would be required.
Like other GMO foods, these apples are likely to be approved without any public, peer-reviewed study of their long-term effects. USDA wants to let food producers experiment further on us in its quest to make a minor cosmetic improvement to a fruit intended for mass human consumption.
Apple growers' industry associations representing over 60 percent of commercial orchards have already come out against GMO apples. Many are concerned about reduced consumer confidence in the apple market, while some organic growers are concerned that pollen contamination from GMO orchards could endanger their organic certification.
Consumer advocates worry that these apples will look fresh when they aren't, posing a new food safety threat-- a threat no one has to worry about with conventional apples. And once they're sold into the food processined-food market, they could end up in any product that uses apples.
As an activist and consumer, you are in a powerful position to pressure leading U.S. grocery stores to reject these genetically modified apples, which may turn out to be toxic for our children.
If this unlabeled, potentially dangerous fruit succeeds, it will only be the first of many. If there are long-term consequences to eating genetically modified fruit we won't find out under our current regulatory climate until much too late.
That's why we need to act now, before these apples hit the shelves at our local grocery stores. Tell grocery store owners to keep these mutant apples out of our shopping carts.