Prop 37: The GMO Farce

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Many of you have questioned my opposition to Prop 37.

There is a great book “Unscientific America” . . . it is not about the global warming deniers nor about the “intelligent design” fanatics (although it does cover them) . . . no, at it’s heart, it is about my friends and colleagues, people who are presumably educated and cultured; people with Master Degrees and PhD’s . . .

Can we start with the fact that GMO began with the very first farm? That “GMO” has been around longer than Jesus Christ (or if you prefer, Plato)?

Can we acknowledge that farmers randomly grafting one plant to another with no clue whatsoever as to what the result might be, in uncontrolled and unobserved open fields might actually be more unsafe than targeted molecular mutations that start in a computer, proceed to a lab, are tested in a greenhouse and only then planted outdoors, miles from any other crop?

Of course not; for most of you some random folk-tale or “Ancient Chinese” something or another is far more reliable than a peer-reviewed, double blind, two year clinical study that has been replicated 14 times . . .

These people who refuse to vaccinate their children — even though non-vaccinated children are nearly ten thousand more times likely to contract a preventable disease than to have a negative reaction to the shot –

These people who throw away their money on Homeopathic “medicine” – when it is quite literally, scientifically, and by all measures and studies . . . municipal tap water

These people . . . who call themselves science based liberals . . . have bought into the Tea Party mentality, hook, line and sinker —

Anyone out there ever heard of “CAM”?

Of course you have. If you are a friend or collogue of mine you are no-doubt card-carrying members of the “Complementary and Alternative Medicine” cult.

Back when Bill Clinton was President he tried to get FDA oversight of what was then called the “herbal supplement market.” Turns out something like 70% of these “supplements” are manufactured in Utah and our dear Senator Orrin Hatch has been receiving campaign donations from them for decades. It was dear Orrin who blocked FDA oversight, created the “CAM” legal description, wrote the disclaimer that you now see on every one of these non-cure ‘cures’ and gave this multi-billion dollar INDUSTRY carte blanch to make any claim, sell any concoction, without any testing, without any proof that it is effective or even any proof that it is safe. It is “buyer-beware” – they have an immunity that “Big-Pharma” could only dream of. And time and time and time again when tested, these “ancient remedies” have proven to be either ineffective or dangerous or both.

Still swallowing Echinacea? Dozens of studies have proven beyond doubt that they are as effective as M&M’s. I could go on, and on, and on . . . (See Snake Oil Science: The Truth About Complementary and Alternative Medicine)

So why this digression? What does this have to do with GMO?

First, before mindlessly jumping on the “Frankenfood” bandwagon ask yourself if it is not simply your anti-corporate bias clouding your vision. (See Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future)

Second, understand that the CAM, organic and whole food movements are ALSO multi-billion dollar industries, just like Big-Pharma, controlled primarily by a handful of multi-national corporations, who employ their own lobbyists and marketing guru’s (See The Omnivore’s Dilemma).

Third . . . take a trip to Africa and ask those who are starving what they think of GMO, because virtually all of the LIBERAL third world development NGO’s FAVOR GMO. So as you eat your organic, locally harvested, seven dollar salad tonight stop and think, just for a moment, of the millions of third world children who actually have affordable rice in their tummies, thanks to GMO products that resist drought, pestilence and poor soil (See NPR All Things Considered).

We certainly do need be wary of the folks who brought us the A-Bomb, Agent Orange and Asbestos; but we need be equally wary of the faith healers and the snake-oil salesmen and the folks who claim that wearing a magnet on your wrist can ward off disease.

You and I, we have been eating GMO products for several decades now. And you know what? More people have gotten sick or died from eating seafood — because of the toxic runoff that fish consume — than any GMO product; more people have died consuming “natural, herbal” remedies than any GMO product.

Indeed, the death toll to date for GMO: ZERO.

So please, do not be a cliché “knee-jerk” liberal. Think. Then vote No on 37.

Here is a link to an NPR report on the subject:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/10/26/163700238/as-california-vote-looms-scientists-say-no-to-genetically-modified-food-labels

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Book Review: 500 Days

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You might be interested in this book and/or the review. A sample:

After Bush told Jacques Chirac that biblical prophecies were being fulfilled and specifically that “Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East,” the French president decided, in Eichenwald’s words, that “France was not going to fight a war based on an American president’s interpretation of the Bible.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/07/books/review/500-days-by-kurt-eichenwald.html?nl=books&emc=edit_bk_20121005

Which Mitt Should I Wear Today?

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There was this guy named Mitt who was the Governor of Massachusetts. Not a bad guy. An “East Coast Republican moderate . . .”

He ran for President and lost. So he reinvented himself; took what Nixon referred to as “a tack to the right.” But when he ran again, what it was to be a “conservative” four years ago was now “moderate” . . . and as the primary campaign wore on that which was “moderate” became “liberal.”

Still, this guy named Mitt persevered and won the nomination. He vetted half a dozen potential running mates and settled on a guy named Portman. His staff started to set up the announcement; they were less than 36 hours away.

Then one of the national Tea Party ‘leaders’ went on Fox ‘news’ to say that if anyone but a guy named Ryan were to be named VP the Tea Party would boycott the election. Fourty-eight hours latter a guy named Mitt named a guy named Ryan as his veep. And so it was that this Mitt — who has been campaigning for President for six years straight — sold his soul to the Tea Party to secure his nomination.

Then this guy named Mitt and this guy named Ryan held a grand old party that was little more than a fawning tribute to, and infomercial for, the Tea Party.

Finally, last night, our Mitt showed up for a Presidential Debate. Gone was the Mitt of the convention; gone was the Mitt of primary; gone was the Mitt of the previous election . . .

The cursed “lame-stream media” say that this guy named Mitt “won” the debate.

Me, I think it would be rather tough to debate a guy named Mitt when you don’t really know which Mitt is going to show up to debate you . . .

You have to wonder if his children even recognize him.

Homer Simpson For Prez

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I will grant the Republicans this:

Looking back at the past year of the Obama administration I do wonder why he has not proposed a special tax break for Latino lesbians confined to a wheelchair whose father was an illegal Filipino immigrant who served in the first Iraq war and whose mother volunteered in the Peace Corps all the while driving a Prius and living a Vegan lifestyle . . .

I find the pandering an embarrassment.

At the risk of offending my more conservative friends and insulting those more liberal . . . an opinion piece from the LA Times by Michael Kinsley: “Homer Simpson for President:”

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-kinsley-column-romney-47-percent-20120920,0,721710.story

All that said Paul Ryan is even scarier than Sarah Palin. Paul Ryan can actually form coherent sentences. I have little doubt that he would be capable of “running the trains on time” but is that really what we want?

While I like Obama and his intentions I would honestly have to rate Barak as only slightly better than Ford and Carter, a bit less onerous than Bush Senior and roughly equivalent to post Lewinsky Clinton. That said, even the Watergate era Congress was more bipartisan and focused on a solution than today’s Tea Party controlled House of Representatives.

Let us all, Liberal and Conservative alike, admit the sorrowful truth that neither FDR nor Ronald Reagan nor George Washington himself would be able to corral a working majority in this Congress.

Today, neither the “Rockefeller Republican” (unfortunately) nor the “Blue Dog Democrat” (thankfully) exists.

When we elected “Hope and Change” we thought that we were sending a message. We thought that a rational middle still existed. We thought that those we elected actually wanted to govern.

Don’t like “Obamacare” . . . blame those “moderates” and conservatives who would not come to the table;

Hate finance reform . . . blame those “moderates” and conservatives who would not come to the table;

Think that Obama’s legacy is too far to the left? A President needs to negotiate with Congress. If the only people willing to negotiate are the far left then what do you expect to be signed into law?

To Democrats: As Mom used to say: “Be careful what you wish for”

To Republicans: If you bunt, don’t complain about the lack of home runs. If you punt, don’t complain about your lack of touchdowns. If you refuse to talk . . . well, you can’t complain that your voice is not being heard: and yelling is not talking; signing the Grover Norquist “No Tax” pledge is not talking; “my way or the highway” is not talking; proposing legislation that you already know has zero chance of passing is not talking.

And as the heading says . . . random rants.

 

Thanks for reading.

Liberal Media Bias

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NPR’s On the Media for September 15 (http://www.onthemedia.org) was rather interesting. They asked the question “Is NPR Liberally Biased?” Of course they left the answer up to the listener. What struck me was a portion of the show dedicated to conservatives who were asked to listen to NPR for a week and keep a diary. They were then asked to provide an example of a segment displaying a “liberal bias.” I listened to those segments and to me it was Jack Webb on Dragnet: “Just the facts ma’am.” Even after they explained themselves it seemed to be splitting quarks to reach a “bias” conclusion . . .

 

Take a listen. Tell me what I missed.

Romney’s Tax Plan

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Harvard economist Martin Feldstein, former head of the Council of Economic Advisors under Ronald Reagan, recently published an analysis of the Romney tax plan (L.A. Times, Saturday, September 15, 2012).

According to his analysis, along with another from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, those earning more than a million dollars a year would see their tax burden cut in half. Those earning $250,00 to one million would see a savings of 20-30%. Those earning $100,000 to 250,000 would see their taxes nearly double. And for those of us earning less than 100k? Well, it depends. Do you own your home? Taxes up. Rural landowner? Taxes down.

Indeed, the most striking aspect of the proposal is this: with the home loan deduction and state and city tax deduction revisions he proposes, “those living in cities and suburbs with high housing costs,” and those who live in states and cities with high taxes, will pay significantly more in Federal tax than they currently do, while those living in rural areas and states with low tax rates will see a net reduction in their Federal tax.

As the Times points out, the former tend to vote Democratic while the latter tend to vote Republican . . . 

Clever.

Weather Alert

OMG — Newsflash!! Weather Alert!!

The temperature in San Diego at the beaches this weekend is going to be INTO THE UPPER 80’S!!!!!!!

This is what passes for news and excitement in this nation’s 8th largest city . . .

(Full disclosure: I have the AC on . . . but that is for Scrappy and Taco, not me!)

Mandate

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SO . . .

The Dem’s finally got around to pointing out, albeit indirectly, that the Republican’s decided the night before Obama’s inauguration to ‘make certain he is a one term President.’ The did it by deliberately sabotaging any and all efforts to improve the economy . . . 

The pundits give generally high marks to the convention but many feel “Obama gave no [affirmative] reason to vote for him” . . . 

Ryan-Romney say Obama didn’t deliver . . . 

Obama did not deliver because of the refusal of the other side to cooperate . . .

Obama should come out and say something along the lines of: “Send Congress a message, conservative and liberal alike, that by re-electing President Obama we are giving him a mandate to demand of Congress that they cooperate, compromise and reach consensus. Let us make that clear: a vote for Romney is a mandate for the Tea Party Agenda; a vote for Obama is a mandate to work together, to leave NOTHING off the table, to draw no lines in the sand, to ignore the pressure groups and the lobbyists and the ‘pledges’ and actually finish the work of rebuilding this economy. . . .  ‘ 

Make it explicit: a vote for Obama is a demand from the American people to cooperate and compromise. No more filibusters; no more wasting time on bills that are purposely so partisan everyone knows they will fail; no more entering ‘negations’ with a list of ‘non-starters’

A mandate for all to actually govern, Grover Norquist and Government Unions alike be dammed 

Michelle

Great speech . . . two thoughts:

1. They did not have a single stylist backstage to fix her hair!?

2. Too many references to gay marriage 

Otherwise, a success in motivating the base. Maybe Michelle won over a fraction of the undecided.

I suppose that is four points.