Thursday, February 11, 2016

GMO debate

It is not at all uncommon for me to kick the proverbial hornet's nest on this subject.

As I note in this conversation, I have a good friend, Dr. Cami Ryan, who is an expert in this field, and contact with another person, the public affairs officer for Monsanto, who is Cami's friend, who advised me on a bunch of these issues.

The short form is this:
GMOs are common, ubiquitous and SAFE, and consumed by humans and livestock for more than 70 years.
Glyphosate is an effective, low-risk, fast-dispersing herbicide that has been in use for more than 60 years.

These things are facts, supported by science and frankly indisputable, but disputed they are.

Here's today's convo:

There are so many ways I've lost respect for this guy in the last decade, from the middlingly awful music they've been making for years, to having their latest album appear unbidden in my iTunes. More annoying than anything.
But this is a whole new level of evil. Damn, Bono.

Orignal POST
Bono the bone head!

As his career continues to free fall into total irrelevance, pop star "Bono" of the rock group U2 has announced his support for a U.S.-backed plan to pillage Africa by…
BFTop of Form
 So disappointing

JM: boo

JC: 1. This:

2. This

For more than 70 years, GMO tech has been part of our landscape. Despite so much garbage, non-research, conspiracy, full-on-bullshit about it, the facts are CLEAR CLEAR CLEAR: the careful, thoughtful, science-based, heavily regulated manipulation of genes in order to produce excellent quality, drought/disease/pest-resistant foods/grains is NOT DANGEROUS.

It is CRITICAL to understand the realities of modification - and how lab modification differs from all the other types of modifications that happen to food.

As for the source of this article, PLEASE people... seriously??? Such a deep pit of bullshit is this organisation.
Globalresearch (under the domain names is the website of the Montreal-based non-profit The Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG) founded by Michel Chossudovsky,[2][3] a tenured professor at the University of Ottawa.[4] Weep for the future.

JC: As for Bono being a humanitarian, and making sustainable crops more of a reality, ABSOLUTELY. Because things are hard to grow in arid climates first of all, and doubly difficult where the soil is poor and pests are a major factor.

It's all well and good for us who are so spoiled by an ample, safe food supply to dictate what should happen in Africa - or to ignore the huge rates of starvation there - assessed at one person per every TWO SECONDS. If GMO seed can provide viable foodsources, then YES. Because there is ZERO risk to human health, and even if there were (and there is NOT) compared to 30 people starving every minute, don't you think it's worth the risk??
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

JM Studies coming out indicate high glyphosphate levels in humans and autism , alzheimers, allergies, birth defects, ADHD, Just a few... No studies have been done proving the safety of GMO foods. Now is the time to do this.

JM The starvation has alot to do with dictators who steal all the $$ and put in swiss bank accounts and never develop infrastructure in preparation for drought times. It is the downfall of Africa. GMO crops are not the solution.

JC: Yet another ridiculous, ill-informed, fear-mongering site. This group is TINY and is made up of, to be frank, uneducated idiots who believe all sorts of bullshit.

AS for glyphosate That is ALSO BULLSHIT.

Glyphosate ONLY affects PLANT enzymes. It is highly volatile in that it dissipates within very few days. It does NOT remain in the plant and even if it did, it CANNOT have any effect on humans, as we do NOT have the enzyme affected by this product. Further to this, the amounts used on fields is VERY small. One gallon is enough to do hundreds and hundreds of acres.

JC Jane. A lot, not "alot." Your point here has zero relationship to the subject at hand, and it is an unfounded opinion.

GM crops are not the whole solution, true but they are a HUGE part of it.

Also, can I ask you if you've recently eaten an apple, banana, pear or any broccoli, because if you have - regardless of whether you also buy in to the also-bullshity "organic" fad, you are eating GM foods. For SURE.,
JC: JM, go to and look up Moms Across America. Seriously. That group is ridiculously idiotic.

JC: JM, Show me those studies. Provide links. I promise you I will debunk, with prejudice, every study you post.

SM So JC - tell us how Monsanto's independant safety testing and licensing works devil emoticon...and while you're at it can you explain why you think Glyphosate is safe.

JH:  JC, would you like to reply to Stan?

JC: I'd love to reply to both of those.
When I was researching Monsanto, I called them. I spoke to the public policy lead and picked her brain. She spoke to me for an hour and then sent me loads of independently reviewed research. She also directed me to a vast external resource, all public.

As for glyphosate, again. There is endless publicly available information and independently-reviewed science on this product and subject. Yes, If you wish I will go into my archives and post everthing I have, which will provide you all about two weeks of reading materials. Or, you can do what I did, call Monsanto and, if you're near a location, go visit - they run. Daily tours of all facilities and their staff is free to speak. Ask them about the science.

Glyphosate is an extremely safe, low dose, short life herbicide. It ONLY affects a certain plant enzyme which humans do not have. It has been in use more than 60 years and I'd it were dangerous we would see evidence and the US. And Canadian food safety organizations would have pulled it. Facts do not support the idea it is unsafe.

Please read everything I've written and posted tonight rather than me rewriting it all again

JC: As to the article, let us parse:
1. "As his career continues to free fall into total irrelevance..." This is opinion, not fact and does not reference the excellent initiatives Bono has begun or is affiliated with. Also, as the band has been at it for something like 30 years, and still plays to absolutely CRAMMED stadiums, this opinion is not in any imaginable way supported by facts.

2. "... his support for a U.S.-backed plan to pillage Africa by stealing its land and agricultural systems and replacing them with corporate-owned GMOs (genetically-modified organisms) and chemicals."

The US does NOT have a "plan to pillage Africa." Africa is a continent, not a country; each African country has its own government (or dictator, as the case may be), so it is IMPOSSIBLE for the US to pillage the entire continent.

The US does NOT have any plans to steal land, or ag systems in Africa. The US could not begin to afford the wars it would take to overthrow various governments in order to enact this "evil" plan. Yes, GMOs are produced by corporations that have the R&D heft to allow for their development and testing, but that has no bearing on anything. There are five large and many smaller corporations that are engaged in the science of modification.

3. "/The Obama regime." This is bullshit. Obama is the duly-elected president of a country with free elections. It is NOT a regime. Dictatorships are regimes. Saudi Arabia has a regime. Obama was elected. He is not a despot and he didn't wrest power from anyone by force.

4. "New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition,” a thinly-veiled Green Revolution 2.0 that aims to uproot autonomous family farming systems throughout Africa and replace them with toxic monoculture systems controlled by multinational corporations like Monsanto."

Also bullshit. Monoculture is NOT the goal, first of all: even a mediocre scientist will tell you that narrowing the gene pool leads to bad things. See the Hawaiian papaya issue for a case study.

I'm only two paragraphs in to this stupid article and disgusted by it. It is fact-free, biased, fear mongering crap designed for people who see conspiracy under every rock. It is beneath thinking people to buy into this garbage.

 I totally disagree with you and that is fine. Blessings and be happy not angry and the Monsanto tragedy will continue.

JC: JM, Rational Wiki on Glyphosate - and particularly, read the parts under "Woo" (short for Woo woo and an nicer way to say "full-on bullshit).

And here for some exposing of the "gullible" MAA.
Glyphosate is a synthetic herbicide that is widely used in farming, especially since the introduction of glyphosate-tolerant strains of crops have been introduced via genetic engineering, and has been historically produced by agricultural biotechnical company Monsanto under the trademark "Roundup",…

If your choice in underwear was connected to suicides in India, would you pay more attention to the panties you buy?
JC: Again, totally irrelevant to the discussion at hand. I've provided you excellent links and Google is a wonderful place for assessing the validity of claims.

JM: I follow Vandana Shiva. She is a very educated scientist from India. This is what has already happened in India.

JC This person:???
Wealthy Activist Vandana Shiva Is A Poor Advocate For The ...
Jul 16, 2014 - Vandana Shiva advocates policies that will inflict widespread poverty, malnutrition, and death on the very people she claims to champion.
Vandana Shiva's Crusade Against Genetically Modified Crops
Aug 25, 2014 - Michael Specter on Vandana Shiva, an activist who accuses biotechnology companies such as Monsanto of imposing “food totalitarianism.
Vandana Shiva: 'Rock Star' of GMO protest movement has anti
Sep 1, 2015 - In a 2012 interview, Bill Moyers referred to Vandana Shiva as the "rock star" of the anti-GMO movement. What are the facts behind the curtain?

Um.... I think you need to do some homework on your guru....


JM: These articles are published by scientists. You can find anything on the internet to prove your point. Does not make it correct. i have studied this serious issue extensively.

JC: I claim bullshit. If you had, you'd have changed you stance. And yes, science is the best source of information on science-based issues, unless you think opinion caries more weight than 60 years of research.

JC:  Did you actually read this, Jane? Can you find any errors in science?

JC: Um... Dear Jane. The problem here is that you did not read the background on the source, Global Research, and so you are posting really, really bad resources that use really, really bad science. This article is EASILY debunked.

Maybe try running it through

As a matter of fact, this entire GMO issue is excellently parsed through Rbutr. Great resource. Also Snopes.
rbutr helps you find rbutls to any page you read on the internet so that you can get a complete view of all sides of the discussion.

JH: JC, whether or not you believe that GMO foods are safe: there remains the question of the right to self-determination vs. the kind of paternalistic colonialist enterprising we've seen ravage cultures and ecologies throughout the world. The African Civil Organizations stand against. Doesn't that matter to you? Or do you know better?

Also - do you really think that using Monsanto crops, which require an intensive chemical regime to create good yields, is a good idea for people or planet, in Africa or elsewhere?
I don't. I think some big interests are going to make some big money, create an unsustainable dependency on non-compassionate foreign corporations, and further undermine local ecologies and intelligences in the process.

There are MANY ways to improve arid landscapes. Is big Ag interested in sharing the planet- and people-friendly methods that permaculturists have been developing for decades? At all? No. Out of the goodness of their hearts? No. Give your head a shake. They're in it for money, they don't care about people's right to self-determination, and they sure as hell don't care about getting more food to Africans. They care about more CUSTOMERS. That is all.

Question to you: who edits your Rational Wiki? Are you aware that many large organizations - particularly big pharma and big Ag - have full-time staff that aggressively monitor wikis to ensure their propaganda stays front and centre, and reasonable criticisms (and the studies that support them) get buried? Do you really think that Rational Wiki is any less biased than Global Research? You are completely entitled to your favorite sources, the ones that align with your biases, but don't BS yourself that yours are "The Truth".

I don't "believe." The science is crystal clear. You eat GMO EVER Day and have for your entire life.

These are all tropes based on conspiracy. I personally know two people who work with Monsanto. I trust the science and I trust these scientists. The information that counters these claims is readily had.

People are welcome to their opinions but not to have these false, conspiracy based statements go unchallenged.

As for a Rational Wiki I don't know the answer to that question but the have a contact and FAQ page. Call and ask.

JH: Truly I say to you, Bono is an ass. Posting this because I find it amusing and clearly there will be no actual exchange of ideas here. Just a lot of shouting in the dark. So, something funny.

JH: Trusting science as a system and trusting Monsanto reps saying their products are safe are not the same thing.

BH: Just a thought it is possible Julie to have a healthy debate without being demeaning and condescending to those you are debating with. I hope you're not an educator cause your students would be afraid of you.

JH2: Awe this is sad. Money hungry asses unsure emoticon those poor people in Africa. Commercialism is not alright. This article is was very good at providing valid points on mega co operations
wanting to make revenue at their cultural's expense. Geez unsure emoticon

JH2:  ^^^^That is how I feel about that !!!! frown emoticon

JH:  And for more fun... JC I think you'll find this an interesting read. Conspiracies do actually happen. Not everyone who mistrusts the powerful is an idiot. Governments and businesses do not always tell the expensive truth about their illegal or unethical practices.

BF:  And actually super interesting that you use the word fear mongering to describe others cause that's pretty much what you've done with all your posts. Rather than take you serious Julie I stopped reading half way through after all the people you called idiotic.

JC:  I don't give a damn if people call me idiotic. I simply feel sorry that people are so bonded to their beliefs which should not be confused with science-based knowledge.

I did my research - a LOT of it - on these two subjects; I called people, I read case law, studies - independent studies to be clear - and then I called back Monsanto and checked with them.

I have reams of information, sites, links, and case law that I can cite and I guarantee you, most of the poeple here haven't done any research at all, and are relying on very poor resources. Whatever. That's their right, but it doesn't mean they are right, and it doesn't change the facts, or the excellent science.

JC: Sorry all. Facts are facts are facts and good science is good science.

I've given 90 minutes of my time and many good links here. I'll ad to the list and suggest you look up Doc. Cami Ryan's blog.

Otherwise, I can't budge those who are melded to a paradigm.

Science-Based Medicine: Exploring issues and controversies in the relationship between science and…
JC: Also, there is an excellent discussion of the GMO issue at Food and Farm Discussion Lab (Facebook group) a group of farmers international, who are experts in this and other ag-related issues. I know there is a very active discussion of GMO seeds on there because I directed another anti-GMO person there the other day. #creamed.

One must at some point at least READ the science behind this stuff. Have your opinions, but understand that the science is based on more than 70 years' research and use, in the case of GMOs and more than 60 for glyphosate.

And given you are all consuming GMO products every single day of your lives, and you will continue to do so for the rest of your lives, and that you're all quite healthy, I'm sure, and that people the world over are NOT dropping like flies, AND that sustainability is a CORE goal of the five main companies engaged in GMO tech (Monsanto is only one of them), the idea they are intent on not only ruining the world but cannibalising their own clients in the bargain is absurd.

JC: JH, that Dupont thing has zero to do with glyphosate or gmos. I'm going to read the case - the actual case, not this tear-jerking story - to understand what the case was based on and what the outcome was.

JC: You guys all know Bill Nye the Science guy, right?

Well, he was very anti-gmo until he did his research. He's a smart guy....

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