I am a big fan of the Heritage Foundation. Especially under the new reign of former Senator Jim DeMint. But this morning’s “The Daily Signal” by Daren Bakst is everything contrary to the true conservative mission I understood that Heritage stood for.
Bakst wants to make a case that mandatory GMO labeling is “big government” and “anti-consumer.” He (incredulously) makes broad (and undocumented) scientific conclusions of the safety of GMO’s. And I write this as much to hope they will “buy a vowel” on the true science behind the current GMO academic understandings and not suddenly turn into the equivalent of Al Gore disciples of ignorance and corruption.
Bakst’s Beginning Deceit
Bakst starts out deliberately deceiving his readers that GMO have existed from the beginning of time. In the same tact of a global warming evangelist, he misuses the term “GMO” to only associate it with hybridization and cross-pollenization most of us learned by virtue of our high school science lessons on the famous friar Gregor Mendel. What Bakst doesn’t acknowledge is that nature itself PREVENTS “unholy” genetic mutations. We all know that a mule (offspring of a horse and donkey) can’t reproduce. So nature (or some would suggest God’s design) itself stops large inter-special mutations from occurring. Bakst somehow wants to mislead his reader that the genetic mutation of a new colored rose is the same as splicing glysophate (aka RoundUp - designed to explode the intervascular system of a weed causing it to die internal malfunction) into corn, soy or rutabaga.
No, they are not the same. YES, genetics change over team through environment and breeding. NO, that does not mean that taking frog DNA and putting it into tomatoes, or splicing e-coli strains into baby food have been proved by centuries of scientific observation. (And yes, these both are already occurring.)
Bakst’s UNSAFE Crony Capitalist Talking Points
Under the headline “Safety” Bakst makes the statement:
The FDA not only has said GMO foods are safe; it also has expressly stated that labeling of GMO foods isn’t necessary.
So, let me get this right. To prove that GMO labeling is “big government” he cites “big government” as his definitive source? Mr. Bakst didn’t think it was salient to also include the fact that the FDA has REFUSED to do any actual TESTING of GMO’s. Even the UN/WHO and the AMA call for that. As OCA notes:
Meanwhile, a growing body of peer-reviewed studies in the scientific literature suggests genetic engineering is linked to allergies and other adverse effects and increased pesticide use . The United Nations/World Health Organization food standards ... and the American Medical Association have called for mandatory safety testing of genetically engineered foods.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, Bakst then makes a wild claim citing an organization TOTALLY funded by pro-GMO companies. he says:
Beyond the FDA, the science supporting the safety of GMOs is overwhelming. The Genetic Literacy Project has a great chart outlining conclusions from major international organizations that supports the safety of GMO foods.
Really? Perhaps you missed the letter from 64 well respected scientists who have had to go “whistleblower” on a similar faked effort underway at the U.S. National Academy of Science’s National Research Council. One of these scientist says it succinctly:
As scientists and researchers, we are deeply disturbed by NRC’s creation of a panel that appears predisposed to endorse GE crops, without undertaking a balanced and evidence-based assessment of the real-world impacts of the technology.
A successful investigation of the complex agronomic, ecological, economic, social, political and cultural impacts of GE crops around the world demands a panel of highly skilled experts trained in the social sciences and in multidisciplinary analysis, and having real-world experience beyond the microscope.
Very few individuals on the proposed committee possess this expertise, a few exemplary exceptions notwithstanding. As currently configured, NRC’s panel has nowhere near the scholarly or real-world expertise required to produce a credible product.
And if that isn’t enough, how about the 800 scientists from 84 countries who are demanding a complete halt to not only GMO production.
Or how about the 230+ scientists INCLUDING A SCIENTIST WHO HELPED COMMERICAL THE GMO FLAVR SAVR TOMATO who have publically stated that there is “no consensus” on GMO safety.
Dr. Belinda Martineau is a former member of the Michelmore Lab at the University of California Davis Genome Center, where she worked on the technology for the first GM-whole food. Now, however, she isn’t so convinced about its value.
In backing the statement against GMO safety, Dr. Martineau wrote:
“I wholeheartedly support this thorough, thoughtful and professional statement describing the lack of scientific consensus on the safety of genetically engineered (GM) crops and other GM organisms (also referred to as GMOs). Society’s debate over how best to utilize the powerful technology of genetic engineering is clearly not over. For its supporters to assume it is, is little more than wishful thinking.”
Hmmmm. Governments and media declaring a “consensus” among scientists when there are thousands who not only disagree, but are denied a right to have their papers peer-reviewed and published. What does THAT remind you of? Maybe a nearly 18 year absence of “global warming” that was supposedly unanimous among scientists but turned out to really be less than 12%?
Does Heritage understand that China has now banned all US crops due to GMO contamination? Are you telling me a totalitarian communist government that badly NEEDS cheap US food would really even care about their own population if this wasn’t a major health issue?
Did Heritage miss the scientific presentations of dozens of credentialed scientists last year discussing the latest research on GMO and health safety? Perhaps I can help. Here is just one presentation where court documents reveal that FDA scientists DID indeed believe GMO’s caused damage despite their employers position:
Lobbyist Crony Capitalism At It’s Worse
And it get’s worse. The “policy” of the FDA to make biotech companies do their own testing is administered by it’s leadership. Who, pray tell RUNS the FDA? A former GMO executive who keeps jumping back and forth between the FDA and Monsanto. The ULTIMATE Crony Capitalist who asked the US GOVERNMENT for the right to IGNORE court findings of liability against …you guessed it GMO’s.
Mr. Bakst a question for you. If GMO’s are so “safe,” why did an enemy of conservative causes whose campaign is funded by the leading GMO advocate in the world need legal protection from future court cases finding GMO’s harmful and usurping the rights of American citizens?
Are you sure you want to stick with this notion that being against GMO labeling is “conservative?”
Bakst tries to make a correlation that “labeling” equals “big government.” Oddly, he finds no problem with the existence of the FDA ITSELF. (So I’m assuming Bakst finds it’s ok to have a massive government bureaucracy overseeing “Food” and “Drugs” but the government can only regulate “Drugs”?)
Of course, this would be the same FDA that was manipulated by political chicanery to approve Aspartame (Nutrasweet) despite clear evidence that it not only hid damning studies, but was known to turn into formaldehyde in the digestive system. Former Searle President Don Rumsfeld had the obstructing FDA President removed so that his former employer could poison billions legally through their patent. But I’m sure that’s hunky dory and “pro business” in Heritage’s eyes?
The Intellectual Missing Link
What Bakst misses (IMHO) is that as long as government ALREADY claims control of the right to regulate Food and Drugs, the call to remove labeling endorses ONLY the rich companies that can manipulate government regulation and decree. As in the NutraSweet example above, millions assume that there is some new safety with the government’s Good Housekeeping seal of approval. Oddly, in light of the millions of sick Americans and studies exposing liver disease, kidney failure and even cancer, the FDA has now issued a warning for Aspartame.
(Here’s a hint for Mr. Bakst: Either advocate a complete Libertarian principle where government should be out of EVERYTHING except national defense and international trade as the Founder’s designed, or help in protecting Americans FROM tyrannical government. Otherwise you embarrass the “conservative” movement as a whole.)
Many in the conservative movement decry the “progressive” movement of the Teddy Roosevelt era. But what they often overlook is that corporations were completely unregulated (or taxed) up until that point and could do what they would. They romantically assume some kind morality to capitalism when business did nothing to stop child labor, false labeling, market manipulation and more. Capitalism FAILED to effectively protect the very marketplace it demanded. And thus was born government oversight. Not every railroad baron was evil and wanted to destroy towns for personal tyranny but many did by sheer political and financial influence.
No I’m not against Capitalism. The Founders brilliance allowed government to create a hands off system that allowed America to create the greatest improvement of human welfare (by virtue of free enterprise) with a government structure that allowed it to flourish. It created a framework of trademarks and patents without which they knew there would be no protection (or reward) for innovation. But now some patents are used KEEP innovation off of the market and even are leveraged to create monopolies over a basic human right, the right to grow your own food. (More on that below.)
So how do you protect people but allow capitalism to prosper? The Founder’s knew the answer quite well:
Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure than they have it now, They may change their Rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty. They will only exchange Tyrants and Tyrannies.
But today morality is relative. We can trust NEITHER government or business or even our population to do what is the “right” thing for all.
The tyrannical weapon granted by government that Bakst is defending is, in fact, the worst form of capitalism. Monsanto has been using it to attack the small farmer for years to drive him out of business. Multiple documentaries including FOOD, Inc. and THE WORLD ACCORDING TO MONSANTO (free to watch here) expose case after case of a small farmer whose crops INADVERTANTLY are cross contaminated by a nearby Monsanto field, and Monsanto moves in to (literally) shut the small farmer down if he doesn’t pay the mafia vig.
THIS is who Heritage is defending.
And they and Bakst should not only be ashamed of themselves, they should immediately reverse their position and work to eliminate one of the most egregious instances of crony capitalism.
That or join their soul brothers Al Gore and Barak Obama in pretending that by taxing companies, they can change the weather.