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De Omnibus Dubitandum - Lux Veritas

Thursday, July 31, 2014

GMO's: Scare Mongering at Its Worst! Part V

By Rich Kozlovich

Mike Adams, who publishes Natural News and styles himself as the Health Ranger recently posted an article entitled, The Agricultural Holocaust explained: the 10 worst ways GMOs threaten humanity and our natural world on July 27, 2014.

He claims "genetically modified organisms (GMOs) a serious threat to humanity and the environment? The reasons span the realms of science, social justice, economics and the environment, and once you understand this, you'll readily understand why so many environmentalists, humanitarians, responsible scientists and social justice advocates are strongly opposed to GMOs", and lists ten reasons why?
This will be a ten part series. Here is Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV

The Health Ranger’s fifth complaint against these products is that, “GMO agriculture is breeding a new generation of chemical-resistant superweeds”, saying:

“The rise of chemical-resistant superweeds is a horrible problem for modern farmers. In the same way that deadly superbugs have arisen from the abuse of antibiotics in hospitals, "Frankenweeds" have arisen from the continued growing of GMOs and the routine application of glyphosate to crop fields.

Glyphosate-resistant superweeds have become such a problem that the very industry which once claimed GMOs would require "fewer chemicals" to grow food is now recommending fields be treated with a triple or quadruple layer of multiple chemicals to attack the superweeds with different chemicals.

That's why agriculture experts are right now
sounding the alarm over glyphosate, GMOs and superweeds, calling for an end to the unsustainable GMO farming practices that seriously threaten the sustainability of agriculture.”

Crops such as cotton, corn, soybeans, alfalfa and sugar beets have been genetically altered to tolerate glyphosate in order to increase yields and avoid the costly and time consuming weed control processes of the past.  This has been so successful eco-activists claim farmers have adopted an over reliance on GMO’s (which increased production by more than 98 billion dollars over the last twenty plus years and saving from having to use hundreds of millions of kilograms of pesticides from being sprayed) resulting in “overuse” of glyphosate creating “superweeds”, such as Palmer amaranth. And it would appear weeds are showing up in fields all over the world that have become resistant to the herbicide glyphosate.

Palmer amaranth is particularly insidious because it out competes cotton – and other crops - for all the things necessary for productive harvests – moisture, light and nutrients.  So, are these now “superweeds”?

Before we answer that question we have to understand what exactly “resistance” is?   Often times I will see commentaries claiming an evolutionary spurt is causing resistance.  Nonsense!  Evolution has nothing to do with these changes in plants or insects, bacteria or virus’ for that matter.  I’m going to address this from an insect control perspective because it’s easy to explain and the pattern is universal.  Pay attention!

Resistance is a genetic phenomenon where-in a percentage of the target pests are naturally resistant to some compound.  Hence each successive generation will pass that trait to some of their offspring thus having more resistant numbers in the population.  Eventually the resistant members become the dominant gene pool.  However they’re not “super-roaches”, “super-rats”, or super anything else for that matter.     Whether its cockroaches, weeds, or pathogens – resistance is the pattern in nature!  Something we only fully realized after insect pests developed resistance to DDT, including bed bugs.  We didn’t know we were following nature’s patterns and cycles.  We know that now and can adapt.

While hyperventilating one writer claimed “Chemicals Are Creating Frightening New Superweeds.” Then disparagingly asked, The 'Solution'? More Chemicals.  
Yes - that is the solution!  
Eco-activists state that this has to stop because these “superweeds” have found their way into organic fields.  Let’s understand this correctly.  This is another logical fallacy that’s a lie of omission.  Whether it’s these resistant varieties of weeds or the non resistant varieties these organic farmers are going to be devastated without the use of herbicides, so making this claim is nothing more than a red herring fallacy, since they're not allowed to use synthetic herbicides anyway and still be 'organic'.  As for those farmers who are not 'organic' farmers, but still aren't using transgenics - they're would still have to face the problem of resistance eventually.  Transgenics didn't create the resistance problem, but transgenics will be the solution!

Companies such as Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences and other biotech companies didn’t stop researching new and innovative approaches to transgenics when the current products went on the market.  They clearly understand the “resistance” factor in pesticides and have been working of herbicide resistant crops which will become available. Will these new products eventually become ineffective? Of course!  But that’s no reason to abandon chemistry that works – especially when there’s no alternative, and it’s more environmentally friendly than plowing and tilling. 

If there is no alternative there is no problem!

Ah, but there is – according to eco-activists – an alternative.  Heirloom varieties!  These are varieties that have been grown for hundreds of years and breed true year after year.  In other words, “organic” farming, which I addressed in a previous post! 

Heirlooms are hardy, but as is the case with all these old hardy varieties - they aren’t that productive.  And they’re still left with the problem of weeds and insect pests because even these varieties come under attack from something, and then there are all the other negative issues surrounding “organic” farming. 

They claim we can only thrive by obeying nature’s rules.  I couldn’t agree more.  And what’s nature’s rule regarding plant pests?  Plants can’t run away when attacked, they don’t have claws, they don’t have teeth, they don’t have heavy fur coats to protect themselves – so what do they do?  They make their own pesticides to sicken, kill or repel pests.  The vast majority of pesticides we consume are naturally occurring in the food we eat, and most of them test carcinogenic.  So I subscribe to nature’s pattern.  Build a better pesticide, and create more GMO’s to tolerate them.
Eco-activists demand perfection - from everyone else.  A perfection they're incapable of delivering.  They demand utopia, claiming they can deliver it if we just listen to them, but when you consider their policies have killed more people over the last 60 years, (probably more than the socialist monsters of twentieth century like Stalin, Hitler and Mao combined) we must believe the facts of history.  They only deliver dystopia - squalor, misery, poverty, disease, suffering and early death.  The legacy of the left!
Those who are rational recognize that history and sanity forces upon us the conclusion the best we can hope for is the most acceptable imperfection. And as imperfect as these modern agricultural marvels are - they've saved more lives than any advancement in all of humanities previous history.
Here are the links to the entire series:   Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI,Part VII, Part VIII, Part IX and Part X

The Carbon TAX Scam

By Alan Caruba

This appeared here. 

In a recent appearance before a congressional committee, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told them that the agency’s proposed sweeping carbon-regulation plan was “really an investment opportunity. This is not about pollution control.”

If the plan isn’t about pollution, the primary reason for the EPA’s existence, why bother with yet more regulation of something that is not a pollutant—carbon dioxide—despite the Supreme Court’s idiotic decision that it is. Yes, even the Court gets things wrong.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is vital to all life on Earth, but most particularly to every piece of vegetation that grows on it. Top climatologists tell me that it plays a very small role, if any, in the Earth’s climate or weather. Why would anyone expect a gas that represents 400 parts per million of all atmospheric gases, barely 0.04% of all atmospheric gases to have the capacity to affect something as huge and dynamic as the weather or climate?

When something as absurd as the notion the U.S. must drastically reduce its CO2 emissions is told often enough by a wide range of people that include teachers, the media, scientists, politicians, and the President, people can be forgiven for believing this makes sense.

What Gina McCarthy was demonstrating is her belief that not only the members of Congress are idiots, but all the rest of us are as well.

Faking Climate Data

“The science is clear. The risks are clear. We must act…” Sorry, Gina, a recent issue of Natural News, citing the Real Science website, reported “(in) what might be the largest scientific fraud ever uncovered, NASA and the NOAA have been caught red-handed altering historical temperature data to produce a ‘climate change narrative’ that defies reality.” As reported in The Telegraph, a London daily, “NOAA’s U.S. Historical Climatology Network has been ‘adjusting’ its record by replacing real temperatures with data ‘fabricated’ by computer models.”

The EPA has been on the front lines of destroying coal-fired plants that produce the bulk of the nation’s electricity, claiming, like the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth that coal is “dirty” and must be eliminated from any use.

On July 29, CNSnews reported that “For the first time ever, the average price for a kilowatthour of electricity in the United States has broken through the 14-cent mark, climbing to a record 14.3 cents in June, according to data released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

A Carbon Tax

What the Greens want most of all is a carbon tax; that is to say, a tax on CO2 emissions. It is one of the most baseless, destructive taxes that could be imposed on Americans and we should take a lesson from the recent experience that Australians had when, after being told by a former prime minister, Julia Gillard, that she would not impose the tax, she did. They get rid of her and then got rid of the tax!

As Daniel Simmons, the vice president of policy at the American Energy Alliance, wrote in Roll Call “Australia is now the first country to eliminate its carbon tax. In doing so, it struck a blow in favor of sound public policy.” Initiated in 2012, the tax had imposed a $21.50 charge (in U.S. dollars), increasing annually, on each ton of carbon dioxide emitted by the country’s power plants.” At the time President Obama called it “good for the world”, but Australians quickly found it was not good for them or their economy.
Favored by several Democratic Senators that include New Hampshire’s Jeanne Shaheen, Alaska’s Mark Begich, and North Carolina’s Kay Hagan, the Heritage Foundation, based on data provided by the Energy Information Administration, took a look at the impact that a proposed U.S. carbon tax would have and calculated that it “would cut a family of four’s income by nearly $2,000 a year while increasing its electricity bills by more than $500 per year. It would increase gas prices by 50 cents per gallon. It could eliminate more than a million jobs in the first few years.”

Simmons noted that “It only took (Australians) two years of higher prices, fewer jobs, and no environmental benefits before they abandoned their carbon tax.”

We don’t need, as Gina McCarthy told the congressional committee, “investments in renewables and clean energy” because billions were wasted by Obama’s “stimulus” and by the grants and other credits extended to wind and solar energy in America. They are the most expensive, least productive, and most unpredictable forms of energy imaginable, given that neither the wind nor the sun is available full-time in the way fossil fuel generated energy is. Both require backup from coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy plants.

In addition to all the other White House efforts to saddle Americans with higher costs, it has now launched a major effort to push its “climate change” agenda with a carbon tax high on its list. A July 29 article in The Hill reported that “Obama is poised to sidestep Congress with a new set of executive actions on climate change.”

If we don’t jump-start our economy by tapping into the jobs and revenue our vast energy reserves represent, secure our southern border, and elect a Congress that will rein in the President, the U.S. risks becoming a lawless banana republic. Carbon taxes are one more nail in the national coffin.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Hegelian Dialectic: Offering Communistic Solutions to Fabricated Crises

David Risselada

By now, many have read that President Obama has recently called for a "new collectivized order" in order to quell many of the problems plaguing the world. President Obama cited the problems in Russia and Ukraine, Iraq, Israel and Palestine, and no doubt acts as if the immigration issue is one of these crises as well. Truly, the world seems to be on fire, and the Global Elite that are calling the shots would have you believe that surrendering our sovereignty to an all-powerful global government is the solution, never mind the fact that it is the global elite causing these problems in the first place. Using the concepts of the Hegelian Dialectic, the powers that be create the global conditions that lead to fear and uncertainty, allow the targeted populations to demand "predetermined solutions," and then reluctantly act as if they must go along with the demands to give the appearance of carrying out the people's will. It's all designed to get you to willingly accept what you once wouldn't, global communism…….To Read More…

My Take - Paraphrasing Thomas Sowell he once said that some things seem so reasonable they can fail nine times out of nine and people will still try it a tenth time, and some things seem so unreasonable they can succeed nine times out of nine and people will still refuse to adopt it a tenth time. That’s the difference between socialism and capitalism.

Socialism got its starting in 1785 with the French Revolution creating a government dictatorship that caused up to 40,000 deaths between 1793 and 1794 during what is known as The Reign Terror.  We have almost three hundred years of history to demonstrate that socialism - in all of its manifestations, such as fascism, communism, and now environmentalism - is a failed concept that has left dystopia in its wake, and the world's leaders want humanity to adopt it as worldwide plan for governance.

Is it any wonder I keep seeing that quote attributed to Einstein saying to keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity. 


GMO’s: Scare Mongering at Its Worst! Part IV

By Rich Kozlovich

Mike Adams, who publishes Natural News and styles himself as the Health Ranger recently posted an article entitled, The Agricultural Holocaust explained: the 10 worst ways GMOs threaten humanity and our natural worldon July 27, 2014.

He claims "genetically modified organisms (GMOs) a serious threat to humanity and the environment? The reasons span the realms of science, social justice, economics and the environment, and once you understand this, you'll readily understand why so many environmentalists, humanitarians, responsible scientists and social justice advocates are strongly opposed to GMOs", and lists ten reasons why? This is a ten part series.

Here is Part I, Part II and Part III

Adam’s fourth proclamation is that “GMOs run the very real risk of runaway self-replicating genetic pollution and ecocide”. He goes on to say:

Unlike isolated chemicals, GMOs self-replicate. This means there is an automatic risk of a runaway ecological holocaust caused by genetic pollution from GMOs.

Once (sic) scientist calls this risk "ecocide" and has calculated the risk of ecocide caused by GMOs will approach 100%. As I wrote
in this March 2014 article

As Taleb convincingly argues, genetically engineered crops are specifically designed to have a survival advantage over conventional crops, allowing them to better resist droughts or infestations of pests or weeds. This survival advantage -- if it's as real as seed manipulators claim -- means genetically engineered plants can out-compete non-GMO crops in open fields. The genetic pollution which is already underway across North America will only get worse, therefore, and there's no reversing it because all living systems -- even genetically engineered ones -- have a natural drive to spread, multiply and survive.

The result is that GMO crops will out-compete and thereby displace non-GMO crops over time. Why does this matter? Because the rise of GMOs is nearly synonymous with the collapse of genetic diversity in seeds and food crops.

So, the Health Ranger’s argument is that all these GMO’s are better and will out compete all non-genetically improved varieties, and will spread this genetic superiority all over the planet. And somehow this is a prelude to ecological holocaust?

Is that his argument? That’s not much of an argument!

They claim the increase of genetically superior plants will spread to feral plants and be the cause for the collapse of genetic diversity – that’s a red herring since genetically superior plants have been displacing biologically incompetent varieties since time immemorial.

There is only one difference. In the past the transfer of genes took place via selective breeding and cross-pollination. Now humanity has gone past that via modern technology into a realm of genetic potentials that were impossible in the natural scheme of things. Now we have the opportunity to tailor plants to meet our needs far beyond anything that is possible “naturally”. And better yet, these enhancements are permanent, and we should be happy about that.

Eco-activists rail against agriculture for using too much water. GMO’s are responsible for a serious reduction in that need. Eco-activists rail against the use of pesticides. GMO’s reduce that need tremendously, not to mention how much less land is needed versus these "all natural" farms that are forced to reduce wildlife habitat to achieve the same level of production. Not only do they use more land, but they have to use more water, more pesticides – “which includes more than 20 chemicals, mostly containing copper and sulfur, along with nicotine sulfate, which is extremely toxic to warm-blooded animals”, and more energy.   

Does anyone besides me see a serious lack of consistency in their thinking?

Is it possible that the real reason for their hate of these products has more to do with “patent exhaustion” than biodiversity? Is it possible they’re real hate of Monsanto and is they’re not giving these seeds away for free? Is it possible they don’t fully grasp that Monsanto spends a billion dollars a year on genetic research?

It takes approximately three hundred million dollars to bring a pesticide to market. One year Bayer tested twenty five compounds and none of them made it to the market. How much was spent on these compounds? I have no idea, but remember they’re probably testing a large number of compounds each and every year and most of those compounds will yield no financial benefit to Bayer.

Monsanto spends billions to bring one product to market, and eco-activists rail against them as greedy monsters committing ecocide. Nonsense! All these claims are wild speculations and logical fallacies since thus far all these GMO’s have been a major source of benefit to humanity. Let’s try to get this right once and for all. If there’s no financial reward there will be no technical advancement, and there will be no new products, including new medicines, in which GMO’s have played a significant role. Companies have been;

“engineering animals and plants to produce proteins to use as medicine. An example of pharming is raising cows with human antibodies-containing milk. Sheep and pigs have also been modified to produce milk containing human blood-clotting protein factor-eight, interferon, and insulin.”

“The virus-free blood-clotting protein is ideal for hemophila patients since traditional methods of producing this protein run the risk of being contaminated with viruses. The mass production of insulin from these animals benefits diabetes sufferers as well.”

“Crops are also used to produce human proteins. In the U.S., rice has been engineered to produce alpha-antitrypsin; in the United Kingdom transgenic sheep have been used to produce this protein, which is used to treat liver disease and hemorrhages.”

“In the late 1990s, about a quarter of all insulin, growth hormone, hepatitis-B vaccine, and antibodies for cancer treatments were produced by GMO.”

One last point regarding patent rights! At some point all of these patents will run their course that these GMO’s will be part of the public domain and can be utilized by everyone creating far reaching benefits to the poor and malnourished people of the world. But, that can only happen if they’re produced at a profit in the first place for the benefit of the stockholders of these corporations that have been financing the research and producing commercially valuable products for humanities benefit. That profit also provides seed money for future research!

One can foolishly rail against them as greedy for their desire to make a substantial profit - if that’s one’s bent - but no one should be finding fault with the beneficial results they’ve produced for humanity, and the environment!

Here are the links to the entire series:   Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI,Part VII, Part VIII, Part IX and Part X


Climate Alarmists Never Quit!

By Alan Caruba

This appeared at Alan's Warning Signs!

In the same way Americans are discovering that the Cold War that was waged from the end of World War Two until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 is not over, Americans continue to be subjected to the endless, massive, global campaign to foist the hoax of global warming--now called climate change—on everyone.

The campaign’s purpose to convince everyone that it is humans, not the sun, oceans, and other natural phenomenon, and that requires abandoning fossil fuels in favor of “renewable” wind and solar energy.

“It is not surprising that climate alarmists, who desire above all else blind allegiance to their cause, would demand all school teachers toe the ‘official party line’ and quash any dissent on the subject of man-made global warming in their classroom,” says Craig Rucker, the Executive Director of co-founder of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT). “What is absurd is that any teacher or free-thinking person for that matter would listen to them.”

These days when I am challenged regarding my views about global warming, climate change or energy I send the individual to and, two constantly updated websites filled with links to information on these topics. Both are maintained by CFACT.

It’s not just our classrooms where Green indoctrination goes on. It is also our news media that continue to distort every weather event to advance the hoax. Guiding and feeding them is a massive complex of organizations led by the United Nations—the International Panel on Climate Change—that maintains the hoax to frighten people worldwide in order to achieve “one world order.”

On September 23, heads of state, including President Obama, will gather in New York City for what the Sierra Club calls “a historic summit on climate change. With our future on the line, we will take a weekend and use it to bend the course of history” to save the world from “the ravages of climate change.” This is absurd. Suggesting that humans can alter the climate in any way defies centuries of proof they do not.

One of the leading Leftist organizations, the Center for American Progress, focused on the July 14 Major Economics Forum in Paris, offered four items for its agenda. Claiming that “the Arctic is warming two times faster than any other region on earth”, they wanted policy changes based on this falsehood. They blamed climate change for “global poverty” and wanted further reductions in so-called greenhouse gas emissions from energy use. The enemy, as far as they were concerned was energy use.

Mary Hutzler, a senior research fellow of the Institute for Energy Research, testified before a July 22nd meeting of the Senate Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Development and Foreign Assistance, that due to Europe’s green energy (wind and solar) policies, industrial electricity prices are two-to-five times higher than in the U.S. and that, by 2020, 1.4 million European households will be added to those experiencing energy poverty.

There are lessons to be learned, for example, from Spain’s investment in wind energy that caused the loss of four jobs for the electricity it produced and 13 jobs for every megawatt of solar energy. In Germany, the cost of electricity is three times higher than average U.S. residential prices. Little wonder that European nations are now slashing wind and solar programs.

Billions Wasted to Combat Global Warming

In the U.S., the Obama administration used its “stimulus” to fund Solyndra—$500 million dollars—and fifty other Green energy projects that have failed or are on their way to failure. Undeterred with this appalling record, on July 3 the Energy Department announced $4 billion for “projects that fight global warming.”

But there is no global warming. The Earth has been in a cooling cycle for seventeen years and it shows no indication of ending anytime soon. This is the same administration that has waged a war on coal, forcing the closure of many plants that produced electricity efficiently and affordably, and had throughout the last century.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s 2014 weather highlights showed that, from January to June, the temperature in the U.S. has risen by a miniscule 0.1 degrees Fahrenheit compared with the average temperature for the 20th century. NOAA also noted that recorded temperatures for the first half of 2014 are the coldest since 1993 when the cooling cycle began. The exception to this has been California.

Brainwashed for decades about global warming, 20% of likely voters, according to a July Rasmussen poll, still believe that global warming is not over, colder weather or not, 17% were not sure, but fully 63% disagreed!

The results of a Pew Research Center poll in June revealed that 35% of Americans say there is not enough solid evidence to suggest mankind is warming the Earth while another 18% says the world has warmed due to “natural patterns”, not human activity. Pew found that liberals remain convinced that humans are to blame, but the bottom line is that 53% disputed the President’s claims.

That means that a growing number of Americans are now skeptics.

In the months to come we will see marches and meetings intended to further the global warming lies. The good news is that fewer Americans are being influenced by such efforts.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

The Common Core Fight, Part II: Small Victories and the Way Forward

“You’re lined up against business interests, the entire public school bureaucracy, Bill Gates and his billions, public broadcasting, the rest of the media, the Chamber of Commerce, and every elected official who is indebted to the Chamber of Commerce, which means virtually every elected official,” Says Tina Trent, who has been leading Common Core workshops on political organizing in Georgia and Florida.

By Mary Grabar July 28, 2014

This appeared here.

In spite of hundreds of millions of dollars from Bill Gates and affiliated business and non-profit groups, and promotion by the Department of Education, support for Common Core among parents of school-age children is plummeting.
A united front stands against Common Core, as even Washington Postcolumnist Valerie Strauss acknowledged. She wrote recently, “even more sober-minded people felt the Obama administration had coerced states into adopting the standards with federal money and No Child Left Behind waivers.” Opposed to the“more sober-minded people” in Strauss’s estimation, were “far-right-wingers who saw the Core as a federal conspiracy to turn students gay, or communist.” Those Strauss smears as “far-right-wingers,” however, were the first to recognize Common Core for the federally coercive radical effort that it is.
Potential Republican presidential candidates are also suddenly recognizing the wisdom of the grassroots and making some about-faces.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, former Common Core champion, recently signed an executive order to replace Common Core tests with new tests, for which he has been threatened with a lawsuit. Then, seventeen lawmakers filed a lawsuit seeking an end to the Common Core standards in the state.
New Jersey governor Chris Christie announced at the recent National Governors Association meeting that he is considering an executive order against Common Core. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said he had proposed a state measure to replace Common Core. The National Governors Association, a major player in ushering in the standards in 2009, did not even put Common Core on their agenda this year.
In state legislatures there were some victories, and some partial victories. Indiana officially dropped Common Core, but activists are calling out Governor Pence for keeping the standards under a new name.
In Missouri, the Missouri Coalition Against Common Core publicly thanked Governor Jay Nixon for signing HB 1490 into law. According to the website, the bill’s main purpose is “to define a system wherein state education experts will evaluate and recommend state K-12 education standards.”The bill means relying on the professional integrity of those in the work groups.
Still it is a “step forward,” for the coalition, described by co-founder Dr. Mary Byrne, Ed.D., as“a group of people throughout the state who respect each other’s strengths and honor independent thought and action.” Various volunteers keep track of multiple bills, when necessary. The core members are registered lobbyists, although they deliberately speak without charge and pay for the materials they distribute in order to be free from “top-down control.”
Two states did pass Common Core withdrawal bills, Oklahoma and South Carolina.
Pushback came, though. The Oklahoma Board of Education sued the lawmakers, alleging that they did not have the Constitutional authority to repeal Common Core standards. The Oklahoma Supreme Court, however, ruled against them.
According to Jane Robbins, senior fellow at the American Principles Project, Oklahoma succeeded because of a solidly conservative legislature, a longer legislative session that allowed more time for planning and lobbying, and a governor attuned to the grassroots.
But for South Carolina, Robbins is not yet ready to declare victory. The State Superintendent seems determined to develop genuinely new standards and not just re-brand Common Core, Robbins says. However, he faces challenges: the standards will have to be approved by the State Board and the Education Oversight Committee. She advises the grassroots to keep up the pressure on these groups and the incoming State Superintendent (after November elections) to make sure the ball isn’t dropped.
One of the strategies of Common Core promoters is to implement new tests before standards, and then to argue that it would be a waste of money to change the standards after so much had been spent on tests. The South Carolina bill requires the new test be implemented the year before the new standards are. (The “funds already spent”was a frequent argument in Georgia.) Activists need to be aware of such pitfalls in testing contracts.
Georgia, as I reported in Part I, experienced a major defeat on Common Core withdrawal legislation this last session. Although corporate interests “won this round,”Robbins states, “Georgia parents won’t go away. Their children are too important.”
That is why they stay in the David-and-Goliath fight. Tina Trent, who has been leading workshops on political organizing in Georgia and Florida, tells activists to be realistic: Many just learned the ropes of state lobbying this year.
It will be a multi-year fight, Trent warns. She advises patience, long-term planning, and coalition-building. Activists are up against an array of well-organized political and corporate interests, “an army of paid, professional lobbyists,”and teachers and school administrators whose paychecks depend on implementing Common Core.
“You’re lined up against business interests, the entire public school bureaucracy, Bill Gates and his billions, public broadcasting, the rest of the media, the Chamber of Commerce, and every elected official who is indebted to the Chamber of Commerce, which means virtually every elected official,” Trent says.
The July 22 Georgia primary run-off suggests that the public is turning against candidates they associate with such interests. Pundits on both sides attribute Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jack Kingston’s loss to his association with the Chamber of Commerce. At the state school superintendent level, Common Core opponent Richard Woods won with a 700-vote lead over Common Core proponent Mike Buck. At Buck’s request, a recount is expected to take place this week.
The grassroots anti-Common Core activists are learning from experience, and seeing the big picture. This means keeping education decisions at the local level. Christina Leventis, an activist in Nevada, warns about bills like her state’s SB197, which was passed in 2011. The law replaced the 10-member elected board of education with a seven-member panel: four elected from each of the state’s congressional districts and three appointed by the governor. Parents and citizens lose influence when power is ceded to the executive in this way.
“Top-down” control is just not good—as the founding fathers determined. Common Core, of course, is top-down all the way, and that is the bottom-line reason why it needs to be defeated.

Mary Grabar, Ph.D., has taught college English for over twenty years. She is the founder of the Dissident Prof Education Project, Inc., an education reform initiative that offers information and resources for students, parents, and citizens. The motto, “Resisting the Re-Education of America,” arose in part from her perspective as a very young immigrant from the former Communist Yugoslavia (Slovenia specifically). She writes extensively and is the editor of EXILED. Ms. Grabar is also a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

GMO’s: Scare Mongering at Its Worst! Part III

By Rich Kozlovich

Mike Adams, who publishes Natural News and styles himself as the Health Ranger recently posted an article entitled, The Agricultural Holocaust explained: the 10 worst ways GMOs threaten humanity and our natural worldon July 27, 2014.

He claims "genetically modified organisms (GMOs) a serious threat to humanity and the environment? The reasons span the realms of science, social justice, economics and the environment, and once you understand this, you'll readily understand why so many environmentalists, humanitarians, responsible scientists and social justice advocates are strongly opposed to GMOs", and lists ten reasons why? This is a ten part series. Here is Part I and Part II.

He next claims that, “GMOs transform farming freedom into farming servitude” and then goes on to say:

Because GMOs are sold with an intellectual property restriction that prevents farmers from saving their own seeds, they invoke "economic servitude" where farmers are forced to buy expensive new seeds each year from the GMO seed supplier.

As a result, farming practices (like seed saving) that have sustained humanity since the dawn of civilization are now being criminalized. And when GM crops fail, as they frequently do, the economic burden placed upon farmers is often too much to bear. That's why farmer suicides have skyrocketed in India among farmers who bought GMO seeds.

Reportedly, over 270,000 suicides have already happened in India due to crop failures, and more happen every day.

First of all, no one is required to buy these products, in spite of any international agreements. Secondly, Monsanto doesn’t have a monopoly on GMO’s in India since Indians are actually creating their own GMO’s, so Indian farmers have large choices.

This is another failure of logic and another lie of omission. The Health Ranger keeps claiming “organic” agriculture is exploding all over the world, including India, when in reality it’s only increasing amonga rising health-consciousness among Indian consumers, rising disposable income due to globalization of markets, and an expanding middle class in the nation of more than 1 billion people”.

In short, they’re just as gullible to the green propaganda as foolish Americans who waste their money in places like Whole Foods. Organic produce doesn’t taste any better, it isn’t any healthier or better for our bodies than foods produced with modern agricultural processes including GMO’s, and in point of fact, they’re using pesticides such as the copper pesticides, which is accumulative in the soil because unlike synthetics, copper doesn't break down.   Copper is one of those heavy metals they scream about. Does anyone besides me see a problem with consistency of thought here? Oh yes, they use a number of pesticides inorganic farming -“The only difference is that they're "natural" instead of "synthetic." At face value, the labels make it sound like the products they describe are worlds apart, but they aren't. A pesticide, whether it's natural or not, is a chemical…….Sadly, however, "natural" pesticides aren't as effective, so organic farmers actually end up using more of them!

Now, for the most outrageous claim of all thatfarmer suicides have skyrocketed in India among farmers who bought GMO seeds”, giving the impression GMO's were somehow responsible for all these deaths.  This link is an emotional picture story, but read the article carefully and it becomes clear these suicides were caused by worldwide agriculture economics and failed crops due to bad weather conditions.

The reality is this - linking GMO’s to these farmer’s suicides is a logical fallacy known as “correlation is causation”. As one writer noted:

“The correlation between farmers committing suicide in India and the introduction of GMO cotton in the country has become widely accepted. Two documentaries, Seeds of Suicide and Bitter Seeds center around the phenomenon. In less direct ways, GMOs are mentioned in nearly every article about these suicides in major media outlets. But a new study from The Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research (PDF) challenges these assumptions and lends more weight to the argument that the correlation is unfounded. But will it make a difference?"

The analysis reveals considerable variation in trends in suicide rates across the nine cotton-growing states. The data, although not ideal, and the modeling do not, however, support the claim that GM cotton has led to an increase in farmer suicide rates: if anything the reverse is true. The Indian farmer suicide story has become received wisdom for some anti-GM campaigners.

In fact, we find that the suicide rate for male Indian farmers is slightly lower than the non-farmer rate. And Indian suicide rates as a whole, although contested, do not appear to be notably high in a world context. The pattern of changes in suicide rates over the last 15 years is consistent with a beneficial effect of Bt cotton for India as a whole albeit perhaps not in every cotton-growing state.

This isn’t a unique or shot in the dark study with no supporting science behind it. In 2008 the International Food Policy Research Institute found similar results saying:

Suicides in general, including farmers’ suicides, are a sad and complex phenomenon. Hence, their underlying causes need to be addressed within an equally complex societal framework. Here, we provide a specific case study on the potential link between technological choices and farmer suicides in India. Although officially recognized for having increased production and farmers’ income, Bt cotton, genetically modified, insect-resistant cotton, remains highly controversial in India. Among other allegations, it is accused of being the main reason for a resurgence of farmer suicides in India.

We first show that there is no evidence in available data of a “resurgence” of farmer suicides in India in the last five years. Second, we find that Bt cotton technology has been very effective overall in India. However, the context in which Bt cotton was introduced has generated disappointing results in some particular districts and seasons. Third, our analysis clearly shows that Bt cotton is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for the occurrence of farmer suicides. In contrast, many other factors have likely played a prominent role. Nevertheless, in specific regions and years, where Bt cotton may have indirectly contributed to farmer indebtedness, leading to suicides, its failure was mainly the result of the context or environment in which it was planted.

"It’s a complicated issue and it’s perhaps natural to desire a clearcut villain: GMOs. Keith Kloor at Discover Magazine’s website wrote in an article last year title: The Real Seeds of Deception:"

In Keith Kloor’s article, The GMO-Suicide Myth, he notes:
the suicide rate among male farmers in the nine main cotton-growing states was just under 30 per 100,000 in 2011. That is about the same as suicide rates among farmers in France and Scotland, so Indian farmers do not seem unusual……Nor is there any sign that suicides rates changed significantly after 2002, when GM cotton began to be introduced.

This has been an insidiously mendacious effort by the environmental movement to blacken the reputation of agricultural products that are working wonders for humanity and an attempt to brand Monsanto as a criminal organization, neither of which be held responsible for anyone’s suicide, let alone farmers in India.

Tragic as this is, these farmers made a business decision that turned out badly compounded by “very complex equation that includes institutional, social, and governmental factors in India.”

How many really successful years did they have as a result of GMO cotton? I don’t know and he doesn’t say, but there must have been many years of success after success since the acceptance curve in India for transgenic plants is so high Indian farmers must not believe GMO's are destructive, or they wouldn’t use them. Every year more and more farmers are moving to transgenics because they work and all these anti-GMO claims are false! 

Now the Health Ranger can’t have it both ways. If organic is so great why did they buy these expensive products in the first place? Would their crops have failed due to bad weather conditions and all the other problems Indian farmers face if they were organic?

Did anyone ever see what happens to a non-transgenic cotton crop when weevils attack? They will destroy every plant within sight.  In one Indian state the only cotton plants left standing were GMO’s.  What alternatives do eco-activists like Vandana Shiva and Health Ranger Mike Adams offer?  Remember – all those farmers using “organic” methods were wiped out.  What exactly are the goals of these anti-GMO activists?  One thing seems to be glaringly clear.  Doing good things for the Indian farmer isn’t among them.

As for the patent argument on GMO’s these activists despise so badly - that’s a back door to getting rid of GMO’s. If these companies can’t patent these genetic modifications there will be no GMO’s because there will be no money, and that’s what they really want.   They don’t care about these poor people who have committed suicide, but they push this myth because it fortifies the narrative they’re promoting. And no matter how much information comes forth to expose the speculations, the lies of commission, the lies of omission and all the logical fallacies, this false narrative is one that’s difficult to break.

Please view this video, which takes an hour, but it's a fast hour and well worth the time, in spite of the fact his leftist prejudices show at the end. 

Here are the links to the entire series:   Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI,Part VII, Part VIII, Part IX and Part X