a look at Colorado prop 105 – labeling genetically modified foods

This is about whether or not they should have to label genetically modified food.

The popular definition of a GMO is (according to Wikipedia) “an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques.”

In short, the ‘No’ side: we have been eating genetically modified food for generations. It’s how we maximize crops and water usage. No one has grown a tail yet. On a level, this activity goes back to monk Gregor Mendel splicing peas in his garden several hundred years ago. He is the father of discovering genetics (things like recessive genes and stuff).

The ‘Yes’ side: the terrifying evil that is Monsanto.

The issue here is NOT if you want genetically modified food. You are already eating it, and have been for 20 years. You were not given a choice. The issue is do we want to force agrarians to label food if it contains GMO (which stands for Genetically Modified Somethingorother.  At this time, this is mostly about corn production.  Corn is in every single thing you eat.  Also, it is in your gasoline now.  America runs on corn.  Monsanto’s corn.

That’s all. This is ONLY about the label. Remember that.

Now, the ‘no’ side will say “this is a huge pain in the ass. All you are doing is making shit more expensive for us to do business. Like it isn’t hard enough being a fucking farmer, and now you fucking hippies want a special sticker on your goddamn Sourdough Loaf for your fucking hummus, you little lazy do nothing shits!”

The no side has a compelling point. I do drive a Subaru, after all.  Now, We are already eating GMO food, why make small farms, who are already struggling, take extra steps to feed America? This is a true and fair point. However, it is also largely disingenuous. We aren’t talking about the American Gothic farmers, here. We are talking about a HUGE monolithic company that has taken over the heartland and now OWN everything you eat. You bought that wheat cracker? Nope. You are only borrowing it. Monsanto owns that wheat, cracker (fun with commas, eh?)

The NO side also has Popular Science on its side. Full disclosure, I subscribe to popular science and pretty much take what they say as gospel. They say, without question or qualification that… well.. it’s a long and thoughtful and sciency piece. So, I will link it here with my summation

It’s fine. You aren’t going to grow a tail. Quit twisting your panties over non isues – Popular Mechanics (in so many words).

So, it would appear science wins here, right? No big whoop. Let them do their shit; it feeds more families in a safer and more efficient manner. This is the very compelling argument of the ‘NO’ side.  All you do with this bill is hassle farmers and raise prices.  Let’s take a look at this graph.

I don’t know what this graph is for.  I think it is from a cutlery site.  I just thought an article like this would have more credibility if it had charts and stuff.  You are welcome.

Let’s look at the YES side. Remember my piece last month about prop 68? In it, I mentioned I am generally against the side that is spending the most money on an issue? Well, that certainly falls true here.

The argument on the YES side is this: sweet mother of god we have to stop Monsanto corporation. Really, that is it.  I am going to go out on a limb here and say this entire ballot issue is directed at one single company – Monsanto. They are a company who sells, markets, and controls GMO seeds. They do this with terror, literally. These guys are like Bond villains and cartoon villains all in one. They are very very big and powerful. They now have seats in our government, and have also gotten their own legislation passed to protect them. It is known as the ‘Monsanto Protection Act’. Keep in mind, the MPA was not signed by nefarious scheming Republicans. This was Obama.

This transcends political parties. These are gazillionaires with literally unlimited resources. They control the foodstuff of the United States. Not ‘will control’… DO currently control. Their power is limited outside of the US, because most countries have bans on this stuff.

Sixty-four countries, including all of the European Union and Japan, already have GMO labeling. Many U.S. food manufacturers are already labeling food containing GMOs for export to these countries.

With these facts in mind, labeling GMOs will not result in a spike in grocery costs. (Denver Post, verbatim)

What. exactly, is Monsanto doing that should leave you wide awake at night terrified to fall asleep? It’s complex stuff, so let me find someone slightly more succinct than myself.

Roundup Kills Everything except the genetically engineered crop.   The seeds are engineered to resist the Roundup herbicide and further, the toxic (weed killing) residue of Glyphosate remains on the Roundup Ready seeds are genetically modified to withstand the herbicide toxicity.  This is also the primary purpose of ALL genetically modified seeds, to resist pest’s – drought – and most importantly pesticide and     herbicide.
Seeds that are “Roundup Ready” will survive Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicide while killing everything around it.

When these crops are harvested, they contain high levels of glyphosate and it doesn’t just go away.  Millions of gallons of this have been sprayed all across the U.S. – for years!  Corn crops are treated this way too.  The Corn is fed to animals, used in cereal and many other products… in fact, you probably know that corn products are in 75% of the things you buy at the grocery store and all of these products have traces of herbicide.

In addition, because weeds are pretty “smart” – the ones that used to die from the RoundUp herbicide treatments don’t die anymore.  They have adapted and become tolerant of the product that used to kill them.  Sources confirm that as many as 20 new types of weeds nicknamed “SuperWeeds” have been found growing in GMO crop sites.

Throughout its history, Monsanto has developed chemical products which have eventually become controversial or been banned, including DDT, Agent Orange, Bovine Growth Hormone, and PCBs.

Now, allow to me again recap what each side would say in their defense. Monsanto is most known for creating ‘round up resistant seeds’. ‘Round Up’ is the name of their chemical that kills bugs and weeds. When farmers plant a ‘round up resistant seed’, they are then able to spray their crops with pesticide to kill the bugs and weeds. This results in a large and fruitful bounty for the farmer, with minimal effort.   Further?  Let’s take a look at some more empirical data:

This system works for farmers… assuming they are using their seeds and their pesticides. How they get you to do this is very, very, very heavy handed.

Someone against the issue will then also point this out: crops like corn used to be ‘self seeding’. This meant that the corn would keep growing if you took care of it year after year. You didn’t have to replant seeds. It was like those tulips you keep mowing over. They come up year after year no matter what you do.   This is no longer the case. Monsanto pioneered what are called ‘terminator’ seeds. This means they are only good for one season. Then, each season, you have to go back to them (and only them) for more seeds and more pesticides. It’s quite brilliant, really. In one fell swoop they created the problem AND the solution.

another analogy – two men in suits and dark sunglasses come to your door.  They ask if you would like to buy the antidote to CootiesH69. They explain that it is deadly, and showing up increasingly in this neighborhood.   You say, politely “no thanks.  I don’t see the need for that.  Btw, aren’t you guys the ones who invented CootiesH69?”   but you don’t get that sentence out.  Before you finish the sentence he shoots a blow dart gun into your neck.  He explains “Guess what, asshole?  Now you have CootiesH69.  Want the antidote now?”.

So, at the end of the day does GMO help or hurt farmers? It doesn’t help. The cost of crop production has remained steadily declining outside of the Monsanto curve. We are not getting a bigger yield out of these magic seeds. Instead, this is what the average farmer is encountering:

Monsanto has shut down many small farms via lawsuits because their patented crop was found on the farms. While it was only small percentages of the crop that were Monsanto’s seeds, they were able to get a ruling in their favor regardless of the fact that Monsanto was accused for purposely putting their seed onto farmers land as well as the fact that Monsanto crop pollen from nearby farms can easily blow onto other farms who are not using Monsanto crop.

Percy Schmeiser is a Canadian farmer whose canola fields were contaminated with Monsanto’s Round-Up Ready Canola by pollen from a nearby GMO farm. Monsanto successfully argued in a lawsuit that Schmeiser violated their patent rights, and forced Schmeiser to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.This type of biotech bullying is happening all over North America. Monsanto performed no independent tests as their tests were all performed in house or by experts hired by the company.

Basically, you still need to do further research on this stuff. It is super important and super complex. It is happening now, and has been for 20 years. It will continue to happen, that much is fact. The idea of Prop 105 (which several states have on their ballots) is how much the consumer deserves to know about their food. This is why I support the YES of forcing GMO food to be labeled. It is a checks and balances system against the influence of Monsanto.

Oh, this is fun. I just found this out while researching this piece. Monsanto has covered food production for the United States. They control it. Most other countries won’t let them in. So, where does Monsanto go from here? Apparently, to what you drink. This is a piece in Vanity Fair. Vanity Fair? Isn’t that the magazine with pretty hot skinny ladies on it? What do they have to do with journalism? I dunno, but when fashion magazines start writing about agriculture production threats, you best take notice. This is no longer an issue for wonks and policy nerds.

Further, the Denver Post endorses this measure. I would not call the Post a stooge for the Dems buy a long shot, either. Those fucknuts actually endorsed GW Bush’s second term. Will never forgive them for that. – Ed note to self:  CORRECTION.  The post does NOT endorse this bill.

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I encourage you to learn more about this. Do NOT take my word for it (ever, about anything).  However, if you don’t have the time to sift through the madess, I hope this serves as an honest primer and discussion point on the issue.  There are several links posted throughout the above piece that delve deeper. There are also several documentaries you can watch streaming right now. Here. Here. And Here. Oh, and here and here. Full disclosure, these are all anti-Monsanto. As am I.

The truth is, we don’t know if these lab made crops are going to give us cancer and make us grow tails. We may not know for generations. Like Climate Change, the question is if we are willing to trust the super duper rich to take care of us. You may think ‘why would they hurt us? If we are all dead, they don’t profit?”.   I see it more like this. We will all grow tails, and odds are Monsanto will have the only tail repellant on the market. Seriously.

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