imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
Tell the NSA: StopWatching.US

Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

CopWatch LA

ABCF LA

Activist Video

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List





IMC Network: www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech
printable version - json version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles
link:

Activist San Diego Shows “Genetic Roulette” Film

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Monday, Sep. 24, 2012 at 8:08 PM
mgconlan@att.net (619) 688-1886 P. O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

Activist San Diego screened “Genetic Roulette” Saturday, September 22 at the Joyce Beers Community Center. The film is directed by Jeffrey M. Smith and is based on his book of the same title, an exposé of the health risks of genetically modified organisms (GMO's) in the food supply. The showing was co-sponsored with the Yes on 37 campaign, which supports Proposition 37 on the November ballot, that would require genetically modified foods sold in California to be labeled as such.

Activist San Diego S...
genetic-roulette-dvd-wrap-8-20-12-2.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x852

Genetic Roulette (Institute for Responsible Technology, 2012)

by MARK GABRISH CONLAN

Copyright © 2012 by Mark Gabrish Conlan for Zenger’s Newsmagazine • All rights reserved

The film was called Genetic Roulette and was based on a book of the same title by Jeffrey M. Smith, a long-term activist who’s written other books on the subject and set up a Web site called the Institute for Responsible Technology (http://www.responsibletechnology.org). Charles and I had a close association with the issue of genetic engineering and genetically-modified organisms (GMO’s) when we were heavily involved in the protests against the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO)’s 2001 convention in San Diego, and the biggest difference between the information as it was presented in 2001 and the information as it’s presented in 2012 is that the dangers we were warning about then — notably the cross-contamination of GMO and non-GMO genes in the environment, the possible evolution of new, previously unknown organisms with potentially destructive properties, and the direct health hazards of eating GMO foods (both for livestock and for humans who consume GMO’s both directly, through products like corn and soybeans that are almost universally genetically modified in the U.S. today — 88 percent of all U.S.-produced corn is GMO, along with 94 percent of soy, 90 percent of canola, 90 percent of cotton, 95 percent of sugar beets and more than 50 percent of Hawai’ian papaya — as well as eating meat from cows, pigs and chickens fed GMO feed) — are now coming true.

The film is a good review of the case against GMO’s, both the intrinsic case and the corruption of the process used to allow them to be marketed; in 1992 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled that GMO food did not have to go through any special health or safety testing whatsoever because it was “chemically identical” to food produced with conventional methods. The villain in the piece, at least according to Genetic Roulette, is one Michael Taylor, who has turned the “revolving door” between private industry and public service into a warp drive: he has easily shuttled back forth between the U.S. government and Monsanto, which according to the film is the number two marketer of genetically modified seeds and products designed to work with them (which rather begs the question of who’s number one) but has become the symbol of GMO evil for the opposition. According to Genetic Roulette, there are 65 documented health hazards in eating GMO food, including inflammation, immune disorders (since the human immune system frequently recognizes GMO genes as “foreign” or “non-self” and mounts an attack on them), nutrition deficiencies because GMO foods don’t contain as much protein or important trace minerals as their non-GMO counterparts, allergies (including increasing levels of food allergies as people who get allergic to GMO foods end up also allergic to their non-GMO counterparts), reproductive problems (noticed both in humans and in livestock, to the point where animal raisers have lost 90 percent or more of their herds when switching from non-GMO to GMO feed), infant mortality, sterility, disease and death. Those last items are particularly a problem for Bt, which is short for Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacterium originally discovered in Thuringia, a German state, which in the early 1960’s was promoted as a non-toxic alternative to DDT as a pesticide. Bt became a standard technique for organic farmers since it poisoned insects while leaving plants healthy and unscathed — but that wasn’t good enough for the biochemical industry in general or Monsanto in particular, who sought to isolate the gene in Bt that generates the toxin and insert it right into corn.

The parts of the film that resonated with me particularly were the evolution of an entirely new microbial pathogen that’s been discovered in the guts of farm animals fed GMO food — it’s not a bacterium (the people in the movie have the annoying and all too common habit of using the word “bacteria” as singular as well as plural), a virus, a viroid, a rickettsia or a macrophage, but it’s been proven according to Koch’s Postulates to cause disease — and the relentless attacks from the biotech industry and its captive politicians on scientists who try to expose the flaws in the studies by industry scientists supporting GMO’s and do their own studies that show they’re not safe. The stories of Dr. Arpad Pusztai and others who have lost jobs and grants because they dared to perform and publish studies challenging the safety of GMO’s are all too similar to those of other scientists who have found their careers, and sometimes their livelihoods, destroyed because they dared do work that challenged an industry — like John Gofman, a nuclear physicist who challenged the safety of nuclear power; or Peter Duesberg, who shredded his scientific career by questioning the dogma that HIV is the sole cause of AIDS. It reveals an all too familiar pattern that, whereas in the past scientific research had to contend with interference from religious authorities (does the name “Galileo” mean anything to you?) and from political dictatorships with their own agendas (like the way Stalin elevated Trofim Lysenko’s ideas about genetics to official dogma and punished any scientists who clung to the established Mendelian ideas about heredity), right now the biggest single threat to scientific integrity is the same as the biggest single threat to economic well-being and political liberty: the awesome power of the giant corporations and the unscrupulousness with which it is yielded by these amoral organizations that exist for no other purpose than to maximize their own profits. In a very real sense, the message of Genetic Roulette is that scientific truth has ceased to exist: in science, as in economics and politics, the “truth” is whatever the big corporations say it is.

There’s an attempt at the end of the movie to portray the situation as not entirely hopeless — including a list of previous attempts to market GMO’s that failed due to organized campaigns of consumer resistance (from the “FlavrSavr” tomato, which was a GMO with a flounder gene inserted — yes, that’s from a fish — to make the tomato flatter and therefore easier to ship — to the madness of using recombinant bovine growth hormone to boost cows’ milk production at a time when there were already milk surpluses; ironically Walmart, the evil empire on so many issues, emerged in Genetic Roulette on the side of good on this one as the first major supermarket chain to realize that rBGH milk was going to be a money-loser for them because people didn’t want it) and a major push for Proposition 37 on the California ballot, which would require the labeling of genetically modified foods. It’s not surprising that Monsanto and the other GMO companies have fought labeling requirements tooth and nail — just as the political Right has fought against disclosure requirements that, if they wouldn’t stop corporations and wealthy individuals from buying elections, would at least let us know who was hijacking our democratic-republican process with big money — because, as one of the activists shown in the movie says, nobody wakes up in the morning thinking, “Gee, I can hardly wait to go to the supermarket today to buy some of that yummy genetically modified food!” Given a choice, most people will prefer to buy food without genetically modified ingredients — which is why the industry has fought so hard not only to get their crummy GMO food to the marketplace but not to let us know that GMO food even exists. (Indeed, at the height of the rBGH controversy the Alta-Dena dairy had to go to court to win the right to advertise that their milk didn’t contain it; the dairies who were using it claimed that Alta-Dena was libeling them by implying some doubt about the safety and health of rBGH milk, even though all Alta-Dena was saying in their ads was, “If you want to avoid rBGH in your milk, buy from us.”)

It’s fascinating that the people who scream the loudest against government regulation and in favor of the “free market” are also the ones who scream the loudest against being made to level with the public as to just what’s in the products they sell or under what circumstances they’re manufactured; Adam Smith himself, the founder of capitalist theory, said a free market wouldn’t work unless people knew what they were buying and could trust the sellers to be honest with them — but then what passes for “capitalism” in the U.S. (and most of the world) today has little or nothing to do with Adam Smith; indeed, by allowing corporations to merge and become fewer in number and larger in size, the U.S. and (to a lesser extent) the European Union are reproducing the era of mercantilism, a corrupt economic system to which Smith was promoting free-market capitalism as a superior alternative. Under mercantilism, the government designated one company to have a monopoly over a certain industry — and in many industries we’ve seen a sort of neo-mercantilism emerge from the ashes of the “free market.” (This was the real significance of that bizarre antitrust suit the feds filed against Apple and three book publishers that alleged price-fixing in the price of Internet books — a suit that helped Amazon.com because the deal between Apple and the publishers had been aimed at breaking Amazon’s monopoly power over the pricing of e-books. The feds had essentially designated Amazon as a state-sanctioned monopoly by punishing other corporations that tried to challenge them.)

Smith’s film is an eye-opener and yet more evidence that the real threat to liberty in this country is Big Business, and to the extent Big Government is a threat to liberty it’s not from overly restricting the private sector but, quite the contrary, by enabling and protecting it, allowing it to market its poisonous products and to drive down wages so much that the economy will remain in a state of permanent decline because American business will still have the capability to produce lots of stuff (even though they send the actual jobs of manufacturing it to China and other countries where dictatorial governments enforce sweatshop conditions and arrest or assassinate people who try to organize unions) but they won’t be able to sell it because they’ve done such a good job driving down wages that no one has the money to buy it. It’s nice that the anti-GMO activists were able to get Proposition 37 on the ballot, but barring the intervention of a billionaire do-gooder like (do I dare say the name?) George Soros on the anti-GMO side, they’re likely simply to get crushed by the advertising blitz Monsanto and other GMO companies are going to unleash on them to make California voters think GMO’s are the greatest thing since sliced bread and that enforcing labeling requirements on them will drive up the price of food and starve the Third World (a favorite argument of Monsanto’s PR people, official and unofficial, expertly debunked in this film).
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


Local News

Kassim Alhimidi convicted of murder A17 8:33PM

Members of Bundy Family Explain Bundy Ranch Stand-Off With Bureau of Land Management (BLM) A17 1:03AM

Here's some interesting privatization connections in regards to the LAUSD District 1 race A15 4:25PM

Rock, Rap & Speakout vs Poverty, Prisons & War A13 3:16PM

Report Back: 4th Annual Hahamongna Walkabout A13 2:33PM

Pacifica Exe Director position is in confusion still putting KPFK at risk A10 3:52PM

Bernard Duncan, prior GM of KPFK is still in play A08 5:01PM

San Diego May Dai Workers Film Festival A06 5:11PM

Southern California Joins Worldwide Wave Of Action A05 2:31AM

Pacifica board members named here, who attempted ousting ED A04 1:06PM

LA Weekly promotes a slanted view of Pacifica/ KPFK A04 10:36AM

More Info about Pacifica, which holds KPFK's license, etc. A03 2:08PM

Listen to KPFK's staff talking to Pacifica Exe Director M29 7:31PM

Pacifica IS also KPFK, so let's not ignore what going on M29 5:42PM

Reported excerpts of Pacifica's - and that's KPFK's - incidents happening - update M29 5:14PM

Repost from Counterpunch re Pacifica - KPFK too involved M29 2:10PM

Forever intertwined: KPFK, WBAI, Gary Null ? M28 4:10PM

Why is KPFK still failing to thrive ? M28 3:32PM

GLOBAL DAY of ACTION for the Indonesian Rainforests! M27 3:06PM

Opponents of SB County Jail's Letter Ban to Share Progress, Next Steps M27 9:58AM

Pacifica Radio, Rwanda, and DR Congo M26 2:29PM

International Multicultural Literary Magazine Features Armenia in Spring Issue M25 11:14AM

Why is KPFK still failing to thrive ? M24 9:10PM

Home-less-free occupying is not a free ride either M24 8:46PM

The US Occupy Movement - Since the Eviction from the Squares M21 6:32AM

Protest Against Latest U.S. Meddling M20 9:17PM

FOIA Request Results for LVIMC M20 12:22PM

black activista, white racists meet to discuss civil rights M01 12:55PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

The Shortwave Report 04/18/14 Listen Globally! A17 4:50PM

Four-Party Agreement on Ukraine A17 1:35PM

An Event for All Musicians... and Bring Your Dad for FREE! A17 11:08AM

LION ARK ROARS AND THE AUDIENCE PURRS: RESCUE DOCUMENTARY PICKS UP SIXTH AWARD A17 11:03AM

Ukraine on the Brink A17 12:39AM

More NATO Forces for Eastern Europe A17 12:36AM

Obama Heads for War in Ukraine A16 12:44AM

Israel Seeks Regional Anti-Iranian Alliance A16 12:39AM

Duplicitous Human Rights Misinformation on Ukraine A15 12:12PM

The Augean Stables Of US Justice From Prosecutors To Supreme Court A15 9:21AM

Paraphysique des droites A15 8:51AM

Public Relations - Propaganda as an Economic Branch A15 5:44AM

Duplicitous Obama Civil Rights Hyperbole A15 12:48AM

Ukrainians Resist A15 12:47AM

Navi Pillay: US Imperial Tool A14 12:55PM

The Neoliberal Model: Profits without Investments A14 5:46AM

Celebrate the RH victory in the Philippines, continue the struggle A14 2:21AM

We're All Ukrainians Now A14 12:37AM

Israeli State Terrorism A14 12:35AM

ARE WE READY FOR THIS? ""The Pin Up"" An Erotic Reality Show by LA Artist, David Goldner. A13 10:51PM

What Ukraine Propaganda Looks Like A13 1:16PM

US-Anti-Iranian Arrogance A13 12:27AM

Ukrainians Denied Democracy A13 12:24AM

Palestinian Children's Day 2014 A12 1:18PM

Assuétude paraphysique A12 9:17AM

Captain America 2 A12 7:21AM

Escalating War on Syria A12 12:42AM

Big Lies Drown Out Truth A12 12:40AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2003 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy