Wednesday, March 13, 2013
DISCORPORATION: Those worried about the loss of local control and perspective with the purchase of the local Kaua`i newspaper by Canadian newspaper mogul David Black may not be worrying big enough.
Because worse then the imposition of "foreign" control may be the encumbrance of corporate control if an editorial in today's Black-owned Honolulu Star-Advertiser is any indication.
It would be one thing if the pay-walled piece were just something concocted by the S-A editorial board. But it actuality fairly reeks of the bio-tech industry's disinformation campaign directed at members of the Hawai`i state senate in order to squelch a bill (HB174 HD2) that was passed earlier by the house calling for the labeling of GMO (genetically modified organisms) produce "imported" into the islands.
Having failed at finding any real facts to discourage even a committee hearing, the industry continues to cling to half-truths and fear-mongering based on the misinformation that there's some federal law or regulation that would somehow make labeling laws at the state level illegal- a proposition that the 19 other states which are currently considering labeling laws have rejected.
They editorial says:
The push for better disclosure about food products containing a genetically modified organism has grown more heated and energetic this year, with the introduction of state legislation to require labeling stating that the product contains GMOs. Unfortunately, the state lacks the power of the federal government to address the problem, so legislation now moving through the state Senate is unlikely to succeed.
But our state attorney general's opinion notwithstanding- apparently he got the memo sent by Monsanto's corporate lawyers and based his opinion on that- the fact is that there is no federal law or regulation that prohibits states or even smaller jurisdictions from passing laws calling for the labeling of GMO products.
Even during the nearly $50 million advertising campaign by the bio-tech industry that defeated a labeling ballot initiative in California last November, no one was seriously debating the legality of such a measure based on preemption via federal law.
Ask yourself if you would pay $50 million to stop a law that would be illegal in the first place. The chemical giants may be crooked but they ain't crazy.
The article is actually chock-a-block with the usual industry misinformation as summed up in the disproven claim that "the agricultural industry often touts the significant increase in crop yields, and in a world plagued by hunger, that is a trait not to be lightly dismissed."
Of course the fact is that there is no evidence- other than industry claims based on cherry-picked anecdotal "evidence"- that there are higher yields with GMO crops. And if cost is a factor- especially including environmental damage- studies have generally shown that the yield-per-dollar is less.
But of course that hasn't stopped the bio-tech industry from using their high-priced megaphone to continue to make claims based on flimsy, bought-and-paid-for often concocted research "verifying" their claims- throwing money and corporate influence around so as to make sure that any research to the contrary either never gets completed or is discredited by industry hacks... many of whom have moved through the revolving door into government oversight positions such as the January 2010 appointment of former Monsanto VP Michael Taylor to the created-just-for-him position of FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods.
But back to the claim in the editorial that somehow such a law "would run afoul of the U.S. Constitution" because "(f)ederal laws on food labeling would pre-empt those issued by Hawaii or any other state, under the supremacy clause."
That might be true except for the fact that there is no such law or FDA regulation. And one reason is that last year the US ended any possibility of continued controversy when it signed on to the Codex Alimentarius in a treaty with the European Union that essentially forbids the US from passing a regulation or law banning the type of labeling used throughout Europe
But that is typical of the bio-tech industry. Their M.O. has always been to take a 20-year-old hypothesis and then claim it as a fact... even decades after it's been disproven.
One of our favorites is that no one has shown any harm from eating GMOs... so far. That could be because the industry has successfully blocked almost all study in the US and when one does go forward it is usually a scientifically flawed analysis designed to ignore any possible detrimental effects- or it's a short term study of what would be a long term effect.
Nowhere has that kind of "are you gonna believe me or your lyin' eyes" PR been more hilariously promulgated than in the claim upon which the bio-tech grain industry has hung its hat- and grown into the giant conglomerate we see today.
No, we're not talking about the absurd claim that, because they have slightly changed the DNA of something like corn or soybeans or sorghum they now "own" that form of life- even when their altered pollen has "drifted" onto a neighboring farmer's crop causing that farmer to pay them to use their own seeds every year. Chemical giant Monsanto has built their business model on that questionable proposition.
No it's not even fact that they added a gene in order to spray the crap out of the corn with their herbicide "Roundup" and then made the counter-intuitive claim that because they added this "bt" gene they would somehow be spraying less herbicide.
No, it is the fact that now, 20 years later, the corn and other grains have formed a "resistance" to Roundup- much as happens with the overuse of antibiotics- forcing farmers to spray more and more each year to achieve the same effect. In some cases it has stopped working altogether no matter how much they spray.
So guess what? They have finally given up on "bt" corn. Instead they have "invented" a new type of GMO corn with a new gene that allows the increased use of a "new" herbicide- one containing "2,4,D," the active ingredient in the infamously toxic Viet Nam era defoliant "Agent Orange."
And yet they still go around claiming they've been successful in spraying less Roundup as if it were 1993 instead of 2013. Technically, if they stop using Roundup entirely, they're right- they are using less... as in zero.
Seems like no matter what the actual facts are, Monsanto- and Sygenta and Pioneer-DuPont and all the rest of the big chemical companies masquerading as agricultural enterprises- continue to use decades old suppositions that have been repeated enough times to make them appear to be true.
Everything old is new again- especially if we allow it to be.