Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Propaganda 37: A Lying Shame

It seems the Dinner Party will have to reschedule its reservation at the political round table... for now. Unfortunately, the reservation fee is now forfeit (meaning I've got a little "bad-cop" drilling steam to let off...) Bon appetit elsewhere.

Dear California,

Money doesn't just talk; it votes... And congratulations! You have elected to continue learning the hard way. Rather than opting for harmless little labels to inform you ahead of time whether food might contain dangerous genetically modified organisms, it seems by voting against Proposition 37, that you prefer to wait until you've developed cancer, diabetes, food allergies, autoimmune disorders, infertility issues and gastrointestinal conditions (or worse, until your children do). And that's okay. It's certainly your right. Lord knows it took my being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes to get me to wake up and give a shit.

And though I doubt your children will, the multi-billion dollar biotech industry thanks you. And so do pharmaceutical companies, health insurers and the conventional medical industry. Because your vote has helped to sustain our flourishing disease economy. You see, they did their homework on you. The professional advertising and marketing firms they hired got to know you better than you know yourself.   What they discovered is that money - at least the way you understand it - is more important to you than either truth or health. And so they ran with the bullshit "costly and deceptive scheme" theme, and in my sincere and heartfelt disappointment, I can only laugh at how easily you swallowed it.

Your gullibility is probably pretty funny to biotech leaders too. It only took them $45 million dollars in campaign spending - 93% of which came from *outside* California, by the way - to convince you that Prop 37 was too expensive. But did you once stop to ask how the biotech giants explain spending FORTY-FIVE TIMES the Prop's $1 million worst-case-scenario cost estimate, in order to defeat a ballot measure they say would be too "costly"? Did you never wonder why they might be so keen to dump that kind of money into a measure designed simply to supply you with information that would help you make better, healthier choices for your family? Hmmm.

Or perhaps making better, more informed choices for your family really is not something you value? For the life of me, I'm struggling here to understand exactly how labeling something could be perceived as a sincerely bad idea - and by 53.1% of the voting population. Aren't you otherwise all too willing to slap labels on things - good, bad, democrat, republican, racist, sexist, elitist, criminal? I know these deeply programmed dualistic ideas occur quite easily for me, and we're all part of the same flawed human condition.

The difference of course, in this case, is that the label wouldn't have been destructive or superficial; it would simply be calling something what it is - calling a cow a cow, for example. "This product may contain Genetically Modified ingredients." That's all. No name-calling. No mud-slinging. No "Monsanto and friends are a group of lying buffoons!" (which you'd probably discover for yourself at a later time). Nope, nothing of the kind. Instead, it would have communicated a very simple, very informative, and very transparent truth. But perhaps the truth still is just too much for you... Is that it...? And is my faith in you, therefore, tragically misplaced? Were you duped, or do you just honestly believe that ignorance is good for you? Maybe you're worried that if you have a better idea of what's really in that yummy chocolate cake at Whole Foods, you might have a real reason finally to stop eating it? Addicts are highly suggestible, after all, and it certainly wouldn't be the first case of outright denial in recorded history. It's not called "devil's food" for no reason...

But that the biotech industry could so successfully and effortlessly persuade you that your own ignorance is far more desirable for you than useful, factual information should serve as an eye-opening demonstration of just how well these companies spread lies and misinformation. Or did you not already hear that their campaign ads were full of lies and misrepresentations to the point that the Federal Bureau of Investigation may soon launch an official criminal investigation into the "No on 37" campaign? That's right. They lied to you, and you bought it. And even if the FBI does investigate, who's to say they'll get anything more than a little slap on the wrist? What do they care, after all? What's done is done. They've already successfully defeated Prop 37, and you helped them. They lied to you, and you bought it... So then, what's your blood sugar reading? How sleepy do you feel today? Who do you know that's been diagnosed this week? How blissful does that ignorance feel now? Are you ready to wash it off yet?

I hope so... Because it's OKAY to bite the hand that feeds you poison.

Suppose you begin to realize that how you spend your money can actually have more power than your vote at a polling place. Suppose you begin to view it as a daily expression of what your values are and where you choose to spend your energy. And where is that now? Do you spend more on healthcare than you do on food? Are you still so disconnected from the truth that your body requires certain minerals and nutrients in order just to survive - much less begin to heal from whatever ails you? Reconnect to that truth, learn about the "food" that's poisoning you, take back responsibility for your health and that of your family, stop being a slave to big food and big pharma industries, and maybe you'll finally begin to see that simply labeling a package doesn't eliminate choice or even cost that much at all. Quite the opposite, in fact. It can help you make better choices, feel better and happier and even save you money on long-term healthcare costs. And when you're ready to wake up to THAT reality, we health-conscious activists will be only too happy to welcome you to the land of the living.

In the meantime, those of us who care for change must continue to defy social conventions and keep on asking the difficult questions, even at the risk of social ridicule. Though we've lost the battle for Prop 37, what the fight has taught us is that the conversation over GM technology and labeling has only just begun. We must redouble our efforts to educate and communicate. No amount of biotech "hush money" can hold back the truth for long. These Franken-foods are only NOT labeled... until they are! And, even if I must author the next version of a GM-labeling proposition myself, that progress seems inevitable now. As Mike Adams of Natural News has said, "This effort to label GMOs is going to be repeated state after state, year after year, until victory is achieved."

So let the boycotts begin! Here's an infographic to help you get to know which companies paid money to help keep you in the dark:

Sunday, November 4, 2012

GMO & the Rules of Business

I'm going to just go ahead and dare you now - to name a company, any company, that ever innovated a product that everyone wanted, hurried to get it on the market and then didn't advertise it. If you thought of any at all, I'd wager your list is quite small (and likely consists of non-profit companies or open source programmers). Now, name just one such product-driven corporation with a product that everyone wants but which the manufacturer actually pays money to keep its distribution quiet... Coming up dry? Me too.

But that is what biotech companies like Monsanto would have us believe about them - that their genetically modified products (already being sold on the market and already a staple in the diets of most Americans - albeit largely unbeknownst to the general population -  since they were first introduced in 1996) are simply too wonderful to advertise! Too fabulous for a multi-billion dollar industry to want to take credit for them! And so amazing that, beyond not taking credit for them,  industry giants would actually pay BIG money to keep the curious and inquiring public blissfully unaware of which foods contained this impressive new food-stuff!

Ehem... Really? Does this behavior make ANY sense to anyone?? Aren't advertising and product promotion something like the very first rules of business?

I've been so busy with life, work, loved ones and activism these days that I wasn't sure whether I'd have time to write my own personal blog about the GMO labeling initiative here in California. But after receiving a flier in my mailbox this week, from well-funded opponents to Proposition 37 (to which a "Yes" vote would mean mandatory labeling of GM products), I figured I had better make the time.  

It was a slick presentation - one large piece of stock paper with a nice matte finish, one fold, full color, attractive graphics, big smiles, impressive credentials and - oh yes, a money salad... Mmmmm. Only it was full of lies - about how expensive the initiative would be, among other things. And give me a break. When every food item is already required to have a nutritional label, how much more expensive could it be simply to add a line stating that GMOs are or may be present? Seriously?? Perhaps food producers will see a decline in revenue on items that are labeled as containing GMOs and therefore necessarily have to adjust to actually providing consumers with the healthier, higher quality foods they really want (god forbid)... I can see that happening, but not the general increase in costs proposed by these lying buffoons. While conducting research recently for a popular online health journal to which I'm now a contributor, I also discovered that more than $40 million dollars had actually been poured into the "No on 37" campaign, by all kinds of heavy weights in big agriculture industry - companies like Monsanto, Dupont and Syngenta, who were themselves creating the genetically modified organisms they now (and apparently never have) wanted labeled.

My first thought was how insane that seemed. Even as biotech companies and the FDA ignore data from their own scientists, the message we hear over and over again is that these products (still largely untested) are completely safe for human consumption, though a recent test performed in Canada raised immediate and startling concerns to the contrary - indicating that the Bt pesticide bacteria used in the rather imprecise process of modifying GM foods actually continues to self-replicate in our bodies for years after we've stopped consuming it. And so, like the GM crop we consumed as food, now we ourselves are living pesticide-producing factories! Like something out of a science fiction novel or horror film, what it means is that we're essentially experimental hosts for alien (foreign, cross-species) lifeforms. And what of the pregnant women in the Canadian study? What of their unborn babies? If these women are growing children whose very cells are only just beginning to form while under the influence of this alien genetic material (before even the establishment of a blood-brain barrier, according to Jeffery Smith of the Institute for Responsible Technology), what might the consequences be? Might this technology not already be compromising the very foundations of the human life process? 

I think it is. And this IMPORTANT documentary film ( which is free to watch through election day, November 6th) helps to explain why. Though more tests are required to confirm it, scientists acknowledge that the pesticide used in GM foods is designed to break open the stomachs of insects and kill them, and they speculate that, over time, the effects of its consumption by humans would result in much the same epidemics we are seeing now - dramatic rises in food allergies, autoimmune disorders, gastrointestinal problems, and other digestive illnesses - even some conditions which remain as yet unnamed and/or difficult to diagnose by conventional medical means... Plus, diagnoses of such conditions are happening at younger and younger ages. (Read about the Pottenger Cat Study at to learn more about why this path, if continued, will eventually lead to the extinction of the species.)  

But let's suppose for a moment that GM foods are NOT harmful to our health. If that were true, then why in the world wouldn't these biotech companies be bragging about their products, which they continue to tout have the ability to "feed the world"? Ignoring that this technology can't possibly feed the world because it's based on a mono-crop design that encourages the increased used of pesticides, effectively creating new super-bugs and super-weeds, while also draining the natural ecosystem and eliminating the biodiversity on which all of life depends... Again, ignoring all that for a moment, why else might they NOT want consumers to know which products contained GMOs... unless there were some underlying concern that people would ultimately reject them and their GM foods? 

So what, then, is behind this apparent fear of full transparency? Could it be they fear what a knowledgeable and informed public might eventually demand? Might it be they fear at last being held accountable for the many crimes perpetuated against the world's consumers which have resulted in innumerable hospitalizations, illnesses and deaths? Yes, yes, in fact, it could very well be that. And we may soon have a chance to see what happens when the tables are turned. 

My sincere hope is that Proposition 37 here in California will pass, helping not only to inform people as to what they're really eating (and as to what they're unwittingly feeding their own children), but also to provide greater incentive for merchants to make a better quality product available to consumers. I may not have earned the highest grade possible in economics courses back in college, but I did take away at least one important understanding: that consumers lead and businesses follow. When we make our demands loudly and strongly enough, supply must inevitably comply. 

In this sense - even in our currently twisted, unsavory, unsteady political state - the perceived rule of business is just an illusion. Ultimately, it is We the People who show the way forward... and, I hope, to progress.