Not my fault, I was pushed

I have been able to resist the siren call of bashing the church of GFOFHAVVAGM . I had to add AGM, anti-genetically-modified. Maybe the church is growing because it’s name is growing. Like Captain Dan strapped to the mast, Ive wrestled my internal wry sarcastic beast of low tolerance for fads and let it all slide.

The beast was nearly released when I read about the President’s meddling in the usually free of controversy twice per decade release of government dietary guidelines. The new tzar is a synergistic companion to the naked emperor.

Tagtow is the first executive director of CNPP to have neither a Ph.D. nor a career background with extensive experience in food science and public health.

Well versed in Alinsky that one is.

Tagtow’s ideas center less on sound dietary science and more on “sustainable agriculture,” a niche cause of the bourgeois left that has no practical implications for the broader public.

To wit:

Instead of analyzing the relative benefits of grains, meats and vegetables, the committee has discussed the carbon footprint of farmers’ markets, federal bans on sugary drinks, urban agriculture, climate change and the sustainability of the plant-based diet.

Now we need to move away from a grain agriculture based food industry. Gluten Free Farming? Anyone???? I am gonna need veneers. I’ve been gnashing for a decade or who, but when I learned about this it stopped being particulate bits of enamel ground off my teeth. Chunks are starting to go missing.

While dialing up some cosmetic dentistry I saw this article which links to this study. Made me collect the bits of tooth surrounding my chair and give super glue one more try. It also ultimately did release my inner Kracken.

From the article:

By raising doubts over the scientific consensus on pesticides, hormones, and GMOs, organic food marketers deliberately played on people’s fears in order to expand the industry. One company, Organic Valley, even goes so far as to distribute activity books and promotional materials to schoolchildren that tout the alleged health benefits of organic food, indoctrinating a new generation of consumers. Parents are urged to lobby schools to serve organic-only meals.

The study quotes a question:

            In January 2014 Wall Street Journal reporter Sarah Nassauer
            asked “What will make people pay $3 more for frozen pizza that
            says “organic” when they been eating non-organic pizza for
            years?”
A bit later they offer a response:
            In 2014 the organic food industry has grown globally to more than
            $63 billion and is part of an even larger green industry market
            (SustainableBusiness.com, 2013). In one of its “Lifestyles of Health
            and Sustainability” (LOHAS) reports, the Natural Marketing
            Institute (NMI, 2010) reports that the natural living marketplace
            is valued at $290 billion in the United States alone.

I have a question. At what point does revenue reach a level that deserves the moniker “Big Corporate”? $290 billion must not be enough to provoke scrutiny of the companies that comprise the industry. There have to be some big companies in there somewhere.

A quick look at the 2012 Annual Report for Whole Foods shows sales of nearly $12 billion with a gross profit exceeding $4 billion, and an ROIC of 12%. The report shows the rate of expansion, stores added, square footage added, and an outlook for same in coming years. I shared the anecdote about sitting with a group of execs from my employer, for our annual cloistered “Christmas with the BOD” dinner and the sobre mesa that occurred during. The crew were uniformly agitated that construction for the new, closer Whole Foods was being delayed because some group deigned oppose it based on the fact that it would destroy a large swath of green belt urban property. My wife and I were alone in our awareness of the irony.

I predict there is another more palpable irony coming just around the corner. In fact its already started but has yet to reach the critical mass that creates a trend or fad. Whole Foods is or will be soooooo yesterday because they WILL be branded big-corporate. The points made in the article will become fodder for organic feeders to eschew the chain, using what is really indictment of their religion to indict its first national church. They will become to the church of GFOFHAVVAGM what the Church of England would be to a Southern Baptist.

I’ll close with a weak effort to tie this in topically. The strident defense of the church of GFOFHAVVAGM and its requisite evangelizing and behavioral choices is actually not something unfamiliar to us in the sphere, tactic wise. A reading of any newly arrived woman to one of these blogs and her objections to the facts that form the foundation of conversion to clear sight on gender matters is no different that what one encounters when they discuss GFOFHAVVAGMism. There, I tried.

 

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24 thoughts on “Not my fault, I was pushed

  1. I posted elsewhere “Let them eat carbon!” For this purpose, may be better as:

    Let them eat gluten!

  2. I totally agree that the ‘Whole Foods’ business is a scam. However, I am still skeptical of genetically modified, since it’s worlds away from selective breeding. GM takes genes from organisms (such as salmon – a fish!), and inserts them (in most instances) in other completely unrelated organisms (such as tomatoes – a fruit/vegetable!). While doing so may or may not have health impacts on the consumer (I believe it does, but time will tell), it makes a mockery of ‘each after its own kind’. It’s not particularly wise.

  3. GM food has a long stretch of success coupled with impeccable record. I said a long stretch. There simply is zero evidence of health issues other than that folks “believe” it, so far.
    What would be the ethics of more global hunger, lots more global hunger, without crops resisting drought and pests, growing in inhospitable conditions? The effect on food supply is not slight.
    The scripture from Genesis is not mocked in my opinion. The scripture is a description of a part of creation. If we took every scripture that describes something, and found a modern analog that seemed to be different and said that that mocks the scripture we’d have a chaotic reading and effect.
    Plant grafting, unlike fruits like tangelo for example, would meet the same criteria of affront to that scripture. In fact more so because seed then is created that indeed does not meet the description given in that scripture. Each after its own kind is referring to the fruit or vegetable of the vine or tree. I’m not pushing you to adopt my view, just offering my perspective. It seems a huge stretch to leverage that verse in this way.

  4. @Empath

    The effect on food supply is not slight.

    This is the best argument for GM foods.

    As far as the track record: I’m skeptical of the record keepers. That doesn’t mean I believe GM food is secretly bad. I just don’t trust the record keepers. People being fed, though…that’s good enough for me until or unless something is actually found.

  5. “The scripture…is not mocked in my opinion.” This is sobering, perspective-changing. Can anything truly reproduce if it’s not after its own kind, GMO (as we call it) or no?

  6. No worries, Empath. However, if you’re really interested in looking seriously at the GMO/non-GMO debate, check out this publication called ‘GMO Myths and Truths’:

    http://www.permaculturenews.org/files/GMO-Myths-and-Truths-edition2.pdf

    It covers all the things you mention, wherein one of its aims is to address the claims for GMO foods, uncannily similar, almost identical to yours:

    “Another driving factor was the inflated claims that were being made for GM crops. The public was being told that they would make agriculture more sustainable, provide higher yields to feed the world’s growing population, reduce pesticide use, help meet the challenges of climate change, provide more nutritious foods, and make farming easier and more profitable.”

  7. That compilation of studies and explanation of terms presents no actual facts in its assertions about the harm of GMO. Its a series of qualitative restatements of “danger”, “no oversight” “potential problems” wrapped in technical vernacular that is amplified in descriptions of things the authors dislike. If they oppose something, offering a highly technical description of it with lots of biochemical terms is cosmetic cover.

    Its a series of nit picks, here is a parody

    MYTH
    “GMO advocates say that one of the flay rods has gone out of skew on the treadle”

    RESPONSE
    “We know that while yes, the flay rod is out of skew, it goes off skew moments before its actually on the treadle. Note how they are ambiguous, could go off skew on the treadle, could go off skew prior and simple BE off skew while on the treadle. This kind of loose description when coupled with a lack of treadle oversight is potentially dangerous”

    Cane, agreed on record keepers, from all sides. At least the folks who collated the pseudo study Snowy linked were transparent about their extreme bias.

  8. Some food for thought?

    From “GMO Myths and Truths”:

    “Natural breeding can only take place between closely related forms of life (cats with cats, not cats with dogs; wheat with wheat, not wheat with tomatoes or fish). In this way, the genes that carry information for all parts of the organism are passed down the generations in an orderly way.” Sounds like each after its own kind to me.
    “GM, in contrast, is an artificial laboratory-based technique that is specifically designed to enable the transfer of genes between unrelated or distantly related organisms. It even enables the introduction of synthetic DNA into the genome of living organisms.” Sounds like something other than each after its own kind to me.
    “In an attempt to reassure the public and regulators about GMO safety, GMO developer companies are now focusing on transferring genes from a related organism or the same organism (so-called “cisgenesis”). For example, a gene from one potato may be inserted into another variety of potato. However, even in cisgenesis, a new GM gene unit may contain genetic elements from other organisms, including bacteria or viruses. Cisgenesis also involves the same laboratory methods that are used in genetic engineering and thus carries the potential for unexpected knock-on effects (see Myth 1.4).”
    “The steps by which GM crops are created make it clear that genetic engineering is not an extension of natural breeding. It is not natural, as the particular combinations of genes put together in the GM gene cassette and the manner in which it is inserted into the host organism would never occur in nature.”
    “Also, genetic engineering enables genes to be transferred not only between different species but also between different kingdoms – for example, from animals or humans into plants. Therefore genetic engineering evades natural barriers between species and kingdoms that have evolved over millennia. Moreover, genetic engineering can introduce purely synthetic genes, thus, for better or worse, expanding the range of possible genes to the frontiers of the human imagination.”

  9. Leviticus 19:19 would be better scripture to use against GMO’s

    Also, while I don’t want to drive up your dental bill, I would like to related how my church recently took communion. It seemed like the most real and reverent thing I’ve experienced there…until it was announced that they had gluten-free wafers…

  10. I dunno, Empath… I live in a city that prides itself on its commitment to ‘sustainability’

  11. Empath & Snowy:
    I’m not sure exactly what the difference is between GMO and hybridization. Both are forms of genetic modification.

    I do have some reservations though about the effects of biochemical additives—such as growth hormones and fluoridation of water supplies.

    I was skeptical about fluoride claims until I read that at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials, the Soviet prosecutors introduced evidence that the Nazis were fluoridating water supplies in an attempt to dumb-down the populations and submitted proof from German laboratories that fluoride was being used to tranquilize psychiatric patients. I may not go for the whole ‘natural foods’ doctrine, but natural toothpastes and bottled water for me…LOL

  12. The usual point that one can bring out about these kinds of things is the one major thing these companies did in the process of making GMO: These plants are incapable of reproducing. Instead of keeping some of the seeds and using those for the next crop, one must go back to these companies and buy more. This was one of the first “benefits” attained by GMO. The need for a seed vault underscores the threat GMO is posing in this way, and the fact that these GMO manufacturers are funding it says enough. This lack of reproductive ability, coupled with the lack of biodiversity pushing these GMO crops, is producing a very real threat – if the suppliers get wiped out, the world really will be without food.

  13. Ballista. Seed vaults are an idea that would be needed -under the circumstances that, well, make them needed, regardless of GMO or not. The funding of seed vaults has no relationship or any kind of necessary offshoot effect at all. None.
    Have you read the SciFi series “Wool”? its one of the most recent series of dystopian books that feature seed vaults.

    Respectfully, “The lack of biodiversity” doesnt even mean anything. you could accuse a corn farmer of that. Its a catch phrase, perhaps applicable to an eco system, not to one member of said system.

  14. Ballista and Snowy

    Snowy:
    Snowy, I’d written a long response and lost it. Dang it.

    “Natural breeding can only take place between closely related forms of life (cats with cats, not cats with dogs; wheat with wheat, not wheat with tomatoes or fish). In this way, the genes that carry information for all parts of the organism are passed down the generations in an orderly way.” Sounds like each after its own kind to me.

    I’m not understanding your point here. Your statement that it (natural breeding) “sounds like each after its own kind” suggests that someone claimed that natural breeding is not “each after its own kind”. What I said was that the Genesis scripture referencing each after its own kind is not corrupted. The scripture states what God created and how it would function. It’s a description, no more no less. It is not an imperative, not even by implication. If I said “I built a new door and put it on my house. It will open and close either to the inside or the outside”, then when selling the house I wrote that in the ad, would the folks buying it see a modification to the door as going against my statement? In answering the thought exercise try not to get hung up on me and a door verses God and creation. My comparison is functional, regarding what words mean, not depending on the heft of the thing described. Later God tells people to multiply. That IS an imperative. If you are married and can have babies, do it! Childless by choice would be a corruption of that scripture. The mistake being made is one where someone wanted a Christian sounding objection so they found a verse that contained words related to plants, a phrase that can be construed, and lifted it out. That technique is the very backbone of evangelical feminism and egalitarianism, I’m not suggesting anything about your posture on those things, just illustrating a flawed precedent for exegesis when seeking a predetermined outcome. Another couple of very simple examples that are more widespread are the manner in which Chritians use “by His stripes” in terms of a healing prayer, use “all things work together” for comforting at funerals, and finally misapply the plank and toothpick.

    I read nearly the entire thing, carefully. The part you pasted in was a perfect example of what I was getting at with the parody.

    Throughout that section, there is not one thread that connects what they GENERALLY describe to a specific issue with GMO, tangibly. The cautions are couched in words like “has the potential to”, “evades natural barriers”, “unexpected knock off effect”

    They section is written as a generic general take down of genetic engineering. The only point they make that is specific, and perhaps unequivocal, is:

    The steps by which GM crops are created make it clear that genetic engineering is not an extension of natural breeding. It is not natural, as the particular combinations of genes put together in the GM gene cassette and the manner in which it is inserted into the host organism would never occur in nature.”

    They prove that genetic engineering is not an example of natural breeding. So? Does that contribute to their position? Is that enough to convince folks to oppose GMO? It shouldn’t be, but it is clever propaganda to present the thoughts as they do. It feels, when reading it, that they “scored” when they derived the fact that natural breeding is different than what GMPO does. Because it seems correct. But that was never the real issue. What the process is called or what it is “like” says something about nomenclature….naming…, but makes few if any qualitative or quantitative points on pro or con. It lures readers to think it does, though.

    As I read several pieces and study abstracts I found many articles like that one, some from the other side of the debate as well.
    The article is extremely light on substance but heavy of leading and manipulating thoughts that are akin to guilt by association.

    Ballista

    I spent a significant amount of time rechecking some things. I even spoke at length with a family member who farms 5000 acres , corn, cotton, and maze. He is at least the third generation farming this land and it is and has been his vocation, he also went through the AG sciences program at Texas A&M in the middle 80’s before he took the farm over from his father.

    Those articles about the seed vault only left out the Iluminati, Elvis sightings, the Bildeburgs, and alien abductions. Wow, Hitler’s eugenics is the genesis of the GMO big corporate global food control effort? They wanna squeeze the globe for profits and chase indigenous farmers from small plots onto slums in cities where these companies will set up factories using these desperate ex farmers as slave labor…..sheesh man.
    Interesting how one of them played a little track related to your claim about biodiversity. By the way there are some concerns around that, but they are methodological and nuanced, not GMO vs. non GMO. The article spoke of how planting homogeneous seed, “mono culture” of even genetically modified disease resistant seed actually is risky because once a disease or pest that is not resisted gets in it wipes out the whole massive mono culture acreage. So, clever buggers, they cite a statistic that says that a Chinese study proved that planting diversity of seeds, say various corns, together over all that land increases yield as much as 89%. What they didn’t say clearly was that the seed they planted in varying varieties was ALSO GMO disease resistant. It’s the mono culturing that is the problem, not the GMO.

    The so called terminator seeds that do not offer some seed at season end simply are not real. That’s an amped up scientific equivalent of an urban legend. They are OUTLAWED just in case. The problem is that repeat growing of GMO’s does offer seed, but the efficacy of the seed goes down each iteration. So its better just to buy seed. But, as my brother in law said, the exact same thing happens with non GMO seed leading most farmers buying 90% or more of their seed every years regardless. Been that way for years. This is a non issue as a global matter. My BIL is dropping $100,000 plus per year on seed and wouldn’t save a few % if he tried to maximize his yielded seed. It could be an issue for small plot farmers somewhere who subsist on the food, and likely that’s what they are leveraging to create this fear and hype.
    The actual seed vault in Scandinavia has been a project for decades and has been featured in several books. One article linking the need for the vault to evil corps and GMOs read like a political campaign ad put up by a desperate incumbent who is losing a week before the election. Listing off corporate BOD members and then saying “who once had a coffee with a man whose grandfather drove through Linz Austria (Hitler’s birthplace) on holiday.

    Finally, I am not making a counter claim that there are not issues or possible issues with this. Much like I do not claim there is no such thing as celiac disease, for example, or that, obviously, there are kids born with Autism, and generally summers feel hotter and winters more moderate as I’ve reached middle age compared to when I was a kid. But I find the explosion of gluten intolerance not credible…period, I find (by reading the CDC stats that informed the numbers) the claims of 1/110 or 1/88 births being autistic simply an outrageous lie, and globalwarmingclimatechange is a punch line. Every one of the sects in the church of acronyms is , oddly similar to today’s Christian church, carried, propagated, and evangelized by the feminine. Not feminism…..the feminine, as in the proclivity to control, to feel safe, to feel in command of her environment.

    I’m not sure how many examples of things like this exist where the thing actually manifested as predicted. Three Mile Island and nuclear power? Eh….Not so much really.

  15. A small California biotech company, Epicyte, in 2001 announced the development of genetically engineered corn which contained a spermicide which made the semen of men who ate it sterile.

    The article concludes as follows

    Time will tell whether, God Forbid, the Svalbard Doomsday Seed Bank of Bill Gates and the Rockefeller Foundation is part of another Final Solution, this involving the extinction of the Late, Great Planet Earth.

    GMO’s must be bad. Ivan Evilkisser of the notorious “No Goods” needn’t bother extinguishing the tiny light bulbs in refrigerators in his plot to weaken the world by darkening fridges using his superelectrostaticfilament-fragmentizer so that no one knows what there is to eat.

  16. My anti GMO stances is really based on what epic assholes those outfits are. Big fans of suing small farmers and the like

  17. Heard this week that food price inflation has been at a 5%/year pace over the past 5 months. That is HUGE. Drought in CA is the only crop limiting thing happening.

    The perverse thing about this….those who avail themselves to high priced organic food and farm to table deliveries at home (all the rage in middle class neighborhoods now) are aloof to the inflation because they willfully pay a huge premium.

    Sfcton

    No, they are not fans of suing small farmers. That is a statement framed similar to when things like “Republicans hate black people” are made.

    When a small farmer is sued it is to uphold a patent or a contract. To not sue is to invite anarchy in that space. Check the financials and make a relative comparison of what they gain by litigating against an individual farmer. They avert the big losses that that would accrue with non-enforcement of contracts.

    the same dynamic you describe akin to some salivating monster rending a mouse limb from limb is present in every industry. Further, the reverse is even more common, where small plaintiffs leverage huge settlements from big companies expressly because the jury is subject to the anti-Goliath bias you display. From global hatred of the U.S. to class envy and warfare its in our base nature to feel that way. That doesn’t make it correct.

  18. You might find this entertaining…or not,

    So SAM and I went to an orientation for our home school co-op over the weekend.

    sidebar: I’ve read your thoughts on co-ops but I rather like having teachers more knowledgeable than me to relieve me of having to cover certain topics

    Anyway, the subject of acceptable foods to bring as snacks came up and we were admonished about nuts and gluten and one mother even mentioned chickpeas. I was incredulous to say the least and wondering why kids over a certain age (we have kids through high school in our group) couldn’t be trusted to not eat what they are not supposed to eat. And then there was the pièce de résistance:

    “If you forget a snack or find on co-op day that you don’t have something that would be acceptable,remember that we always have snacks available here for .50. And they’ll be nut free, gluten free, and even GMO free, cause that’s just the kind of people we are.”

    And I almost choked on my bottled water. Your rants have infected my brain, LOL.

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