2012 Propositions.

Education is an important part of this proposition season. Some of the more hotly debated propositions involve funding of education and tax increases. Also this is the first image that showed up in a google search of “CA propositions 2012.”

 

My blog is back! ASC is far behind me now, and it’s time to start talking about and thinking about new things. I put off my blog for a long time and the semester is catching up with me. Thoughts and feelings are slipping through my fingers like water through a sieve, and I need the written word to stem the tide.

 

I had planned my grand re-opening post to be of a different nature, but with a big election coming up in a week, I thought I would discuss California’s Propositions and how I feel about them. If possible I would like some discussion on this before I go to vote for real so that my opinions and logic can be critiqued or challenged. And perhaps just the act of me writing down my thoughts could be enough to change my mind on a subject.

 

Here’s a quick run-through of how I intend to be voting this season. I’ve included buzzwords in parentheses to help you remember what the propositions are about.

30 (higher taxes): Yes
31 (budget/performance regulations): ??
32 (campaign donations): No
33 (car insurance): No
34 (death penalty): Yes
35 (human trafficking): No
36 (change three strikes): Yes
37 (labeling GMOs): No
38 (taxes for education): Yes
39 (multistate business tax): Yes
40 (senate redistricting): Yes

For details on what each proposition entails, click here. 

 

Now I’ll go through and give a proposition-by-proposition analysis and explanation of my opinions. This is going to be a bit wordy, so you might want to just “ctrl-F” for “PROP __” that you’re interested in hearing about.

 

PROP 30: YES

I’m going to lay down some reasoning here which will apply to a few of the later propositions. I have a controversial opinion regarding taxes. I like them. A lot. I like high tax rates. I think they are opposed very strongly in the US because it is a part of the US culture to favor the individual and to care more about money itself than the things that money provides. Taxes do a lot of good, because they pay for things that we don’t want in private hands. In the case of this proposition, that includes education. I’m also a very big fan of public education – in fact I think that education is the single most important thing in an advanced society, besides basic needs like water and food. This is because education begets everything else. An educated populace will make smarter decisions, which means every single facet of society will become more advanced and efficient. Common criticism to this proposition: “There’s no guarantee that the taxes will be spent well. We should instead devote effort to making sure the money is spent intelligently before devoting more money to the system.” This is a chicken and egg problem. A smarter populace will make smarter spending decisions. And besides, it’s not as though this proposition has a rule embedded in it that says “we’re not going to try harder to make the system more efficient.” I think it’s fair to assume that people are already doing what they can. It’s just not enough. We’re just not GOOD enough at education yet, plain and simple. We can’t be afraid of investing in education. Even if resources are not being managed perfectly now, the ability to pay teachers more, build more advanced facilities, have smaller class sizes, etc., these are all things that can be helped with more money and investment. And, even despite all that, I would probably still vote for this on the principle that I can cancel out someone else who voted against it only because they hate the word “tax” and for no other reason, of which I’m sure there are bound to be a plethora.

 

PROP 31: ???

I honestly don’t know enough about the implications of this measure to have a strong opinion for or against. I might just end up voting for whatever the California Democratic Party wants. I dunno. Very open to opinions here.

 

PROP 32: NO

This proposition sounds good on the surface, promising to make elections more fair by banning monetary contributions to campaigns. The only problem here is that the contribution restrictions are not as all-encompassing as they should be, and end up creating an imbalance where a few sources who can contribute are going to have all of the power over the political candidates. I definitely think that less money should be spent on political campaigns, but this is not a good measure to make that happen in a level-playing-field sort of way.

 

PROP 33: NO

This proposition sounds good on the surface but actually sucks. I think you can see a pattern here. It looks like it makes logical sense but in reality it ends up just screwing over people who don’t have insurance which is really not what you want to be doing. This seems like another in a long list of measures that is support by interest groups, for interest groups, and only seeming to help the general public on the surface. Think about it – why would this even be a law? Who would want to be pushing this measure? If it made people pay less, then why would insurance companies want it to happen? It just doesn’t really make sense. The only outcome I see here is that insurance companies somehow make a profit by giving advantages to the well-to-do and screwing over poorer people or college grads looking to get insurance for the first time.

 

PROP 34: YES

I’m gonna admit some emotional bias here. I really really really don’t like capital punishment. I think it’s stupid. I could probably write a whole blog post about this. The only reason I would ever NOT be in favor of this proposition was if I thought that there was some better way to end the death penalty, and that passing this proposition would prevent that other way from happening. I don’t think that is the case. As far as I can tell, all of the arguments against this proposition have been arguments in favor of the death penalty, and I just can’t in good conscience support it. The only reason for a legal system to ever kill someone is revenge, and that is a terrible reason. Law enforcement should never be emotion-based. It should be the most objective system we have.

 

PROP 35: NO

I fucking hate propositions like these. They basically say “If you don’t vote YES on me, then you support sex slavery! You are a demon!” and then nobody can possibly speak out against it or else they are ostracized by society. So let’s just be done with that bullshit here, OK? My opposing of this proposition obviously doesn’t mean I like sex slavery and if you think it does then you might as well stop reading. I’m going to go into detail on my opposition here because I think the reasons against are not obvious to a lot of people, and because an overwhelming number of people are probably going to vote YES.

First let me say that I really don’t like the idea of a sex offender registry. Here is part of the reason why. Like the death penalty, it’s a cruel and unusual punishment for a crime and has not shown to be effective at all other than as a means of revenge against those who have committed crimes. Especially really dumb crimes like an 18 year old engaging in sexual activity with a 15 year old, or public urination. Part of the reason I oppose prop 35 is because of the added bullshit having to do with the sex offender registry.

The main reason I oppose this proposition is because I feel that it is attempting to treat the symptom and not the problem, and I honestly don’t think it’s going to be effective in any way other than to give people who oppose sex slavery a nice legislative circlejerk. Really, what is this, besides revenge? Increasing sentences and fining offenders isn’t going to stop sex slavery. “I’m not going to participate in human trafficking anymore because I’m afraid that Prop 35 has made being a kidnapper just too darn risky” – said nobody ever. Nobody plans on getting caught when they enter the sex trafficking business.

You can solve the problem of sex slavery with four words. Legalize and regulate prostitution. Done. Why is this not a thing?

And to top it all off, the proposition is poorly worded and neglects to mention how it’s going to fund anything.

 

PROP 36: YES

I don’t want to talk about this one too much. The three strikes law has been dumb for a while. It just doesn’t really make any sense. It allows a lot of silly things to happen and is yet another of countless examples of our country having a shitty justice system. There’s a reason why we have more inmates than any country ever, and it’s because of laws like the three strikes law. Let’s get rid of it please.

 

PROP 37: NO

This is probably the most straightforward proposition of them all, and the one for which I’m most sure about my vote. I think labeling something as genetically modified is ridiculously stupid. What even is a genetically modified organism? An organism whose genetic sequence is not the same now as when it existed before humans started farming it, yeah? So how about everything that is farmed ever. It’s called breeding. Breeding is a form of genetic modification. We take 5 billion cows, take the two cows that we think are the awesomest, make them fuck, and the result after doing this for 500 years is a cow which is so different from a “natural” cow that it has been genetically modified to suit our needs. Why is this different than doing the same thing, except way faster, way more effective, and with way more potential for positive change? That is what “genetic modification” as you know it means. It means a better version of breeding that some people have a problem with because they don’t understand anything about evolution or genetic modification and they think that we are making corn into the Hulk. Genetically modifying something doesn’t mean that it will be radioactive or have dangerous toxins or develop into a crazy mutant strain which will destroy the balance of nature. It means that we increase crop yield, make food with higher calorie and vitamin densities, make crops pest-resistant such that they don’t require pesticides, and many other awesome benefits which most of the voting public are not educated enough to understand (see Prop 30).

Once we start labeling things as “genetically modified,” what other labels do we need to put? “This food was harvested by illegal immigrants.” “This cow was cut open with a giant cleaver and bled out.” “These bananas were imported from a tropical region by underpaid and overworked child laborers. One of them is missing a leg.” “This food was put through a machine that contained mercury [there was a thermometer in it somewhere].” There are things that I really dislike about the food industry, and genetic modification is not one of them. I might be in favor of this labeling if genetic modification was in any way harmful or if people actually knew jack shit about it. But neither of those things are true, and thus I stand opposed.

 

PROP 38: YES

This proposition is pretty similar to Prop 30. Increase taxes to support education. There’s some controversy here because people are afraid that this proposition will cause votes to be split such that neither 38 nor 30 will win, so I’m just going to vote for both of them anyways and see what happens. I don’t even mind if both pass, and I’m not convinced that either will. It seems like 38 is less likely to pass and 30 more likely. I actually do like 30 more, but again, I really don’t mind if both pass, and I might as well hedge my bets here by voting for both.

 

PROP 39: YES

This one is kind of a no-brainer for me. Keeps jobs in California. Makes it harder to exploit workers and to do sketchy loop-holey outsourcey things. Me likey. Most other people likey too.

 

PROP 40: YES

I don’t know a lot about the implications behind this, but it sounds pretty sweet. Districts need to change with time because the number of people, the political climate, and the socio-cultural climate of California are probably changing a lot all the time, and it would be great if Californians could work on redistricting ourselves rather than asking other people to.

 

By the way, let me just take this opportunity to ask, where are all of these millionaires who donate to these propositions coming from? And why aren’t they donating millions to causes that are more useful? Take a look at Bill Gates, mother suckers. That’s the kind of philanthropy which helps the world. Whatever. Spend your money how you like, ridiculous random millionaires.

 

Ok, that’s all folks. Phew. Long post. Anyways, I’m glad to be back. Expect a lot more posts in the future – I have tons of ideas waiting to share! Here’s my theme song for the semester so far. Not sure why, I’ve just gotten really obsessed with it.

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    • Chloe
    • October 30th, 2012

    Perhaps unlike the general public, I would like to think that I am well informed on the facts and science of genetically modified food. Part of this is how I grew up – my parents are landscape architects, so I’ve been exposed to the specifics of plant grafting and food production my entire life. My step-mom teaches Plant Science. But another reason for my information in this area is my ardent reading and personal research that I do concerning not only genetic modification of food, but food production and business in general. I can recommend to you a list of great books/articles if you are interested. But I wanted to quickly outline my views on the issue of Proposition 37 and why I am voting yes on it.

    I do not think that you can group genetic modification, breeding, or even plant grafting into the same category. The latter two are indeed methods that are used to create “superior” organisms for either our taste or aesthetic desires. GMO organisms were created for different reasons, which I will explain below. I will also add that my dog at home was bred to be a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle (hardly natural). And she’s really damn cute.

    GMO foods were created not to make superior food products or even to be able to maximize food production (it actually produces less food than organic production does, ironically), but was created for the chemical company Monsanto to do what it has always done – sell chemicals. GMO food has been modified so that the food now produces the Bt toxin insecticide as it grows to kill insects that try to eat it. The bugs consume this toxin and die as a result of eating it. After we pick and sell that food, we also consume the insecticide producing elements of it as well. Extensive scientific data has shown this to be harmful to human beings. Monsanto refused to release the results of what the Bt toxin does to lab rats. All of this information can now be found on the internet.

    I don’t know how versed you are on food politics (I’m sure you’ve been exposed to a little in Hoyt), but I’ve been very interested these last few years about the connections between economics and agriculture. Because agriculture is no longer about simply feeding Americans or the world; it is a business, and an extremely profitable one at that. Companies like Monsanto, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Kraft Foods and other corporate giants are looking for ways to maximize their profit at other people’s expense because they want to make an extra buck. Monsanto is the same company that produced Agent Orange and DDT. After countless scientific evidence proved these chemicals to be extremely harmful, they finally stopped producing/selling them. Monsanto now creates a chemical called Roundup Ready, which is another chemical used in conjunction to genetically modified food. Also be sure to check the link I gave you about corporate sponsors to No on 37. This list includes DuPont and Dow… which are chemical companies.

    A couple of other arguments I want to make in support of Prop 37 is that fifty countries already require GMOs to be labeled – all of Europe, China, Japan and India included. Now either these countries and their people are completely ignorant about what all the anti-prop 37 campaigners have been advertising about the uselessness of such laws, or they’re a hell of a lot smarter than the corporate-driven media brainwashing United States. I say media brain washing because the companies that are funding and putting out the ads against Prop 37 (Monsanto, Coke, Kraft, DuPont etc.) are doing what advertising usually does – telling us lies and convincing us of untruths so we will continue to buy their products. Coca-Cola, Kelloggs and Nestle are afraid that if they label their GMO foods they will lose profits. Which is completely understandable because they probably could lose profit. Food prices will not go up. Companies print new labels all of the time. The FDA does not support No on 37, as the No on 37 lied about in their campaigns.

    I think people do need to do their research. I think people vote too quickly without really extensively reading up on a proposition or political matter. I think people are susceptible to being convinced by excellent propaganda and advertising created by millions of corporate dollars. I think money and politics are closely linked – way too closely linked. One of the last times I recall that a proposition passed in California that didn’t have any thing to do with California’s overall liberal voting sentiment was in conjunction to gay marriage. The Mormon churches pumped millions of dollars into their campaign against gay marriage and opposing Proposition 8, and they won.

    Please feel free to refute my arguments or to question any aspect of them. My intent was not to get you to vote any particular way, but simply to challenge your assertions with my own knowledge, and to convince you that I’m not voting for this proposition because it sounds nice, or it touches an emotional chord, or it has a pretty butterfly on the banner.

    I will also add that I agree with your other comments on all of the other propositions! No challenges there.

    – Chloe

    • Chloe
    • October 30th, 2012
  1. I’m going to preface my comment by saying that I haven’t done nearly as much research as you. I mainly read a couple of wikipedia articles and followed google links but not much deeper than that. So I’m going to reserve my final judgement for after I’ve read up a little more.

    With conclusive or even convincing evidence that GMOs are more likely to adversely affect the health of consumers, then I would be in favor of prop 37. My impression from my cursory research was this is not the case, but this subject probably warrants more in-depth research.

    I would be wary to leverage my vote on this or any other proposition based on who is for or against it. Of course Monsanto would be against this proposition, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be passed. As for the comments about how ad campaigns have influenced voting, I can honestly say that I have no recollection of seeing, hearing or reading any prop 37 ads, so those are not a basis of my decision making.

    The main pillar of my argument against Prop 37 is the question “why should GMO’s be labeled as opposed to any other labeling criteria?” The entire point of the labeling is to give people more information about their food. My opinion is that there is other information that is way more relevant, ie, life-cycle analysis of harvesting and transporting the food (carbon intensity, water use, methane released, etc.), location where the food is grown, vegetarian / vegan / gluten free labeling for things that aren’t obvious, etc.

    The nature of propaganda is not necessarily to misinform, but to mislead. Sometimes propaganda is based on falsehoods, but sometimes it is based on misleading information, half-truths, and emotional appeals. To me, labeling foods as GMOs is practically propaganda because it is a method of manipulating the emotions of the consumers of the food, without guarantee that they really know what they are doing when they decide to buy it. Maybe a GMO is potentially harmful, and then it is helpful to the consumer to know. But maybe it is cheaper and healthier and has no proven adverse health effects. The consumer can’t know this by simply looking at the label because the label is not a “this food has proven adverse health effects” label. Perhaps that is the label we should be looking to add, because that is something that could be applied to non-GMO foods that are potentially harmful as well. Compare the GMO label with something like a nutrition facts label. The nutrition facts label is good because it gives you very basic and objective information about the food, and you can make an informed decision based on that information. The GMO label could be applied to a lot of different foods that have been modified in a lot of different ways, and in my opinion the label gives neither specific nor useful information about the actual food itself.

    As I said above, I’ll do some more research and read your links and see if I can find good evidence that GMOs are harmful to the consumer. My intuition is that they are not, at least not more than non-GMOs, because if they were then they would not be approved by the FDA. Our society is actually extremely safe, regulation wise – almost too safe. We are so litigation happy I would be very surprised if something as basic as food being toxic was something that was proven to be true and also managed to slip past the FDA. Obviously shit happens though so maybe this is the case.

    Edit after reading your links:
    First of all, I don’t find the Huffington Post to be an extremely accurate source of information. I have my own opinions on things, so reading opinions is not nearly as helpful to me as reading facts or data. Keep in mind that the writers for the site are writers, not scientists, economists, legislators, etc. I think it is fair to say that they are not to be trusted as sources on matters of science or public policy. Nobody is fact-checking these people. I trust even something like Wikipedia a lot more because it has experts that are reviewing and fact checking and sourcing information constantly.

    Secondly the information about the yes vs no on 37 campaigns is also not important to me because as I said above, I think that the fact that Monsanto has incentive to oppose the proposition doesn’t necessarily mean that the proposition is good or bad. I want to make my decisions irrespective of that. If this were a proposition that would legalize gay marriage, and the KKK supported it, I would still support it.

    Lastly despite a bit more google-fu I have as of yet found any reputable sources that claim that GMOs currently available on the market have any demonstrated adverse health effects. According to Wikipedia, “There is now broad scientific and regulatory consensus that food on the market derived from GM crops is safe enough to eat.[2][3][5][59]” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food_controversies#Health_risks_of_consuming_GM_food
    You can check out the cited sources. This is not based on opinion pieces or any propaganda. This is based on scientific study and peer reviewed publications. I have yet to find any sort of conclusive evidence to the contrary.

    • Chloe
    • October 30th, 2012

    I understand your hesitancy without hard evidence. All I can say is that I’ve attended local meetings where genetic scientists (one visited who works at UC Davis), doctors, and experts have discussed the details with people after the recent documentary came out on GMOs by Jeffrey Smith. I’m not one to blindly accept information, so I’ve attached several links to medical journals and websites with other links if you’re interested. Multiple universities from many countries have done studies on GMOs and their effects – in particular Sherbrooke University Hospital in Canada did a large study testing pregnant women and their babies. Other countries have done enough research to conclude that they should label these foods so consumers can be aware if they choose to select what foods they want to buy. Russia recently joined the large list of countries that require labeling.

    I wish I could say that I had as much faith in the FDA as you do, but I’m afraid after looking at who works at the FDA and seeing that an overwhelming number of them have previously or also currently work for Monsanto, it’s difficult to trust a public entity that has private interests. I keep mentioning Monsanto and other large corporations because their lobbying is well known, and they have surprising political influence, including on the Food and Drug Administration.

    Best of luck with the research. I hope to catch up with you soon.

    http://digitaljournal.com/article/326208
    http://www.responsibletechnology.org/gmo-dangers
    http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm
    http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Bt_Toxin_Kills_Human_Kidney_Cells.php
    http://www.snopes.com/food/tainted/monsantocorn.asp

    • Thanks Chloe. I’ll be looking at these after my 2 midterms tomorrow 🙂

  2. Oh gosh. There is a lot of literature to review here. Every article I go to just links to more and more.

    First of all let me say that I’ve read through all of your links, and then some. After descending into the rabbit hole, I realize things get really intense because I can no longer trust biased opinion pieces and I have to resort to reading the studies themselves, and sifting through the ridiculous bio/medical terminology to find the meaning of the results.

    After this relatively brief literature review, I’ve concluded a couple of things:

    1 – Two different groups will take different messages away from the same studies. Study X says that there is a correlation between rats eating GM corn and irregular organ function, but that the data is not yet conclusive. Group A says “the data is not conclusive – therefore we assume that the food is safe.” Group B says “the data is not conclusive – therefore we assume that the food is unsafe.” And then everyone disagrees even though provided with the same data. So this all begs the question, where does the burden of proof lie? Does the burden of proof lie on scientists to prove that the food is unsafe? Or does the burden of proof lie on Monsanto to prove that the food is safe? I honestly think arguments could be had either way. Which just makes me even more confused. I’ll get back to this later.

    2- All of the studies I’ve seen thus far are about the various GM corn maize strains, both because you’ve linked them and because they seem to be the most controversial of the GMOs currently on the market. Every single one of the studies had to do with the fact that the GM corn produced the pesticidal Bt protein. Not once has a study questioned the effectiveness of the genetic modification itself – the food was MEANT to have Bt in it, the question at hand is whether or not this ends up being harmful to humans. There are obviously many more different GMOs which have been modified in vastly different ways. Here is a list of them:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_crops#Examples_of_genetically_modified_crops
    For an example, let’s look at Golden Rice. It was modified to contain more vitamin A. I don’t think anyone would argue that the vitamin A is dangerous. Proving that Bt is dangerous does not prove that vitamin A is dangerous, even though they were both the result of genetic modification. For an analogy, consider a hypothetical magical 3D printer. Let’s say this 3D printer is capable of making chairs. It is also capable of making assault rifles. You prove in a study that assault rifles are dangerous. Should you label all products of the 3D printer, including chairs, stating “this product was made by a 3D printer”? This label does nothing to show that the chair is dangerous.

    Back to what I said above – where should the burden of proof lie? I think this is a very important question to ask and problem would be the deciding factor for me in determining whether or not to pass this proposition (at least at this point). In the end I think it is unfeasible to force the burden of proof on proving that food is safe. If this were done by all different things that we eat, there would be an epic shitstorm. It’s just not possible. There aren’t enough resources in the world to perform a study that thorough. I believe that the burden of proof should be to show that food is dangerous.

    This is my conclusion at the end of all of this (although I predict the discussion is far from over): If there is some evidence to show that the Bt in Monsanto’s corn might be harmful, then slap a label on Bt corn saying “this product contains Bt which might be harmful to humans” rather than putting labels on all GMOs. I think that people are erroneously attributing the problem to being a problem intrinsic to genetic modification, when from my perspective there is a problem specifically with Bt in the corn. If Bt is bad, then this would be bad whether the corn was genetically modified to contain Bt or if the kernels were physically injected with Bt by a bunch of migrant workers. The fact that a GMO MIGHT have some negative health effect just means that there is an unknown, and if the burden of proof lies on proving that the food is unsafe, then an unknown must be assumed as safe.

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I don’t like Monsanto. A lot of people don’t like Monsanto. Sure, they are a company, they want to make a profit, but they are kind of scummy. I get that. But I don’t think that genetic modification should be blamed for stupid or dangerous things that Monsanto does. They can do harmful things in many other ways, and I think those should be judged on a case-by-case basis and I think that putting the blame on the process of genetic modification itself, which this labeling scheme will do, is a bad way to go about the problem and will just perpetuate unsubstantiated fears of science and shroud from people what genetic modification actually is and does.

    Also, a quick word about science – there have been a lot of articles and links thrown around (you’ve posted links directly, I mostly just cite wikipedia, which in turns cites a ton of different sources) each referencing various scientific studies on a subject. The fact that a scientific study shows some result doesn’t necessarily mean anything at all. There are some studies that suggest that some GMOs might be harmful – there are some studies that suggest that they are not harmful. You’ll note that this section
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food_controversies#Health_risks_of_consuming_GM_food
    cites a lot of different sources, many of which I have personally inspected and seem professional and rigorous, and the consensus here seems to be that GMOs are not harmful. There are studies that say that climate change is not anthropogenic. There are studies that show that homeopathic medicine works. It doesn’t mean these things are true. They are a small piece of evidence in the massive jigsaw puzzle of truth, and we will never get a complete picture of anything. We can only go by whatever side appears to have the most compelling evidence at any point in time. There is NOT a consensus that GMOs are harmful, and as far as I can tell, the studies that show otherwise are an anomaly and are often referenced by biased sources, such as the one you cite, http://www.responsibletechnology.org. I don’t think this organisation is actually responsible at all. They purport to be “the most comprehensive source of GMO health risk information,” except that they conveniently never mention any of the studies that claim that GMOs are not harmful, and they don’t have any resources pointing to health or environmental benefits of GMOs or basically anything that might oppose their relatively explicit agenda. Ok… that wasn’t really a quick word after all.

    Sorry about the long response. I figured this discussion was something worth putting a lot of thought into. Thanks for being civil with me even though I’m trying my best to refute everything you’re saying hahaha

    • Chloe
    • November 4th, 2012

    I agree with you that the burden of proof lies on companies like Monsanto to prove that the food they are altering or producing is safe. The problem with that though is that a corporation’s number one goal is one thing: profit. If they can make money, they will generally do anything to do so, including not releasing data from the studies that they themselves conduct, or not conducting those studies for long enough periods of time, under the right conditions, etc etc. I tried to find some of the articles with evidence of what Monsanto scientists found in their rat studies – but the problem is not only was that information never made public, but was destroyed to prevent public knowledge of its results. But of course there are some corporate checks and balances – usually the FDA will ask for the released results of tests conducted by corporations to approve them (which doesn’t guarantee the data hasn’t been skewed), or they attempt to find out firsthand whether certain food products are safe. But like I said earlier, if many people who work for the FDA also or previously worked for these large corporations, how is that a checking system? The fact of the matter is that a lot of corporate lobbying occurs and a lot of things are allowed to slide by. Is it reasonable to place blind faith in certain government “check” systems because these institutions are supposed to be honest and work for the interest of the people? Is it hard to believe that a fair amount of compromise can occur if large wads of cash is involved?

    Yes, the Bt corn seems to be the most frequently studied specimen. Corn and soy products in the US are the main genetically modified crops because they can be produced abundantly and cheaply and put into about everything (corn syrup). The main if not entire purpose of Prop 37 is to address the modification of food involving Bt, because other such genetic modification is not occurring at nearly the same scale. I copied and pasted this directly from your Wikipedia page – “Most commercialized GMO’s are insect resistant and/or herbicide tolerant crop plants.” As far as GMOs being labeled that do not have Bt in them or have other genetic modification, the number would be incredibly insignificant. Although there is a lot of researching being done about genetically modifying food with nutritional supplements, almost none of that has been brought into the market. As far as modifying rice to have more Vitamin A in it – yes that sounds safe. Yes that sounds healthy. But why on earth do we need to add Vitamin A to rice if for thousands of years human beings have been able to get sufficient vitamins from everyday “healthy” diets without needing supplements? And for the truly paranoid, why can’t the people who choose to supplement their vitamins go to the local grocery store and pick out a daily multivitamin? Why do we need to start inserting nutritional vitamins and minerals in our food now, when we’ve gone so long doing perfectly fine eating food as it was originally (or nearly so) grown on the planet? When I read about companies like Monsanto or DuPont creating additives in their agribusiness crops, the conclusion I come to is: oh, they’re creating more seeds or crops that they can patent so that they can go through a public and government system of approval so that farmers will be forced to buy those seeds to plant their crops every year so that these companies will continue to have a seed monopoly and makes tons of money. It’s the profit things again – do we really need more vitamins inserted directly into our food? Or does the result of such practices sound good but is at the same time making the few genius companies who insist on doing it lots of money?

    I certainly agree with your diagnosis of Monsanto. Maybe it’s a coincidence, but judging on a case-by-case basis, the chemicals this company has come up with for the last half dozen decades happen to sound really great (DDT – kill insects and pests for good!) but also after years, even decades prove to be quite dangerous (while you kill those insects kill the birds, squirrels, baby humans, or anything else that happens to be around!) So it takes a while for the general public to catch on, but after a while people, government officials and others in authority see that it seems it is doing more harm than good and they ban them. Or in this case, they require them to be labeled so people can make their own choices. And once again, why would so many countries with leading scientists, medical doctors, and farmers implement a labeling system if it really isn’t conclusive or a big deal? Surely China wouldn’t have bothered. Or Russia. Or all of Europe. Japan. Etc.

    I don’t think we have to worry about science being blamed for genetic modification issues (with Roundup and Bt). Any logical person would see it’s not faulty science (it’s extremely intentional), it’s just simply corporate greed utilizing the best of the scientific minds that they can hire. Blaming science is an excuse. But some conservative people will not budge in their beliefs.

    If you need more evidence or are tired of sifting through scientific journals, another area I recommend consulting is the large amount of medical doctors who endorse Prop 37 and literally prescribe “non-GMO diets” to their patients, or the number of people who claim to see rapid improvements in their health when the stop consuming so many GMO products. Watch “Genetic Roulette” if you’re into the documentary kind of thing – tons of people will tell the camera about their experiences, particularly farmers who work closely with Bt crops and animals that consume these crops. I don’t know how many different areas of “evidence” you would want to dip into to be convinced that Bt toxin and Roundup has effects on people and animals, but I wasn’t satisfied with only searching through medical journals and research.

    Wow, long response again. Don’t worry about being civil or refuting everything I say – it’s certainly making me think a lot about all of this! Certainly more than I would have guessed considering how much time I’ve already passed contemplating the issues.

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