Slate shilling for GMOs

William Saletan, author of Bearing Right, has a lengthy column up on Slate explaining how purposely withholding information from common folks like me in order to fatten the coffers of giant agribusinesses is really, really totally morally OK, because Golden Rice. It makes some good points and provides lots of information, but ultimately reads like a catalog of formal logic errors papered over with pseudo-moralistic posturing.

The people who push GMO labels and GMO-free shopping aren’t informing you or protecting you. They’re using you. They tell food manufacturers, grocery stores, and restaurants to segregate GMOs, and ultimately not to sell them, because people like you won’t buy them. They tell politicians and regulators to label and restrict GMOs because people like you don’t trust the technology. They use your anxiety to justify GMO labels, and then they use GMO labels to justify your anxiety. Keeping you scared is the key to their political and business strategy.

Oh, my support for product labeling, including GMO labeling, is me using people. Because I’m the one with a profit motive? Seriously? People are supposed to believe that generic salarymen somehow magically make money by wanting labeling, and that food mega-producers are living in such abject poverty that they simply can’t afford to print meaningful labels? Really?

Wait, didn’t big corporate food producers also oppose the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, and the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act? Despite the history of food and drug regulation in the USA, we are to believe that they oppose labeling because of their inherent saintliness, and it has nothing to do with their profits? We’re supposed to take seriously claims that 21st century science is too backward and primitive to define a labeling regime that would be of any use?

GMO shills commonly ignore all the regular everyday people who just want informative labeling, and characterize their opposition as being solely composed of loony Californian anti-vaccine anti-GMO crystal worshippers. Saletan goes on from there to paint the completely amoral American food industry (despite many examples of what typical behavior is when regulation is lax) as merely timid, brownbeaten victims whose great flaw is unwillingness to force GMOs into every market.

On one side is an army of quacks and pseudo-environmentalists waging a leftist war on science. On the other side are corporate cowards who would rather stick to profitable weed-killing than invest in products that might offend a suspicious public.

After reading the entire article, I was left with the impression that Saletan is saying labels are bad, it’s just too hard to give poor people carrots, never mind that white rice is a cultural shibboleth, Chewbacca is a wookiee, and therefore you don’t need to know anything, and if we label food products so that people can make an informed choice the terrorists win. It’s exactly like global politics… or CRELM toothpaste!

Drink up, Monsanto.

Robert Chesebrough, the chemist who created Vaseline, was challenged to prove the safety of his product. His response was to eat three tablespoons of it, and he later claimed to eat a teaspoon of it every day as a health tonic. He lived to be 96, and white petroleum jelly is still considered safe and non-toxic.

More recently, Wang Chuan-Fu, the CEO of BYD, publicly drank the electrolyte liquid used in the lithium ion battery produced by his company.

But Monsanto doesn’t even want to label their products, and while their shills might say that it’d be safe to drink a quart of glyophosate pesticide, they certainly won’t do so.

Of course, if he’d drunk it, that wouldn’t have proved it was safe. Thomas Midgley publicly drank tetraethyl lead… and then snuck off to Europe for lead poisoning treatment!

Update: Monsanto tells Xeni Jardin:

Dr. Moore is not a Monsanto lobbyist or employee. Knowledgeable scientists, consumers and our farmer customers may be familiar with and confident in the safety of glyphosate, but their statements don’t make them lobbyists for our company. Dr. Patrick Moore is one of those individuals. He agrees with the science that supports the safety of glyphosate, and is an advocate for technology and innovation. But as I mentioned, he is not and never has been a paid lobbyist for or employee at Monsanto.

Still half dead

Bhil says I should stay away from “probiotic seafood” in the future.

I lost so much fluid yesterday, so quickly, that I started drinking warm sugar water with chamomile just to keep hydrated enough to stay out of the hospital. I was working alone, which was in some ways convenient, since I didn’t have to worry about offending cow-orkers with my fever, sweats, vomiting and diarrhea, but also a little scary, since there was nobody to pick me up if I completely collapsed.

Managed to stomach a little oatmeal at breakfast, and I’ve been sipping at chocolate milk all day, but I probably shouldn’t have attempted that cheeseburger at lunchtime. I’m regretting it. Not ready for anything flavorful yet.

Flying back out tonight. I plan to recline my seat despite the kerfuffle.

Adding the final element to the migraine experience

I’ve always said, when discussing my infrequent migraines with physicians, “well, at least I don’t have any nausea.” I get all the other symptoms – pain, confusion, light and sound sensitivity, polychromatic visual aberrations, etc. – to a pretty extreme degree. But at least I’m not actively throwing up at the same time, right?

As I staggered off the plane in Boston’s Logan Airport, my six-hour migraine finally ebbing, it seemed like a good idea to have a nice fisherman’s platter and let the medication wear off before picking up the rental car.

The scrod was delicious, but the shrimp were tough and the oysters seemed a little off. Oysters vary quite a bit regionally (I’m used to the big, sweet oysters of Tappahannock) so I ate several of them anyway.

Thanks for the food poisoning, Legal Seafood.