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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

No on Prop 37 - Mandatory Food Labeling

Prop 37 would require mandatory labeling to show the percent content of food products grown from genetically modified (GM) seeds.  Specifically, Prop 37 targets the modern biotech process of precise gene splicing, rather than the earlier and more haphazard method of gene modification, the crossbreeding of hybrids.

Proponents want us to vote yes on 37 because (quote) - "We have a right to know what is in our food". I have some problems with that feel-good campaign slogan. First, the desire for information is definitely not a "right", because no one has a legitimate right to force other people to do anything for them.  Second, the use of the term "our food" is deceptive because the mandatory labeling applies to the food while it still belongs to the food companies. They may choose to sell us food if profitable, but they are under no obligation to feed anyone.

So a more honest version of the pro-37 campaign slogan would be: We have a desire to force food companies to tell us how their food was grown, to help us decide if we want to buy it. That's better, but I still have a problem with the use of the word "we"?  To whom does that refer? It certainly is not millions of consumers, because if they really were demanding GM labeling, natural market forces of profit and competition would have supplied it to them without the need for a law. Rather, it is the special interest groups supporting Prop 37 who want consumers to be aware of, and be alarmed about, GM content.

Who are these GM alarmist proponents and what are their motivations? They are: organic food companies, litigation attorneys, and environmental organizations. For organic food companies, they stand to possibly double their market share if they can get more people to fear and avoid GM food, since organic food is labeled GM-free. For litigation attorneys, they expect a bonanza of lucrative shake-down lawsuits by attacking food companies for alleged non-compliance with the new labeling law. Higher food prices will result.

As for environmental organizations, they routinely make horrendous unfounded claims about GM food and many other chemicals in order to boost their fear-driven funding stream. Their ultimate goal is nothing less than a world-wide forced ban of GM seeds, just like they have promoted needless and harmful bans of numerous other chemicals and technologies. Their antics will result in less food, more expensive food, more hunger for the world's poor, and ultimately fewer people on planet earth. That fits environmentalist long term goals perfectly.

GM seeds are a free-market development, not a government secret birth-control plot, as some claim. GM food, currently estimated at 70% of all groceries, has benefitted us with more food at lower cost, using less land, fewer herbicides, and reduced pesticides,. GM food has been consumed by millions of people over the last two decades without harm, environmentalist lies to the contrary. Ironically, GM technology is actually more safe and far better for the environment than all earlier methods, including organic. Please don't assist Big Green in its selfish effort to ban this great new technology; vote no on Prop 37.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Skeptical View of the 9/11 Truth Movement

The 9/11 Truth Movement claims to have evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that destruction of the New York World Trade Center Twin Tower Buildings on 9/11/2001 was perpetrated by unknown elements inside our government, a so-called "inside job".  Their main argument is that the Twin Towers did not fall from the impact of airplanes alone, but were helped along by explosive charges placed in the buildings by government agents, days or weeks before the 9/11/2001 event. They have lined up more than a thousand building experts to sign a statement saying the cause of the collapse is problematic and requires further investigation.

When 9/11 truthers watch the video of the collapse of the Twin Towers, they see apparent evidence of explosives too numerous to mention here. However, none of that evidence holds up to reasonable scrutiny. They would have us believe that an invisible, inaudible,  ripple of remotely detonated charges, obscured by the descending cloud of debris, leads each building down, starting at the point of aircraft damage.

In addition to the lack of valid evidence, here are three reasons why the explosive charge theory is not a reasonable one.

(1) Planting the explosives would require the action of a dozen or so building demolition experts, working in an occupied building, yet undetected by anyone, knowing that they were a part of a plot to kill thousands of innocent people, and knowing that they themselves would likely have to be assassinated to maintain their silence.

(2) It is quite reasonable that the buildings fell solely from aircraft impact, because the buildings were never designed to withstand an impact by such large aircraft at such high speed with so much fuel aboard (contrary to truther claims). Fire from aircraft fuel was so intense that liquid aircraft aluminum can be seen flowing out of windows! Structural steel has only a fraction of its strength at those temperatures.

(3) Most importantly, consider the likely thought process of the 9/11 attackers in the planning stage. In order for the 9/11 event to qualify as a truly outrageous atrocity, it is not necessary that the buildings actually fall down the same day they are attacked. The buildings are ruined anyway, and enough people are killed by the aircraft strikes alone to call it a success. The 9/11 attackers would never have bothered with explosives because they would have incurred a far greater risk of their plot being discovered, for very little added "bang". Besides, they had a reasonable expectation that the buildings would fall from aircraft impact alone.

Be aware, I am not saying that 9/11 wasn't an inside job. It may well have been. I am saying there is yet no valid evidence. Truthers remind me of the people back in the 1980's who believed all the moon landings were faked, because they have much apparent evidence to support their theory, but they fail to examine that evidence critically for alternative explanations.