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A grandmother speaks Wisdom is a scarce commodity

#1 User is offline   Simple Simon Icon

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 03:31 AM

Please Watch and listen to the entire piece.

Consider, reflect, and post your response....

I know we've had some discussions about Monsanto in the past, so I'm sorry if I'm retreading old ground, but it still concerns me greatly that this evil (and I don't use that term lightly) behemoth continues to roll on, while most of us are too busy being distracted by our day to day lives, dramas on TV or on the sports fields, or the crap that is generally served up in the name of prime time "news" to really give much thought to.

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 02:48 PM

It's easy to conclude that Monsanto is this evil corp devouring these poor farmers when only one self serving perspective is presented. I've only heard of this in bits and pieces, mostly in a previous discussion. Maybe a rebuttal of this woman's claims will allow us to formulate a more informed opinion in this matter. It's like global warming - there are scientists who believe the earth is in danger from people's practices while other scientists who claim this is nonsense. In this video, even this woman believes in the resiliency of the earth. 250,000 farmer suicides because of crop genetic engineering is a difficult number to comprehend. I'll have to snopes that one. There is probably 2 sides to this story. I know we have genetically engineering going on in our food supply and I am not aware of mass farmer suicide. I don't know if this is one woman's propaganda but, for now, I am in the camp of increasing the food supply in all countries be it through old farming practices or via genetic engineering. She has not shown how Monsanto's practices kills. If it costs the farmer $2 to grow engineered crops that he can only sell for $1 then this might make more sense. What am I missing?

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 06:08 PM

View Postbernabby, on 06 April 2012 - 08:48 AM, said:

What am I missing?
Where does one start?

If you are genuinely interested in finding the answer to that question, Bernabby, here's what I suggest: do your own research. Simply Google the word "Monsanto" and start reading. Read as much as you like from as many sources as you can find (including Monsanto's own marketing propaganda if you wish). When you have done so, I would be very interested in hearing your conclusions, along with the facts that support them.







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Posted 05 April 2012 - 06:47 PM

Very interesting Simon.
I feel like a kindergartner among adults though with this kind of thing. I just don't know anything about all this, especially the politics, except that all along I've had a distrust of the concept of genetic engineering. When you see strawberries in the fruit stores as big as tomato's something just doesn't feel right (and I don't buy them!)
It makes me wonder just how much of what we are consuming has been messed with in some way and what the impacts health wise are.

While watching I did have some questions though. She emphasises that nature will take care of things and insinuates that all these pesticides are not needed if you do it the "natural way". I have to wonder about that. (ME - with a black thumb, lol!)
I've tried though and never won against the insects.... I hate the idea of pesticides but surely, in the case of large crops....well, I suppose I just don't know enough but simply leaving it to nature doesn't feel like it would be as easy as she makes it out to be?

I agree with what she said at the end that nature will fight back AND win, in the end...but that doesn't fill me with a lot of hope for human beings. We are hardly of any benefit to this planet in the whole scheme of things.

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 11:47 PM

I liked the family tone of the video, especially her references to Gandhi and to mother nature.

But I must admit that Iím becoming more skeptical as well as cynical on any side of an issue especially when one Googleís to try and find the truth.
It seems to be much easier these days to find answers, but much harder to find the truth.
But itís just not the Internet that has me feeling this way.

Let me just use an example that Iíve had direct contact with this past couple of weeks.
A little background into this situation.
My wife has Parkinsonís (PD) and she has also recently been diagnosed with RLS.
I understand the difficulty with finding any cures for these diseases but finding treatments seems to be just as difficult.

Just the other night, I had to take my wife to ER (the hospital Emergency Room) because she was complaining of so much pain. My wife is a Scouser so when she says she has pain I know it must be unbearable. The doctor who was on that night diagnosed her situation as having muscle cramps. He gave her a muscle relaxant intravenously and after several hours she finally calmed down and I was able to take her home.

My wife and her Neurologist have been trying to find the right medications for her problems. We have been through so many different drugs in the last 3 months that my wife is feeling like she is a drug addict. This latest episode caused a visit to ER.
My wife has also been going to Physical Therapy (PT) for the last 4 weeks for problems with her shoulder blades which we believe are being caused by either the PD or RLS.

Now I have a friend who just retired from being a PT and asked if there was any thing else that we could do for my wife to help ease her pain. He mentioned TNS (Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation). When I asked my wife's current PT about the procedure she said that they didnít have much success with using it.

Then we were talking with our friends in Germany about my wifeís situation. They mentioned that they go to a doctor who provides a similar electrical stimulation of the nerves procedure and that my wife should fly over to see this doctor. When we asked our friends to try and find out more about this doctorís procedure he was hesitant to give out any information because he felt that he might get in trouble with the pharmaceutical companies and/or the doctorís groups in Germany. Interesting to say the least.

I also found another reference for a similar electrical stimulation procedure from another source.
The problem is, whom does one believe these days?
When you hear about results from your friends that such procedures are successful and yet the health care procurers are telling you another story, something is amiss.
We will find out though, who is telling the truth and who is not.

I know this doesnít directly relate to your topic Simon and also sorry for being so long winded, but the folks are beginning to wise up.
And yes, it does require much more individual responsibility to get to the truth.
Itís not a time to be ideological. Itís a time to be wise.
I will also say this.
I sense a common spiritual awakening that hopefully will raise the consciousness levels of all of us on this lovely planet that we inhabit.
Peace. :)
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Posted 06 April 2012 - 01:26 AM

OK so I've been debating whether I should bother to reply or not. Your mind seems made up and this might not go well for me but I live in St. Louis and I know people that work for Monsanto. They're not bad folks. In fact they're quite nice. Evil is a very strong word and it implies intent. Sure they might be misguided, in your view, but evil is a whole different thing. I had a local professor that worked at Monsanto and he believed in what they were trying to accomplish as a company. In fact his subject was world geographic statistics. He believed in smart environmental planning and gave us many examples of over taxed landscapes and mismanaged resources. Seemed like an environmentalist kind of guy to me. On the whole though any large or single entity with any power at all is going to be a mixed bag of positive and negative. (I say the same for presidents and prime ministers)

That being said I have no strong feelings about Monsanto one way or another. I understand that their genetic technology is going to be controversial. What I do know for a fact is that the people that work there aren't in some evil cabal plotting the worlds destruction. They're generally just people like me trying to make they're way in this world I think.

Peace...

(This whole post was really just a reaction to the evil thing because I think sweeping generalizations are very dangerous)

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 01:29 AM

View PostDannyDep, on 05 April 2012 - 10:47 PM, said:

I liked the family tone of the video, especially her references to Gandhi and to mother nature.

But I must admit that Iím becoming more skeptical as well as cynical on any side of an issue especially when one Googleís to try and find the truth.
It seems to be much easier these days to find answers, but much harder to find the truth.
But itís just not the Internet that has me feeling this way.

Let me just use an example that Iíve had direct contact with this past couple of weeks.
A little background into this situation.
My wife has Parkinsonís (PD) and she has also recently been diagnosed with RLS.
I understand the difficulty with finding any cures for these diseases but finding treatments seems to be just as difficult.

Just the other night, I had to take my wife to ER (the hospital Emergency Room) because she was complaining of so much pain. My wife is a Scouser so when she says she has pain I know it must be unbearable. The doctor who was on that night diagnosed her situation as having muscle cramps. He gave her a muscle relaxant intravenously and after several hours she finally calmed down and I was able to take her home.

My wife and her Neurologist have been trying to find the right medications for her problems. We have been through so many different drugs in the last 3 months that my wife is feeling like she is a drug addict. This latest episode caused a visit to ER.
My wife has also been going to Physical Therapy (PT) for the last 4 weeks for problems with her shoulder blades which we believe are being caused by either the PD or RLS.

Now I have a friend who just retired from being a PT and asked if there was any thing else that we could do for my wife to help ease her pain. He mentioned TNS (Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation). When I asked my wife's current PT about the procedure she said that they didnít have much success with using it.

Then we were talking with our friends in Germany about my wifeís situation. They mentioned that they go to a doctor who provides a similar electrical stimulation of the nerves procedure and that my wife should fly over to see this doctor. When we asked our friends to try and find out more about this doctorís procedure he was hesitant to give out any information because he felt that he might get in trouble with the pharmaceutical companies and/or the doctorís groups in Germany. Interesting to say the least.

I also found another reference for a similar electrical stimulation procedure from another source.
The problem is, whom does one believe these days?
When you hear about results from your friends that such procedures are successful and yet the health care procurers are telling you another story, something is amiss.
We will find out though, who is telling the truth and who is not.

I know this doesnít directly relate to your topic Simon and also sorry for being so long winded, but the folks are beginning to wise up.
And yes, it does require much more individual responsibility to get to the truth.
Itís not a time to be ideological. Itís a time to be wise.
I will also say this.
I sense a common spiritual awakening that hopefully will raise the consciousness levels of all of us on this lovely planet that we inhabit.
Peace. :)


Really sorry to hear about your wife man. These days there is so much convolution out there its hard to know anything... How do we navigate this information sea.

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 09:56 AM

What's more important than semantics here (what is evil?) is recognizing where the forces have broken down that would normally hold human greed in check. If Monsanto is a global food disaster waiting to happen, that's more important to me than whether somebody at the helm is rubbing his hands together and laughing maniacally. When too much power is concentrated in one company, catastrophe can blow up and nobody hangs for it: You can sue a corporation after a massive oil spill or chemical release, but you can't undo the disaster. With Monsanto, catastrophe might take any of a huge number of forms. If one doesn't materialize there's always another one. Monsanto may be disaster's perfect incubator: There's the Monsanto business model that's all about stifling competition. There's the lack of transparency, as Monsanto wins one legal victory after another to keep particulars of its products off the product labels. And there is Monsanto getting to write the regulations that are supposed to govern the way that industry operates. A former Monsanto vice president sits as head of USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service.  

If you're a farmer and you don't want to plant your fields with Monsanto seeds, you're having a harder and harder time finding and obtaining any other kinds of seeds to plant with. Monsanto continues to buy up every seed company it can. Considering that most livestock is made out of corn and soy, Monsanto basically has a lock on the world food supply. Gosh, let's hope they're not evil, because it looks to me like they can be pretty much anything they want.

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 03:21 PM

this might be just my opinion but I think that all (?) corporations are evil because they're legally required to be selfish and seek the welfare of the shareholder above everything else. They're required by law to be self seeking whereas a village or community isn't.

As for Monsanto, they've trying to privatize food and turn it into a commodity to make profit for the shareholders. If people think that's cool to do then that's their call, but personally I think its pretty much like what Simon says.


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Posted 06 April 2012 - 06:55 PM

View PostSimple Simon, on 05 April 2012 - 04:08 PM, said:

View Postbernabby, on 06 April 2012 - 08:48 AM, said:

What am I missing?
Where does one start?

If you are genuinely interested in finding the answer to that question, Bernabby, here's what I suggest: do your own research. Simply Google the word "Monsanto" and start reading. Read as much as you like from as many sources as you can find (including Monsanto's own marketing propaganda if you wish). When you have done so, I would be very interested in hearing your conclusions, along with the facts that support them.

Ok, I googled Monsanto Wiki. Just as I suspected there is another side to the story. Monsanto has been successful litigating cases to protect it's discoveries (intellectual properties). The farmer suicides were happening long before 2002 when their GE seeds were introduced into India. Crop failures were mostly the result of droughts. Their GE seeds are still being used today even though this grandma would have you believe that the suicides were caused by the seed. Propaganda can go both ways. Grandma has her facts, cherry picked as Ian might say, while Wiki has some different non-cherry picked facts. Simon, whom would you like me to believe?

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 07:03 PM

View PostJoan, on 06 April 2012 - 07:56 AM, said:

What's more important than semantics here (what is evil?) is recognizing where the forces have broken down that would normally hold human greed in check. If Monsanto is a global food disaster waiting to happen, that's more important to me than whether somebody at the helm is rubbing his hands together and laughing maniacally. When too much power is concentrated in one company, catastrophe can blow up and nobody hangs for it: You can sue a corporation after a massive oil spill or chemical release, but you can't undo the disaster. With Monsanto, catastrophe might take any of a huge number of forms. If one doesn't materialize there's always another one. Monsanto may be disaster's perfect incubator: There's the Monsanto business model that's all about†stifling competition. There's the lack of transparency, as Monsanto wins one legal victory after another to keep particulars of its products off the product labels. And there is Monsanto getting to write the regulations that are supposed to govern the way that industry operates. A former Monsanto vice president sits as head of USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service. †

If you're a farmer and you don't want to plant your fields with Monsanto seeds, you're having a harder and harder time finding and obtaining any other kinds of seeds to plant with. Monsanto continues to buy up every seed company it can. Considering that most livestock is made out of corn and soy, Monsanto basically has a lock on the world food supply. Gosh, let's hope they're not evil, because it looks to me like they can be pretty much anything they want.

Is that good business or is that evil? Who is forcing these seed companies to sell to Monsanto? Have you considered that these seed companies are also in business and are more than willing to sell for a handsome profit? If these GE seeds are more resistant, grow faster/larger/better and will do wonders to feed the world why would you object to their business plan? I'm a supply side guy so I think Monsanto is doing good and the evil label is unfair.

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 07:14 PM

View Postbernabby, on 06 April 2012 - 08:03 PM, said:

Is that good business or is that evil? Who is forcing these seed companies to sell to Monsanto? Have you considered that these seed companies are also in business and are more than willing to sell for a handsome profit? If these GE seeds are more resistant, grow faster/larger/better and will do wonders to feed the world why would you object to their business plan? I'm a supply side guy so I think Monsanto is doing good and the evil label is unfair.


I didn't say that a seed company was doing anything wrong by selling out to Monsanto. I'm saying that what's good for Monsanto isn't necessarily good for global food production. It's like the NY Yankees, no offense to any of their fans who might be reading this. When a team is that rich and can afford to buy the best players off the poorer teams, it might be good business practice for the Yankees. But that doesn't mean it's good for baseball.

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 07:35 PM

View PostJoan, on 06 April 2012 - 05:14 PM, said:

View Postbernabby, on 06 April 2012 - 08:03 PM, said:

Is that good business or is that evil? Who is forcing these seed companies to sell to Monsanto? Have you considered that these seed companies are also in business and are more than willing to sell for a handsome profit? If these GE seeds are more resistant, grow faster/larger/better and will do wonders to feed the world why would you object to their business plan? I'm a supply side guy so I think Monsanto is doing good and the evil label is unfair.


I didn't say that a seed company was doing anything wrong by selling out to Monsanto. I'm saying that what's good for Monsanto isn't necessarily good for global food production.

Quote

Why? Food is food. The more the better especially for the poorer countries. Why should it matter who is providing the food.
It's like the NY Yankees, no offense to any of their fans who might be reading this. When a team is that rich and can afford to buy the best players off the poorer teams, it might be good business practice for the Yankees. But that doesn't mean it's good for baseball.

Quote

I see baseball is not in your area of expertise. I think it's great and I think you and the others who are so concerned about greed should also rejoice. Yes, the Yankees have the best players money can buy but all that money can't buy a World Series championship. When was the last time they won a World Series? How many billions have they spent since trying to buy one? You should be happy that the Yanks greed and their voracious thirst to win a championship at any cost has only resulted in overpaid and underperforming players.

I should bite my tongue about the Yanks because my favorite team, the Dodgers, was just sold for $2B. It won't be long before parking, tickets, food and beer will see a spike in prices. I'm boycotting Stadium games. This is also a wonderful lesson in ultimate entrepreneurship. Where else can someone buy a pro team for pennies on the dollar down and leveraged to the max to where he must file bankruptcy then emerge from the bankruptcy a billionaire. Only in America. God has blessed this great Country.

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 12:53 AM

View PostScotto, on 06 April 2012 - 07:26 PM, said:

OK so I've been debating whether I should bother to reply or not. Your mind seems made up and this might not go well for me but I live in St. Louis and I know people that work for Monsanto. They're not bad folks. In fact they're quite nice. Evil is a very strong word and it implies intent. Sure they might be misguided, in your view, but evil is a whole different thing.
Hi Scotto.

I know the word "evil" is highly emotive, and it is a term I would rarely use with regard to anyone or anything. I want to emphasise that I wasn't referring in any way to the vast majority of people, such as the folks you know, who work for Monsanto. I'm quite sure they're just good, well-meaning, ordinary folk just trying to make a living for themselves. The same could equally be said of people who work at building nuclear weapons or as prison executioners. I do NOT describe these people as "evil".

To put it another way, I suspect most of us would consider the Nazi movement to be (and have been) evil, but I think most of us understand that the vast majority of those Germans who worked and fought for the Nazi cause during WW2 were ordinary folk who were simply trying to go along with the situation they found themselves in.<br class="Apple-interchange-newline">

Quote

I understand that their genetic technology is going to be controversial.
The point about genetic technology is not just that it is controversial; it is that it is essentially irreversible, and it is being imposed upon people who want no part of it through all kinds of corporate bullying. There are no real controls; there have been few long-term studies of the effects an the implications upon people and the environment in general; and the entire field is being monopolised by a single corporate entity. I am not intrinsically opposed to the scientific exploration of genetic technology. I AM opposed to a giant, global experiment that has the potential to change the very nature and structure of all life on Earth simply in the name of monopoly corporate profits.

View PostJoan, on 07 April 2012 - 03:56 AM, said:

When too much power is concentrated in one company, catastrophe can blow up and nobody hangs for it: You can sue a corporation after a massive oil spill or chemical release, but you can't undo the disaster. With Monsanto, catastrophe might take any of a huge number of forms. If one doesn't materialize there's always another one. Monsanto may be disaster's perfect incubator: There's the Monsanto business model that's all about stifling competition. There's the lack of transparency, as Monsanto wins one legal victory after another to keep particulars of its products off the product labels. And there is Monsanto getting to write the regulations that are supposed to govern the way that industry operates. A former Monsanto vice president sits as head of USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service.

If you're a farmer and you don't want to plant your fields with Monsanto seeds, you're having a harder and harder time finding and obtaining any other kinds of seeds to plant with. Monsanto continues to buy up every seed company it can. Considering that most livestock is made out of corn and soy, Monsanto basically has a lock on the world food supply. Gosh, let's hope they're not evil, because it looks to me like they can be pretty much anything they want.
"You can't undo the disaster". And that's the thing. The point is that the potential is for a disaster, not on a local scale, like an oil spill, but on a global scale. And there will be no possibility of cleaning up.

View Postbernabby, on 07 April 2012 - 12:55 PM, said:

Ok, I googled Monsanto Wiki. Just as I suspected there is another side to the story. Monsanto has been successful litigating cases to protect it's discoveries (intellectual properties). The farmer suicides were happening long before 2002 when their GE seeds were introduced into India. Crop failures were mostly the result of droughts. Their GE seeds are still being used today even though this grandma would have you believe that the suicides were caused by the seed. Propaganda can go both ways. Grandma has her facts, cherry picked as Ian might say, while Wiki has some different non-cherry picked facts. Simon, whom would you like me to believe?
You're right about some of the suicides being related to droughts, Bernabby. And I would agree that there has been hyperbolic debate on both sides about the degree of influence of GE seeds on the overall farmer suicide rate compared to other influences. I was actually hoping you might read a little more widely in terms of Monsanto's background and business practices, rather than simply honing in on this one aspect of the overall picture. I hope you still might.... if only out of curiosity.

View Postbernabby, on 07 April 2012 - 01:03 PM, said:

Is that good business or is that evil? Who is forcing these seed companies to sell to Monsanto? Have you considered that these seed companies are also in business and are more than willing to sell for a handsome profit?
What is "good" business, Bernabby? Is it about making a financial profit at all and any cost, regardless of the effects on others and on the environment? Is it only about the dollar? The Mafia, the drug cartels and countless other organisations make good profits. Do they represent "good" business?

Would you say that such "criminal" organisations are not "good" business because they operate outside the laws of your country? What, then, if they became wealthy and powerful enough to directly influence the law-makers sufficiently to have those laws changed, or side-stepped? Would they, too, then represent "good" business? Is there any place for questions of ethics, or "greater good" in your model of what constitutes "good" business, Bernabby?

Quote

If these GE seeds are more resistant, grow faster/larger/better and will do wonders to feed the world why would you object to their business plan? I'm a supply side guy so I think Monsanto is doing good and the evil label is unfair.


Ya know what, Bernabby: if I honestly thought that "these GE seeds are more resistant, grow faster/larger/better and will do wonders to feed the world", and without serious collateral damage, I would be much more in agreement with you. Perhaps you can find evidence (beyond Monsanto's own marketing) to convince me, and others, that this is the case? I would be very interested to see/read/hear it.

Incidentally, and on a friendly note, I've noticed that you're changed you way of quoting and responding. It's much easier to follow now. Thanks for that. :)

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 12:02 PM

My objections to Monsanto have mostly to do with their development of the defoliant Herbicide Orange, their introduction of bovine growth hormone to beef and dairy ranching, and their requiring customer farmers to buy all their seed grain from Monsanto every spring. Farmers are in breach of contract and subject to ruinous penalties if they're caught holding back any of the seed they grow and replanting it the following year. When Monsanto makes inroads into the economies of desperately poor countries, interfering with the local farmers' attempts to function autonomously and grow their own seed crop, that just stinks.

I'm honestly less sure about the risks of genetically modified organisms. One ecologist I've followed for decades, Stewart Brand, is an ardent supporter of GMOs as a countermeasure to global food shortages. He believes the opponents are not just irrational but dangerous for encouraging poor countries to resist. One bias of his that may be at play -- if he's mistaken, that is -- is that he considers subsistence farming to be a poverty trap and an ecological disaster.

The benefits of GMOs are obvious: Crops that are insect-resistant and herbicide-tolerant. Others are drought-resistant, some tolerate salinity in the groundwater. Some GMO crops can be planted without tilling, which is a huge benefit to the soil. About the risks: So far they are theoretical. That weeds will acquire from the GMOs their resistance to the Roundup herbicide, becoming superweeds. That insects will evolve resistance to the Bt bred into the crops. That naturally occurring cross-fertilization with closely related species will result in hybrids that wipe out the originals. What does happen sometimes is that when a farmer is caught with a GMO crop he didn't buy seeds for, he'll claim his entire crop, not just near the boundaries, must have been cross-fertilized from a neighbor's field. There is concern that gene-splicing will introduce allergens into foods that didn't use to have them: that if you're allergic to tomatoes and there's a tomato gene in your apple, you can have an allergic reaction after eating an apple. The possibility of this one has been borne out in experiments, when a known undesirable property from another species was spliced into a potato and rats that ate the potatoes exhibited health effects. Introduced allergens have not shown up in real-world agriculture.

Crop diversity is worth preserving. Different strains grow best in specific regions because of properties that have evolved there over time. In time, GMOs can incorporate those properties into grains meant to be grown in specific places; food scientists are working in that direction now. I am not, or not yet, an opponent of GMOs per se. I just don't like the engulf-and-devour spread of them, I'm skeptical that the oversight is vigilant enough, and I worry that alternatives are drying up. Too much of all the same thing makes it that much worse if something goes wrong with that one same thing.

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 07:54 PM

View PostJoan, on 08 April 2012 - 06:02 AM, said:

I am not, or not yet, an opponent of GMOs per se. I just don't like the engulf-and-devour spread of them, I'm skeptical that the oversight is vigilant enough, and I worry that alternatives are drying up. Too much of all the same thing makes it that much worse if something goes wrong with that one same thing.

As I noted in my previous post, Joan, I am not against GMos per se either. Like you, though, I am more than a little concerned about the ways in which they are being introduced, and particularly that the main driving force behind their introduction is not some altruistically-motivated group; it's not the farmers themselves; it's not governments or international organisations concerned about food shortages; it's a single, extremely wealth and powerful corporate monopoly whose only motive is to increase its profits, and whose methods have been consistently demonstrated to be amongst the most unethical in the western world. Amongst other things, the increased resistance to herbicide of some of these products will allow Monsanto to sell more of their own toxic herbicides such as Roundup - as if we really need more toxins in our food and environment.

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