Thom Hartman and GMOs: Are you kidding me?

It’s excruciating, Hartman’s repeated disasters in debating right wing ideologues and corporate apologists. . Indeed, I have had moments when he has flubbed arguments so well known and established that I believed he was intentionally throwing the argument in favor of the Right. Much of the time I am aghast at the delinquency of preparation in arguments and debates. One of those moments occurred on his radio program last week regarding GMOs.

On his may 27th show Hartman interviewed/debated (I use the term liberally) an advocate for the GMP industry. Just as I have heard quite painfully time and time again, the guest rolled over Hartman, who was fully unprepared to counter the numerous and transparently false information his supposed adversary paraded. Hartman apparently has never heard that one should not pick a fight he/she is unprepared for.

The guest cited “European” studies which he said proved. First, no such scientific study exists. What the guest was referring to was a report by the dubious European Food Safety Authority, an organization heavily criticized for cozy and frequent conflicts of interest to the companies and corporations it is meant to oversee. It is the same sort of relationship and revolving door situation we find in this country with the Food and Drug Administration, FDA. In fact, the EFSA did not “find” anything, but rather sided with Monsanto and the GMO producers.

A French study was attacked aggressively by the GMO industry. It showed, among other findings that GMO chemicals and material do, in fact, cross the placental barrier between mother and fetus-the same fetus the right claims holds greater rights than the mother. Even without such research there is one question that negates any defense at any level from governmental and even minority scientific opinions, and that has to do with the industry’s vehement assault against any suggestion of labeling. It took Thom Hartman 47 minutes, 35 minutes after the guest mercifully departed to mention that most obvious and prominent argument against the use of GMOs. Why does Monsanto and others not want GMO ingredients labeled? In an interview with activist Margaret Nelson, her issue had to do with a multitude of severe food allergies. Labeling was imperative to this woman’s health and quality of life. The industry points to the negative public sentiment regarding GMOs, offering that consumers would avoid or boycott GMO labeled foods. That would be the free market corporations pretend as economic religion, but in truth the industry’s rejection of labeling is largely driving suspicions among consumers.

My question for Hartman; what else do you have to do other than prepare for these debates. You should be responsible as the last real national voice on the Progressive side for at least the base arguments. Forcing answers to those questions and issues is paramount. Those basic questions always supports progressive issues on everything from GMOs to climate change and social and racial justice. In my little 2 hour weekend show on a small nonprofit low power station, working another job I still manage to read and absorb a monstrous amount of data, as well as energetically dissecting the obtuse and flimsy arguments of the Right. Hartman, working full time on these issues could do the same or better.

There are so few resources for the Left and Progressives. Ed Schultz is, well, confused and no one even knows he exists any longer. Stephanie Miller, though attracting a large and sympathetic audience is largely co-opted fully by the DNC, her arguments amounting to the mass media equivalent of “Duh!” We are beleaguered on the Left in the media. Personalities like Hartman must become a source for arming progressives with the best and most accurate information, arguments and facts rather than frustrating them in debates in which the adversary embarrasses him and the Left.

Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “A Tragic Fate: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit

The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.

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Winning the big message on GMO labeling

Last week there was a shut your mouth and listen hearing in the state of Illinois regarding GMO labeling of consumer foods. GMO, for those who may have been in a cryogenic sleep since the 1960s, are Genetically Modified organisms, principally plants, like seeds, but not exclusively. There is growing concern, mounting data and building support for the limitation and even the banning altogether of GMOs. The health concerns and issues are real, an aspect of which a protester, Evanston resident and long time social activist Margaret Nelson illustrated starkly (See video).

But this piece is not about that mounting evidence or the building resistance to GMOs, but about the messaging by those opposed to GMOs, and by proponents of GMO labeling. And first, it is necessary to understand the environment in which that message may take root, wither or be obliterated by opposing messaging. So bear with me through a few pertinent facts.

Monsanto, the biggest and most iconic in the GMO industry, saw $13 billion and change in net sales for 2012, a bullish increase of 14% over 2011, compared to 2010-2011 year over year. Their free cash flow, where the money to attack critics of GMOs would come from in 2012 was over $2 billion. Second, the US FDA and Monsanto board might as well be in the same office. The FDA’s deputy commissioner for policy, who wrote the FDA’s rBGH labeling guidelines, Michael Taylor was a Monsanto lawyer for nearly a decade. For a longer list of the heads bouncing between Monsanto and the Food and Drug Administration see

There is no longer any reasonable debate about the effects of media consolidation, and the quality of information available to maintain our failing democracy, unfettered access to information being critical to its maintenance. It should raise suspicions that there are no news networks producing any credible investigating reports regarding substantial issues relating to GMOs. The stories that are reported deal with extremism, alarmism or radicalism by anti-GMO activists and critics. Bloomberg ran this headline on May 15th:
“Monsanto Sees ‘Elitism’ in Social Media-Fanned Opposition”

Revolution and Beer makes no assertions of being balanced here, except to call out a notable hypocrisy and manipulation by media entities, such as Bloomberg, who promote themselves as journalists. Nakedly one-sided, the piece offered no opposing or balanced view. Instead the entire piece was virtually one long quote, in essence making the so-called Bloomberg news the facilitator of a Monsanto Press release. A simple glance at the seasonal and cyclical peaks and valleys of Monsanto quarterly profits would seem to indicate that the timing of the piece was meant to affect the shares of Monsanto positively. A researcher at Washington State University, Charles Benbrook, cited in the piece, was in reality a stealth proponent of Monsanto and GMO foods.

Benbrook was quoted as saying that most “Most of the people that become motivated to engage the political issues have become convinced that going down the road of genetically engineered foods is not the way to meet the needs of a food insecure population.”

Yet later he says that, quoting the Bloomberg article “Still, genetic engineering is beginning to produce crops that benefit consumers, such as Monsanto’s Vistive soybeans that produce healthier oils…”

Wow, that sort of fair and balanced would make even FOX news blush. And there seems a more sinister effort at undercutting, even censoring social media discourse and campaigns, which are the last remaining sources of critical information regarding GMOs and GMO labeling. There are accusations of interference and censorship by Facebook of anti-GMO and counter-Monsanto related events and stories. Whether that is a cyber-warfare effort by GMO producers, as it appears, the building SM campaign may have successfully and adversely impacted Monsanto’s 2013 sales and profits, or whether there was collusion by Facebook in favor of Monsanto has yet to be determined. At the time of this writing Facebook was not available for comment. Revolution and Beer welcomes clarification on the apparent censorship, deletion and cancellation of anti-GMO events and postings from both Monsanto and Facebook.

But here is where the GMO critics are losing the messaging war, when and if they are actually allowed into the fight. From the Bloomberg piece:

“There is this strange kind of reverse elitism: If I’m going to do this, then everything else shouldn’t exist,” (Chief Executive Officer Hugh) Grant said at Monsanto’s St. Louis headquarters yesterday. “There is space in the supermarket shelf for all of us.”

Interesting choice of words. If there is space on the shelf for everyone’s products, why the attacks and lawsuits by GMO producers against farmers and growers? Why the secrecy, or at least the refusal to be transparent regarding the use of GMO foods to the consumer? Why the lack of concern over health questions by consumers? Monsanto and others in the GMO industry have poured huge resources into political and media campaigns to prevent GMO labeling. Why? What are they afraid of?

The refrain in the status quo media is heavily weighted on the holiness of the so-called free market. But they are not acting by free market principles in censoring or obfuscating with the help of a co-opted political and judicial system labeling of GMO and non-GMO foods on store shelves that would allow or assist informed consumers in voting with their dollars. Margaret Nelson is one example of someone who suffers from numerous food allergies and must be careful about what she puts in her body. But as we have seen, the free market to companies like Monsanto means that they may act with impunity to laws and structures the rest of us must adhere to. A true free market means that companies produce products that consumers truly want, not one they are duped into buying, and if consumers reject that product it goes out of business. Instead, the GMO industry would hide the truth about its product and then own a government in order to force it down your throat.

There is either a FREE market or there isn’t, and right now, it does not exist. Monsanto, Dupont, the media, the FDA and USDA and your local politicians are exclusively responsible for taking that right and expectation from the American consumer. It is up to the American consumer to hold them accountable, to put them out of office, shutter their doors. In the meantime, winning the message war is paramount. They may have the money, but we have the numbers, if only we endeavor to use that power.
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Revolution and Beer Reactionary of the Week: Monsanto as criminal enterprise?

ROW Monsanto

“As commissioner of the USDA, Iowa governor, Tom Vilsack. Vilsack had set up a national group, the Governors’ Biotechnology Partnership, and had been given a Governor of the Year Award by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, whose members include Monsanto.”

So here’s the big, big question, and this one is fundamental to the lives of nearly every man woman and child in this country, and much of the world as well. Should we begin referring to Monsanto as a criminal enterprise? We are talking about Genetically Modified Organisms, i.e., food direct to your table that has been altered in a lab; so called Frankenseeds.” Of course Monsanto hasn’t been convicted of criminal activity, but mark these words carefully, I believe that a day is coming in which Monsanto and their enablers will be viewed by history as harshly as we now judge genocidal regimes. Too much?

For a nation that pretends to inform modern secular society with the moral pelvic grind of the Ten Commandments, this should be a fairly simple exercise. Sadly, lost and confused among slick advertising and the sugar-coated playful puppies and rainbows of modern public relations is a strong moral imperative regarding the GMO issue. Governmental complicity lends credibility to the masses, and warnings of future potential cancers and diseases are obliterated in a culture of immediate consumption and gratification. But, there are substantial arguments for describing what Monsanto does as a crime against humanity. That journey is not nearly as far as many might believe.

Let’s come to it this way, all of the righties so passionately outspoken about Eric Holder’s investigating himself over “Pressgate” are curiously silent over the Monsanto GMO issue. But let’s say a company created something that is demonstrably and troublingly harmful to people or disruptive to the environment, such as the recent revelation that genetically modified crops were creating new generations of pesticide resistant super bugs. Who might have imagined the bugs would adapt? Oh, I know, any 7th grader with a Junior High School biology book!

This isn’t a Left or Right issue. Liberal icons George Soros and Bill Gates purchased massive investments in Monsanto. Obama supreme Court appointee Elena Kagan once argued for Monsanto before, you guessed it, the Supreme Court! Even Al Gore was a vehement champion of Monsanto, and part of the effort to pressure France into accepting Monsanto products. Let’s say that Monsanto was a massive pimple on the ass of humanity, there would be a smelly mix of bipartisan puss oozing out all over the place. So there is ample guilt to go around here. And yes, if we are drawing up a theoretical future perp list…Put ‘em on!

The Academy of Environmental Medicine recommended a moratorium on GM foods, citing several studies indicating fertility, immune issues, accelerated aging and much more that showed a causal link, but then the studies were done by scientists, and as we all know they read books and use big words—damned elitists!

Now let’s say this hypothetical company, whose name does not begin with “M” or and in “onsanto” had for decaded interfered with and manipulated legislation, used government to obscure oversight and hide the potential dangers. And this fictitious company would operate something of a revolving door with the Government, which might help it force a defacto monopoly on national and international food supplies. And now what if they flooded the public airwaves and media with messages designed quite purposefully to conceal these dangers? And, after all that, they hired paramilitaries, who, just spit-balling here, might have been implicated in a massacre in a place that rhymes with N-iraq, and these mercenaries gathered intelligence on anyone who dared to criticize the company. And let’s those paramilitaries came from a company that might or might not have the words “Black” and “water” somewhere in its name. That would be bad wouldn’t it?

But that probably would be as serious as, oh, I don’t know, a pretend crisis over IRS officials taking closer looks at so-called charities that were, in obvious and blatant violation to the charters and contracts they signed, very definitely political in nature. Can you say Tea Party?

Still not convinced? Let me try this one more way. If it was really all about capitalism and free markets for the government and these companies that proliferate GMOs pimped by politicians, and that, as we are told by the media, we should all live and die by that holy and perfect free market, why is Monsanto against GM labeling on foods? At the very least labeling would allow consumers-the marketplace-to make their own decision. Let Monsanto and DuPont and the rest float or sink by the market. Let them succeed based upon honest competition supported or eschewed by an informed market place. If not, then there is no marketplace, and no capitalism, only economic oligarchies.

As I see it there are two roads here. The first is capitulation to that economic oligarchy, in which case your freedom and economic assumptions are fantasies for masturbating. In that one your illusions of this nation is merely the pig swill we’ll all swim in, while the incest marriage between government and corporations fatten us all for the slaughter. The second is that people take a sustained and overwhelming agency in their government and make it work again for people. In which case companies like Monsanto may very quickly be called to account for their orgy of sanctimony and find themselves pariahs and criminals. Just spit-balling…

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