Sad Web rant from someone who should know better

Sad Web rant from someone who should know better

Here’s one for your dubious “If it’s on the Web, it must be true” file.

Lately, socialist whackos have been trying a new anti-GMO, anti-Monsanto/”transnational” corporation scare tactic; “corporations are out to control the world’s food supply by reducing seed diversity,” whatever seed diversity means.

One of the latest is from a Los Angeles civil litigation (ambulance chaser) attorney Ellen Brown, who promotes herself as a highly skilled researcher. Her target has been primarily the world banking industry.

She crossed over to the GMO debate with a Web piece that cites obscure and questionable research that links “insidious” glyphosate to gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, heart disease, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s” and 33 more diseases.

There is no objectivity or balance in the article. It is a pathetic anti-GMO tirade in an attempt to kill the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement that with 12 countries, including New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Peru, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States to liberalize trade.

If ratified, she says the TPP “would impose punishing regulations that give multinational corporations unprecedented right to demand taxpayer compensation for policies that corporations deem a barrier to their profits.”

She calls the chief agricultural negotiator for the U.S., Islam Siddiqui, a “former Monsanto lobbyist.” That is a lie. Dr. Siddiqui most recently served as vice president for science and regulatory affairs at CropLife America. (She also misspelled his name in the article. Great research.)

Siddiqui also worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce and he served the Clinton administration in several capacities from 1997-2001. He went to Washington after working 28 years for the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Dr. Siddiqui earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in plant pathology, both from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. His B.S. degree in plant protection is from Uttar Pradesh Agricultural University in Pantnagar, India.

Former Monsanto lobbyist hardly identifies Dr. Siddiqui.

However, the most preposterous part of Ms. Brown's research paper was how she said the world can produce food. Emulate the Russians, she says.

Russia is no example

“There is a safer, saner, more earth-friendly way to feed nations. While Monsanto and U.S. regulators are forcing GM crops on American families, Russian families are showing what can be done with permaculture methods on simple garden plots. (cottage gardens or allotments). Dacha gardens produced over 80 percent of the country’s fruit and berries, over 66 percent of the vegetables, almost 80 percent of the potatoes and nearly 50 percent of the nation’s milk, much of it consumed raw.

“Essentially, what Russian gardeners do is demonstrate that gardeners can feed the world – and you do not need any GMOs, industrial farms, or any other technological gimmicks to guarantee everybody’s got enough food to eat.”

Those are curious statistics, since USDA says Russia is the largest importer of apples and pears in the world. The report goes on to say, “The long term prospects for U.S. apple, pear and grape exports is good given that Russian production is not expected to increase significantly.” Russia increased fruit and vegetable consumption to to 71 kg per capita, up 10 percent compared with 2009. However, this is still significantly lower than consumption levels in European countries, the United States, Japan, and China. The typical American consumes 270 pounds (122.5 kg) of fruit and tree nuts (fresh and processed, fresh-weight basis) each year. It seems as though Ms. Brown did not do her research thoroughly.

What is even more perplexing is trying to equate her rant with her education and background.

She lives in Los Angeles and that alone contradicts her absurdity to say Russian style home gardens can feed the world. She also lives in the most productive agricultural region in the world.

She graduated from UC Berkeley in 1967 and from UCLA Law School in 1977; practiced law for 10 years in Los Angeles and spent 11 years abroad. She has two children.

Her bio says she has lived in Kenya, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua.

Certainly, that experience provided some insight into the importance of producing food.

The Web piece is incendiary and, sadly, does not reflect a well-educated person’s value of the truth. Her approach may play well in a courtroom where she is trying to extort money for a client and herself or keep a crook out of jail. It doesn’t fly in this Web forum.

What she wrote goes beyond irresponsible. With a rapidly expanding and hungry world population, to say Russian-style backyard gardens can feed the world is reckless, especially from someone whose background would suggest far better.

Hopefully, increasingly more people are beginning to realize just because it is on the Web, does not make it true.

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