The Most Revolutionary Act

Diverse Ramblings of an American Refugee

Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall

Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall
New Plymouth, New Zealand
December 02
Retired psychiatrist, activist and author of 2 young adult novels - Battle for Tomorrow and A Rebel Comes of Age - and a free ebook 21st Century Revolution. My 2010 memoir The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee describes the circumstances that led me to leave the US in 2002. More information about my books (and me) at

NOVEMBER 24, 2012 2:20PM

Washington County Bans GMOs

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Washington's idyllic San Juan islands

Washington's idyllic San Juan islands

While some anti-GMO legislation like Prop 37 was shot down via a deceptive “No” campaign that received massive corporate funding, San Juan County in Washington State thumbed their nose at Monsanto et al by passing Initiative Measure No. 2012-4. The initiative effectively bans the growing of all genetically modified organisms within the county.

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Cool. Way to go us!!! (I don't think they should ban it when all they gotta do is tax it out of existence, which would get them some money along the way with which they could handle the health issues already caused by this stuff, because just as people will continue to buy it if it's cheaper, they'll quickly move away from it if it's more expensive...and, that would signal a more permanent change, but I'm cool with this as well.)
I rated before but didn't comment.

I'm not too sure what to say. I'm 99% sure that GMOs are here to stay. I don't think they can be stopped and I'm not certain that they should be.

I AM certain, however, that they should be strictly regulated and controlled. I am also certain that all GMOs should be properly labelled. Those people who choose not to ingest them ought to have a clear way of determining which foods contain them.

In a world where the population is rapidly growing, such modifications just might make the difference between everyone getting something to eat and mass starvation. If this upsets you, how will you feel when much of our food is not grown at all but chemically designed and created in factories..... a situation we're likely to face in less than 50 years?

I doubt that this sort of thing can, or will be, stopped. But careful planning and regulating introduced now can save our progeny a lot of grief in the future.

We are not accustomed to thinking a half century ahead, let alone two or three centuries ahead. We desperately need to start thinking in those terms. Had we done so in the past - even as little as 50 years ago - we'd not have many of the pollution and other problems that we've created for ourselves.

But how do we turn around the thinking of hundreds of millions of people who have been conditioned from birth to only think in terms of more money NOW, more money NOW, more money NOW?
My main concern about GMOs, besides their link to cancer and autoimmune disease, is their contribution to antibiotic resistance (scientists insert antibiotic resistance genes as markers in nearly all GMOs) and farmers' inability to prevent GMO pollen from contaminating non-GMO crops. This is why I don't accept that taxation and labeling is enough. Many organic farmers in California have had their seed lines ruined by GMO pollen contamination.

GMOs, like the 100s of toxic chemicals that are giving women breast cancer, making men sterile, contributing to obesity and giving little girls breasts need to be totally banned. I know the US and Canada don't ban such things, like the EU and of course, New Zealand do. Which is sad. A healthy population is essential

Sky, you remind me of all the cowboys in the US Energy Dept who used to talk about nuclear radiation being good for you. All this talk about using GMOs to feed a starving global population is also a lot of corporate hype. Using GMOs with pesticide and herbicide genes to increase crop yields is a failed experiment because these genes also kill all the fungi and bacteria that are essential to healthy soil ecology. Plants tend to be smaller and less tolerant to cold, drought and other extremes.

Soil scientists have already discovered a technology (bio-intensive agriculture) that will increase crop yields by 200-300%. However because Wall Street hasn't figured out a way to make a profit from it, you never read about it in the mainstream media.
I'm having major problems posting anything on OS right now. What I meant to say in the 2nd paragraph of the above comment is that a healthy population is essential to a workforce productivity. Both the US and Canada are experiencing an epidemic of chronic illness now: depression, type II diabetes, cancer, autoimmune disease. I think Americans, Canadians and their governments ignore the dangers of these toxic exposures at their peril.
Dr. Bramhall,

With all due respect - and I have a great deal of respect for you - you sound more like a religious preacher than a scientist about this.

I do not buy into the popular notion that big corporations are trying to poison us all off. I also cannot buy into your claims that GMO crops are less viable than unaltered crops. Do corporate farms cut their own throats with inferior crops? I wouldn't; would you?

As to the claims that all sorts of harm is being done by them to zillions of people, where are the valid, peer reviewed papers reporting the hard research? There are sites all over the internet that carry alarmist blather but I trust that source less than I trust bankers!

I very much fear that you've become so deeply embroiled in your battles against "the establishment" that you're willing to accept claims made without doing your proper checking of it.

I have no particular love of big agri - nor big pharma - nor big oil - nor big anything. But I've got no particular hate for it either. If the "proof" offered for these things is no better than that offered for AGWl, then it is insufficient by a looooong way!
Sky, I read most of the peer reviewed research on GMOs, when I still had free Medline access at Taranaki Base Hospital. The last time you raised the question of peer reviewed research, I sent you a number of free links to some of the review articles that led most EU countries to ban genetically engineered crops. Since you feel these reviews are alarmist, it might be worthwhile for you to check out some of the original literature yourself. Just go to Medline and search for genetic engineering or genetically modified organisms. The average cost to download journal articles from Medline is $30-50, which is why I didn't provide any journal links.

According the (free) yield research I've read, corporate farms continue to plant GMO soybeans and cotton because the short term savings from reduced herbicide use makes up for the low crop yields. Here's a summary of some of that research:

Just to clarify, I didn't start out "anti-establishment," as you describe it. I started out as a conservative Young Republican campaigning for Barry Goldwater. People don't just wake up one morning, either, and decide to become "anti-establishment." The net effect of twelve years of heavy science training for my profession taught me to always ask for the evidence and go to original sources.

I don't expect you to take my word for that. Somehow I thought my care and attention to detail would come out in my style of writing. Maybe not.

I also need to clarify that what you refer to as my "battles against the Establishment" are my efforts to start creating (along with millions of other people around the world) a new kind of society to replace the disintegrating capitalist political-economic system. That's why I have helped start a hemp farm in South Taranaki, why I helped form a group to remove the fluoride from our water, why I work with the local council to replace short car trips with walking and cycling, why I work hard to support local food production and processing through the Taranaki Farmers market and local permaculture collectives, and why I do massive amounts of organizing and fundraising for the NZ Green Party which is preparing to win 20% of the vote in 2014 (right now we poll between 12-27%) and be in the coalition that runs the NZ government.

You keep asking leftists to offer an alternative instead of just bitching about the current system. This, in my view, is the alternative. People need to make the decision - now - whether they're going to continue to support corporate capitalism in the way they spend their dollars - or if they're going to opt out for a non-corporate lifestyle. In my experience the politicians never lead - the people do.
Dr. Bramhall,

I was with you (pretty much) until your last paragraph. Surely you know that people DO NOT just "make a decision - now" about most things. Assuring me that you have seen peer reviewed scientific papers on ANY subject is not acceptable to me as reasonable evidence of ANY claim. I note, with great dismay, that offering such 'evidence' (in absentia, as it were) has become the norm for those making really outrageous claims.

For all I know, your claims might be totally and completely accurate and fully justified. BUT..... I can only know that if I too can peruse your sources. When those sources are expensive to access, one would think that any organization which thinks that they prove malfeasance on the part of major corporations, would copy them and distribute them free to interested parties.

I am vastly disappointed that I am NEVER able to get access to any sources of information that are not merely essays and comments of an alarmist nature. The continuing schmozzle over AGW is a case in point. Everybody blathers on about the "science" that proves that man is totally responsible for ALL CO2 in the atmosphere but nobody seems to have any actual, peer reviewed, published research papers to point me to. They may indeed exist, but none of the "true believers" know where they are! (Or have some unspoken reason why they won't share that info with me.)

I am really getting tired of all the alarmism and chicken-little-ism that is surfacing these days.

It may surprise you to know it but I would really love to read blog after blog by you on your efforts to DO something positive rather than more of the same old iteration and reiteration of "the evil done by them awful bad guys." Our society is being swamped in such negativity and people are starting to get awfully fed up with it and they're turning off about it all.

Do you remember the old song, "Accent the Positive"?

Best to you.....