Posts tagged with: As You Sow

From the time your writer opted to publicly proclaim his policy opinions in a variety of forums that are privately funded, he has incurred estrangement from ideologically opposed friends and family members, as well as receiving threatening emails and even frightening phone calls from complete strangers.

From the above experiences, it was easy to glean progressives can be very nasty (comments I receive often remark negatively on my choice of eyewear). Most tellingly, however, presume to know the private funding sources for the think tanks wherefrom much of my opinionated work emanates.

This last serves two purposes. The first is to discredit personal opinions as merely corporate or political propaganda. It’s a silly tactic to be sure, but one employed often against writers in the public sphere. The second is to name and shame any company or individual with which the progressives in question disagree. These enemies of debate, which include religious shareholder activists affiliated with As You Sow and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, cannot abide private giving to causes with which they disagree. (more…)

George Soros

George Soros

George Soros just donated another $6 million to Democratic Party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s Super Political Action Committee, raising the total the billionaire has contributed thus far to her 2016 campaign to $7 million. Liberals and progressives who can be counted on to hyperventilate every time the Koch brothers drop a dollar into a Salvation Army drum haven’t made a peep. They’ve also been remarkably silent on other donations to Clinton’s Priorities USA SuperPac, including $5 million from Haim Saban and his wife Cheryl; $2.3 million from Laurie Woods; and $2.5 million from Donald Sussman.

And I shall join the liberals and progressives in their chorus of silence, because, unlike them, your writer prefers intellectual consistency. So, you go, George Soros! And, likewise, Mr. and Ms. Saban, Ms. Woods and Mr. Sussman. Last, but not least, let’s hear it for the Koch brothers! Because each and every one of the above-listed donors are exercising their First Amendment free-speech rights, which were girded by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

However, liberals and progressives don’t see it that way when donations don’t go their way. For example the left-leaning investors affiliated with religious shareholder activists As You Sow seemingly can’t abide corporate donations in the political game when it’s their respective ox that’s gored, namely anyone who disagrees with their views on climate change, social issues, genetically modified organisms and, you guessed it, Citizens United.

Here’s an example from an AYS proxy resolution submitted to DuPont: (more…)

A segment on yesterday’s CBS weekend news and entertainment program Sunday Morning informatively dealt with the controversy surrounding the use of genetically modified organisms. It’ll likely be the best 11 minutes of broadcast science journalism readers will view all week. The segment contrasts the relatively weak arguments presented by the anti-GMO crowd with the real-world benefits of GMOs for everyone, but especially those struggling from hunger in drought- or flood-ravaged areas and impoverished countries.

Two dots not connected in the otherwise outstanding piece are the misperceptions spread by the anti-GMO crowd and the negative impact that would have on companies forced to label their food products derived from GMOs. While CBS correspondent Barry Petersen reports an estimated 80 percent of food sold at U.S. supermarkets contain GMOs, he also notes 57 percent of Americans are skeptical about the safety of GMOs. Labeling safe food as containing GMOs may scare off consumers who can’t afford the higher-priced GMO alternatives.

Here’s hoping the anti-GMO shareholder activists at the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and As You Sow view Petersen’s excellent report. These activists are performing more actual harm than perceived good in their crusade against feeding the world.

For this writer, kissing last year goodbye was less a buss on the cheek than it was a kick in Old Man 2015’s behind. The previous year was chock-full of banalities and trivialities regarding religious shareholder activists and their opposition to fossil fuels and the companies that bring them to market – all while hypocritically traversing the globe in their luxe tour buses and big jet airliners to lend supposed Divine authority to the religion of Gaia.

poverty_rate_at_1_a_dayLet’s tick off some of the most egregious anti-fossil fuel activities of the nuns, priests, clergy and other religious affiliated with such groups as As You Sow and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. First, of course, was the proxy resolutions they filed with oil, gas, coal and utility companies. Second was the veritable River Dance of interminable jigging conducted for the better part of the summer and fall subsequent to release of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si encyclical. Third was the preening and posing coordinated during the United Nations Sustainable Innovation Forum (COP21) held in Paris this past month.

The above comprise the three legs of the religious left’s 2015 anti-fossil fuel stool. For example, As You Sow boasts on its website: (more…)

The Diamondback Moth

The Diamondback Moth

Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal reported on startup Intrexon Corp.’s efforts to eradicate pests responsible for inflicting “billions of dollars a year in lost revenue and crop-protection expenses.” The pests in question are diamondback moths that wreak havoc on cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower crops, and the efforts involve genetically modifying females of the species so they die before reproducing. WSJ writer Jacob Bunge adds that a GMO potato developed by J.R. Simplot Co. that develops fewer black spots from bruising recently was granted U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval. Further, says the journalist, Arcadia Biosciences Inc. “is developing varieties of rice and trees that can grow in salty and dry soils.”

Readers may conclude these developments are cause for confetti, balloons and public celebrations on every street in the United States and throughout the world. However, backlash against genetically modified organisms continues unabated without any scientific evidence to support the alarms raised by what Bunge identifies as “consumer and environmental groups.”

I would add to Bunge’s list the “religious” shareholder activists at As You Sow and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. Both groups gin up unwarranted GMO fears and spread disinformation while advocating in their proxy shareholder resolutions for GMO labeling, public disclosure of company lobbying and political contributions, and calls to avoid using GMOs altogether.

Funny how the non-scientists at AYS and ICCR claim a “scientific consensus” for catastrophic, human-caused climate change but can’t identify one single peer-reviewed study to support their claims GMOs pose risks to the environment and consumers. Except it’s not funny at all. (more…)

In an email last week, GMOInside.org – a coalition opposed to genetically engineered and genetically modified organisms, which counts shareholder activist group As You Sow a member – blasted an email chock-a-block with material for two previous posts (here and here). And now comes a third PowerBlog post about the activists’ effort to roll back Senate support for the Safe and Affordable Food Labeling (SAFE) Act, dubbed the DARK Act (Deny Americans the Right to Know Act – get it?).

Readers can judge the bill’s merits for themselves by reading the text of the original SAFE, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives last summer and is now under consideration in the Senate. The law, if passed, cuts both ways. First, it may require labeling GMO food if such labeling is deemed by the FDA as “necessary protect public health and safety or to prevent the label from being false or misleading.” SAFE would prohibit labeling and advertising that makes claims of better safety or higher quality for either GMOs or organic foods. SAFE would also establish rules for non-GMO classification throughout the supply chain from farm to market.

Why the kerfuffle? While your writer finds the bill far less than perfect due to requiring FDA approval of GMOs before allowing them to market, the remainder seems relatively benign. However, GMOInside.org intern Carly Giddings frets: (more…)

shark-katy-perry-super-bowlIt was a big fish. The poor people wanted to eat it. Everyone else wanted to choose whether to eat the big fish. The crusader sharks against genetic engineering stole the big fish. The poor people stayed hungry. The other people could not choose to eat the big fish. They had hunger cramps in their stomachs. – Apologies to Ernest Hemingway

It’s come to this: GMOInside.org is celebrating supermarket chain Costco Wholesale’s decision to refrain from selling AquaBounty Technology’s genetically engineered AquAdvantage Salmon. According to the Seattle Times’ article reprinted on the GMOInside.org website, Costco joins a list of supermarkets – Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Target and Kroger – that won’t sell the salmon, which was approved for sale to the public by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month after studying the issue for 20 years. The FDA also concluded it wasn’t necessary to mandate labeling AquAdvantage Salmon as genetically modified.

GMOInside.org is a coalition that includes such anti-science standard bearers as Food Babe, Green America, Moms Across America, the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, the Pressed Organic Juice Directory, Conscious Kitchen, and – you just knew it, didn’t you? – the shareholder activists members of As You Sow. Just as the AquAdvantage Salmon finally is lassoed to the skiff, the GMOInside.org posse protested at stores until they refused to sell it like sharks dancing around Katy Perry at a professional football halftime show.

Such is their aversion to AquAdvantage Salmon, the sharks probably don’t realize they’re working against their environmental agenda. According to the AquaBounty website, AquAdvantage Salmon will take a bite out of the U.S. seafood deficit. The company estimates 95 percent of Atlantic salmon consumed in this country is imported from elsewhere, which is largely due to strict environmental regulations limiting coastline fishing. As the company notes, that’s good for U.S. coastlines but not so much overseas. Further, the company notes its farm-raised Atlantic salmon derives from inland farms, which emits 23x to 25x less carbon emissions that imported salmon from Norway and Chile. (more…)