Skip to main content

This is the second part of a series of posts analyzing California's propositions:


Good Intentions...


Proposition 31 is a well-intentioned proposition. Unlike several of the propositions out there today, it's not funded by special interests or companies looking to make a profit. It's a proposition funded by California Forward, a group legitimately dedicated to reforming California's budget. The folks at California Forward put a lot of time and thought into drafting this proposition; it's basically a collection of reforms in the budgeting process that they think would best help the state.

Moreover, there are good things in Proposition 31. For instance, the two-year budget cycle contained in the proposition sounds like a good idea.

But I Don't Understand It!

California has lots of propositions, and they generally do more bad than good. Indeed, a wise voter ought to reject the good majority of propositions that are put forward each year. That's the philosophy that informs the approach this blog takes towards propositions.

A wise voter ought to be especially cautious with a proposition he or she doesn't understand. If you don't understand what a proposition does, or if you're extremely confused by its wording, you should almost always vote no.

This proposition is both extremely complicated and quite confusing. There are a lot of big changes which have big, unknown effects on the state budget. The legislative analyst writes that the fiscal effects "cannot be predicted" quite a bit in its analysis. That's worrying.

Take one part of the proposal. The proposition shifts quite a lot of authority to local governments. For instance:

Under this measure, counties and other local governments (such as cities, school districts, community college districts, and special districts) could create plans for coordinating how they provide services to the public. The plans could address how local governments deliver services in many areas, including economic development, education, social services, public safety, and public health. Each plan would have to be approved by the governing boards of the (1) county, (2) school districts serving a majority of the county’s students, and (3) other local governments representing a majority of the county’s population. Local agencies would receive some funding from the state to implement the plans (as described below).
There's a ton of information packed into this short paragraph.

This change is made under the assumption that local goverments are more efficient. If it were proposed in the legislature lawmakers and their staff would probably have access to studies, surveys, and analyses on whether or not local governments actually are more efficient than the state government. Those studies and analyses would probably run up into the dozens of pages.

But voters just have this short little paragraph on one facet of the many facets of Proposition 31. For such a major change, it's not enough.

Perhaps all the changes in Proposition 31 would be of great benefit. Perhaps they would be of great damage. I don't know, especially since I have such a hard time understanding Proposition 31.

That's why Californians should vote no on Proposition 31, come November 2012.

--inoljt

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobinson, CaliSista, LinSea, pico, Janusdog

    http://mypolitikal.com/

    by Inoljt on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 09:51:25 PM PDT

  •  Thanks (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CaliSista, Inoljt, LinSea, pico

    You and I are on the same page:

    If you don't understand what a proposition does, or if you're extremely confused by its wording, you should almost always vote no.
    I typically vote "No" on just about everything. Seems like the CA proposition system is simply a Republican tool to work around the Democratic legislature. Was nice to see Schwarzeneggar get slapped in his special election back in the day.

    Looks like I see a few things worth a "Yes" vote this time. 30 (Jerry Brown's tax hike), 34 (No death penalty), 36 (3rd strike has to be a doozy), maybe 37 (geneticaly modified food labels), 39 (tax hike on multi-state businesses) and I don't know about 40 (approval of redistricting maps).

    Does anyone have a take on 37 or 40?


    i just baptized andrew breitbart into the church of islam, planned parenthood, the girl scouts and three teachers unions. - @blainecapatch

    by bobinson on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 10:21:55 PM PDT

    •  I think the authors of 40 said "nevermind" - nt (0+ / 0-)

      "Someone just turned the lights on in the bar and the sexiest state doesn't look so pretty anymore" CA Treasurer Bill Lockyer on Texas budget mess

      by CaliSista on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 10:38:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well actually, it's a bit more complicated. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LinSea, ybruti, bobinson, madhaus

        I took a second look and the original proposal was "yes" to keep the redistricting commission's new state senate districts and a "no" vote would have rejected them. The sponsors wanted a "no" vote but have since withdrawn their opposition because a court has already upheld the new boundaries making this proposition moot.

        "Someone just turned the lights on in the bar and the sexiest state doesn't look so pretty anymore" CA Treasurer Bill Lockyer on Texas budget mess

        by CaliSista on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 10:50:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  VOTE YES ON 40! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ybruti, BusyinCA

      40 is a Republican hackjob meant to change the State Senate districts just because they didn't like how they were drawn by the independent redistricting commission. Funny how they want to change the State Senate districts but not the State Asssembly districts drawn by the commission (which were more favorable for them).

      Voting no on 40 would reject the districts drawn by the commission (which is what the Republicans want). Voting yes on 40 would keep them.

      http://mypolitikal.com/

      by Inoljt on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 11:27:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  37 is awful, but it's going to pass. (0+ / 0-)

      The bit of polling that's been done has it so far ahead that it's just this side of inevitable.  But on the merits, it's based on bad policy and worse science.  

      A pretty angry rant from Orac on this topic.  

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 12:52:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Labeling GMO's in Europe and Japan (0+ / 0-)

        has made GMO's hard to sell there.  The film "Genetic Roulette" makes a strong case for passing Prop 37.

        The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

        by ybruti on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 05:58:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The film 'Genetic Roulette' (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ybruti

          was put together by a non-scientist who teaches "yogic flying".  I'm not making this up.  

          It's bad science.

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 11:26:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry, that deserved a link: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ybruti

          here's his official bio.  Note that he has no training in the science whatsoever, but as an advocate and writer.  That's not necessarily a problem (Mooney isn't a scientist, either), but I think it puts in perspective the more technical claims he makes in GR.  He's also a bit of a nutcase.    That site has an extensive debunking of Genetic Roulette.

          Understandably, people have questioned the conflicts of interests of the people who run that site - no objection to that, at all - but on the merits of their analysis, I think it's clear that Smith doesn't know what he's talking about.

          For less of a conflict, PZ Meyers knocks down the central conceit of 'unintended consequences' here.

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 01:29:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for the links. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pico

            The film shows some veterinarians (if they aren't actors) saying they have seen that non-GMO feed is healthier for some cattle and other animals, but you'd think if true it would be widespread knowledge. The film also shows scientists (if they aren't actors) whose research has been suppressed because it is contrary to Monsanto's findings that GMO's are safe. As I recall, the film also says the FDA has not done, or is not permitted to do, its own research on GMO's. If Prop 37 passes, the courts will probably have a chance to judge its merits and enlighten the rest of us.

            The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

            by ybruti on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 02:41:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Prop 37 campaigns discussed in the Atlantic (0+ / 0-)

              Oct. 18.  Apparently public support for the proposition has gone from 70% to less than 50%, due to the barrage of advertising from agricultural biotech companies and food corporations, who have spent a million dollars a day on advertising this month. One anecdote from the battle:

              The anti-Prop 37 campaign's first ad featured a Dr. Henry Miller, who was misrepresented as a Stanford University professor. Miller is in fact, as the L.A. Times reported, a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution, which is situated on the campus of Stanford. According to the California Right to Know Web site, which provides supporting links, Miller once headed a tobacco front group that tried to discredit the links between cigarettes and cancer, and has repeatedly called for the reintroduction of DDT; he has also worked for a climate change denier group, and has claimed on his Forbes.com blog that people exposed to radiation from the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster "could have actually benefitted from it."

              The administration of Stanford University objected to the ad, claiming it was misleading voters. The ad had to be remade, but Henry Miller remains its star. Five days after the television ads were changed, the state was nonetheless blanketed with the same misrepresentation of Miller in a postal mailer.Link

              Anti-Prop 37 ads have also claimed that labeling will raise the price of groceries, which the Prop 37 supporters say will not happen. On the other hand, several newspapers object to ads falsely claiming their editorial support for Prop 37.

              The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

              by ybruti on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 03:35:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No doubt some aspects of their campaign are bad: (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ybruti

                they're largely funded by Monsanto, and no one every argued they were a force for good.  Believe me, it sucks to be on the same side as them in an issue, even though we have very different reasons for being on that side.

                Meanwhile the Yes campaign is being funded largely by Mercola, who believes AIDS is a hoax and vaccines are bad for you, was repeatedly censured by the FDA for provided misleading health information to consumers.  I'd hate to be on that side, too.   If we reduce politics to the campaigns themselves, both sides of this are total losers.  

                The Yes campaign is wrong on the price of groceries: that's exactly what happened in other countries where labeling was introduced.   They've based their 'refutation' on a hypothetical study by a law professor, who believes that it won't happen.   So we have the record on one side (prices increase) and a prediction on the other side (they won't).  Like a lot of this issue, the facts are against the proposition.

                Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

                by pico on Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 11:21:51 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  On the topic of science... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BusyinCA

        I disagree with you that it's awful.  After all, aren't Republicans always touting the free market?  The free market will decide everything!

        Well, if people want their food labeled and want to know who makes those seeds, etc, why isn't it their right?   Because they only believe in the free market when it means they have no social responsibility!

        I have no idea whether GMOs do anything or not, and it irritates me that I'm on the side of the cranks on this one.  But if people want to know where their food comes from I think that's their right.

        Maybe Monsanto should, oh, listen to customers?

        •  No one's saying it isn't their 'right'. (0+ / 0-)

          People have the 'right' to label stuff however they want.  It's just that 'GMO' is a meaningless label - it refers to a set of techniques so broad, and with so many types of applications, that it sweeps up both the types of products that may have legitimate concerns (higher Bt production in corn, maybe) and products where the tweaks have been so small, and so beneficial, that people don't even realize they're technically GM.  

          But people get whipped into a frenzy about 'frankenfoods' and, the state of science education being as poor as it is, they throw out everything.  It's a pity that we're so wholeheartedly embracing that.

          Not a surprise, though, any more than the pertussis outbreak in Marin county that finally turned the tide in the anti-vaccine movement.  The outbreak was enough to drive home the importance of vaccines in a dramatic way, whereas the difference between 'natural' and GM produce isn't nearly so obvious.

          (There's also the problem that the proposition bans the label 'natural' from any product that's undergone 'processing', which includes basic techniques like roasting, pressing, and drying.  The Yes campaign freaked out, because it started driving away donors who sell things like organic applesauce.  They've promised that's not the 'intent' of the proposition and petitioned the state analyst to delete that from the summary - the state refused, because it's clearly written there.  The Yes campaign promises they'd never use the statute that way.  Well... not sure if you're a Californian, but the memory of Prop 8 - where the authors 'promised' it wouldn't affect benefits, then promptly sued against benefits as soon as it was passed - should be enough to raise everyone's skepticism bar a bit.)

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 11:44:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  In other words, those in control of our food (0+ / 0-)

            don't want to tell us what is in it. That's the bottom line, just as it has been with the ongoing war first to prohibit organic labelling, then to make it formal and redefine it as industrial, etc.  They can say it is too broad all they want, but that isn';t the problem, the problem is disclosure, which is anathema to them.

            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

            by enhydra lutris on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 04:46:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, that's not it. (0+ / 0-)

              The problem is that you aren't disclosing what you think you're disclosing.  If a product has a problem with it, identify and disclose that.  Instead you're targeting a technique for purely ideological reasons, defended with specious arguments about the science.  And I have a real problem with that.

              Case in point: without looking it up, can you tell me what is "in" a GM papaya that isn't "in" a non-GM papaya?  

              Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

              by pico on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 06:20:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Why should I bother with a surreal quiz that (0+ / 0-)

                is irrelevant to everything. Can you tell me what phylum tomatoes and fish share?

                What the hell do you mean you aren't disclosing what you think you are disclosing mean? If I insist on disclosure of point of orign or whether it has been sprayed with paraquat, or injected with saline solution (or mercury) and they do so, they are disclosing exactly what I think they're disclosing.

                You think only proven problems need to be disclosed? That's nonsense. How about "we sprayed paraquat on your food?" Before it became a problem it wasn't, and of course, we still don't have comprehensive pesticide labelling, for the same spurious reasons (people will make decisions we don't like)

                You have no reason why people want the labelling, only why some do. How about if I told you that I detest Monsanto and its campaign to control the worlds food sources so it can charge monopolistic prices, and I want GMO labelling to I can try to take them down.  Is it any of your damn business?

                Is it any of your concern at all what people's reasons for demanding information is?  It hurts nothing to disclose the truth, and the frantic fight not to reeks. Every time the citizenry has asked for disclosure industry always resists? Why do they feel they have to hide what they are doing and why do they think that they have a right to?

                That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                by enhydra lutris on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 06:34:19 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  ??? (0+ / 0-)
                  Why should I bother with a surreal quiz that is irrelevant to everything.
                  I can't believe you actually wrote that.  The facts are irrelevant to the case now.  Wow.
                  You think only proven problems need to be disclosed?
                  If we're arguing about legally required disclosure, yeah.  That is the basic standard the FDA has (rightfully) used in the past.
                  How about if I told you that I detest Monsanto and its campaign to control the worlds food sources so it can charge monopolistic prices, and I want GMO labelling to I can try to take them down.
                  Except that Monsanto isn't the only company that uses GM technology, and labeling an entire field technology just to bring down a company says a lot about the people who'd make this argument.

                  And (since other people have made this argument), doesn't it belie your shock that the industry would be opposed to this measure?  Since it obviously harms them?

                  Is it any of your concern at all what people's reasons for demanding information is?
                  Isn't the usual process for getting people to vote on a proposition explaining the purpose of that proposition?  Or are we skipping that entirely?

                  Fortunately it doesn't matter what you, yourself think: the text of the proposition itself contains an entire "Findings" section that includes things like the awful-science "unintended consequences" in the very first clause.   So they've diligently laid out their reasons why Prop 37 is necessary, and those reasons are bunk.   The end.

                  Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

                  by pico on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 06:52:06 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Complete misrepresentation of what I said (0+ / 0-)

                    T

                    he facts are irrelevant to the case now.  Wow.
                    I said nothing of the kind. You asked a bullshit question as to the difference or lack thereof between two specific plants. They weren't under discussion. If I wanted to know, I would try to find out. Maybe somebody else is concerned about that - go find them and ask them? I'm not concerned about them and havent done any research on them, so what? It is irrelevant except to say "here's a plant you haven't researched" - surprise, there are several, so what?
                    Isn't the usual process for getting people to vote on a proposition explaining the purpose of that proposition?
                    That is quite clearly laid out - it is to get the manufacturers of our "food" to say what it is and what it is made of and to prevent the labelling of food made with or from GMOs as "natural".

                    Like all of the other labelling fights, does it contain added water, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, paraquat, lead, etc. THE PURPOSE IS TO PROVIDE THE CONSUMER WITH INFORMATION ABOUT THE PRODUCT.

                    Why some argue for it isn't fully determinative, but the following:
                    (

                    a) California consumers have the right to know whether the foods they purchase were produced using genetic engineering. Genetic engineering of plants and animals often causes unintended consequences. Manipulating genes and inserting them into organisms is an imprecise process. The results are not always predictable or controllable, and they can lead to adverse health or environmental consequences.
                    is not bunk. If you are claiming that every case of gene splicing ever attempted was based on perfect knowledge of all effects and results and all possible consequences, both of the splicing, but of the production, distribution and consumption of the product, you are flat out wrong. There is definitely no reason to believe that it will be so in all future attempts either.

                    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                    by enhydra lutris on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 08:47:17 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Nope: (0+ / 0-)

                      It's not a bullshit question, because it's the stated justification for the proposition.  It's the question.  If people can't answer it, then the label is ideological rather than informative.

                      I'm not concerned about them and havent done any research on them
                      That is abundantly clear.
                      If you are claiming that every case of gene splicing ever attempted was based on perfect knowledge of all effects and results and all possible consequences
                      This is what I actually wrote:
                      All of these things [ed. unknown variables, pleitropy] do exist with gene insertion to a considerably lesser degree because, like in any good experiment, you've been able to control the majority of variables.
                      Sheesh, I even italicized it for you and you still accuse me of "perfect knowledge of all effects", etc.?   C'mon now.  You can do better than that.

                      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

                      by pico on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 09:30:55 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I assumed you were flip flopping: you say that (0+ / 0-)

                        for others to assert a lack of perfect knowledge is bunk, that means that you assert perfect knowledge exists in all cases and always will. Make up your mind.

                        Now, those two specific plants are nowhere mentioned in the law on in the reasons supporting it , so it is bunk to say that they are what the law is about.

                        Here's what it is about.

                        If you spray veggies with a neurotoxin, I should have a right to know, but I don't.

                        If you inject them with a neurotoxin, I do have the right to know.

                        If you insert a gene so that they make that same identical neurotoxin, I should also have a right to know.

                        It doesn't matter if it is a neurotoxin or what, I have a right to know that my tomato has been altered far beyond the normal expectation that it might be any of numerous cultivars occurring naturally in the wild or developed by hybridization,. I have a right to know if it has been genetically engineered to produce antifreeze or neurotoxins, just as I should have a right to know if it was grafted onto nightshade.

                        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                        by enhydra lutris on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 09:40:38 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

      •  All I want is a label. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bobinson, BusyinCA

        There's a simple safe harbor position: label all your food as containing or possibly containing GMOs. Since 70% of the American food supply contains some GMO ingredients, you'll be in good company. Printing it on the label costs nothing.

        One of two things will happen.

        American consumers will decide it's no big deal and embrace GMOs.

        or

        American consumers will flock to the people who are able to label their products as GMO free.

        Either way, it will be a deliberate choice, unlike the vast science experiment that's been going on for the past decade without any particular consent or awareness.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 09:52:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The goal is eliminating them. (0+ / 0-)

          That's what the top donor, Mercola - he of the anti-vaccine, AIDS-denying, FDA penalized company - said about the prop 37.  He knows that it'll kill GMOs economically, and it's his best chance for doing so.  

          It's a deliberate choice based on exploiting how little people understand about science.  That's why the rhetoric has focused so much on misinformation - see ybruti's comment above re: "genetic roulette", which has come to replace "frankenfoods" as the term of choice.  The "vast science experiment" you're worried about is going on on a smaller scale since the days of natural hybridization, where you'd literally have no idea about the scope and impact of genetic transfer.   And under this proposition, that wouldn't have to be labeled.  It's completely backwards.  

          I don't always agree with Chris Mooney (The Republican War on Science), but he's exactly right when he called GMO policy one of the few places where the left allows ideology to trump science.

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 11:32:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm pretty well informed on the issue (0+ / 0-)

            Honestly... I'd be happy with eliminating GMO crops. None of the GMO crops grown in the US are grown that way for the benefit of the consumer, and the consumer carries all the risk.

            Some day, perhaps, GMO crops will be grown that have actual benefits to consumers or to the ecosystem. Again, labeling there is not necessarily bad - "special supernutritious GMO broccoli without that bitter taste" - have at it.

            I don't think they will actually eliminate GMO crops - I think it is at this point nearly impossible to do so. I think when 70% of your food supply contains them, consumers won't be able to not choose them. But I think companies should have to own up to it and make their case to the American people. Or at least to Californians.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 12:05:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I haven't read Chris Mooney's piece (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            enhydra lutris

            but I would have to say that the science on GMO crops is pretty skimpy, and the possibility for OMG What Have We Done extremely high.

            Why shouldn't GMO salmon be labeled? Just for the most basic point, the studies show it is less nutritious than either wild or farmed conventional salmon. The "safety data" on them is based on 6 individual fish. And the possibility that they would escape and damage ecosystems is high.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 12:13:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  This is going to sound way harsher than (0+ / 0-)

              I intend it, but the idea that the science is skimpy kinda calls into question the claim that you're pretty well informed on the issue.  That's not an insult: it's a challenge.  What do you know, and how do you know what you know (so to speak)?  If you're talking about an individual product, maybe (see below, re: salmon), but if you're talking about the technology, then no, the scientific community has reached as much a consensus on GM as it has on climate change and vaccines.  That's what makes this whole labeling argument so frustrating.

              If we're talking about a bio/health perspective, the 'possibility for OMG What Have We Done" is lower than it is with natural hybrids, which are not required to be labeled.  I linked to PZ Myers' comment above on this issue, but briefly: this is a misunderstanding of how pleitropy works, combined with an elision between genetics, biology, and health that doesn't reflect the actual mechanisms involved.  Natural hybrids of otherwise edible, healthy produce can kill you, too.   Look at (unlabled) cassava.  The safer GM version won't be able to get approval until, optimistically, 2017.  And even then, despite being objectively safer for consumption, it'll carry the scarlet A for reasons that are strictly ideological.

              By salmon I think you mean AquAdvantage (one major complaint I have against GM policy is legal copyrighting, but that isn't affected by Prop 37).   The FDA has been reviewing the salmon for nearly twenty years, the amount of research they're assessing is enormous (pdf), and it still hasn't been approved for mostly political reasons.  

              (The 'six fish' thing wasn't the basis of its 'safety data', it was, from a multipronged analysis of allergen risks, one of the subsections on allergenic potency, which involved three groups - one control, two GM varieties - for a total of 18 fish.  The reason the study group wasn't larger is that the gene imported was itself not a contributor to allergen risks, so this was a 'just in case' study rather than a 'we have no idea what the results may be' study.  The FDA acknowledged that the data for one of the two varieties was insufficiently clear, but the other, based both on this subsection and on the other data in other studies it was assessing, bore no different an allergenic profile than the control, for exactly the reasons predicted.  The summary of this section is page 106.

              For some perspective: if you were 'naturally' breeding two types of salmon together, you would not need to make this assessment, despite the fact that, again, the risks of allergen increases are more unknown and unpredictable.   The health concerns about GM products aren't null, but they're poorly understood and inflated in ways that this labeling push only exacerbates.)

              Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

              by pico on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 02:11:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  OK, that's strictly propaganda. All attempts to (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BusyinCA

            confuse gene splicing with hybridization are simply outrageously misleading.

            Hybrids are the result of crossbreeding things whcih are capable of hybridization. Gene splicing is the process of manufacturing things that could never crossbreed or hybridize, things that are close enough on the evolutionary tree. Any allegation that opposition to labelling is based on science and scientific concerns and concerns about the ignorance of the populace at large about science goes in the toilet as obvious bullshit the second this thoroughly debunked slab of steaming horseshit is spouted.

            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

            by enhydra lutris on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 04:50:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You're complete wrong about this. (0+ / 0-)

              Completely.  

              Hybrids are the result of crossbreeding things whcih are capable of hybridization. Gene splicing is the process of manufacturing things that could never crossbreed or hybridize, things that are close enough on the evolutionary tree.
              So what?  What is the difference between the two, other than a fantasy belief that the ability to quasi-naturally hybridize (because 'natural' techniques like grafting don't happen in nature) results in something more defensible than something that doesn't?  You're begging the questions that natural=better and that natural=safe, and I'm sorry to tell you that neither is true.   See my examples above for things like cassava, among others.

              When you crossbreed 'naturally' [sic], you have no idea where the points of genetic transfer take place, you have no idea whether the resulting plant is going to be toxic, or allergenic, or nutritious, or whatever.  You try your best to select for qualities that, after generations of trying, seem to push out other qualities, and you still don't know the extent of the pleitropy effect in what you're doing.  

              All of these things do exist with gene insertion to a considerably lesser degree because, like in any good experiment, you've been able to control the majority of variables.   It doesn't matter that it's "unnatural", or that the original sequence came from a very different species.  It's literally meaningless, unless we accept the questions you begged in the outset.

              Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

              by pico on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 06:32:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  When you crossbreed naturally, you are taking (0+ / 0-)

                very closely related organisms, ones that are sufficiently close genetically and evolutionarily and fostering hybridization which is, as you note, a generally naturally occurring process. (I don't include grafting in hybridization, that is yet more propaganda and misrepresentation.)

                The whole point of gene splicing is to combine genetic mateial from organisms that cannot naturally interbreed, no matter how much help they are given.  Instead of two very closely members of the same species, you aren't even necessarily sticking to organisms of the same phylum, or even, in some cases, the same kingdom.

                So, a northern shoveler, A. clypeata, hybridizes, with or without assistance with a mallard, A. platyrhynchos. We have a duck, anas clypeata x platyrhynchos. The two very closely related species that co-evolved and co-evolved the ability to hybridize or be hybridized. If you gene splice a mallard and a tomato, you don't have a duck or a tomato, you don't have closely related species nor species that co-evolved to be able to hybridize nor species that can hybridizehybridize.

                When you assert that the two processes are the same, you are not talking science, you are talking Monsanto PR.

                 

                You're begging the questions that natural=better and that natural=safe, and I'm sorry to tell you that neither is true.
                Actually, I'm not, but you are begging the question that the opposite is true.

                Food safety and/or health risk is only one of a large number of reasons why people might object to this, that or the other gene spliced food, or to all gene spliced food. Just because Monsanto shareholders might not like any of the other reasons has noting to do with the basic principle of the thing. We should know if it has been drenched with neurotoxins, loaded up with salt water, encased in cow brains or whatever, we should be entitled to know that.

                As to concerns about health risk - iIt is a valid reason, something called the precautionary principle. Ah, but Monsanto says this specific thing is good for you. Right, and so is napalm. You have nobody with credibility behind all this stuff, and a long list of exposed lies in a short time, so until you have a huge sample, double blind, of two sets of people from all over the spectrum as to health, food allergies, various forms of IBD and immune diseases and the like who regularly and routinely ate substantial amounts of tomato duck, you really can't be assumed to a) know shit about it's safety and b) be telling the truth. The FDA approach is ludicrous - if you modify food it is still food and food is safe hence modified food is safe. Replace modified with "coated with lead and paraquat" for elucidation.

                In short, the citizenry have every right to distrust most of our food manufacturers. They have a right to decide on a case by case, item by item basis what they do and do not wish to trust, and they hae a right to complete information about what's in the product. They hae a right to know if those are corn tortillas, paraquat corn tortillas, BT corn tortillas or round-up ready corn tortillas. There is no justification whatsoever for withholding that information from them.

                That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                by enhydra lutris on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 08:30:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Nope, sorry. (0+ / 0-)
                  Actually, I'm not, but you are begging the question that the opposite is true.
                  Yes, you are: just look at your invocation of 'the precautionary principle' as a justification for caution with GM, where it's far more warranted with natural [sic] hybridization.  My assertion, throughout these threads, isn't that GM is always 'safe', but that the risks it entails involves substantially more controlled variables than natural [sic] hybrids.  That's a fact, not an opinion.
                  If you gene splice a mallard and a tomato, you don't have a duck or a tomato, you don't have closely related species nor species that co-evolved to be able to hybridize nor species that can hybridizehybridize.
                  Yeah... that ends the discussion for me.  It's one thing to argue the finer points of the science, but this is so far afield from how gene insertion works that it's clear we've got a lot of background work to do before you're even up to discussing GM as a technology.   This is crank science.

                  Unless you have something concrete to offer - and scaremongering about Monsanto isn't going to cut it - then there's no point in continuing this thread.  We're going in cir

                  Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

                  by pico on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 09:36:17 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  When John & Mary go shopping, they decide (0+ / 0-)

                    they don't want Tilapia raised on pig and fowl feces, so, thanks to the magic of point of origin labeling, they buy US or South American Tilapia. You, in your infinite wisdom may think that there is no problem with suchj Tilapia, which is fine, go eat all you want, buy they have a right to decide what to eat, what to buy with their own money.

                    They decide not to buy the chicken that's 30% added water. You might thhink it's healthy and good for the shareholders of the manufacturer, they think it is a criminal rip-off. It is their choice, not yours.

                    They need calcium supplements, and by reading the label are able to avoid the ones from DOW with the Uranium mine tailings and the ones from Monsanto with the waste treatment plant sludge. Again if you disapprove of that choice, tough, it is their choice, not yours.

                    They want some tortillas. They want neither BT nor Round-Up ready. Mary thinks that they are bad for the environment and isn't sure that she trusts anything soaked in round-up. John has leaky bowel syndrome and worries about anything that hasn't stood the test of time with him personally. You and the other self appointed arbiters of food, Monsanto, Dow, IG Farben (oops, I guess they go by Bayer AG now) etc. may diaspprove of their chjoice and their reasoning, but it is their choice. Nobody made any of you the food god, they get to choose becasue it is their money and they are the ones that will be eating it.

                    The horsehsit argument that it is possible that some natural hybrids can be as uncertain or dangerous as gene splicing is an irrelevant red herring, and is highly questionable anyway. The vast perfect knowledge of exactly what each gene does at exactly which insertion sites is, simply but, myth, as is the idea that we know the impact on all humans with all physical conditions of new combinations of proteins and other chemicals. You are ok with vitamin A, capsaicin, and rice, right? All we did was mix them together and add a ton of gluten,super heavy on the A, and make a cupcake. It should be unarguable as a matter of profit seeking science that you can eat these too with no ill effects.  Riiiight, Thank you DOW Chemical.

                    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                    by enhydra lutris on Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 08:51:22 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry, but demanding that manufacturers of (0+ / 0-)

        things that you eat tell you what's in their product is neither bad policy nor bad science.

        The myth of the free enterprise system is that people will be able to choose wisely because they will have complete information. We do not have complete information, and those in control always, ALWAYS try to withhold information and always use the same morlonic and fallacious arguments:

        It will bankrupt us
        People will make uninformed unwise decisions.

        Point of origin labeling didn't bankrupt anybody and nobody is seemingly making unsound and unwise decisions. All that these bozo;s mean by unsound and uninformed is "decisions that we, that masters of the universe, don't approve of.

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 04:41:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  See my comment above (0+ / 0-)

          re: what's "in" your products.

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 06:21:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  BT corn in tortillas is "in the products", try (0+ / 0-)

            not to play silly games. Why people don't want BT corn in their tortillas may or may not meet with your standards for what you think should be acceptable in tortillas, but that's your problem, not theirs. Also, you have no idea what their reasons are, there are many people, with many different and varied reasons for rejecting products containing, for example, BT corn or Round-Up Ready anything.

            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

            by enhydra lutris on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 06:39:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ergo: (0+ / 0-)

              if this is really, really the reason for a disclosure label, then "Bt" is the correct label, no?  Unfortunately that label would also affect organic [sic] products, given that Bt is still the pesticide of choice for organic farmers.   They wouldn't be able to duck the labeling standards by arguing that it's a purely external application, because that's not how Bt works.

              See what I mean?  The 'GMO' label is arbitrary to the alleged justification for it.

              Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

              by pico on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 07:00:05 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No, the appropriate label is (0+ / 0-)

                "Genetically Modified - made from BT corn", or "Genetically modified, fish genes were spliced into this tomato", etc. I guess it is the same, to your way of thinking if a chicken carcase is rinsed off, or if it is injected with 36% of its body weight of water - it only need be labeled "treated with water" or somesuch, but there is a real difference, for example, if a little urea is applied to the roots, or if the edible portion is injected full or urea. Most people would think so, and it is most people who are entitled to know if that is the case. If you don't want to know, don't read labels.

                That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                by enhydra lutris on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 08:52:40 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Prop. 40 (0+ / 0-)

    here is a list of supporters and us.

    http://www.kcet.org/...

  •  Prop 31 is opposed by (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BusyinCA

    the League of Women Voters, the California Federation of Teachers, and the California Labor Federation;  those who favor Prop 31 include the California Republican Party.

    The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

    by ybruti on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 05:55:51 AM PDT

  •  Just mailed my ballot (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inoljt, BusyinCA

    I think we need reform but 31 was so confusing (and I don't consider myself a poorly informed voter) I voted no.

    I did vote to have my own taxes raised, though.  

  •  Prop 30 is essential (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inoljt, BusyinCA

    The January mid-year cut schools will face if it fails is brutal, around 10% of state ADA money... which is on top of cuts last year and the year before that and the year before that.

    The state currently (and arbitrarily) is applying a 'deficit factor' of 79.3% on school ADA money - meaning we only get 79.3% of the money we're supposed to be given to educate kids this year. On top of that, of the money they are sending, they're only paying us 60% this fiscal year, with the rest in the form of IOUs so the state won't have to borrow. A quick bit of math and you see that the actual cash flowing to us is only 48% of that number we should have been able to expect. This means that even districts who are spending within the money allocated are at risk of being unable to make payroll.

    The legislature, though, has given us an option to "save" money: cut back to 160 days of school (down from the 180 required in 2008).

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 10:01:35 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site