New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted

Dropping Like Flies?

February 20, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Devon G. Pena, Ecology

Applying the Precautionary Principle to GMOs 

by Devon G. Peña

We have been hearing a lot of protests lately from the pro-GMO camp about the ‘proven’ safety of genetically engineered foods. The most typical narrative comes in the form of a quote from a 2012 report issued by the respected and highly influential American Medical Association (AMA) and its Council on Science and Public Health. Here’s the proffered quote, which reveals the current dominant discursive frame used in defense of transgenic food safety:

Bioengineered foods have been consumed for close to 20 years, and during that time, no overt consequences on human health have been reported and/or substantiated in the peer-reviewed literature. However, a small potential for adverse events exists, due mainly to horizontal gene transfer, allergenicity, and toxicity.” (AMA 2012:i)

The AMA position has led many defenders of biotechnology to dismiss critics with a wave of the hand and repetition of a statement made by Mark Tester of the University of Adelaide: “If the effects are as big as purported…why aren’t all the North Americans dropping like flies?” (more…)

Controlling Lucifer

February 08, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Politics, Robert C. Koehler

When We Think War Works, We’re Always Wrong

by Robert C. Koehler

The president negotiates our withdrawal from Afghanistan, proclaims mission accomplished — and the wars of the last decade continue winding down to nothing.

We’ll be leaving behind an unstable country with one of the world’s highest infant mortality rates and hundreds of armed insurgent groups. We haven’t rescued or rebuilt the country or accomplished any objective that begins to justify the human and financial cost of this adventure. We just lost.

But we’re the most powerful nation on the planet. How is that possible? And, as Tom Engelhardt asks, “Who exactly beat us? Where exactly is the triumphant enemy?”

He goes on, in an essay that ran recently on Common Dreams: “Did we in some bizarre fashion fight ourselves and lose? After all, last year, more American servicemen died from suicide than on the battlefield in Afghanistan; and a startling number of Americans were killed in ‘green on blue’ or ‘insider’ attacks by Afghan ‘allies’ rather than by that fragmented movement we still call the Taliban.” (more…)