Crusaders against GMOs

The New Yorker has a fascinating article on Vandana Shiva, a crusader against GMO crops. I’d never heard of her before, but apparently she has charisma and cult-like followers who hang on her every word, and her word is a rather religious opposition to scientific agriculture. Weirdly, I can agree with some of it.

At each stop, Shiva delivered a message that she has honed for nearly three decades: by engineering, patenting, and transforming seeds into costly packets of intellectual property, multinational corporations such as Monsanto, with considerable assistance from the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, the United States government, and even philanthropies like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are attempting to impose “food totalitarianism” on the world. She describes the fight against agricultural biotechnology as a global war against a few giant seed companies on behalf of the billions of farmers who depend on what they themselves grow to survive.

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Fluffer to autocrats

We always knew Tony Blair could exceed the limitations of being George W. Bush’s lapdog. Look at W now; spending his life making crappy paintings that wouldn’t pass muster at a garage sale, yet get fawning media puff pieces and exhibitions in museums. It’s pathetic.

But Tony Blair now…there’s a villain with ambition. He has set up a little business in which he sells off his reputation to dictators, tyrants, and genocidal monsters, doing his best to make them look good. He’s been busy giving Nursultan Nazarbayev advice on how to plaster over the murder of civilians.

Tony Blair gave Kazakhstan’s autocratic president advice on how to manage his image after the slaughter of unarmed civilians protesting against his regime.

In a letter to Nursultan Nazarbayev, obtained by The Telegraph, Mr Blair told the Kazakh president that the deaths of 14 protesters “tragic though they were, should not obscure the enormous progress” his country had made.

Mr Blair, who is paid millions of pounds a year to give advice to Mr Nazarbayev, goes on to suggest key passages to insert into a speech the president was giving at the University of Cambridge, to defend the action.

Millions of pounds? I guess that prices him right out of the range of the Ferguson police department.

Heading home

We’re wrapping up our weekend at Lake Itasca, and I’m about to head south for the beginning of fall semester at UMM, so I’ll just leave you with some miscellaneous writing by other people.