If You Don't Want to Be Treated Like a "Dumb Mum," Then Stop Acting Like One

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Prison stripes would look better on them

Earlier this month, Greenpeace vandals, ah, activists, destroyed biotech wheat test plots in Australia. Heather McCabe, speaking for the criminal conspiracy against science, justified their destructive activity:

"This GM wheat should never have left the lab," said activist and mother, Heather McCabe. "I'm sick of being treated like a dumb Mum who doesn't understand the science. As far as I'm concerned, my family's health is just too important. GM wheat is not safe, and if the government can't protect the safety of my family, then I will."

What harms did the biotech wheat allegedly pose to her family? The wheat varieties had been enhanced to improve yields, use less nitrogen fertilizer, and boost nutrition. Clear dangers to the planet and her family specifically! Earlier this week, I reviewed eco-activist Mark Lynas' new book, The God Species. This is what he had to say about his former anti-biotech vandalism: 

"I realized that throughout the entire time I had been anti-GE activist, donning biohazard suits and mounting night-time raids against test sites, I had never read a single scientific paper on the subject." After finally reading some science on the topic, he has now concluded, "Although none of the major environmental groups will admit it, the first generation of GE crops has almost certainly been beneficial both to the environment and to farmers."

Ms. McCabe would do well to learn some science too. Perhaps she could do this while serving time in prison as a fitting punishment for vandalism. 

The good news is that the Australian authorities raided and shut down Greenpeace's offices in Canberra which is where the vandals' plot was apparently hatched. 

Last week, German eco-criminals perpetrated similar vandalism. As ScienceInsider reports

Vandals in Germany have destroyed two experimental sites growing genetically modified (GM) wheat and potatoes. On the night of 9 July, half a dozen masked attackers overpowered the security guard watching over test fields in Gross Lüsewitz, near Rostock. They then destroyed a field of wheat resistant to fungal diseases and a field of potatoes engineered to produce cyanophycin, an amino acid polymer that could potentially be used to make plastics. The fields were part of a trial funded by the German government to develop a more-efficient testing system for gm crops. Two nights later, a dozen attackers threatened guards with pepper spray and bats at a demonstration garden in Üplingen, in the state of Saxony-Anhalt. They destroyed a field of potatoes and trampled wheat and maize. Police estimate the damages from the attacks at more than €250,000. No suspects have been arrested.

Researchers saved the state's papaya industry by engineering varieties of the fruit that were resistant to the ringspot virus. And now papaya farmers in Hawaii fear that anti-biotech crime has come to the U.S. 

NEXT: If There's a Health App For That, the FDA Wants to Regulate It

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  1. What harms did the biotech wheat allegedly pose to her family?

    None.

    The REAL harm comes from IP law and the way these companies take advantage of them to bully farmers through court action.

    1. OM: With respect, you’re wrong. The number of court cases is vanishingly small. Why? Because most farmers are happy to abide by the licensing requirements since biotech crops are so valuable to them. In fact, corn farmers have for decades been purchasing hybrid seed corn from breeding companies with no problem. You may also want to review the facts in the case of Percy Schmeiser, convicted seed thief.

      Finally, your comment implies condescension to farmers — they are not just the stupid vassals of Monsanto — they won’t buy biotech seeds if they don’t think that they provide significant advantages. After all, no one is preventing other companies from competing by offering non-biotech seeds.

      1. Re: Ron Bailey,

        Because most farmers are happy to abide by the licensing requirements since biotech crops are so valuable to them.

        The wind has no effect on these seeds whatsoever, am I to think? I am not talking about farmers that SIGNED the agreements – that in itself is perfectly fine. Cases of contractual Nor am I talking about “convicted seed thief” [???] Schmeiser.

        I am talking about those farmers whose lands are (for a lack of a better word) “contaminated” by these bio-engineered seeds. I am talking about a biotech company then bullying tje farmer to PROVE a negative. I am talking about people of scant resources having to waste money and time defending themselves from companies that receive an UNDUE MONOPOLY called by some [with a very twisted sense of humor] “Intellectual Property.”

        http://www.cbsnews.com/stories…..8288.shtml

        1. Holy sh–.

          Me agreeing with Old Mex.

          It’s like Churchill/Stalin ’43.

        2. Sorry, broken sentences…

          “Cases of breach of contractual agreements are totally valid. Nor am I talking about “convicted seed thief” [???] Schmeiser.”

        3. Nice farm you got there, It’d be a shame if something were to happen to it.

        4. OK. Let’s go thru this:?(1) Andrew Kimbrell is a disinformation specialist trained by no less than Jeremy Rifkin. It’s your lookout if you believe anything that he tells you.

          (2) A court determined [PDF] that the seed cleaner, Parr, cited in the CBS story, induced farmers to save Roundup Ready seed in violation of their agreement with Monsanto. The farmers knew that the seeds being saved were Roundup Ready because they had purchased them the year before. No one involved in the Parr case claimed that their seeds had been “contaminated.” For the whole story read the full injunction.

          From the injunction: The factual record presented by Monsanto established that customers of the defendant saved their Roundup Ready? soybeans, the defendant thereafter cleaned the saved seed, and the customers then replanted the seed in the next crop year. These customers subsequently admitted to planting saved Roundup Ready soybeans and entered into settlements with Monsanto to resolve the claims of direct infringement against them.? Even without this evidence, the direct infringement by Parr’s customers may be inferred in this case. The fact that Parr both advised his customers that they could save Roundup? Ready soybeans, and cleaned that seed in preparation for planting, is sufficient to establish that the farmers actually planted the saved seed. Instructions that teach an infringing use of a patented device may be used to establish that end-users followed the instructions and commit direct infringement.

          Note: The farmers didn’t have to buy Monsanto seeds, but they did and they agreed to abide by Monsanto’s rules when they did so.

          With regard to “vanishingly small number of court cases,” according to Monsanto, the company has filed suit just 145 times in the U.S. and proceeded to trial in only 11 cases, winning all eleven. Some 250,000 farmers buy Monsanto’s seeds each year.

          The Runyon case – apparently Monsanto had good information that he was knowingly saving Roundup Ready seed. The company asked to test his seeds, he refused. He gave them receipts that he says shows that he purchased only conventional seeds. The company doesn’t believe him and decided to list him as ineligible for purchasing their seeds. If he’s not using Roundup Ready, this listing won’t hurt him.

          Of course corporate minions do lie, but so too do people who steal things or violate contracts. A little skepticism may be in order here.

          With regard to yonemoto’s proposal for open access biotech — hear, hear! However, I would be very interested to hear how he proposes to overcome the massive regulatory system erected by USDA and EPA that is stifling crop biotechnology. At the dawn of ag biotech era twenty-five years ago there were literally scores of companies developing crop varieties. However, anti-biotech activists like Kimbrell, Rifkin, Union of Concerned Scientists, and more demanded that crop biotech be regulated out of existence. They’ve succeeded for the time being in Europe.

          In the face of gigantic regulatory compliance costs, the industry consolidated into Monsanto, Dupont, Bayer, and Syngenta which could afford the millions in costs it takes to get what is after all a commodity product through the regulatory maze.

          The good news is that other countries, China and India, specifically are unlikely to put up with this situation.

          With regard to patents. U.S Constitution Art. 1. Sec. 8. Clause 8. To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

          The patent system was not devised for the purpose of making corporations rich — it was devised as a way to encourage inventors to tell the rest of us how they did something so that other inventors could use their insights to create new inventions. Patents are disclosure mechanism that helps get us out of a world of trade secrets.

          Many of my friends in the free market movement are against patents, but so far I think the pragmatic arguments in favor them win. Reasonable people can disagree.

          1. Ronald is providing us with a fine service here, giving the lie to the notion that there is any such animal as a “True Libertarian.” There are only ‘statists’ of differing stripes, each with his/her own justifications wrapped in some idiom of “property” and “justice” — two equally protean concepts that can be used to argue for any outcome one wishes.

            The government charters a monstrosity like the Monsanto Corporation, gives it eternal life and sundry other inhuman paranormal endowments, and gives the rest of us the “freedom” to contend with this beast any way we can within the parameters of a rigged system where the likes of Monsanto have already paid for the rule-makers through their PACs, written the rules through their lobbyists, and domineer over the system that interprets and applies the rules.

            Ah, freedom! Ah, small government! Too small too fight poverty. Too small to stop a machete genocide. Too small to make health insurance a universal. But never too small to break a strike; never too small to blight an entire neighborhood with forced evictions; and absolutely, positively never too small to kick a corn farmer in the nuts.

            1. Evidently you are well named — you really can’t hear me can you?

              The ridiculously onerous biotech regulations were the result of a classic baptist/bootlegger coalition.

              Government creates poverty. Government evicts little old ladies in Connecticut. Government makes insurance unaffordable. Government Davis Bacon Act supports unions. And government subsidizes corn farmers.

          2. Re: Ron Bailey,

            OK. Let’s go thru this:?(1) Andrew Kimbrell is a disinformation specialist trained by no less than Jeremy Rifkin. It’s your lookout if you believe anything that he tells you.

            It’s not germaine to the discussion, Ron: The linked news note mentions how a farmer had HIS farm, HIS property, invaded by ruffians that had NO business there:

            The Runyons charge bio-tech giant Monsanto sent investigators to their home unannounced, demanded years of farming records, and later threatened to sue them for patent infringement. The Runyons say an anonymous tip led Monsanto to suspect that genetically modified soybeans were growing on their property.

            “I wasn’t using their products, but yet they were pounding on my door demanding information, demanding records,” Dave said. “It was just plain harassment is what they were doing.”

            You may sugarcoat it anyway you want; I don’t: THEY WERE UNDULY HARRASSED. I do not accept utilitarian arguments.

            (2) A court determined [PDF] that the seed cleaner, Parr, cited in the CBS story, induced farmers to save Roundup Ready seed in violation of their agreement with Monsanto.

            I have STATED I have NO BEEF with such agreements. If the farmers accept the terms and conditions of buying and using their seeds, FINE. That’s not the issue.

            The issue is with companies relying on government-granted monopoly to harrass and violate other people’s PROPERTY RIGHTS under the guise of “protecting patents.”

            With regard to “vanishingly small number of court cases,” according to Monsanto, the company has filed suit just 145 times in the U.S. and proceeded to trial in only 11 cases, winning all eleven.

            I don’t think you understand – THAT’S NOT THE ISSUE. Again, I have NO BEEF with a company pursuing a BREACH OF CONTRACT case.

            What I am pointing out again and again is a company HARRASSING people who did NOT participate in these agreements under the guise of “protecting patents.”

            In the face of gigantic regulatory compliance costs, the industry consolidated into Monsanto, Dupont, Bayer, and Syngenta which could afford the millions in costs it takes to get what is after all a commodity product through the regulatory maze.

            Oh, spare me! Monsanto, Dupont, Bayer and Syngenta REVEL on this regulatory environment – THEY ENCOURAGED IT through lobbying. These big companies use the power of government to put up a tall barrier of entry to other (and smaller) competing companies that could do the VERY SAME RESEARCH for much less money.

            SPARE ME THE SOAP OPERA.

            The patent system was not devised for the purpose of making corporations rich

            Right. Neither was the Commerce Clause meant to give regulatory power to the EPA and FDA, yet here we are.

            Many of my friends in the free market movement are against patents, but so far I think the pragmatic arguments in favor [of] them win. Reasonable people can disagree.

            Never mind that pragmatic arguments are LOGICALLY INVALID, not different from omelette-making.

            1. OM: Why do you think that Runyon is not lying?

              And as I said, you’re free to believe anything that Kimbrell and his ilk has to say. It is germane that I warn you about him.

              1. Re: Ron Bailey,

                Why do you think that Runyon is not lying?

                Not lying about what, Ron? Monsanto harrasing him, or him buying seeds from Monsanto? Let’s say he bought the seeds from another farmer who did sign an agreement, and let’s say Runyon knew they were Monsanto’s – Runyon would still NOT sign that agreement with Monsanto, certainly not implicitly! If there’s NO CLEAR contract between Monsanto and Runyon, why or how could I or YOU justify the actions taken by Monsanto against him?

                Besides, was HE taken to court? Evidence shows Monsanto dropped the whole thing – why was that?

              2. OM: Let me be a bit more pointed: Why do you think that Runyon is not lying about what happened?
                Ruffians? Did they grab him, accost him, restrain him or his family in any way? Or did they just drive up to his door, knock, and say we represent Monsanto and we have a few questions we’d like to ask?

                When he refused and told them to leave, did they?

                Is it harassing or just normal procedure to send a letter from lawyers warning of possible legal consequences in cases of suspected patent infringement?

                It’s OK for you to hate Monsanto, but please spare me the soap opera too.

                1. OM: So you’re saying that it’s OK for me to keep and use your car even though I knew that the person who sold it to me stole it from you? Interesting.

                  1. Re: Ron Bailey,

                    OM: So you’re saying that it’s OK for me to keep and use your car even though I knew that the person who sold it to me stole it from you? Interesting.

                    You’re equivocating, Ron.

                    Let’s say: If someone stole my bicycle, made a copy of it, and sold the copy to another person, could I argue that the buyer stole from me as well?

                    http://ninapaley.com/mimiandeu…..lrous1.png

                    1. OM: The property in question is not specific beans, but the patent. No equivocation.

                      BTW, the pragmatic fallacy — “The pragmatic fallacy is committed when one argues that something is true because it works and where ‘works’ means something like “I’m satisfied with it,” “I feel better,” “I find it beneficial, meaningful, or significant,” or “It explains things for me.” — isn’t at issue with regard to patents.

                      Why? Because I don’t mean “works” in the sense suggested by the fallacy — I mean “works” as objectively measured by history, e.g, up until recently the countries with strong patent protection invented more and increased citizens incomes faster.

                      It is the case that some countries, — Japan, India, and China come to mind — can grow fast by ignoring patent protection for a while. But I predict that once they’ve caught up, they will be as eager to encourage new inventions as other developed countries and so will begin to strengthen their patent protection too.

                  2. That’s not the same thing, Ron. A thief usually can’t transfer good title to property, whether the purchaser is a bona fide good faith purchaser or not.

                    In OM’s hypo, IIUC, Runyon is buying seed from a farmer (X) who contracted with Monsanto. There’s no theft there. There is a breach of contract between X and Monsanto, and I can see a patent infringement suit between Monsanto and Runyon, if Runyon makes additional seed from the crop he planted with the seed he bought from X. I would think that the doctrine of exhaustion would apply to suing Runyon for using the seed they bought from X. (Monsanto already got paid for that batch of seed in the sale between Monsanto and X)

                    Having not read the article, I’m not sure what was alleged by Monsanto, but I just wanted to nitpick your analogy.

                    Have a great weekend.

                    P.S. Any comment on the CERN cosmic ray/AGW “scientists being gagged” story?

                2. Re: Ron Bailey,

                  OM: Let me be a bit more pointed: Why do you think that Runyon is not lying about what happened?

                  I don’t know that, Ron; I can’t assume that he is for I do not know him. I can only judge what he says and what Monsanto DID. I ask you: Is it reasonable to automatically assume that he is lying?

                  Ruffians? Did they grab him, accost him, restrain him or his family in any way?

                  Let me tell you something, Ron: If people from some company knocked on my door and demanded that I showed them invoices from 6 years onwards, I would have treated them as RUFFIANS and drive them out of MY land at the point of my 12-gauge. Maybe you happen to be a meeker and pusillanimous person and acted differently – I don’t know.

                  Is it harassing or just normal procedure to send a letter from lawyers warning of possible legal consequences in cases of suspected patent infringement?

                  Shit, Ron, I don’t know; I’m scratching my head… Is receiving a letter with a tacit THREAT of legal action [which involves lots-a-time and money] not harrassment?

                  Hmmm, tought one

                  It’s OK for you to hate Monsanto, but please spare me the soap opera too.

                  I DON’T hate Monsanto, Ron – I think that what they do within the parameters of a free market is fine and dandy. I am simply against companies using government as a tool to keep a monopoly status they do not morally or ethically deserve.

                  1. OM: Then we will have to disagree — I don’t think that you’ve come anywhere close to demonstrating that Monsanto does not “morally or ethically deserve” its patents. Now let’s both go and enjoy our weekends.

              3. Why do you think that Runyon is not lying?

                Why do you think Monsanto isn’t?

                If there’s something I can’t stand, it’s a libertarian who’s got some corporation’s cock so far down his throat that he can’t see that corporations are no more trustworthy than governments or individuals.

                Monsanto wasn’t able to get Runyon to prove a negative to him, or help him build a case against himself, or to stick anything on him in court.

                From Monsanto’s own site:

                Monsanto had reason to believe that Dave Runyon was illegally saving Roundup Ready soybeans. We approached Mr. Runyon with our concerns and asked him to answer some questions. He stated only that he planted conventional soybeans, and not GM soybeans. He refused to provide us with records to support this claim.

                Gosh, imagine that nerve, refusing to answer questions of and show personal records to a private, trespassing party who demands to know what you’re doing with your own land. Book ’em, Danno.

            2. It’s a good thing Old Mexican peppers his comments with ALL CAPS or the rest of us wouldn’t have a clue what he was on about.

        5. OM: the wind has no effect if the seeds are sterile because of the “Terminator Gene”. It kills the second generation dead regardless of hybridization.

          1. The terminator gene hasn’t been put into production yet afaik.

      2. Thanks for the link to your earlier article. My white-hot hatred of Monsanto was intensified even further by you.

      3. The number of court cases is vanishingly small.

        I’m sure that’s a great comfort to families who were never interested in bioengineered seed, whose entire farms have been sacrificed to fund their defenses against Monsanto. Or to farmers who come home to find that Monsanto goons have been trespassing on their property, no warrants, looking for “evidence” of patent abuse.

        1. z: See my new post above. No courts have found such families apparently.

        2. z & OM: I am puzzled why you think that farmers are incapable of lying. After all, they are subject to the profit motive in this case too.

          1. Re: Ron Bailey,

            I am puzzled why you think that farmers are incapable of lying. After all, they are subject to the profit motive in this case too.

            They are quite capable of lying; that is not the issue.

            http://www.organicconsumers.or….._17360.cfm

            In Runyon’s case, Monsanto eventually gave up its pursuit.

            “They never had any evidence other than the receipts I gave them,” he said.

            Just because the guy was NOT dragged to court does not mean he wasn’t harrassed by Monsanto, which demanded that the farmer PROVED A NEGATIVE.

            And I don’t think you have gotten it yet: I am not against Monsanto selling their seed under contractual agreement. I am not against GM crops – far from it! I am instead against a company using the power of government to harrass people and people’s private property in the pursue of keeping an undue monopoly status.

            Oh, and I do not accept pragmatic arguments. I can pretty much justify ANY SORT OF IMMORAL ACTION just by relying on ‘pragmatic arguments.’

            1. Doesn’t Monsanto have to aggressively pursue protection of their patent or lose protection under the law?

    2. Yup. Never let reality get in the way of a good anti-property rights tirade.

      1. Re: Mommy,

        Never let reality get in the way of a good anti-property rights tirade.
        IP is not property rights. It’s a government-granted monopoly.

        1. well one could also argue that real estate is a government-granted monopoly, too 😉

          1. Yes, one could, but one would be incredibly wrong.

            On the other hand, the guys arguing against state granted monopolies on patterns are right.

            While one could have a copyright regime based on contracts, patents of monopoly are dependent on some sovereign breaking the knees of someone who displeases the holder of the patent of monopoly.

          2. Re: yonemoto,

            well one could also argue that real estate is a government-granted monopoly, too 😉

            One could thus argue that the government is God.

            Wee! This reduction ad absurdum stuff is easy!

        2. IP is no more a government-granted monopoly than my private dominion over my home is a government-granted monopoly.

          If you do not believe in IP you do not support property rights.

          1. There are quite a few very intelligent people who would disagree with you. Rights are fundamentally designed to arbitrate the use of scarce resources (anything which cannot be utilized by multiple people simultaneously is scarce, thus all physical property is).

            Patterns of thought are not scarce. If someone copies a pattern of thought or arrangement of letters at their own expense, they are not preventing the use of the original by the inventer. IP introduces artificial, gov’t created scarcity to non-rivalous goods.

            You do not own what is in my head. If I want to sing a copyrighted song at a club for money and you as copyright holder seeks to stop me, you are asserting ownership over words and thoughts. If you favor IP, you favor gov’t intervention to create scarcity, promote artifical monopolies, and drive up consumer prices.

            1. Patterns of thought are not scarce if they are disclosed, as in patents. without such disclosure most companies would practice in secret, slowing progress, and initiating corporate spying. A patent is an agreement betweenthe public (government) and an individual for disclosure of scarce information in trade for an exclusive right to use that information for a specific time period. Inventors can always choose to practice in secret, and many times do when they believe that disclosure is more dangerous than the possibility of competitors stealing their know-how.

              Ignorance of patent law is plentiful on this board.

              1. I believe it is ignorant to conflate the government with representing “the public”. So, everything the gov’t does represents you, and me?

                A patent is a gov’t granted monopoly. It is not a contract, as you allege, as it binds my action, when I have not agreed to the terms.

                1. I may not agree with the govt, but our system grants the govt the power to act for us. No different than the power to go to war or collect taxes.

                  You can challenge patents if you don’t think they are deserved.You can also act to change the system. IP law promotes innovation by rewarding it – also by spurring competitors to invent around patents.

                  1. As BigT states, unlike so many things our Federal Government does, patents/copyrights are actually explicitly allowed for in the Constitution.

                    That said, the system ain’t perfect. ProLib above, lists a few issues with the patent/copyright system that I agree with, particularly the ridiculous term of copyrights and the PTO’s dropping the ball on granting dubious patents, such as business method patents.

      2. Re: Mommy,

        From the link I provided above:

        “What Monsanto is doing across the country is often, and according to farmers, trespassing even, on their land, examining their crops and trying to find some of their patented crops,” said Andrew Kimbrell, with the Center For Food Safety. “And if they do, they sue those farmers for their entire crop.

        In fact, in Feb. 2005 the Runyons received a letter from Monsanto, citing “an agreement” with the Indiana Department of Agriculture giving it the right to come on their land and test for seed contamination.

        Only one problem: The Indiana Department of Agriculture didn’t exist until two months after that letter was sent. What does that say to you?

        Indeed – what does that say?

        I don’t care how “vanishingly small” these cares are. If one is to judge the validity of an action by how unusual it is, then you can kiss your own ass goodby, for ANY aggression is unique in the strictest sense.

        Again, the problem is NOT with biotech crops – hooray for them – it is with this canard that ideas can be “property,” and at the same time, that genes can be patented.

        1. OM: See my long response above to your initial post.

  2. Basic leftwing logic. GE’s intention is to make a profit (evil) therefore they are always in the wrong. Greenpeace’s intention is to save the environment (Better than you) so they are always in the right.

    1. Yeah, forget the fact that GM crops are generally a boon to the environment because they need less fertilizer and water.

      1. But also engineered to use more petrochemical-dependent pesticides.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundup_(herbicide)#Genetically_modified_crops

        …One thing I’d like to do is to create a research institute that generates non-hybrid lines with a set of rules:

        1) not released under any IP protection
        2) 100% “open-source” (all genome modifications characterized and disclosed)
        3) no antibiotics resistance cassettes
        4) not transgenic – here are the allowed changes:
        4a) point mutants
        4b) splice mutants
        4c) clean gene knockouts
        4d) increasing gene copy number
        4e) positional rearrangements
        4f) promoter recoding
        4g) chromosomal shuffling

        1. *non-hybrid, transgenic lines

          1. non-hybrid, genetically modified lines.

            1. opensource genetic engineering FTW.

              (model your improvements in Blender, then export to OpenDNA format. here’s a link to the wiki if you end up purple or with unintended tentacles.)

              1. (also, it is highly recommended that you back up your DNAdrive before installing updates.)

        2. True story – a friend used to work for a the crop research lab of a public university. One day a Big Agra salescritter showed up and tried to convince them to buy seeds – the lab wasn’t interested because they had actually developed the genetic line, but couldn’t tell the salescritter that because of non-disclosure agreements. IP sucks.

          1. I don’t see why a voluntary NDA has your panties in a bunch. I’ve had to sign a bunch of them and it never impacted my life one bit.

    2. Re: AlmightyJB,

      Basic leftwing logic. GE’s intention is to make a profit (evil) therefore they are always in the wrong.

      Agreed, that is behind the irrational hatred towards these companies and their products.

      Just to clear things up: I am not against biotech companies creating new and better strains of seeds. What I am totally against is companies using IP laws to then BULLY farmers, to make them PROVE A NEGATIVE. That is the result of government-grated monopoly powers, not the market.

      1. You say, “I am not against biotech companies creating new and better strains of seeds.” And you say, “Again, the problem… is with this canard that ideas can be ‘property,’ and at the same time, that genes can be patented.”

        I’m not sure how to reconcile those, other than to say it sounds like your position is that biotech companies are free to make better seeds but, once they do, anyone with the ability is free to copy them, without the same R&D expense. I certainly don’t mean to put words in your mouth, but is that your position? Or do you support the biotech companies’ right to sue, you just don’t believe the burden of proof is allocated properly?

        1. I think the biotech crops should be patentable (assuming they rise to that level of novelty), because it’s a good incentive to the production of engineered crops, but I also think the enforceability of the patent shouldn’t extend to intercession of natural crossbreeding or, for that matter, seeds blowing somewhere else in the wind. It’s an inherent risk to the patent owner.

          1. Agree 100%.

          2. “but I also think the enforceability of the patent shouldn’t extend to intercession of natural crossbreeding or, for that matter, seeds blowing somewhere else in the wind.”

            Agreed, and I’d like to see something other than a TV “news” program to suggest that isn’t the case. Maybe Monsanto is pursuing those who are wind-blown victims, but human-interest TV spots aren’t convincing.
            The only case I found well-documented was the seed thief (no scare quotes) Schmieser where the seeds seemingly blew into neat rows all on their own.
            As far as contaminating organic crops, well, stuff blows in the wind. Including “naturally GM’d” crop pollen and seeds. You want total non-contamination? Put it in a green house.

          3. Re: Pro Libertate,

            I think the biotech crops should be patentable (assuming they rise to that level of novelty), because it’s a good incentive to the production of engineered crops[…]

            The pragmatic fallacy.

            Are you becoming MNG, Pro?

            1. Hey now!

              I’m in the moderate IP camp, as I’ve said before. Do I think patents are given out too freely? Do I think the duration of the monopoly granted is too long? Do I think enforcement is ridiculous, especially given the cost of defense? Yes, yes, and yes.

              As with copyright, patent law has gotten out of hand. Business process patents are just silly, long duration software patents are dumb, and twenty years is much more than is reasonable.

              The IP clause in the Constitution says flat out that we’re granting these limited monopolies for the purpose of promoting the progress of the sciences and the arts. So if you’re upset by the utilitarianism in the Constitution, take it up with the Founders.

              1. So if you’re upset by the utilitarianism in the Constitution, take it up with the Founders.

                SLAVERY!!!

                But yeah, snark aside, I agree with Pro Lib.

                1. Re: Pro Libertate,

                  The IP clause in the Constitution says flat out that we’re granting these limited monopolies for the purpose of promoting the progress of the sciences and the arts.

                  That’s one of the things where the framers of the Constitution are at odds with individual rights.

                  The government cannot grant rights; rights come from our humanity, we are BORN with them. Instead, IP is a grant from government to a few privileged individuals. That’s totally at odds with the principles the Constitution was meant to protect.

                  1. I hear you, but there are a number of things we recognize legally that are intangible rights. For instance, stock ownership.

                    1. Re: Pro LIbertate,

                      For instance, stock ownership.

                      You are confused, Pro. A stock is a TITLE to property, given VOLUNTARILY by a company to a person in exchange of money. A patent is a government-granted monopoly over OTHER PEOPLE’S PROPERTY by virtue of someone’s “patent” application.

                    2. OM: Be careful — Corporate charters are also granted by governments.

                    3. OM: Be careful — Corporate charters are also granted by governments.

                      OM is hard core and probably does not like those either. Again i agree with that but to change it would have little effect on improving individual liberty and would simply be replaced by contracts.

                    4. I’m not arguing that, but it is considered a kind of intangible property. As is goodwill, etc.

                      This is one place where I guess I am being a bit of a utilitarian, because I think intellectual property rights should be recognized. They’ve done a lot to incentivize literary and technological innovation in this country, and I’ve never seen a compelling case against recognition of such rights. How likely am I to invest the effort into developing something if I can be ripped off the second I put it on the market?

                      Now, I do think that the “limited times” bit in the Copyright Clause is important and has been horribly abused, and I also think that safety valves like fair use should be better protected (i.e., there should be safe harbors so that people exercising their fair use rights, many of which come from the superior right to free expression, don’t have to expend resources fighting off overzealous IP owners). But eliminating IP strikes me as a bad idea.

                      One view, too, is that the Constitution is a contract, of sorts, that we agreed to (and continue to agree to), where we do cede some rights for various reasons. That’s one big problem with the current anything-goes interpretation of the document, as it weakens the legitimacy of the Constitution as a compact accepted by all (well, most) of us.

                    5. You are confused, Pro. A stock is a TITLE to property

                      How about marriage?

                      Even a libertopion version of marriage, without state permitting, would recognize a marriage contract would it not?

                      Also seeds and pollen and genes are tangible real world things and if those seeds and pollen and genes are novel could not the owner dictate how they are used?

                      If i own real property (ie real estate) and put an easement on it then the new owners have to recognize that easement right?

                      If we did not have patents wouldn’t it simply be replaced with sales and use contracts?

                      One could argue that patents are actually a weakening of property rights in regards to genetically modified seeds rather then a recognition of intellectual rights because a sales and use contract could last longer then 20 years while a patent would only last that long.

                    6. Contracts are interesting, in that they can be simply agreements between two parties, but they also can require recognition by others not a party to the agreement to function. Not just for enforcement purposes, either. They’re usually viewed as an intangible property, since they deal with future performance.

                    7. by others not a party to the agreement to function.

                      If I sell a person land through a real estate contract and that person then sells the land to a third party and that first party who i sold the property refuses to give me the money he owes me I can foreclose on the property and take it back from the third party.

                      So yes contracts can extend to third parties.

                    8. If I sell a person land through a real estate contract and that person then sells the land to a third party and that first party who i sold the property refuses to give me the money he owes me I can foreclose on the property and take it back from the third party.

                      It has been awhile since Property I, but are you sure that’s true?

                  2. “rights come from our humanity, we are BORN with them.”

                    Ah, the natural law assumption. Speaking of fallacies…

              2. 20 years doesn’t seem unreasonable wrt seed IMO.

        2. Re: Night Elf Mohawk,

          I’m not sure how to reconcile those,

          They’re totally different issues, NEW. You can’t reconcile them.

          [I]t sounds like your position is that biotech companies are free to make better seeds but, once they do, anyone with the ability is free to copy them, without the same R&D expense.

          If the biotech company wants to avoid that pitfall, they can (sans anti-property rights “IP law”): Contract with the farmer not to keep seeds; this is already being done. Second, place a force-field around their client farms so no seed blows away and is “copied” by a farmer that did NOT sign the agreement.

          Or, maybe, (and this is a stretch, I know) they could CHANGE THE BUSINESS MODEL so it does not rely on patents. The cost of enforcing the patents TAKES AWAY RESOURCES from other profitable and innovative research.

          Plus: WHY IS THE GOVERNMENT GRANTING PATENTS ON FUCKING GENES? Monsanto and GM did NOT invent genes [the concept], they simply modified them. If I modify my FUCKING CAR, can I then go ahead and PATENT IT as a “mech-tech” CAR???

          Don’t you smell a rat there?

          1. Sorry: Monsanto only. “GM” only means “genetically modified

            By the way, I am “genetically modified”, by my parents. Can they patent me?

          2. You’d be good with a sales contract that forbids reverse engineering the seeds?

            If someone stole the seeds and reversed engineered them and produced copies, what would the civil damages, if any, be? The market value of the stolen seeds?

            1. Re: Night Elf Mohawk,

              You’d be good with a sales contract that forbids reverse engineering the seeds?

              Sure! Not that I would do business with them, but I see no problem.

              If someone stole the seeds[…]

              Stole the seeds how? Hijacking a truck? Or by finding one on the street?

              Again, copying something is NOT stealing it.

              and reversed engineered them and produced copies, what would the civil damages, if any, be? The market value of the stolen seeds?

              No – NONE. Unless the company can show that actual SEEDS (actual rivalrous and exclusive property) were taken by violent force or false pretenses or fraud, then there can’t be civil liability for what becomes SOMEONE ELSE’S PURCHASING CHOICES.

              If a farmer buys or uses copied seeds, the company cannot argue financial loss because THERE IS NO TACIT AGREEMENT THE BUYER WILL BUY FROM THE COMPANY ANYWAY.

              People, THE COMPANY IS NOT ENTITLED TO EVERYBODY’S PURCHASING CHOICES. Nobody is!

              1. Stole the seeds how? Hijacking a truck? Or by finding one on the street?

                Buying them from the granary and instead of making them into bread using them as seed.

                1. Re: joshua corning,

                  Buying them from the granary and instead of making them into bread using them as seed.

                  Oh? Is that stealing? So if I buy a car and instead of driving it I parcel the parts out, is that stealing as well?

                  Please, spare me. What you’re talking about is a company owning property created IN THE FUTURE by SOMEONE ELSE. That’s clearly an UNDUE and FORCED transfer of title. In my land we call *that* stealing.

                  1. So if I buy a car and instead of driving it I parcel the parts out, is that stealing as well?

                    If you buy the car then copy parts from it then sell those copied parts then yes you are stealing. And car companies sue people who do this.

                  2. Property is theft. The land your house rests on was at one time stolen from its owners…or at least those who had a claim on it.

              2. Re OM:

                Sure! Not that I would do business with them, but I see no problem.

                Fair enough. I think that’s the only coherent answer, but it only addresses voluntary exchange.

                No – NONE. Unless the company can show that actual SEEDS (actual rivalrous and exclusive property) were taken by violent force or false pretenses or fraud, then there can’t be civil liability for what becomes SOMEONE ELSE’S PURCHASING CHOICES.

                I think this is where we simply operate from different premises. I think that people have a right to their intellectual output as well as their physical output and the fact that the former is non-rivalrous and the latter is does not provide a sufficient distinction to me.

                If I spent 5 years creating some great new tomato that can be sold in grocery stores and not be mealy crap unworthy of being in salsa, it is a product of intellect every bit as much as it is a physical item. I think that that intellectual labor should be protected from appropriation by someone who can compete unfairly by avoiding the costs of research and development. I think that acquiring the knowledge is the crucial factor, not whether or not the knowledge can be non-exclusive.

                You clearly disagree, but such is life.

          3. “WHY IS THE GOVERNMENT GRANTING PATENTS ON FUCKING GENES? ”

            BECAUSE THE FUCKING GENES ARE SUFFICIENTLY NOVEL THAT THEY MEET THE REQUIREMENTS.
            Your ALL CAP arguments look a it demented.

            1. Re: Sevo,

              BECAUSE THE FUCKING GENES ARE SUFFICIENTLY NOVEL THAT THEY MEET THE REQUIREMENTS.

              Sufficiently “novel”? Compared to what, you fool? Who desides on their novelty – a CLUELESS GOVERNMENT BUREAUCRAT?

              1. a CLUELESS GOVERNMENT BUREAUCRAT?

                Courts.

              2. It’s all relative.

          4. if I modify my FUCKING CAR, can I then go ahead and PATENT IT as a “mech-tech” CAR???

            Yes. if you make a better tire or a better fender or an part that is better and/or novel you can patent it.

            Your example is terrible.

            If you favor car patents then you have to favor gene patents. It seems to me the big problem you have is derived from not understanding genes and how they work and how they may be changed in an organism to produce novel effects.

            Also you seem to have much confusion about the patent system.

            1. Re: joshua corning,

              Yes. if you make a better tire or a better fender or an part that is better and/or novel you can patent it.

              No, Joshua – if you make a better tire you CAN’T PATENT IT. You did NOT invent a tire.

              [Well, ok, you can patent it, but that shows you the crazy nature of Patent Law in the US, where mere improvements to a concept are treated as “new things.”]

              If you favor car patents then you have to favor gene patents.

              And if I DON’T, then I don’t, right?

              Right.

              I don’t favor IP, period. Ideas are NOT property; they are non-rivalrous and not exclusive.

              1. And if I DON’T, then I don’t, right?

                That has not been your argument. If you are against all patents then you are against all patents because, i think, you are against intellectual property in general.

                But you have also been arguing about wind blown pollination and making arguments specific about patenting genes rather then arguments about patents in general.

                In your arguments about Genes specifically I do not see a case being made that they are somehow different then other patents for cars, medicines, pumps or what have you.

                I do sympathize with your general argument about intellectual property but i also see very little damage being done to individual liberty and the economy from patents. Would I like them to go away? sure….but there are far bigger real world threats to individual liberty then the real world effects of patents.

                Are patents strictly speak an affront to liberty? yes. Are they an example of government power being used to pick winners and losers? yes

                Do they have much if any real world negative effects to liberty? no not really.

                I think i will focus on ending the drug war or ending barriers to trade and labor before i go trying to eliminate patents. Much bigger fish to fry out there.

                1. Actually Joshua Stephan Kinsella has an article on medicine shortages causing people a great deal of suffering due to IP not allowing mass-production of certain compounds. If I can find it later I’ll link it for you. So yes, IP does cause actual, real-world suffering, on a daily basis.

                  1. So yes, IP does cause actual, real-world suffering, on a daily basis.

                    One could argue that those drugs would not exist in the first place without patent protections. The suffering would have happened anyway and it would have been greater because at least now some people rather then no people have access to those drugs.

                    Also the US patent system is a little over 200 years old.

                    Looking at life expectancy real world data shows that we have extended life under the patent system.

                    So your argument has the same problem mine has as they both rely on “what if” hypotheticals.

              2. hot damn, someone’s been reading his nina paley! When is reason going to do a profile on her?

        3. I tend to agree with OM in that regard. Genetic replication is natural and essential to life, and we let business interests monopolize that at our peril. If that means that there won’t be commercial GMO research, then there won’t be commercial GMO research. If that advances the agenda of Greenpeace, so be it.

          Now, if Monsanto sells seeds to a farm contingent on a contract that requires the farmer to continue buying seeds from Monsanto for the next 20 years, that’s between them. But if nature decides to spread some DNA from their crop into another farmer’s crop, that’s tough shit for Montanto. Works both ways, though — I don’t think the farmer should have grounds to sue in that case, unless he could prove that the DNA was a pollutant in and of itself.

        4. Sorry, but I can’t agree. Nobody, anywhere should be able to patent genes. Because ultimately that means a back door to slavery.

          1. Tonio: Isolated genes are not patentable. Genes that have been manipulated into novel forms are, e.g., removing introns, or providing new promoter sequences.

          2. It’s the new genome not the gene.

  3. merely leave the genetic engineering to Me and all will be cool.

    1. If only You weren’t such a klutz, God.

      1. Poll: Majority of Americans approve of God’s job performance

        http://dailycaller.com/#ixzz1SqglauaO

    2. Yes, you’re track record is wonderful. We’ve been so impressed with male nipples, the appendix, the proximity of genitals and waste excretion centers, the paltry human sense of smell, sensitivity/incompatability to over 80% percent of the biosphere, ear hair, hundreds of varieties of cancer, latent apoptosis, and acne.

      1. mysterious ways, blah blah blah

        1. He blew his load on the Platypus. Humans were just an afterthought so stop complaining.

      2. male nipples – necessary to create female nipples. appendix – immune organ. proximity – not an accident! sense of smell – necessary to leave us higher processing power – cancer: the cost of having cell differentiation – latent apoptosis : necessary to fight cancer – acne : what teen doesn’t need a dose of hubris? Would be better if it went on through the early 20s though.

        1. You, sir, are a Meat-Apologist!

        2. How about Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s, oh merciful one?

          1. While wenadmit some mistakes were made, we believe all proper

          2. While wenadmit some mistakes were made, we believe all proper procedures were followed. These are obviously isolate incidents.

            1. Uh, have these removed!

          3. While wenadmit some mistakes were made, we believe all proper procedures were followed. These are obviously isolate incidents.

            1. With this kind of quality control, it’s no wonder humans are so defective.

    3. Sorry your Awesomeness but we’ve been genetically modifying crops for years, it’s only recently that we’ve moved things to the laboratory to speed up the process a bit.

  4. People who won’t accept the scientific consensus on the subject of genetically modified crops — what idiotic scoundrels!!!

    Now, about that vast conspiracy to perpetuate the hoax of so-called “global warming” ….

    1. la-la-la-can’t-hear-you:

      Your short post does illustrate a couple of interesting points.

      Why is it that the biotech community isn’t on a full fledge media blitz about a consensus. Yes, a basic consensus seems to exist, but it is not a media event trumpeted by activists in order to avoid answering embarrassing questions. Not once have I heard a biotech scientist say “it must be safe because of the consensus”. Their arguments tend to be more scientific and they don’t need the appeal to authority required by weak arguments. From the outside, this seems like a pretty serious difference between global warming science and biotech science.

      You also seem to have found the usual fun and silly progressive “conspiracy fallacy” which seems to run as follows:

      1. The skeptic notices that there is a lot ideological bias in climate science circles and there are some scientific points that seem a bit dodgy
      2. Progressive activist labels this as conspiracy (with the usual proof by assertion of course)
      3. Since all conspiracies are false, the skeptic must be a wing-nut
      4. The progressive then goes on to claim that the real problems are caused by big oil and the Koch brothers.
      5. The skeptic wonders if the rest of climate science is filled with such brilliant logic.

    2. “Now, about that vast conspiracy to perpetuate the hoax of so-called “global warming” ….”
      So are we to accept that a consensus automatically means it’s wrong?
      Or, perhaps, we look at the evidence?
      But I’m sure the evidence really wouldn’t matter to you.

  5. la-la-la: You may enjoy my column, A Tale of Two Scientific Consensuses.

    1. One out of two ain’t bad.

  6. Nuke Greenpeace today.

    1. Let’s at least get the French to torpedo their ships again.

    2. Gotta nuke somethin’

  7. State Police Arrest City Cop
    Trenton cop pulled over for speeding was wanted on a warrant from his own department.

    City police officer Doug Moreland was arrested by the New Jersey State Police earlier today after he was stopped for speeding on Route 29.

    State Troopers took him into custody and brought him to Trenton Police headquarters for booking after it was learned Moreland also was wanted on an outstanding warrant.

    No dogs were killed.

    http://www.trentonian.com/arti…..424616.txt

    1. I’d like to hear a decent response to OM’s posts about IP suits. I had heard this a while back as well. Please Ron, get into an internet fight!

      1. Oopps wrong post….

      2. blank: see my post above directly responding to OM’s initial post.

        1. blank: And see mine towards Ron and the others. I have found them not to be convincing.

          “Vanishingly small cases” [???]
          “Because of all that money they spent on R&D – poor, poor them” [???]
          “Because the Constitution says so…”

    2. And to think, Officer Moreland passed the rigorous higher-standards screening process to get his job.

    3. Running scared, eh, Troll?

  8. I don’t understand why Greenpeace mucks about with destroying crops. Why not simply skip the middleman and kill the people who eat them?

  9. “This GM wheat should never have left the lab,” said activist and mother

    I always like that clever misdirection. It’s like because she’s a mother, it makes her concern for the environment all the more legit.

    Newsflash, there are plenty of crack hos and meth addicts that squirt out children too.

    1. They should add at the end of the sentence “X number of children are taken away from unfit mothers each year”

  10. Dipshits who don’t know anything about anything acting like the dipshits that they are and costing other people time and property. Why am I not surprised?

  11. The good news is that the Australian authorities raided and shut down Greenpeace’s offices in Canberra which is where the vandals’ plot was apparently hatched.

    I am sure the research that Greenpeace destroyed could not have been cheap.

    They should sue Greenpeace for every cent they have.

  12. Sounds to me like Greenpeace is an organization that is furthering an ongoing criminal conspiracy, and profiting therefrom by getting contributions from Luddite wankers. I look forward to the DOJ’s upcoming RICO investigation.

    1. Whales are cute = no DOJ RICO investigation.

  13. When some conservatives first proposed categorizing Greenpeace as a terrorist organization, I rolled my eyes. I now admit they were on to something.

    1. categorizing Greenpeace as a terrorist organization

      I think we need a new word.

      There is a difference in destroying property vs destroying another human beings.

      Politicized vandals? nah seems to weak

      property terrorists?

      That might work.

      1. Maybe we should not fall into the thoughtcrime bullshit and just concentrate on how they victimized other people rather than what their motivation was (excepting lack of intent or self-defense).

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