"Caifornians should be able to know what's in their food, so they can make choices about what they eat!" This is the very simple premise behind Prop. 37, which would label foods that contain Genetically Modified Organisms -- the same GMOs that we Billionaires for Biotech Bonanzas produce and manufacture! Early polls indicated that 85 percent of Californians favored this terrifying idea. We couldn't let California go the way of Europe, as well as Japan, India and China (some 50 countries in all) where labeling foods this way is the law of the land. And if such madness should pass in California, sooner or later people would get it into their heads that food labeling might be a good idea in other states as well! So we swung into action.
The California Initiative System works best when it's our corporations that are putting measures on the ballot. But with Prop. 37, it was unpaid signature gatherers, consumer activists and unpaid volunteers. Could all that "People Power" withstand a bracing tidal wave of massive corporate cash? We got all the big players in Biotech and Big Agra like Monsanto (the company that brought you Agent Orange) and DuPont (the makers of DDT), as well as Bayer Crop Science, Syngenta, BASF, PepsiCo, Nestle, Coca Cola and Con Agra, and we assembled a war chest of over $35 million, so we could find out.
We modeled our campaign after the successful defeat on the June ballot of Prop. 29, which would have raised taxes on tobacco products for cancer research. Initially Californians supported it in huge, enthusiastic numbers. The tobacco industry's PR team didn't debate the merits of smoking; instead, it attacked the initiative as poorly written, and hinted that it would create a new bureaucracy. And before you know it, millions of non-smokers were voting to protect Big Tobacco's best interests, and Prop. 29 went down to a very narrow defeat.
We don't want to have to debate the merits of GMO foods for consumers. That would entail making the case that the products we make are healthier than what is grown naturally, and then we might have to show actual studies on the long-term health consequences of consuming our products -- studies that so far, we've never been required to do!
So we focused on the premise that Prop. 37 is badly written and vague. Our spokesman was Dr. Henry Miller of the Hoover Institution, the same expert who has worked to discredit the connection between tobacco and cancer, and who more recently asserted that exposure to radiation from the Fukushima reactor might actually be healthy. We even ran ads with Dr. Miller on MSNBC so we could confuse the liberals about the measure. Confused voters tend to vote "no."
We asserted that if Prop. 37 passes, food prices will go up. How can we be so sure? We produce and manufacture the food. We can certainly punish consumers for enacting a law that inconveniences us by jacking up our prices. The oil companies have been gouging Californians for mandating cleaner burning gasoline for years!
Most of the corn and soy and sugar beets grown in the U.S. belong to us. We designed them. We inserted DNA from other plants, animals, bacteria and viruses into their chromosomes to give them properties we find desirable. One of those properties is to withstand massive applications of our potent weedkiller. This way, we not only sell farmers our seeds, but massive amounts of our weedkiller too. We own these plants. We have patented them. If their DNA should drift into some other farmers' field, we own those plants as well. But don't worry your pretty little heads about that. You just have to trust that we have your best interests at heart.
We're behind the comfort foods that you so love -- the foods that have the right level of sugar, salt and fat to make your endorphins kick in, foods dripping with liquid gold (corn syrup made from corn we designed and patented and own), the foods you want to keep eating more and more of. Your lives are so hard. Why shouldn't you indulge in foods that make you feel comfortable? When you do so, you're making our investors more comfortable too!
Nothing should interfere with your sense of well-being. And yet one regulation after another gets passed to give you more cause to worry about what you're eating. First we were forced to disclose our ingredients so you could fret about whether you wanted to eat candy with tert-Butylhydroquinone in it. Then we were forced to disclose calorie and fat content, so you could fret about whether eating a portion of something that contained 150 percent of the recommended saturated fat intake was wise. Now it's labeling GMOs. Where will this madness stop?! Do you really think you'll be wanting sausage if you saw how it was made? Isn't not knowing better? More comforting? When you were little and you had a cold and your mommy made you a nice comforting bowl of chicken soup, did you need to know what she put in it? Let Biotech and Big Agra be like your mommies now. Just open your mouths and close your eyes!
This has been Felonius Ax, for the Billionaires.