Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Bill Gates vs. the Famine Lobby (The Left demonizes "Frankenfoods" while Africa starves)
FrontPageMag.com ^ | October 30, 2009 | Ben Johnson

Posted on 10/30/2009 5:38:44 PM PDT by FrontPageMag.com

Bill Gates took on the Famine Lobby while addressing a forum on the world food supply in Iowa. Speaking at the World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines, Gates took aim at the chorus of environmental leftists and organic food advocates who believe Africans should starve rather than eat genetically modified (GM) foods. “Some voices are instantly hostile to any emphasis on productivity. They act as if there is no emergency, even though in the poorest, hungriest places on earth, population is growing faster than productivity,” he said.

The opposition is significant, because Gates is left-of-center himself. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with assets of $29 billion as of 2005, has focused on the “population” side of the “problem” in the past, sending billions of dollars in grants to such pro-abortion groups as Planned Parenthood; Population Action International, Population Services International, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, and the Population Resource Center. Gates has also financed such organizations as the Tides Center, the Tides Foundation, the National Council of La Raza, and has supported a gun control initiative in Washington state.

However, Gates announced he will issue a $120 million grant to increase food productivity in sub-Saharan Africa through the planting of genetically modified seeds. In Des Moines, Gates cited a Stanford study from 2008 concluding African farmers will lose one-quarter of their productivity within 20 years if they continue to plant the same strains of corn. However, “If the seeds perform well, African farmers can expect to produce two-million more tons of maize in a year of moderate drought.” Radio Iowa reports Gates has “committed more than a billion dollars” in all.

Taking on the Green Left

In proposing this initiative, he is standing up to the Green Left, which has long favored environmental “purity” to human well-being. Greenpeace cooked up the term “Frankenfood” to demonize genetically modified foods a decade ago. Jeremy Rifkin called GM foods, “a form of annihilation every bit as deadly as nuclear holocaust” and compared their cultivation to “Nazi eugenics.” So successful was their campaign that many ecological groups have equated the agricultural corporation Monsanto, a leader in biotechnology, with the antichrist.

Dire predictions aside, GM foods not only potentially increase food production but have replaced the need to spray crops with chemical pesticides, which sickened or killed Africans. Those farmers who spray can now streamline the process, saving them much time and money. The modified crops are more resistant to cold, drought, herbicides, pests, and disease. They also supplied nutritional gaps in the consumption patterns of the poor. For instance, so-called “golden rice” spliced Vitamin A into rice, which could stave off blindness among the world’s poor who eat little more than rice. (Giving credit where credit’s due, golden rice was developed with aid from the Rockefeller Foundation.)

The “Nazi” concerns floated by the Green Left have proven more theoretical than actual. Greenpeace has long claimed GM foods increase allergies; however, the World Health Organization – hardly a corporate, capitalist shill – concluded, “No allergic effects have been found relative to GM foods currently on the market.” Although six EU nations ban GM foods, Jaap Satter, a senior policy adviser at the Dutch Agriculture Ministry, has said, “You cannot say anymore that there is a scientific reason to be against genetic modification.” The National Research Council summed up the situation: “no conceptual distinction exists between generic modification of plants and microorganisms by classical methods or by molecular techniques that modify DNA and transfer genes.

Some environmentalists seem concerned the foods will be too successful at feeding the poor. Al Gore has worried, “The most lasting impact of biotechnology on the food supply may come not from something going wrong, but from all going right…we’re far more likely to accidentally drown ourselves in a sea of excess grain.” Given the environmentalist movement’s hatred of population – best exemplified by Obama Science Czar John Holdren’s justification of compulsory abortion in the United States – this may be the real locus of their disdain.

So deep is the Green Left’s hatred of GM foods that even an organizations Gates founded has given genetically modified food a chilly reception. “The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa was established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation” and the Rockefeller Foundation in 2006 “with the objective of improving agriculture in Africa.” However, its leader, former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, vowed in 2007: “We in the alliance will not incorporate GMOs [genetically modified organisms] in our programmes. We shall work with farmers using traditional seeds.”

The scare tactics and shunning of American and Euro-socialist leftists is theoretical and faulty – but their mania has reaped a deadly harvest among the world’s most vulnerable people.

Let Them Eat Twigs

In 2002, Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa refused to accept tons of U.S. food aid for his starving nation, because the aid contained genetically modified food (maize, specifically). “Simply because my people are hungry, that is no justification to give them poison, to give them food that is intrinsically dangerous to their health,” he said. The deluded president continued, “I will not allow Zambians to be turned into guinea pigs no matter the levels of hunger in the country.”

The levels of hunger were staggering. Nearly one-third of Zambia’s 10 million people faced famine. Some 14 million Africans faced starvation region-wide. Nonetheless, the president privately upbraided officials in the UN World Food Programme for distributing GM foods, which fed 125,000 people in five camps. The WFP reported some impoverished Zambians “resorted to eating little more than twigs and ash from the fire in a brown soupy concoction.” Desperate, rural villagers broke into the palace where the stockpiles were rotting and stole 2,000 bags of maize.

In response, the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg in 2002, signed a “statement of solidarity” with Zambia. Charlie Kronick of Greenpeace went further, alleging the humanitarian aid constituted a sick capitalist ploy. “There is a constant drip of pressure from the U.S. government and biotech industry to make sure Africa is softened up for GM,” he theorized. “Europe is closed to them and they need a market for it.”

Others offered more than ideological support. Zimbabwe joined the boycott, preventing GM grain’s importation. Angola followed suit in 2004. Lesotho and Mozambique milled all such grain so it would not be planted and “infect” other crops.

Not all were limited to the EU and Africa. In 2004, Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez passed “possibly…the most sweeping restrictions on transgenic crops in the western hemisphere.”

Organic Astroturf

At home, the opposition has been remarkably well-heeled. National Review’s Deroy Murdock found:

In 2001, the 30 leading anti-biotech groups…spent $341.4 million, including Greenpeace USA’s expenditure of $23,748,737, Environmental Defense’s $38,794,150 and the Natural Resources Defense Council’s $41,625,882. Between 1996 and 2001, this crusade’s lavish underwriters included the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation ($11,906,500), the Ford Foundation ($39,978,020) and the Pew Charitable Trusts ($130,996,900).

It also included a large portion of the organic food market. Somehow, this story of an industry trying to spike a competitor did not make MSNBC or the pages of Mother Jones.

Whatever the dangers, the prohibition of GM foods is a moral issue. As Velasio De Paolis of the Pontifical Urban University has said, it is “easy to say no to GM food if your stomach is full.” However misled he is on other issues, Bill Gates deserves credit for standing up against the Green Left on this point.

The question remains, will he do so on the issue that seems closest to his heart: the eradication of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa? In a recent speech on the topic Gates admitted, “two tools helped to bring the death rate down: One was killing the mosquitoes with DDT.” Before Rachel Carson’s crusade – based entirely on scientific theories that never panned out – DDT use had nearly eradicated malaria. Now, according to one report, “there are approximately 350 to 500 millions cases of malaria, killing close to one million people” annually. “Every day, malaria takes the lives of 2,000 children in Africa alone.” Yet instead of backing DDT use, Gates has sought to find a vaccine.

If Gates truly wants to put the well-being of Africans above political correctness, DDT is the best place to start.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Extended News; News/Current Events; US: Iowa
KEYWORDS: africa; benjohnson; billgates; billionaires; environmentalists; famine; foodsupply; frankenfood; gm; greendeath; hunger; monsanto; philanthropy

1 posted on 10/30/2009 5:38:46 PM PDT by FrontPageMag.com
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: FrontPageMag.com

Gates is a very single minded geek. It would be marvelous if he targets this hooey for destruction.


2 posted on 10/30/2009 5:43:24 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FrontPageMag.com

Bill Gates does put his money where his month is unlike most of the left.


3 posted on 10/30/2009 5:43:29 PM PDT by ThomasThomas (I don't have time to Procrastinate)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FrontPageMag.com

Wouldn’t it be a hoot if Linus Torvalds joined in too :-)


4 posted on 10/30/2009 5:44:26 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FrontPageMag.com

Bill Gates kinda does have enough money to bankroll his own food and aid airdrops into Africa...


5 posted on 10/30/2009 5:47:36 PM PDT by wastedyears (Clyde Shelton is my hero.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FrontPageMag.com

But the left doesn’t care about actual people actually starving.

They don’t much care if they are machetied to death either.

There are larger concerns.


6 posted on 10/30/2009 5:48:55 PM PDT by Bahbah (Only dead fish go with the flow)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FrontPageMag.com
Gates is finally learning about the "God that Failed".

If he'd bothered reading some of the better anti-Communist literature of the 1940s and 1950s written by ex-Commies he'd already known this.

Man's wasted 3/4 of his life on a foolish quest.

7 posted on 10/30/2009 5:51:47 PM PDT by muawiyah (Git Out The Way)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FrontPageMag.com

You mean people at Free Republic cannot recognize black propaganda. Not only are GMO’s untested there is no procedure for them to be tested. We are losing plant diversity while six corporations control world food production. The response to this garbage is abysmal.


8 posted on 10/30/2009 5:55:19 PM PDT by poodle
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FrontPageMag.com

I think these HIV ridden, overpopulating people need to be sterilized as a result of accepting our aid. NO FORCED STERILIZATION, but voluntary if they want our food. They have no business breeding if they can’t even feed themselves. Survival of the fittest - only the strongest of people further their genes into the human future. Oh, and for anybody who say I say this because they’re Africans, I say the same for any population who - for centuries - have starved, warred with won another, and have been led by losers and have done nothing with one of the most naturally eco-rich continent on earth.


9 posted on 10/30/2009 5:56:00 PM PDT by Engineer_Soldier (I'll never hold my nose and vote again! Only small-government leaders will get my vote.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: HiTech RedNeck
Gates is a very single minded geek

Gates is a bright enough guy but politically retarded.

A few years ago he was rudely shocked at an AIDS gathering when, after suggesting that maybe the native rabbits should be encouraged to cut down on their indiscrimante screwing, he was howled down by the feral copuloids of the Leftwing F*ck-factories.

He shoulda' known better. Then and now.

10 posted on 10/30/2009 6:00:57 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard (Truth--The liberal's Kryptonite)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: poodle

Amen!

parsy, who thinks Frankenfood is an appropriate term


11 posted on 10/30/2009 6:03:36 PM PDT by parsifal (Abatis: Rubbish in front of a fort, to prevent the rubbish outside from molesting the rubbish inside)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: hinckley buzzard

Bill Gates proposed something that made SENSE! GAK!


12 posted on 10/30/2009 6:04:04 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: poodle

If keeping the “genetic diversity” (non human introduced, that is) means to starve the Africans, why let’s starve the Africans!


13 posted on 10/30/2009 6:05:39 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: HiTech RedNeck
How dare you introduce logic into the wacko environmentalist religion. This is a spiritual experience for these people; it's about what feels good, not what is scientifically correct.

(...somehow they forgot that the old hybrid grain seeds are also genetically modified, just in a more traditional low-tech way.)

14 posted on 10/30/2009 6:09:54 PM PDT by your local physicist (If the Canadians and Brazilians can drill for oil off their Atlantic coast, why can't we?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: your local physicist

Remember reading only a few weeks back (iowahawk?) about the recent demise of an old Iowan farmer who had toiled for decades to bring third world farms up to first world production capacities (not to mention helping first world operations improve). GM was unknown then, but this did not deter him. GM is no magic wand promising naught but good, but if it helps the breeding process achieve its goals more easily, I am certainly not standing ready with boos and hisses.


15 posted on 10/30/2009 6:14:44 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: HiTech RedNeck

For some in the Green Left, starving the Africans is the bottom line. They consider “overpopulation” the greatest threat facing the world, so if something “culls the surplus population,” it’s good in their eyes. Gates has funded population groups — but he is a heretic from the Green religion on this.


16 posted on 10/30/2009 6:39:03 PM PDT by FrontPageMag.com
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: poodle

I will go half way there with ya! It is of great concern that such a small number of corporations do indeed control so much of food production. Monsanto is no corporate saint and they have been known to go after farmers who do not do what they tell them to.

There are however seed banks popping up all over the world but like one poster said there are not a lot of original seeds left that have not been changed by ‘normal’ breeding methods.

GM foods are widely tested - on humans all over the world! Another 30 years and we should see any negative results start to tally up.

If I was a poor African I would rather eat and I wouldn’t care where it came from or who made it!

Mel


17 posted on 10/30/2009 6:48:55 PM PDT by melsec (A Proud Aussie)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: FrontPageMag.com
starving people is ok with the RATS, less people means less globull warming and stuff...
18 posted on 10/30/2009 7:07:01 PM PDT by Chode (American Hedonist *DTOM* -ww- I AM JIM THOMPSON!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wastedyears

Which would put whatever farmers who are still in business out of business. The solution for Africa needs to come from within Africa. Outsiders could help with wells and infrustructure and in country education in peaceful countries and sell them things when they have money. Africa would be much better off without all the meddling.


19 posted on 10/30/2009 7:10:08 PM PDT by tiki (True Christians will not deliberately slander or misrepresent others or their beliefs)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: melsec

If I had a child, I’d sure rather have him die of cancer at 80 than starvation at 8.

Truly, truly if they forced us to go back to heirloom seeds we’d be much less healthy and many more would be starving. Just the changes that hybridization has brought has increased yields much less genetically modified.

The only crop I really know about with the GM is cotton, the yields are doubled or more.


20 posted on 10/30/2009 7:19:12 PM PDT by tiki (True Christians will not deliberately slander or misrepresent others or their beliefs)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: tiki

I agree 100% It’s just that it is nice to have the heirloom seeds around to go back to! A failsafe if you like!

Cheers

Mel


21 posted on 10/30/2009 7:22:46 PM PDT by melsec (A Proud Aussie)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: melsec

They have a repository somewhere, I think it is Norway. I have a few heirlooms myself and could multiply them in a year.


22 posted on 10/30/2009 7:36:03 PM PDT by tiki (True Christians will not deliberately slander or misrepresent others or their beliefs)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: FrontPageMag.com

The responses are still abysmal and feed a belief that GMOs are a solution to hunger or nutritition. The article is pure crap and just a few Google videos from a search for “GMO dangers” would present that view. There is no way to take on the propaganda in just a few words, but I am well read on it and this is a society where beliefs and conclusions are funneled into people’s heads. This piece is black propaganda no matter how such a statement gets diverted, deflected and diluted. This this 2009 and people should have a broad understanding of GMOs already because it is something they are eating everyday.

If you don’t know the oppositional information, don’t you think you should hunt it down?


23 posted on 10/30/2009 7:48:30 PM PDT by poodle
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tiki

I would keep a hold of them - propogate every couple of years to keep fresh stocks etc. Might be worth something one day!

Mel


24 posted on 10/30/2009 8:45:22 PM PDT by melsec (A Proud Aussie)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: tiki

It is in Norway: Svalbard

My husband was close to it recently but no one can get in, heavily guarded which is understandable.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18925343.700


25 posted on 10/30/2009 11:15:15 PM PDT by Aria ( "The US republic will endure until Congress discovers it can bribe the public with the people's $.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: hinckley buzzard
the feral copuloids of the Leftwing F*ck-factories.

Wow! Great turnin' o' the phrase!

26 posted on 10/31/2009 1:38:46 AM PDT by livius
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: FrontPageMag.com

I think you’re right, they see starvation in Africa as having a useful purpose.

However, I think it goes beyond even that. The real Greenies hate humanity in general and everything they do is directed at returning us to the dark ages, with their famine and disease, hoping that this will exterminate the human race altogether. While they may be considered “extreme environmentalists,” there are more of them than you think, and they have gotten a lot of power. IIRC, one of Bambi’s advisors referred to humanity as a “cancer on the face of the earth.” And I’m sure the NGO’s are stuffed with them.

Africa is just the first step.


27 posted on 10/31/2009 1:45:02 AM PDT by livius
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: livius

Livius, I agree a high-profile sector of the environmentalist movement places the environment above the human race. If humans must die, “so let it be written, so let it be done.” They have been in dangerous positions of authority since the popularity of Paul Ehrlich in the 1970s, and now his co-author John Holdren is Obama’s science czar. We are in deep trouble.


28 posted on 10/31/2009 4:51:04 AM PDT by FrontPageMag.com
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: FrontPageMag.com
We are in deep trouble.

We certainly are. You'd think the simple instinct for self-preservation would keep these people from hating and trying to destroy the whole human race, but it doesn't seem to bother them in the least. And they're in power now.

Of course, the Devil has always been the power of nothingness, of the void, of death, so I guess that's where they're getting their power from.

29 posted on 10/31/2009 7:30:32 AM PDT by livius
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: poodle

“search for “GMO dangers” would present that view. “

Sorry, but people who think this are loons.

You brought up a second issue about the control that Monsanto and other companies have amassed over the genetic supply. I would partially agree, as Monsanto has been very heavy handed.


30 posted on 10/31/2009 7:46:12 AM PDT by HereInTheHeartland (The End of an Error - 01/20/2013)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: FrontPageMag.com

Two thoughts - All food is genetically modified. If you look at agricultural practices from a historical perspective on long known “bread basket” areas, you will probably see this practiced manually for several hundred years. Wind, rain and other elements have probably helped the process since the dawn of the plant.

Second, this is my favorite quote:
Al Gore has worried, “The most lasting impact of biotechnology on the food supply may come not from something going wrong, but from all going right…we’re far more likely to accidentally drown ourselves in a sea of excess grain.”

So what if we do?


31 posted on 10/31/2009 8:10:00 AM PDT by PrincessB (The comments written under this section shall not be treated as comments)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: PrincessB
Al Gore has worried, “The most lasting impact of biotechnology on the food supply may come not from something going wrong, but from all going right…we’re far more likely to accidentally drown ourselves in a sea of excess grain.”

So what if we do?


We'll look like a bloated a-hole Algore?
32 posted on 10/31/2009 8:11:27 AM PDT by aruanan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: wastedyears

“Bill Gates kinda does have enough money to bankroll his own food
and aid airdrops into Africa...”

No matter what food is on the airdrop pallets...each pallet needs to
have a couple AK-47s, maybe an RPG and plenty of ammo.
Along with visual instructions on how to operate the weapons.
And an exhortation to KILL any warlord’s troops that arrive to take
the food and sell it on the black market.

So much of the hunger in Africa derives from the bad actors diverting
and selling the donated food and pocketing the money from selling it.


33 posted on 10/31/2009 8:16:33 AM PDT by VOA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson