The Langer Cast! Rights, Innovation, and Czars

Episode 30 of the LangerCast is up and ready for your enjoyment! “We’ve Seen All Good People”— recapping Homecoming weekend(s) (both mine and Andrew’s).  Andrew talks about what makes great people—like the wonderful group of friends he saw this past weekend.

We turn to Andrew’s op-ed in Townhall.com, and my recent piece on GMOs at the The CapAllies Post—talking about how politics impacts food innovation (and innovation generally).

Then, we go back and revisit the story of Houston subpoena-ing pastors, and talk about the Coeur D’Alene, Idaho situation. Andrew talks about the nature of rights, how rights intersect, and how to relieve tensions when rights clash.

Finally, we talk about Ron Klain’s appointment as Ebola Czar, just what this portends for the American republic generally and the Obama administration specifically. How Klain’s appointment compares to Stuart Simonson’s, and the hue and cry that would have been raised had a Republican president appointed Karl Rove to be Ebola Czar.

Music this week from Grandmaster Flash, Greg Kihn, Lyn Johnson, the Pretenders (among others) and we close out (on the recommendation of Rob Lane) with Wilson Pickett singing Hey Jude, accompanied by a then-unknown Duane Allman.

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The Langer Cast! Food Labeling, Free Speech, and Facebook …

The Langer Cast is BACK! Episode 29: Turnip… For What??!!

Andrew Langer and I are live once again from Americans for Tax Reform, joined by our good friend, Julie Gunlock from the Independent Women’s Forum!

We start with a word of thanks to our listeners, with a word about our “adequasivity” from Bill McNeil. Andrew tells his tale of Howl O’ Scream expectations gone horribly awry, coupled with a note about doing the right thing for a friend. And I talk a little about being Unfriended on facebook because of Columbus Day.

Julie, taking advantage of a break in DC’s tornado warnings, joins us in the second segment. We talk about food policy, GMOs (of course, with a tip o’ the hat to Jimmy Kimmel), and chat about Cook’s Country and America’s Test Kitchen’s Chris Kimball.

We then preview and discuss the curious case of Michelle Obama and a turnip (for what?).

Finally, we talk speech – the horrible “star chamber” at Fordham University, the lunacy of Houston’s iron-fisted mayor subpoena-ing sermons, and have a discussion of whether objectivists are uncomfortable defending people of faith.

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Colorado Food Fight

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Colorado Food Fight 

 By Jerry Rogers

For years now, American farmers have reported the numerous advantages of using genetically modified (GM) crops. What’s more, roughly 2,000 studies have confirmed that genetically modified organisms (GMO) are as safe as or safer than conventional or organic foods. For thirty years, the science has remained unchanged. Yet, the anti-GMO activists continue their disinformation campaign.

Ronnie Cummins, national director for the anti-GMO Organic Consumers Association (OCA), wrote that the “turning point in the anti-GMO Movement in the U.S. came in 2012-13 when organic and anti-GE organizations … decided to bypass the federal government and launch high-profile, multi-million dollar state ballot initiative campaigns for mandatory labeling of GMOs in California and Washington State.”

Mr. Cummins knows that the campaign for state-based labeling has nothing to do with a consumer’s right to know, and everything to do with using mandatory labeling to drive GMOs off the market. He admits that “state legislative battles in Vermont, Oregon, and other states will likely reach critical mass in 2014, forcing industry and the federal government to finally adopt EU-type regulations and practices on GMOs.”

Over four dozen pieces of legislation have been introduced in nearly 30 states to require GMO labeling. This death-by-a-thousand-cuts campaign has traveled to Colorado with a GMO labeling question on that state’s November ballot.

The good news is that some in the mainstream media are paying attention to the science and benefits of GMOs. Just last week, the Denver Post editorial board urged its readers to vote “no” on the GMO labeling measure (Proposition 105)—writing that it is “a badly flawed measure that will hurt Colorado farmers and food producers without providing any health benefit to consumers.”

The politics of GMOs need to catch up with the science. There is federal legislation that may be a good first step in doing just that. Introduced by Reps. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) and G.K. Butterfield (D., N.C.), the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014”  would preempt unsound efforts like Colorado’s Prop105 and create national standards for food labeling under the sole authority of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Jerry Rogers is vice president at the Institute for Liberty and the founder of Capitol Allies, an independent, nonpartisan effort that promotes entrepreneurship, economic growth, and free enterprise.

 

The Langer Cast! Ebola, Unemployment, Lois Lerner, and more

 

This week, Andrew and I are live from the studios of One America News! A special message goes out to one of the LangerCast’s most-dedicated fans. Andrew talks about slugging, and the dumbest things he’s ever read. We talk about the mishandling of the global Ebola crisis, and I expose the myths in the latest US unemployment numbers. Then we talk about why we are of two minds regarding the video ambush of Lois Lerner, and how to think about politics and policy as if we’re playing in the post-season.

Carter Redux

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Jimmy Carter Redux?

By Jerry Rogers

In his speech at Northwestern University last week, the president touted—as good news—the unemployment rate. He said that “by every economic measure, we are better off now than we were when I took office.”

By every economic measure, we are better off?

We know from the September Jobs Report that the unemployment rate has fallen to 5.9 percent. However, if you’re like most American workers, your earnings have declined or remained flat. Household income—for most Americans—is lower today than it was five years ago when the great recession officially ended.

Why?

Behind the rosy headlines celebrating the “rebounding” economy and the “reassuring” news of falling unemployment is the gloomy truth that the labor-force participation rate remains shockingly low—1970s, Jimmy Carter low. Earnings are stagnant because we have a surplus of workers sitting on the sidelines.

As I said here yesterday, the unemployment rate dropped because more people simply gave up looking for jobs. President Obama is failing as dramatically as did Jimmy Carter. The last time the labor force participation rate fell to 62.7 percent (today’s level) was during the Carter malaise in 1978. Let’s leave the late-70s behind us, and build an economy for the 21st Century.

Policy-makers need to pass meaningful market-based reforms that will liberate entrepreneurs from taxes and costly, job-killing regulations. The health of America’s economy depends on start-ups and new businesses being able to obtain capital, expand research, and grow into public companies that can hire people while bringing new products to market.

We can do better, and I’ll be exploring how at the CapAllies Post as we lead up to the midterm elections. Stay tuned.

Jerry Rogers is vice president at the Institute for Liberty and the founder of Capitol Allies, an independent, nonpartisan effort that promotes entrepreneurship, economic growth, and free enterprise

 

A Total Collapse in the Labor Force Participation Rate

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5.9% versus 62.7%: The Spin versus the Truth

By Jerry Rogers

At Northwestern University last week, President Obama said we are better off than we were six years ago; and the September Jobs Report—at first glance—supports the President’s assertion. With 248,000 new jobs added to the economy, things appear to be on the upswing.

However, while the keepers of conventional wisdom celebrate the 5.9 percent unemployment rate, the economy continues to sputter. The pundits gladly report on the 248,000 Americans who found jobs—good news! What they’re not reporting is the disturbing news of more than 300,000 Americans who have quit the work force; people who have given up and dropped out.

The unemployment rate dropped because more people simply gave up looking for jobs. The labor force participation rate in September fell to 62.7 percent, a level not seen since 1978. 92.6 million Americans are not participating in the work force!

Too many Americans are still working jobs for which they are overqualified, and wages are still lagging behind the rising costs for housing, healthcare, education, groceries, and energy. More than 500,000 full-time jobs have been replaced by 800,000 part-time jobs since the great recession, the highest increase in part-time employment since 1993.

More than five years after the recession ended, we’re still living in a feeble economy.

 

Jerry Rogers is vice president at the Institute for Liberty and the founder of Capitol Allies, an independent, nonpartisan effort that promotes entrepreneurship, economic growth, and free enterprise.

The Langer Cast — GMOs, Intellectual Property Rights, Free Speech, and more

It’s Episode 27 of the LangerCast: GMOs, Jeter and GoGos vs. the Bangles! Andrew Langer and I are joined by Michi Iliazi from the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), live from the offices of Americans for Tax Reform.

We break down the State Policy Network annual meeting in Denver last week, talk about the Derek Jeter era coming to an end. We discuss my new op-ed in The Daily Caller on GMOs. Michi gets us up to date on what the TPA is doing!

We talk trademark destruction – government interfering in intellectual property rights by mandating plain-wrapper packaging to deciding which trademarks are offensive and therefore nullified. We then tie this all into Operation Choke point and the overall war on free speech.

Then we re-ignite the GoGos vs. the Bangles debate, as Michi shows off his 80s trivia skills.

PLEASE TAKE A LISTEN, SUBSCRIBE, AND LET YOUR FRIENDS KNOW ALL ABOUT THE LANGER CAST!

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GMO science vs. anti-GMO misanthropy.

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By Jerry Rogers

The Journal of Animal Science has published in its October issue a new study confirming all other GMO science. It is one of the most important and comprehensive reviews on the topic.

My piece (below) takes a look at the science v. ideology challenge of GMO policy, and I offer a simple idea on how to reset the debate.

“You might think that environmentalists who make up the bulk of the anti-GMO movement would support GMO cultivation, with its greater yields and efficient use of farmland, as a great ecological victory. The key is that GMO science stands in the way of their Malthusian/anti-wealth ideology. More food produced on less land will only help to feed a larger and increasingly more affluent global population.” Read the rest here:

Yet Another Study Confirms GMOs Are Safe, So Why Are Bans Still Spreading, The Daily Caller, 9/30/2014

 

Jerry Rogers is vice president at the Institute for Liberty and the founder of Capitol Allies, an independent, nonpartisan effort that promotes entrepreneurship, economic growth, and free enterprise.

GMO Science is Settled

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It Can be Declared that the Scientific Debate Over GMO is Closed.

By Jerry Rogers

The scientific debate over the risks associated with genetically modified organisms (GMO) is over; the science is absolutely settled.

For anti-GMO activists to say otherwise—i.e., that GMO are not adequately tested, or that they are harmful—they have to either cherry pick the data from politically tainted, scientifically-challenged sources, or these (scare) activists are simply denying the science.

There have been 2,000 studies documenting that GMO science does not pose a risk to our health and GM foods are as safe as or safer than conventional or organic foods.

Yet, the activists still ring the anti-GMO alarm. The failure of these anti-GMO activists to consider science when advocating policy betrays their true motive: kill bio-science and disrupt the market.

The sad truth is that the activists have an ulterior agenda centered on discrediting and banning GMO science. They believe that what we eat and drink is their business. They are seeking to disrupt the free market and destroy biotechnology by ignoring the science and scaring people about what’s in their food.

Well, now we have more science to confirm all the rest of the science. Writing in the October issue of the Journal of Animal Science, in the most comprehensive study of GMO ever conducted, University of California-Davis Department of Animal Science geneticist Alison Van Eenennaam reviewed 30 years of livestock productivity and health data from both before and after the introduction of genetically engineered animal feed.

What does the science say? The science says (again) that GM feed is safe and nutritionally equivalent to non-GM feed.

Considering the size of the dataset, it can convincingly be declared that the scientific debate over GMO is closed.

Jerry Rogers is vice president at the Institute for Liberty and the founder of Capitol Allies, an independent, nonpartisan effort that promotes entrepreneurship, economic growth, and free enterprise.

 

 

 

 

 

Food Surveillance is Not Welfare Reform

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No Food Surveillance in the Next Congress

 By Jerry Rogers

After the National Security Agency (NSA), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Department of Justice (DOJ) scandals, polls show little support for expanding government surveillance.

However, some in Congress – looking ahead to 2015 – support the scheme of a food surveillance program run out of the Department of Agriculture.

Just last year, Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) introduced an amendment to the Farm Bill requiring food surveillance in the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program  (SNAP). The legislation would have mandated that retail food stores collect, and report to the Secretary of Agriculture, detailed information that identifies food items purchased with benefits provided under the supplemental nutrition assistance program. Big Brother watching what we purchase at the grocery story.

SNAP food surveillance would be an enormous, governmental undertaking with far reaching implications for all Americans, not just SNAP recipients. How much would mandated surveillance cost supermarkets? How will store clerks distinguish between food purchased through SNAP or with cash? Why should we trust that the surveillance would not spread to all food purchased by all Americans?

Thankfully, the Republican majority rejected the Marino proposal, but some Members want to revisit the idea in the next Congress.

Whether it’s under the guise of entitlement reform or public health, some politicians may favor food monitoring and restrictions because it’s an easy way to show voters that they’re being good stewards of taxpayer money. On the contrary, food restrictions in SNAP will create a food code mimicking the complexity of the IRS tax code.

Government food surveillance will not make people healthier; it will not save taxpayer money; and it will not reform entitlements.

Food surveillance could have its start in SNAP, but will end up impacting all Americans.

Jerry Rogers is vice president at the Institute for Liberty and the founder of Capitol Allies, an independent, nonpartisan effort that promotes entrepreneurship, economic growth, and free enterprise.