Category Archives: Sound Science / Health

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.…/the-langer-cast-29-turnip-for-what……/relm-network/the-langer-cast-2…/the-langer-cast/id824436935…


Colorado Food Fight


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.

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!…/the-langer-cast-27-jeter-gmos-and-……/relm-network/the-langer-cast-2…/the-langer-cast/id824436935…

GMO science vs. anti-GMO misanthropy.


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.


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Congress Should Reject Adelson’s Crony Power Play

By Jerry Rogers

After blasting the deep-seeded cronyism of the Obama Administration for six years, a number of Republicans have decided to partake in some cronyism of their own.

A wealthy casino owner is asking the government to outlaw his potential competition, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) have jumped at the chance to help him, introducing legislation this week to achieve that goal.

Billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson tried unsuccessfully to build an online gaming business. After failing to capitalize on the market, his company, Las Vegas Sands, has been arguing that online gaming represents a massive threat to the profitability of land-based casinos. With New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada legalizing online gaming for their residents, the threat appears to be growing. So Mr. Adelson is doing what many billionaire political donors have done all too often – he is asking his friends in government to ban his competitors.

After bragging that he would “spend whatever it takes,” to achieve his goal, Mr. Adelson launched the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, hired lobbyists to write legislation, and got his bill introduced.

The Graham/Chaffetz bill turns the idea of federalism on its head. At the press conference announcing the bill, Chaffetz declared that states wanting to legalize Internet gaming need to come to Congress for permission. Such supplication is big government bullying at its worst, and it should be anathema to conservative members of Congress. Supporters of a limited federal government understand that states should be empowered to make these decisions.

When states decide to exercise their rights under the Constitution to become “laboratories of democracy,” the last thing we want is the federal government policing and overturning those decisions to protect the well connected. As the federal government grows more powerful and oppressive, a number of states have joined efforts to fight back. Some states refused to implement the REAL I.D. law. Other states have urged nullification of ObamaCare. Still others have legalized marijuana. We may not agree with all or any of those decisions, but that is what federalism is all about.

Federalism is one of the most innovative concepts the Founders put into our Constitution. It allows Nevada and New Jersey to legalize Internet gaming while, at the same time, it doesn’t mandate that Utah and South Carolina must do the same. States have the prerogative – the right – to establish these laws. The great irony here is that the very concept of federalism is what shaped the economic environment in Nevada that enabled Mr. Adelson to make his billions in land-based casinos. Nevada exercised its right to make legal – gambling casinos – what other states criminalized.

Supporters of Adelson’s bill in Congress are turning their backs on the first principles of our Constitutional order solely to help a political supporter. The Graham/Chaffetz bill seeks to reward those who deal in favors and create law that benefits a single, special self-interest at the expense of entrepreneurs and free markets. Sheldon Adelson might be a great American – donating hundreds of millions of dollars to Republican groups and causes – but that doesn’t justify abandoning first principles.

The Graham-Chaffetz bill is not about gambling. It is about undermining federalism and promoting crony capitalism. Congress should reject this billion-dollar power play.

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.

GMOs are healthy

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A Middle Ground on GMOs

By Jerry Rogers

To date, 50 bills have been introduced in almost 30 states to require the labeling of genetically modified foods, or GMOs. Three states actually have labeling requirements on the books. Connecticut and Maine have passed GMO labeling laws that will take full effect after a requisite number of other northeastern states pass similar mandates. Vermont’s labeling bill was signed into law just last month and will be effective July 2016. These three states and the myriad others following suit could upend the nation’s entire food system, from farming to supply to retail.

Why such a flurry of activity? It’s a death-by-a-thousand-cuts campaign of establishing 50 different state-based regimes. The activists’ ultimate goal is not “freedom of choice” or the “right to know” for consumers, as they claim, but to drive GMO foods out of the market. If these activists have their way, the American people will have fewer choices on the shelves, face higher food prices, and be under the intrusive eye of state-based food police.

Their own words betray their true intentions. Geert Ritsema of Friends of the Earth Europe has affirmed, “If these products all have to be labeled, who is going to put it on the market?” Joseph Mercola, an alternative-medicine advocate, has said, “GM foods must be banned entirely, but labeling is the most efficient way to achieve this.” Veteran activist and organizer Ronnie Cummins has called the EU’s labeling laws — coupled with pressure campaigns on supermarket chains — “the crucial blow to GMOs.”

The facts about GMOs and the science of biotechnology are indisputable. In an effort to catalog the science on GMOs, a team of Italian scientists summarized nearly 2,000 studies about the safety and environmental impact of GMO foods. These scientists could not find a single instance where GMO food posed any harm to humans or animals. GMOs are safe and healthy.

Studies over the past 30 years — by such groups as the World Health Organization, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Academies of Science — have produced no evidence of health or safety harms. On the contrary, all of them have concluded that GMOs are as safe as, or safer than, conventional or organic foods. Recently, Jon Entine of the Genetic Literacy Project explained on the John Stossel program that “we’ve eaten about 7 trillion meals in the 18 years since GMOs first came on the market. There’s not one documented instance of someone getting so much as a sniffle.”

GMOs now make up a major part of the American diet: 60-70 percent of all food on supermarket shelves is GMO. So the issue of labeling needs to be addressed in a manner that defers to sound science. An alternative to the state-based food police is a national standard. If the activists were truly interested in science and consumer safety, they would aggressively support this approach.

As it turns out, there is legislation, introduced by Reps. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) and G.K. Butterfield (D., N.C.), that would preempt state laws and create federal standards for food labeling. Under the bill, companies would have to file a “premarket notification” before selling GMO foods, and the secretary of health and human services would ensure that all GMO foods are at least as safe as their non-GMO counterparts. The premarket notifications would be publicly disclosed, and, while there would be no requirement for companies to label GMO foods, the bill would require all GMO-related statements on packaging to be factually accurate.

But anti-GMO activists oppose this legislation — not only does it fail to require GMO warnings on (perfectly safe) food, but it would nullify their progress in the states. Cummins declared that 90 percent of the American people opposed the bill even before any legislative language had been released. The Center for Food Safety’s Rebecca Spector called the bill the “Deny Americans the Right-to-Know Act,” or DARK, while she was taking a victory lap for GMO bans in Oregon.

The 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 scaring people about what’s in their food.

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.