This is part two of a two part transcript of my interview with Paul Craig Roberts
This is part two of a two part transcript of my interview with Paul Craig Roberts.
R.K.: Okay, so I want to transition to another topic now and that's economics, capitalism, wealth inequality. These are big issues that don't have simple answers, but... and also globalization. I want to throw that in, too. We've got major problems there and it seems to me and a growing number of people that the answer is not capitalism as we've known it. What are you thinking about that?
PCR: Well, we've known different kinds of capitalism. The kind we've had since Clinton allowed the repeal of Glass-Steagall, which separated commercial from investment banks, and since Clinton allowed a handful of firms to concentrate the entire American media. That kind of capitalism is very different from other kinds of capitalism because we now have an unregulated capitalism in which there are no rules and in which fraud is widespread. Manipulation, rigging of markets and the whole thing now works for a handful of people.
You know, the one percent, the ninety-nine percent and this has practically nothing to do with taxation. It literally wouldn't matter what the tax rates were. The same thing would be happening because when you don't regulate human behavior, then everybody in the market can behave like a sociopath and a psychopath. And so we would have a situation where eighty, eighty-five percent of all stock trades today are computers trying to front run trades that have been placed so each firm tries to get a faster computer. It tries to get closer in its physical location to the point of entry of the information. We now have the scandal which has appeared of the stock exchanges themselves selling preferential locations so fast computers can pick up a trade that's about to happen and get in front of the trade before it happens.
Well this is a rigged system. This is like the rigged casino in a gambling joint. The whole system is rigged now. The Fed rigs the bond market by buying huge numbers of bonds. That's why the bond prices are high and the interest rates are low. The money the Fed pours into banks buying the bonds gets into the stock market. They speculate on the stock market, on S&P future stock market futures. Every time the stock market starts to go down the plunge protection team buys the futures. Up it goes. Every time gold starts to go up because people are worried about the dollar the Fed steps in and shorts the gold market.
So you don't have any markets. You don't have capitalism when banks are too big to fail. Under capitalism, nobody is too big to fail. The whole virtue of capitalism, to the extent it has any, is that those companies that make inefficient use of resources go out of business. But they don't go out of business when the government steps in and uses the tax payer money to subsidize the losses. Well that's the way we've been treating the banks now for six years.
We've done this for other companies. So this is like a gangster state capitalism. Now all capitalism, like all human arrangements, has problems and disadvantages and the purpose of regulation is to make the system work for more people rather than for few people. So when you take the regulation out of the system, which is what the liberals and the conservatives and the republicans and the democrats have done, together, then the system doesn't work for anybody, but the handful that have got the power and that are rigging it.
So what could you do? Well, you really need to desperately put back in the regulation. The system failed once before and that's why we had all of this regulation added. It was a response to the 30's which were a result of the 20's. So when you go in and say, well, let's take out everything that's worked all these years. Let's take them out and give carte blanche to greed and corruption and theft and mendacity and all the rest. Then you get failure.
R.K.: Now, what you're talking about, putting in regulations, that is anathema to Milton Friedman Chicago economics-
PCR: No, it's not.
R.K.: -and libertarians. It's not?
PCR: Well, it might be to some libertarians. Certainly not to Milton Friedman or Chicago. The critique that Chicago made of regulations is associated with George Steagall. He said that the real problem with regulation is that the regulatory body ends up being captured by the industry it's supposed to regulate.
And we've seen that in all these recent revelations. You may have seen about a month ago one of the lead prosecutors of the Securities and Exchange Commission at his retirement dinner he gave a speech that stunned everyone. He said the SEC high ups blocked all of my prosecutions of the banks because they were protecting the banks in exchange for big million dollar jobs when they left government service.
So, that's the argument that Chicago made, not that we shouldn't have regulation. It just said, look, it can work for awhile, but sooner or later the regulators are going to be hand in glove with who they are regulating because they'll be bought off. You protect them while you're in office and then look at the big job you get when you leave.
Well, look at the big job the Senator got who spearheaded the repeal of Glass-Steagall for the banks. As soon as it was done, he was made vice chairman of one of the largest of banks, paid multi-million dollar income and his only duties was to go around giving speeches.
R.K.: Who is this?
PCR: Phil Gramm.
R.K.: Phil Gramm. Yeah.
PCR: So, it's the way it works. When the morality of the culture breaks down, everybody is for sale, even the guardians who are supposed to protect the public. See, this is the problem with the liberal and the progressive view-- they don't understand that it all comes back to what is the moral fiber of the population.
R.K.: What is the what? I couldn't hear that.
PCR: The moral fiber. If it's been eroded, corroded, if money is all, if money is the most important thing, if you have to have money to have a good opinion of yourself, to be valued by others, to be looked up to, then everything ends up for sale and that's the trouble. And that's... so I say the answer is to go back to regulation, but there is still some regulation and as that SEC prosecutor said, he simply couldn't bring indictments of the banks because the higher ups wouldn't permit it because they were protecting the banks so they got good jobs when they left.
And when you look at how the government is run, who are the secretaries of the treasury? They come out of Wall Street, mainly out of Goldman Sachs. Who runs the financial regulatory agencies? Former Goldman Sachs executives. Who runs all of the European organizations? Former Goldman Sachs executives.
Don't you remember how when the EU stepped in to Greece and Italy and said, we're having to take over your government because you can't pay your bills and if you want loans to get these bills paid, you'll have to let us decide who is in the government. They appointed a Goldman Sachs guy to run Greece. They appointed another one to run Italy. So, when you have the whole system run by the people who are abusing it and looting it, regulation is non-existent.
You could have every regulation you could think of on the books, it just wouldn't be of any use because the prosecutors would be blocked by the higher ups from bringing the cases.
R.K.: It's... you know, I gotta say, when I have these conversations with you, they're usually pretty bleak. What you've given here is a pretty bleak assessment.
PCR: No, I'm not giving a bleak assessment. I'm telling you the truth. I'm telling you what the real situation is. So, it is not the case like so many liberals and progressives think, that we would have plenty of regulation if it weren't for Milton Friedman and the libertarians. It wasn't Milton Friedman and the libertarians who overturned Glass-Steagall.
R.K.: Well, it was Clinton.
PCR: It was republicans and democrats acting as agents for the banks. It wasn't done by an economics department or--
R.K.: And that's the kind of history that makes me believe that at this time in the world and in history legislation is not going to change things. Elections are not going to change things.
PCR: Well, elections could, like I said earlier, if you actually get third parties and they get these votes. You know, like has just happened in the European Union elections, this was a shock and this just happened when the tea party guy, the university professor unknown just unseated Eric Cantor. Now, t it can happen. But the question remains, what happens to this guy?
Well you can bet your bottom dollar the Israel lobby has already gone to work on him. And you can bet your bottom dollar that plans are in place already to slander and destroy the reputations of the crop of people who won the EU elections. If they can survive that or if the people see through it, then you could actually have some kind of change.
On the other hand, if these people are coming in to office just because they want power too, then they'll be bought off too. So, third parties can be bought off just like the first two parties. So you really, like I said, it comes back to what is the moral fiber of the people, of the culture, and how much will they put up with. And if they will put up with anything which is what the American people by and large seem willing to do, then you can't get change.
R.K.: Alright, I'm going to move on. I've got two more issues that I want to talk about.
PCR: You know, this is going to be a very long program. We've been on for an hour.
R.K.: I'm going to break it into more than one. So another issue that's come up since we spoke last is Ed Snowden and the disclosures about NSA and our surveillance state. What's your take on Ed Snowden and NSA and how it's effecting Americans in the world?
PCR: Well, Snowden didn't tell us anything that we didn't already know. William Binney had already told us everything. William Binney is the one who designed the spy system for NSA. He designed it, put it into operation. And then, when he saw how they were using it, which was illegally, unconstitutionally, for bribery, for blackmail, for corporate business interests and that very little of this spy system was directed at foreign threats, but was directed at every American's email, credit card purchase, internet site visited, blah blah blah.
He said, wow, why did I make this thing for them? Then he went public and said they're spying on everybody. Everybody. Their allies, their congress, the judges, their own federal agencies. Even the CIA director, remember? That's how they got Petraeus out. They found out he had an extramarital affair and they used that to get him out. So he told everybody, well, the only difference between him and Snowden is that he didn't take any documents to prove it.
He thought that his word would suffice because he was a high official and he had designed the system and knew everything about it. And the government said, oh, he's just some sort of disgruntled guy. He didn't get promoted and he has mental problems. So, nobody paid any attention. So, Snowden saw all of this and said, well, I am a nobody compared to him. If I simply tell them, it won't do any good so what I'm going to do is I am going to take all the documents and prove it.
Well, they tried to prosecute to Binney, but they couldn't because they couldn't say that he had stolen anything. He hadn't taken a single document. Well ,Snowden apparently took a million of them or so and so how they are trying to counteract Snowden is to say, oh, he is a spy. He's a thief. He stole. You can't believe him. You can't believe a spy and a thief. He works for the Chinese. He works for the Russians and a lot of people, particularly journalists, are VERY jealous of all of the attention Snowden and Greenwald have gotten.
They can't stand it. They're green with envy in fact the envy has turned to hatred. They hate Greenwald and they hate Snowden. Look at all the attention they got. And then the political tribe...
R.K.: Wait, who hates Greenwald and Snowden?
PCR: All of them. Michael Kinsley wants him prosecuted, arrested. It's endless. All you got to do is read, Rob. They're always denouncing Greenwald and Snowden and Julian Assange. Julian Assange now every time some journalist mentions him it's always the sex offender or something. There's never been any sex charge brought against him. The initial ones that were brought were dismissed by the Swedish prosecutor.
They said, this is bullshit. There's no case. This was consensual on the part of the women that they admitted themselves. So, but they always... but Washington got another prosecutor. Not to bring charges, there are no charges outstanding against Julian Assange, none. What this prosecutor did was something unique. They said, we want him extradited for questioning. Nobody has ever been extradited for questioning. Okay, I'll come here. I'm right here in the embassy and you can come and I'll let you question me. And everybody knows that the prosecutor is going to, if she can grab him, she's going to turn him over to the Americans and they're going to waterboard him until he confesses he is a spy. The support for this among other journalists is very high. They don't like Assange. They don't like Greenwald and Greenwald is always having to defend himself. And Snowden, when Snowden was on that TV thing the other day, the most important part of the discussion was cut out. I think you can go online and find it, but they always set these guys up as much as they can. So, you know, that's... it's just jealousy. It's professional jealousy. It's, oh, he's getting so much attention! Why isn't somebody paying attention to me? That's the way it works.
R.K.: Well you know, just to get back to what you said about Binney. I met Bill Binney, had dinner with him, had him on my radio show. He is a heroic guy. He really is. He basically said that he is dedicating the rest of his life to exposing the NSA for what they're doing and trying to right the wrongs, but he also said that if Snowden had tried to reveal what was going on within the United States, he would have been arrested. He couldn't do what Binney did.
PCR: That's right because Binney didn't take any documents. And Snowden took the documents in order to prove that this was happening. See nobody would believe Binney. They said, where is the proof? Where is the evidence? He said, well, I'm telling you. So Snowden had seen all of this and so when he saw the same thing happening, he said, well, they'll never believe anybody. You've got to have the documents.
R.K.: And beyond that, they lied. I mean, Clapper went to Congress and lied, blatantly lied about what they were doing.
PCR: Yes. Of course, but they lie about everything. When has the United States government told the truth? Can you tell me one thing they've told the truth about? That you remember in your lifetime? Did they tell the truth about Weapons of Mass Destruction? Al Qaeda connections? Did they tell the truth about Gaddafi? About Assad using gas against its own people? About Iranian nukes? Have they told the truth about Ukraine? What have they told the truth about? Did they tell the truth about the unemployment rate? The inflation rate? The GDP growth rate? No. You know, every month I expose the lies again and again and again. They don't tell truth about anything, Rob. Nothing.
PCR: Just try to think of... I sat down the other day and spent three hours and I couldn't think of one damn thing that the government said that I could remember that was truth.
PCR: They do what they want. They have an agenda. It's this neoconservative driven overall American hegemony and under that comes build the police power, build the unaccountable power, do what I want, I'm not accountable, I've got power. What's congress doing? Nothing. We can lie to them about whatever we want. What will they do about it? Nothing. He is still in office. Why wasn't he impeached? They wanted to impeach Bill Clinton for lying about a sexual affair with a White House intern. Well you can't blame him for lying. Why would he want to stand up in front of his wife and daughter and say, yes, I've been screwing around with this girl in the Oval Office? Nobody would want to do that and what does it matter? But here's a guy that's spying on the congress, blackmailing them and he lies about it and they don't do anything about it.
R.K.: Well wait. You're just saying that Obama is spying on the congress and blackmailing them?
PCR: Oh yeah, sure, that's right. Look, that was the original reason for the spying. It was to shut everybody up. If you've got a program like Bush had that is going to war without cause, without congressional authorization, if you're going to do all kinds of things on the basis of lies, do you want to be challenged? No. Do you want to be brought down? Impeached? I mean, Bush is a perfect example of somebody who should have been impeached a dozen times. Why didn't it happen? Nobody dared. Remember when somebody said we've got to impeach him and Nancy Pelosi said, it's off the table? It's off the table! She was scared to death. She was the House Leader.
R.K.: You know, it's interesting, I had-
PCR: They had something on her. She knew immediately to kill this before it could go anywhere.
R.K.: Back then, you had John Conyers, head of the House Judiciary Committee, and I happened to have an opportunity. I was down in congress and had a conversation with him that happened to be taped. It was three or four minutes long,and I challenged him and he absolutely denied that it was Nancy Pelosi keeping it off the table.
PCR: Well, she said it publicly.
R.K.: No, I know! I know.
PCR: So what good does it do for him to, look, don't you remember Conyers? People thought Conyers was going to do something about something. I forget what it was now, but they were all enthusiastic and thought he... and he started out like he was going to do something about something and very quickly changed his spine, backed off and sold out everybody who was relying on him. I forget what that particular incidence was, the issue was I mean. We could probably research it on internet and find it, but there was something a whole bunch of people trying to do right, get justice, and they were relying on Conyers and he was going to do it. He was enthusiastic and then, all of a sudden, it just stopped. So, I think when it first happened I wrote, this was years ago, I said the whole reason for the spying was to blackmail congress and foreign leaders. If you can blackmail them then they can't oppose your policies. So it's a power thing. It's a power thing and that's what it's used for. And they use it against themselves, like Petraeus. He pissed somebody off about something so they got him out. And that's what it's all about. It's not... and of course the media is, they can't do anything, I mean, blackmailed or not, it's owned by five big companies and they don't represent journalism. They represent government interests and the corporate interests. So the editors and reporters know that there are all kinds of things that they can't possibly touch or say anything about. And now we have the case with the recent Supreme Court ruling that this New York Times reporter has no protection under the First Amendment. He has got to go tell the government who leaked him the secret of the government's wrongdoing that he wrote about in the chapter of his book.
R.K.: That's James Risen.
PCR: Yeah, Risen. So if Risen reports a government crime, that's linked to him, nothing happens to the government for committing a crime, but Risen has got to rat on the whistleblower so the whistleblower can be arrested and imprisoned for ratting on the government's crime and if Risen doesn't, then he risks being arrested and imprisoned. So what kind of journalism can exist in that environment? None. And once they shut down the New York Times, then they turn on the internet and they'll shut you down and me down. So we can't simply assume that they're going to let us talk and say the things we do and run the facts we run if they don't let Risen report what a whistleblower tells him about government misbehavior. So the power is there. It will be used, there's no doubt.
R.K.: So, do you think that Snowden's bringing all of this to light will have any positive effects?
PCR: It depends. The president of Brazil said, why are we in this American communication system? All it does is let them abuse us, spy on us? Why don't we have our own? The Russians and the Chinese have said the same thing. What are we doing? Why do we use the American internet based system? It's stupid. Why are we doing this? We weren't thinking. We must be absolute and total idiots. And they are. They are. They are completely stupid to be using the American internet system because they're being spied on. So the question is-- will they do anything about it or is it too much trouble? Is it too expensive? Or is it just too convenient to use what's there? Will Brazil try and do something, but find that American financial power is in the way? And they really can't get it off the ground because the backers and the people financing it are intimidated or controlled by Wall Street or the Big Banks or the IMF? So you don't know whether anything can be done about it. You know we have all of these cases of all the big internet companies letting the government breach the system so they can spy on people. We have these laws now which they can't really do anything about it. I just don't... we've got Merkel. She was all mad they spied even on her private cell phone. They were spying on her. Recording her personal conversations and she was all mad and going to do something and then we have all the statements from the German ministers, oh, we don't want to get on the wrong side of our good ally. So, I think on the whole that Washington's power over these people is pretty firm and that they either can't get out from under it because of the blackmail or they haven't the energy to take on a fight like that. To get in a fight with the United States takes a lot of energy and if you're trying to be elected in Germany your opponent can say, well, look, she can't get along with America, our great friend and ally. What will we do without America and blah blah blah? And then that can be used against Merkel and she can be defeated or lose her position in the party. So, there's so many constraints on people's ability to do anything. And right now, you and I, we have an easy go because they haven't focused on the internet yet. But they'll get to it. And so--
R.K.: But that's what they're doing. That's what the Obama's republican FCC corporate guy is doing. Basically ending net neutrality.
PCR: That's part of it, yeah. That's part of it. That's one way to be able to shut down sites that don't pay a lot of money. Those sites become so slow and so hard to open and you wait so long and, you know, can you pay the kind of money that Amazon.com can pay? No. So, opednews is online by you visited and you click on something and in five minutes it opens. That's what they're going to do. Yeah. But it doesn't mean they won't also come and arrest you if somebody reports something to you that they don't like that you published. So, they'll get you both ways. And me too. They'll get me both ways. So, when the supreme court refuses to hear a First Amendment case involving the legal intimidation of a journalist, you know Freedom of Speech is dead in the United States. It's done, dead.
R.K.: Yeah. It's pretty scary.
PCR: It's scary and what makes it even more scary is all these people who still believe in the government. If we just had the right person. Yeah, right. Like Obama?
R.K.: Well. what's the alternative?
PCR: To what?
R.K.: To government.
PCR: Well, this was the problem that the founding fathers addressed, isn't it Rob? They said that any government was deadly. The most danger that any people face is from their own government. We know this as a fact they say. What can we do? On the other hand, what's the alternative to government? So what you do is you tie it down with the constitution and you separate it into equal branches and rely on the jealousy of each branch to control the other. And then you do the same thing to the population. You have an electoral system that's dispersed, that's weighted differently, that property has a big weight, so it's harder to steal people's property and so on. Well, that's what they set up. And once it's set up, we have been progressively dismantling it. Taking it apart. And everything that the founding fathers put in has been taken out. So, and Jefferson said that's what will happen and that's why every two hundred years you have to kill everybody in the government and start all over. He said, this is exactly what will happen. Everything that we have done to make this safe, make government safe for the people will be dismantled over the next two hundred years. And what do you do then? You kill them and you start all over. And that's what Thomas Jefferson said. Not in so many words but that's what he said. And you know, it's a famous statement.
R.K.: Yeah, what is it the tree of democracy is-
PCR: The tree of liberty is watered with the blood of tyrants or something like that.
PCR: So, now let me just be sure that everybody understands, including the NSA who is listening to every word and the FBI, I am not advocating that everybody in Washington be killed. I am not. I am simply reporting historically what the founding fathers thought. So I am not advocating it, I'm simply saying this is what they thought. You can go read it in the history books yourself.
R.K.: Okay. So, that takes me to another thing I wanted to talk about and that's what we have been seeing lately is right wing terrorists in America. People getting guns and shooting people like the couple in Las Vegas who wrapped themselves in the Don't Tread on Me flag after they committed suicide after killing a couple of people and where does this fit into all of this?
(Here are the details of the killings in Las Vegas. On June 8, 2014, Jerad Dwain Miller, 31, & his wife Amanda Woodruff Miller, 22, entered a Las Vegas Walmart pizzeria, approached two police officers eating lunch & killed them both. They dragged the officers out of the pizzeria & into the aisles of the Walmart store, took their weapons & ammunition & covered the body of one of the officers with a yellow, Gadsden flag, also known as a Don't Tread On Me Flag which has been adopted by the Tea Party. They left a manifesto which included a swastika on top of the flag. They pinned a note on the other officer's body that read, "This is the start of the revolution." A bystander who attempted to interfere was killed by Amanda Woodruff Miller. A shootout with police followed in which Jerad Dwain Miller was fatally wounded moments before Amanda Woodruff Miller turned the weapon she was about to use to kill her husband on herself.) (Thanks to transcription helper Dick Overfield for adding context)
PCR: You know, Rob, I don't know. I don't pay any attention to these things because I'm focused on major economic things or Russia and the Ukraine, you know, major world events. I don't have the time to go do this, but all I can say is this. I have read and spoken to people in the past. I was in Washington for twenty-five years, very much involved. There are or allegedly are government programs that are off the books and they are about manipulating people and they're about using manipulated people to build support for a policy or change that otherwise has no support that they can't get anywhere with. And so if you've got people doing crazy things that really don't make much sense and they involve guns, then you can see this is an attack on the second amendment. They want to disarm people, very difficult to do, and so you build a case. So that's one possible explanation. I don't know that it is the explanation, but that's one possible explanation.
R.K.: Okay. I'll leave that alone because you said you don't really pay that much attention. In a recent article you talked about Monsanto and GMO products and you really blew my mind when you reported that in Russia they are treating the use of GMO seeds as a terrorist act. And I love that actually. I think that's kind of where it ought to be. You plant GMO seeds and the farmers next to you don't have them and those seeds go on and pollinate and they get pollinated into the other farm and all of a sudden, that farmer has a problem.What are your thoughts about Monsanto and GMO?
PCR: Well, I think enough independent scientists have established that in the least, not enough is known about all of the consequences and side effects and long term effects of GMOs and that the information that the Federal Government is going on is the industry's own information. The Federal Government has no independent studies of Monsanto.T
There was a letter that I reported a year or two ago, when I wrote about it, from one of the most prominent microbiologists in the department at Purdue University who wrote the Secretary of Agriculture and pointed out that it was impossible for independent scientists to study the consequences of GMOs because they couldn't get funding and that all the studies were funded by the Agri-Business companies themselves. He pointed out that the studies that had been done, and he cited a number of them, all showed extraordinary harmful benefits... harmful results of the GMOs, that it depletes the nutrition in the soil, it destroys the natural balance and microorganisms in the soils, that new plant diseases arise that formerly were suppressed by the barriers within the natural situation in the soil, pre glyphosate, pre Roundup, that the livestock fed GMO foods had premature aging and infertility problems, that infertility problems were now showing up in humans who have GMO diets and meats fed on GMO diets, that all kinds of super weeds and superbugs are evolving as a way of resisting the Roundup that they spray.
One of the main reasons for these GMOs is that you can spray the crops with herbicides so you don't have to plow between the rows to keep the weeds down and the crops are immune to the herbicides and but what they're finding is the weeds are developing immunity so they have to use heavier and heavier and heavier doses. So all of this glyphosate, which is a dangerous poison, is polluting the soil and the run off, now it's polluting the waters, the surface streams, the ground water, the rainwater.
He went on and on and said this is really a bad situation to be continuing without any independent studies. And the agriculture department did absolutely nothing. So, it's the power of Monsanto.
R.K.: Well, let's talk about that. Monsanto. You mentioned Monsanto earlier in how it's different than a lot of the other corporations and--
PCR: It's making a long term monopoly.
R.K.: Now there has also been some people saying that what Monsanto's doing with its herbicides has an effect on the bees.
PCR: Right. That's right. There's no doubt honestly. So that then destroys pollinating agents. I mean, the whole thing is... and yet United States pressures every country to accept these seeds. You know, they had a knock down drag out fight in France about it.
And let me tell you this. This will be interesting to you and your readers. The main reason for this Transatlantic partnership and the Trans-Pacific partnership, these so-called trade agreements, what these things do is it gives American corporations immunity to European and Asian law. And it establishes that if France bans GMOs, Monsanto can bring a lawsuit. France has violated an agreement by restraining trade. And so the whole, all of these partnerships, they serve these corporate interests and you can bet Monsanto is at the bottom of it because it basically makes it impossible for any country to ban a GMO. That's the whole purpose of it. It's got nothing to do with trade. It has to do with anything that American corporations sell or want to do, no government can get in the way regardless of what the government's laws are because that's a violation with the agreement. So if France says or Russia says no GMOs they are in violation with the agreement and can be sued.
R.K.: How about you personally, do you eat GMO foods? How scrupulous are you? How careful are you avoiding them?
PCR: I am as careful as I can be, but see there's no labeling. Every time somebody passes labeling Monsanto gets it overturned or blocked. So there's no labeling so the only thing you can do is to do organic in hopes, but the organic you don't really know if it's GMO or not. All you know is they didn't use hormones or antibiotics. You know if it's meat or if it's a grown vegetable they didn't use pesticides. So that kind of...you don't know though if they used herbicides. So it's hard to know. You can... and even if you go to little farms and farmers markets and things, it's very... the corn, I think most of the corn in the United States is now GMO.
R.K.: Yeah I went to a Chinese buffet last night and there was corn on the cob and I usually love corn on the cob, but since I've started avoiding GMO, I took it, it's like reflexive. I took it, took a bite and then I thought, it's got to be GMO. It's corn.
PCR: Right, and the only thing...and you're right.
R.K.: And it's worse than that because you know recently I've looked at fish farming and they put corn into the feed that the fish get. They put it into the meat that you eat so it's not only going into the meat, but it's going into all the dairy products and the cheese. And then you've got corn syrup which is in just about everything you drink and all kinds of things that are sweetened. Just, it's almost everywhere.
PCR: Even in pet foods. Even your dog and your cat is getting it.
R.K.: And the way I try to sell it to be people that they shouldn't eat GMO is they make the GMO plants so that they can tolerate herbicides and pesticides. And then they can spray the plants like crazy with herbicides and they won't die, but then that's what's on the plants.
PCR: Yeah, that's right. But it's worse than that. As the plant lives and feeds itself and grows the edible parts, that is coming out of soil that is now polluted, disrupted, lost all of its natural components and the consequences of that is going into the food product itself in ways that are not well known and understood, but which are showing up in high rates of abortions, of animals, reproductive problems, and premature aging. And these are not problems that have ever been experienced before, but they are now associated with animals fed on GMO diets. So last winter here, I am up in the mountains in a wildlife sanctuary and there were no acorns last year. None because of the way the climate did, the deer were starving, the turkeys were starving, and I said I can't stand this. I have got to feed these animals. It's illegal for me to do that. Not illegal but I mean you get chewed out, it's not illegal. And I got all of this corn and was feeding the deer and then it dawned on me, I'm feeding them GMOs. I've got to stop this. I can't do this. So then you think about hay and now Monsanto is introducing GMOs into alfalfa, so they're in hay. So this is why the company is called MonSatan. Monsatan. That's what it's called. M-o-n-s-a-t-a-n. And it's relentless. It is absolutely relentless.
R.K.: Yeah, I think it's probably the most hated company in the world and I must say I am very proud to have been personally attacked by their public relations director a number of years ago for what opednews did to make public what Monsanto was doing.
PCR: Well congratulations to you.
PCR: But you see, the American people are so pitiful they can't even get labeling passed. So if American people are so weak and so pitiful that they can't get labeling on the GMOs, now you can get labeling on everything, everything is labeled, it shows you what chemicals it's got, what artificial flavors it's got, fructose corn syrup, but you cannot have it say it's GMO. So if people can't get products that are GMO labeled, how are they going to deal with any big issues such as the economy, foreign policy, the wars? The police state? One company can block the entire American population from getting labeling? Then how is that population going up against Wall Street, the military security complex?
R.K.: Yep. It's... we have got a... how about Europe? I mean Europe has been able to hold off GMOs and Monsanto. How have they been able to do it? I mean, again--
PCR: It's not a European company and so it's harder for it to influence the European governments though it has. There are some cases where they've had success and Europe probably has more independent funding for scientists. See, in the United States, independent funding for scientists has about disappeared. They're either funded by the military security complex or by agribusiness or by the oil industry. Do you see what I'm saying?
PCR: So there are not scientists out there who are funded for the sake of the truth or pure research. They are very few of that as possible in the United States anymore. The corporate interests fund it. So it produces their results. Otherwise the scientist doesn't have a career. So, in Europe it's not like that. Or it's starting, because the corporations learned from us. Hey, look we can get more power, let's finance this or let's do that and it's starting there but plus the Europeans, it's important to them. You know, French food makes American food look awful. So does Italian. So does Belgian. These countries are proud of their food cultures. They are renowned. I mean, each have their own kinds of culinary techniques, specialities, and so ingredients are very important to them. If you've ever--
R.K.: And we have fast food.
PCR: We have fast food. Yeah. If you have ever lived for any length of time in France and you have experienced shopping and the ingredients and the taste that comes with things and you compare it to what you can get here, there's no comparison. American ingredients are bland or tasteless compared to what you get in France. And so... but the inroads are being made and more and more super markets. When I was a student at Oxford, England didn't have supermarkets. There weren't any such thing. You went to the butcher shop, you went to the bakery, you went to the green grocers. And so shopping was a whole bunch of little shops that you did to get your groceries. And they were ingredients were good and things were good. But now, England is overrun with supermarkets. I know they're probably starting up in France and may be there. I don't know. It's been a long time since I spent much time in those countries, but so that's probably the reason. They know more. They've got better research, they have got more independent scientists and they are proud of the food and how it tastes. And it's important to them. It doesn't seem to be important to Americans who are happy to go to fast food or chain restaurants. Where everything is prepackaged and they stick it in the oven or the microwave and a lot of restaurants actually don't even need chefs. Because they're not cooking anything.
R.K.: Yeah, I recently went to the restaurant show, the biggest one in the country in Chicago and they have all these prepared packages they can just throw in and do. I mean, they don't, it's, you don't want to go there.
PCR: Right. And so that's a big difference with much of the rest of the world. The rest of the world isn't like that. But of course the United States is trying to make the rest of the world like that. And Monsanto--
R.K.: They do the same thing, the FDA does the same thing. Years ago, oh, about twenty-one years ago I went to Russia for a couple weeks and I met, at the time the head of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, which is like the equivalent to the head if the NIH and got to meet with a number of heads of different institutions there and when I came back, I don't know how, but I got a call from the FDA saying can you help us to get Russia to adopt our standards for drug regulation and control? It scared the hell out of me.
PCR: Well spying has been going on longer than we know.
R.K.: Yeah. So but it's really kind of an evangelization by federal government agencies for corporations. They're serving corporations when they do that.
PCR: Yeah. The FDA serves the corporations, not the public. It serves the corporations. It's like Stigler said. So the question is whether we could ever again have an effective regulatory mechanism. Well Rob, we've been on for two hours. I've got a lot else I need to go do. I've really enjoyed this conversation.
R.K.: Alright, thank you.
PCR: It's always a pleasure.
R.K.: Same here.
PCR: It's always a pleasure to speak to you and I appreciate your site and your honesty and the things you try to do. I know you will continue.
R.K.: Alright. Thank you so much and keep up your great work, too. We really need you.
PCR: Okay, Rob. Thank you, my friend. Goodbye.
Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect,
connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. He's given talks and workshops to Fortune
500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered
first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and
Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful
people on his Bottom Up Radio Show,
and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and
opinion sites, OpEdNews.com
To watch Rob having a lively conversation with John Conyers, then Chair of the House Judiciary committee, click here. Watch Rob speaking on Bottom up economics at the Occupy G8 Economic Summit, here.