1. With Friends Like These”¦ how the Maharishi heads a vast web of groups intent on destroying consumer choice
2 a-c. Guest Choice & "The Food Police" Make Strange Bedfellows
For anyone unfamiliar with the inimitable Guest Choice, including its attacks on the likes of Christain Aid and the Five Year Freeze as far-left leaning future-fearing flakes in the employ of the organic multinationals, see the ngin piece:
welcome to Guestchoice dot com - aka nannyculture dot com
Guest Choice's Rick Berman, who describes his operational style as that of a man with a knife between his teeth (!), is said by some to be behind a series of vicious caricature websites such as greenpiece/fiendsoftheearth and purefoods.org
In item 1, for anyone who thought bin Laden was supposed to be the Napoleon of crime, Guest Choice shows "how the Maharishi heads a vast web of groups intent on destroying consumer choice". Items 2a-c are PR Watch pieces on why Guest Choice has suddenly become enamoured of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a group Guest Choice normally derides as arch "nannies" or the "Food Police".
1. With Friends Like These”¦
Posted On September 28, 2001
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) movement, weighed in on America's war with terrorism via satellite from Holland this morning. In the TM empire's latest attempt to cash in on world events, the Maharishi laid out a "peace plan" calling for the deployment of 40,000 trained TM experts to India to "dramatically reduce acute ethnic and religious tensions." http://www.natural-law.org/press_conference/index.html
Who is this holy man who offers such a peculiar path to peace? The Maharishi heads a vast web of groups intent on destroying consumer choice. His followers promote organic farming, and the TM offshoot Natural Law Party (NLP), with branches in over 80 countries, is primarily a vehicle for scare campaigns against genetically improved foods. (Perennial NLP presidential candidate John Hagelin was on hand at the National Press Club for the Maharishi's announcement this morning.)
The locus for these anti-choice efforts is Fairfield, Iowa, where the NLP and the Maharishi University of Management (MUM) are based. A MUM professor and his wife run Mothers for Natural Law (M4NL), which works with groups like Friends of the Earth to push for mandatory labeling of all genetically improved foods. And MUM dean John Fagan founded a company called Genetic-ID, a genetic "testing" and certification firm endorsed by M4NL that claimed to find defects in the StarLink corn used in Taco Bell's taco shells and other products. Genetic-ID board member Jay Marcus is a frequent NLP candidate with financial ties to organic food producers, and a director of Demeter, Inc., the principal Biodynamic Organic Certification company in the United States.
It seems TM is less interested in peace than in a piece of the action. These guys are allies the United States -- and freedom-loving consumer choice supporters -- don't need.
2a. from http://www.prwatch.org: Guest Choice & "The Food Police" Make Strange Bedfellows
Lobbyist Rick Berman runs the DC-based Guest Choice Network, a mean and nasty PR operation serving the tobacco, booze and food industries. (See PR Watch Volume 8 #1 for the inside scoop on Berman & Co.) http://www.prwatch.org/prwissues/2001Q1/berman1.html
His favorite target is often Michael Jacobson's "food police" at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) [see, for example, Guest Choice's, er... hilarious: 'Top changes CSPI would make if they ran the Girl Scout cookie drive' http://www.nannyculture.com/index_parody.cfm?PARODY_ID=8].
But now, after years of sitting on the sidelines in the genetically engineered food debate, Jacobson has received biotech funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, and CSPI is praising the alleged benefits and safety of GE food.
As a result, Berman's Guest Choice Network is praising CSPI, especially after CSPI's Gregory Jaffe told the New York Times that the benefits of GE food, "without any evidence of harm to humans or the environment ”” partly explain why engineered crops are spreading so rapidly."
Oh really, Gregory? We suspect that the failure of the US FDA to require mandatory safety testing or labeling -- and the failure of the snoozing food police at CSPI to demand they do so -- are the more obvious reasons why GE foods have stealthily grabbed market share in the US.
Politics is known for strange bedfellows, and Mike Jacobson and Rick Berman are today's odd couple. Source: 6/17/01 CSPI letter to NYT, and Guest Choice Network
2b. Guest Choice & The Food Police: Strange Bedfellows Continued
The tobacco, booze and food industry lobbyists at Rick Berman's Guest Choice Network usually castigate Michael Jacobson's Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) as the dreaded "food police" when it comes to fat and sugar in the diet. But they are loving CSPI's promotion of genetically engineered food. CSPI, Monsanto's former lawyer Mike Taylor (now at Resources for the Future) and Monsanto's former cow growth hormone lobbyist Carol Tucker Foreman (now back at Consumer Federation of America), are all getting substantial grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, a huge supporter of the alleged benefits of genetically engineered crops.
2c. "The Food Police?" CSPI Got Big Bucks to Flack for GE Foods
Last year Michael Jacobson's Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI, also known as "the food police") received $200,000 from the pro-biotechnology Rockefeller Foundation to be a moderate voice in the raging debate over genetically engineered (GE) foods. CSPI has since made many statements very favorable to GE foods and recently called for government action against companies marketing non-GE foods. Ironically, CSPI's Integrity in Science Project criticizes and reveals the special interest funding and agendas of other nonprofit organizations. Apparently the food police don't see accepting a $200,000 grant to flack for GE food as a "competing interest" to their own objectivity and scientific integrity.