Prop 37 Lawyer Claims He Never Thought Much About His Wording
    By Hank Campbell | September 27th 2012 07:42 AM | 32 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Hank

    I'm the founder of Science 2.0®.

    A wise man once said Darwin had the greatest idea anyone ever had. Others may prefer Newton or Archimedes...

    View Hank's Profile
    Here is a head scratcher; when confronted about the vague, conflicting language in Proposition 37 - even the real name, the California Right to Know Genetically Modified Food Act, is weird and disjointed - Attorney James Wheaton, who made his fortune in nuisance lawsuits under the Proposition 65 labeling act he championed, told the Sacramento Bee's Dan Moran he put so little thought into the verbage of Proposition 37 that he he hadn't given any thought to whether he might litigate over the new measure, if it passes.

    Wait, a lawyer who was hand-picked by organic food companies to write and lead this initiative doesn't think he will sue, despite that being all he does, or even think it will lead to lawsuits?  Consider me skeptical.

    In reality, the whole reason to create this measure is to sue.  It is a law designed to generate settlements from farmers and grocery stores and not much more.  The wording is intentionally vague. There is no requirement that ballot measure be well-written, it just has to get signatures.  So what if olive oil can no longer be considered 'natural' because the olives are crushed,  Wheaton seems to be waving his hands and saying he never thought about his own wording crafted after decades of experience filing lawsuits: "processing such as canning, smoking, pressing, cooking, freezing, dehydration, fermentation or milling" are no longer natural foods.  100% of wheat is milled, we don't eat wheat off of the plant.  Olives are pressed to make olive oil.  Do organic food people sit around drinking martinis and think olives are only used with booze? The only way those products can now be considered products of nature is - wait for it, wait for it - to pay for an organic sticker and be exempt from the law designed to produce transparency in food. 

    Joseph Mercola, who is so important to the anti-GMO movement he gets his own whole page on QuackWatch, certainly thought about the wording. It's wording that will make him richer.  Why else would someone from Chicago invest $1,100,000 (and counting) to create a law in California?  

    Mercola hates the FDA, of course, and they don't think much of him either.  He has been warned multiple times by them, because he sells a product claiming it can detect breast cancer, he claims raw milk is good for you, chemotherapy will kill you before cancer will - and, oh yeah, vaccines are bad for kids.

    Despite the crackpot history and overwhelming concern from people who aren't going to make money off this law, advocates maintain things are just peachy. "Do we embrace everything our supporters believe? No," Doug Linney, the initiative's campaign manager, told Moran. "The campaign is to label genetically modified food. People have a right to know. That is the simple premise of the initiative."

    Well, those are two different things. If people have a right to know, food sold by crackpots should not be exempt.  Nor should any organic food be exempt.  There's no domestic cow, 'organic' or not, that has not been genetically modified.

    People generally want to know what is in food, even if they never read it. When asked if contents of GM food should be on labels, people overwhelmingly say 'yes'. Actually, I worry about anyone who says 'no'.  But they say the same thing about organic food and when they become aware of how many synthetic things are allowed in organic food, and how much of food actually has to be organic to get an organic sticker, 100% of people (in informal, uncontrolled surveys) want labels for organic food too.

    Yet none of this was anticipated by a lawyers who got rich doing lawsuits under the Prop. 65 'the world around you may contain products that cause cancer' law, or the snake oil salesman who spent $1.1 in California for this law, though he lives in Illinois - they insist you should just go ahead and pass a terrible law and 'fix' it later.

    When lawyers and other people who will get rich off of a law designed to penalize competitors talk, it is smart to hold onto your wallet.  A lawyer making a fortune off of being specific in verbage didn't suddenly get vague by accident.


    As is usually the case, one must eliminate the smoke and mirror of the words to see what is really behind a cause.

    Hank, you have likely written about this situation as much or more than anyone else. You are also close to the epicenter of this drama. I'll ask you to read some tea leaves, or gaze into your crystal ball, and give us your opinion on something.

    Completely ignoring all of the rhetoric that has the media in a frenzy (probably the item that will determine the outcome), do you think that the organic food producers, and the merchants who specialize in organics, believe that they will see their profits increase significantly if the measure passes?

    Sure.  When one product has a hint of 'unsafeness' the margins you can charge for safe go up a lot.
    To Hank Campbell (aka Monsanto Drone)
    People are disgusted with the industrial food system in this country. Whether or not Prop 37 passes, it will soon be mandated that food manufacturers list everything that is sprayed on crops or fed to animals. If you feed chickens arsenic, that is an ingredient. It should be listed. If you douse your soy with Roundup, that's an ingredient. List it. You can continue with your love affair with Monsanto, but the ship is sinking. The age of chemicals and pesticides is ending.

    To Hank Campbell (aka Monsanto Drone)
    Actually, if all we had was organic food the age of chemicals is increasing a lot.  Plenty of organic foods require as much as 80-100X the fertilizer of conventional food and that runoff is devastating to the environment.  Ditto the increased land use and pesticides needed.  Organic food is far worse environmentally.

    If you have evidence I have ever taken a penny from Monsanto, please provide it.  Otherwise you are just another anonymous, anti-science liar hiding on the Internet. But enjoy buying your organic soap and homeopathy magic water.
    You didn't address one thing that I mentioned and what you did say makes it clear that you are incredibly misinformed and ignorant. Do some research before you post idiocy under the guise of science.

    If you cared about science or people, you wouldn't exempt organic food.  I'd like to know when strychnine and Bt are sprayed on organic food too.  But if I buy an organic sticker and fill out some paperwork, I can put anything on food and Prop 37 does not apply.  Yet you think a mystical, religious belief in Whole Foods is superior to science.  You need to get with the reality-based world.
    Interesting! We've found some common ground. I don't like that part of Prop 37 either, but it's a start, so I'll take it. As I said earlier, I think that everything sprayed on a crop or fed to an animal should be listed by food manufacturers. Hopefully, that will come in time.

    Attorney James Wheaton submitted the initiative to the secretary of state. It was written by a team of people including Andrew Kimbrell, of the Center for food Safety. It was vetted by farmers, grocers, distributors and lawyers in Europe that had experience defending GE labeling laws against Monsanto's lawyers. Did James Wheaton ever say that he wrote the initiative? My sources say that he was just engaged to submit the papers.

    This is a straw dog argument - not very sophisticated.
    For an objective legal evaluation see:

    To be accepted as a proposition, and have a chance of passing, the bill must be about one subject. That is why Prop 37 just labels plants or animals that are GE. This takes care of 80% of ones exposure to GE food. Focusing on the exemptions is a distraction - another unsophisticated argument of the opposition. This is direct from the playbook of the PR agencies that delayed for 25 years, getting a label on a pack of cigarettes that says smoking is not good for your health.

    Peer reviewed studies show that GE food makes animals sick. Studies done by the industry and paid for by industry show that GE foods are safe. He who pays the piper calls the tune. There is enough evidence of harm that we should be cautious about eating this food.

    Prop 37 calls for labeling genetically engineered food, a subsection notes for processed (genetically engineered) food that this food cannot be labeled "natural." so your claim that:

    "So what if olive oil can no longer be considered 'natural' because the olives are crushed,."

    is absurd. Only if the olives were genetically engineered would they be barred from using the adjective "natural." Currently in the US there are no GE olives or wheat.

    It seems that you practice science as a religion, not as a means to elucidate truth.

    "So what if olive oil can no longer be considered 'natural' because the olives are crushed,."

    is absurd. Only if the olives were genetically engineered would they be barred from using the adjective "natural.
    Again, you are literally the only person on planet Earth who reads this referendum and believes that any processed food, including food subject to milling or crushing, can still be natural.  Because you don't know what you are talking about and the actual wording says otherwise.   It's simple, really. The bill is crap. It may pass, that will make anti-science kooks happy (and California has lots of anti-science kooks) but it will be nothing but lawsuits and protect no one.  Zero non-lawyers and non-homeopathy snakeoil salesmen and their marketing groups are helped by this. None.
    this is a farce. most producers are already segregating and labeling for export to the European market. Be careful, Californians! The biotech bullies have amassed tens of millions of dollars and will be unleashing ads on TV, the radio and through newspapers trying to convince the public that PROP 37 is 1) expensive, 2) arbitrary, 3) unfair to the "poor" farmer caught in the middle of all this, and 4) anti-science. All of these points have been thoroughly dispelled. Polls state the vast majority of Californians want GMOs to be labelled and they are trying their best to throw a wrench in democracy with a campaign of creating confusion and ambiguity. We know GMOs are a radically new way of modifying the genetic structure of life. We know that those who compare it in a single breath to traditional plant breeding are disingenuous and silver-tongued. We know that DNA is very complicated and geneticists are basically fiddling around in a vast network that they don't understand. We WILL PASS PROP 37 for our children and our future on this beautiful planet. Greed will not reign this time.

    Once it was scientific fact the earth was flat... Monsanto essentially owns the FDA. Only junk science is this website...

    It was never scientific fact that the Earth was flat, it was simply that once there was no way to know it was not flat.  

    Did anyone die because the Earth was flat?  Was anyone harmed because the Earth was flat?  No, but it was pro-science people who wanted the world to know the planet was not flat.  In other words, people the opposite of anti-science zealots insisting the future is scary and scientists are stupid.
    Gerhard Adam
    It was never scientific fact that the Earth was flat, it was simply that once there was no way to know it was not flat.
    As an aside, it was never even the case [in practical terms] that people that examined the question ever thought the earth was flat.  So, for all practical purposes, when man determined to ask the question, there was already a sufficient understanding and evidence to use a spherical model.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Tell that to Galileo... Anyway to take a metaphor out of context you completely dodged the international study. Any comment on that?

    Please tell me how Galileo relates.  Do you think the tides happen only once a day? Because he did.  And when science did not match his beliefs he ridiculed science, which sounds more like you than me.  My credentials are on page 177 of Science Left Behind. Buy a copy and read all about me.  Then you can tell me how qualified you are.  Reading that Magic Soap site does not qualify.
    Your arguments are thin and sway from any real point with no evidence other than you are an authority on the subject.. When challenged with you declare I must buy your book to know you are an authority on that you profess expertise in? Well that says it all...

    Exactly. You don't care about science or anything except advancing a social authoritarian agenda under the guise of paternalistically telling people who know more than you how much you can help them, if they will just listen to you drone on about how important it is to buy organic pineapples.
    Worse yet you attack every point of view that doesn't align with your as "anti-science". You only argue with slander, not discuss. Tell tale signs of a liar or one that holds to a static ideology... that my friend IS your so called "anti-science".

    2012 ION Publications LLC, what state did you file with?

    Akismet is the largest spam blocking company in the world and they are the ones blocking your posts.  You must do this weird schtick all over the Internet so when you post the same comment 5 times it blocks all of them.

    And you are incapable of doing even this tiny bit of research without being spoon fed??  You can't even look up a corporate registration?  This explains your crackpot beliefs about food.
    You can't? lol Someone better tell this "Magic Soap" site this...

    Gerhard Adam
    For the record:  Posts are not being deleted.  Occasionally a post will come through and be caught in the spam filter and simply show up as "unpublished".  When we see it, we will publish it provided that it really isn't spam.
    Mundus vult decipi
    NM, I found it CA. Only thing google maps can pull up is a storage garage...

    Like everything else you write, it is completely wrong.  Doesn't matter, all you will do next is threaten my kids or mail me a bomb, like the rest of you creepy, militant, anti-science weirdos.
    According to your non-correlated scientific method style...

    "You can't even look up a corporate registration? This explains your crackpot beliefs about food."

    You can, so aligned with your scientific method you are the one with crackpot beliefs about food.

    It will be nice to see what political / religious faction you associate me with in attempts do discredit me in using your own flawed logic against you...

    nice try, but just the same, just label it. let the lawyers get rich going after those food manufacturers that violate the law. better safe than sorry later on.

    Hank, it does not matter how much propoganda you put out. Your website should be called
    "JunkScience" 2.0
    While you might not be getting paid direclty my Monsanto, I'm willing to bet the owner of the site is. You are just a patsy in the game my friend. Because you can't logically win a debate about GMO's, and/or prop 37, you try to discredit the bloggers...and never reply to the issues. Very weak.
    We need more "Scientists" like you respresenting the "No on Prop 37 campaign". Instead of being up by a 3-1 margin in the polls, it would be 9-1. Keep up the good work my friend.
    Vote yes on Prop 37 to label gmos,
    Trace D. Farley

    Gerhard Adam
    I'll take that bet :)
    Mundus vult decipi
    I'll take some of that action too!
    Prop 37 up 66-22% (that's 3-1 Hank).
    12% undecided.

    That is right in line with my predictions.  Not only have I said it will win with 64% of the vote, I said a year ago that 64% would be a metric that is valid for almost any issue, including a simple science one - because that is the percentage of left-wing people in California and left-wing people are overwhelmingly, conclusively and inarguably more anti-science than right-wing people.

    Unlike you, I do not equate popular with good.  If you lived in 1863 you would be bragging that all of your friends wanted to keep slavery. Fortunately, a Republican defied the majority of people and did what was right rather than what was popular.  If only more anti-science people had his intelligence.