U.S. Supreme Court Hears Monsanto Seed Patent Case

  • #51
russ_watters
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Independent journalism may displease your taste, but you did not elaborate. You merely repeated your opinion. It is indeed very valuable for a well functioning *democracy* to have educated people investigating and reporting without advertisers, corporate or government money. I would agree with you if your remark was that one needs more than one point of view. But "not reputable" is not warranted.

Anyway, it is off-topic and I do not wish to pursue it. But I would appreciate if you do not censore this.
The Youtube video's extremism speaks for itself and I had considered reporting it and discussing its appropriateness with the other mentors but didn't feel like bothering with it.

One obvious flaw is that - and this is in the linked wiki article - the suicide rate started to rise years before widespread use of GM crops.

Also, this has nothing to do with being "independent" and I don't even agree that that's a meaningful concept here. Just a cloak people wear that makes them feel superior. It does not hide, much less eliminate extreme bias. Heck, it can even provide extra freedom to exercise biased reporting.
 
  • #52
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The Youtube video's extremism speaks for itself and I had considered reporting it and discussing its appropriateness with the other mentors but didn't feel like bothering with it.

One obvious flaw is that - and this is in the linked wiki article - the suicide rate started to rise years before widespread use of GM crops.

Also, this has nothing to do with being "independent" and I don't even agree that that's a meaningful concept here. Just a cloak people wear that makes them feel superior. It does not hide, much less eliminate extreme bias.
"Democracy now" is non-profit and provides highly praised investigation journalism and broadcast. They are passionate about their work and understand its importance. They have received multiple awards. I will drop the case and let PF readers judge by themselves from your own comparison with Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck. I believe they may decide on their own whether your judgement is unbiased.
 
  • #53
russ_watters
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"Democracy now" is non-profit and provides highly praised investigation journalism and broadcast. They are passionate about their work and understand its importance. They have received multiple awards.
Er, ok -- All of that except the non-profit applies to Rush Limbaugh as well. And I would dispute the "non-profit" part. They do get paid, right?
I will drop the case and let PF readers judge by themselves from your own comparison with Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck. I believe they may decide on their own whether your judgement is unbiased.
No doubt people are aware of my biases. I don't hide them and encourage people to recognize the simple fact that everyone has biases.

Anyway, I guess I should give a more detailed critique of the video:

0:26 "toxic gene". Intentionally inflammatory-sounding word salad.

1:03 "Roundup resistant seeds are not controlling weeds". Lie/intentionally misleading. It's the Roundup that controls weeds, the Roundup resistance just enables its use. And yes, it actually does control weeds -- creation of "superweeds" doesn't change that and is in fact a reflection of it.

1:12 "50% of the farmland in the US is now overtaken by "superweeds"" Intentionally inflammatory yet utterly meaningless rhetoric.

1:15 "Monsanto should be paying two compensations to farmers." (for "toxic genes" and creating superweeds/"creating an unreliable failed technology"). Crackpot demand based on previous crackpot nonsense, with the additional lie that the technology has failed.

1:35 "Lethal herbicides/Agent orange". Intentionally inflammatory reference/rhetoric, with an implied lie about the connection between modern pesticides and Agent Orange (it isn't the D 2.4D that was the issue, it was the dioxin).

2:10 Lie about timing of Indian farmer suicides/Monsanto entering the market.

Phew. Halfway through and I need to stop for now to take a shower. That's some thick crackpot nonsense.
 
  • #54
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After 10 seconds I'm already considering her a nut/crackpot and won't go any further.
The Youtube video's extremism speaks for itself and I had considered reporting it and discussing its appropriateness with the other mentors but didn't feel like bothering with it.
Vandana Shiva is not a nut/crackpot. She is a PhD trained as a physicist. You may disagree with her activism, but please do so respectfully.
Er, ok -- All of that except the non-profit applies to Rush Limbaugh as well. And I would dispute the "non-profit" part. They do get paid, right?
Rush Limbaugh does have advertisers, so no, not all.
Anyway, I guess I should give a more detailed critique of the video
Thank you for actually listening to her arguments and providing with your comments. I hope you realize she is trying to help with a very large body of people, some of whom pay with their life for lack of regulations. I agree with you that their is a large "demonization" of Monsanto in the public eye which in itself is a problem. Certainly, agricultural progress has saved more lives than it has cost.
 
  • #55
Evo
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I've deleted the last few posts with unacceptable sources. I've been busy lately, so no infractions, but the next person that posts and links to non-mainstream, biased sources will be hurt. Some of those links are merely opinion pieces and they are not acceptable. We need to stick to verifiable facts.

We need to get back to the actual case.
 
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  • #56
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Quote by aquitaine
For years he knowingly broke an agreement he made for his own personal gain at the expense of the company. He wasn't fighting for an ideal, he was fighting to line his pockets. Do you really want to encourage this type of behavior?

Quote by russ_watters
The wiki does kind of imply this was a setup, as he informed Monsanto of his actions. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsant..._North_America [Broken]


So he told Monsanto that he was ripping them off? I find this very confusing.
How can there be such a contradiction? Was he doing it in hiding or in the open?
 
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  • #57
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So he told Monsanto that he was ripping them off? I find this very confusing.

Yeah pretty much. He used their seeds without authorization in his second season plantings in order to make more money for himself.

I could have misinterpreted the court document but from what I saw he told them after they started an investigation into his planting activities. If that isn't the case then the most likely explanation is the people he talked to before didn't pass on the message (or it just got lost in the bureaucracy).


humanino said:
Vandana Shiva is not a nut/crackpot. She is a PhD trained as a physicist. You may disagree with her activism, but please do so respectfully.

She abuses her physics background to justify her New Age reactionary positions. She rails against the "mechanistic" view of the scientific revolution, claims that GMOs are bad because they supposedly come from this "patriarchal" perspective and the "real science" is all about "interconnectedness". That's pure quackery and those words in quotations were directly from the first 5 minutes of an interview of her that I saw last winter. I fail to see how this is any different from all the other people out there in the New Age movement doing exactly the same thing.

She's a physicist who isn't practicing physics at all (or anything related to it) and instead is talking about ecology even though she isn't a trained ecologist. While that by itself does not automatically make her wrong, it does warrant closer scrutiny. And that closer scrutiny comes from her page in Wikipedia. Apparently only her bachelors degree is in physics while her masters and PhD were both in philosophy. That's a huge redflag, and explains quite a lot.
 
  • #58
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She abuses her physics background to justify her New Age reactionary positions. She rails against the "mechanistic" view of the scientific revolution, claims that GMOs are bad because they supposedly come from this "patriarchal" perspective and the "real science" is all about "interconnectedness". That's pure quackery and those words in quotations were directly from the first 5 minutes of an interview of her that I saw last winter. I fail to see how this is any different from all the other people out there in the New Age movement doing exactly the same thing.

She's a physicist who isn't practicing physics at all (or anything related to it) and instead is talking about ecology even though she isn't a trained ecologist. While that by itself does not automatically make her wrong, it does warrant closer scrutiny. And that closer scrutiny comes from her page in Wikipedia. Apparently only her bachelors degree is in physics while her masters and PhD were both in philosophy. That's a huge redflag, and explains quite a lot.
I understand your point of view. I am not sure you understand the point of view of farmers in India, who are indeed rather religious, and who perceive Monsanto's intrusion in their market as disruptive. It is not fair to compare her to members of the New Age movement, because she does not seek out to a different culture from her own : instead, she is a voice for some people in India with rural origins. It is possible that there were victims of this US corporation in India (I realize that this is disputed), and you have to take her message in this context. Here is a longer article from her.

While I make those remarks, I fully recognize that bio-engineering has saved many lives over decades from starvation/malnutrition in India, in any case many more that putative victims, and there is a distorted perception of this fact in the public. I personally mostly disagree with her. But it is all too easy to live in a black-and-white world, and dismiss dissonant voices as "crackpots" to silence them. As a matter of fact, the Supreme Court of India did recommended a 10-year moratorium on all field trials of GM food last summer.
 
  • #59
OmCheeto
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... She rails against the "mechanistic" view of the scientific revolution, claims that GMOs are bad because they supposedly come from this "patriarchal" perspective and the "real science" is all about "interconnectedness".
Sounds like she's seen Mindwalk one too many times. :tongue2: I know I have.
That's pure quackery ...
I don't think so.

I went to a lecture by Steven Chu last night, and much of what he talked about was what I would describe as "interconnectedness". Specific to this thread, he discussed Norman Borlaug, and his contribution in ending world hunger.

Of course, everyone has their critics.

wiki said:
Borlaug dismissed most claims of critics, but did take certain concerns seriously. He stated that his work has been "a change in the right direction, but it has not transformed the world into a Utopia". Of environmental lobbyists he stated, "
Borlaug said:
Some of the environmental lobbyists of the Western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They've never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for fifty years, they'd be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things.
(ref)
 
  • #60
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Quote by Borlaug
Some of the environmental lobbyists of the Western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They've never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for fifty years, they'd be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things.
I live on a tropical island. Until recently they had one harvest of rice a year. Now they have three. I don't know whether the new rice is GMO or not, but think not. They say that the new rice is less nutritious and bad for your health, which I'm inclined to believe. But I think it has to be better than no rice at all. When I first moved here people had so little food, they were eating dogs.

As for GMO's my prejudice is to be for it. I studied this in college back in 1979 and wanted to be a genetic engineer, though I failed at this. But I have learned to be suspicious of abuse of technology. Simply put, I have learned not to trust big business. They pursue their self-interest, not the public's. There is no secret about this.

I used to have the idea that knowledge was always good. Then I had an idea for a new technology, and decided to keep it secret and let it die. It had far too much potential for abuse. So when I was faced with a real-life decisions, I chose not to trust.

As far as the Monsanto/Bowman case, my complaint is that the legislature should be making patent law, and I feel nothing but suspicion when law is being crafted by an undemocratic, unaccountable body. I think that this is being done to circumvent the democratic process. That seems to be the overall goal. The particulars of this case or any one case don't matter.
 
  • #61
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humanino said:
I understand your point of view. I am not sure you understand the point of view of farmers in India, who are indeed rather religious, and who perceive Monsanto's intrusion in their market as disruptive.

Disruptive technological change and advance is often viewed with suspicion, either by the ignorant or by those with entrenched interests. In this case the problems most Indian farmers face are much more due to the still common practice of absentee landlordism and an underdeveloped industrial sector (according to the World Bank as of 2008 2/3 of their work force is still in the fields) that can't soak up that excess labor. All of these are far more relevant than what type of seed they use.

It is not fair to compare her to members of the New Age movement, because she does not seek out to a different culture from her own : instead, she is a voice for some people in India with rural origins. It is possible that there were victims of this US corporation in India (I realize that this is disputed), and you have to take her message in this context. Here is a longer article from her.
Actually it is fair, if two ducks have the same quack then they should get called out, you will find no double standards with me. If she really was so interested in giving a voice to rural people then why not speak out more about those issues, which really are far more important than whether or not they use GMO? I googled her name along with the phrase "absentee landordism" (without the quotes) and ran across exactly one article of hers discussing it. And who gets the blame? First the British, then the WTO. Nevermind that such a system existed before any of that, but let's not let such inconvenient details get in the way of her scapegoating.

So, what if there was a strand of GMO that could help alleviate a problem poor people have and it was being handed out FOR FREE to poor farmers in developing countries? You'd think that'd be good, but she doesn't. That's right, she's opposed to Golden Rice. If her concern was really for "giving voice to poor victims of an evil corporation" then she would welcome such a thing, but she doesn't because giving a voice is not what she does. She's a reactionary demagogue, exploiting the fears of others and drumming up an irrational hysteria for her own personal gain.

But it is all too easy to live in a black-and-white world, and dismiss dissonant voices as "crackpots" to silence them.
I don't call her a crackpot to silence her, I call her a crackpot because her positions have little, if any real scientific merit. She's a philosopher pretending to be a scientist, should we not call other people who behave in this manner crackpots as well like Kevin Trudeau?

omcheeto said:
I went to a lecture by Steven Chu last night, and much of what he talked about was what I would describe as "interconnectedness". Specific to this thread, he discussed Norman Borlaug, and his contribution in ending world hunger.

Of course, everyone has their critics.
Funny you should bring up that quote because she is one of those elitists who opposed his work. She opposed the green revolution, even though it brought an end to a bad famine and eventually allowed India to become a major wheat exporter. It seems that "better dead then fed" is a common theme here.

Imalooser said:
As far as the Monsanto/Bowman case, my complaint is that the legislature should be making patent law, and I feel nothing but suspicion when law is being crafted by an undemocratic, unaccountable body. I think that this is being done to circumvent the democratic process. That seems to be the overall goal. The particulars of this case or any one case don't matter.
The issue is R&D isn't free. If their work isn't patented for a reasonable amount of time, what incentive is there for them to develop and distribute new innovations?
 
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  • #62
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If she really was so interested in giving a voice to rural people then why not speak out more about those issues, which really are far more important than whether or not they use GMO?
It is not for you to judge, you can not redefine their priorities. Again, as a matter of fact, the moratorium stands, and that "accomplishment" alone means she is not a mere "crackpot".
 
  • #63
russ_watters
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It is not for you to judge, you can not redefine their priorities. Again, as a matter of fact, the moratorium stands, and that "accomplishment" alone means she is not a mere "crackpot".
Success at getting people to buy-in to your position has little to do with whether it is a crackpot position. I'm thinking you might be buying-in to the fallacy that if a lot of people accept a position, that means it isn't crackpottery. But popularity among the public has little to do with what makes a position crackpottery.
 
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  • #64
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Success at getting people to buy-in to your position has little to do with whether it is a crackpot position. I'm thinking you might be buying-in to the fallacy that if a lot of people accept a position, that means it isn't crackpottery. But popularity among the public has little to do with what makes a position crackpottery.
"crackpot" : one given to eccentric or lunatic notions

When one acts as spokesperson for enough people in a country that their proposal becomes a law upheld by the Supreme Court, I do no think this person should be dismissed as "eccentric" or "lunatic", and their opinion discarded in a political discussion. Even if I personally disagree with this person.
 
  • #65
russ_watters
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This is a scientific issue and politicians are notoriously bad at making decisions on scientific issues. What defines crackpot or not is scientific acceptance only.
 
  • #66
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The issue is R&D isn't free. If their work isn't patented for a reasonable amount of time, what incentive is there for them to develop and distribute new innovations?
I wrote that the legislature should make law, not the court. I do not see how your statement has any relation to that.
 
  • #67
russ_watters
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I'm not seeing anything here that implies the courts are legislating: they are just confirming that the law was properly applied. Can you be specific about what you think the courts are changing?
 
  • #68
OmCheeto
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...
Funny you should bring up that quote because she is one of those elitists who opposed his work. She opposed the green revolution, even though it brought an end to a bad famine and eventually allowed India to become a major wheat exporter. It seems that "better dead then fed" is a common theme here.
Funny how Borlaug listened to her though. I like criticism, when it comes from the right person. But when it's simply; "I'm right and your wrong", I stop listening.

After initially dismissing them as elitist, he acknowledged they did have a point about the dangers of excessive use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers
(ref)

and what's this?

although he never once gave up his fundamental thesis that the world's exploding population could not be fed without scientific intervention -- for which reason he also supported GM and trangenic crops.
I like Borlaug, so I've decided GM and transgenic crops are ok.

I still hate Monsanto though.
 
  • #69
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I'm not seeing anything here that implies the courts are legislating: they are just confirming that the law was properly applied. Can you be specific about what you think the courts are changing?

I'm not willing to look at the case all that closely, but it seems to me that GMOs are a new type of invention and that the legislature should deal with it by passing a law that covers it. I think the legislature is the appropriate place to trade off economic interests. This finding that a seed is a "copy of an invention" seems dubious to me, as does Monsanto's assertion that they can sell the seeds with restrictions on their use. Since when do they get to tell me how I can use their invention? I never heard of such a thing, and this seems to me like something that would lead to a legal morass. I would prefer that law be made by an accountable body such as the legislature.
 
  • #70
russ_watters
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From OC's post:
wiki said:
Borlaug dismissed most claims of critics, but did take certain concerns seriously. He stated that his work has been "a change in the right direction, but it has not transformed the world into a Utopia". Of environmental lobbyists he stated, "
Borlaug said:
Some of the environmental lobbyists of the Western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They've never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for fifty years, they'd be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things.
(ref)
That's why I find the crackpot level anti-corporate/anti-GM ideology so abhorrent. In the US, the only things really at stake are money and political power. But when Greenpeace sells that ideology to African governments (or Catholic priests vs condoms, for that matter), it causes real people to die of starvation (AIDS). That disgusts me.
 
  • #71
russ_watters
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I'm not willing to look at the case all that closely, but it seems to me that GMOs are a new type of invention and that the legislature should deal with it by passing a law that covers it.
Well, since I generally think the courts have gotten pretty activist liberal, I tend to think a decision with a conservative slant must have been pretty ironclad to get through!

Regardless, it is certainly the job of the courts to decide if a law applies to a situation that may not have exactly existed when the law was crafted. But let me ask you this: if the court decides against Monsanto here, what makes you think the legislature wouldn't immediately plug that hole in their patent protection? Congress has shown a willingness to help protect Monsanto's patents in the past.
I think the legislature is the appropriate place to trade off economic interests.
While I agree, I think you are creating a false dichotomy, saying that Monsanto's gain is the farmers' loss. Again, GM seeds are the farmers' gains as well. In this particular case, the farmer was clearly getting an economic benefit that he didn't pay for.
This finding that a seed is a "copy of an invention" seems dubious to me, as does Monsanto's assertion that they can sell the seeds with restrictions on their use. Since when do they get to tell me how I can use their invention? I never heard of such a thing....
Er, since always? I guess you never read the licensing agreements on the software you install, do you...?
 
  • #72
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Or did the DOJ presume that DuPont would continue it's own case and decided to get government out of it. It is hard to tell because the silence about the situation was very unusual.
Right. The Department of Justice works for us. What's with the silence? I want to know what they are doing. I pay them.
 
  • #73
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if the court decides against Monsanto here, what makes you think the legislature wouldn't immediately plug that hole in their patent
They might. But it would be an open process by accountable representatives. Popular opinion would play a role, as it should.
 
  • #74
Evo
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It seems that there is little interest in discussing the thread topic. There have been more off topic posts than on topic. Thread closed.
 

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