Open Letter to Roger Cohen, NYT Moron

I’m pissed. I was pissed when I read this bullshit piece from Stanford, then got even MORE pissed when this jackass, Roger Cohen from the New York Times came along and insulted organics, the people who grow them, the people who eat them, the people who sell them.  Fuck you, man.


Mr. Cohen:

Regarding your piece, “The Organic Fable,” of September 6, 2012, you were so busy patting yourself on the back for being a “trend”-bucker that you forgot to do any research.  Your cynical statement that, “… the organic ideology is an elitist, pseudoscientific indulgence shot through with hype” speaks volumes about the path used to come to the self-serving, dubious conclusions you reach in this hit piece.  Namely a path which was not sullied by science or peer-reviewed studies which very clearly demonstrate the hazards of GMOs and the chemicals that love them.

You relied upon the Times’ rehash of a Stanford Systemic Review published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Perhaps you thought, “Hey, my employer published it…It must be close enough to true for me.” Little heads-up; it’s not.

“… the study completely fails to account for key factors such as the presence of GMOs, artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose, mercury (such as that admittedly contained in high-fructose corn syrup), BPA, and much more. It also does not even properly address the two topics it seeks to address concerning the presence [sic] antibiotics and chemical residue. The researchers fail first of all to reveal the difference between the organic food and conventional food pesticides, and then go on to state that organic food actually does have lower pesticide levels.”

Here too is another excellent piece about the junk science used to come to those erroneous conclusions. This is yet another piece blasting the associations between Stanford and BigAgra, namely Cargill.

Your ignorance on this topic is astounding, but I’m going to help you. Here’s the skinny on GMOs:

-Start with this video called “The World According to Monsanto.” It’s two hours long, so you might want to cozy up with some GMO popcorn that you microwave-irradiated in a BPA-laden bag. Bon appétit!

-Perhaps follow that up with reading about the work of Dr. Vandana Shiva, who is trying desperately to save India’s seeds from total obliteration at the hands of Monsanto.

-Maybe then engage in a little light reading about the plight of the Indian farmer, where extraordinarily high suicide rates are being blamed on Monsanto’s Roundup-resistant GMO cotton.

-Here’s a piece regarding how and why Monsanto was named the Worst Company of the Year for 2011. In part, it states:

  • An analysis of 19 animal studies revealed that nearly 10 percent of blood, urine, organ and other parameters tested were significantly influenced by GMOs, with the livers and kidneys faring the worst.
  • A 2009 Brazilian study discovered that female rats fed GM soy for 15 months showed significant changes in their uterus and reproductive cycle, compared to rats fed organic soy or those raised without soy.
  • A study performed by Irina Ermakova with the Russian National Academy of Sciences reported that more than half the babies from mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks, while the death rate in the non-GM soy group was only 10 percent. Additionally, the babies in the GM group were smaller, and, worst of all, could not reproduce. In a telling coincidence, after Ermakova’s feeding trials were completed, her laboratory started feeding all the rats in the facility a commercial rat chow using GM soy. Within two months, the infant mortality facility-wide reached 55 percent.
  • Milk treated with the Monsanto-developed genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rBGH) contains higher levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), a hormone linked to breast, prostate and colon cancers in humans.

A study that finds glyphosate-based herbicide induces necrosis and apoptosis in mature rat testicular cells in vitro, and testosterone decrease at lower levels. (Maybe you can ignore this too. It’s from the NIH…those dummies.)

-A whole mess of peer-reviewed links and studies about the grand genocidal failure that is glyphosate (the key ingredient in Roundup, which is sucked up by your GMO corn, soybeans, cotton, etcetera and then ingested by you. Lucky you!)

You even manage to get it wrong about organic yields versus conventional (ouch). “Yield is not the same as efficiency” and “Producing more grain is not the same as feeding the world.”

To speak to your assertion that (I’m paraphrasing) we’re “affluent narcissists,” know this:  Organic farmers like me gladly sell our products to restaurants and grocery stores. We have to make a living, too. The slightly higher prices offset the admittedly higher labor hours needed to not poison ourselves, our customers, and the planet. Spraying Roundup is easy. Mulching and hoeing in the hot Texas sun on this little patch of organic acreage is way freaking harder. But we find it worth the extra work to not develop tumors, disease, genetic defects, or the sense that we’re above it all, out here in the actual dirt…You know, where food comes from.

Here’s something you probably didn’t know either (maybe because to know would have required you read or do research, or even listen to someone who isn’t just hanging out with you at expensive restaurants where you all laugh about the “little people” and how we’re better off eating chemicals and mutated genetic calories):

There’s an important piece of legislation on the table in California called Proposition 37. It’s an initiative that would mandate the labeling of GMOs in food. Information that we “pampered parts of the planet” want, I guess because we’re elitists. If BigFarm, BigAgra, and the chemical consortiums are so proud of their products, it follows that they should slather their names on the grocery store packaging. Yes, please!

Know what the rest of the world does with GMOs? THEY LABEL THEM or ban them outright. Do you even know who the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Foods is? It’s Michael Taylor, former lobbyist and executive at Monsanto.

Perhaps you can understand my frustration now. Maybe you can comprehend now how maddening it is to back an underdog like the “Just Label It” initiative, who has a relatively tiny budget to pit against $40 million dollars from Big Agra. Know where they could have put that money, while they’re crying, “It would just be too expensive to label!” That’s right: Labeling.

A hit piece like yours based on nothing but your personal bias against something a whole bunch of us are well-educated about and fighting for just makes you look and sound stupid. Please either shut up or wake up.

You’re cordially invited to come down to Texas and meet a real farmer, who can teach you a thing or two thousand about what GMO really means. To you, me, and the planet.

Donna DeViney
Soilent Greens

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28 thoughts on “Open Letter to Roger Cohen, NYT Moron

  1. SaraC says:

    YOU SAY IT WOMAN! reblogging this

  2. Natasha Show says:

    Wonderful, wonderful piece!! You’re inspiring me to not give up on my quest to grow organic, non-gmo food for my family, here in Ohio!

  3. SaraC says:

    Reblogged this on Domesteading and commented:
    This from one of my favorite bloggers over at Soilent Greens. Enjoy her wisdom and her excellent links. YES ON PROP 37!

  4. oceannah says:

    I LOVE this…reblogging if you please?

  5. oceannah says:

    Reblogged this on oceannah and commented:
    I’ve been steamed about this but haven’t figured out what to say just yet…Along comes Donna and whew! It’s SO WELL SAID I need not add a thing. *anna

  6. […] prompted a flood of angry responses, and a New York Times op-ed by Roger Cohen praising it got a stinging retort from Donna DeViney of Soilent Greens in which she calls him an elitist halfwit among many other […]

  7. […] prompted a flood of angry responses, and a New York Times op-ed by Roger Cohen praising it got a stinging retort from Donna DeViney of Soilent Greens in which she calls him an elitist halfwit among many other […]

  8. I had to chuckle a bit when I saw your tags here. I understand the anger about this misused and abused science. It’ bad science GMOs. I love your username too. I actually wrote a piece on the actual 1972 movie which of course was science-fiction back then. Unfortunately, there is an uncanny element of truth to the script of that movie right down to the present timeline. It’s really Spooky.

    I identified Monsanto as the Soylent Corporation. I’d post the link but not without your approval.

    I also have another site and I’m about to explain the technicalities with what is wrong with the science. Bottom-line is they don’t know enough about DNA to have made these bastardizing decisions they have taken upon themselves to do in the name of obscene wealth and power creation.

    Enjoyed some of your posts. Thanks

    • I’d love to read your piece! Thanks for the response…

      • Well here it is. As I was writing , it was kind of scary putting all the pieces together. The details of the movie’s script are almost prophetic condemnation about the times we live in right now. I’ve watched it over and over a few times and comparing the News headlines and event of today, it’s quite alarming and at the same time makes me even more determined to resist this bad science being pimped as mankind’s only hope.

        • I don’t know what the deal was with one of those readers on another site who took offense to my exposing Monsanto for genetically engineering E-coli and spraying it on vegetables as a means of immune system control. The company I use to acquire my beneficial fungus and bacteria from went to bed with them on this Harpin Technology and I stopped using them.

          I had a number of questions regarding this move and they refused to answer them. Over on their facebook page when I asked, they deleted the info I had. The other question they just didn’t answer. It amazes me because the questions truly were offensive, just logical. There is clearly more going on than they want the public to know, I simply cannot believe that regular healthy doses of E-coli are going to be beneficial on my food.

          • Easy. That dude was a troll who has limited knowledge but a big vocabulary. Don’t try to baffle those people with facts; they’d actually have to think. Probably end up messy for everybody.

            I’m sorry, E-coli is never going to be okay. How hard is that to grok?

          • I responded to that slk(?) person:

            “‘Extra work not to develop tumors…’

            You mean like the benign throat tumors from organic pyrethrins?

            The taste issue has been tested in blind taste tests and organic doesn’t come out on top. Well except when testing for placebo effect then people erroneously think the “organic” is tastier even though the foods being tasted are exactly the same.

            But of course no amount of evidence matters because CONSPIRACY!! C.c”


            First of all, you’re the worst kind of troll. The one who sounds reasonable, but upon even cursory inspection has only a little Googled knowledge to pass off as “fact.” And wants attention for Google-mastery. And perhaps actually thinks he knows of whence he speaks.

            Oh, and kudos on a decent vocabulary.

            Secondly, start being an actual “organic farmer” on a decent-sized plot, and get back to the rest of us who are on how this life really is.

            “Real”organic farmers don’t use ANYTHING that isn’t produced on the farm or in our own kitchens as amendments, insecticides, or pesticides. We know that heirloom organic seeds, home-made compost, organic mulch, Neem oil, baking soda, white vinegar, garlic, chili peppers, and our hands are the most powerful tools in our arsenals, and we use them VERY effectively. Achieved goals: a little bug damage, significant crop yields, no chemicals, no disease from our crops.

            We don’t rely on the “Permitted” list of ingredients from the USDA, since we already know that the USDA has been bought out, and the list of permitted amendments jumped the shark years ago, to the benefit of chemical producers and huge “Organic” labels mass-produced in Chile and China.

            Whatever you’re eating, keep on eating it, Perhaps the tumors will stop the voices in your head that are telling you that you know what the fuck you’re talking about, and anybody with a brain is actually believing you.

            As we say when we really mean “fuck you” in the south: Bless your heart.

            • If you look at every post SKR (Skeeter) wrote, it was either a plant by Scotts or someone who sucks the Scotts Kool-Aid agenda. Every post was an off topic deflection of the issue brought up by everyone addressing the article.

              His/Her last post on blood meal had nothing whatsoever to do with what the person who replied was saying.

              But poster Lionel Gambill seemed to have gotten it back on track.

        • Excellent piece, and creepy as shit, and I’m going to get it on NetFlix asap so I can rewatch it.

          • I was amazed one day as I watched that show as it came on over here in Sweden. Previously I have been following the debates and discussions on Monsanto and Government blessings and then it suddenly struck me. Geesh, this is right now. I truly hope it never comes to that.

  9. Donna, I’m happy to find your blog post via Anna at “oceannah.” I’m very concerned as you are about our country (politicians and citizens) being completely bought and paid for by chemical companies. Thanks for writing a powerful piece. I hope it makes a difference! I am just growing vegetables for the first time in my life in my front yard in Los Angeles, but, I’ve been a food activist for twenty years. – Kaye

    • Thanks so much for your response, and yeah, welcome to the rants. I get angry every day. Good luck with your gardens! If you need any help or links or commiseration, a ton of nice people visit this blog!

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