Oh, The Secrets We Keep!

government-cloak-of-secrecy-open-governmentBy James A. Kidney

              While media focus was on Donald Trump and terrorism, there was little notice of a new report by the Department of Agriculture, citing new studies from the Center for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health, affirming that there is no scientific evidence to support claims that genetically modified produce and meats cause any harm.  To the contrary, the report said, genetic modification will produce great benefits to health and increase substantially the food supply, leading to lower prices.  “A real win-win,” the report concluded.

The reaction from organizations and members of Congress opposing genetically modified organisms (“GMOs”) was immediate.  The Institute for Responsible Technology stated that the research “had to have been bought and paid for by Big Agra.”  The Non-GMO Project demanded an inquiry into the Agriculture report and the sources it relied upon.  Four liberal Democratic senators demanded that the Senate Agriculture Committee issue subpoenas for all information related to the reports and studies.  “We want to see everything,” said Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., ranking member of the Committee.

OOOPS.  Fooled ya.

There is no such report from the Department of Agriculture.  But is there any doubt that had one been issued, the reaction from those opposed to GMOs would be as described above?  Instead, we have a leading troglodyte of the Republican Party seeking evidence to contest a study issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) disputing claims published elsewhere that the rate of global warning has slowed in the last few years. Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican who is chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and a climate science denier, launched the investigation and issued a subpoena for basically “everything” related to the NOAA study.

NOAA, every science organization you can name and the editorial page of The New York Times lambasted Smith for seeking emails and other records of scientists and bureaucrats paid by the taxpayer to ascertain whether the NOAA report was biased in favor of climate change advocacy.

Read more of this post . . .Oh, The Secrets We Keep!

How About Some New SEC Commissioners Outside Wall Street and Washington?

By James A. Kidney

(This commentary was originally published in Wall Street on Parade on June 18, 2015 and has been updated.)

Wonk Warning: If you are not interested in securities law enforcement, skip this. It’s pretty wonkish.

The Wall Street Journal carries an interview with outgoing SEC Commissioner Dan Gallagher in its Sept. 5 weekend edition. It prompts reflection on the types of persons who should fill his vacancy and one other on the SEC. How about some diversity, President Obama? And I’m not talking about race.

Outgoing SEC Comm Dan Gallagher
Dan Gallagher

Of the two vacancies to fill on the five-member Securities and Exchange Commission, one must be a Democrat and the other must be a Republican or independent.  Rather than use these appointments as an opportunity to bring on both real-world experience from finance and open the commissioner ranks beyond Washington and New York, early word is that the likely nominees are from the same old well:  Wall Street lawyers and congressional staffers.  These selections possibly have the virtue of relatively easy confirmation through a recalcitrant Senate, but they are a lost opportunity.

Read more of this post . . .How About Some New SEC Commissioners Outside Wall Street and Washington?

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