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tv   Altered Genes Twisted Truth  CSPAN  September 23, 2017 11:30am-1:01pm EDT

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who know what to draw from their experiences in history and connections as well? >> i would say to all veterans whether you get something published or not you should take time to write the experiences for yourself. for me it buried some old wounds, it was a therapeutic process, very difficult to write and relive those experiences but at the same time when i got it done i felt okay, i got it out of my system and there it is. with you do it for your own personal notes or you do it for your families, some record of your service, i encourage all veterans who participated in combat experiences to write about the warriors who could not tell their story and tell what they accomplished. >> welcome to today's meeting in california. i am bill graham, cochair and
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chair of this program. it is my pleasure to extend a special welcome to the club members that are here. we will enjoy your membership and look forward to see you later. at this time turn off all cell phones and other noisemaking devices. the event is being recorded for podcast, so we don't get any extraneous sounds. there are many upcoming programs, i invite you to check our website for complete listing of eventss, please register for 24 hour reservation venture to genetically engineer our food has subverted science, corrupted government, and systematically deceived the public" will be for sale in the lobby after this program. also if you have any friends wanting to hear this program and were unable, the podcast should be online in about a day.
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c-span here is to record it for tv and he is speaking in palo alto thursday at the community center. if you want to find out more online you can go to the silicon valley health institute. that is a good place. in terms of questions, question cards on all the seats. when you fill the question cards out pass them to the islands pass them up, i will be sitting here, then i don't have to go down to the island block the tv and cameras when they are questioning, recording this. i will start the program officially.
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greetings and welcome to today's meeting in california. i am bill grant, cochair of the health and medicine for him and chair of this program. it is my pleasure to introduce our distinguished speaker, steven druker. steven druker is a public interest attorney who initiated a lawsuit against the fda revealed the agency covered up scientist warnings about the risk of genetically engineered food and misrepresented the facts. he served on the food safety panel conducted by the national research council and fda, spoken at numerous universities such as harvard and cornell, and included the heads of food safety for the uk, canada, france, ireland and australia. he was elected to california law review and the legal honor society. articles on genetically engineered food appeared in
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several respected publications including the congressional quarterly researcher and the financial financial financial times. his influential book venture to genetically engineer our food has subverted science, corrupted government, and systematically deceived the public" was released in march of 2015, hailed as one of the most important books in the last 50 years was among the other scientists at the salk institute for biological studies called it incisive, insightful and truly outstanding. he received the luxembourg peace prize for outstanding promotion of environmental piece. steven druker. [applause] >> i appreciate the opportunity to speak to such a great
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organization and i would like to begin by asking you to tell me what you would think that the snap of my fingers everybody in the world instantaneously became aware of all the facts about genetically engineered foods and everybody's opinions became aligned with our best scientific knowledge? if you adhere to the proponents of these products we would have to predict such a worldwide wave of enlightenment would cause all opposition to vanish because in the rendition of reality they propose all of the opposition is based on ignorance and all of the concerns about risks are due to an improper understanding of science. and reality in this world we
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actually inhabit, the phenomena and that would quickly vanish is not the opposition to the foods, but the food themselves. if the actual facts became widely known, the entire food venture would quickly collapse, that is why pretensions about wanting to educate the public, proponents of genetically engineered foods routinely suppressed or distorted critical facts. case after case, eminent scientists and scientific institutions have stooped to deception to enable the ge food venture to advance. basic fact of biology have been twisted. the process of creating genetically engineered foods has been deceptively described in order to make it a fear far less
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disruptive and far more precise than it actually is and false statements have consistently been issued about the test on these foods to cover up troubling results. the evidence that demonstrates the distortion of the evidence is solid and it's solidity had been attested by many experts. a professor emeritus on agricultural economics university of missouri stated the evidence presented in my book is comprehensive and irrefutable. molecular biologist david schubert, professor at the salk institute for biological studies hailed the book as scientifically solid and truly outstanding. he also stated and this is a quote, it dispels the cloud of misinformation that is misled people into believing ge foods have been adequately tested and
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don't entail abnormal risk. the irrefutable fact that the facts have been misrepresented, concrete evidence of how strongly the evidence weighs against the soundness of the ge food venture. if the evidence were truly supportive of the venture's safety there would be no need to distort it. that is a no-brainer. if the facts are on your side you are not afraid of them, it is your joy and privilege to present them. it is only when the facts weigh against you that you resort to trickery. during the next 25 minutes i will point out the key distortions and falsehoods and clear up the confusion they created. in the process it will become evident that there is strong, science-based reasons for reach the teaching four basic
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conclusions. producing new foods through recombinant dna technology, which is the technical term for genetic engineering, is an inherently risky process. 2, every genetically engineered food poses an abnormal level of risk. 3, the safety of those on the market has never been adequately established. 4, some of them have already been shown to be harmful. i will also explain how the ge food venture is not only abnormally risky from the standpoint of biological science but outright reckless when viewed from the perspective of computer science, and bio technicians of utterly disregarded hard learned lessons computer science gained about the inherent risks of altering complex information systems.
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let's first examine one of the biggest falsehoods that has been perpetrated in defense of ge foods. the routine assertion that there is overwhelming consensus that they are safe, then this consensus is based on extensive scientific evidence. the strength of this purported consensus is claimed to be on par with expert consensus about the reality of human-induced climate change. however, although there truly is a genuine expert consensus in the case of climate change, there has never been one in regard to ge foods. every group of experts that is examined the data related to climate change has reached a common conclusion, many well credentialed experts have raised cautions about ge foods, several respected scientific institutions have done so as well. in 2001 the royal society of canada issued a major report
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concluding the default prediction for each ge food should be the genetic alteration has induced unintended and potentially harmful side effects, and it is scientifically unjustifiable, those were there words, to regard any ge food as safe unless it safety is established through a course of testing far more rigorous than any regulators have required. that report has never been revised nor refuted and is relevant today as when it was first issued. the british medical association and editors of a premier medical journal expressed concerns about the risks and public health association of australia e called for a complete moratorium on planting and marketing of ge foods. the scientific experts at the us
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fda have likewise recognized ge foods entailed abnormal risks. this came to light in 1998 when my organization, the alliance for bio integrity, led a lawsuit compelling the fda to hand over 44,000 pages of its internal files on ge foods. with that trove of documents are a number of memos in the agency have scientists expressing concerns about the unusual risks of the genetic engineering process and the need for all the foods it produces to undergo rigorous safety testing capable of detecting potential harmful side effects. the pervasiveness of the concerns is attested by an fda official who studied the expert input and declared, quote, the processes of genetic engineering and traditional breeding are different. according to the technical experts in the agency a lead to
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different risks. the fda's own biotechnology coordinator acknowledged there was not a consensus about safety in the scientific community outside the agency either. the fda has an admitted agenda to foster biotechnology. whether it issues its policy, in may 1992, having received that input, claimed it was not aware of any information showing foods derived by genetic engineering differ from other foods in any uniform or meaningful way. it asserted there was overwhelming consensus among scientists the ge foods are so safe they don't need to be tested at all even though it knew no such consensus existed. the fda allow ge foods to enter the market without requiring a smidgen of safety testing. if the fda told the truth and
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disclosed extensive concerns of its own experts, the subsequent history of the ge venture would surely have been very different and might well have been very short. at the least, any ge food that did reach the market would have been subjected to much more rigorous testing to regulators anywhere in the world. that is one claim. what about the claim that no product with genetic engineering has ever been linked to a human health problem. that is also baloney. it is starkly at odds with reality. the technology's very first injectable products caused a major epidemic, it killed dozens of americans, seriously sick and between 4000, 5000, hundreds of those people are still invalids
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to this day. that product with a food supplement of essential amino acid l-tryptophan derived from genetically altered bacteria. although it met standards for phonological purity, like all other supplements it contains minute amounts of impurities. unlike the conventionally produced supplements, one or more of its accidental additions with highly toxic even at extremely low levels. none of the supplements produced via non-engineered bacteria had ever been linked to disease and because genetic engineering can create unintended disruptions in the altered organisms, there were legitimate reasons to suspect the engineering process had induced the formation of the toxic substance that caused the calamity. consequently proponents of
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genetic engineering strove to convince the public the technology was blameless. to do so they had to issue a string of deceptive statements. those deceptions have been so successful, despite the fact the evidence points to genetic engineering the most likely cause of the toxic contamination, most people who know this tragedy are under the illusion that technology has been completely exonerated. worse, because ge proponents routinely claim none of its products have been linked to a health problem most people aren't even aware such a catastrophe happened. that includes most professionals in public health with whom i have spoken, completely oblivious to the fact that the first injectable products of genetic engineering caused a major epidemic in the united states. it is important to note the toxic tryptophan incident has
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serious implications for all foods produced through genetic engineering. those bacteria have not been altered with foreign genes. rather, they were merely endowed with extra copies of some of their own and were not engineered to produce anything but a beneficial substance they ordinarily make. the forced overproduction of this normally benign substance apparently put abnormal stress on those organisms that led to the creation of an unintended and highly toxic byproduct, and almost every genetically engineered food organism is being compelled to overproduce one or another chemical and for that reason alone poses an unusual risk. the standard claim that the safety of ge foods thoroughly established by reliable testing, do not describe scrutiny either especially considering many well
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conducted studies published in peer-reviewed journals detected harm to the animals that consume ge food. a systematic review of the toxicological studies in ge foods then was self published in a peer-reviewed journal concluded the results of most of them indicate the products, quote, may cause pancreatic, renal and reproductive effects and may alter hematological, biochemical and immunologic parameters the significance of which remains unknown. another review that encompassed additional studies published up until august 2010 also provided cause for caution. it concluded an equilibrium between research groups suggesting ge props are as safe as their non-ge counterparts, and raising serious -- serious concerns. obviously the fact that 15 years
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after ge foods first entered the market, have the published studies remained serious concerns in the eyes of objective scientific reviewers undermined the claim that their safety has been decisively established. this is fortified when we examine some of the specific results accrued before and after that date. a team of european university scientists published a paper in 2011 in which they reviewed the data from 19 of the feeding studies on ge, soy and corn varieties that have gone through the regulatory process, were on the market and comprised 83% of the ge foods people had been regularly eating. what they found was disturbing, 9% of the measured parameters not just blood and urine biochemistry. were significantly disrupted in
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the animals that had eaten the ge feed. moreover, the greatest disturbances, and the livers of the females and scientists emphasize because livers and kidneys are the major reactive organisms in cases of chronic food toxicity, these results should be viewed as danger signs, something regulators had not seen fit to do. when the negative results are so disturbing they cannot be ignored, they are vehemently and unjustly attacked. this is misrepresented, a prominent role in this misinformation campaign has been played by the uk's oil society, the world's oldest and most prestigious scientific institution. the society recently declared no research indicated the genetic engineering process itself has caused any harm amid all
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problems attributed to the specific gene introduced to particular agricultural practices. this assertion is flat-out false. one major study did specifically link the ge process with harm. it was published in the eminent journal lancet and revealed ge potatoes producing a foreign protein that is safe for mammals to eat caused a problematic effect in the rats that consumed them. compared to rats that ate the non-ge counterparts. even though the non-ge potatoes have been spiked with the same level of protein produced in the modified potatoes. accordingly researchers concluded that some aspect of the ge process was significantly responsible for the result because they ruled out the other possible factors. so it is only through the systematic misrepresentation of
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the facts that respected institutions and their willingness to disregard the ominous implications of the evidence that the ge food venture has been able to continue. this disgraceful activity is being carried out in the name of science when it is subverting the basic principles of science. the extent to which the ge food venture failed to be evidence-based and has rested on the denial and disregard of the evidence has been vividly summarized by michael antonio, molecular geneticist at king's college london school of medicine. the kind of detrimental effects seen in animals fed ge food were observed in a clinical setting the products use would be halted and further research to determine the cause and find solutions. however, what repeatedly happened this in the case of ge food is despite increasing
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evidence of serious adverse health test results, government and industry continue unabated with the development, endorsement and marketing of these foods as if nothing has happened to be point they seem to ignore the results of their own research. so even this short summary revealed from the standpoint of biological science the ge food venture is significantly unsound. when it is analyzed from the standpoint of computer science the picture becomes even more troubling. such an analysis is highly relevant because both genetic engineering and computer science are engaged in altering complex information systems and computer science have learned a lot about the risks of making such alterations. moreover it is learned that
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these risks are inescapable, inescapable. software engineers have learned when software information systems they themselves created become large and complex there is no way to alter them with complete precision. even when the alteration is a small refinement designed to improve the system's performance, the mere process of revising it is such an ostensibly minuscule manner is likely to disrupt one or more of its other parts. this is an amazing phenomenon. software systems are designed to be linear which means there is structure so specific operation only produces a specific results. operation x should only produce why. however, despite programmers best efforts, their systems transcend the intended limits and to a significant degree behave in a nonlinear manner. there is a very high likelihood
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that some of the parts will interact in ways that were not planned and cannot be predicted meaning operation x will not only yield why but might also generate q and the. consequently, to reduce the potential for unintended interactions software designer separate components that shouldn't interact and insulate them from such interaction but what they try to avoid is creating code that resembles a plate of spaghetti. because they want to avoid writing what they call spaghetti code, a program in which components are complexly interactive and you can't work on one without jostling around the other ones, what they instead aim to create is ravioli code. they call this ravioli code. they try to design systems in which the components that are not supposed to interact are as
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independent from one another as packets of cheese and vegetable and separate packets of pasta. even though programmers have succeeded in designing systems that are far more analogous to a plate of ravioli if any amount of spaghetti and reduce potential for unintended interactions, they have not been able to eliminate it. such unwanted results continue to happen. before examining how these risks are dealt with let's compare the characteristics of human designed information systems with those of bio information systems. let's compare man-made software with nature's software. as i noted human made systems are designed to be linear. and although they unavoidably become linear to some degree they for the most part function is linear systems. but the situation is very
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different in the case of bio information system is. they are inherently nonlinear. the various parts are intricately interconnected and every action can create a wide range of effects many of which cannot be predicted. in their endeavor to maximize manageability, software engineers avoid creating spaghetti code, spaghetti code is avoided. but bio information systems are the most extreme instances of spaghetti code. even if human being was able to create them he or she could not comprehend various interactions. moreover, despite the substantial knowledge we humans have gained about the workings of bio information systems the extent to which our understanding remains deficient should be profoundly humbling. in human designed systems, the rules governing how parts
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interact are clearly expressed in written form but only a small fraction of the rules, the bio information systems, are known, and most pertain to the mechanics of gene expression. yet as numerous experts emphasized, many of the most important rules don't operate at the level of the genes. for instance, richard stroman, distinguished professor of cell biology at the university of california berkeley, asserted the most important rules operate at a level higher than the genes, the level at which genes are organized in functional arrays. he noted this level of gene management is not confined within the dna but was coextensive with the cell itself. moreover, he emphasized dynamics operated at this level are different than the ones operating at the lower level and the interactions are far more complex, to the extent that they
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are ultimately trans calculation all which as he noted is a mathematical term for mind-boggling. several other experts have pointed out that bio information systems transcend dna and extend throughout the entire organism while also extending far beyond our comprehension. in addition to the vast differences in the degree to which humans understand how the two types of systems operate there are glaring differences in how they make revisions to them. ..
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>> in the united states and in the european union not only are such programs required to undergo strict testing before they are allowed on the market they also must be rigorously tested any time they are revised no matter how minor the revision the regulators will not accept arguments the it is substantially equivalent to the former version instead there must be a demonstration of safety without stringent testing but there is the glaring contrast to the biggest and most complex bill most least understood informations
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systems on the planet. in the largely denied them in to assume there is little need for rigorous testing united states fda saying they don't need to be tested at all and although those regulators in the e you require some testing it is minimal. ge foods allowed on the worldwide markets based on a superficial showing a substantial equivalence to the counterparts. something that is never allowed in life critical software despite the fact with a malfunctioning x-ray machine. although requirement that
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safety testing it is relaxed by software standards and that is mandated for those pharmaceutical drugs to this still falls short of that rigor of when changes are made so with those informations systems they are presumed to route entails substantial risk those informations systems major revisions are presumed to be safe with less requirements and less testing. moreover that gregor that is required of software testing the entire venture would implode consequently even
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this simple technology doesn't function improperly. [laughter] it is risky. and how to remain so oblivious with a complex information system. and a big part of that is quite simple. to deal with intricate highly coordinated informations systems and vice seem to have gone too far we will come to that that was a preview. as strange as this seems now when the genetic engineering venture first began in the '70s the practitioners
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presumed that they are not arranged in the sequence in which it is important it is called the beanbag theory of the genome if you shake it up all the positions change for you still have the beanbag it doesn't matter what position they are in. that is how the gino was viewed by those electoral biologist even into the '90s in those presumptions were refuted based on that theory with the understanding of the genome with that single gene that will not disrupt
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that the genes act independently not acting in a highly coordinated manner. and a reporter from "the new york times" to state that they operate independently in the institutionalized in 1976 with that economic and regulatory foundation that the entire technology industry that the dna could be wedged into a plans to gino without inducing disturbance because of the behavior was largely
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uncoordinated and the arrangement was irrelevant there would be no important patterns to be perturbed accordingly they engendered confidence of generic engineering that they would be consistently predictable however the provided that ideological foundation to transform agriculture has been discredited. abundant evidence is demonstrated that there is a high degree of coordination between the jeans and the arrangement is highly organized in the previously mentioned york times article denise and suited -- asserted the genome shatters that scientific basis for a reassessment of the products from genetically engineered crops to pharmaceuticals.
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it is important to emphasize that caruso's comments were made without even taking the evidence into consideration so without powerful body of knowledge it is clear that ge food venture is not only seriously unsound but downright reckless. but what about the new modes to manipulate the genome? as precise forms of genome editing more precise than those of genetic engineering from the standpoint to be more precise to your that off target and further and
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in order to transform the altered plant cells into the seed bearing plants something has to go in there taking cells from mature plants so even if they end up with that genetic manipulation so a very unnatural process for tissue culture to be employed in which those plant hormones and then that cells can be a host that is not precisely
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the same through which the seed will go into a mature plant. in its used to create mutations to see if they could find something good. in that imparts a general make shock. so no matter how precise that crisper technology can be on the manipulation side as long as they have to use tissue culture to get that creation into a plant there is no way they can claim back so it is kerry irresponsible to ignore tissue culture on most promoters energy foods try
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to pretend it does not exist is part of the process in every part of the case with another -- another level of misrepresentation. so utilizing these new techniques in its entirety that they must be rigorously tested. so if you cut through the promotional propaganda in in the light of the best scientific knowledge it is clear that ge venture is incurably risky especially
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when say sustainable and will prove alternatives are readily available. [applause] looking at the gm row crops but through other people in the audience so the first question what food sold in the united states are genetically engineered? and a shorter answer is far too many. because even though a fairly small number of crops
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relative to those out there have been genetically engineered to date because those major foods that appears in the ingredients between 85 and 90% to contain one or another ingredient from the organism so the name once in north america it is unjust united states is also canada they have the crops on the market with no labeling it is almost as bad as the fda which says a lot but just a bit better because canadians tend to be more polite and reasonable that they are unscientific on these engineered -- is engineered foods cornyn soy well over
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90 percent of the corn and soy crop or genetically engineered from many different foods horror ingredients? and the canola seeds have been genetically engineered it appears in many products that purport to be health food because they think canola oil is better than another oriole but but it isn't gm '03 that it is probably genetically engineered. a significant proportion of the papaya crop, a very substantial portion of the sugar been crop has been genetically engineered which means that you are eating a product that says sugar but does not say keen sugar --
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cane sugar than it is most likely to be genetically engineered. of the you think that is a problem for me but it is especially if you try to eat or dna dairy products because during the winter months organic of of the is one of the main foodstuffs that the dairy farmer feeds there're cattle and across pollinates and therefore a significant risk of cross pollination of organic of of love by the genetically engineered. there are some mothers but those are the big ones. this is a shocker. zucchini, many years ago in virus resistant so most of
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us are told it didn't make it into the market very much and then most of that left the market but then a few years ago those reliable sources began to tell us it seems far more permeated the market than initially thought and chances are between 10 and 25 percent could be again i don't have the of verification the fda doesn't require that manufactured informant so the fda has acknowledged it doesn't even know for sure
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into united states and canada and that was purposely designed to keep this in the dark with inadequate information in that is disinformation which countries than crops? i am not up to date on at most countries do not have the planning of those injured crops but not completely up-to-date by some national
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governments to get those genetically crops to see how that plays out so there are some countries that are trying to get los in the european union the nurture of the strongest. and they cannot be grown but several of them have been approved so any foods that contain ingredients in major
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retailers don't want to be involved that is much more educated so one reason they actually reported of those early studies that was of media blackout in north america that goes a long way to attribute the difference of consumer attitude but there was so much resistance before 2000 in the european union those major food distributors realized putting those foods out is not a good marketing. and we will not carry that
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so if enough consumers in the u.s. and canada become more informed to vote with their pocketbook the food industry takes note of that. doesn't take a very big shift of consumer habits you don't even have to have 50 percent that could be as small as 5410 percent that could make a big difference making one no longer viable consumers have great power of the up pocketbook there is a major loophole in europe that genetically engineered so a or corn fed to the farm animals the ultimate consumer product
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milk or eggs does not have to be labeled i don't call that a loophole but a huge hole in though wall for european consumers eating products from the gm though fed animals the center for veterinary medicine fda in his memo stated that he and his colleagues know that feeding for metals high doses of genetically engineered crops happens in bin feeding got meet to humans has problems so there should be careful testing of that situation so what
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health effects rise from eating ge corn soybeans? we don't know fully what has ben happening because there hasn't been good testing people have been getting sick in the united states we know many illnesses have been increasing with those genetically engineered foods in the increased use of the herbicides that have gone up because so many of those crops have been engineered to be tolerant and to kill everything else except that jolly green giant but we really don't know as we have said liver and kidney toxicity determined to have
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been induced through rats with genetically engineered crops and other problems as well so consider the case the tobacco even as late as 1962 people could have claimed there is evidence that smoking cigarettes has caused any harm to human beings and at that point there was no any solid evidence published those studies have been under way for many years but not in tel 63 years 64 they were published in enough evidence that research in general that there was cause and effect so look at those differences tobacco was smoked a lot longer than genetically engineered foods in people smoking knew that they were in when they started and that on average
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how many they had been smoking over a month for good as anyone here know precisely when they adjusted the first engineer food and what it was? and giving keeping a list and what concentrations of course, not they are not labeled. unspoken on panels for the epidemiologist and they all agree it would be near impossible at this stage to conduct those studies on the gm will foods in north america it could not be done and it was planned to be that way. because manufacturers can avoid liability but look how long that took even with tobacco to finally start getting those monetary awards so think how difficult it would be to prove somebody was injured
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by a particular tml -- dm0 and that is why those are precautionary. we have district disproportion realize when it comes to food additives and those laws cover the additives through genetic engineering. district is lot of the book stricter them the european union because don't i need gmo in the market is in the you? and those that are flooded with them the u.s. has them everywhere so we must be weaker. our laws are stronger but what is weaker is for the world to enforce the law so as my book demonstrates very solid the the fda has been violating food safety laws since 1982 in order to assure genetically
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engineered foods on to the market without any requirements for testing better according to law they should have been tested that is the of what but one of the greatest injuries is that scientific integrity of regulators in the u.s. and canada and many other countries and hopefully there will not be a great deal of human injuries but those laws were supposed to be precautionary and the u.s. government by law that is strictly precautionary every engineered food by a lot is presumed to be unsafe and the standard of proof is very high there has to be a demonstration a reasonable certainty you cannot even factor in the benefits
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according to the law in the case of food additives is contrary. it is inappropriate to do it in that case everybody eats food so there isn't time and it is apropos and you should know that what about the herbicides? i touched upon them briefly one thing that i think is very important to note they can get misled by this is the of monsanto brand sold and most used
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herbicide in the world and monsanto has spent cleaning it is completely safe no problem. and recently experts is in europe have stated there is enough evidence touche show it is a possible carcinogen in the state of california has taken his similar position there is a huge debate that takes the eye off the ball there is solid research that roundup is toxic it has been studies it
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should not be on the market to but that carcinogenic but that toxicity has made it is interesting one of the main studies but monsanto did not like it but it showed the rats that genetically resisted corn was tested even those that were not sprayed with roundup had the toxic defects so that showed the cornyn itself is something about the harmful itself if the corn had been
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eaten. that study alone should have driven round up off a the market with that particular brown -- brand of corn but instead upon the research with major pressure bin know there are memos that are uncovered showing their heavy hand but finally after one year the pressure of the study was retracted so now it is interesting a former executive of monsanto was
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added to the review board was that cause and effect? so another important point to know which is a case of slight of hand that was a solid toxicological study that shows a roundup is genetically engineered corn is toxic to the rats was solid.
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>> so all of a sudden the grounds for attraction are that it's that the fox cological, i'm sorry, the carcinogenic, the cancer part of the study -- they didn't even mention the word cancer, they didn't try to determine if the tumors were cancerous, they just reported them. so he said, well, the cancer, the cancer evidence is inconclusive and, therefore, we're retracting the study. now, of course it wasn't even a cancer study anyway, and inconclusive results are not official grounds for attraction. you won't find that in the guidelines for how governing retraction of articles.
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then -- so anyway, and then i think when the editor, this is all, the story's all in my book, i think the editor then had to come up with something else. but the fact remains in the media you will see the debate is on cancer. well, this was shown not to have caused cancer. the thing is, it did cause damage to livers and kidneys, and that was a sound fox cological study. -- fox cological study. and a number, dozens and dozens of well-credentialed experts have written letters and articles explaining that should have been retracted. the guidelines are if part of a study is invalid -- and this one wasn't, but even if it is unreliable, you retract that part and maintain the valid parts. but they didn't do that, they retracted the whole study. so, again, this is showing how science has been subverted in order to keep a happy face on the genetically-engineered venture. and it's really astounding.
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but you will read even "the new york times," they talk about the carcinogenic study, the cancer study that it wasn't demonstrated, and they completely ignore the evidence of toxicity which was solid and never should have been retracted. so that's just a little taste. >> go ahead and answer all the questions you have. >> okay. so that's something about the herbicides. any thoughts about the ge salmon, the fast-growing ge salmon that was okayed for market this week. well, yeah. the fact that it's genetically engineered means, again, that we should presume that there are unintended side effects that have occurred that could be harmful. that's the default, that's applying the default presumption that the expert panel that released the royal society of canada's report stated there should be. that's sound science.
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now again with the salmon, the focus is on a lot of other issues; environmental ones, which there are. but just the fact it's been produced since genetic engineering should be setting off major, flashing red lights. there are inescapable risks. there should be extensive food safety testing, fox cological -- fox cological testing using the fish for long term. there probably will not be. i've gone through that stack. where are the bodies? with trillions of ge meals provided to animal, there should be abundant results of death or to ill animals. please address the study from uc-davis. well, actually, it's interesting. first, the question where are the human bodies? i just went i through that. there haven't been epidemiological studies. where are the animal bodies?
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the van animen study, she's, i believe, a veterinarian. they looked at really the superficial analyses of the animals before they're going to be slaughteredded. correct me if i state anything wrong in this. it's been a while since i looked at this. again, i think it's in an end note in my book. you can find a very good critique of that study on the web site gm watch. excellent critique. and there are many scientists who have criticized that study. for one thing, it's not a long-term study. also those animals are being fattened up pretty quickly for market. only a fairly short amount of their life span has been taken into account. also those are not the extensive kinds of studies that would be done, you know, analyzing tissues under the microscope. it's fairly gross. that's my recollection of it. those are not -- and also they're not controlled studies.
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if, here's one thing. if critics of genetically-engineered food had brought out studies that were that weak, lack of controls, all of the things i've mentioned and more so, they'd be pilaried. everybody would blast it. and yet very weak studies that purport to find safety are put through. i mean, are put on a pedestal like the study that has been mentioned. here's another important fact. cows have very different digestive systems that human beings. how many of you chew your cud? okay. you don't. cows have more than one stomach. their digestion is different. they would make very bad laboratory animals if we wanted to do toxicology tests for human beings. that's why rats and mice that have much more similar digestive systems to ours are used, among other things.
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so again, even if they've been doing very precise, you know, studies and really doing dissections and looking at the tissues the way that are done in toxicological studies, genuine ones, it still would not be compelling evidence that these foods are safe for human beings, okay? so i won't go more deeply into it. i would refute for you to that critique on gm watch that summarizes many of the criticisms that other scientists have leveled. i answered that one. what role does bayer purchasing monsanto play in gmo planning in europe. it will probably create increased pressure to do it, although many of the major biotech companies in europe had announced they were pretty much giving up on the european market because there's such consumer
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resistance. whether they really are giving up or just waiting for an opportunity to push ahead, i don't know for sure. but that, i think we'll just have to wait and see. however, the merger of bayer and monsanto probably is not going to -- i think we can predict it's not going to be a good thing for consumers, for the environment. what -- oh. what can i as a consumer do to protect myself? move to norway. [laughter] you have to get informed. there are a lot of very good books about it. my book is not a guide to how to avoid genetically-engineered foods. it should be a strong inducement to do so though. but there are guides, there are many good guides. the organic consumers' association has a lot of good guides on the web site. i think they try to keep that
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updated to give you a little shopper's guide. it's due to responsible technology, i believe, also keeps a good update one. i assume the non-gmo verified project, but there are many good web sites. center for food safety, very informative. and they will -- you can download, you know, some guides as to how to shop intelligently. so i highly recommend that you do the reading. it's easy to at least get that research done online. what's difficult is to follow the advice because the food supply in the u.s. and canada is loaded with gmos, and it's -- you've got to really read labels, and it's a pretty daunting thing. and especially at restaurants it's even harder. so it depends on what level of rigor you want to apply in avoiding gmo tos. gmos. but if you really want to avoid them, be rigorous. if you do have young children or grandchildren, you should be especially careful in their case because, you know, children's
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physiology, they're in a developmental stage. it's a very delicate situation. it takes a lot less of something toxic or carcinogenic generally to create a problem for a little child than it does for a grown adult. so if you, if you can't be fully rigorous for yourself, try to make sure there's more rigor for the children and the loved ones in your life who are children. i would say that's highly, highly important. the non-gmo project verified label, it's a voluntary thing, but it's increasingly found on foods. that gives a pretty high level of confidence that there aren't genetically-engineered ingredients. but aware, many people -- be aware, many people make the mistake of thinking if that label's on it, it means it's organic.
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no, that just means there's no gmos. you have to look for the organic label as well. if it says it's usda certified organic, it should mean, it should mean that it's not genetically-engineered, but unfortunately there doesn't have to be testing. and because of the contamination through cross-pollination, it's possible -- and, in fact, it's been, it's been documented in some cases -- that over the generations even organic crops have a significant amount of contamination from genetically-engineered crops that are the same or similar species. so the gold standard would be certified organic and non-gmo project verified. and sometimes you can get that. but i'm just stating, that would probably be the gold, i think the gold standard right now in north america.
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i think -- oh, wait. oh. are all organic non-gmo? i kind of answered that. ideally, yes, in practice. there's been some significant contamination. are there any countries that do not allow ge foods to be sold across -- i answered that one to the best of my ability. oh, what about the concept that there isn't enough food supply to feed the global population without ge foods? that's more bologna. they're feeding us bologna, and that kind will not feed the world, the third world. listen, i mean, again, it's just ignoring the data. okay? in 2008 a major study was released. it had been co-sponsored by the world bank -- hardly a radical organization -- the world bank and four united nations agencies, hundreds of experts, scientific experts in numerous countries around the world participated in it, and it was
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basically assessing the future of food, an assessment of agriculture, agricultural technology and the future of food. and it went on for a long time, and when the results were published, they made it very clear because they examined, one of the questions was what role should or could genetic engineering play. and they concluded genetic engineering does not have a significant role to play in meeting the world's future nutritional needs for the foreseeable future. and at a press conference, at the press conference announcing that study, the director of the study was asked point-blank so do you see any role at all for genetically-engineered foods, and he said, well, the frank answer is, no. i think i -- the simple answer is, no. and his co-chairman basically made a similar, a similarly strong statement. there have been other studies, there have been studies released
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by the u.n. special -- [inaudible] for food reviewing, reviewing many projects in sub-saharan africa employing organic or near-organic techniques that have shown tremendous results, results that, as he has said, are better than any genetically-engineered food has been able to achieve. so what the u.n. division on food and that major study i discussed have recommended as the main solution especially for the developing world, they called them agro-ecological techniques. that basically means good old traditional farming without industrial inputs, without synthetic fertilizers, without synthetic herbicides, without gmos and with greater intelligence. because many traditional societies have actually lost a lot of their traditional knowledge or they didn't have good enough knowledge in some
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cases, and a little bit of -- yeah, there's a lot of experimenting in different ecological niches. amazing results have been reported and will continue to be reported. so organic or near-organic techniques on small farms, again, if the industrial methods come in, then usually small farms have to consolidate. so they emphasized small, independent farms using agro-ecological techniques, they've been shown to be the most efficient and productive. you can produce more nutrition per acre if you're doing it that way than with these big, industrialized farms. what the big, industrialized farms are good at is producing mono-crops, you know, one uniform crop planted on a massive amount of acres. they are more efficient at producing more of that crop per acre but not at producing more nutrition, because the smaller forms don't do the mono-cropping. they have a synergy of many different kinds of crops, and they have much more nutrient
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density harvested per acre depending on which labeling system you want to use than the big, industrial farms. that's been a well-verified fact. so again, we do not need genetic engineering. what we need, and if just a small amount of the massive research that's been directed to genetic engineering since genetically-engineered food started being developed in the early '80s, we would, there would be so much better knowledge and so much more food being produced in the third world. because very little money, relatively speaking, is still being given to organic and agro-ecological. it's really a shame, but that's the case. so there should be a diversion of funds. the bill and melinda gates foundation should be stopping, should stop funding the development of yes genetically-engineered foods. you know, he is the richest man in the world -- or used to be.
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he now, i guess, is seesawing with other people, but he's one of the richest. his wealth has come from software development, and yet he is using a significant part of that substantial, massive fortune to fund a technology that is violating the basic principles of software development. i mean, it's one of the most ironic of the ironic situations, and there are many ironies in the ge food venture. that's maybe one of the biggest. i think that if bill and/or melinda gates were to read my book, there would be a huge turn around. they have been misinformed. their intentions are good. they're hoping to do good for the third world, but they've been listening to scientists who have been misinforming them. and if they were to learn the facts and especially to examine genetic engineering from the standpoint of software engineering, i think there would be a major eureka experience, and i think that they would probably speak out too. but bill gates, they're both bright people.
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he's a voracious reader, so if any -- i'm saying this, who knows, maybe some of you have a contact. tell him to read my book. i think that would have one of the greatest turn arounds in the history of agriculture. any other -- >> [inaudible] >> oh, wait. i should just look. where are we now with the legal process against monsanto. well, there's at least one if not more lawsuits underway against monsanto. that information that i said came out from their files that showed how monsanto was orchestrating most of the attack against that study that was retracted eventually. by the way, because that -- excuse me -- because that study was solid, because it was really a solid toxicological study, it was republished eventually in another peer review journal. so it is currently, you know, a published study, although the
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royal society in its most recent question-and-answer consumer guide basically dismissed that as a study that had been retracted. they didn't even tell people that it had been republished. i mean, that's the kind of, that's the kind of unethical behavior being practiced by the world's most prestigious scientific organization. so i'm not sure that process is on behalf of people who claim to have been injured, so that's -- by roundup. that's specifically, i believe, against that. there may be some other lawsuits. i'm not aware of that. my main focus is to get the facts out. there's an ancient sanskrit saying of which i'm very fond -- [speaking in native tongue] truth ultimately triumphs. it may be old-fashioned on my part, but i still firmly believe that. it may take a lot longer than we like, certainly it's taken agonizingly longer than i would like, but eventually the truth will triumph in regard to genetically-engineered foods.
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there's only so long that the proponents can keep a lid on all of the facts that i've just shared with you and the many more facts that are in my book and in some other very good books on the topic. one of which i should mention is gmo myths and truths, excellent book. in fact, you can download a copy of that for free. it's not the narrative story that mine is, it doesn't give the history, won't give the computer science, but my book and that book complement each other because it goes into the research even more thoroughly than mind. mine would be even longer than it is and too dry. but i do go into the research a lot. so i would say if you can only read two books, then mine and gmo myths and truths. if you could only read one, i'm not going to try to -- you flip a coin or whatever. so what kind of testing do you believe would be necessary to allow, for example, a tomato to market? who would do the testing? first, the testing should not be allow, not continue to be allowed to be conducted by the researchers that are hired by the industry.
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it's been shown too often that that leads to fraud. and even if it doesn't lead to fraud, studies have shown that if independent researchers look at the data, they are much more likely to find problems than if the researchers that are hired by the company do. so that should be a major change throughout really testing on any chemicals, industrial chemicals, food additives. food additives really are specific to gmos. get, get the private sector out of it. and i'm not sure exactly the best way, probably making people pay and have the government, you know, hire people to do the testing double blind, they don't even know whether they've got, whose one they have and keep it all double blind. and all the results have to be completely reported. when the testing is under the control of the private corporations, if they don't like
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the results, they just don't publish them. and they usually have the, have the researchers sign an agreement that they don't have the right to basically publish it. all the decisions are made by the monsanto, the i duponts -- the duponts, whoever. well, if you're not publishing the negative results, you know, that's not science. and, of course, as i mentioned, even some of the studies that have been published had negative results that were overlooked and were only discovered when the independent teams reviewed them. so that's one of the important things. also as my book demonstrates as i mentioned this evening or i hope i made it clear, there would have to be at least the same kind of testing, rigorous, long-term testing culminating in human clinical trials on the part of gmos, in the case of gmos as in the case of pharmaceutical drugs. it should probably be even stricter. but even that would completely
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down the industry because, think about it. that level of extensive testing is enabled because drug companies can take out patents and for the first many years, so many years that their drug is on the market, they have a patent on it, and they can charge pretty high prices before it goes generic. you can -- there's only so much you can charge for a soybean or an ear of corn. so this is a natural economic constraint in the case of the food industry on how long and extensive the testing can be. and so really there is no way for the genetically-engineered food venture to be scientifically reliable and yet economically viable. okay? cannot be scientifically reliable and at the same time economically viable. so again, that's why the industry fights so hard to have minimal testing and tries to --
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and i taxes -- attacks so viciously any research that, again, indicates there should be stronger testing, because it would be very expensive, and they don't want it. is wheat a gmo crop? to the best of our knowledge, right now it is not a gmo-marketed crop. it's been experimented in the lab. there have been -- it came close to being rolled out i think at least once, if not twice. my understanding is there's pressure building again to get it out. but unless it's escaped test fields -- which may have happened -- it is not an officially-marketed genetically-engineered crop now, and let's all have our attention on it never becoming one. given the gmo crops' drift onto conventional crops, how do we know they don't drift onto certified organic crops? oh, we know that they have. there have been shipments of canola that were certified
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organic canola seeds from canada to europe that were tested there and found to have a significant level of contamination from genetically-engineered canola. those were rejected, i mean, and sent back. so we know that that can happen. i don't eat meat because it isn't healthy for humans. am i safer than those who eat meat? well, that's not a, that's kind of not on topic. many people would think that it is healthier. many would give arguments not. i myself am a vegetarian, but i'm not an expert on this. i just know i like to eat that way. but i have many friends who are very healthy and very health conscious that eat meat, they eat a high quality of meat, they're very careful, and for them it works. so i think everybody should study. people have different nutritional needs. but i think one thing is clear, the current industrial system of raising meat is very wrong,
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very, very harmful to the animals, you know, these big, confined animal feeding operations are sinful, actually. they really are creating -- they're torturing the animals in many ways, and the animals live in constant stress. they're not able, they are not able to live out their lives as animals. and it's really wrong. they're treated as units of production. so to the extent that animals are raised for slaughter, they should be raised in a humane way. and that means a fundamental change has to be made throughout most modern systems of industrialized agriculture. and if the animals are raised humanely, it is going to drive up the cost, and it means people will be eating less meat. but that was the way it used to be, you know? chicken used to be a lot more expensive, beef was much more expensive. it's become much cheaper now, but at what cost to the environment, potentially human health costs and certainly costs
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to, i think, to the human soul because of the way in which those animals -- and they are sent cent beings, they are being treated so callously and carelessly. as i said, for those of us who believe in sin, it is a sin. and if you don't, then it's just very, very wrong. and when i say "sin," i just mean it is really, it's really wrong, and they should consider the pain to which they're subjecting those animals. it's very, very wrong. how does monsanto play into this? i think we've discussed it, in a very dirty way. where are we now with the legal -- okay, that was read. okay, i think i've gone through most of them. did i miss something? >> no, good time to stop here. okay. i am bill grant, co-chair of the health and medicine forum. we thank steven for his comments here today. we also thank our audience that's here as well as those
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listening to this recording, and now this meeting of the common wealth club of california is adjourned. [applause] take a bow for the camera. >> thank you very much. you've been, you've been a great audience. i appreciate it. those were also very good questions, and everybody stayed very attentive, and i appreciate it. i appreciate it. >> the book's for sale in the lobby, and he'll sign them in the lobby. [inaudible conversations]
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>> booktv is on twitter and facebook, and we want to hear from you. tweet us,, or post a comment on our facebook page. >> it was 60 years ago this month that president eisenhower ordered federal troops to little rock, arkansas, to protect nine african-american students who were the first to integrate the city's central high school. one of the little rock nine -- melba pattillo beals -- appeared in 1994 on the c-span program "book notes" to discuss her book, "warriors don't cry." on the 60th anniversary, we're showing you that interview next on booktv. this program contains language that some may find offensive. c-span: melba pa teal owe -- pattillo beals, where does the title come from? >> guest: mother used to sing a


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