business news in context, analysis with attitude

On the subject of the anti-GMO labeling battle in Washington State, one MNB user wrote:

I normally read MorningNewsBeat behind the scenes without adding public commentary. However the topic regarding the WA ballot issue on GMO labeling is typical of many others that the bigger issue is important to reflect on.  As a WA resident, who ironically doesn’t watch much TV nor read the newspaper (most information comes through conversation or selective internet reading), I’ve still been inundated with the campaign-spend of the ‘no’ on GMO-labeling ballot issue.  Regardless of which position I hold, the monies available to spend on this issue are extremely unbalanced, with little transparency even though it’s obvious if you pay attention. Like many other campaigns, it is clear that the money being spent is to confuse versus educate.

What do most people do when they get confused? Withdraw. In turn, I expect many will actually not vote on the GMO issue, a few will be passionately clear in their vote, and the rest will likely ‘just pick one’, not knowing why they voted one way or the other, other than a reactive, in-the-moment-vote to simply stop the confusion….though only temporarily.

Although there are varying definitions of what ‘educate’ means, unless we remove personal agendas and efforts to ‘convince’ others to support our agenda, campaign monies being spent will never serve the greater whole. Wouldn’t it be fascinating if each ’side’ were required, or only able, to spend $xxxxx with the monies pooled together to collaboratively discuss core issues to the initiative? What if the outcome was to provide Socratic debate to be ultimately shared with the public if public vote was even needed after their efforts? Theoretically this is was the content of the voter’s pamphlet is to provide, though so much of the public either doesn’t read, nor understand the legal-speak it’s written in. For once I’ve found myself asking various people I’m running into where they stand on the issue. Most every person has said they are confused and don’t even know where to turn to get helpful information.

From another reader, re: my call for transparency in campaign contributions made in this debate:

I couldn't agree more Kevin. This corporate/union/special interest money (it comes from all sides) is one of the drivers(along with corrupt redistricting practices) of the dysfunctional tendencies in todays government. At the national level, I say let's give the candidates a set amount to spend i.e. $30 million for President, $10 Million for Senators, and $3 Million for Congressmen. They can't spend anymore than that. That would stop them from "buying" the office through obscene amounts of commercials and force them to stay on point about the message they want to get out and less on the negative adds. Since that money would come from taxpayers, there would be no "promises" to have to back up from a big cash contribution. Just a thought.

I've always been in favor of strict campaign finance laws and public financing of campaigns, so that special interest money from either side is not a factor. But that does not seem to be the way things are going.

In my coverage of the Starbucks petition to get the government reopened and get the budget battle settled, I said that I signed the petition. Which led one MNB reader to write:

So by signing this you agree that Washington should keep right on spending money it doesn’t have. You do realize that at some point all this money will have to be paid back. That will be the problem for the next generation though, right. This is all about kicking the can down the road. Washington is drunk on tax dollars and power.

I don't think that's what the petition calls for. This how it read:

To our leaders in Washington, D.C., now’s the time to come together to:

1. Reopen our government to serve the people.

2. Pay our debts on time to avoid another financial crisis.

3. Pass a bipartisan and comprehensive long-term budget deal by the end of the year.

From another reader, on another subject:

Yesterday I received a letter from Amazon Prime (I’m an existing and frequent customer, including Subscribe & Save). Actual paper in an envelope through the U.S. Postal Service. So that was weird enough.

Turns out the purpose was to let me know that Prime members can stream videos at no charge. It  encouraged me to look into their selection and try it out.

Here’s where the people worried about Amazon’s databases knowing scary amounts about everyone can relax a little. We stream via Amazon Prime daily and have been doing so for at least six months. How many other customers did they pay to send a pointless letter to when a couple extra tweaks of the list could have filtered us out?

I was surprised at their clumsiness.

Me, too.
KC's View: