Category Archives: Science

The Army Is testing a futuristic exoskeleton to enhance solder mobility

Science fiction has a funny habit of becoming science fact after enough time has passed. The wide-eyed wonder of children sitting cross-legged in front of the TV eventually becomes inspiration for incredible feats of engineering, or the means of our own destruction. The latest example of this phenomenon is a new, powered up exoskeleton the U.S. Army is testing, per Scout.

There are tons of examples of this sort of thing in science fiction. It usually involves military personnel enhancing their combat capabilities with some manner of armor or exoskeleton. Samus Aran’s armor in Metroid , Master Chief’s armor in Halo and the goofy power gear that kills Tom Cruise 50 times in Edge of Tomorrow are a few examples. Now, Lockheed Martin has a mechanical knee-based exoskeleton in testing phases with the army.

The tech, named FORTIS, uses AI to fit different walking patterns and enable enhanced mobility and stress relief for heavy lifting on the battlefield. It uses a huge, three pound lithium ion battery to supposedly allow its wearer to carry 180 pounds up five flights of stairs, per Scout . The idea is to offload precious energy from the soldier onto the device, which would theoretically improve battlefield efficiency. Every little bit helps, so to speak.

Lockheed Martin’s engineers claim it can save the soldier nine percent of energy on essential battlefield actions using its AI-based torque technology. That may not sound like a lot to the layman, but you would probably feel better at the end of the day if you suddenly were no longer responsible for nearly one-tenth of your energy output. As long as you are willing to look a little goofy in a mechanical contraption that was designed for function and not form, anyway.

The system, which is supported by a “conformal upper structure” attached to a belt, is designed as an improvement over the older HULC mechanism, which weighed 85 pounds and restricted mobility. That seems a little counterintuitive and like it definitely needed improvement. It does not seem like there are imminent plans to make this standard battlefield apparel anytime soon, as it is merely in a testing phase at the moment.

It is worth wondering how much such a project would cost the United States military if a finalized build were to go into mass production. There are a bunch of potential improvements and add-ons Lockheed Martin could make before putting this thing out in the world. If we are going full science fiction, they should consider rocket boosters, a flight module, a laser cannon, stealth camouflage and a way for soldiers to use the bathroom on the go. Those would all probably drive up the cost and production time exponentially, but those are all hallmarks of any good space marine unit.

Of course, it is possible none of this ever comes to fruition and warfare continues to evolve in the direction of cyber attacks and unmanned drone warfare. We will all have to wait and see on this one.

From INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES

Posted by The NON-Conformist

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Brazil Is Giving Its Prisoners One of the World’s Most Powerful Psychedelics as Part of the Rehabilitation Process

Some of Brazil’s violent offenders are being offered the opportunity for radical rehabilitation via the powerful psychedelic experience of the ayahuasca ceremony.

Rather than the system of continued abuse and alienation many modern prisons employ, some of Brazil’s prisons are starting to offer holistic services to encourage rehabilitation in inmates. Services offered to selected Brazilian prisoners include guided healing practices like yoga, reiki, meditation, and in some locations, ayahuasca journeying. The goal is to provide rehabilitation to violent criminals and reduce the rates of recidivism after prisoners are released.

Ayahuasca is a psychedelic tea derived from the ayahuasca vine, Banisteriopsis caapi, and the Psychotria viridis plant, both of which are native to the Amazon. Ayahuasca ceremony is an ancient healing tradition used by indigenous Amazonian peoples. Some of those who have partaken of ayahuasca report profound psychological and sometimes physical healing experiences.

In recent years, ayahuasca has piqued the interest and curiosity of people in the rest of the world, culminating in an ayahuasca tourism industry throughout Amazonian regions of Central America. As ayahuasca’s international popularity has grown, so has research into its therapeutic uses. The plant has shown potential to help people recover from trauma, PTSD, addiction and depression, as well as cancers and other afflictions.

Brazilian prisons started to offer ayahuasca through the prisoners’ rights advocacy group Acuda, based in in Porto Velho. As Aaron Kase notes in a 2015 article:

“The ayahuasca program serves a dual purpose. Prison populations in Brazil have doubled since 2000, and conditions are grossly overcrowded, so the retreats are a kind of pilot to try to reduce recidivism rates. For now, it’s just a few inmates participating, and it’s too early to tell whether the treatments will help keep them from reentering the criminal justice system, but it’s at least a starting point.”

One inmate convicted of murder told the New York Times in 2015 about the lessons he had learned from his ayahuasca experience: “I’m finally realizing I was on the wrong path in this life. Each experience helps me communicate with my victim to beg for forgiveness.”

As the New York Times article explains in detail, supervisors at Acuda who get permission from a judge transport about 15 prisoners each month to a temple for ayahuasca ceremony.

“Many people in Brazil believe that inmates must suffer, enduring hunger and depravity,” Euza Beloti, a psychologist with Acuda, told the New York Times in the same article. “This thinking bolsters a system where prisoners return to society more violent than when they entered prison. [At Acuda] we simply see inmates as human beings with the capacity to change.”

By April M. Short / AlterNet

Posted by The NON-Conformist

China’s Technology Ambitions Could Upset the Global Trade Order

BEIJING — When President Trump arrives in Beijing on Wednesday, he will most likely complain about traditional areas of dispute like steel and cars. But Washington officials and major global companies increasingly worry about a new generation of deals that could give China a firmer grip on the technology of tomorrow.

Under an ambitious plan unveiled two years ago called Made in China 2025, Beijing has designs to dominate cutting-edge technologies like advanced microchips, artificial intelligence and electric cars, among many others, in a decade. And China is enlisting some of the world’s biggest technology players in its push.

Sometimes it demands partnerships or intellectual property as the price of admission to the world’s second-largest economy. Sometimes it woos foreign giants with money and market access in ways that elude American and global trade rules.

When concerned officials in Washington began blocking China’s ability to buy high-end technology last year, one American company found a way to help its Chinese partner around those limits. The company, Advanced Micro Devices, avoided scrutiny by licensing its exclusive microchip designs, rather than selling them.

The Chinese partner got access to the technology to make its own products. Advanced Micro Devices got a big payout.

The rules of global commerce are changing — and China and the United States are racing to create a future that aligns with their own distinct visions. The result could be an overhaul of 20th-century trade rules for a 21st-century global economic order, in which money, ideas and influence could become as closely watched and tightly regulated as hard goods packed on a ship and sent abroad.

Even before the Communist Revolution, China obsessed about absorbing foreign technology as a way to end a century of humiliation and restore its national strength. But Made in China 2025 is more ambitious than anything the government has ever attempted, a national industrial policy that aims to project a new type of global might and influence.

China is directing billions of dollars to invest in research at home as well as to acquire innovative technology from abroad. A Beijing-directed semiconductor fund is thought to have more than $100 billion at its disposal, while another plan aims to grow China’s artificial intelligence companies into a $150 billion industry by 2030.

Such efforts have some American government officials and business leaders calling for a rethinking of how the United States approaches trade. Lawmakers are pushing for tougher rules on technology purchases, which do not usually cover the types of deals that China increasingly prefers. Officials are also investigating whether China is stealing intellectual property.

“There are a few U.S. companies that have been leaning too far about sharing technology with countries that are potential enemies of ours,” said Wilbur L. Ross Jr., the United States secretary of commerce, in September remarks regarding information technology that were widely seen as referring to China.

“I don’t think that’s a very good idea. I think it’s the ultimate short-termism to give up very valuable I.T. in order to get a few quarters or a few years of improved sales.”

Robots and Rice Cookers

China looks to the West for much of its technology. Even some of its most sensitive systems that run government computers, banks and laboratories use chips from Intel and Qualcomm and software from Microsoft or Oracle, a dependence it sees as a long-term vulnerability.

The government hopes to change that. It is backing the effort with money: $45 billion in cheap loans for its companies, $3 billion for advanced manufacturing efforts and billions more in other financial support, according to the Mercator Institute for China Studies, a German think tank.

Made in China 2025 “is going to have substantial resources and focus devoted to it, especially at the local government level,” said Kai-Fu Lee, a prominent venture capitalist in Beijing.

The goal is not simply to beat the United States. China is preparing for a day when cheap manufacturing no longer keeps its economy humming. It wants to embrace industries offering skilled jobs that do not blacken its skies and cloud its rivers.

The plan itself has specific targets and quotas. By 2025 it envisions China meeting nearly three-quarters of its own demand for industrial robots and more than a third of its demand for smartphone chips. Other targets cover new-energy cars, like electric cars, and high-performance medical devices.

The template for Made in China 2025 was cribbed from a German government plan called Industrie 4.0, which calls for greater automation and the growing use of “smart factories” doing sophisticated work with fewer people. And the deal that woke up the world to China’s plan was a German one.

Last year, a Chinese appliance maker called Midea struck a surprise $3.9 billion deal to acquire Kuka, an advanced robotics company in Germany. The deal made Midea — best known for its refrigerators and rice cookers — a major player in automation.

“Our partnership with Kuka is actually about whole factory solutions,” said Irene Chen, a spokeswoman for Midea.

Where technology cannot be purchased, the government wants Chinese companies to extract it from foreign firms through deals or tough new laws.

China will soon require foreign auto companies to make electric cars there if they want to continue selling gasoline-powered vehicles in what is now the world’s largest car market. General Motors, Volkswagen and others have been scrambling to form joint ventures with Chinese partners to do so.

Cybersecurity laws enacted this summer give the Ministry of State Security the power to conduct security reviews of technology sold or used in China, said James A. Lewis, senior vice president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Such a step could require companies to expose some of their most valuable secrets.

At some companies, Chinese security officials conduct the inspections in corporate “clean rooms” in the United States, with the Chinese officials traveling on business visas, Mr. Lewis said. The companies argue that the access takes place under controlled circumstances that limit what Chinese officials might learn.

“If American companies have a big market in China, they say to the Ministry of State Security, ‘Come in,’” Mr. Lewis said. “Everyone fears retaliation. No one wants to lose the China market.”

Old Rules, New Products

Wary of the push, the United States has used existing rules to stop Chinese purchases of foreign businesses in areas important to national security.

But many of those tools do not apply to today’s deals, as A.M.D.’s Chinese pact shows.

A.M.D.’s joint venture with its Chinese partner can be found in a gleaming industrial area of the city of Chengdu called Tianfu Software Park.

The park represents Beijing’s vision of the future. Trees and sidewalks jammed with ride-sharing bikes sit beneath a vast strip of office towers, hotels and apartment complexes. Offices of China’s most innovative companies, like Huawei and Tencent, sit next to outposts of their foreign analogues, like SAP and Accenture.

Inside one of its glass towers, A.M.D. works with its Chinese partner, a company called Sugon, to produce new chips.

Under the nearly $300 million deal, A.M.D. agreed to license chip technology to a Chinese joint venture with Sugon to make chips for servers. Because A.M.D. controls that joint venture, the technology is considered to remain in American hands.

But A.M.D. struck a second partnership that the Chinese company controls. That joint venture works on applications such as integrating the chips with servers. The two ventures are on the 11th and 12th floors of the same building.

Experts say the dual partnerships could help China develop a new generation of powerful supercomputers. China already makes the world’s fastest computers, but they run on homegrown chips that cannot read commonly available software for supercomputers. With A.M.D.’s help, experts say, Sugon could develop chips that could make China’s supercomputers more versatile and adaptable and replace those from foreign firms.

“We have worked closely with and been very clear with U.S. government officials on the strategy and specifics of the technology, which is classified as permitted for export,” an A.M.D. spokesman said in an emailed statement. He added that the processors are also lower performing than other options that A.M.D. sells in America.

Executives in Chengdu said there was a firewall between the two joint ventures, and the one outside of A.M.D.’s control was not involved in chip development.

Yet in an interview with the Chinese state news media, Zhang Yunquan, a top government researcher and head of the National Supercomputing Center in Jinan, China, said that Sugon could use the work of the joint venture to make supercomputer microchips. Such a supercomputer would be crucial in designing next-generation weapons systems, according to experts.

“When they first announced the partnership I was shocked,” said Stacy Rasgon, a semiconductor analyst with Sanford Bernstein.

“You would think intellectual property and joint ventures would belong under Cfius review,” Mr. Rasgon said, referring to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which reviews foreign deals. “It should. It’s surprising it isn’t.”

New Rules for a New Era?

For some in the Trump administration, an 18-year-old book by two Chinese Air Force colonels has become required reading.

Called “Unrestricted Warfare,” the book argues that China does not need to match the United States militarily. Instead China can take advantage of the global economy and the internet to take down its main rival.

Some American officials see in it a guide to China’s plan. Some United States lawmakers are proposing to toughen American takeover laws to evaluate deals on an economic as well as a national security basis. They are also pressing for reviews of licensing agreements and joint ventures. The United States trade representative has also launched an investigation into whether Chinese companies are stealing intellectual property.

“There’s concern that U.S. firms are transacting away their competitive advantages,” said Greg Levesque, managing director of Pointe Bello, a research firm in Washington, and a former executive at the US-China Business Council.

Such changes could ripple through the tech world. Chinese investment often means more money with fewer strings attached. Some tech companies say that is good for innovation. China’s spending on science and research is also growing at a time when the United States government and others are cutting back.

Still, many American companies fear the deck is stacked against them. The United States long believed bringing China into the World Trade Organization, which oversees global trade disputes, would ensure it would follow the rules. But the W.T.O. has proved ineffective when it comes to tech issues.

At a recent dinner event in Washington, an American technology executive held up a dinner plate to illustrate the size of the China market, said a person who was there who asked not to be identified because the event was not public. Then the American executive held up a wine coaster that represented the size of his firm’s business.

The message was clear: American companies are at risk of being muscled out of the market.

“Made in China 2025 seems to reject all notions of comparative advantage and future opportunities for high-value-added manufactured exports from the rest of the world to China,” said Jeremie Waterman, president of the China Center at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“If Made in China 2025 achieves its goals,” he said, “the U.S. and other countries would likely become just commodity exporters to China — selling oil, gas, beef and soybeans.”

By Jane Perlez/NYTimes

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Donald Trump vowed to revive the coal industry but figures show its future is as bleak as ever Long-term growth and hiring prospects remain weak despite administration’s policy changes to make energy sector more competitive at expense of environmental concerns

us-coal.jpgEarth moving equipment sits by a coal pile at the Century Mine in Beallsville, Ohio Joshua Roberts/Reuters

A year after Donald Trump was elected President on a promise to revive the ailing US coal industry, the sector’s long-term prospects for growth and hiring remain as bleak as ever.

A Reuters review of mining data shows an industry that has seen only modest gains in jobs and production this year – much of it from a temporary up-tick in foreign demand for US coal rather than presidential policy changes.

US utilities are shutting coal-fired power plants at a rapid pace and shifting to cheap natural gas, along with wind and solar power. And domestic demand makes up about 90 percent of the market for US coal.

”We’re not planning to build any additional coal facilities,“ said Melissa McHenry, a spokeswoman for American Electric Power (AEP), one of the largest US utilities. “The future for coal is dictated by economics… and you can’t make those kinds of investments based on one administration’s politics.”

Coal plants now make up 47 percent of AEP’s capacity for power generation, a figure it plans to shrink to 33 percent by 2030.

The situation highlights the limitations of presidential policy on major industries and global economic trends. As some energy experts have said all along, the forces that will make or break mining are well beyond the powers of the Oval Office.

A White House official did not respond to a request for comment.

Trump has likely done all he can do to help the industry, said Luke Popovich, a spokesman for the National Mining Association, which represents major US coal companies.

“The government is no longer against us,“ he said. ”We now only have market forces to contend with.”

Trump has taken action on many promises he made to coal interests in states that helped him win the election.

The President started the process of killing former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, meant to reduce carbon emissions from power plants; ended an Obama-era moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands; ditched limits on dumping coal waste into streams; and started withdrawing the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.

Now Trump’s Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, is attempting to push a rule through the independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that would subsidise power plants that store at least a 90-day supply of coal on site. The goal is to extend the life of some coal burning power plants, a move Perry says will make the electric grid more reliable.

While the full impact of Trump’s coal policy could take years to understand, the changes so far are unlikely to boost domestic demand, energy analysts and utility officials said.

Trump has cast the coal industry as a victim of burdensome regulation.

The industry has lost more than 40 percent of its work force in less than a decade and seen production drop to its lowest levels since 1978. Its share of the power market has fallen to less than a third from about half in 2003.

“We’re going to bring the coal industry back 100 percent,” Trump said at a rally in Virginia in August of 2016.

So far, progress has been limited.

US coal production is on track to rise more than 8 percent in 2017 over the previous year, to 790 million tonnes, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). But 2018 output is expected to decline.

The number of coal miners has also risen slightly to 51,900 in October, up about 2,200 since November 2016 – but down about 70 percent from a 1985 peak, according to the Labour Department.

On 1 November, Trump cited the modest production increases in a Tweet, saying, “It is finally happening for our great clean coal miners!”

But these increases are largely attributable to demand for US coal from Asian steel mills after temporary outages from their usual suppliers in Australia, according to James Stevenson, a coal analyst at IHS Markit.

During the first six months of 2017, Asian countries took in 7.5 million short tonnes of US coal, up 97 percent over the same period in 2016, according to the EIA.

That demand will soon fade, Stevenson said.

“We are not going to get a repeat of 2017,” he said of the spike in exports.

Forecasts from utilities and the US government reveal little reason for hope of a sustained coal rebound.

Utilities are expected to shut down more than 13,600 megawatts of coal plant capacity in 2018. That follows a loss of nearly 8,000 MW this year and 13,000 MW in 2016, according to EIA and Thomson Reuters data.

By 2025, coal-fired power plant capacity will dip to 226,380 MW, down about 30 percent from 2011, according to EIA.

Three Texas coal plants owned by Vistra Energy subsidiary Luminant are among the latest to close, bringing the number of plants that shut, or plan to, to 265 since 2010 – a figure higher than the 258 plants that remain, according to the Sierra Club, which has campaigned against coal.

Vistra said the closures were forced by lower prices for natural gas and renewable power – and not by environmental regulations.

Duke Energy, one of the country’s largest utilities, has shut down more than 5,400 MW of coal capacity since 2011 and plans to shed another 2,000 MW by 2024.

Over the next decade, Duke plans to invest $11 billion in new natural gas and renewable power – and nothing in new coal-fired generation, said spokesman Rick Rhodes.

A 2 November report by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis – which has two of the largest coal producers in its district, Peabody Energy and Arch Coal – said coal-fired power plants “may eventually become obsolete.”

Coal companies believe they can survive despite the troubling market outlook.

Peabody expects a “modest number” of coal power plant retirements in the coming years, with some of that lost capacity shifting to remaining plants that will increase output, spokesman Vic Svec said. Arch spokeswoman Logan Bonacorsi offered a similar forecast.

Robert Murray, the chief executive of privately-held Murray Energy – one of America’s biggest underground miners – said Trump could do more for the industry. The administration, Murray said, should end tax breaks for wind and solar power and reverse an EPA finding that carbon emissions endanger human health.

But Trump’s tax bill last week preserved most solar incentives, which have bi-partisan backing. And the EPA has so far steered clear of the so-called “endangerment finding” on emissions that is the basis of many fossil-fuel regulations, given the breadth of scientific evidence that would be needed to reverse it.

Murray Energy, meanwhile, announced on 31 October it will buy a 30.5 percent stake in a coal-mining partnership in Utah called Canyon Consolidated Resources.

The deal might help the companies cut costs, but it’s unlikely to help workers: Murray said about 200 of 1,000 jobs in Utah could be lost.

By Timothy Gardner/Reuters

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Stingray tracking of cellphones unconstitutional without a warrant – US court

A federal court has ruled that police must obtain a warrant before using Stingray tracking devices to locate a suspect via their cellphone signal. Civil rights groups argue that such tools also violate the rights of innocent bystanders.

In a 2-1 decision Thursday, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that law enforcement’s use of cell-site simulators to track an individual’s cellphone without a warrant violated the US Constitution, specifically the Fourth Amendment.

The ruling comes from a lawsuit filed by Prince Jones, who was found guilty of sexually assaulting two women and stealing their cellphones at knifepoint in 2013.

Officers with the Sexual Assault Unit of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) were able to locate Jones using a cell-site simulator, a device that acts as portable cell phone tower. The most common of these products is called a Stingray. Able to intercept signals from any cellphone, police triangulate the location of a suspect, collect metadata from cellphones, and even record the contents of communications.

View image on Twitter

Stingray: “Cell-site simulator surveillance” infographic via @EFF ht @jsundmanus

“One consequence of this is that locating and tracking a cellphone using a cell-site simulator has the substantial potential to expose the owner‘s intimate personal information,” the court stated. “A cell-site simulator allows police officers who possess a person‘s telephone number to discover that person‘s precise location remotely and at will.”

 

Jones argued that by using these devices, police violated his Fourth Amendment rights that protect against unreasonable search and seizure.

The defense argued that since a cellphone “‘must continuously broadcast a signal,’ a person who carries or uses a cellphone is engaging in ‘conduct [that] is not calculated to keep [his] location private and… thus has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his location.’”

However, the court found that argument “unpersuasive.”

“A person’s awareness that the government can locate and track him or her using his or her cellphone likewise should not be sufficient to negate the person‘s otherwise legitimate expectation of privacy,” the ruling states.

The court found that the “government’s use of the cell-site simulator to locate Mr. Jones was, therefore, a search,” and since the government did not obtain a warrant, the search was “unlawful under the Fourth Amendment.”

Civil rights groups also argue that these devices are “amplifying the Fourth Amendment concerns,” because they indiscriminately gather signals from every other cell phone in the area, not just a single suspect’s phone.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said in a friend-of-the-court brief that when police used the cell-site simulator to locate Jones, it was “impossible to know how many people were affected.”

“This is so even when the government is using a cell-site simulator with the intent to locate or track a particular suspect; collection of innocent bystanders’ phone-identifying data and location information is an inherent feature of current cell-site simulator technology,” the civil rights organizations said.

In 2016, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a report that found the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security had spent a combined $95 million on 434 cell-site simulators between 2010 and 2014. Additionally, DHS provided more than $1.8 million in grant money for local law enforcement to purchase cell-site simulators, with the cost of an individual device ranging from $41,500 to $500,000.

“While law enforcement agencies should be able to utilize technology as a tool to help officers be safe and accomplish their missions, absent proper oversight and safeguards, the domestic use of cell-site simulators may well infringe upon the constitutional rights of citizens to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, as well as the right to free association,” the report said.

Under former Attorney General Eric Holder, the Department of Justice issued a policy directive in 2015 that said: “law enforcement agents must now obtain a search warrant supported by probable cause before using a cell-site simulator.” However, the policy was never written into law and could be reversed in the future.

From Russia Today

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Neil DeGrasse Tyson Takes Science Deniers to the Woodshed: ‘Fringe Information Is Unraveling Our Democracy’

The astrophysicist fears for America’s future as a leader of the free world.

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson warned this week that America’s democracy is “unraveling” because “fringe” information is treated with the same weight as legitimate science.

Tyson appeared on MSNBC on Wednesday to comment on the recent catastrophic hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

“Earth is pissed off,” Tyson informed MSNBC co-hosts Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle. “I don’t know how else to put it. These are shots across our bow at this point.”

Tyson noted that some “people are still saying, ‘I choose not to follow the consensus of observations and experiments gives us.’”

“Anyone who wants to base policy on research papers that are not in the consensus of what others have shown,” he continued, “that is risky — no! It’s irresponsible.”

Ruhle pointed out that voters and shareholders are not interested in “adding thoughtfulness” to their decisions.

“That is the unraveling of an informed democracy,” Tyson replied. “If you have people deciding based on fringe information and making policy based on it, yes, it is the unraveling of an informed democracy. And I fear for the future of this country as a leader of the world.”

By David Edwards/Alternet/RawStory

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Is the GMO Scare a Marketing Scam?

GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, have skyrocketed into the forefront of agricultural discourse in recent years. Are GMOs sustainable? Are they safe?

Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Scott Hamilton Kennedy aims to cut through what he claims is the false science surrounding GMOs in his new film “Food Evolution,” which posits that fear of GMOs has been harnessed by companies to sell organic products.

“We are really defending the scientific method—but at the same time, yes, we are resetting the conversation on GMOs and food that we felt was really, really out of balance,” Kennedy tells Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer in this week’s episode of KCRW’s “Scheer Intelligence.

Kennedy notes in the conversation that the film received funding from the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) but assures Scheer he maintained total creative control over the project. (Read about IFT’s involvement here.)

“We’ve been manipulating seeds and manipulating plants since the beginning of modern agriculture,” Kennedy explains. “Everything has been manipulated by mankind, trying to make it better, tastier, bigger.”

Ultimately, Kennedy says, there are “a lot of people out there spreading fear about GMOs that’s completely unfounded and has no science behind it.”

Listen to the full interview in the player above and read the transcript below. Find past editions of “Scheer Intelligence” here.

RS: Hi, this is Robert Scheer with another edition of Scheer Intelligence, where the intelligence hopefully comes from my guests. In this case, Scott Hamilton Kennedy, an Oscar-nominated director and the director of a—I want to say controversial; that doesn’t quite capture it—explosive film with not an explosive title, Food Evolution. Most of us think evolution’s OK, brings progress and so forth. But really, what your documentary is, you dare to defend genetically modified organisms, the GMOs that when I go to Whole Foods later today—some people think of it as Whole Paycheck—but the cost of it is justified because in addition to getting something called natural food and organic food, we’re also protected against these nasty GMOs. You’ve directed a film in which you dare to suggest that there’s nothing wrong with genetically modified organisms in our food chain.

SHK: Ah, it’s true.

RS: Is that fair?

SHK: That’s fair enough. I would adjust that a little bit and say we made a film that defended the scientific process that tells us if a GMO is safe or not safe, and tells us if organic food is more nutritious or more safe. So we’re really defending the scientific method, but at the same time, yes, we are resetting the conversation on GMOs and food that we felt was really, really out of bounds.

RS: I want to start out with your having time to state what this is all about. And without my interrupting, because frankly, until I watched your movie, I am one of those who thought, well, I don’t want any genetically modified organisms in my food chain. So why don’t you just state the case as you see it, and as your film presents it?

SHK: Sure. So we wanted to make a film that reset the conversation on GMOs because we felt the conversation was out of balance. Many people, when they hear GMOs, they might not even know what it is; it’s a genetically modified organism, and even that is the, is not even a fully scientific term. The real, the correct term is genetic engineering or GE. Which is a modern form of breeding; it’s really a seed-breeding method, and we’ve been manipulating seeds and manipulating plants since the beginning of modern agriculture, call it about 10,000 years. So out of the gate, even using the term natural—as we attempt to reset in the film, there’s really, if you go to any grocery store, including Whole Paycheck—if you go to any grocery store, there’s nothing that is quote unquote natural in that grocery store. Everything has been manipulated by mankind trying to make it better, tastier, bigger; a ruby red grapefruit did not exist in nature. But even something as simple as corn started as teosinte, which was an inedible, you know, weed with like four hard kernels of corn that we’ve turned into these delicious, beautiful ears of corn. So that was the goal, was to reset the conversation. And there’s a lot of people out there spreading fear about GMOs that’s completely unfounded and has no science behind it. And at the same time, to give them credit, the reasons many of them have spread fear about GMOs is that they want to have the safest, most nutritious food available for themselves and hopefully around the world. Now the question is, how are we making those decisions? And the current GMOs that are on the market have been tested possibly more than any other food product in our history to determine that they are safe for ourselves and safe for the planet. Going forward, case-by-case basis, let’s take each product on its own. So one more piece, if I can get in there before your next question, is GMO is a process, not a product. A lot of people think GMO and they immediately think of this horrible, think of the company Monsanto, and they are one of the most hated companies on the planet; I’ve never quite witnessed a company, outside of maybe Philip Morris, who was more hated. And I don’t work for Monsanto, I got no money from Monsanto, Monsanto can fight their, can fight their own fight. But it was very important to us to make sure that you understand that Monsanto does not own this technology. And this technology can be used to do things like save the papaya in Hawaii, and is available to save a very devastating banana disease in Uganda that’s wiped out 50 percent of bananas.

RS: There’s no question that this is a subject worth debating, which is why I’ve asked you to do this today, and I appreciate that. And I do think the film deserves credit for stating a case in a very convincing way. However, when you say “spreading fear,” you know, about the people who warn about that, you’re also spreading cheer.

SHK: [Laughs]

RS: OK, I understand that, and you’re telling us, really, because it’s safe we have nothing to worry about. And I want to just raise a few questions, as—and I’m not at all expert on this—but the title of your movie, just for—and it’s available now, will be available in digitized form and so forth, and it should encourage a big debate; that’s what we want. And we want to know whether this allows more people to be fed well, whether it works against, you know, insects that are dangerous to crops and so forth. But your title—Food Evolution—that tripped me off. Because evolution suggests some sort of natural process of accommodation to the world, and evolving to something better and more resilient and so forth. And much of the changes in agriculture could fall safely under that rubric, even grafting and so forth; there would seem to be kind of an organic connection. What you’re talking about here, now, is certainly the word revolution in a disruptive sense, is more appropriate than evolution. In that you’re taking different species—I mean, the extreme would be pigs that could fly, right?—you know, you’re messing with the DNA; you’re introducing new elements, you’re playing God. Not you, but the people doing this bioengineering. And that produces results that can be quite disturbing, at least aesthetically and then in what results. So I do really wonder whether that evolution word was fair—

SHK: Was the correct one. Absolutely. So, let’s go back a little bit. So I would say that genetic engineering is seed manipulation, is a seed-breeding technique that’s now being done in the lab. Neil deGrasse Tyson, our esteemed narrator, has a video online that you can go see him talking about GMO, where he said we’ve been manipulating plants for thousands of years, and now we do in the lab, and it scares you—chill out. Those are Neil’s words, not mine. So to say that this is invasive, or I can’t remember all the words that you used, to say that this one is a bit more shocking, is your, I guess is your opinion. I don’t find it to be shocking until I find out if somebody did something shocking with the technique. So we’ve been manipulating, as I keep saying, these seeds. And have you ever heard of mutagenesis? So mutagenesis is an organically approved seed manipulation, where you are blasting seeds, actually, with radiation until you get a mutant and then decide if that mutant is good or not. And I’m not saying you should be scared of those seeds, either, because they go through safety precautions as well. But it’s not as easy to say that organic seeds are natural and good and pure, and not playing God, and these seeds are playing God. You really have to look at the details.

RS: OK, so let me cut to the chase here as far as the Monsanto argument. I mean, the argument against, all the concern about GMOs is we have frankenfood. We have big corporations that can control the regulatory process through lobbying, through the money they give to politicians and so forth. And that it’s very difficult to regulate them and their impact. And what you do in your movie is you suggest a different villain. And let’s really cut to the chase. You say that there’s a whole food industry based on natural, organic, and most recently informed by anti-GMO that you say is trafficking in fear. Right?

SHK: For sure. Some. Again, let’s be very clear—

RS: You’re putting Whole Foods as an example—and they’re not alone, of course—you’re putting the whole—and by the way, Whole Foods is now owned by—

SHK: Amazon.

RS: —Jeff Bezos and Amazon, who’s also the richest man in the world. So we get villains on all sides of this; if we think of unbridled power, he certainly has his measure. And so the organic food industry is not a little mom and pop thing of making your own jams in your backyard.

SHK: [Laughs]

RS: And so it’s a big business, as you correctly point out. But your movie is very provocative—that doesn’t mean it’s wrong, but it’s very provocative in saying the good guys and the bad guys are not the way you think when you think about agriculture, right?

SHK: That’s fair enough, that yeah, we really have to think twice, right, when we look at these situations. I don’t know how many of your listeners know the wonderful book, Thinking Fast and Slow, that Type I thinking is fight-or-flight; that we make very quick decisions, that organic is pure and good and corporations are evil, and greed leads to evil things. Type II is—let’s dig in a little bit deeper.

RS: Well, but you say that in your book, too—no, but you say that in the movie, I mean.

SHK: Sure.

RS: You do say that these organic product sales people have grown to be very powerful, have been able to set the agenda. And you now, you know, hold them up really as villains manipulating the discussion to make more profit, right? Isn’t that basically the argument of the film

SHK: I would—yeah—I would let you use the word villain, but am I—are we the first film to point out the fact that some in the organic and natural foods industry have benefited from using fear, not just of GMOs, but fear of big food to sell their product? And that’s a shame. Because the organic farming, as a system, has done a lot of good to help us be aware of the inputs—so the inputs in our farming systems are pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, things like that—are we using too much, are they toxic, are they nontoxic? And some in the organic industry sort of rode a perfect storm, I like to say, of distrust, right? You described some of it; we have it in the film, that big equals greed and equals manipulation of power, manipulation of government. And we’ve seen examples of that over and over and over again, and we have to have checks and balances in place to try and protect us from that. But they, people, the organic industry got to say, look, big food is evil, big food is poisonous, here is pure and natural food—which, it isn’t natural, ‘cause it’s a manipulation as well—and they rode that. Instead of saying, this is an alternative, some in the industry said: this is the only way to go. If you want to keep your children safe, if you want to not destroy the planet, organic is the way to go. And that is a drastic oversimplification of the data. Again, this film is about trying to use data to make decisions as a parent or a politician.

RS: The film has been very controversial. And one of the people that’s taken objection is used in the film, Marion Nestle, somebody I first met when she was a graduate student at UC Berkeley a long time ago. She’s probably the, you know, arguably one of the top experts on food safety, and has written very important books and very important studies. And she’s in your film making the statement that there’s no evidence that GMO products are unsafe. And you use that—

SHK: A correct statement, yeah.

RS: —yeah, as a validation. However, she wrote a piece in June, and she said—I’m quoting from it—”I have asked repeatedly to have my short interview clip removed from this film. The director refuses. He believes his film is fair and balanced. I do not.” And, and she says she was quoted out of context. She said that “In my 10-second clip, I say that I am unaware of convincing evidence that eating GM foods is unsafe—this is what I said, but it is hugely out of context.

Safety is the industry’s talking point. In the view of the GMO industry and this film, if GMOs are safe, they ought to be fully acceptable and nothing else is relevant.” And then she goes through a whole list of arguments about the development of monoculture, the effects of industrial agriculture on the environment and climate, carcinogenics as with Roundup, the possibility of developing problems where you need more pesticide, and so forth. And she ends with saying, “This is another example of how aggressively this industry protects its self-interests and attacks critics,” exactly the opposite of what you were just saying. Why wouldn’t you take her 10-second thing out if that’s the way she feels?

SHK: OK. It’s a few pieces here. I have great respect for Marion Nestle; I’m grateful that she was in the film. Let’s start at the beginning. What does out of context mean? Right? So you tell me; you saw the film. Do you think her statement is out of context? Out of context, to me, would mean that she said GMOs are unsafe and I made her say GMOs are safe; she said the words, GMOs—she is not scared of GMOs, she does not see a reason that GMOs should be determined to be unsafe, the current ones on the market. So that’s not out of context. The other elements that she brought up—in our huge agricultural system, clearly one film cannot take on all of those things—are valid things to talk about. And they don’t, are not inherently, related to GMOs. If you removed GMO technology from the conversation, those things would still exist. What I hoped she would have done, would have said, I agree with the statement that I made in the film; I wish the film also dealt with x, y, and z. And we can have that conversation, and other films can be made, and we can go on and on. What I will not accept is her calling me a propagandist, her saying that I’m working for industry, because I’m not working for an industry. I’m an independent contractor, just like her. I’m an independent journalist, just like her. And you can hear the defensiveness in my voice, because it’s a very frustrating time to be called, you know, her version of calling me fake news. And I think that’s a shame that she’s lowering to that, because I’m asking to have a respectful conversation around data, and she’s lowering it to, you know, he-said she-said kind of stuff that’s, again, not founded. So I ask her, where is she drawing the line in the sand? If she’s saying that my film is propaganda, and on my side of the aisle I have Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, the top scientific organizations around the world that we’ve come to respect on issues like climate change, and she’s got on her side of the fence people like Food Babe and Zen Honeycutt and Dr. Mercola and Mike Adams—your listeners can look all these people up—who are using her letter to support their point of view. And she’s saying she’s in line with people who are saying things like GMOs give people HIV? And where’s the line in the sand?

RS: I’m talking to Scott Hamilton Kennedy, the director of Food Evolution, a very controversial, provocative documentary basically defending genetically modified organisms in the food chain. [omission] We’ve been having a very good discussion [laughter] about GMOs, and I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to watch your movie; I’m glad that we can have a debate about this. And I did tip you in advance to it. I was very much influenced by Marion Nestle, because I really respect her work. And in her book, what she makes clear is that you can’t trust the process; the whole thing is, you have not an evolution, you have a revolution, OK? This is not the same as what was done for 10,000 years; that the use of DNA and the intrusion of different species, one into the other, is a fundamental altering of the whole process. That’s what she’s arguing. And in her book she points out the terrible risky course that we’ve had with government regulation. I mean, for instance, you mentioned Philip Morris, but Philip Morris ended up owning Kraft, right? The food company—the same people that gave us the tobacco problem. And she says if you actually look at regulation—that’s her main thing—we can’t be certain that these things are safe, because we’re trusting agencies that are bought, that are controlled. That’s the nub of the argument—

SHK: So we can’t trust the USDA, so we can’t trust the USDA to determine what’s organic?

RS: Yes. She’s raising serious questions about—and that’s why I said I think the operative word here, and this doesn’t mean that your film is not accurate or fair, but I do say there’s a difference from an evolutionary process to a revolutionary one. Something very dramatic—

SHK: So—so this is where—sorry, go ahead.

RS: —no, something very dramatic has occurred because of advances in science, and the question is whether our political system can really control that and make sure the damage is not there. And she uses Roundup as an example of having unintended consequences, right? And possible, you know, carcinogens and so forth. And so you know, your basic—when I say there are fearmongers you accuse, but you’re a cheermonger, in the sense that you say we don’t have anything to worry about.

SHK: Again: I am saying that the scientific method that was used to determine if climate change exists was also used by the same agencies we respect about climate change, to determine that the current GMOs on the market are safe for ourselves and safe for the environment. So I wouldn’t call myself a cheermonger, and I like the cleverness of that statement, but I want to make sure that people like Marion Nestle and many in the foodie, whatever you want to call it, the organic foodie movement, aren’t trying to have their kale and eat it too, in the way that they approach some of these arguments. That she wants to say that she believes that they are safe, but still doesn’t think that I’ve dealt enough with other elements. Let’s talk about those other elements. But what it comes down to, Bob, is how do we distinguish between how we decide who is an honest broker and who is a dishonest one. And if Marion Nestle is calling me a dishonest broker, she’s got to come with a lot more evidence with that. And come and debate me publicly. Come and debate me anytime, anyplace publicly, and let’s talk about what she thinks will make me a dishonest broker. Because that’s a heck of a, that’s a heck of a thing to call somebody. I’m not calling her a dishonest broker. So if you’d ask her to debate me publicly, I think your listeners would be really interested in that.

RS: Well, I think her—her issue, I mean if we’re going—I don’t know, I didn’t want to be the referee of this; I’ll let listeners, they should read her book and they should watch your film. Her objection is that you have this 10-second clip where she seems to endorse your approach. So she wrote this very brief thing saying: I don’t, and the reason I don’t is because your film regards safety, food safety, in three out-of-context points, she says: GMOs are safe; anyone who thinks otherwise is anti-science, ignorant, and stupid; organic foods are bad and proponents of organic foods are deceitful. Those are three points that your film makes—

SHK: I never said organic food was bad. Never, ever said organic food was bad. Organic is a choice. Never, ever said that. See, this is where we got to peel it back. I never said organic—nothing in the film says organic food is bad. Some marketers—some marketers—

RS: Well, you’re saying it’s overpriced, it’s used for profit—

SHK: —I never said it was overpriced, but that’s a separate conversation. I said some marketers of organic food have used fear to sell their product. So let’s go to the science. Bob, I have two kids. You have kids? Sorry I don’t know that. But I have two daughters, seven and 11 years old. As a parent, I have to try and feed them well. So I need to use people—like Marion Nestle, I’ve used in the past—to help me make these decisions. I also use the Berkeley Wellness Letter, a wonderful organization out of Berkeley, to tell me, what should I—help me decide what I should feed my kids. And there is plenty of science to tell me that I should try to feed my kids lots and lots of fruits and vegetables. Not necessarily even fresh; frozen’s fantastic. Canned is OK. You know, it’s not poison; it’s important to eat the fruits and vegetables. There is not science to support the fact that I should be feeding them organic, to determine if that is safer or more nutritious for my children. And that’s a very, very important thing to distinguish. Again, going back to the having my kale and eat it too—my wife teaches high school in Compton, California; she’s been there for 20 years. And some of those families have become friends of ours, and come and visit us in our privileged neighborhood of Silverlake, and see other families—not ours, because we buy very limited organic, because the science doesn’t tell us to do that—but they’ll see other families of privilege buying organic, and they have to wonder: Am I a bad parent if I don’t buy organic? And that’s a very dangerous thing to do, and I wish Marion Nestle would talk about the nuance of the organic conversation instead of telling me that I’m saying organic food is bad. I’ve never said organic food is bad. It’s a choice, sometimes a very delicious one, but it is not, by the data, a safer and more nutritious choice.

RS: Let me raise one question with you, because I think it’s critical and we’re going to run out of time. But I do urge people to both read Marion Nestle’s book and to watch your film—

SHK: Appreciate it.

RS: —I’m not trying to cut off debate, I’m trying to—

SHK: Yes, absolutely, I couldn’t agree with you more.

RS: OK. And so what she’s concerned about is this, that she doesn’t think government can regulate this agricultural industry. And by extension, by the way, that probably will end up being true of Whole Foods or what have you

SHK: That’s right, yeah. I don’t know, I can’t get on that bus.

RS: —after all, the person who owns Whole Foods now owns the Washington Post. So maybe [laughs] he’s got a different stake. But the fact of the matter is, she’s suggesting that what she doesn’t like about your film is it ignores that this dramatic engineering—that’s why I use the revolution rather than evolution—is an unfettered process that makes other efforts, that undermines other efforts. It, in fact, produces a monoculture. That’s what happened to corn and soybeans, right? We lost the ability to have corn and soybeans, and some would argue tomatoes no longer taste the same. We lost the ability to remember what these things once tasted like, and so forth. And in fact, one of the things that she goes into in great detail in her book is that we’ve lost control over where the seeds are. So even people who thought they were doing organic farming were actually—right?—involved, through the wind and through the mills and everything else, of the stuff getting all mixed up. And that we don’t even know what is genetically altered, and we don’t know what has been grown with pesticides, and so forth. And I think the fundamental disagreement between your film and your critics is they don’t trust the government to regulate in the interests of the American people in terms of health. Because they think the power is distorted. Right? That’s the—yes.

SHK: Sure. So let’s look at that. So let’s look at that. So if we don’t trust—there’s two problems with that for me. One, I don’t want to get, I don’t like getting on the bus of the unknown—the unknown unknowns. Right? If I believed in all of the unknown unknowns, and I can’t trust the government—

RS: Is that a Donald Rumsfeld statement? [Laughs]

SHK: It’s a half of one. If I—I can’t deal, I don’t know how we’d get out from under our beds if we didn’t, if we ran down and said that we don’t believe in government. That is pre the Trump administration. So we are in a very, very different time. So let’s put the Trump administration to the side for a minute. But if you looked at the batting average, pre-Trump, of the USDA, the FDA, the EPA, on how much they’re attempting to do their job, which is to keep us and the environment safe—they’re doing a very good job. The second part is if Marion Nestle says we can’t trust the government, and she really cares for organic food, the USDA approves the organic methods. So I’m totally confused what I should trust and not trust.

RS: She does say that she really sees that you’re an outgrowth of an industry—

SHK: That’s a shame, that’s a shame she says that.

RS: I understand that. But then she does raise the question, who paid for this film? And she mentions the Institute of Food Technologists, which is a sponsor of your film—

SHK: She’s a member, she’s a member of IFT, yeah. Yeah.

RS: —yeah, she said she is, and they’ve done useful work. But they’ve never supported a film before.

SHK: True.

RS: -And so did the funding actually come from those members, or, as she implies, did it come from the industry in any way?

SHK: IFT, the Institute of Food Technologists, funded the film. I said immediately that we can stop the conversation about considering me to do this film if I don’t have complete creative control in final cut. As scientists, they understood that. They knew that if they made a film that looked like, in any way, they were asking for results and I was promising results, that that defeats the purpose of the scientific method and defeats the purpose of good journalism. So if she wants to go through the film and show any place where I have said something that’s false, I’d like to see it. She’s talking about things that are left out—she’s not saying anything in the film that is false, that is a lie, that isn’t scientifically valid. And if you’re going to talk to her, I would love to hear her respond to that, because we’ve asked her to respond to that. So she’s really taking pot shots to try and put, to try and say that the film is invalid. And I thank you for saying, at least see the film. That’s all I can ask. See the film and further the conversation.

RS: Yeah, and by the way, there are other films also that people should see. I—look. Let me just be clear about where I’m coming from. I’m doing this interview with you because I think this is a debate we should have.

SHK: Thank you, yes.

RS: And I’m not saying that I have the expertise to settle this debate at all. But it’s a debate we should have. And since you did raise questions, in your film, about the motives of even, say, Whole Foods and others—because they profit from what you say is a fear campaign, and they get people to spend money on this—she, then, or anyone gets the right to say, well, doesn’t this go the other way? And she picks one particular example which I did check out, that I did find disturbing, so maybe that’s a good way of kind of cutting to the case at the end here. She said, “For example” — I’m quoting from her statement — “in arguing that proponents of organic agriculture are paid by the organic industry, the film refers to an article on the front page of the New York Times. But most of that article was about how the GMO industry recruits and pays academic researchers to front for it. The film fails to mention that.” Is that a fair criticism?

SHK: That’s a fair—that’s a fact; I don’t know if that’s a criticism, because again, if you say—if her criticism of my film is all the things I didn’t put in my film—[laughs]. We could go on and on. And again, I’d love—

RS: No, no, no, she’s saying you’re citing—no, no, this is very specific—

SHK: No, I get it, I get it. Let me get right to it—the article she’s saying—

RS: —she’s saying—well, let me just say, she’s saying you cited an article, I went and read the article. And she says you cited an article to show that somehow the proponents of organic agriculture have lost their objectivity because they’re paid by an organic industry. And you used as your source an article on the front page of the New York Times. But she says, quote, “but most of that article was about how the GMO industry recruits and pays academic researchers to front for it; the film fails to mention that.”

SHK: So, yes—

RS: That would seem to me to be a serious distortion, no?

SHK: It’s not a distortion, it’s something that was left out. So calling it a distortion is a stretch. I have the right to decide what goes in and out of the film. Let’s be very specific about the article. The article, the two main people that they talk about in the article are Charles Benbrook from the organic side, who was a person that we interviewed in the film and was in several scenes in the film. And he, by the evidence that we present in the film, has been somebody who has been paid to give results that are beneficial to the organic industry. I can’t put it any more simply than that. She’s talking about, on the other half of the article, Kevin Folta, who is a scientist, who is a geneticist, who is a science communicator, very pro-GMO, who failed at disclosing that he got $20,000 from Monsanto for his lab. That was a huge mistake by Kevin Folta. He should have done that. But that was for his lab, and he’s never changed his position on the science. The science is there. Right? Charles Benbrook’s entire career has been paid by these examples. And she doesn’t—no one, I’m not hearing Marion Nestle saying she’s embarrassed about Charles Benbrook; she’s only trying to say that I’m invalid because I didn’t point out the other side. So what is she really trying to communicate? Is the trying to communicate the full picture? Or is she trying to say that I am not valid as a communicator? And that’s a shame.

RS: Let me just end this by getting people to watch your film, Food Evolution. I’m talking to Scott Hamilton Kennedy, the director of it, and an Oscar-nominated director. And he makes a case that you cannot just dismiss. It’s a very strong case that he makes; there are other strong cases made on the opposite side. And one of those is in a book by the author that we’ve been talking about, Marion Nestle, called Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety. And it deals with GMO issues very extensively. It originally came out in 2003, but it was revised in 2010. And if you want to just get into this debate, watch the film, buy the book by Marion Nestle, and between the two you’d have the start of a discussion that we’re going to have as a society worldwide as bioengineering advances, as it becomes more dramatic, as it enters different aspects of our life. And so I want to thank you, Scott Hamilton Kennedy, for having made a provocative film, and also for being willing to sit through what has been something of a critical interview, and doing it with patience. So thanks for having in there.

SHK: Absolutely, thank you.

RS: That’s it for this edition of Scheer Intelligence. Our producers are Rebecca Mooney and Joshua Scheer. Our engineers are Kat Yore and Mario Diaz. Darren Peck was very helpful here at Sports Byline in San Francisco. See you next week.

By Robert Scheer/truthdig

Posted by The NON-Conformist