Monsanto-Agent Orange, Saccharin, and Corn Chex

The report from Food and Water Watch is a must read. While I am sure that the vast majority of my readers know pretty much everything mentioned here, perhaps lots of your friends don’t, and this is a great way to educate those who might not know these things already.

 (illustration: Food & Water Watch)
(illustration: Food & Water Watch)

Monsanto’s Dark History

By EcoWatch

06 April 13

rom its beginnings as a small chemical company in 1901, Monsanto has grown into the largest biotechnology seed company in the world with net sales of $11.8 billion, 404 facilities in 66 countries across six continents and products grown on more than 282 million acres worldwide. Today, the consumer advocacy nonprofit Food & Water Watch released its report, Monsanto: A Corporate Profile.

“There is a growing movement of people around the country who want to take on Monsanto’s undue influence over lawmakers, regulators and the food supply,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch and author of the book Foodopoly. “People need to know about Monsanto’s history as a heavy industrial chemical manufacturer; a reality at odds with the environmentally friendly, feed-the-world image that the company spends millions trying to convey.”

“At the end of March, the American public saw first hand the unjustifiable power that Monsanto holds over our elected officials when an unprecedented rider, dubbed the ‘Monsanto Protection Act,’ was tacked onto the spending bill to fund the federal government,” said Dave Murphy, founder and executive director of Food Democracy Now! “This is an outrageous interference with our courts and separation of powers and we cannot sit back and allow our elected officials to continue to take orders from Monsanto at the expense of family farmers and consumers.”

The report offers a timeline of milestones in the company’s history including chemical disasters, mergers and acquisitions, and the first genetically modified plant cell.

“Despite its various marketing incarnations over the years, Monsanto is a chemical company that got its start selling saccharin to Coca-Cola, then Agent Orange to the U.S. military, and, in recent years, seeds genetically engineered to contain and withstand massive amounts of Monsanto herbicides and pesticides,” said Ronnie Cummins, executive director of Organic Consumers Association. “Monsanto has become synonymous with the corporatization and industrialization of our food supply.”

The report concludes with recommended actions for the federal government to take to temper Monsanto’s anti-competitive practices and control over agricultural research and government policies. It also suggests steps that regulators should take to better protect consumers and the environment from the potentially harmful effects of genetically engineered (GE) crops.

“Even though you won’t find the Monsanto brand on a food or beverage container at your local grocery store, the company holds vast power over our food supply,” said Rebecca Spector, west coast director of Center for Food Safety. “This power is largely responsible for something else we cannot find on our grocery store shelves-labels on genetically engineered food. Not only has Monsanto’s and other agribusinesses’ efforts prevented the labeling of GE foods, but they spend millions to block grassroots efforts like California’s Prop 37 in order to keep consumers in the dark.”

“The chemical pesticide industry, with Monsanto leading the way, took over U.S. seed industry and engineered bacterial genes into food crops with the primary purpose of selling more weed killer that contaminates our food, water and bodies,” said David Bronner, the CEO of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps and leader in GE food labeling campaigns across the country.” Just like the citizens of Europe, Japan and China, Americans deserve the right to opt out of the genetically engineered food science experiment.” (link to the article)

Monsanto Protection Act Moves to States

Monsanto-GMO-FoodsMissouri’s Monsanto Protection Act

©Doreen Hannes

Nothing says, “owned by Monsanto” better than Missouri’s HJR 7 and 11. Representative Jason Smith of Missouri, the Republican Nominee for US Congressional seat of retired Representative JoAnn Emerson, has put in a proposed Constitutional Amendment that would “forever protect agricultural technology” in Missouri. Emerson evidently hand picked Smith as her replacement and reportedly he flew to DC several times to be introduced to his future colleagues. Interestingly enough, one of Emerson’s daughters is a chief lobbyist for Monsanto, and Smith has received campaign donations from Missouri Senator Roy Blunt’s “Rely on Your Beliefs” PAC. Most will recall that Blunt admitted to allowing Monsanto to write the “Monsanto Protection Act” that recently passed in HB933.

There are similar protect Monsanto bills in several other States during this spring legislative session, all being touted as “Right to Farm” bills. Those States are Delaware, Montana, Indiana, and Oklahoma. People concerned with healthy food choices and the continuation of family farms should get on their State’s websites and make sure that this type of protect Monsanto legislation isn’t progressing in their State. (read the rest of my story here)

Now, This Would Be A Good Constitutional Amendment for Missouri

Recently, I wrote about Jason Smith’s HJR 7 and 11,which is a proposed Constitutional Amendment for the State of Missouri. By the way, Jason is the Pro Tem in the Missouri House and the Republican nominee to fill Joann Emerson’s seat in the US Congress. It is widely rumored that Smith was flown to Washington four times to be introduced to his future colleagues by Emerson. It is possibly coincidence one of Emerson’s daughters is a lobbyist for Monsanto and that Smith introduced this bill, which would strongly enhance Monsanto’s stranglehold on Agriculture in this State. Possibly. I just don’t know. It’s one of those thing that makes you go, “Hmmm…”, as that old adage goes.

What isn’t questionable is that HJR 7 and 11 and SJR 22 (it’s companion) are flying through the process at Jeff City quicker than a greased pig. And is NOT good for Missouri farmers, Missouri consumers, or economic freedom overall. Please read my first article on this legislation here to get some background on why I see this as terrifically dangerous and deceptive as I do.

An interesting thing about Missouri is the many options available for changing/amending the Missouri Constitution. Battles in ballot language are often fought in the back rooms of the State Offices and voters must go to extensive lengths to find out the full text of the actual proposal on the ballot. When people are voting on a Constitutional Amendment, they should not only be allowed easy access to the language, they should read it and be certain they understand the effects of the proposed amendment. We want the legislators to “read the bills”, why would we be satisfied with out own decisions on issues if we ourselves don’t read the actual text?

After two calls and a facebook message to Rep. Smith, I finally received a return call from Smith’s office, but I was outside dealing in the real world at the time.  I called back and left another message, but haven’t yet heard back from the staffer that left a message on my machine. Sigh.

Since this thing is moving so quickly, and the questionable terms “modern” and “agricultural technology” show no signs of being removed from the language, it seems that the public should have the opportunity to look at potential substitute language that would actually be beneficial for farmers, ranchers and consumers as well as the Missouri economy.

I spent quite a bit of time looking at the language and thinking it was completely hopeless. Then it clicked. A light came on and I found language that I have shared with a few traditional farming advocates and some other concerned groups and they all said they would definitely support this language.

For your consideration and comments, I submit a truly helpful and freedom enhancing substitute for Smith’s HJR 7 & 11: (the things in brackets and struck through are removed from the language of Smith’s bill-the bold italicized is inserted instead)

Section 35. That agriculture which provides food, energy, health benefits, and security is the foundation and stabilizing force of Missouri’s economy. To protect this vital sector of Missouri’s economy, the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in direct trade with consumers [modern farming and ranching practices] shall be forever guaranteed in this state. No law shall be enacted which abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural [technology and modern livestock production and ranching] practices that secure independent family farm’s ability to save seed, preserve livestock bloodlines, or impede their access to market.

Section B. Pursuant to Chapter 116, RSMo, and other applicable constitutional provisions and laws of this state allowing the General Assembly to adopt ballot language for the 3 submission of a joint resolution to the voters of this state, the official ballot title of the amendment proposed in Section A shall be as follows: “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure: 

• That the right of Missouri citizens to employ modern farming and ranching practices and equipment that insure the continuance of diversified small farms shall not be infringed”.

So what do you think? Is it too radical to think that people should have the ability to purchase their food from sources that they want? Do corporations and governments acting in the best interests of those corporations increase our freedom and improve our general health? In short, are people too stupid to decide what they want to eat?

 A  personal note for my friends and readers:

Put this in the whining column, my computer died on me. I amattempting to deal with my husband’s dinosaur that -for no apparent reason- decides to take you to links on pages of articles without clicking on them, starts to type in the middle of preceding paragraphs at will, and will only run one program at a time. I am waiting for a new hard drive, while praying that it isn’t the logic board on my computer that is fried. I have ten years of research in Mac format backed up, but when these Macs decide to quit on you, it is rather expensive to fix them and sometimes downright impossible to get funds together to do do it. Grrr. So if you ever wanted to donate anything to help me keep the alligators at bay, now would be a great time!

Bowman vs Monsanto- David vs Goliath

Monsanto is a little bit worried about this decision. I think they have stacked the court pretty well in their favor, but the most critical aspect that is apparent to me is that if you, as Monsanto has done, create a new life form, can you lay  claim to their progeny? It would be like parents having the ability to contractually control their great grandchildren. We shall soon see what happens! Here’s a Reuters article on the case:

U.S. agriculture wary as Monsanto heads to Supreme Court

Supreme Court next week in a patent battle that could have ramifications for the biotechnologyindustry and possibly the future of food production.

The highest court in the United States will hear arguments on Tuesday in the dispute, which started when soybean farmer Vernon Bowman bought and planted a mix of unmarked grain typically used for animal feed. The plants that grew turned out to contain the popular herbicide-resistant genetic trait known as Roundup Ready that Monsanto guards closely with patents.

The St. Louis, Mo.-based biotech giant accused Bowman of infringing its patents by growing plants that contained its genetics. But Bowman, who grows wheat and corn along with soybeans on about 300 acres inherited from his father, argued that he used second-generation grain and not the original seeds covered by Monsanto’s patents.

A central issue for the court is the extent that a patent holder, or the developer of a genetically modified seed, can control its use through multiple generations of seed.

The Supreme Court’s decision to hear the dispute has sparked broad concerns in the biotech industry as a range of companies fear it will result in limits placed on their own patents of self-replicating technologies.

At the same time, many farmer groups and biotech crop critics hope the Supreme Court might curb what they say is a patent system that gives too much power to biotech seed companies like Monsanto.

“I think the case has enormous implications,” said Dermot Hayes, an Iowa State University agribusiness and economics professor who believes Monsanto should prevail. “If Monsanto were to lose, many companies would have a reduced incentive for research in an area where we really need it right now. The world needs more food.” (full article here)

Deception? Danger? “Right to Farm”? Missouri Alert!

Nothing says “Owned by Monsanto” like  House Joint Resolution 7 &11 put forward by Rep. Jason Smith, newly nominated candidate for Missouri’s US Congressional District 8, and Rep Reiboldt of the 160th. The bill just passed out of the House committee and now moves on to the House floor.

This bill (HJR 7 & 11-rolled together) is to become a Missouri Constitutional Amendment ballot initiative if it passes out of both Houses of the Legislature….and it, unlike raw milk, is inherently dangerous and should never be approved by anyone, for any reason.

The sell on this bill is that animal rights advocates are endangering all farmers and ranchers by advocating to constrain every day practices in agriculture. While it IS true that animal rights activists and bureaucrats are trying to stop people from disbudding, castrating, vaccinating and other things, some of which may be truly objectionable, this proposed Constitutional Amendment will ensure that CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) proliferate, and lay the ground for no holds barred transgenic manipulation and proliferation of ALL genetically engineered organisms in our State.

A missouri television station covered this in their typical (arguably necessary) sound bite manner here:

Here is the full text of the Amendment copied from http://www.moga.mo.gov, the bold text within the verbiage is what we need to concern ourselves with. It won’t all appear on the ballot across the State should it pass the legislature.

“Submitting to the qualified voters of Missouri an amendment to article I of the Constitution of Missouri, and adopting one new section in lieu thereof relating to the right to farm.

Be it resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring therein:

That at the next general election to be held in the state of Missouri, on Tuesday next 2 following the first Monday in November, 2014, or at a special election to be called by the 3 governor for that purpose, there is hereby submitted to the qualified voters of this state, for 4 adoption or rejection, the following amendment to article I of the Constitution of the state of 5 Missouri:

Section A. Article I, Constitution of Missouri, is amended by adding one new section, 2 to be known as section 35, to read as follows:

Section 35. That agriculture which provides food, energy, health benefits, and security is the foundation and stabilizing force of Missouri’s economy. To protect this vital sector of Missouri’s economy, the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in modern farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state. No law shall be enacted which abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural technology and modern livestock production and ranching practices.

Section B. Pursuant to Chapter 116, RSMo, and other applicable constitutional provisions and laws of this state allowing the General Assembly to adopt ballot language for the 3 submission of a joint resolution to the voters of this state, the official ballot title of the amendment proposed in Section A shall be as follows: “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure: 

• That the right of Missouri citizens to employ modern farming and ranching  practices and equipment shall not be infringed”.

We must  ask questions…What is “modern” in this language? Is it using electricity and machines? What does that actually mean?

So, the voters will get this question: “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure that the right of Missouri citizens to employ modern farming and ranching practices and equipment shall not be infringed”

But behind the scenes, and NOT on the ballot, if Missouri voters accept this proposal, they would be approving the entire bold section above forever in our Constitution! Including that dastardly last sentence.

Here it is again:

No law shall be enacted which abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural technology and modern livestock production and ranching practices. 

In light of Monsanto being headquartered in St Louis as they are, and Monsanto’s  roughly 90% control of the total crops in genetically modified corn and soy, having sold their GMO pig, and moving ever forward in patenting and mutating all life on the planet, that scares the heck out of me!

Would this proposed Amendment destroy any chance of our ever having a right to know if we are eating GMO products or not? It sure could be argued that letting people know what they are consuming would prohibit farmers from using some “modern” “technology” in their ag endeavors.

This bill is NOT good for farmers. It will greatly increase further consolidation of agriculture, increase proliferation of genetically modified patented life forms, and destroy local control of the spread of the consolidating (ie. Family Farm Destroying) CAFO’s.

There is only one segment of the population that this is “good” for. The Biotech and Mega Farm Corporations.

We must call our representatives and let them know this bill has major problems. Not the least of which is that the voters won’t even see the entire language they are supposed to vote on. There are some truly good legislative efforts in the House and Senate right now….this just is NOT one of those.

 

 

 

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Monsanto IS Evil on a Stick!

One of the most important cases regarding Monsanto and their monopolistic and unethical control of our seed supply, and therefore our food supply, is coming before the SCOTUS next week. This will be a hugely important ruling for food freedom, farm freedom and environmental concerns.

I wanted to share two things with you on this subject, and have two articles that are inextricably intertwined below:


New CFS Report Exposes Devastating Impact of Monsanto Practices on U.S. Farmers

Today, one week before the Supreme Court hears arguments in Bowman v. Monsanto Co., the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Save our Seeds (SOS) launched our new report, Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers.

The report investigates how the current seed patent regime has led to a radical shift to consolidation and control of global seed supply and how these patents have abetted corporations, such as Monsanto, to sue U.S. farmers for alleged seed patent infringement.

Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers also examines broader socio-economic consequences of the present patent system including links to loss of seed innovation, rising seed prices, reduction of independent scientific inquiry, and environmental issues.

Among the report’s discoveries are several alarming statistics:

  • As of January 2013, Monsanto, alleging seed patent infringement, had filed 144 lawsuits involving 410 farmers and 56 small farm businesses in at least 27 different states.
  • Today, three corporations control 53 percent of the global commercial seed market
  • Seed consolidation has led to market control resulting in dramatic increases in the price of seeds. From 1995-2011, the average cost to plant one acre of soybeans has risen 325 percent; for cotton prices spiked 516 percent and corn seed prices are up by 259 percent.

Additionally, Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers reports a precipitous drop in seed diversity that has been cultivated for millennia. As the report notes:  86% of corn, 88% of cotton, and 93% of soybeans farmed in the U.S. are now genetically-engineered (GE) varieties, making the option of farming non-GE crops increasingly difficult.

While agrichemical corporations also claim that their patented seeds are leading to environmental improvements, the report notes that upward of 26 percent more chemicals per acre were used on GE crops than on non-GE crops, according to USDA data.

At the launch of the report via teleconference today, experts from the Center for Food Safety and Save our Seeds were joined by Mr. Vernon Hugh Bowman, the 75-year-old Indiana soybean farmer who, next week, will come up against Monsanto in the Supreme Court Case.  When asked about the numerous comparisons being drawn between his case and the story of David and Goliath, Mr. Bowman responded, “I really don’t consider it as David and Goliath. I don’t think of it in those terms. I think of it in terms of right and wrong.”

In December of 2012, the Center for Food Safety and Save Our Seeds submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court on behalf of Mr. Bowman, which supports the right of farmers to re-plant saved seed. Arguments in the case are scheduled for February 19th.

Download the report here: http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Seed-Giants_final.pdf 

75-year-old soybean farmer sees Monsanto lawsuit reach U.S. Supreme Court

 

brazil-soybean-field-afp
Topics: 

Who controls the rights to the seeds planted in the ground? A 75-year-old farmer takes the agricultural giant to court to find out

As David versus Goliath battles go it is hard to imagine a more uneven fight than the one about to play out in front of the US supreme court between Vernon Hugh Bowman and Monsanto.

On the one side is Bowman, a single 75-year-old Indiana soybean farmer who is still tending the same acres of land as his father before him in rural south-western Indiana. On the other is a gigantic multibillion dollar agricultural business famed for its zealous protection of its commercial rights.

Not that Bowman sees it that way. “I really don’t consider it as David and Goliath. I don’t think of it in those terms. I think of it in terms of right and wrong,” Bowman told The Guardian in an interview. (click here to read the full story)

More Good News for Chemical Ag

As most of you know, Round Up “the miracle” is causing lots of glyphosphate resistant super weeds. However, the author of this article points out that there is indeed another way to help solve this problem created by the use of this “lovely” herbicide. If we farm as much as we can actually handle without resorting to making agriculture an oligarchial industrial complex, we can actually steward the land and increase productivity and soil health in the process…..Oh for logic and reason to prevail! Never mind, I went off to a daydream.

Just wanted to share this article with you:

Nearly Half of All US Farms Now Have Superweeds

—By 

Last year’s drought took a big bite out of the two most prodigious US crops, corn and soy. But it apparently didn’t slow down the spread of weeds that have developed resistance to Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup (glyphosate), used on crops engineered by Monsanto to resist it. More than 70 percent of all the the corn, soy, and cotton grown in the US is now genetically modified to withstand glyphosate.

Back in 2011, such weeds were already spreading fast. “Monsanto’s ‘Superweeds’ Gallop Through Midwest,” declared the headline of a post I wrote then. What’s the word you use when an already-galloping horse speeds up? Because that’s what’s happening. Let’s try this: “Monsanto’s ‘Superweeds’ Stampede Through Midwest.”

That pretty much describes the situation last year, according to a new report from the agribusiness research consultancy Stratus. Since the 2010 growing season, the group has been polling “thousands of US farmers” across 31 states about herbicide resistance. Here’s what they found in the 2012 season:

Superweeds: First they gallop, then they roar. Graph: Stratus

• Nearly half (49 percent) of all US farmers surveyed said they have glyphosate-resistant weeds on their farm in 2012, up from 34 percent of farmers in 2011.
• Resistance is still worst in the South. For example, 92 percent of growers in Georgia said they have glyphosate-resistant weeds.
• But the mid-South and Midwest states are catching up. From 2011 to 2012 the acres with resistance almost doubled in Nebraska, Iowa, and Indiana.
• It’s spreading at a faster pace each year: Total resistant acres increased by 25 percent in 2011 and 51 percent in 2012.
• And the problem is getting more complicated. More and more farms have at least two resistant species on their farm. In 2010 that was just 12 percent of farms, but two short years later 27 percent had more than one. (full article here)

GMO Babies???

There is so much going on in the realm of GMO’s right now that one has a difficult time keeping up with it! Monsanto and Syngenta are experiencing deservedly difficult times being fined and otherwise kicked in the wallet by nation after nation. Syngenta’s cover up of it’s killer BT corn illuminates the level of dishonesty that these corporations are will stoop to just to make more corporate profits off their life destroying mutant seeds.

Meanwhile, Monsanto is being denied royalties in Brazil, which has been a stronghold for the GM soy and corn, and they are also facing the fact that nature is finding a way to kill their corn by developing BT resistant corn borers that are happily destroying whatever crops are left to drought stricken farmers who planted their franken-food.
Then we get news that a New Jersey company has actually altered the human germline and there are now thirty babies who have two mothers and one father. here is excerpt from the UK article breaking this news:

The world’s first genetically modified humans have been created, it was revealed last night.

The disclosure that 30 healthy babies were born after a series of experiments in the United States provoked another furious debate about ethics.

So far, two of the babies have been tested and have been found to contain genes from three ‘parents’.

Fifteen of the children were born in the past three years as a result of one experimental programme at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science of St Barnabas in New Jersey.

The babies were born to women who had problems conceiving. Extra genes from a female donor were inserted into their eggs before they were fertilised in an attempt to enable them to conceive.

Genetic fingerprint tests on two one-year- old children confirm that they have inherited DNA from three adults –two women and one man.

The fact that the children have inherited the extra genes and incorporated them into their ‘germline’ means that they will, in turn, be able to pass them on to their own offspring.

Altering the human germline – in effect tinkering with the very make-up of our species – is a technique shunned by the vast majority of the world’s scientists.

Geneticists fear that one day this method could be used to create new races of humans with extra, desired characteristics such as strength or high intelligence.

Writing in the journal Human Reproduction, the researchers, led by fertility pioneer Professor Jacques Cohen, say that this ‘is the first case of human germline genetic modification resulting in normal healthy children’.

You can read more about that here.

Years ago, I reported on the addition of human genes to cattle in an attempt to make cows milk better for lactose intolerant, specifically infants. One might argue that this new alteration of the human gene isn’t actually clinical genetic modification because they are still using actual human gene information, but I would submit that changing the genetic code in any way is genetic modification.

This news is going to shed an entirely different light on “Heather Has Two Mommies”. It seems there is no level too low for some of these scientists to reach. Just because science CAN do something certainly doesn’t mean that it should.

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