Just when Congress had us believing that they saved the US citizens from another fiscal disaster, they come up with a new one within a few days. After a while I think when we hear the sky is falling for the umpteenth time, we just tune out from all the rhetoric coming from Capital Hill, believing that our representatives are a bunch of drama queens and in the end we know they will come to an agreement, even if it means kicking the can down the road.
The crisis we hear so much about now is sequestration. I asked some people recently if they know what sequestration means and most said no. One person said it’s what happens to a jury during trial. Ugh!
So in case you don’t know what sequestration means, here is the definition according to About.com:
Sequestration is a term used to describe the practice of using mandatory spending cuts in the federal budget if the cost of running the government exceeds either an arbitrary amount or the the gross revenue it brings during the fiscal year.
Simply put, sequestration is the employment of automatic, across-the-board spending cuts in the face of annual budget deficits.
That seems pretty clear. Right? Wrong! What they forgot to add to this definition is all the extra, hidden inclusions that are added by lobbyists to our legislators — things that you, dear reader might not be so happy about if they became law.
One such inclusion is the bio-tech rider aka The Monsanto Protection Act. If President Obama signs this act into law, here is what it means to the American food supply:
It will allow farmers to plant, harvest and sell genetically engineered plants even if the crops have been ruled upon unfavorably in court. In other words, we are screwed. We will be forced to eat genetically modified foods without our knowledge or consent for the foreseeable future, even if we get cancer. The Center for Food Safety called this “an unprecedented attack on U.S. judicial review of agency actions” and “ a major violation of the separation of powers.” In a nutshell, Monsanto wants full reign over our nations food supply without having to take any legal responsibility for any harm it may cause. This is huge people! You got cancer from eating genetically modified corn? Too bad for you! It’s not Monsanto’s problem and Congress said so.
We hear endless news reports about Medicare getting cut or Lindsay Lohan is back in rehab, but not a peep about something that concerns every single person in the USA! I say USA because there is a laundry list of countries that were smart enough to kick Monsanto out already. Its only we Americans that wimp out when it comes to standing up to this Goliath. Look what happened to Prop 37 in California. Monsanto was able to convince voters that they really don’t have the right to know what they are eating. Last year Monsanto threatened to sue the state of Vermont when legislators discussed passing a bill to require labeling. The same thing happened to several other states who tried to pass similar laws.
If a farmers non-gmo corn is contaminated by a neighbor who plants gmo corn, the first farmer is being sued by Monsanto for patent infringement and winning in courts! Monsanto has inspectors driving around taking samples of crops without the farmers knowledge or permission and when their crop comes up positive for gmos, that farmer has to pay up. This sounds like extortion to me. Back when Prop 37 was on the California ballot, Monsanto sent out mailers to voters that had the FDA stamp on their literature claiming that the FDA was against labeling. The FDA never made such a claim because it is against the law to do so. Even after complaints were sent to the Justice Department, nothing happened to Monsanto. Absolutely nothing!
I know there is at least one person reading this that thinks, “what’s the big deal? It’s cross-breeding.” Well, no it’s not. Jeremy Rifkin, President of The Foundation of Economic Trends, writes in a PBS interview:
Those very small bits [of DNA inserted into genetically modified organisms] can change in qualitative ways that GMO when it’s introduced. Let’s say you take a human growth hormone gene and place it into a salmon. That’s just one gene. But if the salmon gets out into the marine ecosystem and it’s growing twice as fast and twice as big, it can destabilize millions of years of relationships in the oceans. So one gene can be very, very powerful. …
Has anyone been reading about gmo salmon that will be on your dinner plate this year? Monsanto is fighting to keep that a secret too. Apples that have been genetically modified to keep from turning brown will be out this fall. I don’t know about you but we eat our apples before any one of them has a chance to turn brown. Let’s get real, its not about apples looking pretty or bigger fish or feeding the world. It’s about lining Monsanto’s pockets and them owning exclusive rights to seeds. Since Monsanto has the patent, independent studies are not allowed because Monsanto claims that someone will steal their secrets.
Scientists in France decided to do their own study back in 2012 and concluded that Round Up Herbicide (owned by guess who) used in conjunction with Monsanto gmo corn caused tumors in rats. Monsanto shot back that their study was flawed and that Monsanto did not have the same outcomes when tested on their rats. What Monsanto conveniently left out was their study lasted nine months and the French study was two years. Rats fed gmo corn did not show health issues until a year into the study. Monsanto’s study was more than flawed — it was an outright lie and our own FDA let them and still allows them to get away with it, and why shouldn’t they? — after all Michael Taylor, the same guy who was vice president of Monsanto for more than a decade is head of the FDA. Can anyone say conflict of interest?
I found a video from 2010 where Taylor stresses the importance of labeling foods (unless its a company he has a vested interest in) It should be tagged a comedy.
The rider did pass the Senate but you can do something to make your voice heard. Food Democracy Now has an online petition you can sign that will be sent to president Obama, telling him to not sign this rider act. After you add your name, be sure to email the link to your friends. Sign here.