Genetically Modified Democracy: Monsanto and Congress Move to Stomp on States' Rights
Could Monsanto slip an amendment or rider into the 2013 Farm Bill that would wipe out any state GMO labeling law? Word on the street is that the world’s biggest Biotech bully is contemplating just such a move. The word from millions of consumers? Any member of Congress who even thinks about supporting Monsanto’s efforts to stomp on states’ rights to label GMOs should start packing their bags today.
The House Ag Committee has already passed an amendment that policy analysts say, if included in the final Farm Bill, would take away states’ rights to enact GMO labeling laws. Will the King Amendment, offered by pro-Big Ag Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), survive the Senate? We don’t know yet. But we do know this: Monsanto is running scared in the face of efforts in more than 30 states to require mandatory GMO labeling. Their next best line of defense is to take that right away from states – and consumers.
First it was the Monsanto Protection Act, which gave biotech companies immunity from federal courts and paved the way for Monsanto to plant illegally approved, potentially dangerous genetically engineered crops. Now, an increasingly desperate Monsanto is eyeing an attack on states’ rights to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Last year, 73 U.S. Senators voted against a proposed amendment to the agriculture bill, put forth by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). The Sanders amendment would have guaranteed states the right to require labels on genetically engineered food products. We know who those senators are. And we know which representatives supported the King Amendment this week, passed out of the House Ag Committee, which if it passes, will take away states’ rights to label GMOs. Today, officially, we’re putting them, and every other member of Congress, on notice: Vote to take away states’ rights to label GMOs, and we’ll vote you out of office. And if you represent one of the 11 states that allow recalls of federal elected officials? Let the recalls begin.
In study after study, scientists warn of the foolhardiness of unleashing into the environment tons of glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide. Yet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has just raised the allowable limits for glyphosate residue in human food and animal feed.
Glyphosate has been linked to everything from Parkinson’s Disease and Autism, to cancer, infertility and allergies. It begs the question. Whose environment is the EPA trying to protect? Yours? Or Monsanto’s? The EPA’s ruling is “final.” But the agency is still accepting comments. Let’s tell our so-called protectors that we want lower, not higher, limits on glyphosate residue.
Deadline Extended: Help Us Plant Hope, and We’ll Help You
Plant Your Garden
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds Co. has sent us a variety of non-GMO, heirloom specialty seeds. We’re passing them along to donors, while supplies last. We have lots of varieties to give away, including Purple of Sicily Cauliflower, Blue Podded Garden Peas, Stuttgarter Onions, Southern Giant Curled Mustard, Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce, Detroit Dark Red Beets, Atomic Red Carrots, Early Purple Vienna Kohlrabi and Persian Carpet Zinnias. To name a few.
Help us plant hope, and we’ll help you plant your garden. Make a donation of $50 or more and we’ll send you four packages of seeds. Be sure to write “seeds” in the comment field with your online donation (or on the memo line of your check). Thank you!
The Bt (Bacillus Thuringensis) toxin in Monsanto’s genetically modified corn and soy has been linked to organ failure in humans. It has turned up in the bloodstreams of pregnant women and their fetuses. Now, a study published in the Journal of Hematology & Thromboembolic Diseases suggests that some forms of the Bt toxin may also contribute to certain blood cancers, such as leukemia.
The study's authors conclude: "Taking into account the increased risk of human and animal exposures to significant levels of these toxins, especially through diet, our results suggest that further studies are required . . . before concluding that these microbiological control agents are safe for mammals." Talk about a ship that's already sailed.
Remember Mark Lynas, the repentant journalist-masquerading-as-scientist who made headlines earlier this year? For telling the world that, gosh, he’d been wrong all those years about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) being bad for our health and environment? That we should pay no attention to all the new studies highlighting the dangers of GMOs, and instead embrace biotechnology as the solution to world hunger?
Well, Lynas has met his match. Thierry Vrain (pictured), retired former pro-GMO scientist (as in, actual scientist) for Agriculture Canada, now says that a growing body of scientific research showing that diets containing engineered corn or soy cause serious health problems in laboratory mice and rats should give us pause. Says Vrain: “I refute the claims of the biotechnology companies that their engineered crops yield more, that they require less pesticide applications, that they have no impact on the environment and of course that they are safe to eat.” Seems the science – and now the scientists – are on our side.
First, the good news. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has come to its senses. Temporarily at least. The BLM postponed auctionsin California that would have opened up more public lands for fracking. The auctions, involving nearly 3,300 acres of prime public lands, were planned for later this month. But thanks in part to the nearly 60,000 of you who signed our petition to the BLM, the auctions are on hold. It also didn’t hurt that a federal judge ruled last month that the BLM had violated a key environmental law by previously auctioning the drilling rights for lands near the Salinas River Valley before reviewing the potential impacts on water, wildlife and air quality.
There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that where oil and gas companies are already fracking, farms are being destroyed. Do we really want to destroy prime farmland in California? Let’s keep the pressure on the BLM to stop fracking on California’s public lands. If you haven’t yet signed our petition, please sign today. If you have signed, please forward to five friends who haven’t. Thank you!
Now for the bad news. Our petition to save the honeybees from yet another bee-killing pesticide didn’t fare so well. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved sulfoxaflor, a pesticide the agency admits is toxic to bees. The bee population has already been decimated by a host of neonicotinoid pesticides, which work in much the same way as sulfoxaflor. That’s bad news for food crops. According to a United Nations report, of the 100 crop species that supply 90 percent of the world's food, bees pollinate more than 70 percent.
But don’t worry. The EPA is requiring anyone using sulfoxaflor to notify “known” beekeepers within one mile of the treatment area 48 hours before they spray the pesticide. So the beekeepers can move their hives. The “known” beekeepers, that is. Can anyone say “loophole?”
Enough Is Enough: No More Forced Vaccines in Minnesota!
Research shows that Vitamin D is critical for your health. But if you’re like most people, you probably don’t get enough. Want to know for sure? The Vitamin D home test kit is an easy-to-use prick test. You return it by regular mail, and your results are mailed back to you.
All proceeds from sales of the test kit will go to the GrassrootsHealth D Action Study. The D*Action project has been initiated by GrassrootsHealth, a public health promotion organization, along with 42 leading vitamin D researchers. The project aims to demonstrate how health can be achieved right now with what’s known about vitamin D, through a combination of vitamin D measurement and health outcome tracking.