lds) was slipped into the Senate Continuing Resolution spending bill HR 933. It blind-sided an angry populace last week, giving little time to voice complaint before it was to go through the Senate.
Last Wednesday morning, HR 933 passed with the new rider dubbed by activists as the Monsanto Protection Act therein. The rider has nothing to do with proposed government spending to keep it running for the next six months. But it is unknown whether this incongruous rider will last six months or permanently.
According to GovTrack.us, the only thing left before the bill becomes law is the President's signature. Food Democracy Now! is asking you to join the more than 200,000 people who used their forms to contact Obama and Congress in an effort to strip the rider. This is not a petition.And those are only the people who used their site - countless other organizations alerted activists in the last two weeks.
If this "must-pass" bill gets signed into law, it would be the point of no return for unhindered Monsanto havoc. They would trump federal court power and courts would not be able to use authority to stop sales or planting of any illegal or hazardous genetically modified crops. Strange for biotech giants to want this rider, as the USDA already gives them unheeded approval without safety testing of their crops. Rider (Sec. 735) clinches Monsanto power - if the USDA or court system wants to halt GM crops or revoke approval, they cannot. It's also an open backdoor to whisk in future approvals.
This action is detrimental to farmers who want to fight against Monsanto's patent infringement lawsuits, those for the preservation of organic crops against GM contamination, and our export economy, as so many other countries have adopted GM bans. This Monsanto-driven rider is simply an industry ploy to continue to plant GM crops even when a court of law has found they were approved illegally - But it's being voted on urgently.
What can we do? Multiple options - follow these easy steps:
Food Democracy Now! was pivotal in the alerts and created a new form letter in the following link here:
The Monsanto Protection Act could pass as early as next week and we need your help today. Click here to stop the Monsanto Protection Act as it heads to President Obama and tell your member of Congress to stand up for your rights and the Constitution! If you don't like the pre-formatted letters, then consider using them as a guide and write your own. Better yet, respectfully contact the White House. Follow this link to enter your info and find your reps, senators, and contact the White House - guided info is there to help with your phone call. Or, you can call the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121. To reach the White House to call President Barack Obama's line: (202) 456-1111. Remember that it is activists who call it the Monsanto Protection Act - it's Section 735 of HR 933 that we want stripped This is not a petition and this is not 'slacktivism.' Sneaky, hidden riders that are quickly voted through leave us few options and little time. But you can lend your voice. Whether it passes or not, that's another bridge to cross with other actions awaiting. The political and corporate biotech leaders are doing very little to gain back trust, but we can let them know we are watching, voting, and have had enough. This could be our last chance to stop Monsanto from corporate rule and full immunity. Tell President Obama here to block Sec 735, and Contact your Member of Congress to express your outrage at granting a blank check for Monsanto - Every voice counts!
Senator Jon Tester (an organic farmer), joined by Senators Boxer, Gillibrand and Leahy introduced an amendment (#74) to strike the dangerous rider from the CR. You can still voice your support for reviewing the Tester amendment - reportedly ignored and not added when this bill passed the Senate. Even if the Tester amendment voting is over with - make your opinion known to your Congress people, Obama, and let your Senators know your disappointment. It couldn't be easier with pre-formatted letters that go directly to your Senators.
Food Democracy Now! reports that there are 13 crops waiting for approval. The USDA is known for sweeping in approvals, letting Monsanto do their own safety evaluations, and taking their word. And, The floodgates are literally open for Monsanto, DuPont and Dow Chemical’s new GMO crops that are resistant to more toxic chemicals like 2,4-D, Agent Orange and dicamba that will replace failing Roundup Ready GMO crops. According to legal experts, this provision would create a precedent-setting limitation on judicial review and is a dangerous assault on fundamental federal and judicial safeguards needed to protect America’s farmers, citizens and the environment from the wanton approval of Monsanto's new GMO crops. Don't forget to thank the Senators who stood up and supported the Tester amendment if you live in Montana, California, New York, Vermont, Alaska or Connecticut - Senator Tester and his co-sponsors Senators Boxer, Gillibrand, Leahy, Begich and Blumenthal introduced the amendment to strip Section 735 from the bill.
Previous report from Food Democracy Now!: Clearly Monsanto and the biotech industry are getting desperate and want to try an end run around a growing movement of farmers and citizens who are rejecting their products and calling for GMO labeling in an effort to make sure their new GMO crops can evade any serious scientific or regulatory review. In classic form, the biotech industry has cleverly hidden their toxic plan under the deceptive title of a "Farmer Assurance Provision" (Sec. 735). In truth, the "Monsanto Protection Act" would allow the biotech industry to continue to flout American legal precedence and violate the constitutional separation of powers set forth by our Founding Fathers. In short, the "Farmer Assurance Provision" is the greatest threat to farmers' and citizens' rights that Monsanto and the biotech industry has ever devised and it must be stopped - today! This current rider is a response to the successful lawsuits that farmers have filed to prevent the sale, distribution and cultivation of GMO sugarbeets and GMO alfalfa, both of which were forced to stop from being planted while the USDA finalized full environment reviews. Now, the new provision included in the Senate Continuing Resolution spending bill will allow biotech seed and chemical companies to openly skirt even minimal protections of human health and environmental concerns. We need your help to make sure your Senator demands that Appropriations Chairman Mikulski pulls this dangerous and unconstitutional rider, and support any amendment that would strike the biotech rider from the new Continuing Resolution.
Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund is also alerting of another rider and urging contact to Senators to oppose the Monsanto rider and support of the Tester Amendments: ANTI-COMPETITIVE RIDER (Section 742) - Livestock & Poultry Impact
The anti-competitive rider (section 742) deals with a law from the 1920s, the Packers and Stockyards Act ("PSA"), which was intended to provide protections against anti-competitive behavior in the livestock and poultry industries. In essence, the PSA was the Sherman Antitrust Act for agriculture. Although the PSA is a good statute, the USDA never properly implemented it. And that failure over the years has allowed large corporations to practice a variety of abusive, unfair, and deceptive practices that undermine the free market. A coalition of family farmer, independent rancher, and consumer groups fought for a provision in the 2008 Farm Bill directing the USDA to issue implementing regulations under the PSA. And we won. But the fight wasn't over. The big meatpackers managed to hamstring many of the proposed regulations. And now they want to completely eliminate the few protections we did get, leaving the meatpackers free to continue their abusive practices that hurt farmers. Background: ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ would keep GMO crops in the ground during legal battles, Daily Grist, June 29, 2012
Track Bill: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr933#overview
READ MORE HERE : http://tinyurl.com/cwwjj2j…
Added by Sojourner at 7:50am on September 22, 2014
egon field last week has damaged sales of exports.
The lawsuits, filed two days after a Kansas farmer filed a similar lawsuit against the company, seek class-action status on behalf of all growers of soft white wheat who may have been harmed by the release of an unapproved product.
Soft white wheat is a variety popular with growers in the Pacific Northwest, where nearly 90 percent of the crop is exported to Asian markets for noodles and crackers.
"We farmers cannot stand idly by while companies like Monsanto destroy our export markets and our economy," said Tom Stahl, a fourth-generation Washington wheat farmer from Waterville.
Genetically engineered, experimental wheat was found growing in an 80-acre field in Oregon last week. The wheat was the same strain as one designed by Monsanto to be resistant to herbicides. It was tested in Oregon and several other states through 2005 but was never approved by the government.
n to this terrifying piece of policy, and it's a fitting moniker given its shocking content.
President Barack Obama signed a spending bill, HR 933, into law on Tuesday that includes language that has food and consumer advocates and organic farmers up in arms over their contention that the so-called "Monsanto Protection Act" is a giveaway to corporations that was passed under the cover of darkness.There's a lot being said about it, but here are five terrifying facts about the Farmer Assurance Provision -- Section 735 of the spending bill -- to get you acquainted with the reasons behind the ongoing uproar:
1.) The "Monsanto Protection Act" effectively bars federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of controversial genetically modified (aka GMO) or genetically engineered (GE) seeds, no matter what health issues may arise concerning GMOs in the future. The advent of genetically modified seeds -- which has been driven by the massive Monsanto Company -- and their exploding use in farms across America came on fast and has proved a huge boon for Monsanto's profits.But many anti-GMO folks argue there have not been enough studies into the potential health risks of this new class of crop. Well, now it appears that even if those studies are completed and they end up revealing severe adverse health effects related to the consumption of genetically modified foods, the courts will have no ability to stop the spread of the seeds and the crops they bear.
2.) The provision's language was apparently written in collusion with Monsanto. Lawmakers and companies working together to craft legislation is by no means a rare occurrence in this day and age. But the fact that Sen. Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, actually worked with Monsanto on a provision that in effect allows them to keep selling seeds, which can then go on to be planted, even if it is found to be harmful to consumers, is stunning. It's just another example of corporations bending Congress to their will, and it's one that could have dire risks for public health in America.
3.) Many members of Congress were apparently unaware that the "Monsanto Protection Act" even existed within the bill they were voting on. HR 933 was a spending bill aimed at averting a government shutdown and ensuring that the federal government would continue to be able to pay its bills. But the Center for Food Safety maintains that many Democrats in Congress were not even aware that the provision was in the legislation:“In this hidden backroom deal, Sen. [Barbara] Mikulski turned her back on consumer, environmental and farmer protection in favor of corporate welfare for biotech companies such as Monsanto,” Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety, said in a statement. “This abuse of power is not the kind of leadership the public has come to expect from Sen. Mikulski or the Democrat Majority in the Senate.”
4.) The President did nothing to stop it, either. On Tuesday, Obama signed HR 933 while the rest of the nation was fixated on gay marriage, as the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument concerning California's Proposition 8. But just because most of the nation and the media were paying attention to gay marriage doesn't mean that others were not doing their best to express their opposition to the "Monsanto Protection Act." In fact, more than 250,000 voters signed a petition opposing the provision. And Food Democracy Now protesters even took their fight straight to Obama, protesting in front of the White House against Section 735 of the bill. He signed it anyway.
5.) It sets a terrible precedent. Though it will only remain in effect for six months until the government finds another way to fund its operations, the message it sends is that corporations can get around consumer safety protections if they get Congress on their side. Furthermore, it sets a precedent that suggests that court challenges are a privilege, not a right.“I think any time you tweak with the ability of the public to seek redress from the courts, you create a huge risk,” Seattle attorney Bill Marler -- who has represented victims of foodborne illness in successful lawsuits against corporations -- told the New York Daily News.
Added by Sojourner at 7:51am on September 22, 2014
or genetically engineering agriculture and food while suppressing negative scientific research.
Organized by the 'March Against Monsanto' movement, an estimated two million have taken part in the massive event on Saturday spanning six continents, 52 nations, and at least 48 US states.
“It was empowering and inspiring to see so many people, from different walks of life, put aside their differences and come together today,” said Tami Canal, founder and organizer of the global event.
“We will continue until Monsanto complies with consumer demand. They are poisoning our children, poisoning our planet,” she said. “If we don't act, who's going to?”
Follow RT's LIVE UPDATES on the March Against Monsanto campaign
The day of protest has already ended in Europe, where thousands of activists in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, Ireland, France, Malta and elsewhere took to the streets to protest against Monsanto abuses.
Earlier in the day, hundreds of demonstrators in Brisbane and Melbourne in Australia and across Japan and South Africa took to the streets to protest against the multi-national corporation and to demand a ban on Genetically Engineered and Genetically Modified Organisms (GE/GMOs).
Angered by the lack of action from governments on the issue, activists in the western part of the globe - in North and South America - are also gearing up for the global march.
The organizers of the May 25 rally call for labeling of GM foods and further scientific research on the health effects of GE/GMOs. They also urge supporters to “vote with their dollar” by buying only organic products and boycotting Monsanto-owned companies. Besides that, they are urging a repeal of the so-called Monsanto Protection Act and that the company’s executives and politicians who back them are held to account through “through direct communication, grassroots journalism, and social media.”
Initially a small, grassroots event, the march became a globe-spanning movement through the efforts of local activists and environmentalists. The protest is being organized on Facebook and Google Documents, where users can find a list of events near their location.
March Against Monsanto Director Nick Bernabe told the Natural Society that genetically engineered food could affect everyone, even the apathetic: “What we’re trying to do is bring awareness to GMOs and the health effects that they’re causing and bring about some solutions about what people can do to take back their food supply,” he said. “They’re expecting more than 15,000 people in San Francisco alone… We want to get people working together in their communities.”
Monsanto has described current research into GMO crops as "inconclusive," and has lobbied hard in Washington and around the globe to continue manufacturing lab-made foods without the oversight demanded by activists.
In March, Congress passed a biotech rider dubbed the 'Monsanto Protection Act' that effectively allows Monsanto and other companies that use GMOs to plant and sell genetically altered products even if legal action is taken against them.
Up until it was signed, “the USDA [US Department of Agriculture] oversaw and approved (or denied) the testing of genetically modified seeds, while the federal courts retained the authority to halt the testing or sale of these plants if it felt that public health was being jeopardized. With HR 933 now a law, however, the court system no longer has the right to step in and protect the consumer,” explained James Brumley, a reporter for Investor Place.
“They own the largest share of the agribusiness, pesticides and seeds,” Joanne Montana, who organized a protest in Florida, told the Gainesville Sun. “They’re transnational, in food behind the scenes and a big conglomerate.”
The 'Monsanto Protection Act' was co-authored by a senator who has received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the company — a revelation that did not surprise many, given that another important figure in Washington, Justice Clarence Thomas, served as an attorney for the corporation before he was nominated to the Supreme Court, only to eventually preside over a case involving his former employer.
But according to Food & Water Watch, the relationship between Monsanto and the government extends beyond Congress and the Supreme Court. In a statement accompanying a health report, Food & Water Watch wrote that communications uncovered by WikiLeaks detailed how “the US State Department lobbies foreign governments to adopt pro-agricultural biotechnology policies and laws, operates a rigorous public relations campaign to improve the image of biotechnology and challenges commonsense biotechnology safeguards and rules – including opposing genetically engineered (GE) food labeling laws.”
Consumer rights group the Food and Water Watch disseminated a report highlighting how “the State Department strategy sought to foist pro-biotech policies on foreign governments.”
The report describes a four-prong approach: promote biotech business interests; lobby foreign governments to weaken biotech rules; protect US biotech exports and press developing world to adopt biotech crops.
With the protest approaching, organizers have accused Monsanto of going on the offensive and wrote on the event’s Facebook page that the mass rallies had not been cancelled, debunking a false rumor they accused Monsanto sympathizers of spreading.
“Events are disappearing, posts are being put on city event pages that say events are being cancelled,” said Tom Canal, an administrator for the March Against Monsanto Facebook page, according to the Organic Prepper blog. “In no way, shape or form, has any event been cancelled. I believe Monsanto is behind this. Some of the people on the page that are commenting have newly made profiles and seemingly those profiles were made strictly to cause problems and get a rise out of our participants on the page.”
In an interview with Bloomberg earlier this month, Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant portrayed those who do not agree with his business tactics as snobs: “There is this strange kind of reverse elitism: If I’m going to do this, then everything else shouldn’t exist,” he said. “In the US, we’ve got a system that works.”
In their ongoing struggle to reach a wider audience through the mainstream media, anti-GMO activists have outlined a number of solutions and goals for which they are advocating, including the "labeling of GE/GMOs so that consumers can make those informed decisions easier," "further scientific research on the health effects of GE/GMOs," and, perhaps most importantly, "taking to the streets to show the world and Monsanto that we won't take these injustices quietly."
Check back with RT throughout the weekend for the most extensive up-to-the-minute coverage on the global demonstrations.
Added by Sojourner at 8:01am on September 22, 2014
genetically modified wheat was discovered in a field in eastern Oregon.
The strain of wheat, designed to resist harmful effects from Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller, was never commercially developed by the St. Louis-based agriculture giant in large part because wheat growers did not want to risk retaliation from their biggest export markets.