Note — This is a preface to just more bad news when it comes to genetically modified organisms and the powerful lobby, and conspiracy, working to ply these dangerous, toxic, anti-biodiversity things into every square meter of the planet.
Below, a piece from the UK with British grammar and style, which I will not change. As the idea of diversity must be applied not only to biology but to all aspects of humanity and nature — including education, economics, culture, and society.
I’ve been reading the local rag, the Oregonian, and the prognosticators writing (sic) their flippant, shallow analyses of the recent initiative in WA state, I-522, a simple thing to force labeling of the toxic crap that is the superstructure of GMOs/GEs. Amazing how superficial the work of today’s mainstream writers is, indeed.
Why should Oregon forge ahead with our own anti-GMO or labeling initiative. He’s on Democracy Now last week, here, David Bronner, lead supporter of GMO-labeling, and someone who threw in $2 million on the Yes side:
Well, you know, basically, six chemical companies have bought the seed industry in this country and are engineering resistance to their weed killer. So when you hear with genetic engineering, oftentimes it’ll be spun like it’s going to be, you know, vitamins in rice or nitrogen fixing, but that’s not the reality. The reality on the ground is it’s about chemical companies selling weed killer.
And, you know, most of these crops, 80 percent of the genetically engineered acreage, is engineered to resist Roundup, which is Monsanto’s leading weed killer. Overuse of this weed killer is now resulting in super weeds that are resistant to and aren’t being killed by normal doses or applications, so ever more weed killer is being poured onto our fields. Next-generation genetically engineered crops in the pipeline are being engineered to resist dicamba and 2,4-D. These are much more toxic weed killers. They’re older, much more toxic. 2,4-D is the main ingredient in Agent Orange, which coincidentally both Monsanto and Dow also manufactured.
You know, this is the exact wrong direction as a society we should be going in. We need to be getting off the chemical treadmill. And genetically engineered—genetic engineering, as applied, is basically doubling down on this, you know, unsustainable chemical model of industrial agriculture.
AMY GOODMAN: David, former Washington State Attorney General Ken Eikenberry said in an ad opposed to 522 it would provide misleading information on food to consumers. I want to go to that clip.
KEN EIKENBERRY: I worked to protect consumers from misleading product information. That’s why I oppose Initiative 522. It would require some foods to be labeled as genetically engineered even if they’re not. But it gives special exemptions to many foods that contain or are made with GE products. That’s the exact opposite of truth in labeling. It would give consumers misleading information about the foods they buy. I urge a “no” vote.
AMY GOODMAN: What about the—what about those charges, David Bronner? That was former Washington State Attorney General Ken Eikenberry.
DAVID BRONNER: Yeah, and Republican. You know, it’s ridiculous. Basically, the disclosure of genetic engineering would apply to all foods that currently have to disclose ingredients and nutrition information, and doesn’t apply to foods that don’t. It just follows general federal labeling guidelines. And if we don’t, we’re going to get preempted. We can’t—you know, when he’s saying we’re exempting foods, well, what’s being exempted? Like restaurant food, you know, stuff that isn’t labeled. You don’t label—you know, you don’t label your—you know, when you order out at a restaurant, that’s not labeled. And, you know, they’re making hay, like, oh, we’re exempting restaurant food. And it’s like, well, we don’t label restaurant food.
Here Bronner is at Hemp Fest, Seattle:
So, the battle-line is clear, really, in Oregon. We are in sick-sick times when farmers and other yahoos can just continue this cognitive dissonance of “anything goes” poison farming. These people’s children, mothers, fetuses, entire legacies, filled with cancers because of contaminated air, water and soil.
These Americans are on their last slide, and they are apocalyptic, like the rest of the Western-influenced world. Roulette science guessing, casino capitalism, shocks-to-the-system genocide of ecology, species and humanity. We are a pig-sty of elites and yahoos just ramming toxins into the system. Really, pig-sty. In a related story around this science-fiction, I unfortunately had to watch the PBS redneck News Hour in between their interview (sic) of Dick Cheney in his book (sic) tour fiction-lie quest to lie-lie AND a story (sic) on American doctors, scientists, Big Pharma telling us now that 30 percent of Americans must take statins by 2020; you know, those cholesterol-lowering drugs (maybe), named Lipitor by Pfizer.
This is where we are at in America? Forced drug taking — a thing that indeed has huge side effects — instead of changing the very systems of death that cause this, i.e. the rot-gut, artery-clogging, stroke-inducing, and diabetes-delivery crap of American food production. Anything about physical education programs being cut? Supersized meals? The workplace pain of Americans working more time on the job than any other in the Industrialize world. You think some of that has anything to do with clogged arteries? Stress? Instead, we take snake oil, elixirs of the elite on the government gravy train.
Death by a thousand-thousand cuts, this is the American slide into zombie stupidity. GMOs, bullshit health care by Obama, capitalism dead on arrival when it comes to, what, actually working to stop the bleed of jobs, of wages, of life?
Fracking for the purpose of methane? What the pigs of energy call, “natural gas”? At the expense of water … people’s health? The Shell/Exxon/Tesero/Texaco thugs working with the Pfizer’s of the world for a new anti-fracking side-effects drugs? Gates Foundation working on GMOs that grow in toilets, on papa’s chest when he’s in the vegetative state thanks to statin administration? It’s not funny, really, the Solient Green reality of the pigs of capitalism.
Back to Washington, which lost the I-522 measure with millions thrown into the state for media blitzkriegs —
Corporations and private donors have spent more than $27 million to convince the state’s historically progressive public to vote for or against GMO labeling on food products. The infographic below was produced by the Cornucopia Institute to show who contributed to the total.
The donors were made public in October after Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit demanding the Grocery Manufacturers Association (the largest contributor opposed to I-522) to release their donor records. Contributions were funneled into the GMA unannounced, violating state campaign-disclosure laws with the intent of protecting the brands.
Organic brands contributed $6 million to support the initiative and their opposition has always been public. Its members include Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps (with the largest donation of $1.8 million), Ben & Jerry’s (whose corporate parent, Unilever, donated to defeat a similar initiative in California), Mercola.com, and Clif Bar, among others.
Whose names did the GMA fail to cover up?
Among the initiatives more obvious opponents (McCormick, Welch’s, Ocean Spray, and Del Monte) are: Green & Black’s Organic, MorningStar, Kashi, Dagoba, and Cascadian Farm Organic. These brands might use sustainable or even organically farmed ingredients but their parent companies are paying millions to stop the labeling.
This is the most money ever spent on an initiative in historically progressive Washington state. With nearly four times as much funding urging the public to VOTE NO, the labeling initiative might not pass where you’d most expect it to.
Here, from Eugene, Oregon, Eugene Weekly, the Senate Bill 633 killing communities’ right to organize, legislate, LIVE!
Local food and agriculture are a big deal in Lane County, but proposed legislation in Salem could take away communities’ rights to regulate those very things. Senate Bill 633 would prohibit local governments from making laws about seeds and their products, leaving a broad swath of traditionally local rules in the hands of the state. The bill, which didn’t advance in the regular session, has been reintroduced as a bargaining chip in complex negotiations about tax increases and cuts to PERS. Lane County farmers harvested about 71,781 acres and $124.3 million worth of crops in 2012.
While the supposed reason for preempting local control, according to environmental attorney Melissa Wischerath, is to ensure that genetically modified (GM) crops can be grown, SB 633 goes beyond that issue by prohibiting local rules about seeds and their products. This would affect agriculture, nurseries and flower growers as well. Wischerath says SB 633 would affect rules on GM crops, farm stands, types of trees grown in public right of ways, burn days, local food policy councils and more. What’s appropriate in one part of Oregon isn’t always right for another, she says.
Ann Kneeland, a lawyer with Support Local Food Rights, says the bill is written by corporations for corporations. “We see it as part of a national trend that corporations are increasingly running our government,” she says. Model legislation from conservative group ALEC’s summer conference included the Pre-Emption of Local Agriculture Laws Act.
While proponents of SB 633 say that this is a simple shift from local control to state control, Kneeland says that’s just a talking point, and it’s not simply a question of jurisdiction. For example, she says, when the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) addressed the local issue of allowing canola in the Willamette Valley Protected District in the summer of 2013, farmers had to go through the arduous process of getting the ruling reversed to protect their crops from cross-pollination. When it comes to the ODA, Kneeland says, “They have no credibility as experts on local farming and local agriculture.”
Support Local Food Rights is working toward a November 2014 ballot measure banning GM crops locally. The county clerk rejected its original language as too broad for the single-subject test, but SLFR has submitted revised wording and is working with the clerk to make sure it can pass the test.
And here, the latest from Test Biotech:
Today Testbiotech published the first global overview showing how genetically engineered plants such as maize, rice, cotton, oilseed rape, bentgrass and poplar trees are spreading uncontrollably. This is happening in regions and countries such as the USA and Canada, Middle America, Japan, China, Australia and Europe. In many cases, the plants have escaped far beyond the fields into the environment. In some regions, the transgenes have already moved into populations of wild relatives.
The overview was published to coincide with the international conference on coexistence with genetically engineered plants (GMCC), starting today in Lisbon, Portugal. EU Commissioner Toni Borg, who is responsible for market authorisations of these plants, will give a video speech at the conference sponsored by companies such as Monsanto and others.
“Coexistence between genetically engineered crops and biodiversity is not possible if crops are spreading into wild populations without control. Industry is contaminating biodiversity and our future seeds – who will hold them responsible?” says Margarida Silva from the GMO-free Platform in Portugal.
There are various reasons for transgene escape. Apart from commercial cultivation and experimental field trials, losses from the import and transport of viable grains for food and feed production are a source of uncontrolled dispersal. The consequences cannot be reliably predicted, and from the cases documented in the overview it is evident that no prediction can be made on how these plants will behave in the long-term or interact with biodiversity.
“EU Commissioner Tonio Borg who is currently pushing for the authorisation of genetically engineered plants in the EU, should be aware of the consequences of this technology on a global scale”, says Christoph Then for Testbiotech. “We need regulations to ensure that the release of genetically engineered organisms is prohibited unless they can be removed from the environment if required.”
A legal dossier published recently by Testbiotech clearly shows a lack of global regulation. The precautionary principle as established in the European Union can only be implemented if there are effective measures in place to remove genetically engineered organisms from the environment if this is urgently required. But even within the EU, a regulatory framework is needed to clarify how this can be implemented in practice.
* The Testbiotech report “Transgene escape – Global atlas of uncontrolled spread of genetically engineered plants” was realised with the support of the Gregor Louisoder Umweltstiftung, Munich, Germany.
Also, read DV, here, on GMOs. Big $$ and Media Madness — “It’s a Global War Against Activism, Grassroots Movements, Civil Society.”
and Kev Coleman’s piece, here at DV: TTIP &