Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Next Meltdown May Be On Your Dinner Table

Here in France and Europe, the battle is being fought and it seems to be a losing battle because the opposition is insidious. Laws cannot stop a natural process which has been highjacked. The enemy is GMO crops, genetically modified biotech seed protected by the manipulation of the patent system.
The Green Party and other ecological groups have done a very good job of alerting the public to the dangers of GMO crops. Activists like Jose Bove  made headlines and earned jail terms by destroying fields of the crops. Bove ran for the French presidency in the last election and stood trial at the same time.
In America, the GMO biotech corn now being grown for ethanol production has already been shown to be destructive to the land and the genetically altered seed produces pollen which cross fertilizes and corrupts the food species.
The major developer and marketer of this seed is the corporate money vacuuming beast known as Monsanto. I have written a bit about Monsanto and the dangers of GMO biotech plants in the past. Part of the genetic engineering of the plants is the programing of the genetic code so that the seed produced by the plants is not viable. New seed must be bought from the Monsanto distributers each year.
The seed, of course, is marketed as a miracle product. It grows faster  and produces a uniform crop with pest and disease resistance programmed in. The kicker is that Monsanto has patented the genetic code in the seed which they claim gives them the right to prosecute any resulting use of seed produced by another plant that has been pollenated with their genetic material.
They have destroyed fields of cross pollinated rape seed in Canada and prosecuted farmers who happen to be growing crops with seed that their plants have cross bred with. They have been trying to market in Europe and have met with heavy resistance and in spite of pumping millions upon millions of dollars into lobbying efforts, they are meeting with ever stronger resistance from the farmers and the governments.
But Monsanto knows that nature is on their side. Their frankencrops will not obey national boundaries. They are selling billions of dollaras of seeds in India and Africa and destroying the lives and livelihood of hundreds of thousands of small farmers in the process.
In the USA, in January, the Obama administration has unbelievably chosen to approve three new biotech crops patented by Monsanto. Roundup Ready GMO Alfalfa and Sugar Beets and a new corn designed for ethanol production. The administrations approval will make it possible for the new crops to be planted next spring, in spite of widespread acknowledgement that these crops are certain to contaminate both conventional farmers and organic famers non GMO crops. The USDA's approval took place over the massive protests from major food companies who know that that the corn will certainly contaminate and possibly ruin the food they sell you everyday.
This is a blow to democracy and the basic rights of farmers to choose the crops they grow and how they want to grow them and your rights as a consumer to have the ability to choose the quality of the food you want to consume. This is happening as more and more Americans want to support organic and healthful sustainable farming.
In effect, this could be the end of organic farming in the United States.
Here are a few links for the facts on the corn, alfalfa and beets. There is a lot here on why this is so bad, including:
Monsanto's Roundup Ready GMO alfalfa - Jan.27th, 2011- Over the objections of hundreds of thousands of Americans, the White House approved this unnecessary crop - despite the fact that 93% of alfalfa hay grown in the U.S. does not use herbicides and in fact, the genetic contamination with conventional, non-GMO and organic alfalfa threatens the livelihood of tens of thousands of family farmers and the food choices of more than 50 million consumers.
Now Monsanto can legally go into the fields of organic farmers, collect samples and sue farmers if the fields contain any crops contaminated by Genetic material patented by Monsanto.
Monsanto won over Tom Vilsack, the president U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, because of pressure from the White House. 
In effect, Monsanto has a license to print money, issued by Barack Obama who represents a major corn, wheat and alfalfa producing State, Illinois. For more on the relationship between Obama and the agribusiness of corn, read the introductory story in this 2006 profile which Ken Silverstein wrote in Harpers.
You only have to look at photos of Americans of the 1950's and compare them to the see the damage our unhealthy diet has done. The food is killing us. Now that Monsanto has been granted a White House-enabled monopoly to force anyone out of business who is growing grain crops with un patented Monsanto genetically altered seed, the future looks even deadlier.
Is the USA going to be ground zero for an agribusiness, genetically altered food meltdown? The problems that farmers have already had in the mid west with GMO ethanol corn crops and land burn out are a small taste of the uncharted waters we have unwittingly let Monsanto let us drift into. We are playing with the long term effects of evolution for short term profits, or perhaps, the real conspiracy here:
Monsanto is a multinational chameleon like corporate entity whose concept of business has evolved as it has created disasters in chemical and substances, like asbestos. It has gone bankrupt a few times learning how to avoid legal responsibilities for the disasters it has been responsible for. This multinational corporation has evolved into a force which is bigger than governments. This is not about just short term profits, but long term corporate world domination.

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