Organic Trade Association enters legal fray as Monsanto scores another victory

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February 11, 2011 by esarsea

By Chris Hinyub, California Independent Voter Network

“This year we are witnessing the dawn of the Obama-era USDA, one where biotech interests seemingly trump the rule of law. Several genetically engineered crops are being rammed through the regulatory approval process without serious scientific scrutiny or public input in 2011.”

In a genuinely astounding move, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has decided to ignore a court order and continue to allow the planting of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready sugar beets – genetically engineered to withstand the company’s patented herbicide.

This decision came one week after the agency’s highly-controversial assertion that Monsanto’s genetically engineered alfalfa does not need to be commercially restricted in any way.”

Full text here

“CAIVP is a non-profit C4 organization dedicated to the independent-minded voter regardless of their political party affiliation or preference. CAIVP was founded in 2006 as an effort to engage non-partisan voters in California’s policymaking process. CAIVP has focused on ensuring that non-partisan – Decline-to-State (DTS) – voters know their rights under California’s complex primary laws which allow them to vote in most partisan primaries only upon requesting a “Party”- Democrat or Republican – ballot. By educating voters about the steps needed to participate in primary elections, CAIVP has successfully increased DTS turnout in several recent elections.”

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20 thoughts on “Organic Trade Association enters legal fray as Monsanto scores another victory

  1. Jane says:

    This sort of shit is not recent aka Obama era………

    • Stu says:

      It very much is, Jane – although it would have been more accurate to write that the problem “Continues” with the Obama administration, rather than suggest the problem started with the Obama administration. The Monsanto-Washington DC connection existed long before Obama. However, the recent complete deregulation of GMO Roundup Ready Alfalfa, and now GMO Roundup Ready Sugar Beets, did take place under Obama’s watch.

      And as I posted in the last Monsanto piece, Obama recently appointed Michael Taylor as the US Food Safery Czar. Michael Taylor was Monsanto’s VP of Public Policy before that.

    • torqdog says:

      I got the video earlier this week. I WILL try to watch it in entirety this weekend and get back to ya.

  2. Bill says:

    Anytime I see an article about a relationship that’s been going on for decades and decades and now it’s something bad and it’s being pinned on the current administration, regardless of party, I get nervous about sources. So I looked at the writer’s affiliation with CAIVP, his parent organization. Daily Kos threw this up about it:

    *****************
    “Wed Jun 02, 2010 at 08:07 PM EDT.
    California “Independent” Voter Project (CAIVP/CAIVN) Exposed as FRAUD

    “For Californians who have been inundated by political junk mail, I’m sure you’ve all gotten big campaign mailers from CAIVN (or CAIVP: California Independent Voter Network/Project) which promotes itself (and its website) as hosting fair and impartial analysis of the candidates and propositions currently on the California ballot. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? At first their website seems fairly neutral, until you delve into the “articles”, which curiously all have a very carefully soft-pedaled GOP/conservative slant to them.

    “(Prop 16) the “Taxpayers Right to Vote Act” but which, if passed, will really deny to all Californians any say in who provides their electric service and was entirely written and its promotion 99.999% paid for by Pacific Gas & Electric, the state’s largest privately held utility corporation. In fact, PG&E has spent over $50 million dollars promoting this piece of self-serving initiative garbage. I constantly get mailers from Yes on 16, several of them per day sometimes, and they all state, as required by law, “Major funding from Pacific Gas & Electric Company”. It’s typical disgraceful conservative politicking—fool the public into thinking the exact opposite of what they’re pushing. (Don’t just take my word for it.)

    Now suddenly I find myself getting bombarded with giant CAIVN/CAIVP (California Independent Voter Project) postcards, of a design very similar to the “Yes on 16” junk. I went to their website, where all their supposedly “independent” and “non-partisan” articles have a definite, subtle GOP slant, but nowhere could I find any direct link to other causes or parties.”

    ***********************

    As far as Monsanto’s hooks in prior administrations that could have easily had a future-effect on policy and management right up to today’s news:

    First: Monsanto’s lawyer was appointed to the Supreme Court by George Bush, Sr. The deciding swing vote giving the election to George, Jr. was made by Clarence Thomas, Esq.

    Second: Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, was President of Searle Pharmaceuticals purchased by Monsanto.

    Third: Ann Veneman, Secretary of Agriculture was on the board of directors of Calgene Pharmaceuticals, purchased by Monsanto.

    Fourth: Tommy Thompson, Secretary of Health was a supporter of Monsanto in Wisconsin. He received $50,000 from Biotech firms is his election run, and used state funds to set up a a $317 million dollar biotech zone in Wisconsin.

    Fifth: Mitch Daniels, Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Daniels was the vice president of corporate strategy at Eli Lilly Pharmaceutical company. Eli Lilly and Monsanto developed the genetically engineered bovine growth hormone. Lilly “owns” the European “franchise.” Daniels presence insures that the bovine growth hormone will one day be approved for use in Europe.

    Sixth: Last, but not least. John Ashcroft, Attorney General. Winner of the Monsanto PAC sweepstakes.

    What will America’s prize be? ”

    ***********************

    Oh, and I don’t want to forget this one. I’m sure Barry got in to the time-machine, went back and fucked this all up:

    “An executive with Monsanto Co, a leading developer of biotech foods, has been nominated for the second-ranking job at the Environmental Protection Agency, the White House said on Tuesday.

    Linda Fisher, who worked for the EPA for 10 years before heading Monsanto’s Washington lobbying office, was nominated for the post of deputy administrator. Fisher also served on a U.S. Agriculture Department advisory committee on biotech foods.

    The EPA, which regulates plants altered to produce their own pesticides, is also considering whether to renew the registration of Bt corn, cotton and potato varieties that were approved six years ago. The registrations are set to expire in September.”

    ********************

    Uh, that was the GW Bush admin. Like I said, the tone and partisan edge of this gives me headaches, but the genetically-engineered crops problem is real.

    • esarsea says:

      Yep. Bush Sr. (then VP) is shown in that Monsanto movie touring one of Monsanto’s facilities and commenting, “Give me a call, we’re in the deregulation business.”

  3. Stu says:

    BTW I googled Daily Kos and this popped up in the search results:

    Daily Kos :: State of the Nation Feb 4, 2011 … Daily weblog with political analysis on US current events from a liberal perspective.
    http://www.dailykos.com/ – Cached – Similar

    So Kos feels CAIVP is soft-peddling conservative positions. From their liberal perspective, that is. LOL.

    The Monsanto-DC connection has flourished under GHW Bush, Clinton, GW Bush and continues under Obama. No side of the aisle can point at the other. I hope we don’t let politics cloud our ability to see the problem for what it is.

    • Bill says:

      I know, I know, The Daily Kos being liberal causes a burp, but, really, is the information tainted or is it accurate? Is the “independent” CAIVP, the home base for your report, a conservative political front calling itself “independent” while it fronts for entities like P G & E?

      Sounds like it. And Kos is a liberal web site. And Monsanto works very hard to infiltrate and permeate our political process. I’m not trying to gut this story. It’s real. But the responsibility for allowing Monsanto to run wild goes back decades and decades and crosses the aisle back and forth. To use it to bash a 20-month old administration, as if Barry invented bio engineering or his admin was the first to have influential ex-Monsanto executives at the helm of departments is silly. It’s more serious and deep-rooted than that.

      • esarsea says:

        Agreed, and you know I almost didn’t use that article simply because of the fog that I knew the Obama reference would put on the windshield. I probably could have (and should have) found another source reporting on the same issue with a different perspective. I was only trying to show information on the approval of yet another GMO crop.

        I am however more interested in what’s going on now than what happened in the past. Understanding the past’s influence on what is happening today is of value, but we can only oppose the actions of previous administrations philosophically – we can’t stop what has already been done. We can only affect change in the here and now.

      • Jane says:

        very deep rooted
        and unfortunately IMo with the citizens united decision it will be harder and harder to get non-corp candidates elected to make a difference
        with that in place we can at the very least demand the debate commission pick one set of criteria and actually stick to it
        then there is the verifiable voting issue…
        anyway it is scary very scary
        i haven’t watched the video above but many have been reporting this for years
        http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/05/monsanto200805
        http://www.democracynow.org/2010/9/17/percy_schmeiser_vs_monsanto_the_story

      • BIll says:

        Seriously, I don’t care where info comes from if it’s accurate and can be backed up with sources and references that have no political axe to grind. That’s extremely difficult any more because it seems EVERYONE has an opinion or slant or dull axe.

        If I were watching Fox and they reported a plane crash, I would accept the information as fact. But the minute is goes to opinion or an opinion show, it becomes useless to me.

  4. Jane says:

    I put this question up on Science Friday’s facebook page. They asked for questions :” Do you have a question for President Obama’s Science Advisor, John Holdren? Ask it here! We’ll pick the top questions to ask him on the air this Friday.”

    Why has the USDA allowed approval of the GMO alfalfa when the awful irreversible consequences are so well known? Did you advise against this?

    http://sciencefriday.com/

    • Stu says:

      Cool deal. Another thing you can do is write your elected officials about passing legislation requiring labeling of GMO foods.

      There is a link on the main front page of the blog for “Millions against Monsanto” and on that website is a link for sending letters to your representatives. It’s very quick and easy, all you need to do is enter your address and the letter is already written for you. I’ve gotten 2 letters back so far.

      Here’s one response I received:

      Stuart,

      Thank you. I, too, have some concerns about the long-term risks of GMO foods. But let me be candid with you: there is a double mountain to climb. First, the central issue facing the legislature this session is the need to enact huge budget cuts (again). As a practical matter there will not be enough time or attention for the legislature to take up this kind of complex issue — and it is very complex both in scientific and political terms.

      Second, and more fundamentally, the electorate and the legislature are still a long way from being engaged in the issue.

      So here is my suggestion: you or others who are aware and energized are willing might consider organizing a state-wide effort to build awareness and political support. It is going to take that kind of savvy political organizing to move this from concern to action.

      This may not be what you’d hoped to hear but I owe you an honest answer. For my part, I continue to follow the GMO issue and the related science as it evolves.

      Very best wishes,
      Larry

      Rep. Larry Seaquist
      26th Legislative District
      Terra Rose, Legislative Assistant
      360.786-7802 Legislative Office, Olympia Room 132C, Legislative Building, Olympia seaquist.larry@leg.wa.gov

    • Jane says:

      out of 38 other questions posed there, there were two others about this so hopefully it will get asked.

      also regarding alfalfa its not just a crop issue because cows eat it so it ends up in all sorts of food items….

      • Stu says:

        Yes, and no one really knows what will happen with the cross-contamination from all of these GMO crops. When we start messing with nature like this, and introducing genetically modified organisms to our planet, etc.

        There has also been growing concern about the drastic decline in our honeybee population. I’ve got to wonder if transgenic crops have contributed to this.

        I read somewhere that honeybee pollination is responsible for 1/3 of our total diet. Indirectly, it may be much higher than that.

        But something IS killing them.

      • Jane says:

        yeah plus the fact that these crops mainly have sterile seeds so you can’t propogate even them….

  5. Stu says:

    I guess the deal with Monsanto’s seeds are not so much that they are sterile but that you can’t keep them. Monsanto holds a patent on the seeds and if they catch you saving your seeds and replanting, they sue you. You have to rebuy your seeds (much more expensive than regular seeds) from Monsanto every year. And Monsanto plays hardball.

    Watch this 10 minute clip from about the 3:30 mark on. You can fast forward with the slider bar at the bottom of the screen.

  6. Jane says:

    well yeah but if they take over everything and you can’t propagate your own seeds nor grow from theirs….

    anyway here is a good article about why Monsanto always wins
    http://www.truth-out.org/why-monsanto-always-wins67976

    also i couldn’t listen in to science friday last week but read some of the comments. apparently enough people wanted to know about monsanto so they had a rep of theirs on :(
    i’m going to check for a podcast. it would have only been a small portion of the show but i am curious.

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