The American Bear

Sunshine/Lollipops

eyesdriftskyward:

Japan and South Korea suspended some imports of American wheat, and the European Union urged its 27 nations to increase testing, after the United States government disclosed this week that a strain of genetically engineered wheat that was never approved for sale was found growing in an Oregon field.

Although none of the wheat, developed by Monsanto Company, was found in any grain shipments — and the Department of Agriculture said there would be no health risk if any was shipped — governments in Asia and Europe acted quickly to limit their risk.

South Korea, which last year purchased roughly half of its total wheat imports of five million tons from the United States, said Friday it would suspend purchases until tests were performed on arriving shipments. Results of the tests, by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, were expected in the first week of June, according to local media.

Seoul also raised quarantine measures on wheat for livestock feed, while Thailand put ports on alert.

The European Union, which has a “zero tolerance” approach to genetically modified crops, said through its consumer protection office Friday that if any shipments tested positive, they would not be sold.

It also said it was seeking “further information and reassurance” from Washington and had asked Monsanto for help in developing a reliable test for the genetically modified strain.

The New York Times, “Japan and South Korea Bar Imports of U.S. Wheat” (via inothernews)

Supreme Court won’t let farmer dodge Monsanto’s seed patents | Ars Technica

A long-lasting court fight over patented soybeans is over, and agribusiness giant Monsanto has won.

In a decision issued today, the US Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that Monsanto must be allowed to patent its seeds—and it must be able to punish farmers who try to dodge the patents.

Farmers are compelled to sign a patent agreement when they buy Monsanto’s Roundup Ready herbicide-resistant soybeans, promising that they won’t use the seeds to produce additional crops. A small-time Indiana farmer, Vernon Bowman, tried to avoid signing that agreement by simply buying a batch of undifferentiated “bin grain” from a grain elevator. Bowman went ahead and sprayed his crops with glyphosate, knowing that because Monsanto’s genetically altered seed has become ubiquitous in the food supply, around 90 percent of soybeans would have the Roundup Ready trait that provides resistance to that herbicide.

HR933 "Monsanto Protection Act" | Not the Singularity

HR 933 was signed into law on Tuesday, called the ”Monsanto Protection Act”. This bill was suppose to be a simple spending bill but section 735 of the bill made it impossible for you or me to sue Monsanto if we get sick from their genetically modified crops. I want to scream at the Republicans for sending Sen. Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, to craft the provision with the help of Monsanto itself. I want to kick the ass of the Democrats like Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski who turned her “back on consumers” according to Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety,

“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. 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.”

250k+ people signed a petition opposing the provision and Food Democracy Now protesters even took to the streets on Pennsylvania avenue but this did nothing to disuade President Barack Obama from signing HR 933 into law.

Vandana Shiva on Int’l Women’s Day: “Capitalist Patriarchy Has Aggravated Violence Against Women” | Democracy Now!

Two hundred and seventy thousand Indian farmers have committed suicide since Monsanto entered the Indian seed market. That’s more than a quarter-million. It’s a genocide. And every farmer who commits suicide leaves behind a widow. For me, this is a prime example of violence against women through violent economic means.”

One Nation, Under Monsanto | Paul Craig Roberts

In the United States everything is polluted.

Democracy is polluted with special interests and corrupt politicians.

Accountability is polluted with executive branch exemptions from law and the Constitution and with special legal privileges for corporations, such as the Supreme Court given right to corporations to purchase American elections.

The Constitution is polluted with corrupt legal interpretations from the Bush and Obama regimes that have turned constitutional prohibitions into executive branch rights, transforming law from a shield of the people into a weapon in the hands of government.

Waters are polluted with toxic waste spills, oil spills, chemical fertilizer run-off with resulting red tides and dead zones, acid discharges from mining with resulting destructive algae such as prymnesium parvum, from toxic chemicals used in fracking and with methane that fracking releases into wells and aquifers, resulting in warnings to homeowners near to fracking operations to open their windows when showering.

The soil’s fertility is damaged, and crops require large quantities of chemical fertilizers. The soil is polluted with an endless array of toxic substances and now with glyphosate, the main element in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide with which GMO crops are sprayed.

Glyphosate now shows up in wells, streams and in rain.

Air is polluted with a variety of substances, and there are many large cities in which there are days when the young, the elderly, and those suffering with asthma are warned to remain indoors.

All of these costs are costs imposed on society and ordinary people by corporations that banked profits by not having to take the costs into account. This is the way in which unregulated capitalism works. [continue]

Because there was no agriculture or horticulture or cultivation before the patent system | Corrente

John Roberts* during oral arguments in Bowman v. Monsanto:

Chief Justice Roberts: Why in the world would anybody spend any money to try to improve the seed if as soon as they sold the first one anybody could grow more and have as many of those seeds as they want?

And there you have it.

What we’re up against. It’s all about the rents, baby!

thepeoplesrecord:

Peru’s Congress approves 10-year GMO ban
November 13, 2012

Peru’s Congress announced Friday it overwhelmingly approved a 10-year moratorium on imports of genetically modified organisms in order to safeguard the country’s biodiversity.

The measure bars GMOs — including seeds, livestock, and fish — from being imported for cultivation or to be raised locally.

Exceptions include the use of GMO products for research purposes in a closed environment, but those will be closely monitored, the legislature’s official news service said.

The bill, approved late Thursday, now goes to President Ollanta Humala to be signed into law. Humala, who has been in power since late July, has repeatedly said he opposes GM programs.

According to the Agriculture Ministry, Peru is one of the world’s leading exporters of organic food, including coffee and cocoa, with $3 billion a year in revenues and 40,000 certified producers.

Congress approved a similar 10-year moratorium in June, but outgoing president Alan Garcia, who was seen as being favorable to GM, did not ratify the ban.

There was friction over GM in the previous government’s ministries of agriculture and environment.

The head of Peru’s Consumer Agency, Jaime Delgado, said the moratorium is long enough to learn from scientific studies that will emerge on the effects of GMO products.

The country’s leading group representing farmers and ranchers, the National Agrarian Convention, said that by this measure Peru “defends its biodiversity, its agriculture, its gastronomy and its health.”

Source

Meanwhile in the US, GMO labeling alone has not even been enacted at the national, state or local levels.

(Source: thepeoplesrecord)

In a controversial move seen by many as proof that Monsanto meddled in Paraguay’s domestic affairs, the Franco government has approved the cultivation of genetically modified corn and cotton. On August 6, Paraguay’s Health and Social Welfare Ministry’s sanctioned the genetically modified (GM) corn VT Triple Pro, produced by the U.S.-based transnational corporation Monsanto. Peasant organizations oppose the decision as ‘a direct attack against peasant culture and food sovereignty.’

Monsanto corn and cotton, an ‘attack to sovereignty’ in Paraguay

Well of course it meddled in their affairs!!! That is one of the things Monsanto does, the corporation is brilliant at that. And our government is even more brilliant at supporting their efforts! Too bad it is the ”peasants” who are the only ones smart enough to know this is an attack on their food sovereignty.

(via stopkillingourworld)

(via queerencia-deactivated20130103)

New report: Monsanto pesticides do more damage than good, costing tax payers billions

climateadaptation:

Solid reporting on this one.

Superweeds, Superpests: The Legacy of Pesticides

“The rapid adoption of a single weed-killer for the vast majority of crops harvested in the United States has given rise to superweeds and greater pesticide use, a new study suggests. And while crops engineered to manufacture an insect-killing toxin have reduced the use of pesticides in those fields, the emergence of newly resistant insects now threatens to reverse that trend.

Farmers spray the herbicide glyphosate, widely sold under the Monsanto brand Roundup, on fields planted with seeds that are genetically engineered to tolerate the chemical. Found in 1.37 billion acres of corn, soybeans, and cotton planted from 1996 through 2011, this “Roundup Ready” gene was supposed to reduce or eliminate the need to till fields or apply harsher chemicals, making weed control simple, flexible, cheap, and less environmentally taxing.

In fact, this system has led farmers to use a greater number of herbicides in higher volumes, according to the study, published this week in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Sciences Europe.”

NYTimes

(via randomactsofchaos)

In addition to Franco’s work with RTA, his administration has also allowed Monsanto an expanded presence in Paraguay. Such a move will worsen the existing crisis in the countryside, an area ravaged by soy plantations and pesticides, and where just 2% of landowners control 80% of the land. In the lead-up to the coup, Lugo and his administration resisted the use of Monsanto’s GMO cotton seeds in the country. Yet just after taking power, the Franco administration threw government critics of the plan out of office, and moved ahead to approve the use of the controversial seeds in the country. Paraguay’s Bitter Harvest: Monsanto and Rio Tinto Reap Benefits From Coup Government

So, I’ll ask the question, did they also invest in the coup? 

(via stopkillingourworld)

All signs point to yes.

(via queerencia-deactivated20130103)

Monsanto's Sneak Attack on Organic and Non-GMO Farmers

humanformat:

Monsanto is using its money and influence to push Congress to attach a rider to the 2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill that would effectively end judicial review of approvals of new genetically engineered crops.

If this rider (Sec. 733) isn’t removed, organic and non-GMO farmers will lose their access to the court system and they’ll have no recourse when the U.S. Department of Agriculture illegally approves new genetically engineered crops that threaten to contaminate their fields and seed supplies.

Monsanto’s sneak attack is a response to successful lawsuits brought by the Center for Food Safety on behalf of organic and non-GMO farmers and seed growers that have attempted to block planting of genetically engineered sugar beets and alfalfa while the USDA conducted a court-ordered review of the dangers of contamination.

A vote to remove Monsanto’s rider from the Agriculture Appropriations bill was expected this week, but now has been delayed until after Congress returns from their July 4th recess. Let’s use this time to spread the word and send tens of thousands of letters to Congress!

Take Action

Fuck. Monsanto.

(Source: speakerforthetrees, via queerencia-deactivated20130103)

5 Million Brazilian farmers win $2 billion judgment against Monsanto

Five million Brazilian farmers have taken on US based biotech company Monsanto through a lawsuit demanding return of about 6.2 billion euros taken as royalties from them.

The farmers are claiming that the powerful company has unfairly extracted these royalties from poor farmers because they were using seeds produced from crops grown from Monsanto’s genetically engineered seeds, reports Merco Press.

In April this year, a judge in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, ruled in favor of the farmers and ordered Monsanto to return royalties paid since 2004 or a minimum of $2 billion. The ruling said that the business practices of seed multinational Monsanto violate the rules of the Brazilian Cultivars Act (No. 9.456/97).

Monsanto has appealed against the order and a federal court ruling on the case is now expected by 2014.

About 85% of Brazil’s massive soyabean crop output is produced from genetically engineered seeds. Brazil exports about $24.1 billion worth of soyabeans annually, more than a quarter of its total agri-exports.

Farmers say that they are using seeds produced many generations after the initial crops from the genetically modified Monsanto seeds were grown. Farmers claim that Monsanto unfairly collects exorbitant profits every year worldwide on royalties from “renewal” seed harvests. Renewal crops are those that have been planted using seed from the previous year’s harvest. Monsanto disagrees, demanding royalties from any crop generation produced from its genetically-engineered seed. Because the engineered seed is patented, Monsanto not only charges an initial royalty on the sale of the crop produced, but a continuing two per cent royalty on every subsequent crop, even if the farmer is using a later generation of seed.

The first transgenic soy seeds were illegally smuggled into Brazil from neighboring Argentina in 1998 and their use was banned and subject to prosecution until the last decade, according to the state-owned Brazilian Enterprise for Agricultural Research (EMBRAPA). The ban has since been lifted and now 85 percent of the country’s soybean crop (25 million hectares or 62 million acres) is genetically modified, Alexandre Cattelan, an EMBRAPA researcher told Merco Press. Brazil is the world’s second largest producer and exporter of soyabean. China is one of its biggest buyers.

“Monsanto gets paid when it sell the seeds. The law gives producers the right to multiply the seeds they buy and nowhere in the world is there a requirement to pay (again). Producers are in effect paying a private tax on production,” Jane Berwanger, lawyer for the farmers told the media agencies.

(Source: pulsarae, via queerencia-deactivated20130103)