By Rady Ananda
First, we spit out our coffee over President Obama’s appointments of former Monsanto goon Michael Taylor as Food Safety [sic] Czar and ‘biotech governor of the year’ Tom Vilsack as Secretary of Agriculture. Then we choked on our grits when he made Monsanto lobbyist, Islam Siddiqui, the US Ag Trade Representative. Now, the real food movement has completely lost its appetite with Obama’s nomination of Monsanto defender, Elena Kagan, to the US Supreme Court.
In December 2009, in her capacity as Solicitor General, Kagan intervened in the first case on which SCOTUS will rule involving genetically modified crops, Monsanto v Geertson Seed. She defended Monsanto’s fight to contaminate the environment with its GM alfalfa, not the American people’s right to safe feed and a protected environment.
The lower court ruled that “contamination of organic and conventional alfalfa crops with the genetically engineered gene has occurred and defendants acknowledge as much. Such contamination is irreparable environmental harm.”
That other fields, not those of Geertson Seed, et al., had been contaminated does not bother Kagan. “The district court failed to find either that respondents had suffered or were likely to suffer irreparable harm…”
This flies in the face of reality. The biotech industry has admitted it cannot prevent contamination of natural fields. When Bayer CropScience contaminated nearly a third of the US rice supply with its GM version, its defense lawyers told jurors that “Bayer’s containment protocols were equal to or exceeded industry standards when the test rice escaped into the general supplies.”
If the best containment protocols don’t work, then contamination cannot be prevented. That is clearly an indication that natural crop farmers are “likely to suffer irreparable harm.”
Geertson Seed explains some basic facts about alfalfa and GM contamination:
“Alfalfa is not just a prolific field crop, but feral alfalfa and weedy alfalfa is commonly found beyond the fields by roadways, irrigation canals, backyards and beyond….
“Contamination of conventional alfalfa from genetically engineered alfalfa is a major concern. The primary mode of contamination is from the movement of pollen by bees from plant to plant. Alfalfa is pollinated by many different bees and other insects that fly long distances. Sudden wind gusts like those associated with summer thunder storms can carry pollinators over greater distances. When a pollinator visits an alfalfa plant that has the Roundup Ready (RR) gene inserted, it will pick up the pollen that contains the RR gene and carry it to a distant conventional alfalfa plant. If that pollen fertilizes the blossom of the conventional plant, the resulting seed will contain the RR gene.”
This contamination becomes especially important because contaminated alfalfa will continue to sprout for years: “The seed produced by alfalfa can have 50% or more dormant seed [which] can lay dormant in the soil for many years.”
Glyphosate is one of the most toxic herbicides in use today. Monsanto’s trade name for it is Roundup. Geertson Seed explains that:
“Roundup Ready alfalfa will have a selective advantage over non GE alfalfa and will become the dominant weed variety. In turn, the weedy Roundup Ready alfalfa will be difficult to kill and will become a source of pollen and seed that will contaminate other feral plants and conventional alfalfa seed fields in the area. In a few years, it will be extremely difficult to avoid contamination from GE alfalfa.”
Worse, researchers at the University of Caen found that Monsanto’s particular formulations of glyphosate in Roundup “actually amplified glyphosate’s toxic effects,” which include human cell death.
Kagan seems to believe that the biotech industry’s inability to prevent contamination is not an issue for farmers, the environment or we the people. Her repugnance toward our human right to reject the deployment of genetically engineered crops comports with corporate views.
She earns the M on her forehead, joining Justice Clarence Thomas, a former Monsanto lawyer who corruptly refused to recuse himself from Monsanto v Geertson Seed.
Well, it looks like the deck is stacked against us. The corporation/govt rulers don’t care what we think, they are moving full speed ahead. I am sorry to be so negative, but this reality seems to be so obvious. If I could type this problem away, I might be making some difference. I feel that helpless.
they’re criminals, ecoterrorists and enemies of the people.
it is up to the people to create the society we need and want.
All of Americas Food Crops will Soon Be SCREWED… Plant Your Own Or Die, will be the New Law Of The Land…
These SOB’s Should be Put up against a wall and Shot! For Crimes Against Humanity…
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Rady, thanks for this. They are poisoning our entire food supply. I don’t have enough fingers for all the holes in the dykes/levees that need them.
They too will be poisoned. I guess they believe their own poisonous lies.
They are poisoning our whole food supply. It will mean the entire planet is poisoned.
I guess they believe their own lies
hey, thanks for your comment and for reading this, Sheila.
We have a huge fight on our hands trying to save the earth from corporate interests.
oy, the evil that men do.
Isn’t that the truth, alas
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I don’t know what other record Elena Kagan has on these issues, but I wonder if it’s really fair to paint her with the same brush as long-term Monsanto employees, lobbyists, and lawyers. As
Solicitor General, Ms. Kagan was doing her job. She was representing her clients, which include all departments and agencies under the executive branch, in this case APHIS.
Her personal position is irrelevant. Obama’s personal position is irrelevant. What is relevant is the extent to which these policies and alliances have become entrenched across administrations and political parties.
IMO the only constructive way out is to engage in a civil manner. We need to at least give some benefit of the doubt that there are honest brokers in Washington and in the Administration, and that they may be moved by our honest and impassioned appeals for rationality and fairness, even if only out of enlightened self-interest.
It is also important to shed light on these sorts of public-private relationships and potential conflicts of interest. But I don’t think this kind of vilification will help the cause.
As Solicitor General, Kagan’s job is to defend those of Acts of Congress which are constitutional.
She is supposed to represent the people, not corporate interests.
As to her other positions, she agrees with Bush and Obama that suspects can lose their habeas corpus rights, e.g. indefinite detention without trial.
She is an abomination to freedom along with the rest of the goons in government who continue to support the Patriot Act, kidnapping, torture, assassinating citizens, ad nauseum.
Actually, I was pretty nice to her in this piece since I didn’t get into all these other problems with her.
Technically we’re both right. She is to defend the legal position of any branch of the federal government. Since the federal government (via an authorized agency) ruled that the GM seeds did not constitute a likelihood of irreparable harm, she was duty-bound to defend that position. I don’t like it any more than you do, but that is the reality.
To sum up a lot of my feelings about federal policy: disappointing, but not surprising.
Nonetheless, making a sane, civil, and rational case to the public and to government officials seems to me the most constructive course of action. I grant that outrage has it’s place, but we have to have more. If not Kagan, than whom? Would a truly progressive nominee stand a chance of confirmation?
In other words, the beef should be with USDA/APHIS rather than with Kagan.
nah, I’ve read too many pundits who say she is moving the Court to the right; the last thing we need. (By ‘right’ I mean paternalistic authoritarianism, i.e. Big Bro tells us how to manage every aspect of our life, as if we are children incapable of caring for ourselves without government interference.)
She should be blasted on every single front where she offends the basic principles of freedom, including freedom from monopolies.
Seriously — she rejects the 800-year old habeas corpus!!! Are you kidding me, Jim? She supports tyranny.
She’s a corporatist, thru and thru, and tossed her hat in with them when she chose to defend Monsanto instead Geertson Seed. She could have defended NEPA by supporting Geertson, but chose Monsanto.
She’s one of the devils and we’re not gonna give her a pass.
But realistically, pro-GM has been the bipartisan agenda in Washington for nearly 20 years, so why would the SG suddenly argue against it?
Lincoln and FDR also suspended HC in wartime, so it’s not like there’s no precedent, and it’s not the same as “supporting tyranny.” I don’t agree with her stance on GM or HC, and I would like to see a different nominee put forth, but the horse has left the barn, and Rebublicans in the Senate are her biggest obstacle now.
Maybe my main objection is to labels like “goon,” “devil” and “beast.” Other than that your post deals with the issues and is quite informative. I just don’t think the labels are constructive if you want your position to be taken seriously in the greater political realm.
But then I’m interested in sharing ideas, fostering mutual understanding, and finding creative solutions rather than raising my hands in despair.
ha! It’s all about money and power. You mustn’t know yourself or people in general. Civil???
What the people in power (our public servants–HA!!!!) protecting this
kind of behavior of the Bigs who want us not even to be able to grow our own food.
this isn’t civil–its really an intensification of the original war!
To destroy man, make him null and void
with “toxic food” that they are “developing”. (Watch Food Inc. dude)
This Food is designed for malnourishment and killing by slow death.
There needs to be people elected that won’t cowtow to the machine–not dems or repubs
but honest as you say enlightened folks. Even the sleaze bags in my city that are self serving are the ones in local politics
and when an honest person tries and gets elected the paper and TV paint him or her out to be a bad guy while there cronies try to steal billions on hush hush “development deals”
Seen this first hand–several times. And beyond local govt. least we know since Kennedy No potus has the will to stand up against it–or the integrity. There’s too much money in it!
If you’re really not just a partisan ass kisser for the “leftright” or a paid blogger for Monsanto then you’ll have to admit that to yourself.
I’ve appreciate what you’re saying. I’ve seen Food Inc. Not much in it I haven’t known for 10 years. Not so sure about the mission to “destroy man.” Control, yes. Nothing new there. It’s always been all about the money. No need for a conspiracy theory when greed and shortsightededness explain it so well. The only thing that stands up to the money is righteous resistance, ala Ghandi, King, Mandela. We’re all grasping for ways to get the message out, and I feel it’s possible, maybe even necessary, to do so in a way that doesn’t scream “wingnut!” But to each their own.
Mr. Brewster, How calm would you stay if someone drop a poison pill in your drink right now??? “Well, I’ll drink this for now, then drop a note in the mail to my Senator later”? I’m sorry folks, but we all have our limit. Out of ALL the horrible things that have, and are, being done to us and our country, THIS ISSUE sends me totally over the edge! How can ANYBODY with half a brain not see and know that GM foods are DANGEROUS to us now and the earth for the future???????? Mad scientists have taken over. It’s so unbelievable!! They think they can mess with Mother Nature, the perfectly created ecosystem, and NOTHING bad happens?? It sends shivers down my spine!
Check newly released research from Russia:
Okay, Miss American, what’s your proposal? How are you going to get the powerful people to notice?
To answer your first question, staying calm keeps me sane. I do what I can, try to avoid processed food, try to get the word out, and hope this gets reined in before we have to send the Army out to pull up rogue GM soybeans. Already the number of glyphosate resistant weeds is threatening to render Roundup-ready crops obsolete. Bt resistant insects will probably show up soon.
I also find it interesting that Geertson’s main objection to RRA was that glyphosate is the preferred method for killing alfalfa (i.e. for rotation purposes), and that is not an option with RRA.
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