America elections – Winning #Obama


#winning

Posted by Melissa McEwan at Wednesday, November 07, 2012, at http://www.shakesville.com/
image of First Lady Michelle Obama, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Dr. Jill Biden onstage at the Team Obama victory rally last night, raising their arms in celebration as red, white, and blue confetti falls around them
WIN: President Barack Obama was reelected.

WIN: Relatedly, terrible plutocrat Mitt Romney lost.

WIN: Voters in Maryland, Maine, and Washington (projected) break a 32-state losing streak and legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote.

WIN: Voters in Minnesota vote down a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

WIN: The 113th Congress will have a record number of female senators: 20. Sixteen of them are Democrats; four are Republicans.

WIN: Elizabeth Warren (MA) is one of them. Elizabeth Warren won.

WIN: Mazie Hirono (HI) is also one of them. She is the first Asian American female senator!

WIN: Tammy Baldwin (WI) is also one of them, defeating popular Republican Tommy Thompson in the Wisconsin Senate race, making her both Wisconsin’s first female senator and the first openly gay member of the US Senate. Said Baldwin: “I am well aware that I will have the honour to be Wisconsin’s first woman US senator, and I am well aware that I will be the first openly gay member of the United States Senate, but I didn’t run to make history. I ran to make a difference. But in choosing me to tackle those problems the people of Wisconsin have made history.”

WINClaire McCaskill (MO) is also one of them, defeating the loathsome anti-choice rape apologistTodd Akin.

WIN: In Indiana, Democrat Joe Donnelly beat the loathsome anti-choice rape apologist Richard Mourdock in their race for the US Senate.

WIN: In Washington, Democrat Suzan DelBene beat the loathsome anti-choice rape apologist John Koster in their race for seat in the state congress.

WIN: In Illinois, Tammy Duckworth beat the loathsome anti-choice rape apologist Joe Walsh in their race for the US House of Representatives. Duckworth, who lost both legs serving in Iraq, is the first female war veteran with disabilities elected to the US Congress.

WIN: US voters chose women of color, women with disabilities, women who are gay, pro-choice women, and rejected men who minimize rape.

WIN: New Hampshire became the first state in the nation to have an all-female Congressional delegation: Two female senators and two female representatives. Their newly elected governor is also a woman.

WIN: Colorado and Washington voters legalized marijuana for recreational use. Massachusetts voters legalized marijuana for medical use.

WIN: A majority of US voters support legal abortion, and voted accordingly.

WIN: A majority of US voters rejected bigotry and reelected our African American President.

WIN: US voters rejected voter suppression efforts and often withstood long lines and shady disincentives to vote. vote. vote.

That is not a comprehensive list. And there were also some disappointments. Some state initiatives passed that are shitty. Indiana’s new governor is Mike Pence, and we certainly aren’t the only state who elected a gross conservative to a statehouse or Congress in a hard-won race.

But it was a big night. A big night for progress. A broad mandate.

I hope the President hears the roar of his progressive base. I hope he knows what a difference it made when he spoke out in favor of marriage equality. I hope he governs like a person who won because of people who expect more.

I hope we all muster the strength and sustain the will to urge him ever forward.

 

How Monsanto Is Sabotaging Efforts to Label Genetically Modified Food


Lobbyists from the biotech industry are ardently opposing GMO labeling.
June 26, 2012  |

Photo Credit: illuminating9_11

As the 2012 Farm Bill continues to take shape in the halls of the United States Congress, the immense influence of corporate interests is on display.

On June 21 the United States Senate voted overwhelmingly against the Sanders Amendment that would have allowed states to pass legislation that required food and beverage products to label whether or not they contain genetically engineered ingredients.

The amendment, proposed by Independent Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, is particularly relevant as many states prepare to vote on a ballot initiatives that would require such labelling of genetically modified (GM) foods.

Lobbyists from the biotech industry have ardently opposed GMO labelling. These opponents argue that because food labelling has historically been handled by the Food and Drug Association (FDA), it is a federal issue and, therefore, individual states do not have the right to implement such legislation. Indeed, in the case of Vermont, Sanders’ home state, Monsanto successfully intimidated the state legislature from voting on a bill that would have required GMO labelling.

Patty Lovera, the assistant director of Food and Water Watch, explained that states planning to vote on GM labelling in November could face a legal fight to defend their right to enact such laws.

“However, this amendment would have taken this threat away,” Lovera told IPS.

In a move heralded by food advocates, Sanders introduced amendment 2310 on June 14 this year, after his own state legislature backed out of voting on the popular bill, H.722, also known as the Vermont Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.

Vermont lawmakers allowed the bill to stall – and ultimately die – in the Vermont House Agriculture Committee in April, after a representative from biotech giant, Monsanto, threatened to sue the state if the bill passed.
Significantly, the Senate vote, 73-26, did not fall along partisan lines, with 28 Democrats voting against the Sanders Amendment.

Lovera emphasised that the powerful biotech lobby informs how politicians vote. “This doesn’t happen overnight, this is a result of years and years of lobbying and pressure from the biotech industry,” she said.

In a report published in November 2010, Food and Water Watch revealed that the largest food and agricultural biotechnology firms and trade associations spent a total of 572 million dollars on campaign contributions and lobbying over the course of ten years.

Importance of Labelling

The Senate vote comes amidst near global agreement that there is a need for GMO labelling.

Codex Alimentarius, the food safety arm of the United Nations, concluded last year after nearly 18 years of debate, that countries were free to label goods as containing genetically engineered ingredients and that labelling of genetically-modified organisms would indeed help inform consumers’ choices.

“GMO labels are a risk management measure to deal with any scientific uncertainty,” said Dr. Michael Hansen, a senior scientist with the Consumers Union, who has been a long-time advocate for mandatory testing and labelling of genetically engineered (GE) foods.

“Labelling is the only way to track unintended effects,” Hansen said. “How can you know what you are allergic to if you do not know you are eating GMO’s?”

In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Association’s hands-off approach to regulating genetically engineered foodstuffs runs contrary to international standards. Currently the U.S. is the only developed country that does not require safety testing for GE plants. However, the Codex Alimentarius instructs countries to conduct safety assessments of all GE plants.
According to testimony written by Dr. Hansen, “This means the U.S. cannot meet the global standards for safety assessment of GE foods. Consequently, countries that require food safety assessments for GE foods could block shipment of such GE foods from the U.S.”

Recent polls conducted by MSNBC and Thompson Reuters found that between 93 and 96 percent of the American public believe genetically engineered foods should be labeled as such.

California’s GMO labelling initiative collected close to one million signatures, doubling over the requisite 500,000 signatures to secure a place on the November ballot, and the FDA received over 850,000 letters in support of labelling GE food.

Voting as they did, the U.S. Senate did not in any way reflect the desires of their constituents or reflect the guidance of food experts.

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