Monsanto Protection Act Proves Corporations More Powerful Than US Government


 

 

Major Tự Đức Phang was exposed to dioxin-conta...

Major Tự Đức Phang was exposed to dioxin-contaminated Agent Orange (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

We’ve seen similar scenarios in the past, events in which the massive financial power of multi-national corporations is able to buy out legislators who were elected to ‘represent’ voters. But now, Monsanto has set the bar even higher. Instead of just getting a few kickbacks or avoiding USDA regulation, Monsanto lobbyists have gone as far as to generate legislative inclusions into a new bill that puts Monsanto above the federal government.

 

It’s called the Monsanto Protection Act among activists and concerned citizens who have been following the developments on the issue, and it consists of a legislative ‘rider’ inside (Farmer Assurance Provision, Sec. 735) a majority-wise unrelated Senate Continuing Resolution spending bill. You may already be aware of what this rider consists of, but in case not you will likely be blown away by the tenacity of Monsanto lobbyist goons.

 

If this rider passes with the bill, which could be as early as this week, Monsanto would have complete immunity from federal courts when it comes to their ability to act against any new Monsanto GMO crops that are suspected to be endangering the public or the environment (or considered to be planted illegally by the USDA). We’re talking about courts that literally can do nothing to Monsanto if it’s found that their newest creation may be promoting cancer, for example. Whether it’s a GMO banana or an apple, Monsanto could continue planting the food abomination all it wants under court review.

 

Food Democracy Now has launched a petition on the subject, explaining:

 

“The Monsanto Protection Act would strip judges of their constitutional mandate to protect consumer rights and the environment, while opening up the floodgates for the planting of new untested genetically engineered crops.”

 

What really enraged Monsanto was the incident back in 2010, when a federal judge actually revoked Monsanto’s approval to plant GMO sugar beets due to environmental concerns. This is exactly what Monsanto intends to stop, literally becoming more powerful than federal courts in their conquest to monopolize the entire food chain.

Monsanto Overcomes US Government

 

Monsanto has literally gotten away with murder ever since it was founded way back in 1901. Very few people actually realize the history of this company. Not many activists realize that this is the same company that was responsible, along with Dow Agrosciences, for creating Agent Orange. Created for the US military to be used during Vietnam as a ‘defoliant’ (really used for incognito chemical warfare operations which affected both allied and enemy troops), the concoction that was Agent Orange consisted of a medley of highly toxic ingredients including dioxin — a type of toxic substance considered to be one of the deadliest on the planet.

 

Agent Orange, from Monsanto, killed 400,000 people and led to 500,000 children born with troubling birth defects. And in addition to those stats 1 million were rendered disabled or at least suffer from health issues from Agent Orange exposure. This includes US soldiers.

 

So what happened to Monsanto after they designed a ‘defoliant’ that was actually a deadly chemical weapon that killed, maimed, and ruined lives of innocents and US soldiers? Monsanto issued a truly heart-felt statement that their Agent Orange wasn’t really that dangerous despite all of the evidence that is now accepted as fact:

 

Oh, and they settled for what amounts to chump change in order to silence the dying veterans, paying 45% of the 180 million dollar payout in order to make the veterans drop the charges. Then, of course, they eventually went on to make genetically modified crops and take over 90 plus percent of the GM seed market. A market that they have actually cornered by patenting their seeds, which India calls ‘biopiracy’. Before that, they mass produced plastics that we now know are morphing the hormones of consumers.

 

But let’s also not forget that Monsanto has so many ties inside the US government that it has managed to slip into a very comfortable position. Former Vice President for Public Policy at Monsanto, Michael Taylor ultimately became a major head the FDA. Before that, Taylor conveniently worked specifically on Monsanto’s “food and drug law” practices. Specifically in regards to Monsanto’s cloned rBGH. But remember, this was before Monsanto decided to go for a more ‘blatant’ route.

 

Now, instead of just operating in the shadows, Monsanto is pushing a much bolder move with the Monsanto Protection Act. It not only sets a troubling precedent for Monsanto, but also for other bloated multi-national corporations that want to obtain higher authority and immunity from US courts. –

 

 

 

See more at: http://www.riseearth.com/2013/03/monsanto-protection-act-proves.html#more

 

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Monsanto’s Deep Roots In Washington


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By Russ Choma

 
It’s planting season, which brings to mind one of the most ubiquitous names in agribusiness: Monsanto

Love it or hate it — and there are plenty of people on either side — the company controls much of the agricultural market, and also sells products for the suburban yard such as the weed-killer Roundup. Roundup is the core of Monsanto’s agricultural breakthrough: The company produces genetically modified seeds that are resistant to the herbicide, making it easy for farmers to spray whole fields of soy or corn and kill only the weeds. Food production made easy.
On the flip side, environmentalists and organic food fans maintain there are too many unknowns and potential dangers involved with genetic modification. Monsanto, which last year had revenues of $11.8 billion, has become their bogeyman.

But such efforts as grassroots petitions and proposed legislation to require at least the labeling of genetically modified food have thus far withered on the vine next to Monsanto’s deeply rooted Washington presence, which has proved resistant to most lines of attack.

According to OpenSecrets.org data, in the first three months of this year, Monsanto spent$1.4 million lobbying Washington — and spent about $6.3 million total last year, more than any other agribusiness firm except the tobacco company Altria.

Monsanto’s interests in Washington are diverse. It lobbied bills ranging from the American Research and Competitiveness Act of 2011, which would extend tax credits for companies doing research, to several bills that would change the way the Department of Homeland Security handles security at chemical facilities — chemicals being a big part of Monsanto’s product portfolio.

And just as important as Monsanto’s legislative agenda for 2011 and 2012 is its regulatory one: the company’s lobbying reports list the departments and agencies it visited to talk to federal bureaucrats and appointees as they wrote rules to implement and enforce Congress’ handiwork. That explains why Monsanto reports having lobbied the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, theEnvironmental Protection Agency and many other executive branch offices.

The FDA currently is the target of a petition signed by more than 1 million people, according to a sponsor known as Just Label It, asking the agency to require that genetically engineered food be labeled as such. The petition, sponsored by a coalition of environmental and food groups, is an attempt by activists to make an end-run around Monsanto’s Washington operation — a necessity because their lobbying dollars pale in comparison to the cash spent by Monsanto and others in the industry. For instance, one of the coalition members, the Environmental Working Group, has spent just $82,000 on lobbying this year — or about 5 percent of Monsanto’s total.

“The power of Monsanto, whether in the halls of Washington, or in farm country, should not be ignored,” said Environmental Working Group spokesman Alex Formuzis. “Monsanto comes armed with some of the deepest pockets and a bench of influential lobbyists, which makes the coalition’s efforts over GMO labeling on behalf of consumers a very tough fight indeed.”

Another upcoming matter of great interest to Monsanto: the new farm bill, an omnibus piece of legislation that sets the nation’s agricultural policy and deals with nearly every aspect of the country’s farming and food industries. The current bill expires in 2013; when it went through Congress, Monsanto filed more lobbying reports on it than any other organization. The process of piecing together a new proposal is already well under way.

The company’s access to members of Congress who are likely to be key in shaping the final legislation may be eased by the contributions of its very active PAC, the Monsanto Citizenship Fund. Already this cycle it has spent $383,000. The biggest recipient of that money so far is Rep. Frank D. Lucas (R-Okla.) who has received $20,000 from Monsanto’s PAC — $10,000 for his campaign committee and $10,000 for his leadership PAC. Lucas happens to be the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee — no farm-related legislation is passed without his say-so.

Monsanto has hedged its investment with the agriculture committee, though — it also gave $13,500 to Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), the top-ranking Democrat on the committee. So far this election cycle, Monsanto’s PAC has given $77,500 to 17 members of the House agriculture committee, or their leadership PACs.

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