‘Monsanto Protection Act’ Sneaks Through Congress

Monsanto is quite possibly the most unabashedly evil and yet curiously invulnerable company on this planet.  Their ‘development’ work around the globe has worked only to make the company money while disenfranchising local peoples from their resources, land, and wealth, leading to what has been termed the “GM Genocide” in India.  AlJazeera reports, “300,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide since 1995 after being driven into insurmountable debt by neoliberal economics and the conquest of Indian farmland by Monsanto’s Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton.”  Convincing farmers that they needed GM seeds to increase yields and ‘fight hunger’, Monsanto has made a fortune selling seeds, pesticides, and equipment to farmers who then sell their produce back to the company.  However, the expensive investments into GM crops more often than not were huge failures, leading to crippling debt and more than 1,000 farmers committing suicide each month as a result.

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Now, this frighteningly powerful and reproachable company will be protected from litigation should their GM seeds cause any ill health effects.  RT reports:

The US House of Representatives quietly passed a last-minute addition to the Agricultural Appropriations Bill for 2013 last week – including a provision protecting genetically modified seeds from litigation in the face of health risks.

The rider, which is officially known as the Farmer Assurance Provision, has been derided by opponents of biotech lobbying as the “Monsanto Protection Act,” as it would strip federal courts of the authority to immediately halt the planting and sale of genetically modified (GMO) seed crop regardless of any consumer health concerns.

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This rider should have gone through the Agricultural or Judiciary Committees for review, but this never occurred. Most Democrats were unaware of the provision prior to the approval of HR 993, the short-term funding bill approved to avoid a government shutdown.  Tacked on to this larger bill, the “Farmer Assurance Provision” snuck through in what is being called a “backroom deal”.  And really, is it any surprise? Companies like Syngenta Corp, Cargill, and Monsanto have donated $7.5 million to members of Congress since 2009, and $372,000 to members of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  Luckily the bill has a six-month expiration period, and Food Democracy Now has started a campaign to urge Obama to veto the bill.  This seems unlikely, but is certainly worth the fight.

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12 Comments on “‘Monsanto Protection Act’ Sneaks Through Congress”

  1. Systemic Disorder March 27, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    Monsanto’s goal is nothing less than to control the world’s food supply. What could be more dangerous than that?

    • markus March 27, 2013 at 8:00 pm #

      A monopoly on the food supply and immunity from prosecution? Deadly. How can we allow companies like that to exsit?

      • andhastings March 28, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

        This is a clear example of the Government NOT working in the best interest of the people. What’s worse is that you can barely find any mention of this on any major news site.

      • utopiandreaming March 28, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

        Precisely, it’s a “backroom deal” in every sense of the phrase. People need to *look* to find out about things like this, and even when they do find out, there are few channels for collective resistance. This should definitely be a contested move, though.

    • jpgreenword March 29, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

      “What could be more dangerous than that?”

      Control over the world’s water supply.

      However, I agree with your point 🙂

      • Systemic Disorder March 29, 2013 at 9:15 pm #

        Maybe we shouldn’t give them any more ideas. Gulp.

      • jpgreenword March 29, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

        (Laugh!)

        True. Unfortunately, it is already happening – in poor and rich countries.

  2. flyingbirdman March 28, 2013 at 4:30 am #

    My brother is a Organic farmer from Punjab,India.He is a lone hero trying to wake people up from the evils of GM and Monsanto.India’s green revolution of 1970’s,use of pesticides,modified grains all seems to be connected…Farmers are dying due to overuse of pesticides in my native state.Punjab government is corrupt and is lobbying hard for Monsanto.Check out my brothers page – http://tinyurl.com/buzvdhv

    • utopiandreaming March 28, 2013 at 11:38 am #

      Thank you very much for sharing, your brother sounds inspirational and everyone should be supporting his cause. He has some very interesting things up on his page as well– an Organic Vs. Conventional vitamin/mineral chart for example. The ‘Green Revolution’ is absolutely connected to the inequality and poor soil/health conditions we’re seeing today.

  3. jpgreenword March 29, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

    I strongly believe that this is another example of the problems with how elections are funded. Politicians are loyal to those that pay their bills and get them re-elected. If that is US, the tax-payers, then they will be loyal to us. Get rid of lobbying. Get rid of donations.
    Elections should be publicly funded, by tax dollars. And if individuals want to donate, that money should be put in a pot and divided equally among all political parties. Otherwise, you do not have a true democracy. The simple fact that I do not have the financial resources to donate to a political party makes my voice less powerful than that of some who does have the resources to donate. And that isn’t right.

    • utopiandreaming March 29, 2013 at 9:07 pm #

      “Otherwise, you do not have a true democracy.” <– Very, very good point. Being reduced to citizen consumers is completely anti-democratic. As long as lobbying persists, what is socially and environmentally necessary will be brushed aside and the government will only be in service of capital, not constituents.

      • jpgreenword March 29, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

        When a student asks me why we don’t have better policies when it comes to climate change, I tell them that Exxon Mobil, in 2011, averaged $5,000,000 in PROFITS per HOUR. Meanwhile, a group like the David Suzuki Foundation has an annual BUDGET of around $7,000,000 (and that includes a lot of donations). Who has more money to influence consumers through advertising? Who has more money for lobbyists?

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