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Monsanto Protection Act

ravinjunkie

TRIBE Member
The "Monsanto Protection Act" is the name opponents of the Farmer Assurance Provision have given to this terrifying piece of policy, and it's a fitting moniker given its shocking content.
President Barack Obama signed a spending bill, HR 933, into law on Tuesday that includes language that has food and consumer advocates and organic farmers up in arms over their contention that the so-called "Monsanto Protection Act" is a giveaway to corporations that was passed under the cover of darkness.

There's a lot being said about it, but here are five terrifying facts about the Farmer Assurance Provision -- Section 735 of the spending bill -- to get you acquainted with the reasons behind the ongoing uproar:



1.) The "Monsanto Protection Act" effectively bars federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of controversial genetically modified (aka GMO) or genetically engineered (GE) seeds, no matter what health issues may arise concerning GMOs in the future. The advent of genetically modified seeds -- which has been driven by the massive Monsanto Company -- and their exploding use in farms across America came on fast and has proved a huge boon for Monsanto's profits.

But many anti-GMO folks argue there have not been enough studies into the potential health risks of this new class of crop. Well, now it appears that even if those studies are completed and they end up revealing severe adverse health effects related to the consumption of genetically modified foods, the courts will have no ability to stop the spread of the seeds and the crops they bear.

2.) The provision's language was apparently written in collusion with Monsanto. Lawmakers and companies working together to craft legislation is by no means a rare occurrence in this day and age. But the fact that Sen. Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, actually worked with Monsanto on a provision that in effect allows them to keep selling seeds, which can then go on to be planted, even if it is found to be harmful to consumers, is stunning. It's just another example of corporations bending Congress to their will, and it's one that could have dire risks for public health in America.

3.) Many members of Congress were apparently unaware that the "Monsanto Protection Act" even existed within the bill they were voting on. HR 933 was a spending bill aimed at averting a government shutdown and ensuring that the federal government would continue to be able to pay its bills. But the Center for Food Safety maintains that many Democrats in Congress were not even aware that the provision was in the legislation:

“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,” Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety, said in a statement. “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.”

4.) The President did nothing to stop it, either. On Tuesday, Obama signed HR 933 while the rest of the nation was fixated on gay marriage, as the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument concerning California's Proposition 8. But just because most of the nation and the media were paying attention to gay marriage doesn't mean that others were not doing their best to express their opposition to the "Monsanto Protection Act." In fact, more than 250,000 voters signed a petition opposing the provision. And Food Democracy Now protesters even took their fight straight to Obama, protesting in front of the White House against Section 735 of the bill. He signed it anyway.

5.) It sets a terrible precedent. Though it will only remain in effect for six months until the government finds another way to fund its operations, the message it sends is that corporations can get around consumer safety protections if they get Congress on their side. Furthermore, it sets a precedent that suggests that court challenges are a privilege, not a right.

“I think any time you tweak with the ability of the public to seek redress from the courts, you create a huge risk,” Seattle attorney Bill Marler -- who has represented victims of foodborne illness in successful lawsuits against corporations -- told the New York Daily News.
'Monsanto Protection Act': 5 Terrifying Things To Know About The HR 933 Provision
 

kirstenmeows

TRIBE Member
Very scary indeed. For those who don't wish for whatever reason to read the text, here's a handy meme:
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Blysspluss

TRIBE Member
But Monsanto does the body good!..no?

As I've said before...the gluten sensitivity thing that many experience now, may be a product of their GM crops/wheat.

But we don't require that our food is labeled with GM on it...unlike the UK does, so there's no way that market forces could prevail over their BS.

An ignorant public...and such.
 

Ho||yw0oD

TRIBE Member
I agree that certain types of GMOs can have adverse health effects on a population, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Virtually ALL food is genetically modified in some way.

Do people realize that if we were to eat non-GMO tomatoes, the tomatoes would be the size of a large grape?

Genetic modification has been around for a long time. And, FYI, nature genetically modifies organisms too.

There can be some good coming out of GMOs, such as producing more nutritious foods.

Monsanto sucks though.
 

I_bRAD

TRIBE Member
If you ban GMO you'll all be crying when the price of tofu goes through the roof.

Or just don't buy it and they won't grow it.
 
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Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
I agree that certain types of GMOs can have adverse health effects on a population, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Virtually ALL food is genetically modified in some way.

Do people realize that if we were to eat non-GMO tomatoes, the tomatoes would be the size of a large grape?

Genetic modification has been around for a long time. And, FYI, nature genetically modifies organisms too.

There can be some good coming out of GMOs, such as producing more nutritious foods.

Monsanto sucks though.
Let's be clearer about the difference between GMOs and hybrids.

And correlation between GMOs and food nutrition has not been established.
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
Mark Lynas - Science and the Left | Point of Inquiry

Mark Lynas » Lecture to Oxford Farming Conference, 3 January 2013

I don't like the way Monsanto acts as a corporation, being particularly ruthless. But then again I think they are playing the game the system makes them play, so I can't hold them up as anything unexpected and acting like the only thing we have to do is find the Evil corporations and eliminate them is missing the forest for the trees - future evil companies will arise if the incentives towards evil outcomes are not adjusted.

All THAT said, the anti-GMO fight has become quasi religious, and I urge everyone with an interest in the GMO debate to either read/watch the Oxfam lecture in the 2nd link, or listen to podcast in the first link. From the start of his lecture:

I want to start with some apologies. For the record, here and upfront, I apologise for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonising an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment.

As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter-productive path. I now regret it completely.

So I guess you’ll be wondering – what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it? Well, the answer is fairly simple: I discovered science, and in the process I hope I became a better environmentalist.
This was a courageous move for someone whose own self-identity, celebrity and career was dominated by his anti-GMO stance. It is a useful example to see someone so invested in a particular point of view having the courage to revisit their assumptions with new evidence - and essentially face up to the fact that a key belief, a key part of their self-image, was predicated on some irrational underpinnings. This is one of the best things that happened in the world lately, IMO... Was a win for the environment and for skeptical thought!
 
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praktik

TRIBE Member
^^ listening to podcast as I do more drudgework, had been on my list for a little while, didn't realize Lynas organized the first office-sit-in of a Monsanto office!
 
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SolChild

TRIBE Promoter
Mark Lynas - Science and the Left | Point of Inquiry

Mark Lynas » Lecture to Oxford Farming Conference, 3 January 2013

I don't like the way Monsanto acts as a corporation, being particularly ruthless. But then again I think they are playing the game the system makes them play, so I can't hold them up as anything unexpected and acting like the only thing we have to do is find the Evil corporations and eliminate them is missing the forest for the trees - future evil companies will arise if the incentives towards evil outcomes are not adjusted.

All THAT said, the anti-GMO fight has become quasi religious, and I urge everyone with an interest in the GMO debate to either read/watch the Oxfam lecture in the 2nd link, or listen to podcast in the first link. From the start of his lecture:

I want to start with some apologies. For the record, here and upfront, I apologise for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonising an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment.

As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter-productive path. I now regret it completely.

So I guess you’ll be wondering – what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it? Well, the answer is fairly simple: I discovered science, and in the process I hope I became a better environmentalist.
This was a courageous move for someone whose own self-identity, celebrity and career was dominated by his anti-GMO stance. It is a useful example to see someone so invested in a particular point of view having the courage to revisit their assumptions with new evidence - and essentially face up to the fact that a key belief, a key part of their self-image, was predicated on some irrational underpinnings. This is one of the best things that happened in the world lately, IMO... Was a win for the environment and for skeptical thought!
There are some folks who are calling bullshit on Mark Lynas though...just sayin'
OpEdNews - Article: The Mark Lynas Mythology: The GMO "Conversion" NON-Story, By Zack Kaldveer
 
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praktik

TRIBE Member
There are some folks who are calling bullshit on Mark Lynas though...just sayin'
OpEdNews - Article: The Mark Lynas Mythology: The GMO "Conversion" NON-Story, By Zack Kaldveer
Yep, read that too, not too different from the way anti-vaxxers deal with cognitive dissonance, haven't found too many of the reactions to be all that convincing, though they throw enough points up there for those motivated to protect their beliefs to hang onto...

One of my fave quotes:

“ it has become my conviction that things mean pretty much what we want them to mean. We’ll pluck significance from the least consequential happenstance if it suits us and happily ignore the most flagrantly obvious symmetry between separate aspects of our lives if it threatens some cherished prejudice or cosily comforting belief"
-Iain Banks

It applies to this crowd pretty well!
 

rentboy

TRIBE Member
One of my fave quotes:

“ it has become my conviction that things mean pretty much what we want them to mean. We’ll pluck significance from the least consequential happenstance if it suits us and happily ignore the most flagrantly obvious symmetry between separate aspects of our lives if it threatens some cherished prejudice or cosily comforting belief"
-Iain Banks
That's a great quote.

I checked out that Point of Inquiry pod last week while running around the city. I need to revisit it but he had some interesting things to say. Thanks for the relevant links.
 
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AgentSanchez

TRIBE Promoter
I agree that certain types of GMOs can have adverse health effects on a population, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Virtually ALL food is genetically modified in some way.

Do people realize that if we were to eat non-GMO tomatoes, the tomatoes would be the size of a large grape?

Genetic modification has been around for a long time. And, FYI, nature genetically modifies organisms too.

There can be some good coming out of GMOs, such as producing more nutritious foods.

Monsanto sucks though.
Nah man.... you're confusing genetic modification with selective breeding
 

Blysspluss

TRIBE Member
Selective breeding isn't the same as splicing some shit right in there.

And you know...I would like to see the study that relates food allergies to GMO consumption. It really has my interest piqued.

Either that, or there's something else we've done to our environment that has just buggered things. You would think that'd be something we'd want to look into.

But what do I know? I'm a techie. Not a biologist or doctor.
 

Ho||yw0oD

TRIBE Member
Nah man.... you're confusing genetic modification with selective breeding
Touche. I always thought selective breeding was a type of genetic modification, but I looked it up and the umbrella term (which captures GM and selective breeding) is "genetic engineering."
 

Bass-Invader

TRIBE Member
Selective breeding isn't the same as splicing some shit right in there.
I think the methodological differences are easy to spot (the work involved in breeding is different than the work involved in modifying a gene directly), but what is the material difference when considering the result (outside of one taking a lot longer than the other?)

As far as I understood it, the problem people have with Monsanto was not the fact that they genetically modify seeds per se, but that they; a) engineer those modifications towards anti-competitive ends; and b) are heavily litigious in enforcing those ends.
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
Yep that would encapsulate my beef with Monsanto, not man "playing god".

For once I'd love to see a movie where man plays with fundamental forces, "playing god", and something AWESOME happens, instead of it leading to disaster where the lesson we learn is to, what, arbitrarily seal us off from knowledge and be luddites?

Taking a super long-term view, if we are to populate the stars we will need to "program" things like plants that grow us nice blocks of radiation resistant tofu with a drop of water, enriched with all essential vitamins and minerals, some protein and omega 3s...

We of course need to be prudent, and the profit motive works to erode prudence sometimes, but in the long view, this is certainly the kind of science we will need to remove the risk we take as a species by living on one single planet.
 
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