Friday, January 28, 2011

Organic Elite Caves to Monsanto

Many animals avoid GM food when given the choice- From

 The Organic Elite Surrenders to Monsanto: What Now?

  • By Ronnie Cummins
    Organic Consumers Association, Jan 27, 2011
    Straight to the Source
    "The policy set for GE alfalfa will most likely guide policies for other GE crops as well. True coexistence is a must."   -  Whole Foods Market, Jan. 21, 2011
"In the wake of a 12-year battle to keep Monsanto's Genetically Engineered (GE) crops from contaminating the nation's 25,000 organic farms and ranches, America's organic consumers and producers are facing betrayal. A self-appointed cabal of the Organic Elite, spearheaded by Whole Foods Market, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farm, has decided it's time to surrender to Monsanto. Top executives from these companies have publicly admitted that they no longer oppose the mass commercialization of GE crops, such as Monsanto's controversial Roundup Ready alfalfa, and are prepared to sit down and cut a deal for "coexistence" with Monsanto and USDA biotech cheerleader Tom Vilsack."
read more-

This is outrageous! This organic elite cabal know that we are relying on testing of GM foods by the very biotech industry profiting from them. There are no pre-market safety tests, human feeding studies or any effective oversight of companies like Monsanto. But this group of executives (with ties to USDA Sec Vilsack- once named "Governor of the Year" by the biotech industry) is calling for "co-existence" with genetically engineered crops. There is no co-existence possible- GM pollen spreads through the air for miles and once it contaminates other non-GM crops it is irreversible (Monsanto's long term plan is to have 100% of all seeds GM, patented and owned by them)!

This article also details the dirty little secret of so called "natural" foods (2/3 of Whole Foods sales come from them) which contain soy and corn derivatives and most certainly contain GM as 91% of soy and 85% of corn are GM in this country.

Eighty-five to 95% of Americans want GM food labeled. Europe did it and so can we!

Come tonight to see "The World According to Monsanto" at the Elting Library in New Paltz at 8:15PM. I will also be giving a presentation from the Institute of Responsible Technology on "The Dangers of Genetically Modified Foods" on Feb 22. Details to come.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

SOTU Address, Ethical Lapses of SCOTUS

1. A CBS poll showed that 91% of Americans who watched the State of the Union (44% Democrats, 25% Republicans) agreed with Obama's plans for the future. I liked his clarity on the unsustainability of more tax cuts for the wealthiest, but he didn't go nearly far enough in reining in the excessive spending of the military. Once again, it is the people who will suffer with a five year freeze on domestic spending.

Where was the acknowledgment of the foreclosure crisis, the vanishing middle class, climate change? What about the criminality of the finance sector that drove our economy into the ditch and walked away with billions more? How could he begin by paying respect to the victims of the Tucson shooting without mentioning the obvious need for better gun control in our country? Although I liked Obama's pledge for 80% of our electricity to come from clean sources- he lost me when he included gas, coal and nuclear as "clean". And more corporate tax cuts?? Wait, don't they have to pay corporate taxes first? In 2009,  Exxon Mobil made  $45.2 billion in profits, corporate taxes paid- $0 General Electric made $10 billion- they got a $1.1 billion refund!

2.What could be more important than addressing the threat to democracy of our time? I'm referring to the Citizens United decision one year ago that allows corporations to spend without limits from their vast corporate treasuries to influence our elections and hence to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.

But there is hope. From a leader in fighting this decision, Free Speech for People-

"A widening consensus has emerged over the past year holding that the spending of general treasury corporate funds to influence elections is not "speech," that corporations are not among "we the people," and that Citizens United is wrong. And a growing consensus is emerging that Congress and the States must closely examine and seriously consider a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United. Close to a million Americans have signed resolutions calling on Congress to send such an amendment to the States. A bipartisan group of more than fifty leading law professors and former prosecutors and government attorneys has called on Congress to explore the Amendment option. And a fast-increasing group of business leaders now call for a constitutional amendment to overturn the decision because Citizens United corrupts both democracy and a robust, competitive economy."
Read more about the Movement of the People-
3. Supreme Court Justices, Scalia and Thomas have gone too far this time! Scalia, speaking behind closed doors, before new Congress members from the Tea Party. Thomas "forgetting" to report his wife's almost $800,000 in income from groups that benefited from his Citizens United decision- the list of ethical lapses goes on.

“A reasonable person would question the impartiality of Justices Thomas and Scalia in the Citizens United case based on their attendance at political strategy meetings sponsored by a corporation (the right wing Koch brothers) that raises and spends millions to defeat Democrats and elect Republicans.”

"Are Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas the Bonnie and Clyde of Judicial Ethics? 'Citizens Robbed' " 

And this just in- Alito also has appeared before right wing political fundraisers. Members of the Supreme Court are supposed to be above the fray! And you notice who boycotted SOTU last night? Scalia, Thomas and Alito.

4. No mention of global warming in the President's State of the Union. Here's a story of a polar bear that was tracked, who had to swim for 9 days to find ice- her cub did not make it.

5. From Witness against Torture- "We find hope in the community that gathered in Washington DC from Jan 11-22 (visit for re-caps of and reflections of their daily activities). We find hope in the men who remain in Guantanamo, whose protest within the prison walls on January 22 (the anniversary of Obama's broken promise) is both haunting and challenging.

Building on this hope, and faced with Guantanamo's tenth year as the shame of the nation, we begin planning... We now know for certain that the president has no plans to shutter Guantanamo before next January 11, so we have no plans to shut down our operations. Another Witness presence in Washington DC will come in June, and we plan to launch a mass education and recruitment drive, reaching parishes, congregations, and college campuses across the nation. When we return to Washington next January 11, we will number in the thousands - marching and witnessing and lobbying and processing and speaking out and being silent and haranguing and incommoding - until the people in power get the message: No Torture, No Bagram, No GTMO, No More"

Here are three videos from Ellen of New Paltz Women in Black who was a part of this DC action. We thank her for her unwavering dedication to peace and justice!

"We'd like to thank the protesters from the depths of our heart. They are asking for justice even though they are not imprisoned."
- A Guantanamo Prisoner, in a recent message to Witness Against Torture

Friday, January 21, 2011

GM Crops Threaten Organic Food!

Act Today Or Kiss Your Organics Goodbye!

After years of bureaucratic wrangling, Secretary Vilsack and the Obama administration are only days away from approving Monsanto’s genetically modified (GMO) alfalfa. If approved, GMO alfalfa will fundamentally undermine the entire organic industry overnight. In addition, the USDA says American consumers don't care about the contamination of organics.

Please join us in calling on Secretary Vilsack and President Obama to stand up for organic family farmers by rejecting the approval of Monsanto's GMO alfalfa. Tell them to protect organic integrity and seed biodiversity over corporate profits. Also call today!

For locals- Don't miss a showing of "The World According to Monsanto" Friday, Jan 28, Elting Library in New Paltz, NY- 8:15PM. "The film, a National Film Board of Canada co-production, meticulously details the manipulative deeds of Monsanto Co., one of the world’s biggest agrochemical-biotech companies, on its route to global domination by tracing a trail of evidence, cover-ups and tragedies from the American heartland and beyond." Monstrous Harvest: "The World According to Monsanto" Movie Review.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Americans Taking to the Streets and other News

Veterans Chain Themselves to White House Fence- Not Covered by MSM

 1. Americans are rising up and taking to the streets, but you would never know it from the mainstream media.
 From TruthOut.

Also, happening now- a 12 day action in DC by the group Witness against Torture. The Daily Vigil and Fast for Justice  demands accountability over torture and closing Guantanamo.  Thanks to all who are fasting for 12 days, donning orange jumpsuits and hoods, blocking the entrance to DOJ and standing at an entrance to the Pentagon...they are the conscience of the nation.

 2. Check out the new, populist online group that goes beyond the Democratic or Republican parties.  "RootsAction will never be silent as Congress and the president squander billions on foreign wars while failing to meet crucial domestic needs."

3. Subject: Save the honey bees!  We all know our bees are in trouble. Now we find a leaked memo suggests that the EPA has ignored the science linking the bee die-off to the pesticide clothianidin. Demand action here.

4. Thanks to the FCC "
Comcast-NBC will now control one in every five television viewing hours." Bad for democracy! Read about it here and speak out!

5. Chase Bank, with $2.4 trillion is assets, may have overcharged 4,000 troops and improperly foreclosed on the homes of fourteen military families.

"...spending on arms and armies is inherently undesirable. Even when seemingly necessary, it constitutes a misappropriation of scarce resources. By diverting social capital from productive to destructive purposes, war and the preparation for war deplete, rather than enhance, a nation’s strength." Andrew J. Bacevich speaking about Eisenhower's warnings of our country's militarization. "The Tyranny of Defense, Inc"

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Words Have Consequences

A vigil in front of Rep Giffords on the day she was shot          ChrisMorrison/AP
Sarah Palin referred to the cross hairs on her map targeting Democrats as "bull's-eyes". When she was criticized for it, she tweeted "Don't retreat, RELOAD!" Her next Facebook post  was filled with violent imagery. Don't be fooled by the college basketball reference- the title implies she has to couch her violent rhetoric in a sport's metaphor to be "politically correct"- but you can be sure her followers got her message loud and clear.

Here's a sampling from that post, " penetrate through enemy territory by bombing through the press, and use your strong weapons – your Big Guns – to drive to the hole. Shoot with accuracy; aim high and remember it takes blood, sweat and tears to’ll only win the war if you’ve picked your battles wisely. No matter how tough it gets, never retreat, instead RELOAD!!" (like you'd tell a basketball team to  reload). Shortly after, the vandalism and threats against members of Congress began.

Giffords herself said at the time, “The rhetoric is incredibly heated, not just the calls but the emails, the slurs. Things have really gotten spun up.” There were death threats, smashed windows, including her office and widespread racial, antisemitic and gay slurs. Rep Giffords, who is now fighting for her life, also told MSNBC at the time, "We're on Sarah Palin's targeted list. But the thing is, the way she has it depicted it has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. And when people do that, they've got to realize there are consequences to that action."

The target map disappeared from Palin's site right after the shooting. Now according to a Palin aide, "We never, ever, ever intended it to be gun sights." The "bull's eyes" she explained were really "surveyor symbols". I believe, as many do, that this should signal the end of Palin's political career.

When Gabby Gifford's father was asked if his daughter had any enemies he said, "Yeah, the whole Tea Party." Tea Party protests were regularly held at the offices of Rep Gifford in which Giffords was denounced as a traitor to the constitution and the country. Last year, Jesse Kelly, Representative Gifford's Tea Party opponent used the ad below in his campaign. He also wore camouflage gear and held a gun to promote the event.

 Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation urged tea party supporters to "blame liberals for the attack" as a means of defending the tea party movement's recent electoral gains. Phillips also called Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who spoke the truth about the danger of our country's growing  intolerance, bigotry and hate, a "leftist sheriff". (But I also have to commend Amy Kremer, Tea Party Express Chair who said, "An attack on anyone for political purposes, if that was a factor in this shooting, is an attack on the democratic process. We join with everyone in vociferously condemning it.")

The out-of-control vitriol from the far right has been with us for some time. Here are a few examples I found in an article on TruthOut.

"I tell people don't kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus - living fossils - so we will never forget what these people stood for."- Rush Limbaugh, Denver Post, 12-29-9 

"Get rid of the guy. Impeach him, censure him, assassinate him."- Rep. James Hansen (R-UT), talking about President Clinton 

"We're going to keep building the party until we're hunting Democrats with dogs."- Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX), Mother Jones, 08-95 

"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building."- Ann Coulter, New York Observer, 08-26-02

And of course, we have the recent "I want Minnesotans armed and dangerous" by Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann and Nevada Tea Party candidate Sharon Angle speaking of "Second Amendment remedies." Then there is the new Representative Allen West (FL-R) who said today he stands by this statement "If ballots don't work, bullets will." Rush Limbaugh has mired himself in new lows saying that the Democrats like events like the Tuscon massacre because they can use it politically and that the killer is smiling because the Democratic party is supporting him. Desperate, despicable words.

We have to make it unacceptable for people to irresponsibly incite violence. Nothing good will come from the continuation of debased, hate-filled and violent speech. Sing the petition here to demand that those who incite violence are denounced and demanding that leaders "Debate, Not Hate!" May this be a turning point in restoring civility to our political dialogue.

Twenty people were shot Saturday and six of them are dead. A man threw his body in a hail of bullets to save his wife, one woman was shot in each arm and in her back as she covered her teenage daughter, a Republican judge known for his fairness was slain. 

And there was Christina Taylor Green, born on a day of tragedy, 9/11/01 and killed in tragedy- a beautiful nine year old who was said to understand the inequities in the world and wanted to work to make the world better. I know our hearts are joined in sending love and blessings to the deceased and their families and for healing and recovery to all the wounded and their loved ones. 

Rep Gabby Giffords just began to breathe on her own, but she has a long road ahead of her. I know she is being showered with the best wishes and love of the nation. 

A message from space-
"These days, we are constantly reminded of the unspeakable acts of violence and damage we can inflict upon one another, not just with our actions, but also with our irresponsible words.
We're better than this. We must do better."
                     Scott Kelly, Gabby's brother in law, Space station commander 

"It would be really nice if the ramblings of crazy people didn't in any way resemble how we actually talk to each other on TV." Jon Stewart

“We know that silence equals consent when atrocities are committed against innocent men, women and children. We know that indifference equals complicity when bigotry, hatred and intolerance are allowed to take root. And we know that education and hope are the most effective ways to combat ignorance and despair." Rep Gabrielle Giffords