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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 03:57 PM
Original message
Monsanto is behind debilitating corn crop loss in South Africa
http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/270101

If like me, you opposed Obama's Monsanto-insider pick of Velsick for Agriculture Department head - here are more reasons to continue the good fight.
See link for the full story. here are a few paragraphs --

South African farmers suffered millions of dollars in lost income when 82,000 hectares of genetically-manipulated corn (maize) failed to produce hardly any seeds.The plants look lush and healthy from the outside. Monsanto has offered compensation. Now Monsanto is blaming the failure of the three varieties of corn planted on these farms, in three South African provinces,on alleged 'underfertilisation processes in the laboratory". Some 280 of the 1,000 farmers who planted the three varieties of Monsanto corn this year, have reported extensive seedless corn problems.

Urgent investigation demanded
However environmental activitist Marian Mayet, director of the Africa-centre for biosecurity in Johannesburg, demands an urgent government investigation and an immediate ban on all GM-foods, blaming the crop failure on Monsanto's genetically-manipulated technology. And Willem Pelser, journalist of the Afrikaans Sunday paper Rapport, writes from Nelspruit that Monsanto has immediately offered the farmers compensation in three provinces - North West, Free State and Mpumalanga. The damage-estimates are being undertaken right now by the local farmers' cooperative, Grain-SA. Monsanto claims that 'less than 25%' of three different corn varieties were 'insufficiently fertilised in the laboratory'.

80% crop failure
However Mayet says Monsanto was grossly understating the problem. According to her own information, some farms have suffered up to 80% crop failures. The centre is strongly opposed to GM-food and biologically-manipulated technology in general.

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/270101
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louis-t Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 04:04 PM
Response to Original message
1. Monsanto doesn't want anyone saving seeds, therefore
their products will have low seed or no seed yield. Simple as that.
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dipsydoodle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 04:24 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. Surely their terminator seeds
has already been declared to be illegal.
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ColbertWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 04:42 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. How can they deny they had anything to do with this?
Monsanto invented the terminator seed!

(Opps, nevermind, Wikip*dia says it was the U.S. government and a tiny company that Monsanto eventually bought.

What is a terminator seed?



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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 08:23 PM
Response to Reply #11
91. very, very important point there
Defenders of the "free market" and de-regulation and Reaganomics always claim that without the profit motive, there would be no progress. In this case, an in thousands of others, the advancements were made in public institutions on the public dime.

Agriculture was always "open source" - advancements were shared by all and benefits then passed along to the public. These corporations have no right to take public property and privatize and control it.




...
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #1
13. not related to GM
The mistake that caused infertile seeds to be sold is not related to GM in any way. The same mistake with any corn would cause the same problem.
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louis-t Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 11:26 AM
Response to Reply #13
55. Thanks for the info.
Terminator seeds are not GM.
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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #1
77. doesn't corn without seeds
equal a corncob without any actual corn on it? A little bit of overkill, even for Monsanto.
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midnight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 04:08 PM
Response to Original message
2. Isn't this the company that is sponsering legislation to prevent
American citizen's from growing their own vegetable garden? I find that even suggesting an idea like that ridiculus in the face of the White House showing us how they are putting in one of their own gardens.
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #2
12. no
The corporate agri-business giants do not support the bill introduced by the most progressive people in Congress for restoring regulation and inspection dismantled by the Republicans, and that legislation does not "prevent American citizen's from growing their own vegetable garden." Right wing and libertarian sources are responsible for that idea, and unfortunately many liberal organizations are spreading it around.
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Taitertots Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 04:11 PM
Response to Original message
3. Corn is GM food n/t
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tabatha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 04:11 PM
Response to Original message
4. Darn!!!
Edited on Sat Apr-04-09 04:12 PM by tabatha
South Africa had great, healthy food.

I hope Monsanto is kicked out of everywhere as fast as possible.

South Africa's "green mealies" (green corn) were the best.

I hate to think what kind of corn replaced them.
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marketcrazy1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 04:20 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. ther is also a serious
problem with GEN modified cotton in India also by Monsanto. ........... http://india.suite101.com/article.cfm/genetically_modif...
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 04:23 PM
Response to Original message
6. These people are vampires. On top of everything else,
pollinating insects are being put at risk by GM corn.
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 04:31 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. probably not, EFerrari
Hate to disagree with anyone opposing Monsanto, but if we are going to win this battle I think it is essential that we know what we are talking about or people in agricultural will dismiss everything we say.

Corn is wind pollinated, not insect pollinated. The naturally occurring substance that BT exudes binds the intestines of Lepidoptera larvae (moth worms.) BT occurs naturally, and is an approved organic method for pest control.


...

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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 05:07 PM
Response to Reply #8
14. I agree and don't pretend to be some kind of ag specialist but
Edited on Sat Apr-04-09 05:07 PM by EFerrari
there was a study done and it was attacked to death by Monsanto because the researcher found that butterflies were dying off. It was discussed in a program called "The Future of Food" and Link has been airing it.

http://www.linktv.org/programs/future (This is an informational link, not a link to the thing itself.)

I have not read the study but that's the information that was presented. And yes, it's a good idea to know what we're talking about. :hi:
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 05:37 PM
Response to Reply #14
19. What butterfly larvae eat and why corn pollen matters
Edited on Sat Apr-04-09 06:08 PM by truedelphi
The fact is, the wind blows the corn pollen onto the milkweed and the larvae then eat the milkweed, become ill and die.

So although the argument that the corn itself is not a food of the larvae is a true argument, but it is only part of the puzzle piece. However, in the end, the fact is that argument does not prove that the BT corn pollen doesn't end up killing the larvae. It does.

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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 05:49 PM
Response to Reply #19
22. yes
That is a danger.

See the papers from the research done by the ARS that I linked to.
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 06:07 PM
Response to Reply #22
29. AM red faced and slightly shamed. Deeply Sorry Am I, Two Americas - I mistook your
Headline "Probably Not" With a different reference than the one you were making!


After that, I was too wouund up to understand what you were saying.
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 06:37 PM
Response to Reply #29
35. no worry my friend
I get worked up about this too, because I can't stand to see the weak and off-target opposition to corporate agri-business, and I can't stand to see us led around by the nose by libertarians and right wingers on this subject. That is working against the cause.

Here is what is needed, IMHO -

1. A complete moratorium on the introduction of GMO organisms, and the patenting and copyrighting of life forms, so that politics and research can catch up and get ahead of this and protect the public.

2. Research and testing funded adequately and free from corporate corruption and influence.

3. Strict oversight and regulation of ALL corporate agri-business concerns, and anti-trust action to break them up, all of them, not just "Monsanto."

Do the fear campaigns help us achieve those goals? No. We actually have liberals opposing the first feeble attempt at getting legislation to do this through Congress, spreading lies that the right wing think tanks generated, such as "it criminalizes growing vegetables in your home garden" and "it will put organic farmers and roadside stands out of business."

The big problem here is the privatization of the food supply, not merely what the corporations are specifically doing in this de-regulated privatized climate. We spend 10 years getting aspartame banned, at great expense of resources, time and energy, while 100 other problems arise elsewhere. We shut down Monsanto, and the investors and principles merely re-organize under another brand name and go about business as usual.

The right wingers and corporate propagandists want us to focus on "Monsanto" and aspartame and BT corn. They are not vulnerable in those areas, and we look ridiculous and waste time and energy on them.


...
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acmavm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 10:13 AM
Response to Reply #35
49. My Dear, you just mentioned the TWO-pronged attack that corporate
American has launched on the people of this planet. Yes, they want control of the food supply. BUT even bigger and better than that, they want control of the WATER supply, which they are snapping up: (You think the Wall Street bailout is bad? Well wait until we're all forced to beg and behave for food and water!)

<snip>
Fighting the Corporate Theft of Our Water

By Tara Lohan, AlterNet. Posted April 25, 2007.

The Bush administration is helping put our most important resource in the hands of corporations with no public accountability
http://www.alternet.org/environment/50994
-MORE-
__________________
Why Big Banks May Be Trying to Buy up Your Public Water System

By Jo-Shing Yang, AlterNet. Posted October 31, 2008.

In uncertain economic and environmental times, big banks and financial groups are buying public water systems as safe investments.
-MORE-

http://www.alternet.org/water/105083/why_big_banks_may_... /

__________________

California Town Takes on Nestl Over Water Rights

In California, a new kind of water war is brewing.

This time, it's not about rivers, wetlands or water rights (who has them, and who doesn't), but about Nestl Water North America (NWNA) and its plans to build a water bottling plant near the city of McCloud, a town of 1,400 which sits in the shadow of Mt. Shasta in Siskyou County, California.

McCloud is located along California Highway 5 in the northern part of the state, about 50 miles from the Oregon border. A lumber town until the timber companies started losing money and moved overseas, McCloud has been trying to modernize its image to attract sportsmen and tourists, but selling its precious water is probably not good strategy. Relying on its world-famous fly-fishing (for native redband and common rainbow trout) might be a better angle (pun intended).
-MORE-
http://www.celsias.com/article/california-town-takes-ne... /
____________________
MAUDE BARLOW: Every time you turn around, everywhere you go, there are police. It’s absolutely unbelievable. You cannot come in from the outside. There’s absolutely no way. Unless you’ve paid a great deal of money and you’ve had the security screening and you behave yourself very properly while you’re in there, you would not be welcome. You would be thrown out and/or arrested. And the World Water Council people, the World Water Forum, did not critique what the police have been doing here. They’ve just accepted it and enjoyed it and taken advantage of the tough security measures here.


The security is tight, because what they’re about is promoting privatization, promoting a corporate vision of the world, and they want to pretend to the world that that’s the consensus of the world. And it isn’t. And our groups are here to say it’s not, and so they want to control us as much as possible.


They basically say that they are the collection of people around the world who care about water, and they come together every three years to have this great big summit. And every single year, the police presence gets more and more like the World Trade Organization, every single year, from the very beginning, when there was none, to this. But basically, the World Water Council, which puts this on, is really the big water corporations and the World Bank and some UN agencies and some northern development agencies, some academics, the odd small NGO—small as in, you know, NGOs, but really, it is the corporations, and it’s a big trade show. That’s what this is about. They’ll put on sessions on gender and water, but they don’t mean any of it. This is really about one development model for water, and that’s the privatization model. And that’s what they’re promoting, and that’s what their consensus is, and they refuse to include the notion of the right to water and, of course, the public trust into their documents.
-MORE-
http://focusweb.org/water-rights-activists-blast-istanb...




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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #49
58. thanks
Important information there.
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 05:51 PM
Response to Reply #19
23. you know, my friend....
It is just not helpful, nor is it fair to me to post a title like this - "don't know why Two Americas has to defend Monsanto."
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 06:10 PM
Response to Reply #23
30. I changed the headline.
And I really was surprised by what I saw as an adamant defense on your part of Monsanto. Which was all my misperception. I know you have tried to get to the nitty gritty of the "organic" discussion, and have often admired your posts.
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 06:20 PM
Response to Reply #30
32. thanks
You know my politics. I am not, and never would defend corporate agri-business.

However, do we want to bring Monsanto down and free the people from their clutches, or merely be "right" about things, choose up sides and rant back and forth with simple-minded talking points?

I personally sat in at meetings where Ron Paul and other libertarians planned campaigns to slip propaganda tracts into liberal and organic organizations and have them distribute them.

Monsanto right now is planning a massive disinformation campaign on the Internet, and they have us set up for the kill now since they have successfully defined our opposition to them, and led us to taking untenable and ridiculous positions.

Paul and that crowd are opposed to any and all government regulation or inspection of food, and successfully launched a campaign against the bill introduced by the most progressive members of Congress for the purpose of restoring oversight, inspection and regulation, and liberal bloggers and organizations spread that all over the Internet.

Agricultural professionals would just laugh reading this OP. That does not help the cause. The problem there has nothing to do with GMO tech, had no serious impact on corn production, and the farmers were already compensated.


...
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 05:43 PM
Response to Reply #14
20. that would be something of a concern
That would be something of a concern, were there a problem. The butterflies don't eat corn. Eating the BT secretion is the only way an insect can be harmed. Bees don't pollinate corn. BT occurs naturally. It is non-persistent, biodegradable, naturally occurring, not destructive to the environment, very narrowly targeted and is widely used in organic farming going back to at least the 1920's.

If we are going to go after GMO crops, this is probably the weakest approach, and I suspect that this is not accident since these scare campaigns can usually be traced back to right wing sources and libertarian organizations, intentionality designed to be fed into the liberal blogosphere and picked up by naive and ill-informed people so as to advance a right wing anti-regulation agenda, and to make liberals and environmentalists look ridiculous.

The problem in South Africa is unrelated to GMO tech, was relatively minor, and the farmers were compensated.

It is a shame that the butterfly thing is still being promoted. The USDA did extensive research in this issue.


Q&A: Bt Corn and Monarch Butterflies

Research findings from the Agricultural Research Service

There is no significant risk to monarch butterflies from environmental exposure to Bt corn, according to research conducted by a group of scientists coordinated by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), U.S. Department of Agriculture. This research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

That Bt corn might present a risk became a matter of scientific and public concern when a small experiment in 1999 indicated caterpillars suffered when given no choice but to feed on milkweed leaves heavily dusted with Bt corn pollen.

...

The cooperation between researchers from many separate institutions was extraordinary, from planning through publication, to address this issue that came up suddenly and which had drawn such public concern. The way in which this research was done is being considered as a model for conducting risk assessment research.

Research priorities were set at an ARS-organized workshop in Kansas City, MO, in February 2000 through discussions among scientists from government, universities, industry, and environmental groups. The idea was to ensure that all of the most important questions were covered.

Exchanges of information between butterfly biologists, corn experts, pest specialists and others helped ensure that studies reflected how monarchs actually interact with Bt corn. Through the workshops and other discussions, the scientists also standardized many of their methods so that data could be easily pooled to provide the most complete picture possible.

...

What prompted this research?

A small, preliminary study done at Cornell University, and reported as a note in Nature in June 1999, indicated that monarch butterflies under laboratory conditions might be harmed by eating pollen from Bt corn plants. That experiment used a small number of caterpillars and gave them no choice about avoiding eating leaves that had been treated with a thick layer of Bt corn pollen. It did not attempt to duplicate real world environmental conditions.

...

The research papers on this:

Monarch larvae sensitivity to Bacillus thuringiensis-purified proteins and pollen.
Richard L. Hellmich, Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Unit, Agricultural Research Service-U.S. Department of Agriculture, Ames, Iowa; (515) 294-9343, fax (515) 294-2268, e-mail rlhellmi@iastate.edu .
http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/211297698v1

Impact of Bt corn pollen on monarch butterfly populations: A risk assessment.
Mark K. Sears, Department of Environmental Biology, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada; (519) 824-4120 ext. 3921, fax (519) 837-0442, e-mail msears@evb.uoguelph.ca .
http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/211329998v1

Corn pollen deposition on milkweeds in and near cornfields.
John M. Pleasants, Department of Zoology and Genetics, Iowa State University, Ames; (515) 294-7204, fax (515) 294-8457, e-mail jpleasan@iastate.edu .
http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/211287498v1

Assessing the impact of Cry1Ab-expressing corn pollen on monarch butterfly larvae in field studies.
Diane E. Stanley-Horn, Department of Environmental Biology, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada; (519) 824-4120 ext. 4847, fax (519) 837-0442, e-mail destanle@uoguelph.ca .
http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/211277798v1

Temporal and spatial overlap between monarch larvae and corn pollen.
Karen S. Oberhauser; Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota (612) 624-8706, fax (612) 624-6777, e-mail oberh001@tc.umn.edu .
http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/211234298v1

http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/br/btcorn /
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Old Time Pagan Donating Member (157 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #14
57. I'm not a specialist, just a applied biologist
or for those of you not inclined to political correctness, I'm a farmer.

Let me try and boil down the essence of how genetically modified organisms are currently created. For starters it's not the nice, clean, "scientific" process our buddies at Monsanto want you to believe it is.

The currently favored tools used to introduce foreign genes into cells are viruses and bacterium (called vectors) that can carry the gene of choice into the cell. This is replacing the older technique using a gene gun (sounds precise doesn't it)that just blasted the foreign material through the cell wall.

The desired gene is attached to the "vector" and the hope is that the vector will invade the desired cell. Plant cells frequently reject the foreign material altogether. Even when successful invasion occurs other issues then need to be dealt with,

When the gene comes from a totally different organism (like flounder genes in tomatoes) the plant cell can't be counted on to recognize and turn the gene on. To get around that our clever scientists use a "promoter". Usually of viral origin, these promoters activate and promote the foreign gene to manufacture the protein that the scientist wants included in the new plant.

(Anybody whose eyes are glazing over at this point can leave the class but you're going to miss the best part)

Here's where the fun begins. Most genes in any organism are only activated in certain parts of the body and at certain times. These new, foreign genes are turned on in all of the tissue virtually all of the time. This means that all sorts of unintended proteins are created that our all knowing scientists have absolutely no way of predicting. Many of these proteins have never been seen on the earth before. After all how many flounders and tomatoes have ever gotten together to create offspring before?

So now we've got plants creating foreign proteins. What is your immune system supposed to do? Well one of its jobs is to protect you from "foreign" substances. Any surprise that so many of us are finding ourselves dealing with horrible allergies and occurrences of potentially life threatening anaphylactic shock?

We keep bees on our farm and have done so for many years. Many of my fellow beekeepers who have been stung with no ill effect (other than a bit of swelling and pain) are suddenly having extreme reactions to bee stings. Could be that some of the foreign proteins being expressed by GM crops are finding their way into bee (and other insect) venom causing our immune systems to hyper react to the stings. I no longer do anything in the bee yard without suiting up and we don't allow visitors to hang around the hives.

Last but not least, how do our scientist friends know if they've been successful in inserting and activating the gene of interest? They attach a "marker" gene along with the vector and the gene of interest. The marker gene protects the cell from an herbicide or antibiotic. The exposed cells are then flooded with said herbicide or antibiotic and the cells that survive can be assumed to contain an active copy of the vector, promoter, gene, and marker. In the process they are creating substances that can result in other organisms becoming antibiotic resistance. Given what's already happening to our arsenal of antibiotics does that sound like a good idea to any of you?

In summary, genetic modification of plants as it has been done to now is anything but a precise, well considered and safe operation. Don't like the potential consequences of this activity?

Do something.





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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #57
59. excellent
Welcome to DU, and thank you for the great post.

Everyone needs to read this - it forms the basis for a powerful and effective opposition to GMO tech.

"In summary, genetic modification of plants as it has been done to now is anything but a precise, well considered and safe operation."


...

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Old Time Pagan Donating Member (157 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 02:40 PM
Response to Reply #59
73. Thank you for the greeting and here's a little more ammo
Currently one of Monsanto and Monsanto wannabe's prime defenses against regulation and consumer warnings on food items containing GM products is the concept of "substantial similarity."

If an item being introduced to the food industry is "substantially similar" to already existing products that are non-regulated then the new item can't be subject to anymore regulation than the existing products. After all corn is corn and soybeans are soybeans.

On the other hand Monsanto and the other GMer's of the world have claimed patent rights because they have created "new and novel" germplasm that is deserving of protection because of the companies' investment in creating the new organism.

Anybody else confused as to how they get to have it both ways?

1. If the plant contains substances that are "new and novel" like proteins that have never existed on earth at any time then it is not "substantially similar" and should be regulated and properly identified to the public.

2. If the plant is "substantially similar" then it shouldn't be patentable and farmers should be allowed to save their own seed and any and all suits brought against farmers who have purposefully or inadvertently planted crops containing Monsanto seeds should be summarily dismissed.

Now I'm a simple fellow and I don't pretend to understand the subtleties that may be involved here but it seems pretty straight forward to me.

What am I missing?
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 06:27 PM
Response to Reply #73
85. you nailed it
But this is not about "franken-foods," or "Monsanto," and cannot be resisted effectively on that basis.

This is about the privatization of our food supply, and domination by a handful of corporations for the purpose of monopoly control over the food supply.

Historically, agriculture was always "open source" - developments were available to all. The trend toward patents and copyrights and controlled markets will destroy agriculture.

Much of the organic and CSA movement is based on the privatized model - consumer choice, free markets, and the development of a two-tier food system: one for the wealthy and enlightened, and another for the peasants. It is easily co-opted by the corporations, destructive to public education and understanding of food and farming issues, and it promotes libertarian and right wing ideas.

Modern liberals are caught in a trap - they feel that they must oppose the right wing, but at the same time are unwilling to seriously challenge the system. This leads to all sorts of convoluted thinking, and CSA and organic are examples of this confusion. They are a way to be against the evil corporations, but still retain status and privilege by defending all of the premises and assumptions of "free market" capitalism and consumerism. The idea is that we can shop and invest our way to a better future.


...
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D-Lee Donating Member (457 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 03:00 PM
Response to Reply #57
75. Great post (and the rest of us should avoid US soy products)
Old Time Pagan, yes, yes and yes. Thank you for your post.

There is research which indicates that the "carrier" gene envelope for the genetic modification definitely plays a role -- and have been found in human gut tissue.

Not to mention, the modified genes do spread to neighboring, non-GMO crops.

I do believe in staying away from GMO food to the maximum extent possible. One of the simplest ways is to avoid products containing soy, unless specifically bearing the label "non-GMO" or an equivalent. 80% and rising of the US soy crop is GMO.

It is my impression that most of the "Roundup" line is GMO, but I might be wrong.

Makes you believe in the Paleolithic diet and unaltered crops, doesn't it?
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leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 05:55 PM
Response to Reply #57
80. You should make this an OP
Excellent information!

I'd like to see more discussion of this.

Thanks for posting

:hi:
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DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-06-09 09:08 AM
Response to Reply #80
98. I was going to suggest that, too. Hope he

will do it.
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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 07:04 PM
Response to Reply #57
87. you lost me at one spot
could you please clarify?

"This means that all sorts of unintended proteins are created that our all knowing scientists have absolutely no way of predicting."

Inside the dna, specific genes chemically code for specific RNA, which can only make specific chains of amino acids. The codes are "set" i.e. the RNA codes for one sequence of amino acids, which form a specific polypeptide chain, which folds into a specific protein.

Whether a given gene is operating inside a liver or a gnat, and whether it is operating seasonally or 24x7x365, it can only code for the same RNA which codes for the same sequence of amino acids. Each gene can lead to only one protein (or, in some cases, a very large protein that is later chemically cut into several smaller proteins)

The "promoter" is a nucleic acid sequence that host enzymes recognize and bind to, triggering replication of the gene that it is part of. But the promoter sequence itself is not replicated for manufacture of additional proteins.

The proteins created by GMO are foreign to the host, but not foreign as far as nutrition goes. In other words, in your hypothetical tomato's dna, the hypothetical flounder gene sits adjacent to tomato genes, but is separate and distinct from them. So the protein created inside the host tomato is the same protein that was created inside the flounder. It is not a new protein made of merged flounder and dna genes, it is the identical protein, but is being built by a different manufacturer.

So I'm not sure where "all sorts of unintended proteins" that you refer to are coming from.

That said, I am still against GMO food due to (not necessarily in this order) 1. The law of unintended consequences, 2. it's often sterile and always unpredictable, and so we become dependent on Monsanto to survive, 3. diversity, including diversity in food, is essential to survival. if we are reduced to 6 related types of corn and a corn blight comes along that wipes out those 6 types of corn (or wheat or some other mainstay) we could suffer massive crop failures 4. I want normal nutrition from my food. I don't buy orange juice with "added calcium" for the same reason. We just start adding nutrients willy-nilly to this, that and the other thing than we have zero control over how much of what we put into our bodies. There are minimum daily requirements, but there also can be overdoses of some things. 5. potential for damage to other life forms
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Old Time Pagan Donating Member (157 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-06-09 08:40 AM
Response to Reply #87
97. Well you're getting well above my pay grade
and my last formal training in cell & molecular biology is over 20 years old but here goes.

If these transgenic organisms were not subject to a much higher rate of mutagenesis due to the "shotgun" manner in which the new genetic material is inserted into the plant's genome your explanation would of course be correct. However insertional mutagenesis occurs and is well documented. In this case, the random positioning of the transgene in the plant's genome interferes with a gene or suite of genes needed for "normal" plant development and/or protein creation. Effects due to insertional mutagenesis will vary among different lines of plants derived from separate transformation events and can easily be eliminated by line selection.

However changes in one gene's expression may result in multiple effects on the plant and represent a second type of inadvertent change in physical or biochemical characteristics. In this case, it is not the position of the transgene, but its product, which interferes unexpectedly with a biochemical pathway in the plant to create these changes. Such changes would occur in all lines of the transgenic plant and could not be remedied by line selection. (Wow, after 20 years I can still write like that, thank goodness I got out of academia)

The bottom line: The process of inserting a foreign gene has has been demonstrated to damage sections of a plant's own DNA, altering its genetic code. This mutation may interfere with DNA expression or create a new, potentially dangerous protein.

Perhaps the statement "all sorts of unintended proteins" was a bit strong, the problem is we don't know what's being expressed in these new plants primarily because that sort of research is not funded and any independent attempts to publish findings that might damage Monsanto's bottom line are ruthlessly squashed. Additionally once these plants are released into the environment new variables are involved that may result in changes in these modified organisms that are beyond anyone's ability to predict or control. Now that this version of Pandora's Box has been opened is there going to be any way to close it?

You obviously have a background in biochemistry, I suspect that if you dig a little deeper than the classic explanation of protein creation you will recognize the profound risk Monsanto's obsession with profit is putting us all at.

I absolutely agree with your reasons for being against GMO food, I simply think I've provided another item for you to consider adding to your list.



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chimpyisstillsatan Donating Member (252 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-10-09 02:20 AM
Response to Reply #57
113. do something?
May I teach you a bit about molecular biology, digestion, and the immune system? You seem to be confused about the finer points.
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Old Time Pagan Donating Member (157 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-13-09 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #113
114. Well chimpy son, having reviewed your other posts
I doubt you'd be doing much teaching, mostly just spouting mainstream agbusiness talking points it looks like. Feel free to keep your opinions to yourself, I suspect we'll just have to agree to disagree on most issues. But hey, thanks for your gracious offer.
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 05:30 PM
Response to Reply #8
18. Okay, from a tech writer who has been an insider working with various indie researchers
Edited on Sat Apr-04-09 05:52 PM by truedelphi
Some of them holding excellent excellent credentials despite the attempts of big industry to besmirch them (Warren Porter,PhD of University of Wisconsin, Ron Harper of UCLA Med center), let me debate this with you.


Butterflies' larvae exposed to various things they consume cannot withstand eating BT.
Since the pollen blows OFF the corn and ends up on milkweed, which the larvae then eat, the larvae are impaired and then die.

Here is information gleaned from an article printed in 1999, Cornell University:
Unlike many pesticides, the Bt-corn has been shown to have no effect on many "nontarget" organisms -- pollinators such as honeybees or beneficial predators of pests like ladybugs. But the Bt-modified corn produces pollen containing crystalline endotoxin from the bacterium genes. When this corn pollen is dispersed by the wind, it lands on other plants, including milkweed, the exclusive food of monarch caterpillars and commonly found around cornfields.

Says John E. Losey, Cornell assistant professor of entomology and the primary investigator on the study: "We need to look at the big picture here. Pollen from Bt-corn could represent a serious risk to populations of monarchs and other butterflies, but we can't predict how serious the risk is until we have a lot more data. And we can't forget that Bt-corn and other transgenic crops have a huge potential for reducing pesticide use and increasing yields. This study is just the first step, we need to do more research and then objectively weigh the risks versus the benefits of this new technology."

Like all grasses, corn is wind-pollinated, and the pollen can be blown more than 60 yards from the edge of cornfields. "Pollen is that yellow dusting your car gets on spring and summer days; pollen is everywhere," explains Losey. "That's why we are concerned about this problem."

You can read the article first published in 1999 here:
p://tinyurl.com/camdk4



Although it is a clever argument to say that BT has been used for a long time to prevent insect infestation on organic farms, and that part of the argument is very true, the fact is, within several days (or maybe less) that BT is no longer in evidence on those plots of land. But when you place the BT deep INSIDE the genetic structures of the plant, then anyone eating that plant is eating the BT.

What are the ramifications?

Well, we didn't even begin as a species to examine the human immune system until after the AIDS virus hit in the early 1980's. Money simply was not available in large enough amounts to let researchers do this to any notable degree.

Furthermore, at that time, people still believed that illnesses such as leukemia were only viral in nature and had nothing to do with outside exposures to toxins. (Read or watch movie "The Civil Suit" to see how unscientific most science minds were back then. And how easy it was and is to control the outcome of a trial that will implicate or exonerate a substance that is suspected of being toxic. Yet people here on DU love to point to a trial to say whether vaccines are noxious or benign, without understanding that what is important is whether "junk science" is used in the proceedings or "junk jury admonitions" for that matter. It was "junk jury admonitions" that prevented the Civil Suite Jurors from being able to find against the toxic substance and for the plaintiffs.)

What Monsanto and other GMO industry leaders fail to mention is that already 37 people have been killed by the GM modified stata that was used to culture the L-tryptophan back in the late 1980's. The rare blood disease that resulted damaged many hundreds if not thousands.

But the media was complicit with the Big Agro industry. The fingers were not pointed at the modified GMO strata used to incubate the L-tryptophan, but instead was pointed at the L-tryptophan.

The media rarely discusses the down side of the GMO argument. It only discusses the fact that on account of wonderful Monsanto, there will be sufficient Vitamin A inside rice to prevent blindness. And the public likes pleasant quick "sound bytes" much more than they like to actually delve into the real understanding of an issue. However, since last years, puppy and kitten deaths from melamine in the pet food, the public is starting to wake up and see that there is more to life (and death) than cheap prices and quick sound bytes.
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 05:48 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. all true
Yes, BT incorporated into the corn is different than naturally occurring BT. Absolutely.

I am opposed to GMO.

Yes, we cannot say with certainty that there are no risks. We need a moratorium.

I am opposed to GMO.

Yes, GMO pollen gets blown all over the place, and that presents unknown risks.

I am opposed to GMO.
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #18
27. the Cornell study
Edited on Sat Apr-04-09 06:08 PM by Two Americas
Here is the press release about the Cornell study.

ITHACA, N.Y. -- An increasingly popular commercial corn, genetically engineered to produce a bacterial toxin to protect against corn pests, has an unwanted side effect: Its pollen kills monarch butterfly larvae in laboratory tests, according to a report by Cornell University researchers.

Writing in the latest issue (May 20) of the journal Nature, the Cornell researchers note that this hybrid crop, known as Bt-corn, has genes from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) spliced into the plant genes. These hybrids are very effective against the ravenous European corn borer, a major corn pest that is destroyed by the plant's toxic tissue. The engineered corn is safe for human consumption.

Unlike many pesticides, the Bt-corn has been shown to have no effect on many "nontarget" organisms -- pollinators such as honeybees or beneficial predators of pests like ladybugs. But the Bt-modified corn produces pollen containing crystalline endotoxin from the bacterium genes. When this corn pollen is dispersed by the wind, it lands on other plants, including milkweed, the exclusive food of monarch caterpillars and commonly found around cornfields.

Says John E. Losey, Cornell assistant professor of entomology and the primary investigator on the study: "We need to look at the big picture here. Pollen from Bt-corn could represent a serious risk to populations of monarchs and other butterflies, but we can't predict how serious the risk is until we have a lot more data. And we can't forget that Bt-corn and other transgenic crops have a huge potential for reducing pesticide use and increasing yields. This study is just the first step, we need to do more research and then objectively weigh the risks versus the benefits of this new technology."

Like all grasses, corn is wind-pollinated, and the pollen can be blown more than 60 yards from the edge of cornfields. "Pollen is that yellow dusting your car gets on spring and summer days; pollen is everywhere," explains Losey. "That's why we are concerned about this problem."

Other researchers on the study were Linda S. Rayor, Cornell instructor in entomology, and Maureen E. Carter, Cornell research aide.

"Monarchs are considered to be a flagship species for conservation. This is a warning bell," says Rayor. "Monarchs themselves are not an endangered species right now, but as their habitat is disrupted or destroyed, their migratory phenomena is becoming endangered."

In the laboratory tests, monarchs fed milkweed leaves dusted with so-called transformed pollen from a Bt-corn hybrid ate less, grew more slowly and suffered a higher mortality rate, the researchers report. Nearly half of these larvae died, while all of the monarch caterpillars fed leaves dusted with nontransformed corn pollen or fed leaves without corn pollen survived the study.

The toxin in the transformed pollen, the researchers say, goes into the gut of the caterpillar, where it binds to specific sites. When the toxin binds, the gut wall changes from a protective layer to an open sieve so that pathogens usually kept within the gut and excreted are released into the insect's body. As a result, the caterpillar quickly sickens and dies.

Bt-engineered corn is among the first major commercial successes for agricultural biotechnology. Last year, more than 7 million acres of the hybrid crop were planted by U.S. farmers primarily to control the European corn borer. Before the advent of Bt-corn, this pest was extremely difficult to control because it bores into the stalk, where it is protected from pesticides. It produces several generations a year. Because it was so difficult to control effectively with pesticides, annual losses averaged $1.2 billion. In contrast,Bt-corn provides essentially total season-long control at a reasonable cost without the use of pesticides. At least 18 different Bt-engineered crops have been approved for field testing in the United States. As of last year, transformed corn, potatoes and cotton had been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for commercial use.

Several factors make monarch caterpillars particularly likely to make contact with corn pollen, Losey says. Monarch larvae feed exclusively on milkweed because it provides protection against predators. The plant contains cardenolides, which are toxic, bitter chemicals that the monarch caterpillar incorporates into its body tissues, rendering it unpalatable to predators. Milkweed grows best in "disturbed" habitats, like the edges of cornfields, Losey notes.

The butterflies overwinter in Mexico and by the spring begin migrating north. The first generation of the year crosses into Texas, other Gulf Coast states and Florida, seeking milkweed on which to lay their eggs and feed. By late May or early June, the second generation of adults has emerged and heads north to areas including the Midwest Corn Belt. Monarch caterpillars are feeding on milkweed during the period when corn is shedding pollen, Losey says. Thus "they may be in the right place at the right time to be exposed to Bt-corn pollen."

http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/May99/Butterflies....
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chimpyisstillsatan Donating Member (252 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 10:46 AM
Response to Reply #27
51. this study is in question
science is an ongoing process. The Cornell study, though "truthy" to envirnmentalists, had fundamental flaws. This is a complicated topic, with ethical and environmental controversies to spare. Broad strokes rarely paint accurate details.

http://www.pnas.org/content/98/21/11931.abstract
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #51
60. I know
I posted it because it was being alluded to on the thread, so that people could read about it.
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chimpyisstillsatan Donating Member (252 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #60
66. thanks
no disrespect intended.
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appal_jack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 06:49 PM
Response to Reply #8
36. check your facts, Two
While organic farmers do use Bt products, there are some troubling leads about the dangers of GMO's, and particularly those which are engineered with the Bt gene. Clearly, Bt Corn is not immediately toxic to humans, or we would have our neighbors keeling over after one bag of Doritos. However, the engineering in that Bt corn causes EVERY cell in that corn plant to produce Bt naturalyte endotoxin. There are no conclusive, long-term studies that this naturalyte is safe for humans to ingest. Indeed the label for Dipel DF (an organically-approved Bt product), warns users that it is:

Harmful if inhaled or absorbed through the skin. May
cause eye irritation. Avoid breathing dust or spray mist.
Avoid contact with skin, eyes, or clothing. Wash thor-
oughly with soap and water after handling. Remove
contaminated clothing and wash before reuse.
Mixer/loaders and applicators must wear a dust/mist
filtering respirator meeting NIOSH standards of at
least N-95, R-95, or P-95. Repeated exposure to high
concentrations of microbial proteins can cause allergic
sensitization.
2.2 PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)
Applicators and other handlers must wear:
Long-sleeved shirt and long pants
Waterproof gloves
Shoes plus socks
Follow manufacturers instructions for cleaning/
maintaining PPE. If no such instructions for washables,
use detergent and hot water. Keep and wash PPE
separately from other laundry.
2.3 USER SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS
Users should:
Wash hands before eating, drinking, chewing gum,
using tobacco or using the toilet


For more of the label, see: http://www.valent.com/professional/products/dipel/label...

And all that said, it's also a far cry from an organic farmer spraying Bt once or twice per crop cycle, and a corn plant producing Bt naturalyte in every cell, for every day of its life.

The environmental fate of the Bt naturalyte being produced by the GMO corn is quite troubling. Though the sprayed form of Bt breaks down quickly in sunlight, how long does it take for the toxin to break down when it is internal to pollen grains or in the soils surrounding GMO corn roots? Although Bt is acutely toxic to lepidopterans, it is also at least an irritant (and perhaps a toxin in chronic doses) to hymenopterans (bees, wasps, etc.). Many beneficial hymenopterans feed on pollen as a protein source. So while you are correct that corn is wind pollinated, that is not a guarantee that bees and wasps are not being exposed. And what happens to all the larvae in the soils near the corn roots? Bt is toxic to them, and though we may cheer when corn rootworm succombs to GMO Bt toxin, are we just as happy when dozens of other beneficial species die? The troubling studies of monarch larvae dying from GMO corn pollen (which drifts in copious quantities, and often lands on milkweed plants nearby corn fields, where the monarchs ingest it, or on sunflowers, where bees could eat it) should certainly give us pause.

In this instance, I believe that Monsanto does not deserve any leeway. GMO crops are by no means proven safe, and there is mounting evidence that they are anything but.

Anyone wanting to read more of the emerging problems caused be GMO crops should check:

www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/eu-unit/press-centre/pol...

and

http://www.ota.com/organic/benefits/generic.html

I know that Greenpeace and the Organic Trade Association are hardly unbiased sources, but my reading of these documents lead me to conclude that they are well-grounded in science.

-app
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 07:50 PM
Response to Reply #36
38. read what I posted
I am very familiar with the topic, and am not defending GMO crops.

The label tells us little or nothing. Better safe than sorry - that is good, not bad.

"Not known with certainty to be safe" - of course. There is no way to know that completely with anything. It is not the same as "known to be dangerous."

If amounts of applications are the problem, there are no offenders worse than organic since the less effective but "natural" poisons require vastly more frequent spraying.

"The environmental fate of the Bt naturalyte being produced by the GMO corn is quite troubling. Though the sprayed form of Bt breaks down quickly in sunlight, how long does it take for the toxin to break down when it is internal to pollen grains or in the soils surrounding GMO corn roots? Although Bt is acutely toxic to lepidopterans, it is also at least an irritant (and perhaps a toxin in chronic doses) to hymenopterans (bees, wasps, etc.). Many beneficial hymenopterans feed on pollen as a protein source. So while you are correct that corn is wind pollinated, that is not a guarantee that bees and wasps are not being exposed. And what happens to all the larvae in the soils near the corn roots? Bt is toxic to them, and though we may cheer when corn rootworm succombs to GMO Bt toxin, are we just as happy when dozens of other beneficial species die? The troubling studies of monarch larvae dying from GMO corn pollen (which drifts in copious quantities, and often lands on milkweed plants nearby corn fields, where the monarchs ingest it, or on sunflowers, where bees could eat it) should certainly give us pause."

Yes. I have been given "pause."

Of course, that paragraph could be written about thousands of naturally occurring compounds, as well.


...
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Tumbulu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 11:13 AM
Response to Reply #38
53. the toxin produced by the B.t. bacterium is in the form of a crystal
that only dissolves in an alkaline gut that has a pH greater than 10 or 11 (insects tend to have these sorts of guts)...Mammals have acidic (pH 6 or less) guts. The crystal must be dissolved before the toxin is active. Non dissolved crystals decompose in sunlight within hours. The B.t. products are too expensive for farmers to use them too much. The lion's share of sales of B.t. products are to mosquito abatement districts and to forrest services. Farmers make up the smallest market.

The truncated version of the B.t. toxin that all the engineered plants ( B.T. Corn, cotton, etc) produce in every cell is active from the get go. I personally performed the first greenhouse trial of an engineered B.t. toxin (an engineered bacterium that was killed prior to testing) and it was still toxic to insects 2 weeks after application. What caused the activity to decrease was that it was washed off the plant.

The toxin being produced by engineered plants has never been publicly tested to my knowledge. It was "exempted from tolerance testing" by the EPA because they considered it to be the same as the crystal toxin. Therefore no toxicological studies on mammals or non target organisms have been conducted.

This is not just Monsanto, this is all the folks involved in genetic engineering. From the corporate guys to the scientists working on the engineering who have kept quet and look the other way to the professors at land grant universities desperate to gain funding.

I agree with you that simplifying the topic only makes us all into simpletons. They depend on this. Your points about the need for testing I agree with wholeheartedly.
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 01:31 PM
Response to Reply #53
61. yes
Edited on Sun Apr-05-09 01:32 PM by Two Americas
Research and testing are insufficient and inadequate, and biotech products are being rushed to market with largely unknown consequences. Why not just agree on that, and never mind the back and forth and dueling studies about Bt, most of which goes over the average reader's head?

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Tumbulu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 07:46 PM
Response to Reply #61
90. it is not back and forth fueling
I was taking my time to explain something that I hoped would help people reading post this understand why the B.t. toxin produced by the actual bacteria is different from the toxin produced in engineered plants. And why they need to be tested.

I do not think that it is over anyone's head here. There are many educated bright people on DU. I like to come here and read what others can share from their areas of expertise. What is wrong with me trying to share something from mine?
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 08:30 PM
Response to Reply #90
92. I understand
I wasn't lecturing you.

I will try to say that more clearly -

Research and testing are insufficient and inadequate, and biotech products are being rushed to market with largely unknown consequences. Why (don't we all) agree on that, and (be careful with) the back and forth and dueling studies about Bt, which the average reader (may not be able to interpret or assess without more background and context?)

I think the average reader does have some difficulty sorting through the studies and understanding the debate, not because they are uneducated or not bright, but rather because they don't have the context or background needed.

No complaint about what you contributed to the discussion. Sorry if it sounded like a complaint.


...
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chimpyisstillsatan Donating Member (252 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #36
50. Organic fallacies
"And all that said, it's also a far cry from an organic farmer spraying Bt once or twice per crop cycle, and a corn plant producing Bt naturalyte in every cell, for every day of its life."

True, the difference is that the "organic" approach you describe uses tens of thousands of times more Bt toxin (compared to the peak production of Bt toxin made by the plant) to kill insects. This maximal dose is easily washed into the environment where it can kill any insect that encounterrs it.

GM corn Bt does indeed produce the toxin over the life of the plant. The insect that encounter it at the highest concentration are those that eat the plantand those that eat the primary pest within the short time it is alive after attacking the GM plant.

This environmental exposure paradigm is in many ways a preferable environmental impact. It is localized and discriminates to a greater extent between plant parasite and beneficial insects.

The OTA and Greenpeace have agendas, too. "Organic is a b*llshit term that plays on people's scientific ignorance and represents a massive legislative compromise that maximizes profits for "organic" agriculture. Don't buy a pig in a poke from anyone.
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Tumbulu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 11:22 AM
Response to Reply #50
54. The crystal B.t. toxin is highly specific
because unless it is dissolved in the correct pH it simply biodegrades. It decomposes within 24 hours. That is it.

Organic means a great deal. Just try to get your farm certified. It is so hard you cannot believe it. I certified my first organic farm in 1989 and finally two years ago I just gave up on the certification as it was way too much paperwork and my customers know me anyway. And they know my products.

Please do not make such statements about my life's work so casually. I am a scientist and an organic farmer. There are reasons too numerous to mention here why organic is the healthier approach.
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chimpyisstillsatan Donating Member (252 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 01:44 PM
Response to Reply #54
65. If food waerea car, Organic food is a Humvee
Science is simply not on your side here (see 1. and 2. below). Bt toxins do no such thing. The risks I described are accurate, mass spraying of Bt Cry toxins is a problem, killing an array of insects over many weeks.

"Organic food" is a feel-good term vis-a-vis food safety and is at best a marginal improvement over industrial farming from an environmental perspective. Insecticides are insecticides, whether they are derived from chakra-aligned mermaid spittle or petroleum. Organic farmers use poisons just like factory farmers.


The real issue is the societal and environmetal cost of this niche of "organic food" consumerist imperialism. IMO, society would benefit more from people investing their "excess" food dollars elsewhere. "Organic," dogfood is as representative of the negative impact America has on the Earth and its poor as Yucca Mountain or the Love Canal. IMO, pissing away money on boutique foods, especially out of ignorance, is selfish and unethical as long as people are starving and suffering..

1. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf073172p

From the abstract: "In the experiments reported here, 14C-labeled B. thuringiensis Cry1Ac endotoxin was used to study its mineralization in soil incubated under controlled conditions. Fifty-nine percent of the radiolabeled Cry1Ac was recovered as 14CO2 at the end of the 20 day incubation period. The addition of 4.5% corn residues stimulated mineralization of <14C>Cry1Ac toxin, and mineralization of glucose was 3.6 times faster than that of the Cry1Ac toxin, indicating that the soil was microbiologically and metabolically active. Because only low mineralization (approximately 6%) of the radiolabeled toxin was observed in autoclaved soil, the current findings indicate that microbial processes play a major role in the dissipation of the Cry1Ac endotoxin in soil. The results of this study suggest that there may be limited risk of the bioaccumulation of Cry1Ac in soil due to the eventual release of this insecticidal toxin by Bt-protected crops.


2. FYI, here's a great review of Cry protein biology that's open access:

http://mmbr.asm.org/cgi/content/full/71/2/255?view=long...

Quoting the introduction: "Cry proteins are highly diverse and primarily target insects in the orders Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), Diptera (flies and mosquitoes), and Coleoptera (beetles and weevils) (152); however, some Cry toxins have been reported to kill hymenopterans (wasps and bees) (46) and nematodes (118, 186)."
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Old Time Pagan Donating Member (157 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 03:00 PM
Response to Reply #65
74. On first impression you seem to be talking out your arse
"Organic food" is a feel-good term vis-a-vis food safety and is at best a marginal improvement over industrial farming from an environmental perspective. Insecticides are insecticides, whether they are derived from chakra-aligned mermaid spittle or petroleum. Organic farmers use poisons just like factory farmers."

I've been involved with agriculture since I was a wee lad back in the 50s. My grandfather and father believed that the sun rose and set with a fellow named Rodale. One of my grandfather's favorite sayings was "If you take care of your soil, your soil will take care of you." When the first ag agents and businessmen starting coming around our farm Grandpa laughed them off the place (I think Dad was ready to do something a bit more aggressive.)

Now those two men were "organic" farmers; of course they didn't know it at the time. They rotated our crops, would have nothing to do with mono cropping, planted hedgerows between fields (havens for birds and benefical insects and windbreaks to prevent erosion), saved or swapped seed that was grown and adapted to our local area. They grew our own fertility using both animal and plant based compost. They (and me as a little tyke) walked our market garden, orchard and grain fields daily looking for pests and hand picking them (I HATE hornworms.)

They were "organic" farmers and what they produced was not the food equivalent of a "Humvee".

There are many of us out here doing the same thing. You don't hear about us because we don't sell to Costco, WalMart or Safeway. We're pretty busy, in fact you probably won't see me on here for the next month or two. Farmer's aren't always busy but when things have to be done they've got to be done NOW.

You can meet us at your local Farmer's Markets or through CSA subscriptions or read about us in eco-agriculture publications like Acres.

We live my grandfather's saying and to include us with Agribusiness's version of "organic" food is just plain ignorant. Hope I didn't hurt your feelings but you kinda' did hurt mine. Sorry for the rant.
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chimpyisstillsatan Donating Member (252 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 05:27 PM
Response to Reply #74
78. Sorry about the hurt feelings, but
reality is reality. I'm familiar with Rodale. The modern organic movement isn't anything near what Rodale espoused, and pretending it is won't make it so.

Please note that I support the ecological principles behind the originalist organic farmers. I believe their emphasis on food safety is misplaced and scientifically baseless, but I whole heartedly support local farmers, polyculture, and the socioeconomic posiblilities they create. The larger "organic" industry is, however, a sham. Look into how that labelling legislation evolved. Look at the allowable "organic" practices it encourages. Look at who sells the bulk of the "organic" produce in this country. Look at the price. Shell helps sponsor Earth day activities. Doesn't make them Green.

I stand by my analogy. Buying "Organic" produce from Henry's or Whole Foods to "do something for the environment" is the gastronomic equivalent of buying a Hummer to feel like an outdoorsman/adventurer. All hat, no cattle.
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 06:15 PM
Response to Reply #78
84. agreed
That is a good way to state it - Buying "Organic" produce from Henry's or Whole Foods to "do something for the environment" is the gastronomic equivalent of buying a Hummer to feel like an outdoorsman/adventurer.
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Tumbulu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 07:42 PM
Response to Reply #78
88. Your reality is not my reality and your view of organic agriculture is incorrect.
You are hurting my feelings and you are also misleading people on this board.

Please stop it.
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 08:36 PM
Response to Reply #88
93. you cannot ask people to do that
It is not right to tell people to stop expressing an opinion because it contradicts your view or makes you feel a certain way.

The other poster's comments are accurate, and far from misleading people they can help to lead people out of the emotion-driven fog they are in on this subject.

When public health is at stake, we cannot rely on belief systems or feelings. That is far too dangerous.


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chimpyisstillsatan Donating Member (252 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 08:46 PM
Response to Reply #93
95. snark alert?
Let's hope so...
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 09:00 PM
Response to Reply #54
96. define it
Edited on Sun Apr-05-09 09:01 PM by Two Americas
If we say that the healthier approach is "organic" and the "organic" approach is the healthier approach, we have not said anything.

There are many things that are not organic approved that are safer than organic. There are many things that are approved for organic that are more dangerous. There are not two distinct "methods" and no consistent criteria for which method goes into which category. It is an arbitrary distinction as to what does and what does not get called organic, roughly described as "natural," which has no meaning at all.

In practical effect, the demand for organic is being satisfied by sub-standard imports with little or no inspection or oversight, let alone "certification," and the market is controlled by a handful of corporations.

The term has outlived any usefulness, and no longer tells us anything.

If any method is better, and is to be adopted as public policy, the food from that method needs to be made available to all not merely the few who "choose" it. If a method is harmful it should not be used by anyone, or if produce represents a danger to public health, it should not be available to anyone. A two-tier food system - one for the enlightened and better-off few and another for the peasants - is reactionary and unacceptable and a threat to public health.

Publicly funded research needs to be science based, and committed to the greater good of the entire public, not used to prove the superiority of a particular belief system in order to aid one private interest - the organic industry.

People are free to grow and eat whatever they like however they like. But they do not have the right to impose their belief system on the rest of us and place public health at risk. That is what the organic movement is now doing.


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Tumbulu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-06-09 03:25 PM
Response to Reply #96
99. I was once sprayed with paraquat by accident while on the job
and I have been sprayed by B.t. on the job as well. The paraquat exposure left me with the lung capacity of a 90 year old 2 years after the exposure ( I was in my 20's). The B.t. left me dirty and I had to take a shower. I have spent my adult life working towards environmentally sound economically viable farming and organic agriculture represents the closest fit at this time for me. Try living in a small town around Bakersfield, CA and then let me know what you think of the safety of conventional agriculture. Especially for those living around it.

Organic food costs more for many reasons, but the primary costs increases surround the soil fertility programs which depend upon the from expensive fertilizers made from plant and animal residue rather than chemically derived. Weed control takes a close second. Pest control is hardly an issue as far as costs compared to the first two.


Fraud is not limited to any industry. It is what regulations and regulating agencies are for.

Organic certification in the US is indeed rigorous and I do not think that fraud is the norm here. Or in Canada or Europe for that matter. I do not know anything about China or India. I check my labels looking for country of origin.

As far as science goes, scientists have been arguing for nearly a decade about the safety of chemically derived fertilizers, chemical pest control agents and now on genetically engineered plants. Animal scientists recommended stuffing chickens into cages so small they could not turn around or lay down which any ordinary person would find cruel and in fact in many states the non scientists are outlawing. I do not think that scientists will resolve this issue.


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chimpyisstillsatan Donating Member (252 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-06-09 10:43 PM
Response to Reply #99
103. sorry about the paraquat poisoning
...it's truly a horrible chemical to encounter in large doses (I use it in the lab to induce oxidative damage in cells). There's no defense for unsafe handling of chemicals, but that doesn't justify the societal costs of the resources currently wasted on the false promises of current "organic" practices. Furthermore:

1. please don't put words in my keyboard. I never said agri-chemicals were inherently safe to handle (though it's possible to handle any chemical safely- I do it every day), nor did I say fraud was involved in "organic" labeling. I said the organic food industry IS a fraud.

2. Organic certification may be rigorous, but rigorous enforcement does not make good rules.

3. I disagree with your perspectives on science. Science offers many answers.

Your argument that lack of unanimity disqualifies the consensus is the same argument creationists use to discredit evolutionary theory. Scientists disagree, it's the nature of the first step of the scientific methos. We then design tests of or conflicting hypotheses. As a scientist and public policy fetishist, I prefer the devil I know to faith based loyalty to all things "natural." Chemicals are chemicals, whether they're made from petroleum or plant metabolism.

"Organically grown" plants are able to survive in the absence of exogenous, man-made chemicals mostly through selecive breeding (though polyculture plays an important and inherently safer role). Those plants survive by making...wait for it...CHEMICALS! As I said elsewhere, look up Bruce Ames to see just how "safe" organic plants are. Hint: typically less safe than factory farmed plants from a toxicological perspective, and far more expensive. Spend the same money used for "organic certification" programs on the enforcement of OSHA and EPA regulations, and I'll take factory farmed food hands down.

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Tumbulu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-07-09 10:59 AM
Response to Reply #103
104. Pure science was replaced by corporate science a while ago.
Our publicly funded land grant universities (the ones doing ag research) are mostly filled with scientists who are supported by grants from private corporations, thank to Reagonomics.

Many a pure scientist left the universities in the 80's and became organic farmers, or professionals in the organic industry. Do a survey at your farmer's market to find who once was a professor or is the child of an professor who left in disgust. You might be surprised.

Primarily private corporations fund research on their products. Not on alternatives to their products.

Safe handling of agricultural chemicals of course is possible. But it is the norm? No way, the horror stories that I have experienced personally go on and on. I think that because the urban population has little contact with those of us who work in agriculture that they really have no idea of what it is really like. And how bad things are for farm workers as well.

Dr Ames has a very strong bias against organic agriculture. He is considered to be a hit man for the chemical industry.
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chimpyisstillsatan Donating Member (252 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-07-09 09:55 PM
Response to Reply #104
105. quite the conspiracy, eh?
In order:

1. Total Crap. USDA, NSF, DoD, NIH, NIAD are the main sources of funding for ag research. That took about two seconds to determine. Also, commercialization of technolgies generated with Federal funds is legally mandated (that means required by law). Anyone affiliated with a Research University gets the Bayh-Dole act lecture on day one.

2. "Many" and "pure scientists" are cute terms. Surveys at local farmers markets? Now that's some fine data! The child of a professor? Now there's some expertise! Let me know when you come up with something other than anecdote.

3. Pure, unadulterated idiocy. What for-profit organization funds the discovery of alternatives to their own products? Here's some news for you, the failures of 75 years of pre-millenium socialized agriculture killed more people than all the pogroms of the 20th century combined. All the major ag advances of the past several centuries were driven by the quest for profit.

4. Think organic pesticides are safe? Take a bath in some pyrethrins or rotenone, then we'll talk. But I don't want to see anyone poisoned, even with "natural" chemicals. How about you take a stroll through this before spouting off about things you obviously don't understand? Gold, L.S., et al. (1992) Science Vol. 258, pp. 261-265. Or is Lois Gold a hit (wo)man, too?

5. Sounds libelous to me. Ever read his work? (I doubt it) In my experience, ad hominem attacks are the refuge of the lazy, the cowardly, and the ignorant. I hope for your sake you fall into the latter, more forgiveable category, but I'm willing to believe otherwise.

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chimpyisstillsatan Donating Member (252 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-07-09 09:57 PM
Response to Reply #105
106. NAID should read USAID
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Tumbulu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-07-09 11:32 PM
Response to Reply #105
109. Bizarro response. Good-by. (nt)





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chimpyisstillsatan Donating Member (252 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-08-09 08:05 AM
Response to Reply #109
110. how brave of you (nt)
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glinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 10:31 PM
Response to Reply #6
44. They are gone altogether here in mid-MN farm Country. All gen-mod corn here.
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JohnyCanuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 04:34 PM
Response to Original message
9. Monsanto has an established history of acting in an envrionmentally reckless
and even criminal fashion in the pursuit of profits. You can read something of their history in this article:


Welcome to the Spin Machine
BY MICHAEL MANVILLE

The oldest and most aggressive of the food biotech companies, Monsanto deserves a close look from anyone interested in genetic engineering. It was founded in 1901, as Monsanto Chemical, to make saccharin, a substance whose production was at that time monopolized by Germany. It began as a small concern--the initial investment was $5,000--but grew rapidly and diversified. In 1929 it began to produce polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, and eventually became the world's largest supplier of them. PCBs had a variety of uses, but were used mostly to insulate electrical transformers. Evidence of their toxicity was first reported in the 1930s, and in the 1960s Swedish scientists documented high levels of them in dying wildlife. PCBs were finally banned in 1979, and the United States has classified them as a "probable human carcinogen." PCBs have left a broad legacy of environmental degradation; they are the major pollutant at a number of Superfund sites, and most notoriously in the Hudson River, where years of PCB discharge from General Electric has left 2.6 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment.

SNIP

In 1985 Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle, the chemical company that held the patent to aspartame, the active ingredient in Nutra Sweet. Monsanto was apparently untroubled by aspartame's clouded past, including a 1980 FDA Board of Inquiry, comprised of three independent scientists, which confirmed that it "might induce brain tumors." The FDA had actually banned the drug based on this finding, only to have Searle Chairman Donald Rumsfeld (currently the Secretary of Defense) vow to "call in his markers," to get it approved. On January 21, 1981, the day after Ronald Reagan's inauguration, Searle re-applied to the FDA for approval to use aspartame in food sweetener, and Reagan's new FDA commissioner, Arthur Hayes Hull, Jr., appointed a 5-person Scientific Commission to review the board of inquiry's decision. It soon became clear that the panel would uphold the ban by a 3-2 decision, but Hull then installed a sixth member on the commission, and the vote became deadlocked. He then broke the tie in aspartame's favor. Hull later left the FDA under allegations of impropriety, served briefly as Provost at New York Medical College, and then took a position with Burston-Marsteller, the chief public relations firm for both Monsanto and GD Searle. Since that time he has never spoken publicly about aspartame.

In 1982 the town of Times Beach, Missouri, which ia located adjacent to a Monsanto plant, was found to be so contaminated with dioxins that it had to be evacuated. An investigation into Monsanto's culpability was stalled when the Reagan Administration, citing Executive Privilege, ordered EPA Administrator Anne Burford to withhold key documents from a House Committee that had subpoenaed them. Reagan, it should be noted, had long wanted to destroy the EPA, and absent his ability to so he appointed Burford to run it. She was cited for contempt of Congress for her refusal to cooperate in the investigation of Monsanto, and later forced to resign in 1984 amid charges of misusing Superfund money. Her top assistant, Rita Lavelle, spent four months in jail for perjury for the same reason. Lavelle had been suspected of destroying documents related to the Times Beach case, and she regularly attended luncheons with Monsanto executives.

In 1990 the EPA's regulatory division reported that Monsanto had "submitted false information to EPA," and "doctored" samples of herbicides given to the US Department of Agriculture. In urging a criminal investigation of the company, the division noted that:

Monsanto covered up the dioxin contamination of its products. Monsanto either failed to report contamination, substituted false information purporting to show no contamination or submitted samples to the government for analysis which had been specifically prepared so that dioxin contamination did not exist.

http://www.freezerbox.com/archive/article.php?id=234 (After clicking the link, you have to cursor down about a third of the way down the page to reach the discussion of Monsanto's questionable track record.)


Video - The world according to Monsanto
Watch it here: http://wideeyecinema.com/?p=105
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 05:54 PM
Response to Reply #9
25. RoundUp also
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 08:11 PM
Response to Reply #9
40. capitalism
Capitalism, and de-regulated and monopolistic corporate agri-business is what has an established history of acting in an environmentally reckless manner.

Obsessing over Monsanto, as though they were merely one bad apple in the bunch, can only support reactionary politics on this issue. That is why the libertarians are all over it, and are the source of much of the propaganda. "Monsanto" is the gift that keeps on giving for them, because all you have to do is sprinkle the word "Monsanto" liberally through a propaganda tract, and you can get liberals to spread and promote right wing ideas and you can steer and weaken the environmental movement. It is like taking candy from babies. And you can't warn people about this, because the word "Monsanto" causes all critical thinking on this subject, and anyone trying to introduce any common sense into the discussion is attacked as a "shill for industry" or a "paid operative" for the evil Monsanto.

It didn't take long for aspartame to get introduced into the discussion. That started as an email hoax that got repeated and repeated. Aspartame is a naturally occurring molecule, and the "illness" people report (when they drink a dozen sodas a day) are identical to the symptoms of a hangover, because the chemistry is identical.

Whom does it serve if activists narrow their focus down to speculative, and easily debunked claims about BT corn, aspartame, Round Up and Monsanto?



...
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Pastiche423 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 04:39 PM
Response to Original message
10. K&R!
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OmmmSweetOmmm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 05:14 PM
Response to Original message
15. The GM corn is probably created Not to produce seeds. Monsanto wants to corner the market
on selling their own seed.

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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 06:01 PM
Response to Reply #15
26. true
That is true, but unrelated to this issue.
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 01:41 PM
Response to Reply #15
64. when you eat corn- aren't you eating the "seeds"
:shrug:
if there are no seeds- what's on the cob?
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OmmmSweetOmmm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 01:52 PM
Response to Reply #64
67. lol! I had a duh moment. Thanks!
:blush:
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Mike 03 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 05:16 PM
Response to Original message
16. As I've said for years, Monsanto is the most evil and dangerous company in the world. NT
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 02:03 PM
Response to Reply #16
68. I would urge caution
I would urge caution, Mike 03, about this thinking. Whom does it serve if we see the problems as all being caused by one evil corporation? One evil brand name, actually - that is all we are talking about.
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 05:25 PM
Response to Original message
17. there is no massive crop failure in South Africa
Corn production in South Africa is projected to reach 12.0 million tons, up 1.5 million this month. The growing season has been mostly very favorable. During planting, there were some delays due to dryness in western producing areas, but there were good rains elsewhere, and as the season progressed, above normal rains and mild temperatures prevailed across the main corn producing regions. The corn passed through tasseling under excellent conditions. Average yields are projected to nearly match the previous years record. Growing conditions were also favorable in neighboring Zimbabwe, and projected corn production is increased slightly to 0.4 million tons. However, further north in Kenya, drought hit the second-crop corn, reducing corn production prospects 0.45 million tons to 2.1 million. India reported that corn area and yield had not been as high as previously forecast, reducing production 0.5 million tons to 17.0 million.

http://www.thebioenergysite.com/articles/294/us-feed-ou...


South Africa: 2009/10 corn crop expected at 11.2 mln t (03/26/09)
The South African Crop Estimates Committee projects the coming corn crop in South Africa now at 11.2 mln t. This is nearly unchanged from the previous forecast and compares to the 12.7 mln t harvested in 2007/08. Sunseed output is now seen at 875,000 (900,000; 872,000) t and soybean output at 405,000 (369,000; 282,000) t.
(South African Crop Estimates Committee, March 25, 2009)

http://www.acti.de/1E52264DB1B14414AA494DC45E0205FB.htm...

Global coarse grain output for 2008/09 is nearly unchanged with higher corn production offset
by lower sorghum and barley production. Global coarse grain supplies for 2008/09 are raised
2.2 million tons mostly reflecting upward revisions to 2007/08 corn production and carryout in
Argentina and Mexico, and lower 2007/08 corn feeding in South Africa.

World corn production for 2008/09 is raised 0.6 million tons as an increase for South Africa
more than offsets downward post-harvest revisions for India and Kenya. South Africa
production is projected 1.5 million tons higher this month at 12.0 million. Despite some late
December dryness that delayed plantings in western growing areas, weather conditions
throughout the Maize Triangle have been extremely favorable again this year. Rainfall was
above average in both January and February. This year=s crop has developed through
pollination and, in eastern growing areas, well into grain fill with little or no stress. India corn
production is reduced 0.5 million tons on lower harvested area and yields. Kenya production is
reduced 0.4 million tons on lower yields.

...

World corn imports, exports, and consumption for 2008/09 are all projected lower this month.
Imports are lowered 0.5 million tons each for Malaysia and Taiwan. Partly offsetting is a 0.5-
million-ton increase for Kenya imports. Lower expected corn exports for the United States are
only partly offset by small increases for India and Russia. Global corn consumption is lowered
with reductions in expected feeding and food, seed, and industrial use. Feed use is lowered
2.2 million tons with reductions for China, Taiwan, Malaysia, and South Africa. Food, seed,
and industrial use is also lowered 2.2 million tons with a 5.0-million-ton reduction for China and
a 0.6-million-ton reduction for India more than offsetting increases for the United States, South
Africa, and the Philippines. Government procurement policies in China are expected to reduce
industrial corn use, including ethanol, and boost stocks. Global corn ending stocks are
projected 8.0 million tons higher with the largest increase for China where stocks are projected
6.0 million tons higher. Increases are also projected for South Africa, Argentina, and Mexico.

http://www.fisherfarmersgrain.com/usdacomment.htm

South Africa, the continent's biggest maize producer, has exported a total of 1.86 million tonnes of both white and yellow maize this season, compared with only 469,059 tonnes in the whole of 2007/08.

The surge in exports has been triggered by a large South African maize crop during the 2007/08 season, when the country reaped 12.70 million tonnes of the staple grain.

Traders say the flush maize supplies, and expectations of another good crop this season, have contributed to relatively lower maize prices on the South African Futures Exchange.

http://www.moneybiz.co.za/business_in_africa/S_Africa_w...

Monsanto pays S. Africa farmers over corn concerns

Monsanto made payments to South Afrucab growers after "pollination and yield concerns" arose with three white corn hybrids grown solely in that country, said Monsanto vice president for investor relations Scarlett Foster.

"These three hybrids appeared to produce less than optimal amounts of pollen," she said.

The hybrid issue was isolated on less than 4 percent of the roughly 6 million acres of corn planted there, Foster said.

http://in.reuters.com/article/governmentFilingsNews/idI...
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 05:53 PM
Response to Original message
24. this has been occurring for years, horrible!
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bluesmail Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 06:06 PM
Response to Original message
28. Dec 2009 Codex Alimentarius becomes the law.
It states that vitamins will be labeled toxic and cows must be vaccinated with BGRH. (Special thanks to our Corporate Media. You've been so informative these past five decades. I will now take a bow).
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 06:11 PM
Response to Reply #28
31. No that is not true - is it? Is it something done by
The G8? Or what?

Gosh, I have been hoping and hoping I would not find out that the Codex will become law here.
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bluesmail Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 07:38 PM
Response to Reply #31
37. It's beginnings were in 1963. I don't know if it actually is going
to become law. The last I read, gulp, it was. Dec. 31, 2009. :shrug: As far as I know no it had nothing to do with G8, unless, that is unless, they've been using another name...gulp.
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-08-09 05:43 PM
Response to Reply #28
112. One little problem with your statement: "BGRH" is not a vaccine.
Vaccines are infectious organisms or their derivatives injected to create a protective immune response in advance of exposure to a pathogenic organism. rBGH is a hormone injection used to hyperstimulate milk production.

This has been a public service announcement. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 06:31 PM
Response to Original message
33. read Mother Jones on Monsanto's Scary RoundUP:
snip

"Farmers using Roundup Ready seeds can only use Roundup, because any other broad-spectrum herbicide will kill their crops. So, with every Roundup Ready seed sale, Monsanto sells a season's worth of its weed killer as well. The company also keeps close tabs on the crops' progress: Farmers must sign a contract promising not to sell or give away any seeds or save them for next year's planting, and the company inspects its customers' farms for violations.

Monsanto says that the new technology will benefit the environment, arguing that the more farmers rely on Roundup, the less they will need harsher herbicides.

But studies show glyphosate, which has been described by the Environmental Defense Fund and by Vice President Al Gore as safer than other herbicides, is not as benign as it is billed. Glyphosate is less toxic than many other herbicides, but it's still the third most commonly reported cause of illness among agricultural workers in California. For landscape maintenance workers, it ranks highest. And, according to the Journal of Pesticide Reform, the herbicide also damages the ability of bacteria to transform nitrogen into a usable form for plants, and it harms fungi that help plants absorb water and nutrients. Residues of the herbicide have been found in lettuce, carrots, and barley that were planted a year after the soil was sprayed.

Critics also contend that as farmers plant more Roundup Ready seeds and spray their fields with increased doses of Roundup, herbicide "drift" may increase significantly. If this happens, neighboring farms may be forced to switch to the Monsanto seeds in order to keep their crops from being destroyed by the airborne herbicide.

Monsanto needs a big win with Roundup Ready seeds because the company has invested so..."

snip

<http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1997/01/no-way-arou... >
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 06:32 PM
Response to Reply #33
34. eventually: only RoundUp Ready Seeds & RoundUp, nothing else
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 08:01 PM
Response to Reply #33
39. nothing is that black and white
I know that people "hear" that as some defense of industry, but it is not. There is nothing that is not a trade off.

I don't know why people obsess over Round Up and BT corn. That is where Monsanto, let alone the bi-tech industry, let alone corporate agri-business, is the least vulnerable.

I think we are being steered into their strength, and into making absurd arguments. This prevents any effective and powerful action that could lead to real progress. Aspartame is another example of this misdirection.


...
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 08:29 PM
Response to Reply #39
41. RoundUp is a total lie.
I received a phone call from a guy back in the summer of 2000 or 2001.

The man was Dr Bob Simon, a top notch chemist, who spent his life as a forensic witness in court cases for families whose children had been injured by pesticides. or 2001.

He said that he had been involved in a court law suit some years earlier. At that time, the people he was testifying for were winning their case. SO Monsanto agreed to expose certain parts of its valued top secret formula of Roundup.

SIDEBAR: on the day this man called me, I had already gleaned that RoundUp was 41% glyphosate, 15% polyoxyethyleneamine, (POEA) and the rest was water. But as I am chemically sensitive, I always suspected that Roundup possibly contained formaldehyde -as I have a very specific reaction to formaldehyde, and I have that reaction whenever I am in the presence of RoundUp.

SO in the judge's chambers, the file is opened, and there it is in black and white, RoundUp contained formaldehyde.

Now Simon pretty much knew that it had to include formaldehyde - after all, without an "aldehyde" inside of it, then the glyphosate would be in the form of a dense cake. And not a sprayable liquid.

After Simon told me this, he said he was made to sign some paperwork, that he would not reveal any of this to any one. I reminded him that I was published both in a local newspaper and online, and would not necessarily keep this a secret. Simon. didn't respond.

Part of the significance of this:
1) The EPA would probably not have allowed for RoundUp to be licensed back in the early 1970's as an over-the-counter, available to the public, herbicide if the EPA had been fully briefed, about formaldehyde being part of the mixture. Formaldehyde is a potent chemical.
2) Even if the EPA had allowed for RoundUp to be available to the public, fifteen years or so down the road after the licensure, then the state of California would have intervened, because of the strictness of the Prop 65 laws. Formaldehyde is one of the carcinogens listed on Prop 65. Schools and old people's homes etc would not have had its personnel so blatantly and enthusiastically spraying this crap everywhere,saying how safe it is.
Also I suspect that with RoundUp being placed on the Prop 65 list, it would not have have captured such a large share of market share that an entire industry, that is, the GMO industry, would attempt to revolve around it.

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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 08:53 PM
Response to Reply #41
43. yes
Edited on Sat Apr-04-09 08:53 PM by Two Americas
Increased regulation, inspection, testing, research.

That is the solution.

Round Up is a symptom of the problem, and relatively speaking not a very bad example. What is being sold for home and garden use is much more unregulated and dangerous than what is sold for agriculture - no comparison.

Monsanto's secret formula, and reluctance to reveal it, highlights a new problem in agriculture. Historiacally farming was always "open source" - discoveries were shared with all, available to all, and tested and approved by public agencies here since the New Deal, and to a large extent before as well. The trend toward the proprietary model is unprecedented and very dangerous. Nothing should be used in food production that is unknown or privatized or outside the scope of testing and research and regulation to protect public health.


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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-07-09 10:02 PM
Response to Reply #33
107. Wow, what a load of baloney.
"Farmers using Roundup Ready seeds can only use Roundup, because any other broad-spectrum herbicide will kill their crops."

Actually, you can use generic glyphosate. The patent's expired. But complaining that you can't use other broad-spectrum herbicides is like complaining that you can't play a VCR cassette on your DVD player.

"The company also keeps close tabs on the crops' progress: Farmers must sign a contract promising not to sell or give away any seeds or save them for next year's planting, and the company inspects its customers' farms for violations."

Yeah, they're interested in their intellectual property. Just like those contracts you sign when you install new software.

"Glyphosate is less toxic than many other herbicides, but it's still the third most commonly reported cause of illness among agricultural workers in California."

Well now that's just dishonest. Agricultural workers are exposed to bulk amounts. Windex is perfectly safe for cleaning your windows. But if a guy at the windex factory falls in a vat of the stuff, he should probably see a doctor.

"Critics also contend that as farmers plant more Roundup Ready seeds and spray their fields with increased doses of Roundup, herbicide "drift" may increase significantly. If this happens, neighboring farms may be forced to switch to the Monsanto seeds in order to keep their crops from being destroyed by the airborne herbicide."

That would be an issue with any chemical application to crops. With Roundup Ready, you'd be spreading less over all.





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L0oniX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 08:37 PM
Response to Original message
42. Another sociopath corporation!
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glinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 10:33 PM
Response to Reply #42
45. I HATE THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!! CHECK ALL CANS, BOXES, ETC....AND DO NOT BUY IF FROM THEM
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stuntcat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 10:03 AM
Response to Reply #45
47. for REAL
CONSUMER POWER can change this shit, If enough people care they can stop these monsters, from the bottom up.

I'm finishing Jane Goodall's book 'Harvest for Hope' and I'm going to give copies of it to everyone I know.
What the companies are doing with the seeds and with our ground and with our water is just scary.
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glinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 02:13 PM
Response to Reply #47
70. Was amazed because I was going to buy mustard or something and saw "Monsanto"
in small print on the back.
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mckara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 09:58 AM
Response to Original message
46. Can't We Destroy Monsanto, Some How?

They are a blight on humanity.
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 01:37 PM
Response to Reply #46
62. why?
Edited on Sun Apr-05-09 01:38 PM by Two Americas
This is misleading, to create a scapegoat and see them as one bad apple in the bunch.

Monsanto is a symptom of a much larger problem. Seeing the problem as "Monsanto is evil" and the solution as "destroy Monsanto" is weak and powerless. I think that is why we are being steered to hate Monsanto, and much of the hate Monsanto propaganda is originating in right wing think tanks and libertarian organizations.

If we can be induced to be emotional about this - "hate" - and limit the focus of our wrath on Monsanto, the biotech industry and corporate agri-business is safe from public scrutiny and regulation and oversight.

Should you succeed in "destroying Monsanto" the same people running it now will merely re-organize under a new brand name. Then what?


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mckara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #62
76. I Want an End to Placing Patents on Seeds of Foodstuffs

Their disgraceful actions in India, Iraq, and Canada has driven family farmers to suicide. You are correct that they are only part of the problem. The mindset of the whole industry should be strictly regulated by Constitutional amendments to protect farmers.
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 06:09 PM
Response to Reply #76
82. agreed
The patenting of lifeforms, copyright of varieties and other privatization schemes must stop.

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greenbird Donating Member (432 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 05:46 PM
Response to Reply #62
79. Two Americas:
I want to thank you for making this thread one of the most educational things I have read in ages. There is such a danger when we try to oversimplify issues!
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 06:28 PM
Response to Reply #79
86. thanks
I appreciate that you read and thought about this, and thanks for the supportive comment.
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Reterr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-07-09 11:31 PM
Response to Reply #62
108. much of the hate Monsanto propaganda is originating in right wing think tanks and libertarian organi
Edited on Tue Apr-07-09 11:33 PM by Reterr
Such as? Not a militant question but I am just curious as to which ones and why. I mean, I take the point that Monsanto is only symptomatic of a larger problem with regulation, more emphasis on science based decisions ( and at least imo factory farming, CAFOs) etc., but this is certainly something I have never come across-righties demonizing Monsanto. Unless you mean those Ron Paul/Alex Jones style crazies and obnoxious as they are, aren't they a minority on the right? I guess I can see them promoting this stuff, but I have never seen it.

I am curious about where your statement comes from.

Should you succeed in "destroying Monsanto" the same people running it now will merely re-organize under a new brand name. Then what?

No kidding. Witness that glorious new company Xe-no relation to Blackwater or nuttin'. I hear AIG plans to change the name too :eyes:.

Btw you make many good points, however a friendly suggestion and I mean this really well, you would have more of an impact on changing people's minds imo if you spoke slightly less contemptuously about bike-path, organic embracing liberals etc. I really get you point about the importance of making real change rather than just doing something that makes you feel good, but such as they are, a significant chunk of those people you speak of (whole foods shopping, bike path seeking liberals or whatever) are actually much more likely to be open to the real change you speak of and open to being educated than the libertarian types who sneer at this stuff.

But if you use language borrowed from South Park conservative types and sneer at them and put them in one simplistic box as just snooty liberals or something, your tone may unfortunately turn a lot of them off and good luck getting the kind of people who say "I don't give two shits about the environment/regulations" etc. to take this kind of stuff with the seriousness they should.
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MasonJar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 10:10 AM
Response to Original message
48. Monsanto is an evil company. Read Al Gore's Earth in the Balance
and learn how the seeds that are saved and regenerated in certain parts of the world since the beginning of agriculture are one key to survival of mankind.
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hangman86 Donating Member (270 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 10:53 AM
Response to Original message
52. My dad used to work for them when I was little
Edited on Sun Apr-05-09 10:55 AM by hangman86
That whole time when I was asked "What does your daddy do?" and I'd proclaim happily "He'z a chemikeal engineeer!" I should've been sayin "He'z makin the Earth all gross and icky!"

But he wasn't a decision maker. Just a engineer trying to feed his family. Love you Dad.

Still, I'm glad he didn't go with them when the company split years ago.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 12:37 PM
Response to Original message
56. The appointment of Vilsack
is as dangerous, and repulsive, as the appointment of Arne Duncan, and that's saying a lot.

Obama has made very few appointments that I DON'T oppose, unfortunately.

There is no chance to rest, feel a bit of relief, and move forward confident that the nation is now heading in the right direction.

:(
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Vidar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 01:37 PM
Response to Original message
63. Monsanto needs to be charged with crimes against humanity.
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diane in sf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 02:08 PM
Response to Original message
69. there is no reason for Monsanto to exist or to grab the food supply
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indimuse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 02:33 PM
Response to Original message
71. knr!!!
x's 100 :mad:
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indimuse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 02:33 PM
Response to Original message
72. knr!!!
x's 100 :mad:
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slampoet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 05:56 PM
Response to Original message
81. The pollen from these corn has already taken to the WIND. This seedless has infected EVERYTHING.


I recall when we planed Multi-colored Indian Corn and Popcorn one year on our small farm.

The Corn had colored kernels for 5 years after we stopped planting, and this is in an area with snow where the pollen stays on the ground all winter. I can't even fathom at how long this effect will last.


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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-06-09 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #81
101. people are very removed from the processes of nature
I was in a book store the other day where there was a book "The last child in the forest" discussing how little kids even go outside any more.

Everyone is determined to save the earth, but most people live in cities and don't experience it. So at City and County meetings about GMO, I have heard the sentiment expressed "Well, once we outlaw GMO's we'll be fine."

However the number of plants that have already pollinated and spread this crap through the wind means we are in big trouble.
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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 06:10 PM
Response to Original message
83. If PURE EVIL disguised itself as a corporation, it would look like Monsanto.....
n/t
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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 07:44 PM
Response to Original message
89. Speaking of locking up execs-Monsanto should be at the top of the list
horrific record
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 08:45 PM
Response to Reply #89
94. the problem with that
Edited on Sun Apr-05-09 08:47 PM by Two Americas
We frog march one "bad guy," create a media circus climate, and people then think that "something has been done" and nothing changes. That happens again and again, and you would think people would catch on to that. Ken Lay went down, but the governor of California and many others walked, as did the CEOs of many corporations that did the same things. AIG is being attacked now, but it will be business as usual on Wall Street soon. Scooter got his wrist slapped, but the real perpetrators went unpunished. Lyndie England was hated by all, but Rumsfeld is free and unmolested.

The powerful and wealthy people are more than happy to have us demonize Monsanto, and are willing to throw Monsanto to the wolves in exchange for protecting the biotech industry and corporate control over the food supply. The people behind Monsanto will merely re-organize under a new brand name, anyway, with better pr, and it will be business as usual.

This is why the right wing is helping these attacks on Monsanto. They are steering us into a dead end.

It feels good to hate Monsanto. That is all it is.



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Tumbulu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-06-09 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #94
100. I agree (nt)
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Two Americas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-06-09 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #100
102. excellent
Thanks for hanging in there Tumbulu and considering what I am saying.

I think that everyone on this thread is fighting for the same things: the survival of small farmers, safe food, and sustainable agriculture. But two magic words are causing divisions and confusion where there really are none, should be none. "Monsanto" and "organic" - one supposedly describing all that is evil, the other supposedly describing all that is good.

The word "organic" places the corporations importing food from China and elsewhere that is not up to USDA standards, or any standards, on the side of "the good guys." It places thousands of progressive and safe small farmers here on the side of "the bad guys."

The word "Monsanto" gives a pass to the rest of the biotech industry and corporate agri-business, by strongly implying that the problems are merely a matter of one bad apple in the barrel, that can be solved by attacking that one bad apple.

Attacking Monsanto and promoting organic do not in terms of practical real world effect advance the cause of the survival of small farmers, safe food, and sustainable agriculture. Do we want to merely be right - and who can argue that Monsanto is good or that the organic concept is bad? - or do we want to actual advance the cause of the survival of small farmers, safe food, and sustainable agriculture?

If people are mostly concerned with being personally right - and that is an unfortunate phenomenon among too many liberals - then by all means obsess over Monsanto and organic. Those two words are perfect for that. But we should not forget that this works against the cause we say we support. The right wingers know that, and liberally sprinkle those two words throughout their propaganda fear campaigns that promote de-regulation and no oversight and inspection, no research and outreach, no standards, because they know that naive liberals will then disseminate right wing ideas.



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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-08-09 05:29 PM
Response to Original message
111. I bet Monsanto sold them illegal, unethical "Terminator" corn, but screwed
it up so it couldn't even produce a first generation crop. My only question is: deliberate, or due to incompetence?
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