April 2nd, 2013 by Cynthia Shahan
“Blink and you might have missed it.”
Even though Food Democracy Now protesters took their fight straight to Obama, protesting in front of the White House against Section 735 of the bill, he signed anyway. Coming quickly to the forefront are disappointment and concerns for the population of the United States. Below are some more details on this bill, and why there is a distraught reaction to is.
Seeing Lincoln some weeks ago makes me wish Daniel Day-Lewis’ Lincoln (or, moreover, Tommy Lee Jones’ Thaddeus Stevens) were available to help Congress wake up to the problems related to GMOs and this bill.
Many troubled reactions have come out this week due to the covert way in which this bill made its way in. The International Business Times, for example, lists 5 terrifying facts about the Farmer Assurance Provision, Section 735 of the spending bill.
Become familiarized with the reasons behind this agitation:
The 5 Horrible Facts
1.) “The ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ effectively bars federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of controversial genetically modified (aka GMO) or genetically engineered (GE) seeds, no matter what health issues may arise concerning GMOs in the future.” (Studies have revealed severe adverse health effects related to the consumption of genetically modified foods.)
2.) “The provision’s language was written in collusion with Monsanto… the fact that Sen. Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri worked with Monsanto on a provision that in effect allows them to keep selling seeds, which can then go on to be planted, even if it is found to be harmful to consumers, is stunning.”
3.) “Many members of Congress were apparently unaware that the ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ existed within the bill they were voting on.” HR 933 was a spending bill aimed at averting a government shutdown.
“In this hidden backroom deal, Sen. [Barbara] Mikulski turned her back on consumer, environmental and farmer protection in favor of corporate welfare for biotech companies such as Monsanto,” Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the the Center for Food Safety said in a statement. “This abuse of power is not the kind of leadership the public has come to expect from Sen. Mikulski or the Democrat Majority in the Senate.”
4.) “On Tuesday, Obama signed HR 933 while the rest of the nation fixated on gay marriage as the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument concerning California’s Proposition 8.” (250,000 voters signed a petition opposing the provision.)
5.) The precedent, the message it sends is that corporations can get around consumer protections and safety. It suggests that court challenges are a privilege, not a right.)
Opponents of the provision say it was jammed through Congress without a proper hearing in relevant committees. I wonder why that would be….
Hidden Provision (deep into a homeland security section)
Carl Gibson explains the anatomy of this secret slip. “Thanks to Monsanto’s aggressive lobbying, Congress hid a provision deep into a homeland security section of their recently passed budget, by way of a long-winded paragraph loaded with indecipherable legalese.” The legalese, however, has a purpose. It allows the agribusiness giant to plant genetically-modified (GM) crops without judicial review, judicial review aimed at determining whether or not their crops are unsafe. “Essentially, Monsanto bought enough influence to bypass the system of checks and balances.”
“Although Obama said in 2007 that he would “immediately” work to label GM foods if elected, Obama in 2012 appointed a Monsanto executive as his administration’s food safety czar.” No wonder the bill slipped in, paving the way for mutant food to hit the grocery store shelves without any obstacles.
This is certainly a huge disappointment, and a concern for all of us who have read about GMOs being linked to organ damage (in 13 scientific studies), toxins from GM crops being found in humans’ blood, and GMOs being linked to livestock reproduction problems (such as animal miscarriages).
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