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Finally, there is more movement building to bring the profligate greed and arrogance, damage to the environment, bullying of farmers and state government, and conscienceless abuse of "fair market" practices of this wretched company to a halt.    

This morning there appeared in my emailbox an invitation from our friends at CREDO action to sign a petition to instigate anti-trust action against Monsanto. Here's the basis.

Massive seed corporation Monsanto -- through acquisitions and cut-throat business practices -- has cornered 90% of the soy, 65% of the corn, and 70% of the cotton market, and has a rapidly growing presence in the fruit and vegetable market, all without government anti-trust officials raising an eyebrow.

Not only that, but in order to be productive, the entire line of Monsanto's seeds all but require the use of Roundup herbicide, trapping all of their customers into buying it. And who owns Roundup? You guessed it, Monsanto.

Monsanto has, it seems, cornered the market on abusive monopolistic practices as well. In the middle of a recession, while farmers' incomes are dropping, Monsanto recently announced a 42% price hike on its most popular genetically modified seeds. When in many areas of the country distributors carry nothing but these seeds, this sure looks like evidence of a monopolist abusing its market position.

The President's antitrust chief, Christine Varney, has been charged with vigorously enforcing antitrust regulations. Not only has Monsanto cornered large portions of the market for basic foods in America and around the world, but they have been ruthless and relentless at instituting lawsuits against states that attempt to enforce their own food purity laws and inform citizens of just what is in the food that they are buying for themselves and their families. You can encourage Christine Varney to take action by signing this petition:

http://act.credoaction.com/...

Further, the Obama administration, as part of the G8, has handed a huge advantage to companies like Monsanto. The US is drafting legislation designed to implement the G8 shift in policy away from providing direct food aid to developing nations and helping local farmers to produce more of their own food. This is, of course, a laudable goal, except that mandated use of GMOs is part of that effort. According to CREDO:

They hope to accomplish this by promoting genetically modified seeds and chemical inputs as tools to fight hunger through an exclusive focus on increasing crop yields. One powerful Senate committee has already passed a bill, sponsored by Senators Casey (D-PA) and Lugar (R-IN), that requires GMO technology to be part of the U.S. agricultural research agenda abroad. We need to tell them not to use our tax dollars to market Monsanto's products abroad!

Despite all the hype, GMOs have simply failed to deliver: there is no evidence that exporting this technology to the developing world will actually boost productivity. A recent analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that GMOs have had almost no impact on crop yields in the United States. Further, GMOs have little to offer drought-prone regions like Africa. Simply put: there are no drought-tolerant GMOs currently on the market. The only two GMO seed traits available -- sold by the biotechnology giants Monsanto and Bayer CropScience -- are herbicide tolerance and pest resistance for a handful of commodity crops like corn, soy and cotton. And not only are the existing seeds expensive but the use of these seeds would also tether poor farmers to the synthetic pesticides and fertilizers GMOs require.

Dedicating millions of dollars in aid money to biotechnology companies also reduces the funding available for proven agro-ecological systems and infrastructure improvements that are more appropriate for small and limited-resource producers.

Please sign this petition here: http://act.credoaction.com/...

On a personal note, when I was farming organically in Maine, I saw a friend driven out of business because of wind drift from a neighboring farm's GMO cornfield that pollinated his organic corn. Monsanto also launched a massive bullying campaign and lawsuit against the State of Maine's efforts to inform people about what they were consuming by allowing milk to be labeled whether or not it contained BGH, but with a strong push back from consumers, they failed. Success against Monsanto doesn't happen very often.

These people are ruthless. They have to be stopped. Please let's make this happen.  

 

Originally posted to TheWesternSun on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 12:57 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (13+ / 0-)

    "Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it." ML King

    by TheWesternSun on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 12:57:49 PM PDT

  •  Same game the rest of them play... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    publicv, TheWesternSun

    Before any food aid had to be from American farms, so really it was an American farm subsidy  more than charity.  Now they take it a step further, eliminating the American farmer and will take all the money themselves with their Genetically modified frankenseeds.

    Countries will grow their own food, but they'll rent the seeds or the seeds will die off each year so they'll have to buy more from Monsanto each planting season.  And they'll only be able to use Monsanto fertilizers and pesticides and Monsanto will supply the labor and the know how that the countries will have to pay as part of the deals.  And if the seeds blow into the next farm and cross breed, then Monsanto will have rights over that farm unless that farm owner is willing to pay for the rights.  Of course the price will be so high the farmer will lose his farm and Monsanto will take it over.  

    Why won't Obama wave his magic wand and give us the Public Option? Wave your magic wand dammit!!1!!one!!

    by Jonze on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 01:07:17 PM PDT

    •  Is Monsanto Using Farms For Collateral? (0+ / 0-)

      Of course the price will be so high the farmer will lose his farm and Monsanto will take it over.

      •  I was just painting a picture... (0+ / 0-)

        I don't know what they're doing but it's likely the same game played by all multi-national companies to exploit the hell out of countries.  

        Why won't Obama wave his magic wand and give us the Public Option? Wave your magic wand dammit!!1!!one!!

        by Jonze on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 01:53:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I Hate to Tell You This, But... (0+ / 0-)

          everyone exploits, even you and me.  The only guy I have heard of that doesn't is a guy I read about living in a cave in Utah for 10+ years.  Never uses money.  Scavenges food, clothes, etc. in dumpsters.

          If we live in a house or apartment we destroyed some beautiful land to build the house.  Same with the road we drive on.  

          If we really want to stop corporations, we need to change our lifestyles to a lifestyle that supports the environment we prefer.  Of course, we have to convince several billion people to do the same thing!

          Buggy whip manufactuers went out of business because there was no market for buggy whips!  If there is no market for GMO foods, GMO foods will die out.

  •  The corporation as psychopathological entity... (4+ / 0-)

    Monsanto's mantra and ethos.

    You have to wonder how much contempt one company's management, directors and shareholders can have for agricultural diversity, sustainability and the lives of famers.  

    Happy to sign the petition and rec this diary!

  •  I maintain the position that a company like (4+ / 0-)

    Monsanto, food suppliers, with their monopoly on a portion of the food supply chain, real staples, commodities, is unlawful.  

    I cry to the high heavens that they be stopped.  Yet still they wreak their havoc.  Nothing is sacred.  Water and air are next.

    'If we lift our voice as one, there's nothing that can't be done' MJ

    by publicv on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 01:17:37 PM PDT

  •  I Don't See Where This is Any Different... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    docstymie, TheWesternSun

    than Microsoft having an extremely large share of the Internet Browser Market and Operating System market.

    I remember when PCs first came out.  CPM was an alternate system.  It did not survive because DOS was bad but CPM was worse.  

    Should Apple be investigated for anit-trust because they only sell their operating system on Apple manufactured machines?  What if I want to buy a Dell computer with an Apple Operating System?  Isn't that unfair that I can't buy one?

    Why on earth would Monsanto produce genetically modified corn that worked with another manufacturers herbicide? That wouldn't be very smart would it?

    Your outrage appears to be directed at genetically modified plants moreso than Monsanto's business practices.  It is not unusual for owners of a copyright to sell a product without the right to copy (reproduce) it.  My daughter took my grandson to Target to have portraits made.  She purchased not only the pictures but a CD of them and the right to reporduce them in unlimited quantities.  This right cost her an extra $100.  I found out about it because when I picked up some prints at Walgreens they would not let me have them without proof that I owned the rights to them.  Appears to be the same issue with genetically modified seeds.  you buy the seed or you buy the seed and the right to reproduce.  But the cost to reproduce would be more expensive than most farmers would want to pay.  Just like if a photographer sold me the right to reproduce very popular pictures of Madonna or President Obama, I would pay more than the $100 my daughter paid for my grandson's pictures.  After all the market for my grandsons pictures is pretty limited!

    •  The One Area That Needs to be Clarified in Law... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheWesternSun

      is the issue of neighboring pollination.

      While I sympathize with your friend that was driven out of business by wind borne pollination by GMO, that is no different than if I have an orchard and the trees are pollinated by nearby trees that lower the value of my crop.  I am not aware of any legal or moral responsibility of people to control the pollen from plants on their property.

      I do have a problem with Monsanto suing farmers because their corn was pollinated by someone elses GMO corn.  

      The logical legal choices should be for Monsanto to give up right and control of the corn that was accidentally modified, or gain control and pay the farmer damages equal to the value of the corn lost  along with exenses of obtaining new supplies.

      I don't see this as being a very big issue, because most farmers growing corn (or any other crop) for seed, are very careful to plant it where outside polination will not occur.  I think that most of the cases occur when a farmer plants corn for a feed stuff, it gets cross pollinated with GMO, and the farmer decides to use it for seed because it will make him greater profits.  This would be no different than if a beautiful (copyrighted) picture of President Obama blew on to my lawn and I picked it up and sold millions of copies of it.  Turning trash into treasures carries pitfalls at times.

      •  Nope. If someone else's crop is cross-pollinated (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SeattleTammy

        with a GMO product, the farmer can't sell it without paying a fee to Monsanto. Plus, he will lose the capacity for his field to be certified organic for years into the future. For some farmers, this means the difference between staying in business, or going out of business.

        Sorry, but you seem to be looking down the wrong end of the telescope.

        "Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it." ML King

        by TheWesternSun on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 02:10:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Orangic Farms Need a Buffer Large Enough... (0+ / 0-)

          to prevent contamination through pollination.  

          I am not aware of any moral or legal responsibility for landowners to control the pollen from plants on their property.  

          •  Nope again. The *moral* obligation falls on (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Larsstephens

            the party using the contaminant, not the person whose property is being contaminated.

            Kinda makes me wonder what your motivation is for arguing so hard - and from so many angles - about this.

            "Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it." ML King

            by TheWesternSun on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 03:16:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Contaminant is subjective (0+ / 0-)

              If you oppose all GM, and it blows into pollinate an organic field, then it's a contaminant.

              If you think the GM crop is superior, and are allowing cross-pollination by having insufficient barriers and thereby getting the GM strain without paying, then 'contaminant' isn't the best description (not suggesting this happens, just seeing it from Monsanto's perspective).

              Monsanto think they have a great product, and they want to limit its spread to those who pay for it. Finding examples of where it is found without having being paid for is no more contamination than the file-sharer who, upon being found with copied music tracks, complains that the Record Company has contaminated his hard drive by not doing enough to keep their music safe.

              I don't think the moral obligation to prevent cross-contamination falls on either side wholly - if you want to call your crop organic, it is at least partially incumbant upon you to ensure it.

              Brussels Delenda Est

              by Morus on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 04:27:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  If My Neighbor has Allergies... (0+ / 0-)

              And I have plants in my yard that she is allergic to, do I have a moral obligation to control my plant's pollen?

              And by the way, I do not and have never worked for Monsanto or any chemical company.  Although I have used Roundup and like the results.

              It would be a sad day when landowners become legally or morally obligated to control the pollen produced on their property.  If it ever happens we should all have our yards covered with gravel like in Arizona and spray it often with roundup to prevent immoral pollen emissions.

    •  My "outrage" is directed at the way Monsanto (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens, SeattleTammy

      does business. The fact that they are selling the biotechnological equivalent of poisonous snake oil only makes it more egregious. Certainly where are corporations engaging in monopolistic practices. However, food is not computers, and most of these companies are not purposefully endangering people's lives or the planet's the way Monsanto does. If you can't see the difference, then there's little I can say to make this clear to you.

      "Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it." ML King

      by TheWesternSun on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 02:06:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If Your Concern is Health Issues and Not Legal... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        docstymie

        issues, wouldn't the FDA be a better place to put your efforts rather than (legal) anti-trust cases?  After all, the court would only break Monsanto into smaller units (like the Baby Bells) and GMO would continue and maybe increase because of increased competition.

        Everything in life has a risk associated with it.  I understand your concerns.  My daughter drank organic milk while she was breast feeding but returned to regular milk later because she did not feel the risk to herself was significant.

        And doesn't using terms like "poisonous snake oil" and "rankenseeds" (from Jonze) just make the argument sound irrational?

        Are their studies to show that GMO seeds are unhealthy?

        •  1. I'll put my efforts wherever they achieve (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Larsstephens

          the desired result.

          1. If you actually understood my concerns, you wouldn't be dancing the way you are.
          1. I use whatever terms seem to apply.
          1. Google it.

          "Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it." ML King

          by TheWesternSun on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 03:15:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Too bad (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    docstymie

    this is so false on so many points, and tragically misguided.

    1. Roundup is not on patent and can be sold by anyone.
    1. This bill does not mandate GMOs, that is a falsehood spread by uninformed activists.

    Bill doesn't mandate use of GM technology

       People quoted in Philip Brasher's May 17 column, "Biotech Portion of Foreign Aid Bill Draws Criticism," make incorrect allegations against the Lugar-Casey Global Food Security Act, namely that the bill requires that U.S. foreign assistance go for genetically modified (GM) agricultural technologies and that the provision was designed to benefit U.S. agribusiness.

       The bill does not mandate the use of GM technology by any farmers, implementing partners, or government agencies. It does not condition the receipt of food aid on a recipient country's adoption of GM. The use of any technology is left to individual farmers based on their particular circumstances....

    (since this has been firewalled by the Des Moines register you'll have to see the whole thing from the google cache, or read an extended version of the statement on Lugar's web site.)

    1. Opposing funding for academic agricultural research to train African and Asian scientists is really reprehensible.  Local scientists need to be trained to create the most appropriate plants for those farmers.

    Earns no money here for blogging, commenting, or driving traffic to any web site.

    by mem from somerville on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 02:24:04 PM PDT

    •  Might be good to let CREDO know (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens

      before they make fools of themselves :-)

      "Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it." ML King

      by TheWesternSun on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 03:30:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Further, about the patent on Roundup. (0+ / 0-)

      Glyphosate is no longer under patent. Roundup, however, is.

      As to your third point, I agree. What I don't agree with is the stance, as I read it and as CREDO puts forth, that even emphasizing GMO use is at all helpful when scientific evidence points to development of "superweeds" resistant to these chemicals, contamination of other crops by wind-borne pollen, harm to fish, invertebrates and the environment in general, not to mention false advertising (suit by NYS AG) and scientific fraud (EPA). Plus, crop yields for Roundup-ready crops often are below those of comparable plantings.

      None of this computes on a scientific, legal, moral, or environmental basis.  

      "Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it." ML King

      by TheWesternSun on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 03:49:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But the point is (0+ / 0-)

        you do not have to buy roundup to grow those particular seeds.  

        Well, we already know much of what Credo wrote is questionable, so you may choose to believe that perspective.  Or you can look for what the reality is.

        In fact, banning this would interfere with Marker-Assisted Selection, which even Jill Richardson supports, ironically enough.  

        And it would interfere with many types of plants that have nothing to do with Roundup: flood and drought tolerant rice versions, types of sorghum, iron enriched rice.  I've done a number of diaries on academic projects around this which you are welcome to read.

        You may also be interested to know about the UCS's flaws in description of their non-peer reviewed assessment.  Union of Concerned Scientists: GE crops have NOT decreased yields

        Earns no money here for blogging, commenting, or driving traffic to any web site.

        by mem from somerville on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 03:56:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for this info. I appreciate it (0+ / 0-)

          having the proper science and will read it accordingly. If there's more you wish to offer to me, I would be happy to read it.

          Even so, Monsanto's bullying and deceptive behavior as a "corporate citizen" is a separate matter, particularly having seen their m.o. first-hand. They need to be reined in.

          "Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it." ML King

          by TheWesternSun on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 05:25:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I understand why people hate Monsanto (0+ / 0-)

            But unfortunately that haze of hatred is clouding their judgment on other aspects of this arena.  

            I can't believe that libruls are actively working against funding for academic agricultural research for the third world. If you had told me that a year ago I would have laughed.

            There's excellent work on many types of stress tolerant plants, nutrition improvements, and ways to reduce chemical pesticides.  These are all things that are crucial for this planet and its inhabitants.  

            You might also like Tomorrow's Table--here's a link to one blog post, but there's a whole book on it too.

            Earns no money here for blogging, commenting, or driving traffic to any web site.

            by mem from somerville on Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 05:55:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  As the owner of a certified organic farm (0+ / 0-)

              for 14 years, and a certified organic gardener for 42 years, I know first-hand that fertile soil makes plants more resistant to disease and predation, and choosing the right plants/varieties for existing conditions makes a huge difference in both crop yields and the need for off-farm inputs. My farm was a completely closed system - no outside inputs for fertilizer, etc. after the initial application of rock powders on the soil. It's all a matter of proper management based on being intimately in tune with your own piece of land - plants, animals, sun, wind, every factor imaginable, and this is something that many schools of agriculture do not teach and more.

              Monsanto, to me, represents the same mentality as the worst applications of  modern conventional medicine. Give a drug to treat a symptom rather than getting to the root of the disease. In the end, this can unbalance the system even more - and I've had experience with this, too. It's a certain mind-set  we have in this country for quick fixes, and that's not how nature works.I may sound like a Luddite but, to me, practical approaches, patience, sensitivity to the planet and everyone on it, common sense win out every time.

              Thanks for the link.

              "Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it." ML King

              by TheWesternSun on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:39:36 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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