An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton from Another Wellesley College Alumna
By polling logic, I should be your supporter - Democrat, woman, white, liberal. But this past summer I saw a News Hour show on farmers committing suicide in Maharastra, India, which affected me deeply. I started learning what was happening to farmers and to food and how the Clintons are connected.
The News Hour piece said Monsanto, a US agricultural corporation, hired Bollywood actors to sell illiterate farmers Bt (genetically engineered) cotton seeds, promising they'd get rich from big yields. The expensive seeds needed expensive fertilizer and pesticides (Monsanto's) and irrigation. There is little to no irrigation there. Crops failed. Farmers had immense debt and couldn't collect seeds to try again because Monsanto seeds are"patented" as "intellectual property"). If they tried, Monsanto has a $10 million budget and 75 person staff to prosecute farmers. http://www.grist.org/...
Since the late 1990s (as industrial agriculture took hold in India?), 166,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide and 8 million have left the land, and it has increased since 2002 to an average of 1 every 20 minutes (P.Sainath, The Hindu). The reasons for suicides are always complex and Monsanto is not the only giant agribusiness now in India, but it is one of the largest, and the main one in Maharastra where the suicides are especially high. Farmers in Europe, Asia, Africa, Indonesia, South America, Central America and here, have all protested Monsanto and genetic engineering.
And who is Monsanto? It is a US corporation which made Agent Orange, PCBs, nuclear weapons components, pesticides, ... With that diverse background in death, it is now "doing" food. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto
What does this have to do with you?
The Orwellian-named "Rural Americans for Hillary" were Monsanto's lobbyists. My greater concern, though, is your former-employer, the Rose Law Firm, whose clients include Monsanto, world's largest GE (genetic engineering) corporation; Tyson, world's largest meat producer; Walmart, the world's largest retailer. Rose is home to the industrialization of food.
You may say you left Rose long ago, but one never leaves such close connections behind. To give an example of how things are entwined and friendly there: Jon Jacoby, senior at the Stephens Group - one of the largest shareholders of Tyson, Walmart, DP&L - is C.O.B. of DP&L, and arranged the Wal-Mart deal while Jackson Stephens' Stephens Group staked Walton, financed Tyson, and Monsanto bought DP&L, while Walmart's board invited you on, aTyson executive helped you do $1000,000 trade just before Bill' governorship, and Jackson Stephens backed Bill for Governor, then President (donating $100,000). http://www.financialsense.com/...
(Tavis Smiley just had you on his show last night, the last night before Super Tuesday. His major funder is Walmart.)
And Bill did some nice things for clients of Rose as well:
Tyson: USDA immediately significantly weakened chicken waste and contamination standards, easing Tyson's poultry-factory expansion. (www.financialsense.com/ editorials/engdahl/2006/0828.html). His USDA head, Espy, was indicted for bribes, money laundering, and much more. Tyson was the largest corporate offender. http://www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.ne...
- Monsanto people were put in charge of food, ... (http://www.commondreams.org/headlines/072600-03.htm) or http://www.monitor.net/... or http://www.mindfully.org/...
- FDA okayed Monsanto's rBGH (bovine growth hormone), first GE-product ever approved.
- Despite bovine illness/death, FDA didn't recall or warn. http://www.wafreepress.org/...
- When dairymen labeled milk "rBGH-free," USDA threatened confiscation.
- Organic food was the last way around unknown danger. FDA tried to close that escape with new "organic" standards, to include: genetic engineering of plants/animals, food irradiation , sewage sludge fertilizer. http://query.nytimes.com/...
USDA backed down from public response 20 times greater than to anything before. http://www.orpheusweb.co.uk/...
Oils: Indian sheep died eating from Bt cotton fields. http://btcotton.blogspot.com/... Our children eat Bt cottonseed oil in peanut butter, cookies.
Grains: 49% of corn acreage planted in Bt corn in 2007. www.ers.usda.gov/Data/BiotechCrops/adoption.htm French study indicates it causes kidney and liver toxicity. http://www.organicconsumers.org/... Monsanto controls US's two main crops, soy (90% GMO, 90% of traits "belong" to Monsanto) and corn, the largest crop (60% GMO, nearly 100% Monsanto "owned" traits). http://www.organicconsumers.org/...
Meat: Steroids bulk athletes, Monsanto steroids fatten animals, our fattening children eat steroid-laced meats. FDA allowed "known TSE-positive (Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy Mad Cow Disease) material to be used in pet food, pig, chicken and fish feed." Monsanto's GE-hormone increases risk sick cows are entering US food chain. http://www.consumersunion.org/...
Poultry: USDA weakened waste/contamination standards. Waste from transnational poultry industry is now implicated as the source of bird flu. http://www.globalresearch.ca/... The poultry industry is using the crisis to push out small farmers. http://www.ens-newswire.com/...
Milk: Scientific studies indicate Monsanto's rBGH increases risks of breast cancer by up to seven-fold, increases colon, prostate cancers risks. Canada, 29 European nations, Norway, Switzerland, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa ban U.S. rBGH dairy products. Bill's USFDA put no restrictions, warning labels, or any labels. http://www.sustdev.org/...
Monsanto makes moves to increase its control:
Monsanto's Terminator genes make plants sterile after one season, which would require farmers to repurchase. But the genes pose an apocalyptic risk of breaking out into nature. GE breakouts have contaminated maize http://www.slogefree.org/...
and weeds, already. http://www.newscientist.com/...
Monsanto, meat-packers, and USDA (http://www.farmandranchguide.com/articles/2006/01/30/ag_news/updates/update01.txt)
are pushing NAIS (National Animal Identification System), a corporate database tracking small farmers' livestock. http://goexcelglobal.he.net/... .
Monsanto is also pushing state laws taking control from farmers, communities, over GE planting. http://www.rense.com/...
"Genetic Engineering is often justified as a human technology, one that feeds more people with better food. Nothing could be further from the truth. With very few exceptions, the whole point of genetic engineering is to increase sales of chemicals and bio-engineered products to dependent farmers." David Ehrenfield: Professor of Biology, Rutgers University www.innvista.com/society/education/students/simpson.html
But Industrial Agriculture has given us:
Cattle living in filth, 12,000-year-old seed loss, poultry industry implicated in bird flu, Mad Cow disease, bee colony collapse, poisoned soil, depleted water, Superweeds (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn1882-geneticallymodified-superweeds-not-uncommon.html), lawsuits against farmers, loss of family farms throughout the world, ... farmers committing suicide. Industrial agriculture.
Bees and farmers, dead. They are our canaries in the mine.
You and Food Safety:
Your proposed "Department of Food Safety" centralizes control over food, but into whose hands, HIllary? You talk tough on labeling ... "foreign" food, but Bill degraded US food and prevented even minimally sane labeling. You never objected.
Monsanto uses child labor in India, http://www.indiaresource.org/... You take Monsanto donations.
Blacks, our poorest group, have to eat Monsanto's steroid/hormone/antibiotic-filled GE food. You take Monsanto donations.
Latinos' central food is corn; its GE version is toxic to the kidney and liver, and has contaminated normal corn in Mexico. You take Monsanto donations.
Who are you with? National Black Farmers Association, boycotting Monsanto? Babies drinking rBGH milk? Women fearing breast cancer? Suffering animals? Children eating Bt-corn in processed food, soft drinks, and candy? Despairing farmers?
I am a person before I am a woman. Your gender is irrelevant. Given deadly threats to my grandchildren's future by your corporate connections (Edwards was right), I don't believe your talk of "caring" about women/children/health/food.
I will vote for someone committed to small farmers - our ONLY real food safety. Your friends, though, are the heart of an international industrial agricultural nightmare.
Disclaimer. I am not a scientist. I have read for months on this subject, and know that genetic engineering is many orders of magnitude different from "normal" business in its potential biologic ramifications, makes real the warning of Pandora'a Box - letting irretrievable things rush out into nature. Only the stark change to the world from nuclear fission and fusion offers a harrowing enough parallel. I am including only a tiny portion of the horrifying things I have learned. I am expressing my opinion as person and may be wrong. Perhaps things are swell out there and rBGH is fabulous and TSE-laced feed is great, and genetic engineering is the best thing since manna. But I am scared for my family and I have not only a right to say so but an obligation to do so. I am angry that Monsanto was allowed the influence it had and has done the things it definitely seems to have. I am disgusted by industrialization of every tender and beautiful part of our world and hope, for all our children's sake, we are not too late to pull back.
P.S. Since posting my original letter, I have learned that your connection with Monsanto is more intimate than I knew, more on-going, and more central. Your long-time adviser, including for PR, and your chief campaign strategest, is Mark Penn, who works for Burson-Marsteller - Monsanto's PR firm - which represents some of the worst corporations in existence - including Blackwater. http://www.sourcewatch.org/...
[I am writing because the Clinton connections to all upset me deeply and very personally. I am also writing because I believe their story offers a key into understanding how Industrial Agriculture is impacting all of us. I am writing "now" because the election puts all politicians on the spot. I am not an Obama supporter and so far do not see anything positive or substantive he has said or done on behalf of family farmers who are being wiped out here and around the world by our farm policies (where is he on the terrible Farm Bill now in Congress?).
Ordinary people are being impacted strongly by the letter, so it offers an opportunity to actually crack through to large public awareness. If you find it worthwhile, please post, pass, share, as widely as possible, as much as possible, as quickly as possible because if Obama gets the nomination, the intensity of the issue may disappear with Hillary.]
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