Why the US Government Refuses to Turn on Monsanto
Many have pondered how Monsanto managed to rise to such a powerful position with respect to its influence over the U.S. government, and I think journalist Abby Martin may have pin-pointed the source of this obnoxious loyalty in her recent video report, “America’s Monster” (below).
In it, she details Monsanto’s history as an American “war horse,” which began with its involvement in the Manhattan Project and the creation of the atomic bomb. Monsanto’s contributions to the U.S. war machine continued during the Vietnam War, when the company became a leading producer of Agent Orange.
These war contributions appear to have cemented a long-lasting and loyal relationship between the U.S. government and Monsanto that continues to this day, to the detriment of the American people.
Sixty-four other nations have been labeling genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for years. Here in the U.S., Monsanto’s influence runs so deep, we just became the first country in the world to UNLABEL GMOs, as President Obama will soon sign a bill that nullifies Vermont’s GMO labeling law, which just went into effect July 1.
Throughout its entire history, which began with the foundation of Monsanto Chemical Works in 1901, Monsanto has specialized in the production of toxic chemicals. Despite attempts to shed its destructive image, Monsanto has utterly failed to do so, for the simple fact that it never actually changed its basic modus operandi.
Nor did it actually change its direction from purveyor of toxins to a life-giving agricultural company. Its focus remains producing and selling toxins. It simply discovered it could sell more chemicals, and ensure ever-increasing profits, by producing GE seeds with herbicide-resistant properties.
Voluntary ‘Smart Label’ Preempts State and Consumer Rights
Earlier this month, Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts and ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow announced they’d reached a deal1 to create a national labeling standard for GMOs using voluntary “Smart Labels” (so-called QR codes2) rather than clear labeling.
This despite the fact that polls show 88 percent of Americans have said they do NOT want to be forced into using a smartphone app to find this important information.
The bill, S. 2609, which amends the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 with a national bioengineered food disclosure standard,3,4 is now more or less a done deal. On July 14, the U.S. House passed the bill, 306 to 117, and President Obama has already indicated he will sign it.5
The legislation will supersede and nullify Vermont’s GMO labeling requirement, which took effect mere weeks ago.
It will also bar any other state from enacting GMO labeling requirements that differ from the national standard, and delays the disclosure requirement another two years; three years for smaller food companies.
What’s worse, the new legislation changes and significantly narrows the definition of bioengineering, as applied under this law only, such that the newest biotech methods are exempt from the disclosure standards.
As a result, most GE food products currently on the market will end up being excluded anyway.
With the passing of this bill, the U.S. “war horse” Monsanto won again. Your elected representatives sold you out to the highest bidder. Senator Jeff Merkley has even stated that the bill was “written by and for Monsanto.” As reported by Sputnik International:6
“Markley explained that because of loopholes in the legislation, Monsanto-made products ‘would not be covered by it, because the definition excludes them.'”
Monsanto Benefits From Farm and Biofuel Subsidies
I recently discussed how government-subsidized commodities such as corn, soy and wheat contribute to the obesity and disease epidemics in the U.S.7,8,9 The Western processed food diet is chockfull of refined added sugars and unhealthy vegetable oils, which are cheap as a result of farm subsidies.
However, as much as 65 percent of the 94.1 million acres of corn grown in the U.S. actually doesn’t enter the food system at all.10 It’s used to produce ethanol fuel.
In a 2009 speech, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said that “energy reform is a strategic imperative,”11 calling for the deployment of “the Great Green Fleet … composed of nuclear ships, surface combatants equipped with hybrid electric alternative power systems running biofuel and aircraft flying only [on] biofuels.”
Mabus had put down 2016 as the deadline for this naval energy reform, but it didn’t come to pass. As noted by Vice News:12
“[C]ongressional Republicans … have blocked the Navy from spending more on a gallon of biofuel than it does on a gallon of regular diesel.
Since it costs more to turn seeds, weeds or beef trimmings into usable fuel than it does to extract fossil fuels from the ground and refine them, it’s all but impossible for the fleet to use substantial amounts of biofuels with crude oil prices are as low as they currently are.”
Part of the problem is the low production of biofuel, which drives up the price. According to a 2015 report13 by the World Resources Institute (WRI), in order to meet just 20 percent of the global energy demand by 2050, using plant-based biofuels, we would have to DOUBLE the global annual harvest of plant material “in all its forms.”
This makes the “quest for bioenergy at a meaningful scale … both unrealistic and unsustainable,” according to the report. Despite such bleak prognoses, the Biodiesel Tax Incentive Reform and Extension Act of 201614 would provide a $1.00 subsidy for each gallon of biodiesel produced during the taxable year.
In short, not only are your tax dollars continuing the expansion of corn for the production of biofuel, which is “unrealistic and unsustainable” to begin with, government subsidies are also used to grow crops that are primary contributors to obesity and ill health — and both of these schemes end up benefiting Monsanto, since the vast majority of corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified.
Why Eat GMOs When They Have No Health Advantages?
Cobb makes another great point when he says:
“[T]he industry’s business and public relations strategists are the same ones who made a colossal marketing error — while believing they had achieved a regulatory coup — when they steamrolled the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into ruling that GMOs are ‘substantially equivalent’ to their non-GMO counterparts and therefore require no testing …
The reason this strategy has turned out to be a colossal marketing error is that as the attacks on GMOs have mounted … the industry finds itself unable to pivot and point to any advantages that GMO foods have for consumers over non-GMO foods …
After all, GMO foods are said to be ‘substantially equivalent.’ That means that the industry cannot give consumers any reasons to prefer GMO foods over their non-GMO counterparts … So far genetic engineering has focused on creating plants [that] produce insecticides internally — not a pleasant thought for those eating them — and which are immune to herbicides made by, you guessed it, the companies producing the GMO seeds.”
Chemical Residues — A Major Reason to Avoid GMOs
Indeed, if GMOs are substantially equivalent to conventional crops in terms of nutritional value yet contain higher amounts of pesticides, why eat them? After all, the idea that pesticides are a boon to health is a tough sell.
As you may have noticed, with the exception of DDT, which was marketed as “good for you,” pesticides do not have health claims. And arguments defending the presence of pesticides on food always focus on the notion that the amount present is low enough that it will not produce adverse effects.
However, health statistics tell a different story, and the reason why the “trace defense” doesn’t hold water is because it’s not just about minor traces of chemicals on certain foods items.
Unless you eat organic foods and use “organic everything,” you’re exposed to pesticides from most foods, plus the chemicals used in the processing, plus chemicals to add flavor, texture and preservation power, plus chemicals found in the packaging and in the cashier’s receipt, plus the chemicals found in just about every product you put on your body every day, including the clothes you wear, and the furniture you sit on. There are even chemicals in the air you breathe and the water you drink.
We are barraged with toxins at every turn, and they all ADD UP. That is the problem. And, unfortunately, food appears to be a major source, so avoiding chemicals in your diet can go a long way toward preserving your health. With that in mind, herbicide-resistant and pesticide-producing food crops are an incredibly foolish idea that contributes absolutely nothing to the health and wellbeing of the global community.