The Senate begins voting on the Farm Bill this afternoon. The current subsidies are nothing but corporate welfare with over 50% going to the 22 Congressional Districts whose members sit on the Agriculture Committee.
Nearly all of that is dedicated to Monsanto Roundup Ready commodity crops led by corn and soy. Over 90% of America's soy is patent protected, fee based Roundup Ready variety.
Since we have no rights as American consumers to have it labeled, should we really need to pay to grow, what we can't have the right to identify on the store shelves?
Isn't it enough we are tricked into paying for on the retail side? Isn't that too much to ask of shoppers and taxpayers, to get the tab twice for something we don't want?
Over 400 commodity crops get not a penny and the total paid to growing fruits and vegetables is less than one half of one percent. Thats .5% given to healthful foods and farmers who grow them and 99.5% to the agribusiness %$#@ that has turned us into a Nation where 1/3 of the children under twelve are now obese and at risk for Type 2 diabetes, not to mention the other illness Americans are now plagued with.
The bottom line is that there is a desperate need for change. Making progress for individual citizens in Congress is a bit like turning a tanker in port, slow and challenging but it can be done. What it takes is a bit of Congressional will.
One effort to begin to transition to something that gives the bulk of America's farmers and foods a little help is the Lugar/Lautenberg FRESH amendment. The Farm Ranch Equity Stewardship and Health Act would replace subsidies and offer a new income insurance "safety net" for all farmers, and gradually replace the complex, antiquated mix of farm subsidies to producers of a handful of commodity crops.
The amendment will increase funding for conservation, healthy-eating and anti-hunger programs, specialty crop production, renewable energy programs, and reduces the deficit by $4 billion! Does anyone really need more good reasons to support the Amendment than a savings of more than $4 billion dollars and a move toward supporting the farmers and foods we all need to have diversity in our crops and healthy foods for our families?
Apparently it isn't clear enough for Senator Clinton, but then a corporate player wouldn't be very clear when it comes to biting the hand that feeds her. I called Clinton's office this morning to see if she was supporting the FRESH Amendment and if she planned to take a break from campaigning to do the job my Senator is supposed to do and vote on this.
One shock is that now the Presidential bid has made changes so that at least the office in Washington has enough interest in communicating that staff actually answer the phones as opposed to the black hole voice mail that we've 'enjoyed' for so long. So my call was answered.
Is Senator Clinton supporting the FRESH Amendment? The official reply, "The Senator has no statement of a position on the Amendment." Okay, so she can't come out and say the corporate welfare recipients are her base so we get the no comment.
My next question was whether she would even be in Washington to vote on the Farm Bill and Amendment. Once again the perfect non reply, "The full details of the Senator's schedule aren't available at this time." Give me a freaking break, she's scheduled right down to her bathroom breaks. Every appearance, every flight, every hotel room, every stump speech venue has been on the calander for weeks if not longer.
The answer is NO!! No citizens of New York, your Senator is not working for you. She's working on getting a better spot to serve the deep pockets that pay her to campaign and support things like the Iran Resolution for The War President who really needs to feel he has more power to justify aggressive military action. The War she voted for the first time is going so well why leave it to chance, why risk letting the NeoCons feel a weakening in their power.
So here we have another small case of being able to make huge changes and what is Hillary delivering? More lip service but the good news is it is a paid staffer not a voice mail box that we have to answer our inquiries now. Maybe your Senators are better than mine and there's some chance they will step up and do the right thing. Maybe Hillary can be pressured into showing up at the Capitol and casting a vote for healthier foods and a move from pure corporate welfare in the Farm Bill.
It's worth a call to find out or simply to let the Congress know we are out here and we are tired of paying to fatten corporate profits and kids. Let them know we have a voice and see if they are listening. Capitol Switchboard is 202-224-3121 and they can locate your MoC by zip code if you don't know what gem is yours. Don't be shy about calling. They work for you, their salaries and gold plated benefits are right out of your pay check, tell them how you want them to spend it! Keep asking, can you hear us?