(illustration: Occupy Monsanto)
My 9-year-old niece Evelyn in Maryland is already very politically-active. Like most of America, she was saddened and outraged about the kids in Connecticut who were mowed down by a killer wielding an assault rifle with 30-round clips. She was especially horrified that the victims were her own age, and in class when they were shot. The 113th Congress has already decided that, while it won't protect 3rd graders from assault rifles and high-powered magazines, it will protect Monsanto from the courts. They won't listen to a third grader who took the time to make her own sign and join a march in DC in support of sensible gun regulations, but they'll listen to anyone who writes a big enough check.
The push for a renewed ban on assault weapons, which George W. Bush repealed in 2004, died when Harry Reid flatly told Dianne Feinstein that the gun legislation to be discussed in the Senate wouldn't include a renewal of the assault weapons ban. The NRA won again, thanks to their millions spent on browbeating Congress with armies of lobbyists, hefty amounts of campaign cash, and the lowest of tactics, which included robocalling homes in Newtown, Connecticut.
We couldn't even get the Democratic leader of the Senate to stand by a renewal of an assault weapons ban that was in place just nine years ago, when the 2nd Amendment was still very much intact and people still had plenty of guns. We failed to reinstate a ban on high-capacity magazines, despite ample evidence that Adam Lanza murdered 26 people, including kids just barely out of infancy, in just under 5 minutes thanks to 30-round magazines in an AR-15 assault rifle. In this moving segment, Rachel Maddow breaks down the situation step by step, explaining how many young lives could have been saved if Lanza had had to reload after every 10 rounds and carry that many more magazines.
Harry Reid's admittance of defeat to the gun lobby proves that Washington won't listen to the grieving friends and families of those who were gunned down in a movie theater in Colorado, or at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, a shopping mall in Portland, or an elementary school in Connecticut. The only thing that moves Washington to act is cash. Lots of it. This is why the NRA won again, and why Monsanto just won in the Senate's new budget.
Thanks to Monsanto's aggressive lobbying, Congress hid a provision deep in a Homeland Security section of their recently passed budget, by way of a long-winded paragraph loaded with indecipherable legalese, allowing the agribusiness giant to plant genetically-modified (GM) crops without judicial review to determine whether or not their crops are safe.
Essentially, Monsanto bought enough influence to bypass the system of checks and balances. All that's needed to solidify this goodie to Monsanto is President Obama's signature. 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. It's safe to say the bill will get signed, paving the way for mutant food to hit the grocery store shelves without any obstacles.
Obama won't pay attention to the petition with 100,000+ signatures from people representing all 50 states demanding to reject the Monsanto Protection Act, just as Congress didn't pay attention to 3rd graders marching for gun regulations. This corrupt government will continue down this pay-to-play spiral until we all start throwing wads of cash at them, or organize as one unified group of people and oust them ourselves.