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General News    H3'ed 2/25/09

No win for the left. Merrigan as the show, Monsanto behind the curtain.

Linn Cohen-Cole
Message Linn Cohen-Cole
The liberal community is thrilled that Obama has appointed Kathleen A. Merrigan as undersecretary to the USDA, someone with connections to organic farming.  
"OMG everybody! We won! We did it! Obama announced today that he will nominate Kathleen A. Merrigan for Deputy Secretary of the USDA. She was among the Sustainable Dozen requested as high level USDA appointees by the Food Democracy Now campaign."

This is taken as the sign everyone has been waiting for that, we are finally going to start to head in the right direction.
Forgive me, but since when do we work by signs?  
Meanwhile ...
There are alleged "food safety" bills in Congress right now (HB 875, HB 814, SF 425 and possibly soon, HB 759) which are - to put it plainly and truthfullly - the death of organic farming and independent farming in America.  One, at least, merges the USDA and FDA, immensely corrupted agencies, into a more powerful, centralized agency that gives even more power to Monsanto and other corporations which have influence there.  These were introduced one week after Vilsack in a  press conference said they weren't thinking of doing that yet.
[Do your best to remember the recent centralizing of all the intelligence agencies and the loss of rights that entailed for urban groups ... and then apply it many times magnified to rural people in our country in order to get an inkling of how things are working similarly.  In both cases, multinational forces we fear are getting hold of massive tax-payer funding - in the name of safety from terrorists or safety from germs - to set up huge data banks and across the board spying  and abrogate an endless list of civil and human rights.  Now realize that on the farming side, the farmers will actually responsible for buying and maintaining the spying equipment, for staying accurately spied upon and file the reports on their own lives, for turning over DNA, for easements on their land to allow for warrantless entry onto property, or face ten years in prison and $500,000 penalties .]
So, with great fanfare, we are presented with something "encouraging" that people have been waiting for, while not noticing what is happening off the side that is the very thing we should most fear.
HB 875, which is the larger and appears to be the central one, looks innocuous.  Again, it is surface we are asked to concentrate on.  The surface is "food safety" and the government supposedly finally acting to protect us.  Below that surface are two things - that those who cause the dangerous food are running this show, and that "food safety" has been used before and is being used here again to destroy the only people who actually provide it.
So, we want food safety and more muscle behind that seems logical, until you look at the agencies being given more power.

"The thing that bugs me is that people think the FDA is protecting them .  It isn't.  What the FDA is doing and what the public thinks it's doing are as different as night and day.” 
Dr. Herbert Ley, Commissioner of the FDA. (San Francisco Chronicle, 1-2-70). 
What is the FDA doing?

"First, it is providing a means whereby key individuals on its payroll are able to obtain both power and wealth through granting special favors to certain politically influential groups that are subject to its regulation.  This activity is similar to the 'protection racket' of organized crime: for a price, one can induce FDA administrators to provide 'protection' from the FDA itself.

"Secondly, as a result of this political favoritism, the FDA has become a primary factor in that formula whereby cartel-oriented companies in the food and drug industry are able to use the police powers of government to harass or destroy their free-market competitors.

"And thirdly, the FDA occasionally does some genuine public good with whatever energies it has left over after serving the vested political and commercial interest of its first two activities."  - G. Edward Griffin, World Without Cancer.

FDA tactics:

"The hearings have revealed police-state tactics...possibly perjured testimony to gain a conviction,...intimidation and gross disregard for the Constitutional Rights...(of) First, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments, (by the FDA)

"Instance after instance of FDA raids on small vitamin and food supplement manufacturers.  These small, defenseless businesses were guilty of producing products which FDA officials claimed were unnecessary."

"If the FDA would spend a little less time and effort on small manufacturers of vitamins...and a little more on the large manufacturers of...dangerous drugs..., the public would be better served."  - Senator Long from various Senate hearings.

As late as November of 2008, scientists at the FDA itself have revolted against corrupt managers there, submitting a letter to Congress.  Dingel charged FDA bureaucrats with "gross violation of laws and regulations..." 

FDA in regard to drugs: 

FDA is at the center of "a national controversy over [its] ability to protect the public against unsafe medicines. As associate director for science and medicine in the FDA's Office of Drug Safety, Graham told Congress last month that FDA's problems with ensuring drug safety were "immense in scope" and left the nation "virtually defenseless" against the chance that unsafe drugs will reach consumers.

FDA in regard to food, both as they relate to harming safe local farming and actually greatly decreasing safety to the sole advantage of industry and immense risk to the public :
1.  FDA instituted HACCP [coming in through Carol Tucker Forman, representing Monsanto at the same time] wiped out 72 local meat processors in Kansas (please imagine the loss of jobs, of food security, of community in those places, and then multiplied across state after state) who had had no problems with e-coli, while creating a vastly more centralized "industrial" (corporate) system in which inspections fell and food safety problems increased.  

"HACCP [was] the keystone of President Clinton's globalization strategy to restrict the ability of Congress and of citizens at risk of health to make safety a political, or policy issue."   FDA's HACCP made "feces" an approved part of the American diet."

2.  American cherry growers got money from the the USDA for an independent study which showed that cherries were potentially ten times stronger than aspirin and ibuprofen for controlling pain (separate from being incredibly high in anti-oxidants).  FDA, exceeding its regulatory authority immediately forbade them from even putting a link on their websites to the peer reveiwed study) while allowing NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: aspirin, tylenol, aleve ...) which cause thousands of deaths a year and well over a hundred thousand hospitalizations and those figures do not even include over the counter deaths and serious illnesses.  Yet there appear to be no deaths by cherry.

And the USDA ?
"The organic food industry made the mistake of asking the USDA to regulate it, since there were many unscrupulous "organic" farmers who sold food that was not really organic, as organic.  In 1998, there was a major consumer effort to stop an agribusiness takeover of the industry, and the battle is not finished.  [My emphasis.] 

" ...organic” is a misnomer, as the movement is more of an effort to counter the agribusiness mentality, with its artificial fertilizers, genetically engineered life, radiating food, and so on, and get back to natural methods.  

"Agribusiness companies control the USDA, just as the drug companies control the FDA.  ... 
An internal USDA memo that Mother Jones obtained in 1998 showed that the USDA was influenced by the biotech companies, which was why its original standard classified genetically engineered food as organic."

"The USDA's originally proposed standard would have eliminated organic food as it is known today.  ... It is as if Lucifer himself is writing the law.  Is the USDA really that blind, or do they know exactly what they are doing?"

The examples of both the USDA and FDA favoring industry to the literal destruction of safer small farmers or small businesses, are endless.  The USDA wiped out black farmers through massive discrimination against them, the FDA has attacked and eliminated natural health practitioners.  The USDA and FDA have worked to eliminate all non-corporate, less expensive, more healthy, green, and local alternatives  to industrial food and industrial drugs under the aegis of food or drug safety, while passing and protecting and promoting dangerous corporate products such as rBGH and Vioxx.  
So ... the innocuous looking HB 875 brings these two Monsanto-connected agencies together, and with immensely more power.  In recognizing the large international corporate moves being made to take over food , one can appreciate where this and the other bills fit in.  
Hillary Clinton ran on a platform to create this centralized "food safety-actually-the-opposite" department (just as Bill Clinton wanted an "organic" label that would absurdly include genetically engineered and irradiated food and sewage sludge as fertilizer).  Both promoted a great twisting of reality - dangers with a positive label slapped on top.  Her long-time advisor (and perhaps his) has been Mark Penn, head of Burson-Masteller, one of the largest and most reviled PR firms in the world which represents Monsanto, Blackwater, ExxonMobil (they helped cover up the spill), Union Carbide after Bhopal (minimizing the disaster there), the Argentinian junta, and more.  
We all know what PR firms do.  They stage things, they time things just right for the introduction of something, they create atmosphere they want, they dress things up to look good for the camera which are in fact rotten or dangerous.  And they can make people and things which are good, look bad.  In short, they manipulate public opinion by manipulating the truth.  And when they work for one of the most evil corporations on earth, Monsanto, the degree to which they can pull that off is the degree to which we are all subjected to extreme dangers.
HB 875 is called a "food safety" bill and it looks "nice."  But it includes coded words that make other very not nice things become suddenly operative, things that are not mentioned directly in the bill but are buried in multiple other places, as simple lists or as regulations which have never been debated by law makers or voted on by the public, but simply inserted into the agencies, frequently by industries which are supposed to be regulated by those very industries.  
The coded words around "tracing" trigger NAIS [please watch this video by the Organic Consumers Association, which is not fooled] and any words around "best farming practices" would unleash a slew of absolute government controls over such things as what the farmers must feed their animals (one assumes it will be GMO feed from Monsanto Bt-corn and Bt-soy) and when, what medical regimen they must follow (one assumes it will be the drugs Big PHARM and Big PHARMA sell), what kind of spray (one assumes it will be the pesticides Monsanto sells) and when and where farmers must apply it.  
It is clear from those three items alone (what the animals eat, what drugs they are subject to, what is done to the soil and plants) that "best farming practices" (and much, much more anti-farming practices are included under that) would impose a complete industrialization of farming and would destroy any farm that was organic.  
But it is worse even than that because we are looking at the actual industrial enslavement of our once free farmers by government, forced into a system in which they would become literally "captives" to purchasing mandated products from the very industry that has taken over our tax-payer-funded agencies and is imposing this farm-and-health-destructive regime.  They would be paying taxes to be destroyed by the centralized USDA/FDA "food safety" department while those farmers are the only ones producing safe food.  
Monsanto influences both agencies.  It gets power.  It gets data banks to oversee all farmers and even to take DNA from their animals.  It gets mandated purchase of its products.  It gets to kill organic farming and food.  
And as you will see below, it gets even more.
"Best farming practices" include not having animals and crops on the same farm.  Does it get more bureaucratically distant from farming or more insane than that?
As massively tricky and corrupt as it seemed Bill Clinton's proposal to label Monsanto's genetically engineered crops and animals "organic," this centralized "food safety" department proposed by Hillary Clinton leaves such single layered, too-transparent wrong-doing in the dust.  For now it is not a fake label blatantly proposed, but an entire fake (as to providing "food safety") agency being called for and "in response to" deaths and with all the threats hidden in multiple places.
So while Bill Clinton's proposal would have only hidden everything we eat under a lying label, trapping us into dangers through enforced ignorance, these bills hide the hand of and the greatly multiplied power of Monsanto, hide the death of all independent (non-corporate) and organic farming, and hide the literal take over the entire US food supply.
Hard to get more clever than that.
Given both Bill and Hillary Clinton's long standing connections to Monsanto, and given how much Monsanto already influences both agencies to its own advantage, one assumes this proposal came at the behest of Monsanto.
Buried many layers deep within "best farming practices" are a list of "sources of seed contamination."  Seeds are life to all of us.  Seeds are freedom to survive. 
Yet Monsanto is aggressively doing all it can to put normal seeds out of reach , (making it a crime for farmers in Iraq to use their own, for instance) and has attempted to make saving of normal seed illegal here.  So, inserting harmless seed cleaning equipment - essential to organic and independent farming - into the FDA under "food safety" is a tip-off to their involvement .
Seed cleaning equipment, I understand, has already been made illegal this year though there have been no illnesses related to it.  A farmers said he may still clean seed but he would need a million to a million and a half dollar building and equipment to do so now.
Seed storage facilities are also listed.  One sees the direction this is going.  Monsanto and the biotech industry want no more farm-saved seed (or individual saved seed).  In the EU, seeds not only the official seed list (which costs thousands of pounds to be on) may not be sold to the public.
All the good people who want organic farming and local farmers and a greener, saner world are excited about this new USDA appointment.  They have missed Monsanto's sleight of hand.  
They miss that seed storage facilities would be declared illegal as well, as sources of "seed contamination."  They miss that all the wonderful seed banks around the country that devoted and hard working people have set up to preserve biodiversity for all of us, will be made illegal because those seeds threaten the absolute monopoly over seeds and food that Monsanto seeks.  Oh, one could still seed bank but they'd need a million or two million or five million dollar "facility" for the sake of "food safety."
They miss everything that will happen to our farmers and organic food.
With this new USDA appointment, the left is being massively played.  Even if the appointee would be good, there will be no organic farming to oversee.  All the laws coming out of HB 875 and the other bills will already have destroyed it. 
Good bye seed banks.  Good bye biodiversity which is critical to survival.  Good bye human control over seeds which are the basis of all life ... which are our biologic inheritance and most fundamental human right.  Good bye to a country full of independent farmers ... the floor under any democracy,
Instead, we have illusion.  Burson-Marsteller, a major, major PR firm, works for corporations to cover up the literal deadly harm they do.  We are being encouraged to watch a show.  Look behind the curtain.  Monsanto is there.  
"We need the World Bank, we need the International Monetary Fund, we need all the big foundations, we need all the governments to admit that for 30 years we all blew it, including me, when I was President.  We blew it. We were wrong to believe that food is like some other product in international trade. And we all have to go back to a more environmentally responsible, sustainable form of agriculture." 
Former US President Bill Clinton, in a keynote address for World Food Day on 23 October 2008

Monsanto now is talking "sustainable."  It's PR .  They used Bollywood actors to sell Bt-cotton to Indian farmers but the reality is that 182,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide since Bill Clinton and the IMF and the World Bank forced India's door open to Monsanto and Big Ag.
The bills in Congress, dressed up as "food safety," are in fact the death of organic and independent farming in our country and a vast intensification of globalization as part of a plan for tight international corporate control over our food.
Progressive rejoicing at Kathleen A. Merrigan's appointment to the USDA as a major win is surely making Monsanto and Big Ag cronies laugh and pass around cigars over their well-crafted plan to thoroughly deceive and distract the left so HB 875, HB 814, SF 425 and (later) HB 759 can move ahead in Congress just as planned.  
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Met libertarian and conservative farmers and learned an incredible amount about farming and nature and science, as well as about government violations against them and against us all. The other side of the fence is nothing like what we've been (more...)
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