Monsanto now virtually free to wreak death in the United States


In the typical slippery nature of Monsanto’s legislation-based actions, the biotech giant is now virtually guaranteed the ability to recklessly plant experimental GM crops without having to worry about the United States government and its subsequent courts. The Monsanto Protection Act buried deep within the budget resolution has passed the Senate, and now nothing short of a presidential veto will put an end to the ruling.

In case you’re not familiar, the Monsanto Protection Act is the name given to what’s known as a legislative rider that was inserted into the Senate Continuing Resolution spending bill. Using the deceptive title of Farmer Assurance Provision, Sec. 735 of this bill actually grants Monsanto the immunity from federal courts pending the review of any GM crop that is thought to be dangerous. Under the section, courts would be helpless to stop Monsanto from continuing to plant GM crops that are thought even by the US government to be a danger to health or the environment.

Senate Passes Monsanto Protection Act Despite Outcry

It is a lobbyist-created recurring nuisance that has been squashed in previous legislation thanks to outcry from not only grassroots but major organizations. Last time we saw The Center for Food Safety, the National Family Farm Coalition, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Sierra Club, and the Union of Concerned Scientists all come out against the Monsanto Protection Act from the 2012 Farm Bill.

This time, there was a swift resistance I thought might be enough, however sadly the Senate acted so quickly on this and almost entirely ignored the issue that it has now passed despite thousands of fans signing the old petition I linked to in my previous articles on the subject. The old petition by Food Democracy Now detailed the effects of the bill:

“If approved, the Monsanto Protection Act would force the USDA to allow continued planting of any GMO crop under court review, essentially giving backdoor approval for any new genetically engineered crops that could be potentially harmful to human health or the environment.”

That said, now a new petition exists telling Obama to veto the bill. The reality is that the bill is actually seen as a positive one by most politicians, which is where Monsanto lobbyists were so deceptive and slippery as to throw in their rider (the actual Monsanto Protection Act into the bill). This makes it very unappealing to veto the bill, but also we must remember that Obama actually promised to immediately label GMOs back in 2007 when running for President.

Ushering In a New Era of Activism

The simple fact is that this bill will likely not be vetoed by Obama, and instead Monsanto will get what they wanted. That said, this ushers in an entirely new era of activism. Monsanto has decided to push the envelope in a way that is unprecedented, fighting the US federal courts. I expected to see almost immediate legal action taken that will certainly hit the headlines, leading to even more people to become aware of what’s really going on with this company and therefore their dinner.

Sometimes in order to truly have an intellectual revolution on a subject, the people need to see exactly what they are facing. With the truly blatant and downright arrogant Monsanto Protection Act, it’s now clearer than ever.

Obama extends illegal spying of citizens and foreigners

The measure also enables the government to continue spying on foreigners with American ties


Barack Obama started 2013 receiving criticism from activists for human rights supporters in the U.S. after extending two controversial measures, both remnants of the Administration of George W. Bush and his spying and detention practices.

The current president extended a program to spy on foreigners who live in the U.S. as well as Americans who maintain contact with them and, against his own judgment, gave approval for a Pentagon funding bill that opposes his own promise to close the detention center at the Guantanamo Naval Base, which was opened by Bush in 2002.

On the penultimate day of the year, the president ratified a five-year extension of the Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Program, that allows U.S. spy agencies to trace calls and emails of foreign citizens who without any proof are deemed as suspects who may pose a risk to the national security of the United States.

Written during the last years of the administration of George W. Bush, the law allows foreign espionage  without warrants. With the measure, the United States gives itself the prerogative to carry out such spying without the consent of foreign governments and to hide the findings from those governments.

The law was actually tested back in 1978, but was modified and expanded in 2008 to, among other things, allow spying of U.S. citizens who maintain contact with foreigners, provided the latter task is to obtain information in other countries.

“The Bush Administration’s program of surveillance without controls that once was considered a radical threat to the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution [which protects against arbitrary searches], has been institutionalized for five more years,” says Michelle Richardson, legal adviser of the American Civil Liberties Union.

On Thursday, in addition, Obama signed the Defense Authorization Act of 2013, which allows the financing of the Pentagon with about 633,000 million dollars, to which the Obama administration has intentionally attached the payment given to soldiers, so congressmen who might be against his spying and endless war policies are unable to vote against it.

The Capitol, however, sent the bill to the president with a major disincentive: in three sections, prohibits the transfer of detainees in Afghanistan and Guantanamo, a move that lawmakers believe will prompt Obama to keep Guantanamo open for the forseeable future, and that breaks one of the promises of his 2008 campaign.

“I object to this provision,” Obama said in a statement added to the text to ratify the law, “which replaces what should be a determination of Congress, based on the factual and professional advice of counter-terrorism and law enforcement on when and where to prosecute Guantanamo detainees,” said Obama as he tried to remove responsibility from his shoulders.

“In this Annex, the president reserves the right to veto such specific prohibition. Initially, Obama sought to transfer some detainees to U.S. soil, but found considerable resistance on Capitol Hill.

Despite his firm opposition to these and other measures adopted by the Bush administration during his two tenures, Obama, a constitutional lawyer, has failed miserably to remove regulations that violate the most basic principles that helped create and maintain the United States as a place where both citizens and foreigners could be assured that their civil liberties would be safe.

Obama has not only maintained Bush’s violations of the Constitution, but he has also empowered his  executive office while undermining and eroding hundreds of years of legal achievements that guaranteed that due process was the rule and not the exception.

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