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Archive for December 2010

Coexistence with Monsanto: Hell No! by Ronnie Cummins

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Organic Consumers Association, Dec 22, 2010

“If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.” – Norman Braksick, president of Asgrow Seed Co., a subsidiary of Monsanto, quoted in the Kansas City Star, March 7, 1994

“Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job.” – Phil Angell, Monsanto’s director of corporate communications, quoted in the New York Times, October 25, 1998

After 16 years of non-stop biotech bullying and force-feeding Genetically Engineered or Modified (GE or GM) crops to farm animals and “Frankenfoods” to unwitting consumers, Monsanto has a big problem, or rather several big problems. A growing number of published scientific studies indicate that GE foods pose serious human health threats.  The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) recently stated that “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM advises consumers to avoid GM foods. Before the FDA arbitrarily decided to allow Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) into food products in 1994, FDA scientists had repeatedly warned that GM foods can set off serious, hard-to-detect side effects, including allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They urged long-term safety studies, but were ignored. http://www.responsibletechnology.org

Federal judges are finally starting to acknowledge what organic farmers and consumers have said all along: uncontrollable and unpredictable GMO crops such as alfalfa and sugar beets spread their mutant genes onto organic farms and into non-GMO varieties and plant relatives, and should be halted.  http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_22173.cfm

An appeals court recently ruled that consumers have the right to know whether the dairy products they are purchasing are derived from cows injected with Monsanto’s (now Elanco’s) controversial recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), linked to serious animal health problems and increased cancer risk for humans.

Monsanto’s Roundup, the agro-toxic companion herbicide for millions of acres of GM soybeans, corn, cotton, alfalfa, canola, and sugar beets, is losing market share. Its overuse has spawned a new generation of superweeds that can only be killed with super-toxic herbicides such as 2,4, D and paraquat. Moreover, patented “Roundup Ready” crops require massive amounts of climate destabilizing nitrate fertilizer. Compounding Monsanto’s damage to the environment and climate, rampant Roundup use is literally killing the soil, destroying essential soil microorganisms, degrading the living soil’s ability to capture and sequester CO2, and spreading deadly plant diseases. http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_21039.cfm

In just one year, Monsanto has moved from being Forbes’ “Company of the Year” to the Worst Stock of the Year. The Biotech Bully of St. Louis has become one of the most hated corporations on Earth. http://www.organicconsumers.org/monlink.cfm

Monsanto and their agro-toxic allies are now turning to Obama’s pro-biotech USDA for assistance. They want the organic community to stop suing them and boycotting their products. They want food activists and the OCA to mute our criticisms and stop tarnishing the image of their brands, their seeds, and companies. They want us to resign ourselves to the fact that one-third of U.S. croplands, and one-tenth of global cultivated acreage, are already contaminated with GMOs. That’s why Monsanto recently hired the notorious mercenary firm, Blackwater, to spy on us. That’s why Monsanto has teamed up with the Gates Foundation to bribe government officials and scientists and spread GMOs throughout Africa and the developing world.  That’s why the biotech bullies and the Farm Bureau have joined hands with the Obama Administration to preach their new doctrine of “coexistence.”

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We must abandon the language of war

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First, the Wehrmacht. Then, the Red Army. Now, al-Qaeda. Thus were a few thousand lightly armed religious fanatics transformed into the equivalent of a military force that very nearly conquered civilization and another that could have annihilated it in less time than it takes to watch a sit-com.

 

By Dan Gardner, Ottawa Citizen December 8, 2010

On Sept. 12, 2001, George W. Bush said something he had avoided saying the day before. “The deliberate and deadly attacks which were carried out yesterday against our country were more than acts of terror,” he told reporters. “They were acts of war.”

The decision to frame the response to 9-11 as a “war” was a fateful one. Before that moment, western democracies would never have sent their soldiers to fight endless battles in distant and obscure deserts.

Imprisonment without charge or trial would never have been advocated by leading politicians. Torture would never have been supported by much of the population. And calls for the assassination of a man who leaked documents would never have been heard from leading journalists. It was George W. Bush’s statement on Sept. 12, 2001, that made all this possible.

“We are at war,” wrote the conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer last week. “A hot war in Afghanistan where six Americans were killed just this past Monday, and a shadowy world war where enemies from Yemen to Portland, Oregon, are planning holy terror. Franklin Roosevelt had German saboteurs tried by military tribunal and executed. (Julian) Assange has done more damage to the United States than all six of those Germans combined.”

The conclusion is obvious. “We are at war.” That statement appears in virtually every call for more spying, more torture, more killing. War is an emergency. An existential struggle. To the extent that the ordinary rules get in the way of victory, they must be suspended — just as Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War. “The constitution is not a suicide pact,” as the saying goes.

Occasionally, this stuff is disingenuous, as when Mitch Daniels, Bush’s budget director, justified the ballooning deficit by saying “it’s a wartime budget” and then turned around and justified tax cuts by claiming “Americans are being taxed at the highest peacetime rates in history.”

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Written by laudyms

December 20, 2010 at 12:25 pm

5 ways to save antibiotics

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Dec. 14, 2010            By Ron Najafi       TheScientist

Here’s what we need to do to create new antibiotics and extend the life of those that already exist

The world is facing a crisis: Bacteria have become more and more resistant to virtually all existing antibiotics, yet many companies are abandoning the field in favor of more lucrative medicines.

Ron Najafi
Image: NovaBay

People are proposing various solutions, such as offering financial incentives to the pharmaceutical industry to spur the development of vitally needed antibiotics. But along with creating new drugs, we can get more life from our existing antibiotics and maintain their utility. As the head of a company focused on the development of compounds to treat and prevent a wide range of infections without causing bacterial resistance, this is an issue I find both fascinating and vitally important. In my opinion, there are five ways we can extend the functional life of our antibiotic arsenal.

1. Do the obvious
In a recent New York Times article, Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the Extending the Cure project on antibiotic resistance at the policy organization Resources for the Future, suggested that the government should focus on conserving the effectiveness of existing antibiotics by preventing their unnecessary use in people and farm animals, and by requiring better infection control measures in hospitals.

These are crucial steps, which should be taken immediately. First, we must stop and assess the use of antibiotics as additives to the feed of our farm animals, and specifically prevent the unnecessary use of antibiotics in animals that are not sick. The U.S. Congress has already urged farmers to stop the overuse of antibiotics in animals because it is creating new, drug-resistant strains of bacteria that can spread to humans. A recent CBS news report spotlighted microbiologist Stuart Levy at Tufts University, the individual who identified tetracycline resistance in chickens more than 30 years ago. In his research, nearly all of the E. coli in the intestinal tracts of the chickens become tetracycline-resistant after one week of treatment.

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Many Vaccines Contaminated with Viruses and Virus Nucleic Acid

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Risks of cancer and creation of new pathogens should not be underplayed by regulators

Prof. Joe Cummins 12/13/10         Institute of Science in Society

Garbage viruses and DNA in vaccines

Vaccines are currently produced using fertilized chicken eggs, cell culture or a combination of egg and cell culture. An ‘attenuated’ vaccine is created from a pathogen by reducing its virulence, but still keeping it viable, in contrast to those produced by ‘killing’ the virus (inactivated vaccine). Inactivation is done by selecting non-pathogenic strains of the pathogen after treatment such as heat or cold culture, or targeted deletion of virulence genes.

Many live attenuated vaccines are produced using cell culture. A number of such   vaccines have been found to contain not only the live attenuated viral pathogen but also contaminating viruses or viral nucleic acid [1]. These contaminants are garbage, and people administering such vaccines should inform patients of potential risks associated with the garbage. Recently, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledged the contamination of the live attenuated rotavirus vaccine (to prevent traveller’s diarrhoea) and suspended the vaccine, but later decided that the benefits of the vaccination outweigh potential contamination risks [2].  The FDA opinion is premature because the circovirus contaminating the vaccine is active in replication, transcription and translation of viral genes and able to produce toxic products. Contaminated vaccines are not isolated cases, they are widespread.

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Oral contraceptives are not a major estrogen source in drinking water- Industrial Ag is!

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Environmental Health News Dec. 7, 2010

Wise, A , K O’Brien and T Woodruff. 2010. Are oral contraceptives a significant contributor to the estrogenicity of drinking water? Environmental Science & Technology http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es1014482.

Synopsis by Ami Zota, Sc.D
The contribution of oral contraceptives to estrogen pollution in water is relatively small compared to other agricultural, industrial and household sources.

A new study finds that oral contraceptives are not the main culprit in estrogenic pollution of US and European rivers and drinking water. Instead, the contribution of contraceptives is quite small compared to other human, industrial and agricultural sources.

People are increasingly concerned about estrogenic pollution due to scientific studies that document the feminization of fish and other aquatic animals. Other studies have suggested that long term exposure to low levels of estrogens in water may adversely affect human health. This new information should ease concerns that contraceptives are a major factor contributing to feminized fish and frogs.

To see if OCs are mainly to blame, the researchers reviewed scientific studies from Europe and the United States that identified sources of estrogens in surface, source and drinking water. They paid close attention to the main estrogen in OCs, 17 alphaethinylestradiol (EE2). They also evaluated the public health impact of estrogenic pollution in drinking water.

The authors find that agricultural sources are an important source of estrogens in waterways because livestock produce 13 times more solid waste than humans. The animals can excrete both natural and pharmaceutical hormones. One study estimates that up to 90 percent of total estrogens in the environment could come from animal waste.

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Silent Majority Faces Sad End

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I keep seeing articles written as if Obama might waken from his actual self and become the dream-self many thought he was. Why is it so difficult for many to face the current reality?

There was never any intention or even feint move to fulfill his supposed campaign promises. If we can’t get beyond that, we can never effectively stand up to the onslaught against the people by the banks and the mega-corps. The polls tell us the people’s views are being ignored with impunity. Because they can! The Lone Ranger isn’t coming this time.

This article is interesting for its statistics about people’s stand on issues. If only it mattered!

RICHARD ESKOW
The New Silent Majority
“Today there’s a New Silent Majority, and it looks very different from Nixon’s. The polling results are undeniable: This Majority is looking for somebody to fight the big banks, protect Social Security, and tax the rich to fund government’s vital role in society … If the President can let go of his attachment to his postpartisan self-image and embrace the policies most Americans want and need, they can be his North Star.”

exerpt:

The American majority must be suffering from whiplash. It’s not just the sudden reversal on the deficit. Now the story of the day is taxes – which was a top priority for only one voter in fifty.

What else does the “new silent majority” stand for, besides jobs, protecting Social Security, and taxes for the rich?

  • 72% want the government to crack down on Wall Street more than it has.
  • 81% want the government to do more to reduce poverty.
  • Eight out of ten oppose cutting Medicare.

Despite the widespread support for these views by members of both parties (bipartisanship at last!), the political and media landscapes are dominated by journalists and politicians who keep telling us these positions are “extremist” and politically unrealistic.

–read entire article here

In Continued Compromise, Failure

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by: RDemocrat
HillBillyReport Tue Dec 07, 2010

compromise-  A concession to something detrimental or pejorative: a compromise of morality.

http://www.thefreedictionary.c…

With the announcement that the Administration will indeed roll over to Republicans once again one thing is ringing true. In the political arena when these “compromises” are reached the only folks that are expected to give anything up are Progressives, and working America. When we had huge majorities in Congress and the White House still Progressives were expected to concede everything. Now it has become apparent that once again we are the only ones to sacrifice. One begins to wonder if this is not the way it was meant all along.

The sad fact is that in the spirit of “bi-partisanship” these were not compromises but capitulations. You see, with a compromise both sides are expected to sacrifice. However, with the weakness and cowardice of our Democratic leadership starting at the top with the President Progressives never receive anything in return. This is called cowardice, not compromise.

Especially when the public as a whole supports your position. On these tax cuts as with the public option, a majority of Americans favored asking the greediest and least patriotic to pay their fair share. Yes, poll after poll showed the American people favored ending these cuts but still our President was too timid to stand up to the Mitch McConnells and the John Boehners of the world who will never be satisfied until we have a two-class society run by the elites. Folks like them and yes, President Obama.

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