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Oregon county seeks to ban GMO crops, asserts community rights

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04XX15-cgt-nws-m2-89-12-ac

GMO crops like these Roundup Ready sugar beets near Monroe would be outlawed in 
Benton County under Measure 2-89, but the initiative would have to stand up to 
legal challenges in court. Photo: Amanda Cowan

M2-89 relies on ‘community rights’ to challenge Oregon statute

May 05, 2015 8:00 pm  • 

A ban on genetically modified crops is not the most radical part of Measure 2-89.

The most radical part of the Benton County ballot measure is its attempt to circumvent state law by asserting a fundamental right of local self-governance, even in the face of state or federal law.

If passed by voters in the May 19 special election, Measure 2-89 — also known as the Benton County Local Food System Ordinance — would prohibit corporations and government entities from using genetically modified organisms anywhere in the county and require them to harvest, remove or destroy all GMOs within 90 days of passage.

But in order for the measure to take effect, it would have to override Oregon Revised Statute 633.738, a two-year-old state law that bars local jurisdictions from regulating seeds or agricultural production.

In high-flown language reminiscent of the nation’s founding documents, M2-89 begins with a statement of “findings and intent” that directly challenges the rights of corporations and the authority of state and federal laws, culminating in this remarkable statement:

“We the people of Benton County therefore enact this local law pursuant to the inherent and inalienable right of the residents of Benton County to govern their own county for their own health, safety and welfare. That authority is also secured by the Declaration of Independence’s assertion that governments are instituted to secure the rights of the people, in the State Constitution of Oregon’s recognition that all power is inherent in the people, and in the Benton County Charter, which delegates the authority to the people and their representatives to enact local legislation on matters of county concern.”

The question, of course, is this: Can they really get away with that?

….. continued at site

Chevron Whistleblower Videos Show Deliberate Falsification Of Evidence In Ecuador Oil Pollution Trial

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DeSmogBlog–   Chevron has already lost the lawsuit filed against the company by a group of Indigenous villagers and rural Ecuadorians who say Texaco, which merged with Chevron in 2001, left behind hundreds of open, unlined pits full of toxic oil waste it had dug into the floor of the Amazon rainforest. That hasn’t stopped the oil titan from attempting to retry the case, though, in both the court of public opinion and a New York court, where it counter-sued the Ecuadorian plaintiffs under the RICO Act, claiming their original lawsuit was nothing more than extortion.    Read More

Ending GMOs Now

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 Dr Mae-Wan Ho   Institute for Science in Society     04/21/15

Global rejection sent Monsanto profits plummeting, farmers abandoning GM crops in record numbers, reclassification of glyphosate as probable carcinogen triggering fresh calls for bans and restrictions; GMOs failing old and new, while organic and non-GMO markets continue booming; the days of GMOs are numbered, let’s hasten the demise.

Sign the petition to ban glyphosate here: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/monsanto_dont_silence_science_loc/

The year 2015 is auspicious. It started with oil prices plunging to a five year low, sparking a downsizing wave in an industry desperate to rid itself of stranded assets as burgeoning renewable energies are making oil redundant and civil society grassroots movements are winning major campaigns to divest mega-investments from fossil fuels and leave oil in the ground (see [1] Age of Oil Ending? SiS 65).

Simultaneously, a remarkable conjunction of events is boding ill for GMOs (genetically modified organisms). There is superb synergy between the end of oil and the end of the heavily oil-dependent GMO monoculture for a truly sustainable world under climate change, which we made clear in a comprehensive report [2] Food Futures Now -Organic -Sustainable -Fossil Fuel Free published in 2008. So let’s read the signs, and do our best to hasten the end of GMOs.

Mass rejection of US GM corn exports and record losses

It began with China rejecting shipment after shipment of US corn imports that tested positive for Syngenta’s Agrisure Vipera GM corn released and deregulated in the US since 2011, but not approved in China. Between November 2013 and April 2014, 1.45 million tonnes of US GM corn were destroyed or turned back [3]. Farmers and farming businesses in 20 States in the US have filed more than 360 lawsuits against Syngenta and hundreds more are expected as a federal judge is organizing the complex case. Claims may be up to $3 billion [4]. Although China eventually approved Vipera in December 2014, sales have not improved for US corn growers [3]. One reason is that China has been importing Ukrainian non-GMO corn under a loan-for-grain deal [5]. Ukraine shipped nearly 1 million tonnes to China in 2014, 470 047 tonnes were shipped in January 2015, and more expected to follow.

The other more significant reason is that US farmers are abandoning GMO crops and returning to non-GMO or switching to organic crops (see later).

GMO labelling fight reaches national level in the US

The GMO labelling movement in the US has been inching forward, despite the fact that 64 countries worldwide now label food containing GMOs, including China, Japan, Russia, Australia and all the EU countries. Three states, Vermont, Maine, and Rhode Island have passed GMO labelling laws so far, but California, Colorado and Oregon have been defeated thanks to heavily-funded counter-campaigns by Monsanto, DuPont and the Grocery Manufacturers Association [6]. A total of 70 bills for labelling were proposed in 30 states within the past two years. Now, the battle has shifted to the national level. Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo introduced the ‘DARK’ (denying Americans the right to know) Act, which would pre-empt states from setting up their own GMO labelling systems and bar them from defining “natural” foods as free from GMOs. Food safety advocates and consumer groups are fighting back, supporting a national mandatory labelling bill called the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act, re-introduced in February by a group of congressional Democrats. Read the rest of this entry »

How the FDA has covered-up risks of GMOs and gagged their own scientists

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LET’S MAKE THIS BREAKTHROUGH BOOK EXPOSING THE FRAUDULENT FOUNDATION OF THE GMO ENTERPRISE A NATIONAL BESTSELLER

“Druker’s brilliant expose catches the promoters of GE food red-handed: falsifying data, corrupting regulators, lying to Congress. He thoroughly demonstrates how distortions and deceptions have been piled one on top of another, year after year, producing a global industry that teeters on a foundation of fraud and denial. This book is sure to send shockwaves around the world.”   –Jeffrey Smith

*** IMPORTANT NOTE: If you buy more than one book, you need to do so in separate transactions in order to have maximal effect – because five books bought in a single transaction will only register as one purchase in the way the bestseller list is tabulated. Also note that you can have the e-book edition delivered to someone by providing their email address when you purchase.

Most of you are already concerned about the risks of genetically engineered (GE) foods, and if you’re not, a new book is being released that demonstrates why you should be. It’s titled:

Altered Genes, Twisted Truth

How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public

Order book HERE.

It was written by public interest attorney Steven Druker, who initiated a lawsuit that forced the FDA to divulge its internal files on GE foods – thereby exposing how the agency had covered up the extensive warnings from its own scientists about their risks, lied about the facts, and then ushered them onto the market in blatant violation of U.S. food safety law.

But Steven’s book does far more than expose the FDA’s fraud. It reveals how the entire GE food venture has been chronically and crucially dependent on fraud – and how the key misrepresentations have been dispensed by eminent scientists and scientific institutions such as the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the U.K. Royal Society.

Further, the book’s factual and logical soundness – and its importance – have been recognized by several scientists who have unstintingly praised it. For instance, the world-famous (and well-beloved) primatologist Jane Goodall has written the foreword, in which she not only hails it as one of the most important books of the last 50 years but states: “I shall urge everyone I know who cares about life on earth, and the future of their children, and children’s children, to read it. It will go a long way toward dispelling the confusion and delusion that has been created regarding the genetic engineering process and the foods it produces. . . . Steven Druker is a hero. He deserves at least a Nobel Prize.”

(A sampling of endorsements from other scientists appears at the end of this item.)

Read the rest of this entry »

U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy- Princeton Study

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Princeton Study: U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy

By Brendan James  April 18, 2014    TPM

A new study from Princeton spells bad news for American democracy—namely, that it no longer exists.

Asking “[w]ho really rules?” researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page argue that over the past few decades America’s political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power.

Using data drawn from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, the two conclude that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of or even against the will of the majority of voters.

TPM Interview: Scholar Behind Viral ‘Oligarchy’ Study Tells You What It Means
“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy,” they write, “while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

As one illustration, Gilens and Page compare the political preferences of Americans at the 50th income percentile to preferences of Americans at the 90th percentile as well as major lobbying or business groups. They find that the government—whether Republican or Democratic—more often follows the preferences of the latter group rather than the first.

The researches note that this is not a new development caused by, say, recent Supreme Court decisions allowing more money in politics, such as Citizens United or this month’s ruling on McCutcheon v. FEC. As the data stretching back to the 1980s suggests, this has been a long term trend, and is therefore harder for most people to perceive, let alone reverse.

“Ordinary citizens,” they write, “might often be observed to ‘win’ (that is, to get their preferred policy outcomes) even if they had no independent effect whatsoever on policy making, if elites (with whom they often agree) actually prevail.”

Roundup®: Converging Pattern of Toxicity from Farm to Clinic to Laboratory Studies

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roundup toxic

A Roundup of Roundup® Reveals Converging Pattern of Toxicity from Farm to Clinic to Laboratory Studies

We need to ban glyphosate from our own communities as most governments fail to protect citizens

Institute of Science in Society   1/19/15

**please support research of Seralini’s team on analysing glyphosate residues in rats exposed to Roundup here: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Support_Seralini_Team_for_New_GMO_Risk_Research.php

Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji

What is glyphosate?

Glyphosate, perhaps surprisingly for a chemical so ubiquitously associated with our food, was not first used as an agricultural chemical but instead first patented as a metal chelator in 1964 by Stauffer Chemical company (US 3160632 A) [1] and used as an industrial pipe cleaner. It was later patented by Monsanto as an herbicidal agent in 1974 (US3799758 A) [2] based on its ability to block the shikimate pathway involved in the production of aromatic amino acids in both plants and bacteria. It has become the most popular herbicide in the world especially since glyphosate tolerant genetically modified (GM) crops were commercialized in the mid-1990s, together with the assumption (perpetrated by Monsanto) that the herbicide is safe for health and the environment. In 2010, it was also patented by Monsanto as an antibiotic agent. Moreover, it is being increasingly used as a pre-harvest desiccant for drying seeds, a process that results in contamination of non-GM grains, one of the main exposure routes in the EU where GM crops are not commonly grown. Thus, an estimated 70 % of UK oil seed rape (canola) and 50-60 % of EU sunflowers are sprayed with glyphosate [3], resulting in products of major food brands in the UK testing positive for glyphosate residues in a 2014 analysis by GM Freeze, with glyphosate the most commonly detected of all chemicals [4].

All of glyphosate’s chemical properties already mentioned have implications for the health of both people and planet. Scientific research has additionally implicated glyphosate as an endocrine disruptor and a DNA mutagen; and it affects over 291 different enzymes in the body [5]. It is increasingly linked with a wide variety of illnesses, the sharp rises in illnesses occurring in parallel with glyphosate application across various GM cultivating regions of the world.

The most convincing evidence of glyphosate toxicity is the consistent pattern of diseases associated with glyphosate that has emerged from the farm to the clinic and from scientific studies to citizen testimonials.

Glyphosate widespread in the environment and in our bodies

Glyphosate’s popularity is due in large measure to its concomitant use with the most widely planted type of GM crops, those tolerant to glyphosate-herbicides. Monsanto commercialised the first Roundup-ready crop in 1996 (Roundup being the commercial formulation containing ‘adjuvants’ that make it much more toxic than the active ingredient glyphosate alone, see later). In countries such as Argentina where large swaths of the country have been dubbed soy deserts, GM soybean cultivation has resulted in an 858 % rise in glyphosate use (see [6] Devastating Impacts of Glyphosate Use with GMO Seeds in Argentina, to appear). Similarly, the US has seen even greater rises of 2 500 % from 1987 to 2007 [7].

This widespread and massive application of glyphosate herbicides has resulted in almost ubiquitous contamination of the environment. A 2014 study on US water systems across 38 states found glyphosate and its principle metabolite AMPA (aminomethylphosphonic acid) not only in rivers, lakes and streams, but also rain, soil and sediment, ditches and drains and groundwater (see [7]). Some 70 % of rain samples tested positive for glyphosate. Similarly in Europe, (in Catalonia, a large region of Spain) it was found that all 11 groundwater sites were positive for glyphosate despite it being a region free from glyphosate-tolerant crop cultivation; 41 % of samples were above detection limits [8]. The detection in groundwater goes against one of the claims on glyphosate safety that its propensity to bind to soil and sediment means it will not leach into our fresh water supplies. In Argentina, new data of rain sample measurements averaged an extreme 6.5 µg/L and reaching as high as 67 µg/L (67 ppt) across four regions from October 2012 to April 2014 [9]. These levels are far higher than those seen in US rain samples where the average and maximum concentrations were 0.11 µg/L and 2.5 µg/L respectively [7]. Read the rest of this entry »

Global Assault on Seed Sovereignty through Trade Deals

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Global Assault on Seed Sovereignty through Trade Deals Is Assault on Human Rights, Protest is Fertile

From Asia to South America, the EU to the Caribbean, the corporate seed industry is using international trade agreements to criminalise farmers for saving seeds

(A fully referenced version of this report is posted on ISIS members website and otherwise available for download here)   Institute of Science in Society     01/12/15

Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji

The multinational seed industry is continuing its multipronged attack on the most basic of human rights, the access to seed. Lobbyists of the seed industry are using trade agreements to pressure nations into adopting strict measures such as UPOV agreements that ensure the protection and ownership of new plant varieties for plant breeders. On top of this, corporate seed industry lobbyists are proposing revisions to the UPOV convention that promote further monopolisation of the seed industry through ‘harmonisation’ of procedures for registering and testing new plant varieties.

Protests in many regions around the world are putting up much needed resistance against this corporate takeover of the food system, successfully forcing governments to delay and even repeal the agreements. These movements are an inspiration for our continual global struggle against the relentless onslaught of agribusiness whose current biggest targets are the ‘untapped’ markets of the global South, with the spotlight on Africa and other regions where seeds have not yet been commercialized, and are still used in traditional systems that allow seed saving and exchange.  Read the rest of this entry »