I spoke last time of Bill Gates and the building of his global PHARMA corporation using his Gates Foundation as a tax-free research and development for the medical discoveries he then patents. Below you see the Trans Pacific Trade Pact policies that everyone is shouting will make all PHARMA prices too expensive for most of the world's citizens to afford. Remember, it was vaccines and HIV that his foundation spent much money researching. TPP seeks to now make any of these drugs too expensive for the people he used in his research. It appears that the Gates Foundation is known for its shortcuts in clinical research methods as well. So, as Bush was given accolades for sending US funding for this African research for HIV----all that funding is fading away and the people given hope are now being told there is no money. But the profits from that HIV research is about to roll in. Think to yourself----if costs for public health plans like Medicare and Medicaid increase because of higher cost PHARMA---how will these plans stay in place? The answer is that there is no intention of Medicare and Medicaid existing SAY CLINTON NEO-LIBERALS!
ALL OF MARYLAND POLS ARE CLINTON NEO-LIBERALS----GET RID OF THEM SO WE CAN REVERSE THIS!
Groups like Doctors without Borders have also pointed out that the TPP’s provisions on intellectual property could reduce access to generic drugs, including drugs that are critical for treatment of HIV/AIDS.
So, I'm picking on Bill Gates as a bad guy just as one example of how they are selling what is being done as good---when it is very bad. Below this health article I address industrial food courtesy of Bill Gates as a major shareholder.
Trans-Pacific Partnership undermines health system
Medical corporations seek tools to protect their profits despite harmful effects on public health.
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2013 15:38 Margaret Flowers
Margaret Flowers, MD served as Congressional Fellow for Physicians for a National Health Program and is on the board of Healthcare-Now.
RSS People in the US pay the most for health services as there is no rational system for setting prices [Reuters] The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a deal that is being secretly negotiated by the White House, with the help of more than 600 corporate advisers and Pacific Rim nations, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. While the TPP is being called a trade agreement, the US already has trade agreements covering 90 percent of the GDP of the countries involved in the talks. Instead, the TPP is a major power grab by large corporations.
The text of the TPP includes 29 chapters, only five of which are about trade. The remaining chapters are focused on changes that multinational corporations have not been able to pass in Congress such as restrictions on internet privacy, increased patent protections, greater access to litigation and further financial deregulation.
So far, all that is known about the contents of the TPP is from documents that have been leaked and reports from NGOs and industry meetings. Unlike other trade deals, the White House refuses to make the text available to the public. In fact, the negotiators refuse to publish the text until four years after it is signed into law. Why are they being so secretive? Former US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said he opposed making the text public because doing so would raise such opposition that it could make the deal impossible to sign.
From the information available, one thing is clear about the impacts of the TPP on health care: the intention of the TPP is to enhance and protect the profits of medical and pharmaceutical corporations without considering the harmful effects their policies will have on human health.
We know that the TPP will extend pharmaceutical and medical device patents and provide other tools to keep the prices of these necessities high. This will make medications and treatments unaffordable for millions of people and raise the costs of national health programmes. At its worst, the TPP will provide a pathway to infect the world's health systems with the deadly parasite of for-profit health corporations that plague the US.
Patents keep prices high
Through the TPP, pharmaceutical and medical device corporations are seeking extensive patent protections using a process known as "Evergreening". The TPP gives 20 years of patent protection for pharmaceuticals and medical devices; however, patents can be renewed for another 20 years each time there is a change in an indication or delivery. For instance, if a drug is indicated for headaches, but then the pharmaceutical company finds that it is also helpful for stomach cramps or makes it a capsule instead of a tablet, a new patent may be issued. In reality, patents can be extended indefinitely under the TPP.
Doctors Without Borders criticised this practice, stating that patent protections in previous trade agreements raised the price of life-saving medications and made them unavailable to people in poorer countries. Patents prevent the production of low cost generic forms of medications. Yet it was the availability of generic medicines to treat HIV and other infectious diseases that allowed advances to be made in decreasing their impact in developing countries.
Because of the negative impact on public health from patent protections in previous trade agreements, such as the Korea Free Trade Agreement, former President Bush rolled some of these practices back. Unfortunately, the TPP will move them forward again.
In fact, the TPP goes farther than previous agreements by also requiring that surgical techniques, medical tests and treatments be patented. This will restrict the availability of these treatments, especially in health systems that have limited resources.
India's top court dismisses drug patent case Doctors Without Borders also expressed concern that patent protections encourage innovation based on profit instead of the needs of people, particularly those in poor nations. Corporations do not see it as in their financial interest to address health conditions more prevalent in poor nations which do not have the financial resources to buy their products. But it is often in these situations treatments can have the greatest impact on quality of life.
Attacking public health systems
An area of great concern is language within the TPP concerning State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs). These are institutions that are fully or partially owned by governments. SOEs are very common in countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore.
Corporate lobbyists are concerned that SOEs have "unfair advantages" over private industry. These advantages include government subsidies, preferred tax status, low finance rates and access to capital. According to a leaked chapter, corporate lobbyists believe that there is a conflict of interest because SOEs have political considerations such as functioning to provide basic goods and services for their population and believe that instead SOEs should operate strictly as commercial entities seeking profit.
The TPP requires SOEs to disclose any special advantages they receive and the government to give the same advantages to corporations. It also provides methods for corporations to sue governments if they believe that they are not being treated fairly. The text outlines punishments such as increased tariffs on exports from the country found in violation and suspension of any "tariff concessions" made to the country in violation on imports.
Text from a section of the TPP called "Annex on Transparency and Procedural Fairness for Healthcare Technologies" was leaked in June 2011. It reveals this conflict between medical industries that have strictly commercial interests and public health systems that are concerned about the health of the population. Medical industries are pushing on all fronts to keep their prices high while public health systems must negotiate to keep prices affordable and maximise what they can cover within their budgets.
To the medical industries, such price negotiation is one of the "unfair advantages" of public health systems. When a public health system negotiates a lower price, it is said to be exerting its market power. On the flip side, when a government extends patent protections to medical industries to keep prices high, this is not considered to be an unfair advantage granted by the government.
Medical industries are pushing for other concessions within the TPP to "level the playing field", also known as forcing public entities to operate as market-based entities, such as factoring the cost of not just research, development and production of drugs and medical devices, but also the cost of marketing them into what is considered to be a fair market price. And they only view prices negotiated without any government influence as fair. These provisions are significant because the TPP allows pharmaceutical corporations and others to challenge the legitimacy of any reimbursement decisions made by public health systems through the courts.
Patent and price protections for multinational pharmaceutical and medical device corporations based in the US will benefit their bottom line and their investor's pockets, but may bounce back and undermine public health systems in the US. The leaked text indicates that the above provisions only apply to health authorities under the jurisdiction of the federal government. However, the loopholes are large enough that all of the US public health systems, which include Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare and the Veterans Health Administration, can arguably be considered to be federal.
These systems already struggle within the market-based US health system that is most expensive in the world. The US health system wastes one third of health dollars on a bloated bureaucracy due to thousands of different health insurance plans, each with different rules. And people in the US pay the most for prescriptions and health services because there is no rational system for setting prices. High prices in the private health sector drive up prices in the public health sector too. For example, at present Medicare is prohibited from negotiating a bulk price for pharmaceuticals.
Over the past four years, there has been an increase in self-rationing in the US, patients avoiding or delaying necessary medical care and medications, due to health costs. At the same time, CEOs of health industries are the highest-paid in the nation. For the good of public health, we must reverse this trend towards greater privatisation and lower the cost of care. But the TPP will protect the medical industries and give them greater power to use their wealth and the rigged trade tribunal court system to protect their profits.
This will undermine health systems in the US and abroad. High prices could bankrupt public health systems like those in Japan and Australia (ranked among the top in the world). Under the TPP, it is also possible that Japan's regulation of health insurance which includes controlling coverage, prices and profits would qualify it as an SOE that has unfair advantages. This could open the door for private multinational health insurance corporations to enter TPP signatory countries and demand access and that regulations are loosened.
As medical corporations gain greater wealth and power, we can expect to see further abuses to the detriment of human health. The TPP takes global health in the wrong direction. The losers in this negotiation will be the patients if the profits of corporations are permitted to come before the health of people.
We saw last time that Bill Gates Foundation was dabbling in the private prison corporations but that is not all Bill sees as good for his portfolio-----his foundation partnered with Clinton and Bush in a Blackwater/Monsanto merger that now has private military contractors teamed with industrial patented food/seed. Taking over the world's farmland by BIG AG troweling the fertile soil dry just as industrial fishers are troweling the seas dry. THIS IS ALL ABOUT FEEDING THE WORLD SAY CLINTON NEO-LIBERALS. Well, it appears they are cornering the market on fertile soil and fresh water and have a military branch to protect those investments.
DON'T YOU JUST LOVE THOSE GOOD BILLIONAIRES GATES AND BUFFET AND THEIR FOUNDATION FUNDING ALL OF THIS----IT'S TAX-FREE!
I explained how the farm bill changed from paying mid-west farmers subsidies for crop loss to calling it 'insurance' and raised the amounts BIG AG in the US receives for crops lost just as the mid-west becomes a dust bowl with climate change. The corporations buying all that fertile land and water are of course our US BIG AG and they will be sending food that was grown in the US now as imports from their overseas operations. Guess what prices will do when we stop producing food and rely on imports? That's right! Wall Street will manipulate food more than is happening now. So, US BIG AG will receive taxpayer subsidy through crop insurance on farms in the US while Americans are soaked with food costs from US BIG AG overseas.
CLINTON/BUSH/GATES = MONSANTO AND BIG AG.
WHAT!!!!! YOU MEAN ALL THAT AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT SURROUNDING WATER AND CROPS HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH HELPING AFRICANS?
March Against Monsanto
While one recent report found that the majority of all #GMOs are grown in just #six countries, #Monsanto is pushing hard to turn ALL rural landscapes into lifeless monocultures of corn and soy...
We can beat them by voting with our wallets, spreading #awareness and raising our voices!
Why is the Gates foundation investing in GM giant Monsanto?
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's investments in Monsanto and Cargill have come under heavy criticism. Is it time for the foundation to come clean on its visions for agriculture in developing countries?
Reuters John Vidal Wednesday 29 September 2010 08.27 EDT
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is sponsoring the Guardian's Global development site is being heavily criticised in Africa and the US for getting into bed not just with notorious GM company Monsanto, but also with agribusiness commodity giant Cargill.
Trouble began when a US financial website published the foundation's annual investment portfolio, which showed it had bought 500,000 Monsanto shares worth around $23m. This was a substantial increase in the last six months and while it is just small change for Bill and Melinda, it has been enough to let loose their fiercest critics.
Seattle-based Agra Watch - a project of the Community Alliance for Global Justice - was outraged. "Monsanto has a history of blatant disregard for the interests and well being of small farmers around the world… [This] casts serious doubt on the foundation's heavy funding of agricultural development in Africa," it thundered.
But it got worse. South Africa-based watchdog the African Centre for Biosafety then found that the foundation was teaming up with Cargill in a $10m project to "develop the soya value chain" in Mozambique and elsewhere. Who knows what this corporate-speak really means, but in all probability it heralds the big time introduction of GM soya in southern Africa.
The two incidents raise a host of questions for the foundation. Few people doubt that GM has a place in Africa, but is Gates being hopelessly naïve by backing two of the world's most aggressive agri-giants? There is, after all, genuine concern at governmental and community level that the United State's model of extensive hi-tech farming is inappropriate for most of Africa and should not be foist on the poorest farmers in the name of "feeding the world".
The fact is that Cargill is a faceless agri-giant that controls most of the world's food commodities and Monsanto has been blundering around poor Asian countries for a decade giving itself and the US a lousy name for corporate bullying. Does Gates know it is in danger of being caught up in their reputations, or does the foundation actually share their corporate vision of farming and intend to work with them more in future?
The foundation has never been upfront about its vision for agriculture in the world's poorest countries, nor the role of controversial technologies like GM. But perhaps it could start the debate here?
In the meantime, it could tell us how many of its senior agricultural staff used to work for Monsanto or Cargill?
Now they will be shipping food AID to the US from these African BIG AG farms...that's how to make the US third world!
As you see here there is no doubt that Gates is about corporate profit and not about helping the world through better health care. Now Gates is attacking the world's food system.
The vision I gave above----of the US losing all of its food basket regions with climate change and Americans being left to import this food from overseas where people are being enslaved to grow it. Think again as Food Stamps end-----remember, Clinton neo-liberals are working as hard as Republicans to end all War on Poverty programs-----the US will become a food aid nation receiving bulk shipments of this Monsanto/GM food.
Monsanto Investor Bill Gates Says GMO Crops Needed to Fight Starvation
11331424 Anthony Gucciardi
January 28, 2012
Bill Gates, the heavy Monsanto investor who purchased 500,000 shares of the biotech giant in 2010, has been touting Monsanto’s genetically modified creations as a tool that is necessary to prevent starvation in poor nations. The same poor nations where thousands of farmers routinely commit suicide after being completely bankrupt by Monsanto’s overpriced and ineffective GM seeds.
The same company that we recently exposed to be running ‘slave-like’ working conditions, forcing poor workers to operate the corn fields for 14 hours per day while withholding pay.
According to Gates, this is the company whose GMO crops are going to save the world from starvation. Of course, along with ‘saving the world from starvation’, GMO crops also bring along a large number of unwanted health and environmental effects.
A prominent review of 19 studies examining the safety of these crops found that consumption of GMO corn or soybeans can lead to significant organ disruptions in rats and mice – particularly in the liver and kidneys.
Are Monsanto’s Devastating Creations Really the Answer to World Hunger?
What’s more is that Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide, Roundup, has been completely devastating farmlands for years through the creation of resistant superweeds. Experts estimate Roundup usage to result in the destruction of over at least 120 million hectares of farmland thanks to these superweeds.
Is it any wonder that in 2008 a startling report uncovered Monsanto’s blatant abuse of poor farmers in the very poor countries that will supposedly benefit from GMO crops? Thanks to an article in the Daily Mail, it was revealed that thousands of farmers were committing suicide after using Monsanto’s GM seeds. Due to failing harvests and drastically inflated prices, the bankrupt poor farmers began taking their lives — oftentimes drinking the very same chemical concoctions provided by Monsanto as a method of suicide.
‘We are ruined now,’ said the dead man’s 38-year-old wife. ‘We bought 100 grams of BT Cotton. Our crop failed twice. My husband had become depressed. He went out to his field, lay down in the cotton and swallowed insecticide.’
Monsanto actually conned the farmers into buying their GM seeds, majorly overpriced and performing far worse than even traditional seeds. Monsanto went as far as to charge these poor farmers £10 for 100 grams of GM seed, while they could have purchased 1,000 times more traditional seeds for the same amount. The result? A career-ending harvest that led to mass farmer suicide.
It is quite clear that Monsanto really has no intention of helping these farmers fight starvation in their communities, as Monsanto investor Bill Gates would have you think. You can view Bill Gates’ speech about how GMO crops are the answer to starvation and see for yourself how he puts such strong emphasis on that selling point.
Machines of War: Blackwater, Monsanto, and Bill Gates
14.10.2010 Silvia Ribeiro
A report by Jeremy Scahill in The Nation (Blackwater's Black Ops, 9/15/2010) revealed that the largest mercenary army in the world, Blackwater (now called Xe Services) clandestine intelligence services was sold to the multinational Monsanto. Blackwater was renamed in 2009 after becoming famous in the world with numerous reports of abuses in Iraq, including massacres of civilians. It remains the largest private contractor of the U.S. Department of State "security services," that practices state terrorism by giving the government the opportunity to deny it.
Many military and former CIA officers work for Blackwater or related companies created to divert attention from their bad reputation and make more profit selling their nefarious services-ranging from information and intelligence to infiltration, political lobbying and paramilitary training - for other governments, banks and multinational corporations. According to Scahill, business with multinationals, like Monsanto, Chevron, and financial giants such as Barclays and Deutsche Bank, are channeled through two companies owned by Erik Prince, owner of Blackwater: Total Intelligence Solutions and Terrorism Research Center. These officers and directors share Blackwater.
One of them, Cofer Black, known for his brutality as one of the directors of the CIA, was the one who made contact with Monsanto in 2008 as director of Total Intelligence, entering into the contract with the company to spy on and infiltrate organizations of animal rights activists, anti-GM and other dirty activities of the biotech giant.
Contacted by Scahill, the Monsanto executive Kevin Wilson declined to comment, but later confirmed to The Nation that they had hired Total Intelligence in 2008 and 2009, according to Monsanto only to keep track of "public disclosure" of its opponents. He also said that Total Intelligence was a
"totally separate entity from Blackwater."
However, Scahill has copies of emails from Cofer Black after the meeting with Wilson for Monsanto, where he explains to other former CIA agents, using their Blackwater e-mails, that the discussion with Wilson was that Total Intelligence had become "Monsanto's intelligence arm," spying on activists and other actions, including "our people to legally integrate these groups." Total Intelligence Monsanto paid $ 127,000 in 2008 and $ 105,000 in 2009.
No wonder that a company engaged in the "science of death" as Monsanto, which has been dedicated from the outset to produce toxic poisons spilling from Agent Orange to PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), pesticides, hormones and genetically modified seeds, is associated with another company of thugs.
Almost simultaneously with the publication of this article in The Nation, the Via Campesina reported the purchase of 500,000 shares of Monsanto, for more than $23 million by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which with this action completed the outing of the mask of "philanthropy." Another association that is not surprising. It is a marriage between the two most brutal monopolies in the history of industrialism: Bill Gates controls more than 90 percent of the market share of proprietary computing and Monsanto about 90 percent of the global transgenic seed market and most global commercial seed. There does not exist in any other industrial sector monopolies so vast, whose very existence is a negation of the vaunted principle of "market competition" of capitalism. Both Gates and Monsanto are very aggressive in defending their ill-gotten monopolies.
Although Bill Gates might try to say that the Foundation is not linked to his business, all it proves is the opposite: most of their donations end up favoring the commercial investments of the tycoon, not really "donating" anything, but instead of paying taxes to the state coffers, he invests his profits in where it is favorable to him economically, including propaganda from their supposed good intentions. On the contrary, their "donations" finance projects as destructive as geoengineering or replacement of natural community medicines for high-tech patented medicines in the poorest areas of the world. What a coincidence, former Secretary of Health Julio Frenk and Ernesto Zedillo are advisers of the Foundation.
Like Monsanto, Gates is also engaged in trying to destroy rural farming worldwide, mainly through the "Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa" (AGRA). It works as a Trojan horse to deprive poor African farmers of their traditional seeds, replacing them with the seeds of their companies first, finally by genetically modified (GM). To this end, the Foundation hired Robert Horsch in 2006, the director of Monsanto. Now Gates, airing major profits, went straight to the source.
Blackwater, Monsanto and Gates are three sides of the same figure: the war machine on the planet and most people who inhabit it, are peasants, indigenous communities, people who want to share information and knowledge or any other who does not want to be in the aegis of profit and the destructiveness of capitalism.
* The author is a researcher at ETC Group
It’s a Monsanto Government
by Burkely Hermann / June 5th, 2012
In the movie Inside Job, one person interviewed says the current U.S. government is now a “Wall Street government” because of the revolving door between the financial services industry and those that regulate the industry. This means that those in power are on the side of Wall Street. The same can be said for Monsanto, which is really a chemical company. Key figures in the regulatory bodies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have, according to Rense.com, “held important positions at Monsanto” before working in those regulatory bodies or have held them “after their biotech related regulatory work for the government agency.” As a result, the government has become one with Monsanto in terms of favorable policy. The reason for this collusion was hinted at in Clifford D. Corner’s book, A People’s History of Science. Corner pointed out that government is often in collusion with those they are regulating.
The problems of Monsanto have been highlighted by activists especially with the prominence of the internet in social activism. But, the real focus on genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) and genetically-modified (GM) food began a while ago. Simply, GMOs can be defined as new organisms created by altering DNA of existing organisms; an attempt to make an organism desirable. More and more people are concerned about GMOs because the effects on health are unknown, they could create super-bacteria, such organisms could be allergic to certain genes and it is possible all foods could become toxic. In the movie, Food Inc., one farmer cleaned his seeds of GMOs (he grew non-GMO crops, but everyone around him had them) and was sued by Monsanto for supposedly violating their patent.
In recent times, these problems have not been solved because of the revolving door with GMO companies. In the Obama Administration, connections with Monsanto have intensified. A U.S. government initiative published in 2010, the “Southern Africa FY 2010 Implementation Plan,” calls for “the need for increased cooperation [on]… GMOs… through support of a harmonized regional bio-safety framework, standardized regional sanitary and phytosanitary… measures, and trade” including “national-level implementation of the harmonized system [to]… increase trade and private sector investment in seeds across the region and allow smallholder access to improved seeds.”
This would allow the American government to keep the revenues of GM crops growing from their revenue of about $76 billion in 2010, according to the April 2012 National Bioeconomy Blueprint.
In March 2010, President Obama’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology talked about GMOs with 100 other observers from the public. More than a year later, in May 2011, Tikkun magazine criticized Obama for pushing the USDA to deregulate GM alfalfa and sugar beets in America despite court orders to the contrary, warning that since sugar beets are about “50 percent of the sugar Americans use in their coffee, cereals, and desserts” it would adversely affect Americans. Tikkun warned the Obama Administration that this deregulation will mean “the end of the organic meat and organic dairy industries.” The validity of the statement is unsure, but Tikkun still highlights a good point. Supposedly, according to the U.S. government, “oversight systems have been developed to identify and reduce any environmental risks that might be associated with [the]…use [of GMOs]” but the question remains if the government can be fully trusted with that task.
The Center for Responsive Politics questions that trust. One of their projects, OpenSecrets, wrote in a 2010 blogpost that “… a close… look at the FDA reveals a close relationship between FDA personnel and private sector professionals that represent big agricultural companies.” President Barack Obama has appointed several people who were related to such a big agricultural company, Monsanto. USDA Secretary Tom Vislack did not necessarily work for Monsanto, but he favored GMOs as Governor of Iowa (i.e. in 2002 he wrote a letter to biotech groups chastising them for not growing GM corn and was supported by GMO-front groups. The Organic Consumers Association, when it opposed Vislack’s nomination in November 2008 (who was consequently confirmed by the Senate), declared he was a shill “for agribusiness biotech giants like Monsanto.” A Washington Post article in March 2011 proved this point, noting that Vislack approved GM alfalfa and corn for being used for ethanol and approved GM sugar beets. This was a step back from his previous policy to broker an agreement between the organic food groups and the GMO lobby. However, the USDA under Vislack’s management has approved every single GMO-based crop: they haven’t denied a single one.
Vislack wasn’t the only one who had a pro-GMO stand in the Obama Administration. Another nominee, Michael Taylor, clearly shows the connection of Monsanto and the national government. Taylor was a former attorney and vice president of public policy at Monsanto before he became the FDA Commissioner. In his position, according to Grist Magazine, he is a “kind of food czar of the Food and Drug Administration [who] assess[es] current food program challenges and opportunities, identif[ies] egulatory priorities, develop[s] the FDA’s budget request for fiscal year 2011, [and] implement[s] new food safety legislation.”
Other important figures, Islam Siddiqui who is the Agricultural Negotiator Trade Representative, and Lidia Watrud in the United States Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Effects Laboratory both worked at Monsanto prior to their jobs (Siddiqui as a lobbyist and Watrud as a former biotechnology researcher). Roger Bleachy, the director of the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIDA) from October 5, 2009 to May 20, 2011, was previously the director of the Monsanto Danforth Center. NIDA claims to “advance knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being.” Even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is tied to Monsanto! She was a Monsanto counsel when she worked at the Rose Law firm because she represented them among many other corporate interests.
The revolving door in the Obama Administration is small compared to the corruption in Congress by Monsanto. OpenSecrets wrote last month that they spent over “$1.4 million lobbying Washington… and spent about $6.3 million total last year, more than any other agribusiness firm except the tobacco company Altria.” This is not a good sign for a country that is supposed to value democracy. But as privileged “Founder” James Madison pointed out in Federalist 10, “the most powerful faction must be expected to prevail.” There is hope, however, in Federalist 51 (also written by Madison) that “the more powerful faction… [will] wish for a government which shall protect all parties, the weaker [and]… the more powerful.”
In this case, Monsanto does not wish for a government to protect all parties. For them, a pro-GMO government would be their interest which is enforced by the fact that they are “the most powerful faction” and can “be expected to prevail.” Proposed legislation written by anti-GMO legislator Dennis Kucinich to label GM foods has not been received well in Congress. Grassroots petitions telling President Obama to cease corporate influence of the FDA, ten petitions on Change.org against Monsanto (ranging from 10 to about 25,000 supporters), and more than one million people petitioning the FDA to label GMOs have been equally unsuccessful.
The reason for these unsuccessful efforts is because the political process is awash with Monsanto money. According to OpenSecrets, the company has “access to members of Congress who are likely to be key in shaping the final legislation” especially through its PAC, the Monsanto Citizenship Fund, which has spent $383,000 this cycle. The PAC has importantly given $20,000 to Oklahoma Republican Representative Frank D. Lucas, the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, meaning that “no farm-related legislation is passed without his say-so.” In addition, a top-ranking Democrat in the same committee, Minnesota Representative Collin Peterson received $13,500 from the PAC. Overall $77,500 has been given by this PAC to 17 other “members of the House agriculture committee, or their leadership PACs.”
If this isn’t enough, Monsanto has lobbied for numerous bills in its interest, since it is a chemical company. Also it met with bureaucrats and other governmental officials as a way to lobby the government to their bidding. In terms of contributions, Monsanto usually gives more to Republicans than Democrats ($105,000 to House Republicans and $40,000 to House Democrats, $26,000 to Senate Republicans and $16,000 to Senate Democrats) but this still means that the company is hedging its bets. Monsanto is playing the same card as corporations back in the Nixon Administration by giving money to both sides so that they will have friends in Congress.
The “friends” of Monsanto are numerous. The state of Missouri has the highest concentration of these “friends,” according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Five Congressmen, Republican Vicky Hartzler ($2,000), Democrat Emanuel Cleaver ($3,500), Republican Billy Long ($1,500), Republican Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) ($5,000), and Democrat William L Jr. Clay, (D-MO) ($10,000) all received money from Monsanto, with Democrat Clay with the highest amount, $10,000 given to his campaign coffers. Thirty-five other representatives received money from Monsanto including House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. In the U.S. Senate, thirteen members received contributions. Three of those members were from Missouri, two were from Nebraska, and the other eight were from Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Idaho, Hawaii, Iowa, Mississippi, Indiana, Montana and Pennsylvania. Some of these thirteen members included Senators Ben Nelson, Claire McCaskill, Orrin Hatch, Dick Lugar, Bob Casey, and Max Baucus, a mix of Democrats and Republicans. Combined together, there are 48 “friends” of Monsanto in Congress (13% of the Senate and 8% of the House). This small group of Congress members may seem insignificant, but this group of politicians constitutes a powerful lobby in the halls of the national legislature.
Many readers may be disillusioned and feel powerless with Monsanto’s extreme influence. But there is hope. Occupy Monsanto, which was formed in early 2012, declared “Monsanto is contaminating our political process” and formed a “Genetic Crimes Unit” (GCU) to “protect America from genetically modified foods.” In March 2012, the GCU assessed if members of Congress and their staff had committed “genetic crimes” and declared that “Congress is genetically modified” in conjunction with “Occupy Monsanto” protests nationwide and in four other countries.
The international online hacking justice group, Anonymous, followed in these efforts by shutting down Monsanto.com. They conducted this action in solidarity with farmers “and food organizations denouncing the practices of Monsanto according to the Organic Common Sense Blog. Anonymous also demanded Monsanto’s contamination, attempted bribing of foreign officials, hijacking of United Nations Climate Change negotiations, bullying of small farmers and infiltration of anti-GMO groups (among other demands) stop immediately. According to the online group, the reason for the prudence in this matter is because Monsanto has engaged in “oppressive business practices” that include following other big agricultural companies by preying “on the poorest countries by… rescu[ing]” the farmers and the people with GMO crops and chemical pesticides.” These practices result in drastic change in the farmer’s income. Finally, Anonymous tells all citizens “to stand up for these farmers… [and] your own food.”
The worldwide 99% can stand with corporate giants, stand with those fighting Monsanto or do nothing. If a person wants to do something, they should push their country to sign the Cartegena Protocol on Biosaftety which lessens the threat of gene transfers from GMOs to their wild relatives. If someone lives in the United States, they should push the government to ratify the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which limits genetic materials that agricultural companies can patent and affirms the right of farmers to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seeds. In the end, the 99% of people worldwide should follow the advice of the black hip-hop/rap group, Public Enemy, and “fight the power!” by assisting the efforts of Occupy Monsanto.