imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Obama Supports Food Inc.'s World Domination and All We Get Is the White House Garden?

by Alexis Baden-Mayer, Esq. (OCA) Friday, Oct. 30, 2009 at 11:30 AM

While Michele Obama took the needed steps in tearing out the White House lawn and planting an organic garden, her husband isn't so quick to drop the old pandering to biotechnology habits of big agribusiness corporations. With Obama's chosen staff of Tom Vilsack, Rajiv Shah, and Islam Siddiqui we have a continuation of the revolving door between corporate agribusiness, biotechnology and government regulators.

Obama Supports Food Inc.'s World Domination and All We Get Is the White House Garden?

By Alexis Baden-Mayer, Esq.

Organic Consumers Association, October 23, 2009

Straight to the Source





"I'll admit it. I'm an unabashed fan of the First Lady. I read every article about the White House organic garden and I go to Michele's farmers' market every Thursday. I’m a fan and I’m a little jealous, too. She’s managed to educate DC school children and provide farm fresh food to state dinners. The garden I started at my daughter’s DC public school this spring was abandoned to the office and maintenance staff this summer, then plowed under in a schoolyard renovation before school started in the fall, and has yet to feed any students.

Because I admire the First Lady’s good example, I am shocked by the chemical agribusiness and biotech cheerleading of her husband’s administration. From USDA and FDA appointments of biotech and chemical industry insiders, to support for the preposterous idea that genetic engineering can feed the world, it is obvious that the Obama Administration is happy to assist agribusiness in its quest for world domination.

World domination sounds a little histrionic, doesn’t it? But, there’s no other way to describe the profit-at-any-cost business model of companies like Monsanto that seek to patent and control access to seeds and food and decide for the world what we can eat. The question that faces humanity today is, “Shall we let Monsanto, Cargill, McDonald’s and a handful of other multinational corporations decide the future of food?”

Proponents of the so-called Second Green Revolution, led by the chemical, biotech and industrial biofuels lobby, are spending millions each year on advertisements and donations to politicians, universities, and non-profits to convince us that the only way to feed the world and survive climate change is through high technology—relying on factory farm animal production, genetic engineering, toxic pesticides, nitrate chemical fertilizers, and compliant farmers, farm workers, and consumers.

With far fewer resources, the organic movement is generating the science to support an alternative view. Organic agriculture can feed the world, turn back climate change and make food production more resilient to droughts and floods. Organic agriculture can do it with biodiversity instead of biotech, greenhouse gas sequestration instead of emissions, natural pest management instead of toxic pesticides, humus-rich compost instead of fossil fuel fertilizers or sewage sludge, more family farmers and better conditions for farm workers.

The question of which agriculture model will dominate food production is a question we only have one opportunity to answer. Once a seed or animal variety is extinct or contaminated with foreign genes, we will never get it back. In an age when a billion people are stuffed while a billion people are starved, most people on the planet suffer from either poor nutrition, exposure to toxic ingredients, diet-related diseases, or all three. Agriculture is a life and death issue for all of us.

So, which side is the Obama Administration on? The first answer to that question is, well, what is the president saying?

In announcing his Innovation Strategy, President Obama said, "From biotechnology to nanotechnology, from the development of new forms of energy to research into treatments of ancient diseases, there is so much potential to change our world and improve our lives."

The First Lady champions organic, while the President promotes biotechnology (a.k.a. genetic engineering) and nanotechnology, two untested technologies whose ubiquitous appearance in food and cosmetics has driven concerned consumers to organic in droves.



According to the Campaign for Healthier Eating in America, "Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are one of the most dangerous and radical changes to our food supply. These largely unregulated ingredients [are] found in 60-70% of the foods in the US."

Last December, a report by the National Research Council found serious gaps in the government's plan for determining if nanomaterials pose a risk and called for an effective national plan for identifying and managing potential risks. In a March 2009 commentary, a Lloyd's of London analyst drew parallels between the global financial meltdown and risks from nanomaterials. The financial collapse reflected "blithe acceptance of complex products that many didn't understand." With regard to nanomaterials, he commented that "the importance of getting to grips with and quantifying complex sources of risk has never been more obvious."

To be fair to the Obama Administration as a whole, I understand the EPA is considering taking a more precautionary approach to nanomaterials. In the meantime, the only thing an informed consumer can do is try to avoid these products. The problem is that they are not labeled! Buying organic is the only sure way to avoid biotechnology and nanotechnology. If she's the conscientious as well-informed consumer she appears to be, you can bet Michelle Obama doesn't let her kids near the stuff!

The second way to figure out which side the Obama Administration is to ask, who's in the Obama Administration? It's sort of a "one for you, two for me" kind of arrangement.



President Obama and the biotech industry gets the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack. While Iowa Governor, he was a leading advocate for Monsanto, genetic engineering, and factory farming. He was recently caught in the act of trying to promote biotechnology as the answer to world hunger.



The First Lady and the sustainable agriculture movement get the Deputy Secretary. Kathleen Merrigan is a stellar organic advocate who is working hard to facilitate local food systems through the Know Your Farmer program. But, as the political director of the Organic Consumers Association, I have to admit, it doesn't look like Bush Administration policies that weakened organic are unlikely to be overturned quickly. Concentration is increasing in the organic dairy industry, with bad-actor brands like Horizon expanding factory farm-style feedlots, but Merrigan doesn't want to admit there's any such thing as a "factory farm." She also says she has no plans to address blatant fraud in the organic cosmetics industry where brands like "Jason: Pure, Natural & Organic" advertise themselves as “organic” without being USDA certified.

Of the Under Secretaries named so far, Rajiv Shah, Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics and Chief Scientist, Kevin Concanon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, Jim Miller, Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agriculture Services, Dallas Tonsager, Under Secretary of Agriculture for Rural Development, and Edward M. Avalos , Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, none are champions of organic agriculture, and only Shah is a outright biotechnology advocate. (Under Secretaries for Food Safety or Natural Resources and Environment have yet to be appointed.)

Rajiv Shah, Research, Education and Economics and Chief Scientist

Agricultural policy experts initially that Shah, Director of Agricultural Development Programs at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, lacked real experience in agriculture. Shah was the founding director of the Gates Foundation's agriculture program, which has donated million to GM research.

Directly under Shah is Roger Beachy who is steering the direction of US agricultural research at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Beachy is a long time Monsanto collaborator who directed an institute established by Monsanto and academic partners with a -million pledge from the corporation. It's effectively a Monsanto front.

Shah’s senior adviser for energy and climate is Maura O'Neill. O'Neill ran a public-private life sciences venture called Explore Life, dedicated to drawing biotech companies to the Seattle area where the Gates Foundation is based.

Shah has brought in Rachael Goldfarb to work for him as counselor. At the Gates Foundation, Goldfarb was special assistant to Tachi Yamada, president of the foundation's global health program.

Shah’s team has already awarded million in Coordinated Agricultural Project grants to four research universities to study “plant genomics and ways to improve the nutrition and health values of important crops.” Expect more GMO tomatoes, potatoes, barley, soybean, and trees. And be on the lookout for new, GMO legumes embedded with cholesterol and diabetes drugs.

According to a USDA press release on the awards, “Because humans consume more legumes than any other crop, this research has the potential to reduce cholesterol and sugar levels, which in turn can prevent or alleviate certain types of cancer, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.”

The irony is that there’s a GMO legume already on the market, soy, that has found its way into just about all processed and fried foods in the form of partially hydrogenated soybean oil (a.k.a. trans fat). Will the result of this research be a new GMO trans fat that treats diet-related diseases caused by other GMO trans fats? It would certainly be a first for the field of genetic engineering. In fact, any new GMO crop that actually improved the nutrition and health value of an important crop would be a first. Contrary to popular belief, to date, there is not one health or nutritional benefit associated with any GMO crop. They’re all genetically modified to either withstand or produce pesticides (usually manufactured by the chemical company that genetically engineered the crop).

Jim Miller, Farm and Foreign Agriculture Services

Jim Miller was the President of the National Association of Wheat Growers, which has taken a pro-biotech position, but his term was in the 80s, before GMOs were an issue. In 2002, while Miller was the National Farmers Union’s chief economist, NFU asked the government for a moratorium that would temporarily discontinue granting patents on GMOs. The organization wanted to prevent large companies from gaining control of genetically modified products. So, Jim Miller can’t be characterized as a biotech booster, but one of the divisions he oversees, the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS), always has been and that doesn’t seem to have changed with new appointments.

Michael Michener, a former lead Iraq policy officer at the State Department who was a foreign policy adviser to Vilsack during his brief presidential campaign, now heads the FAS. On May 26, 2009, the FAS posted a pro-GMO report titled, “The Unexplored Potential of Organic-Biotech Production.” After thousands of angry letters from Organic Consumer Association activists, the agency was forced to pull the report and print a retraction explaining, “[T]he report does not represent the policy of the United States Government.” Nevertheless, the USDA, along with 3 of the world’s top 5 seed companies (Monsanto, Syngenta, Land O’ Lakes) and a host of other multinational agribusinesses, sponsored the 2009 Borlaug Dialogue. On the agenda was “Harmonizing Organic and Sustainable Agricultural Practices with Modern Technology and Genetics.”

Dallas Tonsager, Rural Development

Tonsager’s top priorities for USDA's Rural Development include expanding economic opportunity from bioenergy, including biofuel, biomass and cellulose. This is likely to result in short-term economic gain for many farmers and rural communities. Unlike other parts of his plan, including capitalizing on the economic benefits of local food systems and increasing broadband access, bioenergy can have hidden long-term costs for the economies and ecology of rural communities. On one hand, there are small farmers who produce biofuels responsibly and local biodiesel collectives that recycle spent cooking oil. (What’s not to like? I’m the proud driver of a veggie diesel car, myself!) But, that’s not where the majority of government subsidies go. According to the Rainforest Action Network:

Agribusiness, oil, energy and auto companies are rapidly consolidating control over the entire agrofuel sector. The power of these corporations is staggering: Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) lobbied the U.S. government for three decades to promote adding ethanol to gasoline, resulting in billion of government subsidies—most of which has gone directly to ADM. Automakers exploit a biofuels loophole in fuel economy regulations to avoid reducing vehicle oil consumption and tailpipe greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.



That billion makes the million in loans and grants the USDA recently awarded to 233 renewable energy projects under the Rural Energy for America Program look pretty puny. Between 2003 and 2008, the Department of Agriculture awarded 0 million in grants and 7 million in loan guarantees to more than 2,000 projects in all 50 states, including wind farms, anaerobic digesters, biofuel production, solar electric systems, and efficiency upgrades. .3 million has been appropriated for REAP in 2010.

Edward Avalos, Marketing and Regulatory Programs



Edward Avalos is the USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, which includes the National Organic Program. This uncontroversial figure worked for 29 years at the NM Department of Agriculture. In 2008, he named Sunland Peanut, the largest producer of organic peanut butter in the country, the New Mexico Agricultural Marketer of the Year.

Kevin Concannon, Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services

Concannon, another uncontroversial state administrator, has been director of health and human service agencies in Iowa (under Governor Tom Vilsack), Maine, and Oregon. He’s taking on food assistance at a time when nearly half of U.S. newborns are eligible for the federal Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program. WIC is available to families with incomes up to ,874 for a household of three — 185% of the federal poverty level. He recently presided over a change at WIC that, while not increasing benefits, will allow WIC vouchers to be used, for the first time, for fruits, vegetables and whole grains, in addition to milk, cheese, juice and eggs. Currently, there is a de facto ban on organic in WIC, but big conventional food processors like Sara Lee are already cashing in on the new market that’s been created for them.

Concannon's Deputy is Janey Thornton. She's a school nutrition director who played a leadership roles in both the School Nutrition Association and the School Nutrition Foundation. Grist.org food editor Tom Philpott was the first to look into SNA's industry ties:

The SNA’s list of “industry members” is password-protected, but it does name its “industry member advisory board,” which includes execs from high-fructose-corn syrup giant Archer Daniels Midland and Conagra. And its “current industry patron list” makes bracing reading for anyone who would like to see school-lunch reform. It includes ADM, Campbell Soup Company, Cargill Kitchen Solutions, PepsiCo Foodservice, Sara Lee Foods Foodservice, Coca Cola, Tyson Foods, Chicken of the Sea International—a kind of roster of our nation’s most powerful food processors.

The Grist.org piece, "Obama's school-lunch chief not much of a reformer," reviews Thornton's resume of cafeteria menus:

When we think of the sugar, fat and salt children are consuming, we cringe. When we think about the multi-national agribusiness companies this type of school food service system supports, we cringe. And when we think about the negative overall effect that this system has on People, Planet and Sustainable Profit, all sense of optimism just drains away.

If the state of affairs at USDA weren't depressing enough, many biotech and pesticide promoters have been appointed to other agencies dealing with food and farming, as well, notably:

Michael Taylor, FDA



The senior adviser to the Food and Drug Administration Commissioner on food safety is Michael Taylor. The Vice President for Public Policy at Monsanto Corp. from 1998 until 2001, Taylor exemplifies the revolving door between the food industry and the government agencies that regulate it.

Islam Siddiqui, USTR



Islam Siddiqui has been nominated as the Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. If Congress confirms him, he will use the post to continue the lobbying he has done for CropLife (a front group for chemical agriculture), promoting chemical-intensive, genetically modified products that undermine local food security in developing countries.



Croplife America’s regional partner, Mid America CropLife Association, notoriously “shuddered” at Michelle Obama’s organic garden and launched a letter writing campaign in protest.



Another Washington insider using the revolving door between employment in government and big business, Siddiqui worked for Clinton's USDA. Siddiqui led the first phase of development for national organic food standards in the United States. The Organic Consumers Association was formed in 1998 due to the massive backlash consumers had against Siddiqui’s proposed regulations for organic food that would have outrageously allowed for toxic sludge, irradiated foods and genetically modified organisms to be labeled "organic." Only after an unprecedented 230,000 consumers wrote USDA to protest Siddiqui's rules were they strengthened.



Jill Long Thompson, Farm Credit Administration Board

Jill Long Thompson has been nominated for a seat on the Farm Credit Administration Board. After a political career, she became CEO of the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy, a non-profit founded to research biotechnology, pesticides, U.S. farm and food policy and international trade and development. The National Center produces a yearly “Update On Impacts On US Agriculture Of Biotechnology Der... that attempts to make the case that biotechnology-derived crops increase yields, reduce the use of chemicals and improve economic conditions for farmers. National Center trustees include university administrators, a former cabinet secretary, and representatives of agribusinesses including Altria, Blythe Cotton and ConAgra.

Aneesh Chopra, United States Chief Technology Officer

According to a press release for the "Emerging Technologies/Emerging Economies: (Nano)technology for Equitable Development" conference, to be held from November 4-6, 2009, in Washington, D.C., Chopra will address the conference to " discuss using technology to solve environmental, energy, water, food security and health problems in developing nations."

"



TAKE ACTION!

Tell President Obama and the Senate that you oppose Islam Siddiqui and other proponents of chemical agriculture that have been nominated to determine food policy for his administration. Click here to take action. Over 100,000 messages were sent to Obama opposing Secretary Vilsack. As of October 26, 2009, 44,721 letters have been sent opposing Michael Taylor and Obama's other Monsanto men (and women).



read more @;

http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_19436.cfm

Report this post as:

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

Two Podcasts on fbi corruption A06 10:13PM

Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS A06 7:29PM

EPA Head Scott Pruitt: Of Cages And Sirens A06 2:15PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy