Friday, November 14, 2008

NAIS and the elimination of normal animals

I think they are planning to do with animals what they have done and are still doing so thoroughly doing with GE-seeds - patenting them and then getting rid of all sources of normal ones.  It's why that are so intent in taking out the last chance to hang onto indigenous seeds - the seed cleaners - and thus ANY independent collection of seeds. 

A strong overview:


And Bill C-51 in Canada (a gift that would come with the NAU) is a stealth move  (it looks to be only about health substances) against individuals saving seeds and seed banking (human's only protection against GE) that would criminalize both and apply massive penalties (2 years in prison and $5 million fines).

This is to say that draconian as NAIS is already, I think it is only the thin edge of the wedge.  Only in this context do all the seemingly non-sensical aspects of it make complete sense.

And within this view, it is easy to see suddenly that the raw milk attacks are actually closely related to NAIS.  It's the same fight, really.  Raw milk is simply an early snapshot of where things are headed once the machinery is in place and they know where everyone is, once they have the automatic penalties in place.  Raw milk raids are the primitive version, pre-data banks and GPS tracking systems. Once they get up to speed technologically and set up the centralized department of Food Safety, they won't have to make raids or spysystem will spy continuously and they can gin up full national food scares, and the "raids" will come as letters informing the isolated farmer of the life-killing penalty they face.  Done.  Neat as a whistle.  Virtually invisible take-over of animal kind.  Just like they did with seeds.

With animals, they use "food scares" and offer big technological fixes that don't fit anything. With seeds, they used "poor yields" and offered big biotechnological fixes that don't work.  But in both cases, they fit and work well for what is actually intended in terms of control.

A video on NAIS:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Open Letter from Maputo: Peasant Agriculture and Food Sovereignty are Solutions to the Global Crisis

Open Letter from Maputo: V International Conference of La Vía Campesina

Peasant Agriculture and Food Sovereignty are Solutions to the Global Crisis

Maputo, Mozambique, October 19-22, 2008

The entire world is in crisis, a crisis with multiple dimensions. There is a food crisis, an energy crisis, a climate crisis and a financial crisis. The solutions put forth by Power – more free trade, more GMOs, etc. – purposefully ignore the fact that the crisis is a product of the capitalist system and of neoliberalism, and they will only worsen its impacts. To find real solutions we need to look toward Food Sovereignty as put forth by La Via Campesina.

How did we get to this state of crisis?

In recent decades we have witnessed the advance of finance capital and transnational corporations (TNCs) across all aspects of agriculture and the global food system. >From the privatization of seeds and the sale of pesticides, to buying the harvests, processing the food, transporting and distributing it, all the way to retail sale to consumers, everything is controlled by a handful of corporations. Food has gone from being a right of all people, to being just another commodity. Our diets are being homogenized, with food that is bad for you, is priced out of the reach of most people, and makes us lose the culinary traditions of our peoples.

At the same time we are witnessing an offensive of capital for the control of natural resources, the likes of which we have not seen since colonial times. The crisis of the rate of profit has led Capital to launch a privatizing war for the eviction of our peoples, peasants and the indigenous, the theft through privatization of our land, territories, forests, biodiversity, water and mineral resources. It is an aggression against both rural peoples and the environment. The planting of large-scale agrofuel monocultures is an aspect of this war of displacement. It is routinely justified with the false arguments that agrofuels are the solution to the energy and climate crisis. But the truth is that the current dependence on long distance transport of goods, and individual transport of people in automobiles instead of mass transportation, have more to do with these crises than anything else.

Now, with the food and financial crises, everything is getting worse. The food crisis and the financial crisis are linked through financial speculation on the prices of food crops and land, to the detriment of people. Now as the crisis grows, finance capital is more desperate every day, assaulting our government treasuries for their bailouts, which will only force more budget cutting in our countries, and make poverty and suffering even more widespread. Hunger is continuing to grow in our world. Exploitation and all forms of violence, especially directed at women, are on the rise. With the economic recession in rich countries, xenophobia is spreading, with more racism and repression, and the dominant economic model offers ever fewer options to our rural youth.

In synthesis, things are going from bad to worse. Nevertheless, we must recognize that like all crises, this one also generates opportunities. Opportunities for capitalism, which uses crises to reinvent itself and find new sources of profits, but also opportunities for social movements. Among the latter are the fact that the principal theses of neoliberalism are being stripped of their legitimacy in public opinion, and the fact the international financial institutions (World Bank, IMF, WTO) are proving to be incapable of administering the crisis (in addition being among the cause of the same crisis). This creates the opportunity to eliminate them, and create new institutions to regulate the global economy that serve public interests. It is clearer every day that the TNCs are our real enemies behind these other enemies. It is clearer every day that the neoliberal governments do not serve the interests of their peoples. And it is clearer every day that the global corporate food regime is not capable of feeding the great majority of people on this planet, while Food Sovereignty based on peasant agriculture is more needed than ever.

Facing this reality, what do we defend in La Via Campesina?

·         Food Sovereignty: getting speculative finance capital out of our food system, and re-nationalizing food production and reserves offer us the only real way out of the food crisis. Only peasant and family farm agriculture feed people, while agribusiness grows export crops and agrofuels to feed cars instead of human beings. Food Sovereignty based on peasant and family farm agriculture offers us a way out of this crisis.

·         As solutions to the energy and climates crises: the dissemination of local food systems, that are not based on long-distance transport nor on industrial agriculture, could eliminate as much as 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Industrial agriculture warms the planet, and peasant agriculture cools the planet. Changes in patterns of transportation for people and patterns of consumption are additional the steps needed to address the energy and climate crises.

·         Genuine integral agrarian reform and the defense of the territories of indigenous peoples are essential steps to roll back the evictions and displacement in the countryside, and to use our farm land to grow food instead of exports and fuels.

·         Sustainable peasant and family farm agriculture: only agroecological peasant and family farming can de-link food prices from petroleum prices, recover degraded soils, and produce healthy local food for our peoples.

·         The advance of women is an advance for all: the end of all forms of violence against women, including physical, social and other forms. Achieving true gender parity in all internal spaces and organs of debate and decision-making, are absolutely essential commitments to advance at this time as social movements toward the transformation of society.

·         The right to seeds and water: seeds and water are sources of life, and are the heritage of our peoples. We cannot permit their privatization, nor the use of GMOs or of terminator technology.

·         No to the criminalization of social protest, yes to the UN Declaration of Peasant Rights, proposed by La Via Campesina. It will be a key tool in the international legal system to strengthen our position and our rights as peasants and family farmers.

·         Rural youth: We urgently need to open ever more spaces in our movement for the incorporation of the creativity and strength of our rural young people, in their struggle to create their future in the countryside.

·         Finally, we are the women and men who produce and defend the food of all peoples.

All the participants in the V Conference of La Via Campesina commit ourselves to the defense of peasant and family farm agriculture, food sovereignty, dignity and life. We offer real solutions the global crisis we face today. We have the right to continue to exist as peasants and farmers, and we have the responsibility to feed our peoples.

We are here, the peasants and family farmers of the world, and we refuse to disappear.

Food sovereignty now! Unity and struggle of the people!

Globalize struggle! Globalize hope!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

For those who think genetic engineering is a good idea for India

Go to and either read or listen to the talks Jeff Smith gives on how the "science" biotech is using is actually lousy and antiquated.

Inform yourself but please don't get caught in the science part.  It is CRITICAL to see through that to the PATENTS they lead to and the biopiracy they are causing and the monopoly they accomplish.  

US groups are now going after Monsanto because of its monopolistic actions, anti-trust violations and complete control over seeds.  If one is Indian and want to talk to people who see nothing wrong with genetic engineering, tell them they can see into India's future by seeing what is happening here in the US.  While Monsanto says it is interested in helping farmers and providing food security, it raises the price of GE-seed corn $100 a bag during an international food crisis and after the Midwest's farmers were devastated by floods.

Did you know Monsanto is actively (and using criminal methods) eliminating seed cleaners here?  Why?  They are the people who help farmers save their seeds.  Monsanto,  having bought up "normal seed" companies so those those seeds would no longer be available - only their 3-4 times more expensive patented ones, is now tightening the trap for farmers by getting rid of their means to collect their own seeds.

If you are going to talk to Indians about genetic engineering, stick to the economic end of things and emphasize that this is the new colonialism, wrapped in poor science, and worst than the destruction of India's mills.  Show people that in the US where there are GE-crops, farmers have been wiped out and Monsanto has control over almost all corn and soy and thus over BOTH food and fuel.  Tell them this is about monopoly and colonialism using terrible science, billion dollar PR and bribing
and buying up land grant colleges,
and never mind the impact on human organs.

Indians concerned to stop genetic engineering in their country might hook up with the Organic Consumers Association  so they can add reports about India to their website as well as offer you thorough information and perhaps people who can help speak out with you about what Monsanto is doing to India.  

Also, reach Organization of Competitive Markets about what they are doing on the monopoly side about Monsanto.  Perhaps they can help with data and in other ways.  

The new UN study says that organic farming is capable of feeding Africa
so why shouldn't India also choose organic which is cheap, safe, "independent" farming that helps stop global warming and preserves a nation's own biology for that nation and because small farming is local and local farming is safer in emergencies?  

Or should India choose hugely expensive inputs, heavy use of petroleum-based pesticides and fertilizers that kill Indian soil, MUCH greater use of water, losing its biodiversity, unleashing untested abnormal food crops, depending on a limited number as well as non-indigenous varieties that would expose it more to catastrophes, and greatly contributing to global warming, and end up not even owning the crops ultimately but turning ownership over to foreign multinationals which are detested around the world? Hmm. Tough decision.  

Who makes that sort of insane choice except for massively bought-out politicians which is what is happening in Europe? Who in India is getting paid off? Someone needs to be watching the money and not be distracted by all that baloney about "science." Science was used by the Germans, too.

Here is the "science always knows better than people"response to India's effort to stop Monsanto's genetic engineering of their food.

"This must be one of the most ridiculous campaigns started by NGOs in India who have idea of the science of molecular genetics or genetic engineering or juts [sic] refuse to believe the scientific facts.   This entire anti-GM campaign in India by NGOs is a malicious anti-technology, Luddite propaganda that has no scientific basis.  
All right thinking and
educated people must listen to knowledgeable scientists
, scientific bodies and science academies of the world including FAO and WHO to understand the scientific facts and empirical truth about GM foods and not all for this ideological nonsense by Indian NGOs who take their cures [sic] from well heeled European greens."
[Ah, so people should not trust their own knowledge or thinking but groups that have gotten their funding from Monsanto?  Then I suppose that right-thinking German people were supposed to listen to their leaders, who were supported by "knowledgeable scientists, scientific bodies and science academies" who used "science" to undergird the elimination of "dirty" Jews.  Rodulf Hess said Nazism was "applied biology."
And environmental groups have more money than Monsanto?  Someone needs to tell them. They'll be so delighted to find out.]

Eu panel OKs 2 genetically modified corn products:

Staying Organic During Tough Times

From Jeff Cox  

[This post is from Organic to Be, a wonderful website Yupfarming encourages everyone to visit and support in what they are doing.]

I saw a headline in the paper today that said people are beginning to question whether to buy organic food because times are getting tough and they don't want to spend the money on it.

So, okay, let's go back to eating food grown conventionally. And what will you spend on health care for the problems created by the pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, hormones, and genetically altered and denatured food that result from that way of farming?

And what will it cost you when the animal products you eat or drink contain antibiotics that promote antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria that cause illnesses that are ever-harder to cure with the treatments we have?

And where will your dollars go when you buy conventional food, especially refined and processed products? Straight into the coffers of the big agribusiness companies. Do you think their bottom line is your good health? Think again.

I was checking out at the supermarket today behind a dad and his young son. I happened to notice the over-refined, processed, sugary and fat-laden foods he was buying for that kid. Cheaper than organic? Sure. Better for the kid? No. Cheaper in the long run? Far from it.

Turning away from organic foods because of the cost? Wait a minute. Organic agriculture is sustainable. That means you can grow food this way in perpetuity without wrecking the land and its ecosystems. What do you think is the cost of soil erosion, waterway pollution, and the depletion of topsoil under conventional agriculture? The bill may not come due today, but it will come due tomorrow.

Shop wisely, shoppers. You don't have to eat the most expensive organic products in the store. I shop regularly at an organic market. And I have discovered that there is a wide price range of organic products available for almost every item in the store.

Keep in mind a good balance of starches and carbohydrates (pastas, breads, potatoes, etc.), proteins (meats, tofu, milk, eggs, etc.), and lots of leafy and root vegetables (spinach, chard, kale, carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, etc.). If you buy them raw and unprocessed and cook them yourself at home, the cost won't be much more than you'd pay at the big conventional supermarkets.

As for fruits, stick with what's in season. Blueberries from Argentina are expensive. Blueberries from here aren't, if you buy plenty in July so you can freeze some for the winter months. Buy local, seasonal fruits and vegetables grown organically.

Frequent the farmers markets and the farm stands. Buy tomatoes at the peak of their season and for goodness sake make tomato sauce to use for spaghetti. Last year, we grew six tomato plants in a 20x 12 plot and canned 48 quarts of spaghetti sauce from their bounty.

Think ahead in the summer months. When the farmers markets shut down for the winter, make sure you've put some food by for the winter by buying organic fruits and vegetables when they're in season and canning and freezing them, plus drying some for fruit leather. Do you know that you can buy Butternut squash in the fall and store it on the floor of a cold room or garage perfectly well over winter, as long as the room doesn't freeze? It only gets sweeter.

And those organic treats, like ice cream? Invest in a home ice cream maker and use organic cream to make your own using your own frozen fruit. It's cheaper than conventional ice cream if you do it that way. Make a cake with organic flour and freeze slices. Take your organic chicken carcasses and instead of throwing them in the garbage, boil them in water with an onion to make your own chicken broth for soups and stews.

When the cherries were ripe last June, I filled a crock with sugar and brandy and cherries and covered it tightly. I put it away in the garage and will open it, with great fanfare and delight, at Christmastime.

Get creative. Have fun. But for goodness sake, stay organic, for in that way you protect yourself, your loved ones, and the earth that grows our food. ~ See also Jeff's The Organic Food Buyers Guide ~~

Yupfarming says:

Jeff Cox is totally right but there is an additional alternative. Start growing your own organic food. Grow enough and your food bills will go DOWN. Put in a garden with neighbors and share the results, and you will have fun. Or everyone could grow something on their own at home and trade the results with neighbors who are also growing their own. On a relatively small amount of land, it is possible to grow a significant amount of food - to say nothing of learning a lot and building a connection with neighbors and creating real food security.  

But any complete organic food system is based on two things - protecting indigenous seeds (please read and realize that it would apply to seeds and seed banking) and access to real milk (please read about the USDA effort to destroy independent dairy farmers and about NAIS which is a corporate threat to control all animals  

"Organic" is something that needs our protection. It is real and healthy food and the heart of "independent" (local and sustainable) agriculture and it is all under threat. The corporations are why we are in "hard times" and they would love nothing more than for people to feel they can't afford organic food. But if you realize that "organic" is about freedom to farm and to choose what you want to heal yourself, your commitment to it won't just be culinary or because it tastes good but will be deeper to the economics of why it and its farmers are threatened  

Industrial agriculture is responsible for 1/3 of global warming. Organic farming is actually a solution. So, start your own garden and let your friends and family know what moves are being made to eliminate our farmers and naturals substances and our choices.  

You can also go to to see how good food and health overlap and the games that are being played with information and choice. You can go to to see what people are trying to do to protect access to natural substance. There needs to be a comparable Food Freedom organization going after the USDA to protect our farmers and food.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Raw milk is the only real milk


Pasteurization is a process of heat treating milk to kill bacteria. Although Louis Pasteur developed this technique for preserving beer and wine, he was not responsible for applying it to milk. That was done at the end of the 1800s as a temporary solution until filthy urban dairies could find a way to produce cleaner milk. But instead of cleaning up milk production, dairies used pasteurization as a way to cover up dirty milk. As milk became more mass produced, pasteurization became necessary for large dairies to increase their profits. So the public then had to be convinced that pasteurized milk was safer than raw milk. Soon raw milk consumption was blamed for all sorts of diseases and outbreaks until the public was finally convinced that pasteurized milk was superior to milk in its natural state.

Today if you mention raw milk, many people gasp and utter ridiculous statements like, You can die from drinking raw milk!" But the truth is that there are far more risks from drinking pasteurized milk than unpasteurized milk. Raw milk naturally contains healthy bacteria that inhibit the growth of undesirable and dangerous organisms. Without these friendly bacteria, pasteurized milk is more susceptible to contamination. Furthermore, modern equipment, such as milking machines, stainless steel tanks and refrigerated trucks, make it entirely possible to bring clean, raw milk to the market anywhere in the US.

Not only does pasteurization kill the friendly bacteria, it also greatly diminishes the nutrient content of the milk. Pasteurized milk has up to a 66 percent loss of vitamins A, D and E. Vitamin C loss usually exceeds 50 percent. Heat affects water soluble vitamins and can make them 38 percent to 80 percent less effective. Vitamins B6 and B12 are completely destroyed during pasteurization. Pasteurization also destroys beneficial enzymes, antibodies and hormones. Pasteurization destroys lipase (an enzyme that breaksdown fat), which impairs fat metabolism and the ability to properly absorb fat soluble vitamins A and D. (The dairy industry is aware of the diminished vitamin D content in commercial milk, so they fortify it with a form of this vitamin.)

We have all been led to believe that milk is a wonderful source of calcium, when in fact, pasteurization makes calcium and other minerals less available. Complete destruction of phosphatase is one method of testing to see if milk has been adequately pasteurized. Phosphatase is essential for the absorption of calcium.


As the dairy industry has become more concentrated, many processing plants have switched to ultrapasteurization, which involves higher temperatures and longer treatment times. The industry says this is necessary because many microorganisms have become heat resistant and now survive ordinary pasteurization.

Another reason for ultrapasteurization is that it gives the milk a longer shelf life--up to four weeks. The grocers like this but many consumers complain of a burnt or dead taste. The milk is virtually sterile--is that what you want to drink?

Milk producers are not advertising the fact that they are ultrapasteurizing the milk--the word is written in very small letters and the milk is sold in the refrigerator section even though it can be kept unrefrigerated until opened. Horizon, the major organic brand, is ultrapasteurized, as are virtually all national brands.


Milk straight from the cow contains cream, which rises to the top. Homogenization is a process that breaks up the fat globules and evenly distributes them throughout the milk so that they do not rise. This process unnaturally increases the surface area of fat exposing it to air, in which oxidation occurs and increases the susceptibility to spoilage. Homogenization has been linked to heart disease and atherosclerosis.


Considering how modern commercial milk is produced and processed, it's no wonder that millions of Americans are allergic to it. An allergic reaction to dairy can cause symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting (even projectile vomiting), stomach pain, cramping, gas, bloating, nausea, headaches, sinus and chest congestion, and a sore, or scratchy throat. Milk consumption has been linked to many other health conditions as well, such as asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, chronic infections (especially upper respiratory and ear infections), obesity, osteoporosis and cancer of the prostate, ovaries, breast and colon.

Once you understand how modern milk is produced and processed, it seems logical to just avoid it altogether. But Real Milk--full-fat, unprocessed milk from pasture-fed cows--contains vital nutrients like fat-soluble vitamins A and D, calcium, vitamin B6, B12, and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid, a fatty acid naturally occurring in grass-fed beef and milk that reduces body fat and protects against cancer). Real milk is a source of complete protein and is loaded with enzymes. Raw milk contains beneficial bacteria that protect against pathogens and contribute to a healthy flora in the intestines. Culturing milk greatly enhances its probiotic and enzyme content, making it a therapeutic food for our digestive system and overall health.

So the answer to the question is--go ahead and drink milk only if you can get unprocessed milk from pastured cows.

GM genocide: Thousands of Indian farmers committing suicide after using genetically modified crops

By Andrew Malone
Daily Mail, 3 November 2008

Entry of GM into India decided in the 1980s - Daily Mail

When Prince Charles claimed thousands of Indian farmers were killing themselves after using GM crops, he was branded a scaremonger. In fact, as this chilling dispatch reveals, it's even WORSE than he feared.

The children were inconsolable. Mute with shock and fighting back tears, they huddled beside their mother as friends and neighbours prepared their father's body for cremation on a blazing bonfire built on the cracked, barren fields near their home.

As flames consumed the corpse, Ganjanan, 12, and Kalpana, 14, faced a grim future. While Shankara Mandaukar had hoped his son and daughter would have a better life under India's economic boom, they now face working as slave labour for a few pence a day. Landless and homeless, they will be the lowest of the low.

Shankara, respected farmer, loving husband and father, had taken his own life. Less than 24 hours earlier, facing the loss of his land due to debt, he drank a cupful of chemical insecticide.

Unable to pay back the equivalent of two years' earnings, he was in despair. He could see no way out.

There were still marks in the dust where he had writhed in agony. Other villagers looked on - they knew from experience that any intervention was pointless - as he lay doubled up on the ground, crying out in pain and vomiting.

Moaning, he crawled on to a bench outside his simple home 100 miles from Nagpur in central India. An hour later, he stopped making any noise. Then he stopped breathing. At 5pm on Sunday, the life of Shankara Mandaukar came to an end.

As neighbours gathered to pray outside the family home, Nirmala Mandaukar, 50, told how she rushed back from the fields to find her husband dead. 'He was a loving and caring man,' she said, weeping quietly.

'But he couldn't take any more. The mental anguish was too much. We have lost everything.'

Shankara's crop had failed - twice. Of course, famine and pestilence are part of India's ancient story.

But the death of this respected farmer has been blamed on something far more modern and sinister: genetically modified crops.

Shankara, like millions of other Indian farmers, had been promised previously unheard of harvests and income if he switched from farming with traditional seeds to planting GM seeds instead.

Beguiled by the promise of future riches, he borrowed money in order to buy the GM seeds. But when the harvests failed, he was left with spiralling debts - and no income.

So Shankara became one of an estimated 125,000 farmers to take their own life as a result of the ruthless drive to use India as a testing ground for genetically modified crops.
The crisis, branded the 'GM Genocide' by campaigners, was highlighted recently when Prince Charles claimed that the issue of GM had become a 'global moral question' - and the time had come to end its unstoppable march.

Speaking by video link to a conference in the Indian capital, Delhi, he infuriated bio-tech leaders and some politicians by condemning 'the truly appalling and tragic rate of small farmer suicides in India, stemming... from the failure of many GM crop varieties'.

Ranged against the Prince are powerful GM lobbyists and prominent politicians, who claim that genetically modified crops have transformed Indian agriculture, providing greater yields than ever before.
The rest of the world, they insist, should embrace 'the future' and follow suit.

So who is telling the truth? To find out, I travelled to the 'suicide belt' in Maharashtra state.

What I found was deeply disturbing - and has profound implications for countries, including Britain, debating whether to allow the planting of seeds manipulated by scientists to circumvent the laws of nature.

For official figures from the Indian Ministry of Agriculture do indeed confirm that in a huge humanitarian crisis, more than 1,000 farmers kill themselves here each month.

Simple, rural people, they are dying slow, agonising deaths. Most swallow insecticide - a pricey substance they were promised they would not need when they were coerced into growing expensive GM crops.

It seems that many are massively in debt to local money-lenders, having over-borrowed to purchase GM seed.

Pro-GM experts claim that it is rural poverty, alcoholism, drought and 'agrarian distress' that is the real reason for the horrific toll.

But, as I discovered during a four-day journey through the epicentre of the disaster, that is not the full story.

In one small village I visited, 18 farmers had committed suicide after being sucked into GM debts. In some cases, women have taken over farms from their dead husbands - only to kill themselves as well.

Latta Ramesh, 38, drank insecticide after her crops failed - two years after her husband disappeared when the GM debts became too much.
She left her ten-year-old son, Rashan, in the care of relatives. 'He cries when he thinks of his mother,' said the dead woman's aunt, sitting listlessly in shade near the fields.

Village after village, families told how they had fallen into debt after being persuaded to buy GM seeds instead of traditional cotton seeds.
The price difference is staggering: GBP10 for 100 grams of GM seed, compared with less than GBP10 for 1,000 times more traditional seeds.

But GM salesmen and government officials had promised farmers that these were 'magic seeds' - with better crops that would be free from parasites and insects.

Indeed, in a bid to promote the uptake of GM seeds, traditional varieties were banned from many government seed banks.

The authorities had a vested interest in promoting this new biotechnology. Desperate to escape the grinding poverty of the post-independence years, the Indian government had agreed to allow new bio-tech giants, such as the U.S. market-leader Monsanto, to sell their new seed creations.

In return for allowing western companies access to the second most populated country in the world, with more than one billion people, India was granted International Monetary Fund loans in the Eighties and Nineties, helping to launch an economic revolution.

But while cities such as Mumbai and Delhi have boomed, the farmers' lives have slid back into the dark ages.

Though areas of India planted with GM seeds have doubled in two years - up to 17 million acres - many famers have found there is a terrible price to be paid.

Far from being 'magic seeds', GM pest-proof 'breeds' of cotton have been devastated by bollworms, a voracious parasite.

Nor were the farmers told that these seeds require double the amount of water. This has proved a matter of life and death.
With rains failing for the past two years, many GM crops have simply withered and died, leaving the farmers with crippling debts and no means of paying them off.

Having taken loans from traditional money lenders at extortionate rates, hundreds of thousands of small farmers have faced losing their land as the expensive seeds fail, while those who could struggle on faced a fresh crisis.

When crops failed in the past, farmers could still save seeds and replant them the following year.

But with GM seeds they cannot do this. That's because GM seeds contain so- called 'terminator technology', meaning that they have been genetically modified so that the resulting crops do not produce viable seeds of their own.

As a result, farmers have to buy new seeds each year at the same punitive prices. For some, that means the difference between life and death.

Take the case of Suresh Bhalasa, another farmer who was cremated this week, leaving a wife and two children.

As night fell after the ceremony, and neighbours squatted outside while sacred cows were brought in from the fields, his family had no doubt that their troubles stemmed from the moment they were encouraged to buy BT Cotton, a geneticallymodified plant created by Monsanto.

'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.'

Villagers bundled him into a rickshaw and headed to hospital along rutted farm roads. 'He cried out that he had taken the insecticide and he was sorry,' she said, as her family and neighbours crowded into her home to pay their respects. 'He was dead by the time they got to hospital.'

Asked if the dead man was a 'drunkard' or suffered from other 'social problems', as alleged by pro-GM officials, the quiet, dignified gathering erupted in anger. 'No! No!' one of the dead man's brothers exclaimed. 'Suresh was a good man. He sent his children to school and paid his taxes.

'He was strangled by these magic seeds. They sell us the seeds, saying they will not need expensive pesticides but they do. We have to buy the same seeds from the same company every year. It is killing us. Please tell the world what is happening here.'

Monsanto has admitted that soaring debt was a 'factor in this tragedy'. But pointing out that cotton production had doubled in the past seven years, a spokesman added that there are other reasons for the recent crisis, such as 'untimely rain' or drought, and pointed out that suicides have always been part of rural Indian life.

Officials also point to surveys saying the majority of Indian farmers want GM seeds  -    no doubt encouraged to do so by aggressive marketing tactics.

During the course of my inquiries in Maharastra, I encountered three 'independent' surveyors scouring villages for information about suicides. They insisted that GM seeds were only 50 per cent more expensive - and then later admitted the difference was 1,000 per cent.
(A Monsanto spokesman later insisted their seed is 'only double' the price of 'official' non-GM seed - but admitted that the difference can be vast if cheaper traditional seeds are sold by 'unscrupulous' merchants, who often also sell 'fake' GM seeds which are prone to disease.)

With rumours of imminent government compensation to stem the wave of deaths, many farmers said they were desperate for any form of assistance. 'We just want to escape from our problems,' one said. 'We just want help to stop any more of us dying.'

Prince Charles is so distressed by the plight of the suicide farmers that he is setting up a charity, the Bhumi Vardaan Foundation, to help those affected and promote organic Indian crops instead of GM.

India's farmers are also starting to fight back. As well as taking GM seed distributors hostage and staging mass protests, one state government is taking legal action against Monsanto for the exorbitant costs of GM seeds.

This came too late for Shankara Mandauker, who was 80,000 rupees (about £1,000) in debt when he took his own life. 'I told him that we can survive,' his widow said, her children still by her side as darkness fell. 'I told him we could find a way out. He just said it was better to die.'

But the debt does not die with her husband: unless she can find a way of paying it off, she will not be able to afford the children's schooling. They will lose their land, joining the hordes seen begging in their thousands by the roadside throughout this vast, chaotic country.

Cruelly, it's the young who are suffering most from the 'GM Genocide'  -  the very generation supposed to be lifted out of a life of hardship and misery by these 'magic seeds'.

Here in the suicide belt of India, the cost of the genetically modified future is murderously high.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

NAIS - Bad news for sustainable agriculture

While the left is watching the election and the war and impeachment issues and global warming issues, they have missed - entirely - the IMMEDIATE threat to their own food supply and to our "real" farmers who are being pushed to the brink on purpose, our only hope for sustainable agriculture.

For some reason, liberals who distrust the government (and not just this one) when it comes to corporations running the energy department or making drug policy for Medicare or using contractors like Halliburton and Blackwater, and sees through lies to who profits, are utterly naive and trusting of the USDA and FDA about food scares.

They see through threats of "domestic terrorism" as ploys to allow us to be spied on as well as to shift massive control over to the government, gutting our constitution, but they jump about food scares just like the right wing jumps about terrorism warnings. The threat of "food born diseases" is being used in exactly the same way.

We should all recognize something is fishy when regulations are being heavily pushed "for food safety" and corporations want them. And who is pushing them? The very ones responsible for the revolting conditions in feedlots and animal factories and who block inspections. And that includes the USDA which not only won't inspect but will not allow farmers to pay for independent inspection.

So, something is VERY fishy at the outset with the National Animal Identification System - NAIS. I'll explain in moment what it is but "anything" being changed right now before the election, when everyone is distracted, should make us wary. Especially when it is something huge and coming in purely as a regulatory maneuver and not something that has ever been voted on.

Under cover of the election, NAIS, which was promoted as voluntary, was just made mandatory.

NAIS is a USDA regulation that would require the registering of ALL property with any farm animals on it with the USDA, and that global tracking tags be inserted under the skin of every farm animal. The data would feed into a corporate data bank from which agribusiness could watch the moves of every farm animal (chicken, duck, guinea, lama, cow ...) in the country and thus the moves of every farmer.

Ever dream of getting a bit of land and a few chickens and disappearing into peace and quiet. Give that up. You will be mandatorily signed on, without wanting to, without agreeing to, a system that will track you and which will punish you if your chicken accidentally crosses the road and you don't report it within 24 hours. Do that again, and your life is ruined.

It makes NSA-spying look like a walk in the park. There, you don't have to pay for the equipment used to spy on you or maintain it or fear if you accidentally slip out of range or punish you if you don't follow the "rules" with draconian fines that not only would take all you own but destroy your family's generations of livelihood. With NSA-spying, you can pretend you are still free. Not so for farmers.

NAIS is meant to wreck the few farmers we have left.  A single infraction could do that. And farmers, who care about their independence, who are living on the margin as it is, know how deadly NAIS is.

It will destroy all possibility for sustainable agriculture.  It will be a triumph of massive control by industrial agriculture.

Farmers filed suit against the USDA this summer.
"... existing programs for diseases such as tuberculosis, brucellosis and scrapie together with state laws on branding and the existing record keeping by sales barns and livestock shows provide the mechanisms needed for tracking any disease outbreaks.

... the suit charges that USDA has never published rules regarding NAIS, in violation of the Federal Administrative Procedures Act; has never performed an Environmental Impact Statement or an Environmental Assessment as required by the National Environmental Policy Act; is in violation of the Regulatory Flexibility Act that requires the USDA to analyze proposed rules for their impact on small entities and local governments; and violates religious freedoms guaranteed by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

"Other mandatory implementations, which weave NAIS into existing regulatory fabric and programs, have occurred in the States of Wisconsin and Indiana where premises registration has been made mandatory; in drought-stricken North Carolina and Tennessee, where farmers have been required to register their premises in order to obtain hay relief; and in Colorado where state fairs are requiring participants to register their premises under NAIS," explained Judith McGeary, a member of the Farm-to-Consumer Fund board and the executive director of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.

"We are asking the court to immediately halt implementation of the program nationwide before more farmers and ranchers are strong-armed into participating in a program that the USDA has called voluntary."

McGeary also questioned the accuracy of the existing database noting that an attempt by the USDA to make the information in the NAIS database subject to Privacy Act safeguards thereby removing them from public scrutiny was suspended indefinitely in a ruling last month by the same federal court that will hear arguments in the current suit. That suit had been filed by a journalist seeking access to the database to determine its accuracy."

The lawsuit has not stopped the Bush administration's USDA from shifting to a full mandatory system right before the end of his term. Is that not enough to make us sit up and take notice? Is complete control over all farmland and livestock by corporately run USDA not enough to make the left question the knee-jerk reactions to "food scares"? Or to wonder about how the public is revved up to want more regulations ... which the corporations want, too?

Industrial agriculture gave us Mad Cow disease and its unregulated practices abroad of spreading waste from millions of chickens is linked to Bird Flu and in neither is the USDA pushing for regulating the filth and cruelty. NAIS gives them (through the USDA) control over their competition and the ability to wipe any one of them out in an instant.

The WMD trick is being played again, around food.

If you look at what is happening in California and Pennsylvania right now with fresh milk (straight from the cow), and understand that sustainable agriculture and any true farming community depends on dairies, you'll begin to see the larger picture and the moves being made to eliminate independent (non-corporate) farming just when liberals are expecting, like surprising Pollyannas, for sustainable agriculture to come waltzing in because it is good (and it is) and solve things.

We see how fear is used in all other arenas and even laugh at the right wing for not seeing the game they are jerked around by. But meanwhile liberals are being set up to jump on cue at "bacteria" and to be grateful for government protection.

I keep being reminded of how Germans used fear of germs and racial "hygiene" to get rid of Jews. There is something about the drive for total purity that is killing whereas multiculturalism, biodiversity, or a good healthy mix of bacteria, are about thriving life.

Drugs and free speech

I will begin with the usual disclaimer - I am not a health care professional so what I have to say is therefore worth nothing.  I am only a person who can read and see and think, but nothing I say is of any value.  In this country, only those licensed by organizations which coincidentally have ties to the pharmaceutical industry are allowed free speech and only their words deemed to have value.

That said, I have been learning  a bit about heart medications lately.  It seems that the drugs people are being put on are causing heart problems and deaths.

It seems a mistake to take any statins (Lipitor and relatives of it) to lower cholesterol.  They pull cholesteroal out of the body but all muscle - including heart muscle - must have it to function.  

A good friend was given Lipitor and got extremely weak and had serious muscle pain in his arms and legs.  His doctor then prescribed more meds, this time for his pain 
So my friend stopped going to the doctor and got off the medications altogether.  It took a few weeks for the pain to stop and for his strength to come back.

Statins seem to be associated with ALS.  

What else are some people who don't know anything doing to lower cholesterol?

Seems blood pressure medicines are also a problem.   

It seems that Beta blockers work by slowing the heart down are associated with congestive heart failure, stroke and heart attack.  A family member was on BP meds and their heart was working so poorly their doctor was considering surgery to install a pace maker. Instead, the BP meds were cut back and their heart began working better and it turned out they didn't need a pace maker after all.

What else are some people using instead, then?

In terms of prostate cancer, it seems the NCI has a very interesting way of "doing" science when investigating the efficacy of natural means of treating people.  They start with a synthetic version of the natural substance - in this case, vitamin E.  It is a synthetic which they know ahead of time is wholly without anti-antioxidants and is just a coal-tar derivative.  Low and behold, they "discover" that it is doesn't work and then they then publish this information though it tells no one anything about vitamin E.  That nonsense is used to guide American doctors who then distrust vitamin E and are left with the heavily promoted, often dangerous, and always more expensive, corporate drugs.  

The medical establishment did a version of this "study and switch" with Linus Pauling and his attempt to inform the American public that vitamin C could be used as a safe, cheap and powerful chemotherapy.  The medical establishment, alledgedly interested in curing cancer, and though Pauling had won two Nobel prizes for his brilliance, conducted only one study and use what they had to have known going in was a vastly weaker protocol - only oral doses when Pauling's studies were all based on IV doses.  

When it comes to pain medications, the FDA seems to have a unique way of handling studies of natural substances and the people providing those substances and any chance for the public to know.  Cherries, it seems, based on peer reviewed studies, are potentially 10 times stronger than aspirin and ibuprofen (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs)
And cherries are not associated with deaths as the NSAIDs are.

In terms of pain, turmeric seems to be especially good for arthritis and osteoporosis - based on study after study.  It seems it doesn't just help with pain, it reduces inflammation and stops damage.  But how good could it be if my doctor doesn't know anything about it yet?
But one can't help wondering how good it must be if corporations are stealing from India to patent it.

It seems that fresh milk (straight from the cow with all bacteria still active), beef from grass-fed cattle, eggs from pasteured chickens, and organic vegetables, all contribute richly to good health.  Is it because the real stuff is loaded with Omega 3 and 6 and other nutrients of all kinds missing from processed food?

Is industrial food unhealthy because it lacks the good stuff that comes from grass and sunshine, and is industrial food also unhealthy because it doesn't lack unappealing "extras" - pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, steroids and heavy metals?  

Did you know you can't even absorb most of the minerals and nutrients in milk without the bacteria that is killed off by pasteurization?  

Did you know that the vitamin D in pasteurized "ordinary" milk (and if it is rBGH-milk, it is also strongly linked to breast cancer) has been removed and replaced by a synthetic vitamin D that doesn't work?  

Yet vitamin D is essential protection against a range of cancers, including breast cancer

and prostate cancer

and MS

and heart disease.

What are good sources of vitamin D for those who don't anything?

Hope this helps the adults and all the little kids.

On the drug side, here are common medications long approved as safe by the FDA and given freely as OTC cough and sinus and cold meds, even to children, which are being recalled, 

Meanwhile, vitamin C seems good for colds 

and (organic) honey seems good for coughs. 

I have no professional license to speak about health.  Don't listen to me.