Saturday, March 30, 2013

Thom Hartmann — This Is What Happens When Congress Is for Sale

So now [subsequent to the passing of H.R 933], Monsanto is free to develop, plant, and sell all sorts of genetically modified foods, without fear of being sued or prosecuted if they fail to abide by the federal government’s health, safety and environmental standards.
But just how did this teeny tiny provision get into an appropriations bill in the first place?
That’s where Missouri Republican Senator Roy Blunt comes in.
According to the New York Daily News, Blunt helped to carefully craft the provision’s language with the direct help of Monsanto.
Why would he do that you might ask?
It could be because, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, Sen. Blunt received nearly $65,000 in campaign contributions from Monsanto between 2008 and 2012.
In fact, Blunt has been the largest Republican Party recipient of funding from Monsanto in recent memory.
The good news here is that this provision that protects Monsanto from judicial oversight expires after a year.
The bad news is that this little provision with a big impact is just a symptom of a much larger problem in America today.
Right now, any corporation with money to spend can team up with elected officials, and slowly but surely tear away at our governmental protections.
This Is What Happens When Congress Is for Sale
The Daily Take, The Thom Hartmann Show | Op-Ed

Thom Hartmann reports:
You need to know this. A little-known provision in the most recent budget appropriations, which passed through Congress last week, is a big deal for biotech giant Monsanto – and GMO opponents. The so-called "Monsanto Protection Act" shields the maker of genetically modified seeds from being sued by consumers who claim they've been harmed by their products. On Tuesday, President Obama signed the spending bill into law, which means the controversial GMO provision will remain in place for at least six months until the government needs a new bill to fund it's operations. Since it's passage a week ago, more than 250,000 people have signed a petition opposing the measure, and activists have gathered outside the White House to protest. Opponents are expressing anger not only about the "Monsanto Protection Act" content, but also about the secretive way the legislation made it's way into the final appropriations bill. Reports suggest that many members of Congress were not even aware the provision was slipped into the spending bill. The International Business Times reported on the story, noting, "The message it sends is that corporations can get around consumer safety protections if they get Congress on their side. Furthermore, it sets a precedent that suggests that court challenges are a privilege, not a right." It should be a right to know what is in our food. And it should be a right to hold companies liable when they poison consumers. We must ensure that the "Monsanto Protection Act" is overturned. Call Congress and tell them to repeal this provision now.

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