Worst Company EVER: Biotech Giant Monsanto is Under Attack, Obama and the FDA are Under the Gun

 

CREDO Action - Dump Michael Taylor

Via CREDO Action website

By Allison Hibbs

Monsanto, the multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation long reviled by organic farmers, environmentalists and conscientious foodies worldwide, has drawn more than the usual amount of rancor in recent months. While assailants are hoping the media blitzkrieg will prove as damaging to the company as they claim that its bioengineering and genetic modification practices are to the planet, that hope may prove optimistic in light of its cozy relationship with the United States federal government. Efforts to diminish that relationship have led to the recent circulation of more than one petition calling for the dismissal of FDA Food Safety Czar, Michael Taylor, a former top Monsanto executive.

One reason for the recent outrage is a perceived “crusade” by the FDA against small raw milk dairy farmers, many of whom are Amish, even as they overlook repeated violations by larger, industrial producers. CREDO, a publication of Working Assets, began a campaign in late January to educate and motivate consumers to sign a pledge beseeching President Obama to expel Taylor from the administration.

"While factory farm operators are getting away with serious food safety violations, raw milk dairy farmers and distributors across the country have been subjected to armed raids and hauled away in handcuffs."

CREDO Action

CREDO believes that the FDA’s efforts would be better spent enforcing food safety regulations at the largest industrial producers, where it claims that “antibiotic resistance has run amuck,” rather than focusing so much of the administration’s efforts on sting operations to arrest small dairy farmers.

"Incredibly, Michael Taylor and FDA inspectors have not arrested or fined the Iowa agribusinessman -- Jack DeCoster -- who was wholly responsible for the more than 500 million eggs that were recalled in 2010 salmonella-tainted egg recall. 3Though this industrial agribusinessman endangered the health of millions, Michael Taylor thinks Amish farmers producing fresh milk are more deserving targets of his FDA enforcement raids with guns drawn."

CREDO Action

 

The petition had garnered 151,160 signatures as of SuperBowl Sunday, 75 percent of its 200,000 goal.

SignOn.org Petition: Tell Obama to Cease FDA Ties to Monsanto

Another petition circulating on Twitter and Facebook had reached a total of 220,000 signatures by game time, far surpassing its original goal of 75,000. Written and circulated by Frederick Ravid, this petition includes a longer letter to the president, expressing opposition to the his administration’s appointment of Taylor three years ago.

“Taylor is the same person who as a high-ranking official at the FDA in the 1990s promoted allowing genetically modified organisms into the U.S. food supply without undergoing a single test to determine their safety or risks,” reads the letter. “This is a travesty.” Pointing out that Taylor was in charge of policy regarding the widely-opposed bovine growth hormone and that he fought against the requirement for disclosures on milk from cows that had been treated with the hormone, Ravid goes on to decry Monsanto as a company directly threatening the health and well-being of US citizens.

Reinforcing these concerns are WikiLeaks documents that surfaced last year implicating the Bush administration in questionable tactics used against countries in Europe to impel them to purchase Monsanto GMO products that they were resisting. Other documents imply that the US government considered putting pressure on the Pope to come out in favor of GMO foods. If any such actions were taken, they have proven largely unsuccessful and Monsanto has been repeatedly thwarted in France, Germany and the UK.

 

Additionally, lawsuits have been brought against the biotech giant by India and Canada for biopiracy and biocontamination, respectively; and a group of 270,000 American organic farmers are also suing the company for biocontamination. Ironically, the move is intended to protect these farmers against possible patent-infringement lawsuits brought by Monsanto over GMO seeds that have migrated to – and compromised – their lands.

For all of these reasons (and more), Monsanto has been voted Worst Company of 2011 by Natural Society, and the public seems increasingly to agree. As the acrimony grows, it is beginning to look like the corporation’s PR department has some serious damage control to do if it hopes to retain any influence over government activity.  It is, after all, an election year and Obama may not have the luxury of ignoring so many voters crying “Why, O, why?”

California Loses more Money as Movie Crews Leave for Canada and Beyond

Californian movie sets like this are growing ever more scarce by the year

In 2003, California’s world share of studio films – or, in other words, the movies made by the six biggest studios – was at a healthy 66 percent; by 2008 it had plummeted to a meager 34 percent. To question how Hollywood has slowly become the least popular place to make movies, is to trace the roots back to 1998, when Canada first started to offer incentive tax breaks for producers and crews who were willing to conduct business outside of California. Since then, seven U.S. states, and 24 different countries have begun competing with grants, rebates, and tax credits promising to eliminate as much as 40 percent of the cost for shooting a film.

Product of Vancouver, Canada

The reason behind the madness is simple economics; when a monstrous production arrives in any location, there are instantly a few hundred new jobs that pop up out of thin air (which is especially fantastic when the given city doesn’t have the money to build factories). California, which is currently suffering from a hard budget crisis, has managed to get ten feature films shot on location in Los Angeles by using what modest incentive the golden state could muster.

Perhaps the city of L.A. should offer up free gas masks or parking spots to those who do decide to continue making movies in California.

Art Thieves Have Known About the Lacking Security of Canadian Ports for Decades

Henry Moore's "Three Piece Reclining Figure: Maquette No. 4"

According to two distinguished art experts, many shady art dealers have figured out that Canada is a very easy place to avoid prosecution while unloading stolen merchandise. In a comment he made concerning the recent recovery of a sculpture by Henry Moore, and a Paul Klee painting,  Joshua Knelman – an award-winning arts writer and investigative journalist –  attributed the rampant art robberies to the complete lack of specialist art theft investigators presently employed by the Toronto Police Department.

In Knelman’s book about the international cultural black market, which is titled Hot Art, he explains that the victims of these Canadian thefts don’t have many choices when it comes to finding help in their situations. He mentions the option of reporting it  to the Interpol office in Ottawa, but asserts that the said organization is not composed of active officers, but merely an army of data-bank tellers. He recommends getting everything registered with the ART Loss Register (ALR) and Canada customs, since that route somehow recovered the Moore and the Klee pieces.

Perhaps art is safest in museums, and as parts a private collections

But, detection is very difficult in a world where stolen art naturally changes hands (whether it’s sold or inherited) – over the years; therefore, someone thought it better to rely on the integrity of dealers and brokers, instead of regulating a currently unregulated system, which has been running rampant for the past decades.

Fortunately, now that every sneaky art thief is swimming for the shores of Canada, somebody has noticed that need for some security.

Young Artists for Haiti perform Wavin’ Flag

Cover of K'naan's Album Troubadour

Recently in Canada singers from varying genres gathered together to form a mega group named Young Artists for Haiti to do a rendition of singer K’naan’s inspiring anthem Waving Flag. Wavin’ Flag is a hit single from K’naan’s latest album Troubadour. Featured singers included artists such as pop icon Avril Lavigne, rap sensation Drake and jazz prodigy Nikki Yanofsky who is now world famous after singing the Canadian national anthem at the opening of the Vancouver Olympics earlier this year.

Young Artists for Haiti Logo

The production for the song was clearly meticulously developed and extremely well done courtesy of Canadian music producer Bob Ezrin. The singer’s voices are well suited to their allotted lyrics and sing in their own unique style which gives a very natural flow to complete this heartfelt inspiring song.

All proceeds from songs by Young Artists for Haiti (which can be purchased on iTunes) will go toward benefit relief efforts for the children and families who are in dire need of basic living necessities after the earthquake that killed and orphaned so many on January 12, 2010.