We’ve Shelved SOPA/PIPA, Now Can We Stop Other Crappy Legislation?

 

Written by: Kaitlyn Burkhart

After a short and heroic uprising of the Internet community, it seems as if the people have won the battle against censorship of the Internet. On Friday January 20, Congress dropped the bills in the wake of the largest online protest in history. A staggering 13 million people took the time to add their names to the petition, alongside a voluntary blackout held by thousands of websites (including Wikipedia, the sixth most-visited site in the world),  in order to keep the Web free of censorship and out of the hands of the government and big business. The swift building of this movement, and it’s direct impact that hit the government straight in the legislature, has possibly been the most successful (if not the only, disregarding the rather ill-organized Occupy Wall Street) display of democratic power from the people in the recent past, with comparisons to the Arab Spring Movement, and our forefathers’ Boston Tea Party.

With the Internets’ uprising being hailed as a great success, it seems to be that maybe this movement of power from the people will shine the light on us as citizens, and how we’ve sat idly by as unfair, unconstitutional, and extraordinarily-out-of-touch-with-citizens’-lives legislature has been passed without even a whimper. Until, that is, they tried to take our Internet. Is this what Democracy has come to in the US? They can cut taxes for the rich, monopolize the elected government official positions to weed out any person who can’t spend millions on a campaign, slash spending on our education systems yet boost Congress’ payrolls, and most recently pass a bill that gives you no rights under the Bill of Rights if the military thinks you’re a terrorist.

Was it not so much that we were fighting for Freedom of Speech, or was it that the Internet the last free thing we had?

Remember this?

 

Many social commentators have been speaking out on the apathetic nature of Americans today, noting that if most of the things we let slide today happened 50 years ago, the people would have been pulling up the roots of the administration, making noise in the streets, and children would be writing letters to state representatives in their classrooms. What happen to the America where people were actively fighting for their rights? Where if people saw something that was wrong, and actually thought they could change it?

 

Let me ask you a question; When was the last time you watched, read, or discussed the people running for the positions in Congress or the spots in the next Presidential election? Were your thoughts afterward about the policies those people were promoting, or were you merely dissatisfied with how the entire thing seemed to be about how clueless our political leaders were, or how the debates had seemingly become pissing contests between GOP members, where one person commented on how much money the other person had made, how many wives they had, or why Obama is a socialist and needs to be stopped?

Seriously? Watching a debate nowadays is like watching an episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Same amount of cat fights, less fabulously dressed.

And somehow equally trashy.

With so many people displeased with the happenings in the government, it’s amazing that it took them threatening our Internet for something to happen. The people won have won a battle, maybe that will be the thing to stoke the proverbial fire under our chairs to win the war. Or, at least, do something to put the power back in our hands.

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?”

Occupy America: the New Silent Majority?

“Written by: Kathleen Mulvihill”
(As told by Joe Fly)

This is America, so I have the right to voice my opinion about the Occupy Movement and not be swatted or otherwise squashed, if you know what I mean. A lot of you wish to be a fly on the wall at one time or another. Well, here’s your chance to hear it from the real thing: me, Joe Fly.

I’ll get straight to the point: seems to me this whole Occupy thing could find itself Vacant if someone doesn’t wake up and smell the beef. Let me digress.

About four months ago, Sept. 17, 2011 to be exact, when it all began in New York City’s financial district, I was just your average Joe buzzing around for my next meal. But this ruckus is going on, right, so I land on a tent where humans are talking about things like the 99 percent rule, how they need to reclaim democracy from the greed of Wall Street, big corporations, banks and billionaires (Gates and Buffet notwithstanding). They’re ranting against economic and civil inequalities. Like how did a democratic and capitalist country like America, where every man could become a king, suddenly become more like an autocratic caste system?

I wanted to know more. My winged family members in Asia told me that the Occupy movement was inspired by the Arab Spring – you know, all those protest and resistance movements in places like Syria, Libya and Egypt. “Those folks forced out their leaders, brought down their governments and formed new democracies for their people,” my relatives said. Nice job.

But all I see in America is young people beating their drums, holding their placards, pitching their tents, yelling that they are mad as hell and aren’t going to take it anymore. Gotcha. But as the weeks and months go on, I don’t get where they’re going. I mean, where’s their business plan, what’s their strategy, who is their leader, when are they actually going to do something to bring about change? Where’s the beef?

Have they not noticed that city by city, the politicians are putting their armed police on the chess board and booting out the pawns from the public places they once occupied? Call me a bugger, but I get around like no one’s business. Just the other day, I flew to the Beltway and you should have heard the laughter from some of those legalized criminals who represent you in Congress, especially those up for reelection. They’re brushing you off like dust mites, my friends.

So here’s my advice. Get a voice, don’t become the New Silent Majority. Take a lesson from the Tea Party. That brew got up and running pretty fast and knocked out a few Democrats in fairly short order. The 2012 elections are around the corner but you still have time to fire the bums (Democrats or Republicans) by the dozens. Make your voice heard, get out your message and hoist that 1 percent square in the public’s face. What are you waiting for, an invitation to tea?