Agricultural Terrorism : Personal Liberty Alerts

March 19, 2012 by  

Agricultural Terrorism

PHOTOS.COM
Monsanto is the largest producer of genetically engineered seeds.

Monsanto should be named an enemy of the State. It’s definitely an enemy of the people. Instead, the company has essentially become another branch of government.

Monsanto is engaged in government-sponsored agricultural terrorism. It’s government-sponsored because there is a revolving door between the company, the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and firms that lobby Congress on Monsanto’s behalf. Dow, Bayer, other chemical companies and Big Agriculture are Monsanto’s co-conspirators in agricultural terrorism.

In addition to contaminating our food supply with pesticides, hormones and genetic modifications, water supplies are being contaminated as well — even for those who live in the city far away from farmland. And anyone trying to grow crops uncontaminated by Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) frankenseeds can be slapped with a lawsuit if the prevailing winds or pollinating insects cause pollen from Monsanto-patented crops to mingle with non-Monsanto GE crops.

The Union of Concerned Scientists recently listed eight ways Monsanto fails at being a good steward of food and moves over to food and environmental terrorism:

  1. Promoting pesticide resistance: Monsanto’s Roundup Ready and Bt technologies lead to resistant weeds and insects that can make farming harder and reduce sustainability. The idea is, supposedly, to create crops that ward off insects and other pests. But the result has been to create insects that are pesticide-resistant. And even worse, application of systemic pesticides like Dow Chemical’s Clothianidin or GE crops that kill “pests” are behind the deaths of hundreds of thousands of honeybee colonies through colony collapse disorder. In almost every case, the EPA and/or FDA ignored science or used junk science to justify approval of the chemicals and crops.
  2. Increasing herbicide use: Roundup resistance has led to greater use of herbicides, with troubling implications for biodiversity, sustainability and human health. By planting crops engineered to be resistant to herbicides, farmers are able, in theory, to keep down weeds by spraying increasing amounts of herbicides. But these toxic chemicals are finding their way into our foods and contaminating our water supplies. Roundup’s key ingredient, glyphosate, is also linked to a decrease in the monarch butterfly population by killing the plants butterflies rely on for habitat and food. Roundup is also linked to the spread of fusarium head blight in wheat, which makes the crop unsuitable for human or animal consumption. Now we also know that use of these herbicides has created “super weeds” that have developed a resistance to Roundup. So Monsanto and Dow are combining to reintroduce the use of the herbicide 2, 4-D, one-half of the defoliant Agent Orange used in Vietnam. Agent Orange is a carcinogen that caused Hodgkin’s lymphoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia and other diseases in Vietnam veterans.
  3. Spreading gene contamination: Engineered genes have a bad habit of turning up in non-GE crops. When this happens, sustainable farmers — and their customers — pay a high price. In other words, GE crops are contaminating the crops of those who want to use natural or heirloom seeds and eat and grow foods the way God intended. There is no way of telling what long-term ramifications of these contaminated crops will have on the foods we eat – and, therefore, our health. Plus, as we mentioned above, small farmers are being attacked in courts by Monsanto if their crops — through no fault of their own — become contaminated by Monsanto GE crops. According to a report released by Britain’s Soil Association, GE crops have cost Americans $12 billion in farm subsidies in the past three years and is bankrupting wheat and cotton farmers.
  4. Expanding monoculture: Monsanto’s emphasis on limited varieties of a few commodity crops contributes to reduced biodiversity and, as a consequence, to increased pesticide use and fertilizer pollution. Monoculture, the planting of a single crop on large swaths of land, is anathema to nature. Everyone knows that crops must be rotated to keep the soil properly balanced. Different plants that bloom and pollinate at different times are essential to sustain the nourishment needed by many insects, birds and animals. Yet Monsanto, Dow and huge corporate farms disavow the laws of nature for profit, and the environment suffers. Monoculture also provides a vast feeding ground that attracts ever-stronger pests, creating a cycle of increased use of pesticides to combat the problem created by the use of monoculture and more pesticides. And when the pests, as in the case of the corn rootworm develop a resistance to the engineered pesticide, they can wipe out thousands of acres of crops, driving up food prices and causing food shortages.
  5. Marginalizing alternatives: Monsanto’s single-minded emphasis on GE fixes for farming challenges may come at the expense of cheaper, more effective solutions. Relying on genetic engineering to fix the problem creates more problems while limiting natural or less expensive solutions.
  6. Lobbying and advertising: Monsanto outspends all other agribusinesses on efforts to persuade Congress and the public to maintain the industrial agriculture status quo. Worse, as noted above, it has become a revolving door that sees members of Congress passing to the company to become executives and lobbyists, and company executives moving to the regulatory agencies to regulate their former employer. This is simply crony capitalism at its worst.
  7. Suppressing research: By creating obstacles to independent research on its products, Monsanto makes it harder for farmers and policy makers to make informed decisions that can lead to more sustainable agriculture. And through its system of crony capitalism, research benefitting the company — even when fraudulent — is approved by the regulatory agencies, while natural alternatives are suppressed or outlawed altogether. Independent organizations attempting to provide a rebuttal to the flawed research are often quashed and silenced.
  8. Falling short on feeding the world: Monsanto contributes little to helping the world feed itself, and has failed to endorse science-backed solutions that don’t give its products a central role. In fact, what Monsanto is doing is acquiring a state-sponsored monopoly on seeds. GE crops create non-renewable seeds that do not germinate from year to year. This requires the farmer to go back to Monsanto each year to purchase the seeds for the next year’s crop, rather than saving seeds and using seeds from last year’s crop (using the seed corn). This also happens to farmers using heirloom seeds whose crops are contaminated by GE crop pollen.

The European Union has mandated labeling of GM ingredients in food and feed. But that doesn’t happen in the United States, and efforts are afoot to prevent special labeling. But evidence shows that exposure to GE plants and GM feed affects food animals in many ways.

What all this means is that even with the knowledge and desire to avoid GE or GM foods, as the Monsantos and Dows of the world gain more of a hold on world agriculture, it’s going to eventually become impossible to avoid exposure to them. Even planting your own garden with heirloom seeds won’t guarantee you the ability to avoid genetic pollution if someone nearby is using GE crops and pollinators cross pollinate the fields or winds blow the pollen into your garden and it pollinates your crop.

And pesticides and GE and GM foods are being linked to myriad negative health effects including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, obesity, diabetes and hormonal disorders. The insecticide-producing Bt gene is even being detected in the blood tests of people who eat a typical diet, including in pregnant women and their fetuses. Research shows it also kills human kidney cells.

Fascism is the union of government and big business. In this system, the people are pawns. Government, Big Agriculture and their partners in crime Monsanto, Dow and Bayer are engaged in a fascist system in which an unwitting populace is kept fat and stupid and without choices, and even those who understand and recognize the system for what it is are allowed fewer opportunities to opt out.

These are who the War on Terror should truly be against. And thanks to global activism and the growth of the Internet and advent of social media, the war on the real terrorists is gaining headway against their war on our health.

We can battle agricultural terrorism on our own by minding what we are buying and eating.  When you grocery shop, refuse to buy GMO products. Many food producers are now labeling their non-GMO foods as such. You can also use the “Non-GMO Shopping Guide,” available for download here.

Sad… what can be done?

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Huckabee Moves to Take on Rush in Talk Radio Battle

Earlier this week, Cumulus Media sent out an email blast to fellow radio station owners with a photoshopped picture of former U.S. Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, promoting him as the conservative talk radio host of the future.

Though the email did not name Rush Limbaugh, the long-running, top-rated talk radio host whose program is nationally syndicated by Cumulus’ rival, Clear Channel Communications, the intent was obvious to some recipients.

“They are going after Rush’s affiliates,” said one radio company executive who received Cumulus’ email and spoke on condition of anonymity. “They are positioning Huckabee as the safe, non-dangerous alternative to Rush and saying to station owners, ‘If you are looking for conservative content, we want you to consider our guy instead of theirs.'”

Huckabee presented Cumulus with its best chance ever to grow into a national competitor to Clear Channel in the radio syndication market even before Limbaugh on February 29 ignited his latest controversy by calling birth-control activist Sandra Fluke “a slut.

That the April 9 launch of “The Mike Huckabee Show” comes amid an exodus of advertisers from Limbaugh’s program and an Internet-driven boycott is simply serendipity for Cumulus.

In an interview with Reuters on Friday, Cumulus co-Chief Operating Officer John Dickey described the Huckabee emails as “standard operating procedure” and said the company was “proud to offer up our content to the industry at large.”

“Only one station in a city can offer Rush, so there are lots of other stations that are looking to put up an alternative to him regardless of whether he put his foot in his mouth,” said Dickey. He was referring to how Limbaugh’s contracts typically contain exclusivity clauses restricting him to one station in a market, instead of it being simulcast on multiple stations.

“We have been growing the affiliate base on that fact alone, but recent developments with Rush have put some wind in our sails and accelerated our efforts,” Dickey said.

Cumulus owns the second-largest U.S. radio network, with 580 stations, behind Clear Channel, which owns about 900 stations. Cumulus ranks as the third-largest radio company by revenue, behind Clear Channel and CBS Radio.

Huckabee’s show, which was born out of a dinner conversation between a representative for the former Arkansas governor and Dickey in the fall of 2010, will go head-to-head against Limbaugh from noon to 3 p.m. in all time U.S. time zones, Monday through Friday.

Limbaugh has dominated terrestrial talk radio ever since shock jock Howard Stern fled for the less regulated confines of satellite radio in 2006. The portly conservative pundit’s program is broadcast on 600 radio stations across the country (20 more stations than Cumulus owns in total), and is heard by about 20 million listeners weekly.

As of last week, about 140 stations had signed on to carry Huckabee’s show, and Dickey said that number is growing daily.

More important, only about 45 of those stations are owned and operated by Cumulus, meaning that the other stations that agreed to carry Huckabee’s show have no affiliation with the company. Dickey said some of these stations plan to swap in Huckabee once their contracts with Limbaugh expire, though he declined to name which ones or where they were located.

Limbaugh’s annual income, based in part on licensing fees for his show, is estimated by industry sources at $50 million.

Calls to Clear Channel for comment were referred to Premiere Networks, the company that syndicates Limbaugh’s program.

“Rush Limbaugh continues to be the No. 1 talk radio host in America,” a Premiere spokesperson said in a statement, noting that all his long-term sponsors remain with his show. “Mike Huckabee is the latest in a long line of those who have attempted to compete with Rush. We wish him the best with his new show.”

A source familiar with Premiere’s thinking put it more bluntly: “We have 900 stations. If Rush gets removed from a few, we have plenty of other places to put him.”

TWO DEALS REALIZED

Cumulus’ plan to take on Clear Channel in the syndication market were put in motion long before the impending Limbaugh-Huckabee battle. The roots can be traced to two deals: the $1.2 billion purchase of Susquehanna Radio in 2006 and $2.4 billion acquisition of Citadel Broadcasting in 2010.

Those deals transformed Cumulus from a sleepy small- to mid-market company into a national player. Before them, the largest market in which Cumulus had a presence was ranked 125th nationally. Now, the family-run company is in seven of the top 10 U.S. radio markets.

With a big national footprint and its own network, Cumulus is now able to develop and syndicate its own content as opposed to paying to license it from competitors such as Clear Channel.

Moreover, Cumulus can now shop its content to outside radio station owners, potentially stealing market share from Clear Channel. In essence, Cumulus has gone from being a purchaser of content to a creator of one.

“We eat our own cooking here. If something works for us, it should also work for others in the industry,” said Dickey, referring to Cumulus’ goal to license homegrown talent to others in the industry.

The company last month announced that it was replacing “Coast-to-Coast,” a show produced by Clear Channel, with Cumulus’ own “Red Eye Radio” on 22 of its stations. Earlier in March, Cumulus said it was dropping “The Billy Bush Show,” produced by Dial Global, for an upcoming show of its own.

Cumulus licenses Limbaugh’s show on about three dozen of its own stations. It is expected to replace Limbaugh with Huckabee once these contracts expire.

“I can guarantee you that the minute Cumulus’ contract with Rush expires in New York, they will replace him with Huckabee,” said Joel Hollander, the former CEO of CBS Radio now running private investment firm 264 Echo Place Partners.

For now Limbaugh has some breathing room – the vast majority of his contracts with Cumulus do not expire until next year. Dickey said Cumulus has “no plans to drop Rush” from any of its stations at this time and will “honor its contracts.”

Dickey’s diplomacy is smart radio politics. Cumulus must navigate a delicate divide between competing and cooperating with Clear Channel. The radio industry as a whole has been in secular decline for more than a decade, as Apple Inc’s iPods, satellite radio Sirius XM Radio Inc and Internet streaming services such as Pandora Media Inc have eaten away at advertising sales and audience share.

Traditional radio companies have been forced to look for new avenues of growth, often in partnership with each other. Cumulus recently announced a deal to stream its stations on Clear Channel’s iHeart-Radio digital platform. The two companies also joined forces on “SweetJack,” radio’s version of Groupon Inc’s daily deals, set to launch nationwide on May 1.

“Cumulus does have a lot of holes across the country where it will need to work with Clear Channel and others radio companies, so what you are going to see is a lot of horse trading,” said Hollander.

LACK OF RADIO STARS KEEPS RUSH ON AIR

Not unlike Howard Stern or Glenn Beck, Limbaugh is one of the few talk radio hosts who have a large and loyal enough fan base that he can leave the air waves altogether for satellite radio, the Internet, or something even more experimental.

But if Limbaugh does stick with traditional radio, he will likely remain a major voice for two main reasons: a shortage of stars and political talk radio has a rabid fan base.

Traditional radio’s lack of stars is the reason Don Imus returned just eight months after being removed in 2007 for calling the Rutgers University women’s basketball team a bunch of “nappy-headed hoes.” And it is the reason why the source familiar with Premiere’s thinking said the syndicator has no intention of removing Limbaugh from its air waves.

Indeed, some outside radio companies that syndicate Limbaugh’s show are also sticking with him.

“We carry Limbaugh live in Bakersfield and we have no plans to change,” said Joe Bilotta, CEO of independently owned Buckley Radio.

Moreover, Huckabee has to execute for Cumulus’ grand plan to pay dividends. If he cannot attract an audience and prove that he can carry a show by himself, then all the talk about unseating Limbaugh will be just that – talk.

Interesting.

Beyond Rush: Hannity, Beck, Levin Hit with Advertiser Bans

Efforts to silence Rush Limbaugh are apparently having a significant impact on the talk radio business as a whole, including syndicated radio shows hosted by Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and Glenn Beck.

After provocative comments made about a female Georgetown law school student, Limbaugh’s show has been targeted by liberal groups that have pressured more than two dozen advertisers to drop his program from their ad buys.

Now, Rush’s syndicator, Premiere Networks, is losing advertisers for other conservative programs it airs.

According to an internal Premiere memorandum obtained by Radio-Info.com, the company says 98 advertisers no longer wanted to air ad spots on any “offensive or controversial” talk programs.

Radio-Info says the list of advertisers include “carmakers (Ford, GM, Toyota), insurance companies (Allstate, Geico, Prudential, State Farm) and restaurants (McDonald’s, Subway).”

An excerpt of the Premiere memo follows:

“To all Traffic Managers: The information below applies to your Premiere Radio Networks commercial inventory. More than 350 different advertisers sponsor the programs and services provided to your station on a barter basis. Like advertisers that purchase commercials on your radio station from your sales staff, our sponsors communicate specific rotations, daypart preferences and advertising environments they prefer… They’ve specifically asked that you schedule their commercials in dayparts or programs free of content that you know are deemed to be offensive or controversial (for example, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Leykis, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity). Those are defined as environments likely to stir negative sentiment from a very small percentage of the listening public.”

Hmmm.

Norquist to Newsmax: GOP Should Take Senate, Hold House

Low-tax crusader and Republican strategist Grover Norquist tells Newsmax the country is suffering from a very weak recovery because President Barack Obama “did all the wrong things” in reaction to the recession.

But as pundits tallied up the results from Super Tuesday, Norquist on Wednesday struck an optimistic tone on the GOP’s chances in November.

Whoever wins the exhausting battle for the Republican presidential nomination, he points out, that candidate will be a staunch Reagan conservative with a tough fiscal approach on spending. That’s true whether it’s Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum or Ron Paul.

But if Obama somehow gets re-elected, Republicans more than likely will be in control of both the U.S. Senate and the House, meaning Obama will not have any power of the purse.

“If there is a Republican president then you can immediately move to do a budget and extend all the tax cuts and begin to cut spending,” Norquist says. “If Obama is still the president, we have a train wreck, and Obama likes train wrecks because he takes advantage of that kind of crisis to try to push for bigger government.

“Certainly it’s important to have a Republican House and Senate even with a Democratic president, but it’s difficult to get legislation passed. You can not give the president money, that’s not a bad first step, but you can’t cut taxes without the president’s signature.”

Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, says Republican voters are engaged in “sort of serial monogamy” in choosing a front-runner because the candidates are “pretty much the same.”

Story continues below video.

http://w3.newsmax.com/unicorn/UMTremorPlayer.swf

Americans for Tax Reform is a coalition of taxpayer groups, individuals, and businesses opposed to higher taxes at the federal, state, and local levels.

Norquist is also on the board of the American Conservative Union, a regular Newsmax contributor, and co-author of the new book “Debacle: Obama’s War on Jobs and Growth and What We Can Do Now to Regain Our Future.”

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, he assesses the current state of the American economy.

“We had a problem with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mal-investing, then Obama, Reid, and Pelosi came in and they made everything worse,” he says. “So we have a very, very weak recovery going on now. This is a much weaker recovery than we’ve had in the past. In the third year of Reagan’s presidency he created 4 million jobs. We created like a million jobs last year.

“We have a weak recovery because Obama did all the wrong things in reaction to the recession, and now what we need to do is the opposite — spend less, lower taxes, have deregulation, fix Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The banking regulation bill did everything except fixing the people who caused the problems for the banking crisis.

“We have a huge challenge. Obama’s been taking us in the wrong direction for three years now. We need to do a U-turn.”

Asked about the likely scenario in the immediate aftermath of November’s presidential election, Norquist responds: “It all depends on who comes in.

“Right now it looks like the Republicans will hold the House and win the Senate — half the Democrats running for the Senate are vulnerable, very few Republicans running for the Senate are vulnerable. It should be a Republican House and Senate.”

Norquist says the current race for the Republican presidential nomination is different from those in the past.

“In the old days — Taft, Eisenhower, Goldwater, Rockefeller — there were these ideological divides. You had two different wings of the modern Republican Party that wanted to go in two different directions.

“Today the candidates running for president are all Reagan Republicans. So when Republicans are looking, they can be excused for lusting after Rick Perry and then moments later Herman Cain and then Newt Gingrich and then Rick Santorum. They go from one to the other in a sort of serial monogamy because they’re all pretty much the same.

“So people pick odd reasons for being for one and not another. But it is a healthy thing that they’re all Reagan Republicans and we can choose.”
In a similar vein, Norquist says that Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum split the tea party vote in Tuesday’s Ohio primary because both seek to reduce spending.

“The tea party is new people coming into the party. Tea party people weren’t politically active before but were terrified by Obama’s spending, so they came in and want to fix the spending issue. They can go for any of these candidates.”

All the Republican candidates are “moving in the same direction of reducing rates and broadening the base and not bringing a tax increase,” he adds.

“I think Rick Perry had the best tax plan of the year, and Newt Gingrich has one that is similar. They’ve all basically come out and said let’s dramatically reduce rates, let’s simplify the code. They’re looking at what Reagan did in 1986.”

Legislators are reportedly working behind the scenes to formulate a program to combat the deficit that could resemble the Simpson-Bowles plan, which called for reduced spending and increased taxes. Asked if they are likely to have any success in pushing the new program forward, Norquist says flatly: “No, because the whole goal of Simpson-Bowles was to raise taxes significantly to pay for the bigger government of Obama.

“The reason why Obama liked it was in the middle of it was a $2 or $3 trillion tax increase over the next decade. There were in theory some spending cuts. Obama never put any of those into his budget. Unfortunately all you get from putting Simpson-Bowles on the table is a tax increase, no spending cuts.”

Assessing the success of his years-long crusade for low taxes, Norquist tells Newsmax: “The top tax rate is 35 percent, half of what is was when Reagan came into the presidency, so we’ve made some progress on reducing marginal tax rates.

“But Reagan got it down to 28 percent, and now it’s drifted back up again, so we need to get back to the Reagan levels and then back on track to continue to reduce rates. The total tax burden and the total spending have shot up significantly unfortunately over the past years.”

Asked if cutting taxes is the only way to shrink the size of government, Norquist responds: “Step one is never raise taxes. That’s why [we have] the Taxpayer Protection Pledge that Americans for Tax Reform shares with all candidates and incumbents in the House and Senate. If you say that taxes are off the table, we’re never raising taxes, then and only then do you get to a conversation of reforming spending.

“Politicians like to raise taxes instead of reforming government. They want to raise taxes instead of reducing spending. So first you say no new taxes.

“Now we need to do more reforms like some of our governors have done around the country — Scott Walker in Wisconsin, Rick Scott in Florida, Perry in Texas, New Jersey’s Chris Christie, those are all governors who said no to tax increases, yes to spending cuts.

“But if you don’t say no to tax increases you never get to the second part of that project. Our friend George W. Bush got the no tax increase part. He forgot the second part of the dance sheet, which is stop spending so much.”

Interesting