The Agribusiness Juggernaut: Assault on Nature, Threat to Human Survival

“Burning Orchids” by Richard William Posner
Richard William Posner
Organic food has become one of the fastest growing segments of U.S. agriculture.  In all probability, however, it will be virtually impossible to obtain any real organic food in the not-too-distant future. 
Monsanto, a giant in agricultural biogenetics and holder of patents on several genetically modified organisms (GMOs), is working to corner the global market on Life. Their genetically modified (GM) crops — some complete with suicide genes which render their seeds infertile and others genetically resistant to herbicides — are intended to ultimately overrun all natural crops, making Monsanto quite literally the sole owner of all food crops on Earth.
These GM crops will ultimately be the only game in town and, therefore, every vegetable, fruit or grain you eat will be a genetically modified organism (GMO). The same will apply to every form of feed used for livestock, poultry and any creature whatsoever that is raised as a source of food for humans. It’s even quite certain that food animals themselves will be subjected to the same sort of genetic manipulation that is now being used on crops.  In fact, genetically modified salmon could be available at a supermarket near you sooner than you think. 

Political Prostitutes 

With the radical right faction coming to power in the 2010 midterms there is a fair chance they will take full and permanent control in 2012. Fascist and, no, I don’t think that word is too strong, “Republican” governors, representatives and radical right judicial activists, all of whom represent not the People but a plutocratic oligarchy, are pulling out all the stops between now and the next election to ensure that there will be virtually only one party running in 2012. The events now taking place in Wisconsin and other states are clear evidence of an agenda designed not only to finally and completely crush unions and, thereby, the working class, but to also deprive the “Democratic” party of its last significant source of campaign funding. As bad as the Democrats have become, things will get much worse, much faster, without them. 

Perhaps this is the world-changing catastrophe so many are predicting will take place in 2012. That’s not as funny as it sounds. Such an event could be the catalyst that launches the world into an age of global totalitarianism.
One can only hope that the supremacist plan will backfire. Ideally, the people who voted for these fascists — make no mistake, Scott Walker is nothing less — will realize the gravity of their error before the next election and vote them all out of office. If the neofascist right should succeed in their quest, total deregulation of the capitalist/corporatist profit machine will follow as surely as night the day.
At least one multinational corporation has been experiencing the benefits of a one-party system that transcends the Democrat-Republican divide for some time; the Dr. Frankenstein of agribusiness, Monsanto. Most recently, on January 27, 2011, the Obama Administration capitulated to Monsanto allowing complete deregulation of its GM alfalfa. Sugar beets will soon follow.
Of course, since Monsanto is glutted with money, they get to make the rules regarding GMOs and agriculture in the coming single party, privatized, pseudo-government.   
Mutant enemy  
All that being said, regardless of what happens in the 2012 elections, a nasty djinni has already been set free that will simply be impossible to put back into the bottle. GMOs are already on the loose and their impact on Life is beginning to be felt. Just search GM foods. You’ll probably get over a million hits, and I’ll wager more than half of them will not be singing their praises.
Monsanto is arguably one of the most willfully malign entities, sometimes known as corporate persons, ever spawned by the crony capitalist profit machine. For a bit of insight, see The World According to Monsanto. This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. If Monsanto is in fact a “person”, that person is an unmitigated psychopath. 
Presently, whenever a Monsanto GM strain contaminates a neighboring farm that’s growing the same crop, say soybeans, it is company policy to sue that farm for stealing a patented GMO. These suits are generally successful, resulting in the bankruptcy of the victimized farmer whose land is then easily acquired by Monsanto. This not only puts a potential competitor out of business but provides free land, empowering a quest to own all the food we need for survival. Just search Monsanto suits. Almost a quarter million hits. The goal of this monolithic multinational is nothing less than the total ownership and control of the global food supply.
Once these GM crops are growing in the open, anywhere in the world, they will inevitably contaminate all non-GM crops. The wind and every creature that enables pollination will carry GM pollen everywhere. Such cross-contamination is inevitable and already occurring. As deregulation allows more GM crops to be grown, the process will escalate at an ever increasing pace.
Hybrids will ultimately result from this process. Nature will intervene regardless of the worst efforts of self-appointed, corporate masters of the universe. Mutations will occur which will result in entirely new sub-species, or perhaps even species, of herbicide resistant plants. It would in fact seem that this scenario is already being played out. Search GM superweeds. There are now weeds, at least ten species in twenty-two states, that are resistant to the herbicide that quite literally brought about their existence. 
Monsanto engineered several GM crops specifically to be resistant to their own, most widely used weed killer, Roundup. Hybridisation with GM pollen, natural mutation or a combination, it doesn’t really matter, has resulted in the appearance of these “superweeds”. Hence the race is on to come up with new and “better” herbicides to combat them. It would seem only logical that if new weed killers are developed to destroy weeds resistant to Roundup, they will also be fatal to the crops that are likewise. Will it then be necessary to bioengineer new crops that will be resistant to the new herbicides? It doesn’t take a geneticist to figure this out. Have you ever watched a dog chase its tail?
It also seems clear that corporations like Monsanto do not find this tail-chasing undesirable. Every new superweed requires a new super herbicide, which in turn requires new resistant crops. Spraying the new herbicides will produce new superweeds that will require new weed killers . . . can you see where this is going? Every stage requires a new product to be marketed, bioengineered or chemical, to keep those profits growing.
All this does not even begin to consider the negative impact these mutant vegetable and animal food sources will have on human health. Once again, common sense tells us most of what we need to know. The human body has evolved to make use of naturally occurring food sources. The nutrients required for vibrant human health are all plentiful in a natural, uncontaminated, non-toxic ecosystem that has not been depleted for profit by agribusiness. Over-farming, monoculture, poisonous chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, contamination of agricultural farms by run-off from neighboring livestock ranches and now genetically modified organisms all conspire to produce food that is no longer suitable for human consumption.
Foods with their genetic structure modified, by whatever means, are no longer food; they are manufactured products which cannot be properly assimilated and absorbed by the human body. Their properties are not recognised by the human digestive system and the plethora of toxins and mutagens introduced artificially cannot be filtered by the organs naturally designed for that purpose.
Simply put, such manufactured products are poisonous.
It’s virtually impossible to provide a complete list of genetically modified food (GM food) in the United States because there aren’t any laws for genetically modified crops!
Some estimates say as many as 30,000 different products on grocery store shelves are “modified.” That’s largely because many processed foods contain soy. Half of North America’s soy crop is genetically engineered!
Rapeseed – Resistance to certain pesticides and improved rapeseed cultivars to be free of erucic acid and glucosinolates. Gluconsinolates, which were found in rapeseed meal leftover from pressing, are toxic and had prevented the use of the meal in animal feed. In Canada, where “double-zero” rapeseed was developed, the crop was renamed “canola” (Canadian oil) to differentiate it from non-edible rapeseed.
Honey – Honey can be produced from GM crops. Some Canadian honey comes from bees collecting nectar from GM canola plants. This has shut down exports of Canadian honey to Europe.
Cotton – Resistant to certain pesticides – considered a food because the oil can be consumed. The introduction of genetically engineered cotton plants has had an unexpectedly effect on Chinese agriculture. The so-called Bt cotton plants that produce a chemical that kills the cotton bollworm have not only reduced the incidence of the pest in cotton fields, but also in neighboring fields of corn, soybeans, and other crops.
Rice – Genetically modified to contain high amounts of Vitamin A. Rice containing human genes is to be grown in the US. Rather than end up on dinner plates, the rice will make human proteins useful for treating infant diarrhoea in the developing world.
Soybean – Genetically modified to be resistant to herbicides – Soy foods including, soy beverages, tofu, soy oil, soy flour, and lecithin. Other products may include breads, pastries, snack foods, baked products, fried products, edible oil products and special purpose foods.
Sugar cane – Made resistant to certain pesticides. A large percentage of sweeteners used in processed food actually come from corn, not sugar cane or beets. Genetically modified sugar cane is regarded so badly by consumers at the present time that it could not be marketed successfully.
Tomatoes – Made for a longer shelf life and to prevent a substance that causes tomatoes to rot and degrade.
Corn – Resistant to certain pesticides – Corn oil, flour, sugar or syrup. May include snack foods, baked goods, fried foods, edible oil products, confectionery, special purpose foods, and soft drinks.
Sweet corn – genetically modified to produces its own insecticide. Officials from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have said that thousands of tonnes of genetically engineered sweet corn have made their way into the human food supply chain, even though the produce has been approved only for use in animal feed. Recently Monsanto, a biotechnology food producer, said that about half of the USA’s sweet corn acreage has been planted with genetically modified seed this year.
Canola – Canola oil. May include edible oil products, fried foods, and baked products, snack foods.
Potatoes – (Atlantic, Russet Burbank, Russet Norkatah, and Shepody) – May include snack foods, processed potato products and other processed foods containing potatoes.
Flax – More and more food products contain flax oil and seed because of their excellent nutritional properties. No genetically modified flax is currently grown. Herbicide-resistant GM flax was introduced in 2001, but was soon taken off the market because European importers refused to buy it.
Papaya – The first virus resistant papayas were commercially grown in Hawaii in 1999. 
Transgenic papayas now cover about one thousand hectares, or three quarters of the total Hawaiian papaya crop. Monsanto, donated technology to Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, for developing a papaya resistant to the ringspot virus in India.
Squash – (yellow crookneck) – Some zucchini and yellow crookneck squash are also GM but they are not popular with farmers.
Red-hearted chicory – (radicchio) – Chicory (Cichorium intybus var. foliosum) is popular in some regions as a salad green, especially in France and Belgium. Scientists developed a genetically modified line of chicory containing a gene that makes it male sterile, simply facilitating the production of hybrid cultivars. Today there is no genetically modified chicory on the market.
Cotton seed oil – Cottonseed oil and linters. Products may include blended vegetable oils, fried foods, baked foods, snack foods, edible oil products, and small goods casings.
Tobacco -The company Vector has a GMO tobacco being sold under the brand of Quest® cigarettes in the U.S. It is engineered to produce low or no nicotine.
Meat – Meat and dairy products usually come from animals that have eaten GM feed.
Peas – Genetically modified (GM) peas created immune responses in mice, suggesting that they may also create serious allergic reactions in people. The peas had been inserted with a gene from kidney beans, which creates a protein that acts as a pesticide.
Vegetable Oil – Most generic vegetable oils and margarines used in restaurants and in processed foods in North America are made from soy, corn, canola, or cottonseed. Unless these oils specifically say “Non-GMO” or “Organic,” it is probably genetically modified.

Sugarbeets – May include any processed foods containing sugar.

Dairy Products – About 22 percent of cows in the U.S. are injected with recombinant (genetically modified) bovine growth hormone (rbGH).
Vitamins – Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is often made from corn, vitamin E is usually made from soy. Vitamins A, B2, B6, and B12 may be derived from GMOs as well as vitamin D and vitamin K may have “carriers” derived from GM corn sources, such as starch, glucose, and maltodextrin.
As long as the driving force of our society is the quest for corporate profits above all, we will only continue the degradation of our total environment.

As long as we allow the crony capitalist, consumerist paradigm to put profit before Life itself, we will inevitably continue upon a course of self-destruction.

Nature is a force far greater than we can ever even begin to control. There are immutable laws in place, not written by any human hand, that simply cannot be defied. If our species refuses to comply with those laws, it simply will not survive its own ignorance and arrogance.   

Richard Posner is a writer, computer graphics and image editor, and is skilled at electronic music applications.  The full range of his political and ideological views, and the background for those, can be found on his own site.  Richard can be contacted directly at [email protected]        

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