If you are thinking of voting for Hillary (why would you?) read this. Oh, and I am not Linn Cohen-Cole but a huge fan. Wish I did know her, I'd give her a jar of honey from my bees or eggs from my free range hens.
February 21, 2008
A Second Letter to Hillary Clinton on Her Ties to Monsanto
By LINN COHEN-COLE
This is my second letter to you. I am writing again because I feel badly for you that you seem not understand what is wrong.
You are going into Ohio soon. The issue is that you don't travel alone.
Your and Bill's history with Monsanto is going with you.
Your campaign strategist, Mark Penn, goes as well, putting Monsanto by your side.
What does Ohio have to do with you and Monsanto?
Did you know that dairy farmers there had the battle of their lives to prevent the banning of rBGH labels on their dairy products?
Let me put that into plain English.
Monsanto tried (and may try again) to make sure dairy farmers in Ohio, and across the country--have no "real" freedom of speech. What simple thing are Ohio farmers denied saying? "We don't put GE crap in our cows."
Dairy farmers want to tell that truth, consumers want it. You'd think that'd be simple. Yet, farmers - the only ones telling the public the truth - are doing so in the absence of governmental help and, in fact, up against it, as it favors Monsanto.
Monsanto, the agribusiness/pharmaceutical giant who made Agent Orange, PCBs, pesticides, nuclear weapons components, and Aspartame - killing or sickening things - now handles food - genetically engineering hormones, making steroids, patenting GE seeds of every kind, cloning animals, blocking "free speech" and fair competition (or it looks like that to me, when someone can't say what's good about their product), suing farmers, ...
You care about Ohio's health, Hillary?
One of Ohio's consumer advocates, who is supposed protect their well-being, used to work where? Guess. And the issue that consumer advocate considers bad idea for consumers? Labels on its milk.
Yet, Monsanto's bovine growth hormone, the thing farmers wish to say they don't use, puts (and has put for years) Ohio citizens at greater risk for breast (7 times greater), colon and prostate cancer.
Where is your support for farmers or consumers?
And what else is Monsanto doing in Ohio?
For farmers who buy GE seeds, Monsanto uses Pinkerton agents to go onto their property to check the farmer hasn't collected GE seeds - Monsanto's patented "intellectual property." Monsanto uses other means as well, to check up on farmers.
For those who collect their own seeds (since time immemorial) for free, Monsanto wants an Ohio law to require:
"seed cleaners to keep detailed records on every seed cleaning transaction, to document the name of the farmer, seed variety names and whether or not the seed is protected by patents or breeders' rights."
In essence, the bill discriminates against farmers who are lawfully saving and re-planting open-pollinated seed varieties," asserts RAFI (Rural Advancement Foundation International)'s Shand."
Monsanto (and USDA and big meat packers) is seeking something similar with animals - NAIS (the National Animal Identification System), tagging of every single farm animal in the US with a global tracking system, to be fed into a "corporate" data base.
Businesses normally oppose regulations Monsanto seeks. These land on small farmers, making saving seeds and raising animals, overwhelmingly burdensome and intrusive. And Monsanto learns exactly what normal seeds or animals still exist and who owns them.
How are you protecting farmers from this crushing?
In the Farm Bill, you support Credit & Crop Insurance, calling on "colleagues to address the serious lack of credit opportunities that is making it almost impossible in
It sounds so good until one learns that:
"the U.S. Department of Agriculture has struck an unusual arrangement with agribusiness giant Monsanto Co. that gives farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota a break on federal crop insurance premiums if they plant Monsanto-brand seed corn this spring."
You and the USDA use their need for crop insurance to help Monsanto trap farmers into a difficult to escape system of GE seed patents and intellectual property laws. If you were truly helping them, you'd be shouting from the rooftops that farmers must have free-and-clear access to government crop insurance, and the USDA must stop making sweetheart deals with Monsanto or other corporations.
In Ohio, people are now watching:
"America's Heartland, a new national public television series about American agriculture, and Ohio Farm and Country, an Ohio Farm Bureau produced television show, are now on the air."
The show is funded by Monsanto and the American Farm Bureau, with support from soy, corn, cotton and grain associations, all crops Monsanto primarily owns.
Corporate programs on their own area of activity are commercials and Ohio public television does its public a serious disservice in allowing material that should be labeled honestly as "public relations."
Monsanto won't allow information on its own products, demands detail on farmers' holdings, and is putting out commercials as information about "farming."
You say you care about education.
Are you aware Monsanto is moving to control the land grant colleges and what is taught there?
This is corporation education for GE food which is proving to be dangerous Many people fear and hate it. Even were it wonderful, it shifts ownership of seeds from Ohio's farmers to corporations.
You want Ohio's support? "Get real" Get rid of Monsanto. Denounce what it and Bill did.
People in Ohio and elsewhere need to hear you say:
"I will help get this and other corporations off your farmers' backs and work for a government to help you compete fairly against Monsanto, not one that takes sides with them against you.
"I am sorry for the degrading of and non-labeling of food through Bill and Monsanto's involvement. I will get ALL food labeled clearly, not just with country of origin labels, but with what is "in" US and foreign food: genetically engineered food or not, pesticides or not, antibiotics or not, hormones or not.
"I will not let the USDA dump degraded foods onto nutrition programs and schools anymore. I will make sure known-Mad Cow related material is ABSOLUTELY "banned" from ALL food - stopping its inclusion in pet food, fish feed, chicken feed, pig feed - not just cattle feed. And I will not allow it to be sent overseas to other countries as "food aid."
"I will work to stop the industrialization of animals - including bees - and the torturous conditions they live in. I will stop food scares, here or around the world, from being used to crush small farmers who are not responsible for Mad Cow and Bird Flu and bee colony collapse but connected to the industrialization of land, plants and animals by giant agricultural corporations."
You could also apologize for what Bill's NAFTA and multinational corporations did to Ohio.
That's real, Hillary. Ohio people are not fools. Around the country we all are sick of the slick laws, government lies, and an insane corporate drive for profit, threatening our lives. Devote yourself to reversing what Bill and Monsanto let happen to our food and to farmers around the world.
Being President doesn't matter. Power doesn't matter. Saving a world for Chelsea does.
Linn Cohen-ColeLinn Cohen-Cole lives in Atlanta. Like Hillary, she is an alumna of Wellesley College. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
And the people said, Amen!