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Archive for April 5th, 2013

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Quote of the Day

From Mark Shea:

Don’t imagine that the sin of greed produces sanity.  Those who think the rich and powerful can’t be bought are not in touch with reality.  The rich and powerful have been bought already.  That is why they are rich and powerful.

These people will not stop till a) we stop them or b) they have utterly ransacked the economy and brought the world to its knees.  The testimony of human history is that a pagan world is *always* based on a slave economy.  Slavery is the norm, not the exception, for fallen man.  Christ is the only one who frees from slavery and even the influence of his Spirit took centuries to really penetrate a human race in which every culture took it for granted.  Now that the influence of the Church is on the wane in the West, one of the very first things we should expect (and are seeing) is the immediate return of slavery and the reduction of human beings to property, first de facto and eventually de jure.

Read it in context here.

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Thursday 4 April 2013 in guardian.co.uk:

Monsanto and the US farm biotech industry wield legendary power. A revolving door allows corporate chiefs to switch to top posts in the Foodand Drug Administration and other agencies; US embassies around the world push GM technology onto dissenting countries; government subsidies back corporate research; federal regulators do largely as the industry wants; the companies pay millions of dollars a year to lobby politicians; conservative thinktanks combat any political opposition; thecourts enforce corporate patents on seeds; and the consumer is denied labels or information.

But even people used to the closeness of the US administration and food giants like Monsanto have been shocked by the latest demonstration of the GM industry’s political muscle. Little-noticed in Europe or outside the US, President Barack Obama last week signed off what has become widely known as “the Monsanto Protection Act”, technically the Farmer Assurance Provision rider in HR 933: Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act 2013

The key phrases are a mouthful of legal mumbo jumbo but are widely thought to have been added to the bill by the Missouri republican senator Roy Blunt who is Monsanto’s chief recipient of political funds. For the record, they read:

“In the event that a determination of nonregulated status made pursuant to section 411 of Plant Protection Act is or has been invalidated or vacated, the secretary of agriculture shall, notwithstanding any other provision of law upon request by a farmer, grower, farm operator, or producer, immediately grant temporary permit(s) or temporary deregulation in part, subject to necessary and appropriate conditions consistent with section 411(a) or 412c of the Plant Protection Act, which interim conditions shall authorise the movement, introduction, continued cultivation, commercialisation and other specifically enumerated activities and requirements, including measures designed to mitigate or minimise potential adverse environmental effects, if any, relevant to the secretary’s evaluation of the petition for nonregulated status, while ensuring that growers or other users are able to move, plant, cultivate, introduce into commerce and carry out other authorised activities in a time manner …”

According to an array of food and consumer groups, organic farmers, civil liberty and trade unions and others, this hijacks the constitution, sets a legal precedent and puts Monsanto and other biotech companies above the federal courts. It means, they say, that not even the US government can now stop the sale, planting, harvest or distribution of any GM seed, even if it is linked to illness or environmental problems.

Read the rest here.

And for the record:

Former Monsanto Appointees to the FDA, USDA, and EPA

Monsanto Position
Individual
Federal Position
Senior Vice President for Clinical Affairs at G.D. Searle and Co. (merged with Monsanto)
Michael A. Friedman
Acting Commissioner of the FDA
Consultant to Searle’s Public Relation Firm (merged with Monsanto)
Arthur Hull Hayes
Previously FDA Commissioner
Top Monsanto Scientist, oversaw approval of rBGH
Margaret Miller
Appointed Deputy Director of FDA, 1991
Worked on Monsanto-funded rBGH in connection with Cornell University
Suzanne Sechen
FDA Reviewer on Scientific Data
Attorney for Monsanto for 7 years, previous Head of Monsanto Washington D.C. Office
Michael Taylor
Former FDA Deputy Commision for Policy. In 2010 appointed Senior Advisor to FDA Commissioner
Former Monsanto Lawyer
Clarence Thomas
Appointed to U.S. Supreme Court in 1991
Served on Board of Directors at Calgene, a Monsanto Biotech Subsidiary
Anne Veneman
Appointed head of USDA in 2001
Retired Senior Vice President for Public Policy at Monsanto
Dr. Virginia Weldon
Previously, member of FDA’s Metabolism and Endocrine Advisory Committee
Vice President, Public and Government Affairs
Linda Fisher
Deputy Administration EPA
Manager, New Technologies
Linda Watrud
USDA, EPA
Director, Monsanto Danforth Center
Roger Beachy
Director USDA, NIFA

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From Fides:
Cairo – The Coptic Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, Tawadros II, has expressed his desire to go to Rome to meet Pope Francis. According to Egyptian media sources – such as the daily Al-Masry Al-Youm – the intention was expressed by the head of the largest Christian Church in the Arab world on Wednesday evening, when Pope Tawadros received the visit at the Cathedral of St. Mark of His Exc. Mgr. Jean-Paul Gobel, appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Egypt last January 5. During the meeting between Nuncio Gobel and Pope Tawadros, the intention to make the fraternal cooperation between the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church more and more intense was confirmed. The visit of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch of the Apostolic See of Rome and its Bishop represent a very important event from an ecumenical point of view. Tawadros’s predecessor, Pope Shenouda III, had met Pope Paul VI at the Vatican forty years ago, in May 1973. On that occasion, the Pope and the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch had signed an important common Christological declaration, and had started the bilateral ecumenical dialogue between the two Churches.

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