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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Organic Bytes -- 9/26 -- Stop Monsanto


FDA’s Voluntary GMO Labeling Is Good for Monsanto, Bad for Consumers

While consumers battle on for laws mandating the labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food products, some lawmakers are taking the GMO labeling debate in a different direction. And it’s a direction that’s anything but consumer friendly.
Last month, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) asked the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to finalize its 2001 guidance on voluntary labeling of GMOs.
The senators advertised their request as a move intended to benefit you, the consumer. But in fact, a federal voluntary labeling plan plays right into the hands of the biotech and big food industries.
Sorry, Senators. But voluntary will never be the new mandatory.
If the FDA heeds the request of Senators Warren and Udall, we could see the end of states’ rights to label GMOs. And the end of non-GMO certification and labeling. Not exactly the consumer-friendly sort of advocating we’re looking for.
Read the essay



Whose Side Are They on, Anyway?

It’s a pretty safe bet that if Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), two of the largest funders of campaigns to defeat GMO labeling, are in favor of something, that “something” won’t be good for you.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) have signaled support for FDA guidance on voluntary labeling of GMOs. A move to protect consumers? Hardly. After all, Monsanto and the GMA also want the FDA to finalize its voluntary guidance on GMO labeling. And that wouldn’t be true unless the biotech and food industries thought there was something in it for them.
What might that something be? Perhaps the path to preemption of states’ rights to label GMOs. Or the end of certified non-GMO labels. Or maybe both.
Sometimes it makes sense to contact senators outside your own state, especially when they’re advocating for a law that could hurt all consumers.

This is one of those times. Please sign our petition below, and forward it widely. Then pick up the phone and ask Senators Warren and Udall to side with you, not Monsanto and the GMA, by supporting state and federal mandatory GMO labeling laws.
TAKE ACTION: Tell Senators Warren and Udall: FDA’s Voluntary GMO Labeling is Good for Monsanto, Bad for Consumers
Call Sen. Warren (202) 224-4543 and Sen. Udall at  (202) 224-5941



Poisoning Minds

For more than two decades, Monsanto has been poisoning our water, our soil, our food.
But right now, the Biotech Bully is focused on one thing: Poisoning the minds of voters in Washington State - voters who are still on the fence about I-522, an initiative to label GMOs in food sold in grocery stores.

Last week, Monsanto and friends launched a statewide, anti-labeling, anti-I-522 ad blitz. It looks a lot like the $46-million worth of negative, deceitful ads they unleashed last year this time in California. Ads that helped defeat California’s GMO labeling initiative.
Monsanto, DuPont, Dow, Bayer, BASF and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (representing the junk food gang) are footing the bill. With almost $12 million (so far) to spend, they’re running ads that are dishonest and misleading. But clever. And convincing.
If you’re a busy mom or college student, a distracted worker with too much on your everyday plate, you might be hearing “GMO” for the first time. From Monsanto. The lies Monsanto will feed you – that labeling will cost you money, that farmers and grocers will be hurt – just might resonate.
If you never see or hear the truth, from the YES on I-522 campaign, you could be one of the voters who checks the “NO” box.
That’s what we’re up against, today, in Washington State. And that’s why we need your help. Today. To reach all those fence sitters. And the voters who are hearing about GMOs for the first time. Your donation will help us dilute the poison. And win this seminal GMO labeling battle. Thank you!

Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our legislative efforts in Washington, Vermont and other states)
Donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education)



Good Riddance. We Hope.

It’s not a done deal yet. But we’re close to scoring a huge victory: the end of the Monsanto Protection Act.
Yesterday (September 24), Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, proposed an alternative to the House version of the Continuing Resolution, a bill to fund the federal government beyond Sept. 30, 2013. Absent from the new-and-improved version is the Farmers Assurance Provision, that sneaky, Monsanto-friendly “policy rider” better known as the Monsanto Protection Act.
On Tuesday, Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) told Poltico: “That provision will be gone.”
Gone from the Senate version. But will the House approve the Senate’s new Continuing Resolution? With more than 30 hours of debate to go, there’s no guarantee the Senate and House will come to terms on any new bill. Much less one without the Monsanto Protection Act.
In the meantime, we hope. And we keep up the pressure on our Senators
TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to Vote No on the Continuing Resolution unless the Monsanto Protection Act is removed



Let’s Up the Buzz to Protect the Bees!

The OCA, along with Friends of the Earth, and other protectors of the environment have called on Home Depot and Lowe’s to stop selling plants coated in neonicotinoids. Neonics, as they’re not-so-affectionately called, are a class of pesticides considered largely responsible for killing off the honeybee.
So far, neither Home Depot nor Lowe’s has responded to our petitions. So we’ve designated this week as “Swarm Home Depot and Lowe’s Week.” How can you help? By tapping the power of social media, of course.
Here’s what to do. First, visit Home Depot and Lowe’s on facebook and ask them to stop selling bee-killing pesticides and pre-poisoned bee-friendly plants.
Next take to twitter. Here are a couple of tweets for inspiration, but you can create your own messages, too.
@homedepot @lowes: 1 out of3 bites of food need #bees! Stop selling bee-killing pesticides! #BeeAction @foe_us
Buzz kill: @Home Depot @Lowes: stop selling bee-killing pesticides #BeeAction @foe_us:
And of course, sign the petition if you haven’t already. And forward it to a friend.
TAKE ACTION: Home Depot and Lowe’s: Stop Selling Bee-Killing Garden Plants!



Farm Bill on Life Support. Again.

The 2013 Farm Bill still has a pulse, but not much of one.
On September 19, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the bill. It contains almost $40 billion over 10 years in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the main food assistance program that used to be called food stamps.
Now what? The current Farm Bill expires on September 30. With only a few days left it’s not likely the House and Senate will agree on, and pass, a new five-year bill. Dale Moore, the executive director of public policy for the American Farm Bureau Federation, told the New York Times this week, “Right now, we’re just hoping that something will get done before the end of the year.”
Cutting benefits for the poor to give subsidies to the rich agribusinesses doesn’t seem like something that should “get done.” Nor does passing a bill that contains an amendment that could overturn states’ rights to label GMOs.

The OCA has joined an 80+ coalition that is calling on lawmakers to oppose the King Amendment, Sec. 11312 of H.R. 2642, a provision to the House-approved version of the Farm Bill that could wipe out countless state laws and rules regulating agriculture and food labeling.
If you haven’t yet signed our petition asking Congress to reject the King Amendment, or any federal legislation that would stomp on states’ rights to label GMOs, now would be a good time.

Read the press release
TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress: Don’t Pass a Farm Bill that Lets Monsanto Wipe Out State GMO Labeling Laws!



Groups Plan Anti-Monsanto World Food Day Events

Can’t think of a better way to celebrate World Food Day than to stick it to Monsanto. En masse.
Two groups - March against Monsanto and and Moms Across America - are targeting the Biotech Bully during the week of October 12 – 18. No strangers to Monsanto protests, both groups have organized marches in the past. And generated global participation. And global publicity.
You know how it goes. The more the merrier. And the more powerful. How about finding an event near you? And corralling your friends and family, too?
Join a Moms Across America World Food Day Event
Join a March Against Monsanto World Food Day Event


One Down, One to Go

Thanks to tens of thousands of consumers like you, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) gave a thumbs down to extending the deadline for getting tetracycline out of organic pears and apples. The NOSB ruled earlier this year that growers will have to stop using tetracycline after Oct. 21, 2014.
Great news. But, oops. One more thing. The NOSB is still considering allowing growers to use streptomycin until 2016, instead of requiring them to adhere to the original 2014 deadline. So it looks like they need to hear from us again. By October 1.
Consuming fruits sprayed with streptomycin exposes our healthy gut flora to risk, increasing our chances of developing resistance to an antibiotic that’s critical for treating tuberculosis, tularemia, plague, bacterial endocarditis, brucellosis and other diseases. Growers use the antibiotic to fight fire blight, a bacterial disease that kills the shoots of apple and pear trees. But there are other, better ways to fight fire blight.
TAKE ACTION: Tell the NOSB to Get Streptomycin Out of Organic Apples and Pears!



Essential Reading for the Week

9 Nastiest Things in the Meat You Eat
U.S. Department of Agriculture Guts National Organic Law
Report Urges OB/GYNs to Ask Pregnant Women About Exposure to Risky Environmental Chemicals
How Factory Farms May Be Killing Us
A Toddler on 3 Different Psychiatric Meds? How Drugging Kids Became Big Business

General Mills, ConAgra Report, and Big Food Suffer Losses in Wake of GMO Controversy


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Organic Bytes -- Sept 21


Six Ways You Can Help Bust Biotech

After decades of misleading consumers; bullying farmers; buying off politicians, regulatory officials and scientists; and spreading its toxic chemicals and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) on 420 million acres across the globe, once-mighty Monsanto and the biotech industry find themselves on the defensive.

Battered by mounting scientific evidence that Roundup-Ready (glyphosate), Bt-spliced and neonicotinoid-coated crops are damaging public health, animals, bees and the environment, and unnerved by a rapidly growing U.S. and global anti-GMO movement, Monsanto and its minions recently have been forced to dump another $10 million into a campaign in Washington State, in a frantic attempt to stop voters from passing I-522.

The jig’s up. The global anti-GMO, pro-organic grassroots are nearing critical mass.
But there’s still work to do. Now is the time to step up the pressure, not sit back and relax. Here are six ways you can help bust biotech.

Read the essay

Donate to Washington's GMO Labeling Initiative


Holy Cow! Another Organic Traitor

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Story A Month

So, I'm publishing a story a month for at least the next year. Click and sign up for the once monthly newsletter, please.

The first story is The Musicians and you can download it for free on, Click the link above and then follow link to the Smashwords page for The Musicians ebook. Smashwords has it available in all e-reader formats. Click "Add to Cart" and then checkout. Use the Coupon Code BC86Y and it will be yours for free.

It begins the ghosts of an ax murder who visit a mandolin player. Read it for more info.

You also can buy it on Kindle for 99 cents by following the Kindle link after clicking the link above. 99 cents makes you am patron of the literary arts Maybe pulp fiction arts would be a better term, except nobody uses that except in referring to the movie.

You can also hear next month's 3 Boogerberry Tales in their entirety on my website. Just click (same as above).

Thank you!
Uke Jackson

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Organic Bytes -- Corporate Chemical warfare


Monsanto, Dupont Spend $8.2M to Buy Washington Election

We knew they’d be back. With their bald-faced lies. Their brazen disregard for your health and our environment. Their arrogant plans to deny you the right to know what franken-ingredients they’re cooking up in their labs and disguising as “food” on your grocery shelves.
And their deep, deep pockets.
Sure enough, they are back. This week, Monsanto and Dupont dumped millions more of their GMO-tainted dollars into the campaign to defeat I-522, Washington State’s GMO labeling initiative. To date, Monsanto has ponied up $4.8 million. Dupont as kicked in $3.4 million. In all, so far, the NO on 522 campaign has raised more than $11 million. All from a handful of corporations. Not a penny from people like you.
Who’s supporting the YES on I-522 campaign? You. Your family. Your neighbors. Your friends. Tens of thousands of us. To their four chemical companies and one big front group representing junk food makers.
The polls show us winning in Washington. But the opposition is trying to whittle away at our poll numbers by rallying newspaper editors (who take advertising dollars from biotech and Big Food) and Big Ag trade groups to their side. Soon they’ll launch a full-on media blitz to try to scare voters into taking their side.
We recovered from, were galvanized around, the loss in California last year. Can we lose this battle again this year and still win the war? Let’s not go there.
Please make a donation today, however large or small, to support GMO labeling. Every dollar you donate here will go directly to the YES on I-522 campaign. Thank you!

Donate to Washington’s GMO Labeling Initiative!


Home Depot and Lowe’s: Stop Selling Bee-Killing Garden Plants!

You thought that pretty flowering plant you bought at the garden center might attract bees to your garden. But as it turns out, that lovely rose bush may actually be coated in the very type of pesticide that’s killing bees.
A new study co-authored by the Friends of the Earth (FOE) and Pesticide Research Institute found that seven out of 13 samples of garden plants purchased at top retailers in Washington D.C., the San Francisco Bay Area and Minneapolis contain neurotoxic pesticides known as neonicotinoids. Neonics, made by Bayer CropScience and Syngenta, are the fastest-growing class of synthetic pesticides.

They’re also linked to the mass die-off of honeybees.
How do we get bee-killing plants out of garden centers? We start by asking the CEOs of two of the largest national chains – Home Depot and Lowe’s – to stop selling them.
Here’s the plan. We’re teaming up with FOE, Center for Food SafetySumOfUs, and a number of other organizations. We’re asking our members (that’s you) to help us gather 300,000 signatures. When we reach that goal, we’re going to meet with the CEOs of Home Depot (Frank Blake) and Lowe’s (Robert Niblock) and ask them to do what garden centers in the U.K. have done – commit to getting bee-killing garden plants out of their stores.
About 100 crop species provide 90 percent of food globally. Of those species, 71 are pollinated by bees. In the U.S. alone, a full one-third of the food supply depends on pollination from bees. Can we afford not to pressure Home Depot and Lowe’s into getting neonics out of our gardens?


GMOs: ‘Words to Use, Words to Lose'

You say “genetically altered,” they say “enhanced.” You say “pesticides,” they say “crop control.” They say “improved nutrition,” you say . . . “say what?”
The OCA and the International Food Information Council (IFIC) were invited to give dueling presentations this week at the American Frozen Food Institute's (AFFI)Government Action Summit. Representing the OCA, Alexis Baden-Mayer picked apart the IFIC’s publication titled: “Food Biotechnology: A Communicator’s Guide to Improving Understanding.” The “Guide” contains a list of “Words to Use, Words to Lose” when talking about (obfuscating about?) GMOs.

Who is the IFIC dispensing advice to with its misinformation guide? Monsanto, Dow, Kraft, Coca-Cola, Mars . . . the usual suspects who oppose your right to know about GMOs. As if they needed the IFIC’s help when it comes to lying to consumers.


Endorse! Write Letters! Donate! Let’s Win!

The latest poll shows 66 percent of Washington voters lean toward voting YES on I-522, the GMO labeling initiative on the November 5 ballot. It’s good news. But it comes during the same week that the Biotech Bullies and the Junk Food Giants are ramping up their campaign, and filling up their coffers as they gear up to try to kill another labeling initiative.

We need everyone, including you, on board. Especially this week, National I-522 Solidarity Week.

We’re up to almost 36,000 endorsements. Can we hit 50,000 by midnight Sunday?Endorse the I-522 campaign
Other ways you can help:


Take Back Your Community with Food Sovereignty Laws!

Fed up with companies like Monsanto and Syngenta invading your community with their poison-drenched GMO crops? Don’t think the state or federal government should have the right to stop you from buying raw milk from the farm next door?
Why not join the Food Sovereignty Movement, a huge global network of citizens and farmers, fishermen and small-scale growers, who are reclaiming local control over food and agricultural policies by writing their own laws?
Four counties in California and one in Washington State have already banned GMO crops. Counties and communities in Oregon and Hawaii are soon to follow. And Maine is leading the way in protecting local farmers, and food producers and retailers, from the unreasonable constraints imposed by federal and state regulators. Learn how you can lead the charge against corporate corruption in your community.


GMO OMG: Is It the End of Food?

We don’t always see eye-to-eye with Grist writer Nathanael Johnson when it comes to GMOs. But we like the new documentary, GMO OMG. And Johnson’s interview with the film’s director, Jeremy Seifert, is worth a read. Seifert explains in his own words what drove him to document his family’s struggle to live and eat, without being part of an unhealthy, unjust, destructive food system.
GMO OMG opens in New York tomorrow, September 13, at Cinema Village
22 East 12th Street; on September 20, in Hollywood, Calif. at Arena Cinema, 625 N. Las Palmas Ave.; and on Sept. 27 in Seattle, Wash., SIFF Center, 305 Harrison Street.


Essential Reading for the Week


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

More Truth about Fracking from Delaware Riverkeeper

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network's 
Shale Truth Interview Series
Volume 3, Part 3
While last week Dr. Ingraffea explained how shockingly prevalent leaky gas wells actually are, this week he goes into the implications of these leaks and of burning or processing methane.
"Methane, unlike coal and oil, gets you three times..."
As Dr. Ingraffea puts it, methane is itself a greenhouse gas, but it also produces two other greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide when it's burned and soot or black carbon when it's processed.
Flame 2

On top of this, the heavy industrial activity of shale gas extraction poses a direct threat to clean drinking water and a safe, healthy environment.


Dr. Ingraffea also expands on the topic of landscape changes that come with shale gas development and how fragmenting forests in such a way is problematic on a local and global level.

Hear why Dr. Ingraffea does not think shale gas is a viable alternative energy source here.

Dr. Anthony Ingraffea,
Dwight C. Baum Professor of Engineering at Cornell University

Each Wednesday the Delaware Riverkeeper Network will upload a new video to YouTube from our Shale Truth Interview Series.  Each video is typically 5-8 minutes in length and provides an excellent source to stay informed about the dangers of shale gas.
See them here:


Like us on Facebook!

PA Rivers & Streams Under Attack Again -- From Delaware Riverkeeper

Help Protect PA’s Wild Trout Streams and Endangered Species From the PA Legislature Looking to Gut Protections to Appease Drillers & Other Special Interests
Oppose H.B. 1576 & S.B. 1047
A.K.A The Endangered Species Coordination Act
Contact your PA Legislators & Write the Legislative Committee Chairs Holding a Second Hearing On Sept 17th

Have you written your letter yet to help PA’s endangered species from being assaulted by our state legislators who are proposing another gift to the gas drillers?  The Pennsylvania Legislature is proposing to severely gut the state’s Endangered Species Act and other protections that help protect wild trout, endangered bats, and other sensitive PA species that are part of Pennsylvania’s natural heritage.  Please contact the Legislative Committee Chairs and your state legislators now to stop this bad legislation.  If you know people near Indiana, PA ask them to attend the joint legislative hearing on September 17th at 10AM.    
For more information and to write a letter with a few clicks at the DRN Action Alert Page to the Committee Chairs holding the hearing on September 17th and your PA State Representative CLICK HERE