… Something to consider especially if you are a woman …

… Something to consider especially if you are a woman …

Cancer doctors love to amaze their patients with cool-looking techno gizmos while hyping up all their supposed benefits.

But what they don’t tell you is far more sobering: Much of the time, their technology is utterly useless — and their tests produce false positives that cause tremendous harm to countless women.

Such is the case with CAD mammography, the latest new quack technology craze in the cancer industry. Here’s the full report by Sherry Baker:
http://www.naturalnews.com/033161_CAD_mammography_breast_cancer.html

 

SMART METER

… SMART METER … JUST TELL THEM … HELL NO …

 

Smart Meters – The Ultimate Big Brother

07-27-2011  •  Speak Truth 2 Power

VIDEO explaining what Smart (Spy) Meters actually do, and how to make sure that you do not get one of these.

VIEW VIDEO HERE… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JNFr_j6kdI&feature=player_embedded

 

but it’$ in corporate be$t intere$t$ …

… This is uncon$cionable … but it’$ in corporate be$t intere$t$ …

BofA Donates Then Demolishes Houses to Cut Glut of Foreclosures

Q

By Lindsey Rupp – Jul 27, 2011 7:43 AM MT ….http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-27/bank-of-america-donates-then-demolishes-houses-to-get-rid-of-foreclosures.html

clip_image002Bank of America Corp. (BAC), faced with a glut of foreclosed and abandoned houses it can’t sell, has a new tool to get rid of the most decrepit ones: a bulldozer.

 

The biggest U.S. mortgage servicer will donate 100 foreclosed houses in the Cleveland area and in some cases contribute to their demolition in partnership with a local agency that manages blighted property. The bank has similar plans in Detroit and Chicago, with more cities to come, and Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), Citigroup Inc. (C), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Fannie Mae are conducting or considering their own programs.

 

Disposing of repossessed homes is one of the biggest headaches for lenders in the U.S., where 1,679,125 houses, or one in every 77, were in some stage of foreclosure as of June, according to research firm RealtyTrac Inc. of Irvine, California. The prospect of those properties flooding the market has depressed prices and driven off buyers concerned that housing values will keep dropping.

“There is way too much supply,” said Gus Frangos, president of the Cleveland-based Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corp., which works with lenders, government officials and homeowners to salvage vacant homes. “The best thing we can do to stabilize the market is to get the garbage off.”

 

BofA’s 40,000 … Bank of America had 40,000 foreclosures in the first quarter, saddling the Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender with taxes and maintenance costs. The bank announced the Cleveland program last month, has committed as many as 100 properties in Detroit and 150 in Chicago, and may add as many as nine cities by the end of the year, said Rick Simon, a company spokesman.

The lender will pay as much as $7,500 for demolition or $3,500 in areas eligible to receive funds through the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Uses for the land include development, open space and urban farming, according to the statement. Simon declined to say how many foreclosed properties Bank of America holds.

Ohio ranked among the top 10 states with the most foreclosure filings in June, according to RealtyTrac. The state has 71,617 foreclosed homes, Cuyahoga County 9,797 and Cleveland 6,778, RealtyTrac said.

The tear-downs are in varying states of disrepair, from uninhabitable to badly damaged. Simon said some are worth less than $10,000, and it would cost too much to make them livable.

 

Unwanted Homes …“No one needs these homes, no one is going to buy them,” said Christopher Thornberg, founding partner at the Los Angeles office of Beacon Economics LLC, a forecasting firm. “Bank of America is not going to be able to cover its losses, so it might as well give them away and get a little write-off and some nice public relations.”

Donating a house may create an income-tax deduction, said Robert Willens, an independent accounting analyst based in New York. A bank might deduct as much as the fair market value if a home wasn’t acquired with the explicit intent of knocking it down, he said.

Wells Fargo and Fannie Mae already started donating houses and demolition funds in Ohio. San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, the biggest U.S. home lender, gave 26 properties and $127,000 to the Cuyahoga land bank, said Russ Cross, Midwest regional servicing director for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Since 2009, Wells Fargo made more than 800 donations, the bank said.

 

Fannie Mae …Fannie Mae, the mortgage-finance company operating under U.S. conservatorship, made its first deal with the Cuyahoga land bank in 2009, and sells houses to the organization at a “very nominal value,” or about $1 and an additional $200 in closing costs, said P.J. McCarthy, who heads alternative disposition programs.

Fannie Mae sold 200 foreclosures to the Cuyahoga organization in 2010 and has similar programs in Detroit and Chicago. Cleveland is the only city where Washington-based Fannie Mae contributes $3,500 toward demolition, McCarthy said.

“It’s an economically justifiable transaction,” McCarthy said. “Holding on to a property that might sell for $1,000 or $2,000 or $5,000 for several hundred days is not in anybody’s best interest.”

JPMorgan, the second-biggest U.S. bank, has donated or sold at a discount almost 1,900 properties valued at more than $100 million in more than 37 states since late 2008, including 22 in Cleveland, said Jim O’Donnell, manager of community revitalization. The majority aren’t demolished, he said.

 

Nonprofit Role … Citigroup has been donating foreclosures since 2008 through the National Community Stabilization Trust, according to an e- mailed statement from Natalie Abatemarco, managing director for the bank’s office of homeownership preservation. The New York- based company, ranked third among U.S. lenders, is part of the Washington-based nonprofit trust’s pilot program that starts in late August to provide funds for purchases in distressed neighborhoods, and the money can be used toward demolition, Abatemarco said.

Demolishing all of Cleveland’s foreclosed and abandoned properties might cost $250 million, Frangos said. There are as many as 13,000, according to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and Neighborhood Progress Inc., a nonprofit organization working to counter the effects of foreclosures in six Cleveland areas, according to its website. The Cuyahoga County land bank owns about 899 properties and will demolish about 700 in the next six to seven months, Frangos said.

 

Blow Them Up …The oversupply of homes once prompted Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), to quip in February 2010 that one solution was to “blow up a lot of houses — a tactic similar to the destruction of autos that occurred with the ‘cash-for-clunkers’ program.’”

 

Still, the knockdowns aren’t likely to outpace foreclosures, said Rick Sharga, RealtyTrac’s senior vice president. Foreclosures may accelerate as banks clear a backlog caused by soft real estate markets and legal disputes over tactics used to seize homes.

 

“These sorts of programs will basically only be nibbling on the edges,” Sharga said.

 

To contact the reporter on this story: Lindsey Rupp in New York at Lrupp1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net; Rick Green in New York at rgreen18@bloomberg.net.

 

EPA clarifies permitting process on tribal lands

  Headlines like this suggest that “whitey” has just found a new tactic to screw the indigenous people of America … our legacy is we don’t do anything that does not benefit us …

EPA clarifies permitting process on tribal lands

By FELICIA FONSECA ,,,Jul 27, 7:00 PM EDT …Associated Press … http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AZ_TRIBES_CLEAN_AIR_AZOL-?SITE=AZCAS&SECTION=STATE&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

 

 

 

 

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Tribal economies could see a boost with a new rule that makes it easier – and possibly timelier – for some industrial facilities to obtain permits to do business on American Indian reservations.

The rule that goes into effect in late August covers permits for large and small emissions sources in Indian Country. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency outlined the rule earlier this year.

"In the past, sources may have avoided Indian Country because of uncertainty in the permitting process," said Janet McCabe, deputy administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. "In other cases, states may have been issuing permits for areas of Indian Country, or sources may have been bypassing permitting altogether."

EPA previously had a rule for large sources of emissions in areas that meet national air quality standards.

But there was no permitting process for large facilities, such as power plants and cement plants that emit more than 100 tons of pollutants a year, as well as smaller ones – like gas stations, boilers at casinos and auto body shops that emit less than 100 or 250 tons a year – in areas where national air standards haven’t been met. More than 77 tribes in the country are in those areas, according to the EPA.

The new rule lays out requirements for those sources and also requires that the smaller emissions sources register throughout Indian Country.

 

Erin Brockovich we do not have

… Sorry …. Arizona … a 2011 version of Erin Brockovich we do not have … though we have an abundance of ‘wantabe’ PG&E’s …

Don’t hold your breath neither ADEQ nor ADWR will champion limits on hexavalent chromium for Arizona water you consume …

Chromium 6 limit in water goal set by Calif. EPA

The California Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday released the nation’s first standard for limiting a cancer-causing chemical in drinking water.

The agency set a public health goal for hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium 6, that will be used by the state’s Department of Public Health to help create a legally enforceable limit on the chemical in drinking water. The agency set the goal at .02 parts per billion.

Chromium 6 gained national infamy after a toxic plume contaminated water in the Mojave Desert town of Hinkley (San Bernardino County) – leading to a $333 million settlement from the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. – and was dramatized in the film "Erin Brockovich."

Dr. George Alexeef, acting director of the agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, said the goal "is the culmination of years of study and research on the health effects of this chemical. As the nation’s first official goal for this contaminant, it will be an important tool" to develop a regulatory standard.

The Department of Public Health will consider the goal, along with the costs and feasibility of reaching it, in creating a final regulatory standard. That could take several years. The goal is equivalent to a likelihood of one person in a million developing cancer after drinking tap water with that level of the chemical every day for 70 years.

The Legislature called for a standard to be in place by 2004, but there have been a host of delays, including proving scientifically that the chemical is dangerous if ingested. The harmful effects of inhaling it already were established.

Dr. Gina Solomon, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, praised the level of the public health goal and said she expected some water agencies would begin reducing the level of the chemical – if it exists in their supply – to that standard even before the state makes a final regulation.

"I expect there will be a few places where there will be problems that need to be addressed and a lot of areas where won’t it be very difficult to achieve," Solomon said. The group has called on the federal government to take similar action.

This article appeared on page C – 6 of the San Francisco Chronicle

No Free Pass for New Genetically Engineered Crops…!

… Read … study … decide … then do something … this is just plain wrong …

 

No Free Pass for New Genetically Engineered Crops…!

 

In April, we asked organic activists to take action to stop an outrageous US Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposal for the biotech industry to police itself. Despite the opposition of 10,000 Organic Consumers Association members, the USDA is going forward with the controversial deregulation, which allows companies like Monsanto to decide whether their genetically engineered crops pose environmental risks.

And if this wasn’t bad enough, this month, things got much, much worse. For the first time ever, the USDA announced that it was waiving its regulatory authority over a new genetically engineered lawn grass made by Scotts Miracle-Gro, letting the company start selling the Franken-grass without any review of how it might effect human health, the environment, or organic farmers whose pastures will be contaminated. Essentially, the USDA has created a new class of genetically engineered plants, animals and animal drugs that get a free pass through any government regulation or review.

Up until now, genetically engineered crops have been regulated as "plant pests" because plant pathogens like viruses and bacteria are used in the genetic engineering process. Because Scott’s genetically engineered "RoundUp Ready" grass was created without using bacteria that could cause disease in plants, the USDA says it can’t be regulated as a plant pest.

With this decision, the USDA has opened the farm gate to any genetically engineered crop now under development that does not use viral material. That’s a loophole the biotech industry could use to contaminate the entire food supply. This is very dangerous territory, we need stronger safeguards against GE crops, not a slippery slope towards total deregulation.

Because Scott’s new, gene-altered lawn grass is "RoundUp Ready", we will all be exposed to more of Monsanto’s toxic pesticide, which is linked to birth defects and cancer. Plus, the reasoning used to give the RoundUp Ready grass a free pass will be used by companies like Monsanto to get future genetically engineered crops into the food supply without any public input or government review.

Scott’s grass is genetically engineered to resist Monsanto’s RoundUp herbicide, so lawns can be heavily sprayed with RoundUp, killing the weeds, but sparing the mutant grass. This will mean a drastic increase in the use of the pesticide in neighborhoods, parks, schoolyards and golf courses, increasing the public’s exposure to a toxin that causes "endocrine disruption, damage to DNA, reproductive and developmental toxicity, neurotoxicity, and cancer, as well as birth defects." (If exposure to RoundUp concerns you, avoid foods made with RoundUp Crops: corn, soy, cottonseed, canola, sugar beets and alfalfa, including meat, milk and eggs from animals fed these crops.)

A Free Pass for New Genetically Engineered Crops    We need government regulations like those in Europe, which require independent and rigorous scientific review of the potential impact on the environment and human health of releasing new, artificially manipulated DNA into nature and the food supply. The U.S. statutes that exist now are woefully inadequate.

Monsanto spokespersons and biotech industry reps are claiming they won’t try this with food, arguing that genetically engineered food crops would not be accepted by the market without government approval. Don’t be so sure. Genetically engineered foods don’t have to be labeled, so there’s nothing stopping new Frankenfoods from being secretly injected into the food supply.

Scotts needs to be punished in the marketplace with a consumer boycott of all Scotts, Miracle-Gro, Ormocote, Ortho and RoundUp (yes, Scotts markets RoundUp!) products!

DOWNLOAD THE SCOTTS BOYCOTT FLYER 

But most of all, we need your support for a multi-state, multi-year campaign to win ballot initiatives and legislation that would make labels on genetically engineered foods mandatory.

PLEASE SUPPORT THE MILLIONS AGAINST MONSANTO CAMPAIGN

 

…Monsanto Nation: Taking Down Goliath

Monsanto Nation: Taking Down Goliath…

 

By Ronnie Cummins …Organic Consumers Association, July 27, 2011… http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_23693.cfm

Incredibly revealing . . . "If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it." – Norman Braksick, president of Asgrow Seed Co., a subsidiary of Monsanto, quoted in the Kansas City Star, March 7, 1994

After two decades of biotech bullying and force-feeding unlabeled and hazardous genetically engineered (GE) foods to animals and humans, it’s time to move beyond defensive measures and go on the offensive.  With organic farming, climate stability, and public health under the gun of the gene engineers and their partners in crime, it’s time to do more than complain. With over 1/3 of U.S. cropland already contaminated with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), withmounting scientific evidence that GMOs cause cancer, birth defects, and serious food allergies  and with new biotech mutants like alfalfa, lawn grass, ethanol-ready corn, 2,4 D-resistant crops, and genetically engineered trees and animals in the pipeline, time is running out.

Living in Monsanto Nation there can be no such thing as "coexistence." It is impossible to coexist with a reckless industry that endangers public health, bribes public officials, corrupts scientists, manipulates the media, destroys biodiversity, kills the soil, pollutes the environment, tortures and poisons animals, destabilizes the climate, and economically enslaves the world’s 1.5 billion seed-saving small farmers. It’s time to take down the Biotech Behemoth, before the living web of biodiversity is terminated. 

But, to bring down Goliath and build an organic future, we need to be strategic, as well as bold. We must take the time to carefully analyze our strengths and weaknesses and critique our previous efforts. Then we must prepare to concentrate our forces where our adversary is weak, like a chess master, moving the field of battle from Monsanto’s currently impregnable territory into more favorable terrain. Given the near-dictatorial control of Monsanto, the Farm Bureau, and the Grocery Manufacturers Association over the Congress, the White House, regulatory agencies, and state legislators, we have no choice in the present moment but to revert to "asymmetrical" guerrilla tactics, to seek out the Achilles heel or fundamental weakness of the biotech industry.

Consumers’ Right to Know: Monsanto’s Achilles Heel

The Achilles heel of Monsanto and the biotech industry is consumers’ right to know. If GE-tainted foods are labeled in supermarkets and natural food stores, a massive rejection of chemical and GMO foods will take place, transforming the marketplace and supercharging the organic and local foods revolution. The biotech industry has been aware of their tremendous vulnerability in the United States ever since Monsanto forced their controversial recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone on the market in February 1994.  In the wake of nationwide "Frankenfood" protests and milk dumps, industry made sure that no federal labeling or safety testing would be required. As the biotechnocrats understand full well, mandatory GE food labels will cripple the industry: consumers will not buy gene-altered foods, farmers will not plant them, restaurants and food processors will avoid them, and grocery stores will not sell them. How can we be certain about this? By looking at the experience of the European Union, the largest agricultural market in the world. In the EU, there are almost no genetically engineered crops under cultivation or GE consumer food products on supermarket shelves. And why is this? Not because GE crops are automatically banned in Europe. But rather because under EU law, all foods containing genetically engineered ingredients must be labeled. 

European consumers have the freedom to choose or not to choose GE foods; while farmers, food processors, and retailers have (at least legally) the right to lace foods with GMOs, as long as these gene-altered are safety-tested and labeled. Of course the EU food industry understands that consumers, for the most part, do not want to consume GE foods. European farmers and food companies, even junk food purveyors like McDonald’s and Wal-Mart, understand quite well the concept expressed by the Monsanto executive quoted above: "If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it."

The biotech and food industry are acutely conscious of the fact that North American consumers, like their European counterparts, are wary and suspicious of GMO foods. Even without a PhD, consumers understand you don’t want your food safety or environmental sustainability decisions to be made by out-of-control chemical companies like Monsanto, Dow, or DuPont – the same people who brought you toxic pesticides and industrial chemicals, Agent Orange, carcinogenic food additives, PCBs, and now global warming. Industry leaders are definitely aware of the fact that every poll over the last 20 years has shown that 85-95% of American consumers want mandatory labels on genetically engineered foods. Why do consumers want labels? So that we can avoid buying these mutant foods, gene-spliced with viruses, bacteria, antibiotic-resistant marker genes and foreign DNA. Gene-altered foods have absolutely no benefits for consumers or the environment, only hazards. This is why Monsanto and their friends in the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations have prevented consumer GMO truth-in-labeling laws from ever getting a public discussion, much less coming to a vote, in Congress. 

Although Congressman Dennis Kucinich (Democrat, Ohio) perennially introduces a bill in Congress calling for mandatory labeling and safety testing for GE foods, don’t hold your breath for Congress to take a stand for truth-in-labeling. Especially since the 2010 Supreme Court decision in the so-called "Citizens United" case gave big corporations, millionaires, and billionaires the right to spend unlimited amounts of money (and remain anonymous, as they do so) to buy media coverage and elections, our chances of passing federal GMO labeling laws against the wishes of Monsanto and Food Inc. are all but non-existent. 

Perfectly dramatizing the "Revolving Door" between Monsanto and the Federal Government, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, formerly chief counsel for Monsanto, delivered one of the decisive votes in the Citizens United case, in effect giving Monsanto and other biotech bullies the right to buy the votes it needs in the U.S. Congress.

With biotech and industrial agriculture’s big money controlling Congress, the White House, and the corporate mass media, we have little choice but to shift our focus and our campaigning to more favorable terrain: the state level and the marketplace.

Besides boycotting non-organic foods likely containing GMOs (even those marketed as "natural") and demanding that natural food stores adopt truth-in-labeling practices, we’ve got to push for mandatory GE food labeling laws in the legislatures of those few remaining states like Vermont where Monsanto and corporate agribusiness do not yet have total control. Of the 18 states where GE food labeling legislation has been introduced over the past two years, only in Vermont does our side seem to have the votes to push labeling through, as well as a Governor who will not cave in to Monsanto.

State Ballot Initiatives: Monsanto and Biotech’s Greatest Weakness

Although passing a mandatory GE foods labeling law in Vermont is a distinct possibility, and something we should all support, the most promising strategy for restoring consumers’ right to know lies in utilizing one of the most important remaining tools of direct citizen democracy, state ballot initiatives. A state ballot initiative is a means by which a petition signed by a certain minimum number of registered voters can bring about a public vote on a proposed statute or constitutional amendment, in this case a law requiring mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.  Ballot initiatives are also called, depending on the state, "popular initiatives," "voter initiatives," "citizen initiatives" or just "initiatives."

Twenty-four states, mainly west of the Mississippi, allow ballot initiatives. Each state has its own requirements for how many signatures are required, how many days can be spent collecting the signatures, and when petitions must be turned in. States also vary on the average amount of money spent by initiative committees to support or oppose ballot measures. 

The essential advantage of state ballot initiatives is that they enable the grassroots (in our case the 85-95% of consumers who want labels on GE-tainted foods) to bypass corrupt politicians, industry lobbyists, and special interest legislative practices. In addition, the very strategic point to keep in mind is that it will not be necessary to pass GMO labeling ballot initiatives in all 24 of these states. In fact, passage in just one large state, for example, California, where there is tremendous opposition to GE foods as well as a multi-billion dollar organic food industry, will likely have the same impact as a national labeling law. 

If Vermont passes a state labeling law though its legislature in 2011, or California voters put a GMO labeling initiative on the ballot in 2012 and pass it, the biotech and food industry will face an intractable dilemma. Will they dare put labels on their branded food products in just one or two states, admitting these products contain genetically engineered ingredients, while still withholding label information in the other states? The answer is very likely no. Withholding important and controversial information in some states, while providing it to consumers in other states, would be a public relations disaster. 

A clear precedent for this situation was established in California in 1986 when voters passed, over the strenuous opposition of industry, a ballot initiative called Proposition 65, which required consumer products with potential cancer-causing ingredient to bear warning labels. Rather than label their products sold in California as likely carcinogenic, most companies reformulated their product ingredients so as to avoid warning labels altogether, and they did this on a national scale, not just in California. 

This same scenario will likely unfold if California voters pass a ballot initiative in 2012 requiring labels on food containing genetically engineered ingredients. Can you imagine Kellogg’s selling Corn Flakes breakfast cereal in California with a label that admits it contains genetically engineered corn? Or labeling their corn flakes as GE in California, but not divulging this same fact to consumers in the other 49 states or Canada? Of course not.  How about Kraft Boca Burgers admitting that their soybean ingredients are genetically modified? How about the entire non-organic food industry (including many so-called "natural" brands) admitting that 75% of their products are GE-tainted?  Once food manufacturers and supermarkets are forced to come clean and label genetically engineered products, they will likely remove all GE ingredients, to avoid the "skull and crossbones" effect, just like the food industry in the EU has done. In the wake of this development American farmers will convert millions of acres of GE crops to non-GMO or organic varieties.

The biotechnocrats and their allies have indeed used their vast resources to buy off Congress, the White House, and most state legislatures with campaign contributions. Monsanto, DuPont, and other corporate giants have used their enormous clout to send their lawyers and scientists through the revolving door into jobs as government regulators. Biotech’s financial power has polluted state and federal governments, along with trade associations, universities, research institutions, philanthropic organizations, and media outlets.

But there are two things Monsanto’s money can’t buy: Our trust, and our votes.

Polls Show Consumers Overwhelmingly Support GE Food Labels

Poll after poll has shown that most consumers want to know whether their food includes engineered ingredients. 

The results of a recent MSNBC poll that posed the question, "Do you believe genetically modified foods should be labeled?" indicate that nearly all Americans believe that foods made with genetically modified organisms should indeed be labeled. 

Of the more than 45,000 people who participated in the poll, over 96% answered "Yes. It’s an ethical issue – consumers should be informed so they can make a choice."

It’s not news that most Americans support labeling of GMO foods. Since genetically modified foods were first introduced in mid-1990s, scores of public opinion polls have shown that the vast majority of consumers want mandatory labeling of all genetically modified foods. These include recent polls by CBS News/New York Times, NPR/Thomson Reuters and the Consumers Union. Unfortunately, Congress and the White House have ignored these polls, accepting instead the claims of lobbyists and indentured scientists that genetically engineered foods are perfectly safe, and that uninformed and scientifically illiterate Americans must not be given the choice to buy or not to buy GMOs, because they will reject them.

Monsanto spent more than $1 million on the 2010 election cycle, splitting its contributions evenly between state and federal candidates. It spends much more on lobbying – more than $8 million in each of the last three years. Monsanto’s money has bought it influence and allowed it to move its lawyers and scientists through the revolving door into roles within the regulatory agencies. The USDA, FDA and State Department are full of appointees with connections to Monsanto. Monsanto’s efforts have successfully stifled attempts in Congress and state legislatures to pass GMO labeling legislation.

The Slingshot that Can Bring Down Goliath

The most important advantage or weapon in a ballot initiative (or in a grassroots legislative lobbying campaign) is to have the overwhelming support of the people, especially registered voters. As poll after poll has shown, 85-95% of Americans support mandatory GE food labels. No matter how much money Monsanto and their allies spend to defeat a ballot initiative, it is very difficult to turn back overwhelming public sentiment. Monsanto has become one of the most hated corporations on earth.

The second requirement for a successful ballot initiative is to have the active support of a massive grassroots movement, like the growing anti-GE food movement and OCA’s Millions Against Monsanto campaign. This grassroots movement can gather petition signatures, mobilize public opinion, and get out the vote. No matter how much money Monsanto and their allies spend, it will be very difficult to defeat a volunteer grassroots army of organic consumers who enjoy the massive support of the public.

The third prerequisite for victory is to have the ability to raise significant sums of money. Not only do we have millions of organic consumers in the U.S. who are passionately opposed to GMOs, and willing to donate to a labeling campaign, but we also have a rapidly growing $30 billion organic food industry that depends upon keeping GMO contamination out of the organic sector. We probably won’t be able to raise enough money to outspend Monsanto, the Farm Bureau, and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, but we can raise enough money to defend our popular position and maintain majority support.

Just like everything in U.S. politics, ballot initiatives have a price tag.

According to the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center:

·         "The chances of victory are directly correlated with the amount of money raised and are almost always proportional to the amount of money the opposition spends."

·         "People power is equally important to factor in. Particularly for Citizen-based ballot initiative efforts, it is imperative to have people on the ground across the state that are connected and invested in the initiative."

 

Biotechnology or BioDemocracy?

Restoring consumers’ right to know and driving genetically engineered foods off supermarket shelves are not going to solve all of the life and death issues that are currently staring us in the face: the climate crisis, endless wars, economic depression, corporate control over government, and the health crisis. But cutting Monsanto and the biotechnocrats down to size and restoring consumer choice are a good first step to move us toward sustainability and a healthy food and farming system. Just as important, in political terms, by defeating the Biotech Bullies and indentured politicians, we can begin to restore the tattered self-confidence of the American body politic. A resounding victory by the organic community and OCA’s Millions Against Monsanto campaign will prove to ourselves and the currently demoralized public that we can indeed take back control over the institutions and public policies that determine our daily lives. Now is the time to move forward.