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Can any Legal Beagles here advise me re: Bowman Vs Monsanto?

8:51 pm in Uncategorized by elisemattu

As many people closely following the method of patenting of the GM seeds already know, when farmers purchase “RoundUp” ready seeds for their crops, they sign a carefully worded document that enters them into a contract with Monsanto. (Or with whatever Food Corporation holds the patents to the seeds.) Among the activities specified in the contract is that the farmer may NOT collect the seeds for his use for the next time, or any future time, that he plants a crop. (For you astute legal minds, my question is at the very end of this diary of mine.)

So this past week, the Supreme Court Justices are undertaking the hearing of the case known as Bowman Vs. Monsanto.

The question in the case, Bowman v. Monsanto Company, No. 11-796, revolves around the issue of whether or not patent rights to seeds and other things that can replicate themselves extend beyond the first generation. The justices appeared alert to the consequences of their eventual ruling not only for Monsanto’s very lucrative soybean patents but also for modern agriculture generally and for areas as varied as vaccines, cell lines and software.

Now to add to the spice of the considerations, farmer Bowman had at one point bought seed for crops from Monsanto. At that time, he entered into the usual agreement regarding his not collecting these seeds at the end of the harvest. He planted those seeds, and behaved according to that contract, regarding this initial purchase of seeds.

However, when it came to planting a winter crop, Bowman went and bought bags of “seed” sold as “animal feed.” He did this, theorizing, I suppose, that these seeds would be good enough for him to use for his winter crops. (A crop that doesn’t always survive to the full amount of usual amounts of bushels per acre, and therefore not a crop that he cared to spend the money for the more expensive, Monsanto-patented RoundUp seed.) He possibly also believed that since this purchase did not involve him signing any additional contracts with Monsanto, he was free to do whatever he wanted with this bag of seeds.

One lawyer, Mark P. Walters, stated during the proceedings: companies could rely on contracts rather than patent law to protect their inventions, an answer that did not seem to satisfy several of the justices.

While considering the numerous situations that this new phase of farming, and technical advancement with patents over life processes involves, Supreme Court Justice Kagen stated: “It seems to me that that answer is peculiarly insufficient in this kind of a case,” Justice Elena Kagan said, “because all that has to happen is that one seed escapes the web of these contracts, and that seed, because it can self-replicate in the way that it can, essentially makes all the contracts worthless.”

Apparently Kagen is becoming aware of the fact that here in the USA, whose government has been captured by corporate interests, strange things are happening to the nation’s farmers.

As our government is much more liberal in terms of allowing these Agro Giants the ability to sell this stuff, as opposed to China, France and now even Peru! As the government allows these Frankenfood Giants to sell the patented seeds, not only do we not really know whether this stuff is safe to eat, as none of it has been researched for the decades of study our government once required of new entries into the food chain, but also, the small family farmers are getting put out of business. This occurs because the Agro-Giants all have food police agents who go out and sometimes for a price, get neighbors to inform on neighbors. Since a clump of crops grown in a field can come about through having a bird bring in seed, or winds blow it in, farmers often find themselves sued by companies like Monsanto even when they have NOT purchased the Monsanto “RoundUp” ready seeds. And of course, RoundUp itself often can drift for at least 1,500 feet, if not much further. So Kagen apparently is willing to acknowledge that some of the farmers losing their farms are not guilty of anything other than participating in the usual wildness of nature. (Small farmers who are sued by Big Agro concerns almost always lose their land, because if they do get a lawyer to help them, they often end up owing the lawyer as much as their farm is worth! )

In his earlier court cases against Monsanto, Mr. Bowman argued that a doctrine called patent exhaustion allowed him to do what he liked with products he had obtained legally. But lower courts ruled that Mr. Bowman’s conduct amounted to patent infringement.

A federal judge in Indiana ordered Mr. Bowman to pay Monsanto more than $84,000. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which specializes in patent cases, upheld that decision, saying that by planting the seeds Mr. Bowman had infringed Monsanto’s patents.

At Tuesday’s argument, Mr. Bowman’s lawyer received a markedly more hostile reception than Mr. Waxman, the attorney for Monsanto. Walters was peppered with skeptical questions from almost every justice.

So here is my question: If this crap GM “food” that Monsanto has “offered” the world is now so ubiquitous that you can’t buy a bag of food for your animals without encountering it, shouldn’t that be grounds for the beginning of an Anti Trust Suit? A Dairy collective in Wisconsin, which for decades has done a most excellent job of keeping small time dairy farmers in business, was recently shuttered and ended, due to an Anti Trust lawsuit. How is it that this nation’s government is allowing Monsanto what amounts to a complete monopoly on the Soybean seeds and other crop seeds now available for planting? When can we expect an Anti Trust suit against this food, pesticide, and Agro-Technical giant?

Or does the label “Anti Trust” now only apply to small and medium sized companies – not Too Big To Fail Types like Monsanto?

Part of my reading on this case was done at the following link. But there are now many such links proliferating on the web – be sure and google, Bowman Vs Monsanto for the various descriptions from many points of view, monetary views of the case, organic food organizations vs Gm, and much more.

http://biotech.about.com/b/2013/02/20/scotus-hears-monsanto-suit-against-indiana-farmer-that-grew-gmo-soybeans.htm

Some American “F” words: Fascism,

6:11 pm in Uncategorized by elisemattu

“Fucked Up!” “Fear” and “Forward!” (Along with “Fart”)

So it is around this time in the Election Cycle that I realize how “Pull My Finger” might have as much meaning as a campaign slogan for any
single campaign.

The TV ads let us know interesting but most probably false “facts” about election matters. For instance, the Monsanto/Big Agro ads against California’s Prop 37, that requires food labeling to identify foods with Gm materials, those Pro-industry ads tell us that each family will pay ANNUALLY some $ 400 for the labeling. No explanation of how that figure is arrived at. Since many foods already contain far more detailed descriptions, as to vitamins and calorie content, I think it is all made up on account of the need for the FEAR Factor.

Studies have shown that anyone unaware of the necessary information to make a decision on voting will usually base their decision on FEAR. Many people don’t understand the Gm issue, but they do understand Four Hundred Dollars, especially if they are told the money will come out of their pockets. This was a smart way for the Big Agro firms to have voters reject Prop 37, regardless if their claims are true or not.

Meanwhile, the Democratic leadership is not above using the FEAR principle themselves. After all, Obama has support from many people on account of FEAR. If Romney gets in, no contraception, no more Roe vs Wade, we are told.

And the Democratic leadership has en-tranced their supporters to firmly believe that it is the Republicans that have brought us policies favoring Monsanto and Gm food. Since most people in our country are unaware of the fact that about 80% of what a President accomplishes occurs inside the decisions of various agencies, Americans are hoodwinked about the relationship of Democratic leadership and Monsanto.

They think Monsanto relies on Republicans – and how false a view that is! For instance, and quite importantly, back in the nineties, it was Bill Clinton’s buddy, Mike Taylor, who came up with the “scientific doctrine” that stated that GM foods are “similar and equivalent” to conventional foods in terms of nutrition and lack of risks, simply because Mike Taylor said so.

The last time humankind saw a human being make up scientific doctrine was during the Dark Ages imposed by the Catholic Church on the “civilized” European world. Remember how Galileo came under attack by the Pope for disputing the Church’s doctrine of the sun revolving around the earth? Yes, for ardently preaching science, Galileo was placed under house arrest. He narrowly escaped the usual fatal punishments of the Inquisition.

So religious control of science has now been taken over by Corporate-Control of Science. And when Corporations control not only science, but government too, then it is necessary to say that the government itself has become fascist.
One other omen around the issue of fascism and food: recently the so-called “Monsanto rider,” was quietly slipped into the multi-billion dollar FY 2013 Agricultural Appropriations bill. This “rider” would require, not just allow, but require, the Secretary of Agriculture to grant a temporary permit for the planting or cultivation of a genetically engineered crop. This will happen even if a federal court has ordered the planting be halted until an Environmental Impact Statement is completed. All any farmer or the biotech producer needs to do is ask, and the questionable crops could be released into the environment where they could potentially contaminate conventional or organic crops and, ultimately, the nation’s food supply.

And for those Americans who need an education about Obama and agencies under his control, it should be pointed out that way back in Spring 2009, Obama appointed Mike Taylor as head of the FDA. To camouflage this event, Michelle Obama got the media quite stirred up about her “organic” garden planted in the WH Rose Garden. If I try and see this appointment the way that my Democratic-supporting friends see it, perhaps Obama made this appointment because of a gun held by Republicans and pointed at his head? But how likely is that?

For apparently the Powers that Be have realized a most helpful conclusion: that Americans will accept fascism if it is offered via the congenial, soft spoken African American and his wife, rather than the brittle and harsh personalities that appear on the political scene via the Republican party. Who cares if our civil rights have been eliminated, or if half the profit earned in this country goes BY GOVERNMENT POLICIES to the Big Financial Firms, as long as the person who makes this happen seems so calm, mild mannered and soft spoken?

And of course, there is no way to question any of this, as anyone liking Obama is already willing to simply say “Forward!” rather than to examine current policies. It is of especial importance that no Democratic Party voters ask out loud how it is that during this point in time that the for-profit wars are endlessly raging (Iran is currently in the making, and will occur before February 1st 2013 at the latest,) homeowners are still foreclosed, jobs are still outsourced, education and prisons are being privatized, health care insurance remains over-priced and unaffordable, a citizen’s civil rights are non-existent once outside their home, marijuana possession – in defiance of states’ rights issues – is an item that can get you imprisoned, or shot and killed by the DEA, local police SWAT teams.

But hey – at least if Obama gets a second term, the LGBT crowd can marry, and women will still have contraception. Plus perhaps we won’t be required to wear our underpants on our heads! (I mean, if you are like me, you think those black hoodies so fashionable at Abu Gharib seem so much more 2013!)

Democratic leadership has also succeeded in having people believe that it is the Republicans who have restructured the economy such that some 49 cents out of every dollar of profit goes to Wall Street and other Big Financial Firms. Obama’s complicity with the One Percent has a well established narrative – a person only needs to look back at how quickly Obama offered up an extension for the One Percent on the “Bush tax breaks” for the wealthy. And if you are willing to look further back than that – why did Obama appoint Tim Geithner to be Secretary of the Treasury, and re-appoint Ben Bernanke to the Federal Reserve? Why is Obama more enthused about helping out the deficit by doing austerity programs, than seeing to it hat the Seven Trillions of Dollars secretly given by Bernanke to the Big Bankers is not either outright returned, or at least TAXED!

But if you discuss this with any Democratic Party supporter, you are told simply, “The Republicans are worse.”

Yes, it is all “Forward” these days. Who wants to look back into the dreary past, when one Bennito Mussolini declared that “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” Plus if you look that far back, you might come smack up against his further descriptions

Fascism: 1.”Everything in the state”. The Government is supreme and the country is all-encompassing, and all within it must conform to the ruling party, as the other party is so much more Tea Baggery.
2.”Nothing outside the state”. The country must grow and the implied goal of any fascist (i.e. corporate-controlled) nation is to rule the world, and have every human either engaged in spending their monies in an orgy of consumerism that props up these Corporations, or else to shut up and watch The X Factor.
3.”Nothing against the state”. Any type of questioning the government is not to be tolerated. If you do not see things our way, you are wrong. If you do not agree with the government, you can and will be subject to Section 1021 of the NDAA rather than be allowed to taint the minds of the rest of the good citizens.

To my way of thinking, what we needed during Election Cycle 2012 was more discussion and truth, less “Forward” and less FEAR. Unfortunately, the adherents of that philosophy were all third party people, who don’t have a chance at victory this time around. If only we’d been allowed less “Forward!” and less fear, we wouldn’t have to encounter that deja vu feeling on November Seventh, that someone pulled our nation’s collective finger, sticking us with the smell of a mighty big fart.

Monsanto Donates $4.2 mil to defeat GM labels in Calif.

6:25 pm in Uncategorized by elisemattu

Fearing for the ability to keep secret the rapacious nature of the GM crops, Monsanto has donated some 4.2 millions of dollars to oppose the Proposition on California’s ballots in November that will allow the public to realize how much of our food is now GM.

 

As a consumer who avoids as well as I can, having any GM food in my house, it means we do not buy Big Brand anything. Both my spouse and I are aware that since all of corn syrup used in soda pop and cookies and candies now is GM, we avoid those products. We use RW Garcia, in terms of corn chips.

Since the introduction of GM food, I have had to have a gluten-free diet.  Right now, this means organic millet is my favorite grain.

 

Most of the people campaigning for the right to label our food still believe that the public will vote for the proposition to label GM foods. However, I have come to the conclusion that the election system is bought and paid for. I totally believe that the Mormom Church bought the right to swing the vote for a victory for their Hate Proposition, Prop Eight. This buy out meant that the votes were changed in Los Angeles area.

 

More information is here: http://www.carighttoknow.org/monsanto_gives_4_2_million_to_kill_california_gmo_labeling_initiative

 

 

As someone who investigated the 2004 Stolen Election, I can say that there are few people in California  slimier that those who are “Registrars of the County.” The one exception I have met is my own Registrar here in Lake County, who despite being a registered Republican, seems to be able to deliver the vote count without interference from those who would steal it.