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Our Food System is Under Attack. . .

. . . by our own government.

As has been well documented here and on thousands of other sites President Obama has littered the USDA and FDA with lobbyists who work for the mega conglomerate Monsanto.  In case you do not know how powerful Monsanto is use this as a barometer; Monsanto tells Walmart what they can and cannot sell.

Now the effects of this unholy partnership are coming to fruition.

First I received this from Food Democracy Now:

Dear Stuart,

If the U.S. government has its way, a powerful intergovernmental group you’ve probably never heard of may soon prevent anyone anywhere from labeling genetically modified (GMO) food.

Operated by the United Nations, the Codex Alimentarius is a collection of guidelines, codes and recommendations regarding food safety and labeling standards which are used by the World Trade Organization (WTO) to settle international disputes regarding food and agricultural trade agreements.

The U.S. Delegation to the Codex meeting is adopting a position that would make it virtually impossible to label foods as “GMO-free” anywhere in the world.

The effects of this policy would have an apocalyptic effect on the US and even the world’s food system.  It would allow Monsanto to covertly add their un-tested genetic modifications to any food item without letting the consumer know.  To fight it click HERE.

As if this were not enough, the Obama Administration continues its attempts to eradicate all small businesses.  A bill now in the House of Representatives called the Comprehensive Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness (CARE) Act of 2010 (HR 5034) would, according to Wine Spectatorfreethegrapes.org and the Family Wineries of Washington State all say that this legislation has one goal – to destroy small wineries and breweries by eliminating competition for the large producers.

A Facebook page has been set up to fight this latest attempt at destroying our economy by the Obama Administration.  To help click HERE.

You know, I thought Bush and the Republicans were supposed to be in bed with big business but they have nothing on what Obama has pulled in just 15 months.  Happy, F’n earth Day.  If this is the President’s approach to restricting corporate corruption and defeating obesity I wonder what his technique is for saving the dolphins in Japan.  Sarin gas and nukes maybe?

freethegrapes.org

The Corn Ultimatum – A Trilogy

The following is a work of fiction.  Though much of the information is documented fact certain elements have been fictionalized.

Des Moines, IW

The year is 2007.  Illinois Senator Barrack Obama tells attendees of the Iowa Democratic Primary Debate, “. . . we can also improve the economic engines in a lot of these rural communities, and that is something that I’m absolutely committed to doing as President, but it’s going to require overcoming the excess influence of agribusiness lobbying.”

Campaigning on a platform of change and promising an end to business-as-usual politics Obama says, “I don’t take a dime of their [lobbyist] money, and when I am President, they won’t find a job in my White House.”  Based mainly on this promise Obama is elected the 44th President of the United States.

Before taking office, the President was sent a list of 12 highly qualified experts in food safety and/or conscientious farming by environmentalists and sustainable food activists.  They called them the Sustainable Dozen.

On December 17, 2008 President-elect Obama named former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack as his nominee as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.  As head of the USDA, Vilsak will be making policy that greatly effects the bottom line of Monsanto and other agribusinesses and their lobbyists.

Obama’s other candidates for USDA chief were Representative Collin Peterson (D – Minnesota) a conservative Democrat who has on occasion championed Monsanto and Representative Charlie Stenholm (D – Texas) another conservative Democrat who has, from time-to-time been a proponent of Monsanto.

So why did the President choose Vilsack?  Apparently because the other two were not pro-Monsanto enough.  While leading the state of Iowa, Vilsack was often ridiculed for betraying voters in favor of Big Ag companies and was even named Governor of the Year by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, a GM seed lobby group.  For years Vilsack has traveled in a private jet “on loan” from Monsanto.

Vilsack’s appointment came as a slap in the face to the very people that elected the President.  Letters were written, favors cashed in and e-mails did whatever it is e-mails metaphorically do.  As a peace offering President Obama created the toothless position of Sustainable Foods Czar and appointed one of the Sustainable Dozen, Kathleen Merrigan to fill it.  The appointment means little except a salary and a nifty parking spot.  Clearly a waste of a talented and dedicated person.

However, President Obama wasn’t done.  He has added more Big Ag goons to the US Government than the past three Presidents combined:

  • Islam Siddiqui – vice president of CropLife America a PR firm representing Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta and DuPont.  Siddiqui also was a Barrack financial contributor who donated the highest legal amount to the ’09 election.
  • Roger Beachy – a scientist who actually helped develop GM corn and recently questioned the safety of organic foods.  Beachy was another campaign contributor.
  • Dr. Michael Osterholm – vehement defender of food irradiation (the largely untested practice of dosing food with Gamma radiation).  His research facilities are financed by CFC Logistics – a maker of food irradiation equipment.
  • Dr. Regina Benjamin a “consultant” for  Burger King, was paid $10,000 by the fast food giant just prior to being named the nation’s latest Surgeon General.
  • And the most agredious appointment – July 7, 2009, Michael Taylor returns to DC as President Obama’s hand-picked “senior adviser” to the FDA.

Taylor, whose position is technically under that of FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret “Peggy” Hamburg, took it upon himself to create a new division of the FDA called the Office of Foods in August of 2009.  This new department will employee 350 people, none of whom have any real duties to perform.  Humorously, the FDA’s web site has a section entitled Meet Michael R. Taylor which spends an entire page detailing Taylor’s numerous token appointments and meaningless board of trustees seats but only dedicates one half of one sentence to his 30 plus years of service to Monsanto.

So now with a gaggle of Big Ag henchmen as part of his administration the President is set to attack the long list of problems assailing the country.  Surely he would address the nation’s dire unemployment numbers or prosecute the Wall Street executives who broke the law and as a result needed the American tax payers to save their industry.  At the very least he will attempt to wrangle the growing national debt.  No, instead he turns his full attention towards nationalizing the health care system.

The President and First Lady also begin a campaign against childhood obesity.  Obesity it would seem has been the primary cause of increasing health care costs.  The chief cause of obesity is GM products (food is too liberal a word) and the chemicals derived from them like HFCS.

On that point the First Lady plants an organic garden at the White House that will provide produce for the First Family and their guests to enjoy.  A staff is hired to maintain the garden for the Obamas.  They also suggest that schools plant similar gardens.  After all GM foods are poisonous and drive up health care costs.

Then the First Lady announces her new initiative,  Let’s Move.  The program’s goal is to, “give parents the support they need, provide healthier food in schools, help our kids to be more physically active, and make healthy, affordable food available in every part of our country.”  Mrs. Obama made her plans public on February 9, 2010 in a live broadcast that aired on WhiteHouse.gov.

At the First Lady’s side were Tom Vilsak (Secretary of the USDA and Monsanto lobbyist) and Dr. Regina Benjamin (US Surgeon General and Burger King employee) making the entire program appear little more than window dressing.  Also joining Mrs. Obama at the announcement was hypocrisy.  After all Vilsack has worked for decades for the company that invented the chemical responsible for the obesity epidemic, HFCS and Benjamin advices a company that puts  HFCS into virtually everything it sells.

Just as Monsanto had told President Carter in those smokey backrooms of the 1970’s, if their genetically modified corn turned out to be unhealthy then all is well.  It would likely cause a health crisis giving some future President ammunition to pass the long sought after state-run health care system.

The first President Bush left a crack in the door for Monsanto to plant a genetically modified seed of corruption.  President Clinton opened the door all the way, Bush Jr. took the door off the hinges and President Obama has unlocked the backdoor and smashed out all of the windows.

There is no savior for our food system.  There is no one in Washington DC we can trust.  The only thing DC politicians care about is fortifying their own coffers.

If this whole ordeal has shown us anything is that this issue is not about party affiliation.  Those who align themselves along party lines are fools.  Both Democrats and Republicans have betrayed the American people for the pursuit of the all mighty dollar.  From Bush Sr. to Obama all have put more stock into the desires of Monsanto than they do the voter.

Politicians will never change things unless it is profitable for them.  The only way we get out of this is by doing it ourselves.  Re-elect no one.  Impeachment is a tool the founding fathers gave us in case we were betrayed. Let’s use it; after all we’ve been betrayed.  Write letters, make phone calls, send e-mails, organize petitions and write “call to arms” blog posts just like this one.  Do something to save us from the Monsanto Revolving Door.

Make yourself heard.

Get caught up by reading The Corn Identity and The Corn Supremacy.

Democratic primary debate

The Corn Supremacy – A Trilogy

The following is a work of fiction.  Though much of the information is documented fact certain elements have been fictionalized.

St. Louis, Missouri
Realizing that the manipulation of the federal government that had steam rolled their genetically modified corn into the nation’s food supply was over with the election of Ronald Reagan, Monsanto took their operations underground.  They would spend the 1980’s cross pollinating their corn with corn free of their still untested genetic modifications.

Why you may ask would they do that?  Because if they could show modified genes in the corn being grown on farms that did not purchase their seed from Monsanto they then could claim trademark infringement.  If they could convince a judge that their trademark had been infringed upon they would offer the farmer a settlement – either purchase a licensing agreement for growing Monsanto corn or we’ll take your farm away.

The plan was simple really, just plant GM corn up wind from real corn; let Mother Nature do the rest.  Of course to be on the safe side they would load trucks with plenty of pollen from their Frankencorn.  The trucks had no destination, their job was simply to drive by field after field of real corn letting the pollen do its thing.

FrankenfoodIt was also during this underground period that Monsanto began developing other GM crops.  They expanded to canola and soy bean with great success.  Today if there is a plant that springs from a seed, Monsanto has a mutant version of it.

It was during the George H. W. Bush administration that Monsanto was able to infiltrate the US Government again.  Michael Taylor, a lifelong Monsanto lobbyist, was appointed as the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Policy.  Despite having no training or practical knowledge of food science or biology, Taylor was passed off as an expert on food safety.  Years later the Huffington Post would describe Taylor as, “The person who may be responsible for more food-related illness and death than anyone in history. . . ”

It didn’t take long for Monsanto’s mole to begin manipulating policy in favor of Big Ag though at the peril of the American public.  It was Taylor who championed the concept of substantial equivalence which states that genetically modified foods should be considered the same as natural foods and therefore require no testing.

Substantial equivalence remains the policy at the FDA to this day.  In addition to opening the flood gates to untested mutant produce, Taylor was also instrumental in legalizing the genetically modified bovine growth hormone (BGH).

Taylor’s tenure with the FDA began what is now referred to as the Monsanto revolving door, a series of Big Ag cronies placed in positions of great influence within government departments that regulate Big Ag.

When the elder Bush’s tenure ended Taylor returned to the private sector where he was rewarded for his work at the FDA by being named vice-president of Monsanto.  There he would instruct a whole generation of Monsanto moles that would weave in and out of the FDA and USDA during the Clinton and George W. Bush years.

The 16 years of Clinton/Bush would see Monsanto’s GM corn sneak its way into 80% of the US food supply.  Cancer, Type II Diabetes and child obesity have sky rocketed, the result of which has put a colossal strain on the nation’s health care system driving prices up.  Many politicians have begun heavily investing in pharmaceutical companies despite the clear conflict of interest.

Monsanto became the predominant recipient of the US farm subsidies that were intended for family-owned farms, not factory farms run by corporations.  With those billions of dollars in farm subsidies, Monsanto was able to under cut the price of it’s product so that they all but eliminated the family farm.  By throwing some of that cash at a handful of Federal judges Monsanto slowly began absorbing many of the remaining family farms after they were found guilty of unintentionally infringing on Monsanto’s trademarked seeds.

With the world on the brink of collapse only a savior can preserve the Union and slay the corporate dragon.

Get caught up by reading The Corn Identity.  Next time The Corn Ultimatum.

Next time, The Corn Supremacy.

The Corn Identity – A Trilogy

The following is a work of fiction.  Though much of the information is documented fact certain elements have been fictionalized.

Washington D.C.
The year is 1977.  Newly elected President Jimmy Carter takes the reins of country in the throws of controversy and embarrassment.  A good man at heart, Carter is thrust into the corrupt world of national politics.  The previous President, Richard Nixon resigned from office after admitting his knowledge in what, in retrospect, was a meaningless act.  Watergate.

Looking back now Watergate was, to quote the bard William Shakespeare, much ado about nothing.  A harmless misdemeanor that in no way threatened the American way.  But the facts are the facts, the President of the United States was a party to a crime.  That in and of itself is nothing new.  Andrew Jackson defied a Supreme Court order and committed genocide.  John and Bobby Kennedy murdered Marilyn Monroe.  The difference with Watergate is that there was proof.

Feeling betrayed by Nixon and the Republican Party as a whole the American people elected a no-name Democrat from Plains, Georgia.  Carter’s Liberal, almost Socialist leanings were born from a genuine concern.  Jimmy Carter cared about people, their lives, their prosperity even their souls.  The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Chief among his passions Carter stated, “We must have a comprehensive program of national health insurance.”  The country did not agree.  The American people did not like the government having that much control over their lives.  Plus what industry had the US Government ever taken over that did not get immediately worse?

St. Louis, Missouri
The powerful chemical corporation, Monsanto, has just developed a new process for making corn resistant to it’s popular insecticides.  They called their process “genetic modification.”  The Monsanto scientists had figured out a way to tinker with the genetic make-up of corn by piggy-backing their modified genes with a rare micro-organism known as e coli.

The upside to their innovation would greatly increase corn production which in turn might relieve world hunger.  A noble pursuit.  This was the goal of the scientists who developed the process.  But being scientists they also knew that there could be long term effects of this new corn (called Genetically Modified or GM corn). And that these could potentially be negative, after all this was a brand new science and no one really knew what might happen.

The powers-that-be at Monsanto saw a benefit from genetically modifying seeds, profit.  Wild, galactically high, previously unthought of profit margins.  Profit would not be measured in tens of thousands of dollars but tens of thousands of percentage increase.

Think about that for a second.  For every dollar you spend, you make $10,000.  You hand me a C Note and I deposit a cool million into your account.  Even Green Peace would club a baby seal for that kind of money.

After some calculations in the Monsanto labs it was becoming obvious that the long rage effects of GM seeds would far out weight its benefits.  It was clear more research was needed.

After some calculations in the Monsanto boardroom it is was becoming obvious that if they didn’t move fast someone else might beat them to market.  Like in music, you cannot copyright the song writing process but you can copyright the result of that process, the song itself.

That was Monsanto’s plan.  Since other AgriBusiness firms and state funded universities were undoubtedly working on a similar process it was too late to trademark the process.  So they decided to trademark the product of that process, the seed itself.

This was Monsanto’s first roadblock.  The US law forbids trademarking of any living thing, which a seed most certainly is.  To circumvent the law Monsanto would rely on a time honored tradition, bribing the Supreme Court.

A few million here and there and the Supreme Court declared that a seed was not a living thing despite the volume of biological evidence to the contrary.  Monsanto had its patent.  The next step was flooding the market with their Frakencorn.

Washington D.C.
It was becoming apparent to President Carter that if he wanted to achieve his dream of national health care that he was going to have to dance with the Devil.  So Carter began practicing his two-step.

Some chemical company was looking to put this new seed on the market.  Being both a farmer and a God fearing man, Carter knew that man cannot improve on God’s work.  His own scientists at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had looked at the seed and the process and estimated a trial and research period of 20 years to gauge the effects of this new corn on the human body and the ecology as a whole.

Monsanto balked at the 20 year number.  That’s when the backroom doors were bolted shut and began filling with smoke.  After some prompting from the White House the scientists agreed that they could have a “good idea” of GM corn’s effects with just 10 years of study.  Monsanto presented President Carter with the following scenario:

If our corn is harmless, as we suspect, then you will be responsible for curing world hunger.  If it turns out that our corn is somehow harmful to humans then by the time anyone figures it out the damage done would likely be to the point of crisis giving some future President the leverage to pass a national health care system.  Either way the people benefit, a classic win-win situation.

When the doors opened and the smoke cleared Monsanto had permission from the FDA to put their new seed on the market not in 20 years or even 10 years but immediately.  So without out any testing whatsoever factory farmers began planting GM corn that would be used to make High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), animal feed, hydrogenated corn oil, corn chips, corn starch and even corn on the cob.  Zero to 60 in two seconds flat.

Next time, The Corn Supremacy.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up

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