Put Simply, A Vote for Hillary Clinton is a Vote for the TPP, Monsanto and GMOs

Put Simply, A Vote for Hillary Clinton is a Vote for the TPP, Monsanto and GMOs

Monsanto

The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) would make it easier for countries like Vietnam to export contaminated fish and seafood into the U.S. Under the current system, the FDA only inspects a tiny percentage of food imports, and has already had to prevent hundreds of seafood imports from TPP countries because of disease and contaminants. If the TPP is agreed to, the agency will be overwhelmed by the vast expansion of these imports. Can we be confident that an agency that has already approved the introduction of GMO salmon AKA “Frankenfish” into the American diet will suddenly be ready and willing to protect us from more threats?

Under the TPP, foreign corporations must be given equal access to compete for government contracts with companies here, reversing popular “buy American” and “buy local” trends. Along with those competing for U.S. government contracts, many other American companies could be forced into a situation where they can’t possibly present a winning bid that is also good for their neighbors here at home. When we’re talking about food grown here, this seems like a particularly foolish thing to do to family farmers, people who provide vital links to healthy food in local communities and schools.  

If Monsanto and other biotech companies get their way, the TPP would eliminate the ability of countries around the world to label GMOs or to impose restrictions on the sale of genetically engineered seed and food in their countries. They could also make it illegal to label GMOs in the U.S., placing the decision in the hands of corporate lobbyists and Monsanto “scientific research” shills. We would no longer have the right to know how it was produced and treated or even, necessarily, where it came from before we buy and eat it. Sounds appetizing, doesn’t it? GMOs have been linked to a host of metabolic and other serious illnesses. More than 30 countries have already refused to import food products containing them for that reason, others have banned the cultivation of GM crops within their borders, and 64 countries require that all GMO products sold carry a warning label.

This past fall, there was reluctance on the part of Congressional leaders in both parties to do anything to further the enactment of the TPP until after next November’s elections. Apparently cognizant of that, Clinton reversed her previous position in favor of the TPP, which up to that point she had equated with “the gold standard” of trade agreements.  Appearing to have new misgivings about it, she took advantage of the pause in proceedings to appear to be moving closer to the position held by progressives on the issue of trade, while all the while continuing to benefit from Monsanto’s support. She’s having Monsanto lobbyists raise money for her campaign. Two years ago a Monsanto lobbyist and close friend of the Clintons, Iowa attorney Jerry Crawford, was selected to help advise the Ready for Hillary super PAC that is raising dark money to put her in the White House. Not surprisingly, Crawford is also a close friend and top adviser to Tom Vilsack, current Secretary of Agriculture and former two-term Iowa governor.

Since Clinton’s 2008 loss to Obama, Monsanto has kept Crawford on retainer. Now Crawford and other corporate lobbyists are busy raising millions of dollars to put Hillary back in the White House. Meanwhile, according to Dave Murphy, President of Food Democracy Action, in 2014 Clinton received a $325,000 speaking fee for giving the keynote address to one of Monsanto’s main GMO lobbying front groups, Biotechnology International Organization (BIO), to help the industry address consumer fears over GMOs. Murphy states, “Clinton’s advice to the Monsanto biotech crowd was so cringe-worthy that it earned her the nickname the “Bride of Frankenfood” among Iowa progressives and rural activists. Rather than lecture the audience on the need for transparency and improved safety assessments, Clinton coached the audience of biotech devotees to develop ‘a better vocabulary’ to change negative public perception about GMO agriculture. ‘Genetically modified’ sounds Frankensteinish. ‘Drought-resistant’ sounds like something you’d want,’ said Clinton. ‘Be more careful so you don’t raise that red flag immediately.’”

Clinton may have misgivings over the TPP. It is abundantly clear that allowing Monsanto to dominate the course of international trade will not be one of them.

 

 

Moira MacLean

Moira MacLean started out many moons ago with a law degree from the University of Oregon, but found actual law practice didn't suit her well. Since that realization (early 90s) she has assisted students with college admissions and financial aid matters and deepened her expertise in organizational development, starting and running several nonprofit organizations in human services and community mental health. She has recently been developing a consulting practice in the field while finishing a master's degree.

5 thoughts on “Put Simply, A Vote for Hillary Clinton is a Vote for the TPP, Monsanto and GMOs

  • February 4, 2016 at 4:42 pm
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    “GMOs have been linked to a host of metabolic and other serious illnesses.”

    I’m no fan of Monsanto, but that’s not true at all. Leave the anti-science claims to the Republicans.

    • February 5, 2016 at 11:55 am
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      Jim, I make it a practice in blogging not to engage in ad hominem attacks and I would appreciate the same courtesy in return. I am not an “anti-science” ignoramus; by the same token, I do not genuflect in front of people wearing white coats. I try to do at least some amount of research to back up what I write about. Contrary to your assertion, you are doubtless aware that there are numerous studies linking glyphosate, the principal ingredient in Roundup, with health concerns. As several such examples I direct your attention to an American Medical Association pilot study a couple of years ago which found unsafe levels of glyphosate in the blood, urine and breast milk of American women- “unsafe” being the U.S. government’s own definition. Then there are the published studies found at http://enveurope.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s12302-016-0070-0 and http://enveurope.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s12302-016-0070-0 and in Toxicology 262:184–191. The fact that Monsanto goes to such extreme lengths either to discredit or to whitewash these findings has only served to put the public on alert, and “the ship has already sailed” as they say.

  • February 4, 2016 at 6:20 pm
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    Here’s Bernie’s actual statement on GMO food safety from his Reddit AMA: “It is not my view, nor have I suggested, that GMO food causes health problems.”

    • February 5, 2016 at 10:41 am
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      If that represents his entire view, then he needs more education on the point. That doesn’t change the fact that the TPP is Monsanto’s primary weapon, and for so many reasons you’ll never see Bernie climb in bed with Monsanto the way HRC already has.

      • February 5, 2016 at 11:55 am
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        Thanks for the reply Moira. That’s what I could find in terms of his view on the safety of GMO food, and it was the only direct quote. It was in the context of him supporting labeling of products derived from genetic modification, but he doesn’t think GMO foods are unhealthy.

        There might be a technical error in the website, but my initial comment seems to be stuck in the moderation queue. You mentioned that “GMOs have been linked to a host of metabolic and other serious illnesses,” which is not true at all. Sure, we can work to reduce or eliminate the power of the big companies like Monsanto, but that doesn’t change the safety of the food. Otherwise we start to sound like the anti-science Republicans that don’t believe in climate change, deny evolution, think vaccines cause autism and that “too much Monsanto in the corn creates issues in the brain.”

        I think Bernie himself said it best: “For those of us who believe in science, you simply cannot ignore what the scientific community is saying almost unanimously.” And the consensus is that foods derived from genetic modification are safe to eat.

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