miércoles, febrero 06, 2008

An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton From a Wellesley College Alumna
Linn Cohen

Read the whole letter at:

Dear Hillary,

By polling logic, I should be your supporter - Democrat, older woman, white, liberal. I was even in a dorm with you in college. I have pulled for you for years. But something this past summer fundamentally changed my responsibility to my children and grandchildren. In the time I have left in my life to protect them and others, I need to speak out.

I saw a News Hour piece on Maharastra, India, about farmers committing suicide. Monsanto, a US agricultural giant, hired Bollywood actors for ads telling illiterate farmers they could get rich (by their standards) from big yields with Monsanto's Bt (genetically engineered) cotton seeds. The expensive seeds needed expensive fertilizer and pesticides (Monsanto, again) and irrigation. There is no irrigation there. Crops failed. Farmers had larger debt than they'd ever experienced

And farmers couldn't collect seeds from their own fields to try again (true since time immemorial). Monsanto 'patents' their DNA-altered seeds as 'intellectual property.' They have a $10 million budget and a staff of 75 devoted solely to prosecuting farmers. Since the late 1990s (about when industrial agriculture took hold in India),166,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide and 8 million have left the land.

Farmers in Europe, Asia, Africa, Indonesia,South America, Central America and here, have protested Monsanto and genetic engineering for years.

What does this have to do with you?

You have connections to Monsanto through the Rose Law Firm where you worked and through Bill who hired Monsanto people for central food- related roles. Your Orwellian-named 'Rural Americans for Hillary' was planned withTroutman Sanders, Monsanto's lobbyists.

Genetic engineering and industrialized food and animal production all come together at the Rose Law Firm, which represents the world's largest GE corporation (Monsanto), GE's most controversial project (DP&L's - now Monsanto's - terminator genes), the world's largest meat producer (Tyson), the world's largest retailer and a dominant food retailer (Walmart).

The inbred-ness of Rose's legal representation of corporations which own controlling interests in other corporations there and of corporate boards sharing members who are also shareholders of each other's corporations there, is so thorough that it is hard to capture. Jon Jacoby, senior executive of the Stephens Group - one of the largest institutional shareholders of Tyson Foods, Walmart, DP&L - is also Chairman of the Board of DP&L and arranged the Wal-Mart deal. Jackson Stephens' Stephens Group staked Sam Walton and financed Tyson Foods. Monsanto bought DP&L. All represented at Rose.

You didn't just work there, you made friends. That shows in the flow of favors then and since. You were invited onto Walmart's board, you were helped by a Tyson executive to make commodity trades (3 days before Bill became governor), netting you $100,000, Jackson Stephens strongly backed Bill for Governor, and then for President (donating $100,000).

Food and friends, in Clinton terms: Bill appointed friend Mike Espy, Secretary of Agriculture, who immediately significantly weakened federal chicken waste and contamination standards, opening the door to major expansion of Tyson's chicken factory farms. Espy resigned, indicted for accepting bribes, illegal contributions, money laundering, illegal dispersal of USDA subsidies, .... Tyson Foods was the largest corporate offender.

But what Bill did for Monsanto 'genetic engineering' goes beyond inadequate concepts of giving corporate friends influence: He unleashed genetic engineering into the world. And then he helped close off people's escape from it.

Genetic engineering is many orders of magnitude different from 'normal' (even polluting) business in its potential biologic ramifications. The warning myth of Pandora'a Box - letting irretrievable things rush out into nature - has become real. The harrowing change to the world from nuclear fission and fusion is the closest parallel.