Tag Archives: environment

Call to Action! Last Chance to Stop the Monsanto Protection Act before Wednesday Noon!

Food Democracy Now! is literally on the front lines of protecting our country from unchecked corporate power.

Your voice has been heard at the highest levels in Washington DC. Yesterday Food Democracy Now! delivered more than 200,000 comments electronically to the White House and the phones at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue were literally ringing off the hook. We have just 24 hours to keep this pressure on the White House.
Click here to make a call to tell President Obama to tell him to veto the Monsanto Protection Act. The White House needs to hear from you today!

We heard back from hundreds of you that you couldn’t get through to the White House switchboard. This is an testament to how many people care about protecting our food supply, family farmers and future generations, and stopping the Monsanto Protection Act.

Now that we’ve reached over 200,000 comments, Dave and Lisa will deliver them in person to the White House. If you’re in Washington DC, meet us in front of the White House tomorrow – Wednesday, March 27th at noon!

Today we need you to make this your mission to get as many people as possible to leand their voice!
Those of you here care deeply and know what’s at stake. Please help us increase our voices 10-fold tomorrow so that we have the strength of a nation behind us when we deliver your signatures to the White House tomorrow, telling our President that we value our democracy, our seeds and the health and vibrancy of our future generations.Monsantos-Genetically-Modified-Foods

Can you please get 5 friends and family members or more to sign this petition today? Let them know that their future depends on it.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
~ Edmund Burke

Let’s make sure our voice is heard loud and clear today!Right now, the short-term spending budget bill with Monsanto’s poison pill is sitting on the President’s desk, waiting for him to sign. President Obama has until tomorrow – Wednesday March 27th to sign this into law, unless you stop him.

We need you to do three things:

1. Make a phone call to the White House asking that President Obama veto H.R. 933, and send it back to Congress with the express instructions of removing Section 735: The Monsanto Protection Act.

We realize that the phone lines will be very busy today, but please keep calling until you get through. Every voice counts!

2. If you haven’t already done so, please sign this letter calling for President Obama to veto the Monsanto Protection Act.


If you’ve already signed, please get 5 friends to sign this petition today!

Help us reach 250,000 signatures today, so Food Democracy Now! can have a larger voice than Monsanto when we deliver your comments to the White House.

3. Please consider chipping in $3 to help send us to the White House to deliver your comments and then help spread the word to your friends.


We understand the odds that we’re up against, that many will say that President Obama can’t afford not to sign this budget bill, which if not signed will temporarily shut down the federal government.
But the truth is, there is no legitimacy in elected officials that stand idly by when violations of our basic rights like this happen. Section 735 sets a dangerous precedent that allows corporations to work back room deals to undermine the rule of law.

Obama has a clear choice: veto the Monsanto Protection Act or allow Congress and corporate special interests to continue to lead America down this slippery slope.

Tell President Obama to veto the Monsanto Protection Act! America deserves better. Every voice counts.
The choice is clear, President Obama can veto H.R. 933 or he can side with Monsanto.
Already people are telling us that this is a fight we cannot win. That’s because Section 735, the Monsanto Protection Act, is a small provision snuck into a 841 page “appropriations bill for the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs and other departments and agencies for the fiscal year 2013” so the President “has to sign it”.

We disagree. As a Constitutional law scholar, President Obama understands better than anyone the threat the Monsanto Protection Act poses to our Constitution and our democracy. Unfortunately, President Obama does not have the option of a line item veto, and the only recourse is for him to veto the entire bill.
Don’t worry, we understand the odds. More importantly we know the odds if we don’t stand up. This is a corporate coup d’etat and Monsanto and everyone else in Washington DC wants you to be quiet.

But we can’t afford to. There’s too much at stake to sit silent. Some say it will only last 6 months and expire in September. And we think that’s much too long. Here at Food Democracy Now! we’re not willing to surrender our democratic rights for even one second. As long as these bastards work to undermine our rights we will fight them. And with your help, we’re just getting started.

Please join us in telling President Obama to veto the Monsanto Protection Act! If we can reach 200,000 comments by Monday afternoon, we’ll fly to Washington DC and hand deliver your comments to the White House. Every voice counts!

What’s at stake:

By sneaking Section 735 into a federal appropriations bills, Monsanto has successfully planted a dangerous provision in U.S. law that strips judges of their constitutional mandate to protect American’s health and the environment while opening up the floodgates for the planting of new, untested genetically engineered crops.

Even if their new GMO crops are ultimately proven to be harmful to human health or the environment, Section 735 allows them to be planted the minute the USDA approves them!
Even more alarming, currently 13 new crops are awaiting approval at the USDA and AquaBounty’s GMO salmon is on the verge of being approved by the FDA. This new provision opens the door wide open for these approvals.

The floodgates would literally be open for Monsanto, DuPont and Dow Chemical’s new GMO crops that are resistant to more toxic chemicals like 2,4-D, Agent Orange and dicamba that will replace failing Roundup Ready GMO crops.

According to legal experts, this provision would create a precedent-setting limitation on judicial review and is a dangerous assault on fundamental federal and judicial safeguards needed to protect America’s farmers, citizens and the environment from the wanton approval of Monsanto’s new GMO crops.
Tell President Obama to Veto H.R. 933 and the Monsanto Protection Act – Every voice counts!
Thanks for participating in food democracy,
Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! team
1. “H.R. 933: Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013”, passed Congress March 22, 2013 containing Section 735, Monsanto Protection Act.

Monsanto Protection Act language:

Sec. 735. In the event that a determination of non-regulated status made pursuant to section 411 of the Plant Protection Act is or has been invalidated or vacated, the Secretary of Agriculture shall, notwithstanding any other provision of law, upon request by a farmer, grower, farm operator, or producer, immediately grant temporary permit(s) or temporary deregulation in part, subject to necessary and appropriate conditions consistent with section 411(a) or 412(c) of the Plant Protection Act, which interim conditions shall authorize the movement, introduction, continued cultivation, commercialization and other specifically enumerated activities and requirements, including measures designed to mitigate or minimize potential adverse environmental effects, if any, relevant to the Secretary’s evaluation of the petition for non-regulated status, while ensuring that growers or other users are able to move, plant, cultivate, introduce into commerce and carry out other authorized activities in a timely manner: Provided, That all such conditions shall be applicable only for the interim period necessary for the Secretary to complete any required analyses or consultations related to the petition for non-regulated status: Provided further, That nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the Secretary’s authority under section 411, 412 and 414 of the Plant Protection Act.
2. “H.R. 933: Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year … (Concurring in the Senate Amendment)”, which contains Section 735, the Monsanto Protection Act passes Congress 318-109.
3. “H.R. 933: Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year (On Passage of the Bill)” March 20, 2013
4. “House Votes to Prevent Government Shutdown, Support Troops and Veterans”, March 6, 2013
5. “Monsanto Protection Act, Section 735 Language from Senate Continuing Resolution, HR 933,” Passed Senate vote 73-26, March 20, 2013 Page 80
6. “Sen. Tester: Who Put These Agribiz-Friendly Riders into This Unrelated Bill?” Mother Jones, March 15, 2013
7. “‘Monsanto Protection Act’ would keep GMO crops in the ground during legal battles “, Grist, June 29, 2012

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray each Sunday 8-9am only on Our Town with Mike Sanders, at Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT AM and FM, and streaming online. Our Town is sponsored by HORA USA, at http://www.HORAusa.com. HORA is an evolutionary meditative practice for the whole body and mind. Take the next step in your personal evolution at http://www.HORAusa.com.

Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And if you have a cause to champion, please let us know as we work to become the grassroots support network for Chicago Activists and community organizers.

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray each Sunday 8-9am only on Our Town, at Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT AM and FM, and streaming online. Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., http://www.glunzbeers.com

Stop the Frack attack on Illinois water!

The natural gas industry wants to Frack Illinois. Please help stop this Frack attack!

Fracking is an extremely dangerous method of natural gas extraction and it is coming to Southern and Central IL. Fracking was immortalized in the movie Gasland,


Gasland showed us that farmers are getting their wells and aquifers poisoned with substances such as benzene and methane, and that they can actually light their water on fire. Fracking uses many billions of gallons of our precious fresh water and returns billions of gallons of toxic, radioactive waste. Fracking even causes earthquakes and releases green house gases that add to global warming. fracking_vargson_tap_fire

Every Monday is Moratorium Call In Day.
Please call your State Rep and Sen, and also call Speaker Mike Madigan every week, and ask them to support a Moratorium on Fracking and an Investigative Task Force, in order to examine thoroughly all of the health and environmental impacts of Fracking. Ask the Senators to cosponsor SB 1418, the Hydraulic Fracturing Ban, which calls for a temporary ban and a task force.

They need to hear from us frequently, they hear from the industry every day!

You can reach their offices at the Capitol Switchboard 217-782-2000.
Please call Gov. Quinn at 312-814-2121 or 217-782-0244 and ask him to support the Moratorium as well.

And Sign our petition http://signon.org/sign/dont-frack-illinois-we. or http://signon.org/sign/dont-frack-illinois-we. at http://www.facebook.com


Need to get reminders, wake up calls and alerts to your group while building coalitions and keeping up with the activist community across Chicago and the nation? Have your members and supporters subscribe to the blog for free. Updates will arrive to their email inbox with each post. It’s simple, effective and a click away.

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray each Sunday 8-9am only on Our Town with Mike Sanders, at Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT AM and FM, and streaming online. Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And if you have a cause to champion, please let us know as we work to become the grassroots support network for Chicago Activists and community organizers.

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray each Sunday 8-9am only on Our Town, at Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT AM and FM, and streaming online. Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., http://www.glunzbeers.com

Universal language: Our planet’s common culture

I’ve been mulling this over for some time, a way of quantifying the rudimentary universal communication, unspoken understandings, subtle negotiations, and at time overt mercies that cross the lines between species. It points to the common connection all living creatures share on this planet, and perhaps something more profound: the idea that the Earth may be more than a planet teeming with autonomous creatures, each rushing headlong towards their individual fates. Instead the world may very well be and behave as a single organism!

It is an incredible and fantastic thought, but what would compel animals to adopt and nurture animals from another species, as in the case-certainly not the only one-of the Lion and orphaned Antelope? ( BBC News,Lioness adopts third baby antelope, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/1905363.stmOr that animals would act in any way inconsistent with instinctual imperatives, such as same-sex pair bonding? (BBC News, Homosexual zebra finches form long-term bond,  http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/14479670)

But what I am looking for is a basis which connects all things to one another, to find and define that common language that transcends species. Some might call that God, or Gaia, the Great Spirit, or an energy which exists in all things. I believe that it is much deeper and much quieter and far more profound,a common and eminently simple global language that transcends any Human religion.

Fundamental to an interspecies language is life itself. There exists in every organism the imperative to simply exist. That imperative is, from a communication perspective, a statement-perhaps the ultimate statement between species. It is a statement fundamental to all living things, from the most rudimentary to the most complex. It is, from this simple statement, I believe, the cornerstone of that planetary language. From that statement more of that basic language begins to come into focus. Second to the statement of existence are assertions of pain.

Pain is hardly as simple a definition as it may seem. Pain is struggle. Pain is threat and distress, but pain can also be truth. Pain, in the absence of any direct form of communication becomes a basis for negotiation, because each individual creature’s pain is entirely its own, and therefore an absolute fact. The communication comes, between individuals, in the level of acknowledgment of each other’s pain and in the negotiation with one another’s pain.

We are surprised and awed by the Lioness that adopts a helpless antelope, by the way animals recognize human pain and illness, by the cat mothering ducklings or the dog nursing kittens. We are stunned and amazed when animals portray social and mental acuity beyond what we would expect of simple creatures possessed fully by their base instincts.

We expect our pets to respond to us, to come when we call, to fetch and heel, to shake, stay and rollover. I began last year repeating the word “love” while grooming or petting our cat, Oliver. I have no illusions that he holds a concept of “love,” so to speak. But I am quite sure that he finds pleasure in the word, for now if I say it from across the room his ears go up and his tail wags in a way it doesn’t with other words. In Oliver’s simple way, in a mental language all his own,the physical sound of the word evokes pleasurable recollections of being scratched or brushed. In a Rudimentary sense, Oliver has formed a concept-his concept- of love.

Perhaps our amazement over displays of “humanity” by animals awakens our own desires for hope and peace in the face of animosities over such terribly superficial things like religion, nationality and race among members of the very same species. In some ways it is likewise of an indictment of mercies and tenderness we so often fail to extend to one another.


Why are

Recycle this Article!

Just returned from the local recycling bins, those conspicuous big blue containers offered by the City of Chicago, and I have an issue. The issue isn’t that the city seems intent on hiding these bins, placing them in such hard to reach and out of sight places that they are virtually impossible to find. They should be everywhere to have any real impact. Compared to, say, neighboring Evanston, for example, Chicago’s program is rather pathetic. If I didn’t know better I’d almost believe they were trying to discourage recycling in Chicago by making it a royal pain in the ass. But first a bit of background.

It’s been a little more than five years of serious recycling in our house. That is, bottles, cans, plastics, metal, paper and cardboard are all regularly hauled off to the local collection bins, courtesy of the City of Chicago. Plastic bags, light plastics, even those annoying plastic seals on most bottles are dutifully recycled. We pack recyclable goods away on vacation, or do our best to patronize businesses and hotels that have some sort of environmentally conscious program. Any given week probably 60-70 percent of what we throw away goes to the recycle bin. The rest is food scraps and various things not capable of being recycled. And I’ll confess that there are days when we just can’t make it to the recycle bin and have to hit the trash instead. It becomes a balance at time between not getting to the recycle bin and coming home to filth and smell or keep the house clean. Clean always wins. It is a rare event indeed, and on those occasions I feel typically feel guilty for days. I take that stewardship stuff seriously, and just for the record, I do believe mankind is at least partially responsible for Global Climate Change.

Here’s my premise, and it’s really rather simple. In fact, it was a lesson I learned way back in High School Chemistry in 1977. See, that’s when I learned to make wine in a simple project. See, you put a moldy grape in a bottle of grape juice then stretch a balloon over the top. The idea wasn’t to get buzzed-although it did that nicely, thank you, while my parents tittered and said “well, isn’t is wonderful he’s learned to make wine.”

The idea was to learn something about closed environments, which is precisely what the planet is; a closed and finite space. See, the bacteria from the moldy grape so love the sweet and pristine environment within that grape juice bottle they consume it madly. So madly that their population explodes. Each of billions upon billions of little grapes. Gorged on sugar, gives off two waste products-carbon dioxide and alcohol. The CO2 fills the balloon and the alcohol replaces the sugar, polluting the environment until a sudden and massive die-off of bacteria occurs, which then settles to the bottom as sediment. You sometimes see this in very old bottles of wine and beer.

The bacteria never has the foresight to regulate its environment. Why? Because it’s flippin’ bacteria! But we are supposed to be smarter than bacteria, right? Although I hear that treating people like mindless bacteria is actually the marketing floor plan for IKEA stores! The bottom line is, we have to get serious about protecting this finite environment, because it is all we’ve got.

Which brings me back to my earlier point. The picture I think is a great indication that the will of the people is far greater than the performance of their elected officials. At this location there are 4, sometimes 5 bins. The interest is so great in recycling here that they could go 8 bins easily. I believe that a fair number of folks are so discouraged that they represent several additional bins worth of goods being reused as opposed to filling up larger and filthier land fills, or being poured into an off shore dump in the Pacific that is already the size of Texas.

As I said earlier, this household recycles almost religiously, but I’ll be honest, sometimes it gets a bit discouraging when getting close to the bins isn’t an option because of mounds of overflowing refuse. Like someone asked me once in a speech some years ago, what can one man do? Well, Jesus was one man. Gandhi was one man. All I’m saying is, we are either serious about the sanctity and maintenance of this planet or we are not. City of Chicago, a little help please, and we’ll do the rest. Look at the picture. The people have spoken, one mound at a time.

Overflowing Recycle bins in Rogers Park on Chicagos far North Side