Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Monsanto - Playing God

A story came up this morning that piqued my interest; Monsanto's Genetically Modified (GM) crops, specifically GM Alfalfa. Monsanto is a St. Louis, MO, based agri-corporation that sells seeds, fertilizer, livestock drugs and anything else related to farming to farmers for crops and livestock. I sat up fully alert. Alfalfa. A chill went down my spine and a shadow crossed over my heart, the hairs stood up on the back of my neck. It was as if I had seen ghosts, the ghosts of mankind. And, included among the ghosts, right along with me, were the ghosts of all of those sitting around waiting for Jesus and not doing much else. I might say that they appear to be sitting around watching Charlie Sheen embarrass himself or the latest craze on American Idol and not paying any attention at all to what's happening in the world around them. So, why did a short sound-bite length story about genetically modified alfalfa provoke such a reaction? Here's the rest of the story.

Right along with its misleading marketing hype to sell its seeds, Monsanto tracks all farmers using its seeds with the attitude of an overlord, a dictator. It is ruthless with its customers, and once a customer it is very difficult for a farmer to escape Monsanto's strangle hold. It has been known for some time that Monsanto uses very imperious methods to make sure farmers buy its seeds every year, even to the point of suing farmers for saving seeds from a crop for future planting. Monsanto says it has a patent and trademark, a legal claim, on the "design" of those seeds (and any seed grown from its modified mother or father seed) and therefore a farmer cannot save seeds from a genetically modified crop for the next year's planting. The seeds are not the farmer's seeds, Monsanto claims. Monsanto owns those seeds. Well, I've heard that Monsanto has recently solved the problem of having to sue a farmer and pay all of those lawyers; they have created a "self-destruct" seed, a "Terminator" seed. A Terminator seed is one that can be planted only once and any seed grown from the original seed self-destructs. So, for example, the corn kernels from an ear of corn produced from a self-destruct seed will not grow if planted again. That is an astonishing achievement, to modify a gene so that whatever it produces will not reproduce no matter how hard Honey Bees work to pollinate the crop.

Okay, maybe I've lost you. Maybe you don't yet see how dangerous this is. "So what?" you might ask, "we're feeding the world." Want to bet? The truth is that this is a path to starvation and the self-destruction of the human race and anything else that lives from eating food crops. And, we've taken this path for one reason: to satisfy the greed of companies like Monsanto. Before I explain the implications, I need to sidetrack to a commonly held belief. Humans, as a whole, believe that they are immune to environmental pollution and evolutionary changes in the things they eat. Humans believe that toxins, insecticides and antibiotics that we put into the environment only affect frogs, birds and fish. Not so. The fact is, just like frogs who suddenly appear with seven legs, what we eat, breath and wash with effects our chemical and genetic makeup so that we produce defective offspring. "Defective" is a harsh word, but it's accurate.

A genetically modified self-destruct seed breaks the cycle of life; it cannot reproduce itself. The cycle for a plant is: A plant grows and produces pollen; a Honey Bee or butterfly collects the pollen, flies to another plant of the same genus, exchanges the pollen of the first plant with the pollen of the second plant thereby impregnating (it has sex) the second plant, the seeds drop to the ground, germinates in Mother Earth's womb, and a new plant grows with the same genes as its two parent plants. Whoala! We get a new plant and food. Not true with a self-destruct seed. A pollinated seed from a self-destruct plant may fall to the ground, but nothing grows. It is immediately extinct. The only way to grow the crop again is to buy new seeds from Monsanto.

We also know that when a GM plant grows next to a non-GM plant, the non-GM plant can easily be pollinated with the pollen from the GM plant. A Honey Bee doesn't know the difference, and doesn't care. It goes about its business in complete innocence. The offspring's genes, taking the genes from its two parents, will be modified with the GM genes. The plant becomes extinct in the next cycle. It's like a virus that spreads, one bad apple that rots the entire barrel of apples. Whoosh, it's gone from the Earth in the blink of an eye. Monsanto has created yet more demand for its seed in an exponential upward spiral of demand. We either use Monsanto's seeds, or we starve.

So, what does Monsanto do when it "GMs" a seed? It forces the plant to create new insecticides to fight off insects. It forces the plant to create antibiotic serums to fight off naturally occurring bacteria. It forces the plant to create toxic poisons to fight off other pests, such as rats, rabbits and other natural enemy animals of the plant. And now, it forces the plant to kill itself. So, right along with all of the antibiotic medicine that you drink in milk every day, because we now overdose milk cows with tons of antibiotics that Monsanto's Devil labs concoct to make a larger profit, you're also getting a dose from food crops. You also eat the insecticides and the toxic poisons that plants generate. Cooking the plant doesn't remove those chemicals. In fact, cooking may make an entirely different chemical solution that is even worse for you.

What do we get? Perhaps autistic or physically deformed children, mentally handicapped children, mentally "challenged" children. I've been particularly interested in news and studies of these and other deformities over a number of years. I've also read of super-bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics because we take too much antibiotics. Then there is the epidemic of allergies. An allergy is caused by a hypersensitive immune system to a plant, bug bite or some other stimuli. Or, our epidemic obesity problem. Everyone is getting fat in spite of the things we blame and do. In fact, we may be prescribing what we think is a good diet to combat our national obesity problem without realizing that the genetically designed food we prescribe is causing the obesity! It would be shocking to learn that.

Several years ago, I read a neurological study on homosexuality. I used to believe that homosexuality was a choice, but I could never convince myself that any reasonable person would make that choice, especially in the face of so much social opposition. I've also read the usual tripe put out by organizations such as The Family Research Center and people like Tony Perkins and James Dobson, both of whom put out fake and misleading studies on homosexuality and proclaim to high Heaven that there is a "cure." That doesn't appear to be true, at least not yet. Out of all of the material that I've read, it is the neurological study that makes the most sense to me and it all came down to one question: Why is a person attracted to the same sex?

A few months ago I watched a 60-Minute episode, or was it a Diane Sawyer special, that talked about babies with deformed genitals, and who required corrective surgery to be able to reproduce. If my memory serves me, some of these babies were so deformed that the sex of the child could not be determined, and corrective surgery was "guessing." Then there is also hairspray used by women that has been linked to genital deformities in boys. It goes on and on.

It appears to be the same with homosexuality. According to the neurological study, published in Newsweek Magazine a few years ago, similar deformities occur in the chemical solution that occurs at birth. I visualize the chemical mix as sort of a witches' brew in a cauldron, a stew of chemicals being stirred to create a human being. And, the chemicals continue to be added and stirred even after the sexual identity can be seen with an ultrasound and for a few months after birth. A cup of pheromones here, a half-cup of hormones there and a dose of testosterones, along with a few other powerful chemicals makes the baby boy or girl. It takes just one slight mistake to make something else entirely different. The result is a mind and chemical makeup that tells the child that they are not what they appear, that they are the opposite sex of their physical appearance. They are attracted to their own sex.

I guess a person can continue to follow the likes of Tony Perkins and James Dobson and proclaim from the hills that it is God's punishment, but I personally think that if God is punishing anyone, it is all of us who have allowed it to happen. After you take away all of the religious arguments, it still comes down to a group in the population that cannot sustain itself; it cannot reproduce itself. That's the final, objective word. What we really have is an innocent child who becomes an adult who is then hated by most of society through no fault of their own. We have another leper we can ridicule and cast out.

Of course I don't know that Monsanto can be directly linked to any human deformity, but it seems very likely to me. It is ironic that, while out of one side of our mouth we condemn the causes of deformed life, and out of the other side we promote conditions in which companies like Monsanto not only survives, but exceeds beyond reason. Oh well, an alternative is waiting on Godot. Let's do that.

So, what's all this have to do with GM alfalfa? When I was a kid, we planted alfalfa and a few months later we were mowing, raking and bailing it. Usually, within another month or so, we did it again. The hay would usually get thicker as time went on, because the bees would be pollinating the plants that in turn grew more hay. A hay field would go on and on for three or four years, growing and regrowing while we mowed, raked and bailed it. A self-perpetuating crop. We fed a lot of cattle. I guess Monsanto's hay won't reproduce anymore. Maybe it won't regenerate itself longer than one year. It and the cattle that eat it become more expensive. Perhaps the cattle that eat it won't be quite as healthy. Perhaps the people who eat the cattle or drink the milk won't be so healthy, and in fact may be disabled or challenged. And, when the modified genes are spread everywhere, perhaps alfalfa itself will become extinct. That will rise up the food chain to humans who eat the cattle that eat the hay.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This article started off so well, interesting, articulate, insightful but when you got to the homosexual part it went completely off the rails. Thank god you're not a doctor, because you'd be a quack!! Emotional, stabbing in the dark, uneducated, opinionated, fearful - through lack of understanding...just awful!! Such a shame, you've lost all credibility :-(