By Robert A. Vella
This is the face of corruption in America. It is the reason why so many U.S. citizens of all ideological perspectives are rebelling against a status quo political establishment wholly owned by self-serving moneyed interests and the growing power of amoral corporate institutions.
Yesterday was quite a bizarre day in Congress. Activists showered thousands of $1 bills onto the floor of the U.S. Senate to protest against bipartisan legislation presented as a national GMO (genetically modified organism) product labeling law, but which actually does the exact opposite – invalidate such laws enacted at the state level. You see, our elected representatives in Congress – Democrats and Republicans alike – think we are stupid and are incapable of seeing what they’re really up to. And, even if some of us do confront them with the truth, they’ll just deny it and continue to go about their dirty business as usual. There was once a time in America when politicians feared an angry populace, but that time has long since passed into history.
From Roll Call – Protesters Shower Dollar Bills on Senate:
Alexis Baden-Mayer, political director ofthe Organic Consumers Association, and Adam Eidinger, a local activist and founder of “Occupy Monsanto,”dropped more than $2,000 worth of dollar bills onto the floor around 4 p.m. to raise attention about large corporations’ influence on the legislation.
“The Senate is being bribed,” they shouted. “This is not what democracy looks like.”
The pair, along with a third protester, were promptly escorted out of the Senate chamber by security.
“When Congress moves to crush the will of nine out of 10 Americans because they need companies like Monsanto to fund their campaigns, you know our democracy is in real trouble,” Bayden-Mayer said in a statement released before the incident. “The corporate lobbyists are totally corrupt.”
From the Consumerist – Senate Bill To Strike Down Vermont GMO Labels, Replace Them With Barcodes, Clears Hurdle:
The Vermont law requiring labels on many foods with genetically modified (GMO) or genetically engineered (GE) ingredients went into effect last week, but the move by the federal government to overturn that law and eventually replace the tiny text labels with barcodes has cleared a significant hurdle in the U.S. Senate.
Shortly before the Vermont law was set to kick in, Sen. Pat Roberts (KS) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (MI) proposed legislation that seeks to outlaw the Vermont labels, prohibit and state or local governments from crafting their own rules, and set out guidelines for federal regulators to — at some point a few years down the road — create a nationwide GMO labeling system that would allow manufacturers to just give phone numbers, or print a barcode that links to a website address with more information.
The bill was fast-tracked, skipping over the usual process of being considered, heard, and marked up in a relevant committee.
In debate following the vote, Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon argued that agribusiness companies are pushing this legislation, counter to the desires of American voters.
“Nine out of ten americans, regardless of party, want a simple label on the package indicating ‘Does this product contain genetically modified ingredients?’” said Merkley, referencing a recent study by our colleagues at Consumer Reports.
“This law doesn’t actually require a label,” said Merkley, noting that the default “label” is actually a barcode with no indication of what information is obtainable from scanning the barcode. “Package after package in America already have barcodes. it doesn’t say that there are GMO ingredients in this package. it doesn’t say scan here for more on the GMO ingredients in this package. just scan me… all it does it take you to a website… This is not a label; it’s an obstacle course.”
America is no longer a democracy. It is a corporatist plutocracy, and it is the best that money can buy.