GMO Corn and How A Little-Known Supreme Court Case Could Kill Our Grandchildren

Big business controls American food on nearly every level.  In most cases, the effects on our health are merely questionable, but one specific set of circumstances is endangering human life in general, and American life in particular: the genetically-modified plant world.  There are many elements to the story, from the corporate to the judicial to the biological.

It all started with a 1980 Supreme Court case, Diamond v. Chakrabarty, wherein the Court determined that living organisms could be patented.  This led to the US Patent Office deciding five years later (in a case called Ex parte Hibberd) that the Supreme Court’s decision could be applied specifically to the seeds of sexually reproducing plants.  That decision was unique in that it allowed the seeds’ patent-holders to prevent anyone else from using the seeds for research or agricultural purposes.

The upshot of this is that today, if you plant seeds that are patented, you are not legally allowed to take the seeds from your own plants and replant them.  You have to repurchase your seeds from their owner company every growing season.  When a particular kind of seed becomes popular (such as Monsanto’s ‘Roundup Ready’ corn, which you can spray Roundup all over without harming), the company has complete control over how much you pay.

Monsanto, of course, is vicious about protecting its patent, to the point of suing farmers out of business if they don’t purchase the corn, on the assumption that they are using it by getting the seeds illegally.  (God forbid someone would want to just grow plain old corn!)  Even if the farmers’ cases go in their favor, Monsanto can and will spend hundreds of millions of dollars prolonging the court case just so that the legal fees alone will bankrupt a farmer on their blacklist.  By so doing, they’re slowly weeding out all of the farmers that dare to not buy their products at their grossly inflated prices.

How inflated?  In the last two years, the price of corn seeds has spiked by thirty percent. Normally, this would completely shatter much of the economy because corn is used for everything from animal feed to industrial lubricant to food additives.  But the corn subsidies the government provides keep corn at a stable [artificially low] market price regardless of how much it costs to grow, so when Monsanto jacks up its prices, it’s actually the taxpayers that bear the burden.

So, GMO corn is dramatically increasing our taxes ($3,975,606,299 in 2009 alone — that’s $12.86 for every man, woman, and child in the USA), as well as destroying the lives of farmers who try to fight it.  But it’s far worse than that.  It’s actually killing us as well.
// //

The reasons are many.  Some of the more obvious are quoted in the article linked above, but there are more.  Corn has the worst balance of essential fatty acids of any food Americans consume, and that has profound effects on cell health.  Corn also has more mycotoxic fungi living in and around it than any other grain, and while the FDA does periodic tests for aflatoxin (one of the most carcinogenic substances found in nature), they admit that they don’t have the manpower to catch it all, and that there are other mycotoxins that they simply can’t test for at all.

That’s just corn in general — when you add the genetic tinkering that’s done to the corn on top of everything else, the results (according to this study by the International Journal on Biological Sciences) are organ failure and death.  According to the study’s author, “Our study contradicts Monsanto conclusions because Monsanto systematically neglects significant health effects in mammals that are different in males and females eating GMOs, or not proportional to the dose. This is a very serious mistake, dramatic for public health. This is the major conclusion revealed by our work, the only careful reanalysis of Monsanto crude statistical data.”

Moreover, the effects of a poor diet (like the high-additive, high-refined-sugar diet the corn subsidies promote) accumulate over generations — which is a huge part of why the people who are now in their 20s and 30s are expected to be the first group that doesn’t live longer than their parents did.  Our children and grandchildren are only going to continue showing greater and greater effects of the deleterious diet that we’ve all unwittingly been manipulated into eating.

There’s more — a lot more — to this debacle.  Untouched are subjects like the lack of GMO labeling laws in the USA (and subsequently the near-complete ignorance of the fact that 80% of the items in your grocery store have GMO corn-, soy-, or wheat-based ingredients in them), or the fact that 11 states have passed laws that make it illegal to claim that a vegetable or fruit is bad for you without having “sound scientific evidence”, or the environmental impacts of all of the Roundup that farmers [using ‘Roundup Ready’ corn] have sprayed into the environment over the last decade.

In short, the corn subsidies have combined forces with an utterly foolish decision on the part of the Supreme Court to allow patents on living things to initiate the complete economic and biological meltdown of our country, and in many places merely pointing this out can get you thrown in jail.  On the bright side, it’s mostly the poor people who can’t afford real meats and vegetables who get physically punished by the phenomenon, so the corporate CEOs, Congress people, and Supreme Court judges who made it all happen don’t really have to worry about it unless and until the People figure it out for themselves.
// //

Published in: on August 11, 2010 at 1:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: