By Mark E. Smith
June 2, 2013 |Fubar and Grill |
I just got the June issue of the Ocean Beach People’s Organic Food Co-op News and I’m so angry I can barely type.
Their front page is devoted to an article urging people to donate money to the collection boxes they now have at every cash register to support a campaign started by a Congressman to urge women in the Senate (it was Congress that passed the Monsanto Protection Act in the first place) to ask President Obama (who appointed former Monsanto Vice-President Michael Taylor to the FDA, and several other Monsanto VIPs, lawyers, and lobbyists (http://www.activistpost.com/2013/04/how-did-barack-obama-become-monsantos.html) to other high-level positions in his administration) to allow GMO food labeling–and this after three brands which were labeled organic or non-GMO were exposed by a whistleblower as having GMO ingredients anyway. I should check, because I suspect that the co-op might still be carrying those brands.
Of course they didn’t listen to the presentation I made to their board:
Voting Against Values: (http://fubarandgrill.org/node/1517)
Nor are they interested in the facts about GMO labels:
GMO Labels and Lies: (http://fubarandgrill.org/node/1525)
The manager, Nancy Cassady, and her husband Derek, are long term Democratic Party political operatives, and their primary interest is in getting out the vote, which is the real purpose of the GMO label campaign:
God, Gays, Guns, Grass & GMOs: (http://fubarandgrill.org/node/1524)
OB People’s Co-op’s idea of democracy is to support an organization to ask Congress to ask the President to do something that he isn’t likely to do, wouldn’t help if he did, and might cause great harm in the end if they were to succeed and Monsanto got Congress, the President, or the Supreme Court to annul it. Should mandatory GMO labeling become law, Monsanto will appeal to the Supreme Court where former Monsanto lawyer Clarence Thomas is now a Justice. He hasn’t recused himself in other cases where he appeared to have a conflict of interest and there’s no reason he’d recuse himself if there was a case involving his former employer. There’s no incentive for him to recuse himself, as there is no place to appeal anything he does. You can’t go to a higher court and have him removed from the case due to an obvious conflict of interest, because there is no higher court–they’re the highest court in the land. I’d be very surprised if Thomas hadn’t exercised his stock options when he left Monsanto and if those shares aren’t still in his portfolio. He can claim that his portfolio is under management and he doesn’t know what is in it, but he certainly knows what used to be in it, and he knows his financial managers wouldn’t dump a stock he favors. So I know how he’d vote. I don’t know how many other Supreme Court justices have had some connection to Monsanto in the past, have stock in Monsanto, or have close family and friends with stock in Monsanto, but I’d be very surprised if there was one who did not. Voters aren’t chess players, but political party operatives are. They think several moves ahead while distracting voters with their immediate move. They know that if they can get people to demand GMO labels, Monsanto will appeal to the Supreme Court, labels will be declared unconstitutional, and even voluntary labels will become illegal. Both political parties get donations from Monsanto and favor Monsanto, so by getting people to demand GMO labels, they are helping Monsanto by giving the Supreme Court the opportunity to declare labels illegal. The Supreme Court considers corporations to be people, is very protective of the Constitutional rights of corporations, and the reason they ruled that money is speech is because that’s the only voice they listen to. Oh, they’ll ask questions and pretend to deliberate, but they’ll decide for Monsanto.
In addition to speaking at the board meeting and explaining the problems with labels, I’ve personally emailed and spoken with both Nancy and Derek extensively–a total waste of breath. They are dedicated statists and they don’t care if they poison all their customers with falsely labeled organics, as long as they can get out the vote by using any scam they can grab on to. Oh, they care enough to recall foods after it is found that the labels lied, but a lot of people can become ill or even die before a whistleblower comes forward or an agency gets around to checking on a product that has already been certified.
My membership in the co-op is still paid up for part of this year and I’ve got about a hundred dollars on a co-op gift card that can’t be redeemed for cash, so I guess I’ll still be shopping there for another month or so. I’m considering whether to stand in front of their store and pass out fliers, but it probably wouldn’t do any good. I’m obviously not going to renew my membership and I’ll do most of my shopping in the future at Sprouts, Boney’s, and the farmers’ markets.
Luckily for me, a Boney’s will be opening in Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego soon, which is walking distance for me, instead of a 40-minute bus ride to the co-op.
Funny, last time I was at the co-op, I happened to see Nancy and I introduced her to a neighbor of mine I had encouraged to join the co-op. Nancy’s face seemed unusually drawn, and I now realize that she had already seen (if not actually written) the front page article for the newsletter which came out the next day, so she was probably concerned that I had also seen it and would be angry. I hadn’t then, but I have now, and I couldn’t be much angrier.
As soon as I post this, I’ll send the link to Nancy and Derek.
Fuck OB People’s Co-op!
Where is the Money Going? (http://fubarandgrill.org/node/1529#comment-4014)
The donations are not tax deductible.
The co-op is asking people to put $1, $5, or $10 in the collection boxes located at each cash register. That means that the donations are too small to have to be reported and that nobody gets a receipt.
The money supposedly will go to former Congressman Jim Bates to act as a lobbyist.
The newsletter story says, “We know that money is no object when corporations spend to get what they want; we also know that the only thing we can counter that money with is millions of Americans organized to fight back.”
In other words, they’re spending $30,000 of co-op money (without asking for a vote from co-op members) plus whatever they can get in donations, to emulate Monsanto and lobby Congress. But Monsanto has billions to spend and even if People’s can get other co-ops involved, they cannot begin to match the number of lobbyists and money that Monsanto has. And thanks to Obama, Monsanto has its people in policy-making positions in the FDA, USDA, and other agencies, so if the campaign is successful and persuades Women in the Senate to ask Obama to help get GMO food labels, he’ll have to consult with the Monsanto officials he has appointed and they will advise him not to. Plus, if Monsanto pulled its funding from candidates, both major parties would probably collapse. The 1% have interlocking boards of directors, and if Monsanto pulls their political funding, the people from Monsanto’s board who sit on other corporate boards will recommend that their boards do the same.
This is just a ploy to put money in the pocket of the Democratic Party. It cannot possibly accomplish anything, but the goal is just to raise money, not to do anything. At most, the money will be used to ask certain Members of Congress to ask the President to do something that would cost the Democratic Party billions of dollars in corporate donations if they did it.
This is a scam. It will keep a lot of people busy raising money, the same way that Canvas 4 A Cause does, by using a hot-button issue that people care about, to get people to vote for people they hope might support their issue (everyone hoped Obama supported GMO labels, and he even said that he did, but it turned out that he supported Monsanto more), and to donate money to political lobbyists who will pass some of what’s left after their own salary, staff salaries, and expenses, along to politicians.
While they may say that they’re raising consciousness about GMOs, there is no need to. Their story contains a graph from a survey by the Mellman Group in March 2012, showing that 90% of mothers and 88% of fathers already favor GMO labels. How much more consciousness do they need to raise? The problem is that when the overwhelming majority of US citizens and voters supported the impeachment of Bush and Cheney, opposed bank bailouts, and opposed the Iraq war, the White House calmly announced that it does not allow public opinion to influence policy decisions, the Democrats took impeachment off the table, and the government not only went ahead with the war and the bailouts, but launched public relations efforts to try to convince the public to support those decisions. At the same time, protesters were being brutalized by the police and whistleblowers were being tortured.
The US is not a democracy. We do not have a government that is responsive to the people. It doesn’t matter how many people are involved–their voices will not be heard by anyone in power. They’ll be heard by politicians who’ll use their hopes and dreams to tell lies to get elected, but who won’t fulfill their campaign promises once in office. And they’ll be heard by the cops and the prison guards, whose job is to stifle dissent and silence those voices.
Nancy, Derek, the Democrats, the Progressive Democrats, the Greens, and others involved with US political parties who believe in the system enough to vote are con artists. They try to focus attention on selfish desires, so that people won’t think about the racist genocides they’re supporting:
When Did Today Begin? (http://fubarandgrill.org/node/1528)
Derek and Nancy are among the Democratic Party operatives who deliberately hijacked Occupy San Diego away from direct democracy and back into politics as usual–a way to register voters.
What corporate lobbyists do to get legislators to favor their causes, is to promise that their corporations will donate money to those legislators and/or to their political party. No grassroots organization has the billions of dollars needed to outspend corporations. While the co-op is prohibited by law from raising money for a particular party or candidate, they are allowed to support an organization supposedly targeting women in the Senate, however the fact is that of the twenty women in the Senate, sixteen are Democrats and only four are Republicans. So if the co-ops raise enough money for former Congressman Jim Bates to lobby women Senators, he’ll focus on those who might support GMO labels, obviously Democrats, which means that he’ll have to promise that his organization will donate to their political campaigns. Even if he gave equal amounts to all women Senators, both those interested in GMO labels and those who are not, which is dubious, the Democrats would still get 75% of the cash. And we have to trust Democratic Party operatives to tell us how much was collected. It’s a way to raise money for political campaigns while pretending not to, pretending to be nonpartisan, and remaining completely unaccountable.
Consumers can’t out-bribe corporations and shouldn’t try. What consumers need is either a socialist government that puts people before profits, or a direct democracy where people can decide what the government does. Many countries have banned GMOs. If there’s a dangerous substance in our food, we need to ban it and get it out of our food, not merely label it. Even labels that happen to be truthful will leave GMOs in our food supply, and many people, particularly children, aren’t going to read the labels, while the food people eat at parties, in cafeterias, and in restaurants is already removed from its packaging and prepared, so there are no labels to read.
The loophole that has to be closed isn’t the one about GMO labels, it is the one that allows organizations to raise money for politicians by pretending that they’re raising money for causes.
The US government is a wholly-owned subsidiary of big corporations and banks like Monsanto and Goldman Sachs. The big corporations spend billions funding election campaigns and they own the candidates and political parties they fund. The 99% can’t outbid the 1% because the 1% have most of the money and the 99% need what little they have to survive. This is a cruel hoax to take money from suckers and give it to a government that is already bought and paid for by big business.
Fuck OB People’s Co-op!
Taking Money Out of the Community: (http://fubarandgrill.org/node/1529#comment-4015)
One of the biggest reasons for shopping at co-ops is that the money stays in the community.
This is no longer true for OB People’s Co-op. They are sending money to the oligarchs in Washington DC to be passed along to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Turkey, and Israel, to support wars of aggression, and to build more nuclear power plants.
If it was just donations, an argument could be made that people have a choice. But the $30,000 that the board voted to give the lobbying organization doesn’t allow members to have a choice in whether or not their money stays in San Diego or is sent to Washington, D.C.
That is a violation of cooperative principles, it is undemocratic, and it is a betrayal of co-op members.
When Democrats and Republicans introduce legislation in Congress, the first thing they do is count the votes, that is, before the legislation is even introduced, and before anyone has a chance to vote on it, those proposing legislation count up how many definite votes they can count on, and how many potential swing votes they might get in Congress. If the legislation has no chance of passing, it can be introduced anyway, merely for public relations purposes, knowing that it will fail, or its sponsors simply might not bother to introduce it.
GMO labels don’t have the votes in Congress. Most Members of Congress rely on donations from Monsanto and won’t vote against Monsanto. So even if all twenty women in the Senate agreed to vote for GMO labels, they still don’t have enough votes to get such legislation passed. Corporate lobbyists don’t just promise legislators campaign donations–they also give them stock market tips, such as letting them know when Monsanto is about to release a new product which will increase the value of its shares. Since Members of Congress are exempt from insider trading laws, most of them own stock in Monsanto and they aren’t going to do anything that might lower the value of their investment portfolios, not even if every constituent in their districts asks them to.
Until now, when I shopped at the co-op, I believed that my money was staying in my community and not going to rich capitalists far away. That is no longer true. Most Senators are millionaires or billionaires. They don’t need my money and I don’t want to give them any because I know I can’t outbid Monsanto to influence their votes. With this campaign, People’s Co-op has forfeited any right to claim that money spent there stays in San Diego.
Fuck OB People’s Co-op!