Sunday, 27 February 2011

Links Between Longer Ragweed Season and Climate Change Confirmed

ScienceDaily (Feb. 25, 2011) — Studies by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have confirmed, in some parts of North America, including Saskatchewan, ragweed season now lasts longer. The pollen contributes to the development of Hay Fever, especially in children.  Full story here.



Saturday, 26 February 2011

Electricity Use, Coal Consumption, and Public Health



ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH PERSPECTIVES - Feb 26'11

Balancing benefits and risks as global demand rises. Full story here.
Power pylons.
l.p. photo

Friday, 25 February 2011

Is Climate Change Making Food Less Safe?

Rachel Shulman EatDrinkBetter Feb 25 '11
New evidence suggests that climate change is already putting the safety of our food at risk, and that things are only going to get worse. Full story here.
"Mutant" strawberries.
l.p. photo

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Climate Change. Wild Weather. There IS a Connection!

Edmonton Journal February 22, 2011
 A report in the scientific journal Nature has for the first time linked a specific weather event to human induced climate change. 

Monday, 21 February 2011

Many Months Later, Gulf of Mexico Bottom Shows Little Sign of Recovery, but Many Dead Critters

By Seth Borenstein, The Associated Press | The Canadian Press – Sat, 19 Feb '11 
WASHINGTON - Oil from the BP spill remains stuck on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, according to a top scientist's video and slides that she says demonstrate the oil isn't degrading as hoped and has decimated life on parts of the sea floor. Full story here.
It all began early last year when the rig, 
Deepwater Horizon, (above), exploded.

Chevron Thumbs its Nose at the Court & Ecuador Itself Over the Profound Harm it Has Inflicted on the Amazon Rain Forest & its People

DESMOGBLOG - 14 February '11 
 EDITOR'S NOTE: Once again, a despicable, soulless corporation. made possible through despicable, soulless investors, pits itself against ordinary people. WILL WE LET IT WIN? l.p.  


Sunday, 20 February 2011

Ozone Layer’s Future Linked Strongly to Changes in Climate, Study Finds

ScienceDaily (Feb. 17, 2011) 
 The ozone layer, the thin atmospheric band high-up in the stratosphere that protects living things on Earth from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays faces potential new challenges.  Full story here.
 










"Home" a Breathtaking Panorama of our Troubled Earth. Watch the Trailer Here.

Watch the full video here.
video
We are living in exceptional times. Scientists tell us that we have 10 years to change the way we live, avert the depletion of natural resources and the catastrophic evolution of the Earth's climate. The stakes are high for us and our children. Everyone should take part in the effort, and HOME has been conceived to take a message of mobilization out to every human being. For this purpose, HOME needs to be free. A patron, the PPR Group, made this possible. EuropaCorp, the distributor, also pledged not to make any profit because Home is a non-profit film. HOME has been made for you : share it! And act for the planet.
Yann Arthus-Bertrand, GoodPlanet Fundation President

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Chevron Must Pay!

Alternet - Feb. 19'11

An Ecuadorian judge ordered Chevron this week to pay $8.6 billion in damages for polluting the Amazon rainforest from 1964 until 1990. Incredibly, Chevron is known to refuse to pay such damages, even when a court orders it to do so! Read story here. 

The Body That Oversees Broadcasting in Canada, the CRTC, Drops Plan to Weaken Truth in Broadcasting Regulations

February 18, 2011 — The Wire Report
 
OTTAWA—CRTC chair Konrad von Finckenstein says the Commission will not proceed with changes it had been considering, to its prohibition on false and misleading news. von Finckenstein says it's because the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations, which had been pressing for the changes, will no longer persue the issue. The move follows a groundswell of protest and petitions which gathered tens of thousands of names in opposition to the idea. Many saw the proposed changes as a way to help prepare for the arrival of an American-style TV network in this country which skeptics have dubbed "Fox News North." Read full story here.

Please aslso read: "Is Canada About to Descend Into An America-Style Abyss by Cheapening Our Broadcast Regulations?"


Friday, 18 February 2011

Permafrost Melt Soon Irreversible Without Major Fossil Fuel Cuts

Stephen Leahy - Inter Press Service
UXBRIDGE, Ontario, Canada, 17 Feb  Thawing permafrost is threatening to overwhelm attempts to keep the planet from getting too hot for human survival.  Read full story here.

Pipelines Carrying Oil From the Canadian Tar Sands Pose Serious Risks

By Keith Schneider - Nat. Resources Defence Council  - OnEarth Magazine - 
"A Survival Guide for the Planet" - Fe. 16 '11
NRDC photo.
Just after dawn on July 26, 2010, homeowners along Talmadge Creek near Marshall, Michigan, awoke to the chemical stench of raw fuel. Full story here.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

TransCanada Runs Deceptive Ad Pushing Controversial Oil Pipeline

Friends of the Earth - Feb 17-'11

Canadian company misleads public, asserts pumping dirty Canadian tar sands oil into U.S. would reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

CBC Manitoba Thinks Nothing Can Be Done About Climate Change! Larry Writes Yet Another Letter-to-the-Editor

Larry Powell

The flood of the century - Red River Valley - 1997. 
I made what I thought was a reasonable request of CBC Manitoba the other day.


I asked it to start including atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (C02), in its weather casts.


After consulting with John Sauder (CBC photo - r.), their extremely competent "weather guy"(John is Manitoba's only broadcast meteorologist), a CBC spokesperson told me, "no."


Why? Because it might be "inflammatory!"

The CBC further explained that, wind chill factors and UV levels, which they report regularly, were things upon which their listeners/viewers "can actually take some immediate, personal action."

The implication in that response is that there is nothing we can actually do about climate change! That, I found, was the most chilling part of all.


Apparently, we can no longer choose to drive smaller cars, take the bus, live close to work or just visit the Mayan Riviera every other year.


By way of background, I'm someone who realizes that global warming is real, it's happening now, and it's caused by humans. (Note, I didn't say I believe in it. Because it is not a matter of belief. It is a matter of fact.)


We all create too many greenhouse gases through the fossil fuels we burn in the planes, trains, cars, trucks, quads and snow machines we love so much. Those gases, mostly C02, are trapping heat and leading to the warming of our planetary home. This, in turn, is creating climate change, and with it, melting ice caps and glaciers, rising sea levels, droughts, floods and an increase in the frequency and intensity of storms of all kinds - hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones, tidal surges, snow, rain hail and ice.


So, if the CBC won't do what I asked, may I be permitted to do it myself?


Atmospheric levels of C02 now hover at about 388 parts per million. Anything above 350 is "not compatible with the planet on which civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapted."


So, who said that? Some radical climate crank?


Not really. It's James Hansen. Hansen works for the Goddard Space Institute at NASA. He happens to be considered Earth's foremost climatologist.


So, do you feel "inflamed?" 

Perhaps you should.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Reporting CO2 Levels on the Radio Might be "Inflammatory:" CBC

Below is the CBC's response to my request (please read - "'PLT' Publisher Asks for Help in Raising Awareness of  Global Warming") to report atmospheric C02 levels during their weathercasts.
=======
Greetings Mr. Powell,
  Through consulting with our meteorologist, we have determined that it would be inappropriate for us to consider a regular reporting of CO2 levels as a part of our regular weather reports, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is simple time economics in a weather-cast.  Moreover, while the concerns may be great about the rising levels of CO2, an inclusion of this number in regular reports might be perceived and received as inflammatory, compared say to the UV levels or wind chills about which a listener can actually take some immediate personal action.
  This subject is, however, something we are going to follow up on in terms of a story for one of our local radio programs.  We thank you for your interest and invite you to keep listening. 
Cheery bye,
John Sadoway
CBC Radio Winnipeg

"PLT" Publisher Asks for Help in Raising Awareness of Global Warming

 Below is a message I sent today to Marilyn Maki, (lower r.) a weather specialist and radio host at CBC in Winnipeg. Keep watching this space for her reply! l.p.
=====
Marilyn Maki,
Host, Radio Noon,
CBC Manitoba.
Dear Marilyn,

As a weather specialist, you will be aware that the science of climate change is now well-proven.

Human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, mainly carbon dioxide (CO2), are still on the increase. And so are the earth's mean temperatures and the incidences of severe weather events.

Considering the gravity of this situation, I would ask you to consider the following:

Would you, at least periodically, report current CO2 levels in the atmosphere, as part of your weather casts?  

As you will also be aware, those levels have, for some time now, been well above 350ppm. That's the level considerd by the world's leading climatologist, James Hansen, to be safe for human habitation.

I would submit such a service would be at least as important as, say wind-chill factors or UV levels.

Hope you agree.

I'd appreciate an answer at your earliest opportunity, so I can post it on my blog.

Sincerely,
Larry Powell
Roblin, MB
www.pathslesstravelled.com

Is Canada About to Descend Into An America-Style Abyss by Cheapening Our Broadcast Regulations?

Below is my submission to the Canadian Radio, Television & Telecommunications Commission. That powerful body seems poised to grant the wishes of a parliamentary committee by loosening the rules governing truth and accuracy in broadcasting.
(Anyone detect the heavy hand of Stephen Harper in all of this? Naaaaa!) l.p.
 ==== 
  1.    Dear CRTC - I am a journalist specializing in stories about the environment, especially global warming. Your proposed changes concern me deeply because, among other things:
    2.    I fear they will provide yet another channel for climate skeptics/opportunists and fraudsters to peddle their lies and deception over a phenomenon which is real, which is happening now and which is posing a clear and present threat to this planet, not only for us but future generations, as well.
    3.    I also fear these changes would shamefully cheapen the noble profession of Canadian journalism with its long-accepted high standard of checks and balances on the truth and accuracy of reporting in the public interest.
    4.    These changes seem to prepare the way for American-style broadcasting, where kooks and cranks have free reign to inflict their poisonous lies and misinformation on the public.
    5.    I implore you - do your part in preserving Canada's proud tradition of fairness and honesty in broadcasting - PLEASE DO NOT PROCEED WITH THESE CHANGES.
    6.    Sincerely,
    7.    Larry Powell - Box 5 Grp 11 RR 1 ROBLIN - Manitoba- CA - R0L1P0

***End of document***

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

48 Hours to Save Canadian Journalism?

COMMENT: Patti wrote:
"This is just one in a long list of abuses and audacities that this PM and his government have perpetrated. How long are we going to stand for it? No credible opposition to challenge the abuses and no populace knowledgeable enough to vote this criminal and his party out." 



Dear friends across Canada,

Public protections against false and misleading news coverage could be destroyed by the CRTC -- paving the way for "Fox News North" to spread false information to the Canadian public that supports their political agenda. We have just two days to raise a national outcry and urge the CRTC to protect Canadian journalism!
In 48 hours, public protections against false news coverage could be destroyed. 
The CRTC may pass a huge loophole to the “fair and balanced” rule that currently 
prevents media from outright lying to the public.

Canada's broadcast journalism standards are an impediment to the new 
"Fox News North" (Sun TV) network being set up by Prime Minister 
Harper's cronies, which promises to mimic Fox News -- the poisonous US propaganda network. The CRTC rule change, which allows false news to be blasted across Canadian airwaves, comes just as SunTV is about to launch.

We can stop this -- last year, we prevented Harper cronies from pressing the CRTC to fund "Fox News North" with public money. Now, we have just two days to raise another national outcry to save the standards of Canadian journalism, and our democracy. Sign the petition below, and tell everyone:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/canada_fair_and_balanced/?vl

The proposed changes to regulations protecting Canadian airwaves would require any complaint to include proof that the broadcaster knew that the news was false AND that the lies spread could endanger the lives, health or safety of the public -- so a journalist could tell any lie they liked as long it didn't kill or sicken anyone. Proponents within the CRTC are claiming that this change is in reaction to a Supreme Court decision, but that ruling was made fifteen years ago and has almost nothing to do with TV news standards.

Television news is regulated by the CRTC precisely because news that spreads lies degrades public discourse and destroys the ability of Canadians to cast an informed vote. These kinds of lies may not directly threaten our lives or personal security, but they do threaten our country and our democracy.

Avaaz, along with hundreds of other media advocates, has already submitted a detailed legal argument explaining why the “fair and balanced” rule is necessary to protect Canadian democracy. A national call to keep the news honest will focus CRTC attention on the legitimate objections to their dangerous plan. Sign the petition and forward this email to everyone:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/canada_fair_and_balanced/?vl

Just a few months ago, Canadians prevented government subsidies for "Fox News North" and helped expose the unethical conduct of its director Kory Teneycke, Prime Minister Harper's former Communications Director. Now Harper's cronies are back, and hacking at an essential pillar of our democracy, the standards that help prevent media from outright lying to the public. In the next two days we join a long tradition of Canadians who have built and sustained our democracy in the face of all kinds of threats. Let's do that tradition proud.

With hope,

Emma, Ricken, Laryn and the rest of the Avaaz team

Sources:

CRTC plan to lift ban on false news prompts political investigation:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/crtc-plan-to-lift-ban-on-false-news-prompts-political-investigation/article1898147/


CRTC notice of consultation on fair and balanced rule:
http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2011/2011-14.htm


CRTC receives thousands of comments on 'false and misleading news' amendment:
http://www.wirereport.ca/reports/content/11955-crtc_receives_thousands_of_comments_on_false_and_misleading_news_amendment

Avaaz submission to the CRTC - Feb. 9, 2011
http://www.scribd.com/doc/48882523/Avaaz-Re-BNC-2011-14


Support the Avaaz community! We're entirely funded by donations and receive no money from governments or corporations. Our dedicated team ensures even the smallest contributions go a long way -- donate here.




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that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people shape global decision-making. ("Avaaz" means "voice" or "song" in many languages.) Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread across 13 countries on 4 continents and operates in 14 languages. Learn about some of Avaaz's biggest campaigns here, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Chevron Gets Dinged - Heavily!

Rainforest Action Network

Chevron is guilty. 
Tell CEO John Watson: 
Clean up Ecuador NOW!
Chevron is guilty
Dear friend,

Yesterday marked a historic day for corporate accountability.
A judge in Ecuador found Chevron guilty of massive oil contamination in the Amazon rainforest and ordered the company to pay over $8 billion to clean it up.

The verdict is the culmination of an 18-year struggle by the Indigenous and rural Ecuadoreans — the real heroes of this epic fight — who first sued Chevron to force the company to clean up its oily mess back in 1993. The battle is won, but the war for corporate accountability is far from over.

Chevron has vowed to appeal the decision
, and it’s all too clear that the company intends to never pay for its oil pollution in the Amazon. Tell Chevron CEO John Watson that enough is enough – Chevron needs to clean up Ecuador NOW.

For 18 years the Ecuadorean plaintiffs have withstood the 

impacts of Chevron’s pollution in the Amazon, as well as an unprecedented PR and legal campaign aimed at discrediting 
them and minimizing the extent of the damage that’s been 
done to their health and livelihoods. The evidence of the company’s guilt is overwhelming. It’s time for Chevron 
to take responsibility for 
its mess.

John Watson needs to do the right thing and pledge 

to clean up the Ecuadorean Amazon by complying 
with the judgment in Ecuador. Some 1,400 people have 
already died as a result of Chevron refusing to take 
responsibility, and 30,000 more are at risk. The people 
living with Chevron’s pollution can’t wait while the company 
launches another PR campaign and attempts even more 
dirty tricks and shady legal maneuvers to try and evade 
its responsibility.

Stand up for the people of Ecuador, for human rights, 

and for corporate accountability:  
Tell Chevron CEO John Watson to stop stalling 
and clean up Ecuador NOW.
Change Chevron team
For a cleaner future,
Ginger, Maria, Linda, and Mike
Change Chevron


Rainforest Action Network
221 Pine Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94104 USA
Phone: (415) 398-4404   Fax: (415) 398-2732

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Monday, 14 February 2011

Oil Pipeline From Canada Stirring Anger in U.S. Great Plains

By David Goldstein | McClatchy Newspapers - Feb 14 - 2011
WASHINGTON — Crude oil from western Canada began flowing through a controversial pipeline in Kansas last week. Read more here.

PolluterHarmony - the #1 Matchmaking Site for Polluters - "Now in Canada"

Will Global Warming End Up in Court? A Climate Scientist Sues a Skeptic for Libel

February 8, 2011 - By JOHN COLLINS RUDOLF - New York Times.
A prominent Canadian climate scientist is suing a leading climate skeptic for libel, arguing that an article published online in January contained false and malicious claims. Read the rest here.


Andrew Weaver, climate scientist

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Environment Minister Peter Kent Claims Climate "Plan Is Working" and Canadians Are "Proud" of Tar Sands

Naom Chomski on Climate Change. (Video) A Liberal Hoax?

My MP Helps Nix a Bill That Would Have Protected Farmers From GMO Crops. Letter-to-the-Editor

Dear Editor,

I see my new Member of Parliament, Robert Sopuck  (Conservative Party - Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette - l.) has already made his mark on the political landscape. He voted with the rest of his Conservative Party and many Liberals last night to defeat an NDP private members' bill. The thrust of Bill C-474 was pretty simple - protect farmers by requiring “an analysis of potential harm to export markets before the sale of any new genetically engineered (GMO) seed is permitted."

In other words, new GM seeds would actually be examined to make sure other countries would want to buy them. (This, of course, is something an honest, competent government should have been doing anyway.)

Had it passed, the bill almost certainly would have prevented the GM flax fiasco of 2009. Canadian farmers paid a heavy price in that year (and since) when unwanted GM contamination damaged their export flax markets.

It might have also saved many organic farmers in this country from harm and misery when widespread plantings of GM canola contaminated their crops and ruined their market opportunities many years ago.

It would have at least provided a check-and-balance against the introduction of GM alfalfa and GM sugar beets. Both of these "Frankenfoods" have recently been approved by the
USDA (in the case of sugar beets - in defiance of a court order).  

Our weak-kneed government "regulators" here in Canada even beat the misguided USDA to the punch. They approved GM alfalfa some time ago - although no sales or plantings have gone ahead yet. And, make no mistake - GM wheat, unpopular tho it may be, is also coming.

 GM alfalfa has been opposed by more than a hundred farm and consumer groups in Canada. And according to one advocacy group, more than 10,000 people signed petitions supporting Bill C-474!

Alfalfa is a marvellous, hardy cover crop which I have planted myself to suppress weeds and replenish the soil when I rotate my vegetable plots. Alas, our legislators seem not to have learned anything from the wise old saying - if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Because alfalfa is a key feed for livestock, fears are even being expressed for the future of the organic beef and dairy industries in this country! (That's because pollen from GM crops travels and contaminates those of organic growers.)

So why did most of our MPs line up with rich, monumentally ruthless corporations like Monsanto, (which manipulates food genes so it can hook producers on its infamous "Roundup" herbicide) rather than individual farmers? Monsanto no doubt had the most to gain from the death of C-474.

Before the vote, Mr. Sopick told me, the private members bill would have "
harmed the Canadian agriculture industry." He added, it would have meant more "red tape." Funny, those are the precise words also used by Syngenta, another "gene-giant," to criticize the same bill.

He also described Canada's current oversight of GM products as "science-based" and "rigorous!"

Science-based?


Rigorous?

A scant few years ago, federal regulators lifted not a finger while Monsanto and its partner, Dow AgroSciences, went ahead and introduced "Smatstax"corn, yet another GE product, into this country. No health study - no market study - nothing. "Smartstax" is shot-full of chemicals, including an especially nasty one implicated in the poisonings of billions of precious, life-giving pollinators like honey bees, in many parts of the world.

The biotech industry has been lobbying hard against C-474. According to the Globe and Mail, its national association held 50 meetings with federal politicians and government officials last fall, trying to have it quashed! 


(Don't you wish you had that kind of influence over our decision-makers?)

Mr. Sopick will undoubtedly be running for office again when the general election is held. 


Will he continue to represent corporate interests in the next House? Or will he see the light and begin representing people, instead?

If you would like to question him about this issue, here is his contact information. 




Sopuck.R@parl.gc.ca
Constituency Offices
1450 Main Street,
Dauphin Marketplace Mall (Main Office)
Dauphin, Manitoba R7N 3H4
Telephone: (204) 622-4659 Fax: (204) 622-4654
PO Box 68 Whirlpool Drive West Unit A - No. 9 Public Road 354
Onanole, Manitoba R0J 1N0
Work Address:
Hill Office House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6



Larry Powell is an organic grower, journalist and blogger near Roblin, Manitoba

GMO Bill Struck Down in Ottawa

By Colleen Kimmett February 9, 2011 

A private members' bill that would have added a layer of scrutiny….

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Mexico, Cradle of Corn, Finds its Noble Grain Under Assault

By Tim Johnson | McClatchy Newspapers
GUELATAO, Mexico — Yank the husks off...

Greens Urge Manitoba to Become "GE-Free"

The USDA Approves Another Controversial GE Crop


Dear Larry,

Is This the Monsanto Administration or the Obama Administration?


Demand President Obama
Stop Approving Monsanto's Crops!

Is the Obama Administration becoming the Monsanto Administration? A few days ago, the USDA approved the planting of genetically engineered (GE) sugar beets, just a week after dealing a huge blow to the organic industry by approving GE alfalfa. Ask President Obama to stand up to Monsanto and corporate agribusiness.

Add these GE crop approvals with this administration's moves towards approving GE salmon, approving chicken from China, and the slowness with which they're implementing fair farm rules, and it starts to equal an administration being run by corporate agribusiness. Enough is enough: Tell President Obama to stop pushing Monsanto's agenda.

Soon, many sweet treats in America could be produced with sugar from Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) sugar beets. Adding insult to injury for farmers and people who don't want GE foods, last week, the USDA announced it would allow the ‘partial deregulation’ of the growing of GE sugar beets. This was in defiance of a court order mandating an environmental impact statement before proceeding with this GE crop approval.

This series of bad decisions effectively gives a green light to Monsanto to hold even more sway over the food system. While Americans enjoy their dessert, Monsanto will reap ever-larger profits and enjoy ever-greater power over what you and I eat.

The Obama Administration has given corporate agribusiness too much influence on these decisions, and now farmers, the environment and consumers will all suffer with biotechnology’s increasing stranglehold over the food system.

President Obama has to stand up to corporate agribusiness. Take action now to demand President Obama stand up to Monsanto.
http://action.foodandwaterwatch.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=5810


Thanks for taking action,
Sarah Alexander
Outreach Director
Food & Water Watch
goodfood(at)fwwatch(dot)org
p.s. Fighting the corporate control of our food is an ongoing battle.  On Valentine's day we need you to make a call asking President Obama to implement the fair farm rules.  We'll send you the details on Monday!



Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Catastrophic Weather Events Are Becoming the New Normal -- Are You Ready for Life on Our Planet Circa 2011?

AlterNet / By Bill McKibben - Feb '11
 
For two decades now we've been ignoring the impassioned pleas of scientists that our burning of fossil fuels was a bad idea. And now we're paying a heavy price.

Climate Benefits of Natural Gas Overstated?
















Natural gas production has skyrocketed in the U.S. and elsewhere lately. And one big supposed benefit of this energy source is that it creates a lot fewer greenhouse gas emissions than coal. However, new research from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows that these climate change claims may have been greatly overstated - as ProPublic reports reports here.

Save Uncontacted Tribes From Loggers - Watch the Video - Sign the Petition!

Monday, 7 February 2011

USDA Hits Organics Again, Approves Monsanto’s GMO Sugar Beets

Jeremy Bloom Feb 7 - 2011 - Planetsave  
EDITOR'S NOTE: Once again, Monsanto's puppet, Ag Secretary Vilsack, pisses on the courts and gives the corporation what it wants. 
Barack! What were you thinking? l.p.