Rick Santorum’s campaign song: Every Sperm is Sacred

Why the War on Women’s Access to Birth Control and Abortion is Important to Transsexual and Transgender People

Sometimes when I listen to TG/TG folks I get the impression that they think they are the only people in the world who are oppressed by discrimination with regards to access to medical care.

In case people missed, it the war against transsexuals and SRS paralleled the rise of the religious right and the war on abortion.

There is one harsh truth people need to face: “Religions, virtually all religions, hate  women.”

They hate non-conformity as well hence the hippie punching, liberal punching that goes along with homophobia and transphobia.

Julia Serano points out that transphobia is actual a variation on standard misogyny.  That alone should be reason enough for TS/TG women or women of TS history to be feminists.

There has been a lot of focus on Janice Raymond and her infamous book, a book which grew out of a doctoral thesis.  I’m researching Raymond at this point looking for the smoking gun that actually shows Snopes survivable evidence that she was the one who caused insurance companies to stop covering SRS in 1980 or thereabouts.  (If you have actual evidence as opposed to hearsay evidence contact me with it)

Prior to 1980 SRS wasn’t covered by most insurance policies because transsexualism was either deemed a pre-existing condition or SRS an experimental procedure.  The change was that policies began codifying this exclusion during the rise of Reagan and the neo-fascist right wing/Religious Right.

Gaining even minimal coverage under the neo-fascist right wing corporate pandering state that has risen since 1980 has been an up-hill battle because the Religious Right fights every gain and because we don’t have National Health that requires coverage of everyone.  Instead we have private corporations who profit from the suffering and deaths of those they insure.  Every needed medical treatment they don’t pay for helps fund another Mercedes for some rich fuck.

The fanatical Religionists are a major problem, everywhere on the planet.  We are staring at an Armageddon, but not the one those fucks imagine.  The unmitigated disaster we are facing is due to having created the perfect environmental storm:  We’ve exploded the population bomb instead of heeding Malthus and Ehrlich. Now we have passed the point of peak oil.  Have runaway climate change.  Etc, etc.. .  We have ceded the power of people to self govern to the rich who own corporations.  Globalization has destroyed the ability of nations to govern themselves, as corporations can bring legal action against nations that act in the interests of their own people, or to protect their people from ravagement by the corporations.

Add to this a political mix of religious fanatics that couple the politics of Nazism to the fanaticism of fundamentalist Muslim clerics and you have a war against women having any rights including the right to control the most intimate portion of her own life, her ability to decide to reproduce or not.

Is there a transsexual or transgender person out there who thinks that a group of people who would insist that a rape victim bear the fetus of the rapist would actually let transsexuals have sex change operations?

Particularly since the mindset encouraged by these right wing neo-Nazis is at least partially responsible for creating and encouraging male behavior that holds women in contempt, particularly women who fail their standards of being a “good woman”.  Women who fall out side that definition are considered fair game for any sort of violence or abuse that befalls them.  All transgender, transsexual and post-transsexual women fall outside the territory of “good women”.  Even the right wing born again upper crust women of transsexual history, who think they are part of the dominant group.

Maybe in the pre-computer days.  Maybe in the days before computerized womb to tomb tracking.  The target may be smaller, but it is still there, just like it was for the Jews who thought they were German first.

Standing up in support of women’s access to abortion and contraception is absolutely vital.  It should be obvious that if the religious fanatics and neo-Nazis take that away that our access to medical treatments we need go with it.

Any society that permits that level of misogyny is pretty fucking twisted.  I wouldn’t count on the Dominionists having the level of sensitivity shown by the radical clerics in Iran who sanction SRS as a cure for homosexuality.  These are people who would “final solution” us.

Midweek Midnight Music Break: Melissa Manchester

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The Breast Implant Risk

From The Scientist:  http://the-scientist.com/2012/01/26/dont-beat-your-breast-implant/

Breast implants leaking contaminated silicone are causing a fuss in Europe, but all breast implants carry risks.

By Hannah Waters
January 26, 2012

The current breast implant scandal in Europe has nothing to do with celebrity news. On December 23, the French Agency for the Safety of Health Products recommended that more than 30,000 French women with silicone-filled breast implants made by the medical device company Poly Implant Prothese have them removed because more than 10 percent ruptured within a year of surgery, releasing the implants’ contents into the body.

To make matters worse, these particular implants are filled with industrial-grade silicone, instead of medical-grade, which could contain unregulated and dangerous chemicals.

“They used industrial grade silicone; I cannot believe this,” said polymer chemist Judit Puskas from the University of Akron, who is developing new implant materials. “You have all kinds of additives in there that are carcinogenic.”

Breast implants are composed of a silicone sac that contains silicone or saline gel, and the silicone sacs of the PIP implants are weaker than normal, leading to rupture. In this case, the implants were filled with silicone that has not passed regulatory approval and was intended to waterproof bricks: not exactly a material doctors want circulating in women’s bodies.

After an implant ruptures, the silicone filling slowly seeps into the body’s tissues, bloodstream, and lymphatic system. The French health agency has confirmed that the leaked silicone from PIP implants causes generalized pain and irritation, and that the material can be identified in lymph nodes with an ultrasound. Fortunately, preliminary animal studies showed no evidence of higher DNA mutation rates as a result of rupture.

Continue reading at:   http://the-scientist.com/2012/01/26/dont-beat-your-breast-implant/

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Pelosi To Boehner: Stop Defending DOMA!

From The New Civil Rights Movement:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/pelosi-to-boehner-stop-defending-doma/politics/2012/02/22/35206

by David Badash
February 22, 2012

”A Waste Of Taxpayer Resources”

Minority Leader and former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi today responded to a federal court’s finding today that DOMA, the federal Defense of Marriage Act, is unconstitutional, by telling Speaker John Boehner to stop defending the 1996 law banning federal recognition of same-sex marriages. After President Obama and Attorney General Holder announced they would stop defending DOMA in court, as it had already been declared unconstitutional, Boehner decided to allocate at least $500 million to “defend” the unconstitutional law, being to social conservatives and ignoring logic.

Complete article at:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/pelosi-to-boehner-stop-defending-doma/politics/2012/02/22/35206

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Solmonese joins Obama campaign as national co-chair

From The Washington Blade:  http://www.washingtonblade.com/2012/02/22/solmonese-joins-obama-campaign-as-national-co-chair/

By Chris Johnson
February 22, 2012

The Obama campaign has tapped Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese for a position as a national co-chair to advocate for the president based on his work for the LGBT community and the country as a whole.

On Wednesday, the Obama campaign issued a statement saying Solmonese had been selected for the role as part of a group of 35 individuals who had been chosen as national co-chairs.

In a statement, Solmonese praised Obama’s work on LGBT issues over the course of the more than three years the president has been in office, saying the president’s leadership “has brought about great change for LGBT Americans.”

“From ending ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ to prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity in the federal government, to signing the hate crime prevention act into law, the Obama administration has improved the lives of LGBT Americans more than ever before,” Solmonese said. “President Obama has made it clear that LGBT Americans deserve a fair shot and has taken steps across his administration to make the lives of those most in need in our community better.”

Others on the list include Senate Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and actress Eva Longoria, who stars on ABC’s “Desperate Housewives.”

In a statement, Jim Messina, Obama for America’s campaign manager, said the national co-chairs “will be tremendous assets on the ground as we build the biggest grassroots campaign in history.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.washingtonblade.com/2012/02/22/solmonese-joins-obama-campaign-as-national-co-chair/

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Thom Hartmann: The “National Teach-in to Take Back the American Dream”

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DOMA’s Federal Definition of Marriage Unconstitutional, Judge Rules in Golinski Case

From Metro Weekly:   http://www.metroweekly.com/poliglot/2012/02/domas-federal-definition-of-ma.html

Posted by Chris Geidner |
February 22, 2012

Today, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued its order finding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act — the federal definition of marriage — is unconstitutional in Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management, Karen Golinski’s challenge to the denial of her request for equal health insurance benefits for her wife.

Golinski, a federal court employee, brought suit after her request was denied. She is represented by Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. Because President Obama and the Department of Justice have stopped defending Section 3 of DOMA in court challenges, the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group — led by House Republican leadership — had opposed Golinski’s request in court.

In part, U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey S. White today found that Section 3 of DOMA violates the equal protection rights of Golinski, finding that heightened scrutiny applies — as urged by the DOJ — and noting that it might not even pass rational basis — the lowest — legal scrutiny:

The Court concludes that, based on the justifications proffered by Congress for its passage of DOMA, the statute fails to satisfy heightened scrutiny and is unconstitutional as applied to Ms. Golinski.

Although the Court finds that DOMA is subject to and fails to satisfy heightened scrutiny, it notes that numerous courts have found that the statute fails even rational basis review.

Continue reading at:  http://www.metroweekly.com/poliglot/2012/02/domas-federal-definition-of-ma.html

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Prop 8 Rehearing: What it Means

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Wisconsin Assembly Officially Ends Employment Discrimination Remedies

From Addicting Info:  http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/02/21/wisconsin-assembly-officially-ends-employment-discrimination-remedies/

February 21, 2012

All across the nation we have seen a GOP assault on pretty much everyone who is not a rich white christian, male. Today this took on a whole new level as the State Assembly passed Senate Bill 202. This bill was introduced by Senator Glenn Grothman. According to Representative Christine Sinicki, Grothman said a woman’s place is at home cooking, cleaning, and making babies. For this reason he authored a bill making it so that people who are discriminated against by employers cannot sue for punitive or compensatory damages. This bill passed the Senate on partisan lines. Today, February 21, 2012, the bill was in front of the Assembly. The Democrats gave speech after speech on how bad this bill was, focusing on the current income gap between males and females. And after all of that, just one Republican stood up to defend the bill. The one who spoke was Representative Michelle Litjens who pulled out a defense seen time and time again. She simply said the Democrats were lying and that this bill doesn’t reverse any rights someone who has been discriminated against has. To call her bullshit we need look no further than the title of the bill.

Senate Bill 202: An Act to repeal 111.39 (5) (d), 111.397 and 893.995; and to amend 111.39 (4) (d) and 814.04 (intro.) of the statutes; relating to: elimination of compensatory and punitive damages for acts of employment discrimination or unfair honesty or genetic testing. (FE)

I don’t know what kind of education Michelle got in school, but to me that is pretty clear. And what I quoted above was written by the non-partisan Legislative Reference Bureau. I do not see any way a bill that says “elimination of compensatory and punitive damages for…” would do anything less than eliminate the ability to receive such damages. Do the Republicans really think we are that stupid? The bill passed with every Republican Woman voting for it. But what is really stunning is not that it passed, it is the realization that the women in the Republican party will not even stand up for their own gender. They vote for legislation that discriminates against their own sex. Do they truly agree with Grothman that a woman’s place is in the home? Do they believe they do not deserve the jobs they have? I am not sure what they believe, but they voted in agreement. I find it sad that these women have no pride in the rights that they have earned.

Continue reading at:   http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/02/21/wisconsin-assembly-officially-ends-employment-discrimination-remedies/

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Cash Of The Titans: Against The Noxious Fantasy Of Limitless Growth

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/02/22

by Phil Rockstroh
Published on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 by Common Dreams

The concept of endless economic growth, accepted as sacrosanct by both U.S. mainstream political parties, and internalized as the dominant mode of mind by the general population of the corporate/consumer state is mirrored in the exponential mathematics of a malignancy.

Cancer, if given voice, would proclaim itself to be a believer in “free market values”…devoted to the principle of endless growth…until, of course, it would silence its own voice by killing its host.

Likewise, all life seeks limits or prematurely dooms itself.

The same holds true with addiction to unlimited economic expansion…the craving for incessant ascension is, in fact, a doomed Icarusian flight.

In our time, politics as usual has failed to address the most pressing issues of the age: The manner by which neoliberal economic agendas exploit the masses in the service of a corrupt elite, and in so doing, decimating individual hopes and aspirations, as, all the while, the environmental dangers, endemic to the unchecked system, imperil the survival of humankind.

Although, alarmingly, both political parties continue to serve the status quo: Contemporary conservatives promote–in fact, seem to outright revel in–the litanies of a gospel of global-wide destruction (in the case of religious fundamentalists even going so far as to implore the forces of heaven, with fervid prayers, to expedite doomsday’s date of arrival) by means of militarist aggression and environmental carnage–while squeamish liberals are devotees of the cliché-worshipping temple of incremental change.

From the right flank of this disastrous cosmology of convenience, Rick Santarium insists that a literal interpretation and societal application of “The Scriptures” i.e., an ad hoc collection of the laws, legends and beliefs of Middle Eastern, Bronze Age, hill country barbarians will remedy our national woes. Accordingly, what is one to make of this lovely bit of wisdom from Isaiah (13:9,15–18)?

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/02/22

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Shit the FBI Says

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Why the Media Love the Violence of Protesters and Not of Banks

From Tom Dispatch:   http://www.tomdispatch.com/archive/175506/

by Rebecca Solnit
February 21, 2012.

In December 2001, 110 of 112 revelers at a wedding died, thanks to a B-52 and two B-1B bombers using precision-guided weapons to essentially wipe out a village in Eastern Afghanistan (and then, in a second strike, to take out Afghans digging in the rubble).  The incident got next to no attention here.   It wasn’t, after all, a case of American “violence,” but a regrettable error.  No one thought to suggest that the invasion of Afghanistan should be shut down because of it, nor was it discredited due to that mass killing.

It had been a mistake.  As would be the case with those other weddings obliterated by U.S. air power in Iraq and Afghanistan in the years to come.  As were the funerals and baby-naming rites blasted away in those later years.  As have been, more recently, the more than 60 children killed by CIA drone strikes in the Pakistani tribal borderlands, the funerals hit by those same drones, and the recently documented secondary strikes — as in that December 2001 attack — on rescuers trying to pull the wounded out of the rubble.

None of this, of course, gets significant attention here.  Despite the pleas of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, few here suggest shutting down U.S. and NATO air operations in that country because of violence against civilians.  There are few cries of horror for the eight Afghan sheepherders, none out of their teens, one possibly as young as six, who were killed by a NATO air strike in Kapisa Province just the other day.  There are no major editorials or front-page media stories calling for the U.S. and its allies to mend their violent ways or change their policies because of them.  It’s certainly not popular to suggest that such acts might discredit American policy abroad.

Yet, as TomDispatch regular Rebecca Solnit points out, “violence” within and by the Occupy movement in this country — we’re talking about several sexual assaults in Occupy camps, a suicide, drug use, and a small amount of property damage, bottles thrown, and the like by outliers at Occupy demonstrations — has in certain quarters somehow been enough to discredit the movement, even in some cases to paint it as a kind of living nightmare.  Such violence, minimal as it might have been, instantly discredited Occupy on the American landscape.

This, mind you, in a society in which 14,000 murders were committed in 2011, in which more than 30,000 people died in traffic accidents, in which a recent Pentagon report indicated that violent sexual crimes in the military have risen by 64% since 2006 (95% against women, even though they make up only 14% of the force’s personnel).  And yet somehow, neither weapons, nor cars, nor the U.S. military is discredited by such violence.

Continue reading at:  http://www.tomdispatch.com/archive/175506/

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More Shit Christians Say to Atheists

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Rick’s Religious Fanaticism

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/22/opinion/dowd-ricks-religious-fanaticism.html?_r=2

Published: February 21, 2012

Rick Santorum has been called a latter-day Savonarola.

That’s far too grand. He’s more like a small-town mullah.

“Satan has his sights on the United States of America,” the conservative presidential candidate warned in 2008. “Satan is attacking the great institutions of America, using those great vices of pride, vanity and sensuality as the root to attack all of the strong plants that has so deeply rooted in the American tradition.”

When, in heaven’s name, did sensuality become a vice? Next he’ll be banning Barry White.

Santorum is not merely engaged in a culture war, but “a spiritual war,” as he called it four years ago. “The Father of Lies has his sights on what you would think the Father of Lies would have his sights on: a good, decent, powerful, influential country — the United States of America,” he told students at Ave Maria University in Florida. He added that mainline Protestantism in this country “is in shambles. It is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it.”

Satan strikes, a Catholic exorcist told me, when there are “soul wounds.” Santorum, who is considered “too Catholic” even by my über-Catholic brothers, clearly believes that America’s soul wounds include men and women having sex for reasons other than procreation, people involved in same-sex relationships, women using contraception or having prenatal testing, environmentalists who elevate “the Earth above man,” women working outside the home, “anachronistic” public schools, Mormonism (which he said is considered “a dangerous cult” by some Christians), and President Obama (whom he obliquely and oddly compared to Hitler and accused of having “some phony theology”).

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/22/opinion/dowd-ricks-religious-fanaticism.html?_r=2

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From Rocky Flats to Fukushima: this nuclear folly

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/feb/21/rocky-flats-fukushima-nuclear-folly

There’s no such thing as safe and accidents are always covered up. So why let Obama build a whole new generation of reactors?

Naomi Wolf
, Tuesday 21 February 2012

In March 2011, novelist Kristen Iversen‘s memoir, Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats, was waiting sedately among piles of other manuscripts at various publishing houses. Then, Japan was hit by a tsunami, and the cooling systems of the Fukushima nuclear reactor were overwhelmed, giving the world apocalyptic images of toxic floods and floating cars, of whole provinces made uninhabitable.

Immediately, Iversen’s book was auctioned, and the timing of its publication, in June, could not be better – since, incredibly, in the shadow of the Fukushima disaster, and even as Japan and other nations see movements against the use of nuclear power ever again – President Obama is planning more investment in nuclear energy. The US is soon to start construction on several new reactors for the first time in three decades.

Iversen, a softspoken woman with a laid-back western vibe, wearing jeans and lavender scarf, seems an unlikely prophet of nuclear catastrophe. But her message is searing. She grew up in a small town near Rocky Flats, Colorado, where a secret nuclear weapons plant built over 70,000 plutonium “triggers” for nuclear bombs.

Iversen spoke with me this week about her research in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where we were at a writer’s conference. She explained that “triggers” was a euphemism: the plant, which, throughout her childhood, was so secret that her mother believed they made cleaning supplies, was actually producing plutonium “buttons”. In other words, these were the nuclear bombs themselves; they needed only a casing of explosives to be activated.

“They made Nagasaki bombs in my backyard,” she explains.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/feb/21/rocky-flats-fukushima-nuclear-folly

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Oil: In perpetuity no more

From Al Jazeera:   http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2012/02/201222051514575294.html

Industrial civilisation’s entire economy is based on a finite resource we treat as infinite.

Dahr Jamail
21 Feb 2012

Oil touches nearly every single aspect of the lives of those in the industrialised world. Most of our food, clothing, electronics, hygiene products and transportation simply would not exist without this resource.

There is a reason why oil giants such as ExxonMobile, BP, Total and Royal Dutch Shell, year in and year out, generate more profit than most other companies on the planet.

Our current global economy is based on continual growth, and that growth depends on cheap energy.

“Fossil fuels are roughly 84 per cent of what we use, and oil is 35 per cent of the world’s primary consumption energy,” says David Hughes, a geoscientist who studied Canada’s energy resources for nearly four decades.

Given that oil plays such a critical role in the world’s economy, one would deduce it would be important to know how much is left. Otherwise, the world’s stock markets would be exposed to fossil fuels, which would pose a grave risk to investors facing down a so-called carbon bubble, which could potentially dwarf the housing bubble and current debt crisis.

But acquiring accurate figures on the oil reserves of many of the member states of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is currently impossible, as this remains one of their most highly guarded state secrets.

OPEC, which currently has 12 member countries, established a quota system 25 years ago, so that the size of a country’s oil production quota was based on the size of its reserves.

This caused most Gulf countries to announce that their reserves were much larger than previously, and other OPEC members followed suit, according to Tom Whipple, an energy expert and former CIA analyst.

Continue reading at:   http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2012/02/201222051514575294.html

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How the Wisconsin Uprising Changed America and Why Its Renegade Politics Are Here to Stay

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/story/154223/how_the_wisconsin_uprising_changed_america_and_why_its_renegade_politics_are_here_to_stay/

John Nichols talks about his new book, “Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Occupy Wall Street,” and what happens next.

By Sarah Jaffe
February 21, 2012

John Nichols is a Wisconsinite.

It was an important part of his identity even before his state erupted in protest against a governor who’d gone a step too far stripped collective bargaining rights away from his state’s workers. But the pride in the veteran political reporter’s voice when he talks about his state now is impossible to miss.

He’s many things besides, of course—Washington correspondent for the Nation, associate editor of the Madison, Wisconsin Capital Times, an insightful media critic, the author of several books and a frequent guest on MSNBC. But it’s the Wisconsinite front and center in his new book, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Occupy Wall Street, contextualizing and celebrating the way his state led the fight back, not just for union rights, but for democracy in America.

Nichols doesn’t preserve the uprising in amber, freezing it in place as a piece of history barely a year old. Instead, he connects it to past, present and future, reminding us that the ideals Wisconsin fought for are the ideals the founders (on their best days) fought for and the ideals Occupy Wall Street and activists around the country still fight for.

AlterNet sat down with Nichols to talk about his book, the next steps for Wisconsin, and why the new media may just bring us the democracy we deserve.

Continue reading at:   http://www.alternet.org/story/154223/how_the_wisconsin_uprising_changed_america_and_why_its_renegade_politics_are_here_to_stay/

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Organic Farmers Sue Monsanto, Hundreds Converge in Support

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leslie-hatfield/watch-organic-farmers-sue_b_1290924.html?view=screen

Posted: 02/21/2012

Late last month in downtown Manhattan, Judge Federal Court Judge Naomi Buchwald heard the first arguments in OSGATA et al. versus Monsanto, a groundbreaking lawsuit brought by The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) on behalf of 83 farmer plaintiffs, who are “seeking court protection under the Declaratory Judgment Act, from Monsanto-initiated patent infringement lawsuits.”

A lawsuit protecting against future lawsuits? Understandable, considering that Monsanto employs a fleet of lawyers and took 144 farmers to court between 1997 and 2010 and settled out of court with over 700 more. Laying aside the question of whether it is ethical to patent seeds in the first place — let’s assume some farmers have saved seed and should be brought to justice for doing so — this suit seeks to protect farmers whose crops are contaminated by seeds or pollen drifting onto their land, in effect contaminating their crops, from being sued by the biotech giant (talk about adding insult to injury).

Across the street in Foley Square, chilly morning temperatures didn’t stop several hundred from gathering in support of the farmers. In a citizen’s assembly organized by Food Democracy Now, Occupy Big Food and Occupy Food Justice, attendees heard from environmental journalist Simran Sethi, permaculture expert Andrew Faust and others. Organizers also created an informative spectacle in the form of a human timeline of Monsanto’s long, environmentally dubious history.

The OSGATA press release included statements from Dan Ravicher, lawyer for the plaintiffs:

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leslie-hatfield/watch-organic-farmers-sue_b_1290924.html?view=screen

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