It's going to take action to repeal the Monsanto Protection Act
Monsanto has a long history of getting what it wants, and being able to ignore court orders brings their hold on Washington to an entirely new level.
The agricultural and biotech company that produces herbicides, pesticides, and seeds is at the forefront of this country's food industry, and when the amendment commonly known as the Monsanto Protection Act secretly became law, protections for farmers, the environment, and human health went out the window in favor of making life easier for Monsanto.
The implication of the Monsanto Protection Act spelled out by Sen. Bernie Sanders:
“Essentially, what that Monsanto Protection Act rider said is that even if a court were to determine that a particular product might be harmful to human beings or harmful to the environment, the Department of Agriculture could not stop the production of that product once it is in the ground... So you have deregulated the GMO industry from court oversight, which is really not what America is about.” (Source )
More from Sanders:
Sen. Merkley has also been outspoken on the issue. He has already attempted to introduce an amendment that was blocked by the Senate GOP to repeal the Monstanto Protection Act. From Merkley's website:
The Monsanto Protection Act is an outrageous example of a special interest loophole,” said Merkley. “This provision nullifies the actions of a court that is enforcing the law to protect farmers, the environment and public health. That is unacceptable.” To avoid public scrutiny, the “Monsanto Protection Act” was quietly and anonymously inserted into the continuing resolution passed this March to avert a government shutdown.
We can't take the risk of Monstanto having free reign over our food
Getting people to take risks and spend money is a powerful, fundamental way to spur economic growth, but what if college graduates simply cannot take those risks? There's $1.1 trillion in college debt in the US, and that's leaving millions of new graduates every year with a negative worth that makes access to credit even more difficult.
Huge decisions are often left up in the air, like abstractions that have no place in reality. Decisions like buying a car or owning a home are often put aside by young people, but marriage?
As a society we are encouraged to get married. The tax-code is rigged in favor of married couples, the "nuclear family" of parents with children is supposed to be as important as apple pie, and the entire debate around marriage equality has shown that we, as a society, really care about marriage.
Add in the complications of college debt, and you might as well make marriage as abstract and unlikely as owning a home or a car.
No house, no car, no happy marriage with kids. It's just too expensive, and Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has pointed out that student loan debt has effectively crushed the American dream.
Curbing student debt is tantamount to curbing social and economic opportunity. College graduates earn $12,000 more per year than those without college degrees; the gap has almost tripled just since 1980. Our economy is increasingly reliant on knowledge-related industries. No matter what happens with currency wars and trade balances, the United States is not going to return to making textiles. Unemployment rates among college graduates are much lower than among those with only a high school diploma. -Stiglitz
The case for a college education is made very clear: in order to stay competitive in an increasingly complex world, we must be educated. We cannot go back to the old means of production and can't rely on cheap manufacturing to stay caught up. Developing human capital is absolutely necessary.
But if we spend so much on college, how can this developed human capital move forward? Marriage, despite being raised to such a high standard and being a valued tradition for everyone to fight for, is representative of what young graduates saddled with debt are incapable of attaining.
Two educated people wanting to get married could share $53,200 in debt before they cut the cake
Assuming they get married after college, and they each share the average student debt, AND they have an average wedding. That's the shared debt before even considering a home, a car, or anything else.
Educated couples have to keep delaying important moments of their life, or take the risk of sharing the debts of a spouse, which can run much, much higher than the average. A med school student can run over $100,000 in debt.
Curtailing the day-to-day repercussions of loan debt is necessary to allow graduates to pursue their lives and enter the economy. Stiglitz again :
"Student debt also is a drag on the slow recovery that began in 2009. By dampening consumption, it hinders economic growth. It is also holding back recovery in real estate, the sector where the Great Recession started."
Stiglitz credits Elizabeth Warren for thinking outside the box on how to tackle the overall problem of student loans, too.
"If the Federal Reserve is willing to lend to the banks that caused the crisis at just 0.75 percent, shouldn’t it be willing to lend to students, who will be crucial to our long-term recovery, at an appropriately low rate? The government shouldn’t be profiting from our poorest while subsidizing our richest."
A Nobel Prize winning economist knows that college students need a fair shake with student loans. Doubling the interest rates on Stafford Loans are only going to add more total debt to students and drag them further into debt, forcing them to put off important economic and life decisions even longer.
Thanks to the hard work of DFA members, our work to protect our students just got a huge boost.
Senators Tammy Baldwin and Kirsten Gillibrand have signed onto our campaign to keep student loan interest rates from doubling -- joining more than 100,000 other Democracy for America members demanding we treat our students as well as the big Wall Street banks.
As the parent of two college graduates, I know exactly how much of a burden paying for higher education has become for so many students and families. It is a disgrace that Congress could even consider raising student loan rates at a time when an entire generation's economic opportunities have been blown up by the Wall Street recession.
That's why Tammy's and Kirsten's support couldn't have come at a better time for students across the country. Without Congressional action, federal student loan rates will skyrocket to 6.8% --all while the federal government gives money to the big Wall Street banks for a piddling 0.75% interest. That's a 900% discount for the same banks that wrecked our economy in the first place.
DFA members worked their hearts out to put Tammy and Kirsten in the Senate. Now they're doing exactly what we elected them to do: Going to the mat for America's working families and students.
Virginia's GOP nominated EW Jackson as their candidate for Lt. Governor - let's take a closer look:
Jackson's a pastor and the founder of Staying True to America's National Destiny (STAND), as well as the STAND America PAC. His rise in Virginia's GOP has been polarizing and unapologetic. After the GOP's VA convention, he came out as their nominee for Lt. Governor.
Here's a rundown of what he believes:
1. Compared Planed Parenthood to KKK
Jackson made the claim that Planned Parenthood has claimed the lives of "tens of millions" of unborn black babies.
2. “Obama clearly has Muslim sensibilities. He sees the world and Israel from a Muslim perspective - influenced by a strain of anti-Semitism"
Jackson's stance Obama is made clear quite easily in a piece published by BuzzFeed where he aligns Obama with the Muslim Brotherhood, and claims that the president shares sensibilities with radical Islam, even if he doesn't declare it.
This is only the start. Right Wing Watch (Source) in October, 2012 where he lays out just how far to the right he is on gay rights.
3. Gays and lesbians have “perverted” minds and are very sick people psychologically, mentally, and emotionally.
Jackson believes the notion of “love” really means “sex” in the LGBT community. His tirade goes on to claim that advocacy efforts aren’t about civil rights or acceptance, but about legitimacy. He claims that the fight is so they can perpetuate a lie that homosexuality is not, indeed, a sin.
The list goes on...
4. Perpetuating the myth that homosexuality and pedophilia are one in the same...
[Homosexuality] attempts to poison our children, divide them from their parents and teaching of the church and basically turn them into pawns for that movement so that they can sexualize them at the earliest possible age.
5. The LGBT campaigns for societal acceptance are “authoritarian and totalitarian”
“It’s an authoritarian, totalitarian spirit that has decided they know what’s best for everyone, they know that homosexuality is just great and just fine, forget about the Bible, forget about your faith, forget about what God has taught us, forget about what nature reveals to us and go along with them. If you don’t, you are the enemy and they want you declared a hate group, they want you declared a far-right-wing nut who needs to be perhaps even put in jail. This is one of the concerns I have with a party that is affiliated with this kind of extremism."
6. Jackson believes CNN's Don Lemon is gay because he was abused as a child
During the interview with Peter LaBarbera, the subject of CNN anchor Don Lemon’s homosexuality came up. The argument was posed that Don Lemon was gay because he was abused as a child. Jackson agreed to the argument, and phrased it just so that people who are abused...
“[are] hurt and wounded, [and] instead of seeking deliverance from it, they perpetuate that wound and they transmit it to others...”
Actually, check out this awesome video from CNN Headlines News!
7. Blames socio-economic troubles in the black community on homosexuality
A common thread in the GOP is to tie single-moms to every problem in society. EW Jackson took a step further by claiming that young black men turn to homosexuality because they are in fatherless households.
There’s something that is going on in the community and I think fatherlessness has contributed to it greatly because if you haven’t been loved by your father, just like young ladies do, young men can do the same thing. They can make the mistake, particularly if they are recruited into it, they find a man who will love them and give them what they’re looking for but sexualize them then they end up for the rest of their lives end up looking for love in all the wrong places.
Candidates like EW Jackson represent everything that's wrong the GOP's radical right-wing, and why Democracy for America members in Virginia and across the country are working to turn the state from Purple to Blue .