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Bloom writes: "With sweet corn containing a genetically engineered toxin headed toward Wal-Mart produce sections as you read this, it's time to talk about Monsanto's evil little kid's book."

Monsanto has come out with a children's book. (photo: YMCA)
Monsanto has come out with a children's book. (photo: YMCA)

Monsanto Tries Biotech Brainwash With Kid's Book

By Diane Petryk Bloom, The Examiner

11 August 12


ith sweet corn containing a genetically engineered toxin headed toward Wal-Mart produce sections as you read this, it's time to talk about Monsanto's evil little kid's book.

The corn is from Monsanto seeds, which produce a plant that exudes bt toxin, a pesticide that will kill insects that feed on the plant. It's coming to Wal-Mart from farms in the Midwest, Northwest, Southeast and Texas. It will be the first genetically modified food to go directly from the farm to consumers - unlabeled as GMO. Besides the toxin people who east the corn will consume, there are other serious farming issues with genetically modified crops outside the scope of this article. But it should be noted that Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and General Mills have vowed to not sell or use the genetically engineered food.

Apparently, enough adults are informed and concerned enough to raise a stink, so Monsanto is aiming at the next generation, eyes always on the profit prize. How else to explain the absurd disinformation of the Biotechnology Basic Activity Book it sponsors?.

No book should be banned. That's an axiom of this column.

Choices, however, are legitimate. As parents and librarians, gift-giving grandparents, whatever, we eschew children's books that are too scary for our little ones, we don't choose books that seem stupid or unfunny, and, most importantly, we don't want books that are a pack of lies.

It's proper, too, to shield tender young minds from harsh realities - but when they're ready and we intend to inform them, our job is to get real.

Monsanto thinks otherwise.

If you think a food additive that kills human kidney cells improves our health, don't read any further, the GMO propaganda machine has already fried your brains. The U.S. allows this stuff. Corporations own our government. But the European Union, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia and China require labeling for GE foods. (It's staggering to think that Russia and China are more concerned about their citizens' health than the majority of our elected representatives.)

One constantly wonders if any of these corporate people or bought politicians have grandchildren, or even think about the consequences of poisoning the food supply or the land in ways that will harm them, their great-grandchildren, and generations beyond. Forget it, they aren't that human.

Monsanto is likely the most evil multi-national corporation ever. They make Phillip Morris and R.J. Reynolds getting kids hooked on tobacco look absolutely benign; BP's malfeasance in the Gulf oil spew minor, Ciby Geigy pushing Ritalin on kids and useless, dangerous drugs to third world countries - fogeddaboutit. Maybe Dow ... but Monsanto must take the prize.

These are the people that brought us polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), now banned worldwide; DDT, banned for most uses, and Agent Orange, the defoliant than caused birth defects among generations of Vietnamese and children of U.S. soldiers exposed to it..

These are the people who put bovine growth hormone in our milk supply. Neither you nor I may say that makes our milk any different or they will sue us. (Only why have other countries banned its use?) And the cows, who suffer terribly, can't speak up for themselves.

These are the people who invented terminator seeds so farmers can't collect seeds from their plants and replant with them, They have to buy more seeds from Monsanto. What monster could think up a terminator seed? (One envisions Arnold Swartzenegger with a machine gun spewing seeds at recalcitrant planters.)

And when they aren't terminator seeds, Monsanto still doesn't want plants produced from its seeds used to propagate a next generation.

Health writer Anthony Gucciardi says Monsanto is to blame for one farmer suicide every 30 minutes across a swath of India. It happens like this:

Farmers pay exorbitantly higher prices to plant genetically modified seeds that Monsanto promises will yield more. Often they do not, and tremendously more water is needed to grow them anyway. The crops do poorly, then Monsanto swoops in and charges a royalty on the next batch, often to the farmers' financial ruin.

The practice of using renewal seeds dates back to ancient times, but Monsanto seeks to collect royalties on what it says is its patented "intellectual property" --the original seeds. Something the Indian government calls an attempt to patent life.

If you don't want them at all, you still aren't safe. When Monsanto's genetically modified seeds accidentally blow over and contaminate a non-GMO farm, often an organic one, the corporation sues the farmer for "using" the patented seeds they didn't want in the first place! In a just world, Monsanto would owe reparations to the organic farmer.

They're clever people, to be sure. Monsanto was the first to genetically modified a plant.cell (in 1982).

So here we are in 2012 facing Monsanto's unprecedented messing with Mother Nature - the genetically modified plant.

Based purely on anecdotal evidence, admittedly, I believe most people think "genetically modified" simply means designing a hardier tomato, lettuce or bean. A shinier apple, maybe. Would it were just that! Nope, genetically modified means they are inserting a pesticide in the genome of the plant. A killer we will all eat.

There is no way to wash it off. The pesticide is systemic - within the plant. Part of the plant. It IS the plant.

It may not affect human health, but it may. We don't know. And Monsanto doesn't want anyone to have a choice in whether or not they take the gamble. They are fighting GMO labeling requirements.

The main battleground right now is in California, where labeling is on the November ballot. California is a big state, so as California goes, so goes the nation, some say.

CALLING ALL CALIFORNIANS: Please vote for labeling!

In the meantime, worry about the bees, too. Beekeepers and researchers say these systemic pesticides are apparently killing off bee colonies at an alarming rate. Bees are needed to pollinate a vast number of fruit and vegetable crops.

It is said that Albert Einstein once predicted that mankind could survive the demise of the honeybee for only perhaps four years.

Here's why more water is needed for bt toxin plants. Portland State University researchers reported in April that the corn aimed at insects also damages beneficial soil life. In the roots of bt corn they found a decrease in mycorrhizal fungi, which are important for nutrient and water uptake.

Imagine more water being needed to grow plants in a land like India, or drought-ravaged world.

Is Monsanto a company you want speaking to your children or grandchildren?

The Biotechnology Basic Activity Book is produced by an organization laughably called the Council for Biotechnology Information. Its members are Monsanto and BASF, BAYER CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, and Syngenta.

The book can be examined on the council's website. Judge for yourself which of these claims for genetically modified food are true:

It help us grow more food.

It helps the environment.

It grows more nutritious food that improves our health.

Kids are given puzzles to "learn more about biotechnology and all of the wonderful ways it can help people live better lives in a healthier world."

Science writer Anthony Gucciardi writes:

"According to 900 scientists, GMO crops actually do not grow more food than traditional farming practices. In fact, they are simply not an effective tool to fight starvation in any capacity, thanks to their excessive costs and immense failure to yield crops.... (and) genetically modified seeds were outperformed by traditional "agro-ecological" farming practices."

Do GMOs improve our health? "... Nothing could be farther from the truth." Gucciardi writes. "A prominent review of 19 studies examining the safety of GMO crops found that consumption of GMO corn or soybeans can lead to significant organ disruptions in rats and mice - particularly in the liver and kidneys. Monsanto’s modified biopesticide, known as Bt, has been found to be killing human kidney cells in conjunction with Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide Roundup.

"Roundup ready crops have also been linked to mental illness, obesity, infertility, and DNA damage."

Helping the environment? Gucciardi calls this the most ludicrous claim of all. (Remember, this is what kids are reading in this book and teachers are supposed to take as a guide in instructing their pupils.)

"Research has shown that Monsanto’s modified Bt pesticide is actually mutating the very genetic coding of insect life on the planet, creating super resistant 'mutant' bugs that are wreaking havoc on farms using Monsanto’s harmful concoctions across the globe. At least eight populations of insects have developed some form of resistance, with two populations resistant to Bt sprays and at least 6 species resistant to Bt crops as a whole.

"Perhaps most concerning is the mounting rootworm resistance as a result of Monsanto’s GMO corn usage. A group of 22 academic corn experts recently petitioned the EPA over the extreme danger presented by the crops ... agricultural stability is threatened ... (due to) the mass amount of ‘superweeds’ currently springing up around the globe as a result of Monsanto’s Roundup. These resistant weeds currently cover over 4.5 million hectares in the United States alone, though experts estimate the world-wide land coverage to have reached at least 120 million hectares by 2010. The onset of superweeds is being increasingly documented in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Europe and South Africa."

This biotech book represents a war for the minds of the next generation, Gucciardi says.

Surely it's not the only propaganda ever aimed at children. But it does highlight the need for parents and librarians and teachers to be super vigilant when corporations write books.

The answer is not to ban the book. Just don't buy it, literally and figuratively.

And counter it with better books. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+43 # carp 2012-08-11 11:16
Just read the kids activity book at Council for Biotechnology Information. There is no mention of the downfalls of GMO seedstock. No mention of hormones or antibiotics in our meat. There is also a non working link that would allow one to contact the council. I agree with the premise of this article that Monsanto is evil.
+35 # DaveM 2012-08-11 11:22
Unfortunately this is not a new phenomenon. When I was a kid, libraries were full of books with titles like "Atoms For Everyone" which talked about the wonderful new age of nuclear power. In grade school we were all given a copy of "My Friend, The Cow", written and distributed by the dairy industry, which essentially glorified the early years of factory farming.

More recently, the producers of anti-ADHD drugs and the owners of private psychiatric hospitals have bombarded schools with books and literature spelling out how practically everybody needs their products and services. One chain of psychiatric hospitals called the program "Books As Hooks".

Thankfully, no one can force anyone to read (though sadly, many do not read at all). And we have a choice as to what we read. As the author states....spend your book-buying dollars wisely, and to think about what you absorb through your eyes and insert into your mind. A good watchword in all things.
+29 # Adoregon 2012-08-11 11:59
Freedom to choose? Not on Monsanto's menu...

Those, like Monsanto, for whom money, power and control are the be all-- and unfortunately the end all-- of life, care naught about the ways and means by which they attain their desires.
Their idea of a perfect world is one in which farmers and everyone else (we all eat) have NO CHOICE but to buy their products.

Encourage everyone you know not to support Monsanto in any way.
+18 # KrazyFromPolitics 2012-08-11 12:33
It is obvious that word about the poster child for evil corporations, Monsanto, is not getting out. Otherwise, people would be in the streets. Come to think about it, probably not. We are a country of sheep. Perhaps, the messaging of those that care about the environment, health, and justice need to start playing hardball. EXTRA, EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! MONSANTO IS POISONING YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN, AND GRANDCHILDREN WITH CORN THAT HAS ROUNDUP IN IT! We have always been too nice and rational in our push back against these SOB's. Political correctness only assures the having the lowest common denominator. Expecting people to "read all about it is too high an expectation. The same message can be delivered with 10 second sound-bytes. Sigh!
-34 # MidwestTom 2012-08-11 12:43
I think that we should all switch to organic food, and if that happens I want to be on the committee that determines which 20% of the worlds population must die, since production will fall by about 40% per acre.
+20 # mangel 2012-08-11 12:58
Prove it!
+26 # munza1 2012-08-11 13:46
Sorry, that is simply not true. Organic has been shown to have the same output as agro-industry. It is definitely more labor intensive and demands less water and chemicals. That could hardly be bad.
+4 # Buddha 2012-08-11 17:11
As a person with a backyard organic garden, I actually am skeptical that is the case in terms of output. If you go Organic, pests are a larger issue because you aren't using chemical pesticides to fight them, and that definitely increases the amount of food lost to pest infestations. Releasing praying mantises and ladybugs in your garden only goes so far. That lower yield is something us backyard farmers just deal with to get healthy and non-chemical-la den crops. Agribusiness has other priorities, the highest yield per acre, period.

More labor intensive? Probably so, but that means higher crop prices...not a problem for us with $$, but for the poor?? Recall the food riots a year ago when corn prices spiked due to high oil prices?
+8 # BlueReview 2012-08-11 20:49
From AlterNet: "In GMO Myths and Truths, the authors attempt to cross this divide by taking a science-based, heavily referenced approach to dealing with claims for the benefits of GM foods.

On the basis of this research, they argue that a large body of scientific and other authoritative evidence demonstrates that most claims for benefits of GM foods are not true. On the contrary, they say, the evidence presented in their report indicates that GM crops:

* Are laboratory-made , using technology that is totally different from natural breeding methods, and pose different risks from non-GM crops

* Can be toxic, allergenic or less nutritious than their natural counterparts

* Do not increase yield potential

* Do not reduce pesticide use but increase it

* Create serious problems for farmers, including herbicide-toler ant “superweeds”, compromised soil quality, and increased disease susceptibility in crops

* Harm soil quality, disrupt ecosystems, and reduce biodiversity

* Are as energy-hungry as any other chemically-farm ed crops

* Cannot solve the problem of world hunger but distract from its real causes – poverty, lack of access to food and, increasingly, lack of access to land to grow it on."
+3 # Interested Observer 2012-08-12 09:46
And taste like cardboard to boot.
+10 # pernsey 2012-08-11 14:34
Quoting MidwestTom:
I think that we should all switch to organic food, and if that happens I want to be on the committee that determines which 20% of the worlds population must die, since production will fall by about 40% per acre.

MWTom I think your making stuff up.
+5 # Buddha 2012-08-11 17:05
Not a fan of MWT's usual drivel, and I think he is also pulling these figures out of his nether regions, but there is an underlying point here that he is correct on, sad to say. As our global population continues to grow towards 10B people, and with the amount of unused arable land pretty much all gone already, and with areas of formerly rich farmland likely to be damaged by Global Warming (America's breadbasket turning again into a Dust Bowl), I predict some very bad times to come food-wise. And simply put, hard choices are going to have to be made, just as it must with energy technologies. And for hungry people the world over who are dependent on large scale farm production in the USA and Russia, they will be faced with the choice between starvation or GMO-crop of greater resistance to disease and pests that MIGHT increase chances of sickness.
+2 # Texan 4 Peace 2012-08-12 23:16
"simply put, hard choices are going to have to be made." Not so much -- if all or most of the world's population would move toward a meatless diet, the savings in land, energy, and WATER would be enormous. So much of the corn and soy we produce goes to feed livestock, which is a hugely inefficient use of agricultural resources.
0 # Buddha 2012-08-13 15:40
Might as well say if we could get people to voluntarily have only one child we'd solve our problems. Even a meatless diet only pushes the day of reckoning back a bit if population is going to continue growing like this. Simply put, 10B people, who are all trying to get to a "developed world" energy-intensiv e lifestyle, is simply not possible without drastic changes in land-use and agricultural practices, not to mention housing, energy generation, transportation, etc.
+5 # mangel 2012-08-11 12:52
Although I agree with this article's intent. The Einstein quote is utterly wrong and the writer should be spanked for using it. Diane Petryk Bloom of The Examiner, quotes like this make you look like an idiot and a reporter who doesn't check your "facts". It makes it easier for Monsanto to defend its evil practices.
0 # BlueReview 2012-08-12 07:34
I disagree. The Einstein quote is entirely appropriate, since Monsanto is considered by entomologists to be at least partially responsible for the dwindling of the honeybee population.
+12 # jwb110 2012-08-11 13:06
We are looking at the New Big Brother based on the Soviet Model. Just as Lenin said, "Give me one generation and I will change the world."
This is not Founding Father stuff this is Leninism for Corporate America.
This is the most danger the Republic has ever faced.
+17 # Street Level 2012-08-11 13:06
The part of India is referred to as "the suicide belt" and the movie is "bitter seeds", watch for showings during Occupy Monsanto week of action starting September 17.
+11 # oakes721 2012-08-11 13:47
Even Frankenstein's monster could not truly reproduce like the twisted DNA of Monsanto's monsters. These people specialize in DEATH. Look at their history of PERMANENTLY POISONING vast regions of our thin layer of livable environment. The spoils of their war on Earth and Humanity leaves nothing alive.
+8 # unitedwestand 2012-08-12 01:07
This Californian is going to do her best to make sure that we get GMO labeling, in fact this article inspired me to make it one of my main focuses this next election.

Monsanto is considered as the grim reaper of food by people I know in a few countries in Europe. They can't believe that people here and/or our government has not put a stop to the horrible Monsanto.
+7 # Interested Observer 2012-08-12 09:51
Abolish the patenting of life now.
0 # swv 2012-08-22 01:21
Don't Let Biotech Industry Brainwash School Kids

Please sign and tell the Dept of Education to expose the bias in these materials.

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