Sunday, February 8th, 2015
‘The alarming decline of monarchs is driven in large part’ by Roundup Ready crops, Center for Food Safety finds’
Monsanto Crops Pushing Monarch Butterfly to ‘Verge of Extinction’
Deirdre Fulton – CommonDreams – 5 Feb.15
Herbicide-resistant genetically modified crops have brought the iconic monarch butterfly to the brink of extinction, according to a new report presented by the Center for Food Safety to Congress on Thursday.
The report, Monarchs in Peril (pdf), is the most comprehensive look yet at how Monsanto’s ‘Roundup Ready’ crops have helped decimate the monarch population, which has declined by 90 percent in the past 20 years.
“This report is a wake-up call. This iconic species is on the verge of extinction because of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crop system,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director at Center for Food Safety. “To let the monarch butterfly die out in order to allow Monsanto to sell its signature herbicide for a few more years is simply shameful.”
As Common Dreams has reported before, and the new study makes abundantly clear, a critical factor in the orange-and-white butterflies’ decline is the loss of host plants for larvae in their main breeding habitat, the Midwestern Corn Belt. Monarchs lay eggs exclusively on plants in the milkweed family, the only food their larvae will eat.
And the loss of milkweed can be blamed on the proliferation of glyphosate, one of the very few herbicides that kills the perennial plant and a primary ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. While glyphosate was little used two decades ago, it has become by far the most heavily used herbicide in the U.S. thanks to glyphosate-resistant Roundup Ready corn and soybean crops. According to the Center for Food Safety, corn and soybean fields in the Corn Belt have lost 99 percent of their milkweed since 1999.
“The alarming decline of monarchs is driven in large part by the massive spraying of glyphosate herbicide on genetically engineered crops, which has virtually eliminated monarch habitat in the corn and soybean fields that dominates the Midwest landscape,” said Bill Freese, Center for Food Safety science policy analyst and co-author of the report. “Glyphosate is the monarch’s enemy number one.”
At the end of 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Endangered Species Act protection may be warranted for monarch butterflies. The agency is now conducting a one-year status review on monarchs.
While CFS said endangered species protection is “paramount,” the report lists numerous interim and additional policy recommendations, including that the “U.S. Department of Agriculture should reject applications to approve new herbicide-resistant crops, and EPA should deny registration of herbicides for use on them, unless or until appropriate restrictions are enacted to ameliorate their harms to milkweeds, monarchs and pollinators.”
Our Shitty Situation
subMedia.tv – feb.15
In this sedition we look at the economic clusterfuck enveloping the globe, the mega drop in oil prices and the Greek political party that has the left screaming like Justin Beaver fans, plus some uplifting hip hop to help you pull through from your shitty situation. …more
Freedom Rider: ISIS – A US-Saudi Chicken Come Home to Roost
Black Agenda Rport -Margaret Kimberley – 4 Feb.15
“The Saudis are natural allies because they don’t want democracy in their own country or anywhere else in the region.”
Saudi Arabia is clearly of great importance to the government of the United States. President Obama not only cut short his India trip to visit with newly installed king Salman, but brought along a who’s who of administration officials and congressional leaders for the ride. Secretary of State John Kerry, former secretaries Condoleezza Rice and James Baker, Vice President Joseph Biden, Senator John McCain, Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and CIA director John Brennan were all part on the entourage. All that fire power was devoted to a visit which lasted for just a few hours. The show of force was not coincidental.
The reaction of the corporate media to the death of the late Saudi king Abdullah tells us everything we need to know about the United States/Saudi axis of evil. It is one thing for the president to call Abdullah his friend and for the secretary of state to claim that the absolute monarch was a “man of wisdom and vision” but it is another for the media to parrot the same words. The New York Times called Abdullah a “shrewd force” and a “cautious reformer.” He didn’t reform the policies of beheading and flogging his citizens or creating instability in other countries. Those facts don’t count when our government makes it clear that he was a partner in America’s imperial designs.
It is easy to tell who is and isn’t an American ally just by reading the newspaper. Hugo Chavez was elected president of Venezuela three times but the most positive description from his New York Times obituary referred to him as “a polarizing figure.” Unlike the Saudi royals, Chavez didn’t intervene in the affairs of other nations. In fact he used his nation’s oil wealth to aid neighboring countries. You wouldn’t know any of that from the media which get and obey marching orders that come straight from the White House.
Saudi Arabia gets the kid glove approach from the press because it works hand in hand with Washington. It is now more than thirty years since the Saudis joined the United States in backing jihadists in Afghanistan to drive out a left wing government. The blowback resulted in past allies like Osama bin Laden attacking the United States on September 11, 2001. Similarly, ISIS wouldn’t exist without collusion between the west and the gulf monarchs. Now ISIS makes clear that it wants to rid the region of the same kingdoms that brought it into existence. ISIS is a United States/Saudi chicken that inconveniently came home to roost.
The Saudis backed jihadists in Libya to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi and in the process created an ongoing civil war and the destruction of a once prosperous country. They did the same in the as yet unsuccessful effort to dispatch Bashar al-Assad in Syria and now nine million people are refugees. They committed those crimes in full accord and cooperation with the United States.
Saudi Arabia is able to create so much damage because it has the world’s largest oil reserves and decides what everyone else on the planet will pay for energy. It may produce a lot of oil or a little and thus determines whether prices are low or high. Recent Saudi and American machinations have brought prices down very precipitously and caused considerable damage to other oil producers such as Venezuela, Iran and Russia. Because these governments demand their rights as sovereign states they have been declared enemies. The two bad actor nations are willing to forego temporary profits if they think they can rid themselves of troublesome countries that won’t obey their dictates.
The Saudis and the American government are locked in a loveless marriage of convenience. The Americans have military and economic dominance and want to keep it. That means working against the aspirations of any nation that refuses to toe the line. The Saudis are natural allies because they don’t want democracy in their own country or anywhere else in the region. They have become useful in providing support to the jihadists du jour who do their bidding for a brief moment in time but eventually wind up being very ungrateful. ….more