This blog began in 2007, focusing on anthrax vaccine, and later expanded to other public health and political issues. The blog links to media reports, medical literature, official documents and other materials.
Monsanto (NYSE:MON), the Missouri-based seed company, has stopped lobbying for GMO crops in Europe. The company is backing off because it has accepted that there is low demand for genetically modified plants in Europe. A Monsanto Germany spokeswoman, Ursula Lüttmer-Ouazane said ”We’ve come to the conclusion that this has no broad acceptance at the moment.” She also noted that it was “counterproductive to fight against windmills.”
Monsanto has faced a lot of backlash in Europe. Eight governments in the EU have already banned the company’s MON810 maize as well as other generically modified crops. This environmental protectionprovision is known as the “Safeguard Clause.”
For instance, the company has faced fierce protests in Germany. These protests prompted the government to enact provisions in 2009 because of concerns that allowing GMO crops would lead to environmental degradation. Other EU members including Greece, France, Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria, Luxembourg, and Poland have also enforced a ban on these crops.
A spokesman for Monsanto told the press that they are only going to sell their genetically modified seeds where they have broad support. This means only a few countries in Europe, such as Spain and Portugal. The company is looking in increasing its market share in various parts of the world, such as the traditional corn market in Ukraine. It is looking at Eastern Europe and South America as growth areas, especially after the reception it received in Western Europe.
South America has welcomed GMO crops unlike Europe, but there are still hurdles that Monsanto has to face there as well. Brazil is waiting for approval from China to use Monsanto’s seeds because China is a huge buyer of Brazil’s soybeans.
Meryl, enjoying spotting animals in the Thai jungle
Visiting tigers (inside the cages) in Chiang Mai
I think I'm in the wrong cage...
Night shot of a wild elephant
Canoodling at Elephant Nature Camp, Thailand
5 and 7 month olds playing
Mum and her 5 month old infant
Dusky Langur, curious about us humans in his territory
Self-satisfied Dusky Langur, after he relieved himself on me
Rhesus macaque: "I need three hands for this meal"
After swimming with dolphins at Key Largo, they checked me out at the edge of the pool
Visiting a Bhutanese Dzong, the regional seat of both government and religion (and a fort for good measure)
Why am I blogging?
Because life is meant to be lived! The left side of this blog has photos of some peak experiences. And the right side contains information about which I am passionate.
Too many peoples' lives are characterized by lack of authenticity, and fear of acknowledging and expressing their true nature. Employees cannot say what they think at work, and in the corporate system we must squish ourselves into square holes when we are round pegs. We thus lose touch with our souls, becoming cogs in a soulless, profit-driven machine.
The culture of political correctness has meant, in medicine, that we ignore how the foundations of our science are being undermined by commercialism. Clinical data generated or presented by the manufacturers of drugs, vaccines and devices cannot be trusted: there are hundreds of studies proving this. But this fraudulent information continues to be the only data informing the approval and use of vaccines, drugs and devices.
Unless scrupulous ethical conduct is demanded of physicians and biological scientists, our lack of meaningful standards will carry the medical-pharmaceutical system down the path of increasing irrelevance.
Medicine and its tools need to be affordable. The current medical-industrial milieu, characterized by contempt for science, countless ways for insiders to achieve wealth due to failure of good governance, and regulatory agency-to-industry revolving doors, has ushered in stratospheric pricing... further kicking us down that path to irrelevance.
Why is our new health care plan a giveaway to health industries instead of to health consumers? Wha won't it cover all Americans? Why was the "public option" never an option for the Obama administration?
So many of our leaders carry a heavy burden of mendacity and avarice. If they instead got in touch with their own souls (perhaps by exposure to the natural world), or made their decisions by maximizing the amount of good that results, our leaders might find real meaning and value in their lives.
Until that happens, the only way to straighten out the current mess is to demand accountability and impose penalties on unethical/dishonest leaders. Both political parties enjoy bounteous hors d'oeuvres from Pharma's table, making it unlikely the existing political "process" will provide relief--as we've seen in the demoralizing healthcare reform drama.
Until then, I'll continue to "call it as I see it" in this blog -- working and living the way life should be, in rural Maine, far from the centers of power.
Ellen Byrne has created several designs encapsulating aspects of the FBI's ridiculous case against Bruce Ivins. They can be purchased on T-shirts and coffee mugs. All proceeds will be donated to the the Frederick County chapter of the American Red Cross, a favored charity of Dr. Bruce Ivins.