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Letters from Proxima Thule

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Monsanto and the Deathly Hallows
So, this is just amazing.

The first part sucks, though it seems like standard evil corporate contract sludge to me. But the second part, where farmers who use Monsanto seed cannot sell their farms to anyone who does not also use Monsanto seed?

Who even thought of that?

That is just straight up demonic lawful evil right there. That is so far beyond the bounds of what a contract to buy a fucking bag of seed should cover I can't even begin to imagine the board meeting involved in that decision. (I often imagine board meetings. In any movie I hate I imagine the pitch meeting. Currently I have been amusing myself by imagining the board meetings that resulted in the Kingdom Hearts franchise. "We need a new Final Fantasy game!" "All right, sure, but what if it had GOOFY in it? And Donald Duck screaming I'll kill you? "Wow, Bob, that's really thinking outside the box!" "But we'd also need to have some kind of disturbing message about how if only people's hearts were filled with nothing but light everything would be FINE, the fuckers. Which is, incidentally, how certain theocracies got started." "Get this man a raise.")

I mean, Wolfram and Hart couldn't come up with this. The board meeting had to be staffed by actual demons. With horns. Saying: "You know, I know we're destroying the entire planet and all, and shitting on the entire human history of agriculture, but I feel like we could stick it to the little guy just a bit more."

"Someone get Beezlebub another cup of coffee. He's really been putting in the hours and I think we all need to take a moment and recognize that."

You really gotta be on top of your shit to pull of that kind of evil. This Bud's for you, Monsanto.

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This is mild by Monsanto standards. I recall a few years ago hearing a documentary in which farmers were having their property basically taken from them by court orders--or some such nonsense--because their farms neighbored Monsanto farms, and the pollination from Monsanto's fields to theirs constituted copyright infringement. Ya know, cause they weren't expressly allowed to use those Monsanto seeds that floated over onto their property.

If there is a single heartbeat of evil on Planet Earth, it's to the rhythm of Monsanto's beat.

And the thing is I know about that and it is horrible and stupid but I expect it of Monsanto. This was just out of left field to me--but I expect the justification is also the same--because seeds can lie dormant for years, the new farmer would be using Monsanto product anyway or something. Copyrighting seeds is out of a fucking SF dystopia.

Re: This is mild ... (Anonymous) Expand
Sadly, that kind of behaviour is all too common. The rich keep inventing new forms of feudalism and sneaking it in the back way.

Monsanto is one food crisis away from corporate dismemberment. I think their lawyers will be unprepared for the major shitstorm just down the road.

Corporations are like Titans, they don't die, they just reform, so you need to cut them up into little pieces and throw them into Tartarus.

Archer-Midland-Daniels is the other major agro-evil, but their Morningstar Farms brand is GMO soy-tasty.

Arg. I love MF so much--even though it basically says Lucifer right there in the name. I can't stop eating my sausage patties!

I have to say that this is the type of evil that demons would be appalled at. This is pure, unadulterated human evil.

There are times when I think that whole "Flood" thing (metaphorically at least) was a pretty good idea. The only mistake was that Noah guy and his boat.

This kind of thing is why I went to law school, despite the scammish nature of the beast and the massive amounts of debt I'm looking at now (thankfully, I didn't pay for undergrad so it kind of evens out). I refuse to let ignorance lead me into making decisions like signing a contract like that.

I'm taking Sales and Leases and sent the article to my professor; I feel like a lot of corporations include clauses like that in their contracts not because they think they're enforceable, but because they assume "if it's in a contract, I'm bound by it, damn, hindsight is 20/20" and that allows companies to bilk people because lawsuits are so damn expensive.

Also in law school and the first thing that went through my mind was "Oooooh, the law hates restraints on alienation, a lot...especially with real property..." I hope someone takes them to the cleaners.

That may be an adhesion contract -- but I'm no lawyer.

Wow. I give the human species about 50 years before we drive ourselves to extinction over stuff like this. I've seen cattle eat sagebrush, thistles, pine needles, and skunk cabbage, but the alfalfa grown from these seeds is possibly *killing* them? WTF?!

The more I learn about modern agricultural practices and the food industry, the more I feel like I'm living in an episode of the Twilight Zone.

I have a horrid vision of a Monsanto black-ops division that extends its the mothership's property holdings by "seed bombing" wide tracts of farm land and then having M-corporate sue them into bankruptcy to claim the land in damages.

I think that's what Monsanto calls "Tuesday."

I've known for years they were evil, but I had NO IDEA just how evil.

I don't even want to think about what they've done that we don't know about.

They practice a kind of evil that satan might find hard to comprehend.

We have broken the global food system and are borrowing from our own lifespans to pay for it. It's a bubble and my prediction is that it will pop soon.

This is the second time today that I've typed those last two sentences in a comment.

So I'll play devil's advocate then...

Assume that the clause involving the sale of property where Monsanto seed has been planted weren't in the contract. What happens if a farmer signs the agreement and then turns around and sells his farm to his brother who graciously agrees to let him live out his days there? Seems like it would be a backdoor out of that contract. And if, as someone else in the comments suggested, farmers should sue Monsanto when their crops are contaminated by Monsanto seed...what would be the implications of that in this situation? Presumably Monsanto would be opening themselves up to being sued by every farmer's brother in the country, no? Anyway...I don't know much about GM crops but I do love playing devil's advocate.

Re: So I'll play devil's advocate then...

None of this would be a problem if Monsanto didn't somehow think seeds were intellectual property and not just their product. No one says you can't share your food with your brother, but that's quite logical--it's piracy, right?

Your Name Here (Anonymous) Expand
===Sadly, par for course.

===It gets even more depressing when the supposedly-good-guys are acting in the same family of stupid (noting the Dervaes trademarking urban homesteading and using DMCA takedown letters against other homesteader groups....idiocy)

Even more Monsanto evil I read about today -- Emergency! Pathogen New to Science Found in Roundup Ready GM Crops?http://laudyms.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/emergency-pathogen-new-to-science-found-in-roundup-ready-gm-crops/

"A team of senior plant and animal scientists have recently brought to my attention the discovery of an electron microscopic pathogen that appears to significantly impact the health of plants, animals, and probably human beings. Based on a review of the data, it is widespread, very serious, and is in much higher concentrations in Roundup Ready (RR) soybeans and corn-suggesting a link with the RR gene or more likely the presence of Roundup. This organism appears NEW to science!" ~ COL (Ret.) Don M. Huber
Emeritus Professor, Purdue University
APS Coordinator, USDA National Plant Disease Recovery System (NPDRS)

That article does not seem to present any evidence that this was created by GMO. New pathogens evolve all the time.

ISIS is an anti-GMO organisation with fairly shaky science: I wouldn't trust them much on this kind of issue.

Considering that Monsanto was also behind Agent Orange? I can believe it. Unfortunately.

Things like this are why I keep talking about Monsanto whenever I see a story about them crop up: more people really, really need to know. When they do, the tar and feathering will begin.

So what does Monsanto sell, in case you're in a boycotting mood? Avoid genetically modified foods, and in particular GM soybean, cotton, wheat, canola, sorghum and sugar cane seeds. And unfortunately since Monsanto & its ilk have successfully lobbied to prevent GM-labeling, you can assume that all non-organic products of this type are GMO.

Monsanto couldn't get away with this sort of thing in a really free market.

But the problem is that -- given that there is so much fear about risks of GMO -- the barrier to entry is very high (since the regulations are so strict, and they are so strict because Congress responds to public fear), so only the biggest corporations can afford to do it; GMO startups tend not to make it. With the Internet, there was an 'era of startups' that was extremely successful. That's how new technologies are SUPPOSED to work. But fear-driven regulation has crushed this for GMO.

This is why the GMO technologies that have so much promise to help the poorer, hungrier countries get stuck in the US under draconian corporate setups like this. (The EU's regulations are even worse, to the point that they barely have GMO at all).

If we stripped away the excessive regulation, Monsanto wouldn't be able to compete. Unfortunately, the general public reaction to the evils of GMO corporations is to call for more regulation -- thus accidentally reinforcing the environment more favorable to big corporations.

As things stand now we won't get that GMO flowering, that 'age of startups', until it comes out of Latin America or maybe India.

Lawful Evil personified.

I didn't read that clause the same way you did. I thought it was
saying in the first part that if the Grower buys and plants Monsanto
seed, the Grower agrees to assume all liability for any potential harm that comes from anything grown from those seeds. Then the second part says that if Grower1 has planted Monsanto seed and planted it in the fields, and Grower2 comes along later in the season and buys those fields, then Grower2 has to agree to be bound by the original
agreement and assume liability for anything bad that might happen from those existing plants. Still not good, but I don't think Grower2 is required to continue planting Monsanto seeds.

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