Who Benefits From Cloning?
Once again, science marches on — trampling right over us in the false name of progress and efficiency.
The latest advance of science is the cloning of animals. "We can make every cow precisely like its progenitor," exult the lab techs working for corporate cloners. "This eliminates uncertainty in meat production, for every cut can be the exact same texture, taste and composition. We have achieved the efficiency of the assembly line inside the animal itself!"
Yeah, well, what about the little oddity of cloned animals having a startlingly high propensity to die before birth or shortly after? What about the abnormal rate of birth defects and health problems that clones have? Do we really want our families eating that?
"Oh, tut-tut," retort the clonists. "Don't you know that the FDA has now declared meat and dairy products from cloned animals to be safe? Don't worry, pal, the Bush administration has given the OK for meat and dairy corporations to market the cloned stuff to you — without even labeling the product as cloned. Trust us!"
Now I really am worried.
Besides, we are lucky to have an abundance of meat and dairy products with a wide variety of flavors and textures produced by unique environments, farmers and artisans all across our country. Why would we give up all of that richness for a cloned uniformity that pushes our food supply from the creative hands of family producers into the labs and factory systems of corporate profiteers?
There is a useful Latin phrase that we all should repeat whenever corporate science and government team up to push another technological "advance" on us: Cui bono? Who benefits? Cloning has nothing to do with helping consumers, farmers, the economy — and certainly not the animals.
THE TOXIC CORRUPTION OF OUR POLITICAL SYSTEM
EnergySolutions Inc. That name has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? But whose energy problems is this company trying to solve?
Italy's, for one. That country has 20,000 tons of nuclear waste that it wants to dump somewhere, so this Salt Lake City corporation says that, for several million dollars, it will gladly import Italy's waste and bury it in western Utah. Great. Our country can't figure out what to do with our own nuclear nasties, yet this corporate huckster would throw open our borders to everyone's trash. Send us your tired, your poor ... your nuclear waste!
Not wanting America to be turned into a global dumpster, some lawmakers are trying to ban the importation of radioactive foreign waste. EnergySolutions has responded by applying the handy, dandy solution used for wiping away all corporate problems in Washington: money. In the last four years, company executives and investors have upped their political giving tenfold, dumping nearly $400,000 into congressional campaign coffers. They've also ramped up the corporation's spending on Washington lobbyists, topping a million bucks last year.
When confronted with the obvious charge that they are trying to buy votes, Energy Solutions asserted that it is merely buying "access"? to lawmakers. As a corporate spokesman explained, campaign cash "gives us the opportunity to participate with elected officials."
In other words, "the opportunity to participate with elected officials"? requires a major cash transaction — a corruption that shuts out ordinary citizens, perverts the public interest and mocks our democracy.
This is a bigger, more toxic problem than nuclear waste, and one solution is to take the corrupt money out of the system with public financing of congressional elections. Learn more at www.publiccampaign.org.
To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.
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