We live in strange times

We live in strange times October 8, 2012

Times when middle class and poor people who are being systematically looted and stripped of their rights by the immensely powerful spend tender tears of pity for the people who are enslaving them, lest somebody on FOX accuse them of “class warfare”.

Meanwhile, the immensely powerful continue to consolidate their grip on every aspect of our lives. Case in point: Monsanto. A reader who is an attorney writes:

Monsanto sues farmer claiming that Monsanto owns his seeds — forever and ever, world without end. Amen. Federal judiciary agrees. Look for the Supreme Court to agree too.

Fortunately, our judiciary is vigilant in prosecuting the *real* criminals, such as Korean War vets who have some junk on their own property for resale in order to pay for meds for their ailing wives. Such criminals should be locked up–and will be! Said the judge in the case, articulating the will of the fascist overclass in dealing with spent and useless Takers: “I don’t want to send anybody to jail, but I do like people to follow orders,” [Judge] Howell said.”

Yes. Rules are for keeping the Rest of Us in line, not for the people who make them.

My reader continues:

In the Monsanto case, the Court is being asked to decree that “self-replicating” products like seed corn can be owned by corporate providers for generations unto the end of time. In the Clover case a man was jailed for running a business from his own property. Now, in this case, the Court is being asked to decree that any product made under the New World Order of global outsourcing can be owned by corporate providers unto the end of time. (Eventually, the Court will be asked to decree that our children can be pledged as collateral for government/corporate debt, like student and FMHA loans). Look for the Court to affirm corporate rights in the Monsanto and Kitsaeng cases. Because in America, capitalism means freedom to be owned.

The destruction of slavery begins in the soul, with the resolute refusal to be a slave to anyone or anything but the God who makes you free. Christian: do not be a slave. It was for freedom that Christ has made us free. Do be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

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  • Richard Johnson

    But Mark, all you need to do is vote for {insert party name here} and all will be well! Remember, it’s the *other* lizard we have to keep out of office!

  • SteveM

    Re: Monsanto. Say what you want about Monsanto, but regarding the actual legal logic, if the farmer “owns” Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds, then he buys the product once and that’s it. Moreover, he and other farmers could then sell the seeds they produce from the Monsanto stock and sell those to still other farmers. Effectively putting Monsanto out of the seed business after a single growing season.

    There is occasionally some method to the apparent madness of the legal system.

    • Matthew

      So, Steve, are you opposed to the concept of private property?? Once I buy something it is mine. I may use it, destroy it, modify it, or SELL IT. Otherwise the concept of private property is meaningless. SCOTUS has just agreed to hear a case which may gut private property rights entirely in that it prevents the re-sale of anything we purchase unless we pay royalties to the manufacturer.

      • Matthew

        PS: The SCOTUS case is Kirtsaeng V. John Wiley & Sons

      • SteveM

        What I’m saying is that the law recognizes the Intellectual Property rights of Monsanto connected to their seeds. The farmer can do whatever he wants with the seeds he buys. But he may not create new seeds from the same seed stock to grow more products. Just like someone can’t buy a patented item, copy it and sell it.

        Grant farmers that right and you’ll never see another technology innovation in that domain. Is that your intent?

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          He’s not creating the new seed stock. The plants which grew from seeds Monsanto sold him are doing it themselves. With no effort on his part, beyond the intended use of the seeds he bought.

      • c matt

        So, Steve, are you opposed to the concept of private property??

        Are you opposed to the concept of intellectual/intagible property, or can only bricks and mortar be “property”? Are you a materialist?
        If I write a book, you buy it and copy it and sell it to others, have you done nothing wrong (or a software program, opr a movie)? It is one thing to sell the book you actually bought to someone else. It is another to sell copies/replications of it. The fact that the seed is self-replicating adds a different dimension, and for that reason I can see the SCOTUS wanting to address it. How is it different from someone who develops a vaccine from a virus strain that can be “replicated”? Should the developer simply be hosed on R&D costs if others can replciate it from the original vaccine dose? What type of incentives would remain to future development if that is allowed?

        I don’t know the specifics of this case, in particular the terms of the purchase agreement, but there can be some argument for Monsanto. If these seeds are developed for particular qualities and the agreement was you can buy these for your own growing use (and sell the wheat, tomatoes, whatever), but not sell seed for use as seed, that’s the agreement you made. I am sure a lot of resources went into development of the seeds to be drought resistant, quick growing, higher yield, etc. The question is, the seed qua seed is the private property of whom? A particular car (say, a BMW 535) may belong to me (hypothetically speaking), but that does not mean I have the right to reverse engineer, replicate a BMW 535 and sell it. What you seem to be against is intangible property – should the mental laborer be any less entitled to the fruits of his labor than the physical laborer (actually most fruits are the result of a combination of both)? There are a lot of non-trivial issues that this raises – not so cut and dried.

        • SteveM

          You sort of lost me matt. I think you agree with me.

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            No, he really doesn’t.

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          Um, yeah, its a pretty long-standing principle that if you reverse engineer and then build a similar product, you have done no wrong. Between the Navy and Bellsouth I did a short stint as a “whore” for the R&D side of a junkmail printer manufacturer. My job was to break apart a better product than my employer had, figure out what it did, and produce lists and lists of everything short of electronic blueprints for the “virgins” to work from. The virgins never touched the product in question, and therefore could not violate the competitors right to intellectual property.

          Thats how reverse engineering works. it takes a lot of effort to do it legally and ethically, but yeah, it gets done all the time.

      • Sean O

        Geez, who could have seen this court’s rightwing members zealously protecting every interest or “right” or perceived right of Corporations to the detriment of individual citizens? hhmmm.

        Never see any aggressive work on rolling back our wild west Abortion regime to more modest godless European levels. First things first. Priorities.

      • Given that the lower court decided in favor of Monsanto, the only way to fix what is wrong is to hear it. The cert is not evidence of anything other than there is a legitimate constitutional question that is unresolved in the opinion of four justices.

    • deiseach

      That’s precisely the reason why I am not so enamoured of GM crops, particularly those of Monsanto, especially as they’re being pushed as the answer to global hunger.

      Monsanto GM crops are pesticide-resistant – that is, they are resistant to one particular pesticide, Roundup, which is produced by – Monsanto!

      So a Third World farmer is locked into buying Monsanto seed (which he cannot keep a portion of after harvesting his main crops as seed for the next year, but has to buy the seed afresh from Monsanto each year) and the Monsanto pesticide (and possibly all the sprayers, etc. to use with it) from Monsanto or their registered agents. How does he pay for that? Why, with the cash from selling his crops after the harvest. And then the round-about starts up again, as he needs to buy the seed, etc. for the new growing season.

      And if there is a bad harvest due to floods, drought, hurricanes etc.? Then you owe your soul to the company store and get deeper in debt forever and a day.

      That’s all aside from the question of do GM crops cross–pollinate with non-GM crops and other plants in the wild when grown on large scale commercial farming, do weeds become pesticide-resistant, what effects do mass consumption of GM crops have on animals and humans, etc.

      I have no objection to progress. I have no objection to a company owning the fruits of the research that it poured vast sums of money into developing. If the company can prove someone is pirating their work by growing, harvesting and then keeping hundredweights of seed to sell on and defraud them of their rightful dues, then I have no objection to them going to court. But if a farmer does what farmers have always done (keep some seed back to sow for next year) and is then told “Nope, you owe us forever and a day” then that should be made abundantly clear and not in the small print of “Oh, you didn’t realise? Too bad!”

      • There was a case in Canada a few years back when Monsanto plants cross pollinated with a another farmer’s field. The practices of Monsanto were quite disturbing. For instance, they claimed a right to go into the fields and barns of farmers who had not bought their seeds to test their plants and see if they contained the modified genes of the Monsanto plantsm which is how this guy got found out. They sued him for illegally obtaining their seeds (the plants in question were a small patch growing alongside a road often used by open trucks carrying the GM seeds) and he countersued on various grounds. The exact decision escapes me, although both sides ultimately claimed victory.

        While I am not a fan of organic products, I admit they and heritage crop growers may be one of the few things that keep farmers out from this new bio serfdom.

      • Mel

        “Monsanto GM crops are pesticide-resistant – that is, they are resistant to one particular pesticide, Roundup, which is produced by – Monsanto!”

        Roundup is a herbicide, not a pesticide.

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      So Monsanto has a bad business model, therefore fundamental and long-standing law must be changed, in order to improve Monsanto’s business model?


      • Sean O

        Spot on HG.

        Money and Power does as they please. They have the best Congress money could buy, and phenomenally cheaply for the returns on their investments…..umm I mean their campaign donations.

    • Ted Seeber

      Why isn’t Burpee out of business with their non-GMO seed lines?

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        Because Burpee hasn’t spent tons of venture capital playing God, Ted.

        • Ted Seeber

          And thus, it is possible to survive as a seed company WITHOUT playing God and without playing Patent Troll with Farmers?

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            Only for so long though, until Monsanto has a lock on the world’s food supply.

            Apparently a lot of right wingers even here (I’m sick of sullying the word conservative just because these folks want to claim it) are all for Pesticide manufacturers taking over the food supply.

  • MikeTheGeek

    Monsanto certainly owns the original seeds, and could make a claim on any offspring that genetically match their original seeds, since that is what their patents are based on. I can’t buy a book, then make and distribute copies. However, I would think that any recombination events that Mother Nature (caps in jest, lest I be accused of cryptopaganism) engaged in ought to render those seeds “new organisms” and hence not covered by patent or copyright. You should have to show that the progeny seed is genetically identical to the Monsanto product.

    They might try to make a case for plagiarism, since the progeny seed would be clearly derived from their seed w/o proper credit, but I wouldn’t think that would fly.

    • K. J.

      I think the patent is on a specific gene, which codes for a variant of an enzyme which is vital to the mechanism of action of Roundup. Plants with the variant are immune to Roundup. Presumably, any plant you have with that gene is covered by the patent. Offspring without that gene are not covered by the patent, so you could probably keep them. The limitation being that they will die when sprayed with Roundup.

      The Roundup-ready stuff has been commercially available since 1996, though. Isn’t the patent itself about to expire (or has it already)? Presumably, other companies can then make and sell Roundup-ready varieties (subject to doing their own genetic work, of course- they still couldn’t just take the gene from the Monsanto product).

      • MikeTheGeek

        I agree – but it seems that once a recombination event occurs, then Monsanto loses its claims – it becomes the equivalent of trying to maintain a patent on earth, air, water, or fire. It has effectively been released into the most public domain of all – the biosphere. What happens if your product cross-pollinates with the corn in the field next door? What happens if a virus happens to pick it up and drop it into the neighbor’s wheat? Who are you going to sue? Mother Nature? The ghost of Charlie Darwin?

        If a contract has been signed by the farmer, then he is obligated to live up to it. Ultimately, however, physics, chemistry, and biology will overrule the patent Office.

  • “the will of the fascist overclass ”

    Glad someone said it. I don’t think I could get away with it.

  • Salvatore

    1) Did you even read the story about the Korean War vet? Just because you are a veteran (as I am), doesn’t mean you should be exempt from your town’s local laws. If you don’t comply (after several opportunities to do so) with the law of your local community, then you pay the price that you are made aware you will pay. Now, if you disagree with the laws of your local community, than you have the opportunity to have them changed through the democratic process, but you don’t just get to ignore them and pull out your “veteran” get-out-of-jail-free card.
    2) I’m not sure why you position these stories as if they are some condemnation of American conservatism and as an opportunity to criticize the use of the term “class warfare” and FOX News. (Do you really believe that class warfare, as a political tactic, does not exist?) If anything, these stories are examples of out of control government power, NOT of wealthy private citizens taking advantage of middle and lower class citizens (which is what the “class warfare” of some political parties is all about). Even if you argue that the “evil corporations” are the villains here, and are just using the government as a tool to do their bidding, it’s still an argument for conservatism, because if the government didn’t have so much power to regulate the economy, they wouldn’t make a very useful tool. The “immensely powerful” you refer to in your opening, is not who you go on to lead your reader to believe it is, namely wealthy people who are members of corporations. It is the federal courts that have been given jurisdiction over a market that they should not have.

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      So conservatives by and large are opposed to the onerous state and direction of intellectual property law, especially in this country, and want to see it dramatically rolled back?

      And I thought Democrats had no respect for the intelligence of the average America.

    • If anything, these stories are examples of out of control government power, NOT of wealthy private citizens taking advantage of middle and lower class citizens (which is what the “class warfare” of some political parties is all about). Even if you argue that the “evil corporations” are the villains here, and are just using the government as a tool to do their bidding, it’s still an argument for conservatism, because if the government didn’t have so much power to regulate the economy, they wouldn’t make a very useful tool. The “immensely powerful” you refer to in your opening, is not who you go on to lead your reader to believe it is, namely wealthy people who are members of corporations. It is the federal courts that have been given jurisdiction over a market that they should not have.

      Cheers! Exactly! This is why I don’t understand Mark’s use of the vet as say “a taker” when by what even he has summed up Randian thought as, the vet would be a maker, the government and courts would be the takers. I mean, if there wasn’t a law (or city code, whatever) preventing the vet from selling, what could the corporations do about it? Regulations are the problem, not the solution!

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        Look around you, Nate. A lot of folks whom you agree with economically in most cases are contradicting you here.

        You are being played for a sucker by the right wing if you actually believe the words you write. I have no reason to doubt your good will.

        • I believe that as long as people have free will, people I agree with will contradict me in some parts since the only person that would agree with me about everything would be… another me. How this is news I don’t know. (I mean, it’s not like we’re the Borg.)

          Besides, you don’t think the left-wing also plays people for suckers? It’s just one of those “features” of republics & democracies that we have to unite with people we disagree with on some things in order to build a plurality on those things we do agree with. Life is all about trade-offs.

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            Your second paragraph demonstrates you are doing something other than reading what I write.

            • Yeah I’ll admit the 2nd paragraph is just more of a rant. A lot of conservatives, libertarians, et al feel like the battered spouses of the GOP, just don’t have anyone else to come along and sweep us off our feet. 🙁

  • quasimodo

    I’ll buy a copy of Mark’s books and photo copy them for the rest of you.

    The Farm Jones was aware of the terms of his license on the seeds and agreed to them.
    I am aware of the terms of buying Mark’s books and agree to them, too.

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      No, but I keep Mark’s books all near one another. When a new page pops up between 2, I plan to nurture and care for it until it reaches an age where it can be separated from its library, and I will totally sell that thing because self-replicating books are just AWESOME!!!

      • This comment is awesome.

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          Thank you! Thank you! Even a blind hog roots up a truffle now and again.

  • Frank Weathers

    Actually, we live in “normal” times here on planet Earth. We’re aliens.

  • Dan C

    Brazil answered a question about this 15 years ago with regard to antiretrovirals.

    The high cost of anti-retrovirals (anti-HIV meds) was prohibitive for the third world for these life-saving drugs in 1998. Brazil decided it would undertake its own manufacture and break any concerns of any intellectual property. The justification of such an action was based on the fact these drugs could save lives, was too costly for Brazil to purchase on its own, and no reasonable provisions were being made to provide Brazil with such medications.

    Private property is only an absolute in secular philosophies. Not Catholicism.

    Monsanto is a little different, but if third world governments choose to disrupt intellectual property on the basis of feeding their people by collecting the GMO seeds, this is justifiable, and perhaps commendable.

  • Solution: don’t use GMO seeds. Many European countries are banning the stuff due to health concerns that have cropped up in several studies. I’m pretty much avoiding eating corn and soy for the time being since the vast majority of those two products are GMO, but US law does not require it to be labeled as such.

    • Hezekiah Garrett


      Right now its all “what could it hurt?”

      And later, when we’re starving because we literally sowed our own demise, it’ll be ‘how were we supposed to know?”

  • Dan C

    Additionally, if Monsanto has a product that self-replicates, than perhaps it needs to charge higher for the one-time distribution of such a product.

    This is not a private property case, but a big company’s strong arm attempt to get around a bad business plan.

    • Dan C

      Why defend Monsanto against a bad business plan? What happened to the “accountability culture” the high reign of the Right Wing was to usher in since 2000?

      • kenneth

        Accountability? That’s only for brown folks and single moms and the 47% of us who are welfare queens by nature, not the boardroom folks and Real People. Their role is to accrue profits, the state’s is to shoulder the risk. It has to be done that way because they’re too big to fail, and what’s good for them is good for America!

        • Sean O

          Si como no.
          Spot on.

    • jolly

      Patents expire after tweny years. “Patent exhaustion” relates to the right of a person to resell a product, but does not give the person the right to create the product anew (which is what seeds do). Basically, after twenty years anyone will be able to sell seeds with the modified gene. I don’t think it is unreasonable to give Monsanto twenty years to profit from their innovation. What the ruling does not do is allow Monsanto to prevent someone from ever reselling their seeds, it only reaffirms the intellectual property rights for twenty years.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        So Monsanto’s product is violating Monsanto’s patent by producing new seeds? Because the farmer emphatically isn’t creating anything. Monsanto should have been forward looking enough to make sure their plants were sterile. And if they can’t do that, tough titty.

        There is no reason for the government of the American people to allow Monsanto to pull this, although there are a number of lawyers who’d be happy to line their pockets arguing against the American people.

        • K. J.

          Bowman doesn’t argue that he could legally plant the first crop seeds themselves (previous cases have decided he couldn’t, and there seems to be a pretty specific bit of law- the Plant Variety Protection Act- prohibiting that). What Bowman’s case is about is seeds which were sold to an elevator as “commodity seeds” and then purchased by the farmer for a second-crop planting. Bowman claims that, since the first sale (to the elevator) is permitted by the tech agreement, and the elevator doesn’t require him to sign a tech agreement (nor could they), he is not restricted from planting those seeds, or seeds retained from the harvest of those seeds. Monsanto disagrees, claiming that this would defeat the entire purpose of the PVPA. The Supreme Court agreed on Friday to hear the case.

          As for Monsanto being forward-thinking enough to make sure their plants were sterile, since the part of the plant that’s of interest is the seed itself, I’m not sure that’s feasible. It certainly does apply to plants which are propagated by graft. You can plant apple seeds, for instance- but you can’t create a new graft off your HoneyCrisp tree.

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            DING DING DING

            That’s my point. If Monsanto can’t produce a plant which bears sterile seeds, that’s their problem and no reason to change longstanding custom. Because if they produced a corn plant that produces no seeds to begin with, they are producing grass. (Full disclosure, my ancestors domesticated maize, taking it from the scrawny grain they found it as, and over time coaxed it into the corn we all know and love today. It’s offensive to me on a human level what Monsanto is doing.)

            What exactly are conservatives conserving again?

            • K. J.

              If the basic idea of the patented plant is the issue, it seems you’re fighting a battle that was lost years ago, I’m afraid. The basic idea of the patent- which prevents a farmer from planting seeds from his harvest- was upheld 6-2 in 2001 in JEM Ag Supply v. Pioneer Hi-Bred (Breyer and Stevens dissented, O’Connor did not participate in the decision, Thomas wrote a majority opinion for the remaining six, and Scalia wrote a separate concurrence). The basic idea that a living organism was patentable was decided in 1980, in Diamond v. Chakrabarty; the JEM decision relies on that one. You need not like it, but that part is unlikely to be overturned even if the court rules for Bowman here.

              I was wrong above- the PVPA allows seeds to be replanted; the granting of utility patents does not. The validity of those patents is the issue which the JEM case decided.

              • Hezekiah Garrett

                And I could care less what your black-robed overlords decide. The only thing stopping me from going Johnny Cornseed with Monsanto’s corn is that it’s not Corn, the Gift God gave us, but some kind of zombie corn.

  • Will

    Many hybrid garden plants for sale have notices that you cannot propagate other plants from them. I do not know if that is greedy or prudent.

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      They’re hybrids. Try propagating their seed. You might get something, you might not. The chances of getting a plant genetically similar to the parent is slim to none. Most hybrid corn will produce grass, in some instances it has been known to even produce strawberries.

      How many of us in this discussion have experience in actual farming, as opposed to lawyers and economists?

      (raises hand)

  • From ancient times up until recently, books could be copied by hand and as far as I know, authors received nothing from the making of these copies other than fame and the satisfaction of knowing their ideas and words had spread. How did we move from that system to intellectual copyright?

    • kenneth

      That system evolved along with industrialization and modern commerce (and literacy). Writing was a different deal when it was done mostly by rich and unusually educated men who were writing for noblemen and academics. Once you have printing, the whole paradigm shifts from a rarefied patronage art to big business. All of a sudden, who wrote it first becomes very important. On the industrial side, value shifted from physical assets to knowledge. In medieval times and much later, wealth came from whatever land you controlled, whatever royal charters you had to this or that colony and its resources. Extractive wealth is (sometimes brutally) straightforward. What’s yours is yours unless someone with a bigger army or better political connections comes your way. With the rise of industrialization, wealth derives from ideas – who has the best process for making steel, or making and dyeing textiles? That took lots of money to develop, and was exquisitely vulnerable to theft. The entire value of an 18th or 19th Century factory could (and did) sometimes walk out the door with a stolen machine drawing or recipe.

  • Mike Petrik

    Why this Blog is so unique: Most blogs involve opinions delivered in a measured way followed by comboxes expressing inflammatory rhetoric. This Blog is exactly the opposite.

    • Bill

      Mark is very measured and reasonable. He just states points that run counter to the standard narrative of both sides.

      • Mike Petrik

        “Times when middle class and poor people who are being systematically looted and stripped of their rights by the immensely powerful spend tender tears of pity for the people who are enslaving them, lest somebody on FOX accuse them of “class warfare”.”

        Yes, perfectly measured and reasonable, unlike the subsequent comments that tediously split hairs over trivial things like the importance and limits of intellectual property without accusing anyone of looting or enslaving.

    • Dan C

      I like challenging points of view.

      And the discussions are very good.

  • Irenist

    Our patent, copyright, and trademark systems have completely metastasized. In their place, they promoted innovation. Now, when farmers don’t own their seeds, Apple & Google spend more on patent trolling than R&D, and almost all of 20th century culture is locked up by overlong copyright terms, intellectual property needs to be rolled back. Intellectual property rights do not exist in a state of nature. They are an artificial monopoly grant to inventors and artists that has increasingly become just another form of corporate welfare. I.P. need not be abolished, but it must be reformed.

    • Well, I do think Intellectual property rights do sort of exist, in that an idea in my head is my idea, my thought. Now the real question is, what happens once it is unleashed? I think originally IP (using the law meaning and not the computer meaning ;)) was probably invented to give people an incentive to share ideas instead of keeping them to themselves (after all, why would you bother with spending time and money on something someone would just “steal” from you).

      But you’re right on the rest of it. They’ve gone way overboard and we need to look at the structure anew and seriously consider an overhaul.

  • TheRealAaron

    This question occurred to me in the course of reading the comments, but isn’t a direct response to anyone in particular.

    The difference between copying books and copying seeds is that books don’t copy themselves. Seeds, by their very nature, reproduce themselves. So the comparison to books or or movies or software is besides the point.
    Instead, let’s look at the precedent for reproducing organisms. How does intellectual property law apply to breeders of horses or champion dogs? If I buy two horses from a breeder and their offspring wins the Kentucky Derby, do I get to put him out to stud or do the reproduction rights revert to the original breeder?

    I honestly don’t know the answer but it seems like a better point of comparison.

    • beccolina

      I do know that many dog breeders will make people buying puppies sign an agreement not to breed, unless it is laid out up front that they are intending to breed the puppy they buy. Often, if a puppy is considered “Breedable” quality, the breeder might want co-ownership. I suppose if someone breeds a pup after signing the agreement not to, they can be sued for breach of contract, but I don’t think the original breeder could claim they own the pups produced.

    • Technical point, but the seeds don’t strictly reproduce themselves. If I buy some seeds then just leave them on my table, I won’t have more seeds tomorrow, the farmer does have to do SOME work (it’s just not the same work as the copyist).

      And actually I think with horses, purchasing the horse means you are also purchasing the breeding rights. (and I think that’s where some of their cost comes from) Now the breeder might try and get you to sign a contract saying he/she has some sort of royalties to offspring, but that’s why you don’t sign those. 😉

      Dogs may vary from state to state. At least around where I grew up, once you purchased an animal, it was yours and the breeding was up to you. A thornier question might be, if you have a horse and you breed with your horse with one owned by someone else, then THAT offspring wins the derby, how are the winnings split? Again, varies from place to place. Around here, you paid the person to breed with the understand that the horse was yours. Although say you’re low on money, you could maybe have a deal where the horses breed for free with you and the other owner splitting any money the resulting offspring earns.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        Technical point, but the action of the farmer in question is nothing more than using the product FOR ITS INTENDED PURPOSE. It isn’t meant to sit on your coffee table. It’d meant to be sown in 1-2 inches of dirt, in furrows spaced 2-3 feet apart, with a seed spacing of 6-12″, later thinned to a spacing of about 2 feet.

        or, alternatively,

        Sown in the center of a 10′ diameter mound at the same depth, surrounded by beans, squash and tomatoes. This was at one time the prefferred method of the farmers that produced corn in the first place. They made a living off their hard work without crying to the Sachem or Sagamore about their intellectual property rights.

        Frankly, its a shame white people apparently won’t do jack squat if they have no hope of growing wealthy for it. And before anyone dares object, listen to your avaricious selves.

        • I only object that you think it’s only a problem white people suffer from. I don’t recall any of the seven deadly sins being listed as exclusive to one group or another, but rather something we all struggle with.

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            No, Avarice isn’t a strictly white affliction. but as a civilization, Modernity (Started with the Reformation and the ‘Discovery’ of America, right on thru bringing back slavery into widespread fashion, the industrial revolution, deathly ideologies etc.) is so predicated on it that yeah, by and large, those so afflicted, won’t lift a finger if they don’t see huge benefit from it. Most systems have tried to uphold ideals even though the people in those systems had no prayer of meeting the ideals all together.

            In my own culture, there were 2 laws (Alienation of Land and Murder of a fellow Real Person.) The former was dealt with by the whole people, the latter by the family of the deceased. All the other stuff people can do to disrupt society was handled immediately and very locally, by social opprobrium. We tease and cajole those who won’t do right, rather than imprisoning them and re-educating them and what have you. we actually had very limited governement, because as a society, we policed our actions.

            This culture? You cry for less government, but won’t shun greedy people because you yourselves hope one day to enjoy that same largesse. I’d believe cries for limited government if I ever saw the criers exercising social opprobrium at something besides the dirty, drunk, ill and poor.

            And white is just Indian shorthand for Modernity. I have black friends and coworkers with enough experience actually talking to Indians, that they understand that most of them fall into the category of white, as we tend to use it.

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            But you do concede you were in error in the post I was responding too? Good, Nate, it is a start.

  • Cinlef

    Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day
    Teach a man to fish and he’ll have food for a lifetime
    Unless your teaching a man to fish only Monsanto Super-Fish TM, and not only will he only eat for a day but he’s also down the cost of all the fishing equipment….

  • Patrick

    If Monsanto owns the seed forever, can the farmer charge them a fee for storing it on his property? Every time the farmer saves a crop of Monsanto-owned seed, he has to store it during the winter. Now, if he owns the seed, that’s his problem. But if Monsanto owns the seed, then the farmer can charge them to store it on his property every year. Haha – I’m kidding, this whole thing is dumb and I hope Monsanto goes bankrupt.

    • Nonymous

      I nominate Patrick for Monsanto’s Board of Directors. He’s got their thinking down pat. Except for the hoping they go bankrupt part 😉

    • Actually I think you have a great point and I’d love to see the farmer countersue. Heck, maybe Monsanto should pay the farmer rental fees on using his property too.

  • Hezekiah Garrett


    That was MC,inc v Schmiezer (SP?)

    The suit was over canola, one small patch of Schmiezer’s feild near a.road.frequented by trucks carrying Monsanto GM seeds.

    The Supreme Court of Canuckistan ruled 5-4 in favor of Monsanto, even though Schmiezer makes no use of round up. They refrained frim awarding.damages to MC,inc for the less than 20k he made (i am not sure.if that was canadian tired money or not) so he wouldnt be liable for MC,inc legal fees, said to be upward of a quarter to half million dollars.

    The little guy was victorious only in that he didnt get financially destroyed. They backed every one of MC,inc’s claims though.

  • My understanding is that you don’t buy mass quantities of the herbicide Round Up unless you also buy the GM seed that resists it. If you mass spray the herbicide on non-GM seed, your crops die. Monsanto is keeping track of its customers of both products and when somebody buys the (cheap) herbicide in large quantities but did not buy the seed, they sue.
    Monsanto is splitting the R&D on both products so that the seed bears more of the cost. That may be a commercially appealing business model that maximizes Monsanto’s profit but allocating the R&D cost recovery that way is certainly not the only way to be profitable. The ordinary legal rules do not have to be twisted into a pretzel to satisfy Monsanto’s commercial desire and they should not be. The farmer, in this case, should win because buying seed out of a grain elevator and planting it gets you 95% plus Monsanto GM seed these days. He’s spending a lot less for seed and paying a 5% penalty in yield.
    If the farmer loses, any school teacher buying food beans for science class will owe Monsanto money. That’s just idiotic and contrary to the safety and welfare of society. The ability to divert food to seed is an important safety feature of our society. Monsanto’s IP rights do not extend to the point where they subvert the resilience of the country.

  • Hezekiah Garrett


    A battered wife doesn’t need another husband. She needs shelter. In my case, Ma Church is just such a place.

    • Dude, don’t be like Thomas Friedman and run the metaphor too far.

      • Dude, I stuck with one metaphor at least. Give me some credit. That Flat Earth book was good for nothing but initiating arson at the Old Grey Lady’s headquarters.

        • Zeki, I give you a slow clap out of grasping a reference that I was sure would be too obscure. Well done, sir. You earned that credit.

  • Hezekiah Garrett


    Preach it brother! But if you can spare 4 bits, I will wager you the court wont see it that way, even if this isnt precisely the Kelo court.