My husband is a stickler for North Carolina BBQ (Note: not Texas, not Alabama, just the North Carolina style). When we became homeowners several years ago, we invested in a Big Green Egg BBQ even before we bought blinds for our bedroom. Years later, we were at our neighbor’s house for a cocktail party, and went upstairs to their teenage boys’ attic lounge room that featured an enormous panoramic window overlooking our bedroom.
Let’s just say, we really should have bought the bedroom blinds first.
This summer, we’ve been firing up that Big Green Egg and find ourselves regularly stopping into Ace Hardware to buy the specialty charcoal. How is it that THREE full years after becoming Glyphosate Girl, I still am stunned to see Roundup sitting on the shelf. I usually tell the workers that it causes cancer, citing Lee Johnson’s case, but they look at me blankly. Clearly, this news is not widely known.
At one point, I bought some stickers that said “Causes Cancer/Causa Cancer” to distribute to workers who I see spraying the junk without protection all over someone’s property. The same property that will soon have barefooted children running across it. While I can’t say that putting the sticker on the bottles in Ace Hardware, Target, or Home Depot hasn’t crossed my mind in perhaps too-frequent moments of rage, I figured there are other ways to inspire change that don’t involve me breaking the law.
Leave it to the French to be bold. As reported in GMWatch, in a French court earlier this month, twenty-one anti-glyphosate activists were prosecuted for painting some glyphosate-based herbicide (GBH) bottles in protest, making them unsellable. The defense attorney argued that the actions of the activists were justified given the toxicity of GBHs. Stunningly, the judge agreed that there are established dangers of glyphosate products, as shown in the US Roundup cancer litigation, and that the massive use of pesticides constitutes a major public health issue. Apparently, the activists put a tarp on the group to paint the bottles and didn’t damage the shop in any other way. The activists were acquitted of criminal charges.
Did you catch that? The activists were thoughtful enough to put a protective tarp down before they started vandalizing! Some real anti-glyphosate class-acts there in Foix.
Last week, a virtual hearing was held in the First District Court of Appeal regarding the Pilliod case. In the 2019 trial, the jury awarded Al and Alberta Pilliod over $2 billion in damages (later slashed to around $87 million). Before ruling on Monsanto’s appeal, the judges sought to address the preemption issue (Monsanto’s argument that the EPA categorization of glyphosate as safe outweighs any potential company liability) and issues surrounding punitive damages. Wow, the EPA disgusts me – so BLATANTLY working for Monsanto that it’s almost surreal.
What ensued during the hearing was a big departure from how I’ve seen the Monsanto attorneys craft their arguments over the last several years. Ordinarily, long and detailed briefs are filed and they articulately argue their points and discuss the evidence. Such was not the case in this hearing. Rather, Monsanto attorney David Axelrad seemed to strut around the discussion in that Zoom room, providing a blanket opinion that plaintiffs were simply wrong in their arguments. Almost like he couldn’t be bothered. According to Axelrad, all of that evidence presented by the plaintiffs in court (i.e. Magic Tumor, burying Dr. Parry’s concerns that the Roundup formulation may be carcinogenic, not complying with EPA guidelines for animal testing) was just simply – wrong.
Note some Big Tobacco playbook moves here – deny the facts, deny the science, muddy the waters, and question why everyone is making such a fuss. Axelrad was effectively saying that there is nothing to see here, move on.
Justice Kline spent significant time berating Axelrad, miffed that such an experienced appellate attorney would submit such a lack of solid, case-based argument. “I’m rather astonished at the briefing in this case because of the distortion of the facts.” The plaintiffs had argued in a brief that the distortions mean that Monsanto should forfeit, which Kline said he should consider.
So what is happening here? My hypothesis is that Monsanto isn’t bothering to get into the nitty gritty because they fully intend for EPA preemption to save their sick asses. They likely already have several deals worked out with key figures in DC.
Plaintiff Attorney Mike Miller shined as he eloquently argued point after point of evidence, highlighting exactly where Axelrad had fallen short.
Now we wait to hear what the judges rule, and my guess is that their ruling will be in favor of the Plaintiff, and then appealed by Monsanto to the CA Supreme Court. We are currently waiting to hear if the US Supreme Court will hear the Hardeman case – if so, it is time for us to say our prayers. Justice Clarence Thomas sits there on that bench. He worked for Monsanto as a corporate lawyer and has never declared conflict of interest in previous cases involving Monsanto. The “revolving door” at its finest.
A Few More Notes
- Moms Across America has launched another call campaign – PLEASE call EPA Administrator Michael Regan and, if you don’t get him directly, leave a message that glyphosate is killing animals, pollinators, humans, and biomes. There are at least a few people at the EPA listening, and the jury is still out as to whether Michael Regan may finally do something about this chemical devastation. PHONE NUMBER: (202) 564-4700
- Dr. Stephanie Seneff’s new book Toxic Legacy: How the Weedkiller Glyphosate Is Destroying Our Health and the Environment is out! The data and information that she has on the topic of glyphosate is unparalleled – check it out!
- Spotted at a weekend water polo tournament: A coach sporting a t-shirt that had a wheat grain inside of a heart, with the phrase “Together we can FEED THE WORLD.” Monsanto’s feel-good propaganda sitting poolside. That deserves a yellow card.
- The poppies are growing back in France since they have stopped spraying glyphosate! I’d love to see the poppies return to California as well.