The Hightower Report

Poppies Up, Bush Down; and Biotech Mutation of Creeping Bentgrass


Here's some big news on the agricultural front – this year's crop has reached the highest level ever, with an increase of 49% over last year's production!

Unfortunately, we're not talking about American corn, but the opium crop in Afghanistan. You remember Afghanistan, don't you? That's where Osama bin Laden was supposed to be headquartered, so our military pounded his Taliban backers shortly after 9/11. Even though the Bushites failed to get Osama either "dead or alive," we were told that they had conquered Afghanistan, ousted the Taliban, put a new leader in place, and set that country on an inexorable path to democracy. Mission accomplished!

But wait – Afghanistan has now turned as messy as Iraq. The Taliban is both resurgent and insurgent, Bush's hand-picked leader can't travel outside of the capital of his own country, and the poppy fields – which sustain the Taliban with millions of drug-trafficking dollars – are flourishing again. Despite the fact that poppy eradication has been a centerpiece of Bush's Afghanistan policy, costing us taxpayers millions of dollars, there was a 59% hike in the acreage devoted to poppies this year. "You can say it's out of control," said the head of the UN office on drugs. Indeed, the Bushites themselves have expressed alarm that Afghanistan is in danger of becoming a full-fledged narcotics state.

After Bush & Company have spent $88.2 billion of our money and lost American lives there, the one clear result is not a shining monument to democracy and peace – but a country at war with itself, largely ruled by warlords and religious extremists, while currently supplying 92% of the world's opium crop.

The Bushites are incompetent losers. It's time to stop blindly following bad leaders and demand basic competence in the global effort to stop terrorists.


You never want to hear your dentist say: "oops." But "oops" is also something you never want to hear from biotech scientists who are genetically altering various plant species.

Messing with the very DNA of grains, veggies, and other plants is dangerous stuff, for there are many consequences of such corporate-sponsored manipulations. They literally are messing with Mother Nature, creating Frankenspecies in their labs, with no testing of the long-term impacts on human health or our environment.

So the "oops" that came out of Oregon in August was alarming. A genetically altered grass, with the horror-movie name of "creeping bentgrass," was found growing in the wild. It's not supposed to be there. It has the potential to create superweeds and was supposed to be carefully controlled in a test field. But – oops – it escaped.

Who is behind the development of this mutant? Monsanto Inc. This biotech giant is working with a lawn chemical outfit called Scotts to create a new grass for golf courses. Why? Because the old grass that Mother Nature makes (Damn her!) will not tolerate enough pesticides. Specifically, Monsanto-Scotts wants to spray an herbicide named Roundup on golf greens and fairways to kill weeds, but the duo needs a Frankengrass that won't die along with the weeds.

Did I mention that Monsanto makes Roundup? And guess who'll sell the new genetically altered, pesticide-absorbing bentgrass? Right, Scotts. So, for nothing more urgent than creating a Roundup-tolerant grass for golf courses so Monsanto and Scott can fatten their profits, we have a biotech "oops moment."

Since these corporations can't control their genetically altered spawn, their selfish, profit-driven experiments pose an ecological threat to all of us. To help stop biotech greed from ravaging Mother Nature, call the Organic Consumers Association at 218/226-4164.

For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown – visit You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio, 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.

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opium poppies, Afghanistan, Taliban, George W. Bush, genetically modified crops, Monsanto Inc., Scotts, bentgrass

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