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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,622

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New GMO Poised for Approval Despite Public Outcry

New GMO Poised for Approval Despite Public Outcry

Friday, 15 August 2014 12:33
By Leah Zerbe, Rodale News | Op-Ed

Despite its own admission that it will cause an up to sevenfold increase in chemical pesticide use, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is poised to approve a new type of genetically engineered seed built to resist one of the most toxic weedkillers on the market.

Now, total approval hinges on the Environmental Protection Agency. If that federal body approves the new GMO, farmers will be free to plant corn and soy seeds genetically manipulated to live through sprayings of Dow's Enlist Duo herbicide, a chemical cocktail containing both glyphosate and the antiquated, toxic chemical 2,4-D. Ironically, in the 1990s, chemical companies said the development of GMOs would eliminate the need to use older, more dangerous chemicals like 2,4-D. But as GMO use ramped up over the last few decades, chemical use increased, and many weeds are no longer responding to glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup and the current chemical of choice for GMO farmers. This has created a "superweed" crisis, resulting in millions of acres of U.S. fields' being infested with hard-to-kill weeds.

With this week's USDA final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) suggesting approval of the new GMO is eminent, many food and public-safety experts say the American public faces unprecedented risks as a result of the decision. After all, current chemical use is so high that foods now actually contain "extreme" levels of glyphosate. Because it's a systemic weedkiller, it actually winds up inside of food. Adding 2,4-D to the mix is even more concerning, given its ties to cancer.

"USDA's announcement is an outrageous abdication of USDA's responsibility to protect our health and our food supply. The Obama Administration has ignored the interests and demands of millions of Americans, members of Congress, and scientists, farmers, and health professionals," says Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/25606-new-gmo-poised-for-approval-despite-public-outcry

David Sirota: Is Corruption a Constitutional Right?

from truthdig:

Is Corruption a Constitutional Right?

Posted on Aug 15, 2014
By David Sirota

Wall Street is one of the biggest sources of funding for presidential campaigns, and many of the Republican Party’s potential 2016 contenders are governors, from Chris Christie of New Jersey and Rick Perry of Texas to Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Scott Walker of Wisconsin. And so, last week, the GOP filed a federal lawsuit aimed at overturning the pay-to-play law that bars those governors from raising campaign money from Wall Street executives who manage their states’ pension funds.

In the case, New York and Tennessee’s Republican parties are represented by two former Bush administration officials, one of whose firms just won the Supreme Court case invalidating campaign contribution limits on large donors. In their complaint, the parties argue that people managing state pension money have a First Amendment right to make large donations to state officials who award those lucrative money management contracts.

With the $3 trillion public pension system controlled by elected officials now generating billions of dollars worth of annual management fees for Wall Street, Securities and Exchange Commission regulators originally passed the rule to make sure retirees’ money wasn’t being handed out based on politicians’ desire to pay back their campaign donors.

“Elected officials who allow political contributions to play a role in the management of these assets and who use these assets to reward contributors violate the public trust,” says the preamble of the rule, which restricts not only campaign donations directly to state officials, but also contributions to political parties. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/is_corruption_a_constitutional_right_20140815

Professor Richard Wolff: How Class Works

Cornel West & Chris Hedges Sneak into Gaza March

Noam Chomsky "Israel On The Road To Self-Destruction"

Published on Aug 8, 2014

Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA is proud to present world renowned linguist, philosopher and activist Noam Chomsky to speak on current developments, options and prospects within the Palestine-Israel conflict. From the current situation to the options ahead, come out for Professor Chomsky's insightful analysis on one of the most polarizing issues in modern times.

Cry for Argentina: Fiscal Mismanagement, Odious Debt or Pillage?

Cry for Argentina: Fiscal Mismanagement, Odious Debt or Pillage?
Posted on August 12, 2014 by Ellen Brown

Argentina has now taken the US to The Hague for blocking the country’s 2005 settlement with the bulk of its creditors. The issue underscores the need for an international mechanism for nations to go bankrupt. Better yet would be a sustainable global monetary scheme that avoids the need for sovereign bankruptcy.

Argentina was the richest country in Latin America before decades of neoliberal and IMF-imposed economic policies drowned it in debt. A severe crisis in 2001 plunged it into the largest sovereign debt default in history. In 2005, it renegotiated its debt with most of its creditors at a 70% “haircut.” But the opportunist “vulture funds,” which had bought Argentine debt at distressed prices, held out for 100 cents on the dollar.

Paul Singer’s Elliott Management has spent over a decade aggressively trying to force Argentina to pay down nearly $1.3 billion in sovereign debt. Elliott would get about $300 million for bonds that Argentina claims it picked up for $48 million. Where most creditors have accepted payment at a 70% loss, Elliott Management would thus get a 600% return.

In June 2014, the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a New York court’s order blocking payment to the other creditors until the vulture funds had been paid. That action propelled Argentina into default for the second time in this century – and the eighth time since 1827. On August 7, 2014, Argentina asked the International Court of Justice in the Hague to take action against the United States over the dispute. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/cry_for_argentina_fiscal_mismanagement_or_pillage_20140814

This Company Is Profiting From Police Aggression In Ferguson

from HuffPost:

WASHINGTON -- If there's a winner from the militarized police aggression in Ferguson, Missouri, it would have to be the tear gas industry.

Officers bombarded city streets with tear gas for hours on Wednesday night, bathing Ferguson in a noxious cloud. At times, the police assault appeared to target journalists. Citizens have protested for days over Saturday's fatal shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown by a police officer, who authorities have refused to name.

It's boom time for the tear gas industry, as law enforcement agencies turn to chemical weapon to combat political unrest abroad and protest movements at home. As Sarah Kliff detailed for Vox, the use of tear gas in international warfare is banned by the Geneva Convention -- but it is increasingly a weapon of choice for governments to deploy against their own people.

A June report from Visiongain, a business intelligence consultant, valued the global market for "non-lethal" weapons at $1.6 billion, which it predicted would increase over the next decade. "Our research indicates that non-lethal anti-personnel weapons are becoming increasingly high in demand particularly from law enforcement agencies," Visiongain said in a press release.

The domestic tear gas industry is dominated by three companies -- Jamestown, Pennsylvania-based Combined Systems Inc., Homer City, Pennsylvania-based NonLethal Technologies Inc., and Defense Technology, a Casper, Wyoming-based brand owned by the Safariland law enforcement supply company. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/14/ferguson-tear-gas_n_5679931.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000013

Blackfish sinking SeaWorld?


(Slate) Like a captive orca crashing down into the waters of its bathtub prison, shares of SeaWorld Entertainment are plunging today after the theme park operator delivered a dreadful earnings report. Although attendance was up slightly this quarter compared with a year ago, it has fallen 4.3 percent over the full first six months of the year. Revenue is also down about 5 percent over the first half of 2014; the company predicts that revenue will fall 6 to 7 percent by the time the year is out. As of writing, the stock has dropped about 30 percent, or $8 and change.

SeaWorld Entertainment runs 11 theme parks, not all of which make their money by training enormous aquatic predators to do tricks for sedentary Americans on family vacations. The company believes attendance has dropped overall partly for boring reasons like a late start to summer vacation in a few markets and new attractions at its competitors. But SeaWorld’s namesake parks have been dogged by controversy ever since the release of the documentary Blackfish, which spotlights their deeply troubling treatment of killer whales. And SeaWorld corporate clearly thinks the PR troubles are costing them. In its earnings release, the company says it’s pretty sure some visitors stayed away this quarter due to “media attention” surrounding a bill in California’s state Legislature that would ban orca shows at theme park. In other words, people are finally taking a hard look at SeaWorld's business, and it's making them seasick.

Canada: Conservative thug found guilty in robocall scandal

(CBC News) Former Conservative Party staff member Michael Sona has been found guilty of using misleading calls to send Guelph, Ont., voters to the wrong polling station the day of the 2011 federal election.

CBC is livestreaming reaction from outside the Guelph court.

Judge Gary Hearn said he is "fully satisfied" Sona at least aided or abetted those involved in what has become known as the robocalls scandal, though he added he believes Sona had help from one or more people.

The judge found Sona, the only person charged in the case, guilty of one charge under the Elections Act.

It is illegal under the act to interfere with a voter's right to cast a ballot. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/michael-sona-guilty-in-robocalls-trial-1.2735676

Soy vey! Monsanto just lost its GM permit in Mexico


Soy vey! Monsanto just lost its GM permit in Mexico
By Nathanael Johnson

A judge in Mexico has revoked Monsanto’s permit to plant genetically engineered soy in that country. According to the Guardian:

The permit authorised Monsanto to plant its seeds in seven states, over more than 253,000 hectares (625,000 acres), despite protests from thousands of Mayan farmers and beekeepers, Greenpeace, the Mexican National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity, the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas and the National Institute of Ecology.

In withdrawing the permit, the judge was convinced by the scientific evidence presented about the threats posed by GM soy crops to honey production in the Yucatán peninsula, which includes Campeche, Quintana Roo and Yucatán states. Co-existence between honey production and GM soybeans is not possible, the judge ruled.

The judge wrote that the soy posed a threat to the honey industry of the Yucatan because the presence of pollen from GM plants would make it much harder to sell honey in Europe. The honey producers of the Yucatan sell almost exclusively to the E.U., according to the Guardian’s Nina Lakhani.

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