Monsanto Admits Defeat in France, Biotech Corn Contaminates

From Earth First News:

by Gordon Davis
The Scottish Farmer
January 26, 2012

FRANCE HAS held firm in its opposition to Monsanto’s genetically modified MON 810 maize – and the agri-chemical multinational has admitted defeat.

Monsanto had been putting legal pressure on the French government to lift its 2008 cultivation ban on MON 810, firstly with a successful appeal to the European Court of Justice, then with a follow-up case heard in France’s own highest court, the Council of State.

But despite both these institutions ruling that the ban was “insufficiently justified in law”, the French Government, backed by President Sarkozy, has insisted that it will still not allow cultivation of the biotech maize.

Now Monsanto has announced that it would not be selling seeds for MON810 in France this year.

France’s stand – and Monsanto’s capitulation – has been warmly welcomed by anti-GM lobbyists GM Freeze, whose campaign director Pete Riley said: “The decision by Monsanto not to market MON810 seeds in France in 2012 is yet another sign that Monsanto has failed to convince the public or policy makers that there is any benefit to growing to growing GM crops.

“This needs to be acknowledged by industry and politicians and there should be a big shift to agricultural research and development which addresses the future sustainability of farming in Europe. EU policy needs to forget about the bottom line of biotech corporations and focus on developing agro-ecological farming which provides for the needs of farmers, consumers, the environment and future generations.”

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Apple hit by boycott call over worker abuses in China

Boycotting Apple is as easy for me as forever boycotting Coors. I’ve never owned an Apple product and don’t care to own one although the iPod has come close to seducing me at times.

From The Guardian UK:

US writers attack conditions at Foxconn plant and call for consumers to act

in New York
The Observer, Saturday 28 January 2012

Apple, the computer giant whose sleek products have become a mainstay of modern life, is dealing with a public relations disaster and the threat of calls for a boycott of its iPhones and iPads.

The company’s public image took a dive after revelations about working conditions in the factories of some of its network of Chinese suppliers. The allegations, reported at length in the New York Times, build on previous concerns about abuses at firms that Apple uses to make its bestselling computers and phones. Now the dreaded word “boycott” has started to appear in media coverage of its activities.

“Should consumers boycott Apple?” asked a column in the Los Angeles Times as it recounted details of the bad PR fallout.

The influential Daily Beast and Newsweek technology writer Dan Lyons wrote a scathing piece. “It’s barbaric,” he said, before saying to his readership: “Ultimately the blame lies not with Apple and other electronics companies – but with us, the consumers. And ultimately we are the ones who must demand change.”

Forbes magazine columnist Peter Cohan also got in on the act. “If you add up all the workers who have died to build your iPhone or iPad, the number is shockingly high,” he began an article that also toyed with the idea of a boycott in its headline.

The New York Times’s revelations, which centred on the Foxconn plant in southern China that has repeatedly been the subject of accusations of worker mistreatment, have caused a major stir in the US. Although such allegations have been made before in numerous news outlets, and in a controversial one-man show by playwright Mike Daisey, this time they have struck a chord.

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Corporate Personhood: Goldman Sachs Gets Married

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Occupy Oakland: Police Teargas Protestors, Use Flash Grenades

From Huffington Post:


OAKLAND, Calif. — Oakland police used tear gas and “flash” grenades Saturday to break up hundreds of Occupy protesters after some demonstrators started throwing rocks and flares at officers and tearing down fencing.

Three officers were hurt and 19 people were arrested, the Oakland Police Department said. No details on the officers’ injuries were released.

The protest continued into Saturday evening. A four-block area near downtown was closed off with police in the street facing hundreds of protesters, while a second group of dozens of protesters headed toward City Hall. No additional clashes were reported.

“We’re going to be out here as long as they are,” said protester Christopher Moreland, 23.

Police said the group started assembling at a downtown plaza Saturday morning, with demonstrators threatening to take over the vacant Henry Kaiser Convention Center. The group then marched through the streets, disrupting traffic.

The crowd grew as the day wore on, with afternoon estimates ranging from about 1,000 to 2,000 people.

The protesters walked to the vacant convention center, where some started tearing down perimeter fencing and “destroying construction equipment” shortly before 3 p.m., police said.

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11 Yr Old Exposes Monsanto

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How conservatives lie about government

From Salon:

From Social Security hysteria to “Obamacare” madness, right-wing propaganda is increasingly divorced from reality

By Michael Lind
Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012

One benefit of the prolonged campaign for the Republican presidential nomination has been the revelation that most of the 20 or 30 percent of Americans who describe themselves as conservatives live in a fantasy world.  In their imaginations, Barack Obama, a centrist Democrat with roots in Eisenhower Republicanism rather than Rooseveltian liberalism, is a radical figure trying to take America down the path of “European socialism.” The signature healthcare reform of Obama and the Democratic Congress, modeled on Mitt Romney’s insurance-friendly Massachusetts healthcare program and closely resembling a proposal by the right-wing Heritage Foundation, is described as “statist,” “socialist” or “fascist” (as though Hitler came to power with the goal of providing subsidies to private health insurance companies).

How can otherwise sane people believe such lunacy?  The answer is that members of the right-wing counterculture are brainwashed — that is the only appropriate term — by  the apocalyptic propaganda ground out constantly by the conservative media establishment. A perfect example is a recent essay by Philip Klein, a senior editorial writer of the Washington Examiner, the right-wing newspaper owned by the billionaire Philip Anshutz:  “The Welfare State Is Destroying America.”

Klein begins, typically, with the fall from grace of America under the sinister Franklin Roosevelt, who presided over the establishment of Social Security: “But Roosevelt was dead wrong that the program would help the nation avoid deep debt.  Social Security and the entitlement programs that followed its legacy of seeking to protect citizens from the ‘hazards and vicissitudes of life,’ turned out to be fiscal disasters.”

In the real world, of course, today’s national debt has nothing to do with Social Security, whose trust fund has a surplus that will last for decades, with the precise date of the trust fund’s exhaustion depending on the rate of general economic growth. True, the federal government has to raise the tax revenue to repay the money it borrowed from the trust fund — but then, the federal government has to repay all of its creditors, domestic and foreign.  What’s wrong with that?

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Boy pulled from class due to red hair

The idea that children should be bullied for any sort of reason is an obscenity.  Further it should be the bullies who are pulled from classes and isolated not the bullied.

From Yahoo Australia:

January 25, 2012

A 12-year-old boy will be taught in isolation at his UK school because he is constantly bullied about his red hair.

Tyler Walsh has been the victim of extreme bullying at Yate International Academy in Bristol, all because of his fiery red hair.

The bullies have even been visited by police in an attempt to stop them from taunting Tyler and chasing him into the school’s toilets – but to no avail.

Now the school says it has no choice but to remove Tyler from his class and place him in their ‘pupil inclusion unit’, meaning he will be separated from the rest of his classmates.

Tyler’s mother Emma says the school is targeting the wrong student.

“It should be the bullies who are excluded from school, not their victim,” she told The Sun.

“Tyler is a bright boy, and he wants to learn. He always works hard, and that, along with the colour of his hair, makes him a target for bullies.”

Mrs Walsh now says she has no choice but to pull her son from the school because it has failed to end Tyler’s ordeal.

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