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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Christian Parenti, Big Storms Require Big Government

From Tom Dispatch:,_big_storms_require_big_government/

by Christian Parenti
January 26, 2012

At some basic level, climate change shouldn’t be hard to grasp.  Fossil-fuel burning — the essence of our civilization since the industrial revolution — dumps prodigious amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere.  As it happens, 2010 was another banner year for carbon dioxide production; the 5.9% rise in CO2 emissions was the “biggest jump ever recorded.” That greenhouse gas, in turn, traps heat and so warms the planet.  The results are clear enough for anyone to see.  Nine of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000.  Last year was the ninth warmest on record, despite an expected cooling effect from a strong La Niña temperature pattern in the Pacific Ocean.

More heat means more turbulence, which means more extreme weather events, which have clearly been on the rise — more wetness, more droughts, fiercer storms.  In that category, 2011 was definitely a year for the record books, with an unprecedented 14 weather events that each caused $1 billion or more in damage.  More extreme weather means more human misery, relatively predictable globally, but reasonably unexpected when it actually hits locally.

The urge not to believe that we are despoiling our own planet has meant that we’ve been slow to develop alternate energy sources, but not slow to grow economically.  What that means, of course, is that the search only intensifies for more fossil fuels, ever tougher to get as time goes on and ever “dirtier” (in greenhouse gas terms) to produce.

It’s the definition of a nasty feedback loop, made worse because the changing planet is itself setting off other phenomena that only increase the warming trend.  Arctic sea ice, now melting at prodigious rates, reflects the sun’s heat back into the atmosphere.  Less ice, in other words, isn’t just a sign of the planet getting hotter, but a factor in heating up the planet.  In addition, the more iceless the oceans, the more their waters absorb carbon emissions, which only puts further pressure on many of the life forms living in them.  Similarly, the melting of the permafrost in the northern reaches of the planet, which contains vast frozen reservoirs of another greenhouse gas, methane, might — no one is yet sure — sooner or later release enormous amounts of methane into the atmosphere, only increasing the overheating effect.  It’s creepy.  It’s happening.  And Ma Nature really doesn’t give a damn whether we’re in denial or not.

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Baltimore’s Catholic head uses atrocious “blacks vs. gays” argument against marriage rights

From Metro Weekly:

Posted by duy
January 28, 2012

Edwin O’BrienBaltimore‘s soon-to-be Cardinal, used a speech this week to denounce marriage rights for Maryland‘s gay and lesbian couples. He angrily attacked the pending passage of marriage bills in the House and Senate. Maryland’s Governor, Martin O’Malley, is a strong supporter of marriage equality and he helped to introduce the bills this past Tuesday.

On Wednesday, O’Brien put his own spin on one of the most heinous arguments put forth by social and religious conservatives — that gay people’s civil rights are an affront to black people and the rights of black people. He stammered through his divisive proclamation, saying (Catholic Review):

“We are going to be strong in upholding the institution of marriage as a bond between one man and one woman, open to life. It’s been not only our teaching, but it’s been the core of our Western culture for as long as anybody can remember. And to think that a fiat of a legislature can turn that over without damage being done is naive and highly political.

“So, we will do everything that we can on our own, in conjunction with other religious groups –. Our African-American community, I think, is very strong on this issue as we are. And I think, to some degree, they’re a little concerned to call this a matter of discrimination.

“Racial discrimination is discrimination because of the pigment of the skin [rubs back of hand]. And it can’t be tolerated. But marriage goes far deeper than the pigment of the skin. It goes to the very roots of our culture. And we are in it to — for keeps.

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Girl Guides of Canada considering transgender members

From The Toronto Sun:

By ,Parliamentary Bureau
Wednesday, January 25, 2012

OTTAWA – The historic Girl Guides of Canada is wrestling with a very modern question: Whether to allow transgender girls — children who were born male but identify as girls — into their troops.

“Our board is seeking advice from medical and law professionals, and will deal with requests on a case-by-case basis,” said Deborah Del Duca, CEO of Girl Guides of Canada.

“Girl Guides of Canada strives to ensure environments where girls and women from all walks of life, identities and lived experiences feel a sense of belonging and can fully participate.”

The volunteer service organization was recently asked if they would allow transgender girls into their organization.

The Canadian request was made after a Colorado Girl Scouts troop was asked to include a transgender girl into their ranks.

The American group eventually agreed to admit the child.

“Girl Scouts is an inclusive organization and we accept all girls in Kindergarten through 12th grade as members,” the Girl Scouts of Colorado said on its website. “If a child identifies as a girl and the child’s family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout.”

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NC Nazi (GOP) lawmaker calls for public hangings, including for abortion providers

From Raw Story:

By Andrew Jones
Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Republican lawmaker from North Carolina is seeking a return to the days of public hangings, according to WRAL-TV.

Rep. Larry Pittman delivered an email this week to every member of the state’s General Assembly, describing that hangings needed to be reinstated as a “deterrent to crime,” including those who provide abortions.

“We need to make the death penalty a real deterrent again by actually carrying it out,” Pittman wrote. “Every appeal that can be made should have to be made at one time, not in a serial manner. If murderers (and I would include abortionists, rapists, and kidnappers, as well) are actually executed, it will at least have the deterrent effect upon them. For my money, we should go back to public hangings, which would be more of a deterrent to others, as well.”

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Chris Gregoire, Washington State Governor, Discusses Gay Marriage, Chris Christie, And More

From Huffington Post:


Governor Chris Gregoire of Washington wishes she’d supported marriage equality for gays and lesbians years ago — and she hopes President Obama evolves in his thinking soon. But she respects the president’s “personal journey” and asked people to “give him the time” to see it through.

Having introduced a marriage equality bill several weeks ago that now reportedly has the votes in the state legislature to pass, Gregoire, in an interview on my radio program on Sirius XM OutQ, also criticized Governor Christie of New Jersey for urging marriage equality be voted on at the ballot without a vote of the elected representatives.

The governor also spoke of the heartfelt and emotional response she’s received from the public to her decision, including from a gay teen who was contemplating suicide.

Regarding her own journey Gregoire said: “I wished I could have come to the point that I am today six years ago, seven years ago, five years ago. But it took me a journey and for that, I’m sorry that it took me as long as it did. But it’s genuine. It’s not about politics. It’s very heartfelt. it’s about my [Catholic] faith and I have struggled with it.”

She’s enormously moved by the response she’s received. “Probably the most moving — I’ve received thousands of emails and letters and telephone calls,” she said. “And the one that just hit my heart was a sixteen year old who said, ‘I’ve thought about suicide, and now that you’ve come out as strong as you have, I feel good about myself. And one day I will not go on bended-knee and ask someone to join me in a domestic partnership — I’ll ask them to marry me.’ That’s the exact thing that moved me to where I am and that’s only right for our children in this state and for their parents.”

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