BERNIE SANDERS NEWS UPDATE

BERNIE SANDERS NEWS UPDATE

In the 77 years since President Franklin Roosevelt signed Social Security into law on August 14, 1935, the retirement program has been one of the nation’s most successful anti-poverty programs. Before Social Security existed, about half of America’s senior citizens lived in poverty. Today, less than 10 percent live in poverty.

Today, Social Security not only provides retirement security but also enables millions of people with disabilities, and widows, widowers and children to live in dignity and security.

In these highly volatile economic times, when millions of Americans lost their life savings in the 2008 Wall Street crash, it is important to remember that since its inception, through good economic times and bad, Social Security has paid every penny owed to every eligible beneficiary.

Despite Wall Street and right-wing misinformation, Social Security, which is funded by the payroll tax, does not contribute to the deficit. In fact, the Social Security Trust Fund today, according to the Social Security Administration, has a $2.7 trillion surplus and can pay 100 percent of all benefits owed to every eligible American for the next 21 years. Further, unlike the huge commissions paid out to Wall Street firms, Social Security is run with very modest administrative costs.

Despite Social Security’s popularity and overwhelming success, we are now in the midst of a fierce and well-financed attack against Social Security. Pete Peterson, the Wall Street billionaire, has pledged $1 billion of his resources to cut Social Security and other programs of enormous importance to the American people. Other billionaires and Wall Street representatives are also working hard to weaken or destroy Social Security and endanger the well-being of millions of Americans. We must not allow their effort to succeed.

Let us never forget that the current deficit of $1 trillion was primarily caused by two unpaid-for wars and tax breaks for the rich. These policies were strongly supported by “deficit hawks.” The deficit is also related to a major decline in revenue as a result of the Wall Street-created recession. The deficit is a serious issue, but we must not move toward deficit reduction on the backs of the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor. This would not only be immoral, it is bad economic policy. At a time when the wealthiest people in this country are doing phenomenally well and their effective tax rate is the lowest in decades, the top 1 percent must begin paying their fair share of taxes. At a time when large corporations are enjoying record-breaking profits, we have got to eliminate the huge corporate loopholes which result in a massive loss of federal revenue. At a time when we have tripled military spending since 1997, we must take a hard look at a bloated and wasteful Defense Department.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan has been a proponent of privatizing the retirement program by putting seniors’ savings into risky Wall Street investments. Even before tapping Ryan as his running mate, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said he wants to begin the process of privatizing Social Security. He also would gradually increase the retirement age to 68 or 69. And he favors slowing the growth of benefits for persons with “higher incomes.” Under a plan floated by Romney’s allies on Capitol Hill — Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) — someone making about $45,000 a year today who retires in 2050 would receive 32 percent less in annual Social Security benefits than under the current formula. By that definition, the top 60 percent of all wage earners would be considered “higher income.”

President Barack Obama, meanwhile, was a staunch defender of Social Security in his 2008 campaign. So far this year, however, Obama has refused to stand behind his four-year-old opposition to cuts. In fact, the president has signaled that he may be open to lowering benefits by changing how they are calculated. In my view, it is long past time that the president told the American people in no uncertain terms, as he did in 2008, that he will not cut Social Security on his watch.

To keep Social Security’s finances sound in the future I have introduced legislation — identical to a proposal that Obama advocated in 2008 — to apply the payroll tax on incomes above $250,000 a year. Under current law, only earnings up to $110,100 are taxed. The Center for Economic Policy and Research has estimated that applying the Social Security payroll tax on income above $250,000 would only impact the wealthiest 1.4 percent of wage earners.

Those who want to cut Social Security benefits are looking at a number of proposals. One of the most talked about ideas is moving toward a so-called “chained-CPI,” which would not only impact seniors, but also military retirees and those who receive benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The “chained-CPI” approach changes how the Consumer Price Index is calculated, so that a person 65 years old today would earn $560 a year less in Social Security benefits once they turn 75. Benefits would be cut by nearly $1,000 a year once they turn 85. Instead, I have proposed legislation to base Social Security cost-of-living adjustments on a Consumer Price Index for the Elderly, a measure that would increase benefits because it would take into account the real-life impact of rising health care costs and prescription drug expenses paid by seniors.

While we often take Social Security for granted, we must not forget that Social Security today is providing dignity and security to tens of millions of Americans. It is a program that is working and working well. We must stand up today, on the 77th anniversary of this enormously important program. We must pledge to continue the fight against the right-wing Republicans, some Democrats and their wealthy backers who want to destroy the program.

Thank you for all that you do.

Sincerely,

Bernie
Senator Bernie Sanders

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24 Senators ask for accelerated troop withdrawal from Afghanistan

CLW
March 9, 2012

 

Thanks to your work contacting Members of Congress, 24 Senators have signed a letter sent to President Obama asking for an accelerated troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) circulated a letter to their colleagues stating: “We write to express our support of a transition of U.S. forces in Afghanistan from a combat role to a training, advising and assistance role next year.”

The signers were:

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)
Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD)
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Sen. Herbert Kohl (D-WI)
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM)
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Click here to read a copy of the letter. Click here to read an article about the letter.

Thank you for your work. This letter helps build pressure on the President to withdraw from Afghanistan. Council for a Livable World will not rest until all American combat troops are out of that country.

 

 


 


 

John Isaacs and Guy Stevens

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OCCUPYCHICAGO Alert – MAY 1ST 2012

I RECEIVED THIS ON:
Tuesday, February 28, 2012 10:00 PM
#OCCUPYCHICAGO

MIO CADE PHOTOGRAPHY

ADBUSTERS TACTICAL BRIEFING #26: Anarchic Swarms – The Emerging Model

Hey you wild cats, dreamers, redeemers, horizontals,

The stage is set for a climactic showdown in Chicago.

The crisis of capitalism is deepening. Youth unemployment has reached 50% in Spain and Greece… 30% in Portugal and Italy… 22% in the UK… almost 20% in the US. Hundreds of millions of people around the world are waking up to the fact that their future does not compute… that their lives will be a never ending series of ecological, financial, political and personal crises… and that if we don’t rise up and start fighting for a different kind of future, we won’t have a future.

That struggle ignites again May 1.

#OCCUPYCHICAGO will be the focal point of this global spiritual insurrection… 50,000 of us will converge on the windy city and confront the G8 and NATO leaders with an ultimatum. We will set up impromptu encampments throughout the city and wage a full-spectrum memewar backed up by new tactics of anarchic swarming. Our militant in-your-face nonviolence will inspire thousands of towns, cities and campuses around the world to rise up in solidarity just like they did last October.

This is a worldwide, multi-front mutiny against the way our economic and military leaders are running the world.

On the CULTURAL FRONT we confront the corpo-commercial lie machine – we shift the way information flows and meaning is produced. We train a new breed of livestreamers, citizen journos and p2p visionaries and unleash them in the streets to be the eyes of the world during the month of May.

On the ENVIRONMENTAL FRONT we demand the G8 reach consensus on drastically reducing their carbon footprints and immediately ratifying a binding international accord on climate change.

On the ECONOMIC FRONT we throw our movement’s weight behind one simple demand: the implementation of a 1% Robin Hood Tax on all financial transactions and currency trades.

On the GEOPOLITICAL FRONT we tell Obama, Cameron, Sarkozy, Putin, Merkel, Noda, Monti, Harper and the NATO military leaders to stop the warmongering and start fighting for peace. We block the looming Iran war with a preemptive global initiative that just about everyone in the world can get behind: a nuclear-free world starting with a nuclear-free Middle East that includes both Israel and Iran.

On the PERSONAL FRONT, hundreds of millions of us vow to live the month of May without dead time… to experience joyous camaraderie… to open ourselves to an imminent life changing epiphany. We follow Miles Davis’ advice on how to play jazz: be spontaneously alive and “play what’s not there.”

Occupy has taught us all. It innovates, fractures, grows resilient and more diverse. In this spirit we celebrate the Gandhian ferocity of the Zuccottis who launched this movement with their magical assemblies and nonviolent ways … we extol the growing crop of working groups with their desire for a positive program of social and political change. And on the wild side we honor those in Oakland who have lost their fear against all odds. With this rainbow coalition, we hold our heads high and embrace the heady days of Spring.

Jammers pack your tents, phone your friends, get your affinity groups together and prepare to put your ass on the line for a worldwide people’s uprising starting May 1.

for the wild,
Culture Jammers HQ

OccupyWallStreet.org / Tactical Briefing #25 / OccupyWallst.org / G8Protest.org / OccupyChi.org / CANG8.org / Takethesquare.net / OccupyMay1st.org / NYCGA / Facebook / Twitter / Reddit

ADBUSTERS #100

Our milestone issue #100 just hit newsstands worldwide! Grab it at your local shop, go online adbusters.org/subscribe or call Renee at 1-800-663-1243 to make sure you don’t miss it!

ADBUSTERS #101

We’re jamming #101 right now – a look into the soul of occupy, emerging new models and a preview of what could happen in Chicago this May. Send your best stuff to editor@adbusters.org – deadline is March 5.


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Did You Know War Is Illegal ?

When the World Outlawed War

In January 1929, the U.S. Senate ratified by a vote of 85 to 1 a treaty that is still on the books, still upheld by most of the world, and still listed on the U.S. State Department’s website. It’s a treaty that under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution is the “supreme law of the land.”

This treaty, the Kellogg-Briand Pact, bans all war.  Bad wars and “good wars,” aggressive wars and “humanitarian wars” — they are all illegal, having been legally abolished like duelling, blood feuds, and slavery before them.

World Affairs, August 27, 1928 – Coolidge and Foreign Affairs

Relations between the United States and France had cooled in the aftermath of World War I. A number of issues had driven the former allies apart, including:

  • residual tensions from hard bargaining and perceived double-dealing at Versailles;
  • the continuing effort of the U.S. to collect the full amount of war debts incurred by hard-pressed France;
  • the embarrassment felt by France because of being assigned a lesser naval role at the Washington Conference (1921);
  • the recent failure, regretted by both nations, of the Geneva Conference (1927).

An effort was made by French foreign minister Aristide Briand to warm-up relations between the two former allies. Columbia University professor James T. Shotwell met with Briand in France and suggested that a bilateraltreaty be negotiated that would outlaw war between the two nations. Briand seized this idea and presented it in an open letter to the American people.

The Coolidge government, at least initially, was not interested in having its hand forced in diplomatic matters and offered no response. A few weeks later, Columbia President Nicholas Murray Butler sounded the same theme in a letter published in The New York Times. The press in New York and elsewhere began a drumbeat calling for the “outlawry of war.”

Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg was lukewarm to the idea, but at least gave formal recognition to Briand’s proposal. Meanwhile, public sentiment continued to build. A leader in this effort was Senator William E. Borah of Idaho, who secured the support of the National Grange; its petitions supporting the proposed agreement contained more than two million signatures and increased the pressure on the government. Kellogg began to see advantages in such an agreement, but insisted that the concept be expanded to encompass many nations.

The Kellogg-Briand Pact provided for outlawing war as an “an instrument of national policy,” and was further notable for the following:

  • No enforcement mechanism was provided for changing the behavior of warring signatories.
  • The agreement was interpreted by most of the signatories to permit “defensive” war.
  • No expiration date was provided.
  • No provision existed for amending the agreement was included.

Despite these shortcomings, the pact was signed in August 1928 by 15 nations. In the following months, more than 60 countries joined in this renunciation of war.

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee studied the matter and issued a report that maintained that the pact did not impair the nation’s ability to act to protect the Monroe Doctrine. Having cleared that hurdle, the full Senate voted 85 to one for ratification. Despite the lopsided tally, little true enthusiasm existed for the highly idealistic agreement. Other nations followed the U.S. lead by ratifying the treaty, but reserving the right to act to protect their special interests.

Events of the 1930s demonstrated the total inability of treaties to halt expansionist nations from making war on their neighbors, proving the skeptics to have been correct. Most damaging perhaps for the United States was that the Kellogg-Briand Pact may have induced some in positions of authority to delay action in the face of aggression, hoping in vain that the terms of the agreement would be honored.

Happy Holidays to all !

Maggie

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Al Franken - U.S. Senator, Minnesota

Dear Maggie,

Tuesday night, we saw progressives stand up and fight.

In Ohio, voters resoundingly defeated a terrible law that stole collective bargaining rights away from nurses, teachers, cops, and firefighters. In Mississippi, they voted down an extreme anti-choice amendment. In Maine, they reversed a decision to end same-day voter registration. In Arizona, they recalled a state senator well-known for being a radical right-wing demagogue on immigration. In Kentucky, Iowa, and New Jersey, Democrats triumphed.

And right here in Minnesota, I was proud to see Duluth add three terrific women to its City Council (meaning four of the nine Councilors will be women), and excited that a vast majority of school levy questions were approved.

We didn’t win every battle, but those who fought to stop far-right laws and elect progressive candidates deserve our gratitude. And, of course, those who won Tuesday night deserve our congratulations.

There’s going to be a lot of talk about what those results meant. But let’s not get big heads just yet. We have a lot of work to do. There are still a lot of workers whose basic rights are under attack, a lot of states where reproductive rights are in jeopardy, a lot of voters who may be disenfranchised by new Republican-backed laws, and a lot of work to do before 2012.

I hope that, if you were part of one of these fights, you took yesterday to celebrate and rest up. But today, it’s back to work. We have big fights ahead. And I’m proud to have you on my side.

Thanks,

Al

Paid for and authorized by Al Franken for Senate 2014

http://www.alfranken.com/

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GOP “Dismatle Medical Coverage”

Paul Ryan (politician)

Image via Wikipedia

You need to hear this: Republican Budget Chairman Paul Ryan just announced a radical scheme that, according to Reuters’ reporting, would “effectively dismantle the way most Americans receive medical coverage,” leading “most companies to drop their employer-sponsored plans.”

That’s right. Apparently Republicans’ plan to end Medicare and raise health care costs on seniors, while protecting tax breaks for

Big Oil and billionaires, wasn’t enough. Now they are going after health care for middle class workers.

We can’t let this stand. As we enter the final stretch before tomorrow’s critical midnight Federal Election Commission deadline, we are just $87,102 shy of our $1.5 Million grassroots goal. We must have the immediate resources to call out Republicans for their latest attack on the middle class.

Chip in $3 or more before the Federal Election Commission (FEC) deadline Midnight Tomorrow and your donation will be triple-matched by a group of committed House Democrats.

We cannot let Tea Party Republicans repeal President Obama’s health reform law and impose a radical plan that shifts costs onto the middle class and puts more Americans at the mercy of insurance companies.

The Washington Post is already reporting on our action plan to call out Republicans’ latest scheme:

“…the DCCC plans to go on the offensive in the districts of 50 House Republicans, pressuring them to say whether they agree with Ryan’s latest designs on the health care system.”

With your generous support we’ll hold Republicans accountable for their reckless proposals to sell out the middle class.

Contribute $3 or more before Midnight Tomorrow and your donation will be triple-matched.

Grassroots Democrats have beaten their wrongheaded plans back once, and we can do it again — but only if we have the resources we need to get our message out. Please chip in right now >>

Robby

Robby Mook
DCCC Executive Director

P.S. We’re just 24 hours away from the critical FEC deadline and only $87,102 shy of our $1.5 Million grassroots goal. Please contribute today and we’ll triple the impact of your gift >>


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ETC Report on “Who Owns Nature”

______________________________________________

The world’s top 10 pesticide firms

NOTE: Further extracts from ETC Group’s recently released report, “Who Owns Nature?” These are from the section about the pesticde industry. For the full report:

http://www.etcgroup.org/upload/publication/707/01/etc_won_report_final_color.pdf
According to the report, the world’s six largest agrochemical manufacturers, who control nearly 75% of the global pesticide market, are also seed industry giants.

Bayer: the world’s biggest agrochemical company is also the world’s seventh biggest seed company.

Syngenta: the world’s second largest agrochemical company is also the world’s third largest seed company.

Monsanto: the world’s biggest seed company is the world’s fifth largest agrochemical company.

And DuPont: the world’s second biggest seed company is also the world’s sixth largest agrochemical company.

All these companies are gene giants.

Weed killers (herbicides) account for about one-third of the global pesticide market, and around 80% of GM seeds involve herbicide-resistance.

The worldwide market for agrochemicals grew last year by nearly 10%.

Agrochemical Industry

The world’s top 10 pesticide firms

Company – Agrochemical Sales 2007 (US$ millions) – % Market Share

1.Bayer (Germany) – $7,458m – 19%
2.Syngenta (Switzerland) – $7,285m – 19%
3.BASF (Germany) – $4,297m – 11%
4.Dow AgroSciences (USA) – $3,779m – 10%
5.Monsanto (USA) – $3,599m – 9%
6.DuPont (USA) – $2,369m – 6%
7.Makhteshim Agan (Israel) – $1,895m – 5%
8.Nufarm (Australia) – $1,470m – 4%
9.Sumitomo Chemical (Japan) – $1,209m – 3%
10.Arysta Lifescience (Japan) – $1,035m – 3%
Total $34,396m – 89%
Source: Agrow World Crop Protection News, August 2008

The top 10 companies control 89% of the global agrochemical market.

The worldwide market for agrochemicals was US$38.6 billion in 2007 – up 8.4% over the previous year.  The top 6 companies accounted for $28.8 billion, or 75% of the total market.

The world’s top 10 seed companies

SEED INDUSTRY

In the first half of the 20th century, seeds were overwhelmingly in the hands of farmers and public-sector plant breeders. In the decades since then, Gene Giants have used intellectual property laws to commodify the world seed supply – a strategy that aims to control plant germplasm and maximize profits by eliminating Farmers’ Rights.

Today, the proprietary seed market accounts for a staggering share of the world’s commercial seed supply. In less than three decades, a handful of multinational corporations have engineered a fast and furious corporate enclosure of the first link in the food chain.

According to Context Network, the proprietary seed market (that is, brand- name seed that is subject to exclusive monopoly – i.e., intellectual property), now accounts for 82% of the commercial seed market worldwide. In 2007, the global proprietary seed market was US$22,000 million. (The total commercial seed market was valued at $26,700 million in 2007.) The commercial seed market, of course, does not include farmer-saved seed.

The World’s Top 10 Seed Companies

Company – 2007 seed sales (US$ millions) – % of global proprietary seed market

1.Monsanto (US) – $4,964m – 23%
2.DuPont (US) – $3,300m – 15%
3.Syngenta (Switzerland) – $2,018m – 9%
4.Groupe Limagrain (France) – $1,226m – 6%
5.Land O’ Lakes (US) – $917m – 4%
6.KWS AG (Germany) – $702m – 3%
7.Bayer Crop Science (Germany) – $524m – 2%
8.Sakata (Japan) – $396m – <2%
9.DLF-Trifolium (Denmark) – $391m – <2%
10.Takii (Japan) – $347m – <2%
Top 10 Total – $14,785m – 67% [of global proprietary seed market]
Source: ETC Group

The top 10 seed companies account for $14,785 million – or two-thirds (67%) of the global proprietary seed market.

The world’s largest seed company, Monsanto, accounts for almost one-quarter (23%) of the global proprietary seed market.

The top 3 companies (Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta) together account for $10,282 million, or 47% of the worldwide proprietary seed market.

ETC Group conservatively estimates that the top 3 seed companies control 65% of the proprietary maize seed market worldwide, and over half of the proprietary soybean seed market.

Based on industry statistics, ETC  Group estimates that Monsanto’s biotech seeds and traits (including those licensed to other companies) accounted for 87% of the total world area devoted to genetically engineered seeds in 2007.

The company claims that it licenses its biotech traits to an additional 250 companies. In 2007, almost half (48%) of DuPont’s seed revenue came from products that carried a biotech trait. UK consultancy firm, Cropnosis, puts the global value of GM crops in 2007 at $6.9 billion.

Gene Giant’s Tech Cartel:

Cross-Enabling Agreements: Anti-trust regulators (anyone out there?) in Brussels and Washington take note: The Gene Giants are forging unprecedented alliances that render competitive markets a thing of the past. By agreeing to cross-license proprietary germplasm and technologies, consolidate R&D efforts and terminate costly IP litigation, the world’s largest agrochemical and seed firms are reinforcing top-tier market power for mutual benefit. The trend isn’t new, but the tech cartel deals are getting bigger and bolder.

In March 2007 the world’s largest seed company (Monsanto) and the world’s largest chemical corporation (BASF) announced a $1.5 billion R&D collaboration to increase yields and drought tolerance in maize, cotton, canola and soybeans.

ETC Group refers to this kind of partnership as a “non-merger merger” – all the benefits of consolidation and oligopoly markets without the anti-trust constraints. Industry analysts expect the agreements to have “lasting repercussions throughout the seed, biotech and crop protection industries.”

Biotech’s most lucrative technical achievement is the engineering of crops to withstand a shower of chemical weed killers. Today, over 80% of the worldwide area devoted to genetically engineered crops carries at least one genetic trait for herbicide tolerance.

Sample Tech Cartel Agreements

Monsanto (the world’s largest seed company) and BASF (the world’s #3 agro-chemical firm) announce colossal $1.5 billion R&D collaboration involving 60/40 profit-sharing, respectively. “This is a great step forward in bringing to farmers
higher yielding crops…” BASF & Monsanto, joint news release (March 2007)

Monsanto & Dow Agrochemicals join forces to develop the first-ever genetically engineered maize loaded with eight genetic traits, for release in 2010. “Farmers will have more product choices to optimize performance and protection…” – Dow news release (Sept. 2007)

Monsanto and Syngenta agree to call a truce on outstanding litigation related to global maize and soybean interests, and forge new cross-licensing agreements. “We’re pleased … to put farmer customers first and reach an agreement that offers them tremendous benefits and choice in the seasons ahead.” – Monsanto news release (May 2008)

Syngenta & DuPont announce an agreement that will broaden each company’s pesticide product portfolios. “These products, which are highly complementary to our portfolio and pipeline, will provide additional options for growers…” – DuPont & Syngenta, joint news release (June 2008)

From industry’s point of view, two or three biotech traits are a lot better than one because double and triple stacked traits generate nearly twice the profitability. Monsanto introduced its first double-stack trait variety in 1998, and its first triple-stack trait hit the market in 2005. A Monsanto spokesman told Progressive Farmer that 76% of the maize seed it sells in the U.S. in 2009 will be triple-stack varieties.

At a July 2008 meeting, Monsanto officials announced plans to raise the average price of some of the company’s triple-stack maize varieties a whopping 35 percent. Fred Stokes of the U.S.-based Organization for
Competitive Markets (OCM) describes  the implications for farmers: “A $100 price increase is a tremendous drain on rural America. Let’s say a farmer in Iowa who farms 1,000 acres plants one of these expensive corn varieties next year. The gross increased cost is more than $40,000. Yet there’s no scientific basis to justify this price hike. How can we let companies get away with this?”

The U.S. government is currently subsidizing sales of Monsanto’s triple-stack maize seed by offering lower crop insurance premiums to farmers who plant  it on non-irrigated land – because the biotech maize reportedly provides lower risk of reduced yields when compared to conventional hybrids. The pilot project is especially specious because the U.S. government relied on data from Monsanto to substantiate the claim.

[Boxed quote] “The lack of competition and innovation in the marketplace has reduced farmers’ choices and enabled Monsanto to raise prices unencumbered.” – Keith Mudd, Organization for Competitive Markets, following Monsanto’s decision to raise some GE maize seed prices by 35%,

July 2008 theme: GE crops as the cure-all technology that will increase production and feed the world. This time, GE crops are touted as the solution to the current food crisis and climate change (and peak oil). (The Biotechnology Industry Organization’s current slogan is “Heal, fuel, feed the world.”) The Gene Giants aim to convince governments, farmers and reluctant  consumers that genetic engineering is the essential adaptation strategy to insure agricultural productivity in the midst of climate change. According to Monsanto, “everyone recognizes that  the old traditional ways just aren’t able to address these new challenges” – so the only hope is “climate ready” GM crops.

Bottom line: …Patented gene technologies will not help small farmers survive climate change, but they will concentrate corporate power, drive up costs, inhibit public sector research and further undermine the rights of farmers to save and exchange seeds.

Monsanto: a history

How one of the top 10 US chemical companies used the world’s biggest selling pesticide to turn itself into a GM giant in order to try and escape its past.

Read more: Monsanto: a history

Monsanto: resources

Key websites, films, books, articles and other resources

Read more: Monsanto: resources

Bayer: a history

How a chemical and pharmaceutical giant with an appalling record of corporate crimes became a key player in the development, commercialization and sale of GM crops.

Read more: Bayer: a history

Bayer: resources

Key websites, films, books, articles and other resources

Read more: Bayer: resources

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NORML News of the Week 9/22/2011

This Week from NORML

  • Study: Crohn’s Patients Who Use Cannabis Report Fewer Surgeries, Are Less Likely To Use Prescription Drugs
  • Netherlands: Cannabis Coffee-Shops Appear To Minimally Impact Dutch Use Patterns
  • Forced Closure Of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Associated With Localized Increases In Crime

Recent Action Alerts

  • Tell Your Representatives to Co-Sponsor HR 2306: The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011 Details
  • Massachusetts Legislature Considers Medical Marijuana Measure Details
  • Bill To Decriminalize Marijuana Possession Introduced In New Jersey Details

 

Study: Crohn’s Patients Who Use Cannabis Report Fewer Surgeries, Are Less Likely To Use Prescription Drugs
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“All patients stated that consuming cannabis had a positive effect on their disease activity”

Tel Aviv, Israel: Cannabis use is associated with a reduction in Crohn’s disease (CD) activity and disease-related surgeries, according to the results of a retrospective observational study published in the August issue of the Journal of the Israeli Medical Association.

Investigators at the Meir Medical Center, Institute of Gastroenterology and Hepatology assessed ‘disease activity, use of medication, need for surgery, and hospitalization’ before and after cannabis use in 30 patients with CD.

Authors reported, “All patients stated that consuming cannabis had a positive effect on their disease activity” and documented “significant improvement” in 21 subjects.

Specifically, researchers found that subjects who consumed cannabis “significantly reduced” their need for other medications. Participants in the trial also reported requiring fewer surgeries following their use of cannabis.

“Fifteen of the patients had 19 surgeries during an average period of nine years before cannabis use, but only two required surgery during an average period of three years of cannabis use,” authors reported.

They concluded: “The results indicate that cannabis may have a positive effect on disease activity, as reflected by a reduction in disease activity index and in the need for other drugs and surgery. Prospective placebo-controlled studies are warranted to fully evaluate the efficacy and side effects of cannabis in CD.”

Researchers at the Meir Medical Center are presently evaluating the safety and efficacy of inhaled cannabis for patients with CD and Ulcerative Colitis in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis are inflammatory bowel diseases. According to survey data published earlier this year in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, an estimated one-third of patients with colitis and one-half of subjects with CD acknowledge having used cannabis to mitigate their disease symptoms.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Treatment of Crohn’s disease with cannabis: an observational study,” appears in the Journal of the Israeli Medical Association. The study also appears online here: http://www.ima.org.il/imaj/ar11aug-01.pdf.

 

Netherlands: Cannabis Coffee-Shops Appear To Minimally Impact Dutch Use Patterns
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Berkeley, CA: The proliferation of Dutch ‘coffee-shops,’ which allow for the sale of limited quantities of marijuana to patrons age 18 or older, appears to have had little impact on Dutch cannabis use patterns, according to an analysis published online in the scientific journal Addiction.

University of California at Berkeley researcher Robert MacCoun compared some 40 years of Dutch data on cannabis “prevalence, … patterns of use, treatment, sanctioning, process, and purity” with comparable data from Europe and the United States.

MacCoun concluded: “Dutch citizens use cannabis at more modest rates than some of their [European] neighbors, and they do not appear to be particularly likely to escalate their use relative to their counterparts in Europe and in the United States. Moreover, there are indications that rather than increasing ‘the gateway’ to hard drugs use, separating soft and hard drug markets possibly reduced the gateway.”

Among those ages 15 to 16, only 6.5 percent of Dutch teens acknowledge having used an illicit drug other than cannabis versus 19 percent of American teens. In addition, American adolescents are far more likely than their Dutch peers (72 percent to 46 percent) to say that cannabis is “fairly or very easy to obtain.”

An estimated 700 retail cannabis outlets presently operate in the Netherlands, employing some 3000-4,000 workers.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “What can we learn from the Dutch cannabis coffeeshop system,” appears online in Addiction.

 

Forced Closure Of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Associated With Localized Increases In Crime
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Santa Monica, CA: The closing of medical marijuana dispensaries are associated with an increase in the incidents of criminal activity in those locations, according to an assessment of crime statistics published this week by the RAND Corporation.

Researchers analyzed Los Angeles crime data for the ten days prior to and the ten days following June 7, 2010, when the city ordered the closure of more than 70 percent of the city’s 638 medical marijuana dispensaries. Authors limited their analysis to ten days because court challenges prompted some closed dispensaries to reopen.

“Studying crime both before and after a large number of dispensaries were shut down in Los Angeles, researchers found that incidents such as break-ins rose in the neighborhoods of closed dispensaries relative to dispensaries allowed to remain open, at least in the short term,” the RAND Corporation summarized in a press release. “In the blocks with the closed dispensaries, the study observed crime up to 60 percent greater than comparable blocks with open dispensaries, but the effects were not apparent across a wider area.”

Said the study’s lead author: “If medical marijuana dispensaries are causing crime, then there should be a drop in crime when they close. Individual dispensaries may attract crime or create a neighborhood nuisance, but we found no evidence that medical marijuana dispensaries in general cause crime to rise.”

Previous analyses of crime statistics in Denver, Los Angeles, and Colorado Springs also found no data supportive of the notion that the locations of dispensaries are associated with elevated incidences of criminal activity.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500 or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the RAND Corporation study, “Regulating medical marijuana dispensaries: An overview with preliminary evidence of their impact on crime,” is available online at: http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/technical_reports/2011/RAND_TR987.pdf.

 

NORML and the NORML Foundation: 1600 K Street NW, Mezzanine Level, Washington DC, 20006-2832
Tel: (202) 483-5500 • Fax: (202) 483-0057 • Email: norml@norml.org

 

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List of Demands by #OCCUPYWALLSTREET

Occupy Wall Street – Official Demands  UPDATED SEPT 28TH 2011 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Occupy Wall Street
The Sovereign People’s Movement, represented nationally through the people occupying the various Liberty Square locations across this great country, have laid out and democratically submitted and are currently voting on the list of following Demands to then be distilled into one Unified Common demand of the people.

Special Note!!!  Read this before you comment or vote of comment!

This document is a living breathing document updated daily but solely based on the votes for the items included within it.

This is how it works:  After reading the list of publised proposals, if you have a point that is not already proposed that you would like added, simply submit it in the comments section at the bottom.  The Suggestions are added to the ballot found Here so that they can be voted on by the people. This may take up to 72 hours for our legal team to dedupe and combine to exixting demands due to overlapping proposals.

Proposals remain on this official page as long as the vote maintains a 2/3 majority.

You may vote once per IP address and view the current results Here  Proxying IP addresses in attempt will not work, so do not attempt it.

If you disagree with any of the items below, or think they should not be included please click Here to voice your vote and lobby among your friends and contacts to drop the majority below 2/3 majority. Do not add it in the comments section.

Vote HERE for Proposed Demands to be included in a The Formal Occupy Wall Street Document below.

Proposed Demands

 

1. Eliminate Corporate Rights as Persons          

Click Here to Vote to Include

 

Revise the intrepretation of the famous 1886 case where the U.S. Supreme Court supposedly ruled that corporations are “persons” having the same rights as human beings based on the 14th Amendment, which was intended to protect the rights of former slaves. As most lawyers know, the Supreme Court made no such decision. In the case in question – Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, the court itself never rules on personhood. A court reporter by the name of J.C. Bancroft Davis (a former railroad president) snuck that “ruling” into the books.

 

What most people don’t know is that after the above-mentioned 1886 decision, artificial persons were held to have exactly the same legal rights as we natural folk. (Not to mention the clear advantages corporations enjoy: they can be in several places at once, for instance, and at least in theory they’re immortal.) Up until the New Deal, many laws regulating corporations were struck down under the “equal protection” clause of the 14th Amendment–in fact, that clause was invoked far more often on behalf of corporations than former slaves. Although the doctrine of personhood has been weakened since, even now lawyers argue that an attempt to sue a corporation for lying is an unconstitutional infringement on its First Amendment right to free speech. ( Nike v. Kasky.)


2. Repeal of the Patriot Act              

Click Here to Vote to Include in Demands


“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” — Fourth Amendment to the Constitution

Forty-five days after 9/11, Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act without reading it. This new law was supposed to protect you from terrorism, but it has really left you unprotected against lawless federal agents. The Patriot Act contains numerous violations of the Fourth Amendment. It gives federal agents vast new powers that have been abused to investigate innocent Americans.

Vote Here

 

 

3. Forced Acquisition of the Federal Reserve for $1Billion USD by the US Congress             

Click Here to Vote to Include in Demands

No Congress, no President has been strong enough to stand up to the foreign-controlled Federal Reserve Bank. Yet there is a catch – one that President Kennedy recognized before he was slain – the original deal in 1913 creating the Federal Reserve Bank had a simple backout clause. The investors loaned the United States Government $1 billion. And the backout clause allows the United States to buy out the system for that $1 billion. If the Federal Reserve Bank were demolished and the Congress of the United States took control of the currency, as required in the Constitution, the National Debt would virtually end overnight, and the need for more taxes and even the income tax, itself. Thomas Jefferson was concise in his early warning to the American nation, “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

Article I, Section 8, Clause 5, of the United States Constitution provides that Congress shall have the power to coin money and regulate the value thereof and of any foreign coins. But that is not the case. The United States government has no power to issue money, control the flow of money, or to even distribute it – that belongs to a private corporation registered in the State of Delaware – the Federal Reserve Bank.

Learn More about How Congress has the Right to Take control over the Federal Reserve Here:  How to Gain Control over the Federal Reserve

 

4. Restructure Campaign Finance Legislation

Click Here to Vote to Include in Demands

Proposal One: Ban corporate donations to political campaigns while limiting individual campaign donations to $100.
Background:Corporations in the U.S. exercise an inordinate amount of influence over the government. The amount of corporate money in elections makes it virtually impossible for people want to serve the public’s interests to be viable candidates. Lowering the individual maximum donation to $100 ensures that the rich won\’t simply buy elections. This demand is offered in order to eliminate the rich’s dominance of elections and subsequent effect on public and foreign policy. America has never had a popular democracy. It began as a country controlled by a handful of white land-owning men. Throughout its history, gains were made in achieving some level of democracy to American citizens. The age of rule by an elite 1% (a tiny minority) can be forced to an end soon.The majority of the American population sees the U.S. as a reasonably fair country and as a popular democracy. This demand challenges that assertion. America is a corporate democracy and it will be eye-opening to many people to witness how undemocratically big business and their political flunkies will fight to deny popular democracy even though those are the values that the elites have professed for so long. This demand forces them to put up or shut up on their fucking principles. The public will support restructuring of campaign finance as the tiny minority has recently collapsed the economy, wasted resources, and destroyed millions of lives in it pursuit of its wars for its own narrow interest. In the past they have been able to point to relatively high wages, a relatively high standard of living, and increasing growth (regardless of the reason) as reasons to uphold the status quo, but these conditions are deteriorating and people are again searching for a remedy. Taking away the tiny majority’s ability to buy every election will usher in popular democracy and with that new policies that may affect all issues and grievances moving forward.</span></p>
more donations to a single person that is seeking or has a position in congress that exceeds $5,000 (five thousand) dollars within the time period of 1 (one) year. And no donations exceeding $25,000 (twenty-five thousand) to a single group, PAC, or super PAC within the time span of 18 (eighteen) months. Also, when a donation is made the persons employer must be listed. And if 25% (twenty-five) of all employees of the stated company donate to the same person or group then the company will stand to be investigated as to whether it is giving its employees the money and</p>

All members of all governments, Federal, state or local, must remain free of influence from outside factors.&nbsp; Lobbyists must remain at arm’s length and not be allowed in any way to provide free meals, trips or gifts of any kind to any politician.&nbsp; All contact must be in written form to prevent influence peddling.

 

 

5. Forgive Student Loan Debt and re construct the education system          

Click Here to Vote to Include in Demands


Redraft education financing legislation.  Lower educational expenses for students instead of raising tuition costs.  Pull money form the “WAR” system to refund education and continuing education.


6.  End the War on Drugs          

Click Here to Vote to Include in Demands

The war on drugs has been going on for more than three decades. Today, nearly 500,000 Americans are imprisoned on drug charges. In 1980 the number was 50,000. Last year $40 billion in taxpayer dollars were spent in fighting the war on drugs. As a result of the incarceration obsession, the United States operates the largest prison system on the planet, and the U.S. nonviolent prisoner population is larger than the combined populations of Wyoming and Alaska. Try to imagine the Drug Enforcement Administration erecting razor wire barricades around two states to control crime and you’ll get the picture.

According to the U.S. Dept of Justice, the number of offenders under age 18 imprisoned for drug offenses increased twelvefold from 1985 to 1997. The group most affected by this propensity for incarceration is African-Americans. From 1985 to 1997, the percentage of African-American young people put in prison increased from 53 to 62 percent.

Today, 89 percent of police departments have paramilitary units, and 46 percent have been trained by active duty armed forces. The most common use of paramilitary units is serving drug-related search warrants, which usually involve no-knock entries into private homes.

Because this is a Movement by the People and For the People, We are accepting proposals below in the Comments Section to be added to this formal list of Demands.  Our Legal team will review and formalize those that are selected by a vote of 2/3 majority by the movement.  Please remember you are only voting to include the available Demands into the Formal Demands Document


7. Free Education Kindergarten Through College  

 Click Here to Vote to Include in Demands

Currently Accepting proposals for actual plan


8. National Repeal of Capital Punishment

Click Here to Vote to Include in Demands

Currently Accepting proposals for actual plan


 

9.  Equal rights for women

Click Here to Vote to Include in Demands

Judge Antone Scailia has stated, and the Supreme Court has reinforced on numerous occasions, that women, by the virtue of the fact that the founding fathers did not specifically use the terms woman, women or female in the Constitution, are not recognized as having the same rights as men.  In a statement last year in Oregon, Judge Scailia specifically addressed this issue and stated that if the founding fathers wanted it, they would have included women in the Constitution.  We want equal rights to men, including equal pay, equal benefits and equal standing under all laws and in all courtrooms where it has been proven in study after study, women are regularly denied their rights.  This does not have to be an issue that requires a Constitutional Amendment, this can and should be ruled on immediately by SCOTUS and deemed to be the law of the land which may not be revoked or overturned by order of the court.  Further, there must be an Amendment to the Constitution insuring these rights and all states must also include these rights in state constitutions.

 

10.  Office of the Citizen

Click Here to Vote to Include in Demands

Corruption begins at the local level.  The FBI and the DOJ refuse to investigate matters of local corruption when it is their sworn duty of the Federal government.  State and local governments work hand in hand thwarting any investigations of corruption, and do not investigate.  Courts must be investigated for the evidence of local corruption, including drug dealing, protection of criminals, etc. It has been shown that 60% of police readily falsify police reports at the behest of higher ups. Repeated calls, filings in writing, and personal visits produce no investigation, even when evidence is given to them.  Where there have been investigations, it almost always produces a guilty verdict, but those investigations are few and far between and usually limited to situations where those peddling their influence did not share with others in slush funds.  Most of the time it is the public who gathers the evidence leading to prosecution, not the FBI or DOJ.  We want complete investigations of all allegations of corruption, including those allegations at local and state level.  No citizen should be placed in the dangerous situation of having to investigate crimes and collect evidence.  That is the job of the government and one it does not do.  The office of the citizen must be fully funded before funds may be allocated for any department supporting  war, engaging in war or spying, either internally or externally.

11.  The United States must sign and ratify all human rights agreements with all other countries

Click Here to Vote to Include in Demands

Human rights should be the right of everyone, inside and outside our borders.  When the US knowingly engages in, or allows others to engage in torture, that is a violation of everyone’s human rights, not just the target.  We want prosecutions for torture, not only of government officials, but those who commit this heinous crime on others within the US.

12.  Rights of victims must take precedent in courts.

Click Here to Vote to Include in Demands

Courts in the US not only allow, but expect that human rights will be violated in certain types of cases.  Mental torture is the tool of many sleazy attorneys who intimidate both victims and witnesses. This must end now and the rights of the victim upheld.   We want all Bar Associations investigated and the hold they have on judicial nominees removed.  All judges should hold bench for limited terms and must be subject to ongoing judicial review and all hearings involving judicial reviews must be held in public to insure that human rights as well as Constitutional rights have not violated.  Judicial immunity must be removed, or at best, limited.  Victim blaming  must be limited and strictly investigated before it can be used as a defense.  Rape kits must be provided at no cost to victims claiming rape and any police officer who does not photograph all crime scenes shall be deemed incompetent to act as an officer of the law and shall be removed from duty without possibility of reinstatement in any police department in the country.  Falsified police reports shall also result in immediate removal and barring from any future law enforcement position.  All court rooms must insure that all proceedings are videotaped and that video tapes of all proceedings are given to all plaintiffs, their attorneys, all defendants and their attorneys within at the end of each hearing and without delay and prior to leaving the courtroom.  Videotapes of the judges, to include their desk tops and computer screens, must also be made available.
5.Restitution for previous wrongdoing by courts and police.
Restitution by the US government of property of victims of violence seized by the courts must be made at 100% of value on the date victimization first occurred plus a fine of not less than `100% of that value be imposed on both the court ordering the property removal and the person who benefited from that removal.  All courts must furnish the cases and this restitution is retroactive for the lifetime of the court.  Courts are given no more than 5 business days to produce all files.   Any file not produced or shown to have been tampered with will result in immediate removal from office or employment of any person who had direct contact with that file.

13.  Prosecutions of the guilty

Click Here to Vote to Include in Demands

We want indictments and prosecutions of all crimes committed by banks, brokerage firms and insurance companies.  We want a clear message sent to the entire financial industry, this will no longer be tolerated.  All financial industry executives who had even the remotest of connection to the collapse of our system, must be prosecuted.
Those who are or have been involved in torture, whithersoever dispersed around the globe, weather personally or directing it’s use,  must be prosecuted for their crimes.

Voting Access to all Demands For Inclusion Into the Formal Document may be done HERE.

 

Legal evaluation in reviewing and formalizing this document is provided pro-bono by law-international.orglaw-international.org



 

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Filed under Campaign 2012, Federal Reserve, Wall Street

Yu asked for it: Your copy of the American Jobs Act

The White House Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Yesterday, President Obama was joined by teachers, veterans, small business owners, construction workers and first responders as he sent the American Jobs Act to Congress and urged them to pass it right away.

This is a bill that will put people back to work all across the country. This is the bill that will help our economy in a moment of national crisis. This is a bill that is based on ideas from both Democrats and Republicans. And this is the bill that Congress needs to pass. No games. No politics. No delays. I’m sending this bill to Congress today, and they ought to pass it immediately.

Interested in reading the full American Jobs Act? You can find it on Whitehouse.gov.

Have questions?

Over the next few days there are a number of ways for you to ask questions and engage with Administration officials about the American Jobs Act including Open for Questions live panels and Twitter Office Hours.

Here are the details:

Open for Questions
On Wednesday and Thursday this week, White House officials will answer your questions, submitted through Whitehouse.gov, Facebook, and Twitter about the American Jobs Act live on Whitehouse.gov/live.

Submit your questions:

Tune in and watch on Whitehouse.gov/Live:

  • Wednesday, September 14th at 4:00 p.m. EDT: Answering your questions on how the American Jobs Act will impact young Americans are Brian Deese, Deputy Director, National Economic Council and Roberto Rodriguez, Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy.
  • Thursday, September 15th at 2 p.m. EDT: Join Jason Furman, Principal Director of the National Economic Council and Jon Carson, Director of the Office of Public Engagement.

White House Office Hours on Twitter
This week, we’re bringing back White House Office Hours, where White House officials answer your questions about the American jobs Act on Twitter.

Here’s how it works and how you can participate:

  • Use the hashtag #WHChat on Twitter to ask your questions on President Obama’s speech and the American Jobs Act
  • Senior staff will respond to your questions during scheduled “Office Hours” in real-time via Twitter from the @WHLive account
  • Follow the whole Q&A session @WHLive, or just check out the highlights @WhiteHouse

Here’s the schedule for this week:

  • TODAY: Tuesday, September 13th at 5:30 p.m. EDT: Office Hours with David Plouffe, Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor
  • Wednesday, September 14th at 4:30 p.m. EDT: Office Hours with Stephanie Cutter, Assistant to the President and Deputy Senior Advisor
  • Thursday, September 15th at 4:00 p.m. EDT: Office Hours with Jason Furman, Principal Deputy Director of the National Economic Council

Follow @WhiteHouse and @WHLive for the latest updates.

Stay Connected

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http://www.paydayloansresource.net/

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Filed under Bills, Campaign 2012, Jobs 2011