Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart
* THE GM LOBBY AND ITS ‘SEVEN SINS AGAINST SCIENCE’
By Peter Melchett, The Ecologist
The pro-GM lobby has sought to take the ‘scientific high-ground’ by positioning itself as the voice of reason and progress, while painting its opponents as unsophisticated ‘anti-science’ luddites. In a scathing response Peter Melchett turns the tables.
Powerful forces in Western society have been promoting genetic engineering (now usually genetic modification – GM) in agricultural crops since the mid-1990s. They have included many governments, in particular those of the USA and UK, powerful individual politicians like George Bush and Tony Blair, scientific bodies like the UK’s Royal Society, research councils, successive UK Government chief scientists, many individual scientists, and companies selling GM products. They have ignored the views of citizens, and most sales of GM food have relied on secrecy – denying consumers information on what they are buying (20 US States are currently embroiled in fierce battles over GM labeling, strenuously opposed by Monsanto). Worse, they have consistently promoted GM in ways which are not only unscientific, but which have been positively damaging to the integrity of science.
This is, of course, an argument usually aimed at those who, like me, are opposed to GM crops. We are accused of being ‘anti-science’, emotional and irrational, and more recently, of being as bad as ‘Nazi book burners’ by the President of the National Farmers’ Union (of the UK). This criticism has been effective in framing the debate about GM crops in the media in the UK, where the conflict over GM is routinely presented as a debate between those who are pro and those who are anti-science. This is reinforced by the fact that those selected to speak in favour of GM are usually themselves scientists (albeit often working for GM companies, or funded to work on GM crops), and those selected to oppose GM crops are usually environmentalists, farmers, or citizens concerned about the safety of the food they eat. Scientists who are critical of GM crops are almost never interviewed by the media.
This characterization of those opposed to GM as being anti-science has always ignored the fact that the NGOs concerned, like Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the Soil Association, are staunch supporters of science, have scientists working for them, and run campaigns to combat problems which were only identifiable through scientific investigation, like the depletion of the ozone layer and climate change. People opposed to GM, including farmers and environmentalists, often have professional or scientific qualifications, and are well versed in the scientific disciplines that affect agriculture. This has not stopped supporters of GM crops dismissing all of these people as irrational, emotional, anti-science zealots. […]
* INDIGENOUS PEOPLE FEND OFF OIL COMPANY, ARMY WITH ARSENAL OF ‘SPEARS, BLOWPIPES, MACHETES’
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian
An indigenous community in the Ecuadorian Amazon has won a reprieve after building up an arsenal of spears, blowpipes, machetes and guns to fend off an expected intrusion by the army and a state-run oil company.
The residents of Sani Isla expressed relief that a confrontation with Petroamazonas did not take place on Tuesday as anticipated, but said the firm is still trying to secure exploration rights in their area of pristine rainforest.
“We have won a victory in our community. We’re united,” said the community president, Leonardo Tapuy. “But the government and the oil company won’t leave us alone. […]
* STATEMENT BY VON IZUMI YMAGUCHI ZUR RE: COMMUNITY PANEL DISCUSSION ABOUT FUKUSHIMA AND THE CONSEQUENCES
* CORPORATE CEO ‘EXTREMISTS’ TARGET SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICARE
By Jacob Chamberlain, CommonDreams
CEOs from America’s largest corporations—including its biggest banks, retailers, and insurance companies who helped drive the country into the worst recession in nearly a century— are now calling on Congress to punish the nation’s working class and society’s most vulnerable by advocating major changes to Social Security and Medicare in a new lobbying push that critics say reveal the cruelty and selfish nature of the country’s corporate class.
The Business Roundtable, comprised of more than 200 chief executives and some of the nation’s wealthiest individuals, began lobbying DC lawmakers Wednesday in a press conference calling for major cuts to Social Security (including a raise in elgibility age to 70) and a new push to privatize Medicare.
Critics of the group call the move a clear assault by the nation’s wealthiest on the social safety net that protects millions of working people.
As Richard Eskow explains, the Business Roundtable itself was formed decades ago specifically to serve the interests of the “largest and most ruthless companies in America.” […]
* THE UGLY FACE OF RACISM
By Eirene, A Place Called Space
Racist thugs riding their motorbikes at night, looking for another victim, is becoming a common phenomenon on the streets of Greece. The latest victim was a Pakistani worker who was murdered while on his way to work in the early hours of Thursday January 17th. The racists stabbed him to death. Neighbours who heard his screams managed to get the bike’s number plate and alerted the authorities who have arrested the perpetrators. The following were found in the house of one of them: Neo-Nazi leaflets, bullets, an airgun, knives, batons. So, despite the fact that the Greek police are trying to persuade us that the murder did not have a racist motive, the evidence suggests otherwise.
Will they be punished? That is a good question. To this day no perpetrator of a racist attack has yet been prosecuted in the Greek courts. The authorities are turning a blind eye to racist violence and it is estimated that 50% of the Greek police force voted for the Neo-Nazi party in the last elections. Victims are discouraged from filing complaints if they have been atttacked and are threatened with detention by the police.
Amnesty International has issued a report condemning Greek authorities for their inability to tackle racist violence. […]
* 7 BRILLIANT INSIGHTS FROM NOAM CHOMSKY ON AMERICAN EMPIRE
By Laura Gottesdiener, AlterNet
Noam Chomsky is an expert on many matters — linguistics, how our economy functions and propaganda, among others. One area where his wisdom especially shines through is in articulating the structure and functioning of the American empire. Chomsky has been speaking and publishing on the topic since the ’60s. Below are seven powerful quotes on the evils, atrocities and ironies of the American empire taken from his personal site and from a fan-curated Web site dedicated to collecting Chomsky‘s observations.
1. [In early 2007] there was a new rash of articles and headlines on the front page about the “Chinese military build-up.” The Pentagon claimed that China had increased its offensive military capacity — with 400 missiles, which could be nuclear armed. Then we had a debate about whether that proves China is trying to conquer the world or the numbers are wrong, or something. Just a little footnote. How many offensive nuclear armed missiles does the United States have? Well, it turns out to be 10,000. China may now have maybe 400, if you believe the hawks. That proves that they are trying to conquer the world.
It turns out, if you read the international press closely, that the reason China is building up its military capacity is not only because of U.S. aggressiveness all over the place, but the fact that the United States has improved its targeting capacities so it can now destroy missile sites in a much more sophisticated fashion wherever they are, even if they are mobile. So who is trying to conquer the world? Well, obviously the Chinese because since we own it, they are trying to conquer it. It’s all too easy to continue with this indefinitely. Just pick your topic. It’s a good exercise to try. This simple principle, “we own the world,” is sufficient to explain a lot of the discussion about foreign affairs. — from ” We Own the World” January 1, 2008. […]
* THE INCREDIBLE DEBT SPIDER: IT’S TIME TO END THE PRIVATE FED
By Rand Clifford, InformationClearingHouse
The “Federal Reserve Bank” (Fed) is not part of the United States Government. The Fed is a private, for-profit corporation ultimately owned by eight elite banking families:
1. Rothschild’s of London and Berlin
2. Lazard Brothers of Paris
3. Israel Moses Seaf of Italy
4. Kuhn, Loeb & Co. of Germany and New York
5. Warburg & Company of Hamburg, Germany
6. Lehman Brothers of New York
7. Goldman, Sachs of New York
8. Rockefeller Brothers of New York
Magically, the Fed has exclusive rights to the dollar, and for them it’s even better than money growing on trees. Whether paying nominal U.S. mint printing costs for Federal Reserve Notes (like those papering your wallet), or simply entering digits into their banks’ computers, they lend this “money” back to us at a profit, making the following seem inevitable: […]
[…] Here’s some truth from Wright Patman, Texas Democratic congressman from 1929 to 1976:
…it is absolutely wrong for the Government to issue interest-bearing obligations. It is not only wrong: it is extravagant. It is not only extravagant, it is wasteful. It is absolutely unnecessary.
Congressman Patman was chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency for forty years; for twenty of those years he introduced legislation to repeal the Federal Reserve Banking Act of 1913.
Patman also said:
I have never yet had anyone who could, through the use of logic and reason, justify the Federal Government borrowing the use of its own money. I believe the time will come when people will demand that this be changed. I believe the time will come in this country when they will actually blame you and me and everyone else connected with the Congress for sitting idly by and permitting such an idiotic system to continue.
That “idiotic system” is the Fed.
$454,393,280,417.03…for the year 2011, that’s how much Americans paid a consortium of twelve private banks for creating dollars out of nothing, and loaning them to the government at interest.
There may be no greater con job than the Fed. Even the name is a con—any influence the United States Government has over the Fed is a dog and pony show. […]