Bayer, a German pharmaceutical and chemical company, has won approval from the US Justice Department to buy agricultural giant Monsanto

 

Part of a market is informing the public about what is going on. Here we see two big time crony companies coming together to make genetically modified crony babies. (Not human babies. At least not yet. Muhahahaha!) Monsanto, after perhaps Goldman Sachs is the cronyist non-defense company out there. (There are a bunch that challenge for this position though.)

Saying this, the gist of the attached article is that farmers (who are big time crony players themselves, just look at what gets through the Farm Bill every 2 years) are going to see higher prices. On this point we have little sympathy. This happens from time to time. Also farming is a giant ball of crony capitalism where the market is so warped it’s very difficult to see who is right and who is wrong.

We just know that taxpayer funded subsidies, cushy government defined deals, and predatory regulation are wrong and everyone’s to blame here.

(From The Business Insider)

A blockbuster deal between Bayer and Monsanto is moving ahead.

Under a proposed settlement filed on Tuesday, Bayer agreed to sell its seed and herbicide businesses to German chemical company BASF — a move the US Department of Justice required for the deal’s approval.

Bayer and Monsanto first announced the $60 billion deal in September 2016, saying the move would boost agriculture research and innovation.

“By the time 2050 rolls around, the world will have 10 billion people, and the demand for food will double,” Robb Fraley, Monsanto’s outgoing chief technology officer, told Business Insider last year. “The whole point here is that the business combination between Monsanto and Bayer will allow the companies to invest in and create more innovation, and it’s going to take a huge amount of innovation in order to double the world’s food supply.”

Click here for the article.

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Many Breast Cancer Patients Can Skip Chemo, Study Finds

(From AP News)

Most women with the most common form of early-stage breast cancer can safely skip chemotherapy without hurting their chances of beating the disease, doctors are reporting from a landmark study that used genetic testing to gauge each patient’s risk.

The study is the largest ever done of breast cancer treatment, and the results are expected to spare up to 70,000 patients a year in the United States and many more elsewhere the ordeal and expense of these drugs.

“The impact is tremendous,” said the study leader, Dr. Joseph Sparano of Montefiore Medical Center in New York. Most women in this situation don’t need treatment beyond surgery and hormone therapy, and “the rest of them are receiving chemotherapy unnecessarily.”

The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute, some foundations and proceeds from the U.S. breast cancer postage stamp.

Click here for article.

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Global Airlines Issue Warning Over Trade Tensions

(From Reuters)

Growing tension over international trade could damage the airline industry and the world economy, global airlines and aviation executives warned on Sunday.

“Any measures that reduce trade and probably consequently limit passenger travel are bad news,” Alexandre de Juniac, director general of the International Air Transport Association, told Reuters at IATA’s annual meeting in Sydney. The group represents most of the world’s main airlines

“We always get concerned when you start to see tensions elevate around global trade and free trade,” American Airlines Group (AAL.O) Chief Executive Doug Parker said. American has not seen any effect yet on revenues, he said.

The uncertainty could curb demand for the business travel, a key driver of profits for the airline industry, Gloria Guevara Manzo, chief executive of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

Planemakers Boeing (BA.N) and Airbus (AIR.PA) echoed that the uncertainty was bad for business and said free trade helped to drive economic growth, creating jobs. Airbus said the aviation industry existed because people could travel freely and markets were open.

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Court Orders Calif. to Count Ballots in Union Decertification Vote

This took forever.

(From The Washington Free Beacon)

After five years California farm workers will finally see their votes to kick out their union counted after a state court unanimously ruled that a state agency had interfered with the election.

A three-judge panel from the California Fifth District Court of Appeals ruled that the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board improperly blocked a 2013 election to decertify the United Farm Workers from representing workers at Gerawan Farming, Inc. The ruling called the labor board’s treatment of the workers as “either arbitrary or punitive (or both).” The Court found that the campaign to cut ties with the union was an organic “worker-initiated and worker led movement,” rather than an employer-sponsored one.

In 2014 we wrote;

California, what are you doing to yourself? You were so beautiful. You were once full of so much life. So full of promise and opportunity. But now look at you. The Golden State isn’t very golden anymore. You are sinking into the big government (socialist?) morass more and more every year. You are run by the prison workers, teacher’s, and (apparently) the farm worker’s unions. It’s just a shame.

What’s particularly deplorable is that the state is helping the United Farm Workers in its effort to shake down the very farm workers it says it represents. The union took off 20 years ago and has returned to the farm in question looking for revenue. The long lost union is demanding that everyone at this particular peach farm pay the UFW 3% of their pay. Though we don’t know for sure the workers likely voted against forking over their pay.

But the state regulator won’t say.

(From CNBC.com)

A group of California farm workers for the nation’s largest peach operation voted on whether to kick out or accept representation by the United Farm Workers. That was last November.

They still don’t know the results of the vote.

The state’s Agriculture Labor Relations Board (ALRB) won’t reveal the vote pending the outcome of an investigation into the voting. The investigation has been going on for months, and no one knows when it will be completed. In the meantime, the ALRB appointed a mediator who wrote up a three-year contract that, under California law, can unilaterally be imposed on the farmer, Dan Gerawan. He’s gone to court to stop that. “The contract was written by the government itself,” Gerawan said. “Not even the employees have a say in what goes in that contract.”

Click here for the article.

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A 64-year-old put his life savings in his carry-on. U.S. Customs took it without charging him with a crime.

 

Policing for profit is wrong and it goes on all the time. This should not happen in the United States.

(From The Washington Post)

A 64-year-old Cleveland man is suing U.S. Customs and Border Protection after agents strip-searched him at an airport in October and took more than $58,000 in cash from him without charging him with any crime, according to a federal lawsuit filed this week in Ohio.

Customs agents seized the money through a process known as civil asset forfeiture, a law enforcement technique that allows authorities to take cash and property from people who are never convicted or even charged with a crime. The practice is widespread at the federal level. In 2017, federal authorities seized more than $2 billion in assets from people, a net loss similar in size to annual losses from residential burglaries in the United States.

Customs says it suspects that the petitioner in the case, Rustem Kazazi, was involved in smuggling, drug trafficking or money laundering. Kazazi denies those allegations and says that the agency is violating federal law by keeping his money without filing any formal complaint against him.

Click here for the article.

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Nicaraguans Block Roads Across Country, Want Ortega Out

(From UPI)

Across Nicaragua, protesters are blocking highways and streets to send a message to the government after more than 70 protesters were allegedly killed by police last month.

The tranques vary in size, from about 4-foot-high walls on Managua avenues that slow car traffic, to piles of metal and burning tires on vital highways that delay trucks transporting food staples to other parts of the country, causing food and medicine shortages in some regions.

Protesters, whom authorities have allowed to maintain the tranques without interference in most — but not all — cases, say they plan to block roads until they get justice for the more than 70 people who were killed during protests against the government’s plan to increase social security taxes and cut benefits.

What that justice entails depends on who is describing it, but generally consists of some iteration of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega leaving office.

Click here for article.

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European Court: Lithuania, Romania Permitted CIA to Torture Militants

(From UPI)

The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday the governments of Lithuania and Romania violated policy that prohibits torture by allowing U.S. intelligence agents to interrogate two suspected terrorists.

The two prisoners, held at Guantanamo Bay, were captured after the Sept. 11 attacks and detained at secret CIA operated prisons. The CIA “black sites” were kept secret for many years.

The court found Romania had hosted a CIA facility from 2003 to 2005 and Lithuania from 2005 to 2006, and authorities had been aware the CIA was subjecting the detainees to treatment that violated the European Convention that bans torture.

One of the prisoners, Abu Zubaydah, is a Saudi-born Palestinian and suspected organizer of the Sept. 11 attacks. U.S. officials believe he was al-Qaida’s chief recruiter in the 1990s and linked Osama Bin Laden to other militant cells.

Intelligence officials believe the other, Saudi-born Abd al-Nashiri, led al-Qaida’s operations in the Gulf region.

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Harvey Weinstein Indicted on Rape, Criminal Sex Act Charges

Photo by David Shankbone

(From AP News)

Harvey Weinstein was indicted on rape and criminal sex act charges, furthering the first criminal case to arise from a slate of sexual misconduct allegations against the former movie mogul.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said Wednesday’s indictment brings Weinstein “another step closer to accountability” for alleged attacks on two women in New York.

Weinstein’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said he would “vigorously defend” against the indictment and ask a court to dismiss it. He called the allegations “unsupported” and reiterated that Weinstein strongly denies them.

Weinstein, 66, learned of the specific charges and the accusers’ identities only after turning himself in Friday, according to his lawyers. Brafman said that with a deadline set for Wednesday afternoon for Weinstein to testify or not, prosecutors denied his request for more time.

Click here for article.

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