NOTE: For the full report (US version):
U.S. tax dollars promote Monsanto’s GMO crops overseas: report
Reuters, May 14 2013
U.S. taxpayers are footing the bill for overseas lobbying that promotes controversial biotech crops developed by U.S.-based Monsanto Co and other seed makers, a report issued on Tuesday said.
A review of 926 diplomatic cables of correspondence to and from the U.S. State Department and embassies in more than 100 countries found that State Department officials actively promoted the commercialization of specific biotech seeds, according to the report issued by Food & Water Watch, a nonprofit consumer protection group.
The officials tried to quash public criticism of particular companies and facilitated negotiations between foreign governments and seed companies such as Monsanto over issues like patents and intellectual property, the report said.
The cables show U.S. diplomats supporting Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company, in foreign countries even after it paid $1.5 million in fines after being charged with bribing an Indonesian official and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in 2005.
One 2009 cable shows the embassy in Spain seeking “high-level U.S. government intervention” at the “urgent request” of Monsanto to combat biotech crop opponents there, according to the Food & Water Watch report.
The report covered cables from 2005-2009 that were released by Wikileaks in 2010 as part of a much larger release by Wikileaks of a range of diplomatic cables it obtained.
Monsanto spokesman Tom Helscher said Monsanto believes it is critical to maintain an open dialogue with government authorities and trade groups in other countries.
“We remain committed to sharing information so that individuals can better understand our business and our commitments to support farmers throughout the world as they work to meet the agriculture demands of our world’s growing population,” he said.
State Department officials had no immediate comment when contacted about the report.
Food & Water Watch said the cables it examined provide a detailed account of how far the State Department goes to support and promote the interests of the agricultural biotech industry, which has had a hard time gaining acceptance in many foreign markets.
“It really goes beyond promoting the US’s biotech industry and agriculture,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “It really gets down to twisting the arms of countries and working to undermine local democratic movements that may be opposed to biotech crops, and pressuring foreign governments to also reduce the oversight of biotech crops.”
But U.S. officials, Monsanto, and many other companies and industry experts routinely say that biotech crops are needed around the world to increase global food production as population expands. They maintain that the crops are safe and make farming easier and more environmentally sustainable.
PROMOTION THROUGH PAMPHLETS, DVDs?
The cables show that State Department officials directed embassies to “troubleshoot problematic legislation” that might hinder biotech crop development and to “encourage the development and commercialization of ag-biotech products”.
The State Department also produced pamphlets in Slovenia promoting biotech crops, sent pro-biotech DVDs to high schools in Hong Kong and helped bring foreign officials and media from 17 countries to the United States to promote biotech agriculture, Food & Water Watch said.
Genetically altered crops are widely used in the United States. Crops spliced with DNA from other species are designed to resist pests and tolerate chemical applications, and since their introduction in the mid 1990s have come to dominate millions of acres of U.S. farmland.
The biotech crops are controversial with some groups and in many countries because some studies have shown harmful health impacts for humans and animals, and the crops have been associated with some environmental problems.
They also generally are more expensive than conventional crops, and the biotech seed developers patent the high-tech seeds so farmers using them have to buy new seed every season, a factor that makes them unappealing in some developing nations.
Many countries ban planting of biotech crops or have strict labeling requirements.
“It’s appalling that the State Department is complicit in supporting their (the biotech seed industry’s) goals despite public and government opposition in several countries,” said Ronnie Cummins, executive director of nonprofit organization Organic Consumers Association.
“American taxpayer’s money should not be spent advancing the goals of a few giant biotech companies.”
(Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)
Appearing before the House Weighs and Means Committee today, exiting IRS chief Steven Miller couldn’t do much more than just squirm in his chair as Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa vented the frustrations felt by millions of Americans.
Miller was immediately intimidated by Kelly’s tone and after a few “erms” and “uh-uh-uhs” Kelly let ‘er rip:
“If you think it’s uncomfortable sitting over there you ought to be a private individual when the IRS is across from you asking you questions!”
Here’s a few of Kelly’s best punches:
“I have a grandson who’s afraid to get out of bed at night because he thinks there’s someone under the bed that’s going to grab him. And I think most Americans feel that way about the IRS.”
“It’s always these are low-level people that pushed the wrong button.”
“Yes or no, does it come back to DC?” (Yes – one of Miller’s few coherent responses.)
“So DC and Cincinnati are pretty well connected?”
“This kind of reconfirms that, you know what, they [the IRS] can do almost anything they want to anybody they want, anytime they want. This is very chilling for the American people.”
“This is a Pandora’s Box that has been opened and I don’t think we can get the lid back on it.”
“I don’t believe that the White House just found out about this in a news report, the president happened to grab a TV shot or just read Mr. George’s report and said, ‘You know.. what… anybody heard about this before?’”
“I got to tell you, where you’re sitting, you should be outraged — and you’re not. The American people should be outraged, and they are.”
“This reconfirms everything the American public believes! This is a huge blow to the faith and trust the American people have in their government!”
“Is there any limit to the scope of where you folks can go?”
“It’s sure as hell intimidating. And I don’t’ know that I got any answers from you today.”
“There’s a heck of a lot more that has to come out in this.”
“I am more concerned today than I was before. The fact that you all can do just about anything you want to anybody. You know, you can put anybody out of business that you want anytime you want.”
“You talk about how you’re a horribly run organization? You’re on the other side of the fence.”
“And when the IRS comes in, you’re not allowed to be shoddy, you’re not allowed to be run horribly, you’re not allowed to make mistakes, you’re not allowed to do one damn thing that doesn’t come in compliance. If you do, you’re held responsible right then.”
“This is absolutely an overreach and this is an outrage for all America!”
Posted by NextNewsNetwork
WWE Pro Wrestling champion Glenn “Kane” Jacobs is about to deliver a mental smackdown on Tennessee’s Lieutenant Governor over a debate on the internet tax AKA the “Marketplace Fairness Act”!
As many Tennessee residents are aware of, RINO Ramsey has many interests, but we the people of Tennessee is not one of them. Ramsey, along with fellow “republican conservatives”, such as Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, help to prove the only difference in party politics is the lapel pin they may be wearing.
From an earlier message sent by Matt Collins:
Lt. Governor Challenged To Debate Internet Sales Tax By Professional Wrestler
Ron Ramsey Pushes Internet Sales Tax; Grassroots Pushes Back
Knoxville, TN – Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey was challenged to a debate on the Internet Sales Tax by professional WWE wrestler and anti-tax activist Glenn Jacobs. In a blog post today Glenn Jacobs (stage name Kane) criticized the Lt. Governor for pushing the Internet sales tax and called for a debate on the topic at the Lt. Governor’s convenience. The blog post can be viewed here: http://www.tnliberty.org/?p=
“Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey claims that the Internet sales tax mandate is not a new tax. Nor, according to Ramsey, is it an unfair tax. Ramsey is wrong on both counts.” Glenn writes. “ I, therefore, invite Lt. Gov. Ramsey for a policy debate on the issue of the Marketplace Fairness Act in a public forum at his convenience.”
In recent weeks Glenn Jacobs has been appearing in various media outlets advocating against the national Internet sales tax mandate with appearances on nationally syndicated terrestrial radio, satellite radio, and local radio stations in Tennessee. Jacobs has written multiple blog posts and op-ed pieces against the national Internet sales tax mandate.
Earlier this week the TN Campaign for Liberty challenged Lt. Gov Ramsey to show he had paid the obscure TN Use Tax for his online purchases after he called the vast majority of Tennesseans “criminals” for not paying it. That release can be viewed here: http://tnreport.com/2013/05/
The national Internet sales tax mandate will likely come up for a vote in the US House of Representatives later this year. The bill is known as the “Marketplace Fairness Act” and is being opposed by the Campaign for Liberty, eBay, the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Tax Reform, Americans for Prosperity, Freedomworks, the Heartland Institute, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, and many other conservative figures.
Glenn Jacobs lives with his family in Jefferson City, Tennessee and is a co-founder of the Tennessee Liberty Alliance www.TNLiberty.org. Mr. Jacobs is a critic of big government and a professional wrestler with the WWE.
May 17, 2013
The Internal Revenue Service official in charge of the tax-exempt organizations at the time when the unit targeted tea party groups now runs the IRS office responsible for the health care legislation.
Sarah Hall Ingram served as commissioner of the office responsible for tax-exempt organizations between 2009 and 2012. But Ingram has since left that part of the IRS and is now the director of the IRS’ Affordable Care Act office, the IRS confirmed to ABC News today.
Her successor, Joseph Grant, is taking the fall for misdeeds at the scandal-plagued unit between 2010 and 2012. During at least part of that time, Grant served as deputy commissioner of the tax-exempt unit.
Grant announced today that he would retire June 3, despite being appointed as commissioner of the tax-exempt office May 8, a week ago.
Image added to original post.
By Gary DeMar
If you underpay and are assessed a penalty, just quote back to the agency what senior IRS official Lois Lerner said when she was asked a question: “I’m not good at math.”
If it’s good enough for the IRS, then it should be good enough for us. Tax payers of America unite! We have nothing to lose but our chains!
In 2012, the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative political groups to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status. The rules regarding non-profit organizations are very specific. The IRS was asking questions and searching for information that was not part of the requirements. It was obvious harassment.
Folks at the IRS are blaming “low-level” employees in its Cincinnati office. The problem with is lame excuse is that the Cincinnati office is THE office “where determinations on tax-exempt organizations’ eligibility are made and is the only physical office in the complex IRS bureaucracy dedicated to tax-exempt determinations.”
The IRS hierarchy demanded that groups reveal the internal workings of their organizations, a provision that is not required by the law. This included “the identification of members, how they are selected, who they associate with, and even what they discuss.”
The tip off to the IRS was words like “tea party” or “patriot” on their exemption applications.
An Associated Press story made me laugh out loud:
“The agency — led at the time by a Bush administration appointee — blamed low-level employees, saying no high-level officials were aware. But that wasn’t good enough for Republicans in Congress, who are conducting several investigations and asked for more.
It’s not the fault of liberals. It was George Bush’s fault . . . I’m not good at math . . . low level government employees. Everything but the fault of liberals.
Let’s get something straight. Administrators and appointees come and go, but bureaucrats go on forever. Most government employees are liberal. Talk by conservatives to shrink the size of government is a threat to government unions and their employees.
It’s time to abolish the IRS and implement a low-level consumption tax that includes a requirement to shrink government expenditures.
Thermometer Cost Taxpayers $643,997.60
Wondering if it’s too hot to go outside at your workplace? Don’t bother checking the thermometer or stepping outside: the Federal government has the answer and, it only cost taxpayers $643,997.60! Josh Peterson of the Daily Caller reported in 2012 about a smartphone app created by OSHA that uses temperature and humidity data to warn workers if it is too hot outside:
“According to OSHA’s website, the “Heat Safety Tool”—available forAndroid, Blackberry and iPhone—“allows workers and supervisors to calculate the heat index for their work site and, based on the heat index, displays a risk level to outdoor workers.” The app also provides “reminders about drinking enough fluids, scheduling rest breaks, planning for and knowing what to do in an emergency.”
A recent Freedom of Information Act request by the free-market oriented Americans for Limited Government revealed that the Labor Department contracts for the development of the “Heat Safety Tool” and related Web 2.0 technologies cost the taxpayer $643,997.60. The contracts were awarded under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, also known as the stimulus package.
OSHA’s Heat Safety Tool
Rich Jones, the 23-year-old, Boston-based Android app developer who originally reported on the tool said: “When I first tried the application, it told me that it was currently 140F in Boston. It is also extremely slow, it looks like ****, and it crashes all the time. It is completely horrible in every way. If I had to reproduce it, I’d say that it would take be about 6 hours at the maximum. At my hourly rate of $100, that’s $600.”
The company responsible for developing the app was Eastern Research Group, a Lexington, Massachusetts-based environmental services company that was bought out by AEA Technology in the U.K. in 2010. Basically, Americans’ hard-earned money was being given to a foreign company to create a high tech way of telling the weather. To make matters worse, it doesn’t even work well — iTunes users who ranked the app give it just 2.5 out of 5 stars.
“It is obscene that Obama’s Labor Department wasted hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on a mobile application to alert workers that it is hot, presumably something they would know based upon their being outside,” Rick Manning, director of communication for Americans for Limited Government.
If it’s a “states’ rights” issue, why are they asking permission from the federal government? (Internet Sales Tax)0
For many months now, “limited government, free market, reduced spending, Conservative Republicans™” Lamar Alexander, Bob Corker and Bill Haslam have been lobbying for and/or sponsoring the Marketplace Fairness Act, also known by a more appropriate title: the Internet Sales Tax. The tax-raising Republicans have been touting this as the states collecting taxes “that were already theirs”, or “making it fair for the brick-and-mortar businesses located in the state”, or “restoring state sovereignty” as if this is some sort of 10th Amendment takeback from the federal government – when in reality it is just a tax increase. Their appeal to the currently popular anti-federal sentiment in the country is not only unconvincing, it is without constitutional merit. Note that they are counting you as fools to fall for this “states’ rights” language.
If these leaders truly believed in “marketplace fairness” for brick-and-mortar stores, then Tennessee would not have cut the sweetheart deal with online retailer and corporate welfare queen Amazon to locate here and not collect any sales taxes – even for sales within the state. How’s that for an unfair advantage? Nobody argues that a sale made within the state isn’t subject to state sales taxes – except for our state government and Amazon, who enjoys an unfair advantage over all the other brick-and-mortar retailers in Tennessee thanks to Governor Haslam who now claims to be interested in “marketplace fairness”. Amazon also received a 10-year, 50% tax break on property taxes to locate in Loudon County. Apparently tax revenue (or is that “fairness”?) is for sale to the highest bidder. We don’t need a new federal law to correct that.
Article 1, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution states in part:
“No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any state.”
The federal government cannot issue a federal tax on interstate sales. They are exports, whether to another state or another country. The federal government can however regulate interstate “commerce” or transportation of the goods between states. The states themselves do not have this power over one another. They cannot regulate interstate trade period – which is precisely why sales taxes for purchases you made in another state have not been collected. They are exports to your resident state. So the money-grubbers in the state created the “use” tax to take some of your money anyway – despite the fact that they provide zero services to the brick-and-mortar store in the other state you imported from and your “use” of the item you purchased doesn’t induce any burden on your neighbors that require additional tax revenue that isn’t covered somewhere else by another tax.
So why ask permission from the federal government? Because they have to. Article 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution states in part:
“No state shall, without the consent of the Congress, lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its inspection laws: and the net produce of all duties and imposts, laid by any state on imports or exports, shall be for the use of the treasury of the United States; and all such laws shall be subject to the revision and control of the Congress.”
So guess what? The states are only entitled to collecting their new Internet Sales Tax and subtracting their expenses for executing inspections of these imports/exports. The rest of the revenue is required by the U.S. Constitution to go to the U.S. Treasury. At best, Tennessee could add more cigarette gestapo agents to the state Department of Revenue. The net revenue proceeds to the states legally should be ZERO, because see, the founders really did believe in some semblance of free trade and INDEPENDENT states.
There is no “state right” to this money. There never was.
With a tax code that exceeds 72,000 pages in length and consumes more than six billion person hours per year to determine taxpayers’ taxable income, with an IRS that has become a feared law unto itself, and with a government that continues to extract more wealth from every taxpaying American every year, is it any wonder that April 15th is a day of dread in America? Social Security taxes and income taxes have dogged us all since their institution during the last century, and few politicians have been willing to address these ploys for what they are: theft.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry caused a firestorm among big-government types during the Republican presidential primaries last year when he called Social Security a Ponzi scheme. He was right. It’s been a scam from its inception, and it’s still a scam today.
When Social Security was established in 1935, it was intended to provide minimal financial assistance to those too old to work. It was also intended to cause voters to become dependent on Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Democrats. FDR copied the idea from a system established in Italy by Mussolini. The plan was to have certain workers and their employers make small contributions to a fund that would be held in trust for the workers by the government. At the time, the average life expectancy of Americans was 61 years of age, but Social Security didn’t kick in until age 65. Thus, the system was geared to take money from the average American worker that he would never see returned.
Over time, life expectancy grew and surpassed 65, the so-called trust fund was raided and spent, and the system was paying out more money than it was taking in — just like a Ponzi scheme. FDR called Social Security an insurance policy. In reality, it has become forced savings. However, the custodian of the funds — Congress — has stolen the savings and spent it. And the value of the savings has been diminished by inflation.
Today, the best one can hope to receive from Social Security is dollars with the buying power of 75 cents for every dollar contributed. That makes Social Security worse than a Ponzi scheme. You can get out of a Ponzi investment. You can’t get out of Social Security. Who would stay with a bank that returned only 75 percent of one’s savings?
The Constitution doesn’t permit the feds to steal your money. But steal, the feds do.
At one of last year’s Republican presidential debates, a young man asked the moderator to pose the following question to the candidates: “If I earn a dollar, how much of it am I entitled to keep?” The question was passed to one of the candidates, who punted, and then the moderator changed the topic. Only Congressman Ron Paul gave a serious post-debate answer to the young man’s question: “All of it.”
Every official foundational government document — from the Declaration of Independence to the U.S. Constitution to the oaths that everyone who works for the government takes — indicates that the government exists to work for us. The Declaration even proclaims that the government receives all of its powers from the consent of the governed. If you believe all this, as I do, then just as we don’t have the power to take our neighbor’s property and distribute it against his will, we lack the ability to give that power to the government. Stated differently, just as you lack the moral and legal ability to take my property, you cannot authorize the government to do so.
Here’s an example you’ve heard before. You’re sitting at home at night, and there’s a knock at the door. You open the door, and a guy with a gun pointed at you says: “Give me your money. I want to give it away to the less fortunate.” You think he’s dangerous and crazy, so you call the police. Then you find out he is the police, there to collect your taxes.
The framers of the Constitution understood this. For 150 years, the federal government was run by user fees and sales of government land and assessments to the states for services rendered. It rejected the Hamiltonian view that the feds could take whatever they wanted, and it followed the Jeffersonian first principle that the only moral commercial exchanges are those that are fully voluntary.
This worked well until the progressives took over the government in the first decade of the 20th century. They persuaded enough Americans to cause their state legislatures to ratify the Sixteenth Amendment, which was designed to tax the rich and redistribute wealth. They promised the American public that the income tax would never exceed 3 percent of income and would only apply to the top 3 percent of earners. How wrong — or deceptive — they were.
Yet, the imposition of a federal income tax is more than just taking from those who work and earn and giving to those who don’t. And it is more than just a spigot to fill the federal trough. At its base, it is a terrifying presumption. It presumes that we don’t really own our property. It accepts the Marxist notion that the state owns all the property and the state permits us to keep and use whatever it needs us to have so we won’t riot in the streets. And then it steals and uses whatever it can politically get away with. Do you believe this?
There are only three ways to acquire wealth in a free society. The inheritance model occurs when someone gives you wealth. The economic model occurs when you trade a skill, a talent, an asset, knowledge, sweat, energy or creativity to a willing buyer. And the mafia model occurs when a guy with a gun says: “Give me your money or else.”
Which model does the government use? Why do we put up with this?
State Legislature Truth Updates April 5, 2013
Last week in the Tennessee General Assembly, House bills requiring labeling of GMO foods and seeds were deferred until 2014. House Subcommittees are shutting down for the year, while Committees finish hearing bills as the legislature prepares to begin budget discussions.
This week, a bill prohibiting United Nations representatives from monitoring elections in Tennessee failed in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee. A bill making evidence obtained by drones inadmissible in court, except when a warrant is obtained or in exigent and authorized exceptions, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously. The bill authorizes civil suits against law enforcement agencies to prevent or stop violations of the legislation.
Several tax bills are moving forward. The House unanimously passed a bill reducing the sales tax on food ¼ of a % saving about $25 million a year which is about $3.50 per individual. This makes the State portion of sales tax on foods 5%. A bill raising the Hall income tax exemption levels for senior citizens in 2013 from $16,200 to $33,000 for single filers and from $27,000 to $59,000 for joint filers passed the Senate Tax Subcommittee. Tennessee has the highest beer tax rate in the nation. The Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013 removes the wholesaler beer tax of 17% replacing it with a flat tax of $35.60 per barrel. The legislation is moving forward in both the House and Senate.
The Workers’ Compensation Reform Act of 2013 passed the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee and is headed to the floor next week. The state workers’ compensation system was established in 1919. Tennessee is one of only two States to adjudicate workers’ compensation claims in the trial courts, causing medical costs related to workers’ compensation to be some of the highest in the nation. The overhaul is suppose to make the system more efficient by allowing allow workers to receive benefits faster and return to work sooner. The bill has already passed the Senate 28-2, with Blount County Senator Doug Overbey voting against it.
A bill allowing State legislators to nominate their parties candidate for general elections of US Senators was taken off notice. This bill attempted to partially return the process of selecting Senators back to State legislature. The 17th amendment to the US Constitution allegedly ratified 100 years ago, requires popular election of US Senators, although some States were already doing this prior to the amendment. A copy of the State Legislative Journals documenting the ratification process of the 17th amendment in Tennessee is available at www.bcpublicrecord.com. This reporter visited the Tennessee State Library and Archives to obtain documentation of Tennessee’s ratification process for the 14th, 16th and 17th amendments to the federal Constitution and is happy to share those documents.
This is Tona Monroe with Blount County Public Record. I am delighted to bring you these weekly State legislative updates and thank Truth Radio for the opportunity. For more information on these bills, visit www.bcpublicrecord.com.
Here is a great talk given at The 21 Convention in 2012, by Doug McGuff, MD, a prominent member of the ancestral health (paleo-primal) community: “Fitness, Health, and Liberty.” Doug, an emergency room physician, is well known for his ‘Body By Science‘ program, a high-intensity interval training program.
This is an important presentation because Doug presents the historical picture on how the physician-patient relationship went from a fiduciary relationship between provider and consumer to a 3rd party morass of collectivized medicine that sacrificed individual services to the needs of the masses in general in order to conform to the rules outlined by the medical establishment-insurance industry alliance.
While it is easy to blame the Democrats or blame Obama for the nationalization of medical care, this system began to form many years ago under the auspices of self-serving medical practitioners who built alliances with the government-medical establishment in the pursuit of rent-seeking arrangements. Dr. McGuff notes that doctors, who had short-term gains in mind, ultimately sacrificed their profession to these pursuits and thus “set into motion the long-term unintended consequences that resulted in their ultimate enslavement.”
His discussion of the formation of the “Blues” plans to guarantee payment for services while receiving tax-exempt status in exchange for community ratings is spot on. Community ratings, that did not allow for discrimination based on individual health status, were the beginnings of socialized medicine and thus opened the door to moral hazard and the current system of pre-paid medical care that defies all the principles of personal accountability and the free market.
This presentation is 72 minutes, but it is worth every minute of your time. I work in this industry and can tell you that Dr. McGuff has presented the best short timeline I have seen on the topic of how 3rd-party insurance and government-business alliances came to destroy the U.S. health care system. Dr. McGuff is also a libertarian, as if you can’t tell by the presentation.