BATTLE 4 PLANET EARTH!!! “”The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is The People versus The Banks.” Lord Acton. Historian. Politician. Writer. 1834-1902. It’s COSMIC HUMAN! BATTLE ON! #OpBlackheath #15TrillionFraud I x Pope Down; 1 x CARDINAL DOWN – It’s COSMIC VICTORIES ONCE AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!
Why Barack Obama is the More Effective Evil
Glen Ford at the Left Forum
BAR executive editor Glen Ford made the following presentation at the Left Forum, Pace University, New York City, March 17. On the panel were Gloria Mattera, Margaret Kimberley (BAR), Suren Moodliar, John Nichols, and Victor Wallis. The discussion was titled, The 2012 Elections: Lesser Evil or Left Alternative?
“He has put both Wall Street and U.S. imperial power on new and more aggressive tracks – just as he hired himself out to do.”
Power to the people!
Let me say from the very beginning that we at Black Agenda Report do not think that Barack Obama is the Lesser Evil. He is the more Effective Evil.
He has been more effective in Evil-Doing than Bush in terms of protecting the citadels of corporate power, and advancing the imperial agenda. He has put both Wall Street and U.S. imperial power on new and more aggressive tracks – just as he hired himself out to do.
That was always Wall Street’s expectation of Obama, and his promise to them. That’s why they gave him far more money in 2008 than they gave John McCain. They were buying Obama futures on the electoral political market – and they made out like bandits.
They invested in Obama to protect them from harm, as a hedge against the risk of systemic disaster caused by their own predations. And, it was a good bet, a good deal. It paid out in the tens of trillions of dollars.
If you believe that what Wall Street does is Evil, then Obama’s service to Wall Street is Evil, and there is nothing lesser about it.
They had vetted Obama, thoroughly, before he even set foot in the U.S. Senate in 2004.
He protected their interests, there, helping shield corporations from class action suits, and voting against caps on credit card Interest. He was their guy back then – and some of us were saying so, back then.
He was the bankers’ guy in the Democratic presidential primary race. Among the last three standing in 2008, it was Obama who opposed any moratorium on home foreclosures. John Edwards supported a mandatory moratorium and Hillary Clinton said she wanted a voluntary halt to foreclosures. But Barack Obama opposed any moratorium. Let it run its course, said candidate Obama. And, true to his word, he has let the foreclosures run their catastrophic course.
Only a few months later, when the crunch came and Finance Capital was in meltdown, who rescued Wall Street? Not George Bush. Bush tried, but he was spent, discredited, ineffective. Not John McCain. He was in a coma, coming unglued, totally ineffective.
Bush’s bailout failed on a Monday. By Friday, Obama had convinced enough Democrats in opposition to roll over – and the bailout passed, setting the stage for a new dispensation between the American State and Wall Street, in which a permanent pipeline of tens of trillions of dollars would flow directly into Wall Street accounts, via the Federal Reserve.
And Obama had not even been elected yet.
“True to his word, he has let the foreclosures run their catastrophic course.”
Obama put Social Security and Medicaid and all Entitlements on the table, in mid-January. The Republicans had suffered resounding defeat. Nobody was pressuring Obama from the Right.
When the Right was on its ass, Obama stood up and spoke in their stead. There was no Evil Devil forcing him to put Entitlements on the chopping block. It was HIM. He was the Evil One – and it was not a Lesser Evil. It was a very Effective Evil, because the current Age of Austerity began on that day, in January, 2009.
And Obama had not even been sworn in as president, yet.
Who is the Effective Evil? I haven’t even gotten into his actual term as president, much less his expansion of the theaters of war, his unique assaults on International Law, and his massacre of Due Process of Law in the United States. But I want to pause right here, because piling up facts on Obama’s Most Effective Evils doesn’t seem to do any good if the prevailing conversation isn’t really about facts – but about intentions.
The prevailing assumption on the Left is that Obama has good intentions. He intends to the Right Thing – or, at least, he intends to do better than the Republicans intend to do. It’s all supposed to be about intentions. Let’s be clear: There is absolutely no factual basis to believe he intends to do anything other than the same thing he has already done, whether Democrats control Congress or not, which is to serve Wall Street’s most fundamental interests.
But, the whole idea of debating Obama’s intentions is ridiculous. It’s psycho-babble, not analysis. No real Left would engage in it.
I have no doubt that New Gingrich and Republicans in general have worse intentions for the future of my people – of Black people – than Michelle Obama’s husband does. But, that doesn’t matter. Black people are not going to roll over for whatever nightmarish Apocalypse the sick mind of Newt Gingrich would like to bring about. But, they have already rolled over for Obama’s economic Apocalypse in Black America. There was been very little resistance. Which is just another way of saying that Obama has successfully blunted any retribution by organized African America against the corporate powers that have devastated and destabilized Black America in ways that have little precedence in modern times.
“When the Right was on its ass, Obama stood up and spoke in their stead.”
Obama has protected these Wall Streeters from what should be the most righteous wrath of Black folks. To take a riff from Shakespeare’s Othello, “Obama has done Wall Street a great service, and they know it.” He has proven to be fantastically effective at serving the Supremely Evil. Don’t you dare call him the Lesser.
He is the More Effective Evil because Black Folks – historically, the most progressive cohort in the United States – and Liberals, and even lots of folks that call themselves Marxists, let him get away murder! Yet, people still insist on calling him a Lesser Evil, while he drives a stake through Due Process of Law.
I have not spoken much about the second half of Obama’s first term in office. That is the period when the Left generally becomes disgusted with what they call his excessive “compromises” and “cave-ins” to Republicans. But that is a profoundly wrong reading of reality. Obama was simply continuing down his own Road to Austerity – the one he, himself, had initiated before even taking office. The only person caving in and compromising to the Republicans, was the Obama that many of YOU made up in your heads.
The real Obama was the initiator of this Austerity nightmare – a nightmare scripted on Wall Street, which provided the core of Obama’s policy team from the very beginning. That’s why Obama’s so-called Financial Reform was so diligent in making sure that Derivatives were virtually untouched.
The real Obama retained Bush’s Secretary of War, because he was determined to re-package the imperial enterprise and expand the scope and theaters of war.
He would dress up the war machine head-to-foot in a Chador of Humanitarianism, and march deep and deeper intoAfrica.
He would make merciless and totally unprovoked war against Libya – and then tell Congress there had been no war at all, and it was none of their business, anyway.
And he got away with it.
Now, that is the Most Effective Evil war mongering imaginable. Don’t you dare call him a Lesser Evil. Obama is Awesomely Evil.
“The real Obama was the initiator of this Austerity nightmare.”
Obama has advanced the corporatization of the public schools beyond Bush’s wildest dreams, methodically constructing a national, parallel system of charter schools that, in practice, undermine and subvert the traditional public schools. In some places, they have replaced, or soon will replace, the public schools. The hedge funds and billionaires are ecstatic! The teachers unions then endorse their undertaker, foolishly believing he is the Lesser Evil.
So, what does the Left do in this election? The Left should do what it is supposed to do here in the Belly of the Beast at all times: disarm the Beast. This is their singular duty – not to advise the Beast, but to disarm it. At this time on the world historical clock, that means ripping the farcical “humanitarian” veil from the face of U.S. wars – and that face is Obama’s face.
No genuine anti-war activist can endorse the war-maker, Obama. If you want to resist actual imperial wars, you must fight Obama. Period. Anything else is to endorse or acquiesce in his wars.
You can attend the United National Anti-War Coalition conference in Stamford, Connecticut, next weekend, where you can meet with an array of organizations to begin a calendar of activities that will stretch past Election Day. You can join with UNAC in working to stop Obama from doing a repeat of Libya in Syria and Iran. If you can’t bring yourself to do that, then I have no advice for you, because the alternative is acquiescence to Obama’s cynical duplicities.
If the Green Party or any other party firmly opposes Obama’s humanitarian, Orwellian farce, then support them. If they don’t, then don’t lift a finger for them.
If you are going to fight for anything, you’ve got to fight for the right to fight. That means fighting for the rule of law. So, if you don’t plan to go underground or into exile anytime soon, you must fight the president who claims the right to imprison or kill any person, of any nationality, any place on Earth, for reasons known only to him. The man who excelled George Bush by shepherding preventive detention through Congress – Barack Obama, the More Effective Evil.
Fight him this election year. Fight him every year that he’s here.
Power to the People!
Martin Feldstein, Top Reagan Adviser: Elderly Facing Poverty Crisis
Posted: 10/24/2012 7:37 pm EDT Updated: 10/24/2012 11:38 pm EDT
NEW YORK — Martin Feldstein, a former top economic adviser to President Ronald Reagan, said too many elderly Americans are trapped in poverty.
“I think it’s really shocking that we spend about $500 billion a year on Social Security, and yet we have many, many old people in poverty,” said Feldstein, a Harvard economist, at The Economist’s Buttonwood Gathering on Wednesday. “Something’s wrong with that system.”
Feldstein said that the Social Security system especially fails women who aren’t in the workforce. He said that young and middle-aged women who lose husbands to death or divorce and don’t have enough work experience get left out in the cold.
“If they don’t have an income history of their own, the Social Security system fails them,” he said.
Feldstein served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under Reagan from 1982 to 1984, when the poverty rate fell. But the poverty rate when Reagan left office was higher than it was when he took office.
Feldstein also said the government is failing to encourage Americans to save.
“We don’t encourage wealth accumulation,” Feldstein said. “We don’t encourage people to have personal retirement accounts, personal savings accounts that they can use when there are medical emergencies or unemployment emergencies, and I think we ought to both encourage and tax facilitate for middle- and lower-income people to accumulate liquid wealth.”
There is data that backs up Feldstein’s point. Nearly one in three middle-class Americans say they plan to work into their 80s because they cannot afford to retire earlier, according to a recent Wells Fargo survey. Roughly one in two Americans are not saving for retirement at all. And one in two Americans do not have enough emergency savings to cover three months of expenses, according to Bankrate.com.
October 24-25, 2012 — Update 1x. Another institution engulfed in pedophilia scandal
First it was the Catholic Church, then Penn State, followed by the Boy Scouts that were swamped in major pedophilia scandals. Now, it is the venerable British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) — the Beeb — that finds itself at the center of a major pedophile scandal involving the late children’s and teen show star Jimmy Savile.
Savile, who entertained children and teens as the host of the BBC teen music program “Top of the Pops” and the children’s “make a wish come true” program, “Jim’ll Fix It,” is believed by police to have sexually abused some 200 male and female underage children and teens. After the BBC’s rival, ITV, recently ran an expose on Savile’s sexual abuse activities at the BBC, it emerged that last year the BBC spiked a similar documentary that was to run on its Newsnight program due to pressure from senior BBC officials.
The interference of senior network officials in spiking stories on pedophilia involving the network or its parent company is nothing new. In 1998, ABC killed a 20/20 story about pedophiles employed by Disney World because of pressure exerted by Michael Eisner, the CEO of Disney Corporation, which owned and continues to own ABC. The U.S. news media has been strangely quiet on the unfolding BBC pedophilia story. However, the connections between the BBC scandal and the U.S. media are only beginning to emerge. Mark Thompson, who was the Director General of the BBC when the Newsnight story was spiked, is slated to become the CEO of The New York Times Company next month. Thompson is already dodging questions about his role in spiking the Newsnight story. Another BBC director general, Greg Dyke, said mistakes were made in handling the Savile case.
The involvement of The New York Times in the emerging scandal may be one reason why the U.S. corporate media has been downplaying the Savile story. U.S. coverage of the BBC scandal is disproportionately less than the coverage the British media gave to the Jerry Sandusky/Penn State pedophile story.
BBC Director General George Entwistle has asked Newsnight editor Peter Rippon to step aside as the investigation of the spiking incident takes place. Tory MP Ann Main has tabled a motion before the House of Commons that would have the Leveson Inquiry, which is investigating the phone hacking scandal involving Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp news entities being extended to the BBC. If the soft ball questions lobbed by Lord Leveson to Prime Minister David Cameron, and former Prime Minister Tony Blair and Gordon Brown are any indication, Leveson will sure to avoid anything that could be embarrassing to former Tory Prime Minsters like Heath and Thatcher.
There is also emerging evidence that Savile could not have gotten away with his serial predatory activities had he not had the assistance of others, including senior BBC personnel, as well as senior government officials, in perpetrating his crimes for such a long period of time. Savile had not only been knighted by the Queen but he was closely linked politically to a number of Tory political leaders, including Prime Ministers Ted Heath and Margaret Thatcher. It is being alleged that a former British Prime Minister set the ground for child pornography from abroad to be smuggled into Britain for the use of a powerful pedophile ring of which the Prime Minister, Savile, Glitter, and others were members.
Lord Patten, the former chairman of the Conservative Party, as well as the last Governor of Hong Kong and the one-time EU Commissioner for External Relations, is the chairman of the BBC. Patten is already coming under fire for having a major conflict-of-interest in covering up the possible involvement of a former Tory Prime Minister, said to be Heath, in a major pedophile ring.
Savile’s BBC programs ran on the network from 1959 through the 1980s and some of the sexual abuse reportedly took place at BBC studios and corporate offices. Savile, who was knighted by the Queen for his charitable work for children, openly sympathized with British rock star Gary Glitter, aka Paul Gadd, who was convicted in Britain in 1999 for possession of child pornography and convicted and jailed in Vietnam in 2006 for engaging in sexual acts with minors.
It has now been alleged by a former pupil of a boarding school for emotionally-distressed children in Surrey, where Savile is said to have procured young girls for sex, that Savile sexually molested a 14-year old girl in his BBC dressing room while Glitter raped a 13-year old girl. A third well-known BBC celebrity was said to have been present during the activity.
In 2007, Savile was interviewed “under caution” by police who were involving a 1970s sexual assault of a minor at the Duncroft Approved School for Girls in Surrey, which is now closed. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said there was insufficient evidence in the case and no charges against Savile or anyone else were brought.
Savile is said to have preyed on children, particularly boys, at the Haut de La Garenne orphanage on the island of Jersey and at the children’s wards of Mandeville Hospital near Aylesbury, Broadmoor Hospital in Berkshire, and Leeds General Infirmary in Leeds. Police are following more than 400 leads in their multi-jurisdictional investigation of Savile that has already identified over 200 witnesses, many of them abused children who are now adults.
However, there are also a belief that the British police and other law enforcement agencies cannot be fully trusted to investigate the growing pedophile scandal that is said to reach into the upper echelons of the Conservative Party, the media, and even Buckingham Palace. U.S. journalist Leah McGrath Goodman was recently barred from entering the United Kingdom and Jersey because of her investigation of sexual abuse at the Haut de La Garenne children’s home in Jersey. Jersey official barred Goodman because she did not possess a valid “writer’s visa.” However, such visas do not even exist in Jersey.
BBC Jersey took part in the cover-up of the pedophile scandal on the island that was said to involve sex tourists like Savile and high-level government officials on the island. In 2008, the States of Jersey Police dropped an investigation of an indecent sexual assault by Savile at the Jersey home in the 1970s due to “lack of evidence.”
In 2009, the CPS dropped another investigation against Savile. Victims of Savile are now stating that the BBC pedophile was very organized.
Demands that Savile be stripped of his Order of the British Empire (OBE) knighthood have fell on deaf ears at Buckingham Palace, which maintains that upon death, a knighthood merely ceases to exist and no formal stripping of the honors is necessary.
Update 1x. The Independent reported on October 24, 2012, that Savile’s pedophilia also extended into pedo-necrophilia. Paul Gambaccini, who worked with Savile as a DJ on BBC Radio 1 in 1983, alleges that Savile had sex with the corpses of deceased minors. Gambaccini termed the corpses “underaged subnormals.” The mere fact that The New York Times would hire as its CEO someone who may have covered up such grotesque behavior by the BBC calls into question the judgment of the newspaper and its qualifications to honestly and inependently report on the news.
By Michael Isikoff, NBC News
A campaign worker linked to a controversial Republican consulting firm has been arrested in Virginia and charged with throwing voter registration forms into a dumpster.
The suspect, Colin Small, 31, was described by a local law enforcement official as a “supervisor” in a Republican Party financed operation to register voters in Rockingham County in rural Virginia, a key swing state in the Nov. 6 election. He was arrested after a local business owner in the same Harrisonburg, Va., shopping center where the local GOP campaign headquarters is located spotted Small tossing a bag into the trash, according to a statement Thursday by the Rockingham County Sheriff’s office. The bag was later found to contain eight voter registration forms, it said. The arrest was reported Thursday night by WWBT-TV in Richmond.
The case comes on the heels of a controversy last month over the activities of Strategic Allied Consulting, an Arizona based consulting firm that was paid $3 million by the Republican National Committee this year to register voters in five battleground states, including Virginia. The firm, run by veteran GOP operative Nathan Sproul, was recently fired by the RNC following reports that its workers had submitted hundreds of suspicious voter registration forms in Florida.
Sean Spicer, communications director for the RNC, told NBC News Thursday night that Small has now been fired as well, and that he had been directly employed by a payroll company called Pinpoint, which was previously used by Strategic Allied Consulting to pay workers for the GOP registration drive being run by the consulting company.
Small lists himself on his LinkedIn resume as a “Grassroots field director at Republican National Committee” from August 2012 to the present. But Spicer denied that Small was ever directly employed by the RNC and said he will be “told to take that down.” Small was reportedly in jail Thursday night and could not be reached for comment.
Strategic Allied Consulting also tried to distance itself from the arrested campaign worker. “The relationship between Strategic Allied and Colin Small ended on September 27th, when our firm stopped running voter registration programs in Virginia and other states. We had no contact with Small or any other voter registration worker at any point thereafter,” a spokesman for the firm said in a statement emailed to NBC News. “The reprehensible conduct it appears Small engaged in happened nearly three weeks later. Strategic Allied had nothing to do with such regrettable, illegal activity. We hope he is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Spicer, the spokesman for the RNC, said that after the RNC and the Republican Party of Virginia severed their relationships with Strategic Allied Consulting, the state party continued to use some of the firm’s same workers, including Small, by paying them through Pinpoint.
“The actions taken by this individual are a direct contradiction of both his training and explicit instructions given to him,” said Pat Mullins, the chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, in a statement Thursday night. “The Republican Party of Virginia will not tolerate any action by any person that could threaten the integrity of our electoral process.”
The Rockingham County Sheriff’s office said that, after an investigation and “lengthy” consultations with local prosecutors, Small was arrested and charged with eight felony counts and four misdemeanors under Virginia voter fraud laws and one misdemeanor count of obstruction of justice. “There is no indication that this activity was widespread in our jurisdiction; it appears to be very limited in nature but there is the possibility that additional charges may be filed in the future if it is deemed appropriate,” said the statement from Rockingham County Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson.
It is not clear what motive Small might have had for throwing away the registration forms. Voters in Virginia do not register by party so there is no way to know whether the recovered registration forms were from Democratic or Republican voters. One GOP source said that a campaign worker could be tempted to throw away forms that have incomplete information since there are penalties under Virginia law for not submitting completed registration forms within 15 days after they are signed. It could not be determined Thursday night if the forms allegedly tossed by Small were incomplete.
Sproul’s companies have been accused by Democrats in the past of engaging in tactics aimed at suppressing voter turnout, including throwing away Democratic registration forms. Sproul has denied any wrongdoing and no charges against his companies have been filed. But authorities in Florida said they are conducting a statewide investigation of Strategic Allied’s operations there following reports of suspicious registration forms submitted by its workers, including forms with phony addresses and similar looking signatures. Sproul blamed the suspicious forms on a few “bad apples” who were working for him.
Illustration: Bill Mayer
You’d be forgiven for not noticing—unless you live in California, where you’ve likely been bombarded by geotargeted web ads and TV spots—but this election could spur a revolution in the way our food is made. Proposition 37, a popular Golden State ballot initiative, would require the labeling of food containing genetically modified (GM) ingredients. The food and agriculture industries are spending millions to defeat it, and with good reason: As we’ve seen with auto emissions standards and workplace smoking bans, as California goes, so goes the nation.
At least 70 percent of processed food in the United States contains GM ingredients. Eighty-eight percent of corn and 93 percent of soybeans grown domestically are genetically modified. Soda and sweets are almost guaranteed to contain GM ingredients, either in the form of corn syrup or beet sugar. Canola and cottonseed oils also commonly come from GM crops. But if those stats make you want to run and examine the labels on the boxes and cans in your pantry, you’re out of luck. Unlike the European Union, the US government doesn’t require food manufacturers to disclose their use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Californians appear ready to change that: An August poll found voters in the state favoring Prop. 37 by a margin of 3-to-1. And if they do approve the measure, food companies might well start disclosing GMOs nationwide, since it would be expensive and cumbersome to produce one set of labels for California, home to 12 percent of the nation’s population, and another for the remaining 49 states. California voters already have a record of being leaders in food reform: When they passed a ban on tight cages for egg-laying hens in 2008, the egg industry initially fought it. But by 2011, it had begun working with animal welfare groups to take the California standards national.
Why the push to label GMOs? After all, these crops have been marketed as environmental panaceas, and some prominent greens have been convinced. By opposing GMOs, environmentalists have “starved people, hindered science, hurt the natural environment, and denied our own practitioners a crucial tool,” Stewart Brand wrote in his 2009 book, Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto. So far, biotech giants like Monsanto, DuPont, and Syngenta have commercialized two main GM “traits,” engineering crops with the bug-killing gene from the insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and crops that can withstand Monsanto’s Roundup and other herbicides. Yet GM crops’ herbicide resistance has caused a 7 percent net increase in pesticide use in the United States since 1996, according to a recent paper by Washington State University researcher Charles Benbrook.
The industry swears genetically engineered foods are safe even though their potential risks have not been fully studied. Back in 1992, the Food and Drug Administration declared GM foods essentially equivalent to foods derived from non-GM plants, and it has implemented no requirements for safety testing. GMOs have been in the food supply since 1996, which isn’t long enough to tell whether they are having subtle negative effects on our health. Plus, as the advocacy group Food & Water Watch recently reported (PDF), long-term safety studies have been limited because the biotech industry uses its patent power to prevent independent scientists from cultivating GM seeds for research purposes.
In the EU, where labeling has been required since 1997, most consumers have rejected GMOs. No wonder the GM seed industry has been shoveling cash into fighting Prop. 37.
Some independent, peer-reviewed research has suggested trouble, however. GMOs are capable of creating novel proteins that can turn out to be allergenic, as Australian scientists found when they tested a pea variety that had been engineered to express an otherwise harmless protein from the common bean. A 2009 study by French researchers found that rats fed Bt and Roundup-tolerant corn for three months showed declines in kidney and liver function. While such findings don’t establish that GMOs are unsafe, they do leave the question wide open—and validate demands for labeling. GMOs are a “massive experiment on the American people,” says Stacy Malkan, media director for the pro-labeling group Yes on 37 for Your Right to Know If Your Food Has Been Genetically Engineered. “We absolutely have a right to know and choose for ourselves if we eat genetically engineered foods.”
If Prop. 37 wins and the food industry eventually takes labeling nationwide, will it present a serious challenge to GMOs? One possibility is that consumers will simply ignore the labels and continue shopping as usual. Or not: A 2010 Thomson Reuters poll (PDF) found 93 percent of respondents in support of labeling; 40 percent indicated they wouldn’t choose to eat genetically engineered vegetables, fruits, or grains. In the European Union, where labeling has been required since 1997, most consumers have rejected GMOs, essentially killing the market for them. Hostility toward the technology is so strong that the German chemical giant BASF recently announced it would stop producing GM seeds for the European market.
No wonder the GM seed industry has been shoveling cash into the No on 37 Coalition Against the Deceptive Food Labeling Scheme. As of early fall, it had raised $32 million, eight times as much as the pro-labeling group. Its list of funders reads like a Big Food and Ag trade group: Major donors include Monsanto ($7.1 million), DuPont ($4.9 million), Dow ($2 million), and PepsiCo ($1.7 million). The parent companies of major organic brands have also lined up against Prop. 37, including Coca-Cola (Honest Tea), General Mills (Cascadian Farm), Kellogg (Kashi), and Dean Foods (Horizon Organic). The No on 37 campaign’s treasurer is Thomas Hiltachk, a prominent Republican lawyer and former tobacco industry lobbyist who has served as outside counsel to Philip Morris and helped lead the failed 2010 ballot initiative to repeal California’s climate law.
The group’s main strategy has been to portray the labeling measure as a needless burden and waste of money. An image on its website shows a farmer with his mouth taped shut and his body crisscrossed by red tape—never mind that the proposal imposes no requirements on farmers. The group has funded studies purporting to show that Prop. 37 would impose an additional $1.2 billion in annual production costs on California food processors and would increase household food prices by as much as $400 a year.
The Yes on 37 side is playing hardball, too. By early September, it had raised $4 million, mostly from the pro-organic, anti-corporate Organic Consumers Fund, independently owned food companies like Clif Bar and Nature’s Path, and a supplements distributor run by the quackish natural-health guru Joseph Mercola. In late August, it released a 30-second TV ad linking the GM seed industry to past chemical industry scandals, pointing out that Monsanto and Dow once staunchly defended infamous poisons such as DDT and Agent Orange.
If Prop. 37 passes, will it threaten the GMO giants’ bottom line? So far, the market seems unfazed about the prospect of mandatory labeling. Two months from Election Day, Monsanto’s share price was up more than 25 percent over last year’s, significantly outperforming the broader market and showing no evidence of investors’ fretting over the California ballot initiative. But Wall Street’s hyperfocus on the short term sometimes blinds it to major shake-ups approaching on the horizon.
By cutting fat checks and hauling out an old tobacco hand to defeat California’s labeling proposition, Monsanto and its peers are no doubt taking the long view. The US market for genetically engineered crops is by far the world’s largest, accounting for two-thirds of global annual GM seed sales of about $13.3 billion. This fight isn’t just about keeping consumers in the dark in a single state; it’s about keeping GMOs in farm fields and on supermarket shelves nationwide.