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Supreme Court rules for Monsanto in Indiana farmer’s GM seeds case


The US Supreme Court came down solidly on the side of the agricultural giant Monsanto on Monday, ruling unanimously that an Indiana farmer could not use patented genetically modified soybeans to create new seeds without paying the company.

The case – which was cast by the farmer’s supporters as a classic tale of David vs Goliath – could well dictate the future of modern farming.

In an unanimous ruling written by Justice Elena Kagan, the court ruled that the farmer, Vernon Bowman, had infringed on Monsanto’s patent for its GM soybeans when he bought some of those seeds from a local grain elevator and planted them for a second, late-season crop. Monsanto sued, arguing that Bowman had signed a contract when he initially bought the Roundup Ready soybeans in the spring, agreeing not to save any of the harvest for replanting. The seeds are genetically modified to be resistant to Roundup Ready weedkiller.

By the start of this year, Monsanto had filed 144 lawsuits against 466 farmers and small farm businesses alleging patent infringement, according to a report from the Centre for Food Safety which has championed Bowman’s case.

The report noted that three big companies now control more than half of the global seed market – a position that has sent prices soaring. The report said the average cost of planting an acre of soybeans had risen 325% between 1995 and 2011.

via Supreme Court rules for Monsanto in Indiana farmer’s GM seeds case | Environment | guardian.co.uk.

via Supreme Court rules for Monsanto in Indiana farmer’s GM seeds case | Environment | guardian.co.uk.

US fund manager who gambled on Bank of Ireland bonds in 2012 earned USD $2.2bn (personally, that is, himself)


You will be glad to have confirmed the identity of at least one bondholder to whom we have paid tens of billions. David Tepper has been named by Forbes as the highest earning fund manager in 2012. He, himself personally, was paid USD 2.2bn (€1.68bn) in 2012; yes, he actually earned 2,671 times Pat Kenny’s 2012 RTE fees. Forbes reports “his flagship hedge fund successfully bet on stocks and other securities at key moments in 2012, posting a net return of nearly 30%. His $15 billion Appaloosa Management has been knocking out annual net returns of about 30% since 1993”

And how is David earning 30% annual returns? We don’t have a detailed breakdown but we’ll remember David here in Ireland after his January 2013 performance on Bloomberg TV, when he told the US audience.

“We invested in the Bank of Ireland… and we bought their bonds, subordinated bonds…They [BoI] wanted to ‘cram us down’ … So we took them to court.. We were gonna go into the English and Irish courts to fight the Bank of Ireland, and fight the Irish Government for that matter…We finally won at the beginning of this year… The debt was trading at 40/50 cents…..So the Bank of Ireland this year, goes and issues a new issue, of the same debt…. a month and a half ago….the debt is now trading at 115..The only reason it is worth buying, is because we fought it, and we won”

Bank of Ireland, the bank into which we have shoveled €4.7bn gross, about €3bn net.

We have no real idea of the bondholders in Anglo, Irish Nationwide, Permanent TSB, EBS and AIB into which we have shoveled €60bn. Yes, there was a partial listing of INBS junior bondholders from Guido Fawkes which Senator Norris tried to read into the Seanad record, and was stopped, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Challenge the government on this and the key defence is “think of the credit unions”, but we know they are suffering circa €15m losses on deposits at Irish Bank Resolution Corporation. The government also claim that because the banks don’t maintain lists and the banks merely pay clearing companies which then make payments to the actual bondholders, that there is no way of knowing the ultimate identity of the bondholders. Well, at least, we know David.

Here’s the video

via NAMA Wine Lake | Click the green link above for latest news and over 2,400 related articles. NAMA – National Asset Management Agency – part of Ireland’s response to its banking crisis and property bubble.

via NAMA Wine Lake | Click the green link above for latest news and over 2,400 related articles. NAMA – National Asset Management Agency – part of Ireland’s response to its banking crisis and property bubble.

 

The Bible’s Failed Covenant


In the entire Old Testament, there are no verses more significant than the ones in which Yahweh establishes his covenant with the Jewish people. He pledges to make the Israelites his chosen, to show special favor to them above all other nations and races, and to grant them a peaceful and prosperous home in the promised land. Even today, after several millennia, these passages still play a pivotal role in shaping Jewish identity, consciousness, and culture, as well as exerting a major influence on politics and world affairs.

These verses are also, indisputably, false. The Bible’s covenant was broken. The promise was not kept. The pledge is void.

This isn’t even a close call, scripturally speaking. No subtle exegesis or nuanced interpretation is required to see that it’s true. All that it takes is to read the plain and simple language of the text establishing the covenant, observe that it makes a clear and unmistakable promise, and then look at the world and see for yourself that this promise failed to hold true.

According to Yahweh, the instrument by which he would keep his covenant was the dynasty descended from King David. These kings would rule over the Jewish people, protect them from invaders, and ensure that the law was kept. If the king or the people strayed into sin, God threatened to punish them, but he never threatened to put an end to the kingdom or the monarchy. To the contrary, he explicitly promised that both would be established in perpetuity. Consider this critical verse laying out the terms of the covenant:

“And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: but my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.”

—2 Samuel 7:12-16

This passage is presented as “the word of the Lord” which came to the prophet Nathan and which he was instructed to deliver to King David. Note what it explicitly says: the house, the kingdom and the throne of David “shall be established for ever”. If the king does wrong, God promises to punish him, but he explicitly says he will not take the kingdom away from him, as he did to David’s predecessor Saul. The pledge is unconditional and unambiguous.

So that’s the promise; now look at the world. Were the terms of the covenant kept? The answer, of course, is no. There is no kingdom, no throne, and no Davidic dynasty; the line of descent was broken, the “house of David” no longer exists. The ancient kingdom of the Israelites was conquered and utterly destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 BCE, and it’s never been reestablished. There is a modern state of Israel, it’s true, but that state is a secular democracy, not a divine-right monarchy ruled by a king descended from David. It fails to meet the terms of the covenant. (Many modern-day Orthodox Jews refuse to give their allegiance to Israel for precisely that reason.) According to the Bible, this was God’s single greatest promise to the Jewish people, and it has completely failed.

What really happened, of course, is that no god ever spoke to the Israelites in the first place. Verses like the one quoted above were written not by a deity, but by a human being, some ancient scribe or historian in a fit of nationalistic fervor. Whoever the author was, he was convinced that his kingdom was divinely favored, so much so that he believed God would cause it to endure forever on the Earth.

Of course, this is nothing unique: most ancient empires believed themselves to be the beneficiaries of the gods’ special favor, and without exception, all of those empires were toppled and now exist only in ruins and memory. The only thing that makes this case special is that we still have the written records of one particular people in which they told themselves these patriotic myths.

via Daylight Atheism > The Bible’s Failed Covenant.

via Daylight Atheism > The Bible’s Failed Covenant.

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