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Attorney in Texas

Attorney in Texas's Journal
Attorney in Texas's Journal
September 28, 2016

U.S. farmer lawsuits over Syngenta GMO corn granted class status

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

A St. Louis lawyer has secured the right to proceed with a national class-action lawsuit that could pit more than 440,000 U.S. corn farmers against Switzerland-based seed giant Syngenta.... The legal dispute against Syngenta first emerged in 2014 and is centered on allegations that the company “prematurely and irresponsibly” released new seed varieties that were not approved in China. Eventually those varieties, Agrisure Viptera and Duracade, contaminated U.S. corn exports to China, leading to a trade ban in late 2013. Plaintiffs say the trade ban and China’s continued unwillingness to buy genetically modified corn from the U.S. has resulted in estimated losses of $5 billion to $7 billion for domestic corn growers.

“Once you’ve lost a foreign market, it’s very difficult to get it back because they tend to look to other countries to fill their needs,” Downing said. He explained that China has turned to Ukraine as its primary supplier of corn imports. He says China now also uses imports of milo, a sorghum product, as a feed grain substitute to replace American corn.... “When we lost the Chinese market, it affected the Chicago Board of Trade price for corn,” Downing said. “All farmers across the country were affected on a per-bushel basis, equally.”
“The Court’s ruling will make it easier and less expensive for farmers to pursue their claims against Syngenta,” said Scott Powell, another of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, in a released statement. “Instead of having to retain and pay individual counsel, file their own lawsuit, produce voluminous farm records, sit for a deposition and appear at trial, the Court found that all class members may attempt to prove their claims through a limited number of class representatives. If those class representatives win, all class members win. No individual farmer has to file a lawsuit to seek a recovery.”

Downing ... was the co-lead counsel in a $750 million settlement reached between Bayer and U.S. rice farmers in 2011. In that case, U.S. long-grain rice exports were embargoed after an unapproved, test variety of seed — called LibertyLink 601 — contaminated the domestic rice supply.... He says many in the grain industry warned Syngenta that China’s failure to approve the seed varieties in question presented an unnecessary risk to an important foreign trade partner.

Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/u-s-farmer-lawsuits-over-syngenta-gmo-corn-granted-class/article_0a0307d3-6a21-5db8-bbb8-57038ca809a7.html

I hope this leads both to economic justice for farmers financially ruined by predatory agribusiness and to greater understanding that the straw-man debate about whether GMOs are safe to eat is a false flag intended to mask the problem of GMOs as a monopolistic business model which is destroying independent farms.
September 12, 2016


The Huffington Post headline "DEMS ON TRACK TO BLOW THE SENATE" should be a wake up call! This is a very well researched and clearly presented premise:

We simulated a Nov. 8 election 100 million times using our state-by-state probabilities. In 13.4 million simulations, Democrats ended up with at least 51 seats. Therefore, we say Democrats have a 13.4 percent chance of gaining control of the Senate.
The 2016 Senate consists of 54 Republicans and 46 Democrats. (The two independent senators caucus with Democrats.) Voters usually re-elect their incumbent senators, but some seats could flip to the other party.

If four Republican Senate seats flip to Democrats and there are no other changes, the 2017 Senate will be split 50-50.
99.0% chance Wisconsin will flip to a Democrat
Russell Feingold (D) won against incumbent Ronald Johnson (R) in 99.9% of our simulations.
81.0% chance Illinois will flip to a Democrat
70.8% chance Nevada will flip to a Republican
Joe Heck (R) won against Catherine Cortez-Masto (D) in 77.5% of our simulations.
53.3% chance Pennsylvania will flip to a Democrat
Kathleen McGinty (D) won against incumbent Patrick Toomey (R) in 63.3% of our simulations.
Toss-up in Indiana
Toss-up in New Hampshire
Incumbent Kelly Ayotte (R) won against Maggie Hassan (D) in 53.2% of our simulations.

We are blowing an opportunity to take control of the Senate by focusing too much on a presidential race that is either already won or unwinnable (if America would elect Trump, we have overestimated America and that cannot be fixed in two months, but I believe America will not elect Trump because we're better than that).

We need to stop the fetishistic obsession on the presidential race and refocus on winning the Senate. Regardless of who is elected president, we will not get shit accomplished with a Senate and House both in Republican control.

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