24 July 2002
MONSANTO EARNINGS DOWN/CORPORATE CRONIES/AUSTRALIAN FARMERS COULD BE SHUT OUT OF EU
"When I crossed the thresholds of those downtown skyscrapers, I went from a one-person, one-vote democracy... to a netherworld where fear was the primary management tool and dossiers, censorship, misinformation and various forms of surveillance were standard practice. To me, corporations seemed not merely autocratic but totalitarian; the engines of America's fabled democratic society are anything but...I was surrounded by free-market fundamentalists who roamed the globe preaching a triumphant gospel of deregulation from which all freedoms would flow, yet returned to a bureaucratic roost perfectly Soviet in its rigidity" (item 2)
1. Monsanto Earnings Down on Bad Debt
2. Corporate cronies
3. Aust farmers could be shut out of EU
4. North Dakota Considers Banning GM Wheat
1. Monsanto Earnings Down on Bad Debt
by Julianne Johnston
Agweb.com, 23 July 2002
Monsanto Company today reported sales and earnings for the second quarter of 2002, saying earnings were down on bad debt. The company reported net income of 56 cents per share, which includes the Argentine bad-debt reserveof $100 million aftertax (38 cents per share) and restructuring charges of $43 million aftertax (16 cents per share).
Globally, Monsanto said Roundup herbicide volumes and prices were down while U.S. acreage for Monsanto's biotech traits in 2002 is estimated to increase 5 percent to 89.5 million acres.
Monsanto President and CEO Hendrik A. Verfaillie, said, "Although weather conditions affected our Roundup herbicide business, our U.S. business is performing well overall. In Latin America, consistent with our strategy, we began to implement the tactics necessary to reduce risk.
"Even with these challenges, cash generation is improving as we address working capital."
Second-quarter 2002 net sales declined to $1.6 billion, and sales for the first six months of 2002 of $2.8 billion also were lower compared with sales in the first half of 2001.
"Wet spring weather conditions in the United States delayed planting of corn and soybeans, which reduced sales of Roundup," says the company. ---
2. Corporate cronies
As the Bush administration puts Monsanto's Washington lobbyist Linda Fisher in at the EPA...
taken from THE AGRIBUSINESS EXAMINER #176
SO THEY SAY !!!
KATE JENNINGS, "THE HYPOCRISY OF WALL STREET CULTURE," THE NEW YORK TIMES
" . . . . One paradox was hard to miss: When I crossed the thresholds of those downtown skyscrapers, I went from a one-person, one-vote democracy --- messy, noisy, infuriating, but democratic --- to a netherworld where fear was the primary management tool and dossiers, censorship, misinformation and various forms of surveillance were standard practice. To me, corporations seemed not merely autocratic but totalitarian; the engines of America's fabled democratic society are anything but.
"To heap paradox on paradox, because I worked with investment bankers I was surrounded by free-market fundamentalists who roamed the globe preaching a triumphant gospel of deregulation from which all freedoms would flow, yet returned to a bureaucratic roost perfectly Soviet in its rigidity. . "
--- July 14, 2002
MARC FISHER, "THE LEADERS WHOSE VALUES AREN'T EVEN IN THE BALLPARK," THE WASHINGTON POST
" . . . . . The American miracle is the great American myth of mobility, the deep belief that we can all get there someday. So we usually don't resent our betters. We vote and behave as if we really might be in their shoes someday. So a tax cut for the rich doesn't seem nearly as outrageous as it might to a European who grows up in an entrenched class system. And a president who puts his corporate buddies first seems all right to us, because if we play our cards right and catch some breaks, maybe we too can get to be insider traders someday.
"But every dream comes to an end, and we're teetering too close to our breaking point in too many areas of life. Sure, baseball is just a game, but our attitudes toward it reflect our views toward everything else --- government, business, work, religion. The disconnect between the government and the governed, between the CEOs and the shareholders, between the owners and players and the fans who pay their way, is growing, and one day you wakeup and the only question you have is: Who's going to fleece us today? .."
--- July 11, 2002
PAUL KRUGMAN, "THE INSIDER GAME," NEW YORK TIMES
" . . . . . how about reporting on the story of Mr. Bush's extraordinarily lucrative investment in the Texas Rangers, which became so profitable because of a highly incestuous web of public policy and private deals? As in the case of Harken, no hard work is necessary; Joe Conason laid it all out in Harper's almost two years ago.
"But the Harken story still has more to teach us, because the S.E.C. investigation into Mr. Bush's stock sale is a perfect illustration of why his tough talk won't scare well-connected malefactors.
"Mr. Bush claims that he was 'vetted' by the S.E.C. In fact, the agency's investigation was peculiarly perfunctory. It somehow decided that Mr. Bush's perfectly timed stock sale did not reflect inside information without interviewing him, or any other members of Harken's board. Maybe top officials at the S.E.C. felt they already knew enough about Mr. Bush: his father, the president, had appointed a good friend as S.E.C. chairman. And the general counsel, who would normally make decisions about legal action, had previously been George W. Bush's personal lawyer --- he negotiated the purchase of the Texas Rangers. I am not making this up. . . . . "
--- July 12, 2002
KEVIN PHILLIPS, "THE CYCLES OF FINANCIAL SCANDAL," THE NEW YORK TIMES:
" . . . . Near the peak of the great booms, old economic cautions are dismissed, financial and managerial operators sidestep increasingly inadequate regulations and ethics surrender to greed. Then, after the collapse, the dirty linen falls out of the closet. Public muttering usually swells into a powerful chorus for reform --- deep, systemic changes designed to catch up with a whole new range and capacity for frauds and finagles and bring them under regulatory control.
"Even so, correction is difficult, in part because the big wealth momentum booms leave behind a triple corruption: financial, political and philosophic. Besides the swindles and frauds that crest with the great speculative booms, historians have noted a parallel tendency: cash moving into politics also rises with market fevers. . . . . . "
--- July 17, 2002
ROBIN BROMBY, AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW
"At 2:32 Wednesday, New York time, something extraordinary happened at the corner of Wall and Broad streets. The New York Stock Exchange's Dow Jones industrial index --- struggling since the opening bell after the World Com fraud revelations --- threw off its problems. From an intraday low of 8926.6, the Dow shot skywards to its high of 9160 at 3:29 PM . . . Could it be the work of the much talked about, but never seen, Plunge- Protection Team? There is a belief fast gaining ground that this team represents a powerful and secretive hand that is ready to act at any time the Dow looks ready to tank big-time.
"It is reputed to consist of Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, the U.S. Treasury Secretary, and select insider Wall Street brokerages, including Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch along with bankers like Citigroup. When needed, so the theory goes, funds are pumped into stocks and futures to derail any market panic. Such a group's existence first came to light in The Washington Post five years ago. The paper reported that after the October 1987 crash president Ronald Reagan signed an executive order authorizing a working group on financial markets aimed at coming up with strategies dealing with stock market crises. No one heard much more about it --- that is, until January 1997 when Dr. Greenspan made a speech saying the government would directly intervene in the market in `rare circumstances.' .
--- July 4, 2002
NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF, "BUSH AND THE TEXAS LAND GRAB," NEW YORK TIMES
"Democrats and media hounds are baying under the wrong tree. The point in President Bush's business career where he took outrageous shortcuts was not at Harken Energy, but rather when he was grabbing land for a new baseball stadium in Arlington for his Texas Rangers baseball team.
"Mr. Bush broke no laws. Neither do the overwhelming majority of corporate executives. The cloud over the business world comes not so much from law-breaking as from avaricious bruising of the public interest. The challenge is not catching criminals but injecting public scrutiny into a culture of cronyism in which executives, accountants, regulators and `independent' board members all ooze empathy for each other.
"When Asia had its economic crisis in 1997-98, Americans properly trashed its `crony capitalism.' But we suffer from the same affliction ourselves, and President Bush will not address the issue seriously because cronyism has been his way of life --- the Bushes call it loyalty. . . . . "
--- July 16, 2002
3. Fed: Aust farmers could be shut out of EU over GM: Labor
Financial Times - Asia Africa Intelligence Wire
July 21, 2002 12:44pm
CANBERRA, July 21 AAP - Australian farmers could find themselves locked out of European markets unless the government acts on genetically modified (GM) crops, Labor said today. Opposition primary industries spokesman Kerry O'Brien said the government was conducting a three-year study into how GM and non-GM crops could be segregated. But the nation's GM regulator has less than 170 days in which to make a ruling on an application by two multi-national firms to grow genetically altered canola. Monsanto and Aventis have lodged applications with the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) to grow GM canola on trial sites across Australia. The OGTR has 170 days in which to consider the applications which are the first for a general or commercial release of GM canola. Last year the government began a three-year study into the feasibility of segregating GM and non-GM produce to satisfy demands from markets such as the EU which demand genetically modified-free goods. Senator O'Brien said the government had been caught out by the pace of GM technology and the pressure on the OGTR to approve GM crops. "In the absence of scientific certainty that we can successfully segregate GM from non-GM produce, we could find that markets such as the EU are closed to Australian farmers and food processors," he said in a statement. "The Howard government's confused and uncoordinated approach to GM crops has been exposed by Monsanto's application." Senator O'Brien said it would be almost impossible for the OGTR to properly consider the GM canola applications when the government's study was still some time off from completion.
Copyright 2002.All Rights Reserved.
Financial Times Information Limited - Asia Africa Intelligence Wire
4. July 24 - North Dakota Considers Banning Modified Wheat
Progressive Farmer | July 22, 2002 Lawmakers in North Dakota are considering
a motion to ban the planting of genetically modified wheat in the state.
Officials from the American Corn Growers Association argue that the reluctance
of other countries to buy the genetically altered wheat will cause the
grain to become feed, competing with already suffering corn prices.
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