Talcum Powder Mesothelioma Trial in New Jersey

The next talcum powder mesothelioma trial will open in Middlesex County Superior Court in New Jersey. The lawsuit charges that Johnson & Johnson sold talcum powder contaminated with the deadly carcinogen asbestos. The petition charges that the tainted talcum powder gave its users mesothelioma, a fatal asbestos-related disease.  Jury selection began this week.  Opening statements begin January 16, 2018.

The case will be heard by Judge Ana Viscomi, who oversees all of the asbestos-related lawsuits being heard in the New Jersey, the home of Johnson & Johnson.

Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a rare and fatal form of cancer specifically caused by asbestos exposure. It is usually considered an occupational disease which afflicts workers exposed on the job. But Johnson & Johnson and other talcum sellers now face thousands of lawsuits which accuse the companies of selling talcum powder products contaminated with asbestos.  Defendant companies targeted in the lawsuits have all argued against scientific tests that confirmed the presence of asbestos in their product decades ago.  They have all also argued against their legal liability.

Talcum Powder Asbestos Lawsuits
Several talcum powder asbestos lawsuits have already been heard around the United States.  Many juries have decided in favor of the plaintiffs.  Many juries have agreed that the plaintiffs’ lives were cut tragically short through their use of asbestos-contaminated talcum powder products.

Asbestos in Talcum
Asbestos is a mineral frequently found in close proximity to talc deposits.  This proximity is what has led to the contamination of the product, according to the plaintiffs’ petitions.  Talcum safety has been a hot button issue for decades.  A significant amount of evidence points to the notion that companies have been aware of talc’s risks, but have failed to report it, or else they have covered it up in order to keep selling talc.  Talcum powder has also been linked with ovarian cancer in women who used it for years for feminine hygiene.  Johnson & Johnson has lost several jury trials in talc powder ovarian cancer litigation, including verdicts for  $55 million, $72 Million, $110 million, and $417 million; though corporate-friendly judges have overturned some of those verdicts (and in some cases the entire jury system along with it) following the standard appeals by J&J lawyers.

Talcum Powder Meosthelioma Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been sickened by asbestos exposure, whether at home or on the job, you may be entitled to significant compensation for your injuries.  Email our experienced lawyers for a free legal consultation, or call us direct at 713-522-5250.  Our lawyers work nationwide, handling talcum powder cancer lawsuits  and talcum mesothelioma cancer lawsuits in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Talcum Powder Mesothelioma Trial in New Jersey

The last such trial, in Los Angeles last year, brought an $18 million verdict for the plaintiff.  This one is expected to last three weeks.

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e-Cigarette Explosions caused by Faulty Design

A 2017 U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) report has linked e-cigarette explosions to the faulty design of e-cigarettes.  Released in concert with the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), the report included extensive review and research into e-cigarette construction. It also examined the reasons why severe injuries are more likely to occur with e-cigarettes than with other products that use lithium-ion batteries.

Design Problem Fires Rockets into Mouth
Study results show a design problem with the dual-cylindrical construction of the e-cigarette product and how it uses batteries.  Unlike other products such as cell phones and laptops, e-cigarettes include cylindrical lithium-ion batteries installed in a cylindrical tube that is at its weakest at both ends.  Law360 reported that, “Battery failures generate increased pressure that ‘shoots’ the batteries out of the tube like “‘rockets.’”

Other products that use lithium batteries enclose them in thick plastic housings, such as laptops, or else they use flat batteries as cell phones do.  A person sucking on the e-cigarette when it explodes can inhale a burning “rocket” and suffer severe mouth and/or head injuries from the heat and chemicals.

Samsung Galaxy Note7 Comparison
Failure to protect against the combustible elements can lead to battery fires.  The Samsung Galaxy Note7 phone fires were an example of such a failure. Those fires prompted Samsung to remove the phone from the market and institute an in-depth study to determine the cause(s) of the fires. Airlines banned those phones.

Lithium-ion Batters not safe for Vaping Devices
Unlike Samsung, vaping industry companies have largely ignored e-cigarette explosions. Vape makers have issued dismissive statements that their customers are not using the products correctly.  They have blamed the user for improperly charging the vaping devices.  But strong rebuttal for that claim comes from the new USFA/FEMA statistics which show 62 percent of the devices exploded while being carried in a pocket or when they were actively in use. Only 25 percent of the explosions occurred during the charging process. The report concludes that lithium-ion batteries “are not a safe source of energy for these devices.”

Related:  e-Cigarette Explosions caught on video

Some minor safety measures have been implemented to battle the battery explosion incidents. Vaping customers are now encouraged to choose products that display a new UL (Underwriters Laboratories) rating to gain at least some level of safety related to the electrical system.

However, it is important to balance that assurance with the knowledge that no requirements exist to submit e-cigarette products to product design and safety testing.  Additionally, the standard has no connection to the safety of the liquids used in the cigarettes.  These liquids include nicotine and have been linked to health risks similar to and sometimes even worse than those attributed to cigarette smoking.

No Regulations for e-Cigarettes

Alarmingly, no product control regulations directly apply to e-cigarette products. This hands-off  policy puts unsuspecting customers at risk.  Since no legal requirement ensures product safety, e-cigarette makers and retailers can ignore the injuries and their underlying causes.  That position will, sadly, result in more and more explosions and potentially devastating injuries.

e-cigarette explosion injuries include:
heat burns
chemical burns
blast injuries to face, hands, thighs, eyes
tooth loss
permanent scars
loss of soft tissue

Many c-cigarette injuries are horrific.  They can require burn debridement, skin grafts, bone reconstruction, plastic surgery, dental implants, and long-term care.  Of the 195 injuries tallied in the USFA/FEMA report, 68 percent were acute and 30 percent severe.  The reports’ authors said they were unable to find any other consumer product that carries the same risk of severe, acute injury as e-cigarettes.

e-Cigarette Explosions caused by Faulty Design

E-cigarettes hit the U.S. market in 2007.  By 2014, 466 e-cigarette brands and more than 7,700  flavors were on sale.  About ten new brands and more than 240 new flavors hit the market every month for an estimated three million users.  The industry expects to grow, which means more and more e-cigarette products will hit store shelves.  Without any positive response to explosion risks by the vaping industry, the list of injuries is also expected to grow.  So. . . vape at your own risk!

E-Cigarette Injury Lawsuit

Our law firm is handling e-cigarette injury cases.  If you or someone you love has been injured by an e-cigarette, contact our law firm for a free legal consultation regarding a potential e-cigarette lawsuit against the product’s manufacturer.

Related

•  Man loses Seven Teeth from e-cigarette Explosion

•  e-Cigarette Explosions caught on video

•  e-Cigarette Explosion Lawsuit

•  e-Cigarette Explosions caused by Faulty Design

 

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Railroad Worker Cancer Trial: $7.5 Million Award

On September 30, 2016, a railroad worker who developed cancer after exposure to toxic chemicals on the job was awarded $7.5 million by an Illinois jury. James Brown, diagnosed with cancer in 2008, filed the lawsuit against Union Pacific Railroad, reported the Madison-St. Cloud Record.

Creosote, Lead, Other Toxic Chemical Exposures
Mr. Brown testified that he was exposed to creosote, cleaning or degreasing solvents, lead, and other toxic chemicals without the aid of proper protective equipment. His job included the handling of railroad ties. Some ties he installed were “soaking wet” with creosote, a known carcinogen. He also said that he washed off the ties and equipment. That job left him covered “head to foot” in creosote, a toxic chemical which soaked through his wet clothes into his skin.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Mr. Brown was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) after it progressed from Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). Other related health problems included injuries to his eyes, legs, feet, medication-caused weight gain, impotence, memory loss.

Mr. Brown was a railroad worker for some 31 years: 13 for Union Pacific, 18 for its predecessor, Chicago & North Western Railway (CNW). His lawyers said that he was eventually issued a hard hat and gloves, but no protective equipment until CNW became Union Pacific in the mid 1990s.

Railroad Worker Cancer Trial: $7.5 Million Award

The lawsuit was filed on December 2, 2010 in Madison County Circuit Court, Illinois — In Re: James Brown v. Union Pacific Railroad Co. — Case No. Case No. 10-L-1213.

FELA Railroad Case
Congress recognized in 1908 that railroads differ from other employers. Congress saw then that railroad worker’s compensation laws were inadequate. Railroad workers were being badly injured or killed with little to no compensation. Congress consequently passed the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA). This law protects railroad workers, allowing them to obtain the compensation they deserve when injured on the job. The law permits claims against the railroad for loss of the enjoyment of life; pain and suffering; past, present and future wage loss. To recover this compensation in a FELA case, the railroad worker must prove fault on the railroad’s part. Our law represents railroad workers for their injuries suffered on the job or as a result of it.

Do I have a Railroad Cancer Lawsuit?
Matthews & Associates Law Firm is handling railroad related injury cases in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.  If you are a railroad worker who was diagnosed with cancer, contact our lawyers now for a free case consultation. You can use the form to the right of this page or click this contact form to reach our railroad lawyers for a free, no-obligation case consultation.

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Monsanto pays farmers to use troubled poison

Monsanto has announced it will pay farmers to use one of its troubled poisons. (And why not? It’s a tried and true method that has worked for drug sales, illegal and otherwise.  Give the customer a free sample to hook him, then start charging, raising the price with the demand you’ve created.)

Monsanto’s latest version of its dicamba poison has been the subject of several lawsuits from farmers and homeowners. Dicamba has been shown to blow into neighboring farms and fields, damaging or killing plants. Monsanto and some farmers have consequently been sued by farmers or homeowners whose plants or property has been damaged by dicamba.

Farmers tend to get upset when you threaten or kill their livelihood. One Arkansas farmer was murdered over a Monsanto dicamba feud.  Others have developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma from Monsanto Roundup exposure.

Monsanto’s answer to the dicamba drifting problem has been to make it cheaper for farmers to use its beleaguered poison. It is offering cash to farmers who will use it. The ploy is clearly part of Monsanto’s continuing strategy to own everything that grows. If Monsanto can make everyone use its poison products, there will be nothing left to grow except patented Monsanto-poisoned seeds sprayed with Monsanto poisons. If you don’t think full spectrum market domination is not the company’s goal, you don’t know Monsanto.

Monsanto Lesson for India
American farmers lured into using dicamba by the promise of being paid to use it may want to consider the lesson of Indian farmers lured into the promise of easier farming and bigger yields.

Monsanto Farmer Suicides
In third-world countries such as India, Monsanto lured thousands of farmers into using its Roundup and GMO seeds by initially making them cheaper to purchase and use.  Then it lowered the boom, jacking up prices to where farmers couldn’t turn a profit.  Monsanto’s engineered crops also spectacularly failed in India.  So miserable did so many of the farmers become in their awful farming arrangement with Monsanto that thousands of them committed suicide.  Death became preferable to doing business with the biotech bully from Missouri.

In America today, Reuters reports – without the India farmers’ perspective – that “Monsanto Co will give cash back to U.S. farmers who buy a weed killer that has been linked to widespread crop damage, offering an incentive to apply its product even as regulators in several U.S. states weigh restrictions on its use.”

Monsanto wants farmers to use XtendiMax with VaporGrip, a poison (herbicide) based on the chemical known as dicamba. Reuters reportrs that Monsanto could refund farmers over half the sticker price of the poison in 2018 if they spray it on Monsanto’s GMO soybeans altered to resist it.

Monsanto is using its “generous offer” in an attempt to override the fact that the U.S. faced an agricultural crisis in 2017 which was caused by new formulations of Monsantio’s dicamba-based poisons.  Both farmers and weed experts say dicamba spraying harmed crops because it evaporated and drifted onto neighboring plants, gardens, trees, and other green growing areas that were not genetically altered to withstand the poison.

Monsanto claims XtendiMax is safe when properly applied.  Monsanto is banking on dicamba and soybean seeds engineered to resist it, called Xtend, to dominate soybean production in the U.S.

Meanwhile, if Monsanto’s latest dicamba product doesn’t kill non GMO plants, BASF SE and DowDuPont also sell versions of dicamba-based herbicides that can.

Monsanto competes against other chemical farming monsters such as Bayer AG (which is now trying to buy Monsanto) to sell farmers genetically perverted soybean seeds and chemicals.  Bayer is selling its LibertyLink soybean brand, a main rival to Xtend, to BASF as part of a deal to acquire Monsanto for $63.5 billion.  (Yes, Virginia, there’s good money in poisoning the land and monopolizing the seed industry.)

States prohibit Monsanto Poison
North Dakota in December 2017 said that it planned to ban dicamba herbicides after June 30, 2018, and when temperatures top 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The state think those restrictions may prevent dicamba from drifting beyond where it is sprayed.

Missouri may finalize restrictions on XtendiMax soon, after banning sprayings of BASF’s dicamba herbicide, called Engenia, in ten counties after June 1, 2018, and statewide after July 15, 2018.

Arkansas wants to stop dicamba sprayings after April 15, 2018.

Minnesota is also considering dicamba restrictions.

The farming states are taking action after the U.S. EPA (normally a rubber stamp agency for Monsanto) mandated special training for dicamba users for 2018. They will require that farmers keep records proving they were complying with label instructions.  (As if farmers don’t already have enough to do.)

Monsanto pays farmers to use troubled poison

Will Monsanto be able to lure in more customers with cheaper poison?  The company sure thinks so. Reuters reports Monsanto predicts it will double Xtend soybean plantings to about 40 milion acres next year, despite the millions of dollars in crop damage dicamba unleashed in 2017.

Related

•  Dicamba Pesticide Lawsuit

•  Monsanto Lawsuit

•  Roundup Cancer Lawsuit

•  Monsanto pays farmers to use troubled poison

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Monsanto sues Arkansas for Dicamba Ban

Monsanto sued Arkansas agricultural officials in October 2017 for a proposed ban on dicamba, which has damaged millions of acres of crops.  Arkansas proposed a summer ban on Monsanto’s dicamba weed killer, which has been linked to widespread crop damage in the state as well as beyond its borders.

Arkansas faces a tough task in taking on the chemical giant from neighboring Missouri. Loaded with lawyers, Monsanto has used its legal army (which includes former Monsanto lawyer Clarence Thomas as well as employees of the EPA) to sue more than 100 American farmers, and it has never lost against them.  Though this case is admittedly somewhat different.

Related: Arkansas Farmer Murdered in Monsanto Poison Feud

The Monsanto lawsuit is attempting to block the Arkansas State Plant Board from prohibiting the use of Monsanto’s dicamba herbicides. Arkansas wants them banned during summer.  The poisons are meant to be sprayed on GMO soybeans and cotton.  Monsanto genetically modifies staple money plants like soy, cotton, and corn; so that they become resistant to Monsanto-patented poisons like Roundup and dicamba.  But dicamba has caused some serious problems for neighboring farmers and residents.

Farmers across America’s farm belt said in summer 2017 that dicamba drifted onto areas beyond where it was sprayed, damaging millions of acres of crops that were not genetically engineered to absorb and tolerate the herbicides.  Poison experts say dicamba is likely to vaporize in high temperatures in a process known as volatility.

Monsanto blames Farmers
Companies like Monsanto selling the herbicide/pesticide poisons have blamed the crop damage on farmers they say are misusing dicamba.  Farmers, in turn, have responded by saying the dicamba directions are nearly impossible to follow.  Farmers suffering possible damages from lawsuits against them for dicamba drift have also said Monsanto sold them the seeds meant to be sprayed with dicamba, but failed to sell them the latest formulation of dicamba.  In some cases, Monsanto sold them seeds before the dicamba formulation meant to go with them had not yet been approved by the U.S. EPA.

To prevent damage, the Arkansas plant board proposed at a September 2017 meeting to limit or stop dicamba spraying.  That put Arkansas one step away from banning dicamba sprayings after April 15, 2018.

Monsanto wants its own studies made evidence
Monsanto argued in its latest lawsuit that the Arkansas board did not review 14 studies on volatility Monsanto submitted at the meeting. Monsanto’s own studies virtually always exonerate Monsanto products, despite what independent studies find.  But Monsanto did not mention that fact in its lawsuit.  Most likely the Arkansas board was not interested in studies performed by a company with vested interests in the outcomes.  It was looking at what was happening on the ground, at millions of acres of crop damage seen firsthand and reported by experienced farmers.

Monsanto’s lawsuit said that the Arkansas board’s action hurt Monsanto and its dicamba herbicide brand through the loss of direct sales and indirect business through distribution and licensing agreements.  Scott Partridge, vice president of global strategy for Monsanto, claimed, “The plant board’s action disadvantages Arkansas farmers.”

Director of Arkansas’ plant board, Terry Walker, said in October that he had not seen Monsanto’s lawsuit, and he declined to comment.

Arkansas previously forbid farmers from using Monsanto’s dicamba herbicide, called XtendiMax with VaporGrip, in 2017.  Arkansas did allow sales of a version made by Monsanto’s rival BASF SE.

The U.S. EPA approved use of the herbicide poisons on crops that had emerged from the ground only through next year.  It could stop sprayings after 2018 if farmers suffer another year of damage.

Monsanto sues Arkansas for Dicamba Ban
The case is Monsanto Co v Arkansas State Plant Board et al, Circuit Court of Pulaski County, Arkansas, No. CV-17-5964.

Related

Arkansas Farmer Murdered in Monsanto Feud

•  Monsanto Lawsuit

•  Roundup Cancer Lawsuit

•  Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear

•  Monsanto sues Arkansas for Dicamba Ban

 

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Sexual Harassment Lawsuit filed in Texas

Recent sexual harassment charges leveled against Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, Roy Moore, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey, Charlie Rose and several other well-known men may come to impact  sexual harassment lawsuits filed against others.  Before the national tumult that began with the Weinstein allegations, a sexual harassment lawsuit was quietly filed in Texas against the head of an investment firm in Fort Worth.

The local lawsuit was filed in May 2017 against Chairman Dale Rogers on behalf of Megan Raetz. Ms. Raetz was hired as an administrative assistant by Rogers Wealth Group in December 2014.  Her lawsuit petition charges, “[Ms. Raetz] was told she should be overly attentive to Dale Rogers and to dress as he asked.”

Unwanted Advances Alleged
Dale Rogers later “promoted” Ms. Raetz to his personal assistant and gave her a raise. The petition details 18 specific, unwanted advances allegedly made my Mr. Rogers. The complaint further states:  “As his personal assistant, she was told to sit for pictures in his office, which she refused, and to escort him to and from his car, always allowing him to walk behind her and make comments about the fit of her clothes and her back side.”

Ms. Raetz also claims in the lawsuit petition that Mr. Rogers made weekly unwanted comments to Ms. Raetz, which included, “You make those pants look good,” and, “You probably have knee high leather boots in your trunk,” and “You must dominate the [soccer] field, and probably dominate a lot of other things.”

Mr. Rogers would also text her after work hours, according to Ms. Raetz’ charges.  He would also offer to buy her clothes if she would wear them for him, proposition her for trips to Las Vegas on his private jet, and make “constant sexual innuendo that he wanted more.”

The petition also alleges that Mr. Rogers would touch Ms. Raetz “inappropriately.”  Mr. Rogers is also accused in the petition of putting “his whole palm on her buttock, leaving it there until she moved away.”

Trapping Allegation
The petition further states that on multiple occasions, “Mr. Rogers trapped [Ms. Raetz] between
desks with his body.” It says he once shut the door to her office and began to ask what she was doing after work, then “offered her money for dinner and drinks and told her not to tell anyone, especially her husband.”

Supervisor Complaints
Ms. Raetz also alleges in her petition that she complained to three different supervisors. All told her not to make it a big deal of it or else they ignored her complaints altogether.

Ms. Raetz charges that she was disciplined in the spring of 2016 for a “bad attitude,” then quit the job soon thereafter.

Mr. Rogers Response
An attorney for Dale Rogers generally denied the allegations in his official response filed with the court in June 2017.  Attorney George Haratsis noted: “Defendant denies Plaintiff was restrained or touched in the manner alleged in her pleadings, in the event Plaintiff proves there was such restraint or touching, Defendant invokes the defense of consent.”

A Second Sex Harassment Lawsuit Filed
A second woman also employed by Rogers Wealth Group has filed a separate, nearly identical harassment lawsuit against the company and Chairman Dale Rogers.

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit filed in Texas

The sexual harassment trial for plaintiff Megan Raetz is scheduled to be heard by a jury in the summer of 2018.

Related

•  Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

•  Sexual Harassment Lawsuit filed in Texas

•  Congress’ Secret Fund pays Sexual Harassment Claims

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Congress’ Secret Fund pays Sexual Harassment Claims

BuzzFeed reported last week that the office of Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) paid $27,000 to settle a previously undisclosed sexual harassment claim against him. What is even more troubling is that the money was paid out of a secret fund that Congress has used for 20 years to pay off sexual harassment and other lawsuits against lawmakers.  The House of Representatives secretly handles and conceals these lawsuits, and pays for them with our tax dollars.

The dirty little secret arrangement might never have been revealed, until Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) told MSNBC earlier in November that the House had paid out millions of dollars over the last ten years.  The money went to settle sexual harassment claims and other lawsuits.

$17 Million in Secret Settlements

In point of fact, the ludicrously named “Office of Compliance,” which operates something like a human resources department, released documents showing it had paid out $17 million since 1997 to settle a variety of workplace claims, including sexual harassment.

The details of those settlements, including their nature (sexual harassment, or what have you), are kept inexplicably confidential.  Claimants are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement to begin the lengthy mediation process.

Mr. Speier has now introduced legislation that would prohibit Congress from requiring non-disclosure agreements in such situations.  The bill would require regular reporting of settlements.

Office of Congressional Compliance (Not)
“In 1995, Congress created the Office of Congressional Compliance to protect itself from being exposed, and it has been remarkably successful,” Rep. Speier said. “Twenty years later, 260 settlements and more than $15 million have permanently silenced victims of all types of workplace discrimination.  Zero tolerance is meaningless unless it is backed up with enforcement and accountability.”

260 Settlements, $15 Million Unaccounted For
“It’s clear that our country is at an inflection point with respect to the behavior of powerful men across our society,” says Alex Howard, deputy director of the Sunlight Foundation, a group that works for government transparency. “Congress itself is neither excluded nor sacrosanct from that reckoning, but continued secrecy will hinder public understanding of how our representatives conduct themselves in office. . .”

How Secretive is the House Process?
In most cases, lawsuit settlements can be found online after they go through the federal government via the Treasury Department’s Judgement Fund.  The Fund has a searchable database online listing of previous payouts that are filterable by agency and date.

That fund shows the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has settled nearly 8,000 lawsuits between 2007 and 2016, according to records from the Judgement Fund database.  Most of those were for medical malpractice (which, thanks to so-called “tort reform,” is now often not even a viable option for those who work outside of government).  The VA has the second highest number of settlement payouts in the federal government, behind the Social Security Administration, which has about 13,000.

Congressional Lawsuits Hidden in Database
The House harassment payments described by Rep. Speier, however, do not appear in that huge database.  Neither do they appear in the disbursement disclosures which the House is regularly required to file.

Because of the provisions of the Congressional Accountability Act (the nomenclature apparently an inside joke, as the Act clearly offers near  zero accountability), settlement payments come from a special Treasury fund that the Office of Compliance draws from.  The offices responsible for the payouts, and the reasons for the settlements, are kept strictly confidential.  How is this possible in a Democracy – to use our tax dollars to pay off lawsuits against our congressional representatives? They seem to operate in this manner much like the politburo in Old Russia, with special privileges and financial resources not available to regular citizens. This also, by the way, gives the lie to the two party system.  The two sides of the aisle worked to protect themselves, their one party of career politicians, in this caper.

In Rep. Conyers’ case, his office didn’t even go through that process, according to BuzzFeed, which obtained and poured through damning documents.

Buzzfeed wrote: [O]ne of Conyers’ former employees was offered a settlement, in exchange for her silence, that would be paid out of Conyers’ taxpayer-funded office budget. His office would “rehire” the woman as a “temporary employee” despite her being directed not to come into the office or do any actual work, according to the document. The complainant would receive a total payment of $27,111.75 over the three months, after which point she would be removed from the payroll, according to the document.

Because of the secret non-disclosure agreement and the use of regular office payroll to obscure the payout, there was practically no way for us voters to know we were paying for Rep. Conyers’ settlement.

Bipartisan Bull****

Few words ring as hollow as “bipartisan” anymore.  The word is so phony it can only be used ironically, or in rage.  Here’s some “bipartisan” work for you.  .  . Former House Speaker John Boehner and current House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) both issued statements which said they were unaware of the Conyers payments. How convenient that they can hide behind ignorance which their little “Office of Compliance” arrangement created for themselves.  This little scam appears to be working just the way the representatives intended: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.  It works like Sgt. Schultz on the old Hogan’s Heroes comedy show – “I know nothing!”

Congress’ Secret Hush Fund for Sexual Harassment

Let’s hope Rep. Speier’s new legislation puts an end to this skulduggery with taxpayer money, and holds sexual harassers and others accountable for their actions, as regular Americans are held accountable for theirs. It is not only unseemly but unconscionable that sexual harassers and other transgressors are able to use government monies to pay off their accusers, abusing voters’ trust and leaving us in the dark about their crimes and misdemeanors.

Call your Representatives!

Call your Washington representatives and tell them you want the list released of the 260 settlements which rendered $17 million for victims of sexual harassment and other crimes or misdemeanors committed by representatives.   Don’t let them hide behind the tiresome lie of “national security” on this one, or tell you they saved taxpayers money by avoiding a trial and paying some accuser.  We have a right to know what we paid for.  Any democrat or republican who can’t be found innocent in a sexual harassment trial or some other civil action has no right to represent us.

Related

•  Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

•  Congress’ Secret Fund pays Sexual Harassment Claims

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Dicamba Pesticide Damages Crops

Monsanto is being sued by several farmers and homeowners who claim dicamba drifted onto their property and harmed their crops, trees, and gardens. Iowa State University has reported that more than 106 dicamba-related complaints from Iowa farmers or homeowners have been filed in 2016. That is a record number of reported pesticide problems.  In past years, university officials said they never received more than 200 complaints regarding all pesticides in the state.

Dicamba harms or kills green leafy plants that are not genetically modified to withstand it. Farmers who plant dicamba-resistant soy or corn spray dicamba to kill weeds.  But when that poison drifts onto neighboring properties, it kills or harms non GMO plants or even GMO plants which are not engineered to be dicamba resistant. (If you suspect at this point that the entire model of pesticide-based chemical farming may have a major problem growing – pun intended – you may be right. Runaway chemical farming methods are demonstrably killing land, animals, and people.)

Dicamba Controversy Grows (pun intended)
Monsanto’s rollout of its latest version of Dicamba is the largest in the company’s history, so the chemical giant from Missouri is fighting hard to defend its popular poison.  Meanwhile, more and more farmers are joining the fight to ban or limit its use. Nationally, according to a University of Missouri report, 2,242 farmers say dicamba has damaged an estimated 3.1 million acres.

Iowa agriculture leaders are investigating a record 258 crop damage reports from pesticides this year. About 100 complaints on 150,000 acres are tied to dicamba.

Monsanto and other chemical giants like DuPont and BASF have developed seeds that are genetically modified (GMOs). The GMO seeds can then be sprayed with a weed-killing pesticide (or herbicide) that takes out weeds but leaves the crop unharmed (though nutritionally compromised and full of GMO toxins).

Dicamba Drift
Dicamba critics say the new dicamba products don’t stay where they’re sprayed.  They move onto neighboring fields, where they can damage non-resistant crops, fruits, vegetables, trees, flowers.

Volatility vs. Applicator Error
Monsanto claims dicamba problems come mostly from farm application errors.

“We did 1,200-some odd tests in connection with registration of our product with EPA,” said Scott Partridge, Monsanto’s vice president of global strategy. “They confirmed to us what the label says — if it’s followed … there will be no off-target movement of dicamba by wind or volatization.”

This defense is similar to the one Monsanto is using in Roundup cancer lawsuits. Monsanto claims it tested Roundup hundreds or even thousands of times, while critics say those tests were all done with Monsanto money, or at the behest of Monsanto; so the results cannot be trusted.

More than a few university weed scientists disagree with Monsanto’s user error defense of dicamba.

“The big debate is whether or not [dicamba] is volatilizing,” or turning from liquid to vapor, enabling it to easily move, potentially over a few days, said Robert Hartzler, an Iowa State University weed scientist.  “New formulations were supposed to have taken care of the volatility problem,” he said, “but all the research suggests that they’ve reduced the volatility, but not to a level that’s safe” after plants have emerged from the ground.

Toxipedia.com lists volatility as a dicamba problem.  It also cautions that dicamba can be highly mobile in soil and can easily contaminate water.  One must take care not to harm desirable plants and be very cautious near water sources.  One wonders if this is being done at all.

The U.S. EPA (Monsanto’s regulatory friend) is speaking with academic researchers, state farm regulators, Monsanto and other pesticide makers to determine whether new restrictions should be placed on dicamba’s use.

An EPA official told the Des Moines Register, “The underlying causes of the various damage incidents are not yet clear, as ongoing investigations have yet to be concluded.”

Monsanto said that it is cooperating with the EPA’s review and expects a decision soon.

Monsanto Challenges Arkansas’s Dicamba Regulation
In October 2017, Monsanto challenged an Arkansas task force recommendation to ban the use of dicamba-related products after April 15 next year.  In July, Arkansas issued a four-month prohibition on dicamba use.  Arkansas farmers have logged 963 dicamba-related complaints in 2017.

Bob Hartzler, weed specialist, Iowa State University
Bob Hartzler said he and other weed scientists support EPA restrictions on dicamba product-use after plants have emerged from the ground, a time that can vary depending on the state.

“If it is volatilizing, it’s nearly impossible to use, in my opinion, post-emergence,” he said.

Monsanto Profits Threatened

Mr. Hartzler said Monsanto and BASF are fighting restrictions because they would “greatly reduce the value” of their chemical and seed systems, which required “a huge investment” to develop over several years.

“The seed is where they make the majority of their money,” Hartzler said. “So if the chemical is restricted and it no longer controls waterhemp or Palmer amaranth, farmers would not see the need to pay additional money” for that technology.

Glyphosate Overuse triggers Dicamba Overuse
The vicious pesticide cycle dicamba continues began with overuse of glyphosate.  Used in Roundup and other pesticides/herbicides, glyphosate has been overused so much that it has spawned superweeds which have evolved to withstand it.  Monsanto’s answer, chemical farming’s answer, has been to pour more of another toxic cocktail on the problem, this time dicamba.

Iowa and U.S. farmers want some answer to battle weeds that can no longer be killed with glyphosate.

The Des Moines Register reports that several Southern states are struggling with glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth, a rapidly growing, fast-adapting “super weed” that can quickly overrun cotton and soybean fields.

Palmer amaranth is creeping across Iowa, moving into about half of its counties. So far, the weed can be killed with glyphosate, but weed scientists say it’s only a matter of time until it adapts to the the widely used chemical.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture has asked farmers in the state to check fields this harvest for Palmer amaranth, which can grow more than seven feet tall.

And so it goes. Many farmers fearing Palmer amaranth will turn to dicamba, and continue the awful chemical cycle of poisoning themselves and the land to produce substandard food.  GMO food and GMO food-growing methods have been found to be not only bad for the environment, but they also produce less nutritious food than conventional or organic farming.

Related

•  Dicamba Pesticide Lawsuit

•  Monsanto Lawsuit

•  Arkansas Farmer Murdered in Monsanto Feud

•  States move to restrict Monsanto Herbicide Use

•  Glyphosate devastates Brain Development

•  Kill Weeds without Monsanto’s Roundup

•  Monsanto Campaign to retract Seralini Study Revealed

•  Dicamba Pesticide Damages Crops

 

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H.R. 985 Misleads Citizens

Like the Republican-sponsored tax cut package that would cut taxes for the 1% but shift the deficit burden onto everybody else in the long run, the so-called “Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017” does everything but protect citizen’s access to healthcare.  It is part of a decades-old ploy to enact “tort reform” with the stated intent of stopping lawsuit abuse.  It’s real aim is to keep American citizens from being able to access the courts.

Tort Reform Scam Citizens

So-called “Tort Reform” has been a sustained attack by corporations on the rights of citizens to redress their grievances in civil court.  The scam works by disguising its real ends.  Corporate shills masquerade in astroturf groups using newspapers, television, and the internet, including paid bloggers.  They blame many of society’s ills as well as rising insurance rates on “frivolous lawsuits.”  No doubt some lawsuits are frivolous, but corporations file a lot more frivolous lawsuits than real people do.  The end result of “tort reform” has been to substantially curtail citizens’ access to the courts.

Medical Malpractice Virtually Disappears

Due to tort reform, medical malpractice is nearly impossible to pursue in most states today.  No matter how grossly incompetent one’s doctor was, or whether a doctor’s incompetence caused the death or maiming of a patient.  The caps which tort reform placed on damages have made pursuing medical malpractice lawsuits nearly impossible for most firms.  Only a scant few law firms left in the country still pursue med-mal cases.  And despite the dearth today of medical malpractice lawsuits, health insurance rates have only gone up. That gives the lie to the endless tort reform argument that insurance rates would go down when people could no longer sue their doctors (no matter how bad those doctors were).

Meanwhile, corporations’ deep pockets assure their own courtroom access, while they continue spending money on politicians and propaganda to further limit citizens’ access to those same courts.  H.R. 985 is more of the same.  Disguised as a bill to continue tort reform and attack frivolous lawsuits, its real aim is hidden.  HR 985’s real goal is to further limit ordinary citizens’ access to the courts. Even Fox News admitted in a headline: “Republicans introduce bill to kill class action lawsuits.”  (See that Fox story here.)

Corporations have worked for years to control the judiciary at the appellate, state and U.S. Supreme Court levels, to undermine the jury system, but most of their money has been spent on politicians who do their bidding.  Those career politicians are now pushing tax reform for the richest few Americans, shifting the deficit burden to the rest of us.  Meanwhile, they promote H.R. 985 to further take power from citizens and place it in the hands of corporate rulers.  (Many Republican lawmakers have openly admitted that if they don’t support the latest tax reform ploy – which helps only the elites and hurts all the rest of us, in the long run– their major corporate donors and billionaire benefactors will stop funding their campaigns.)

H.R. 985 does the opposite of its stated intent – Washington’s M.O.

H.R. 985 pretends to be all about helping people.  In reality, it does the exact opposite.  If it passes, class action lawsuits may well be wiped out entirely.  They will either be cost prohibitive to bring, or they will be so difficult to prosecute that only a fool would try.  It’s a crime how duplicitous these scams are.  It’s the same kind of disingenuous lying we’ve seen from Washington for years.  The so-called “Clear Skies initiative” wiped out rules for corporate polluters. The “Healthy Forests Initiative” was just a timber industry giveaway.  So-called “Operation Iraqi Liberation” (OIL) destroyed Iraq and gave its people endless war and foreign occupation.  If politicians are trying to sell us something “for our own good,” we can usually figure their real intent directly opposes their promotion and the name they give it.

H.R. 985 Misleads Citizens

If you care about your rights in dealing with banks, credit card companies, cell phone providers, doctors’ offices, hospitals, telemarketers, and almost anything else that directly impacts your pocketbook, your health, or your family, contact your Senators and tell them to vote “No” on H.R. 985.  The House of Representatives passed this awful bill, but it still needs to get through the senate to become law.

Related

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•  U.S. Senate could destroy your rights with H.R. 1215

•  H.R. 985 Misleads Citizens

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States move to restrict Monsanto Herbicide Use

Several states are moving to restrict the use of a Monsanto herbicide.  Monsanto’s poison Dicamba has drifted into neighboring farms, homes, and gardens, killing indiscriminately.

Writer Rhonda Johansson reported for Natural News on Oct. 29, 2017 that Tennessee just became the fourth state to restrict the use of Monsanto herbicide.

Dicamba drifts, kills Neighboring Lands

Tennessee farmers have stated that Monsanto’s poison Dicamba has drifted to neighboring farms. It has damaged neighboring crops and garden life not genetically-modified to withstand it.  Nor are bees, birds, and people genetically modified to withstand this poison.  Consequently, we now see massive pollinator bee and bird die-offs, along with Monsanto lawsuits being filed for hundreds of people with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Tennessee joins Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas in holding Monsanto responsible for environmental damage. Dicamba is the main ingredient in herbicides produced by Monsanto, BASF, and DuPont for use on genetically modified soybeans and cotton. Part of that genetic perversion makes the seeds impervious to toxic assaults.  It also strips them of nutritional value and attacks otherwise healthy flora in the human gut. (This is also how glyphosate kills plants and bees and sickens people.) The U.S. EPA approved dicamba in 2016 to kill broadleaf weeds, using Monsanto’s own studies as “proof” of its safety. In much the same way, the Monsanto-captured agency approved Monsanto’s cancerous Roundup.

Related: One EPA Scientist calls out another for Monsanto Support

Monsant Poison kills Indiscriminately
Farmers in the southern United States say dicamba has cost their neighbors thousands of dollars in lost crops by drifting onto surrounding farms.  Several lawsuits have already been filed against dicamba producers.  A Wyatt, Missouri farmer, Hunter Rafferty, told Reuters, “We’ve had damage across just about every acre of soybeans we farm in southeast Missouri.  In our small town, the azaleas, the ornamentals, people have lost their vegetable gardens.  It’s a big problem.”

Mr. Rafferty says 3,000 to 4,000 acres of soybeans on his family farm have been compromised because of dicamba drifting onto his property.  He says plant leaves have constricted into cup-like shapes – a warning sign that the soybeans have been altered.

Monsanto has dismissed these claims (of course).  Monsanto insists these are only challenges faced by any and every “early-adoption strategy.”  Monsanto representatives liken this cross-contamination to similar problems Monsanto faced launching Roundup Ready glyphosate-resistant crops 20 years ago.  Monsanto claims that situation was “fixed.”  Other recent reports and hundreds of Roundup cancer lawsuits against the toxic giant suggest otherwise.  Monsanto has a long, sordid history of contaminations and cover-ups.

Monsanto blames Farmers
“In almost every technology in the first year there are kinks that you need to work out,” said Robb Fraley, Chief Technology Officer of Monsanto, in response to the dicamba lawsuits.

Fraley joins spokespeople from BASF and DuPont who blame improper application as the cause for the damaged crops. They flatly deny any inherent chemical issues.  Mr. Fraley claims farmers fail to follow application labels, use contaminated equipment, or buy older formulations which save on costs but are more prone to drift.  However, he did say Monsanto will look over additional safeguards for using Dicamba.

Monsanto likes to blame farmers.  It has sued more than 145 of them over the years, never losing in Monsanto-friendly courts.  Litigation-happy Monsanto is the first to claim “frivolous lawsuit” anytime the company is sued for its civil and criminal behavior.

Monsanto unleashed Dicamba to match its Monits Xtend line of soybeans and cottons which have been designed to withstand the poison. The line was meant to replace earlier products that contained only glyphosate.  In 1970, Monsanto introduced glyphosate-resistant crops to battle the rapid buildup of plant-destroying weeds.  Glyphosate’s performance has been less than stellar over the long run.  Early Roundup crop yields matched conventional yields, but heavier and heavier chemical applications of Roundup have spawned superweeds and superpests.  The monoculture farming methods Roundup engenders have stripped fields of needed nutrients, destroying thousands of acres of once-fertile farmland.  Monsanto’s chemical farming methods also require greater amounts of water than conventional or organic farming.  That’s anther problem for Monsanto, since water has become more valuable than oil.

What is Dicamba?

Monsanto introduced its new dicamba formulation late in 2016, marketing it as XtendMaxTM.  Dicamba was reported to have low-volatility, which Monsanto described as being less likely to drift while being more “flexible,” (not sure what that means).  Monsanto also claimed Dicamba is    better able to “maximize crop yield potential.” (Great buzz phrase, that.  Time will tell if it’s true.  It wasn’t true for Roundup in the long run.)  In its official press release, Monsanto projected over 15 million Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybean acres, as well as three million Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton acres by the end of 2017.

These estimations might not apply, given the latest restrictions filed by Tennessee.  Part of these guidelines include allowing application only from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and banning the use of older dicamba formulations.

Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner Jai Templeton has said, “I’m confident that we can address this issue as we have in other cases to ensure the safe and effective use of these tools.”

States move to restrict Monsanto Herbicide Use

“Safe and effective use of these tools”?  Since when is poison a tool?  Is Jai Templeton also another tool, like the EPA’s Jess Rowland, or the FDA’s Michael Taylor?  Keeping dicamba from contaminating neighboring corn or soy fields is like having a no-peeing section in a swimming pool.  Can fences be made impermeable to drifting winds?  Monsanto’s game is the same as it has always been.  It moves closer and closer to monopolizing seeds.  The company seeks to own every growing thing in the world.  Anyone who doesn’t understand that yet doesn’t know much about Monsanto.  Please study its rancid history, and its latest move to join war criminal Bayer in a nightmare merger of chemical giants.

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