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polly7

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Hometown: Saskatchewan
Home country: Canada
Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
Number of posts: 20,372

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That's horrible. :(

Reverse Robin Hood: Six Billion Dollar Businesses Preying on Poor People

by Bill Quigley / March 7th, 2016

Many see families in poverty and seek to help. Others see families in poverty and see opportunities for profit.

Here are six examples of billion dollar industries which are built on separating poor people, especially people of color, from their money, the reverse Robin Hood.


Check Cashing Businesses

Check cashing businesses. Cash a $100 check? At Walmart that will be $3. At TD bank non-customers pay $5 to cash a check from their bank.

Nearly 10 million households containing 25 million people do not have any bank account according to the FDIC. Most because they did not have enough money to keep a minimum balance in their account.

Check cashing businesses are part of a $100 billion industry of more than 6,500 check cashing businesses in the US, many which also provide money orders, utility bill payments and the like, according to testimony provided to Congress by the industry.


~snip~

Payday Loans

Payday loans are used by people over 15 million times a year and can lead to deep debt problems and usually involve incredible percentages of up to 391 percent according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Pew Charitable Trusts reported payday loans are a $7 billion dollar a year industry. The Federal Trade Commission won a $300 million case against two payday lenders who were deceiving borrowers, who, for example, took out a $300 loan thinking it could be repaid for $390 when, in fact, the lender was charging $975 to pay off the $300 loan. The US Department of Justice indicted former race car driver Scott Tucker on criminal charges for operating a $2 billion nationwide payday loan operation which routinely charged interest on loans for over 4.5 million people of 400 to 700% per year. The nation’s largest pay day loan company, Advance America, charged nearly 140,000 people in North Carolina annual percentage rates exceeding 450 percent until it was stopped by the state.




Debt collection

...... These are not just small companies but big names like Citigroup, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo; in fact, the Alliance for Just Society reported the big companies in debt collections have made nearly $100 million in contributions to federal candidates and parties since 2001 and another $280 million on federal lobbyists.

Citibank was sued twice by the federal CFPB over falsified documents and providing inaccurate information in debt collections and agreed to settle the case.


Conclusion

These businesses target families with incomes below $35,000 and people of color are three times more likely to receive abusive loans than whites. People with blemished credit are often passed over when seeking jobs.

There is some good news. Democrats created and passed into law the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which is now beginning to gain some traction in monitoring and regulating these predatory practices. Bad news is that Republicans like Ted Cruz are trying to kill it and some Democrats are trying to hobble it. There are also good groups like the Center for Responsible Lending which provide excellent information on the abuses. But in the meantime making money off poor people remains a booming business.


Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2016/03/reverse-robin-hood-six-billion-dollar-businesses-preying-on-poor-people/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/debbie-wasserman-schultz-paylenders-cfpb_us_56d4ce38e4b03260bf77e8fc

Got a Saturday earbug? ...

We had way too much fun with this song last night, it's stuck in my head.






Wow, I didn't know she'd said this.

In light of how much suffering she's willingly caused around the world with her love-for-war decisions - her claim that 'only America can provide' leadership against terror!!!! is laughable. Maybe she should make that claim to the millions who are terrorized daily since it all.

You're right, they have.

And people are still dying daily because of them.

Probably Americans soon as well now serving on the ground d/t her Libya atrocity.


UglyGreed (7,654 posts)

http://www.democraticunderground.com/12511141852

Now after the death of Gaddafi there maybe 6000 ISIS fighters in Libya

is this the foreign policy expertise we really need in the White House?


Size of ISIS force declining in Iraq and Syria, according to new intel

{snip}

Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence officials believe there are 5,000 to 6,000 ISIS fighters in Libya, up from previous estimates of 2,000 to 3,000.


http://www.militarytimes.com/story/military/2016/02/04/new-intel-shows-isis-force-declining-iraq-syria/79819744/


Maedhros (9,732 posts)

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1251&pid=1142266

16. The destruction of Libya led to instability in Mali, which led to a coup in Birkina Faso.

Convenient, because it justified the massive increase in U.S. military presence in Africa:

http://www.thenation.com/article/us-carried-out-674-military-operations-africa-last-year-did-you-hear-about-any-them/

In recent years, the United States has been involved in a variety of multinational interventions in Africa, including one in Libya that involved both a secret war and a conventional campaign of missiles and air strikes, assistance to French forces in the Central African Republic and Mali, and the training and funding of African proxies to do battle against militant groups like Boko Haram as well as Somalia’s al-Shabab and Mali’s Ansar al-Dine. In 2014, the United States carried out 674 military activities across Africa, nearly two missions per day, an almost 300% jump in the number of annual operations, exercises, and military-to-military training activities since US Africa Command (AFRICOM) was established in 2008.

Despite this massive increase in missions and a similar swelling of bases, personnel, and funding, the picture painted last month before the Senate Armed Services Committee by AFRICOM chief General David Rodriguez was startlingly bleak. For all the American efforts across Africa, Rodriguez offered a vision of a continent in crisis, imperiled from East to West by militant groups that have developed, grown in strength, or increased their deadly reach in the face of US counterterrorism efforts.

“Transregional terrorists and criminal networks continue to adapt and expand aggressively,” Rodriguez told committee members. “Al-Shabab has broadened its operations to conduct, or attempt to conduct, asymmetric attacks against Uganda, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and especially Kenya. Libya-based threats are growing rapidly, including an expanding ISIL presence… Boko Haram threatens the ability of the Nigerian government to provide security and basic services in large portions of the northeast.” Despite the grim outcomes since the American military began “pivoting” to Africa after 9/11, the United States recently signed an agreement designed to keep its troops based on the continent until almost midcentury.

. . .
All this, mind you, is AFRICOM’s own assessment of the situation on the continent on which it has focused its efforts for the better part of a decade as United States missions there soared. In this context, it’s worth reemphasizing that, before the United States ramped up those efforts, Africa was—by Washington’s own estimation—relatively free of transnational Islamic terror groups.



From Africa’s Wealthiest Democracy Under Gaddafi to Terrorist Haven After US Intervention

Counterpunch
Saturday, Oct 24, 2015



Tuesday marks the four-year anniversary of the US-backed assassination of Libya’s former leader, Muammar Gaddafi, and the decline into chaos of one of Africa’s greatest nations.

In 1967 Colonel Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa; by the time he was assassinated, he had transformed Libya into Africa’s richest nation. Prior to the US-led bombing campaign in 2011, Libya had the highest Human Development Index, the lowest infant mortality and the highest life expectancy in all of Africa.

Today, Libya is a failed state. Western military intervention has caused all of the worst-scenarios: Western embassies have all left, the South of the country has become a haven for ISIS terrorists, and the Northern coast a center of migrant trafficking. Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia have all closed their borders with Libya. This all occurs amidst a backdrop of widespread rape, assassinations and torture that complete the picture of a state that is failed to the bone.


Far from control being in the hands of one man, Libya was highly decentralized and divided into several small communities that were essentially “mini-autonomous States” within a State. These autonomous States had control over their districts and could make a range of decisions including how to allocate oil revenue and budgetary funds. Within these mini autonomous States, the three main bodies of Libya’s democracy were Local Committees, Basic People’s Congresses and Executive Revolutionary Councils.

The Basic People’s Congress (BPC), or Mu’tamar shaʿbi asāsi was essentially Libya’s functional equivalent of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom or the House of Representatives in the United States. However, Libya’s People’s Congress was not comprised merely of elected representatives who discussed and proposed legislation on behalf of the people; rather, the Congress allowed all Libyans to directly participate in this process. Eight hundred People’s Congresses were set up across the country and all Libyans were free to attend and shape national policy and make decisions over all major issues including budgets, education, industry, and the economy.

In 2009, Mr. Gaddafi invited the New York Times to Libya to spend two weeks observing the nation’s direct democracy. The New York Times, that has traditionally been highly critical of Colonel Gaddafi’s democratic experiment, conceded that in Libya, the intention was that “everyone is involved in every decision…Tens of thousands of people take part in local committee meetings to discuss issues and vote on everything from foreign treaties to building schools.”

The fundamental difference between western democratic systems and the Libyan Jamahiriya’s direct democracy is that in Libya all citizens were allowed to voice their views directly – not in one parliament of only a few hundred wealthy politicians – but in hundreds of committees attended by tens of thousands of ordinary citizens. Far from being a military dictatorship, Libya under Mr. Gaddafi was Africa’s most prosperous democracy.

Under Gaddafi, Islamic terrorism was virtually non existent and in 2009 the US State Department called Libya “an important ally in the war on terrorism”.

Today, after US intervention, Libya is home to the world’s largest loose arms cache, and its porous borders are routinely transited by a host of heavily armed non-state actors including Tuareg separatists, jihadists who forced Mali’s national military from Timbuktu and increasingly ISIS militiamen led by former US ally Abdelhakim Belhadj.


http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_71969.shtml


Deadliest Terror in the World: The West’s Latest Gift to Africa

by Dan Glazebrook / November 30th, 2015

Nigeria’s Boko Haram are now officially the deadliest terror group in the world. That they have reached this position is a direct consequence of Cameron and Co’s war on Libya – and one that was perhaps not entirely unintended.

In 2009, the year they took up arms, Boko Haram had nothing like the capacity to mount such operations, and their equipment remained primitive; but by 2011, that had begun to change. As Peter Weber noted in The Week, their weapons “shifted from relatively cheap AK-47s in the early days of its post-2009 embrace of violence to desert-ready combat vehicles and anti-aircraft/ anti-tank guns”. This dramatic turnaround in the group’s access to materiel was the direct result of NATO’s war on Libya. A UN report published in early 2012 warned that “large quantities of weapons and ammunition from Libyan stockpiles were smuggled into the Sahel region”, including “rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns with anti-aircraft visors, automatic rifles, ammunition, grenades, explosives (Semtex), and light anti-aircraft artillery (light caliber bi-tubes) mounted on vehicles”, and probably also more advanced weapons such as surface-to-air missiles and MANPADS (man-portable air-defence systems). NATO had effectively turned over the entire armoury of an advanced industrial state to the region’s most sectarian militias: groups such as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Boko Haram.

The earliest casualty of NATO’s war outside Libya was Mali. Taureg fighters who had worked in Gaddafi’s security forces fled Libya soon after Gaddafi’s government was overthrown, and mounted an insurgency in Northern Mali. They, in turn, were overthrown, however, by Al Qaeda’s regional affiliates – flush with Libyan weaponry – who then turned Northern Mali into another base from which to train and launch attacks. Boko Haram was a key beneficiary. As Brendan O’ Neill wrote in an excellent 2014 article worth quoting at length:

Boko Haram benefited enormously from the vacuum created in once-peaceful northern Mali following the West’s ousting of Gaddafi. In two ways: first, it honed its guerrilla skills by fighting alongside more practised Islamists in Mali, such as AQIM; and second, it accumulated some of the estimated 15,000 pieces of Libyan military hardware and weaponry that leaked across the country’s borders following the sweeping aside of Gaddafi. In April 2012, Agence France France Presse reported that ‘dozens of Boko Haram fighters’ were assisting AQIM and others in northern Mali. This had a devastating knock-on effect in Nigeria. As the Washington Post reported in early 2013, ‘The Islamist insurgency in northern Nigeria has entered a more violent phase as militants return to the fight with sophisticated weaponry and tactics learned on the battlefields of nearby Mali’. A Nigerian analyst said ‘Boko Haram’s level of audacity was high ’, immediately following the movement of some of its militants to the Mali region.


That NATO’s Libya war would have such consequences was both thoroughly predictable, and widely predicted. As early as June 2011, African Union Chairman Jean Ping warned NATO that “Africa’s concern is that weapons that are delivered to one side or another…are already in the desert and will arm terrorists and fuel trafficking”. And both Mali and Algeria strongly opposed NATO’s destruction of Libya precisely because of the massive destabilisation it would bring to the region. They argued, wrote O’Neill, “that such a violent upheaval in a region like north Africa could have potentially catastrophic consequences. The fallout from the bombing is ‘a real source of concern’, said the rulers of Mali in October 2011. In fact, as the BBC reported, they had been arguing since ‘the start of the conflict in Libya’ – that is, since the civil conflict between Benghazi-based militants and Gaddafi began – that ‘the fall of Gaddafi would have a destabilising effect in the region’.” In an op-ed following the collapse of Northern Mali, a former Chief of Staff of UK land forces, Major-General Jonathan Shaw, wrote that Colonel Gaddafi was a “lynchpin” of the “informal Sahel security plan”, whose removal therefore led to a foreseeable collapse of security across the entire region. The rise of Boko Haram has been but one result – and not without strategic benefits for the West.


Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/11/deadliest-terror-in-the-world-the-wests-latest-gift-to-africa/



http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/05/the-problem-with-hillarys-friends/393635/

“Much of the Libya intelligence that Mr. Blumenthal passed on to Mrs. Clinton appears to have come from a group of business associates he was advising as they sought to win contracts from the Libyan transitional government,” a later Times report noted. “The venture, which was ultimately unsuccessful, involved other Clinton friends, a private military contractor and one former C.I.A. spy seeking to get in on the ground floor of the new Libyan economy.”

The memos covered everything from warnings about possible terrorist attacks and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood within Libya to the potential training of Libyan rebels and the hiring of new economic advisers by the Libyan premier. As the National Journal reports, the House Benghazi Committee is already seeking Blumenthal’s testimony.



UglyGreed (7,654 posts)

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1251&pid=1142533

18. New Hillary Clinton Emails Show She Wanted Credit for Libya Intervention in 2011. Now She Doesn’t.

Now that Libya has descended into chaos, Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton is at pains to dispel the notion that, as secretary of state, she led the U.S. intervention that toppled dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Yet the latest tranche of emails from Clinton’s private server, released by the State Department on October 30, shows there’s one individual who would strongly object to those efforts: the Hillary Clinton of 2011 and 2012.

A report in June by the New York Times revealed that in August 2011, Clinton’s advisors had urged her to take credit for what was then seen as a military success in Libya. Now, the newly released emails show that the former secretary of state was herself intent on emphasizing her key role in the affair—and that her team used cozy relationships with the media to help her do so.

In one exchange, on April 4, 2012, a frustrated Clinton complains to her staffers that they’d omitted a number of key details in a timeline titled “Secretary Clinton’s leadership on Libya.” The timeline, which aims to show that Clinton “was instrumental in securing the authorization, building the coalition and tightening the noose around Qadhafi and his regime,” would later be provided to media.

“Did I meet in Paris w Jabril (brought to hotel by BHL) on 3/14? It's not on timeline,” she writes in the April 4 email, referring to Mahmoud Jibril, the prime minister for Libya’s National Transitional Council during the country’s civil war, and Bernard-Henri Lévy (BHL), the French philosopher who helped drive France’s own involvement in the conflict. In fact, Clinton’s meeting with Jibril was listed on the original timeline produced by advisor Jacob Sullivan, suggesting Clinton was either referring to a different version of the timeline or, more likely, failed to see it on the document.

“This timeline is totally inadequate (which bothers me about our recordkeeping),” Clinton writes three minutes later. “For example, I was in Paris on 3/19 when attack started. That's not on timeline. What else is missing? Pls go over it asap.” Twenty-three minutes later, Sullivan sent Clinton an updated version of the timeline with the March 19 incident added in.

Clinton emailed her advisors twice more within six minutes, saying, “What bothers me is that S/P prepared the timeline but it doesn't include much of what I did.” Among the items that were left out, she notes phone calls and meetings with Arab officials, as well as her role in securing a March 12 Arab League resolution, which called for a U.N.-imposed no-fly zone over Libya.


http://inthesetimes.com/article/18592/new-clinton-emails-expose-collaboration-with-media-on-benghazi-coverag1


And this is just Libya ..............

The Great Leap Backward: America’s Illegal Wars on the World

MAY 13, 2016

by LUCIANA BOHNE



Can we face it in this election season? America is a weapons factory, the White House a war room, and the president the manager of the neoliberal conspiracy to recolonize the planet. It exports war and mass poverty. On the economic front, usurious neoliberalism; on the military front, illegal wars. These are the trenches of America’s battle for world domination in the 21st century.

If not stopped, it will be a short century.

Since 1945, America’s Manifest Destiny, posing as the Free World’s Crusade against the Red Menace, has claimed 20 to 30 million lives worldwide and bombed one-third of the earth’s people. In the 19th century, America exterminated another kind of “red menace,” writing and shredding treaties, stealing lands, massacring, and herding Native populations into concentration camps (“Indian reservations”), in the name of civilizing the “savages.” By 1890, with the massacre of Lakota at Wounded Knee, the frontier land grab—internal imperialism– was over. There was a world to conquer, and America trained its exceptionally covetous eye on Cuba and the Philippines.


As the Clintonites understood, the postwar legal authority for peacekeeping and the prevention of war entrusted to the UN Security Council posed a colossal obstacle to the pursuit of American world domination. For the vision of PNAC and the Carnegie Endowment to become reality, the United Nations, the guarantor of sovereignty, had to go. In the run-up to the Kosovo War, the Clintonites fatally and deliberately destabilized the United Nations, substituting the uncooperative UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali with the subservient NATO shill, Kofi Annan. Annan obligingly opined that in the matter of war and peace, UN Security Council resolutions were not the only way to skin a country– especially one chosen by the US for remaking, partitioning, or regime changing, a cynic might add.

So now we live in a dangerous world. Once again, since the 1930s, the world is being stalked by an expansionist power answering to no law but its own unilateral, humanitarian vigilantism. The Kosovo precedent has spun out of control. Libya smolders in the ashes of NATO bombs, dropped to prevent “genocide”; Syria fights for survival under attack by genocidal terrorist groups, armed, trained and funded by genocide preventers grouped in the NATO alliance and the Gulf partners; Afghanistan languishes in a permanent state of war, present ten thousand American troops which bomb hospitals to promote human rights; in Iraq, the humanitarians are back, after twenty-five years of humanitarian failure. And in Ukraine, Nazi patriots are promoting American democratic and humanitarian values by shelling Donbass daily. I hesitate to mention Africa, where humanitarian Special Forces are watering the fields where terrorists sprout like mushrooms after rain—in Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya.

Then there is Yemen, perhaps the most callous, vicious, and careless humanitarian crime of a litany of crimes against humanity in the Middle East. The US government has recently admitted deploying troops to Yemen. The Pentagon claims that the deployment will assist Saudi Arabia (“the Arab coalition”) to fight al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula. Can a sentient being meet such a grotesque claim with anything but infernal laughter? Help Saudi Arabia to fight its own creature? Are we stupid yet?

$4 trillion dollars later, spent on the War-on-Terror/Humanitarian-R2P, the pattern of military destabilization of sovereign states proceeds apace, one recalcitrant, independent country at a time in the Middle East and North Africa. For the rest of the world, the surrender of sovereignty is sought by means of economic globalization through trade pacts—TTP, TTIP, etc.—that virtually abolish the constitution of states, including our own. Spearheading the economic effort to control the periphery and the entire world is the so-called “Washington Consensus.”


In this scenario, no potential presidential candidate—even establishment-party dissenter—who does not call for both the end of the bi-partisan “Washington Consensus” and the end of bipartisan militarist aggression can reverse the totality of the “international wrong” or stem the domestic descent into social brutalization. If none calls this foreign policy debacle “imperialism,” elections will be a sleepwalker’s exercise. Nothing will change. Except, almost certainly, for the worse.


Full article: http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/05/13/the-great-leap-backward-americas-illegal-wars-on-the-world/

Again, I realize many countries are complicit in all of this, including my own. The horror needs to stop.

Behind India’s ‘Epidemic’ Of Farmer Suicides

BY BEENISH AHMED APR 17, 2015 2:50 PM

Vandana Shiva, India’s most prominent environmental activist, believes genetically-modified seeds — specifically, those sold by the agricultural behemoth Monsanto — are driving farmers to lose control of their own farming practices. She’s claimed that the frustrations over Monsanto’s proprietary policies which forbid farmers from planting, selling, or even accidentally growing seeds from Monsanto’s patented crops push farmers to the brink. Shiva and other environmental activists have come to refer to Monsanto seeds as “suicide seeds.”

In 2013, she explained her argument, citing one of Monsanto’s genitically-modified cotton seeds as an example.

“Monsanto’s seed monopolies, the destruction of alternatives, the collection of superprofits in the form of royalties, and the increasing vulnerability of monocultures has created a context for debt, suicides and agrarian distress which is driving the farmers’ suicide epidemic in India,” Shiva wrote. “This systemic control has been intensified with Bt cotton. That is why most suicides are in the cotton belt.”

But many researchers have started to take issue with the notion that genetically-modified crops like Monsanto’s Bt cotton are to blame for India’s epidemic of farmer suicides. Some have pointed out that Indian farmers continued to purchase Monsanto seeds even as activists railed against them — and for good reason: because it proved profitable to do so.

For its part, Monsanto has argued that its crops require less pesticide purchase and less loss of yield — meaning that farmers who opted for its genetically-modified seeds would be more successful than those who use traditional seeds.

But Shiva has countered, claiming that Monsanto drove up the price of seeds 8,000 percent — and that “the high costs of purchased seed and chemicals have created a debt trap.”

Since debt is a major cause to farmers’ despair, however, it’s not just agricultural companies like Monsanto who are responsible. For those seeking loans to pay higher up-front costs for Monsanto seeds, unfair lending practices increase their financial woes.

Anoop Sadanadan, a professor of political science based at Syracuse University, has argued that farmer suicides should be attributed not to agricultural practices but rather financial ones. In a paper published last year, he noted that farmer suicides were concentrated in five of India’s 28 states — and that those five offered the least institutional credit to farmers, forcing them to take out private loans at interest rates as high as 45 percent.


Full article: http://thinkprogress.org/world/2015/04/17/3648423/india-farmer-suicide/

I have personal experience with Monsanto planting crops up here and followed very, very closely Percy Schmeiser's fight with them. I know how fucking evil they are, so save your crap.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/12/25/percy-schmeiser-farmer-who-beat-monsanto.aspx

As EU Weighs Approval, More Evidence Industry is Rigging the Glyphosate Game

Published on
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
byCommon Dreams

Suspicious donation from Monsanto emerges after WHO seemingly flipped in its assessment of the dangers posed by the chemical

byLauren McCauley, staff writer

?itok=wPms57EP
Monsanto's Roundup relabeled by activists from Global Justice Now, 28th April 2016. The main active ingredient is glyphosate. (Photo: Global Justice Now /Flickr/CC)

As European officials on Wednesday weigh whether or not to re-approve the use of Monsanto's glyphosate, a storm has erupted after the World Health Organization (WHO) seemingly flipped in its assessment of the dangers posed by the chemical.

Ahead of this week's European Commission meeting, which could approve the use of glyphosate for up to nine years, the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the WHO released a joint summary report concluding that the chemical, a favored ingredient of agrochemical producers like Monsanto and Dow, was "unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure through the diet."

These findings were widely (and inaccurately) reported as a "clean bill of health" for a pesticide once declared to be "probably carcinogenic" for humans by the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

What's more, documents obtained by the anti-GMO watchdog group U.S. Right to Know found that one of the chairs of the UN's Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) had, in another capacity, received a six-figure donation from Monsanto.

The Guardian reported on Tuesday:

Professor Alan Boobis, who chaired the UN’s joint FAO/WHO meeting on glyphosate, also works as the vice-president of the International Life Science Institute (ILSI) Europe. The co-chair of the sessions was Professor Angelo Moretto, a board member of ILSI’s Health and Environmental Services Institute, and of its Risk21 steering group too, which Boobis also co-chairs.

In 2012, the ILSI group took a $500,000 (£344,234) donation from Monsanto and a $528,500 donation from the industry group Croplife International, which represents Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta and others, according to documents obtained by the US right to know campaign.


Those opposed to the chemical's re-approval in Europe said the exposed "conflict of interest" in the FAO/WHO report should disqualify it from consideration. The EU's deliberations, which are expected to last two days, were postponed in March after a wave of public opposition forced lawmakers to renege on their approval.

"The timing of the release of this report by the FAO/WHO could be described as cynical if it weren’t such a blatantly political and ham-fisted attempt to influence the EU decision later this week on the approval of glyphosate," said Green MEP Bart Staes.

"Any decision affecting millions of people should be based on fully transparent and independent science that isn’t tied to corporate interests," said Greenpeace EU food policy director Franziska Achterberg. "It would be irresponsible to ignore the warnings on glyphosate and to re-licence this pesticide without any restrictions to protect the public and the environment."


"On one side," Dodwell continued, "there are powerful agribusiness companies like Monsanto, whose Roundup weed killer contains glyphosate and accounts for a third of its total sales. And on the other side you have over a million citizens from across the EU who have signed petitions saying that they don’t want to be exposed to chemicals that are probably causing cancer."


Full article: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/05/18/eu-weighs-approval-more-evidence-industry-rigging-glyphosate-game

Why This Is the Year of the Anti-Corporate Presidential Campaign

Published on
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
by YES! Magazine

Voters hit hardest by free-trade economics are rebelling against the status quo. We can use that energy to build a powerful, grassroots movement for democracy

byDavid Korten

?itok=oXQZY4by
Bernie Sanders spoke to packed crowd, which included these enthusiastic supporterss, at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregonin January. (Photo: US News & World)

The nonprofit advocacy organization Public Citizen recently compiled survey results demonstrating that Americans overwhelmingly favor policies that increase economic fairness, hold corporate executives accountable, strengthen environmental and consumer protection, and assure that the political system serves the interests of all. This is a decidedly anti-corporatist agenda.

Most people long for a political party that represents their interests and values rather than the interests of a corporate oligarchy. This longing may explain why more Americans self-identify as Independents than as either Democrats or Republicans and why Sanders and Trump enjoy such appeal as candidates running against their party establishments.

At a deeper level, most humans want to be part of a caring democratic community of healthy families with a healthy natural environment. We want to live in a world free from war, want, racism, sexism, and religious intolerance—none of which is possible in a world of extreme inequality and rapacious competition.

The outcome of this U.S. election is critically important. Even more significant than who is president for the next four years, however, are the power and effectiveness of the emerging democracy movement and its vision of human possibility. That movement would be the foundation for an effective Sanders presidency. It might hold Clinton to her espoused anti-corporatist agenda. It could serve as a bulwark against the dictatorial ambitions of Trump. Most of all, it will be essential to advance the political reforms required to get big money out of politics, secure the integrity of the voting process, and move us beyond the limited choice among corporatist candidates typically offered by the corporatist wings of our dominant political parties.


Full article: http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/05/18/why-year-anti-corporate-presidential-campaign

Just doing my daily reading and thought this was interesting.

BBM Still scratch my head whenever it's stated these people just want a pony.

The Pernicious Myth of Perpetual Economic Growth

Nothing grows forever. The myth the economy can is destroying the biosphere.

by Glen Barry / May 16th, 2016

The present human condition is predicated on one of the biggest lies ever – that the economy can grow indefinitely. In a self-serving logical contortion, economists in service to the oligarchy measure the well-being of a society by how fast the economy grows, with little regard to the state of natural capital, human inequity, the welfare of ecosystems and other species, or the extent to which people and society are happy. Natural capital is defined as Earth’s stocks of natural assets including ecosystem services which make all life possible, which is unmeasured and thus undervalued by indices of economic growth.



Economic growth is destroying the biosphere

Measures such as Gross Domestic Product utterly fail to tie increases in economic output to human and natural well-being. Spending on militaristic drone attacks and the rich’s conspicuous over-consumption are equated with social expenditures to meet basic human needs. Clearcutting old-growth forests for toilet paper is of equal worth as providing homes and food for the poor. Ravaging Earth’s last natural ecosystems for every last drop of oil is deemed economically beneficial (despite being terribly inefficient as externalities remain unpriced), while we are told restoring natural ecosystems is unprofitable because of large discounting of future benefits.

Living as if Earth’s nature has no worth other than to be liquidated for consumption degrades ourselves and ecosystems, and can only end in utter ruin as first society, then the economy, and finally the biosphere collapses. It is blatantly obvious that infinite growth on a finite Earth is impossible. Yet we run our economy with this goal.

Economic growth is worshiped as if it were holy and divine, rather than acknowledging that growth can come at enormous economic, social, and environmental costs. There is little understanding of ecological overshoot and the limits to growth, as we seek ever more material possessions at the expense of all else, systematically degrading not only our habitat, but also our future resource base and potential for broad-based community advancement. Growth appears to be benign and pleasant, iPhones and foreign travel are intoxicating, yet perpetual economic expansion comes at an unknown price whose deleterious impacts sneak up on you. Such is the nature of exponential growth. The exorbitant costs of an exponentially growing economy are best illustrated by imagining a pond whereby the extent of lily-pad coverage doubles in extent every day, on the 30th day fully covering the water. On which day is the pond half covered? When is it a 10% covered? We shall return to this question.

By falsely equating exponential growth with societal well-being, capitalism may well be irredeemable. Its foundational idea of people coming together in markets to exchange their surplus has been bastardized to suggest that creating something of worth and selling it is the same as every manner of speculative financial trickery. Yet for markets to serve human’s and nature’s well-being, there are some basic out-right lies that need to be addressed now........



Economic advancement means meeting all life’s basic needs

Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2016/05/the-pernicious-myth-of-perpetual-economic-growth/

Monsanto and the Poisoning of Europe

Open letter to the EFSA Chief Attorney About Re-licensing Glyphosate in the EU

By Colin Todhunter
Global Research, May 18, 2016
Region: Europe

This week, a Standing Committee of plant scientists from 28 member states in Europe is likely to endorse the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) findings so that the European Commission (under pressure from Monsanto, Glyphosate Task Force and others) can re-authorise glyphosate for another nine years. This is despite the WHO classifying glyphosate as being “probably carcinogenic” to humans.

An open letter from campaigner Rosemary Mason to Dirk Detken, Chief Attorney to the EFSA, follows the brief background article you are about to read. In the letter, Mason highlights the regulatory delinquency concerning the oversight of glyphosate in the EU. The evidence provided by Mason might lead many to agree that processes surrounding glyphosate ‘regulation’ in Europe amount to little more than a “cesspool of corruption.

There are around 500 million people in the EU. They want EU officials to uphold the public interest and to be independent from commercial influence. They do not want them to serve and profit from commercial interests at cost to the public’s health and safety. However, what they too often get are massive conflicts of interest: see here about the ‘revolving door’ problem within official EU bodies, here about ‘the European Food and Safety Authority’s independence problem’ and here about ‘chemical conflicts’ in the EC’s scientific committees for consumer issues.

And they get governing bodies that are beholden to massive corporate lobbying: see here about ‘the fire power of the financial lobby’ and here about ‘who lobbies most’ for TTIP, with agribusiness being the biggest lobby group behind this secretive and corrupt trade deal that is attempting drive a policy agenda above the heads of the European people and contrary to their wishes (see this on TTIP as well).

Regulators turn a blind eye to the deleterious effects of products that pose a serious systemic risk to the public: see here about ‘the glyphosate toxicity studies you’re not allowed to see’ and here ‘case closed by EFSA on Roundup, despite new evidence’.

Full article: http://www.globalresearch.ca/monsanto-and-the-poisoning-of-europe/5525765

and here, since some were whining about the source:

Colin Todhunter is an extensively published independent writer and former social policy researcher based in the UK and India.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/05/18/monsanto-and-the-poisoning-of-europe/
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