SchwartzReport: Monsanto “Owns” USDA

Stephan A. Schwartz

Stephan A. Schwartz

It is my view that there exist profoundly immoral and malevolent — the formal definition of evil — corporations. Their corporate vision creates profit by doing something that reduces wellness. Halliburton is one, Monsanto is another. One of the skills these corporations focus on is maintaining high level government connections, and to get your executives in senior positions. So great is the corruption of our government as a result that, as this report de! scribes, the regulatory agencies created to oversee these corporations are tailored to the corporation’s wishes.

Monsanto Has Taken Over the USDA
DAVID SWANSON – Nation of Change

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been taken over by an outside organization. RootsAction has launched a campaign demanding a Congressional investigation.

The organization is called Monsanto.

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Aug 10

Mini-Me: DoD IG Finds 70% Waste in Afghanistan

Who?  Mini-Me?

Who? Mini-Me?

Huh?

War on waste: Pentagon auditor spotlights US billions blown in Afghanistan

EXTRACT:

It’s not clear how much of the reconstruction aid is considered to have been wasted, but SIGAR officials say that during 2012, Sopko’s first year on the job, the general inspected projects, programs, and general issues that totaled $10.6 billion in funding and found nearly $7 billion was potentially wasted.

Read full article.

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Jul 30

SchwartzReport: It’s the 1% of the 1% …

Stephan A. Schwartz

Stephan A. Schwartz

Here is what I think is a correct assessment of the new global aristocracy that owns a growing percentage of the world’s wealth, and wants more. We think of peasants as agricultural workers. But that is the past. In the present day it is increasingly ordinary workers — both blue and white collar. The wealth differential now is even greater than it was in the 14th century. Click through to see the very useful graphs.

How You, I, and Everyone Got the Top 1 Percent All Wrong
DEREK THOMPSON – The Atlantic

For years, I’ve been making the same embarrassing mistake about U.S. economic inequality. Sorry.

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Jun 24

Eagle: Half of Americans Cannot Afford Rent or Mortgage

300 Million Talons...

300 Million Talons…

Half of Americans can’t afford their house

Over half of Americans (52%) have had to make at least one major sacrifice in order to cover their rent or mortgage over the last three years, according to the “How Housing Matters Survey,” which was commissioned by the nonprofit John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and carried out by Hart Research Associates. These sacrifices include getting a second job, deferring saving for retirement, cutting back on health care, running up credit card debt, or even moving to a less safe neighborhood or one with worse schools.

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Jun 6

SchwartzReport: NSA Collects Millions of Facial Images — and Images of Human Interactions — Each Day

Stephan A. Schwartz

Stephan A. Schwartz

And the surveillance state just keeps oozing out across our lives like a toxic smog. It will soon be possible to track any person, almost anywhere. There is already no problem turning on your phone’s camera, or microphone. Moving through any public space will result in multiple images, which are keyed to every electronic interaction you have.

Report: NSA Collects Millions of Facial Images Per Day
DANA FORD – CNN

The National Security Agency is reportedly capturing millions of images per day to feed facial recognition programs. Citing top-secret documents obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the New York Times reported the agency ‘s reliance on such technology has grown in recent years.

New software allows the NSA to “exploit the flood of images included in emails, text messages, social media, videoconferences and other communications,” the newspaper said. “The agency intercepts ‘millions of images per day’ – including about 55,000 ‘facial recognition quality images’ – which translate into ‘tremendous untapped potential,’” the newspaper reported, citing documents from 2011.

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Jun 3

Matt Taibi: The Divide – American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap — Legal Immunity for the 1%, Criminalization of Everything for the 99%

Amazon Pagae

Amazon Page

A scathing portrait of an urgent new American crisis
 
Over the last two decades, America has been falling deeper and deeper into a statistical mystery:

Poverty goes up. Crime goes down. The prison population doubles.

Fraud by the rich wipes out 40 percent of the world’s wealth. The rich get massively richer. No one goes to jail.

In search of a solution, journalist Matt Taibbi discovered the Divide, the seam in American life where our two most troubling trends—growing wealth inequality and mass incarceration—come together, driven by a dramatic shift in American citizenship: Our basic rights are now determined by our wealth or poverty. The Divide is what allows massively destructive fraud by the hyperwealthy to go unpunished, while turning poverty itself into a crime—but it’s impossible to see until you look at these two alarming trends side by side.

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Jun 1

SchwartzReport: Matt Taibbi on the Legal Divide — Two Justice Systems — Criminalization of Poverty Among the 99%, Impunity for the 1%

Stephan A. Schwartz

Stephan A. Schwartz

This is a very good interview with Matt Taibbi discussing what has happened to the American justice system. One of our myths is that we have the fairest justice system in the world but, like our fantasy that we have the world’s freest press, it is a delusion. As with the press we aren’t e! ven in the top 25. It is very hard to maintain a healthy democracy if both the government and the people insist upon lying to themselves.

‘It’s Total Moral Surrender”: Matt Taibbi Unloads on Wall Street, Inequality and our Broken Justice System
ELIAS ISQUITH, Assistant Editor – Salon

EXTRACT

Morally, it doesn’t work anymore. You just cannot have a society where people instinctively know that certain people are above the law, because it will create total disrespect for authority among everybody else. And that’s completely corrosive. You need to have people believing in the system to some degree – even if it’s just an illusion, you need to have them believing. And that was … another thing I was trying to get to in this book, the difference between what happened in the Bush years, with the scandals with Adelphi and Enron and Tyco, and what happened now, [when] they just stopped seeing the necessity of keeping up appearances. They didn’t even make a few symbolic prosecutions, and so it leaves the entire public with this glaring statistic that there were no prosecutions and there was massive crime. How does that make anybody else feel? How does it make you feel when you pay a speeding ticket, you can’t write that off, but HSBC can write off its $1.9 b! illion fine for drug trafficking? People start to think about these things, and they start losing their faith in the system and it doesn’t work anymore. It’s funny, because when they talk about income inequality on the campaign trail and in these elections … They always talk about it in this unthreatening, antiseptic way, and it’s just so much more extreme than that. It’s much broader and more disgusting problem than the way they typically present it in our political debate. So that was another thing I was trying to do, was to try to bring out the grotesque nature of the whole thing.

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May 20

Wayne Madsen: NSA Spies on US Allies — With Direct Witting Assistance of AT&T, EDS, Qwest, H-P, Motorola, Cisco, Qualcomm, Oracle, Intel, IBM, Microsoft, and Verizon

Wayne Madsen

Wayne Madsen

Washington Spies on NATO; Other Allies

Wayne MADSEN

Strategic Culture.org | 18.05.2014

EXTRACT

Implants are inserted by NSA into targeted computer systems and network devices through what the NSA calls «supply-chain interdiction». Equipment is intercepted between the manufacturer and the end-user. At a secret facility called a «load station», devices called «beacons» are inserted clandestinely into a device’s hardware. These pre-positioned access points permit later access by NSA into «hard target» networks around the world.

NSA names its strategic partners in its «collect-it-all», codenamed ASPHALT operations, around the world. These are AT&T, EDS, Qwest, H-P, Motorola, Cisco, Qualcomm, Oracle, Intel, IBM, Microsoft, and Verizon. In all, over 80 «major global corporations» support NSA’s worldwide collection efforts. With corporate cooperation, NSA captures Internet data from seven «international choke point» access sites in the continental United States. Their cover names are Breckenridge, Tahoe, and Sun Valley on the U.S. West Coast; Whistler in the South; and Killington, Coppermountain, and Maverick on the East Coast.

Read full article.

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May 19

Chuck Spinney: William Grieder on US Merchants of Death Profiteering on the Ukraine

Chuck Spinney

Chuck Spinney

Merchants of Death’ Could Make a Lot of Money Off a War in Ukraine

William Greider, thenation.com, May 13, 2014 – 3:57 PM ET

If you’re wondering why some US politicians are so hot for war in the Ukraine, think “merchants of death.” At the height of the antiwar movement, that was nasty label some of us applied to Lockheed Martin, Boeing and other major manufacturers of high-tech war-fighting equipment—planes, tanks, missiles, whatever does the job. When the drums of war are sounding in some distant land, these the weapons makers naturally smell sales opportunities.

Trouble in Ukraine has aroused the same ambitions and hawkish politicians have picked up the ball and are running with it. They are demanding that the US government send military stuff to Kiev to hold off threatening Russians (our favorite bad guys). The hawks are portraying President Obama as a wimp who’s insufficiently bellicose. But the president is so far playing a cool hand. He has been getting us out of two wars. He’s pretty sure the people don’t want another one.

In fact, neutral historians may someday conclude that it was the United States who stirred up the trouble in the Ukraine, inadvertently if not intentionally, and that US arms makers played an important supporting role. When the Cold War ended in 1991, these companies saw a promising new market opening for their stuff—the newly liberated Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe. Let’s expand NATO! The manufacturers lobbied policy makers in Washington and courted governments of post-Soviet nations as potential customers.

Bill Clinton decided to do it, cheered on by the arms merchants. Why is nobody talking about that? Because It might sound unpatriotic. And the media love bang-bang, even if the cause is stupid.

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May 16

SchwartzReport: Genocide of the Bees by Pesticide

Stephan A. Schwartz

Stephan A. Schwartz

I think the evidence is now in, and it seems quite clear, as this story describes. The toxins produced by companies like Monsanto and Dow are literally putting the world’s food supply at risk. It is going to be very interesting to watch how the Obama Administration reacts. He has proven to be so disappointing in so many ways, but this is a clear and urgent da! nger. We are about to see whether Obama thinks profit for a few corporations is more important than the wellbeing of all humanity.

More Evidence Suggests Honeybees Are Dying en Masse Because of Pesticides
DANIELLE WIENER-BRONNER – The Wire

Honeybees exposed to a certain class of insecticide are more likely to die from Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), the name given to whatever is causing a mass decline in the bee population over the past six years, according to a new study.

See Also:

Bees @ Phi Beta Iota

The Collapse of the Bees… And How To Save Them -Two new reports—one alarming and the focused on solutions—take focus on the deep crisis facing the world’s best, but most threatened, pollinators

 

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May 11