Christina Sarich

News Analysis

France has never been a big fan of Monsanto, Dow, or any biotech’s GMO creations; this is evidenced by the nation’s continued rejection and voiced concerns of GMOs. Well this week, the French Parliament passed a law prohibiting genetically modified maize from being grown anywhere in the country due to concerns about its effects on the environment. The law concerns any strain of GM corn that is adopted by the European Union.The Parliament passed the law following a decree from last month, which halted Monsanto’s ‘insect-resistant’ MON810 maize, which is to be allowed to be cultivated in the EU. Egypt, Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya have also been bullied into growing MON 810, even though it was shown to be a failed crop. MON 810 was withdrawn from the South African market because it developed an incredible insect intolerance that caused many farms that grew it to be defunct. Italy has also moved against MON 810 corn, with 80% public support.The French law would include a ban on any strain of GM maize, including Pioneer’s 1507, developed by DuPont and Dow Chemical. Pioneer 1507 is likely to be approved by the EU later this year, after 19 of the 28 EU member states failed to gain enough votes to block the passing of a bill allowing its cultivation. But even if the EU allows Pioneer to slip its GM atrocity through the system, the French ban would not allow it into the country. “It is essential today to renew a widely shared desire to maintain the French ban. This bill strengthens the decree passed last March by preventing the immediate cultivation of GMO and extending their reach to all transgenic maize varieties”

How Organic Farming Can Reverse Climate Change
EcoWatch
News Report

Rodale Institute announced yesterday the launch of a global campaign to generate public awareness of soil’s ability to reverse climate change, but only when the health of the soil is maintained through organic regenerative agriculture. The campaign calls for the restructuring of our global food system with the goal of reversing climate change through photosynthesis and biology. The white paper, Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change: A Down-to-Earth Solution to Global Warming, is the central tool of the campaign. The paper was penned by Rodale Institute, the independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit agricultural research institute widely recognized as the birthplace of the organic movement in the U.S.The white paper states that “We could sequester more than 100% of current annual CO2 emissions with a switch to widely available and inexpensive organic management practices, which we term ‘regenerative organic agriculture.’”If management of all current cropland shifted to reflect the regenerative model as practiced at the research sites included in the white paper, more than 40 percent of annual emissions could potentially be captured. If, at the same time, all global pasture was managed to a regenerative model, an additional 71 percent could be sequestered. Essentially, passing the 100 percent mark means a drawing down of excess greenhouse gases, resulting in the reversal of the greenhouse effect.

Todd Miller
Op-Ed

With the agility of a seasoned Border Patrol veteran, the woman rushed after the students. She caught up with them just before they entered the exhibition hall of the eighth annual Border Security Expo, reaching out and grabbing the nearest of them by the shoulder. Slightly out of breath, she said, “You can’t go in there, give me back your badges.”The astonished students had barely caught a glimpse of the dazzling pavilion of science-fiction-style products in that exhibition hall at the Phoenix Convention Center. There, just beyond their view, more than 100 companies, including Raytheon, General Dynamics, and Verizon, were trying to sell the latest in futuristic border policing technology to anyone with the money to buy it.The students from Northeastern Illinois University didn’t happen to fall into that category. An earnest manager at a nearby registration table insisted that, as they were not studying “border security,” they weren’t to be admitted.  I asked him how he knew just what they were studying.  His only answer was to assure me that next year no students would be allowed in at all.Among the wonders those students would miss was a fake barrel cactus with a hollow interior (for the southern border) and similarly hollow tree stumps (for the northern border), all capable of being outfitted with surveillance cameras. “Anything that grows or exists in nature,” Kurt Lugwisen of TimberSpy told a local Phoenix television station, “we build it.”Nor would those students get to see the miniature drone -- “eyes in the sky” for Border Patrol agents -- that fits conveniently into a backpack and can be deployed at will; nor would they be able to check out the “technology that might,” as one local Phoenix reporter warned, “freak you out.” She was ...

The Poor are More Frugal than the Rich
Bryce Covert
News Investigation

The good news: Americans are spending more. The bad news: that’s only true for the well off, as the poor are spending less than they were before the crisis.Between 2008 and 2012, the top fifth of income earners, or those who make more than $150,000, increased their spending by more than $2,300, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That makes up nearly half of the country’s entire increase in expenditures. But over the same time period, the bottom fifth, or those making less than $30,000, actually decreased their expenditures, spending about $150 less.That decline is driven by the poor buying about $150 worth less in clothing, although they have also decreased spending on entertainment, personal care, alcohol, and even reading. The rich, for their part, are spending more on alcohol, personal care, and reading and have made much more modest decreases in entertainment and clothing spending.It also turns out that the poor aren’t just spending less, but they’re also trying harder to save their money. A survey from Gallup finds that while overall Americans have become much more interested in saving than in spending since the recession, there are big differences by income level. Those who earn less than $20,000 are more than three times as likely to prefer putting money away to spending it. The gap is much narrower for those who make more than $75,000 a year.The differences in spending are connected to differences in how much these groups’ earnings have grown. Between 2008 and 2012, the richest Americans accounted for more than 80 percent of the total increase in income, while the bottom three quintiles basically saw no increase at all.But generally speaking, despite the idea that the poor bring their hardship on themselves by being unwise with their money, the lowest-income Americans have smaller budgets and spend more on basics, which means they have much less to spend on extras like entertainment and eating out. And despite the cultural conception of the welfare queen, those who receive public assistance like welfare and food stamps spend less than half of what those who do without the programs spend while also putting a bigger ...

Jim Hightower
Op-Ed

It doesn't take an IQ much higher than room temperature to realize that it's way past time to raise America's sub-poverty minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. But let's also pay attention to the millions of people trying to make ends meet on — believe it or not —America's sub-minimum wage.Some of our country's richest corporations have turned national wage laws into Swiss cheese, riddling them with special loopholes that let them escape paying even today's miserly minimum wage. This amounts to wholesale daylight robbery of restaurant workers, farm workers, domestic workers, pro-football cheerleaders, taxi drivers, and ... wait a minute ... back up ... cheerleaders?Give me an N! "Nnnnnn!" Give me an F! "Ffffff!" Give me an L! "Llllll!" What does it spell? Greeeeeddd!The monster moneymaking machine known as the National Football League is continuing to run an off-field power play against its valuable and highly marketable female team players. Women on NFL teams? Yes — not running plays, but on the sidelines running the synchronized gymnastics and precision dance routines of professional cheerleaders. These women are an integral part of the spirit, entertainment, promotion and financial success of this $9 billion-a-year corporate enterprise.Yes, super-rich NFL football teams, which sop up billions of dollars in subsidies from us taxpayers, pay peanuts to their highly publicized cheerleading squads. Widely assumed to be a glamour job, it's actually a poverty job that requires long hours of arduous practice, involves frequent travel (at their own expense) for media appearances and charity events, and subjects the women to abusive treatment by supervisors.Members of the Oakland Raiders' squad calculate that their pay works out to less than $5 an hour, while the Cincinnati Bengals' cheerleaders (who bear the burden of being called "Ben-Gals") are paid about $2.85 an hour — far less than the federal minimum wage — to be worked like mules, constantly abused, cheated and disrespected.Astonishingly, though, a recent ruling by the U.S. Labor Department says that this does not violate federal law. Why? Because the macho sports industry got its cheerleaders categorized as "seasonal amusement" — a loophole that exempts them from our national pay rules. Side note: NFL's mascots are considered "employees" of the teams they represent, worthy of a salary between $23,000 and $60,000 plus benefits. Finally fed up, members of the Oakland Raiderettes cheerleading squad have sued their team's corporate hierarch for gross labor violations. You'd think the billionaire owners of these sports kingdoms would be embarrassed to be publicly exposed as cheapskate exploiters of women. I mean, why wouldn't they just pay $10 an hour, or — what the hell — $100? That's pocket change to them.Instead, the Oakland Raiders have rolled out their army of lawyers armed with a legalistic bomb called "mandatory arbitration." The lawyers claim that, thanks to the sneaky arbitration proviso tucked into the ladies' employment contracts, the cheerleaders cannot go to court, but must submit any complaints to a private arbiter.And who would that be? Why the NFL commissioner himself, whose $44-million-a-year salary is paid by the teams' owners! Why would he side with poverty-pay cheerleaders against the regal owners who feather his own nest? He won't, which is why these indefatigable women are not only challenging the NFL's abuse of them, but also the abuse we all suffer from the absurd corporate-rigged system of forced arbitration.The Powers That Be are trying to transform our Land of Opportunity into their low-wage, plutocratic province. From farm workers to cheerleaders, we're all in this together — and it's time for us to get together to stop the plutocrats.To keep up with the cheerleaders' case and see how they are standing up for us, go to levyvinick.com/blog/news.

VOICES FOR CHANGE

From Farm Workers to Cheerleaders, We’re All in this Together
Jim Hightower
"

It doesn't take an IQ much higher than room temperature to realize that it's way past time to raise America's sub-poverty minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. But let's also pay attention to the millions of people trying to make ends meet on — believe it or not —America's sub-minimum wage.

" ::
Economic Policy in a Post-Piketty World
Dean Baker
"

Thomas Piketty’s new book, Capital in the 21st Century, has done a remarkable job of focusing public attention on the growth of inequality in the last three decades and the risk that it will grow further in the decades ahead. Piketty’s basic point on this issue is almost too simple for economists to understand: if the rate of return on wealth (r) is ...

" ::
Better Care Can Also Cost Less
Froma Harrop
"

Almost everyone has known or will know the helplessness of caring for — or overseeing the care of — a sick loved one. That such situations are often mired in chaos raises the anxiety level for both the patient and others trying to do the right thing.

" ::
The Rhetoric of Violence
Chris Hedges
"

At least nine people were killed and at least 35 others were wounded in shootings across Chicago on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Thursday police announced that a man had been ...

" ::
Raising Taxes on Corporations that Pay Their CEOs Royally and Treat Their Workers Like Serfs
Robert Reich
"

Until the 1980s, corporate CEOs were paid, on average, 30 times what their typical worker was paid. Since then, CEO pay has skyrocketed to 280 times the pay of a typical worker; in big companies, to 354 times.Meanwhile, over the same thirty-year time span the median American worker has seen 

" ::
Too Big to Jail?
Tom Engelhardt
"

How the mighty have fallen.  Once known as “Obama’s favorite general,” James Cartwright will soon don a prison uniform and, thanks to a plea deal, spend 13 months behind bars.  Involved in setting up the earliest military cyberforce inside U.S. ...

" ::
Fox News Asks Rand Paul If Harry Reid Is Right to ‘Call Americans Domestic Terrorists’
Juan Cole
"

Not since George W. Bush complained that the problem with the American economy was that “too many of our imports come from abroad” has such hilarious use of the English language been on display.  The furor on the Right about Harry Reid terming “domestic terrorists” the militiamen who brought sniper rifles across state lines to confront the Bureau of Land Management produced the following interview by Fox News of Rand Paul.Eric ...

" ::
Congratulations! A New Conspiracy is Born
Joe Conason
"

With the happy news that Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky expect their first child later this year, the Clinton family can anticipate warm good wishes from most Americans — and a less uplifting response from all of the usual suspects.

" ::
Wall Street’s MIA Ethics
Jim Hightower
"

Let’s review the rap sheet of Wall Street banks: defrauding investors, cheating homeowners, money laundering, rigging markets, tax evasion, credit card ripoffs… and so sickeningly much more.At last, though, some of the cops on the bank beat seem to be having regulatory epiphanies. The New York Times reports that some financial overseers are questioning “whether such misdeeds are not the work of a few bad actors, but rather a ...

" ::
The Grand American Tradition of Violent White Supremacy
Amy Goodman
"

Another U.S. shooting spree has left bullet-riddled bodies in its wake, and refocused attention on violent, right-wing extremists. Frazier Glenn Miller, a former leader of a wing of the Ku Klux Klan, is accused of killing three people outside two Jewish community centers outside Kansas City, Kan. As he was hauled away in a police car, he shouted “Heil Hitler!” Unlike Islamic groups that U.S. agencies spend tens of billions of dollars targeting, domestic white ...

" ::

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