Just when you think the reputation of banks couldn’t get any worse, comes word that we’ve seen nothing yet. As many as 20 banking institutions, including Barclays Bank, Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, UBS and HSBC, are reportedly under investigation for illegal and unethical practices toward protecting their profits at all costs and letting others pay for their mistakes. In this episode, financial expert Sheila Bair talks with Bill about the lawlessness of our banking system and the prognosis for meaningful reform. Bair was appointed in 2006 by President George W. Bush to chair the FDIC. During the 2008 meltdown, she argued that in some cases banks were NOT too big to fail — that instead of bailouts, they should be sold off to healthier competitors. Now a senior adviser to the Pew Charitable Trusts, Bair has organized a private group of financial experts including former Fed chairman Paul Volcker, former Senators Bill Bradley and Alan Simpson, and John Reed, once the chairman of Citicorp, to explore ways to prevent the banking industry from scuttling reforms created by the Dodd-Frank Act.
Bill talks to scientist and philosopher Vandana Shiva, who’s become a rock star in the global battle over genetically modified seeds. These seeds — considered “intellectual property” by the big companies who own the patents — are globally marketed to monopolize food production and profits. Opponents challenge the safety of genetically modified seeds, claiming they also harm the environment, are more costly, and leave local farmers deep in debt as well as dependent on suppliers. Shiva, who founded a movement in India to promote native seeds, links genetic tinkering to problems in our ecology, economy, and humanity, and sees this as the latest battleground in the war on Planet Earth.
Whenever conservative bloggers try to be clever and “expose” liberal myths, you just know it’s time to pull out the rain coat, ’cause there’s gonna be a whole lot of bullshit flying around. The latest example of this is John Hawkins’ “20 Obvious Truths That Will Shock Liberals” whose real title should be “20 Easily Disprovable Stories That Conservatives Chumps Buy Hook, Line & Sinker.” Let’s take a look shall we?
1) The Founding Fathers were generally religious, gun-toting small government fanatics who were so far to the Right that they’d make Ann Coulter look like Jimmy Carter. That’s nice. They also thought leeches could cure illness. Does that mean we should stop advancing medicine or building on their ideas for a better future? I’ll keep this mind the next time some gibbering buffoon demands that “original intent” be the only guide for interpreting the Constitution. The original intent of the Founders was that slavery was just fine, black people counted as only 3/5 of a man and women couldn’t vote at all. Let’s get back to basics!! Warning: you might find that women and African-Americans have some objections.
As for “small government?” Pure ignorance. They had laws dictating what kind of public behavior was acceptable and what size barrel could be used to transport food stuffs. Small government? Don’t make me laugh.
The manufacturing of consent is endemic within modern societies. Throughout history, the need to “persuade and influence” has always been manipulated by those people in power as a means to maintain authority and legitimacy. In more recent years, the overall manipulation of the mass public mind has become less about making speeches and more about becoming a pervasive presence within the lives of each of individual.
Edward Bernays has often been called “the father of public relations,” as it was his teachings and research that spurred the postwar years of propaganda. Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud, utilized psychological and psychoanalytical ideas to construct an informational system – propaganda – capable of manipulating public opinion. Bernays, apparently, considered that such a manipulative apparatus was necessary because society, in his regard, was composed of too many irrational elements – the people – which could be dangerous to the efficient mechanisms of power (or so-called “democracy”). Bernays wrote that, “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society.” Bearing in mind that Bernays was working in the early 1920s, we can expect the mechanisms of propaganda – mass manipulation – to have progressed to a very advanced degree since then. Within the context of our modern mass societies, propaganda has morphed into a mechanism for not only engineering public opinion, but also for consolidating social control. Read more…
“Environmentalism has failed” is a statement that deserves attention. It comes from famed environmentalist David Suzuki marking 50 years since Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring,helped spark the modern environmental movement.Clouded Earth. (Wikimedia Commons / Stephen Slade Tien)
Suzuki’s recent essay,Environmentalism Has Failed: On Adopting a Biocentric Viewpoint, on the fundamental failure of environmentalism is ominous. The world faces not only environmental calamities such as deforestation, coral reef depletion, and freshwater shortages, it is also mired in economic crises and harsh political realities. Despite the promise of “Arab Springs” and the global Occupy movement, we are increasingly in planetary peril. Throughout his life, David Suzuki has been a leading educator on planetary health; his conclusion about the environmental movement’s failure must be agonizing. Perhaps that’s why his blog offered no new way forward.
The video above features Mark Kastel, the co-director and Senior Farm Policy Analyst at the Cornucopia Institute. The Cornucopia Institute, based in Wisconsin, acts as an organic industry watchdog. In his presentation, Mark raises serious issues currently facing the organic food industry, and how you can help.
Lawfully Tainted Organics—How Did that Happen?
You’ve probably heard the health conscious mantra popularized by Michael Pollan: “If you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t be eating it.”
The easiest way to side step synthetic food additives has been to simply eat certified organic foods. But we’ve seen an increasing number of questionable additives being approved for use in organics. There are currently almost 300 non-organic and synthetic compounds approved for use in organic farming or food production. The video shows a long list of such ingredients—all of which are supposed to have been carefully reviewed for safety prior to approval.
But just how rigorous were those reviews, and are these additives really safe and appropriate for use in organics? Mark rightfully points out that fighting for the integrity of the organic label is well-worth it, considering the fact that conventional foods are allowed to use thousands of synthetic processing aids and additives, plus residues from a myriad of agricultural chemicals and genetically engineered ingredients.
Research by the Cornucopia Institute reveals disturbing evidence showing that large corporate interests have infiltrated the process, and that the rules put in place to maintain organic integrity are severely compromised.
“… It seems evident that the people doing the supposedly careful scientific reviews and approving these chemicals have mostly been affiliated with the same corporate agribusinesses and the same food producers that are lobbying for their use,” Mark says.
“We thought organics would be different from the rest of the money-dominated corruption in Washington… But the corporations that have gobbled up most of the pioneering organic businesses are relentless in their short-sighted pursuit of profit.” Read more…
The real reason for privatizing the prison system…slave labor.
1. Three “strikes” and you get life in jail. Even for trivial crimes, Leandro Andrade is serving 2 consecutive life sentences for shoplifting 9 video tapes with a value of $153
2a. 1% of Americans are in jail(2.3million)
2b On a per capita bases this equates to twice as many in South Africans, more than 3 times Iran and 6 times China’s prison population.
3. No society in history has imprisoned as many people as America.
4. 1 in 30 men aged 20 – 34 in in prison.
5.1 in 9 black males are in prison.
6. There are more 17 year old black males in prison than in college.
7. 5% of the world are American…25% of all prisoners are American.
8. America prohibits importing goods made through forced labor or prisoners…
…American prisons produce 100% of all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet proof vests,
9. 93% of domestically used paints, 36% of home appliances, 21% of office furniture, which allows America to compete with factories in Mexico.
10. You get solitary confinement if you refuse to work!
11. Thus America has successfully reinvented the slave trade.
Keep up with Jim Rogers latest project to create a system that will hold politicians feet to the fire, and to put shackles on lobbiers so that they can no longer control the system. One day we might have a system that controled by the people and is for the people.
With the 99% Spring up and rolling and set to bring 100,000 new activists to the party this weekend, there’s some increased friction between various progressive groups who are working to expand the movement this year.
It’s a good time to remember that mass movements are — by design and necessity — big and diverse, encompassing lots of different kinds of people who bring all kinds of skills, resources, interests and priorities to the table. As progressives, we’ve always believed that diversity is our most important strength.
There’s not enough that can be said about the genius of Occupy at raising America’s awareness of the corporatization of our culture, and defining and framing the predations of the 1 percent against the 99 percent as the defining conflict of our age. But now it’s time to take the message out of the parks and streets and into the American mainstream. If the goal is to build a truly diverse nationwide movement that will change the foundations of the American economy, getting more established groups like MoveOn.org, Rebuild the Dream and the labor unions involved can only be a good thing. Read more…
A stampede seems to be on the way as more and more groups break ties and dump ALEC.Intuit, Inc. (maker of Quicken and QuickBooks accounting software) told the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) that Intuit also decided not to renew its membership after it expired in 2011. That comment came from Bernie McKay, Vice President of Government Affairs. He gave this response when CMD identified that Intuit was no longer listed on the board and contacted the company. CMD began its effort to spotlight Intuit and other corporate funders and tie these corporations to the ALEC agenda when it launched ALECexposed.org in July 2011.
Kraft Foods also announced that it won’t renew its membership in ALEC when it expires this spring, according to an email from Kraft Corporate Affairs Director Susan Davison. These announcements follow on the news that Coca-Cola and Pepsi are out.
Intuit’s McKay explained to CMD that the company doesn’t “usually issue statements about membership in any organization” and declined to comment further. According toReuters, Kraft’s emailed statement explained, “Our membership in ALEC expires this spring and for a number of reasons, including limited resources, we have made the decision not to renew.” Read more…