When governments are after your personal data, which online services will stand up and defend it? In our fourth annual Who Has Your Back report, we look at companies' public policies and practices, so that privacy-conscious consumers can make an informed decision about who to trust with their most sensitive data. We were pleased to find out that, in a year rocked by high-profile disclosures of NSA spying reaching into our online accounts, many companies have responded by increasing their commitment to transparency, pushing back against mass surveillance, and fighting for their users. The full report goes into extensive detail about how each company performed, and what exactly our evaluation criteria were.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's investments in Monsanto and Cargill have come under heavy criticism. Is it time for the foundation to come clean on its visions for agriculture in developing countries?
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is sponsoring the Guardian's Global development site is being heavily criticised in Africa and the US for getting into bed not just with notorious GM company Monsanto, but also with agribusiness commodity giant Cargill.
Trouble began when a US financial website published the foundation's annual investment portfolio, which showed it had bought 500,000 Monsanto shares worth around $23m. This was a substantial increase in the last six months and while it is just small change for Bill and Melinda, it has been enough to let loose their fiercest critics.
Seattle-based Agra Watch - a project of the Community Alliance for Global Justice - was outraged. "Monsanto has a history of blatant disregard for the interests and well being of small farmers around the world… [This] casts serious doubt on the foundation's heavy funding of agricultural development in Africa," it thundered.
But it got worse. South Africa-based watchdog the African Centre for Biosafety then found that the foundation was teaming up with Cargill in a $10m project to "develop the soya value chain" in Mozambique and elsewhere. Who knows what this corporate-speak really means, but in all probability it heralds the big time introduction of GM soya in southern Africa.
The two incidents raise a host of questions for the foundation. Few people doubt that GM has a place in Africa, but is Gates being hopelessly naïve by backing two of the world's most aggressive agri-giants? There is, after all, genuine concern at governmental and community level that the United State's model of extensive hi-tech farming is inappropriate for most of Africa and should not be foist on the poorest farmers in the name of "feeding the world".
The fact is that Cargill is a faceless agri-giant that controls most of the world's food commodities and Monsanto has been blundering around poor Asian countries for a decade giving itself and the US a lousy name for corporate bullying. Does Gates know it is in danger of being caught up in their reputations, or does the foundation actually share their corporate vision of farming and intend to work with them more in future?
The foundation has never been upfront about its vision for agriculture in the world's poorest countries, nor the role of controversial technologies like GM. But perhaps it could start the debate here?
In the meantime, it could tell us how many of its senior agricultural staff used to work for Monsanto or Cargill?
Former presidential candidate and longtime consumer advocate Ralph Nader joins us to discuss his latest book, "Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State." Nader highlights the common concerns shared by a wide swath of the American public, regardless of political orientation, including mass government surveillance, opposing nebulous free trade agreements, reforming the criminal justice system, and punishing criminal behavior on Wall Street. Nader also discusses the U.S. push for the sweeping Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, General Motors’ new bid to escape liability for its deadly ignition defect, the revived nuclear era under President Obama, and challenging U.S. militarism through the defense budget.
What is the Club 4 GRowth and why are they after Thad Cockran in Mississippi?
Monica S Mcfeeters's insight:
The Club 4 growth and the KOCH brother's money target THAD COCKRAN IN THIS AD..Thad is one of the only Mississippi DC REPS not on the ALEC exposed list as a member (though he often votes as though he was…he MAY not be in their back pocket). They are trying to fix that by putting in one more of their own for complete control. This is an example of a non-profit right wing group the IRS was to investigate because it is against the law to have that status and promote a candidate for political purposes with 501 funds.
Here is the ATTACK AD ON THAD FROM THIS BILLION DOLLAR BOY CLUB 4 Growth 501funds.
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Critics blasted the U.S. Department of Education for profiting off the backs of struggling students after a new projection by the Congressional Budget Office revealed Monday that the federal agency is set to make $127 billion from loan interest payments over the next ten years.
And despite promises to do the opposite, a student loan bill signed into law last year is driving up those interest rates even faster than projected, an internal government watchdog reports.
“This exploding debt is crushing our young people,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Saturday, speaking at a student loan symposium at Suffolk University's law school in Boston. Warren was one of the few lawmakers who last year voted against the passage of the loan bill.
“These students didn’t go to the mall and run up a bunch of charges on credit cards," Warren continued. "They worked hard to learn new skills that will benefit this country. [...] They deserve our support, not an extra tax for trying to get an education.”
ThinkProgress Pope: The Bible Demands The Redistribution Of Wealth ThinkProgress “In the case of global political and economic organization, much more needs to be achieved, since an important part of humanity does not share in the benefits of...
Monica S Mcfeeters's insight:
The Pope kind of tells our GOP to choose between Jesus and Ayn Rand's ideals which they have turned this selfish hero into the mother of the modren GOP party and have laid their policy push on her values rather than those of Jesus....Go Pope! You Wake Em Up!
Tea Party Accomplished Their Mission Do not believe the headlines. The Tea Party did not lose. After the primaries on Tuesday the post mortem began.
Monica S Mcfeeters's insight:
These articles give the impression that there is this great battle between establishment Republicans and the Tea Party. While optically that is true, it has never been the case. The Tea Party was an orchestration of events and people to ensure that the plutocracy was not destroyed by a charismatic president that got elected before the country was ready.
The Tea Party did not begin with Rick Santelli’s rant; it was a movement waiting to be sprung when needed.
State Sen. Chris McDanielsays he wasn’t at a “neo-Confederate” conference and ball that “Mother Jones” is reporting he attended and addressed.
“It’s unbelievable,” McDaniel said. “I was in Chicago then, at an (ALEC) conference. I wasn’t even there. I wasn’t even in the state.”
He was at the ALEC meeting? “It’s unbelievable,”
He is confirming that he attended the meeting of the extremist American Legislative Exchange Council, to confirm he was not at the neo-Confederate conference in Laurel, Miss
Evidently McDaniel believes that the extremist ALEC is a more appropriate association for a US Senate candidate than the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), the Jones County Rosin Heels. He felt he had to clarify where he was. Really?
Monica S Mcfeeters's insight:
Not supporting Thad but sure not supporting McDaniel and the link should make Thad want to work hard to stay in DC....and just look who is supporting McDaniel......are they spooky or what? McDaniel must have gone to the worst local play house on the planet to find these performers! ALEC is really going after Thad.....ALEC really plans buy up all Misissippi officials they can and they are well on their way to doing just that! DON"T LET THEM!!! Tell them Mississippi isn't for sale, then don't vote for anyone they endorce like McDaniel
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