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The EPA's Ties to Monsanto Could Be Disastrous for the US

It's time to end the revolving door between the private sector and government agencies like the EPA … because the American people deserve government regulators that put public safety ahead of corporate profits.

Thom HartmannSmirking Chimp / Op Ed News

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http://www.opednews.com/populum/uploadphotos/s_300_opednews_com_1486_hqdefault_668.gifEPA's Tie to Monsanto Could Be Disastrous for Us (Image by The Big Picture RT, Channel: The Big Picture RT

5/11/2016 | Conservative politicians love to talk about how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) only issues "job-killing regulations," especially if they're taking campaign contributions from fossil fuel billionaires like the Koch brothers or from agrochemical giants like Monsanto.

Republican Chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee Lamar Smith, for example, has spent years trying to stop the EPA from conducting any real research about climate change or passing any real regulations in general. But apparently it's true that every once in a while, even a blind mouse finds cheese; it seems like Lamar Smith might actually have a legitimate complaint about an EPA report.

http://readersupportednews.org/images/stories/article_imgs9/9315-occupy-monsanto-032813.jpg (Image: Occupy Monsanto)

Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network.

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Big Oil Told to Adapt or Die

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“The oil markets are going through fundamental structural changes driven by a technological revolution and geopolitical shifts. The old cycle of lower prices followed by higher prices can no longer be assumed to be applicable.” -- Paul Stevens, a senior research fellow at the London-based Chatham House think tank, the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

Kieran Cooke, Climate News Network / EcoWatch

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http://ecowatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/abandoned_gas_station_750.jpg There are doubts over whether the oil companies have the necessary technical and managerial skills to operate successfully in what is rapidly becoming a decentralized energy system.

May 9, 2016 | At best, big oil companies such as ExxonMobil, ShellChevron and BP face a period of gentle decline, but will ultimately survive.

At worst, if they do not adapt and change direction, “what remains of their existence will be nasty, brutish and short.”

That’s the core message of a research paper on the oil corporates by one of the UK’s leading energy experts, Paul Stevens, a senior research fellow at the London-based Chatham House think tank, the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

Kieran Cooke, a founding editor of Climate News Network, is a former foreign correspondent for the BBC and Financial Times. He now focuses on environmental issues.

Full story … 

The TTIP Leaks. The 248 Pages Reveal a Hidden Economic, Social and Environmental Agenda

The monstrous Siamese twin of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), has been in a growing puddle of dispute after 248 pages of its content were leaked.

Binoy Kampmark, Global Research / Rise Up Times

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http://peoplesworld.org/assets/Uploads/stopp-tppa.jpg May 06, 2016 | The organisation behind the measure, Greenpeace Netherlands, had done its best to shed light on a document that remains obscured, clandestine and hidden.  The TTIP leaks were initiated prior to the commencement of the 13th round of TTIP negotiations between the EU and the US held in New York (Apr 25-29).  According to the organisation, the final document will consist of 25 to 30 chapters with extensive annexes.

The leaked and hefty portion constitutes roughly half to two-thirds of the text under negotiation, providing more than a decent snifter as to what European and US diplomats are up to.  They have met 13 times over three years in situations that were far from transparent. Topics traversed are bound to worry any individuals with even the slightest leanings to democratic representativeness.  “Whether you care about environmental issues, animal welfare, labour rights or internet privacy, you should be concerned about what is in these leaked documents.”

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.

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Bank of North Dakota Soars Despite Oil Bust: A Blueprint for California?

Despite North Dakota’s collapsing oil market, its state-owned bank continues to report record profits. This article looks at what California, with fifty times North Dakota’s population, could do following that state’s lead.

Ellen Brown, Common Dreams

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http://www.commondreams.org/sites/default/files/styles/cd_large/public/views-article/bank_north_dakota.jpg?itok=pf69nqOq Even amid falling oil prices, by increasing its lending into a collapsing economy, the state-owned Bank of North Dakota has helped prop the economy up. (Photo: AP/Dale Wetzel)

May 02, 2016 | In November 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Bank of North Dakota (BND), the nation’s only state-owned depository bank, was more profitable even than J.P. Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. The author attributed this remarkable performance to the state’s oil boom; but the boom has now become an oil bust, yet the BND’s profits continue to climb. Its 2015 Annual Report, published on April 20th, boasted its most profitable year ever.

The BND has had record profits for the last 12 years, each year outperforming the last. In 2015 it reported $130.7 million in earnings, total assets of $7.4 billion, capital of $749 million, and a return on investment of a whopping 18.1 percent. Its lending portfolio grew by $486 million, a 12.7 percent increase, with growth in all four of its areas of concentration: agriculture, business, residential, and student loans.

Ellen Brown is an attorney and founder of the Public Banking Institute. She is the author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt, and her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, which explores successful public banking models historically and globally.

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Chris Hedges - The Pathology of The Super Rich

  • Related: US corporations have $1.4tn hidden in tax havens, claims Oxfam report

The World As It Is, YouTube

http://assets.rollingstone.com/assets/images/story/everything-is-rigged-the-biggest-financial-scandal-yet-20130425/1000x600/20130423-national-affairs-600-1366749334.jpg Illustration by Victor Juhasz

Nov 23, 2014 | Chris Hedges discusses his personal insights into the psychology and private behavior of the super rich and how these things relate to the state of the world today. One of the best Chris Hedges segments by far.

Chris Hedges, a weekly columnist for Truthdig, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has reported from more than 50 countries, specializing in American politics and society. 

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US corporations have $1.4tn hidden in tax havens, claims Oxfam report, Rob Davies, Guardian 

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/1145c5ee87467b091df22f2fbdab86848b382b8c/0_157_5332_3199/master/5332.jpg?w=620&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=5f0c8560fbeb8920bfb75fbe8d646117

  • Charity analysis of the 50 biggest US businesses claims Apple have $181bn held offshore, while General Electric has $119bn and Microsoft $108bn
  • Related: The Panama Papers: Oozing Slime

 

Loon's malaria death seen as sign of climate change

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  • Scientists believe the presence of the malaria parasite in loons offers further proof that climate change already is taking a toll on the region. As temperatures rise in New England, a parasite found more commonly in birds down in Florida, Georgia and Louisiana appears to be moving north.
  • Related: What Corporate America Would Do If It Really Cared About Climate Change

Micahel Casey, Associated Press  / Gloucester Times 

http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/gloucestertimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/5/d1/5d182053-c142-55d1-afb8-8c39c956fa32/5713e0cd174d9.image.jpg (Loon Preservation Committee/Chris Conrad via AP)

Apr 17, 2016 | For decades, researcher Mark Pokras and his colleagues have been trying to understand what is killing loons.

Through thousands of blood samples taken over the past 30 years, they found these birds — a relatively common sight on many New England lakes — were suffering from lead and mercury poisoning as well as other pollutants.

But the researchers took some solace in knowing that loons, unlike birds that frequent more tropical climates, weren't being sickened by avian malaria.

That, however, is changing.

Veteran journalist Michael Casey, who has broken news on drastic global happenings like terrorism, climate change, science & sports, has been appointed as the administrative correspondent for the Associated Press’s (AP’s) northern New England region.

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What Corporate America Would Do If It Really Cared About Climate Change, Joe Conason, In These Times <http://inthesetimes.com>

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  • CEOs are professing to care about the climate. But they’re still funding Republican climate-change deniers.
  • Related: The breathtaking human toll of environmental pollution

Universities Are Becoming Billion-Dollar Hedge Funds With Schools Attached

  • It’s not just universities with eating clubs and legacies that are getting into the game. Many public universities are also doing so, in part because state support for education has been cut, but also to compete with richer schools by rapidly increasing their more limited wealth.
  • This story was supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, a non-profit supporting journalism, photo and video about economic struggle. 
  • Related: Series | Looking at elite-college admissions, Part 2:  Where College Admissions Went Wrong

Astra Taylor, Nation / Portside

https://portside.org/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/field/image/harvard_university3-20-2016.jpg?itok=dNeBIEJ- A tour group visits the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. AP Photo / Elise Amendola / The Nation

March 8, 2016 | Have you heard the latest wisecrack about Harvard? People are calling it a hedge fund with a university attached. They have a point—Harvard stands at the troubling intersection between higher education and high finance, with over 15 percent of its massive $38 billion endowment invested in hedge funds. That intersection is getting crowded. Yale’s comparatively modest $26 billion endowment, for example, made hedge fund managers $480 million in 2014, while only $170 million was spent on things like tuition assistance and fellowships for students. “I was going to donate money to Yale. But maybe it makes more sense to mail a check directly to the hedge fund of my choice,” Malcolm Gladwell tweeted last summer, causing a commotion that landed him on NPR. -

What has gotten less attention is how it’s not just universities with eating clubs and legacies that are getting into the game. Many public universities are also doing so, in part because state support for education has been cut, but also to compete with richer schools by rapidly increasing their more limited wealth. Though the exact figure is hard to determine, experts I consulted estimate that over $100 billion of educational endowment money nationwide is invested in hedge funds, costing them approximately $2.5 billion in fees in 2015 alone. The problems with hedge funds managing college endowments are manifold, going well beyond the exorbitant—some would say extortionate—fees they charge for their services. 

Astra Taylor is the director of the documentary films Zizek! and Examined Life. She has written for Monthly Review, Adbusters, Salon, The Baffler, Bomb Magazine, n+1 and other outlets. She is the co-editor of the book Occupy!: Scenes from Occupied America (Verso). 

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http://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/img/2016/03/29/CollegeAdmissions2_1/1920.jpg?1459260223  Vixit / Shutterstock / Paul Spella / The Atlantic 

Series | Looking at elite-college admissions, Part 2:  Where College Admissions Went Wrong, Alia Wong, the Atlantic 

  • “Far too many students are learning to do whatever it takes to get ahead—even if that means sacrificing individuality, health, happiness, ethical principles, and behavior.”“Far too many students are learning to do whatever it takes to get ahead—even if that means sacrificing individuality, health, happiness, ethical 
  • This is the second story in a three-part series looking at elite-college admissions. Read Part 1 here
  • Related: The Arrogant Ignorance of the 'Well-Educated'

US corporations have $1.4tn hidden in tax havens, claims Oxfam report

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Charity analysis of the 50 biggest US businesses claims Apple have $181bn held offshore, while General Electric has $119bn and Microsoft $108bn

Rob Davies, Guardian

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/1145c5ee87467b091df22f2fbdab86848b382b8c/0_157_5332_3199/master/5332.jpg?w=620&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=5f0c8560fbeb8920bfb75fbe8d646117The report singled out British overseas territories such as Bermuda for their popularity with US firms seeking to slash their tax bill by ‘profit-shifting’. Photograph: Alamy

Thursday 14 April 2016 | US corporate giants such as Apple, Walmart and General Electric have stashed $1.4tn (£980bn) in tax havens, despite receiving trillions of dollars in taxpayer support, according to a report by anti-poverty charity Oxfam.

The sum, larger than the economic output of Russia, South Korea and Spain, is held in an “opaque and secretive network” of 1,608 subsidiaries based offshore, said Oxfam.

The charity’s analysis of the financial affairs of the 50 biggest US corporations comes amid intense scrutiny of tax havens following the leak of the Panama Papers.

Rob Davies is a business reporter covering a wide range of sectors, with a particular interest in how UK companies behave in the developing world.

Full story … 

Related:

The Panama Papers: Oozing Slime, Robert Hunziker, CounterPunch

  • Tax havens don’t need to be reformed. They should be outlawed. --Richard Brooks
  • The Panama Papers demonstrate that for all the fine words about transparency on tax, the world’s kleptocrats are still getting away with it
  • Some American intellectuals like Chris Hedges believe the public should/will revolt. “Hedges’ message is clear: Popular uprisings in the United States and around the world are inevitable in the face of environmental destruction and wealth polarization.” --Truthdig.com
  • Related: Special Report | Panama Papers: Problems, Propaganda, Media Corruption

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