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Big retailers, including Amazon, have been lobbying long and hard for it, and now the Internet sales tax is back after being quietly reintroduced in the US Senate last week. The Marketplace and Internet Tax Fairness Act would force customers to pay sales taxes for online purchases from out-of-state online merchants, and it forces online retailers to collect and remit separately sales taxes to all US territories. Washington Post says "Currently, officials can only levy sales taxes on retailers who have a physical presence, be it a store or warehouse, in their states." Because of that, big box stores complain that Internet retailers have an unfair advantage. Congruently, local officials seem to be salivating at the potential for more revenue. Read more...

monsanto_semillas

Creating ‘ownership’ of seed through patents and intellectual property rights and imposing it globally through the WTO, the biotech industry has established a monopoly empire over seed and food. Read more...

Pig farmers in the United States have continued to feed a controversial drug to their livestock, choosing production needs over human and animal health concerns, according to critics. The drug is ractopamine, which is given to 60% to 80% of all domestic pigs and cattle to make them grow leaner before slaughter. The Food and Drug Administration first approved it 15 years ago, claiming the drug was safe to use. But food safety advocates disagree with this claim and the assertions of farmers who rely on the product made by Elanco, a division of drug maker Eli Lilly. They point out that 160 countries have either outlawed the drug or limited its use, while also noting the existence of 160,000 reports of pigs becoming ill or dying after being fed ractopamine. Read more...

The “pause” in the draconian Detroit water shut-off is just a lull in “an escalating trajectory of systematically inflicted mass punishment and pain designed to make life in the city unbearable for a huge proportion of the population.” Wall Street has declared war against America’s “Chocolate Cities,” demanding “the shrinkage of Black urban populations as a prerequisite for full-scale investment.” Read more...

Mississippi chose Nissan over its children. (photo: Shutterstock.com)

Mississippi has proved to us all that austerity, or the political ideology of “government living within its means,” is a farce. All austerity means is taking money away from public services, and giving it to private business. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant and the GOP-led legislature illustrated that perfectly in two ways. Read more...

Starbucks-Logo

The latest food scandal in China is spreading fast, dragging in U.S. coffee chain Starbucks, Burger King Worldwide Inc and others, as well as McDonald’s products as far away asJapan. McDonald’s Corp and KFC’s parent Yum Brands Inc apologized to Chinese customers on Monday after it emerged that Shanghai Husi Food Co Ltd, a unit of U.S.-based OSI Group LLC, had supplied expired meat to the two chains. On Tuesday, Starbucks said some of its cafes previously sold products containing chicken originally sourced from Shanghai Husi, a firm that was shut down on Sunday by local regulators after a TV report showed staff using expired meat and picking up meat from the floor to add to the mix. Read more...

A Guardian undercover investigation exposes conditions inside the chicken factories that supply some of the biggest supermarket and fast-food chains in the business, including KFC, Tesco, Aldi, Asda, Marks & Spencer and Nando's. Find out why the drive for cheaper chicken is making more than 250,000 of us sick every year. Read more...

Reuters / Francois Lenoir

A federal judge has denied Google Inc’s attempt to dismiss a privacy lawsuit brought against the technology giant for commingling user data across its different products and offering that data to advertisers without permission. US District Judge Paul Grewal ruled Monday evening that Google has to face the breach of contract and fraud claims brought by users of Android devices who downloaded at least one Android application through Google Play. Read more...

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 4.46.32 PM

I first heard of Theranos, Inc. in the fall of 2013, when the Wall Street Journal published a piece titled, Elizabeth Holmes: The Breakthrough of Instant Diagnosis. However, it wasn’t just me. It was the first time pretty much anyone on earth had heard of the company, because despite having been founded a decade earlier in 2003, it maintained a level of secrecy more characteristic of classified military operations. Read more...

“The propagandists who actually decide the content of mainstream news have done a bang-up job on Monsanto. They’ve made it seem that the science for and against GMO crops is a swamp of uncertainty no one can decipher. Therefore, leave it alone. Don’t step into it. This omits one stunning circumstance: exactly how GMO crops were permitted into the US food supply in the first place.” (The Underground, Jon Rappoport) Perhaps you remember the Just-Label-It campaign. A number of activist groups petitioned the FDA for a federal regulation that would make labeling GMO food mandatory all across America. The petition amassed over a million signatures. But the FDA decided only 394 of these were legitimate, because all the others were electronically submitted in one document. Infuriating? Of course. But that was nothing. Read more...

The Illinois-based firm, privately held OSI Group Inc., that supplied the questionable meat products to McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) and KFC restaurants owned by Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) has been suspended from supplying further products to the two fast-food giants. For its part, OSI said it is “appalled” by the Chinese report. Like McDonald’s and KFC, OSI has apologized to its customers and said it takes full responsibility for the situation while promising swift action to fix it. KFC and McDonald’s have found other sources of supply, according to a report. Chinese regulators have closed down a local meat supplier following a TV report that the company was mixing meat that had passed its expiration date with fresh meat and using other unsanitary practices. The supplier provided meat to both McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) and Yum! Brands Inc.’s (NYSE: YUM) KFC restaurants. The two firms have issued an apology and said that they will stop using the supplier. Oh, if it were that easy. Read more...

reading

Walking into a barbershop, you typically find the room filled with engaging conversation, some music, and maybe even a television set.  But not in one Riviera Beach barber shop, reported West Palm Beach TV. Royal Touch Barber Shop harbors a multitude of books and encourages young customers to read.  Boys may pick up a book and begin reading while waiting for an available barber, and they can continue reading while receiving a fresh cut. The shop owner, Reggie Ross, said he promotes reading in his shop in an attempt to influence the community’s literacy and low graduation rates. Read more...

Walk through your local grocery store these days and you'll see the words "all natural” emblazoned on a variety of food packages.  The label is lucrative, for sure, but in discussing the natural label few have remarked on what's really at stake — the natural ingredients and the companies themselves. If you take a look at some of the favorite organic and natural food brands, you'll see they're owned by some of the largest conventional companies in the world. Coca-Cola owns Odwalla and Honest Tea. PepsiCo. owns Naked Juice. General Mills owns Lara Bar. Natural and organic food acquisitions aside, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and General Mills all opposed California's GMO Proposition 37 that would require GMO food labeling. Today, some of those companies touting an all-natural list of grains and sugars can be seen changing the ingredients in their natural food products as the natural foods' distribution channels are pushed to larger and larger markets. Read more...

Wednesday, 16 July 2014 21:50

The Immorality Of Paper Money

One of today’s most common economic fallacies is that the soaring stock market is evidence of economic recovery. Nothing could be further from the truth. Stocks have almost tripled since the 2008 collapse, but that stock growth stems from Federal Reserve money printing (inflation) and near zero interest rates. The Fed’s balance sheet has grown more than fourfold since 2008 — to $4.3 trillion — and was used to prop up the “too big to fails.” That money had to go somewhere. It has found its way into the stock market because U.S. Treasuries are paying less than the rate of inflation; and corporate bonds, certificates of deposit and other fixed-income products pay even less. This and price inflation (currency devaluation) is fueling the rise, not positive economic growth or common sense. Read more...

Why Is Comcast So Bad

Comcast didn’t earn its reputation as America’s Worst Company overnight — it took years and years of hard work. From offering customers ridiculously overpriced bundle packages, to having the highest fees among any of its competitors, to offering some of the absolute worst customer service of any company in the United States, Comcast has toiled away tirelessly to perfect its craft of angering its own customers, who have little choice but to stick with the cable giant due to the sorry state of America’s home broadband market. However, just because it’s already one of the two most hated companies in America doesn’t mean Comcast is going to stop innovating new ways to enrage its subscribers. TechCrunch brings us word of an amazing customer service call between a Comcast rep and former Engadget editor-in-chief Ryan Block, whose wife had been trying in vain to get Comcast to cancel their home service before Block took over the phone and decided to start recording the call. Read more...

Wednesday, 16 July 2014 20:43

Citigroup: The Original Gangsta

Barack Obama’s Justice Department on Monday announced that Citigroup would pay $7 billion in fines, a move that will avoid a humiliating trial dealing with the seamy financial products the bank had marketed to an unsuspecting public, causing vast damage to the economy. Citigroup is the too-big-to-fail bank that was allowed to form only when Bill Clinton signed legislation reversing the sensible restraints on Wall Street instituted by President Franklin Roosevelt to avoid another Great Depression. Those filled with Clinton nostalgia these days might want to reflect back on how truly destructive was his legacy for hardworking people throughout the world who lost so much due to the financial shenanigans that he made legal. Read more...

(L-R) Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Jacob Zuma talk at a group photo session during the 6th BRICS summit in Fortaleza July 15, 2014. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

Leaders of the BRICS emerging market nations launched a $100 billion development bank and a currency reserve pool on Tuesday in their first concrete step toward reshaping the Western-dominated international financial system.

The bank aimed at funding infrastructure projects in developing nations will be based in Shanghai and India will preside over its operations for the first five years, followed by Brazil and then Russia, leaders of the five-country group announced at a summit.

They also set up a $100 billion currency reserves pool to help countries forestall short-term liquidity pressures. The long-awaited bank is the first major achievement of the BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - since they got together in 2009 to press for a bigger say in the global financial order created by Western powers after World War Two and centered on the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Read more...

10 Corporations Control What We Eat

From our fields to our forks, huge corporations have an overwhelming amount of power over our food supply every step of the way.  Right now there are more than 313 million people living in the United States, and the job of feeding all of those people is almost entirely in the hands of just a few dozen monolithic companies.  If you do not like how our food is produced or you don't believe that it is healthy enough, it isn't very hard to figure out who is to blame.  These mammoth corporations are not in business to look out for the best interests of the American people.  Rather, the purpose of these corporations is to maximize wealth for their shareholders.  So the American people end up eating billions of pounds of extremely unhealthy food that is loaded with chemicals and additives each year, and we just keep getting sicker and sicker as a society.  But these big corporations are raking in big profits, so they don't really care. Read more...

Julian and Alita Knott: From Alita Knott's Public Facebook Page

Since December of last year, JPMorgan Chase has been experiencing tragic, sudden deaths of workers on a scale which sets it alarmingly apart from other Wall Street mega banks. Adding to the concern generated by the deaths is the recent revelation that JPMorgan has an estimated $180 billion of life insurance in force on its current and former workers. Making worldwide news last week was the violent deaths of JPMorgan technology executive Julian Knott and his wife, Alita, ages 45 and 47, respectively, in Jefferson Township, New Jersey. However, two other recent, sudden deaths of technology workers at JPMorgan have gone unreported by the media. Read more...

T-Mobile

U.S.-based mobile phone carrier T-Mobile is the subject of a new federal lawsuit alleging fraudulent charges on customers' bills. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says T-Mobile unlawfully charged wireless subscribers bogus fees for services they never signed up for, and then deceptively tried to hide these charges on their bills, pocketing millions of dollars in the process. According to the Associated Press, federal regulators had been unsuccessful in negotiating with T-Mobile prior to filing the suit, which accuses the nation's third-largest wireless carrier of scamming customers. Recurrent charges for so-called "premium" services like horoscope texts and funky ringtones were quietly embedded within customers' bills, alleges the agency, with no clear indication of their presence. Read more...

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