Social Articles from 2018
Opposition To GMOs Is Neither Unscientific Nor Immoral
by Charles Eisentein
Posted July 8, 2018
In a recent opinion piece – Avoiding GMOs Isn’t Just Anti-science, It’s Immoral – Purdue University president Mitch Daniels offers an impassioned plea that we embrace GMOs in agriculture. Daniels’ argument runs as follows: The health and ecological safety of GMOs is unquestionable “settled science.” Therefore, it is immoral to deny developing countries the agricultural technology they need to boost food production and feed their growing populations. It seems an open-and-shut case: the self-indulgent anti-GMO fad among rich consumers threatens the less fortunate with starvation. As Daniels says, it is immoral for them to “inflict their superstitions on the poor and hungry”.
But let’s look at some of the assumptions that this argument takes for granted: (1) That GMOs are indeed safe, and (2) that GMOs and industrial agriculture in general allow higher yields than more traditional forms of agriculture. More…
The Long Death of America’s Middle Class
By Nick Giambruno
Posted July 5, 2018
The late 1950s was the golden age of America’s middle class. This isn’t nostalgia talking. The US really did have robust Main Streets and thriving small businesses. Around then, a husband could support his family on an average income. He and his wife likely owned their own home, as well as their car. They had multiple children—and didn’t think much of the cost of having more. Plus, they had money to save.
Compare that to the average family today. Both spouses likely have to work—whether they want to or not—just to afford the same basic lifestyle. In 1959, the median annual salary for a US high school teacher was $5,276, according to the Department of Labor. Meanwhile, the median US home value was $9,627, according to the US Census Bureau.
That means a teacher made enough money each year to cover over half of the price of a middle-class home. Or 55%, to be exact. Take a minute and think… How does your annual income compare to the price of your home? I’d bet many people make far less than 55%. Today, the median purchase price of a US home is $241,700. To maintain the 1959 income-to-home price ratio, a high school teacher would need to make $132,935 annually. Of course, the average high school teacher doesn’t make nearly that much. Not even close. He or she makes around $48,290—just enough to cover 36% of the median home price. More…
Inside the Barbaric U.S. Industry of Dog Experimentation
by Glenn Greenwald and Leighton Akio Woodhouse
Posted July 4, 2018
Dogs bred into life for use or sale as experimentation objects have all the same emotional complexities, sensations of suffering and deprivation, and inbred need for human companionship as household dogs which are loved as pets and members of the family. Yet the legalized cruelty and torture to which man’s best friend is subjected for profit in the U.S. is virtually limitless.
In fact, the majority of dogs bred and sold for experimentation are beagles, which are considered ideal because of their docile, human-trusting personality. In other words, the very traits that have made them such loving and loyal companions to humans are the ones that humans exploit to best manipulate them in labs. More…
Match Made in Hell: Bayer-Monsanto Partnership Signals Death Knell for Humanity
by Robert Bridge
Posted July 3, 2018
On what plane of reality is it possible that two of the world’s most morally bankrupt corporations, Bayer and Monsanto, can be permitted to join forces in what promises to be the next stage in the takeover of the world’s agricultural and medicinal supplies?
Warning, plot spoiler: There is no Mr. Hyde side in this horror story of epic proportions; it’s all Dr. Jekyll. Like a script from a David Lynch creeper, Bayer AG of poison gas fame has finalized its $66 billion (£50bn) purchase of Monsanto, the agrochemical corporation that should be pleading the Fifth in the dock on Guantanamo Bay instead of enjoying what amounts to corporate asylum and immunity from crimes against humanity. Such are the special privileges that come from being an above-the-law transnational corporation.
Unsurprisingly, the first thing Bayer did after taking on Monsanto, saddled as it is with the extra baggage of ethic improprieties, was to initiate a rebrand campaign. Like a Hollywood villain falling into a crucible of molten steel only to turn up later in some altered state, Monsanto has been subsumed under the Orwellian-sounding ‘Bayer Crop Science’ division, whose motto is: “Science for a better life.” More…
We’re All Trespassers Now in the Face of the Government’s Land Grabs
By John W. Whitehead
Posted June 30, 2018
Here’s what one resident of Roanoke, Va., wrote to me about the manner in which the Mountain Valley Pipeline is being inflicted on his community:
“Our small community has been invaded by private security and a fully militarized local police department. Mountain Valley Pipeline has begun cutting trees and has brought in private military contractors similar to what was used in North Dakota. They are basically using the power of government to steal this land for private profit. The residents and land owners of Bent Mountain now find themselves subject to arrest for walking in their own driveway, taking pictures of the pipeline companies ever-changing survey lines and path of destruction, or in more than one case, for confronting MASKED ARMED MEN ON THEIR PROPERTY IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT. One of my neighbors was accosted on his own back porch by police for photographing the MVP surveyors continually moving the corridor of their easement. I have even had armed private security trespassing on my property miles away in neighboring Floyd County”. More…
Mapping Erik Prince’s Private Mercenary Empire
By Ty Joplin
Posted June 29, 2018
Blackwater’s activities in Iraq are infamous and account for Prince’s self-imposed exile from the United States.
Apart from harassing Iraqi civilians and running them off of roads with their armored personnel carriers, they also indiscriminately gunned down 14 innocent people in Baghdad in 2007, drawing an investigation and heavy criticism from media outlets around the world.
The incident stands as a cautionary tale for when mercenary groups such as Blackwater are able to operate without sufficient legal or logistical oversight. Facing a wave of scrutiny, Prince left Blackwater and the firm changed its name twice (to Xe and then Academi) to escape the heat.
Many thought they had seen the end of Erik Prince, but he resurfaced later at the helm of a different private military company. More…
‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Game of Thrones’ Actors Join Shakespeare’s Rallying Cry to Stand With Refugees
By Imogen Calderwood
Posted June 27, 2018
This 400-year-old speech is still scarily relevant.
Actors from “Harry Potter”, “Game of Thrones”, and “Sex in the City” have joined together with refugees to perform a rallying cry in defence of a compassionate refugee policy.
In a short film, created to mark World Refugee Day today, the actors and refugees perform a previously banned speech widely believed to have been written by William Shakespeare, from the collaborative 16th-century play “Sir Thomas More”.
And even though it’s over 400 years old, it literally couldn’t be more relevant today. More…
Why much of genetic engineering remains a mystery
by Peter Franklin
Posted June 27, 2018
Imagine a company that employs 6,000 people. It’s your job to find out what they all do. The catch is that you can’t ask them directly, because you don’t speak their language. What you can do, however, is remove one of them from the workplace and observe the effects of that employee’s absence on the whole company. You can run the same experiment again and again, each time removing a different employee.
What you notice is that about a thousand of the workers are indispensable – if any one of them is absent, everything grinds to a halt. As for the other 5,000, well, the company copes – either what they were doing wasn’t that important in the first place, or their colleagues somehow step into the breach. More…
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