Tag Archives | Corporation Watch

Why Monsanto Bought The Climate Corporation (It’s The Weather, Stupid)

The_Climate_Corporation_Logo2Monsanto’s billion-dollar acquisition of The Climate Corporation plants the seeds for an agribusiness revolution, writes Vlad Savov for The Verge:

To look at Monsanto’s product pages, you’d think the company’s business is in selling two closely related commodities: agricultural seeds and weed killers. But that would be like saying that Verizon sells people data and phone calls. What these companies are truly engaged in is an effort to make themselves indispensable to their target market’s daily activities. Now Monsanto is stepping up that campaign by expanding into the high-tech world of big data with its $930 million acquisition of The Climate Corporation.

It’s not that Monsanto is unfamiliar with the cutting edge of technology — as its long list of patents will attest — but so far most of the company’s energies have been spent on altering, enhancing, and otherwise rearranging the basic ingredients that go into land farming. With Climate Corp’s expertise in hyper-local weather prediction and big data analytics, Monsanto looks set to become a fully fledged services company as well.

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Google: Doing Evil with ALEC

EvilGoogleGoogle Inc. is now aligned with the notorious ALEC.

Quietly, Google has joined ALEC — the American Legislative Exchange Council — the shadowy corporate alliance that pushes odious laws through state legislatures.

In the process, Google has signed onto an organization that promotes such regressive measures as tax cuts for tobacco companies, school privatization to help for-profit education firms, repeal of state taxes for the wealthy and opposition to renewable energy disliked by oil companies.

ALEC’s reactionary efforts — thoroughly documented by the Center for Media and Democracy — are shameful assaults on democratic principles. And Google is now among the hundreds of companies in ALEC. Many people who’ve admired Google are now wondering: how could this be?

Well, in his recent book “Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism Is Turning the Internet Against Democracy,” Robert W. McChesney provides vital context. “It is true that with the advent of the Internet many of the successful giants — Apple and Google come to mind — were begun by idealists who may have been uncertain whether they really wanted to be old-fashioned capitalists,” he writes.… Read the rest

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When Sugar Was Marketed As Healthy Eating

Buzzfeed has a collection of magazine advertising from the 1950s through 1970s run by the American Sugar Association’s PR division, Sugar Information. For decades sugar was aggressively advertised to consumers (specifically women) as a healthy source of energy and weight loss, providing the “natural energy” needed by busy kids and parents while containing less calories than “fattening” foods such as apples and grapefruit (no, really). Someone you know struggling with obesity? They better up their soda intake:

sugar

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Protesting Workers Shut Down Hundreds Of Clothing Factories In Bangladesh

Vast numbers of workers who sew the clothing of many of America's biggest brands didn't get the memo that they are supposed to be grateful for 12 cents an hour in awful conditions. Al Jazeera America writes:
Garment factory workers in Bangladesh protested for the third day in a row Monday, calling on their government to raise the minimum wage from about $38 dollars per month to $100. Garment workers often labor up to 80 hours per week. The protests forced the shutdown of hundreds of factories in the industrial Gazipur neighborhood near the capital, Dhaka, where factory owners and government officials called for workers to return to work. Western corporations that rely on Bangladeshi labor to make much of the clothing sold in their stores -- including Walmart, Gap and H&M -- appeared reluctant to comment publicly on the protests. Abdul Baten, police chief of the Gazipur industrial district, told AFP that "up to 200,000 workers" had joined the latest demonstrations.
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MIT Study Claims Air Pollution Kills 200,000 Americans Each Year

200,000I believe this is the ultimate example of what is known as “cost externalizing.” Via the MIT News Office:

Researchers from MIT’s Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment have come out with some sobering new data on air pollution’s impact on Americans’ health.

The group tracked ground-level emissions from sources such as industrial smokestacks, vehicle tailpipes, marine and rail operations, and commercial and residential heating throughout the United States, and found that such air pollution causes about 200,000 early deaths each year. Emissions from road transportation are the most significant contributor, causing 53,000 premature deaths, followed closely by power generation, with 52,000.

In 5,695 U.S. cities, the researchers [found] the highest emissions-related mortality rate in Baltimore, where 130 out of every 100,000 residents likely die in a given year due to long-term exposure to air pollution.

Barrett says that a person who dies from an air pollution-related cause typically dies about a decade earlier than he or she otherwise might have.

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100 Wal-Mart Workers Arrested In Nationwide Protests Last Week

walmartIncluding three attempting to deliver a petition to a Wal-Mart executive’s Manhattan office. Imagine how awkward that would have been! Buzzfeed reports:

100 Walmart workers protesting low wages and illegal retaliation against strikers were arrested in 11 cities on Thursday. In response to Walmart’s inaction, workers announced widespread, massive strikes and protests will take place on Black Friday in 2013.

The New York Police Department arrested three Walmart strikers who wanted to meet with an executive. The protesters planned to deliver a petition directly to company board member Christopher Williams’ Fifth Avenue office. The petition demands Walmart provide employees with a livable, annual wage of $25,000, and stop punishing workers who stand up for their rights. Walmart fired or disciplined at least 60 strikers who protested in June.

Walmart spokesperson Kory Lundberg said that these demonstrations are “just a show.”

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SEC Investigating J.P. Morgan For Hiring Chinese Elites’ Children As Possible Form Of Bribery

jpmorganHold a position of global influence? Then there may be a job at J.P. Morgan for your offspring. Via Raw Story:

The United States is investigating JPMorgan over its hiring practices in China, the company confirmed Sunday. The New York Times had earlier reported that the investment bank was under investigation over claims it hired the children of influential Chinese officials to secure business in the country.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission filing confirmed that there had been a request from regulators for “information and documents relating to, among other matters, the firm’s employment of certain former employees in Hong Kong and its business relationships with certain clients.”

The Times had cited one case where the bank hired the son of Tang Shuangning, a former Chinese banking regulator who is now chairman of the state-run China Everbright Group financial conglomerate. JPMorgan secured a succession of sought-after deals from China Everbright after hiring the son, Tang Xiaoning.

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Disturbing Corporate Paramilitaries Appear In Wisconsin

paramilitariesTalking Points Memo on a mining company’s quelling protests using a paramilitary force rented from a real estate mogul:

There’s been a battle royale in Wisconsin over an effort to establish a big iron mining operation near Lake Superior, to be owned and operated by a company called Gogebic Taconite. Protests have been staged since the operation got started.

But people started to get freaked out over the weekend when Gogebic brought in what the Wisconsin State Journal calls “masked security toting semi-automatic rifles and wearing camouflaged uniforms.”

I started looking into the security company behind the paramilitaries, an outfit called Bulletproof Securities out of Scottsdale.

The Bulletproof website lists all sorts of security/paramilitary type services. They even have their own ‘border security force’, which is something I thought the federal government took care of.

Bulletproof can also provide “a QRF (quick reaction force) tactical unit to secure a manufacturing plant during a heated worker strike.” The company’s website provides an extremely wide range of services and suggests it has a huge amount of equipment to provide Quick Reaction Force services “in ALL conditions.”

Anyway, if you look around the site, Bulletproof clearly has a pretty big arsenal and a reasonably sized paramilitary at the ready to help you.

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Monsanto, Dow, DuPont Launch Website To Educate Public On GMOs

GMORemember the television commercials a few years ago touting the benefits of corn syrup? Russia Today writes:

A group of biotech seed companies have launched an online forum to rebuff disapproval of genetically modified foods across the world. Activists and consumer groups are skeptical, saying the industry has a ‘track record of being anything but transparent’.

The website is said to be partly backed by the biotech US giant Monsanto, DuPont and Dow AgroSciences, according to Reuters.

Founders of www.GMOAnswers.com say the website was created “to do a better job answering your questions — no matter what they are — about GMOs.” Its launch is part of the biotech industry’s campaign to respond to concerns for GMO food labeling and tighter regulation in the US.

“This… is an effort to increase the dialogue. That is all we want,” Paul Schickler, president of DuPont Pioneer told Reuters. “Dialogue is good. Over time I think we’ll come to a common understanding.”

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Protestors Plan ‘Birthday’ for Corporate/Government Boundary Busting Organization ALEC

f8b87fea7b913aa669c0cfce825add78Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

The American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization which pushes “model” legislation encouraging privatization in nearly every corner of American life under the guise of advancing “free market” principles, will hold their annual meeting in Chicago the second week of August. For 40 years, ALEC has worked to create deep connections between corporations and lawmakers while simultaneously limiting the rights of the American people to resist a corporate takeover of their democracy.

It’s fitting ALEC would host its annual conference in Chicago this year after Mayor Emanuel has spent his term pushing a model of government the organization has attempted to legislate for 40 years. Between the mayor’s push to privatize city services and attempts to dismantle the public school system along with the state of Illinois’ pandering to huge corporations via millions in tax breaks, Chicago provides a perfect backdrop. According to the Center for Media and Democracy, which publishes the website alecexposed.org, the “corporate bill mill” sponsored 117 pieces of legislation in 2013 alone which limit worker’s rights and keep wages down.

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