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Posts Tagged ‘Corporate corruption

We’re their lab rats: Toxic pesticides from GM food crops found in unborn babies

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Reference added below
By Andy Bloxham   20 May 2011  Telegraph  

Toxic pesticides which are implanted into genetically modified food crops have lodged in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn babies, research shows.

Scientists at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, at the University of Sherbrooke Hospital Centre in Quebec, took dozens of samples from women.

Traces of the toxin were found 93 per cent of the pregnant mothers and in 80 per cent of the umbilical cords.

The research suggested the chemicals were entering the body through eating meat, milk and eggs from farm livestock which have been fed GM corn.

The findings appear to contradict the GM industry’s long-standing claim that any potentially harmful chemicals added to crops would pass safely through the body.

To date, most of the global research which has been used to demonstrate the safety of GM crops has been funded by the industry itself.

It is not known what, if any, harm the chemicals might cause but there has been speculation it could lead to allergies, miscarriage, abnormalities or even cancer.

One of the researchers told the scientific journal Reproductive Toxicology: “This is the first study to highlight the presence of pesticides associated with genetically modified foods in maternal, foetal and nonpregnant women’s blood.”

Pete Riley, the director of GM Freeze, a group opposed to GM farming, described the research as “very significant”.

The Agriculture Biotechnology Council, which speaks for the GM industry, has questioned the reliability and value of the research.

Dr Julian Little, its chairman, said: “Biotech crops are rigorously tested for safety prior to their use and over two trillion meals made with GM ingredients have been safely consumed around the world over the past 15 years without a single substantiated health issue.”

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See also:

New documentary investigates war being waged by biotechnology companies against scientists who expose the truth about GMOs

10 of the Biggest Corporate Tax Cheats In America

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April 5, 2011   By Joshua Holland AlterNet

If you or I were running a small business and we kept one set of books showing how much money we were making and a second set for the IRS that painted a picture of an enterprise on the brink of bankruptcy, we’d end up behind bars.

But that’s standard operating procedure for corporate America. In fact, public corporations have to do it — the law requires that they keep one set of books for their shareholders, and another for the IRS. As tax journalist David Cay Johnston explained, “Many corporations routinely tell investors they incur millions in corporate income taxes, while the financial records they give the IRS show they owe nothing or are due refunds.”

In the records kept by the IRS, corporations cook the books “by using tax shelters, offsetting income with losses from years ago, and employing countless other devices that make them look like paupers to the IRS but money machines to investors.”We got a peek into this process last week, when the New York Times revealed that multinational giant GE is not only avoiding corporate income taxes this year, but is taking a “tax benefit” of $3 billion. According to the Times, the company’s “extraordinary success is based on an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore.”

But of course, GE is not alone. Here are 10 other big corporate tax evaders (with an assist from an MSNBC analysis of leading corporate tax-dodgers). Keep in mind that neither political party ever actually cuts spending significantly, so every dollar these companies avoid paying is one that will come out of the paychecks of working America.

1. Google

CEO: Eric Schmidt (117 on Forbes list of the wealthiest with a net worth of $6.3 billion in 2010.)

2010 Pre-tax Profit: $10.8 billion

How Google avoids paying US taxes: According to MSNBC, Google reports income in overseas tax havens and then reports its costs here at home. Google also patents its products abroad, licenses its technologies from its overseas subsidiaries and then writes off the costs of the licenses.

Google fun-fact: Google rents 200 goats, complete with goatherd and a border collie, to keep the grass nicely trimmed at Google HQ. Oh, and this week Bloomberg reported that the Federal Trade Commission is considering launching a major investigation into Google’s anti-competitive practices.

2. News Corp

CEO: Rupert Murdoch (Murdoch ranked 53rd on Forbes’ list of highest-paid CEOs and was the 117th richest person in the world last year.)

2010 Pre-tax Profit: $3.3 billion

Taxation strategy: In 2008, the Government Accountability Office issued an analysis concluding that one of the companies with the greatest number of subsidiaries in offshore tax-havens was none other than News Corp., which then had more than 150 of them scattered across the world.

News Corp. fun-fact: Fox “News” devoted significant airtime to hyping the financial ties between Alwaleed bin Talal, a member of the Saudi royal family, and the developers of the Park 51 Muslim community center planned for downtown Manhattan. Fox implied there was something sinister about the financier, but didn’t mention that he is also News Corp.’s second largest shareholder, with 7 percent of the company’s stock.

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How Private Health Insurers Purchased Healthcare Reform

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“they all must go!”

Billy Wharton / March 31st, 2010   DissidentVoice.org

In a moment of frank political revelation, Firedoglake reports that Senator Max Bacchus has confirmed that former WellPoint Vice President Liz Fowler wrote substantial portions of the recently approved Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Left-wing opponents of the bill had already claimed that private insurers exercised significant influence on the proceedings in the House and Senate. Bacchus’ revelation takes these claims to a new level as they prove that the private health insurance lobby literally wrote the bill that is being passed off as a “reform” of the healthcare system.

Bacchus cited the contributions made by Liz Fowler during floor proceedings in the Senate. “Liz Fowler worked for me many years ago,” he proudly stated from the microphone, “left for the private sector, and then came back when she realized she could be there at the creation of health care reform because she wanted that to be, in a certain sense, her profession lifetime goal.” Fowler went on to author the influential White Paper that formed the basis for the eventual legislation.

WellPoint is a notorious private insurer. In 2007, it was revealed that the company operated an extensive department entirely dedicated to carrying out procedure denials and insurance cancellations. In 2009, WellPoint’s affiliate, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, sued the state of Maine in an attempt to force the state to guarantee that the company would receive at least a 3% annual return from selling insurance policies in the state. Not surprisingly, the company has also been a campaign contributor to Bacchus’ senatorial runs.

Liz Fowler’s pro-corporate credentials run far deeper than WellPoint. She began her career as an attorney at Hogan & Hartson, a massive corporate law and lobbying firm. The firm is an active campaign contributor, including, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, contributions of $2,000 to Bacchus’ campaigns in 2002 and 2006. There are currently 60 Hogan & Hartson lobbyists working in Washington representing hundreds of corporations, including dozens of health insurers and pharmaceutical companies.

All of this explains why the Senate Finance Committee was converted into the healthcare sinkhole. Senators on the committee received an inordinately high amount of campaign contributions from the health insurance industry, $8 million from PAC’s and $6 million from individuals, in 2010 to insure its loyalty. Liberal proposals for a “public-option” went down in flames here and when single-payer activists attempted to participate in the debate on the bill, Bacchus joked that “we may need more police.” The police arrived promptly and removed anyone who dared to speak against a process clearly designed to screw them.

This is how politics works for the Democrats and Republicans. The door between private industry and public policy has swung wide open. Corporate money rules politics. Bacchus apparently feels confident that the American public has sunk to a level of stupidity so low that he can pass off Fowler’s pro-corporate role as some sort of public service. Shameful.

Fowler and Bacchus are just one manifestation of a larger corrupt political process that has slipped so far out of the hands of everyday Americans that there is no going back. A slogan developed during the most recent financial crisis in Argentina might best capture what needs to happen going forward “they all must go.”

World’s top firms cause $2.2 Trillion of environmental damage

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Report for the UN into the activities of the world’s 3,000 biggest companies estimates one-third of profits would be lost if firms were forced to pay for use, loss and damage of environment

Juliette Jowit   guardian.co.uk,    18 February 2010

Black clouds over the central business district, Jakarta. Photograph: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

The cost of pollution and other damage to the natural environment caused by the world’s biggest companies would wipe out more than one-third of their profits if they were held financially accountable, a major unpublished study for the United Nations has found.

The report comes amid growing concern that no one is made to pay for most of the use, loss and damage of the environment, which is reaching crisis proportions in the form of pollution and the rapid loss of freshwater, fisheries and fertile soils.

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India warned to beware of GMO crops and Monsanto take-over

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Vandana Shiva on Monsanto Indian Farmer Suicides:

“Every seed that is in the market in cotton today, linked to one company or others, is licensed and controlled by Monsanto.”

Beware of GM crops, patent regimes

Pavan Vangipuram

HYDERABAD: Dr Shiv Chopra has not made himself many friends among the multinational food corporations trying to force their way into India.

A microbiologist who spent several years with Health Canada, he blew the whistle on Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rbGH) and its harmful effects. His efforts caused much consternation in Monsanto, the producer of rbGH, and he has been a fierce opponent of genetically-modified food products ever since. In a press conference on Monday, he explained his concerns.

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Medicare in Crisis: The Devastating Impacts of a Corporate Health Care Bill

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by Shamus Cooke

Global Research, November 27, 2009 

Wading through the endless debate over health care has exhausted the patience of most Americans — the zigzags, obscure language, and long-winded discussion is inherently repulsive.

But now the dust is starting to settle, and the Congressional  vision for health care in the U.S. is emerging. Instead of being “progressive,” it will amount to a massive, corporate-inspired attack on American workers, the elderly, and the poor.

After months of confusion and delay, Congress has shipwrecked the popular energy over health care onto the jagged rock of corporate interests. More spectacularly, health care “reform” is being used as an opportunity to greatly advance corporate influence over social spheres long-dedicated to the working-class — seemingly harmless provisions carry with them enormous implications.

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Scientists Concerned For Academic Freedom- biotech industry attacks

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The Institute of Science in Society  11/20/09

Open Letter to Premier of Western Australia

Background

Dr. Judy Carman, senior scientist working in the field of epidemiology in Australia and awarded a government grant to study the safety of GM feed, has been subjected to a sustained campaign of vilification by individuals associated withthe biotech industry, with the clear intention of preventing her from carrying out the research. Political pressure is nowbeing brought to bear on her research by the current Agriculture and Food Minister of Western Australia.

Dr. Carman is not an isolated case. A long string of scientists beginning with Arpad Puszati, Susan Bardocz, Shiv Chopra, Ignacio Chapela, Irina Ermakova, and more has suffered the same attacks when their research or laboratory findings are deemed unfavourable to thebiotech industry; they have also lost their grants or their jobs as a result.

It is important for scientists to make a stand for real science,and for the right of scientists to do research without being harassed and intimidated, or losing their grants or positions. The public will not be well-served unless this academic freedom to do research independent of industry or the whims of government is guaranteed.

Please add your name and affiliation to the letter below by sending an e-mail message to m.w.ho@i-sis.org.uk

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