NYT editorial last Sunday: “In light of these lines of attack, it is imperative that in 2016 voters elect people to Congress and the White House who will support health care reform. It is equally important that as many uninsured people as possible be reached and enrolled in private plans or Medicaid. The greater the number of people who benefit from the health reform law, the harder it will be to dismantle it.”
“But even before the political controversy, the tax agency’s oversight of charities was dropping. A report in December by the Government Accountability Office found that examinations of charities and tax-exempt groups had steadily declined over the years and that review rates were lower than for other filers. In 2013, the I.R.S. examined 0.71 percent of all charitable organizations’ filings, compared with 1 percent for individuals and 1.4 percent for corporations, the G.A.O. found.”
Paul Krugman starts this piece in the NYT with:
“Last year the vampires of finance bought themselves a Congress. I know it’s not nice to call them that, but I have my reasons, which I’ll explain in a bit. For now, however, let’s just note that these days Wall Street, which used to split its support between the parties, overwhelmingly favors the G.O.P. And the Republicans who came to power this year are returning the favor by trying to kill Dodd-Frank, the financial reform enacted in 2010.
And why must Dodd-Frank die? Because it’s working.”
Great comments. Read these after the article below.
I started my adult career as an avid genetic engineering student. I am now an organic farmer. So I ask just a few questions –
In 2015, after 20 years of Biotech-based agriculture, have we –
1. decreased the tonnage of pesticides applied?
2. decreased the toxicity of pesticides applied?
3. increased reliable weed and insect control?
4. protected bees, butterflies and other beneficial organisms?
5. increased farm/rural viability and profitability?
6. increased regional food security and sovereignty?
7. increased food nutritional value?
8. increased soil health and decreased soil loss / degradation?
9. increased water quality and reduced water use?
10. decreased dependence on purchased finite off-farm resources?
11. reduced agriculture’s impact on climate change?
12. reduced the amount of petroleum-based energy used on farm?
13. increased biological and genetic diversity on farms?
Never ever forget that it is the entire package of this style agriculture – the pesticides, fertilizers, neonics, ethanol-driven markets, monopolization of the farm supply chain, rural social impacts, unintended environmental and health consequences, plus the genetic event – that is the ‘proof of the pudding’. It is that entire ‘pudding’ that we must honestly evaluate.
In fact, glyphosate has been known to have very serious health consequences for some time, even to Monsanto. Further, it has been found in the urine samples of virtually everyone ever tested for it in random trials.
What we need is old-fashioned farming, involving crop rotation and variety, beneficial insects to eat the crop-killing ones, and a tax system that penalizes low-yield high-acreage farms, instead of labor-intensive, high-yield, low acreage farms.
See also here on the last point: http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Tax-on-Land-and-the-Na-by-Scott-Bak…
– Scott Baker, president of Common Ground-NYC
Here in lies some direction on how to handle the problem in the previous post. According to law professor Tim Wu, the courts have moved to give corporations the same protections as individuals, when that protection was invented recently, to avoid regulation. There are numerous examples in his article in the New Republic.There is now a legal lottery to roll back reforms. “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is pushing to gut the disclosure requirements in new securities regulations, citing the free speech rights of hedge funds and publicly traded companies. Attorneys working for Google have argued that, since search results are speech, its rights are impinged by the enforcement of tort and antitrust laws. Southwest and Spirit airlines have employed the First Amendment to resist efforts to force them to list the full price of tickets. The incomplete, misleading cost, they have argued, is a form of free speech, too.”
Wu goes through the history of the legal evolution. Oddly, the great conservative Justice Rehnquist foresaw this abuse and warned against it. Wu Wrote, “The minority opinion in the First National case strenuously made these points: “ ‘A corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law,’ ” Justice Rehnquist wrote, quoting John Marshall. He added that “liberties of political expression are not at all necessary to effectuate the purposes for which States permit commercial corporations to exist.” But the precedent had been established.”
If our democracy fails, this evolution might be cited as a major cause. Somehow, we have to make consumer protection laws more legal than the right of corporations to lie and cheat and pollute.
Here is a major legal problem. What is the solution?