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How Agribusiness Keeps Us "Betting on Famine"

  • Betting on Famine offers a series of poignant, if unnerving, vignettes about global agriculture collected from Ziegler's years with the UN. The message is not always cohesive, yet one truth shines through: The biggest problem today is not a dearth of technology, but an overflow greed. 
  • A review of Betting on Famine ~ Jean Ziegler

Alex ParkMother Jones

BettingOnFamine300.jpg Wed Aug. 14, 2013 | Jean Ziegler, the former Special Rapporteur for Food for the United Nations, begins his new book with two disturbing statistics. "In its current state, the global agricultural system would in fact, without any difficulty, be capable of feeding 12 billion people, or twice the world's current population," he writes. And yet, "every five seconds, a child under the age of ten dies of hunger."

In Betting on Famine: Why the World Still Goes Hungry, out on August 6, Ziegler explores the disconnect between resources and the people in need of them. He tours readers around indebted countries that have transformed their agricultural base into export industries, forfeiting the ability to feed themselves. Haiti, for instance, could thirty years ago grow enough rice to feed its people, but after lowering barriers to imported rice at the behest of the International Monetary Fund, it wrecked local rice production to the point that now it must spend 80 percent of its revenue on imported food.

Alex Park is an Editorial Fellow at Mother Jones. His work has been published in PBS/MediaShift, New America Media, allAfrica.com, Time.com, and the Believer.

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Related:

Walmart’s latest organic scheme is just part of its plot to take over our food system, Stacy Mitchell, Grist 

  • To me, the pivotal question that ought to frame any discussion about Walmart’s role in our food system is: Will people and the planet be better off if Walmart grows to control 50 percent of the U.S. grocery market?
    • A Trojan Carrot

The Struggle for Survival of the Long-term Unemployed

  • Are the Long-Term Unemployed on the Margins of the Labor Market?
  • Part 1: It’s Still Bad for the Long-Term Unemployed
  • Part 2: The unemployment insurance graveyard
  • From high hopes to low wages: What happened to the American Dream?

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest



Part 1: It’s Still Bad for the Long-Term Unemployed

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  • About 7.4 million Americans – up from 7.2 million as of November – are working part-time but would like to be working full-time.
  • Many among the long-term jobless accept a crummy job or simply give up.
  • From high hopes to low wages: What happened to the American Dream?

Annie Lowrey, New York (NY) Times

04economix-longterm-blog480.pngApril 4, 2014 | At first blush, it’s great news. The number of long-term unemployed Americans – meaning those out of a job for more than six months – has dropped to 3.7 million in March from a high of 6.8 million in April 2010. The ranks of the long-term jobless have plummeted by 837,000 over the past year alone, helping to drive down the unemployment rate.

But not so fast. The labor market has largely normalized in terms of short-term unemployment. But it gets worse and worse the longer you’ve been out of a job. As the chart that ran with a story I wrote today shows, short-term joblessness is actually well below its 2007 level. Long-term joblessness is still more than twice as high.

Annie Lowrey reports on economic policy for the New York Times. Previously Lowrey covered the economy as the Moneybox columnist for Slate. She was also a staff writer for the Washington Independent and served on the editorial staffs of Foreign Policy and The New Yorker.

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Part 2: The unemployment insurance graveyard

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  • Senate negotiators toiled for months to revive long-term unemployment benefits in a manner that could draw the support of both centrist Republicans and liberal Democrats.
  • But that effort was all for naught.

Burgess EverettPOLITICO

5/18/14 | The jobless aid bill that narrowly passed the Senate in early April would extend the benefits to June 1 — but barring a surprise breakthrough, there’s almost no chance the House will take up that legislation or an alternative of its own during the last two weeks of May.

So, the lack of agreement between the two chambers is sending the bill’s chief sponsors back to square one — with several Republicans doubting the Senate has the stamina to find billions more dollars to pay for a longer-term bill and then persuade the House to pass it.

Burgess Everett is a congressional reporter for POLITICO

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Related:

From high hopes to low wages: What happened to the American Dream? Mark Robert Rank, Thomas A. Hirschl, and Kirk A. Foster, Salon

 

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40% Of US Workers Now Earn Less Than 1968 Minimum Wage

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  • Good paying full-time jobs are disappearing, and they are being replaced by low paying part-time jobs.
  • How Govt. Hides the Poor: Formula for Measuring Poverty Dates to When a Loaf of Bread Cost 22 Cents
  • The poverty that Paul Ryan ignores

Michael Snyder, Popular Resistance

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/If you like reading this article, consider joining the crew of all reader-supported Evergreene Digest by contributing the equivalent of a cafe latte a month--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it.

Great-Depression-Bread-Line-SC-500x2501.jpgApril 29th, 2014 | Are American workers paid enough?  That is a topic that is endlessly debated all across this great land of ours.  Unfortunately, what pretty much everyone can agree on is that American workers are not making as much as they used to after you account for inflation.  Back in 1968, the minimum wage in the United States was $1.60 an hour.  That sounds very small, but after you account for inflation a very different picture emerges.  Using the inflation calculator that the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides, $1.60 in 1968 is equivalent to $10.74 today. 

And of course the official government inflation numbers have been heavily manipulated to make inflation look much lower than it actually is, so the number for today should actually be substantially higher than $10.74, but for purposes of this article we will use $10.74.  If you were to work a full-time job at $10.74 an hour for a full year (with two weeks off for vacation), you would make about $21,480 for the year.

Michael Snyder, publisher of The Economic Collapse blog.

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Related:

How Govt. Hides the Poor: Formula for Measuring Poverty Dates to When a Loaf of Bread Cost 22 Cents, Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

  • Cities, states, advocates and academics have known for years that (the present) measure of who is poor undercounts millions of Americans. 
  • False stats.
  • The Zombie Numbers That Rule the U.S. Economy
  • The poverty that Paul Ryan ignores

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The poverty that Paul Ryan ignores, Ed Gray, Salon

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The leader of the crusade against poor Americans, Paul Ryan, has said that the social safety net is at risk of becoming a “hammock”; one that, one presumes, would have accommodated so-called freeloaders unworthy of government assistance. 

While Republicans use poverty as an ideological weapon, one writer sees its consequences firsthand.

The new face of food stamps: working-age Americans

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The Shocking Numbers Behind Corporate Welfare

 

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  • In fact, the numbers significantly understate the true value of taxpayer subsidies made by state and local government agencies to businesses, , including cash giveaways, building and land transfers, tax abatements and steep discounts on electric and water bills, for reasons explained here.
  • 10 Corporate Behemoths Stifling Competition and Delivering Awful Service to You

David Cay Johnston, Al-Jazeera America

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src.adapt.960.high.1393513920058.jpgAn Air India Boeing 787 Dreamliner taking off for a display at the 50th Paris Air Show, at Le Bourget Airport near Paris in June 2013. Pascal Rossignol/Reuters

February 25, 2014 | State and local governments have awarded at least $110 billion in taxpayer subsidies to business, with 3 of every 4 dollars going to fewer than 1,000 big corporations, the most thorough analysis to date of corporate welfare revealed today.

Boeing ranks first, with 137 subsidies totaling $13.2 billion, followed by Alcoa at $5.6 billion, Intel at $3.9 billion, General Motors at $3.5 billion and Ford Motor at $2.5 billion, the new report by the nonprofit research organization Good Jobs First shows.

David Cay Johnston, an investigative reporter who won a Pulitzer Prize while at the New York Times, teaches business, tax and property law of the ancient world at the Syracuse University College of Law. He is the best-selling author of "Perfectly Legal", "Free Lunch" and "The Fine Print" and editor of the new anthology "Divided: The Perils of Our Growing Inequality."

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Related:

10 Corporate Behemoths Stifling Competition and Delivering Awful Service to You, Alex Henderson, AlterNet

  • Customers benefit when actual competition occurs. But that's rare these days.
  • Here are 10 mammoth corporations that detest free-market competition and do everything they can to stamp it out or greatly reduce it.
  • The Kochs’ Fig Leaf
Section(s): 

10 Corporate Behemoths Stifling Competition and Delivering Awful Service to You

  • Customers benefit when actual competition occurs. But that's rare these days.
  • Here are 10 mammoth corporations that detest free-market competition and do everything they can to stamp it out or greatly reduce it.
  • The Kochs’ Fig Leaf

Alex Henderson, AlterNet

Journalism with real independence and integrity is a rare thing. All reader supported Evergreene Digest relies on reader donations. Click on the donation button above to make a contribution and support our work.

screen_shot_2014-04-24_at_12.18.26_pm.png April 24, 2014  |  One of the fundamentals of free-market capitalism is that consumers benefit when competition is plentiful. If a business is selling a weak or inferior product, consumers can turn to the competition for a better deal. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt understood that, which is why a key element of his New Deal was the anti-trust, anti-monopoly legislation of the 1930s. Roosevelt firmly believed that large companies should be forced into a competitive environment whether they liked it or not, and that belief served the U.S. well for many years. But in recent decades, a variety of corporate lobbyists, far-right Republicans and neoliberal Democrats have shredded the New Deal and undermined anti-trust laws—thus encouraging corporations to grow larger and larger and engage in monopolistic practices. 

Here are 10 mammoth corporations that detest free-market competition and do everything they can to stamp it out or greatly reduce it.

Alex Henderson's work has appeared in the L.A. Weekly, Billboard, Spin, Creem, the Pasadena Weekly and many other publications.

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Related:

The Kochs’ Fig Leaf, Think Progress

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  • Americans For Prosperity Fesses Up To Their Dirty Agenda
  • The Koch’s goal is to keep the economic deck stacked in their favor and that means a government that only work for the wealthiest. And they will spend whatever it takes to protect their bottom line.
  • Series | Class War for Idiots, Part 1: The Roots of Stalin in the Koch Brothers and the Tea Party Movement

The FCC Wants to Break the Internet

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  • As reported by various outlets, the  new rules have been circulated by FCC chairman Tom Wheeler to the other members of the commission and will be officially announced on Thursday (April 24).
  • “If it goes forward, this capitulation will represent Washington at its worst.” —Todd O’Boyle, Common Cause
  • "With this proposal, the FCC is aiding and abetting the largest ISPs in their efforts to destroy the open Internet," said Craig Aaron, president of the media advocacy group Free Press.
  • Part 1: Internet For The Wealthy On The Way Unless We Stop It
  • Part 2: Unless Defeated, New FCC Rules Will Put 'Stake in Internet's Heart'

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: Internet For The Wealthy On The Way Unless We Stop It

Take Action Today: Immediate mobilization required to save open Internet.

Kevin Zeese, Popular Resistance

wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Net-neutrality-meme-e1398433124309.jpg April 24, 2014 | In what the New York Times describes as “a net neutrality turnaround” the Obama administration’s new FCC chairman is proposing rules that will create an Internet for the wealthy. The new plan to create a pay to play Internet came to light Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal.

Under the plan wealthy corporations will be able to purchase faster service, while those that cannot do so will have slower service. Rather than an open Internet for all, the US will be moving to a class-based Internet. Of course, this will mean that when Netflix and other corporations purchase faster Internet, the consumers who use their service will be paying more to watch movies and download information. As a result, more money will be funneled from working Americans to wealthy telecom giants.

Kevin Zeese, along with Margaret Flowers, is a participants in PopularResistance.org. They also co-direct It’s Our Economy and are co-hosts of Clearing the FOG, shown on UStream TV and heard on radio.

Full story … 



Part 2: Unless Defeated, New FCC Rules Will Put 'Stake in Internet's Heart'

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Critics of the new rules say that this could be the moment the internet as we know it will die if the people do not rise to its defense.

Jon Queally, Common Dreams

Thursday, April 24, 2014 |  Defenders of an open, innovative and fair internet are up in arms Thursday after learning the Federal Communications Commission is about to issue new rule proposals that will kill the online principle known as "net neutrality."

The death of net neutrality—which has governed the equal treatment of content since the internet was created—will create, say critics, a tiered internet that allows major internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon to cut special and lucrative deals with content providers who can afford to pay for special "fast lanes." The result will be an internet that will incentivize slower traffic by ISPs and the creation of privatized, corporate-controlled "toll-roads" that will come to dominate a once fair and free environment.

Jon Queally, staff writer, Common Dreams

Full story … 

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