Monday, February 28, 2011

Reversing 'Citizens United'

An August 2010 Survey USA poll found that 77 percent of all voters - including 70 percent of Republicans and 73 percent of independents - view corporate spending in elections as akin to bribery. Broad majorities favor limiting corporate control over our political lives. A coordinated effort, executed right, could unite progressives, good-government reformers and conservative libertarians in a fight to restore democracy.

The Christian Science Monitor -
Control over your food: Why Monsanto's GM seeds are undemocratic

Large biotech agribusinesses like Monsanto control much of the global seed market with genetically modified (GM) crops. This centralization of GM seeds threatens food safety, food security, biodiversity, and democratic ideals.

By Christopher D. Cook
posted February 23, 2011 at 9:42 am EST
San Francisco —

Question: Would you want a small handful of government officials controlling America’s entire food supply, all its seeds and harvests?

I suspect most would scream, “No way!”

Yet, while America seems allergic to public servants – with no profit motive in mind – controlling anything these days, a knee-jerk faith in the "free market" has led to overwhelming centralized control of nearly all our food stuffs, from farm to fork.


Christopher D. Cook is the author of “Diet for a Dead Planet: Big Business and the Coming Food Crisis.” He has written for The Economist, the Los Angeles Times, Harper’s, and elsewhere. He can be reached at

Robot Wars

Online astroturfing is more advanced and more automated than we’d imagined.
(Astroturfing is the artificial creation of a grassroots buzz for a product, service or political viewpoint.)

By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 23rd February 2011

Every month more evidence piles up, suggesting that online comment threads and forums are being hijacked by people who aren’t what they seem to be. The anonymity of the web gives companies and governments golden opportunities to run astroturf operations: fake grassroots campaigns, which create the impression that large numbers of people are demanding or opposing particular policies. This deception is most likely to occur where the interests of companies or governments come into conflict with the interests of the public. For example, there’s a long history of tobacco companies creating astroturf groups to fight attempts to regulate them.

After I last wrote about online astroturfing, in December, I was contacted by a whistleblower. He was part of a commercial team employed to infest internet forums and comment threads on behalf of corporate clients, promoting their causes and arguing with anyone who opposed them. Like the other members of the team, he posed as a disinterested member of the public. Or, to be more accurate, as a crowd of disinterested members of the public: he used 70 personas, both to avoid detection and to create the impression that there was widespread support for his pro-corporate arguments. I’ll reveal more about what he told me when I’ve finished the investigation I’m working on.

But it now seems that these operations are more widespread, more sophisticated and more automated than most of us had guessed. Emails obtained by political hackers from a US cyber-security firm called HB Gary Federal suggest that a remarkable technological armoury is being deployed to drown out the voices of real people.


Visit George Monbiot's Website:

It’s the Inequality, Stupid - Eleven Charts That Explain Everything

Eleven charts that explain everything that's wrong with America (financially).

No comments:

Post a Comment