The Real IRS Scandal: Urgent Need for Campaign Finance and Tax Code Reform; Campaign to Stop the Koch Brothers’ Takeover of the Tribune Newspaper Company; Monsanto Supreme Court Victory on GMO seeds, Provokes Concerns on Corporate Patenting of Life

The Real IRS Scandal: Urgent Need for Campaign Finance and Tax Code Reform

Interview with Alex Seitz-Wald, political reporter, conducted by Scott Harris

In recent weeks, the Obama administration has been battered by criticism over a trifecta of controversies – or scandals, depending on your political perspective. They include: questions about White House talking points in the aftermath of 9/11 anniversary attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans; the Justice Department’s covert collection of Associated Press reporter’s phone records in the course of investigating a government leak related to a foiled terrorist plot, and the Treasury Department’s admission that staffers at the Internal Revenue Service office in Cincinnati, Ohio had selected Tea Party and conservative groups for extra scrutiny of their 501(c)(4) non-profit status applications.

Media Activists Organize to Stop Koch Brothers’ Takeover of Tribune Newspapers

Interview with Timothy Karr, senior director of strategy with the media democracy group Free Press, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

Multi-billionaires Charles and David Koch make their money by exploiting fossil fuels. They have funded all manner of conservative and right-wing political efforts and candidates, including organizations and individuals who deny the reality of human-caused climate disruption. Now the brothers are setting their sights on buying some of the most influential newspapers in the country. The Kochs have expressed interest in the bankrupt Tribune Company, which is looking for a buyer for the eight newspapers it owns: the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun, the Hartford Courant, and four others in Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Monsanto Supreme Court Victory on GMO Seed Patent Strengthens Biotech Giants’ Control of Agribusiness

Interview with Bill Freese, science policy analyst with the Center for Food Safety, conducted by Scott Harris

In a landmark case for the U.S. biotech industry, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously on May 13 that farmers were prohibited from using Monsanto’s genetically-engineered soybean seeds to grow and replicate new seeds without first paying the company a licensing fee. The case, Bowman v. Monsanto, pitted the biotech giant against Indiana farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman, who had purchased soybean seeds from the bottom of a grain elevator, planted those, and then used the seeds produced for a second crop. Monsanto sued Bowman for $84,000 for his use of those seeds, which are genetically engineered to be resistant to the company’s own herbicide Roundup. Writing for the Court majority, Justice Elena Kagan ruled that Bowman had violated Monsanto’s patent rights.

This week’s summary of under-reported news

Compiled by Bob Nixon

Religious violence between Indonesia’s Christians and Muslims arrived with a vengeance in the town Ambon in the late 1990s, after the downfall of the Suharto dictatorship.
Canadian businessman Sakris Yacoubian sat in a Cuban jail for nearly two years, after cooperating with prosecutors in a major corruption investigation. In April, prosecutors filed a 63-page indictment against the 53-year-old businessman, reflecting a new hard line against government corruption by Cuban President Raul Castro. He now faces a possible 12-year prison sentence.
Mexican migrant Carolina Martinez traveled 2000 miles to the U.S. to reunite with her husband in upstate New York. After arriving she was hired to pick potatoes and onions. Carolina worked six and seven days a week.

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