Summary of “How America’s food giants swallowed the family farms”

Nick Dearden of Global Justice Now warned: “It is really an animal welfare issue here. If UK farmers want to compete against American imports, they will have to lower their standards or go out of business.” His words would come as no surprise to Rosemary Partridge, who farms in Sac County, western Iowa.
A decade later, the farm crisis hit as overproduction, the US grain embargo against the Soviet Union and high interest rates dramatically drove up costs and debt for family farms.
As the medium-sized family farms retreated, the businesses they helped support disappeared.
Tim Gibbons of Missouri Rural Crisis Center, a support group for family farmers set up during the 1980s farm crisis, says the cycle of economic shocks has blended with government policies to create a “Monopolisation of the livestock industry, where a few multinational corporations control a vast majority of the livestock”.
“The system has been set up for the benefit of the factory farm corporations and their shareholders at the expense of family farmers, the real people, our environment, our food system,” he adds.
The biggest pig farmer in the country is Virginia-based Smithfield Foods, which has nearly a million sows in the US. Iowa Select Farms has one of the fastest-growing Cafo operations in the country, with 800 farms spread through half of the counties in Iowa.
“They’ll hire somebody to sit in a little office somewhere and run that stuff off the computer and farm the land that way. Now what you’ve done is you have lost the innate knowledge of how to grow food and raise animals. You’ve lost a whole generation of it, probably two. Now we are going to rely on a few corporations to decide who is going to eat and who isn’t. We’re one generation away from that picture right now.”
In Williams, Schutt says he’s seeing a community of owners becoming workers: “It’s going to be like Russia with serfs. If you want to work on a farm, you’ll have to work for them. We’ll give you a job, but you’re going to be working on our terms. We control everything. Small farms can’t survive.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “How TigerSwan Infiltrated Standing Rock and the Dakota Access Pipeline Movement”

Jesse Horne still struggles to talk about the day he was kicked out of the anti-Dakota Access pipeline movement.
Searching for direction and ideological fulfillment ever since Iowa’s stand against the pipeline wound down, the 20-year-old had reconnected with some of the state’s more radical pipeline opponents, and the group was now taking on drone warfare.
Between March and May 2017, above-ground valves along the Dakota Access pipeline in Iowa and South Dakota were pierced with welding torches, creating new costs for the pipeline company, Energy Transfer, and sending its security personnel into a frenzy.
Like other contractors working for TigerSwan, McCollough had developed the skills he deployed in the Dakota Access pipeline fight during the U.S. war in Iraq, where he served as a Marine Corps interrogator and counterintelligence specialist.
It’s unclear how much of a difference the intelligence Joel collected made in the pipeline company’s efforts to shut down opposition, but what is apparent is that a creeping distrust infected the NoDAPL movement as the months wore on and rumors of infiltration proliferated.
Neither was a former TigerSwan operative who worked on the Dakota Access pipeline contract.
After the group’s camp closed down, Horne got a ride with Joel 10 hours to North Dakota to visit Standing Rock.
According to one former TigerSwan contractor, a large web board in Iowa displayed the names and pictures of some 60 people the security firm claimed to be tracking, along with their connections to other pipeline opponents.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Beto’s consolation prize: Running for president”

O’Rourke’s narrow loss to Cruz instead sets him up to run full time for president – and jump immediately into the top tier of Democratic contenders.
O’Rourke has not yet indicated his intentions, but he has built, in the course of a few short months, a national brand and a national fundraising base that few Democrats can match.
Conveniently, the chief knock on O’Rourke’s campaign, that he embraced staunchly progressive positions that played poorly in Texas, only heightens his appeal in a national primary for a Democratic Party that has been tacking leftward.
O’Rourke ultimately performed poorly in rural Texas, a shortcoming that sealed his 2½ point defeat.
The voters O’Rourke drove to the polls helped Texas Democrats flip two House seats and make gains in the state Legislature.
Texas Democrats can keep going back to the new voters identified and mobilized by O’Rourke as they continue their efforts to turn the state purple, said Wendy Davis, a former Democratic state senator who ran for governor in 2014.
Without having visited, O’Rourke has already captivated the state’s Democrats.
“The loudest cheer of the night so far was when ABC showed Beto O’Rourke leading.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Kent Sorenson Was a Tea Party Hero. Then He Lost Everything.”

After his bed was finally vacated and Sorenson was allowed to settle in, he started chatting with a nearby neighbor.
Then it happened: Wall Street, perched above Sorenson one day, spit downward on his rival’s head. Rushing up to face him, Sorenson was flanked by both Dough Boy and the Gangster Disciples’ shot-caller.
One day, he was pulled aside by a prison official: The MCC had been contacted by Grassley’s office, and Sorenson needed to sign a waiver giving the prison permission to discuss his status with a third party.
“Kent Sorenson personally told me he was offered a large sum of money to go to work for the Paul campaign,” Bachmann told reporters outside of her campaign bus, barely three hours after Sorenson’s speech.
Sorenson tells me he said this on the advice of his attorney, Ted Sporer, who felt it was legally defensible because the money had been routed through the audio-visual company to Sorenson’s LLC, not directly to the senator himself.
A few weeks after Kent Jr. passed, without any idea of how the word could have gotten to USP Thomson, Sorenson received a sympathy card in the mail with handwritten notes from dozens of his former inmates.
The effort had been organized by Nicholson-who, Sorenson later learned, lost 21 days of “Good time” from his sentence because he had communicated with a paroled convict.
Kent Sorenson has a more pressing task: salvaging a shred of hope from the wreckage of his life.

The orginal article.