By Emily Johnston for AlterNet – I’ve been thinking a lot about risk lately—what we’re willing to risk, and why. I was one of five activists who turned off the major tar sands pipelines coming into the United States on Oct. 11, 2016. As a result, I’m risking prison time, ostensibly for property damage (we cut a few chains to access the valves), but really for being disobedient to business as usual. It’s also possible they’ll file a restitution suit, for temporarily disrupting a pipeline that’s highly profitable for some, at the expense of all others. I took part in the action in full awareness of these risks—in dread of them, to some degree—because of the risk that Enbridge and the other companies engaged in the extraction…
By Editors of PRWatch – Voters spoke very clearly on November 8 when they elected to raise the minimum wage in Arizona and Maine, along with Colorado and Washington State. But those wins, the democratic process, and the express will of the people are being defied and denied in Arizona and Maine, where corporate lobbyists and their legislative allies are working to block, delay, even rewrite the laws approved on Election Day. These efforts to flout voter-approved laws are part of ongoing conservative and corporate-backed strategies to keep wages low.
By Jessica Floum for Oregon Live. Portland City Council approved the controversial plan 3-1 Wednesday, making a statement about growing income disparity in the United States while giving Commissioner Steve Novick a legacy piece in his final weeks in City Hall. The tax targets publicly traded companies whose chief executives report salaries at least 100 times higher than the salary of a median worker. Officials expect to raise $2.5 million a year starting in January 2018, with Novick hoping the money will help pay for homeless services. “This is as close as I’ve ever (come) to a tax on inequality itself,” said Novick, the first incumbent tossed from city council in 24 years after an upset loss to housing activist Chloe Eudaly last month. Novick said he also hopes the tax might discourage companies — well beyond Portland — from paying disproportionate salaries to their CEOs. He cited French economist Thomas Piketty, who calls escalating pay for top executives a major cause of the consolidation of wealth among the world’s top 1 percent of earners.
By Steve Rendall for FAIR – On CNN (12/2/16), anchor Carol Costello introduced a story about how Donald Trump is convening a panel of prominent CEOs to consult with on a monthly basis on issues including job growth and taxes. CNN reporter Christina Alesci reported excitedly that the panel, assembled by the Blackstone Group’s CEO Stephen Schwartzman, will be made up of a “who’s who” of “bipartisan CEOs,” including GM’s Mary Barra, Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase, Disney‘s Bob Iger, Doug McMillon of Walmart and Jack Welch, former GE CEO.
By Bernie Sanders for Medium – Our infrastructure is collapsing, and the American people know it. Every day, they drive on roads with unforgiving potholes and over bridges that are in disrepair. They wait in traffic jams and ride in overcrowded subways. They see airports bursting at the seams. They see the need for a modern rail system. They worry that a local levee or dam could fail in a storm. During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump correctly talked about rebuilding our country’s infrastructure.
By Ari Paul for FAIR – Liberals had a good laugh this summer when CNN’s Brianna Keilar (8/17/16) insisted to Donald Trump campaign lawyer Michael Cohen that his team was “down” in the race. “Says who?” he asked. Keilar snarked back: “Polls. Most of them. All of them?” At the time, it was the sickest of all burns. As the polls kept forecasting a clear win for Hillary Clinton, Trump fans went back and forth between complaining about a rigged system and accusing the polls of being dishonest.
By Staff of GMA – OLYMPIA — In a historic decision, a Thurston County Superior Court judge today ordered the Grocery Manufacturers Association to pay $18 million in penalties and punitive damages, after Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s lawsuit revealed GMA intentionally violated Washington campaign finance laws. The case arose from Ferguson’s investigation of the finances of opposition to voter Initiative 522, which would have required labeling of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, in food sold to consumers.
By Ryan Gallagher and Nicky Hager for The Intercept – IT WAS A POWERFUL piece of technology created for an important customer. The Medusa system, named after the mythical Greek monster with snakes instead of hair, had one main purpose: to vacuum up vast quantities of internet data at an astonishing speed. The technology was designed by Endace, a little-known New Zealand company. And the important customer was the British electronic eavesdropping agency, Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ.
By Rael Mora for TeleSUR – The production and consumption of natural Andean and Amazonian ancestral products in Peru is threatened by the “biopiracy” of foreign companies who have filed over 11,690 patents for the domestic produce of the region, effectively poaching the natural heritage of the country. The resources are said to be rich in nutrients and vitamins and range from those with anti-aging properties to those that act as natural aphrodisiacs.
By Joseph E. Stiglitz and Mark Pieth for Transcend Media Service – 29 Sep 2016 – I’ll confess that my jaw dropped when I looked beyond the headlines about the Panama Papers last spring and began to read the fine print. “Panama Papers” is shorthand for the widely publicized report of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, originally published on April 3, 2016. The story broke simultaneously on the I.C.I.J. Web site and in newspapers around the world and detailed what had been going on behind a cloak of secrecy.
By Thom Hartmann for AlterNet – The US is increasingly no longer a country; instead, we’re being run like a business, and in some cases, it’s literally killing us. Take for example, the ongoing problem of foodborne illnesses like Salmonella, which infects more than 1 million Americans every year. One of the most common ways of contracting Salmonella is by eating eggs.
By Joel Warner for Capital Main – As co-founder of the Gap, San Francisco-based business leader and philanthropist Doris Fisher boasts a net worth of $2.6 billion, making her the country’s third richest self-made woman, according to Forbes. And she’s focused much of her wealth and resources on building charter schools. She and her late husband Donald donated more than$70 million to the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) and helped to personally build the operation into the largest network of charter schools in the country, with 200 schools serving 80,000 students in 20 states.
By Emma Niles for Truth Dig – It was another busy week in the election cycle, but presidential campaigns were overshadowed largely by a renewed focus on racial inequality and police violence, asprotests—some peaceful, some not—spread across the country. Hillary Clinton took time to sit down with comedian Zach Galifianakis, while Donald Trump responded (poorly) to the issue of police violence.
By Hunter Blair for EPI – Since 1952, corporate profits as a share of the economy have risen dramatically (from 5.5 percent to 8.5 percent), while corporate tax revenues as a share of the economy have plummeted (from 5.9 percent to just 1.9 percent). This trend has worsened since the end of the Great Recession. Between 2010 and 2015, corporate profits averaged 9.2 percent of gross domestic product, while corporate income tax revenue averaged just 1.6 percent.
By Ed Pilkington for The Guardian – The pervasive influence of corporate cash in the democratic process, and the extraordinary lengths to which politicians, lobbyists and even judges go to solicit money, are laid bare in sealed court documents leaked to the Guardian. The John Doe files amount to 1,500 pages of largely unseen material gathered in evidence by prosecutors investigating alleged irregularities in political fundraising. Last year the Wisconsin supreme court ordered that all the documents should be destroyed, though a set survived that has now been obtained by the news organisation.