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Corporatism

SCOTUS EPA Ruling Signals Court Will Strike Down Rules Limiting Profits

On the last day of its term, the Supreme Court handed down a case no less impactful than its shameful ruling a week earlier that overturned Roe v. Wade. In West Virginia v. EPA, the court’s right-wing members confirmed they are in the pockets of the fossil fuel companies. The 6-3 majority sided with coal companies and Republican-led states to restrain the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) power to regulate carbon emissions. “Capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity may be a sensible ‘solution to the crisis of the day,’” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote on behalf of himself, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

Beware The Corporate Appropriation Of ‘Sustainable’ Farming Practices

Global food systems are at a breaking point. Not only are they responsible for roughly a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, they are also the top contributors to water pollution and biodiversity collapse. On top of that, many aspects of our food systems are extremely vulnerable to disruptions from climate change and other shocks, as we saw in the first months of the pandemic. Agroecology — an approach to farming long practiced by Indigenous and peasant communities around the world — could transform our food systems for the better. And agribusinesses in the Global North are actively looking to agroecology to rebrand and build new markets under the banners of carbon farming and regenerative agriculture.

It’s Time To Challenge The Corporate University

Bill Readings, a late Université de Montréal professor noted the move towards corporatization of universities in his 1997 study, The University in Ruins. While the 1990s were certainly not the golden age of higher education, there were aspects of them that were palatable compared to the current moment. At that time, tuition was lower and more affordable. Technological incorporation in teaching and internet accessibility had just begun. Google and Wikipedia were nonexistent, and living accommodations for students on college and university campuses were modest. Universities relied on shared governance (faculty participation in the governance of an institution) for decision-making.

Single Payer Docs Now Want National Health Service

In an article in The Nation magazine last week, doctors David U. Himmelstein, Steffie Woolhandler, Adam Gaffney, Don McCanne and John Geyman called for a National Health System in the United States. “We have long advocated for single-payer national health insurance,” the doctors wrote. “By eliminating private insurers and simplifying how providers are paid, single-payer would free up hundreds of billions of dollars now squandered annually on insurance-related bureaucracy. The savings would make it feasible to cover the uninsured and to eliminate the cost barriers that keep even insured patients from getting the care they need. And it would free patients and doctors from the narrow provider networks and other bureaucratic constraints imposed by insurance middlemen. We still urgently need this reform.”

Amazon Gets Huge Contract Despite Biden’s Union Pledge

The Biden administration has re-awarded a massive $10 billion federal contract to Amazon, even as the president is facing mounting pressure to fulfill his promise to halt such contracts to companies that refuse to remain neutral in union elections. The contract decision came as Amazon responded to its workers’ first successful union drive by busting the organizing drive that followed. At issue is Biden’s 2020 promise to “ensure federal contracts only go to employers who sign neutrality agreements committing not to run anti-union campaigns.” Amid revelations of Amazon’s aggressive efforts to shut down a union drive among its workers, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Ind.-Vt.) last month sent a letter to Biden “asking you to fulfill that promise… to make sure that federal dollars do not flow into the hands of unscrupulous employers who engage in union-busting, participate in wage theft, or violate labor law.”

Price Controls Could Tame Inflation

Though corporate America would like us to believe otherwise, the retail prices of essential goods like food and energy are not set by simple supply and demand. In large part, they’re determined by the corporate cartels that have vanquished their competitors — and Wall Street speculators who place bets on the future availability of commodities. With price hikes for energy, gas, and food remaining stubbornly high, it’s time to do something about it. That’s why some experts now support a fix that was long considered taboo: limiting what corporations can charge for certain goods. In other words, price controls. Price controls tend to outrage many economists and business-friendly politicians. But curbing excess profits and making essentials more affordable would be politically smart — and effective.

Was Imran Khan Trying To Address Plunder Of Poor Countries By Wealthy?

Manuel Pérez-Rocha at Inequality.org just wrote a piece "Ousted Pakistani Leader Was Challenging Investment Treaties That Give Corporations Excessive Power: Mexico and many other countries are facing anti-democratic corporate lawsuits like the case that pushed Khan to withdraw from international investment agreements." He notes: The parliament of Pakistan recently ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan in a no-confidence vote. The reasons for the former cricket star’s political downfall are not entirely clear. His economic policies were a mixed bag at best, but he deserves credit for one thing: he’d taken a bold stand against international investment agreements that give transnational corporations excessive power over national governments. This piece led noted author and activist Maude Barlow to tweet: "Wonder if this is why he was thrown over…"

Gross Negligence In For-Profit Prison Health Care

By law, people in prison have a right to get the health care they need. In the late 1970s, the U.S. Supreme Court decision Estelle v Gamble set the standard for medical rights of prisoners. But prison authorities are being criminally negligent in not providing adequate health care to incarcerated people. As the jailed population ages, 40% have chronic health conditions. The cost of providing health care has skyrocketed and local, state and federal governments have contracted with for-profit prison health care companies as a way of tightening their budgets.  Private companies give a per diem rate for basic and specialty care – which would be lower if services were publicly provided. The negotiated per diem rate creates a huge profit incentive.

Judge Gives Lawyers 24 Hours To Identify Executives Who Ordered Bribes

Further scuttling a proposed settlement for FirstEnergy’s shareholders, a federal judge demanded their lawyers, within 24 hours, answer his question about which company officials ordered what has been described as the largest political bribery scheme in Ohio history. Both FirstEnergy and its shareholders were on the cusp of a settling the shareholders’ derivative lawsuit, announcing an agreement in February pending judicial review. It calls for FirstEnergy’s insurers to pay the company $180 million for damages incurred in the scandal. The proposed settlement also would force out six members of the board of directors when their terms expire and require corporate reforms related to “political and lobbying activities.”

Profitable Utility Company Shut Off Electricity To Homes During Pandemic

During the early stages of the pandemic, Michigan’s largest power company leaned in to a chance to show its charitable side, helping buy laptops for Detroit’s public school children and publicizing that it would not disconnect the gas and electric service of people who could not pay their bills. DTE Energy said it was on “high alert to help those customers whose lives are being disrupted.” But the relief from the threat of a shut-off ended quickly for DTE’s customers, who pay some of the highest electricity rates in the country. DTE’s moratorium on disconnections lasted just over three months. An analysis by ProPublica and Outlier Media shows the extent to which one of the nation’s poorest cities and other communities across Southeast Michigan have been impacted by electric service disconnections since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Lockheed And Raytheon – Today’s ‘Masters Of War’

That the U.S./NATO-instigated war in Ukraine could result in a third world war is of major concern for all of humanity, especially workers and oppressed people who ultimately bear the brunt of any war. Yet for some global billionaires — today’s ‘masters of war’ — this conflict is seen as an opportunity to further boost profits. Among those already reaping gains are companies involved in the production and sale of weapons, planes and other military hardware. This includes 14 of the world’s 20 largest “defense” companies headquartered in the U.S. Topping this list are Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon Technologies, which had combined arms sales in 2019 nearing $100 billion. On Feb. 24, the day Russia invaded Ukraine, the stock value of these arms manufacturers soared. Raytheon and Lockheed officials openly told investors the Ukraine conflict was “good for business.”

Tennessee Is About To Take School Privatization To An Extreme

Tennessee - If you are wondering what it looks like when school privatizers are close to total victory, Tennessee is a prime example. Here, the forces that want to take public money and hand it over to private entities are on the verge of completing their conquest. Tennessee’s current legislative session features a range of attacks on public schools. Some of these would have immediate impacts, while others take a longer-term approach to fully privatizing K-12 education in the state. First, it is important to understand that groups backing privatization in the form of charter schools and vouchers are among the top spenders when it comes to lobbying state legislators. For example, the American Federation for Children—an organization founded and previously led by the family of Betsy DeVos, a school privatization advocate and former President Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education—spent $887,500.

New Data Shows US Government Has Been Bought For $14 Billion

There are a lot of reasons so many people hate the two corporate parties, but one of the biggest ones might be just how thoroughly they are bought off by the “One Percent.” (And no, I don’t mean the percentage of people who like Trident’s new Indian Curry Explosion™ chewing gum.) I’m referring to the One Percent who are disgustingly wealthy — people who own ponies for their children to play with and children for their ponies to play with. Those individuals essentially own all our politicians. (Also for their children to play with. … Which explains why Chuck Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand were forced to dress up like Snorks for an entire month. Or maybe they just needed the snorkels to be able to breathe while under an avalanche of bullshit?) But yes, our politicians are more bought-off than ever before.

Corporate Prosecutions Of Land Defenders Coming To Canada

On the side of the road just past a bridge that crosses over the Canadian National Railway tracks in New Hazelton, B.C., sits a small tent structure. Inside, pensively warming his hands over a fire on a cold January day, sits Chief Spookw, hereditary chief of the Lax Gibuu (Wolf Clan) of the Gitxsan Nation. This is Lax Gibuu territory — ancient, unceded. The tent is symbolic, an assertion of Gitxsan sovereignty in the face of CN encroachment that started over a century ago when the rail line was built. The Gitxsan have never given up their rights to the land, but the colonizing governments claimed it for their own anyway. “They have not paid any rent for the use of that land in 120 years,” says Spookw, his voice thick with conviction.

Mortgage Servicer Accused Of Pushing Homeowners Onto Its Auction Site

When Benita Guzman moved from the San Joaquin Valley to Southern California to be closer to family, she was confident that her husband, Alfonso, would find work as a carpenter. The couple bought a $370,000 home in San Jacinto, California, in 2006 with $50,000 in savings, including money withdrawn from Alfonso’s retirement account. But the housing bubble burst the following year. “Nobody was building houses anymore,” remembers Benita, 66. She took various jobs working in payroll, including on Native American reservations, but the couple was ultimately unable to keep up with mortgage payments. The Guzmans managed to hold on to their home for another decade, finally defaulting on their loan in 2018.
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