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Corporatism

Former US Treasury Secretary Reveals TikTok Purchase Plans

Former US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said he is building an investor group to acquire TikTok, a day after the House of Representatives voted to force the social media platform’s Chinese owner ByteDance to sell the app or face a US ban. The US House passed the legislation by a vote of 352-65 on March 13, citing national security risks. The bill now goes to the Senate. US President Joe Biden previously said he would sign the bill into law if it passes both houses of Congress. “I think the legislation should pass and I think [TikTok] should be sold,” Mnuchin, who leads Liberty Strategic Capital, told CNBC on March 14. “It’s a great business and I’m going to put together a group to buy TikTok.”

Corporations That Pay Their Executives More Than Uncle Sam

Corporate tax dodging and CEO pay have both gotten so far out of control that a significant number of major U.S. companies are paying their top executives more than they’re paying Uncle Sam. Tesla is perhaps the most dramatic example. Over the period 2018-2022, the electric car maker raked in $4.4 billion in profits but paid no federal income taxes. Meanwhile, Tesla CEO Elon Musk became one of the world’s richest men. When it comes to fleecing taxpayers while overpaying executives, Tesla is hardly alone. A new report we co-authored for the Institute for Policy Studies and Americans for Tax Fairness analyzes executive pay data for some of the country’s most notorious corporate tax dodgers.

Fighting Wall Street’s War On Workers

One of the occupational hazards of being a labor activist is over-exposure to “corporate bullshit”—on the job, in the community, and in politics. When workers try to win collective bargaining rights, employers conduct propaganda campaigns to spread every imaginable falsehood about the union. Once forced into negotiations, management shows up at the bargaining table with a new line of BS about not being able to afford union wage demands or agree to a grievance procedure. And in the legislative-political arena, corporate interests have long used disinformation to thwart labor campaigns.

Corporate Ownership Of Media Has Failed Canadians

For-profit media ownership has decimated journalism in Canada and continues to gouge us with some of the highest prices in the world for telecommunications services such as cellular phones, cable TV and Internet access in order to meet the ever-greater profit expectations of their owners. The private equity players and US hedge funds that own most of our largest newspapers are now harvesting them for hundreds of millions in cash and stripping their assets, all the while complaining to Ottawa that they’re losing money and need subsidies. Postmedia Network, which owns 15 of our 21 largest dailies, has been laying off journalists relentlessly for the past 14 years in order to drain the company of more than $500 million in debt payments.

Report: Plastics, Oil Industry Deceived Public On Recycling Use

An explosive new report finds that the plastics industry has misled the public for decades about the viability of recycling plastic, promoting reuse despite the fact that mechanical recycling was not feasible – perpetuating the plastic waste crisis the world faces today. “The plastics industry has ‘sold’ plastic recycling to the American public to sell plastic,” according to the report by the Center for Climate Integrity (CCI), a nonprofit organization that advocates for legal action to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable. In a statement, CCI claims the study, called “The Fraud of Plastic Recycling: How Big Oil and the plastics industry deceived the public for decades and caused the plastic waste crisis,” includes “evidence that could provide the foundation for legal efforts to hold fossil fuel and other petrochemical companies accountable for their lies and deception.”

Wealthy Corporations Use Investment Agreements To Extract Millions From Developing Countries

When Rafael Correa entered Ecuador’s presidency in 2007, the nation faced an opportunity and a challenge. Ecuador’s economy depended on oil, and global crude prices were near a record high. Much of the oil was extracted by foreign companies, however, so as prices surged more wealth began flowing overseas. More than a third of Ecuadorians were living in poverty, and Correa had come to power as a leftist promising “radical, profound and quick changes to the current model of so much exploitation, of so much injustice.” Soon after taking office, Correa increased a recently enacted windfall tax on oil companies. The idea was to use the tax as leverage to extract better terms from the companies, and this fight against foreign firms quickly became a high-profile pillar of Correa’s broader campaign to assert the nation’s sovereignty.

Big Meat And Dairy Delegates Triple At COP28

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Lobbyists from industrial agriculture companies and trade groups have turned out in record numbers at COP28, which this year has a strong focus on tackling emissions from the food sector. Attendees are present from some of the world’s largest agribusiness firms – such as meatpacker JBS, fertiliser giant Nutrien, food giant Nestlé and pesticide firm Bayer – and powerful industry trade groups.  Meat and dairy interests are especially well represented with 120 delegates in Dubai, triple the number that attended COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Overall the analysis of the delegates list by DeSmog shows that the total number of people representing the interests of agribusiness has more than doubled since 2022 to reach 340.

New Report Contradicts Official Reason Behind Target Closings

Minneapolis, Minnesota — Data does not support Target’s claim that it’s closing stores due to theft, a new report finds — while others accuse the corporation of financial fraud, saying it is fudging its finances and falsely flagging shoplifters. Due to “organized retail theft,” Target announced in September that it was closing nine stores, along with three in Portland, Oregon that closed in October. The independent media watchdog Popular Information breaks down crime statistics at six of the nine stores Target is shuttering and found that there are other different reasons than the official one the retailer gave for the closures.

The Climate Culprits Hiding Their Role In California’s Extreme Weather

One of the nation’s most important climate fights is currently playing out under the radar in California, where state residents are weathering an unprecedented tropical storm. Oil and industry lobbying groups are spending millions in a last-ditch attempt to block first-of-its-kind legislation that would require thousands of large companies doing business in the state to fully disclose their carbon emissions, a move that would effectively set national policy. In the final weeks of California’s legislative session, which ends in mid-September, Assembly members are expected to vote on the climate transparency bill.

My Life In Corporate Medicine

I started medical school in 2011, full of idealism and optimism over the promise of Obamacare. But the health care system has gotten progressively worse every year that I’ve worked in it, probably because private equity firms keep acquiring new corners. The urgent care was an exception, it was part of a family business, founded by an emergency physician who actually cares about employees. When COVID came, they didn’t lay off a single full-timer even when volume fell off a cliff, probably in part because he was a big Trumper and was convinced the pandemic would “blow over” by the summer of 2020.

Corporate Cash Derails Train Safety Bill

The company that manufactured the toxic chemicals that were released and incinerated in the wake of the East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment this winter gave $2 million to the primary Senate GOP super PAC as bipartisan rail safety legislation stalled in Congress. The manufacturer, Occidental Petroleum, has been lobbying on rail and tank car safety, and its lobbying group, the American Chemistry Council — which also donated $250,000 to the main House GOP super PAC — had pushed for changes weakening the bill in committee. The railroad legislation, introduced in the immediate aftermath of the East Palestine disaster, was once seen as the first real shot at imposing new regulations on the railroad industry in years.

Vox’s Student Loan ‘Expert’ Is Paid By Debt Collectors

Vox (8/7/23) published a piece arguing that “the White House should admit that student debt forgiveness isn’t happening,” and instead make sure that borrowers are prepared for loan repayments to begin again in October. But it failed to disclose that the author is on the student loan industry’s payroll. The Debt Collective, the nation’s first debtor’s union, noted on Twitter (8/7/23) that the author, Kevin Carey, works for a corporate-backed think tank funded in part by the student loan industry, and has worked to undermine student debt cancellation for over a decade. As a result, Carey’s argument that cancellation is futile, and that the White House’s efforts should be focused on helping students restart payments and avoid delinquency, reeks of feigned sympathy.

FTC Chair’s Efforts To Curb Corporate Power ‘Raise Questions’

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lost a key antitrust case on July 11 after a federal judge rejected the agency’s move to halt Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of video game holding company Activision Blizzard. FTC Chair Lina Khan has argued that, win or lose, the mere act of taking tech behemoths to court would be a partial victory by signaling the pressing need to update antitrust laws for today’s digital economy (New York Times, 12/7/22). But the Times‘ Cecilia Kang (7/11/23) wrote that the latest rulings “raise questions” about Khan’s strategy, with “critics…speaking out more loudly.” As to which critics are raising these questions, the Times buries the lead.

A New (Renewable) Energy Tyranny

There are two very different (and antagonistic) renewable energy models: the utility-centered, centralized energy model—the existing dominant one—and the community-centered, decentralized energy model—what energy justice advocates have been pushing for. Although both models utilize the same technologies (solar generation, energy storage, etc.), they have very different physical characteristics (remote vs local energy resources, transmission lines or not). But the key difference is that they represent very different socio-economic energy development models and very different impacts on our communities and living ecosystems.

A Wasted Opportunity To Hold Oil Executives To Account

A chummy interview of Chevron CEO Mike Wirth by CNBC‘s Andrew Ross Sorkin saw the goal of mitigating the devastating harms of climate disruption pitted against the evidently equally important goal of making Wirth more money. Conceding that many people around the world are desperate for an end to the fossil fuels driving the catastrophe, including supposedly Wirth himself, Sorkin added, “At the same time, I think it would be impossible for you not to want your business to grow.” So there’s your frame: the life and health of people and the planet on the one hand, endless corporate profiteering on the other. Only question is, how do we balance them?
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