By Robert Weissman for Common Dreams – Trump’s corporate takeover of federal agencies “Trump has converted the GOP into a populist working-class party,” Trump advisor and far-right economist Stephen Moore told Republican members of Congress at a caucus meeting. Well, advisor Moore, meet the Trump transition team. “We are witnessing not a populist, working class revolution, but the wholesale takeover of government by an extremist faction of the corporate class.” The leader of the would-be populist working-class party has invited rogues’ gallery of insiders—corporate lawyers, investment fund managers, corporate executives and wonks hailing from corporate-backed think tanks
By Rick Claypool for Medium – Nov. 29, 2016 — As a candidate, President-Elect Donald Trump railed against the “rigged political establishment” and promised to “send the special interests packing.” The federal agency landing teams announced by the President-Elect’s Transition Team, however, suggest the entrenched establishment of corporate interests, Republican insiders and former lobbyists will have significant influence over the incoming administration. Out of the 75 landing team members announced by the Trump Transition organization, 70 percent (53 members) have some corporate affiliation.
By Mark Hand for DC Media Group. Protesters converged on downtown Washington, DC, again on Nov. 14, but this time it wasn’t all about the election of Donald Trump as president. Many came to the nation’s capital to celebrate the defeat of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), although some fear Trump could backtrack on his campaign promise to oppose the regional trade deal. As part of the day of action, protesters blocked I-395 in D.C. for more than 30 minutes with an enormous banner which read, “Stop Trumpism.” The protesters maintained the protest action was not an endorsement of Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton. One of the day’s goals was to empower people disillusioned with the two-party political system, including Bernie Sanders supporters, by providing them with examples of activism beyond the ballot box, said Veronica Murray, a Massachusetts resident, who was one of the activists who blocked the freeway with the “Stop Trumpism” sign.
By Friends of the Earth. Our environment and food system are in trouble. Bayer the Bee-Slayer and Monsanto the Butterfly-Killer made a deal to merge into one huge corporation. And there are two other Big Ag mega-mergers on deck: Dow and DuPont, and Syngenta and ChemChina. These companies are poised to control even more of our food system. They’ll be able to fight even harder to protect their profits at the expense of pollinators and the planet — unless you stop them! Monsanto already possesses a 97 percent share for soybean traits and a 75 percent share for corn traits. If Monsanto merges would Bayer, it would create the biggest seed and pesticide company in the world — giving it unprecedented control over our food supply.
By U.S. Public Interest Research Group. WASHINGTON – In 2015, more than 73 percent of Fortune 500 companies maintained subsidiaries in offshore tax havens, according to “Offshore Shell Games,” released today by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Collectively, multinationals reported booking $2.5 trillion offshore, with just 30 companies accounting for 66 percent of this total. By indefinitely stashing profits in offshore tax havens, corporations are avoiding up to $717.8 billion in U.S. taxes. “Corporate tax dodging may be legal, but it’s certainly not good for everyday taxpayers and responsible small businesses,” said Michelle Surka, advocate with U.S. Public Interest Research Group. “It disadvantages small businesses that don’t have scores of tax lawyers, creates an economic environment that favors accounting tricks over innovation and real productivity, and forces the rest of us to foot the bill.
By Thomas Mathews for Occupy the World Food Prize. The World Food Prize (WFP) is concerned about world hunger, yet they have not said a word about the destruction going on around Des Moines, the city they call home, of thousands of acres of the greatest food-producing resource on the planet. This is a problem that can be remedied if the WFP has the will and the courage to take on the powerful corporate interests that benefit financially from urban sprawl development. The WFP must speak out about loss of farmland, starting with the land around Des Moines, the location of their headquarters. Des Moines happens to be the place where much of the most productive land on earth can still be protected from the bulldozer, if enough people care.
By Tom Dispatch and Ann Jones. Today, citizens of the United States directly bear the burden of more than 150 years of warfare. As of May 2016, the VA was still paying benefits to one dependent of a Civil War (1861-1865) veteran, 88 dependents of Spanish-American War (1898-1902) veterans, nine dependents of veterans of the military campaign along the Mexican border early in the twentieth century, thousands of dependents of World War I (1917-1918) veterans, hundreds of thousands of World War II (1941-1945) veterans and dependents, hundreds of thousands of Korean War (1950-1953) veterans and dependents, around 1.8 million Vietnam War-era (1964-1975) veterans and dependents, and millions of veterans and dependents of the Gulf War (1990-1991) and of the ongoing War on Terror campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere (2001 to the present).
By Morna McDermott for Educational Alchemy. Lamar Alexander and Patti Murray didn’t (really) write the new Every Child Succeeds Act (ESSA). The Business Roundtable (BRT) did. See the BRT resounding endorsement for ESSA here. Ok, they didn’t write it in the literal sense. Kind of like ALEC only writes “model”legislation. or maybe as they say it in their own words: “Thanks to the efforts of our CEO members and partners in the civil rights community who worked with leaders in Congress, the new law is consistent with the principles Business Roundtable released and promoted while the legislation was being developed.” Or let me share the Business Roundtable “Principles for Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act” guiding principles. Pretty much ESSA in a nut shell.
By Ellen Brown for The Web of Debt Blog. As detailed in Part I of this article, the health benefits of cannabis are now well established. It is a cheap, natural alternative effective for a broad range of conditions, and the non-psychoactive form known as hemp has thousands of industrial uses. At one time, cannabis was one of the world’s most important crops. There have been no recorded deaths from cannabis overdose in the US, compared to about 30,000 deaths annually from alcohol abuse (not counting auto accidents), and 100,000 deaths annually from prescription drugs taken as directed. Yet cannabis remains a Schedule I controlled substance (“a deadly dangerous drug with no medical use and high potential for abuse”), illegal to be sold or grown in the US.
By Maryam Henein for TruthOut. The medicinal properties of cannabidiol (better known as CBD), a compound found in the Cannabis sativa L. plant species, are quickly drawing the attention of scientists, plant-medicine lovers, dietary-supplement companies, venture capitalists,professional athletes and Big Pharma — not to mention people living with serious, chronic medical conditions. Insiders predict the burgeoning market will be as profitable as the NFL. Today, if you run a search on PubMed.gov, a medical research database, you’ll find more than 1,500 academic articles on cannabidiol. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD has no euphoric properties whatsoever, and carries no street value. What it does offer, however, are a host of health benefits.
By Polly Hughes for Counter Punch. Michigan – Little bitty Benton Harbor was the testing ground. It was the testing ground to see what they can get away with….It’s comin’ to your city next, whether you like it or not. (Rev.Edward Pinkney) What do Michigan emergency managers, water rights, illegal corporate land acquisitions, and gentrification have to do with political prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney? Rev. Pinkney has been fighting against injustice for decades in the small town of Benton Harbor, Michigan. But, his activism has reached far beyond Benton Harbor, the first city in Michigan to fall under the control of an emergency financial manager (EFM) in 2010. In July 2014, Pinkney joined many (estimated 5,000-10,000 activists) in a defiant protest, organized by Nurses United, and in walking through Detroit turning the water back on at residences.
By Steve Early. Richmond, California’s next municipal voting is less than seven months away. But memories of our last election—one of the most expensive in local history– remain fresh in the minds of many participants. For Richmond residents whose recollections are fading, we now have a fascinating 90-minute video history of that campaign. Entitled Nate Bates for Mayor, it provides a timely reminder of the stakes involved in a key Left Coast battle against big money in politics that resonated nationally. To watch the trailer or the whole film, go to: www.natbatesformayormovie.com Most political videography (like The War Room) is about winners, rather than losers. So how does the business-backed runner-up in Richmond’s 2014 mayoral race get top billing in this movie?
By Chris Hedges for Truth Dig – The neoliberal ideology that is the engine of corporate capitalism spews its poison around the globe. Constitutions are rewritten by judicial fiat in a mockery of democracy. Laws and regulations that impede corporate exploitation are abolished. Corporations orchestrate legally sanctioned tax boycotts. Free-trade deals destroy small farmers and businesses along with labor unions and government agencies designed to protect the public from contaminated air, water and food and from usurious creditors and lenders.
By Sustainable Pulse. Washington State – In a decision made public late Friday, a Thurston County Superior Court judge ruled the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association violated Washington campaign finance disclosure laws by shielding the identities of major corporate donors funding efforts to defeat a food labeling initiative in Washington. “This landmark case has been a long fight for accountability,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said. “This ruling sends an unequivocal message: Big money donors cannot evade Washington law and hide from public scrutiny. My office will hold you accountable.” The case, State v. Grocery Manufacturers Association, concerns GMA’s financing of a 2013 campaign against Initiative 522, which sought to require labeling of genetically engineered products. GMA, a Washington, D.C.-based trade association, was the largest single donor to the “No on 522” political committee.
By Steven Greenouse for The Guardian. Seattle, WA – For several months, Shawna Murphy, a home-based childcare provider in Seattle, had received a stream of emails, letters and robocalls – some two dozen of them – telling her she had the right to stop paying union dues. Then early one afternoon, while the six children in her charge were napping, a man with a briefcase knocked on her door. At first Murphy thought he was a lawyer, but then she realized he might be a state inspector of childcare providers. So she opened the door. “He said there’s this supreme court case that will impact me, and he pulled out this leaflet and told me that I don’t have to be part of the union and don’t have to pay union dues,” said Murphy, a member of the Service Employees International Union. “I told him, ‘I’m a proud supporter of the union, and you can leave now.’”