We live in an age of Orwellian untruth where falsehood is the norm. One key falsehood worth unmasking is the claim that the current COVID-19 stock market decline, soon to usher in a full-on recession, is a “black swan” – an unpredictable (and supposedly unpredicted) “surprise” event with great and negative consequences outside the normal operations of capitalism. Nonsense. The new coronavirus is not really a surprise to those who know anything about the history of disease. Epidemics, like financial crises, have been a recurrent occurrence in the record of human civilization. Hundreds of epidemics have killed countless millions of people across a vast swath of human history. Wikipedia lists at least 80 epidemics, including 13 pandemics (a disease prevalent over a whole country or the world) since the onset of the modern world system in the 16th Century.
The coronavirus COVID-19, first detected in China, has now spread around the world. With hundreds of cases already identified across the U.S., this potential public health emergency has exposed glaring deficiencies in preparedness. Few people were reassured when Vice President Mike Pence said that health insurance will cover the cost of a test for COVID-19.
Imagine your town is crisscrossed by giant trains that travel insanely fast, because the train owners pay their drivers based on speed. The town establishes speed limits, installs flashing lights, brings out police to keep pedestrians off the tracks. Inevitably, the trains continue to crash into people and cars, causing injury and death. How does the town council respond? By repairing crossings and fences.
A special episode that looks at a grotesque statistic and asks the question – if you can judge a government by how they treat their most vulnerable and marginalized --- how more pointed is that judgement when you look at the hometown of that government? DC and the practice of condemning predominantly black mothers to death.
“The collapse of the Libyan state has had region-wide repercussions, with flows of people and weapons destabilizing other countries throughout North Africa.” This statement came from the Soufan Group’s recent Intelbrief, entitled “Fighting Over Access to Libya’s Energy Supplies” (24 January 2020). Are you listening, Barack Obama?
JPMorgan Chase, the most valuable private bank in the world, made $36.4 billion in 2019, the biggest annual profit of any bank in American history. The news, reported Tuesday, sent the company’s stock up by 2 percent. In the fourth quarter of 2019, the company took in $8.5 billion, also a record, making it the tenth largest publicly traded company in the world, with a market cap of $437 billion.
Surging stock prices for military contractors gave several CEOs an early payday after Trump’s Iran aggression. The prospect of war with Iran is terrifying. Experts predict as many as a million people could die if the current tensions lead to a full-blown war. Millions more would become refugees across the Middle East, while working families across the U.S. would bear the brunt of our casualties. But there is one set of people who stand to benefit from the escalation of the conflict: CEOs of major U.S. military contractors.
This study provides a comprehensive overview of profitable corporations’ effective tax rates in 2018, the first year that companies were subject to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the tax law signed by President Donald Trump at the end of 2017. The law lowered the statutory federal corporate income tax rate to 21 percent (a 40 percent decrease from the previous 35 percent rate) and made other changes affecting what companies pay.
Now legalized in 23 states and the District of Columbia for medical use and four states — Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska — and DC for recreational use, cannabis is big business. Independent analysts have valued the legal industry at $3 billion and rising to $10 billion when including ancillary trades and services. Cassandra Farrington, the co-founder and chief executive of Marijuana Business Media, puts the industry’s workforce at 60,000. Others sates are expected to follow suit over the next couple of years, putting an end to cannabis prohibition.
Could you spend a billion dollars? How about $90 billion? Here, try. It’s actually kind of hard to do if you’re used to living, as most Americans do, paycheck to paycheck. In your head, you’ve probably already started allotting money to issues you care about, problems you’d solve with that kind of money. Maybe you’d Oprah your whole block or build a school. The billionaires on Forbes 400, a list of the 400 richest people in America, they all have at least two billion dollars. In total, they’re all worth “a record-breaking $2.96 trillion,” a sum that could eliminate the American student debt crisis twice...
Back in the 1960s and into the 1970s, few American corporate chief executives pocketed more than 40 or 50 times what they paid their workers. That divide looks quaint by today’s standards, but back then business analysts like the famed Peter Drucker considered even those gaps much too wide. Drucker called for CEO-worker pay ratios no wider than 20 to 1 or 25 to 1. Average Americans today, according to Harvard Business School researchers, consider an even narrower margin — no more than 7 to 1 — to be ideal.
This report examines the role of the world’s largest arms (as well as a number of other security and IT) firms in shaping and profiting from the militarization of US borders. Through their campaign contributions, lobbying, constant engagement with government officials, and the revolving door between industry and government, these border security corporations and their government allies have formed powerful border–industrial complex that is a major impediment to a humane response to migration.
While the world watches in horror as fires rage on in the Amazon, activists are shining a light on the big businesses destroying what’s popularly known as the “lungs of the Earth.” On September 5, people around the globe stood in solidarity with the rainforest’s indigenous communities by partaking in the Global Day of Action for the Amazon, staging protests and singling out the bad actors profiting off deforestation. In Washington, D.C. protesters chanted “Put out the flames, we name your names — politicians, corporate vultures, you’re the ones we blame,” as they marched from the White House to the Brazilian Consulate.
Capitalists seek to maximize profits and reduce the cost of labor. This sums up capitalism at its core. It is defined by these immutable objectives. It is not about democracy. It is not, as has been claimed, about wealth creation for the working class. It has nothing to do with freedom. Those capitalists, especially in corporations, who are not able to increase profits and decrease the cost of labor, through layoffs, cutting wages, destroying unions, offshoring, outsourcing or automating jobs, are replaced. Personal ethics are irrelevant. Capitalists are about acquisition and exploitation.
Though I encounter students and other young people who have never heard the term I hope most Americans are aware of the “Military Industrial Complex.” In his final speech to the nation President Eisenhower, surprisingly since he oversaw much of its formation, warned citizens of the growing danger of the “permanent armaments industry” controlled by those who owned and profited greatly from this new scientific and technological establishment. Many of the giant arms industries...