Category Archives: Corporate Personhood

PG&E Pleads Guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter for Sparking California’s Deadliest Fire

The California utility faced felony charges in connection with a 2018 wildfire that killed over 80 people.

By Olivia Rosane,   Published 3-24-2020 by EcoWatch

California utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) will plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter for sparking the state’s deadliest wildfire, the company announced Monday.

The announcement comes a little less than a year after an investigation confirmed that power lines owned by the utility sparked the Camp Fire, which burned 153,336 acres, killed 85 people and scorched the town of Paradise.

“We cannot replace all that the fire destroyed, but our hope is that this plea agreement, along with our rebuilding efforts, will help the community move forward from this tragic incident,” PG&E Chief Executive Bill Johnson said in a statement reported by Reuters.

Continue reading

Share

Walmart Was Almost Charged Criminally Over Opioids. Trump Appointees Killed the Indictment.

Even as company pharmacists protested, Walmart kept filling suspicious prescriptions, stoking the country’s opioid epidemic. A Republican U.S. Attorney in Texas thought the evidence was damning. Trump’s political appointees? Not so much.

By Jesse Eisinger and James Bandler. Published 3-25-2020 by ProPublica

Attorney General William P. Barr, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and FBI Director Christopher Wray. Photo: Department of Justice (Public domain)

On a Tuesday just before Halloween in 2018, a group of federal prosecutors and agents from Texas arrived in Washington. For almost two years, they’d been investigating the opioid dispensing practices of Walmart, the largest company in the world. They had amassed what they viewed as highly damning evidence only to face a major obstacle: top Trump appointees at the Department of Justice.

The prosecution team had come to Washington to try to save its case. Joe Brown, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, led the group, which included Heather Rattan, an over-20-year veteran of the office who had spent much of her career prosecuting members of drug cartels. Continue reading

Share

‘Huge Victory’ for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as Federal Court Rules DAPL Permits Violated Law

“This is what the tribe has been fighting for many months. Their fearless organizing continues to change the game.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-25-2020

Photo: Standing Rock Occupation/Facebook

A federal judge handed down a major victory for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of North Dakota on Wednesday, ruling that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Environmental Policy Act by approving federal permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The USACE must complete a full environmental impact study of the pipeline, including full consideration of concerns presented by the Standing Rock Tribe, the judge ruled. The tribe has asked the court to ultimately shut the pipeline down. Continue reading

Share

‘This Is a Massive Scandal’: Trump FDA Grants Drug Company Exclusive Claim on Promising Coronavirus Drug

“It is insane and unacceptable,” said Bernie Sanders. “We will not tolerate profiteering. Any treatment or vaccine must be made free for all.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-24-2020

Coronavirus. Photo: CDC

As healthcare providers across the U.S. desperately attempt to treat a rapidly growing number of patients with the coronavirus, a pharmaceutical company with ties to the Trump administration has been granted exclusive status for a drug it is developing to treat the illness—a potential windfall for the company that could put the medication out of reach for many Americans.

As The Intercept reported Monday, the Food and Drug Administration granted Gilead Sciences “orphan” drug status for remdesivir, one of several drugs being tested as potential treatments for the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19. The designation is generally reserved for drugs that treat rare illnesses affecting fewer than 200,000 Americans—but companies can be eligible if the designation, as in this case of a rapidly spreading virus, is made before a disease spreads beyond that limit. Continue reading

Share

‘Disturbing’: Study Shows DOJ Prosecutions of White-Collar Criminals Hit All-Time Low Under Trump

“Never has white-collar crime gone so ignored.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-6-2020

Rod Blagojevich. Screenshot: ABC7 Chicago

Prosecutions of white-collar criminals by the U.S. Justice Department plunged to an all-time low in January, according to a study published just days after President Donald Trump proclaimed his commitment to “safeguarding the American consumer” and “strengthening our efforts to prevent and prosecute fraud.”

The analysis released Tuesday by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) found that the Justice Department prosecuted just 359 white-collar criminals in January, a decline of 25% from five years ago. TRAC has been recording data on white-collar prosecutions since 1986. Continue reading

Share

In Super Tuesday ‘News Dump,’ EPA Expands Rule Limiting Science the Agency Can Use to Make Public Health Policy Decisions

“Now is not the time to play games with critical medical research that underpins every rule designed to protect us from harmful pollution in our air and in our water.”

By for Common Dreams. Published 3-4-2020

A sign held at the March for Science in San Francisco, California, on April 22, 2017. (Photo: Matthew Roth/flickr/cc)

As most political observers were watching the election results in the Democratic primary from 14 states come in Tuesday evening, the EPA quietly published a proposed change to a rule the Union of Concerned Scientists has called “nonsensical and dangerous“—expanding the agency’s so-called “secret science” rule to further limit the scientific evidence the EPA will consider in its work.

In what Mother Jones environmental reporter Rebecca Leber called “an incredible news dump” in the midst of a contentious election, the EPA “moved forward its most controversial proposal of the Trump administration.” Continue reading

Share

You’ll Never Guess How Big Banks Want the Fed to Handle the Coronavirus: More Wall Street Deregulation

“Surely, the big banks aren’t craven enough to use COVID-19 as an excuse to lobby for long-sought regulatory rollbacks, right? Wrong!”

By for Common Dreams. Published 3-3-2020

The Bank Policy Institute, a lobbying group for big banks, drew criticism for a policy memo suggesting financial deregulation as a response to the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo: Phillipp/Flickr/cc)

A lobbying group for big banks in the United States came under fire Tuesday from financial industry experts for pressuring federal officials to push through long-sought regulatory rollbacks in response to the worldwide economic concerns sparked by the global coronavirus outbreak.

On Sunday, Bank Policy Institute (BPI) chief executive Greg Baer, head of research Francisco Covas, and chief economist Bill Nelson published a post on the group’s website entitled “Actions the Fed Could Take in Response to COVID-19.” The BPI is a lobbying group whose members include Bank of America, Citigroup JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo. Continue reading

Share

What the Trump budget says about the administration’s health priorities

President Donald Trump’s budget request for fiscal year 2021. AP photo / J. Scott Applewhite

Simon F. Haeder, Pennsylvania State University

The Trump administration recently released its budget blueprint for the 2021 fiscal year, the first steps in the complex budgetary process.

The final budget will reflect the input of Congress, including the Democratic House of Representatives, and will look significantly different.

However, budget drafts by presidential administrations are not meaningless pages of paper. They are important policy documents highlighting goals, priorities and visions for the future of the country. Continue reading

Share

Video Reveals Threat of “Wholesale Transfer and Privatization of America’s Public Lands” on Trump’s Agenda, Says Watchdog Group

The event in question, which took place June 2019 and was hosted by the Interior Department, featured a keynote address by climate-denier Myron Ebell.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-14-2020

Myron Ebell discusses withdrawing U.S.commitment to the Paris Climate Treaty on a panel on WUSA9 in 2017. Screenshot: YouTube

Watchdog group Western Values Project said Friday that audio it obtained of a June 2019 event at Trump’s Interior Department provides more evidence that public lands are under threat of being privatized by the former reality star and his crew of “anti-public land zealots.”

The event (pdf) in question was the American Agri-Women Symposium entitled “Federal Land Policies: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” which took place at Interior’s Sidney Yates Auditorium. Myron Ebell—the climate crisis-denying former head of President Trump’s EPA transition team who serves as head of environmental and energy policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute—was keynote speaker. Continue reading

Share

‘The Saddest Thing Is That This Won’t Be Breaking News’: Concentration of CO2 Hits Record High of 416 ppm

“Emissions from fossil fuels and deforestation need to be reduced to ZERO to stop this trend!”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-12-2020

Bush fire at Captain Creek central Queensland Australia. Photo: Lithgowlights/CC

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit a record high Monday, a reading from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that elicited fresh calls from climate activists and scientists for the international community to end planet-heating emissions from fossil fuels and deforestation.

According to NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory, an atmospheric baseline station in Hawaii, the daily average of CO2 levels on Feb. 10 was 416.08 parts per million. In recent years, soaring rates of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have signaled that the world is not ambitiously addressing the climate crisis. Continue reading

Share