Category Archives: Corporate Personhood

Warning Against ‘Democratic Version of Ajit Pai,’ Groups Call for FCC Pick Without Telecom Ties

“Americans desperately need a return to an FCC that is an empowered advocate for the public, not the telecom industry.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-11-2021

FCC chairman Ajit Pai, seen here at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference, on Monday backed the proposed merger of T-Mobile and Sprint. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

A coalition of nearly two dozen progressive advocacy groups launched a new campaign Thursday calling on President Joe Biden to fill the one remaining vacancy at the Federal Communications Commission with an official who is—at minimum—completely unconnected to the powerful telecom industry and fully dedicated to restoring net neutrality protections.

“The Biden administration has said getting people online during the pandemic is a top priority, and if that’s the case we need a real champ appointed to the FCC, ASAP—someone who isn’t beholden to big telecom companies because they used to work for them. The last thing we need is some Democratic version of Ajit Pai,” said Caitlin Seeley George of Fight for the Future, referring to the former Verizon attorney who served as Trump’s FCC chair. Continue reading

Share Button

‘A Big Deal’: Lawmakers Reintroduce Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

“We cannot allow the wealthiest individuals and corporations to flood our elections with cash through complex webs of super PACs and dark money groups that put special interests above the will of the American people.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-21-2021

Occupy Tampa displays signs at the 2012 Republican National Convention. Photo: Liz Mc/Wikimedia Commons/CC

n a bid to reverse the outsize influence of corporations and the wealthiest Americans over the nation’s electoral process, a bipartisan group of congressional lawmakers on Thursday reintroduced a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.

The reintroduction of the Democracy for All Amendment in the 117th Congress—led by Reps. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), John Katko (D-N.Y.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.)—occurred on the 11th anniversary of Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commissiona 5-4 ruling which affirmed that corporations are legal persons and that they, labor unions, and other outside groups could spend unlimited amounts of money to influence the outcome of U.S. elections. Continue reading

Share Button

‘A Fitting End’: Hours Before Leaving Office, Trump Quietly Revokes Order Restricting Lobbying by Former Federal Officials

“Great summary of Trump’s many farcical ‘drain the swamp’ betrayals.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-20-2021

Photo: Palácio do Planalto/flickr/CC

Making one final mockery of his 2016 campaign promise to “drain the swamp,” President Donald Trump early Wednesday quietly revoked his own executive order barring administration officials from lobbying the agencies for which they worked for five years after leaving government, freeing up a potential line of employment for outgoing White House staff.

While riddled with loopholes and deficiencies, the executive order represented one of the few concrete actions Trump took during his four years in office to rein in the corruption that has long been a hallmark of the U.S. federal government. On the whole, Trump contributed massively to that corruption during his tenure, which one watchdog group argues was “marked by self-interest, profiteering at the highest levels, and more than 3,700 conflicts of interest.” Continue reading

Share Button

In ‘Brutal Blow’ to Wildlife and Gift to Big Oil, Trump Finalizes Rollback of Migratory Bird Treaty Act

“The Trump administration is signing the death warrants of millions of birds across the country.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-5-2021

A pied-billed grebe on an oil-covered evaporation pond at a commercial oilfield wastewater disposal facility. An estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 migratory birds die each year in oilfield production skim pits and oil-covered evaporation ponds.(Photo: USFWS Mountain Prairie/Flickr/cc)

Just over two weeks before President Donald Trump is set to leave the White House, his U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday finalized a rollback of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act—a law that’s been in place since 1918 and which conservation groups credit with holding corporate polluters accountable for harming bird species.

In what the Western Values Project called a “parting gift to Big Oil by corrupt former oil lobbyist Interior Secretary David Bernhardt,” the USFWS announced a new rule under which the federal government will no longer penalize or prosecute companies when their actions cause the inadvertent death of birds. Continue reading

Share Button

Biden Already Facing Pressure to Tackle Backlog of ‘Unfunded’ Toxic Waste Sites Threatened by Climate Crisis

More broadly, campaigners are calling on the incoming president to deliver on the environmental justice promises he made as a candidate.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-28-2020

Formerly an open pit copper mine, the Berkeley Pit in Butte, Montana is now part of the largest Superfund site in the United States. Photo: Kolopres/Wikimedia Commons/CC

A joint report on Monday highlighted the pressure that President-elect Joe Biden is already facing to deliver on his environmental justice campaign promises—particularly when it comes to the 34 Superfund sites nationwide for which there is no reliable cleanup funding—the largest backlog of “unfunded” sites in 15 years.

The federal Superfund program began with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), passed by Congress in 1980. While cleanup efforts were initially paid for by a trust fund created by taxing the chemical and petroleum industries, lawmakers let the tax expire 25 years ago. Continue reading

Share Button

The TPP Was All but Dead, Now DC Think Tanks Are Quietly Urging Biden to Bring It Back

Former officials are practically begging Biden to revisit the controversial trade agreement, arguing that “China must be isolated.“

By Alan Macleod  Published 12-18-2020 by MintPress News.

Photo: Lorena Müller/CC

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was dead and buried. But now, with the imminent arrival of the new Biden administration, many of the most influential policy groups in Washington are quietly trying to resurrect it.

Writing for the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC), Joshua Eisenman, the organization’s Senior Fellow in China Studies, argues that it is “time to revisit the TPP,” which has now been rebranded as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).  Last month, China signed a far-reaching trade agreement with most of the countries of south and east Asia, as well as Australia and New Zealand. For many in Washington, this is a warning sign that the Pacific region is slipping out of U.S. control. Continue reading

Share Button

Wall Street Titan Gloats Over Pandemic Profits From Rentals as Eviction Tsunami Looms

“Blackstone was a huge winner coming out of the global financial crisis, and I think something similar is going to happen,” said the private equity firm’s billionaire CEO Stephen Schwarzman as millions brace for eviction.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-15-2020

Diane Yentel of the National Low Income Housing Coalition said that the consequences of congressional inaction on housing relief “will be deadly and costly—for children and families, for communities, and for our country’s ability to contain the pandemic.” Stephen Schwarzman photo: World Economic Forum/flickr/CC

As the December 31 expiration date on the CDC’s federal eviction moratorium nears in the midst of the surging Covid-19 pandemic and freezing weather, an estimated 30 to 40 million working-class households in the United States are bracing for the possibility of eviction—but at least one Wall Street investor looking to capitalize on the crisis is bragging about what he sees as a golden opportunity to expand his real estate empire.

“You always have winners and losers—Blackstone was a huge winner coming out of the global financial crisis, and I think something similar is going to happen,” said the billionaire CEO Stephen Schwarzman. Continue reading

Share Button

‘What a Failed State Looks Like’: GOP Under Fire for Blocking Necessary Funds as Covid Vaccine Distribution Begins

“The end of a tragic, crippling pandemic is in sight and Senate Republicans can’t get around to authorizing any money to complete the job.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-14-2020

Margaret Klessens, a 96-year-old World War II veteran, gets the COVID vaccine in Massachusetts. Photo: Dr. Sanjay Gupta/Twitter

As U.S. distribution of the newly approved Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine kicked off Sunday with the shipment of millions of doses to sites across the nation, Senate Republicans faced mounting outrage for continuing to block federal funds that crisis-ravaged states and localities desperately need to carry out an unparalleled mass inoculation effort.

Facing large budget shortfalls due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lack of relief from the deadlocked Congress, state and local governments will soon be tasked with executing a rapid vaccination campaign that will require large quantities of supplies as well as new clinics, additional workers, and public outreach—all of which will cost money that states and localities fear they don’t have. Continue reading

Share Button

‘Beyond Incomprehensible’: Bipartisan Covid Relief Package Would Let Paid Sick and Family Leave Expire

“Extending emergency paid leave at the height of a pandemic is not only something we can afford, it’s something we can’t afford not to do.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-9-2020

Photo: THE WORLD NEWS/Twitter

An updated version of the $908 billion bipartisan coronavirus relief proposal currently under negotiation on Capitol Hill does not include an extension of federal paid sick and family leave programs set to expire at the end of the year, an omission that could deprive nearly 90 million workers of key benefits as the pandemic intensifies.

Vicki Shabo, a senior fellow at the think tank New America, told HuffPost Wednesday that the proposal’s exclusion of paid leave benefits is “an affront to all reason,” particularly given how successful the programs have been in preventing coronavirus infections. Continue reading

Share Button

With Rent Freezes About to Expire, Mnuchin Lobbies for More Wall Street Bailouts

As millions of Americans stand on the brink of economic annihilation, the money keeps flowing to Wall Street thanks to carefully contrived mechanisms to maintain a dying financial system afloat.

By Raul Diego  Published 12-4-2020 by MintPress News

Steven Mnuchin. Photo: White House

Many prophetic scenes depicted in a series of Mayan codices written in the early days of the Spanish colony, and translated and compiled in El Libro de los Libros del Chilam Balam, describe a world foreign to its original authors. But, one which was barreling down on them and their civilization even as the Mayan high priests recorded their visions for each stop on their cyclical calendar system.

The metaphors they leaned on to describe these new Western values and systems were accurate, despite having nothing comparable in their own cosmology or parallels in their relationship with the earth. In one of the most striking prophecies, the interpreting shaman warns of the days of “the golden club,” subtly alluding to the new paradigm of wealth and commercial imperatives being imposed on their world. Continue reading

Share Button