Category Archives: Corporate Personhood

Steven Donziger, Lawyer Targeted by Chevron, Appeals to Biden for Pardon

“A pardon would bring a measure of justice to a prosecution that has been widely criticized as a violation of international law… and as a grave threat to free speech,” said 14 attorneys backing the climate justice lawyer’s request.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 3-20-2024 by Common Dreams

Steven Donziger at sentencing hearing in 2021 Photo: Marisam77/Wikimedia Commons/CC

After exhausting his options in the judicial system, American attorney Steven Donziger on Wednesday launched a campaign seeking a pardon from U.S. President Joe Biden for his misdemeanor conviction—the result of a process that experts worldwide have condemned as retaliatory for his climate justice work and an abuse of the nation’s judiciary.

“No matter where one stands on the political spectrum, we should all be able to agree that what happened to me in the United States should not happen to anybody in any country that adheres to the rule of law,” Donziger said in a statement announcing a letter to Biden signed by 14 prominent lawyers and a leader at the advocacy group Amazon Watch.

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Mexico is suing US gun-makers for arming its gangs − and a US court could award billions in damages

By Timothy D. Lytton. Published 2-16-2024 by The Conversation

Photo: Mexperience

The government of Mexico is suing U.S. gun-makers for their role in facilitating cross-border gun trafficking that has supercharged violent crime in Mexico.

The lawsuit seeks US$10 billion in damages and a court order to force the companies named in the lawsuit – including Smith & Wesson, Colt, Glock, Beretta and Ruger – to change the way they do business. In January, a federal appeals court in Boston decided that the industry’s immunity shield, which so far has protected gun-makers from civil liability, does not apply to Mexico’s lawsuit.

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In ‘Direct Attack’ on Labor Movement, Amazon Backs Claim NLRB Is Unconstitutional

“So now capital, unable to hold back labor any longer, is arguing that the NLRB’s very existence is unconstitutional,” said one law professor.

By Julia Conley. Published 2-16-2024 by Common Dreams

Workers at Amazon & everywhere have a right to safety and a union Photo: Joe Piette/flickr/CC

Amid a recent surge in unionization and other workers’ rights victories, wealthy U.S. corporations have fired union organizers, surveilled employees as they voted on forming a collective bargaining unit, and closed store locations to penalize labor leaders—but a court filing by Amazon on Thursday suggested a new tactic as the e-commerce giant seeks to dismantle the federal agency tasked with protecting employees.

Fighting accusations from prosecutors at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that Amazon illegally retaliated against warehouse workers who unionized, the company submitted a legal filing arguing that the board itself is unconstitutional.

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‘May You Rot in Hell, Wayne’: LaPierre Resigns From NRA Before Corruption Trial

The outgoing gun lobby chief cited health reasons for the move. One critic responded that “for decades, Wayne LaPierre functioned without a heart and half a brain so he must be in very dire straits.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 1-5-2024 by Common Dreams

Wayne LaPierre speaking at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

Gun control advocates celebrated on Friday as Wayne LaPierre announced he is stepping down as chief executive of the National Rifle Association—a development that comes just days ahead of a New York corruption trial scheduled to start on Monday.

LaPierre, who has led the NRA for over three decades, is an individual defendant in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ case targeting the gun lobbying group. The 74-year-old cited health reasons for the resignation, which will take effect on January 31.

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FTC-DOJ Merger Guidelines Aim to ‘Restore Competition and Strengthen Democracy’

One expert called the guidance “a game-changer for antitrust enforcement, incorporating decades of new learnings and thousands of public comments from working families and small businesses.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 12-18-2023 by Common Dreams

Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan. Screenshot: CNBC

Antitrust campaigners and experts on Monday celebrated the Biden administration’s new guidelines for mergers and acquisitions, which supporters say will “restore competition and strengthen democracy.”

Farm Action co-founder and chief strategy officer Joe Maxwell commended the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) “for delivering on their commitment to restore competition to our economy.”

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War for Oil Fears Grow as US Holds Military Drills in Guyana Amid Venezuela Dispute

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva offered to help forge a diplomatic solution, saying, “If there’s one thing we don’t want here in South America, it’s war.”

By Jake Johnson. Published 12-8-2023 by Common Dreams

Satellite map showing the Region of Guayana Esequiba that is disputed between Venezuela and Guyana. Image: SurinameCentral/Wikimedia Commons/CC

U.S. forces held joint military drills within Guyanese airspace on Thursday as a longstanding and intensifying territorial dispute between Venezuela and Guyana sparked fears of war in South America.

At the center of the dispute is Essequibo, an oil-rich region that Guyana has controlled for more than a century. Venezuela has claimed sovereignty over Essequibo for decades, and the two nations agreed in 1966 to resolve the controversy in a way that’s “satisfactory” for both sides.

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Companies Pushing Weak UN Plastics Treaty Dump Millions Into US Elections

“The only way to curb our catastrophic plastic pollution problem is to cut plastic production, but the industry is spending big to block action at every level to protect their profits,” said one campaigner.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 11-17-2023 by Common Dreams

Hundreds have marched in Nairobi, demanding action against plastic pollution Photo: Emeka Gift Official/X

Major multinational corporations attending negotiations for a global plastics treaty in an effort to weaken the agreement spent tens of millions of dollars on lobbying and political contributions during the 2022 election cycle, revealed an analysis published Friday by the Center for Biological Diversity.

As Common Dreams reported this week, 143 fossil fuel and chemical industry lobbyists registered to attend the third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-3) in Nairobi, Kenya, which is scheduled to run through Sunday. That’s more than the combined delegations from 70 nations, and far surpasses the 38 members of a scientists’ coalition participating in the negotiations.

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In ‘Toothless PR Stunt,’ Supreme Court Publishes Ethics Code With No Enforcement Mechanisms

“This unenforceable public relations document serves absolutely no purpose other than to permit the media to revert to pretending that our unaccountable and unethical Supreme Court retains legitimacy,” one advocate said.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 11-13-2023 by Common Dreams

Photo: Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

In the wake of a series of high-profile scandals surrounding the relationship between right-wing justices and billionaires, the U.S. Supreme Court announced on Monday that it had formally adopted a new Code of Conduct.

The 14-page code is based on requirements for lower court judges, and most of the rules it outlines are not new, the court said. Watchdog groups have been widely critical of the new document, which does not stipulate how the conduct it promotes will be enforced, with the Revolving Door Project labeling it a “toothless PR stunt.”

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‘Time to Exit ISDS’: Hundreds of Groups Call On US to Ditch Corporate-Friendly Trade Regime

“The ISDS regime is undemocratic: It was created for and by powerful, well-organized corporations, and has served their interests almost exclusively,” said one critic.

By Julia Conley. Published 11-3-2023 by Common Dreams

Graphic: ISDS Red Carpet Courts

More than 200 civil society groups on Thursday called on the Biden administration to protect climate, health, and other public interest policies across the Americas by dismantling a trade regime that the United States spearheaded nearly three decades ago—giving corporations broad authority to sue governments if they claim their profit margins are harmed by public programs.

Public CitizenSierra Club, and the AFL-CIO led hundreds of organizations in sending the letter to President Joe Biden, urging him to take legal action to terminate the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system within the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity (APEP), a trade framework between the U.S. and 11 countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean.

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60% of US Oil and Gas Infrastructure Now Protected by Anti-Protest Laws: Greenpeace

Fossil fuel companies have contributed millions of dollars to legislators who sponsored such laws, according to a new report.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 10-25-2023 by Common Dreams

Photo: Joe Brusky/Overpass Light Brigade/flickr/cc

In the seven years since the massive protests against the Dakota Access pipeline at Standing Rock, the fossil fuel industry and their allies in politics and law enforcement have been hard at work to prevent a repeat: Around 60% of oil and gas infrastructure in the U.S. is now shielded by anti-protest laws that make direct action much riskier for activists and frontline communities who want to protect their local and global home from dangerous pollution, a new Greenpeace report has found.

The report, Dollars vs. Democracy 2023: Inside the Fossil Fuel Industry’s Playbook to Suppress Protest and Dissent in the United States, reveals that fossil fuel companies made up nine of the 10 most determined lobbyists for anti-protest measures since 2017 and that 25 oil, gas, coal, and energy companies contributed more than $5 million to legislators who sponsored these laws.

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