Category Archives: Corporate Personhood

As Corporate Power Threatens Americans’ Right to Water, Groups Offer UN Body List of Issues to Raise With US

“Civil and political rights must encompass the human right to water, which is increasingly under threat by corporations that seek to use and abuse our water supplies for profit.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-14-2019

“The more we learn about various issues affecting the human right to water in the U.S., including millions of residents having their water shut off because they can’t pay their bills, the more there is to be deeply concerned about,” said Maude Barlow, board chair of Food & Water Watch. (Photo: Detroit Water Brigade)

When it comes to ensuring the human right to clean water, the United States has a long way to go.

That’s the thrust of a new letter (pdf) to the United Nations Human Rights Committee as the body gets ready to review how the U.S. is faring in its implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a treaty seen as part of the “International Bill of Human Rights.” Continue reading

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United States Doesn’t Even Make Top 20 on Global Democracy Index

Nation classified “flawed democracy”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-11-2019

Statue of Liberty through the morning fog from the Staten Island Ferry. (Photo: Brian Angell/flickr/cc)

A new index released this week offers a sobering look at how democracy is faring in the United States.

According to the 2018 edition of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, the U.S. doesn’t even make the list of top 20—its demonstrably “flawed democracy” notching it the 25th spot.

The ranking is based on 60 indicators spanning five interrelated categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. Each category gets a 0-10 score, with the final score being the average of those five. Continue reading

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Supreme Court Blocks ExxonMobil’s Effort to Conceal Decades of Documents in Probe of Oil Giant’s Climate Deception

The high court’s ruling means the company must hand over records to the Massachusetts attorney general for her ongoing investigation

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-7-2019

Photo: @NextGen_NH/Twitter

In a win for climate campaigners and Massachusetts’ Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected ExxonMobil’s attempt to block Healey’s demand for documents related to her state’s ongoing investigation into allegations that one of the world’s largest oil and gas corporations deceived the public and investors for decades about how fossil fuels drive global warming.

“The public deserves answers from this company about what it knew about the impacts of burning fossil fuels, and when,” Healey said, responding on Twitter to the ruling. This victory, she added, “clears the way for our office to investigate Exxon’s conduct toward consumers and investors.” Continue reading

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‘No-Brainer for Anyone Who Actually Cares About American Democracy’: House Democrats’ HR 1 Praised as Real Plan to Drain the Swamp

“It’s time to unrig our broken political system. Our political leaders have been most responsive to the interests of their wealthy donors for too long while the needs of normal Americans go unaddressed.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-4-2018

Unlike President Donald Trump’s campaign trail vow to “drain the swamp” that never came to fruition—in fact, he has somehow managed to make Washington even swampier—House Democrats on Friday officially introduced sweeping legislation that progressives celebrated as a plan to actually confront the deep-seated corruption that has long pervaded the American political system.

Formally titled the For the People Act—or H.R. 1—and sponsored by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), the far-reaching bill would promote public financing of elections, reduce the influence of corporate dark money, strengthen ethics and financial disclosure rules, and bolster voting rights, which are under severe attack from the Republican Party, the Trump White House, and the right-wing Supreme Court. Continue reading

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Raising ‘All Manner of Conflict of Interest Questions,’ the Only National Park Site Reopening Amid Shutdown Is in Trump Hotel

“The corruption and disgrace of this government are without bottom.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-3-2019,

The Old Post Office tower, which shares property with the Trump International Hotel, will reopen by the end of the week despite the government shutdown. (Photo: Ted Eytan/Flickr/cc)

While 380,000 federal employees have been out of work on furlough for 12 days and 420,000 more are working without pay due to the government shutdown, the General Services Administration has reportedly found the funding to reopen the Old Post Office tower in Washington, D.C., which shares a building with President Donald Trump’s hotel.

Although the government shutdown is expected to continue into next week at least, the tower is set to reopen by the end of this week, according to a report by E&E News. Continue reading

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Quoting Dr. Seuss, Court Throws Out Pipeline Permit and Implores Forest Service to ‘Speak for the Trees’ Instead of Corporate Polluters

Developers of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project planned for the pipeline to cut across two national forests and the Appalachian Trail

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-14-2018 


A federal appeals court threw out permits for a pipeline project that would have cut across the Appalachian Trail and two national forests. (Photo: Jerry Edmundson/Flickr/cc)

A federal appeals court rebuked the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) for allowing an energy corporation to move ahead with its plan to build a pipeline that would cut across two national forests and the Appalachian Trail—arguing that the agency put two energy companies’ profits ahead of its own stated mission of protecting the nation’s forests.

The three judges on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the company’s permit to build its 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline in its planned area, starting in West Virginia and crossing through Virginia before terminating in North Carolina. As proposed, the $7 billion pipeline would have cut across the George Washington and Monongahela national forests as well as the historic trail, damaging the habitats of at least four endangered species.  Continue reading

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With Power to Kneecap Bold Demand, Incoming Democratic Tax Committee Chair Says Medicare for All ‘Not Realistic’

“Two decades of generous donations apparently gets you a powerful congressman willing to throw up roadblocks in front of universal healthcare.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-6-2018

Ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) speaks during a news conference on Republican plans to end the state and local tax deduction, on Capitol Hill, October 12, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Photo: C-SPAN screenshot

As progressive House Democrats strategize and push for a vote on Medicare for All legislation as soon as possible, surging congressional and grassroots momentum for single-payer could soon run into a serious obstacle in the form of incoming Ways and Means Committee chair Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), who has denounced Medicare for All as “not realistic” and will soon be in a position to tank healthcare plans that are unacceptable to his insurance industry donors.

“Neal will have near total control over what tax-related policies come to the House floor, including legislation that would create a Medicare for All healthcare system,” noted investigative reporter Eoin Higgins in a piece for Sludge on Wednesday. “Having Neal at the helm of the committee, rather than a more progressive member, makes it much less likely that the House of Representatives will vote on universal healthcare measures.” Continue reading

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‘The Whole Internet Is Watching’: As Deadline Nears, Day of Action Takes Aim at House Members Still Standing Against Net Neutrality

“Will you vote to restore net neutrality and help save the free and open internet? Or will you go down in history as one of the politicians who helped hasten its death?”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-29-2018

“We have an opportunity to show the entire world which elected officials are willing to fight for net neutrality, and which ones decide to sit on their hands and let big telecom companies take control,” Fight for the Future deputy director Evan Greer declared in a statement. (Photo: Fight for the Future)

With the Dec. 10 deadline for the House of Representatives to reverse the FCC’s deeply unpopular repeal of net neutrality rapidly approaching, a coalition of websites, prominent celebrity activists, and advocacy groups representing millions of Americans are participating in an internet-wide day of action on Thursday to pressure members of Congress to back the legislative effort to restore net neutrality protections before it’s too late.

During the day of action and in the week leading up to the final deadline, advocacy groups are urging supporters of the free internet to flood the phone lines of their representatives and sign on to their open letter to Congress demanding that they act to save net neutrality. Continue reading

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Hospital Letter Urging Patient to Start ‘Fundraising Effort’ to Pay for Heart Treatment Seen as Yet Another Reason America Needs Medicare for All

“‘You can’t have a heart unless you do GoFundMe for 10K’ is not a just system.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-24-2018

Photo: USAF

As progressive lawmakers and healthcare experts have frequently pointed out in recent months, few growing trends have laid bare the fundamental immorality and brokenness of America’s healthcare system quite like the rise of GoFundMe and other crowdfunding platforms as methods of raising money for life-saving medical treatments that—due to insurance industry greed and dysfunction—are far too expensive for anyone but the very wealthiest to afford.

Providing the latest example of this horrifying trend, a Michigan woman seeking a heart transplant publicized a letter she received from the Spectrum Health Richard DeVos Heart and Lung Transplant Clinic—named after the late father-in-law of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos—informing her that she is “not a candidate” for the procedure “at this time” because she needs a “more secure financial plan” to afford the required post-operation immunosuppressive medication. Continue reading

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Because ‘Good Planets Are Hard to Find,’ Extinction Rebellion Shuts Down London Bridges to SaveMother Earth

Day of revolt leads to mass arrests in the UK as protest participants argue too many still don’t “recognize the seriousness of our existential crisis” and almost nobody is doing enough to end humanity’s reckless assault on planet’s living systems

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-17-2018

Demonstrators on the iconic Westminster Bridge in central London on Saturday, November 17. “We are peacefully standing up for the Earth and for humanity,” said Cecelia B of Extinction Rebellion. “People are dancing and singing and making new friends. This is a joyful rebellion and this is what the future looks like.” (Photo: Extinction Rebellion/@ExtinctionR)

Mass arrests resulted on Saturday as thousands of people and members of the ‘Extinction Rebellion‘ movement—for “the first time in living memory”—shut down the five main bridges of central London in the name of saving the planet, and those who live upon it, from destructive over-consumption, runaway greenhouse gas emissions, and the ongoing failure of global leaders to address the compounding and intensifying threats.

“The ‘social contract’ has been broken … [and] it is therefore not only our right, but our moral duty to bypass the government’s inaction and flagrant dereliction of duty, and to rebel to defend life itself,” Gail Bradbrook, an Extinction Rebellion organizer, explained to the Guardian. Continue reading

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