Category Archives: Economics

Report Details How Social Security Has Become Rigged for the Wealthy While Leaving Behind Those It Was Designed to Help

“The program’s become less progressive,” said Jim Roosevelt, a former Social Security Administration official and grandson of FDR.

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-3-2019

The benefits of Social Security, a program designed to help vulnerable and low-income people, have since the 1980s become increasingly skewed toward the wealthy due to demographic shifts and soaring inequality, according to a new report.

Proponents of Social Security expansion, responding to the report (pdf) by Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research, said the New Deal-era program’s increasing regressivity was not inevitable, but the result of lawmakers’ refusal to enact basic progressive reforms such as lifting the cap on income subject to the Social Security payroll tax. Continue reading

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Global Offshore Corporate Networks Exposed in Massive Data Leak

By Dan Feldt. Published 12-3-2019 by Unicorn Riot

Hundreds of thousands of documents from inside Formations House, a posh British finance firm located in central London, have been released online tonight. Formations House created thousands of companies for ultra-wealthy business-people for offshore banking and international transactions. The transparency collective ‘Distributed Denial of Secrets‘ obtained these documents from a source dubbed “Babylon” and is publishing them online. More than 100,000 recorded phone calls between Formations House, its customers, and related figures, are included. Full archives of the phone calls are expected to be released in coming days.

This new data release is named ‘#29Leaks’ after 29 Harley Street, the original location in London of Formations House (it moved to a new address after 2016 – the records in this release were generated out of that original location); it’s a prestigious address about a thirty-minute walk from Parliament. Continue reading

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Jair Bolsonaro accused of inciting genocide before the International Criminal Court

A complaint against President Jair Messias Bolsonaro has been presented in the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. This adds international pressure to his continuous attacks on human rights, indigenous peoples and environmentalist NGOs

By openDemocracy. Published 11-29-2019

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, seen here at the U.N. General Assembly’s 74th session on Sept. 24, 2019. (Photo: Cia Pak/U.N.)

A group of Brazilian lawyers, along with a powerful human rights group and some former ministers, denounced President Jair Bolsonaro before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for inciting the “genocide of indigenous peoples” of Brazil and committing “crimes against humanity”.

The Arns Commission and the Human Rights Defense Collective delivered a note to Fatou Bensouda, prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, this last Wednesday. Lawyers promoting the complaint reported to democraciaAbierta and other media that the document is 60 pages long and identifies 33 actions and official speeches of Jair Bolsonaro that might have a criminal character, as established by the Rome Statute, ratified by Brazil in 2002. Continue reading

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Israel’s West Bank settlements: 4 questions answered

A new housing project in the West Bank settlement of Naale, part of the Israeli government’s recent push to increase its presence in the disputed territory, Jan. 1, 2019.
AP Photo/Ariel Schalit

Dov Waxman, Northeastern University

Editor’s note: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Nov. 18 said that Israel’s settlements in the West Bank do not violate international law. That pleased Israeli Jews who see the territory as rightfully theirs and infuriated the Palestinians who live there and claim it as their land.

Here, a professor of Israel studies and the author of a new primer on the Israeli-Palestinian confict explains the history of the West Bank settlements – and why they’re so controversial. Continue reading

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Thousands of Activists Stage Protests at Three German Coal Mines to Demand Bolder Climate Policies

“We’re at a critical moment—the window of opportunity to stop the climate crisis is closing rapidly.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-30-2019

Climate activists protests at three coal mines in Germany Saturday. (Photo: Ende Gelände/Twitter)

On the heels of Friday’s global youth-led climate strike, thousands of activists staged demonstrations at three coal mines in Germany Saturday to protest the government’s plan to phase out coal by 2038, which activists say isn’t soon enough.

The German news agency dpa reported that “protesters ran into the Jänschwalde and Welzow-Süd open-cast mining sites in the eastern state of Brandenburg, as well as the United Schleenhain lignite mining area in neighboring Saxony.” Continue reading

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In WWII-Era Fashion, the Saudi-led Coalition is Weaponizing Disease in Yemen

What’s happening in Yemen may not be literal biological warfare, but it is certainly biological warfare by other means reports Ahmed AbdulKareem.

By Ahmed Abdulkareem.  Published 11-22-2019 by MintPress News

The WHO is carrying out a dengue vector control campaign in Aden, Lahj & Al Dhalea. Photo: WHO

 

Beyond the devastation it has caused on the back of tens of thousands of airstrikes, a crippling blockade and the intentional targeting of civilian infrastructure, the Saudi-led coalition supported by the United States has sparked an outbreak of disease and epidemics in Yemen in a manner not seen since World War II.

Yemeni activist Aseel Sweid told MintPress News how a young boy, Abdulkarim al-Ma’amari, “died of dengue fever after it spread with alarming speed in Taiz, threatening many innocents.” Sweid added that three of his own brothers had been infected with dengue. “There are a huge amount of people with the fever in the same hospital [as my brothers].” Continue reading

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Why Are Drug Prices Rising So Much? Pharma Exec Admits ‘No Other Rationale’ But Profit-Making

“The industry executive said the quiet part out loud,” said one outside expert in response. “Price-gouging is central to the industry business model.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-28-2019

Photo: Liz McGregor

Corporations’ quest for profits is what “is driving up drug prices and nothing more.”

That’s according to Dennis Bourdette, M.D., chair of neurology in the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) School of Medicine, who co-authored a study published Monday that sought to find out companies’ rationale for the escalating prices on medications for patients with multiple sclerosis. Continue reading

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‘Their Secret Agenda Today Is Exposed’: Corbyn Says Leaked Trade Docs Show Tory Plan to Privatize NHS With Trump’s Help

The U.K. Labour leader said the move, if successful, “could lead to runaway privatization of our health service.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-27-2019

U.K. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn holds redacted copies of the Department for International Trade’s U.K.-U.S. Trade and Investment Working Group report following a speech about the National Health Service in Westminster, London. Photo: Devutopia/Twitter

U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday unveiled over 450 pages of leaked documents that he said expose British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s effort to open up the National Health Service to corporate exploitation in trade negotiations with U.S. President Donald Trump.

During a press conference, Corbyn said the Trump administration’s negotiators are “demanding” that the NHS be put “on the table” in talks over a possible post-Brexit trade pact between the U.S. and U.K. Continue reading

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Climate Expert Says UN Emissions Report Makes Clear Only Solution Is to ‘Cut Off Supply of Fossil Fuels at Their Source’

“Climate policy proposals that do not squarely confront the issue of supply are not making a serious attempt to avert catastrophe.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-26-2019

“The urgent, necessary solution is to stop the supply of fossil fuels by banning fracking and all other forms of fossil fuel drilling,” says climate campaigner Mitch Jones. (Photo: CGP Grey/Flickr/cc)

An annual United Nations report published Tuesday on current and estimated future greenhouse gas emissions shows the “urgent need for supply-side action” to combat the climate emergency, according to the advocacy group Food & Water Action.

Mitch Jones, director of Food & Water Action’s Climate & Energy Program, released a statement responding to the new Emissions Gap report from the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP), which warned that global temperatures are on track to rise as much as 3.9°C by the end of the century. Continue reading

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Unprecedented ‘Architecture of Surveillance’ Created by Facebook and Google Poses Grave Human Rights Threat: Report

“Their insidious control of our digital lives undermines the very essence of privacy and is one of the defining human rights challenges of our era.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-22-2019

A new report from Amnesty International says Facebook and Google have a “surveillance-based business model.” (Photo: flickr/GostGo/cc)

A new report from Amnesty International accuses Facebook and Google of having a “surveillance-based business model” that threatens users’ right to privacy and other human rights.

The tech giants, said Kumi Naidoo, secretary general of Amnesty International, have amassed “unparalleled power over the digital world by harvesting and monetizing the personal data of billions of people. Their insidious control of our digital lives undermines the very essence of privacy and is one of the defining human rights challenges of our era.” Continue reading

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