Tag Archives: Capitalism

Exposed: How Pfizer Exploits Secretive Vaccine Contracts to Strong-Arm Governments

“Pfizer has used its monopoly on a lifesaving vaccine to extract concessions from desperate governments,” said the report’s author, urging action from the Biden administration.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10=19-2021

Pfizer is under fire for secretive contracts with countries buying its Covid-19 vaccines. Screenshot: ABC News

Pfizer has used its position as a producer of one of the leading Covid-19 vaccines to “silence governments, throttle supply, shift risk, and maximize profits” through secret contracts with countries around the world, according to a Public Citizen report published Tuesday.

“Behind closed doors, Pfizer wields its power to extract a series of concerning concessions from governments,” report author Zain Rizvi, law and policy researcher at Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program, said in a statement. “The global community cannot allow pharmaceutical corporations to keep calling the shots.” Continue reading

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‘Policy of Death’: Amazon Guardians Sue Ecuador’s President Over Oil, Mining Decrees

“We are fighting to defend our territory, our rivers, our forest, our fish, and our animals,” one Indigenous leader explained. “Without our forest and without water, we cannot live.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 10-18-2021

Indigenous Amazon protectors on October 18, 2021 filed the first in a series of lawsuits challenging a pair of decrees by Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso in service of expanding the fossil fuel and mining industries. (Photo: Amazon Frontlines/Twitter)

In a bid to halt what one Indigenous leader called a “policy of death,” communities from Ecuador’s Amazon region on Monday sued the country’s right-wing president, who is planning a major expansion of fossil fuel extraction and mining that threatens millions of acres of pristine rainforest and the survival of native peoples.

In the first of a series of lawsuits against President Guillermo Lasso, Indigenous nations, groups, and advocates allege that Executive Decree 95—which aims to double the country’s oil production to one million barrels per day by deregulating the fossil fuel industry—violates their internationally recognized right to free, prior, and informed consultation and consent. Continue reading

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‘Weapon of War’: Cori Bush Decries Unregulated Use of Tear Gas on US Civilians

“The current design of our law enforcement is militarized,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 10-14-2021

Tear gas in front of Oakland Museum – Occupy Oakland January 2012. Photo: Steve Rhodes/flickr/CC

Following a call by Rep. Cori Bush to investigate the use of tear gas on civilians by law enforcement, the House Oversight Committee on Thursday released a memo showing that the federal government has never determined the unregulated chemical to be safe for use on humans—despite the fact that manufacturers earn millions of dollars per year providing tear gas to police departments across the country.

Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who chair the Oversight Committee’s panels on economic and consumer policy and civil rights liberties, respectively, released the memo decrying “a complete void in the regulation of tear gas, a weapon that is banned in war yet commonly used against U.S. citizens.” Continue reading

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As CBO Shows How to Cut $1 Trillion From Pentagon, Progressives Urge Spending on ‘True Security’

“Saving a trillion dollars that could be devoted to preventing pandemics, addressing climate change, or reducing racial and economic injustice is no small matter.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-7-2021

Progressive foreign policy experts say a new Congressional Budget Office report offering three options for slashing Pentagon spending by $1 trillion over the next decade underscores the imperative to invest in programs of social uplift and climate action. Photo: Peg Hunter/flickr/CC

Progressive foreign policy experts on Thursday pointed to a new Congressional Budget Office report that concludes it is possible to slash a trillion dollars in military spending over the coming decade without reducing force effectiveness as further proof that the United States can and should prioritize investments in tackling pandemics, inequality, and the climate crisis.

“The U.S. military budget is now higher than it was at the peak of the Vietnam War, the Korean War, or the Cold War,” said Lindsay Koshgarian, program director of the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). “This report shows that there are viable options for immediate, substantial reductions to the Pentagon budget.” Continue reading

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‘Milestone Moment’ for Labor as 98% of Major TV-Film Union Votes to Strike

“Exactly the kind of mass-movement organizing we need right now,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of the move by IATSE members.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 10=4=2021

Supporters at IATSE solidarity rally in Hollywood  Photo: IATSE Local 700 Organizing Department

Close to 100% of the 60,000-member film and television production employees union voted Monday to approve a strike in the coming days if studios don’t agree to a fair deal for the lowest-paid workers who make movies and television shows possible.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) announced that with nearly nine in 10 members taking part in the vote, 98.68% of workers approved a strike authorization amid negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents hundreds of TV and film production companies. Continue reading

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Utilities Took $1.25 Billion in Pandemic Aid Then Shut Off Power to Households Nearly 1 Million Times: Report

“These companies took bailout dollars from taxpayers and turned around to lobby against shutoff moratoria proven to save lives.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-30-2021

A new report from BailoutWatch and the Center for Biological Diversity reveals that leading U.S. utilities took $1.25 billion in pandemic relief funds even as they cut off power to vulnerable households nearly a million times. Photo: Matt Wiebe/Flickr/cc

Over a dozen leading U.S. utility companies took more than a billion dollars of publicly-funded pandemic bailout money while pulling the plug on power to vulnerable households nearly a million times, according to a new report out Thursday.

The Center for Biological Diversity and BailoutWatch report—entitled Powerless in the Pandemic: After Bailouts, Electric Utilities Choose Profits Over People—details how utilities used their political power “to secure bailouts that cost taxpayers $1.25 billion, cushioning them from the pandemic economy,” while disconnecting vital services from some of the most vulnerable U.S. households. Continue reading

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Alabama GOP Condemned for Plan to Build Prisons With Covid-19 Funds

“The Republican Party in a nutshell: contemptible, cruel, and corrupt.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-29-2021

Advocates on Wednesday condemned Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey for her plan to use coronavirus relief funds to construct prisons. (Photo: Josh Rushing/cc/ACLU of Louisiana)

Local activists in Montgomery, Alabama were joined by rights advocates across the country on Wednesday in condemning Republican Gov. Kay Ivey’s plan to use federal coronavirus relief funds to build three new prisons in the state—what the governor called “an Alabama solution to this Alabama problem” of overcrowding.

At a rally outside the State House as legislators debated the plan, demonstrators spoke about some of the inmates and prison workers who have died of Covid-19—at least 69 people, according to the Alabama Political Reporter. Continue reading

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Frustrated Tribal Leaders Urge Biden to Immediately Restore Bears Ears Monument

“We have tried to be patient and respectful as we await your decision on restoration. However, the longer action is not taken, real harm, much permanent, is occurring on this sacred landscape.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-28-2021

Bears Ears National Monument in Utah is home to more than 100,000 Native American archaeological and cultural sites. (Photo: Bob Wick/U.S. Bureau of Land Management/Flickr/cc)

Amid increasing frustration, leaders of two Native American tribes are calling on President Joe Biden to “take immediate action” to restore and enlarge Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, according to a letter published Tuesday by The Washington Post.

In the letter, Hopi Tribal Vice Chair Clark W. Tenakhongva and Navajo Nation representative Henry Stevens Jr. note that eight months have passed since Biden, on his first day in office, signed an executive order directing the U.S. Department of the Interior to conduct a comprehensive review of former President Donald Trump’s 85% reduction of the 1.35 million-acre reserve, the result of a December 2017 presidential proclamation. Continue reading

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‘This Is Big’: House Passes Amendment to Cut US Complicity in Saudi Bombing of Yemen

The vote, said Rep. Ro Khanna, “sent a clear message to the Saudis: end the bombing in Yemen and lift the blockade.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-23-2021

Ro Khanna at a symposium at the Brookings Institute in 2019. Photo: Paul Morigi/flickr/CC

Anti-war groups on Thursday welcomed the U.S. House’s passage of an amendment to the annual defense bill that would cut off the flow to Saudi Arabia of U.S. logistical support and weapons “that are bombing civilians” in Yemen.

“This is BIG,” tweeted the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) following the afternoon 219-207 vote, which fell largely along party lines, with just 11 Democrats voting “no.” Continue reading

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House Dems Unveil Bill to Stop Wall Street From Destroying the Planet

“The Federal Reserve’s role is not to surrender our planet to corporate polluters and shepherd our financial system to its destruction,” said Rep. Rashida Tlaib, among the Democrats urging the Fed to end fossil fuel financing.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-15-2021

The Marathon Oil refinery in St. Paul Park, MN. Photo: Tony Webster/Wikimedia/CC

Progressives on Wednesday applauded Democratic Reps. Mondaire Jones, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib for unveiling a bill that would prevent Wall Street from continuing to bankroll fossil fuels, the primary driver of the climate emergency.

The Fossil Free Finance Act (pdf) would require the Federal Reserve to mandate, via regulation or guidance, that all banks and other financial insitutions with more than $50 billion in assets phase out the funding of coal, oil, and gas extraction as well as industries linked to deforestation, in accordance with science-based targets for slashing carbon pollution. Continue reading

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