Tag Archives: Public Citizen

Consumer Advocates Blast ‘Dangerous’ Amazon Bid to Buy Maker of Roomba

“From a privacy perspective, this is a nightmare,” said one anti-monopoly critic. “From an antitrust perspective, this is one of the most powerful data collection companies on Earth acquiring another vast and intrusive set of data.”

By Julia Conley  Published 8-5-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns/flickr/CC

Amazon on Friday expanded its capacity to connect to and collect information about consumers’ homes and private lives, announcing its plan to purchase of iRobot Corp., the maker of the popular Roomba vacuum.

The e-commerce giant announced it will acquire the company for $1.7 billion in an all-cash deal, taking control of one of its competitors following Amazon’s release last year of Astro, its own “smart” home assistant, which can move between rooms in a home and recognize faces. Continue reading

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‘A Big Deal’: US, African Scientists to Collaborate on mRNA Vaccine Development

“Scientists are leading the way,” said one advocate. “Perhaps political leaders will follow.”

Logo: Afrigen

By Kenny Stancil  Published 7-8-2022 by Common Dreams

U.S. government scientists on Friday agreed to share technical know-how related to the development of next-generation vaccines and treatments with their counterparts at Afrigen Biologics, a South African drug manufacturer that hosts the first mRNA technology transfer hub established by the World Health Organization and its partners.

The National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) pioneered the use of mRNA and its parent organization, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), co-invented Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine. Together, NIAID and Afrigen seek to expedite the production of mRNA vaccines—not only to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic but also to address other infectious diseases and cancer. Continue reading

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‘Major Step Forward’: AIG to Stop Insuring Coal, Tar Sands, and Arctic Drilling

“Organizing works,” said one advocacy group. “Now, all insurers must stop supporting fossil fuel expansion.”

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 3-1-2022 by Common Dreams

Insure Our Future Coalition at AIG’s NYC Headquarters on 12/7/2021. Photo: Insure Our Future, PDM-owner, via Wikimedia Commons

Climate justice advocates celebrated Tuesday in response to insurance giant AIG’s announcement that it will no longer invest in or provide insurance coverage for any new Arctic drilling activities nor will it finance or underwrite the construction of any new coal-fired power plants, thermal coal mines, or tar sands projects, effective immediately.

AIG also said that it will immediately stop investing in or underwriting “new operation insurance risks” of coal-fired power plants, thermal coal mines, or tar sands projects owned by corporations that derive 30% or more of their revenue from those industries or generate over 30% of their energy production from coal. Continue reading

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More Than 130 Groups Call on CFTC to Shut Down ‘Dystopian’ Water Futures Market

“In this time of global-warming-induced drought in California, the last thing we need is to gamble on our precious water resources.”

By Julia Conley.  Published 12-20-2021 by Common Dreams

Drought conditions, at a filtration pond, in Campbell, CA 2014. Photo: Tyler Bell/flickr/CC

Warning Wall Street against commodifying what has been treated since ancient history as “a common right for everyone,” more than 130 civil society groups on Monday demanded that federal regulators shut down the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s water futures market.

Food & Water Watch organized the petition, which was sent to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), a year after the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) opened the world’s first market for water futures contracts, based on water rights in drought-plagued California. Continue reading

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Study Confirms How Citizens United Made ‘Mockery’ of Campaign Finance Rules

“We need to pass the Freedom to Vote Act to stop consultants from acting as coordinators between candidates and super PACs.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 12=15-2021 by Common Dreams

Image: Donkey Holey/flickr/CC

As a report published Wednesday revealed that political consulting firms raked in $1.4 billion while simultaneously working for campaign committees and purportedly independent groups during the 2018 and 2020 election cycles, progressives renewed calls for Congress to pass the Freedom to Vote Act to protect and strengthen democracy.

The report—entitled Dual Agents—was published by Public Citizen and further discredits Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commissionthe highly controversial 2010 U.S. Supreme Court 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 American elections—as long as they don’t coordinate with candidates or campaigns. Continue reading

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Number of Covid Boosters Given in US Exceeds Single Shots in 8 African Nations Combined

“Our leaders’ failure to help bring the vaccines to everyone, everywhere will keep us on a cruel and never-ending cycle of illness, death, and economic suffering.”

By Jake Johnson.  Puclished 11-30-2021 by Common Dreams

Nurse Zoliswa Gidi-Dyosi was the first healthcare worker in South Africa to receive the vaccine. Photo: GovernmentZA/flickr/CC

An analysis released Monday shows that the number of Americans who have received a coronavirus booster shot to date exceeds the number of people who have gotten a single vaccine dose in eight countries in southern Africa combined, a finding that came as the international community grappled with the threat posed by Omicron.

According to a Public Citizen review of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, around 37 million people have received a booster shot in the U.S., which has authorized boosters for its entire adult population. Continue reading

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KXL Pipeline Company Exploits NAFTA Provision to File $15 Billion Claim Against US

“NAFTA’s legacy of granting multinational corporations special rights to sue governments taking action to protect the environment lives on.”

By Andrea Germanos.  Published 11-24-2021 by Common Dreams.

Climate activists hold signs against the Keystone XL project at a September 20, 2013 protest. (Photo: Joe Brusky/CC BY-NC 2.0)

The Canadian company behind the canceled Keystone XL pipeline filed a formal request for arbitration this week under the North American Free Trade Agreement to seek over $15 billion in economic damages over the Biden administration’s revocation of the cross-border oil project’s permit.

In its Monday filing, TC Energy criticizes the permit’s cancellation as “unfair and inequitable” and argues the U.S. government should pay damages for the “regulatory roller coaster” the company endured while seeking to build the pipeline. Continue reading

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‘The Time Is Now’: 200 Activists Arrested While Demanding Biden, Congress Defend Voting Rights

“We are here today to send a message that President Biden must take action now to ensure the promise of our democracy and protect our freedom to vote.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 11-17-2021 by Common Dreams

Roughly 200 voting rights activists were arrested while advocating for voting rights. Photo: League of Women Voters of the US/Twitter

Activists on Wednesday took to the streets of Washington, D.C., where organizers said around 200 people were arrested while demanding the passage of key voting rights legislation, an end to the filibuster, and bold action from President Joe Biden in defense of an imperiled democracy.

“This movement is about ensuring that the arc of the moral universe continues to bend toward justice,” People for the American Way president Ben Jealous said in a reference to a famous Martin Luther King Jr. quote as he spoke outside the White House prior to his arrest. Continue reading

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‘Reckless’ FDA and Big Pharma Greed Blamed for Medicare Premium Hike

“All Part B Medicare beneficiaries soon will be forced to bear significant financial burden as a direct result of the FDA’s reckless decision.”

By Jake Johnson.  Published 11-16-2021 by Common Dreams

Janet Woodcock, acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. Screenshot: FDA

Medicare Part B recipients will soon be hit with one of the biggest premium increases in the history of the government program, a hike driven in large part by the Food and Drug Administration’s scandalous approval of a costly—and, according to many experts, dubious—Alzheimer’s drug.

Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that monthly Medicare Part B premiums will be raised to $170.10 in 2022, up from this year’s level of $148.50. Continue reading

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Low-Income Americans to Congress: ‘I Am the Cost of Cutting Build Back Better’

“We need to stop asking, ‘How much does a bold Build Back Better agenda cost?’ and instead ask, ‘How much does it cost not to Build Back Better?'” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-28-2021

With President Joe Biden and many congressional Democrats bowing to right-wing party members’ demands to gut their once far-reaching agenda to tax corporations and the wealthy to fund expanded public benefits and climate action, low-income people from across the United States convened in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to say that “I am the cost of cutting the Build Back Better plan.”

“We need to stop asking, ‘How much does a bold Build Back Better agenda cost?’ and instead ask, ‘How much does it cost not to Build Back Better?'” Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of Repairers of the Breach, said during Wednesday’s rally, which was organized by the Poor Peoples’ Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, an effort that he co-chairs. Continue reading

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