Andrew Emett
News Report

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that FedEx Corp. misclassified their employees as independent contractors to evade paying benefits. By classifying their drivers as independent contractors, FedEx unlawfully subjected their employees to repeated labor and wage violations. Seeking a rehearing by the entire Ninth Circuit, FedEx wishes to avoid potentially paying out hundreds of thousands of dollars in back wages, damages, and attorneys’ fees. In the case known as Alexander v. FedEx Ground, a panel of federal judges determined that over 2,300 FedEx drivers in California and Oregon had been deprived of employee status and benefits. According to court documents, FedEx drivers were required to pay for their FedEx branded trucks, uniforms, insurance, fuel, tires, oil changes, maintenance, workers’ compensation coverage, and the wages of employees covering their shifts during vacations and sick days. The drivers were even forced to rent the scanners that record their deliveries and ended up trapped with expensive long-term leases on their FedEx branded trucks. "We have heard of many instances where the secondary drivers are earning such low wages that they have to rely on public assistance to make ends meet," stated the plaintiffs’ attorney Beth Ross. "Nationally, thousands of FedEx Ground drivers must pay for the privilege of working for FedEx 55 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. Today, these workers were granted rights and benefits entitled to employees under California law. To be clear, the Ninth Circuit exposed FedEx Ground's independent contractor model as unlawful."

Monsanto Sues Farmers for 16 Straight Years over GMOs, NEVER Loses
Christina Sarich
News Report

Where is the justice? Since 1997, Monsanto has filed 145 lawsuits, or on average about 9 lawsuits every year for 16 straight years, against farmers who have “improperly reused their patented seeds.” The biotech giant hasn’t lost a single case, either. Not one. This includes when farmers tried to sue Monsanto over cross-pollination of their organic crops with GMO seed. For example, a federal court dismissed one of those cases, saying that it couldn’t protect Monsanto against unfair lawsuits should they side in the farmers’ favor. What about unfair business practices? What about 92% of people saying they want their food labeled if it contains genetically modified ingredients? What about the right of farmers to grow food from seed that hasn’t been altered to turn it into a DNA freak show? The lawsuit representing over 300,000 farmers who wanted the right to grow organic food was also dismissed on the grounds that the plaintiffs had been sued by Monsanto! The judge said the farmers’ reasons for suing the biotech giant were ‘unsubstantiated.’ When Monsanto released a statement to the press, they said the plaintiffs had:

David Sirota
Op-Ed

Reading companies' annual reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission is a reliable cure for insomnia. Every so often, though, there is a significant revelation in the paperwork. This year, one of the most important revelations came from Microsoft's filings, which spotlighted how the tax code allows corporations to enjoy the benefits of American citizenship yet avoid paying U.S. taxes.

According to the SEC documents, the company is sitting on almost $29.6 billion it would owe in U.S. taxes if it repatriated the $92.9 billion of earnings it is keeping offshore. That amount of money represents a significant spike from prior years.

To put this in perspective, the levies the company would owe amount to almost the entire two-year operating budget of the company's home state of Washington.

The disclosure in Microsoft's SEC filing lands amid an intensifying debate over the fairness of U.S.-based multinational corporations using offshore subsidiaries to avoid paying American taxes. Such maneuvers — although often legal — threaten to significantly reduce U.S. corporate tax receipts during an era marked by government budget deficits.

Charles Koch Personally Founded Group Protecting Oil Industry Hand-Outs, Documents Reveal
Lee Fang
News Analysis

‘Lifestyles of the Rich Environmentalists,’ produced by a group called the Institute for Energy Research, is a slick web video campaign designed to lampoon Leonardo Dicaprio and will.i.am as hypocrites for supporting action on climate change. The claim is that wealthy celebrities who oppose industrial-scale pollution supposedly shouldn’t fly in airplanes that use fossil fuels. The group, along with its subsidiary, the American Energy Alliance, churns out a steady stream of related content, from Facebook memes criticizing the Environmental Protection Agency, to commercials demanding approval of new oil projects like the Keystone XL, to a series of television campaign advertisements this year attacking Democratic candidates in West Virginia, Colorado, North Carolina and Alaska. On Capitol Hill, IER aggressively opposes any effort to repeal tax breaks afforded to the oil and gas industry. Documents obtained by Republic Report reveal for the first time that the group was actually founded by none other than Charles Koch, the petrochemical, manufacturing, and oil refining tycoon worth an estimated $52 billion. IER has no information about its founding members on its website, and only lists a board composed of seemingly independent conservative scholars and businessmen. Earlier reports revealed that IER/AEA has received grants from Koch-funded foundations, and its leadership includes several individuals who have at times worked for Koch or Koch-related interests. But this is the first time it has been revealed that Charles personally founded the organization. In October of 1984, Charles, then using a Menlo Park, California address founded a non-profit called the Institute for Humane Studies of Texas. That organization briefly lost its charter in 1989 for failure to pay the Texas state franchise tax. Four years later, incorporation documents reveal, the group rebranded as the Institute for Energy Research, or IER, which later formed a subsidiary called the American Energy Alliance. IER/AEA’s advocacy contrasts sharply with Charles’ personal brand as a selfless libertarian activist. The industrialist has argued that he is resolutely against special government hand-outs, such as tax credits or subsidies that benefit one industry over another. “Far from trying to rig the system, I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors, including mandates, subsidies and protective tariffs—even when we benefit from them,” Charles wrote in a column for the Wall Street Journal this year. But Charles’ group, IER/AEA, has fought to protect special tax breaks that benefit fossil fuel producers. Along with issuing press releases against various federal efforts to eliminate oil and gas industry tax credits, IER/AEA commissioned a study claiming that such tax reforms would have an adverse effect on jobs and on oil production. Charles and his brother David are personally responsible for ...

Juan Cole
Op-Ed

This post originally ran on Juan Cole’s Web page. The diplomatic angst issuing from Washington around the United Arab Emirates and Egypt bombing of weapons depots belonging to the Qatar-backed fundamentalist militia of Misrata holds many delicious ironies: 1. According to the BBC, “the U.S., France, Germany, Italy and the UK issued a joint statement denouncing “outside interference” in Libya.” Seriously, guys? Except for Germany, these are the NATO countries that intervened in Libya in the first place, in large part at the insistence of an Arab League led by Egypt and the UAE! It is true that the UAE and Egypt don’t have a U.N. Security Council Resolution, which authorized NATO involvement (I supported the then no fly zone on those grounds). But the newly elected Libyan House of Representatives has openly called for international intervention against Libya’s out-of-control militias and it is entirely possible that the Libyan government asked, behind the scenes for these air strikes. In any case, “outside interference” isn’t the issue! 2. The U.S. is said to have been “caught off guard” by the air strikes. But the U.S. bombed Tripoli in 1986 without coordinating with most of its Middle East allies. Or then there was that sudden invasion of Iraq for no good reason in 2003. The U.S. is always catching the Middle East off guard. 3. The U.S. is said to be concerned that the UAE used U.S. military equipment in ways not authorized by Congress. But Israel does this all the time and there is no such expression of concern then. 4. The U.S. is planning unilateral air strikes on Syria, the sort of operation that the UAE and Egypt are imitating. 5. The U.S. Congress has been obsessing for years about the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi by extremist militias of the sort the UAE and Egypt are now weakening in Libya. Are the Republicans in the House just interested in making political hay with the deaths of the U.S. ambassador and 3 other Americans, or do they really want to roll back extremist forces and lawless militias in Libya? If the latter, they have given no sign of it except carping.

VOICES FOR CHANGE

Top 5 Ironies of U.S. Reaction to Egypt/UAE Bombing of Libya
Juan Cole
"

This post originally ran on Juan Cole’s Web page.

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The ‘Spiral of Silence’
Froma Harrop
"

With folks yapping all day on social media — Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and the rest — how can there be such a thing as a "

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Talking Points: The Roots of Racism: Fear, Freedom and Ferguson
Thomas Magstadt
"

The following is part one of three in a series. Talking Points is an exclusive column to NationofChangeThe police slaying of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, in Ferguson, Missouri, has riveted the attention of the national media in part for its shock value (Brown was reportedly shot six times, ...

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Should Companies Have to Pay Taxes?
David Sirota
"

Reading companies' annual reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission is a reliable cure for insomnia. Every so often, though, there is a significant revelation in the paperwork. This year, one of the most important revelations came from Microsoft's filings, which spotlighted how the tax code allows corporations to enjoy the ...

" ::
Clamping Down on the Labor Extortion Racket
Jim Hightower
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This Labor Day, you can mull some good news about American jobs for a change.Take the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour — please! That ...

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Perry Hams It Up
Jim Hightower
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Lawyers will tell you that any good prosecutor could convince a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.Well, meet that ham sandwich: Governor Rick Perry. ...

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The Smallness of Being in Economy Class
Froma Harrop
"

Americans are in the dumps about their future. What does that have to do with legroom in economy 

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Truth Has No Place in the Attack of Inflation Hawks
Dean Baker
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There is a growing push by inflation hawks to get the Federal Reserve Board to raise interest rates. They argue that inflationary pressures are picking up steam and if the Fed doesn’t move quickly, we will soon be caught up in an inflationary spiral.If this sounds obscure and ...

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Sorry Monsanto: Major Boom in Organic Oils Amid Global Concern Over GMO Contamination
Christina Sarich
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Rising concerns about soy and canola oils derived from genetically altered seed are creating a new industry boom for sunflowers. Food manufacturers and restaurants need a non-GMO alternative, and it looks like the sunny flower that tracks the sun will meet growing demand.

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The Guns of August
Amy Goodman
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In her epic, Pulitzer Prize-winning book “The Guns of August,” historian Barbara Tuchman detailed how World War I began in 1914, and how the belligerence, vanity and poor policies of powerful leaders led millions to gory deaths in that four-year conflagration. Before people realized world wars had to be numbered, ...

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NOC BULLHORN

Workers’ Rights

It is our responsibility to tell the Department of Labor to raise the minimum wage for tipped employees just like all of the other federal minimum wages that have increased.

Police Brutality

When exercising your rights to peacefully protest or join a peaceful demonstration, you have to keep in mind that it could very well turn into a bloody riot.

Gaza Strip

Israel and Palestinians are finally able to see the light now that they have both agreed to a long-term ceasefire.

Pesticides

Residents are outrages after a judge in Kaua'i, Hawaii ruled in favor of chemical companies for blocking the ordinance.

Environment

Take action and help protect sea turtles against illegal poaching by asking the Mexican government to promote and support coastal communities’ ecotourism and sustainable travel.

Environment

RED Sustainable Travel's focus is to ”create sustainable economic alternatives to poaching or hunting sea turtles in local communities.”

Fracking

Help stop E&B Natural Resources from making Hermosa Beach residents their next guinea pigs.

Banking Policy

This sector of banking is thriving and its future is bright.

Genetically Modified Foods

Brazilian scientists are urging Pope Francis to join the Brazilian government and help ban genetically modified foods.

The Supreme Court

Join the dissent and stop CEOs in America from “forcing their personal beliefs on employees.” Take action and tell lawmakers to give us back control of our own bodies.

Climate Change

Forget about everything you think you know about climate change because in this new documentary, capitalism is to blame.

Media

Unique freedom of speech and privacy laws from Finland are now available to the rest of the world.

Bee Protection

We must take down the companies that are contributing to the pollinator decline and help save the bees. Sign the petition.

Human Rights

“We will continue to resist. We will build a beautiful new tomorrow.”

Climate Change

The connection between the Ferguson tragedy and the climate crisis is one activist’s catalyst for her work.

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