VOICES FOR CHANGE

Finance in America: Promoting Inequality and Waste
Dean Baker
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In the crazy years of the housing boom the financial sector was a gigantic cesspool of excess and corruption. There was big money in pushing and packaging fraudulent mortgages. The country paid a huge price for the financial sector’s sleaze.

 

Unfortunately, because of the Obama administration’s soft on crime approach to the bankers who became rich in the process; the industry is still a cesspool of excess and greed. Just to be clear, knowingly issuing and ...

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Perry Imperils His Own Roadshow
Jim Hightower
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Gosh, the 2016 primaries are a long way off, but look out: Here comes Texas Governor Rick Perry — riding his state’s taxpayer dollars into another GOP presidential bid.

Technically, he’s not campaigning. Yet he’s popping up from New York to California, holding press conferences, running TV ads, meeting with money people, and telling everyone how terrific he is. In other words: campaigning.

Officially, his cross-country ...

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Do-Nothing Congress Takes a Vacation
Jim Hightower
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Gosh, has it already been three weeks since Congress took a vacation?

Those poor stiffs must be pooped from trying to catch up on all the heavy lifting that piled up while they were away from their lawmaking duties. And — gosh, again — in just a few days, Congress will go back on vacation, this time for a five-week summer recess. So much to do; so little time.

That's why GOP Speaker John Boehner is now cracking the whip. He's spurring his colleagues to pick ...

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The Increasing Irrelevance of Corporate Nationality
Robert Reich
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“You shouldn’t get to call yourself an American company only when you want a handout from the American taxpayers,” President Obama said Thursday.

 

He was referring to American corporations now busily acquiring foreign companies in order to become non-American, thereby reducing their U.S. tax bill.

 

But the President might as well have been talking about all large American multinationals.

 

Only about a fifth of ...

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Astoundingly Legal Corporate Tax Thievery
Jim Hightower
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Did you scramble to get your taxes done this year at the last minute? Yeah, me too.

 

I really didn’t mind paying what I owe — but I hate having to pay the taxes owed by the likes of JPMorgan Chase, ExxonMobil, and Amazon. They’re just a few of the astonishingly profitable corporations adept at minimizing their tax tabs. That shifts more of the cost of everything from the military to national parks onto our shoulders. 

 

We ...

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Apple to Build 100-Acre Solar Farm in North Carolina
Christina Sarich
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The city of Claremont, North Carolina has just signed an agreement with Apple, which will allow a 100-scre solar farm to be built, providing 17.5 megawatts of energy annually at the development cost of $55 million. This will be Apple’s third large solar farm in the United States. Of the mega-corporations, Apple continues to be a leader in responsible stewardship of sustainable energy practices.

Apple is currently the only company in the industry that powers its data ...

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Kansas Experiment Blows Up Laboratory of Democracy
Joe Conason
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When Louis Brandeis wrote in 1932 that a "single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country," he was suggesting that state innovations might advance reform on the federal level. The progressive ...

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How Capitalism is Cheating Young Americans
Paul Buchheit
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Our country's wealthy white once-idealistic baby boomer generation has cheated those of you entering the working world. A small percentage of us have taken almost all the new wealth since the recession. Our Silicon Valley CEOs have placated you with overpriced technological toys that are the result of decades of American productivity, but which have mainly profited the elite members of their industries.

Although none of us in the older generations ...

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Do-Nothing Congress Does Something to Hide Its Debt to Lobbyists
Jim Hightower
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When I heard our Congress critters are taking an extended vacation for all of August and part of September, I had two incongruous reactions: gratitude and anger.

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To Share is Not Always to Share Alike
Froma Harrop
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The online rental booking service Airbnb is a fast-growing empire that pairs travelers with people wanting to profit off a room in their house — or the whole house. Like VRBO, HomeAway and similar platforms, Airbnb occupies the lodging sector of the "sharing economy."

I come not to address the legal concerns such services raise. They do compete with motels and hotels, which are subject to a variety of regulations, while often depriving cities of ...

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UN: Israel’s Military Action in Gaza May Amount to War Crimes
Juan Cole
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U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said on Wednesday that Israel’s military actions are responsible for the death of a child every hour in recent days and observed, “Respect for the right to life of civilians, including children, should be a foremost consideration. Not abiding by these principles may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.” (see below).  That is, in international law, Israel’s pretext for indiscriminate ...

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Monsanto Ordered to Pay $93 Million to Small Town for Poisoning Citizens
Christina Sarich
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Big wins can happen in small places. The West Virginia State Supreme Court finalized a big blow to the biotech giant Monsanto this month, finishing a settlement causing Monsanto to pay $93 million to the tiny town of Nitro, West Virginia for poisoning citizens with Agent Orange chemicals.

The settlement was approved last year, but details were worked out only weeks ago as to how the funds were to be spent.

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Stadium Subsidies Financed by Pension Cuts
David Sirota
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As states and cities grapple with budget shortfalls, many are betting big on an unproven formula: Slash public employee pension benefits and public services while diverting the savings into lucrative subsidies for professional sports teams.

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Cheap Talk at the Fed
Dean Baker
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Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen made waves in her Congressional testimony last week when she argued that social media and biotech stocks were over-valued. She also said that the price of junk bonds was out of line with historic experience. By making these assertions in a highly visible public forum, Yellen was using the power of the Fed’s megaphone to stem the growth of incipient bubbles. This is an approach that some of us have advocated for close to twenty ...

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Citigroup’s $7 Billion Wrist Slap
Jim Hightower
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When Citigroup accepted what the media hailed as a whopping $7 billion penalty for defrauding its own investors and wrecking our economy, the bank just shrugged.

 

“We believe that this settlement is in the best interest of our shareholders and allows us to move forward and to focus on the future,” Citi CEO Michael Corbat said.

 

Note the lack of any regret, apology, or shame. And the total absence of any pledge that the bankers won’t do ...

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Can a $7 Billion Penalty Be a Good Deal?
Jim Hightower
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Media outlets across the country trumpeted the stunning news with headlines like this: "Citigroup Punished."

At last, went the storyline, the Justice Department brought down ...

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Professor of Chemistry Turns India’s Plastic Trash into Useable Roadways
Christina Sarich
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Scenes from the movie Slumdog Millionaire accurately depict India’s latest consumer-influenced economy. Tree groves are littered with a rainbow color of plastic bags like some kind of ominous carnival wreckage. Plastic bottles, candy wrappers, and other ‘garbage’ liters the streets in a land where city officials have long forsaken their duties of providing a pristine infrastructure to its inhabitants, but a professor of chemistry in Madurai, India ...

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Requiem for the American Century
Tom Engelhardt
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First Paragraphs on Turning 70 in the American Century That Was

* Seventy-three years ago, on February 17, 1941, as a second devastating global war approached, Henry Luce, the publisher of Time and Life magazines, called on his countrymen to “create the first great American Century.”  Luce died in 1967 at age 69.  Life, the pictorial magazine no home would have been without in my 1950s ...

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Citigroup: The Original Gangsta
Robert Scheer
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Barack Obama’s Justice Department on Monday announced that Citigroup would pay $7 billion in fines, a move that will avoid a humiliating trial dealing with the seamy financial products the bank had marketed to an unsuspecting public, causing vast damage to the economy.

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Border Crisis Tests Religious Faith, and Some Fail Badly
Joe Conason
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Flamboyant piety has long been fashionable on the political right, where activists, commentators and elected officials never hesitate to hector us about their great moral and theological rectitude. Wielding the Scriptures like a weapon, these righteous right-wingers are always eager to condemn the alleged sins of others but reluctant to examine their own. They seem to spend far more time in posturing and preening than spiritual reflection. Rarely does anyone call them out on ...

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NOC BULLHORN

Healthcare

Let's rally for women's health and reproductive rights.

Equality

Pressure in the form of petitions, boycotts and protests. Is there a way for the event to overcome this and concentrate on bonding and celebration?

Energy Use

A big step for a small German town...will others follow in the pursuit of renewable energy?

Energy Use

After 30 years the wait is over...Dharnai has power.

Gun Rights

The Second Amendment needs to be updated to reflect the growing danger of guns.

Education

"Poets With a Cause” is a group of artists who are banding together to voice their opposition to school closures.

Organic Food

Spread the word, go organic!

Human Rights

The house collectively promotes art and culture in a neighborhood that is known for its social problems related to violence and poverty.

Internet

Protect the Internet...don't Kill it.

Segregation

Politicians and military leaders continue to promote violence...while a simple dance teacher brings communities together.

Environment

NHL leading the way to promote green business practices...Will other sports teams join in?

Monsanto Greed

Stand up to Monsanto and tell the Obama Administration to support mandatory GMO labeling.

Agriculture

El Salvador famers are fighting back against the Monsta.

Fracking

Fracking is nowhere to be seen in Germany’s future.

Food Health

A settlement by West Virginia Supreme Court ordered Monsanto to start paying victims of dioxin exposure.

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