(Image: Solar energy via Shutterstock) Fresh from victories in Seattle and San Francisco, grassroots activists advocating city and college divestment from fossil fuel companies are already thinking big about how to reinvest the billions of dollars they want to free up. While very little money has actually been divested to date, the campaign is building connections between climate activists and renewable energy advocates. Where one group is attacking a problem, the other is offering a solution.
Walmart wages are so low that many of its workers rely on food stamps and other government aid programs to fulfill their basic needs, a reality that could cost taxpayers as much as $900,000 at just one Walmart Supercenter in Wisconsin, according to a study released by Congressional Democrats on Thursday. Though the study assumes that most workers who qualify for the public assistance programs do take advantage of them, it injects a potent data point into a national debate about the minimum wage at a time when many Walmart and fast food workers are mounting strikes in pursuit of higher wages. The study uses Medicaid data released in Wisconsin to piece together the annual cost to taxpayers for providing a host of social safety net programs, including food stamps and publicly subsidized health care, to workers at one Supercenter in the state.
Today, trade negotiators from 11 countries meet again to secretively draft the terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) . The TPP is a sprawling multinational trade agreement that includes expansive and unfair copyright provisions. If signed, the TPP will entrench these digital enforcement measures as a global standard, leading to harsh regulations that would be disastrous for Internet users worldwide. EFF is on the ground in Lima, Peru for the 17th round of negotiations. As with all the previous TPP talks, the public is completely excluded from the process.
Secret "Free Trade" Negotiations Will Gut Regulations, Further Enrich Multinationals and Big Financial Firms(Image: Network in hand via Shutterstock) It’s a sign of the times that a reputable economist, Dean Baker, can use the word “corruption” in the headline of an article describing two major trade deals under negotiation and no one bats an eye. By way of background, the Administration is taking the unusual step of trying to negotiate two major trade deals in the same timeframe. Apparently Obama wants to make sure his corporate masters get as many goodies as possible before he leaves office. The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the US-European Union “Free Trade” Agreement are both inaccurately depicted as being helpful to ordinary Americans by virtue of liberalizing trade. Instead, the have perilous little to do with trade. They are both intended to make the world more lucrative for major corporations by weakening regulations and by strengthening intellectual property laws.
Truthout is able to confront the forces of greed and regression only because we don’t take corporate funding. Support us in this fight: make a tax-deductible donation today by clicking here. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testifies at a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 21, 2012. (Photo: Luke Sharrett / The New York Times) The accolades for Timothy Geithner came on so thick and heavy in the last week that it’s necessary for those of us in the reality-based community to bring the discussion back to earth. The basic facts of the matter are very straightforward. Timothy Geithner and the bailout he helped engineer saved the Wall Street banks.
Indeed, we are actually taunting the two most powerful and merciless forces on the planet, the market and Mother Nature, at the same time . We’re essentially saying to both of them: “Hey, what’ve you got, baby? No interest rate rises? A little bitty temperature increase? That’s all you’ve got?”
While 2012 might not be a banner year for Big Oil profits, it wasn’t a bad one either. With just BP left to announce 2012 earnings, Big Oil earned well over $100 billion in profits last year, while the companies benefit from continued taxpayer subsidies. Average gas prices also hit a record high last year, showing how a drilling boom may help oil companies’ profit margins, but not consumers’ wallets. ExxonMobil — now the most valuable company in the world, passing Apple — earned $45 billion profit in 2012, a 9 percent jump over 2011. Meanwhile, Chevron earned $26.2 billion for the year. In the final three months of the year, the companies earned $9.95 billion and $7.2 billion respectively.
If your first reaction to this morning’s news about President Obama nominating Mary Jo White to head the Securities and Exchange Commission is positive, that’s understandable. She’s a former prosecutor and, as such, much of the elite media has simply concluded that must mean the Obama administration is going to get tough on Wall Street crime. Case in point is the framing from the New York Times’ Dealbook — a publication that has literally been financially sponsored by Goldman Sachs .
News around the beltway is all abuzz this morning after the president appointed Mary Jo White as the permanent replacement for Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. In so doing, he is tapping a unique woman, who has served under several presidents and has been the center of many tough prosecutions in her time. Mary Jo White served as the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1993 to 2002. Originally appointed by George HW Bush in 1992 as acting Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, President Clinton made her the permanent Attorney shortly after taking office. Since then she has taken on crime and corruption, tackling cases such as the John Gotti trial.
Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco gives a speech in Bilbao in 1939. A top judge, Baltasar Garzon, is charged with exceeding his powers on the grounds that the alleged crimes committted by the Franco regime were covered by an amnesty agreed in 1977 as Spain moved towards democracy two years after Franco's death. January 17, 2013 | Like this article?
28 December 2012 TWO former executives at an Icelandic bank which collapsed in the 2008 financial meltdown were sentenced to jail on Friday for fraud which led to a €53m loss, in the first major trial of Icelandic bankers linked to the crisis. All three of the small North Atlantic island's top banks collapsed in quick succession in October 2008 due to big debts incurred during a rapid overseas expansion.
SAN JUAN TEOTIHUACÁN, Mexico — longed to build in Elda Pineda’s alfalfa field. It was an ideal location, just off this town’s bustling main entrance and barely a mile from its ancient pyramids, which draw tourists from around the world. With its usual precision, Wal-Mart calculated it would attract 250 customers an hour if only it could put a store in Mrs. Pineda’s field.
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The world's wealthy countries often criticise African nations for corruption - especially that perpetrated by those among the continent's government and business leaders who abuse their positions by looting tens of billions of dollars in national assets or the profits from state-owned enterprises that could otherwise be used to relieve the plight of some of the world's poorest peoples. Yet the West is culpable too in that it often looks the other way when that same dirty money is channelled into bank accounts in Europe and the US. International money laundering regulations are supposed to stop the proceeds of corruption being moved around the world in this way, but it seems the developed world's financial system is far more tempted by the prospect of large cash injections than it should be.
December 11, 2012 | Like this article? Join our email list: Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email. Twinkie-maker Hostess continues to screw over its workers. The company is in the process of complete liquidation and 18,000 unionized workers are set to lose their jobs.