The White House has nominated Susan Dudley, an anti-regulatory extremist from the industry-funded Mercatus Center, to an obscure but powerful office where she would have the power to gut the federal government's very ability to protect the public.
Dudley would become the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, an office in the White House Office of Management and Budget with enormous authority over environmental, health, and safety regulations.
Dudley would replace John Graham, who left the office in February to become dean of the RAND Read more
The July 2006 issue of In These Times  magazine carries an enlightening and overdue article about how the Left is funded, or not. The New Funding Heresies , written by Senior Editor Christopher Hayes, focuses on the relatively new group of very wealthy liberal and progressive funders called the Democracy Alliance . This group of close to one hundred donors has pledged to individually donate a minimum of $1 million over five years to organizations chosen from a docket that is vetted by the staff and board of the Alliance. In addition, each Democracy Alliance donor Read more
The federal government keeps two sets of books.
The set the government promotes to the public has a healthier bottom line: a $318 billion deficit in 2005.
The set the government doesn't talk about is the audited financial statement produced by the government's accountants following standard accounting rules. It reports a more ominous financial picture: a $760 billion deficit for 2005. If Social Security and Medicare were included as the board that sets accounting rules is considering the federal deficit would have been $3.5 trillion.
Congress has written Read more
ONE MORNING IN JUNE 2002, a group of twenty unemployed factory workers gathered on a treeless sidewalk in downtown Avellaneda, an industrial suburb of Buenos Aires. They came loaded with poles, plastic sheeting, scrap lumber, and rope. In short order, they raised a tent before a nine-story brick factory known as the Cristalux Glassworks. The factory, recognizable by its billboard-sized bas-relief of a worker blowing glass, had once employed a workforce of twelve hundred. Now it stood abandoned and shuttered.
It was late fall in the Southern Hemisphere, and night temperatures Read more
New York Times
So many superrich Americans evade taxes using offshore accounts that law enforcement cannot control the growing misconduct, according to a Senate report that provides the most detailed look ever at high-level tax schemes. Among the billionaires cited in the report are the owner of the New York Jets football team, Robert Wood Johnson IV; the producer of the "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" children's show, Haim Saban; and two Texas businessmen, Charles and Sam Wyly, who the Center for Public Integrity found in 2000 were the ninth-largest contributors to President Bush.
Mr. Johnson Read more
In the popular American imagination democracy is primarily a system of government that enables the people to vote every few years for their elected representatives. President Bush and the Congress reaffirmed this core concept of representative government this month when they moved to extend the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for 25 more years. In important ways, however, it was little more than a hollow gesture.
Back when President Johnson first signed the landmark civil rights legislation into law, he committed the nation to eliminating race-based voting discrimination. The Act gave Read more
Willamette Weekly (Portland, OR)
John D. Rockefeller realized 135 years ago that the way to control the oil market was to control the transport of oil. So in 1871, he colluded with the railroad industry to form a cartel called the South Improvement Company. Under their plan, the rate to ship oil would double, and Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company would get rebates for every gallon of oil shipped, even those shipped by its competitors. South would also collect information on the destinations, costs and dates of competitors' oil shipments.
Once word leaked, independent oil producers revolted and managed to stop Read more
New York Times
After months of fevered lobbying and bitter debate, the Chicago City Council passed a groundbreaking ordinance yesterday requiring "big box" stores, like Wal-Mart and Home Depot, to pay a minimum wage of $10 an hour by 2010, along with at least $3 an hour worth of benefits.
The ordinance, imposing the requirement on stores that occupy more than 90,000 square feet and are part of companies grossing more than $1 billion annually, would be the first in the country to single out large retailers for wage rules.
A gallery packed with supporters of the bill broke into cheers Read more
The Doha round negotiations collapsed once again at the Mini Ministerial in Geneva on 23rd July 2006. Martin Khor of Third World Network reports from Geneva that when asked of the Doha Round is dead or in intensive care, Mr. Kamal Nath, Indias Commerce Minister, said it is somewhere between intensive care in hospital and the crematorium. Peter Mandelson, the EU Trade Commissioner told the press following suspension of WTO negotiations, we have missed the last exit on the motorway.
The U.S. is being identified by all as responsible for the collapse of talks, by its refusal Read more
Friends of the Earth International
JULY 24, 2006
CONTACT: Friends of the Earth
Alberto Villarreal, +41 78 8389 504 (until july 29 only) or
Hall, +44 7967017281
Sonja Meister, +32
Sarno, +31 20 622 1369