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Ralph Nader Wants You to Join Right-Wing Libertarians to Solve America's Problems

  • The legendary consumer advocate has lost his political compass.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

CJ Werleman, AlterNet

May 2, 2014  | If you’re looking for the genesis of America’s widening income inequality, you can find it in a memo written in 1971 by the corporate lawyer and future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell. The memo was titled “Attack on American Free Enterprise System” and it outlined ways in which corporations could shut out those who were hostile to corporate interests. Essentially, this memo became the blueprint for moving the boardrooms of Wall Street to the congressional chambers of Washington DC.

Powell named consumer activist Ralph Nader as corporate enemy number one. In the years 1966 to 1973, Congress passed 25 pieces of consumer legislation, nearly all of which contained Nader’s fingerprints, including auto and highway safety laws, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnson said of Nader in an interview, “The big books they [Nader and associates] put out were serious, first-rate journalism. Corporate America was terrified by this.”

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include, The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win, and "Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us" (a novel). 

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Why are Senate DFLers blocking the toughest payday loan restrictions?

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Unified Republican opposition doesn't help, but the majority Democrats have found it hard to crack down on an industry that charges borrowers 237 percent interest per annum.

Doug Grow, MinnPost

The House bill more strictly limits payday lenders’ repeat business, with tougher checks on borrowers’ ability to repay. MinnPost file photo by Sharon Schmickle

05/14/14 | Efforts to crack down on payday loans in Minnesota could again be headed to “Wait’ll-next-year’’ status.

Yes, the Minnesota House has passed a bill that would put tougher restrictions on operations that charge the state’s poorest interest rates of 250 percent-plus.

And yes, the governor on Monday tried to shed more light on the business practices that operate in the shadows of decency.

Doug Grow writes about state politics, public affairs and other topics. He was a newspaper journalist for 37 years, writing sports columns for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Minneapolis Star, and then a metro column for the Star Tribune. 

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Millions to ‘March Against Monsanto’ on May 24

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  • “We will not allow this ‘Garden of Eden’ to be compromised by the destructive practices of multinational corporations like Monsanto,” Josh Castro, organizer for Quito, Ecuador’s march, said in a statement for the global march. “Biotechnology is not the solution to world hunger.
  • Click here for a full list of March Against Monsanto events.
  • Walmart’s latest organic scheme is just part of its plot to take over our food system.

Brandon Baker, EcoWatch

marchagainstmonsanto.jpegThe March Against Monsanto will take place in about 150 more cities than last year. Photo credit: Becker1999/Flickr Creative Commons 

May 12, 2014 | Regardless where you live, May 24 marks the annual opportunity to March Against Monsanto.

The event protesting the GMO (genetically modified organisms) giant will simultaneously take place in more than 400 cities in 52 countries that span six continents. That’s up from 36 cities in 286 countries last year. Among the marches is one in St. Louis, MO, which is home to Monsanto’s headquarters.

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Brandon Baker: Business Editor at EcoWatch/Freelance Journalist

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Related:

Walmart’s latest organic scheme is just part of its plot to take over our food system, Stacy Mitchell, Grist

  • To me, the pivotal question that ought to frame any discussion about Walmart’s role in our food system is: Will people and the planet be better off if Walmart grows to control 50 percent of the U.S. grocery market?
  • A Trojan Carrot 

The Struggle for Survival of the Long-term Unemployed

  • Are the Long-Term Unemployed on the Margins of the Labor Market?
  • Part 1: It’s Still Bad for the Long-Term Unemployed
  • Part 2: The unemployment insurance graveyard
  • From high hopes to low wages: What happened to the American Dream?

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest



Part 1: It’s Still Bad for the Long-Term Unemployed

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  • About 7.4 million Americans – up from 7.2 million as of November – are working part-time but would like to be working full-time.
  • Many among the long-term jobless accept a crummy job or simply give up.
  • From high hopes to low wages: What happened to the American Dream?

Annie Lowrey, New York (NY) Times

04economix-longterm-blog480.pngApril 4, 2014 | At first blush, it’s great news. The number of long-term unemployed Americans – meaning those out of a job for more than six months – has dropped to 3.7 million in March from a high of 6.8 million in April 2010. The ranks of the long-term jobless have plummeted by 837,000 over the past year alone, helping to drive down the unemployment rate.

But not so fast. The labor market has largely normalized in terms of short-term unemployment. But it gets worse and worse the longer you’ve been out of a job. As the chart that ran with a story I wrote today shows, short-term joblessness is actually well below its 2007 level. Long-term joblessness is still more than twice as high.

Annie Lowrey reports on economic policy for the New York Times. Previously Lowrey covered the economy as the Moneybox columnist for Slate. She was also a staff writer for the Washington Independent and served on the editorial staffs of Foreign Policy and The New Yorker.

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Part 2: The unemployment insurance graveyard

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  • Senate negotiators toiled for months to revive long-term unemployment benefits in a manner that could draw the support of both centrist Republicans and liberal Democrats.
  • But that effort was all for naught.

Burgess EverettPOLITICO

5/18/14 | The jobless aid bill that narrowly passed the Senate in early April would extend the benefits to June 1 — but barring a surprise breakthrough, there’s almost no chance the House will take up that legislation or an alternative of its own during the last two weeks of May.

So, the lack of agreement between the two chambers is sending the bill’s chief sponsors back to square one — with several Republicans doubting the Senate has the stamina to find billions more dollars to pay for a longer-term bill and then persuade the House to pass it.

Burgess Everett is a congressional reporter for POLITICO

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Related:

From high hopes to low wages: What happened to the American Dream? Mark Robert Rank, Thomas A. Hirschl, and Kirk A. Foster, Salon

 

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40% Of US Workers Now Earn Less Than 1968 Minimum Wage

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  • Good paying full-time jobs are disappearing, and they are being replaced by low paying part-time jobs.
  • How Govt. Hides the Poor: Formula for Measuring Poverty Dates to When a Loaf of Bread Cost 22 Cents
  • The poverty that Paul Ryan ignores

Michael Snyder, Popular Resistance

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/If you like reading this article, consider joining the crew of all reader-supported Evergreene Digest by contributing the equivalent of a cafe latte a month--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it.

Great-Depression-Bread-Line-SC-500x2501.jpgApril 29th, 2014 | Are American workers paid enough?  That is a topic that is endlessly debated all across this great land of ours.  Unfortunately, what pretty much everyone can agree on is that American workers are not making as much as they used to after you account for inflation.  Back in 1968, the minimum wage in the United States was $1.60 an hour.  That sounds very small, but after you account for inflation a very different picture emerges.  Using the inflation calculator that the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides, $1.60 in 1968 is equivalent to $10.74 today. 

And of course the official government inflation numbers have been heavily manipulated to make inflation look much lower than it actually is, so the number for today should actually be substantially higher than $10.74, but for purposes of this article we will use $10.74.  If you were to work a full-time job at $10.74 an hour for a full year (with two weeks off for vacation), you would make about $21,480 for the year.

Michael Snyder, publisher of The Economic Collapse blog.

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Related:

How Govt. Hides the Poor: Formula for Measuring Poverty Dates to When a Loaf of Bread Cost 22 Cents, Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

  • Cities, states, advocates and academics have known for years that (the present) measure of who is poor undercounts millions of Americans. 
  • False stats.
  • The Zombie Numbers That Rule the U.S. Economy
  • The poverty that Paul Ryan ignores

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The poverty that Paul Ryan ignores, Ed Gray, Salon

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The leader of the crusade against poor Americans, Paul Ryan, has said that the social safety net is at risk of becoming a “hammock”; one that, one presumes, would have accommodated so-called freeloaders unworthy of government assistance. 

While Republicans use poverty as an ideological weapon, one writer sees its consequences firsthand.

The new face of food stamps: working-age Americans

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The Shocking Numbers Behind Corporate Welfare

 

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  • In fact, the numbers significantly understate the true value of taxpayer subsidies made by state and local government agencies to businesses, , including cash giveaways, building and land transfers, tax abatements and steep discounts on electric and water bills, for reasons explained here.
  • 10 Corporate Behemoths Stifling Competition and Delivering Awful Service to You

David Cay Johnston, Al-Jazeera America

I%20Want%20You%20with%2010%20yr%20banner.jpgIf you like reading this article, consider joining the crew of all reader-supported Evergreene Digest by contributing the equivalent of a cafe latte a month--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it.

src.adapt.960.high.1393513920058.jpgAn Air India Boeing 787 Dreamliner taking off for a display at the 50th Paris Air Show, at Le Bourget Airport near Paris in June 2013. Pascal Rossignol/Reuters

February 25, 2014 | State and local governments have awarded at least $110 billion in taxpayer subsidies to business, with 3 of every 4 dollars going to fewer than 1,000 big corporations, the most thorough analysis to date of corporate welfare revealed today.

Boeing ranks first, with 137 subsidies totaling $13.2 billion, followed by Alcoa at $5.6 billion, Intel at $3.9 billion, General Motors at $3.5 billion and Ford Motor at $2.5 billion, the new report by the nonprofit research organization Good Jobs First shows.

David Cay Johnston, an investigative reporter who won a Pulitzer Prize while at the New York Times, teaches business, tax and property law of the ancient world at the Syracuse University College of Law. He is the best-selling author of "Perfectly Legal", "Free Lunch" and "The Fine Print" and editor of the new anthology "Divided: The Perils of Our Growing Inequality."

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Related:

10 Corporate Behemoths Stifling Competition and Delivering Awful Service to You, Alex Henderson, AlterNet

  • Customers benefit when actual competition occurs. But that's rare these days.
  • Here are 10 mammoth corporations that detest free-market competition and do everything they can to stamp it out or greatly reduce it.
  • The Kochs’ Fig Leaf
Section(s): 

10 Corporate Behemoths Stifling Competition and Delivering Awful Service to You

  • Customers benefit when actual competition occurs. But that's rare these days.
  • Here are 10 mammoth corporations that detest free-market competition and do everything they can to stamp it out or greatly reduce it.
  • The Kochs’ Fig Leaf

Alex Henderson, AlterNet

Journalism with real independence and integrity is a rare thing. All reader supported Evergreene Digest relies on reader donations. Click on the donation button above to make a contribution and support our work.

screen_shot_2014-04-24_at_12.18.26_pm.png April 24, 2014  |  One of the fundamentals of free-market capitalism is that consumers benefit when competition is plentiful. If a business is selling a weak or inferior product, consumers can turn to the competition for a better deal. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt understood that, which is why a key element of his New Deal was the anti-trust, anti-monopoly legislation of the 1930s. Roosevelt firmly believed that large companies should be forced into a competitive environment whether they liked it or not, and that belief served the U.S. well for many years. But in recent decades, a variety of corporate lobbyists, far-right Republicans and neoliberal Democrats have shredded the New Deal and undermined anti-trust laws—thus encouraging corporations to grow larger and larger and engage in monopolistic practices. 

Here are 10 mammoth corporations that detest free-market competition and do everything they can to stamp it out or greatly reduce it.

Alex Henderson's work has appeared in the L.A. Weekly, Billboard, Spin, Creem, the Pasadena Weekly and many other publications.

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Related:

The Kochs’ Fig Leaf, Think Progress

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  • Americans For Prosperity Fesses Up To Their Dirty Agenda
  • The Koch’s goal is to keep the economic deck stacked in their favor and that means a government that only work for the wealthiest. And they will spend whatever it takes to protect their bottom line.
  • Series | Class War for Idiots, Part 1: The Roots of Stalin in the Koch Brothers and the Tea Party Movement

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