Big Money

Workers Are Fighting Back Against Forced Arbitration

Reading Time: 5 minutesRisking their lives to deliver food to your home in the age of the coronavirus is hard enough. But most home-delivery people do so without a chance to have their day in court if anything goes wrong on the job. 

Supreme Court Weighs In on Controversial Pipeline

Reading Time: 4 minutesIf the legal battle over a controversial pipeline project in the mid-Atlantic were a boxing match, the referee might have stopped it a long time ago.

Congress (Finally) Considers Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

Reading Time: 3 minutesProtecting Out Vote 2020Most Americans agree on background checks for gun purchases, lower prescription drug prices, and the need to take on climate change.

DOJ Investigating Russian Dirty Money Flowing Into US

The US government has recently stepped up its investigation of whether Deutsche Bank knowingly helped Danske Bank launder vast sums of money — most of it from Russia and other former Soviet republics — that passed through the United States, according to .

The People v Wall Street: California’s Public Banking Shake-up

Reading Time: 5 minutesFor only the second time in 100 years, a people-powered coalition overcame the to successfully pass a law that legalizes public banking.

There Is Nothing ‘Organic’ About Animal Cruelty

Reading Time: 4 minutesA consumer watchdog is accusing a Texas-based “organic” farm which claims that it is “a great place to be a cow” of abusing its livestock in violation of federal law.  The group’s

Into the Weeds of Roundup: Monsanto and the Public’s Right To Know

Reading Time: 5 minutesWhat do Sense About Science, the Science Media Center, the Center for Food Integrity and the International Food Information Council have in common?They were all groups paid by Monsanto to undermine investigations into the safety of its pesticides.

How Corporations Prevent Workers From Getting Ahead

Reading Time: 3 minutesMany US workers are puzzled that, amid constant news of low unemployment and stocks reaching new record highs, their paychecks do not reflect this economic boom.

For-Profit and Online Colleges Spend the Least on Instruction, Report Finds

Media attention has recently focused on a limited number of wealthy parents who schemed and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to get their kids into elite colleges for which they ordinarily would not qualify. But then there is the reality for everyone else.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Duped Middle Class — Will Voters Fight Back? Part 2

">Martin Lobel, JD  specializes in crisis management and represents many investigative reporters in addition to being an expert on the constitutionality of state taxes. He has written extensively on tax issues.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Duped Middle Class — Will Voters Fight Back? Part 1

">Martin Lobel, JD  specializes in crisis management and represents many investigative reporters in addition to being an expert on the constitutionality of state taxes. He has written extensively on tax issues.

Can Worker Participation on Corporate Boards Fight Income Inequality?

The issue of income inequality is front and center in the American conversation. A recent poll showed of Americans agree that money and wealth should be more evenly distributed in the United States. Instead, the rich are getting richer and wealth gap is increasing.

The Rich Are Loving the Economy — It’s a Different Story for Regular Americans

Here are three indisputable facts: US GDP is up, the stock market is higher than ever, and unemployment is low. President Donald Trump is quick to remind us of these facts, while largely taking credit:

Battle Over Opioids: Surprising Push-Back, and Not From Dealers

The first known victims of prescription opioids were not hardened addicts who stole the drugs to get high. They were injured workers, whose treatment was driven by a narrative that changed the way doctors thought about pain. Now, says the physician who discovered those first deaths, a “huge counter-narrative” may be putting some unsuspecting patients in danger.

Afghanistan: 17 Years of Incompetence, Corruption, and Waste

The US has spent billions and billions of dollars in Afghanistan, and has little to show for it. Between 2001 and 2017, the US government largely failed in its massive, ambitious, and expensive effort to stabilize dangerous areas in Afghanistan. Under immense pressure to succeed in that mission, US government agencies spent far too much money, far too quickly, in a country woefully unprepared to absorb it.

No Sh-t: Grassroots Activists Take on Big Ag — And Win

For years communities trying to fight pollution from factory farms kept running into a legal roadblock. Until recently, the courts ruled that these farms were from environmental regulations because their animal waste could be returned to the ground as fertilizer. No longer.

Evangelicals: Putting the ‘Ass’ in ‘Compassion’

A Pew Research Center survey last week found that the group to say that the US has a responsibility to allow refugees into the country were white evangelical Protestants.

Russia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Israel: What the Hell Was Going On at Trump Tower?

In recent days the so-called Russiagate affair seems to have splintered into a million different pieces. It&;s no longer just the Russians who were romancing Donald Trump and those around him with promises of helping him get elected. Now we can add the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Saudis, Qataris, and Israelis. Each party was apparently taking a number for their turn to place an order at the All-You-Can-Eat Trump Deli.

Grifters Gonna Grift

To anyone even vaguely familiar with Donald Trump, the notion that he and his gang of grifters would drain the swamp instead of wallowing in it always seemed ridiculous. So it came as no surprise that several major corporations shelled out hundreds of thousands of dollars to Michael Cohen in the hope that Trump’s fixer could grease the wheels a bit as they were trying to curry favor with his boss.

How Central Bankers Rigged the World

President Donald Trump likes to stress the need for a border wall to keep out gangs, “bad hombres,” and drugs coming to the US from Mexico. While the benefits of a physical wall are in doubt, probably few people would disagree that the US would be better off without importing narcotics, cartel members, and gang violence. But did you ever wonder what Mexico gets from its big neighbor to the north that it would rather do without? Because the US does not just export Coca-Cola and fast food restaurants.

Mulvaney Tries to Make Consumer Watchdog Disappear: Will His Magic Act Work?

Forget the Environmental Protection Agency where Administrator Scott Pruitt is doing all he can to roll back Obama-era environmental regulations, and the Department of the Interior, where Secretary Ryan Zinke is freeing up millions of acres of for mining and oil drilling.

Will a Canadian Court Hand a Powerful Tool to the Oppressed?

Far away from the media spotlight, a crucial two-day hearing in a landmark court case could set the stage for giving stakeholders in developing nations a powerful tool to hold multinational corporations to account for violating labor and environmental standards. The case, , pits indigenous peoples of Ecuador against Chevron.

Farewell to a Hypocrite

De’Quanda Jackson stands for many of the things conservatives don’t like about the way the US operates these days. She began getting government checks from the time she was 16 and used the money to go to college. Taking advantage of her personal connections, Jackson then scored a government job. After working on and off in different positions there — interspersed with brief stints in the private sector — she finally got a cushy job in Washington and kept drawing a government paycheck for the next 20 years.

To Facebook, You’re Not the Customer, You’re the Product

Imagine a stranger walking up to you on the street and saying: “If you give me your personal information and that of your friends and family, I’ll tell you which character from Harry Potter you are.” What sounds like a ridiculous proposition is, in a nutshell, the business model of Facebook.

Group With Ties to Trump Opioid Chief Scores Big

The Trump administration has awarded $24 million in grants to a small New England nonprofit group with ties to President Donald Trump&;s opioid czar — Elinore F. McCance-Katz — a WhoWhatWhy review of government documents reveals.

Trump, Kushner, Russia — and the Blackstone Mystery

Like many powerful executives, Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of the giant private equity investment firm, Blackstone Group, has a history of dealing with international leaders that have controversial records.

CEO Behind Murder of Environmental Activist Arrested

When masked gunmen killed renowned Honduran environmentalist Berta Cáceres in her home two years ago, many believed the murder was connected to her protests against the construction of a dam on a river sacred to an indigenous tribe.The arrest last week of Roberto David Castillo was a major break in the investigation of the crime. At the time of the murder, Castillo was the CEO of Desarrollos Energéticos SA (DESA), the construction company that initiated the dam project.Castillo was arrested at the airport as he attempted to leave the country.

House GOP Leads Russia Probe … Away from Deutsche Bank

Back in the 1990s when US financial institutions did not want to loan Donald Trump any more money, Deutsche Bank stepped up to the plate. Since then, the German bank has seemingly played a key role in Trump’s business empire/house of cards. Deutsche Bank has also been involved with all kinds of shady people doing all kinds of shady things. Such as money laundering. In addition, several people in Trump’s orbit — for example, son-in-law and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner — have had their own dealings with Deutsche Bank.

Is Mulvaney Protecting Big Business and Not Consumers?

Government isn’t perfect — far from it. It is too big and unwieldy, not transparent enough, does lots of really messed up things, often overreaches, and wastes money. More importantly, however, government is absolutely necessary. Without it, things would be much, much worse.

Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs — American & Russian, Part 3

Editor’s Note: Part III of this in-depth, technical piece by a former IRS investigator raises more questions than it answers. But WhoWhatWhy believes this is an important service, since it touches a complex topic of considerable public import — one that may be a key component of special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing Trump-Russia investigation. We hope in coming weeks to explore many more of these questions in greater depth. And we welcome reader comments. Martin J. Sheil is a retired branch chief of the IRS Criminal Investigation division.

Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs — American & Russian, Part 2

Editor’s Note: Part II of this in-depth, technical piece by a former IRS investigator raises more questions than it answers. But WhoWhatWhy believes this is a very useful service, particularly in relation to a complex topic of considerable public import — one that may be a key component for special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing Trump-Russia investigation. We hope in the coming weeks to explore many more of these questions in greater depth. And we welcome reader comments. Martin J. Sheil is a retired branch chief of the IRS Criminal Investigation division.

The Usual Suspects: Americans Are About to Get Robbed

In most great heist movies, the actual theft comes toward the end of the film and is followed only by the reveal of how a plucky band of lovable rascals pulled it off and stole from an evil billionaire or corporation. First, however, the film shows in great detail how the crew is assembled and then prepares its big coup in the face of setbacks and obstacles.

Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs — American and Russian, Part 1

Editor’s Note: We publish this lengthy, in-depth, technical piece by a former IRS investigator, knowing it raises more questions than it provides answers. But we believe that is a very useful service, particularly in relation to a complex topic of considerable public import — one that may be a key component for special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing Trump-Russia investigation. We hope in the coming weeks to explore many of these questions in greater depth. And we welcome reader comments. Martin J. Sheil is a retired branch chief of the IRS Criminal Investigation division.

A Visit from St. Donald

T’was the week before Christmas and up and down K Street lobbyists wept Because after a year of chaos, the GOP one promise had kept. They rewarded the Koch brothers and all their friends, Whose dark money checks now paid huge dividends. With a smack of his gavel and a look of gleeful delight Speaker Ryan stuck it to regular Americans and worsened their plight. The richest got gifts and the rest a surprise, As the individual mandate repeal will cause premiums to rise.

What Smart People Are Saying About the Tax Bill

Who the heck understands the tax bill? Maybe the lobbyists who wrote the legislation but certainly not the members of Congress who will vote on it. The dirty little secret of that body is they are usually too busy raising money or appearing on TV to actually read. Especially when the thing they’re supposed to vote on changes more often than the White House staff roster and is more than 500 pages long.So we thought we’d pass on a few of the more interesting insights and outrages that punctuated the great tax cut debate of 2017.

Big Chicken Rules Roost in Trump White House

How fast is too fast?A powerful food-industry lobby group is asking the Trump administration to reverse an Obama-era decision that limited speeds on chicken-processing lines. Animal rights advocates and worker activists claim that such a move would be illegal and dangerous, but the trade association has been working hard to ensure its petition is heard — and acted upon.At the heart of the dispute is a rule restricting how many chickens can be processed per minute. The National Chicken Council (NCC) wants the regulation lifted so plants could process 175 chickens per minute, up from 140.

The Feds’ Secret Workforce

Last week, Congress that a tiny energy company in Montana had received a $300 million no-bid contract to help restore Puerto Rico’s electric grid. The public momentarily caught sight of a system in which contractors are doing more and more of what we consider to be the government’s responsibility.

Another Day, Another Country, Another Corporation Hurting Workers

You don’t expect to see a morality play about corporate power vs. workers’ rights unfold before your eyes while you sip a glass of red wine at an outdoor cafe in Madrid’s hip and lively Plaza Santa Ana. But that’s what happened to me when a worker protest shattered the calm of a mild fall evening in a spot beloved by both tourists and locals.It brought home the realization that the power of multinational corporations is global, affecting not only U.S. workers, but workers worldwide.

Misplaced American Healthcare Exceptionalism

A popular myth perpetuated about the US healthcare system is that it is “the best in the world” and the “envy” of other nations. The people saying these things are absolutely right. The US healthcare system is the best … for the richest of the rich, pharmaceutical companies, specialist doctors and the insurance industry. And it is the envy of other nations … but only impoverished countries such as Sudan, Haiti and Syria.