fresh voices from the front lines of change








Tom Conway

Can Business Really Put People Before Profits?

Last Monday, 181 corporate CEOs who belong to the Business Roundtable signed a pledge saying they think greed isn’t so good, after all. These CEOs declared that corporations must demonstrate some reverence for real people: workers, customers, suppliers, communities and the environment. If corporations actually devoted themselves to achieving this goal, it would be a return to the decades of the 20th century between 1930 and 1970 when many corporations did, in fact, abide by these values. The American middle class was more robust then, as pay rose in tandem with productivity. Unions held a stronger position in the economy. And the disparity between CEO and worker pay was dramatically smaller. But believing the country will revert to those economic times without force is naïve. The Roundtable’s announcement is nothing but a stunt. According to the Roundtable’s CEOs, they plan a revival of 1950s corporate values. That assertion without action just doesn’t cut it. Real transformation is essential. And that will only happen if laws change to enable unions to grow and flourish again and bring about real change for working Americans.

Johnson & Johnson Must Pay For Role In Opioid Crisis

Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $572 million in landmark opioid trial. NYT: "A judge in Oklahoma on Monday ruled that Johnson & Johnson had intentionally played down the dangers and oversold the benefits of opioids, and ordered it to pay the state $572 million in the first trial of a drug manufacturer for the destruction wrought by prescription painkillers. The amount fell far short of the $17 billion judgment that Oklahoma had sought to pay for addiction treatment, drug courts and other services it said it would need over the next 20 years to repair the damage done by the opioid epidemic. Judge Balkman was harsh in his assessment of a company that has built its reputation as a responsible and family-friendly maker of soap, baby powder and Band-Aids."

Brazil Rejects Help To Put Out Amazon Fires

Brazil to reject G7 offer of $22m aid to fight Amazon fires. AlJazeera: "Brazil's government has said it will reject an offer of aid worth millions of dollars from G7 countries to help fight raging fires in the Amazon rainforest. French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday during a G7 summit in Biarritz that the group - comprising the US, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Britain and Canada - would donate $22m to help tackle the blazes. Britain and Canada also pledged $12m and $11m of separate aid respectively. Macron said the funds would be made available immediately and that France would also offer military support in the region. Brazilian officials gave no official reason for rejecting the group's offer, while it was not immediately clear if Britain and Canada's offers of aid had also been declined, but President Jair Bolsonaro had earlier accused Macron of treating Brazil like a colony."

Trump Wants G7 At His Own Resort

Why Trump says his Florida golf club should host the next G-7. WaPo: "President Trump said Monday that he was likely to hold next year’s Group of Seven summit — the ultraexclusive annual gathering of world leaders — at his golf resort in Doral, Fla. That decision would be an unprecedented use of American power to create private revenue for the American president. If Trump does choose Doral, he would be directing six world leaders, hundreds of hangers-on and massive amounts of money to a resort he owns personally — and which, according to his company’s representatives, has been 'severely underperforming.' Many questions about the decision remain unanswered. For example, it was unclear late Monday whether Trump had formally chosen Doral. Trump said he had not. But after he spoke, the White House’s official Twitter account seemed to say he had — calling Doral 'the location of the next [G-7] summit.'"

CA Sues To Defend Migrant Children

California leads multistate lawsuit over migrant children detention rules.Politico: "California will lead a multistate lawsuit against the Trump administration challenging a proposed federal regulation that would lift court-granted protections for young migrant detainees, allowing immigration authorities to detain children indefinitely — in quarters they see fit. The lawsuit, to be filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, challenges the Trump administration rule seeking to invalidate the 1997 Flores settlement, which sets minimum detention rules for migrant children. It says minors cannot be held indefinitely and children must be placed in the least restrictive setting possible. California, along with 18 other states and the District of Columbia, argue the rule would shatter minimum protections for children. President Donald Trump and administration officials are facing intense scrutiny and widespread public backlash for allowing migrant children to be held in unsafe, unsanitary conditions that public and mental health experts say pose extreme harm to their physical and mental well-being."

Obama Leads Charge On Gerrymandering

Obama introduces new initiative in fight against gerrymandering. The Hill: "Former President Obama on Monday announced a new initiative in a campaign to combat partisan gerrymandering. 'Training is at the heart of organizing. It’s why I’ve always made it a priority – from my 2008 campaign until now,' Obama said in a tweet announcing Redistricting U, part of the All on the Line campaign. Redistricting U will send trainers throughout the country to offer free, in-person instruction and help to volunteers involved in the redistricting process in states. According to the campaign's website, the initiative is being pushed to empower individuals to 'be leaders in the movement for fair maps.' 'The movement for fair maps will determine the course of progress on every issue we care about for the next decade,' Obama said. 'And we can’t wait to begin organizing when the redistricting process starts in 2021. We need to build this movement from the ground up – right now.'"

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