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Author: Common Dreams

Bankruptcy protection could allow Big Pharma to avoid accountability and restitution

After spending hundreds of millions of dollars convincing the American public that opioid painkillers are safe to use for chronic pain, and fueling a deadly, decades-long addiction epidemic as a result, the drug maker Purdue Pharma could file for bankruptcy to avoid being held accountable for its actions. According to news reports, Purdue is considering bankruptcy to halt thousands of lawsuits and allow the company to settle with the plaintiffs out of court. Critics on social media slammed the manufacturer for apparently seeking a way out of its legal troubles without allowing its accusers to bring their cases to...

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Trump policy rewards “loan sharks” over vulnerable consumers in move to gut payday lender regulations

In what progressive lawmakers and advocacy groups decried as the Trump administration’s latest “shameful” attack on vulnerable families, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) unveiled a plan on February 8 that would gut regulations protecting consumers from predatory payday lenders. Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, denounced the CFPB’s plan as “a slap in the face to consumers—especially people of color—who have been victims of predatory business practices and abusive lenders.” “This decision will put already struggling families in a cycle of debt and leave them in an even worse financial...

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America plummets on global corruption index due to erosion of public institutions and ethical norms

An new analysis released on January 29 from Transparency International “reveals the United States as a key country to watch in a global pattern of stagnating anti-corruption efforts and a worldwide crisis of democracy,” according to the group, with the U.S. rank on a global index plummeting by four points in just the past year under President Donald Trump. The United States earned a score of 71 out of 100 on the watchdog’s 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), knocking it out of the top 20 countries for the first time since 2011. Zoe Reiter, Transparency International’s acting representative to...

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Eminent Domain: How state interests helped Foxconn seize land for private gain

A government’s right of eminent domain is typically used to condemn and buy up property that stands in the way of projects purportedly serving direct public needs, such as roads or large-scale public transit. But in Wisconsin, the rationale has been harnessed at the expense of the public good. The village of Mt. Pleasant, for example, is using Wisconsin’s eminent domain laws to force out homeowners on land coveted by the Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn for a television and computer-screen plant in southeastern Wisconsin, about twenty miles south of Milwaukee. The nearly four-square-mile project is already slated to receive up...

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A Flawed Democracy: United States fails to make Top 20 on Global Democracy Index

A new index released recently offered a sobering look at how the style of democracy in the United States is classified compared to other countries. According to the 2018 edition of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, the United States does not even make the list of Top 20. Its demonstrably “flawed democracy” landed at the 25th spot. The ranking is based on 60 indicators spanning five interrelated categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. Each category gets a 0-10 score, with the final score being the average of those...

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A Dark Day for Democracy: Wisconsin GOP dismantles the rule of law and enshrines autocrats

Completing what critics have denounced as a “legislative coup,” Wisconsin’s outgoing Republican Gov. Scott Walker on Friday signed into law a series of bills that will dramatically weaken the authority of the newly elected Democratic governor and attorney general, enhance the power of the Republican-dominated state legislature, and significantly roll back voting rights. “This is the kind of thing autocrats do,” Mother Jones journalist Ari Berman declared on Twitter. “A very dark day for democracy in Wisconsin.” “Today, Governor Walker chose to ignore and override the will of the people of Wisconsin. This will no doubt be his legacy,”...

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