Barack Obama has said time and again that change comes from the bottom up at least as much as from policy directives from on high. He’s right–and he seems to be giving signs that pressure from below is going to be needed to keep him true to his own campaign promises.Read the show transcript
The meltdown on Wall Street has many people asking, how come the government can find hundreds of billions to bailout the guys who brought us this mess–but always claims there’s no money to save homeowners from foreclosure, provide health insurance to those who can’t afford it, or clean up the environment?
Today’s guest David Cay Johnston says it’s all part of an endemic pattern of “corporate welfare”, where government policy is rigged to benefit the richest Americans at the expense of the rest of us. Johnston was an investigative journalist for the New York Times before becoming an independent reporter. He won a Pulitzer Prize for exposing loopholes and inequities in the U.S. tax code.
—Millions of new green jobs could light up a gloomy economic horizon
— The devil’s in the details on the bailout bill’s CEO pay provisions
—Al Gore wants you to commit civil disobedience — to save us from climate collapse
In June, the Century Foundation and the The New York Times Foundation invited Corporate Watchdog Radio to a seminar for a select handful of journalists on “Billionaires and Their Impact.” There, CWR co-host Francesca Rheannon heard Chuck Collins speak on a panel about the “Billionaires’ Club” and the impact of extreme wealth on the rest of us. A co-founder of United for a Fair Economy and a senior fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, Collins wrote the lead article in a special issue of The Nation on “The New Inequality” that helped frame the seminar.
CWR ViewPoint: read.
The ViewPoint from BEN — the Business Ethics Network — comes from Bjorn Claeson of Sweatfree Communities about its recent report, Subsidizing Sweatshops: How our tax dollars fund the race to the bottom, and what cities and states can do.
CWR co-hosts Bill Baue and Francesca Rheannon speak with investigative journalist Greg Palast, who notes the coincidental timing of revelations of Eliot Spitzer’s hiring of a prostitute on the eve of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s $200 billion bailout of banks implicated in the subprime meltdown. The former New York Governor was set to unveil plans to pursue prosecution of the banks for predatory lending that is illegal under New York State law, where most of the banks are headquartered, according to Palast. So instead of being busted by Spitzer, the banks behind the subprime mess were rewarded with a fifth of a trillion dollars, printed by the US government.
Corporate Watchdog Radio co-hosts Francesca Rheannon and Bill Baue speak with Laura Berry, executive director of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. Founded in 1971, ICCR pioneered the modern practice of shareowner activism by reviving an obscure rule allowing shareowners to file resolutions addressing social and environmental issues at company annual meetings and on their proxies. Now, over three-and-a-half decades later, ICCR is a coalition of about 275 faith-based institutional investors with over $100 billion in assets who filed over 300 resolutions this proxy season.
Berry clarifies common misconceptions about how the ins and outs of shareowner activism. For example, media accounts often report a less-than-majority vote as a “defeat,” when in fact, companies often implement what resolutions request when they receive 20 percent or more support. She also discusses transformations she sees taking place in the corporate social responsibility landscape.
CWR also debuts a new segment with headlines on corporate sustainability developments from the past week, the first in a series of exciting changes to enhance the show.
Every month all over the globe, people interested in the environment and sustainability get together for “Green Drinks” to schmooze and network. Today on CWR, hosts Bill Baue and Francesca Rheannon go to their local Green Drinks gathering at the Northampton Brewery in Northampton, Massachusetts. There, they talk with John Meyercak of the Center for Ecological Technology, based in Northampton, about CET projects like ReStore, which sells second-hand building materials.
Then Chris Landry of the Sustainability Institute in Hartland, Vermont talks about balancing the need to support small farmers in developing nations with fair trade while also fostering living local economies in developed nations. We also hear about the Sustainability Institute’s “Climate Bathtub”.
Also, Francesca Rheannon talks with award-winning business journalist for the New York Times, Louis Uchitelle about his book The Disposable American: Layoffs and Their Consequences. It was published in 2006, but with the US facing what could be a long recession, followed by what some experts think might be a “jobless recovery”, The Disposable American is as relevant today as it was when it was published. We talk about how layoffs devastate workers and communities — and also how they hurt businesses.
Kimberly-Clark, Victoria’s Secret and Xerox Asked to Stop Destroying Ancient Forests for Disposable Paper Products
San Francisco – Leading international environmental organizations coordinated efforts today at more than 350 protests and events across the U.S. and Canada, calling on companies to end the destruction of North America’s largest ancient forest, the Boreal. As part of an International Day of Action to raise awareness about threats to the Boreal, the groups demanded that companies such as Kimberly-Clark, Victoria’s Secret, and Xerox stop using paper that comes from Endangered Forests in the Boreal in their tissue products, catalogs and copy paper. In addition, advertisements began running in the New York Times and online with FoxNews to highlight the importance of this critical forest.