Cyberarms dealer's weapons used against Mexican soda-tax activists

NSO is an Israel cyberarms dealer, which buys or researches vulnerabilities in software and then weaponizes them; claiming that these cyberweapons will only be used by democratic governments and their police forces to attacks serious criminals and terrorists -- a claim repeated by its competitors, such as Italy's Hacking Team and Gamma Group. Read the rest

Once again, McDonald's NEVER paid anyone millions for serving coffee that was too hot

Everybody knows about the ridiculous McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit where a lady who spilled coffee on her lap got millions out of McDonald's in damages for a frivolous lawsuit -- and everyone is wrong. As we've previously reported, Stella Liebeck sued McDonald's after sustaining permanently disfiguring third-degree burns to her genitals and thighs because McDonald's had served its coffee at unsafe temperatures, something that had been going on for years and had severely burned 700 other people -- and she didn't get millions, she just got enough to cover her medical expenses. Read the rest

Apple's tax-dodging offshore billions are sunk into Treasury Bills that pay out using Americans' taxes

Apple -- which is one of the multinational poster children for tax dodging, along with Google, Amazon, Ikea and others -- has billions of dollars "offshore" and in theory they can't bring that money into the USA without paying tax on it; but thanks to some fancy accounting, much of that money is sunk into US Treasury Bills (floated by the government Apple is starving through tax evasion), and the US taxpayers pay Apple, about $600M so far. Read the rest

Donald Trump didn't kill the TPP - activism did

Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "Ding dong! The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is dead. Most news articles say the cause of death was simple: the election of Donald Trump. But they've only got a tiny part of the story. Now more than ever, it's critical we share the real story: creative and strategic grassroots organizing can take on concentrated wealth and power and win. I've got an op-ed in The Guardian today with Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello and actress Evangeline Lilly (Lost, The Hobbit, etc) Check it out and please share!" Read the rest

Giving companies more money (loans, tax-breaks) only increases investor payouts, not expansion

Before the deregulation bonanza of the 1980s, corporations were expected to use debt and the public markets as the capital of last resort: they would pay "normal" dividends, then use the left over money to increase pay and fund expansion; but after the birth of "shareholder management," companies have acted like homeowners before the financial crisis: borrowing heavily to pay investors, at the expense of expansion and wages -- but unlike homeowners, corporate management gets to duck the bill when it comes due. Read the rest

Al Franken and FCC commissioner Clyburn want limits on forced arbitration

Arbitration was conceived of as a way to allow giant corporations to avoid costly court battles by meeting with a mediator and talking things out: but since the Supreme Court ruled (in a series of mid-1980s cases) that companies could force their customers and employees into arbitration by adding "binding arbitration" clauses to the fine print in take-it-or-leave contracts, the US justice system has gone dark, which an ever-larger proportion of legal action disappearing into the opaque bowels of the arbitration system, where the richest participant usually wins. Read the rest

International Criminal Court in the Hague will now try CEOs

CEOs whose businesses are complicit in human rights atrocities -- like the mass murder of people who object to land-grabs by mineral extraction companies -- can now be tried in the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Read the rest

The EU tried to craft a sane 21st century copyright and failed miserably

The European Commission's "Copyright Modernisation" effort has wrapped up, and it's terrible. Read the rest

Watch: Artists and celebrities expose the TPP

Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "What do comedian Hari Kondabolu, Lost star Evangeline Lilly, a Navajo punk band, and one of the dudes from Chumbawamba have in common? They're all part of a nationwide tour to raise awareness about the dangers of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement: Rock Against the TPP." Read the rest

Brigadier General: TPP is a threat to America's national security

Retired Brigadier General John Adams served for 30 years, including a stint as a military intelligence officer: in an op-ed in The Hill, he says that while he supports trade deals, the secretive Trans Pacific Partnership has almost nothing to do with trade, and will hasten America's de-industrialization, making it harder for the US military to source the materiel it needs, and making it vulnerable to price gouging by foreign powers, who might even go so far as to block America's ability to source certain vital items altogether. Read the rest

Vivendi lobbyist appointed to run copyright for UN agency

Francis Gurry, the fair-use hating, web-hating, North Korea embargo-breaking, witch-hunting, blackmailing head of the UN's World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has a new pick to run copyright at the UN agency: Sylvie Forbin, a lobbyist for for French entertainment giant Vivendi. Read the rest

Post-Brexit, EU Commission plan to ram through disastrous Canada-EU trade deal dies

CETA -- the "Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement" is a secretly negotiated deal between Canada and the EU, mirroring many of the most controversial provisions in notorious deals like ACTA, TPP, and TTIP -- including the "corporate sovereignty" clauses that permit multinational corporations to sue governments in closed courts, and force them to repeal environmental, labour and safety rules (albeit dressed up in new clothes that make the provisions appear different, without making any real difference). Read the rest

UK Tories use Brexit as an excuse to slash corporate taxes to the lowest of any major economy

Nearly 2 weeks ago, 17 million Britons (mostly poor) voted to leave the EU in what amounted to a plebiscite on austerity, finance capitalism, and the widening gap between the increasingly wealthy and the increasingly poor. In response, the Conservative government says it will tempt corporations to come to the UK by making the rich get even richer and the poor even poorer. Read the rest

Canadian trade policy expert calls TPP a "threat to democracy"

Gus Van Harten is a law professor at York University's Osgoode Hall and a well-respected expert on trade law; he's published a damning report on the Trans Pacific Partnership deal. Read the rest

US government agency's own numbers predict virtually no gains from TPP

The United States International Trade Commission, "an independent, bipartisan, quasi-judicial, federal agency of the United States that provides trade expertise to both the legislative and executive branches," has just tabled a deep, 792-page report on the likely economic benefits to the USA from the secretly negotiated, anti-democratic Trans-Pacific Partnership, and they predict that the agreement will deliver 0.01% growth to the US economy between now and 2032, when it will level off altogether. Read the rest

US trade rep threatens Colombia's peace process over legal plan to offer cheap leukemia meds

Colombia wants to produce Novartis's leukemia drug imatinib under a compulsory license, something it is allowed to do under its trade agreement with the USA, to bring the price down from $15,161/year (double the annual average income) to prices like those charged in India ($803/year). Read the rest

Chinese state-backed corporations beat US lawsuits with sovereign immunity

Sovereign immunity prevents one government from using its courts to attack another, but Chinese state-backed industries are taking it to new places, arguing that sovereign immunity means that the US courts have no jurisdiction over Chinese companies whose products are harmful or whose conduct is negligent -- and US courts are buying that argument. Read the rest

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