NPR: Officials: W.Va. Mine Operator Kept Two Sets Of Safety Records

-by Howard Berkes

June 29, 2011- Federal mine disaster investigators disclosed a few pieces of new information Tuesday night from their year-long look at the April 2010 deadly Upper Big Branch mine explosion. They said that:

— Mine owner Massey Energy kept two sets of records that chronicled safety problems. One internal set of production reports detailed those problems and how they delayed coal production. But the other records, which are reviewed by federal mine safety inspectors and required by federal law, failed to mention the same safety hazards. Some of the hazards that were not disclosed are identical to those believed to have contributed to the explosion.

— Portions of the Upper Big Branch mine hit by the explosion were not treated for excessive and explosive coal dust because the entryways or tunnels in those areas were too small to accommodate the machine used to spray the material that neutralizes coal dust.

Mike Papantonio: How Capitalism Has Failed Us

Pap talking to Justin Jones (24EvelJustin24 on YouTube).

Think Progress: Evan Bayh Shills For Chamber’s Anti-Regulation Campaign With A Series of False Claims

-By Sidney Shapiro

June 23, 2011- The United States Chamber of Commerce, which spends millions of dollars donated by large corporations to lobby against government regulation, has kicked off a new anti-regulatory road show, starring former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Andrew Card, George W. Bush’s former chief of staff. In a press conference at the Chamber yesterday, Bayh bashed “excessive” regulations, saying they “suck the vitality” out of the economy. And in an op-ed today, Bayh and Card laid out their case on behalf of the REINS Act, legislation that would virtually halt new or updated health and safety protections (see here, here, and here) by requiring that Congress vote to approve final regulations before they go into effect.

Bloomberg: BofA May Sell Part of CCB Stake to Bolster Capital

-By Hugh Son and Christine Harper

June 21, 2011- Bank of America Corp. (BAC) may sell some of its $21 billion stake in China Construction Bank Corp. (939) to bolster capital before new international standards take effect, said three people briefed on the plans.

Bank of America, the biggest U.S. lender by assets, wants to keep about half its CCB shares so it can remain a strategic investor in the world’s second-biggest bank by market value, said two of the people, who declined to be identified because the plans are private. CCB led declines among Hong Kong-listed Chinese banks today.

Global Corporations Crush Small Businesses and Then Blame It on the Government

-Originally blogged by Mark Karlin at Buzzflash, June 20, 2011-

When Chris Wallace of Fox interviewed Jon Stewart over the weekend, he thought he was scoring a point when he bragged that Fox "news" viewers love the network. Stewart, always quick on the draw, responded that although this may be true, study after study shows that Fox viewers are the most misinformed on television.

BuzzFlash at Truthout encounters this constantly in comments and emails that we receive in response to the BuzzFlash blog columns. Fox viewers often base their statements on Fox "manufactured facts" that are simply not true.

One of these points is that big government is strangling small businesses, which are the backbone of the American economy. But the reality is that large corporations, particularly American-based global corporations, are slowly killing many small businesses, as we have noted before.

Think of small businesses that used to be in abundance: for example, hardware stores, pharmacies, appliance stores and shoe stores, among others.

Campaign for America's Future: Source of Missing Jobs in America Found: Forced Laborers

-By Maryam Al-Zoubi

June 21, 2011- With unemployment at a near historic high in the United States, could you imagine any American company bringing in foreign workers to work for them below the minimum wage and with no benefits? Most people would say no. But can you imagine those same Americans forcing foreign workers to stay here, with no pay, and constant abuse? That is actually happening in this country today.

Forced labor is a real phenomenon in the United States agriculture business. Without awareness and investigation into where our supplies come from and who businesses are hiring, the American people become unwitting complicit supporters of labor trafficking

The Hill: FTC probes possible oil market manipulation

-By Ben Geman

June 20, 2011- The Federal Trade Commission is probing whether oil companies and other industries might have engaged in anti-competitive or manipulative practices or provided false information to federal officials.

Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz disclosed the probe Monday in a letter to Senate lawmakers, who have prodded regulators to scrutinize markets amid the recent run-up in oil and gasoline prices.

 The commission’s actions could provide a political lift to Democrats who have alleged market abuses are a factor behind the recent price spikes. They have used that messaging to counter GOP calls for major expansions of U.S. offshore drilling.

The FTC letter notes federal data showing that as of early May, refiners’ margins — or the difference in value between their products and crude oil prices — had increased by more than 90 percent since the beginning of the year, yet refiners were using only about 82 percent of their capacity, a reduction from the same period last year.

Think Progress: GOP Civil War Erupts: Tea Party Freshman Rips Chamber CEO Tom Donahue

-By Pat Garofalo 

June 15, 2011- The Chamber of Commerce, as ThinkProgress has extensively documented, went to great lengths to elect Republicans in 2010, funding attack ads against several Democrats. The Chamber has also launched a series of broadsides against the Obama administration agenda, working with Republicans to undermine everything from the Affordable Care Act to the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

The Nation: Dukes v. Wal-Mart and the Limits of Legal Change

-by Liza Featherstone 

June 20, 2011- The Supreme Court yesterday unanimously slapped down the largest civil rights class action suit in history—on a dry technicality. Justices agreed that Dukes v. Wal-Mart, the ten-year-old sex discrimination lawsuit, should not proceed as a class action because the lower courts had not followed proper procedure in certifying it. While the Court’s decision is discouraging, no one should imagine that it represents an end to the fight for justice at Wal-Mart. 

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