1. The Telecommunications Bill
“Federal Telecommunications Legislation: Impact on Media Concentration,” Ralph Nader, James Love, and Andrew Saindon, Consumer Project on Technology, July 14, 1995.
Bought and paid for by the very telecommunications conglomerates it was supposed to discipline, the Telecom Act is nothing short of a travesty. If Nader’s team is right, the bill will not only encourage further monopoly, but also ultimately increase the cost of making phone calls and watching TV.
2. Balancing the Budget
“Message to Congress: Cut Corporate Welfare: Not Medicare,” John Canham-Clyne, Public Citizen, July/August, 1995.
While the mainstream media focused on the ludicrous battle between President Clinton and Congress over how much to cut social programs to achieve a balanced budget, Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen argued that the books could be balanced by simply slashing “corporate welfare.”
3. Child Labor Is Worse Today
“Working In Harm’s Way,” Ron Nixon, Southern Exposure, Fall/Winter 1995.
Child labor violations are more frequent today than during the 1930s. But as Ron Nixon reports, enforcement of the act is lax, and lobbying efforts by a wide range of business trade organizations “make reform nearly impossible.”
4. Privatization of the Internet
“Keeping On-Line Speech Free: Street Corners in Cyberspace,” Andrew Shapiro, The Nation, July 3, 1995
The U.S. government has been transferring large chunks of the Internet’s fiber backbone infrastructure to corporations such as IBM and MCI as part of its plan to privatize cyberspace. “Speech in cyberspace will not be free if we allow big business to control every square inch of the Net,” writes Andrew Shapiro. “The public needs a place of its own.”
5. U.S. Plans to Spend Billions on Nukes
“U.S. Seeks Arms Ingredient As It Pushes Nuclear Pact,” Thomas W. Lippman, Washington Post, May 1, 1995.
Even as the U.S. government urges other nations to eliminate nuclear weapons, it plans on spending billions of dollars to improve its own stock.
6. Newt Gringrich’s Radical Plan to Gut the FDA
“Agency Under Attack: Newt Gingrich’s Foundation Has a Radical Plan to Gut the FDA and Rely on the Drug Industry to Police Itself,” Leslie Weiss, Mother Jones, Sept./Oct. 1995.
One of House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s less widely known schemes is to gut the agency most responsible for safeguarding public health in America and allow pharmaceutical companies to conduct their own internal testing and receive a rubber-stamp approval from a weakened Food and Drug Administration.
7. Russian Injects Earth With Nuclear Waste
“Poison in the Earth: Nuclear Roulette for Russia,” William J. Broad, New York Times, Nov. 21, 1994.
For decades, the former Soviet Union (now followed by Russia) conveniently ferreted its nuclear waste into the ground. But many of Russia’s disposal sites are located near rivers, and the contaminants have leaked and spread beyond projected limits.
8. Medical Fraud Costs the Nation Billions Annually
“Medscam,” L.J. Davis, Mother Jones, March/April 1995.
Ignored in the debate over health care reform is the fact that medical fraud is rampant throughout the industry, costing the American consumer as much as $53 billion annually.
9. Chemical Industry Fights for Toxic, Ozone-Killing Pesticide
“Campaign Against Methyl Bromide,” Ann Schonfield, Earth Island Journal, Summer, 1995.
The Clean Air Act banned methyl bromide—one of the most toxic pesticides on the market and a major cause of ozone depletion in the earth’s atmosphere—beginning in 2001, but agribusiness is fiercely fighting the decision even as its underpaid, non-union field workers suffer from the effects of this deadly substance.
10. NAFTA’s Broken Promises
“NAFTA’s Corporate Con Artists,” Sarah Anderson and Kristyne Peter, CovertAction Quarterly, Fall 1995; “A Giant Spraying Sound,” Esther Schrader, Mother Jones, Jan./Feb. 1995.
Two years after NAFTA’s narrow passage, the 200,000 new jobs promised by the trade brokers are nowhere to be found, pollution has increased in Mexico, and workers across the border are spraying more toxic pesticides on fruits, vegetables, and people than ever.
Adapted from the 1995 Project Censored Yearbook (Seven Seas Press).