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- Released October 15, 2008
Analysis of Treasury Department Rules on Executive Compensation for Bailout Firms
On October 14, 2008, the Treasury Department issued rules for executive pay for firms participating in the government’s financial sector bailout. These rules clarify some provisions of the bailout legislation, but reinforce the law’s major shortcoming: the failure to set any specific monetary limits on the pay of top executives at bailed-out companies.
- Released October 13, 2008
Four Freedoms Under Siege: 2008 Epilogue
FDR's Four Freedoms — Freedom of Speech, Freedom to Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear — were presented to the American people in his 1941 State of the Union address, and they became the inspiration for a second bill of rights, extending the New Deal and guaranteeing work, housing, medical care, and education. Although the bill never was adopted in a legal sense in this country, its principles pervaded the political landscape for an entire generation, including the War on Poverty and the Great Society reforms of the 1960s. Furthermore, the ideas expressed in the Four Freedoms speech inspired the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But since the late 1970s and early 1980s, these freedoms have been under assault, from presidential administrations of both parties, economic pressures, and finally, the alleged requirements of national security. After 9/11, this process accelerated even more rapidly.
The new epilogue to the book discusses what needs to be done to lift the siege on the four freedoms and repair the damages incurred by the Bush administration.
- Released October 10, 2008
For decades, U.S. military officials have used the euphemism “collateral damage” to refer to the deaths of civilians and destruction of property that resulted from military operations. As a public relations device, this term has helped mask the true toll of aggressive actions and given the impression that any harm inflicted was purely unintentional. Military officials also repeatedly assert that they make every effort to minimize these accidental results. As former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stated in an ABC interview shortly after the Iraq invasion in 2003, “Our preference is, as a country, to have as little collateral damage as possible.” However the reality is that the U.S. military has made very little effort to avoid massive destruction in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and in some cases, policies and practices seem intended to drive up the level of devastation.
- Released October 9, 2008
Dirty is the New Clean
The World Bank’s Strategic Framework on Development and Climate Change, a three-year ‘flexible’ framework for the Bank's institutions, makes a strong case for urgent action on global warming. It goes so far as to say that climate change will potentially undo development gains made in recent decades in many countries, implying that climate change can trump development, no matter how much money is spent trying to achieve the United Nations’ eight poverty-reducing Millennium Development Goals.
With this rhetoric, it appears that the Bank really wants to address climate change. But the Strategic Framework’s climate solutions suggest something different. In the name of technological and political neutrality, the Bank does nothing substantial to prioritize “new” renewable energy sources or decentralized, locally-driven mitigation or adaptation efforts. The Bank continues to stall on promises to account for its own greenhouse gas emissions, and it continues to increase financing for fossil fuels.
- Released October 8, 2008
World Bank Group Fossil Fuel Financing, 2004-2008
Relying exclusively on the World Bank’s own figures, our analysis shows World Bank Group lending to coal, oil, and gas is up 94% from 2007, reaching over $3 billion. Coal lending alone has increased an astonishing 256% in the last year.
By comparison, the Bank reported that renewable energy and energy efficiency lending is up 87%, with the vast majority going to support large hydropower projects and supply-side energy efficiency. Only $476 million went this year to support “new renewables”. That represents only a 13% increase over last year’s $421 million, according to the Bank’s own number.
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