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Dollar Stores: Top Link in the Sweatshop Chain

Source: Corpwatch

Abel Lopez was a busy man. The El Paso resident’s job with Family Dollar, Inc. averaged 60-80 hours a week. A former graphic designer and ad man from neighboring Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Lopez spent his days unloading trucks, processing freight, scouring toilets, running cash registers, cleaning, shelving, changing prices, doing inventory, and covering for other employees. As a bonus, he was even held up by armed robbers. 

Like others at Family Dollar who wind up spending most of their time doing grunt work, Lopez bore the title of manager. He contends that the company routinely classifies regular workers as managers in order to categorize them as exempt employees and in doing so ensure they are not subject to the overtime provisions of the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). (See box.) read more

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How the Farm Lobby Distorts U.S. Foreign Policy

Source: Foreign Policy in Focus

Thanks to the hard work of the U.S. Farm Lobby, America’s love of cheap food has stretched more than an engorged waistline. It now stretches the limits of American foreign policy.

Over the past century, the Farm Lobby’s influence on the U.S. government has increased alongside the consolidation and growth of U.S. agribusinesses, the principle recipients of federal farm subsidies. The redistribution of taxpayer dollars to American agribusinesses not only creates artificially cheap global prices, it also continues to undermine the development of agrarian-oriented economies throughout the world. read more

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Is the US Contributing to the Militarization of Cyberspace?

Source: Faultlines

Cyberwar. A conflict without footsoldiers, guns, or missiles.

Instead the attacks are launched by computer hackers. Digital spy rings. Information thieves. Cyberarmies of kids, criminals, terrorists – some backed by nation states.

In the US there is a growing fear that they pose a massive threat to national security, and a conviction that the world’s military superpower must prepare for the fight ahead.

At stake: Crucial national infrastructure, high value commercial secrets, tens of billions of dollars in defence contracts, as well as values like privacy and freedom of expression. read more