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Finance

Reimagining Reparations As America’s Marshall Plan And Not Just A Payday

Congratulations Fam, I hear that you’ve finally secured the bag, otherwise known as reparations. A cool $800,000 to be paid in eight annual installments, the first $100,000 of which arrived in your bank account today. Well, maybe not quite $100k, but about $75,000 after taxes. Still some nice coin. So, how should we get the party started? You say you want to finally buy a house for you and your family? Seventy-five grand is not gonna get you that deluxe apartment on the upper East side, but it’s a nice downpayment on a three-bedroom condo in Teaneck or Tallahassee. All you have to do is pop into the bank and sign on the dotted line  . . . but wait one cotton pickin’ minute; is that a subprime mortgage? Perhaps America’s worst- kept secret is that usurious, adjustable mortgages were not designed to help African Americans who don’t have money but to exploit those who do.

Who Is Bankrolling Israel’s Latest Excursion Into The West Bank?

Occupied West Bank - On Wednesday, thousands of Israeli settlers from the Nachala settler group — along with Israeli lawmakers — flocked to the occupied West Bank and established seven illegal outposts in a land grab operation propelled by a massive fundraising campaign. By Thursday evening, Israeli forces evacuated the day-old outposts and detained and later released 11 settlers. Despite the evictions, Nachala remains determined to continue building on land they claim is only reserved for Jews, with plans to set up new outposts as early as next week. Nachala, the group responsible for the infamous Evyatar outpost erected last year, has been preparing since April to establish outposts en masse in July. Initially, the plan was to build 28 new outposts throughout the West Bank, but that number was scaled back in recent days.

Investors Are Reevaluating The Mountain Valley Pipeline

During a recent hearing about the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC’s) policy statements about fracked gas certificates, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, defended the MVP. Manchin claimed the pipeline is 95 percent completed, but opponents cite the company’s own reports, which indicate “final restoration of the pipeline right-of-way is now about 55% complete.” Moreover, two recent federal court rulings have thrown out key MVP permits, as three more federal agencies have been sent back to the drawing board after failing to analyze the MVP’s harmful impacts. The court ruled that the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management inadequately considered actual sedimentation and erosion impacts, prematurely authorized stream crossings, and failed to comply with a Forest Service rule.

Cryptocurrencies: A View From The Left

The use of cryptocurrencies is rapidly increasing across the world. In 2020, scholars at the University of Cambridge estimated there were 101 million people using cryptocurrencies worldwide, an increase from 35 million just two years previously. The rise of cryptocurrency is usually a story of pizzas bought with bitcoins now worth over a billion dollars, kingpins of darknet drugs markets ordering assassinations and hospitals being held to ransom by anonymous hackers. These new levels of activity however are pushing cryptocurrency, and its underlying blockchain technology into the mainstream – with significant consequences. The first and arguably biggest impact so far is cultural.

Climate Movement Hails $40 Trillion In Fossil Fuel Divestment Pledges

Over the past decade, nearly 1,500 investors and institutions controlling almost $40 trillion in assets have committed to divesting from fossil fuels—a remarkable achievement that climate campaigners applauded Tuesday, while warning that further commitments and action remain crucial. "Amidst a depressing era in the race against climate change—with killer fires and titanic storms, political stalemate, and corporate greenwashing—the fossil fuel divestment movement is a source for tremendous optimism," states a new report—entitled Invest-Divest 2021: A Decade of Progress Toward a Just Climate Future—published Tuesday. "Ten years in, the divestment movement has grown to become a major global influence on energy policy," the publication continues.

The Black Death Killed Feudalism. What Does COVID-19 Mean For Capitalism?

You pay little attention to the systems of your body — circulatory, digestive, pulmonary — unless something goes wrong. These automatic systems ordinarily go about their business, like unseen clockwork, while you think about a vexing problem at work, drink your morning cup of coffee, walk up and downstairs, and head out to your car to begin your morning commute. If you had to focus your attention on breathing, pushing blood through your veins, and metabolizing food, you’d have no time or energy to do anything else. The body abhors the micromanaging of the mind. The same applies to the world’s markets. They whir away in the background of your life, providing loans to your business, coffee beans to your nearby supermarket, labor to build your house, gas to fill your car.

Activists Urging Barclays To ‘Stop Funding The Climate Emergency’ Shut Down Nearly 100 Branches Across UK

In a coordinated action to pressure Barclays to stop financing climate destruction, Greenpeace activists on Monday morning shut down 97 of the British investment bank's branches across the United Kingdom. "Barclays must stop funding the climate emergency; that's why we've taken action today," Morten Thaysen, climate finance campaigner at Greenpeace U.K., said in a statement.

The FBI Is Investigating Massive Embezzlement Of Border Patrol Union Funds

The FBI is investigating the disappearance of some $500,000 from the coffers of the powerful union representing the country’s roughly 20,000 Border Patrol agents, said the organization’s national president, Brandon Judd. Judd said the probe is focused on identifying the individuals responsible for siphoning the money from the bank accounts of the union’s El Paso branch in recent years. “We know the FBI is looking at it,” said Judd, head of the National Border Patrol Council, which has forged a close alliance with President Donald Trump. Under the Trump administration, the Border Patrol, a once obscure federal agency, has been thrust into the center of a rancorous debate over immigration policy, facing intense criticism over the squalid conditions in the agency’s overcrowded detention facilities, a string of migrant deaths and revelations that some 9,500 current and former agents were part of a private Facebook group that included vulgar and misogynistic content.

Goldman Sachs’s European Headquarters Targeted By Climate-Change Activists

LONDON (Reuters) - Environmental activists held a protest outside Goldman Sachs’s European headquarters in London on Thursday in attempt to underline what they say is the role the finance industry in fuelling climate change. The protesters lay down on the road blocking traffic and chanted: “What do we want? Climate justice. When do we want it? Now.” The premises on Fleet Street, discreetly positioned behind an unmarked door and entrance foyer and manned by several security staff...

This Radical Plan To Fund The ‘Green New Deal’ Just Might Work

With what Naomi Klein calls “galloping momentum,” the “Green New Deal” promoted by newly-elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) appears to be forging a political pathway for solving all of the ills of society and the planet in one fell swoop. It would give a House Select Committee “a mandate that connects the dots between energy, transportation, housing, as well as healthcare, living wages, a jobs guarantee” and more. But to critics even on the left it is just political theater, since “everyone knows” a program of that scope cannot be funded without a massive redistribution of wealth and slashing of other programs (notably the military), which is not politically feasible.

China Warns Canada Of Consequences For Imprisoning Huawei’s Financial Director

The Canadian justice made the arrest last day 1 in the airport of Vancouver, while Meng was preparing to take a flight with connection to Mexico. Huawei denied the accusation and ensured compliance with all the regulations of the territories where it operates. In addition, the Government of China recalled that as a permanent member of the UN Security Council it always implemented the resolutions approved by that body, but at the same time it rejected the imposition of unilateral measures by one State against another.

The Spider’s Web: Britain’s Second Empire

The Spider’s Web: Britain’s Second Empire, is a documentary film that shows how Britain transformed from a colonial power into a global financial power. At the demise of empire, City of London financial interests created a web of offshore secrecy jurisdictions that captured wealth from across the globe and hid it in a web of offshore islands. Today, up to half of global offshore wealth may be hidden in British offshore jurisdictions, and Britain and its offshore jurisdictions are the largest global players in the world of international finance. But, as the world of offshore finance grew, so too did the inherent corruption that secrecy and unaccountability breed.

Report: 90% Of Pipeline Blasts Draw No Financial Penalties

A striking report has revealed that 90 percent of the 137 interstate pipeline fires or explosions since 2010 have drawn no financial penalties for the companies responsible. The article from E&E News reporter Mike Soraghan underscores the federal Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's (PHMSA) weak authority over the fossil fuel industry for these disasters. The government levied a mere $5.4 million in fines for the 13 pipeline explosion and fire cases in the last eight years, the analysis found. "That's less than one day of profits for one major pipeline company, TransCanada. It's $2 million less than what [TransCanada CEO Russ Girling] made last year," Soraghan explained in a tweet.

How Neoliberal Economists Wreak Havoc On The Global Poor While Protecting The Financial Elite

On December 1, Mexico will have a new president—Andrés Manuel López Obrador. He will take over the presidency from the lackluster Enrique Peña Nieto, whose administration is marinated in corruption. Peña Nieto’s legal office has already asked the Supreme Court to shield his officials from prosecution for corruption. The elite will protect itself. López Obrador will not be able to properly exorcize the corrupt from the Mexican state, let alone from Mexican society. Corrupt weeds grow on the soil of capitalism, the loam of profit and greed as well as of rents from government contracts. López Obrador comes to the presidency as a man of the left, but the space for maneuvering that he has for a left agenda is minimal. Mexico’s economy, through geography and trade agreements, is fused with that of the United States.

Ten Years After The Financial Crisis, The Contagion Has Spread To Democracy Itself

By the time Lehman Brothers filed for the largest bankruptcy in American history on Sept. 15, 2008, the country had been navigating stormy global financial waters for more than a year. Bear Stearns had been rescued in a bailout-facilitated merger with JPMorgan Chase, and the government had nationalized housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. For anyone paying attention to the financial system, the situation had been quite dire for a long time. And yet throughout the mess, the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury had been permitting the largest banks in the country to funnel as much cash as they wanted to their shareholders ― even as it became clear those same banks could not pay their debts. Lehman itself had increased its dividend and announced a $100 million stock buyback at the beginning of 2008.
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