Elizabeth Warren wants to force companies to warn investors about their risks from climate change

Public companies are legally required to disclose their risks to investors, but it's a rare company that incorporates climate change into those mandatory disclosures; under a new presidential campaign platform proposal from Elizabeth Warren (disclosure: I am a donor to both Warren and Sanders's campaigns), the SEC would require public companies to incorporate two kinds of climate risk in their warnings: first, the risks of an out-of-control climate (fires, floods, etc); and second, the risks from the a transition to clean energy (collapsing fossil fuel prices). The idea is to accelerate divestiture from climate-destroying industries like oil and fracking, and to spur investors to favor companies with a plan to mitigate the effects of climate chaos on their operations. Read the rest

Chase customers have ONE MONTH left to opt out of binding arbitration

Ten years ago, Chase was forced to withdraw the binding arbitration clauses in its credit card agreements as part of a settlement in a class-action suit (the company was accused of conspiring with other banks to force all credit-card customers to accept binding arbitration) (one of the things binding arbitration does is deprive you of your right to join class-action suits!). Last May, the company stealthily reintroduced the clauses, and gave customers until August 7 to notify the company in writing if they do not agree to binding arbitration. You have ONE MONTH LEFT to opt out. Read the rest

The rent's less damned high: rents falling in most of America's most expensive cities

In all but a few of the most expensive cities in the USA, median rents on one- and two-bedroom apartments have fallen, sometimes quite sharply (for example, in NYC median asking rents on a one bedroom are down to $2940, a 12.8%/$430 decline from their peak in March 2016; while in Honolulu, rents are down 21.6% from their peak in Mar 2015, down to $1670 from $2130). Read the rest

Why can't we see big companies' tax returns?

As Russell Brandom writes, "before 1976, corporate tax returns were broadly considered part of the public record" and there's been bipartisan support since for mandating that big companies show us how they're structuring their earnings (this was especially urgent after the Enron scandal). Read the rest

Reverse mortgages: subprime's "stealth aftershock" that is costing elderly African-Americans their family homes

Reverse mortgages -- complex home loans -- are aggressively marketed to elderly people, especially in African-American neighborhoods, using deceptive tactics that offer false promised to "eliminate monthly payments permanently" with "a risk-free way of being able to access home equity." Read the rest

U.S. budget deficit now $739 Billion, despite GOP promises and Trump tariffs

38.8% more than the same period a year ago

Payday lenders switched their trade show to a Trump hotel and sent Trump at least a million bucks, then he gave them carte blanche to make billions preying on poor people

The payday lending industry is the pinnacle of predatory, corrupt capitalism, unabashed loan sharks who prey on the poorest and most desperate Americans, charging interest rates in the hundreds and even thousands of percent APR, using strongarm tactics including threats of violence and rape to collect on debts, and papering over the whole thing by flooding notice-and-comment proceedings with bot-generated comments and secretly bribing academics to write papers explaining that usury is a social good. Read the rest

Blood testing giant Quest Diagnostics lost 12,000,000 patients' personal, financial and medical data

Quest Diagnostics is one of America's biggest medical testing companies; they have warned securities regulators that they lost 12,000,000 customer records (credit card numbers, bank account information, medical information, Social Security Numbers, and other personal information) due to a breach at ACMA, a collection agency they used. Read the rest

Chase credit cards quietly reintroduce the binding arbitration clauses they were forced to eliminate a decade ago

Binding arbitration is a way for corporations to force you to surrender your legal rights as a condition of doing business, relegating you to seeking redress for breaches and harms by going before a paid arbitrator who is in the employ of the company that harmed you, and who almost always sides with their employer. Read the rest

For the first time since the 70s, New York State is set to enshrine sweeping tenants' protections

There isn't single county in the nation where a minimum-wage worker can afford to rent a two-bedroom home; and although LA has the worst homelessness crisis in the country, New York state is catching up, with homelessness growing by 46% since the financial crisis -- the fastest rate in the nation. Read the rest

Real estate title insurance company exposed 885,000,000 customers' records, going back 16 years: bank statements, drivers' licenses, SSNs, and tax records

First American Financial Corp is a Fortune 500 company that insures titles on peoples' property; their insecure website exposed 885,000,000 records for property titles, going back 16 years, including bank accounts (with scanned statements), Social Security numbers, wire transaction receipts, scanned drivers' licenses, tax records, mortgage records, etc -- when notified of the error, the company (which employs 18,000 people and grossed more than $5.7B last year) closed the misconfiguration. Read the rest

Comcast fights shareholder call for lobbying transparency, saying that it would be "burdensome" to reveal how much it spends lobbying states

A group of Quaker investors called Friends Fiduciary have introduced a shareholder motion that was backed by the owners of more than a million Comcast shares, calling on the company to voluntarily disclose its state-level lobbying activities; the company strenuously objects to making such disclosures, calling the measure an "unnecessary burden." Read the rest

Trump got millions in 2018 from small Florida bank whose CEO got a Federal Reserve post months later

What a coincidence.

Jury awards $2b to California couple who say Bayer's Roundup weedkiller gave them cancer

Back in 2018, evil got a shot in the arm when Nazi collaborators Bayer were allowed to buy Big Ag monopolists Monsanto, celebrating the marriage by getting rid of the Monsanto name (on the grounds that Monsanto's tactics had tarnished their reputation even worse than Bayer's use of concentration camp slaves and fatal medical experiments on Jews and others imprisoned by the Nazis, to say nothing of their notorious product Zyklon B). Read the rest

Sanders and AOC team up for an anti-loansharking bill that will replace payday lenders with post-office banking

Yesterday, Senator Bernie Sanders and Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez jointly introduced The Loan Shark Prevention Act, which will cap credit card interest rates at 15% (and closes the loopholes that lets credit card issuers exceed their stated APRs with the use of hidden fees) and which re-establishes American post-office banking. Read the rest

Buried in Uber's IPO, an aggressive plan to destroy all public transit

Uber is a wildly unprofitable company with no conceivable path to profitability in any universe, under any circumstances, but the company's founders and early investors (having already taken massive write-downs on their investments) are hoping to get at least some of their money back through the time-honored "greater fool" methodology. Specifically, they're floating the company on the stock market and hoping that naive investors hoping to wring above-inflation gains out of their 401(k)s and avoid being made into dog-food in their old age (we're waaaaay past the era in which impoverished old people get to eat dog-food) take their shares off their hands. Read the rest

In 2008 "synthetic CDOs" destroyed the global economy, and now they're back

"Collateralized Debt Obligations" (CDOs) are a financial derivative that is a kind of bond that pays out based on revenue generated by a pool of assets: for example, a giant hedge fund might buy thousands of homes whose owners went bankrupt and suffered through foreclosure, and then rent them out at the highest possible rent with the least possible maintenance, and this generates thousands of revenue streams. Small slices of the revenue streams from many properties are pooled together into individual CDOs and these are sold to investors: when you buy one of these, you get a little bit of the rent from each of the tenants in the hedge-fund's holdings (other assets can be pooled together too, like payments on car loans, student loans, etc etc). Read the rest

More posts