Category Archives: Banking & Lending Issues

2020 Ends as It Began: With the Looming Threat of a US War With Iran

2020 began and ended with high-profile assassinations of Iranians, a buildup of the US military on Iran’s borders, and fears of another major war in the Middle East.

By Alan Macleod. Published 12-28-2020 by MintPress News

The guided-missile submarine USS Georgia transits the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, Dec. 21, 2020. Screenshot: YouTube

Amid increasing hostility towards Tehran, the United States is building up its military presence on Iran’s borders. In the past three weeks alone, the U.S. has flown in a squadron of fighter jets and extra B-52 bombers while deploying the U.S.S. Nimitz aircraft carrier (with its strike group) and a large submarine to the Persian Gulf. This comes on top of the 2,500 troops it sent to Saudi Arabia earlier in the year, the first build-up of forces in the country in 17 years. The nuclear powered Nimitz is home to nine squadrons of fighting aircraft and has also long been rumored to carry nuclear weapons.

The military insists that all the new measures are purely “in the name of deterrence.” However, the few journalists who have paid attention to the news appear skeptical. “That’s provocation!” wrote Rania Khalek. “You’re sending this shit thousands of miles away from your border to try to provoke Iran and then playing the victim.” Continue reading

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‘This Is His Top Priority’: McConnell Advances Another Trump Judge as Covid Relief Bill Remains Unfinished

“As a government shutdown looms, and as the pandemic rages on across America, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to push through Trump’s judges until the very end.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-19-2020

Photo: THE WORLD NEWS/Twitter

Having kept the Senate in session over the weekend to complete work on a nearly $1 trillion coronavirus relief package and an omnibus government funding bill, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Saturday moved to advance yet another of President Donald Trump’s right-wing judicial appointees as the desperately needed stimulus legislation remained unfinished.

The Republican-controlled Senate’s vote to limit debate on Thompson Michael Dietz, a Trump nominee to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, came as Majority Whip Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) suggested that coronavirus relief talks could spill into Monday as negotiators struggled to resolve a number of outstanding issues. Continue reading

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‘Beyond Incomprehensible’: Bipartisan Covid Relief Package Would Let Paid Sick and Family Leave Expire

“Extending emergency paid leave at the height of a pandemic is not only something we can afford, it’s something we can’t afford not to do.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-9-2020

Photo: THE WORLD NEWS/Twitter

An updated version of the $908 billion bipartisan coronavirus relief proposal currently under negotiation on Capitol Hill does not include an extension of federal paid sick and family leave programs set to expire at the end of the year, an omission that could deprive nearly 90 million workers of key benefits as the pandemic intensifies.

Vicki Shabo, a senior fellow at the think tank New America, told HuffPost Wednesday that the proposal’s exclusion of paid leave benefits is “an affront to all reason,” particularly given how successful the programs have been in preventing coronavirus infections. Continue reading

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With Rent Freezes About to Expire, Mnuchin Lobbies for More Wall Street Bailouts

As millions of Americans stand on the brink of economic annihilation, the money keeps flowing to Wall Street thanks to carefully contrived mechanisms to maintain a dying financial system afloat.

By Raul Diego  Published 12-4-2020 by MintPress News

Steven Mnuchin. Photo: White House

Many prophetic scenes depicted in a series of Mayan codices written in the early days of the Spanish colony, and translated and compiled in El Libro de los Libros del Chilam Balam, describe a world foreign to its original authors. But, one which was barreling down on them and their civilization even as the Mayan high priests recorded their visions for each stop on their cyclical calendar system.

The metaphors they leaned on to describe these new Western values and systems were accurate, despite having nothing comparable in their own cosmology or parallels in their relationship with the earth. In one of the most striking prophecies, the interpreting shaman warns of the days of “the golden club,” subtly alluding to the new paradigm of wealth and commercial imperatives being imposed on their world. Continue reading

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‘Sadistic and Depraved’: Trump Rejects California Request for Federal Disaster Aid to Recover From Catastrophic Wildfires

“That a sitting president—of any party—would deny their own citizens help during their time of greatest need, amid literal hellfire raining down on American cities, is beyond shameful.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-16-2020

Screenshot: CBS News

After repeatedly downplaying the catastrophic wildfires that have ravaged California in recent months and falsely attributing the blazes to poor “forest management,” the Trump administration this week denied Gov. Gavin Newsom’s request for federal disaster assistance needed to recover from the destruction the fires inflicted across the state.

The Los Angeles Times reported late Thursday that the Trump White House “rejected California’s request for disaster relief funds aimed at cleaning up the damage from six recent fires… including Los Angeles County’s Bobcat fire, San Bernardino County’s El Dorado fire, and the Creek fire, one of the largest that continues to burn in Fresno and Madera counties.” Continue reading

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First-Ever Analysis Reveals How America’s Top 100 Law Firms Are ‘Accelerating the Climate Crisis’

“Law firms write the contracts for fossil fuel projects, lobby to weaken environmental regulations, and help fossil fuel companies evade accountability in court.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-1-2020

Harvard Law School students demonstrated against a recruitment dinner hosted by Paul Weiss, a law firm representing ExxonMobil, in January 2020. (Photo: Aaron Regunberg/Twitter)

The top 100 legal firms in the United States “are accelerating the climate crisis” through their litigation, transactions, and lobbying on behalf of polluters, according to a first-ever report of its kind released Thursday by a newly launched law student organization.

Members of Law Students for Climate Accountability analyzed of tens of thousands of recent legal actions by the Vault Law 100 firms for the 2020 Law Firm Climate Change Scorecard, which grades firms A to F based on their work for fossil fuel clients from 2015 to 2019. Continue reading

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Confirming Progressive Warnings, Social Security Actuary Says Trump Payroll Tax Cut Would Effectively Destroy Program by 2023

“Trump’s disastrous plan to defund Social Security would eliminate retirement and disability benefits by 2023,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders. “That may make sense to the billionaires at Trump’s country club, but it makes zero sense to me.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-25-2020

Hundreds of union activists rally at the Minneapolis Social Security Field Office on Wednesday, August 27, 2014. (Photo: AFGE/Flickr/cc)

The Social Security Administration’s chief actuary estimated late Monday that eliminating the payroll tax would fully deplete Social Security’s disability and old-age trust funds by 2023, confirming the disastrous consequences progressive advocacy groups and lawmakers have been warning of since President Donald Trump threatened earlier this month to “terminate” the levy if reelected in November.

In a letter (pdf) to Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Senate Minority Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), SSA chief actuary Stephen Goss wrote that scrapping the payroll tax would “permanently” deplete the Disability Insurance trust fund by mid-2021 and the Old Age and Survivors Insurance trust fund by mid-2023 “with no ability to pay” the benefits afterward. Continue reading

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SEC Launches Probe Into Kodak After Warren Raised Questions Over Lucrative Covid-19 Deal With Trump

“If investors or Kodak employees were trading based on the unauthorized disclosure or discussion of nonpublic information, then it would appear to be a clear violation of securities law. The SEC should hold them accountable.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-4-2020

Photo: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday reportedly launched an investigation into Kodak after Sen. Elizabeth Warren demanded a probe of possible insider trading at the tech company, which gifted its CEO nearly two million stock options just a day before President Donald Trump last week handed the company a $765 million federal loan to produce generic pharmaceuticals to combat Covid-19.

“Good,” Warren tweeted in response to reports of the SEC’s investigation. “If investors or Kodak employees were trading based on the unauthorized disclosure or discussion of nonpublic information, then it would appear to be a clear violation of securities law. The SEC should hold them accountable.” Continue reading

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Landmark Measure to Repeal ‘Racist,’ Anti-Choice Helms Amendment Hailed as Step to a ‘More Equitable World’

“Abortion care is healthcare and healthcare is a fundamental human right.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-29-2020

Reproductive rights advocates on Wednesday cheered the introduction of the first-ever legislation to repeal the Helms Amendment, which has prevented millions of women across the globe from accessing safe abortion care.

Introduced by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), the “Abortion Is Health Care Everywhere Act” would rescind the 1973 amendment that blocks U.S. foreign aid funding for abortion and would help support comprehensive reproductive healthcare for women worldwide. Continue reading

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New Investigation Reveals How Fossil Fuel Giants Are Amplifying Militarized Police Forces

“This report sheds a harsh and needed light on the ways police violence and systemic racism intersect with the climate crisis.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-27-2020

Saint Paul, Minnesota police officers covered in riot gear march and line up during the 2008 Republican National Convention (RNC) at the Xcel Energy Center.. Photo: Tony Webster/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The same industries fueling the climate crisis and disproportionately polluting Black and brown communities across the U.S are bankrolling police foundations, groups which can help militarize local police departments.

That’s according to a new investigation from transparency group Public Accountability Initiative and its LittleSis project. Continue reading

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