Category Archives: Banking & Lending Issues

‘Alarming’: ALEC’s New Model Bill Would Penalize Banks for Divesting From Fossil Fuels

One critic called the proposal, which describes green investment policies as a form of “energy discrimination,” a “desperate attempt by fossil fuel companies and their lobbyists to maintain their profits.”

By Kenny Stancil. Published 12-8-2021 by Common Dreams

Marathon Petroleum’s Los Angeles Refinery in Carson, California, Photo: Marathon Petroleum

Progressives are sounding the alarm about a recently launched right-wing campaign that seeks to preempt green investment policies throughout the United States by portraying the financial sector’s potential turn toward clean energy as discriminatory—and introducing legislation that would punish banks and asset managers for divesting from fossil fuels.

The Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which consistently pumps out reactionary bills mostly for state-level Republicans, held its States and Nation Policy Summit last week in San Diego. Continue reading

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Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty Tied to ‘Historic Shift’ Away From ‘Perilous Profiteering’

“Financial institutions that continue investing in companies building nuclear weapons face regulatory risks as more countries join the treaty. They also face an increased reputational risk.”

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 11-11-2021 by Common Dreams

ICAN action against investments in nuclear weapons. April 2012, Melbourne. Photo: ICAN (Tim Wright)/flickr/CC

The latest Don’t Bank on the Bomb report, released Thursday, sheds light on the early impacts of a global treaty banning nuclear weapons worldwide while also exposing the companies and financial institutions responsible for continuing to build up governments’ arsenals.

The new report from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and PAX comes as the world nears the one-year mark of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) entering into force after opening for signature in September 2017. Continue reading

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What is COP26? Here’s how global climate negotiations work and what’s expected from the Glasgow summit

U.N. climate summits bring together representatives of almost every country.
UNFCCC

Shelley Inglis, University of Dayton

Over two weeks in November, world leaders and national negotiators will meet in Scotland to discuss what to do about climate change. It’s a complex process that can be hard to make sense of from the outside, but it’s how international law and institutions help solve problems that no single country can fix on its own.

I worked for the United Nations for several years as a law and policy adviser and have been involved in international negotiations. Here’s what’s happening behind closed doors and why people are concerned that COP26 might not meet its goals. Continue reading

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Utilities Took $1.25 Billion in Pandemic Aid Then Shut Off Power to Households Nearly 1 Million Times: Report

“These companies took bailout dollars from taxpayers and turned around to lobby against shutoff moratoria proven to save lives.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-30-2021

A new report from BailoutWatch and the Center for Biological Diversity reveals that leading U.S. utilities took $1.25 billion in pandemic relief funds even as they cut off power to vulnerable households nearly a million times. Photo: Matt Wiebe/Flickr/cc

Over a dozen leading U.S. utility companies took more than a billion dollars of publicly-funded pandemic bailout money while pulling the plug on power to vulnerable households nearly a million times, according to a new report out Thursday.

The Center for Biological Diversity and BailoutWatch report—entitled Powerless in the Pandemic: After Bailouts, Electric Utilities Choose Profits Over People—details how utilities used their political power “to secure bailouts that cost taxpayers $1.25 billion, cushioning them from the pandemic economy,” while disconnecting vital services from some of the most vulnerable U.S. households. Continue reading

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Alabama GOP Condemned for Plan to Build Prisons With Covid-19 Funds

“The Republican Party in a nutshell: contemptible, cruel, and corrupt.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-29-2021

Advocates on Wednesday condemned Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey for her plan to use coronavirus relief funds to construct prisons. (Photo: Josh Rushing/cc/ACLU of Louisiana)

Local activists in Montgomery, Alabama were joined by rights advocates across the country on Wednesday in condemning Republican Gov. Kay Ivey’s plan to use federal coronavirus relief funds to build three new prisons in the state—what the governor called “an Alabama solution to this Alabama problem” of overcrowding.

At a rally outside the State House as legislators debated the plan, demonstrators spoke about some of the inmates and prison workers who have died of Covid-19—at least 69 people, according to the Alabama Political Reporter. Continue reading

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House Dems Unveil Bill to Stop Wall Street From Destroying the Planet

“The Federal Reserve’s role is not to surrender our planet to corporate polluters and shepherd our financial system to its destruction,” said Rep. Rashida Tlaib, among the Democrats urging the Fed to end fossil fuel financing.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-15-2021

The Marathon Oil refinery in St. Paul Park, MN. Photo: Tony Webster/Wikimedia/CC

Progressives on Wednesday applauded Democratic Reps. Mondaire Jones, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib for unveiling a bill that would prevent Wall Street from continuing to bankroll fossil fuels, the primary driver of the climate emergency.

The Fossil Free Finance Act (pdf) would require the Federal Reserve to mandate, via regulation or guidance, that all banks and other financial insitutions with more than $50 billion in assets phase out the funding of coal, oil, and gas extraction as well as industries linked to deforestation, in accordance with science-based targets for slashing carbon pollution. Continue reading

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‘A Devastating Failure’: Eviction Ban Expires as House Goes on Vacation and Biden Refuses to Act

“We’re now in an eviction emergency,” said Rep. Cori Bush. “Eleven million are now at risk of losing their homes at any moment. The House needs to reconvene and put an end to this crisis.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-1-2021

Capitol police tell a group it’s “prohibited to sleep on the ground” as they protest the end of the eviction moratorium. Photo: Alia Fierro/Twitter

A nationwide eviction moratorium officially expired Saturday after the Biden administration refused to extend it unilaterally and Congress failed to act in time, putting millions of people across the U.S. at risk of losing their homes in the near future as the highly virulent Delta strain tears through the country.

The CDC’s temporary eviction ban lapsed as a growing group of lawmakers and activists rallied on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to demand that Democratic leaders immediately reconvene the House and pass an extension. Many lawmakers skipped town Friday after the House adjourned for its seven-week August recess without holding a vote on prolonging the moratorium, which—while flawed—significantly curbed the number eviction filings nationwide. Continue reading

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Planet’s Vital Signs Are Reaching Dangerous ‘Tipping Points’ Amid Climate Crisis, Scientists Warn

“We need to stop treating the climate emergency as a stand-alone issue—global heating is not the sole symptom of our stressed Earth system.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-28-2021

Human activity may be pushing the climate beyond dangerous ‘tipping points,’ say 14,000 scientists. As the extreme drought emergency continues in California, historically low water levels are visible at Lake Oroville on July 22, 2021 in Oroville, California. Photo: NOAA

More than a year after the Covid-19 pandemic shut down economies around the world and sharply reduced worldwide travel—sparking speculation among some that emissions would plummet as a result—a coalition of scientists said in a paper published Wednesday that the planet is nonetheless reaching multiple “tipping points,” with levels of sea ice melt, deforestation, and other markers revealing that urgent action is needed to mitigate the climate emergency.

“The extreme climate events and patterns that we’ve witnessed over the last several years — not to mention the last several weeks — highlight the heightened urgency with which we must address the climate crisis,” said Philip Duffy, co-author of the study and executive director of the Woodwell Climate Research Center in Massachusetts. Continue reading

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US and Israel Vote ‘No’ as 184 Nations Condemn American Blockade of Cuba

“The U.N. vote… on Cuba was a chance for President Biden to show global leadership,” said CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin. “He failed miserably.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-23-2021

New York City, April 2021. Photo: The All-Nite Images/flickr/CC

Peace and human rights advocates joined the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday in their annual condemnation of the United States’ disastrous economic embargo against Cuba.

For the 29th straight year, the members of the General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution demanding an end to the 60-year U.S. economic blockade on Cuba. This year, 184 nations voted in favor of the resolution, while the U.S. and Israel voted against it. Three nations—Brazil, Colombia, and Ukraine—abstained. Continue reading

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100 years after the Tulsa Race Massacre, lessons from my grandfather

Smoke rises from damaged properties after the Tulsa race massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma in June 1921. Oklahoma Historical Society via Getty Images

Gregory B. Fairchild, University of Virginia

When Viola Fletcher, 107, appeared before Congress in May 2021, she called for the nation to officially acknowledge the Tulsa race riot of 1921.

I know that place and year well. As is the case with Fletcher – who is one of the last living survivors of the massacre, which took place when she was 7 – the terror of the Tulsa race riot is something that has been with me for almost as long as I can remember. My grandfather, Robert Fairchild, told the story nearly a quarter-century ago to several newspapers. Continue reading

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