With threats of homelessness and bankruptcy in the air as the eviction moratoriums subside, both renters and small landlords are getting pinched by predatory tech capitalism as the gig-economy hits the real estate market.
In 2014, former Blackstone and Goldman Sachs investment banker Ryan Williams got together with his “college buddy,” Joshua Kushner – Jared’s brother – to form a real estate investment platform they called Cadre. Cadre sought to disrupt the real estate industry in the wake of the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis by tinderizing property deals through a tech platform that brought investors and sellers together. According to Williams, whose other investors include George Soros and Peter Theil, Cadre’s mission is “to level the playing field in an industry that is often tilted toward the biggest players” by taking an “offline” industry online and making it “transparent.”
A pre-Covid initiative to capitalize on its platform came in the form of the so-called “opportunity zones,” that Jared Kushner directly lobbied for inclusion in Trump’s 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act, billed as a funding mechanism to help poor and distressed communities, which turned into a multi-billion-dollar land heist by the wealthiest Americans, like the Kushner family. The pandemic lockdown protocols forced Cadre to downsize, laying off 25 percent of its workforce in March. Continue reading →
In its continuing research into President Donald Trump’s conflicts of interest, a government watchdog group released a new report Thursday that shows the commander-in-chief has engaged in 3,403 conflicts of interest since taking office—an average of more than two conflicts per day since being sworn in in January of 2017.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released the findings Thursday and wrote that Trump “continues to be the most corrupt president in history.” Continue reading →
Each year, approximately one million metric tons of land based plastic leaks into the ocean from Indonesia. Regions with the highest poverty levels have the highest levels of plastic pollution.. Screenshot: YouTube
Analysis released Thursday of the world’s top 10 biggest plastic polluters in 15 countries reveals how major corporations hide behind the veneer of corporate responsibility while actively working to thwart regulatory legislation around the globe.
“This report is a damning exposé of the tactics employed by the plastics industry and shines a welcome light on the shadowy world of corporate lobbying,” Natalie Fee, founder of City to Sea, which supported the research conducted by the Changing Markets Foundation, said in a statement. Continue reading →
NYC DOT joined the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities in the first ever Disability Pride NYC Parade on Sunday, July 12, 2015. Photo: NYC DOT/flickr/CC
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ recommendation that Congress repeal Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act—which allows employers to pay employees with disabilities less than the federal minimum wage—was praised Thursday by numerous Democratic lawmakers.
According to the USCCR’s report—titled “Subminimum Wages: Impacts on the Civil Rights of People with Disabilities” (pdf)—there are over 1,500 “sheltered workshops,” separate work centers where employees with disabilities are “not integrated into a broader community or work setting,” in the U.S. that employ over 100,000 people. Continue reading →
Some critics have called keeping meat processing plants open during the Covid-19 pandemic a “death sentence” for workers.. Screenshot: CBS
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the meatpacking industry worked together to downplay and disregard risks to worker health during the Covid-19 pandemic, as shown in documents published Monday by Public Citizen and American Oversight.
The documents (pdf), which the groups obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, reveal that a week before President Donald Trump issued his controversial executive order in April to keep meatpacking plants open—overriding closure orders from local health officials—a leading meat industry lobby group drafted a proposed executive order that was strikingly similar to Trump’s directive. Continue reading →
This Labor Day, immigrant and worker’s rights advocates are sounding the alarm in response to reports of migrant grape pickers, many of whom are undocumented, being forced to work in fire evacuation zones by California growers in a situation critics say demonstrates how some of those deemed “essential” at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic have been rendered “disposable” in the face of a record-setting heat wave and extremely dangerous conditions.
While the threat of flames and smoke was strong enough in Sonoma County to provoke the relocation of area residents, “the county agriculture commissioner invited workers to continue laboring in the fields, doling out evacuation-area access passes to dozens of agricultural producers,” Alleen Brown reported for The Intercept. Continue reading →
The Dandora dumpsite, Kenya. Photo: Mike Sonko/Facebook
Green groups responded with alarm to Sunday reporting by the New York Times and Unearthed that a U.S.-based trade group for major chemical and fossil fuel companies has lobbied the Trump administration during the Covid-19 pandemic to use a forthcoming trade agreement to flood the African continent with plastics.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Kenya Cabinet Secretary for Industrialization, Trade, and Enterprise Development Betty Maina launched trade negotiations in July. The new reports shed light on the lobbying efforts of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), whose members include the petrochemical operations of the oil giants Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Shell as well as chemical companies such as Dow and DuPont. Continue reading →
Days after the payroll processor for the federal government—one of the nation’s largest employers—announced it would implement President Donald Trump’s plan to defer payroll taxes for the rest of 2020, the U.S. Treasury Department indicated that employers will be responsible for paying the deferred taxes next year.
The plan is scheduled to go into effect September 1, and companies that take part will be required to collect the taxes their employees owe from the last four months of this year at the beginning of 2021—after the general election, which Trump hopes to win with claims that he’s strengthened the economy and helped workers. Continue reading →
A coalition of 27 U.S. states, commonwealths, territories, counties, and cities filed a federal lawsuit on Friday challenging the Trump administration’s “unlawful, unjustified, and sweeping revisions” to a 50-year-old law that the president claimed would “streamline” infrastructure projects by limiting environmental reviews.
After revealing plans to alter the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in January, President Donald Trump announced what critics called “reckless and unprecedented” changes during a July campaign stop. The revisions, detailed in a final rule released by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), swiftly provoked legal threats from advocacy organizations. Continue reading →
“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.”
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 →