Ralph welcomes the CEO of the National Cooperative Bank, Casey Fannon to discuss his bank’s work serving cooperatives and other member-owned organizations. The NCB helps finance affordable housing, healthy food, renewable energy, small businesses, community-driven health care, and non-profit organizations and generally advises cooperatives around the country on how to build and grow. Plus, Ralph talks a little more about the Trump indictments and responds to some of your feedback.
Casey Fannon is President and CEO of National Cooperative Bank, a leading financial services company dedicated to providing banking products to cooperatives and socially responsible organizations nationwide.
Access to capital is one of the major stumbling blocks for any small business, but particularly small cooperative and new, young cooperatives.
There’s a small tent view of cooperatives and a large tent view of cooperatives. And I think that by focusing on the big tent…allows for a better NCB. I think NCB is better, and I think our consumer cooperatives are better off that we are tied into the cooperative ecosystem in a more fulsome way.
In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis
1. The progressive, Wisconsin-based legal group Law Forward has filed a brief with the Wisconsin Supreme Court alleging that the state’s legislative maps violate the state constitution due to rampant partisan gerrymandering. Not only are the petitioners demanding new legislative maps, they are also calling on the court to cut all existing senate terms short. In practice, this would mean the entire legislature would be up for election in 2024. This could mean a political sea-change in the Badger State.
2. The LA Times reports that AOC, along with ten other progressive members of Congress, are planning to visit Latin American nations led by Leftist governments, in order to “learn from our counterparts in these countries, including how to confront disinformation and violent threats to our democracies.” She went on to add “It’s long past time for a realignment of the United States’ relationship to Latin America…The U.S. needs to publicly acknowledge the harms we’ve committed through interventionist and extractive policies, and chart a new course based on trust and mutual respect.”
3. In a win for workers, the Department of Labor has issued a rule on the Davis-Beacon Act, which “sets a wage floor for construction workers on public-works projects,” per the American Prospect. This law is also known as the “prevailing wage,” law as it sets benchmarks for wages in a given area. This rule could have major positive ramifications for workers as President Biden’s infrastructure package and the CHIPS Act are put into action. This New Deal era labor rule was significantly weakened under the Carter and Reagan administrations, and labor groups have been pushing for its restoration ever since. The article notes however that “the rule…is expected to be immediately challenged,” with the Associated Builders and Contractors trade group poised to file a lawsuit as early as next week.
4. In more labor news, the Washington Post reports that 11,000 Los Angeles city employees joined the writers, actors, and hotel employees in a one day strike to “shut down the city of Los Angeles,” according to David Green, executive director and president of SEIU Local 721. Green added “The message we’re sending is that our workers are just fed up. They’ve reached a breaking point. And we need these folks in the city to come back to the table for the good of the city.”
5. VICE reports that a group of 32 economists have sent a letter to the Federal Housing Finance Agency in support of rent control. This is the latest tactic in a campaign led by People’s Action. The article notes that “Economists have historically been the strongest critics of rent control,” but, like on the issue of minimum wage “some economists believe the orthodoxy on the topic has been contradicted by research and real-world examples.”
6. The climate focused news site Heatmap reports that the Department of Energy is launching a new procurement program focused on technology to “remove carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere.” Notably, while agencies have “previously granted money to carbon-removal companies, funded R&D, or subsidized their activities, it has never pledged to buy their services directly.” Utilizing the government’s purchasing power to effect changes in society more broadly has been done before, perhaps most famously with automobile airbags, following the advocacy of Ralph Nader.
7. A new report on 90 year-old Senator Dianne Feinstein in the New York Times covers the legal battle between her daughter and her step-daughters over her late husband’s estate. Buried in this report is a startling fact – Senator Feinstein’s daughter holds power of attorney over her mother’s legal affairs. It is disturbing to think that a person incapable of managing their own legal affairs is one of only two Senators representing 40 million people in the upper house of Congress.
8. DCist reports that the Washington, D.C. Democratic Party is suing to prevent ranked choice voting and open primaries from appearing as ballot measures in next year’s elections. D.C. Democratic Party officials have claimed these reforms would disenfranchise voters, with one opponent even calling ranked choice voting “electoral gentrification.” Implicit in these criticisms is the fact that the overwhelming power of D.C.’s Democratic Party may be challenged somewhat by these reforms, opening electoral space for independents or other parties.
9. The tech website Stackdiary reports that the ubiquitous teleconferencing app Zoom has quietly added sinister new sections to their terms of service. Put simply, sections 10.2 and 10.4 explicitly allow for the company to collect user data and “use this data for machine learning and artificial intelligence, including training and tuning of algorithms and models…effectively allow[ing] Zoom to train its AI on customer content without providing an opt-out option.”
10. The American Prospect reports that a bipartisan group of Senators, led by Senators Dick Durbin of Illinois and Roger Marshall of Kansas, are championing the Credit Card Competition Act, which aims to crack down on credit card swipe fees by “forc[ing] card issuers…[like] (Visa and Mastercard) to enable competitor networks to manage the processing and routing—the service for which swipe fees are levied.” Panicked by these developments, “shadowy right-wing groups have been issuing mailers and other advertisements claiming the [the bill] is a liberal handout for “woke” big-box retailers like Target. One set of mailers was bankrolled by the Conservative Accountability Foundation, a newly formed organization based in Sen. Marshall’s home state of Kansas but without a listed address or phone number.” In other words, corporations and their political front groups are pushing the culture war button to avoid consumer protection regulation. What else is new.