Financializing Water: Wall Street’s latest bad idea

Wall Street has started traded water futures. What are water futures? And what might it mean for the future of this most basic human right? Then, Kade explains what Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is, which Trump has threatened to veto the military funding bill if it doesn’t contain reforms to Section 230. Kade explains why Section 230 is a foundational law for the internet itself, and why Congress has called Trump’s bluff on Section 230.

MENTIONED ON THE SHOW

Coping with stress during the election and the pandemic

Election week is finally here, and if you’re like us, you’re probably freaking out. We have all already been stressed, experiencing a sort of collective trauma as the nation has lost 220,000 people and counting to the pandemic. This episode, Alexis talks to social worker and researcher Leah Goldstein (her sister) about what the pandemic has done both those she works with in clinical practice, but also to all of us broadly.

This episode is full of tips for how to cope in a healthy way with our stress and anxiety — be it community, being kind to ourselves, pausing and breathing, checking the facts, or, giving our inner negative voice a name (like “Denise”), and telling them to shut up.

What’s up with oil?

We explain how oil prices went negative. Along the way, we explain what a commodity is, how futures work, and why Russia may have started a price war in order to bankrupt U.S. oil producers.

The specifics of how futures for light sweet crude oil work led to the dramatic price collapse, as those holding the futures contract for physical delivery of crude oil in May became increasingly desperate to sell it.

MENTIONED ON THE SHOW

A Big Oil Bailout Would Be the Opposite of the Green New Deal We Need – Alexis for Truthout

“The ongoing economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic has caused oil demand to plunge worldwide. On March 6, Russia withdrew from its pact with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and began producing more oil, driving the price of oil down even further. Russia may have been motivated, at least in part, by a desire to hurt U.S. shale oil producers. And while some, like Mexico, took steps to protect themselves against just such a price collapse, U.S. oil producers were loaded up with debt and totally vulnerable to a sudden drop in oil prices. By April 1, Whiting Petroleum Corp. became the first major U.S. fracking company to file for bankruptcy since the pandemic began, with many analysts predicting more bankruptcies to come.

…Energy companies make up a whopping 13 percent of the lowest-rated, riskiest kind of corporate debt. And for 10 out of the last 11 years, energy companies accounted for the majority of the junk bond debt. Why should the Fed reward a decade of bad bets by oil companies?

Pandemic Crisis, Systemic Decline: Why Exploiting the COVID-19 Crisis Will Not Save the Oil, Gas, and Plastic Industries (April 2020) – the Center for International Environmental Law

The Big Oil Money Pit – Friends of the Earth

Russia Takes Aim at U.S. Shale Oil Producers – WSJ

What are junk bonds

COVID exacerbates existing disparities

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Existing health and economic disparities are crushing. The virus is making things a million times worse.

Who has to work right now? Who can work from home? Who has lost their jobs? Massive overlap between people of color and service workers. Massive overlap in NYC between neighborhoods with lots of people of color, COVID-19 infected people, and people who work in the service industry.

What just happened with the Senate COVID19 vote?

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We discuss the McConnell 3.0 corporate bailout bonanza bill that failed in the Senate thanks to Democratic opposition. We talk about what happens next on the COVID19 response in the House. And we look at the way support for Cancelling Student Debt as an economic stimulus has been quickly gaining steam.

MENTIONED ON THE SHOW

Maxine Waters: Proposed Legislative Responses to COVID-19

There are 16 Senate Dems on the record in favor of cancelling student debt as a part of any stimulus, INCLUDING Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. The list is:
  • Warren, Brown, Durbin, Sanders, Duckworth, Reed, Blumenthal, Gillibrand, Van Hollen, Merkley, Baldwin, Harris, Markey, Booker, Shaheen, Menendez. (These are the folks who signed a Warren/Brown letter)
There are 30 House Dems on the record in favor, INCLUDING House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters:
  • Chair Waters including cancelling a minimum of $10,000 in federal student loans are a part of her proposal
  • A Rep Ayanna Pressley/Ilhan Omar letter supporting cancelling student debt in the stimulus got 27 signers (29 total).
You can send your lawmakers (House and Senate) an email using Student Debt Crisis’ petition: https://studentdebtcrisis.org/cancel-student-debt-stimulate-economy/