US prosecutors told to push for more, harsher punishments

More, harsher punishments = more prisoners in federal prisons, many of which are corporate-run = more profits for corporations that run prisons = more cash available by agents of corporate-run prisons to lobby and contribute/invest in public officials to have more, harsher punishments.

Repeat.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/us-prosecutors-told-to-push-for-more-harsher-punishments/ar-BBB2Pgg

 

 

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Cage Payday loan sharks

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You’ve seen them I’m sure. Storefronts in largely low-income neighborhoods with flashing signs saying get quick cash or something similar. They’re companies that provide a one-time “quick fix” consumer loan to those short on cash. They’re called Payday lenders and they often are the only financial entities around in otherwise financial deserts of inner cities.  Because of this monopoly, they exploit low-income borrowers and manipulate the law. Call them loan sharks.

One of the big problems with Payday lending corporations is that they’re not required to determine whether borrowers can actually afford the loan.  Most of the time, they can’t. There’s no credit check. Seventy percent of Payday borrowers end up taking out a second loan. About 20% of borrowers end up taking out ten or more loans — caught in a debt trap and racking up interest and fees on top of each other. Annual percentage rates (or APR’s) can end up over 300%. This is a major scam.

The Ohio Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) issued a report this week, which analyzed close to 10,000 recent complaints made to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the federal agency responsible for regulating Payday lending corporations.

The PIRG researchers found that 91 percent complaints involved aggressive debt-collection practices, bank account closures, and/or long-term cycles of debt.

The PIRG report also found that about 15 corporations accounted for more than half the complaints. The biggest offenders are doing business under the names of CashNetUSA, NetCredit, Check ‘n Go, and ACE Cash Express.

Ohio voters approved tougher standards for payday lending in 2008, but the Payday loan shark corporations used loopholes to work around them. They still do.

There are proposed rules being considered by the CFPB that would require Payday lenders to determine if borrowers can afford the loan. The CFPB needs to hear from us. The deadline for comments is October 7. Now is the time to act to stop the targeting of low income communities and communities of color. The current head of the CFPB is Richard Cordray, former Ohio Attorney General.

The Payday corporate crowd is doing all they can lobby-wise to keep their exploitative scam of low-income people going. It’s up to us to make sure the CFPB hears loud and clear that we need to stop the exploitative debt trap once and for all.

Go to http://stopthedebttrapohio.com and weigh in. Sign your name as an Ohioan. And spread the word.

NEO AFSC January 15, 2016 Podcast

podcasticon

Listen to podcast here

We summarize last week’s activities; share upcoming events for next week; and describe current problems, literally from A to Z, that can be solved by asserting people power over corporate power and the power of the wealthy few in elections. (Length: 33:10)

Response to PD article, “Lobbyist-tilted playing field favors FirstEnergy and AEP in Columbus”

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Lobbyist-tilted playing field favors FirstEnergy and AEP in Columbus: Thomas Suddes
http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/12/lobbyist-tilted_playing_field.html#incart_river_home

My comment to this article (posted at end):

In a real democratic world, Mr. Suddes, citizens would win — every time. But that’s not our current “real world.” Sadly, that world is one where the Constitution has defined corporations as “legal persons” with inalienable Bill or Rights and other protections (including 1st Amendment “free speech” rights) and money is defined as equal to “free speech.” Both constitutional doctrines have permitted corporate entities and the super wealthy to hijack politics and government — including regulatory agencies which do a stellar job of regulating, though, not abolishing harms, regulating citizen input and activism, and shielding like a football offensive line We the People from those entities which have captured the regulatory agencies.

It’s an identical story on just about every issue that the corporate crowd cares about — identical regarding lobbyists with unequal political access, corporate campaign contributions (actually investments) drowning out the voices of the majority of citizens, a captured regulatory agency. Identical. No need to write another story from scratch. Just substitute corporations, # of lobbyists, amount of campaign money, and regulatory agency and voila — new story on a new issue which conveys the same exact story — that out country is broken because the system is fixed, which will remain so for ever and ever until we end the insanity via constitutional amendment of corporate “personhood” and money equaling “free speech.”

Move to Amend’s We the People Amendment, https://movetoamend.org/wethepeopleamendment, does just this. Citizens across the country, including Ohio, are working to put pressure on Congress to pass this amendment by building a grassroots movement. Ten Ohio communities have already passed council resolutions and 7 communities have passed ballot initiatives calling for this amendment. Many Ohio communities (including Cleveland, Newark, S. Euclid) are working for a November 2016 ballot measure.

This nonsense will never change by simply changing elected officials or laws. We have to change constitutional ground rules.

If interested in working on this fundamental form of change, email ohio@movetoamend.org.