File under "You Can't Make This Stuff Up." Somehow, it actually seems like a farcical April Fools…
CFIF on Twitter CFIF on YouTube
April Fools' Day Four Days Late? Google Objects to OpenAI Using YouTube to Train Its Own Generator

File under "You Can't Make This Stuff Up."

Somehow, it actually seems like a farcical April Fools' Day headline, in fact.  Google, with its deep history of scraping and scanning other sources' substantive content for its own uses, now objects to OpenAI using YouTube content to train its text-to-video generator:

The use of YouTube videos to train OpenAI’s text-to-video generator would be an infraction of the platform's terms of service, YouTube Chief Executive Officer Neal Mohan said."

Optimists might hope that Google is finally recognizing and preparing to correct its wayward course, while realists and cynics will roll their eyes at what they'll label naivete.  As the old adage goes, however, "every saint has a past, every sinner has a future," so we'll maintain hope.…[more]

April 05, 2024 • 05:09 PM

Liberty Update

CFIFs latest news, commentary and alerts delivered to your inbox.
ESG Funds Use Financial Strong-arming and Thuggery CCP Style Print
By Betsy McCaughey
Wednesday, December 14 2022
Last week, Bloomberg reported that the eight of the 10 largest ESG funds by assets have underperformed the benchmark S&P 500 so far in 2022. Ouch!

There's no such thing as blue money or red money. Only the green stuff will pay bills.

Friday, North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell became the latest of many officials from nearly half the states across the U.S.  including Florida, Texas, Kentucky, Missouri, Arizona and West Virginia  to protest Wall Street's blue investment strategy, also called ESG.

What is ESG? "E" stands for environment, "S" for social justice and "G" for corporate governance. ESG funds invest in companies that oppose fossil fuels, push for unionization and stress racial and gender equity over merit in hiring and board selection. That's a partial definition because at least a dozen rating firms tag companies with an ESG score, often based on subjective and somewhat secret criteria, even including a company's stance on abortion rights. 

State officials are pulling billions of dollars out of Wall Street asset managers like BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard, citing ESG's lousy returns and strong-arming of corporations that don't bow to the left-wing agenda.

Pay attention to what these officials are warning because small investors are also getting hurt by ESG. In fact, even if you don't invest at all but you pay taxes, ESG puts you at risk. You'll be on the hook when states invested in ESG funds incur losses and have to come to taxpayers for more money. New York City taxpayers beware.

Folwell calls ESG "wacktavism," warning that "a focus on ESG is not a focus on returns."

Here's proof: Last week, Bloomberg reported that the eight of the 10 largest ESG funds by assets have underperformed the benchmark S&P 500 so far in 2022. Ouch! The cost of being woke.

It shouldn't be a surprise. In August, a Harvard Law School symposium on ESG fund performance found no support for hyperbolic claims that investing in "social good" benefits the bottom line. Overall, the relationship between ESG and financial performance is "uncertain." Several studies found ESG funds "underperform," especially in market downturns  like now.

New York City has incurred sizable losses. Taxpayers will have to cough up billions to replenish the city's Retirement Systems, according to Brad Lander, the city's comptroller. Instead of being remorseful, Lander is pressing Vanguard and BlackRock  the two biggest asset managers of city retirement funds  to double down on their climate commitments. Meanwhile, taxpayers can pound salt.

It's hard not to apply the word "scam" to aggressive ESG marketing, especially to millennials. Asset managers charge a whopping 40% more to manage money in these funds than non-ESG funds. For what? That's the question the Securities and Exchange Commission is asking.

"In response to investor demand, advisers like Goldman Sachs Asset Management are increasingly branding and marketing their funds and strategies as 'ESG,'" said Sanjay Wadhwa from the SEC's Enforcement Division. On Nov. 22, the SEC slapped Goldman S with a $4 million penalty.

Making ESG claims without backup is so common now, it has a name: "greenwashing."

Stefan Hoopes, chief executive of Deutsche Bank AG's investment unit, which is also under SEC investigation, says it's time to dial back the "exuberant marketing." 

Amen. But there's a bigger danger: financial strong-arming. Wall Street asset managers are putting capital in companies with woke policies and choking off capital from companies that don't bow to their ESG agenda. 

Sounds like the Chinese Communist Party, not America. In the U.S., access to bank loans and investment capital shouldn't hinge on your political views.

Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, denies that ESG is political, but key staff managing his ESG operations previously worked in the Obama administration and donate to Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. 

On Dec. 1, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis yanked $2 billion of state money from BlackRock. State Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said, "If Larry, or his friends on Wall Street, want to change the world  run for office. Start a non-profit. Donate to the causes you care about. Using our cash, however, to fund BlackRock's social-engineering project isn't something Florida ever signed up for."

ESG is thuggery, using financial clout to accomplish what Americans would never approve at the ballot box. The danger isn't just to your wallet. It's to our nation.


Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths. 

COPYRIGHT 2022 CREATORS.COM

Notable Quote   
 
"Progressives are using legal loopholes and the power of the federal government to maximize Democrat votes in the 2024 election at taxpayers' expense, RealClearInvestigations has found.The methods include voter registration and mobilization campaigns by ostensibly nonpartisan charities that target Democrats using demographic data as proxies, and the Biden administration's unprecedented demand that…[more]
 
 
— Ben Weingarten, Real Clear Investigations
 
Liberty Poll   

Given dramatically escalating premiums for homeowner and vehicle insurance, do you believe that your state insurance officials are conscientiously regulating those inescapable costs?