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07.11 7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It [Fox News and Betsy DeVos never talk about this stuff so it must be Bull Shit, right?]

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07.16 US aid cuts to UN agency will hurt vulnerable women and children, critics say

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07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]

07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]

07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]

07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]

07.12 These solar panels don’t just generate power—they produce drinking water

07.12 David Attenborough: polluting planet may become as reviled as slavery [1:34 video]

07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]

07.10 Molly Scott Cato: ‘It’s the wealthy who are causing climate change’

07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]

07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]

07.05 Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis

07.04 On reflection: how the 'albedo effect' is melting the Antarctic

07.04 US produces far more waste and recycles far less of it than other developed countries [As expected—and made worse by Trump—the U.S. is best at being the worst]07.03 Booming LNG industry could be as bad for climate as coal, experts warn

07.03 Deep-sea mining to turn oceans into ‘new industrial frontier’

07.03 Caravan of Americans battling diabetes heads to Canada for affordable insulin [3:36 video; Like Central Americans flee for their lives from criminal drug gangs, Americans flee for their lives for affordable pharmaceutical drugs]

07.02 American Medical Association sues North Dakota over abortion laws

07.02 'Committed' CO2 emissions jeopardize international climate goals, study finds

07.01 New Solar + Battery Price Crushes Fossil Fuels, Buries Nuclear

07.01 Freak summer hailstorm buries cars in Mexico's Guadalajara [0:50 video]

07.01 Climate Change is Devastating India With Heat Waves and Water Shortages [13:48 video]

06.30 American farmers can't afford this administration's climate apathy

06.30 The US military is a bigger polluter than more than 140 countries combined [Could a world-wide moratorium of military activity dramatically slow the climate crises?]

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07.16 Describing 'Future We Want to Live In' Scores of Groups Unveil New Blueprint for Reproductive Rights

07.16 'Do not take the bait': congresswomen denounce racist Trump attack [3:50 video]

07.16 Money Laundering Scandal Forces Puerto Rico’s Governor to Cut His Vacation Short — Just in Time for Another Scandal

07.16 Turnstile teaching [The problem is NOT the color of students skin, as our fake President reflexively thinks. The problem is the lax attitude and deficient funding by government to always do a much better job for a better future.]

07.15 Finding the Future in Radical Rural America

07.15 Sanders Accuses Biden of Parroting Pharma and Insurance Industry Script With Attacks on Medicare for All [Like Trump, Biden explains why he's unelectable every day.]

07.15 If there is an 'immigrant' who has failed to integrate in America, it's Donald Trump

07.15 Trump tells Ocasio-Cortez and other female progressives to 'go back' to 'original' countries

07.15 Trump Takes Pelosi's Side Against AOC and The Squad as Intraparty Fight Over Immigration Continues [Its about much more than immigration, its about the Corporate Dominance—by many of the same companies, even—over both major Political Parties. With too few exceptions, neither party has represented The Public since Nixon generously raised the minimum wage (Part D Medicare and ACA both became Frankenstein legislation due to excessive corporate price-fixing influence), and that has to change!]

07.14 Trump: People like Paul Ryan almost killed the Republican Party [Then it's too bad he didn't stay to finish the job!]

07.13 Trump's POS Labor Secretary, Acosta, Out. POS Number 2, Linked to Abramoff, to Fill Role [A willingness to perform criminal behavior seems the only competency required...]

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07.15 Australia 'deeply concerned' about China's treatment of Uighur people [What are the reasons, exactly, that justify harsh imprisonment of a million people?]

07.15 Zuma tells South Africa corruption inquiry he is victim of foreign plot [Unaccountable corrupt governments are so in fashion these days...]

07.14 Warren vows to probe U.S. crimes on immigrants if elected [Can you imagine living in a nation with a working Justice System? How far we've fallen!]

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07.16 Trump’s race fantasy is clear: the US as home for whites fleeing Europe [1:09 video]

07.15 India’s Terrifying Water Crisis

07.15 Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world [From 1960 to 2018 – the U.S. has fallen from 1st place to below the tenth place and off the chart]

07.14 Kasich: The chilling effect of British ambassador's leaked memos

07.14 'Just a matter of when': the $20bn plan to power Singapore with Australian solar

07.14 At least 24 Yellow Vests lost eyes in violent protests. Now they're more determined than ever [Protests of all kinds will continue until systemic inequality loses political dominance]

07.13 New Zealand Begins Gun Buyback Prompted by Mosque Attacks

07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning [Since so-called modern humans evolved there have been 10,000 generations of people. It is extremely far-fetched to think anyone is racially pure. SO ALL THIS HATE IS INCREDIBLY STUPID.]

07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning

07.13 Brazil’s President May Appoint Son, Friend to the Trumps, as Ambassador to U.S. [Friend of the Trumps, so we know they're all brain-dead except about near-term profits. They are clear-cutting the Amazon Rain Forest to feed-then-butcher millions of methane farting cows, over and over. Yep, that's there business plan. So therefore the rest of the world will hopefully plant billions of trees elsewhere to sequester CO2 to offset what the Bolsonaro family and investors are destroying. What's wrong with this picture?]

07.13 Trump’s Cruelty and Mexico’s Duty [Our president is immoral to his core and reacts to things like a child, not understanding that his actions are often crueler than they should be. And that cruelty will never completely be excused or forgotten—the people's hatred of Trump is growing, like the Texan's hatred when President General Santa Anna laid seige to the Alamo, which was Mexico's territory at the time...]

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  The ACORN Affair: A lesson in Waspishness
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VIEWPOINT:

The ACORN Affair: A lesson in Waspishness

by J. Russell Tyldesley

Republicans are now portraying themselves as populists, guarding the Treasury against the predations of such groups as ACORN, while painting Democrats as the party of the elites.

It is amazing how fast Congress rushed to judgment in passing legislation to "defund" ACORN, based on an "indictment." Compared to, say, health care legislation and climate change legislation, it was lightning-fast. Better to go where there is easy consensus. But, where is the fairness? Even Barack Obama said (after the legislation passed) that he would like to see a probe, an investigation into the practices of certain ACORN employees caught on a hidden-camera video. Why a sentence before an investigation? Are we now in an Alice in Wonderland world in Congress?

What this swift action by Congress seems to indicate is that Republicans continue to be able to bully Democrats when issues of race and class and war are involved. And these are only the obvious pressure points where the Democrats exhibit profound weakness. Not many Democrats were willing to support ACORN, despite the memberships' exemplary loyalty to Democratic candidates and despite having registered millions of African-Americans in the ghettos of America over the past two decades who, of course, tend to vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. Republicans, of course, do not want the voting franchise extended to the poor and to minorities who are the victims of Republican trickle-down economic policies. Republicans are now portraying themselves as populists, guarding the Treasury against the predations of such groups as ACORN, while painting Democrats as the party of the elites. This, in part, is what the "tea-party" protests were all about. I doubt, however, that they are fooling most of the people in the aggrieved classes. It will, of course, appeal to the "Base."

To put ACORN's activities with Federal funds in perspective, it is reported that they received $53 million over the past 15 years, primarily for their housing efforts on behalf of the poor. That averages out to $3.5 million per year, considerably less than each of the thousands of pork-barrel earmarks hidden in most Congressional bills. Considering all the good ACORN has done for the poor and dispossessed over the years, it strikes me that this is a bargain.

Republicans and their Democratic enablers could save billions of taxpayer money in many places, but they would rather focus on the small change given to ACORN and other non-profits engaged in socially beneficial work.

Consider too the money squandered just in Iraq and Afghanistan since the invasions. We have all witnessed how the crony corporations tied to Bush and Cheney (like Halliburton and Blackwater, for instance) have received billions of dollars in no-bid contracts and then been unable to account for at least $8 billion of this money to this day. Similar giveaways to favored donor corporations describes the pitifully disorganized and inadequate relief efforts in the ghettoes of New Orleans after Katrina struck. We will not get into here how the not-so-benign neglect of the needs of this city made the disastrous consequences of Katrina inevitable. These corporations who feed on disasters still continue to feed at the public trough even when (in the case of Blackwater) they are under indictment for murder. There are many places where Republicans and their Democratic enablers could save billions of taxpayer money, but they would rather focus on the small change given to ACORN and other non-profits engaged in socially beneficial work.

ACORN was in the forefront of the effort to ban subprime lending at the local level, all over the country.

One irony of trying to de-fang and de-fund a movement of the people (which ACORN arguably is) involves sub-prime lending—or predatory lending, as it is more aptly named. ACORN was in the forefront of the effort to ban such invidious practices at the local level, all over the country. We now know that this scam was what ultimately became the straw that broke the back of the entire economy of America and most of the rest of the world. ACORN chapters across the country were trying ten years ago to get the attention of their elected watchdogs to the injustice and unsustainability of the onerous loans being perpetrated on the poor in poor neighborhoods under cover of the Community Reinvestment Act as it applied to banks. All this was well before we had the "liar" loans, no down payment loans, low doc loans, and ALT-A loans that we have all become familiar with as we watch our 401-Ks become 201Ks.

No, the people served by ACORN were being scammed long before we entered the great recession of this decade. I know about this first-hand because I accompanied delegations of ACORN to the Baltimore City Department of Finance and to the State of Maryland legislature to argue in favor of local laws to protect people from deceptive lending practices and "catch-22" mortgage contracts. We were repulsed by the power of the banking lobby, which was able to persuade legislators that local regulations would be a hardship on banks that had to operate in many states and banks could not be expected to have to spend the time figuring out the different ways they might have to operate in these different states. The insurance industry has never had much of a problem with differing state regulations, but so it goes. It's worth noting that the insurance industry, except for health insurance, is actually pretty competitive; banking is not, as we have come to realize. Thus, Citigroup was able to extract a $3 million tax abatement from Baltimore in order to keep their predatory lending subsidiary in the City neighborhod where they could be closer to their prey.

If our exalted leaders had listened to ACORN 10 years ago instead of to the hard-lobbying banking industry, we may have averted the debacle that brought Wall Street to the brink, only to be saved by the public—including the very people who were bamboozled.

If our exalted leaders had listened to ACORN back then instead of to the hard-lobbying banking industry, we may have averted the debacle where devilishly clever derivative securities were used to cover up the weaknesses contained in the underlying collateral, bringing Wall Street to the brink, only to be bailed out by the public—the very people they bamboozled. Including government guarantees to the banking industry, it is estimated that the Federal Government has ponied up $14 trillion to save our financial system (perhaps only to fail again, given the tepid approach, so far, to re-regulation). Compare that $14 trillion with the $53 million for ACORN over 15 years, and their prescient warnings that went unheeded.

If Obama really wants to prove he is listening, he should not sign this bill de-funding ACORN—a ridiculous, patently political piece of garbage produced by this ethically-challenged Congress.

We had hoped that our President would be a chap that would listen to the people, even the unimportant and disadvantaged part of the population, rather than to the corporate people that are so revered in Congress and (it is to be feared) at the Supreme Court of the land. He may not have a tin ear like his predecessor, but if he really wants to prove he is listening, he should not sign this de-funding bill, so quickly passed by both houses of Congress. He, of all people, should know the real ACORN, and his refusal to sign should be accompanied by an explanation in detail to Congress and the people. This would be an act of political courage, but should be easy given the ridiculous, patently political piece of garbage the bill is, produced by this ethically-challenged Congress.


J. Russell Tyldesley, a retired Maryland insurance executive, writes from Santa Fe, NM.



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This story was published on September 24, 2009.

 

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