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Daryl Cagle | Obama and Payday Lenders / media.cagle.com

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The Progress of Christ in Commercial America: A Review of Chris Lehmann’s The Money Cult

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Lehmann’s excavations may be sobering, but it is absolutely necessary for us to know this backstory if we are to have any hope of understanding the contemporary religious and political landscape, including the spiritual context that lies behind Trumpism’s rapid ascent.

Peter Laarman, Religion Dispatches

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http://religiondispatches.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/godtrust-690x460.jpgJune 9, 2016 At 400 pages, Chris Lehmann’s The Money Cult: Capitalism, Christianity, and the Unmaking of the American Dream examines in appropriate depth the “mystery [of] just how America’s once-austere and communal version of dissenting Protestantism developed into such a ripe recruiting ground for the sanctified capitalism of our financialized, upward-skewing, and uniquely destructive market order.”

Author Lehmann is neither a professional historian nor a religion specialist. He’s a brainy journalist, part of the Baffler set. His subtle treatment of complex subject matter reminds us that it’s always deep reading and a capacity to write clearly that matters most. His achievement reminds me of other significant historical works by “uncredentialed” scholars : T.J. Stiles on Cornelius Vanderbilt and George Armstrong Custer, James Bradley on racialized imperialism, and (most creditably) Douglas A. Blackmon on the significance of black convict labor.

Peter Laarman is a United Church of Christ minister and activist who recently retired as executive director of Progressive Christians Uniting in Los Angeles. He remains involved in numerous justice struggles, in particular a campaign known as Justice Not Jails that calls upon faith communities to critique and combat the system of racialized mass incarceration often referred to as The New Jim Crow.

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Special Report | The Panama Papers Scandal: A Man, A Plan, A Shell Account, Panama

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Panama Papers Show How Rich United States Clients Hid Millions Abroad

 

Eric Lipton and Julie Creswell, New York (NY) Times

 

 

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https://static01.nyt.com/images/2016/06/06/us/06panama1/06panama1-master768.jpg Panama City, Panama, home to the law firm Mossack Fonseca. A trove of the firm’s internal documents, known as the Panama Papers, have shaken the financial world.  Credit  Joe Raedle/Getty Images

June 5, 2016 | Over the years, William R. Ponsoldt had earned tens of millions of dollars building a string of successful companies. He had renovated apartment buildings in the New York City area. Bred Arabian horses. Run a yacht club in the Bahamas, a rock quarry in Michigan, an auto-parts company in Canada, even a multibillion-dollar hedge fund.

 

Now, as he neared retirement, Mr. Ponsoldt, of Jensen Beach, Fla., had a special request for Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based law firm well placed in the world of offshore finance: How could he confidentially shift his money into overseas bank accounts and use them to buy real estate and move funds to his children?

Eric Lipton is a Washington-based correspondent for The New York Times, where he writes about government relations, corporate agendas and Congress; and 

Julie Creswell is a staff reporter for The New York Times, primarily writing features for the business section that follow the flow of money around private-equity firms, Wall Street banks, healthcare companies and real estate investments.

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The Feigned and Future Demise of Big-Oil

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Nations around the world must prepare to develop infrastructure around alternative energy and electric vehicles – leveraging their natural and human resources to innovate and implement these solutions where eventually the collapse of big-oil will leave a void.

Tony Cartalucci, New Eastern Outlook

http://journal-neo.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/BP-Mission-Statement-Values-Founders-Trivia-History-300x225.jpg  26.05.2016 | Four of the top five Global Fortune 500 corporations are involved in petroleum refining. Together with big-finance and industrial giants like big-auto and utility monopolies, big-oil dominates the global economy.

The monopoly it enjoys grants it the unwarranted power and influence it has wielded throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. And because big-oil is integrated into big-finance and other corporate-financier monopolies through various mutual interests, its influence reaches even further still.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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Big Oil Told to Adapt or Die, Kieran Cooke, Climate News Network / EcoWatch 

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“The oil markets are going through fundamental structural changes driven by a technological revolution and geopolitical shifts. The old cycle of lower prices followed by higher prices can no longer be assumed to be applicable.”

-- Paul Stevens, a senior research fellow at the London-based Chatham House think tank, the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

How the World's Biggest Polluters are Two Trade Deals Away from Steamrolling Climate Protections

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  • "45 of the 50 private corporations historically responsible for the most climate-disrupting emissions" would be emboldened to challenge climate protections.
  • Related: What Ever Happened to Normal Weather?

Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams

http://www.commondreams.org/sites/default/files/styles/cd_large/public/headlines/notoxictradea.jpg?itok=Nxw9pUOd"These trade deals would empower some of the world's largest polluters... to use unaccountable tribunals to defend a model of fossil fuel dependency that spells climate crisis," said Ben Beachy of Sierra Club. (Photo:  Stephen Melkisethian/flickr/cc)  

Thursday, March 24, 2016 | When TransCanada announced at the start of the year that it that it was demanding compensation under North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) rules for the Obama administration's decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, many observers saw it as a sign of things to come.

http://peoplesworld.org/assets/Uploads/stopp-tppa.jpg Indeed, critics of two pending trade deals—the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)—have already warned that other corporations could take similarly take advantage of the same mechanism to exert their power before private tribunals, demanding compensation for lost profits while supplanting democracy and trampling on workers' rights and environmental protections.

Andrea Germanos, staff writer, Common Dreams

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What Ever Happened to Normal Weather? Paul Douglas, Guardian 

Weather is becoming more extreme, and meteorologists are taking notice.

Guide to Understanding Your Cable Bill

  • Why are loyal long-time cable customers the ones paying more?
  • Have you checked out your monthly bill lately?

Kate Cox, Consumerist.org

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Mike Steigerwald.

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http://www.consumerreports.org/content/dam/cro/news_articles/Electronics/CR-Electronics-Inline-Understanding-Your-Cable-Bill-05-16.jpg May 19, 2016 | Over the last few months, our colleagues at Consumerist have reviewed cable and internet service bills for seven of the nation’s largest providers in an attempt to make sense of all those fees and charges. Here's what they learned from these bills covering cable, satellite, and fiber customers from Connecticut to California.

1. Everyone Is Nickel-and-diming Their Customers, Some More Than Others

The fees! The fees are everywhere!

As a rule of thumb, the collection of taxes, fees, and surcharges above the stated subscription price ranged from about 15% to 30% of any given customer’s total bill (including bills we looked at but didn’t publish).

Kate Cox, Reporting for Consumerist.org. Consumerist is an independent source of consumer news and information published by Consumer Media LLC, a not-for-profit subsidiary of Consumer Reports. Our mission is to help consumers understand, engage with, and discuss the systems and forces that influence the marketplace, so that we, as consumers, can all make better, more informed decisions.

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Special Report | The Francis I Chronicles: Employers not offering health insurance are 'true leeches.'

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  • "Living off the blood of the people: This is a mortal sin," said the pope. "It is a mortal sin. And it takes much patience, much restitution to convert ourselves from this sin."
  • Related: It's time for business leaders to stand up for the community.

Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Mike Steigerwald

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http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/End%20Corporate%20Greed%20Occupy.jpg May 19, 2016 | Pope Francis has condemned employers who exploit their workers by offering only temporary contracts or not providing health insurance, calling them "true leeches [that] live on the bloodletting of the people they make slaves to work."

Reflecting Thursday on the day's Mass readings during his homily at Casa Santa Marta, the pontiff also said that Christians err when they think there is a "theology of prosperity" in which God "sees that you are just and gives you much wealth."

Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent. 

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It's time for business leaders to stand up for the community, Robert MacGregor, Minneapolis (MN) StarTribune 

Corporate elites nearly moved mountains for the good of society, residents and cities. Here's a wake-up call to get going again. 

 

It's time for business leaders to stand up for the community.

Corporate elites nearly moved mountains for the good of society, residents and cities. Here's a wake-up call to get going again. 

 

Robert MacGregor, Minneapolis (MN) StarTribune 

 

 

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May 13, 2016 | I recently attended a luncheon with some 85 Minnesotans in Naples, Fla. — a remarkable function focused on the exceptional work of the Minnesota Historical Society.

As I reviewed this outstanding Minnesota institution’s materials, acknowledging a long list of wealthy contributors and Minnesota foundations, I was especially proud to have strong Minnesota roots.

There are more large foundations in Minnesota developed by successful business people than perhaps anywhere else in the U.S.

Robert MacGregor is co-chair of the Global Governing Board of the Caux Round Table, an international network of business leaders working to promote a moral capitalism. 

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