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The vision for Evergreene Digest is to be the preferred one-stop on-line source for information and perspectives that major news entities exclude from the present day American conversation. The Internet makes it possible to loosen the grip on big media by taking the news into our own hands. We readers-turned-reporters can restore integrity to the nation's single most vital conduit for democratic participation, our media.

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What is fuelling floods and fires?


  • While most climate experts say that it is too soon to draw any conclusions about a link with climate change, many agree that current events fit in with the warnings issued by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) over the past 20 years.
  • The truth: Still there, still inconvenient
  • Who Cooked the Planet?

Julia Slater and Renat Künzi, Swiss Info

Tourists in Moscow wear face masks against the smog (Keystone)

As flooding in Pakistan disrupts millions of lives, and huge areas of Russian forest burn, many people are wondering whether they are linked.

Flooding of a 1,000km stretch along the Indus river has already claimed about 1,600 lives, and driven hundreds of thousands from their homes. Over 13 million people have been affected.

In Russia temperatures have stood for weeks at almost 40 degrees; fires have destroyed villages and forests, while a pall of smog lies over large stretches of the country, including Moscow. More than 50 people have died as a direct result of the fires, while the mortality rate has doubled in the capital, the authorities admit.

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The truth: Still there, still inconvenient, James P. Lenfestey, Star Tribune | MN
As 'Climategate' scientists are cleared, no doubt about warming remains.

Who Cooked the Planet? Paul Krugman, New York Times | NY<www.nytimes.com>

  • Will any of the deniers say “O.K., I guess I was wrong,” and support climate action? No.
  • The truth: Still there, still inconvenient

Section(s): 

Fiddling While the US Economy Burns

  • "We know we live in hard times that are on the verge of getting harder with 500,000 new claims for unemployment last week, a recent record. The stock market may be over for now as fear and panic drives small investors out. Big corporations hoard stashes of cash rather then hire workers. The D-Word (depression) is back in play."
  • The Forgotten Foreclosure Crisis
  • The Horror Show
  • America Goes Dark

Danny Schechter, Consortium News

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

The stock market may be over for now as fear and panic drives small investors out. Big corporations hoard stashes of cash rather then hire workers. The D-Word (depression) is back in play.

Foreclosures are up, and the Administration’s programs to stop them are down, well below their stated goals, only helping one-sixth of those promised assistance.

And here’s a statistic for you: 300,000. That’s the number of foreclosure filings every month for the past 17 months.

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The Forgotten Foreclosure Crisis, Think Progress

  • Without more intervention, the housing market will continue its 'slow motion' adjustment that will continue to inhibit economic growth and drag down consumer spending.
  • Foreclosures Rise with Unemployment

The Horror Show, Bob Herbert, New York Times | NY

  • Policy makers seem intent on allowing the employment crisis to fester. As bad as the July employment numbers were, a deeper look into them shows a seriously scary situation.
  • Long-Term Economic Pain
  • Jobless? Your leaders are at ease with that

America Goes Dark, Paul Krugman, New York Times | NY

  • So the end result of the long campaign against government is that we’ve taken a disastrously wrong turn. America is now on the unlit, unpaved road to nowhere.
  • America: The Grim Truth

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Economics for the Rest of Us: Debunking the Science That Makes Life Dismal ~ Moshe Adler

Filled with lively examples—from food riots in Indonesia to eminent domain in Connecticut, and everyone from Adam Smith to Jeremy Bentham to Larry Summers—Economics for the Rest of Us shows how today’s dominant economic theories evolved, how they explicitly favor the rich over the poor, and why they’re not the only or best options. Written for anyone with an interest in understanding contemporary economic thinking—and why it is dead wrong—Economics for the Rest of Us offers a foundation for a fundamentally more equal economic system.

Chat with Moshe Adler about his new book, hosted by Max Fraad Wolff, Progressive Reader

"In this brilliant eye opener, Moshe Adler shows how more than a century ago the man-made concepts of economics were transformed from egalitarian concern with the welfare of everyone into analytical tools biased in favor of the rich. With clarity, and in language any educated person can grasp, Adler shows how economics largely abandoned concern with how economic efficiency is affected by distribution of resources and equality in favor of precepts that favor concentration of wealth and income."
—David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Free Lunch and Perfectly Legal

Why do contemporary economists consider food subsidies in starving countries, rent control in rich cities, and health insurance everywhere "inefficient"? Why do they feel that corporate executives deserve no less than their multimillion-dollar "compensation" packages and workers no more than their meager wages? Here is a lively and accessible debunking of the two elements that make economics the "science" of the rich: the definition of what is efficient and the theory of how wages are determined. The first is used to justify the cruelest policies, the second grand larceny.

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Excerpt: Economics for the Rest of Us by Moshe Adler, Progressive Reader
Economics for the Rest of Us: Debunking the Science That Makes Life Dismal
By Moshe Adler
Introduction
Professors of introductory economics are fond of telling their students about the eternal quest for a one-handed economist who would not be able to say, “On the other hand . . .” Is the recession about to end? Economists always [...]

Book Discussion: Economics for the Rest of Us by Moshe Adler, Progressive Reader
A masterful and wonderfully accessible book that does for economics what Howard Zinn did for American history—Freakonomics crossed with The Tipping Point. 
Why do contemporary economists consider food subsidies in starving countries, rent control in rich cities, and health insurance everywhere “inefficient”? Why do they feel that corporate executives deserve no less than their multimillion-dollar “compensation” [...]

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Rich Get Richer Because Poor Get Poorer

  • Americans have bought the line that there are no class distinctions in this country, but as the aftermath of the great financial crisis of 2008 plays out, it has become clear that, in the memorable words of Warren Buffet, “There is class warfare, all right... but it is the rich class that's making war, and we're winning.”
  • The jobs emergency

 

Zelig Stern, Socialist WebZine

It is likely no surprise to most Americans that the unemployment report for July released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated no improvement for the job situation. With the number of unemployed and underemployed workers remaining high at 16.5%, most people have at least one friend or family member in this category. What may come as a surprise is that while workers are subjected to chronic unemployment and underemployment, corporate profits have been recovering substantially and the ultra rich (those with over a million dollars in investible assets) have more than recovered their losses from the economic crisis. Americans have bought the line that there are no class distinctions in this country, but as the aftermath of the great financial crisis of 2008 plays out, it has become clear that, in the memorable words of Warren Buffet, “There is class warfare, all right... but it is the rich class that's making war, and we're winning.”

While the official unemployment rate remained stagnant at 9.5%, this statistic significantly underestimates the burden of unemployment on working people. First, it should be noted that it excludes both underemployed workers (workers employed part time who wish to be employed full time) and workers who have become discouraged and have stopped looking for work. When these groups are included, the unemployment rate rises to 16.5%. But even this number falls short of capturing the crisis of unemployment this country faces. Of the 14.6 million officially unemployed workers, 6.6 million or 44.9% have been unemployed for over 27 weeks. It is safe to assume that the 1.6 million discouraged workers also fit into this long-term unemployed category. This means that not only are a growing number of workers losing their jobs, but once someone loses their job, they have increasingly low prospects of finding another.

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The jobs emergency, Robert Reich, Robert Reich

  • Twelve thousand new jobs in July -- when 125,000 are needed monthly just to keep up with population growth, when more than 15 million Americans are out of work, and when more than a half-million more state and local jobs are on the chopping block.
  • Predictably, Washington's latest rescue effort falls woefully short
  • U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression
  • An aid package to the states to prevent layoffs was funded by cutting the federal food stamp program.

Section(s): 

Crisis. What Crisis? Profits Soar!

  • "From the first quarter of this year, corporate profits have shot up between twenty to over a hundred percent."
  • The jobs emergency
  • The Forgotten Foreclosure Crisis

James Petras, Axis of Logic

While progressives and leftists write about the “crises of capitalism”, manufacturers, petroleum companies, bankers and most other major corporations on both sides of the Atlantic and Pacific coast are chuckling all the way to the bank.

From the first quarter of this year, corporate profits have shot up between twenty to over a hundred percent, (Financial Times August 10, 2010, p. 7).  In fact, corporate profits have risen higher than they were before the onset of the recession in 2008 (Money Morning March 31, 2010).  Contrary to progressive bloggers the rates of profits are rising not falling, particularly among the biggest corporations (Consensus Economics, August 12, 2010).  The buoyancy of corporate profits is directly a result of the deepening crises of the working class, public and private employees and small and medium size enterprises.

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The jobs emergency, Robert Reich, Robert Reich

  • Twelve thousand new jobs in July -- when 125,000 are needed monthly just to keep up with population growth, when more than 15 million Americans are out of work, and when more than a half-million more state and local jobs are on the chopping block.
  • Predictably, Washington's latest rescue effort falls woefully short
  • U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression
  • An aid package to the states to prevent layoffs was funded by cutting the federal food stamp program.

The Forgotten Foreclosure Crisis, Think Progress

  • Without more intervention, the housing market will continue its 'slow motion' adjustment that will continue to inhibit economic growth and drag down consumer spending.
  • Foreclosures Rise with Unemployment
  • Homeowners' Rebellion: Could 62 Million Homes Be Foreclosure-Proof?

Section(s): 

Homeowners' Rebellion: Could 62 Million Homes Be Foreclosure-Proof?

  • A committed movement to tear off the predatory mask called MERS could yet turn the tide for struggling homeowners.
  • The Forgotten Foreclosure Crisis

Ellen Brown, Yes! Magazine

Over 62 million mortgages are now held in the name of MERS, an electronic recording system devised by and for the convenience of the mortgage industry. A California bankruptcy court, following landmark cases in other jurisdictions, recently held that this electronic shortcut makes it impossible for banks to establish their ownership of property titles—and therefore to foreclose on mortgaged properties. The logical result could be 62 million homes that are foreclosure-proof.

Mortgages bundled into securities were a favorite investment of speculators at the height of the financial bubble leading up to the crash of 2008. The securities changed hands frequently, and the companies profiting from mortgage payments were often not the same parties that negotiated the loans. At the heart of this disconnect was the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, or MERS, a company that serves as the mortgagee of record for lenders, allowing properties to change hands without the necessity of recording each transfer.

MERS was convenient for the mortgage industry, but courts are now questioning the impact of all of this financial juggling when it comes to mortgage ownership. To foreclose on real property, the plaintiff must be able to establish the chain of title entitling it to relief. But MERS has acknowledged, and recent cases have held, that MERS is a mere "nominee"-an entity appointed by the true owner simply for the purpose of holding property in order to facilitate transactions. Recent court opinions stress that this defect is not just a procedural but is a substantive failure, one that is fatal to the plaintiff's legal ability to foreclose.

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Related:

The Forgotten Foreclosure Crisis, The Progress Report

  • Without more intervention, the housing market will continue its 'slow motion' adjustment that will continue to inhibit economic growth and drag down consumer spending.
  • Foreclosures Rise with Unemployment


Section(s): 

The jobs emergency

  • Twelve thousand new jobs in July -- when 125,000 are needed monthly just to keep up with population growth, when more than 15 million Americans are out of work, and when more than a half-million more state and local jobs are on the chopping block.
  • Predictably, Washington's latest rescue effort falls woefully short
  • U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression
  • An aid package to the states to prevent layoffs was funded by cutting the federal food stamp program.

Robert Reich, Robert Reich

bdunnette / CC BY 3.0

Washington’s latest answer to the worst jobs crisis since the Great Depression is $26 billion in aid to state and local governments. This still leaves the states and locals more than $62 billion in the hole this fiscal year. And because every state except Vermont has to balance its budget, the likely result is 600,000 to 700,000 more state and local jobs vanishing over the next 12 months (including private contractors and other businesses that depend on state and local governments), according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Say goodbye to even more of the teachers, firefighters, sanitary workers and police officers we depend on.

In July alone, state and local employment dropped 48,000. Not counting temporary census workers, the federal government shed 11,000. So with private payrolls increasing a paltry 71,000, July’s overall increase in payrolls was just 12,000.

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Related:

U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

  • Adjusting for demographic factors, current labor market downturn steeper than '82-'83 recession.
  • The Horror Show

Obama's Hollow Victory, Joshua Green, The Atlantic

  • An aid package to the states to prevent layoffs was funded by cutting the federal food stamp program. That's nothing to brag about.
  • Robbing Peter to Pay Paul


Section(s): 

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