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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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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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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


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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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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


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New study: 85% of Big Pharma's new drugs are "lemons" and pose health risks to users

According to Donald Light, Ph.D., a professor of comparative health policy at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey who authored the study, the pharmaceutical industry is a "market for lemons" and Big Pharma spends a fortune to sell those lemons to the public.
This Is Your Country on Drugs

Sherry Baker, Natural News

For years, natural health proponents have been sounding the alarm about the dangers of new drugs being pushed on consumers. But is that a one-sided, inaccurate view? Not at all. In fact, new research now shows the problems with Big Pharma's hugely hyped medications are far worse than most people have even dreamed. Independent reviewers found that about 85 percent of new drugs offer few if any new benefits -- but they carry the risk of causing serious harm to users.

According to Donald Light, Ph.D., a professor of comparative health policy at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey who authored the study, the pharmaceutical industry is a "market for lemons" and Big Pharma spends a fortune to sell those lemons to the public.

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This Is Your Country on Drugs, George Kenney, In These Times
Melody Petersen talks about how we’re hooked on Big Pharma. She has been writing about the pharmaceutical industry for more than 10 years, including as a staff reporter for the New York Times. Her recent book, Our Daily Meds: How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008), should be required reading for anyone who’s serious about healthcare reform.

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With many still in dark, groups shed light on new health care law.

  • With many still in dark, groups shed light on health care law
  • Obama’s Health Care Bill Is Enough to Make You Sick

Richard Wolf, USA Today

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Bob Heberle

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., listens to aide Ellen Qualls during a May briefing to explain the law's benefits. Alex Wong, Getty Images

True or false: The new health care law will cut Medicare benefits for seniors. It will slash Medicare payments to doctors. It will ration health care.

In three polls conducted last month, large percentages of Americans answered "true" to each statement. All three are false.

Six weeks before the nation's health care delivery system begins a huge transformation, confusion reigns. For example: The debunked idea raised by opponents during congressional debate that "death panels" could make end-of-life decisions is seen as real by nearly half of those surveyed.

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Obama’s Health Care Bill Is Enough to Make You Sick, Chris Hedges, TruthDig

  • The new health care legislation not only mocks the lofty promises made by President Barack Obama, exposing most as lies, but sadly reconfirms that our nation is hostage to unchecked corporate greed and abuse.
  • The dizzying array of technical loopholes in the bill—written in by armies of insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyists—means that these companies, which profit off human sickness, suffering and death, can continue their grim game of trading away human life for money.


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Obama's Hollow Victory

  • 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

Joshua Green, The Atlantic

On Tuesday (Aug 6), President Obama signed a $26 billion bill to help state and local governments cover Medicaid payments and avoid having to lay off teachers and other public employees. In what passes for high drama in Washington, the House of Representatives was called back from its summer recess to vote on the package, and the successful outcome was hailed as a major Democratic victory. "We can't stand by and do nothing while pink slips are given to the men and women who educate our children or keep our communities safe,'' Obama said. "That doesn't make sense.''

No, it doesn't. But only by the occluded standards of contemporary Washington could this aid package be considered a victory. What began three months ago as a $50 billion emergency spending bill limped to the president's desk at half that size and was largely paid for -- "offset'' in the clinical terminology of the budget -- by cutting $12 billion from the food stamp program. In other words, a measure designed to help one group struggling in the recession came at the expense of another that is even worse off -- and growing rapidly.

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FCC should reject the Google-Verizon net-neutrality plan

  • The Google and Verizon net-neutrality plan is bad policy that will only benefit the two companies. The FCC should quickly reject the proposal.
  • Stop Google And Verizon From Setting Our Public Internet Policy

Ryan Blethen, Seattle Times | WA

The only thing transparent about the Google and Verizon plan for net neutrality is how disingenuous it is.

The proposal from the two outsized corporations would essentially starve the open Internet in favor of a well-maintained, pay-to-play Internet and completely wall off wireless Internet from even the most minimal open-access rules.

What I find most maddening about the Google-Verizon plan is that it could have been headed off if not for the lethargy of the Federal Communications Commission, the regulatory agency charged to work in the public's interest. Google and Verizon filled the void with a proposal that would harm consumers and restrict innovation while ceding control of the Internet to broadband oligarchs.

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Stop Google And Verizon From Setting Our Public Internet Policy, The Pen

  • Since when is it the place of special interest corporations to determine what public policy should be?
  • Tell Google: Don't be evil
  • FCC Hearing on Net Neutrality Comes to Minneapolis Thursday August 19


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The Far-Right's Anti-Mosque Mania Spreads from Ground Zero to Across the U.S., Pointing to Dark Politics Ahead

  • The phony 'debate' over the construction of an Islamic cultural center near the former World Trade Center portends darker things to come.
  • The Right's Shameful Muslim-Bashing

Stephan Salisbury,  Tomdispatch.com

There is a distinct creepiness to the controversy now raging around a proposed Islamic cultural center in Lower Manhattan.  The angry “debate” over whether the building should exist has a kind of glitch-in-the-Matrix feel to it, leaving in its wake an aura of something-very-bad-about-to-happen.

It’s not just that opposition to the building has coalesced around a phony “Mosque at Ground Zero” shorthand (with its echoes of dust, death, and evildoers). Many have pointed out -- futilely -- that the complex will be more than two blocks from the former World Trade Center, around a corner on Park Place, and will feature an auditorium, spa, basketball court, swimming pool, classrooms, exhibition space, community meeting space, 9/11 memorial, and, yes, a prayer space for Muslims. The shorthand still sticks.

Nor is it just that this is only the most visible of a growing number of nasty controversies over proposed mosques in Tennessee, California, Georgia, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Illinois as well as Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, and Midland Beach, Staten Island, in New York City.  Such protests are emerging with alarming frequency. Nor is it simply that political leaders -- from Republican presidential wannabes to New York gubernatorial hopefuls -- have sought to exploit the Lower Manhattan controversy. (Sarah Palin demanded that “peaceful Muslims” step up and “refudiate” the plan; Newt Gingrich denounced the building of such a “mosque” as long as Saudi Arabia bars construction of churches and synagogues; Rick Lazio, a Republican campaigning for the governorship of New York state, asserted that the plan somehow subverted the right of New Yorkers “to feel safe and be safe.”)

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Related:

The Right's Shameful Muslim-Bashing, The Progress Report

  • "If the prospect of losing our Constitution to religious government frightens you, don't worry about the tiny Muslim-American minority. Worry about the anti-mosque majority Gingrich is working to mobilize." --Slate Magazine's Will Saletan
  • Zero Tolerance

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Guns, Divisive Rhetoric to "Honor" Lincoln and King?

  • Most jarring is the sad irony of all of these people at the podium, with their supporters spread across our National Mall, celebrating, in part, their worship of guns, while invoking, quite blatantly, the legacies of two great Americans whose magnificent lives were cruelly cut short by bullets.
  • Glenn Beck's 'Restoring Honor' Rally Denounced By Civil Rights Leaders

Paul Helmke, Huffington Post

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Joanne Thielen

A disturbing magazine cover crossed my desk last week (August 1-7) announcing, in big bold print, that Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and the NRA are hosting a "Restoring Honor" rally next month (September).

It's being held at the Lincoln Memorial, a place that honors America's most revered president: the one who saved our union, freed African slaves, and breathed the healing balm "of malice toward none" at the conclusion of our bitter Civil War -- and who was killed by a gun.

It's also being held on the 47th anniversary of the "March on Washington." The march where the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke so eloquently of his dream that one day his children would live in a nation where "they will be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

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Glenn Beck's 'Restoring Honor' Rally Denounced By Civil Rights Leaders, DeNeen Brown, Washington Post | DC

  • Glenn Beck's 'Restoring Honor' Rally To Face Countermarches From Civil Rights Activists, Al Sharpton
  • Guns, Divisive Rhetoric to "Honor" Lincoln and King?

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