Showing posts from December 1, 2015

Like a Zombie, You Just Can't Kill Countrywide Financial

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[ *RON*]
By Kevin Drum, Mother Jones, 30 November 2015.

Back at the height of the housing bubble, Countrywide Financial was responsible for about 15 percent of all the mortgage loans in America. This turned out to be disastrous because the people who ran Countrywide showed no interest at all in the quality of the loans they originated. Thanks to this, their business eventually imploded and in 2008 they were acquired by Bank of America. But fear not. The executives behind Countrywide are still around, and they're still shoveling out the loans:
PennyMac, AmeriHome Mortgage and Stearns Lending have several things in common. All are among the nation's largest mortgage lenders — and none of them is a bank. They're part of a growing class of alternative lenders that now extend more than 4 in 10 home loans. All are headquartered in Southern California, the epicenter of the last decade's subprime lending industry. And all are run by former …

Why Doesn’t This Big Mac Container Have a Picture of Baby Jesus?

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By Tom Tomorrow, The Nation, 1 December 2015.

["Have a nice day! Hail Satan!" "Thank you, I -- what?" *RON*]

How the Extreme Christian Right Incited the Assault on the Planned Parenthood Clinic in Colorado

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[American terrorist Ayatollahs. If you keep issuing calls to take up arms, someone is eventually going to take the message and run with it. "Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable. In short, remote-control murder by lone wolf." See also: Days After Colorado Springs Shooting, Congress Is Eager To Defund Planned Parenthood. *RON*]

By Valerie Tarico / AlterNet, 30 November 2015

After months of verbal assault against Planned Parenthood and against women more broadly, Republican Christianists have gotten what they were asking for: bloodshed.

On November 27, a mass shooting left three dead and nine wounded at a Planned Parenthood clinic just miles from the headquarters of the religious right flagship, Focus on the Family. Was the shooting exactly what conservative Christian presidential candidates …

The dark alliance of global philanthropy and capitalism

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[You can't commidify human suffering. "It's a problem if endowment investments generate the very poverty foundations are trying to alleviate." *RON*]

William G Moseley, Al Jazeera, 1 December 2015

William G Moseley is a professor and chair of geography at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, US.
It is no secret that there are ironies in philanthropy. People become wealthy on the backs of the poor, or by plundering the earth, and then give away a fraction of their wealth for charitable works. This not only goes for individuals, but whole nations that profit from a particular world order, and then provide development assistance to lower income countries.

It is doubly ironic when such "dirty" monies are invested by foundations and universities in markets that further perpetuate inequality and environmental degradation to generate a return for their good works. The time has come for clean philanthropy, that is wealth…

Actions urged on ‘breaking point’ climate change

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[The country that's doing the least to stop pollution (China smog: "The air is so polluted it's darkened the sky") and the country that strong-armed France to ensure that none of the commitments of COP21 would be legally binding (France bows to Obama and backs down on climate ‘treaty’) are calling "for the climate summit in Paris to mark a decisive turn in the fight against global warming." *RON*]

Reuters, Al Arabiya, 1 December 2015

World leaders have launched an ambitious attempt to hold back rising temperatures, with the United States and China leading calls for the climate summit in Paris to mark a decisive turn in the fight against global warming.

In a series of opening addresses to the U.N. talks, heads of state and government exhorted each other to find common cause in two weeks of bargaining to steer the global economy away from its dependence on fossil fuels.

French President Francois Hollande said the world was…

Osborne reliant on rising immigration levels to achieve budget surplus

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[Economics and demographics. Guardian analysis shows that without recent upward revisions of net migration numbers, chancellor would not achieve budget surplus by 2019-20. Many Western nations are in the same boat: an aging population and slow population growth means economies will stagnate without a continual influx of immigrants. In addition, when the entire baby boom retires, only a population of young, working age immigrants will be capable of buying up the assets (houses, stocks, etc.) that the Boomers expect to retire on. *RON*]
Alberto Nardelli, The Guardian, 1 December 2015
George Osborne is relying on rising immigration numbers to reach his fiscal target of a budget surplus by the end of the decade, according to a Guardian analysis of official data.

Without the UK’s current levels of net migration, the chancellor would be faced with the choice of missing his fiscal goal or achieving a surplus by adding more spending cuts and tax rises to h…

Solar, Eclipsed: The Power Source India Chooses may Decide the Fate of the Planet

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[A good article on the ins and outs involved. Canada just made a substantial contribution to the international Climate Adjustment Fund. If all nations can keep this up, we stand a chance. India cannot afford to do this by itself, but the whole planet will suffer the effects if it does not invest in a switch to alternative, sustainable energy sources. See also: Pope: World close to suicide over climate change*RON*]

Charles C. Mann, Wired, November 2015 (photos by Brian Derballa).

A few minutes after I meet E. V. R. Raju, a vision pops into my head. I can see him on one of those lists of the World’s Most Important People released by the likes of CNN,Forbes, and Time. Besides the obvious entrants like the president and the pope, the lists always also include a few buzzy, click-generating names: Emma Watson, perhaps, or Bono. Raju is certainly not in either of those categories. He is the environmental manager of a coalfield in northeastern India.

Former head of US special forces admits: Islamic State would not exist if Bush didn’t invade Iraq

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["Instead of asking ourselves why the phenomenon of terror occurred, we were looking for locations. This is a major lesson we must learn in order not to make the same mistakes again... The historic lesson is that it was a strategic failure to go into Iraq. History will not be and should not be kind with that decision." *RON*]
Travis Gettys, Raw Story, 30 November 2015

The former commander of U.S. special forces in Afghanistan and Iraq admitted that strategic blunders by the Bush administration had led to the rise of Islamic State militants.

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn told the German newspaper Der Spiegel that Americans allowed their anger of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to lead them into disastrous military policies that failed to address the root causes of terrorism — and actually helped create new and more brutal terrorists.

The misunderstanding was so great that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who now heads ISIS, was freed in 2004 f…