In the last few weeks, Popular Information has:
1. Exposed how the fossil fuel industry is funding phony environmental groups to oppose renewable energy projects. 2. Documented how Trump and his family have received billions from the Saudi government since leaving the White House. 3. Revealed that CVS customers who thought they were donating to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) were actually subsidizing CVS’ corporate sponsorship agreement with the ADA.
1. Exposed how the fossil fuel industry is funding phony environmental groups to oppose renewable energy projects.
2. Documented how Trump and his family have received billions from the Saudi government since leaving the White House.
3. Revealed that CVS customers who thought they were donating to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) were actually subsidizing CVS’ corporate sponsorship agreement with the ADA.
Today, however, I want to hear from you. What's on your mind? What topics would you like Popular Information to take on next?
You can leave your thoughts in the discussion thread linked below, starting now. I’ll be dropping by later today to answer as many of your questions as I can.
SUPPORT ACCOUNTABILITY JOURNALISM
No one takes on this topic: Christian Nationalism is a political movement and reflects bad theology. Why aren’t mainstream Christian churches speaking out?
So here’s an elephant in the room issue that I rarely ever see politicians or the media discuss: the absolute daily deluge of spam and fraud to which we are all subjected via every medium - email, website, phone, snail mail. Yes, we have all but surrendered to it, but why? Has anyone with power ever made a serious effort to regulate the tech companies, to strengthen and enforce anti-fraud laws and stop this onslaught?
Just think about all the hours we spend not only dealing with and disposing of all of this crap, but the many additional hours juggling endless passwords, two-factor authentication, etc., etc. to try to protect ourselves against the shysters. The resultant productivity loss must be massive - not to mention the psychological burden. And there is a cultural loss too - think about the lack of trust, the feeling of betrayal, the reality that we are abandoning vulnerable people like our elderly to this plague of fraud.
I sometimes wonder if this normalization of everyday exploitation is what made so many people comfortable with the idea of putting an obvious fraudster named donald in the White House. But the key question is: what are the solutions, and who if anyone, is working on them?
The death, more like murder, of local news journalism, and how it increases polarization.
1. Although I prefer we reduce plastic use, there is no denying that plastic disposal is a stressor on our environments. I see that plastics that are labeled “recyclable” are rarely so (example: the padding in my weekly misfits food box). Why is the actual rate of recycling for plastics misrepresented and what is the most feasible recycling solution?
1) Big media ownership beyond Murdoch, who they support politically w dark money and their leadership ties to the far right. I saw Rick Santelli on Squawkbox (fake business news program) ranting about Hunter Binden yet have NEVER heard the same rant about Jared Kushner who actually worked in the White House making policy decisions and has rec'd $3B from Middle East countries. Or how the same program NEVER cover negative news on Elon unless it's streams at bottom of screen yet celebrate and excuse his horrific acts in business as a leader. Now a major NBC / Comcast network is reporting misinformation - is it for ratings or in support of establishing an Plutocracy?
2) Why are other countries (e.g. Peru, Germany) protecting their democratic principles more aggressively than the USA?
3) How are Co's and the wealthy stopping the repeal to protect social media Co's when it's clear Elon and others have detrimental intent?
Anything to help pull back the curtain on finance. The moves made by private equity and hedge funds reverberate through our lives, powerfully yet often invisibly
Florida is not the only state in which Moms for Liberty endorsed candidates, sometimes also associated with Christian nationalism, are infiltrating school and hospital boards. In Sarasota County, Michael Flynn is one of several to have joined the local Republican governing board. The newly elected far right school board began proceedings to terminate a highly respected superintendent within minutes of the official beginning of their term. The local hospital now has a number of vaccine questioning members on their board.
How is the Supreme Ct able to openly support beliefs of mainstream faith in their rulings when I thought the Constitution was clear on separation of church and state?
How to undo all the harm from industry monopolies (e.g. Cable, Cell, Healthcare) and Private Equity ownership that raid companies to the detriment of consumers in ways most don't understand like grocery store prices? Citizens United must be reversed as some of the wealthy who don't believe in our Constitution will destroy our country under the cover of 'capitalism'. I want capitalism but we are evolving to something like the 1920s just before the Great Depression.
Thank you for the work you do Judd.
All I can think about right now is the Supreme Court. It’s terrifying that I’m counting on Kavenaugh to save our Nation.
Judd, I feel appreciative, as do others here, of the work you do; seeking out & drilling down to the real stories behind the stories.
Here's one possible topic for you. As a person who's now retired and on the cusp of
"elderly," the overall national disgrace that is what I'd call, the warehousing of many of our elderly citizens, who can no longer either reside on their own or be taken care of by their aging children. There are two factors here in play, I think. There are some federal laws in place regarding the operation of these facilities, but also state laws that govern facilities. Regulations appear to vary by state & depending on what the facilities call themselves. " Assisted living" vs nursing facilities, rehab facilities ( which some appear to provide dual functions as nursing homes as well). Another component of this is educational requirements by state for these various facility types. Some states require next to nothing regards to those providing daily care in certain types of facilities, terms of education. It can be whatever " on the job training " you receive while there, scant as it may be. No special certification required. (And I am aware that if staffing issues ( and poor pay/ conditions & limited staff on the floor) were at risk before covid, it's probably far worse now, albeit pay may have increased slightly.
But then that takes us to ownership of these facilities. It would appear that many of these facilities, where some might have been run by families or companies specializing in elder care, of late, there seems to be more of a trend towards hedge funds & real estate investment companies, picking up these facilities to add to their portfolios. As you can imagine with investment firms, bottom line profitability is their mantra & how their "investments" reach that may be questionable; especially in the care, feeding & staffing for some of our most vulnerable citizens.
This is probably more personal for me & my sister, as recently we lost our mother, who passed away in such a facility after being there about 3 months. She'd been in 2 rehabs prior to that, originally for a mild stroke & after a brief hospital stay, then broke her foot the last day in the 1st rehab, in an attempt to get out of bed at night, because no staff came to assist after calling for over an hour. We moved her from there to another rehab (for the recovery of the foot injury) at a rural hospital 60 miles away, us switching off making the trek every other day. It goes on from there to assisted living. But it's certainly been an eye opener for us & a cautionary tale. I'm certain many others have similar concerns. Just a thought.. Thank you.
Please investigate the bipartisan ecological fraud of putting ethanol in gasoline. Currently at 10%, there is a movement to raise it to 15%. The fact is more energy is required to produce a gallon of ethanol than it contains. So every gallon on ethanol requires more hydrocarbons be burned than would other be the case. Ethanol use increases global warming while creating terrible environmental problems of its own like continuing to empty the aquafers underlying the corn belt. Democrats in IL join with Republicans in IO to support this terrible policy at a high cost to the environment and taxpayers.
The fees that cable companies tack on for universal service that aren't used to supply universal service. More generally, all the fake fees that are nothing more than price gouging.
For enough years to draw a pension, I worked in a state retirement system that is a windfall state. I worked more years paying into Social Security, but still, my benefits are cut in half due to drawing the windfall state's pension. In my opinion, the windfall factor is unfair to retirees who have worked under both systems. Yearly, I write to my elected officials and I see no movement in doing away with this abomination. There are many of us affected by this antiquated law.
The fact that big food and oil companies are making record profits at a much greater growth rate than wages surely indicates excess profits is a major part of inflation. Investigate?
Thank you, Judd, for also highlighting the Kroger acquisition of Albertsons/Safeway. It's a big deal in the Washington State. Corporate accountability still tops my list because it relates to so many issues. And thank you for the work you do disrupting these narratives -- that to me is most helpful whether it's climate policy manipulation, willful inflation (aka elasticity), corporate dark money, etc.
The ghost candidates in Florida and their connections to the Joel Greenberg, Matt Gaetz and Ron DeSantis axis.
I know this is probably a hopeless issue, but I go crazy with anger when I hear the dollars spent on politics - on ads, on campaigns, on buying political positions. GETTING MONEY OUT OF POLITICS would be huge!! Think of all the good that could be done in the world with those dollars, especially when we have seen the middle class get smaller, we see poverty increase, homelessness increase...is there some way of slamming the public with these figures till enough people notice that it would spur some changes? Thanks Judd, lfor all you do!
Just keep going Judd. Thank you for a great job exposing corporate corruption. I'm delighted to be a paid subscriber. Hope this inspires others to do that too.
Biden needs to get train workers sick days. I understand the need to settle, but it’s not our values.
Here's a grim thought. Three powerful addictions pushing us toward climate suicide. Our energy system's addiction to fossil fuels. Our economic system's addiction to Enrichment Extremism. Our political system's addiction to Propaganda (rather than a commitment to evidence-based reasoning.) Addictions require Interventions. But without an appropriate intervention, these three addictions won't let us shake our carbon fuel addiction and we'll end up with an unlivable climate. The corporations Judd covers so well are plainly at the heart of this addiction dynamic. Steve Johnson.
In my activism to reform and regulate internet platforms, I have come across blatant corruption.
Schumer has one daughter at Meta, another at Amazon. He prevents nearly every tech reform bill from coming to a vote. Coincidence?
Zoe Lofgren, one of Speaker Pelosi’s key lieutenants, has a daughter who works at Google. Lofgren has prevented nearly every tech reform bill from coming to a vote. Coincidence?
The husband of FTC commissioner Rebecca Slaughter is a lobbyist for the crypto industry, so she has to recuse from any crypto related case. Result is there is no majority to act.
Don’t even start me on the revolving door from Silicon Valley to the White House and the way that hamstrings the FTC and DOJ.
I would bet anything that this is kind of corruption is not limited to technology.
After reading many comments written here, all of which I was so glad to hear about all legitimate and welcomed concerns, I would love to have you start from the bottom up on Kindler’s comment about deluge of spam and fraud that we all deal with everyday on all media! That plainly affects every single person daily, tapping into a familiarly and gnawingly irritant for everyone. Then alternate to the very top, ie Supreme Court, Federalist Society, Christian nationalists, etc and their invasive encroachment upon our laws and politicians, closed eyes to separation of church and state. Somehow I would love to show a thread between bottom to top issues and how people are slowly but intentionally being manipulated every day. Preying animals start off slow but with intention! You do such a great job with your investigating and reporting. Thank you, Judd!
Judd you are awesome! How about a look at the Council on National Policy. CNP. Ginni Thomas’s connections there. Also the role of the Flynn brothers in waging a war against democracy. Mike Flynn’s digital soldiers are at the ready. They are unhinged. And unfortunately...we’ll armed. Thank you!!
I want a follow up on those companies that broke their donation pledges before midterms because they expected to have to work with a Republican congress. They compromised their values based on polling and consultants, and they got no political power because it was a bad bet. Will they return to principles or continue to break their pledges now that they already opened the floodgates?
The majority of the Supreme Court are members of a group called Opus Dei which is a cult in the Catholic Church founded in 1933 is Spain.It is a far right group that supported franco, hitler and Mussolini. John Paul II and Benedict w. ere members. John Paul !! bypassed the rules for canonization to sainthood and made the founder, Josemarie Escrive, a saint in 2002. The Court members are also members of the Federalist Society which is headed by Leonard Leo who is also Opus Dei. William Barr was the head of the Opus Dei information office in DC before trump appointed him AG.
There is an organization called the Institute for Religion and Democracy (IRD) that is at the heart of a movement to split mainline protestant denominations using the wedge issues of abortion and homosexuality as well as the ordination of women.. They have been successful in splitting the Episcopal, Methodist, United Church of Christ, and Presbyterians. It was founded by former CIA that had been in Central America and found that many of the missionaries had embraced the cause of rebel groups with what was called "liberation theology." Members of Opus Dei are on the Board along with Protestant fundamentalists. The idea is that nothing progressive ever happened in the US without support of the mainline denominations. The idea of the split is to neutralize pastors in the pulpit, control the missions and seize the pension funds. Chip Berlet, of Political Research Associates
and others have researched the topic and produced books and movies. There is a full discussion in the Sara Diamond book,Roads to Dominion: Right-Wing Movements and Political Power in the United States.
There is something called an ordinate created by Benedict IV that creates a special place in the Catholic Church for converts, especially from the Episcopal Church. Many , like Newt Gingrich are associated with this group which has an overlap with the Opus Dei cult. There is also a strong overlap with the National Planning Council which is a right wing version of the Council on Foreign Affairs and is part of a parallel set of organizations that includes groups like the Heritage Foundation, the Philanthropic Round Table which is the conduit for money from right wing foundations that fund this network.
As for the Supreme Court, Sheldon Whitehouse has done in depth analysis of how the Court has been captured and virtually bought by the right.
Judd I appreciate your reporting on corporate contributions to election deniers.
Have you read Wendy Brown on what neoliberalism has done to our souls, our consciousness, undermining real democracy? Or Shoshana Zuboff on surveillance capitalism? Or INFLAMED by Marya and Patel? Daniela Gabor on the Wall Street Consensus? These are the biggest issues of our time, and there's a juicy field of corporate greenwashing that would benefit from your reporting skills.
How is it a President can lawfully order a union to accept a contract but can't do the same with industry?
All I can think about right now is the Supreme Court. It’s terrifying that I’m hoping that Kavenaugh can save out Nation.
AT&T Illinois and the Madigan scandal. The contract the state has with FirstNet (First Responders Network managed by AT&T) should be called into question given the history of bribery.
Most Americans probably didn't have Fuentes on their radar. Unless I missed it, I haven't seen any major media dig into his origins. Who are his parents? Where raised? Was he an altar boy? How does he make his money? Is he a paid provocateur? Any threads to NRA and Russian networks? Rising white Catholic/Christian fascism is a global phenomenon. I want to know much more when the media puts up those 5 second clips of Fuentes on TV and the Internet.
I've lately been deeply concerned about the impacts of the pandemic on kids and education. We keep seeing terrible headlines (and stories from teachers) about how kids are behind on learning and social milestones, how test scores are down, etc etc. It seems like we have a lost generation on our hands and NOBODY is stepping up with a plan to manage this or help correct it. Who is dropping this ball and how do we hold them to account? A generation of young people with dramatically reduced educational outcomes and socialization seems like a major problem to me!
The housing rental crisis. It is getting worse, not better. Companies are buying up homes and apt blogs, then raising the rents. They are requiring non-refundable application fees BEFORE you can even see the apt. Or the new gimmick is a "non-refundable bond", instead of a security deposit. Pretending they are doing you a favor by not requiring a security deposit! These companies are literally stealing money. One apt available and 100 or more people pay a fee. It's a cruel, disturbing racket that is creating hardship on people who are already struggling to survive.
Judd, loved your story on the breaks companies are getting in R&D spending. I work for a big company that recently announced an unprecedented increase in research spending for next year. I figured there had to be something to it, since R&D is viewed as a notorious drain on profit. I've shared this story with many colleagues. Keep up the great work!
I'd love some work on corruption/harm to customers in the credit card industry. It seems to be widespread but I can find very little information on it.
DeSantis also seems to always land on his feet after egregious behaviour. After your column on his forcing immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard it seems that concerns went away. Same for Matt Gaetz and his alleged scandal with an underage girl. How are these people all made of Teflon?
Judd, your work to reveal corporate donations to politicians that are inconsistent with public statements about supporting civil rights for all is the most important work you do. I value it as I make choices about where to spend my money. Thank you for all you do!
I'm with WM on investigating AT&T. They received a huge grant from the government to bring internet
and WIFI to rural areas. They wanted me to pay $200.00 for a
hard wired hookup in my home
home and $80/ mos for the service,
in addition to what I already pay.
I don't think that's part of the plan
for the underserved. 3 miles down
down the road from me is underground cable for internet and
WIFI, but it's a private business
and you can't use their access.
They also bill for 5G and we only
only have 2G here.
We will not tolerate a slap on the wrist for all of TFG’s crimes. We hear such things as, The J6 committee will recommend lawsuit but cannot require it! WFT? A deadly coup attempt can take place without punishment. What the hell is really going on with this massive delay in justice?
Why will J6 participants be seated in Congress?! There is an option not to, why are these people accountable for high crimes?
We need to get the message out that Medicare Advantage IS NOT part of medicare. It is insurance that can ruin medicare. I know Ro Kanna is working on something. This is nothing short of a con job.
On the side, I just got a new tv. We have no choice for cable but Xfinity/Comcast fir my building. I do NOT want Fox tv showing on my screen EVER. I want the right to choose and eliminate.
Thank you Judd for your work on these topics I just wish there was a site or newsletter that concentrates on any and all good that’s happening in our otherwise awful world that keeps finding all the wrong in the world. I’m so tired of everything being corrupt, complicated to the point of no resolution and the constant regurgitation of negative information. Can’t we find the “right” in this world?
Investigate the way CVS has been trying to undermine traditional Medicare, please.
I grew up hearing no explanations, much less critical discussion, of the IMF and World Bank. As an adult it is still hard to find helpful information on how these institutions apply what Naomi Klein describes as economic 'shock therapy' to force democracies to cease public services and infrastructure in exchange for foreign investments (i.e. control of their governments and economies.) The reward for compliance is vast wealth for those in power, sometimes changing former freedom fighters, as in Mozambique, into oppressive billionaire elites. Those democracies which don't comply are gradually overthrown (Honduras 2009, Ukraine in 2014) or subjected to endless wars (Yemen) which then serve as weapons-testing labs for the Big Five (Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman and General Dynamics.) (Mnemonic: B.R.L.N.G., reminds me of here, Burlington, Vermont.)
The other note in my book is the need for a simple concept for climate change: the Earth is positioned between Mars (freezing, farther from the sun) and Venus (boiling hot, closer to the sun.) The effect of fossil fuels is to nudge the earth (figuratively) closer to the sun, beginning to be more like Venus.
Thanks for this periodic time to reflect, Judd!
I would like investigative reporting into Senior Living Facilities to determine how successful or not at the various levels of care that they offer. Also, how are they regulated to protect seniors and what is their rate of satisfactorily providing the services they offer. What recourse is there to have them investigated by city, county and/or state agencies? Thank you.
Everything that is being done to tamp down inflation is aimed at hurting the American consumer without any consequences for corporations that are raking in their highest profits in 72 years. This deserves a thorough investigation with special attention to the effect of consolidation of specific industries (food/agriculture, energy, media, etc.) on pricing power and the effect of virtually unlimited corporate campaign contributions to election campaigns at every level.
The media has missed the key issue justifying college student loan forgiveness. Students over the last 30 years have paid double of more the share of the cost of their education than older graduates because states withdrew their support and federal aid programs stagnated. By forgiving the massive loans we are simply fulfilling obligations we reneged on: a way for the society to gain forgiveness for past sins. A piece documenting these trends/ facts would be useful. I have that data. ps am giving gift subscriptions for the holidays but holding because I don’t want them to get their notifications until “the day”.
Judd you’re a rebel and I love it
Hi Judd. I would be interested on your take on Fox and carriage fees, specifically why this is allowed as Fox appears to be a specialized entity that some people greatly value and some people do not, much like HBO or any of those other specialty channels that fans of them have to pay for. Thanks and keep up the good work.
How much money did Eiger give the Republican Party to get Disney’s preferred tax status back
As consumers we need regulations, which businesses fight against, to protect us from corporations poisoning us, our environment, selling us dangerous products, and selling us things that don't work properly; Lemon laws. As workers, we need regulations, which businesses also fight against, to protect us from egregious abuse, forcing us to work in unsafe environments, and ensuring fair wages.
Corporations are predators and we're their prey. Why do we continue to allow their existence?