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#CancelMyDebt Trends On Twitter As Debtors Urge Student Loan Default

Twitter erupts with #CancelMyDebt sentiments after Sen. Elizabeth Warren asked netizens to share their student loan stories. Click To Tweet

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Twitter erupts with #CancelMyDebt sentiments after Sen. Elizabeth Warren asked netizens to share their student loan stories.
Approximately, there are 45 million Americans who have outstanding student loan. Photo: mancaalberto | CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

#CancelMyDebt trends on Twitter as emotional student loan debtors took to the popular micro-blogging website their frustrations on the debts they are still paying and urged the government to pay off their student loans.

Twitter erupts with poignant posts of Americans paying off their student loans and how their debts affected their lives following their graduation. The angered netizens expressed their opinions on the tax plan that granted America’s 1% with a $1.5 trillion tax cuts while the government turns blind eyes over the student loan problem that the youth has been facing.

The apparent hashtag came after U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren encouraged students and graduates to share their stories using the #CancelMyVote hashtag to support her plan to cancel student loan debts of 95% of Americans currently paying for it. Warren’s policy to cover the student loan repayment from an additional tax on top of the top 0.1%.

“I paid off my student loans after 10 years, but it took me getting a six-figure book deal to do it. Folks shouldn’t have to hope for the equivalent of winning the lottery to have a future. #CancelMyDebt” wrote @nkjemisin on Twitter.

President Donald Trump signed the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” into law on December 2017 and have brought significant tax reforms. “For the wealthy, banks and other corporations, the tax reform package can be considered a lopsided victory given its significant and permanent tax cuts to corporate profits, investment income, estate tax, and more. Financial services companies stand to see huge gains based on the new, lower corporate rate (21%) as well as preferential tax treatment of pass-through companies. Some banks have said that their effective tax rate will drop under 21%.,” Investopedia explained.

As the current tax plan consistently accommodates the rich, student loan debtors remain in limbo as the increasing interest rates and the piling debt are crippling their financial presents and even their futures. Student loans are a form of financial aid used to help students access higher education. Student loan debt in the United States has been snowballing since 2006, rising to nearly $1.56 trillion by 2019. Shockingly, the entire total loan debt of American equals 7.5% of the country’s GDP.

There are approximately 45 million Americans who have an outstanding student loan of $37,172 on average at the time of graduation. On top of that, student loan also appears not to be evenly distributed and is disproportionately concentrated on the for-profit college sector.

Now, student loan debtors are calling for the government to default their debts. They argue that as the outstanding student loan debt totals 1.5 trillion and the tax cut equals the same, the government can afford to pay off all of student loan debts.

People tweeting #CancelMyDebt clarifies, however, that they are not asking for a loan default because they did not owe anything. They said that call was intended for the government to take actions to destroy the systems that allow student loan companies to exploit people with dreams.

“My reality is paying $1200 a month for my student debt ALONE and working 7 days a week over 4 different jobs. I’m not asking for a “hand out,” I’m asking that we as a country address the insane cost those who are not wealthy have to pay to get higher education #CancelMyDebt,” said @steeltoejilly on a Twitter post.

Another Twitter user also chimed in saying that interest hikes have ballooned her student loan debt even if she’s paying them religiously. “I have four jobs in the education field right now. I graduated in 2005 with $100,000 in student loans. After a decade of payments, undergrad debt is over $200,000 bc of interest rates. I can’t lease a car to get to work, so I walk. I don’t own a bed. #cancelmydebt.”

However, sentiments are polarized. A huge chunk of posts bearing the hashtag talks about their disagreement to Warren’s plans. Most of them argued that student loans are student’s decisions, and the government should not be burdened to pay for their obligations.

“#CancelMyDebt? Uh, no. Nobody forced you to take out student loans. Nobody forced you to major in something that won’t land you a good job. Nobody else is responsible for your debt. It’s your debt; it’s your responsibility.” Joe Walsh tweeted Wednesday.

Kurt Schlichter, a veteran, chimed in saying that Americans can serve in the military and reap the benefits of GI Bill as he did. “Well, you could have served your country and earned GI Bill benefits like I did. But you didn’t. So I’m kind of unclear why you think I owe you anything.#CancelMyDebt? Nah. How about you #PayYourOwnDebt?” /apr

A consumer tech and cybersecurity journalist who does content marketing while daydreaming about having unlimited coffee for life and getting a pet llama.

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Pope Tells Oil Execs: The World Needs A “Radical Energy Transition”

The Pope urged oil executives to heed warnings caused by global warming and take concrete actions to prevent devastating effects Click To Tweet

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Photo by Ashwin Vaswani on Unsplash

Pope Francis has declared a global “climate emergency” and preach to oil companies executives, pointing out that specific measures are needed to alleviate the problem with rising global temperatures. “The climate crisis requires our decisive action, here and now and the Church is fully committed to playing her part.”

“Time is running out!” Francis said. “Deliberations must go beyond mere exploration of what can be done, and concentrate on what needs to be done. We do not have the luxury of waiting for others to step forward, or of prioritizing short-term economic benefits.”

This is the second year that oil executives have gathered in Rome at the invitation of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Integral Human Development and Notre Dame University’s Mendoza College of Business. The theme of this year’s meeting is “The Energy Transition and Care for our Common Home.”

Attendees of the said event were the CEOs of Royal Dutch Shell, Eni, BP, Repsol, Conoco Phillips, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and executives of investment funds.

The Pope took the opportunity to urge oil executives to find solutions to address the rapidly rising global temperatures. “Faced with a climate emergency, we must take action accordingly, in order to avoid [perpetuating] a brutal act of injustice towards the poor and future generations,” he said. “We must take responsible actions bearing in mind their impact in the short and in the long term,” the Pope added.

Particularly, Pope Francis called for “open, transparent, science-based and standardized” reporting of climate risk and a “radical energy transition.” Furthermore, Francis encouraged the idea of carbon pricing.

“Such a transition involves managing the social and employment impact of the move to a low-carbon society,” Francis said. “If managed well, this transition can generate new jobs, reduce inequality and improve the quality of life for those affected by climate change.”

Carbon pricing is a way for governments to encourage innovations in low-carbon technology by implementing higher taxes or emissions trading schemes. It directly applies the costs of using fossil fuels that cause global warming to consumers. The signatories called for a “combination of policies and carbon pricing mechanisms … designed in a way that simultaneously delivers innovation and investment in low-carbon solutions while assisting those least able to pay”.

The Pope also emphasized the 1.5C limit on temperature from a United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report—noting that the world has a decade or so to bring greenhouse gases under control or otherwise let the world face devastating effects such as droughts, floods, heatwaves and damage to agriculture.

However, with the Vatican’s active campaign for climate change action, it has faced criticism and clashing with leaders like U.S. President Donald Trump who doubts the validity of global warming and rejects the idea that the problem is solely due to human activity.

Last year, Trump rejected projections that were outlined in a report by his own government and that projected climate change will cause severe economic harm to the US economy.

Trump also announced his intent for the US to withdraw from the Paris deal, making it the first country to do so among 200 signatories.

By the end of the 2-day event, oil companies made pledges to take action to resolve the global crisis. However, there were no specific conversations on set dates nor concrete plans to achieve a solution.

The Guardian reports that the oil companies’ pledges did not go far enough, as Mel Evans, climate campaigner for Greenpeace UK said, “The oil majors knew all about the risk from climate change many years before most of us first heard about it. They knew where we were heading, they knew their products were the cause, and yet they kept it quiet and lobbied for business as usual. Moreover, “they’re still lobbying for business as usual. When it comes to saving the planet they will do what they are forced to do, and no more, which is why we’re having to block them from drilling new oil wells as we speak. Expecting leadership from them is a path to certain disaster.”

The Pope concluded by saying, as “human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start.”

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New York Moves To Rule Out Religious Exemption For Vaccines

New York will no longer allow parents to cite religious beliefs to opt out their children for measles vaccines Click To Tweet

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In the face of the worst measles outbreak in the country within the past 25 years, New York has decided to make necessary immunizations in schoolchildren, citing that religious exemption to vaccinizations can no longer be accepted.

In the past, legislation has allowed parents to reason against vaccines due to religious reasons. They have cited that it is their religious freedom to opt out of the science-based system in exchange for their beliefs.

The decision was made Thursday with a Democrat-led Senate and Assembly. The decision has made all schoolchildren take the first round of immunization shots—for those who have opted out—as a requirement before enrollment.

Furthermore, schoolchildren wishing to enroll in the upcoming school year are given up to 30 days to complete the first dose of each required immunization.

The newly-signed measure was met with mixed reactions from the hundreds of people who flocked the streets of New York. Some expressed that it was about time that the government had taken legislative action towards addressing the measles outbreak given that the problem is spiraling out of control. Moreover, some cited that religious beliefs have been used as a counter-action to opt out from vaccinations, which are due to rampant misinformation regarding the vaccine to cause other side effects.

Meanwhile, anti-vaxxers have complained against the measure citing that their religious freedom is being taken away by the vague impression that public health is in a state of fear due to measles.

New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat who signed the measure told reporters that he believes public health — and the need to protect those who cannot get vaccinated because for medical reasons — outweighs the concerns about religious freedom.

“I understand freedom of religion,” he said. “I have heard the anti-vaxxers’ theory, but I believe both are overwhelmed by the public health risk.”

Bronx Democrat Jeffrey Dinowitz, the bill’s Assembly sponsor added, “I’m not aware of anything in the Torah, the Bible, the Koran or anything else that suggests you should not get vaccinated.” Moreover, “If you choose to not vaccinate your child, therefore potentially endangering other children … then you’re the one choosing not to send your children to school.”

On the other hand, New York is not completely absolving reasons to opt out of vaccinations. Particularly, the government will still allow children to skip taking the required shots for reasons citing medical concerns (some people are medically compromised and cannot take vaccines or immunizations due to risks from detrimental side effects.) These people can be those with compromised immune systems such as HIV or those who are allergic to said medications, to name a few.

Recently, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported an alarmingly increasing number of measles cases in the United States — gaining the highest incidence for the past 25 years.

Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported about 971 cases of measles in 26 states in the US from January 1 to May 30 of this year — threatening the nation’s elimination status.

The report also indicated that the spike in measles outbreaks was centered in hotspots such as Washington and New York. Also, since the disease is common among children, most of the cases reported are from unvaccinated school-age children.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told BBC that “If these outbreaks continue through summer and fall, the United States may lose its measles elimination status. That loss would be a huge blow for the nation and erase the hard work done by all levels of public health.”

The issue is also magnified with misinformation that is being widely spread against the measles vaccine—which prompted Facebook to finally take action and try to mitigate false information that is widespread across its platform.

“These Groups and Pages will not be included in recommendations or predictions when you type into Search,” Monika Bickert, Facebook’s vice president of global policy management, said in a statement. She added that when ads that include misinformation about vaccinations are found, “we will reject them.”

With New York’s move, similar exemptions are still allowed in 45 states, though lawmakers in several of them have introduced their own legislation to eliminate the waiver.

California removed personal belief vaccine exemptions for children in both public and private schools in 2015. Maine ended its religious exemption earlier this year. Mississippi and West Virginia also do not allow religious exemptions.

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13 Police Officers Sue San Francisco For Racial and Gender Discrimination

Police officers from San Francisco are suing the state for implementing a system that discriminates white people against promotions Click To Tweet

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Photo by Matt Popovich on Unsplash

Twelve white police officers and a white lesbian former police officer are suing the state of San Francisco for cases involving gender and racial discrimination against white police officers applying for promotions. The argument is led by a lieutenant whose similar suit 16 years ago netted a $1.6 million settlement.

The case is alleging that the current selection process is discriminatory against white police officers. Specifically, it is accusing the test-scoring and “banding” method of the San Francisco police force to determine eligible applicants for promotion.

All thirteen officers are alleging that they were denied opportunities for promotions due to the current system unfairly favoring minorities such as people of color, women, and other minorities.

The lawsuit reported Wednesday was filed Tuesday at a federal court accusing the city of San Francisco, the Police Department, the Police Commission, Mayor London Breed, former Mayor Mark Farrell, Police Chief Bill Scott, and former Chief Greg Suhr.

The lead plaintiff, Lt. Ric Schiff is leveraging the latest discrimination case against San Francisco with a 2003 lawsuit that he also led in behalf of twelve sergeants who accused the police force of discriminating in favor of black candidates for lieutenant. Schiff was denied a promotion to captain in support of women and minority candidates with lower scores, the suit said.

The 2003 lawsuit was settled by the city for $1.6 million, giving $200,000 to Schiff, who was later promoted to lieutenant. However, the city did not acknowledge any wrongdoing.

Historical Context

The 2019 case, which is seemingly rooted from white privilege, stands on the basis of a 1979 settlement over a racial discrimination suit filed by the Black Police Officer’s Association.

In 1973, a group called the Officers for Justice with almost all members were black, filed a lawsuit against the SFPD alleging that it has engaged in a pattern of employment discrimination based on race, sex, and national origin.

“As the suit dragged through the courts, it picked up support from the National Organization for Women, Chinese for Affirmative Action and the League of United Latin American Citizens. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People joined the quit soon after it was filed, and the United States Department of Justice filed a separate action, which was merged with the original suit for trial,” reported in a 1979 article from The New York Times.

Consent Decree settled the lawsuit—a litigation remedy past discrimination cases—in 1979 declaring that the then rules and selection criteria for employment at the SFPD were illegal which included written examinations, minimum height requirements, and the strength test.

Moreover, the 1979 ruling included provisions such as: “Promotion policies will be changed to facilitate [the] movement of minority members and women into command positions” and “in recruiting women and minority members, the city must take advice from organizations that represent them and must advertise in media directed at these recruits.”

As a result, “the court upheld banding as a psychometrically sound procedure and [is] valid as a matter of constitutional and federal law,” cited from Test-Score Banding in Human Resource Selection by Herman Aguinis.

Banding allowed the SFPD to employ and promote individuals by ‘banding’ or grouping promotional test results so that all candidates who scored within a specific range were treated the same, allowing them to be judged on other factors such as experience and language skills.

However, with the current provision emphasizing on the prioritization of applicants from minority groups has left an unfair advantage against white police officers.

Aguinis in his book notes on banding says that “cases typically involve plaintiffs who sue because they believe testing is unfair either to a minority group or individuals. On occasion, majority-group members sue because they do not see an attempt to reduce [the] adverse impact as fair to majority-group applicants. It is an anomaly that banding is proposed as an alternative selection procedure that benefits minority plaintiffs, but in some cases, minority-group members actually object to banding and view it as discriminatory.”

“The city — to this day — has a long-standing practice and custom of discriminating against white males in SFPD promotions to the rank of sergeant, lieutenant, and captain,” M. Greg Mullanax, the officers’ attorney said in the lawsuit.

Meanwhile, John Coté, a spokesman for City Attorney Dennis Herrera, said the Police Department “uses lawful, merit-based civil service examinations in making promotions.” The system, he said in a statement, is “designed to provide qualified individuals with the chance for advancement while ensuring fair treatment without regard to race, gender, religion, age or other status.”

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