Banks Hiding Debt, Vatican Equates Pedophilia With Women as Priests, Drug Co. Hid Data
Revealing News Articles
July 19, 2010
Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on the Vatican's new rules which equate pedophilia by priests with ordination of women, Bank of America's admission that it hid debt in falsified quarterly reports, drug company SmithKline's hiding of data showing one of its drugs causes heart problems, and more. Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails to function, click here. The most important sentences are highlighted for those with limited time. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
Special note: For info on a most unusual company developing radical new energy technology with former head of the CIA WillIam Webster involved, click here. And to read the remarkable admission of a top NASA director that questions what plane crashed into the WTC on 9/11, click here. For Business Insider's "15 Appalling Facts About Wealth and Inequality in America", click here.
Vatican Revises Abuse Process, but Causes Stir
July 16, 2010, New York Times
The Vatican issued revisions to its internal laws on [July 15] making it easier to discipline sex-abuser priests, but caused confusion by also stating that ordaining women as priests was as grave an offense as pedophilia. The decision to link the issues appears to reflect the determination of embattled Vatican leaders to resist any suggestion that pedophilia within the priesthood can be addressed by ending the celibacy requirement or by allowing women to become priests. The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the changes showed the church's commitment to tackling child sexual abuse with "rigor and transparency." Those measures fell short of the hopes of many advocates for victims of priestly abuse, who dismissed them as "tweaking" rather than a bold overhaul. The new rules do not, for example, hold bishops accountable for abuse by priests on their watch, nor do they require them to report sexual abuse to civil authorities. But what astonished many Catholics was the inclusion of the attempt to ordain women in a list of the "more grave delicts," or offenses, which included pedophilia, as well as heresy, apostasy and schism. The issue, some critics said, was less the ordination of women, which is not discussed seriously inside the church hierarchy, but the Vatican's suggestion that pedophilia is a comparable crime in a document billed a response to the sexual abuse crisis.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on the secrecy of powerful institutions, click here.
BofA Admits Hiding Debt
July 10, 2010, Wall Street Journal
Bank of America Corp. admitted to making six transactions that incorrectly hid from view billions of dollars of debt. The disclosure, made in a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission, comes as the agency prepares to unveil the results of an inquiry into banks' accounting for borrowing deals known as repurchase agreements, or "repos." BofA's letter was sent in April in response to the inquiry, but this is the first time the details of the six trades in question have been disclosed. The bank had acknowledged in its last quarterly report that its accounting for the transactions, made at the ends of quarters from 2007 to 2009, was incorrect. The bank's disclosure also suggests the trades may be an example of end-of-quarter "window dressing" on Wall Street, in which banks temporarily shed debt just before reporting their finances to the public. The practice ... suggests the banks are carrying more risk most of the time than their investors or customers can easily see, and then juggling it during quarter-end reporting of financials.
Note: For key reports on many deceptive strategies used by banks and other Wall Street corporations, click here.
Diabetes Drug Maker Hid Test Data, Files Indicate
July 13, 2010, New York Times
In the fall of 1999, the drug giant SmithKline Beecham secretly began a study to find out if its diabetes medicine, Avandia, was safer for the heart than a competing pill, Actos, made by Takeda. Avandia's success was crucial to SmithKline, whose labs were otherwise all but barren of new products. But the study's results, completed that same year, were disastrous. Not only was Avandia no better than Actos, but the study also provided clear signs that it was riskier to the heart. But instead of publishing the results, the company spent the next 11 years trying to cover them up, according to documents recently obtained by The New York Times. The company did not post the results on its Web site or submit them to federal drug regulators, as is required in most cases by law. The heart risks from Avandia first became public in May 2007, with a study from a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic who used data the company was forced by a lawsuit to post on its own Web site. In the ensuing months, GlaxoSmithKline officials conceded that they had known of the drug's potential heart attack risks since at least 2005. But the latest documents demonstrate that the company had data hinting at Avandia's extensive heart problems almost as soon as the drug was introduced in 1999, and sought intensively to keep those risks from becoming public.
Note: For lots more on corporate corruption from major media sources, click here.
UFO in China's Skies Prompts Investigation
July 14, 2010, ABC News
An unidentified flying object forced Xiaoshan Airport in Hangzhou, China to cease operations on July 7. A flight crew preparing for descent first detected the object around 8:40 p.m. and notified the air traffic control department. Aviation authorities responded within minutes, grounding outbound flights and diverting inbound ones. Eighteen flights were affected. Though normal operations resumed an hour later, the incident captured the attention of the Chinese media and sparked a firestorm of speculation on the UFO's identity. Fueling speculations further, Hangzhou residents released photos, taken in the afternoon before the delays, of a hovering object bathed in golden light and exhibiting a comet-like tail. Less than an hour before the Xiaoshan airport shut down, residents said they also saw a flying object emitting red and white rays of light. The Hangzhou incident comes after a string of recent UFO sightings in China. On June 30, residents in Xinjiang province saw a flying object bathed in a fan of white light. Sightings have also been reported in Hunan, Shandong and Jiangsu provinces.
Note: For lots more on the reality of UFOs see our UFO Information Center.
Katrina Cover-Up: Cops May Face Death Penalty
July 14, 2010, ABC News/Associated Press
Four police officers, charged with shooting and killing two unarmed civilians on a bridge in the days after Hurricane Katrina, could face the death penalty. Those four officers and two others are accused of gunning down citizens and trying to cover it up. Five other former police officers have already pleaded guilty to helping cover up the killings, bringing the total to 11 charged so far. The entire New Orleans police department is under investigation, stemming from allegations of misconduct. Initially, police said they fired in self-defense. [On July 13] the Justice Department said that statement was based on a lie, and that the officers shot civilians without cause and planted a gun at the scene as part of an elaborate cover-up, which included creating fictional witnesses and falsifying police reports. Tuesday's charges come one month after five current or former New Orleans police officers were accused of fatally shooting 31-year-old resident Henry Glover, and then burning his body in a car to cover up the crime.
Note: For key reports on Hurricane Katrina and its amazing aftermath, click here.
State Supreme Court allows price-fixing suit
July 13, 2010, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
California retailers who accuse manufacturers of scheming to inflate prices scored a significant legal victory [on July 12] when the state Supreme Court allowed them to sue for triple damages despite their ability to pass higher charges along to customers. The court unanimously reinstated a price-fixing suit by a group of pharmacies that accused major drug companies of conspiring to overcharge purchasers by as much as 400 percent from 2000 to 2004. While denying the allegations, the companies also argued that pharmacists could avoid any damages by raising their own prices. Overturning lower-court rulings that dismissed the suit, the court said a "pass-on" defense - allowing manufacturers to avoid damages for illegal overcharges that could be passed on to consumers - is unavailable in California. Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar ... said enforcement of the law is promoted by allowing a retailer or wholesaler who buys directly from the manufacturer to seek damages - tripled under antitrust law - for overcharges caused by price-fixing. If such suits were prohibited, Werdegar said, overcharged retailers would have to choose between absorbing the losses or raising their prices and potentially losing sales. Such a ban might allow manufacturers to fix prices with impunity, Werdegar said, because individual consumers' losses might be too small to make a suit worthwhile.
Note: The ruling in Clayworth vs. Pfizer, S166435, can be viewed at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S166435.PDF.
Swiss Reject U.S. Request to Extradite Polanski
July 13, 2010, New York Times
Switzerland announced [on July 12] that it would not extradite [Roman] Polanski, a famous film director, to the United States in part because of fresh doubts over the conduct of the judge in his original trial. "He's a free man," the Swiss justice minister, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, said at a news conference on Monday. The French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, said he was "delighted" and deeply relieved by the ruling. Samantha Geimer, who at 13 was Mr. Polanski's victim in the original sex case, has long disclosed her identity and called to end the prosecution. The decision to free Mr. Polanski was a sharp defeat for prosecutors in Los Angeles. Steve Cooley, the Los Angeles County district attorney, is the Republican candidate for state attorney general. The turning point in the case occurred in mid-March, when Mr. Polanski's lawyers disclosed in an appeals brief that Roger Gunson, a now-retired lawyer who originally prosecuted the case, had given sealed testimony describing a plan by Judge Laurence J. Rittenband, the original judge, to limit Mr. Polanski's sentence to a 90-day psychiatric evaluation, a portion of which Mr. Polanski had served during his 42 days in Chino State Prison. Mr. Gunson, who gave the testimony in January, also described his own reservations about the handling of the case by Judge Rittenband, who is now deceased.
Note: For an analysis of this decision by the Swiss government, click here.
After recession, middle and working classes lose ground
July 13, 2010, Christian Science Monitor
Missing from almost all discussion of America's dizzying rate of unemployment is the brute fact that hourly wages of people with jobs have been dropping, adjusted for inflation. Average weekly earnings rose a bit this spring only because the typical worker put in more hours, but June's decline in average hours pushed weekly paychecks down at an annualized rate of 4.5 percent. In other words, Americans are keeping their jobs or finding new ones only by accepting lower wages. Meanwhile, a much smaller group of Americans' earnings are back in the stratosphere: Wall Street traders and executives, hedge-fund and private-equity fund managers, and top corporate executives. As hiring has picked up on the Street, fat salaries are reappearing. We're back to the same ominous trend as before the Great Recession: a larger and larger share of total income going to the very top while the vast middle class continues to lose ground. And as long as this trend continues, we can't get out of the shadow of the Great Recession. When most of the gains from economic growth go to a small sliver of Americans at the top, the rest don't have enough purchasing power to buy what the economy is capable of producing.
Note: The author of this analysis, Robert Reich, is a former U.S. Secretary of Labor. For highly informative graphs showing the details of rising wealth inequality in the United States, click here.
General who said it was 'fun to shoot people' takes over US Central Command
July 8, 2010, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
A senior US general once criticised for saying it was "fun to shoot some people" has been picked to take over US Central Command, leading the military command running the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. General James Mattis, the current head of the US Joint Forces Command ... previously led troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Centcom ... covers 20 countries and stretches from Egypt across the Middle East and into south and central Asia. Gen Mattis was reprimanded [in 2005] by the Marine Corps for telling a conference in San Diego, California: "It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right up front with you, I like brawling." During a discussion panel he said: "You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."
Note: For reports from reliable sources which reveal the realities of the US wars of aggression in the Middle East and Central Asia, click here.
For this club, life begins at 50 (%)
July 29, 2007, Boston Globe
When David Ludlow's wife died in a climbing accident 11 years ago, her death transformed him into a multimillionaire: He inherited Vanda Sendzimir's share of her family fortune, a $5 million trust that generates an annual interest of about $300,000. Then a freelance photographer with a passion for social justice issues, the Jamaica Plain man was plunged into a swirl of shock, guilt, and confusion. "I've always been very left-wing politically and all of a sudden I was living incredible inequality," said Ludlow, 64. "Suddenly I was in the upper 1 percent of the population in terms of wealth, and I felt terrible about that for a long time." So he did something radical, and something that many people might consider insane: He decided to give away half his annual income. In doing so, Ludlow joined a small, unusual, and growing community: The 50% League, an Arlington-based group of people who contribute at least half their income, business profits, or net worth to charity. Members from across the country have been welcomed into an elite circle of givers and asked to share their stories publicly, even if anonymously, to inspire other givers. "I feel incredibly privileged, and I still feel guilty about that," said Ludlow, who has used much of the money he inherited from his late wife ... to fund grass-roots groups led by low-income people of color. "But it's given me tremendous meaning in my life to give as much as I can away."
Note: The wonderful man featured in this article, David Ludlow, has been a major supporter of our work at PEERS. He is a powerful example of how one inspired individual can make a big difference in the world. Let us all do our best to use our money in support of personal and global transformation to the best of our ability. We also invite you to make a difference by donating to support our empowering work at http://www.peerservice.org/donations. For an inspiring media clip about David and this great organization, click here.
Key Articles From Years Past
World's richest 1% own 40% of all wealth, UN report discovers
December 6, 2006, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
The richest 1% of adults in the world own 40% of the planet's wealth, according to the largest study yet of wealth distribution. The report also finds that those in financial services and the internet sectors predominate among the super rich. Europe, the US and some Asia Pacific nations account for most of the extremely wealthy. More than a third live in the US. Japan accounts for 27% of the total, the UK for 6% and France for 5%. The global study - from the World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations - is the first to chart wealth distribution in every country as opposed to just income, for which more comprehensive date is available. It included all the most significant components of household wealth, including financial assets and debts, land, buildings and other tangible property. Together these total $125 trillion globally. The report found the richest 10% of adults accounted for 85% of the world total of global assets. Half the world's adult population, however, owned barely 1% of global wealth. "These levels of inequality are grotesque," said Duncan Green, head of research at Oxfam. "It is impossible to justify such vast wealth when 800 million people go to bed hungry every night."
Note: For highly informative graphs showing the details of rising wealth inequality in the United States, click here.
Tesla: The Missing Papers
April, 2004, PBS
One of the more controversial topics involving Nikola Tesla is what became of many of his technical and scientific papers after he died in 1943. Just before his death at the height of World War II, he claimed that he had perfected his so-called "death beam." So it was natural that the FBI and other U.S. Government agencies would be interested in any scientific ideas involving weaponry. The morning after the inventor's death, his nephew Sava Kosanovic hurried to his uncle's room at the Hotel New Yorker. By the time he arrived, Tesla's body had already been removed, and Kosanovic suspected that someone had already gone through his uncle's effects. Technical papers were missing as well as a black notebook he knew Tesla kept – a notebook with several hundred pages, some of which were marked "Government." Just after World War II, there was a renewed interest in beam weapons. Copies of Tesla's papers on particle beam weaponry were sent to Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. An operation code-named "Project Nick" was heavily funded and placed under the command of Brigadier General L. C. Craigie to test the feasibility of Tesla's concept. Details of the experiments were never published, and the project was apparently discontinued. But something peculiar happened. The copies of Tesla's papers disappeared and nobody knows what happened to them.
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