Goldman Sachs Exec Quits in Disgust, Bill Gates Wrong on GM Crops, Doctors Admit to Lying
Revealing News Articles
March 20, 2012
Below are key excerpts of important news articles on a top Goldman Sachs executive who quit in disgust, Bill Gates being wrong on promoting GM Crops, doctors who admit to lying to patients, 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. And don't miss the "What you can do" box below the summaries. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
Special note: For an excellent article showing how Hollywood sometimes insidiously promotes fear and giving up rights to government, click here. For a powerful John Pilger report showing the incredible cruelty of the U.S. military in removing the entire population of 2,000 of the Chagos Islands (Diego Garcia) in order to build a billion-dollar military base, click here. For a great song about Joseph Kony written and sung by one of our subscribers, click here. For a webpage with many links to fascinating and unbelievable demonstrations of extraordinary human capabilities, click here. For a stunning, two-minute BBC clip of nature photography, click here.
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Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs
March 14, 2012, New York Times
Today is my last day at Goldman Sachs. Over the course of my career I have had the privilege of advising two of the largest hedge funds on the planet [and] five of the largest asset managers in the United States. My clients have a total asset base of more than a trillion dollars. After almost 12 years at the firm ... I believe I have worked here long enough to understand ... its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it. To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money. Today, if you make enough money for the firm (and are not currently an ax murderer) you will be promoted into a position of influence. What are three quick ways to become a leader? a) Execute on the firm's "axes," which is Goldman-speak for persuading your clients to invest in the stocks or other products that we are trying to get rid of because they are not seen as having a lot of potential profit. b) "Hunt Elephants." In English: get your clients -- some of whom are sophisticated, and some of whom aren't -- to trade whatever will bring the biggest profit to Goldman. c) Find yourself sitting in a seat where your job is to trade any illiquid, opaque product with a three-letter acronym. I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It's purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them.
Note: The author of this article, Greg Smith, was a Goldman Sachs executive director and head of the firm's United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. For an excellent compilation of news articles and government documents showing the huge risk of the derivatives bubble being manipulate by Goldman Sachs and others, click here.
Megabanks growing even more dominant
September 8, 2011, MSNBC
The American banking sector apparently is going to be vastly different when it finally emerges from the financial crisis that took hold more than three years ago. It is going to be significantly smaller, and the domination of a relative handful of behemoth institutions is going to increase. At the end of June, there were 7,522 commercial banks, down from 8,542 on Dec. 31, 2007. That is a decline of nearly 12 percent in just three and a half years. Of the more than 1,000 banks that disappeared, about 370 failed. But the rest of the decrease came through mergers and acquisitions as a decades-long pattern of consolidation continued. Most banks in the United States still are fairly small. The median size of a bank at the end of June, according to an analysis of statistics from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was about $155 million in assets. That's about an 18 percent increase since the end of 2007. But those numbers seriously skew the nature of the industry. Of the more than $13.6 trillion in assets held by banks at the end of June, nearly $9.4 trillion is in the hands of just 37 institutions, each with more than $50 billion in assets. And of that, $5.5 trillion is held by just four banks: JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank and Wells Fargo. Each of those have more than $1 trillion in assets. In other words, the U.S. banking industry resembles a tall cake, with a very thick layer of icing on top.
Note: To learn how these same four banks and their holding companies hold over 90% of the $700 trillion derivatives market, click here. For many revealing reports from reliable sources on the concentration and centralization of financial power by a few megabanks, click here.
Bill Gates' support of GM crops is wrong approach for Africa
February 27, 2012, Seattle Times
Bill Gates' support of genetically modified crops as a solution for world hunger is of concern to those ... involved in promoting sustainable, equitable and effective agricultural policies in Africa. His technocratic ideology runs counter to the best informed science. The World Bank and United Nations funded 900 scientists over three years in order to create an International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD). Its conclusions were diametrically opposed, at both philosophical and practical levels, to those espoused by Gates and clearly state that the use of GM crops is not a meaningful solution to the complex situation of world hunger. The IAASTD suggests that rather than pursuing industrial farming models, "agro-ecological" methods provide the most viable means to enhance global food security. These include implementing practical scientific research based on traditional seed varieties and local farming practices adapted to the local ecology over millennia. Agro-ecology has consistently proven capable of sustainably increasing productivity. Conversely, the present GM crops generally have not increased yields over the long run, despite their increased costs and dependence on agricultural chemicals, as highlighted in the 2009 Union of Concerned Scientists report, "Failure to Yield."
Note: For an excellent summary of the risks posed by genetically-modified foods, click here.
White Coats, White Lies: How Honest Is Your Doctor?
February 9, 2012, Time Magazine
Is your doctor telling you the truth? Possibly not, according to a new survey in Health Affairs of nearly 1,900 physicians around the country. The researchers found that 55% of doctors said that in the last year they had been more positive about a patient's prognosis than his medical history warranted. And 10% said they had told patients something that wasn't true. About a third of the MDs said they did not completely agree that they should disclose medical errors to patients, and 40% said they didn't feel the need to disclose financial ties to drug or device companies. Nearly 20% of the doctors admitted that they didn't disclose a medical error to their patients because they were afraid of being sued for malpractice. Doctors' fear of malpractice suits may often be misplaced. Studies suggest that in cases where physicians are open about their mistakes, patients are more likely to be understanding and refrain from suing. So how can doctors learn to be more honest with their patients? More training about how to communicate with people about their health is critical – especially when it comes to delivering bad news. Patients also need to be clear and firm about how honest they want their doctors to be. Communication is a two-way street, after all, even in the doctor's office.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
Fraud Case Seen as a Red Flag for Psychology Research
November 3, 2011, New York Times
A well-known psychologist in the Netherlands whose work has been published widely in professional journals falsified data and made up entire experiments, an investigating committee has found. Experts say the case exposes deep flaws in the way science is done in a field, psychology, that has only recently earned a fragile respectability. The psychologist, Diederik Stapel, of Tilburg University, committed academic fraud in "several dozen" published papers, many accepted in respected journals and reported in the news media, according to a report released ... by the three Dutch institutions where he has worked. The journal Science, which published one of Dr. Stapel's papers in April, posted an "editorial expression of concern" about the research online. The scandal, involving about a decade of work, is the latest in a string of embarrassments in a field that critics and statisticians say badly needs to overhaul how it treats research results. In recent years, psychologists have reported a raft of findings on race biases, brain imaging and even extrasensory perception that have not stood up to scrutiny. Outright fraud may be rare, these experts say, but they contend that Dr. Stapel took advantage of a system that allows researchers to operate in near secrecy and massage data to find what they want to find, without much fear of being challenged.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on corruption in scientific research and publication, click here.
Deception at Duke: Fraud in cancer care?
February 12, 2012, CBS News
Chemotherapy can be a tough road for people with cancer, often debilitating and even dangerous. Which is why five years ago, when Duke University announced that it had an advanced, experimental treatment that would match chemotherapy to a patient's own genetic makeup, it was hailed as the holy grail of cancer care. The scientist behind the discovery was Dr. Anil Potti, and soon Dr. Potti became the face of the future of cancer treatment at Duke, offering patients a better chance even with advanced disease. However, when other scientists set out to verify the results, they found many problems and errors. Duke's so-called breakthrough treatment wasn't just a failure -- it may end up being one of the biggest medical research frauds ever. Dr. Potti resigned from Duke. He faces an investigation into research misconduct. These days, he's working as a cancer doctor in South Carolina. And if you look online, you will see that he is celebrated for "his significant contribution to the arena of lung cancer research." The websites were created with the help of an online reputation consultant, perhaps to put the best face on the available data.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on corruption in scientific research and publication, click here.
Classified documents contradict FBI on post-9/11 probe of Saudis, ex-senator says
March 13, 2012, MSNBC
Former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, who co-chaired Congress' Joint Inquiry into the 9/11 terrorist attacks, has seen two classified FBI documents that he says are at odds with the bureau's public statements that there was no connection between the hijackers and Saudis then living in Sarasota, Fla. "There are significant inconsistencies between the public statements of the FBI in September and what I read in the classified documents," Graham said. "One document adds to the evidence that the investigation was not the robust inquiry claimed by the FBI," Graham said. "An important investigative lead was not pursued and unsubstantiated statements were accepted as truth." Congress's bipartisan inquiry released its public report in July 2003. The final 28 pages, regarding possible foreign support for the terrorists, were censored in their entirety -- on President George W. Bush's instructions. Graham said the two classified FBI documents that he saw, dated 2002 and 2003, were prepared by an agent who participated in the Sarasota investigation. He said the agent suggested that another federal agency be asked to join the investigation, but that the idea was "rejected." Graham attempted in recent weeks to contact the agent, he said, only to find the man had been instructed by FBI headquarters not to talk.
Note: Much evidence exists implicating not only Saudi Arabia, but also Pakistan, Israel and the UK in the 9/11 attacks. Could the purpose behind these high-profile claims from former US senators be to deflect attention from the key perpetrators, rogue elements within the US government? As WantToKnow team member Prof. David Ray Griffin has exhaustively demonstrated, almost all of the evidence for Muslim hijackers vanishes on close examination. For more serious questions on 9/11, click here.
UN torture chief: Manning endured cruel treatment
March 13, 2012, MSNBC
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning's 11 months in solitary confinement was "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment," the UN chief on torture said Monday, though he stopped short of calling it torture. Manning, 25, faces 22 counts, including aiding the enemy after he allegedly released classified documents to WikiLeaks. He was held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day following his arrest in May 2010 in Iraq, and continuing through his transfer to the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Va. The confinement, lasting about 11 months, ended upon his transfer to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., on April 20, 2011. When Juan Mendez, special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, asked Department of Defense officials why Manning was held in such a condition, he was told it was due to the gravity of the crime and for "prevention of harm" – though they did not specify what that meant, citing privacy concerns. "He hasn't been convicted of any crime yet so ... subjecting him to a very long period of solitary confinement on the basis that he might be found guilty of a crime seems to me to be both a violation of his presumption of innocence but also a violation of his right not to be treated cruelly or inhumanely," Mendez told msnbc.com. The explanations for Manning's solitary confinement were "insufficient," according to Mendez. "That's why I reached the conclusion that the United States government was responsible for having inflicted on him cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment," he said."
Note: For key reports from major media sources on the use of torture and government restrictions of basic civil liberties, click here.
Church Puts Legal Pressure on Abuse Victims' Group
March 13, 2012, New York Times
Turning the tables on an advocacy group that has long supported victims of pedophile priests, lawyers for the Roman Catholic Church and priests accused of sexual abuse in two Missouri cases have gone to court to compel the group to disclose more than two decades of e-mails that could include correspondence with victims, lawyers, whistle-blowers, witnesses, the police, prosecutors and journalists. The group, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, is neither a plaintiff nor a defendant in the litigation. But the group has been subpoenaed five times in recent months in Kansas City and St. Louis, and its national director, David Clohessy, was questioned by a battery of lawyers for more than six hours this year. A judge in Kansas City ruled that the network must comply because it "almost certainly" had information relevant to the case. The network and its allies say the legal action is part of a campaign by the church to cripple an organization that has been the most visible defender of victims, and a relentless adversary, for more than two decades. "If there is one group that the higher-ups, the bishops, would like to see silenced," said Marci A. Hamilton, a law professor at Yeshiva University and an advocate for victims of clergy sex crimes, "it definitely would be SNAP. And that's what they're going after. They're trying to find a way to silence SNAP."
EU agrees rules to tame derivatives market
February 9, 2012, Reuters
European Union diplomats and the European Parliament agreed ... to overhaul regulation of the roughly $700 trillion derivatives market, a move that will make it easier to control one of the most opaque areas of finance. Under new EU laws, banks, hedge funds and other buyers and sellers of derivatives will be encouraged to move away from the unregulated 'over-the-counter' market, which accounts for almost 95 percent of all trades. In the past, it has been common for multi-million-euro contracts to be recorded by no more than a fax, with only the parties involved aware of the details. This will change under the new law, which would standardise most trading so it happens on open exchanges. Settlement of such deals will be cleared centrally, making them easier to monitor. Those that do not shift to exchanges or a central counterparty such as LCH Clearnet in London, which acts as an intermediary between buyer and seller, will face higher capital charges to reflect the extra risk. Crucially, the new rules mean that all deals must be recorded, whether conducted on or off an exchange. Supervisors hope that will make it easier to monitor the market and intervene, if necessary, to avoid a repeat of the chaos surrounding the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers, where it proved difficult to assess exposure to derivatives. By forcing increased transparency, the rules are likely to challenge the half a dozen or so large banks that dominate the market now.
Note: For key reports on the grave risks posed by the unregulated derivatives market, click here.
DOJ Director on Violence Against Women in the United States
March 8, 2012, Forbes.com
In one of the most in-depth discussions to date on violence against women in the United States, and to coincide with International Women's Day, I interviewed Susan B. Carbon, Director of the United States Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). Rahim Kanani: How would you characterize the landscape of justice today with respect to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking here in the United States? Susan Carbon: Although violent crime has decreased nationwide, the crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking still devastate the lives of too many women, men, youth, and children. One in every four women and one in every seven men have experienced severe physical violence by a current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend. One in five women ... have been raped in their lifetimes, and nearly 1.3 million women in the U.S. are raped every year. The statistics are sobering – even more so with our understanding that these types of crimes are often the most underreported. Many victims suffer in silence without confiding in family and friends, much less reaching out for help from hospitals, rape crisis centers, shelters, or even the police. Congress recognized the severity of these serious crimes and our need for a national strategy with the enactment of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994. As a result ... we have witnessed a paradigm shift in how the issue of violence against women is addressed in the United States, and countless lives have been positively impacted.
U.S. panel, cancer groups discourage annual Pap test
October 19, 2011, MSNBC/Reuters News
Pap smear tests are still the best way to prevent cervical cancer, but women should not seek them every year, a U.S. government-backed expert panel and major cancer groups said. Instead, every three years is a reasonable timetable, according to the Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), the same group that recently recommended against routine prostate cancer tests for healthy men. Proposing changes to 2003 recommendations, the task force also said evidence is still insufficient to weigh harms and benefits of tests screening for human papillomavirus (HPV) -- in contrast with the views of cancer patient advocates. However, in a rare show of unity, the groups including the American Cancer Society sided with the panel on the new recommendations and proposed new screening guidelines themselves for the first time, bluntly recommending against the common practice of annual Pap tests. Echoing the panels' recommendations, the cancer groups also said women younger than 21 do not need to get tested. However, despite the task force's skepticism over the effectiveness of the HPV test in preventing cancer, the cancer society and other groups called the combination of regular Pap plus HPV testing the "preferred strategy" for women over 30, if done every three to five years.
Note: For an excellent Dr. Mercola article on the risks involved with both Pap tests and the HPV vaccine Gardasil, click here.
Congolese ex-warlord convicted of using children as soldiers
March 14, 2012, Los Angeles Times
The International Criminal Court in The Hague on [March 14] found former Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga guilty of using children as soldiers, the first verdict in the panel's 10-year history. He could face life imprisonment. After a three-year trial, the court convicted Lubanga of recruiting boys and girls younger than 15 as soldiers during a civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002 and 2003. Although his militia was accused of massacres, rapes, torture and ethnic killings by human rights activists and witnesses, the court charged him only with the recruitment and use of children to fight. Amnesty International expressed disappointment that the court failed to prosecute other crimes that Lubanga was alleged to have committed and called on the ICC to widen its future prosecutions. It also called on the court to ensure trials proceeded more swiftly. The verdict was seen as a major breakthrough in forcing warlords and politicians to be held accountable for atrocities and crimes against humanity, sending a message that international justice eventually would catch up with them. The evidence said girls forcibly recruited by the warlord were used as sex slaves, and videos aired in court showed Lubanga surrounded by child combatants. Tens of thousands of children continue to be used in wars across the continent, according to human rights agencies. Other African leaders or warlords indicted by the court include Joseph Kony of the Lord's Resistance Army, whose activities in Uganda were highlighted in a video watched by about 70 million people last week.
Democratic Senators Issue Strong Warning About Use of the Patriot Act
March 16, 2012, New York Times
For more than two years, a handful of Democrats on the Senate intelligence committee have warned that the government is secretly interpreting its surveillance powers under the Patriot Act in a way that would be alarming if the public – or even others in Congress – knew about it. On [March 15], two of those senators – Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado – went further. They said a top-secret intelligence operation that is based on that secret legal theory is not as crucial to national security as executive branch officials have maintained. The Justice Department has argued that disclosing information about its interpretation of the Patriot Act could alert adversaries to how the government collects certain intelligence. It is seeking the dismissal of two Freedom of Information Act lawsuits – by The New York Times and by the American Civil Liberties Union – related to how the Patriot Act has been interpreted. The dispute centers on what the government thinks it is allowed to do under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, under which agents may obtain a secret order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court allowing them to get access to any "tangible things" – like business records – that are deemed "relevant" to a terrorism or espionage investigation. The interpretation of Section 215 that authorizes this secret surveillance operation is apparently not obvious from a plain text reading of the provision, and was developed through a series of classified rulings by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on surveillance and other government restrictions of basic civil liberties, click here.
Shine a Light: The Suitcase That's Saving Women's Lives
January 12, 2012, NationalGeographic.com
In the fight against maternal mortality in the developing world, a rugged, portable "Solar Suitcase" is providing reliable electricity to clinics in 17 countries where healthcare workers previously struggled to provide emergency obstetric care by the light of candles, flashlights and mobile phones. The Solar Suitcase powers medical LED lights, headlamps, mobile phones, computers and medical devices. Healthcare workers using the Solar Suitcase report greater facility and ease in conducting nighttime procedures. Improved lighting allows health workers to identify and treat complications such as obstetric lacerations and hemorrhage, nurses to locate and administer intravenous medication, and emergency Caesarean sections to be performed 24 hours a day. Solar-powered mobile phones allow on-call doctors to be alerted when obstetric emergencies require surgery. With augmentation, the solar suitcase powers blood bank refrigeration, permitting life-saving transfusions to occur without delay. An estimated 358,000 maternal deaths occur worldwide. Reducing childbirth deaths depends, in part, on providing adequate emergency obstetric care. However, a lack of health facility power translates to an inability to perform life-saving care.
Key Articles From Years Past
FBI sought to fire complaining agent
July 13, 2004, Chicago Tribune
A Chicago FBI agent who has complained to the media and Congress that the bureau bungled terrorism investigations had been targeted for firing by supervisors who vowed to "take him out," according to a memo written by a former high-ranking official in the FBI's disciplinary office. The FBI opened an internal investigation against Agent Robert G. Wright Jr. in 2003 just days after his appearance at a news conference and on a national television news program, according to the memo obtained by the Tribune. The top two agents in the FBI's disciplinary office at the time, Robert J. Jordan and J.P. "Jody" Weis, ordered an investigation into Wright for insubordination and had already made up their minds to have him fired, according to the memo. The memo, written by John Roberts when he was third in command of the Office of Professional Responsibility, questioned how often supervisors misused the disciplinary process to silence employees critical of the FBI. His lawyer, Stephen Kohn, said the memo's point is clear. "The FBI uses its Office of Professional Responsibility to retaliate against whistleblowers," Kohn said. The memo, written while Roberts still worked as unit chief for the office, was heavily censored by the bureau before it was turned over to the Judiciary Committee. Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Wright has held two national news conferences and has given several television news interviews in which he accused the FBI of mishandling terrorism investigations during the 1990s into fundraising by militant Islamic groups such as Hamas.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on the realities behind the surface activities of powerful intelligence agencies, click here.
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