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Corporate Corruption Media Articles
Excerpts of Key Corporate Corruption Media Articles in Major Media


Below are highly revealing excerpts of important corporate corruption articles reported in the media suggesting a major cover-up. Links are provided to the full articles on major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These corporate corruption articles are listed by article date. You can also explore the articles listed by order of importance or by date posted. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.


Betting on Default
2015-01-02, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/03/opinion/betting-on-default.html?_r=0

Imagine a lender demanding that you miss a payment. That is the situation described in a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. In 2013, GSO Capital Partners ... refused to renew a $122.3 million loan to the Spanish gambling company Codere unless it delayed paying interest on other existing debt. Why? It turns out that GSO had placed a bet that Codere’s existing debt would not be paid on time. When, lo and behold, the payment was late, GSO collected on its bet. The bet in this scenario was a credit default swap. Credit default swaps, a type of derivative, can be used to hedge against losses on bonds that investors own, or to speculate on how the underlying companies will perform. The Dodd-Frank financial reform law was supposed to curb speculation in swaps. But ... hedge funds are increasingly using swaps to wager on whether weak firms will live or die. RadioShack ... is one of several prominent examples. In December, RadioShack’s total debt came to about $1.4 billion, but swaps outstanding on the performance of the debt totaled $23.5 billion. Similarly, J.C. Penney ... had total debt of some $8.7 billion, but swaps outstanding on the debt totaled $19.3 billion. Last month, Congress repealed an anti-speculation provision of Dodd-Frank that would have prevented federally insured banks from conducting several types of swap transactions. In addition, the Federal Reserve recently gave the banks two extra years to meet [another important] Dodd-Frank provision. Sooner or later, poorly regulated credit derivatives will again play a role in damaging the economy.

Note: Derivatives trading in the shadow banking system has produced a speculative bubble, valued at nearly a quadrillion dollars, that has been described as a financial time bomb.


With limited oversight, the wealthy get a charitable tax break
2015-01-02, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/With-limited-oversight-the-wealthy-get...

Nicholas and Jill Woodman ... will receive a huge tax deduction for their [charitable] donation of 5.8 million shares of company stock to a donor-advised fund. But there’s no guarantee that one dollar of their October donation will ever be spent [on charity]. Donors gets an immediate, one-time tax break by depositing their money or assets in a donor-advised fund. They can advise the institution holding their money where and when to spend it on their timetable. Boston College Law School Professor Ray Madoff points out, “It is like money-laundering." There was $54 billion under management in donor-advised funds in 2013. Top financial houses like Fidelity, Schwab and Vanguard have fully embraced donor-advised funds. Fidelity Charitable, with $13.2 billion worth of assets under management, is now the nation’s second-largest charity. Even though organizations like Fidelity Charitable, Schwab Charitable and Vanguard Charitable were founded by their financial house namesakes, they are separate 501(c)3 charities. But while Fidelity Charitable is independent from the financial institution, roughly two-thirds of the money in the charitable arm is invested in Fidelity mutual funds. Madoff said that because investment advisers can charge a fee for managing the money in these accounts, they have a natural incentive to keep the money in these accounts growing — and not leaving.

Note: For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing articles about widespread corruption in government and banking and finance.


The Government Problem
2014-12-23, Chicago Tribune
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/sns-201412230900--tms--amvoices...

Consider the new spending bill Congress and the president agreed to a few weeks ago. Under the $1.1 trillion measure, government spending doesn't rise as a percent of the total economy. If the economy grows as expected, government spending will actually shrink over the next year. The problem with the legislation is who gets the goodies and who's stuck with the tab. Only about 12 percent of federal spending goes to individuals and families. An increasing portion goes to corporate welfare. In addition to the provisions in the recent spending bill that reward Wall Street, health insurers, the travel industry, food companies and defense contractors, other corporate goodies have long been baked into the federal budget. Big agribusiness gets price supports. Hedge-fund and private-equity managers get their own special "carried-interest" tax loophole. The oil and gas industry gets its special tax subsidies. Big Pharma gets a particularly big benefit: a prohibition on government using its vast bargaining power under Medicare and Medicaid to negotiate low drug prices. The new spending legislation, just enacted, makes it easier for wealthy individuals to write big checks to political parties. Much of government is no longer working for the vast majority it's intended to serve. Unless or until we can reverse the vicious cycle of big money getting political favors that makes big money even bigger, we can't get the government we want and deserve.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption and income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.


Spy Drones Over North Carolina Factory Farms Reveal ‘Lagoons Of Filth’
2014-12-19, International Business Times
http://www.ibtimes.com/spy-drones-over-north-carolina-factory-farms-reveal-la...

Mark Devries ... a documentary filmmaker who flew spy drones over North Carolina pig farms, claims to have captured video footage showing oceans of untreated animal waste ... oozing into the green Carolina countryside, in some cases close to residential areas. [Devries] shot the drone footage as part of a two-year investigation into the public-health consequences of waste management on farms operated by Smithfield Foods Inc. -- the largest pork producer in the country. Devries said he first became aware of the “toxic cesspools” after speaking with neighbors who live near Smithfield facilities. “I was shocked,” Devries said. “Pig manure is fairly similar to human waste, so it would be similar to having a pit of untreated human sewage the size of several football fields out in the open -- and in many cases, right in the vicinity of people’s homes.” A spokeswoman for Smithfield Foods said [that] state and federal regulators “sign off” on the company’s treatment systems. The meat-packing giant is no stranger to criticism from environmentalists and animal-rights groups. Its “sea of waste” once earned it one of the largest fines ever from the Environmental Protection Agency, Rolling Stone reported in 2006. The project is likely to further spur the debate over “ag-gag” laws, which make it illegal to conduct undercover investigations at agricultural facilities. Although ag-gag is often framed as an animal-rights issue, such laws also meet with fierce opposition and legal challenges from free-speech advocates. “The issue that it brings up is a much broader issue of laws criminalizing information gathering by the press,” Devries said.

Note: Learn how cruelly pigs are treated in this revealing video. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Full scale of plastic in the world's oceans revealed for first time
2014-12-10, The Guardian
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/dec/10/full-scale-plastic-worlds-...

More than five trillion pieces of plastic, collectively weighing nearly 269,000 tonnes, are floating in the world’s oceans, causing damage throughout the food chain, new research has found. Data collected by scientists from the US, France, Chile, Australia and New Zealand suggests a minimum of 5.25tn plastic particles in the oceans, most of them “micro plastics” measuring less than 5mm. The volume of plastic pieces, largely deriving from products such as food and drink packaging and clothing, was calculated from data taken from 24 expeditions over a six-year period to 2013. The research, published in the journal PLOS One, is the first study to look at plastics of all sizes in the world’s oceans. “We saw turtles that ate plastic bags and fish that ingested fishing lines,” said Julia Reisser, a researcher based at the University of Western Australia. “But there are also chemical impacts. When plastic gets into the water it acts like a magnet for oily pollutants. It’s hard to visualise the sheer amount, but the weight of it is more than the entire biomass of humans." The research, the first of its kind to pull together data on floating plastic from around the world, will be used to chart future trends in the amount of debris in the oceans. But researchers predict the volume will increase due to rising production of throwaway plastic, with only 5% of the world’s plastic currently recycled.

Note: Ocean acidification was number one on 2014's top 25 stories subjected to press censorship.


At America’s court of last resort, a handful of lawyers now dominates the docket
2014-12-08, Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/scotus/

The U.S. Supreme Court building proclaims a high ideal: “Equal Justice Under Law.” But inside, an elite cadre of lawyers has emerged [to give] their clients a disproportionate chance to influence the law. A Reuters examination of nine years of cases shows that 66 of the 17,000 lawyers who petitioned the Supreme Court ... were at least six times more likely to be accepted by the court than were all others. About half [of these 66 lawyers] worked for justices past or present, and some socialize with them. Although they account for far less than 1 percent of lawyers who filed appeals to the Supreme Court, these attorneys were involved in 43 percent of the cases the high court chose to decide from 2004 through 2012. The Reuters examination of the Supreme Court’s docket, the most comprehensive ever, suggests ... a decided advantage for corporate America. Some legal experts contend that the reliance on a small cluster of specialists, most working on behalf of businesses, has turned the Supreme Court into an echo chamber – a place where an elite group of jurists embraces an elite group of lawyers who reinforce narrow views of how the law should be construed. Of the 66 most successful lawyers, 51 worked for law firms that primarily represented corporate interests. In cases pitting the interests of customers, employees or other individuals against those of companies, a leading attorney was three times more likely to launch an appeal for business than for an individual, Reuters found.

Note: How interesting that no major media seem to have picked up this revealing story. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption from reliable major media sources.


Energy Firms in Secretive Alliance With Attorneys General
2014-12-06, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/07/us/politics/energy-firms-in-secretive-allia...

Attorneys general in at least a dozen states are working with energy companies and other corporate interests, which in turn are providing them with record amounts of money for their political campaigns, including at least $16 million this year. The Times reported previously how individual attorneys general have shut down investigations, changed policies or agreed to more corporate-friendly settlement terms [for] campaign benefactors. But the attorneys general are also working collectively. Out of public view, corporate representatives and attorneys general are coordinating legal strategy and other efforts to fight federal regulations, according to a review of thousands of emails and court documents and dozens of interviews. Attorney General Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma [used his post] to help start what he and allies called the Rule of Law campaign. That campaign, in which attorneys general band together to operate like a large national law firm, has been used to back lawsuits and other challenges against the Obama administration on environmental issues, the Affordable Care Act and securities regulation. The most recent target is the president’s executive action on immigration. Coordination between the corporations and teams of attorneys general involved in the Rule of Law effort also involves actual litigation to try to clear roadblocks to energy projects, documents show.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


The Red Cross CEO Has Been Misleading About Where Donors' Dollars Are Going
2014-12-04, MSN News
http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/the-red-cross-ceo-has-been-misleading-about-...

The American Red Cross regularly touts how responsible it is with donors' money. "We're very proud of the fact that 91 cents of every dollar that's donated goes to our services," Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern said in a speech in Baltimore last year. The problem with that number: It isn't true. After inquiries by ProPublica and NPR, the Red Cross removed the statement from its website. In recent years, the Red Cross' fundraising expenses alone have been as high as 26 cents of every donated dollar. But even that understates matters. The charity spends additional money on "management and general" expenses. That means the portion of donated dollars going to overhead is even higher. After being contacted by ProPublica and NPR, the charity changed the wording on its website to another formulation it frequently uses: that 91 cents of every dollar the charity "spends" goes to humanitarian services. But that too is misleading to donors. The charity spent $467 million, or 14 percent of total spending, on its famous domestic disaster response programs, including the expensive Sandy relief effort. The Red Cross doesn't break down its spending on overhead and declined ProPublica and NPR's request to do so. Other figures the Red Cross frequently cites also appear to be unreliable.

Note: This ongoing NPR/ProPublica investigation has also found that the Red Cross used courts to hide its spending habits, and diverted funds from disaster relief to manipulate the media. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing articles about corporate corruption from reliable sources.


Pepsi, Ikea and Hundreds of Companies 'Reducing Global Tax Under Secret Luxembourg Deals'
2014-11-26, International Business Times
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/pepsi-ikea-hundreds-companies-reducing-global-tax-un...

More than 300 international companies including Pepsi, Ikea, FedEx, AIG, Deutsche Bank and Abbott Laboratories allegedly secured secret deals from Luxembourg to drastically reduce their global tax bills. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), citing leaked documents, reported that the companies appear to have channelled hundreds of billions of dollars through the European duchy, and saved billions of dollars in taxes. PricewaterhouseCoopers is alleged to have helped multinational companies obtain at least 548 tax rulings in Luxembourg from 2002 to 2010. These legal secret deals allegedly feature complex financial structures designed to create drastic tax reductions. The rulings provide written assurance that companies' tax-saving plans will be viewed favourably by Luxembourg authorities. Some firms have allegedly enjoyed effective tax rates of less than 1% on the profits they've shuffled into Luxembourg. The ICIJ claims to have reviewed 28,000 pages of confidential documents before reaching its conclusion. The documents include hundreds of private tax rulings, known as "comfort letters", that Luxembourg provides to corporations seeking favourable tax treatment. Earlier, the European Union (EU) initiated a probe on Luxembourg over its tax treatment of big companies such as Amazon and Fiat Finance, which apparently violated European law. Luxembourg officials have supplied some information to the EU in connection with the investigation but have refused to provide a larger set of documents relating to its tax rulings.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.


HSBC and Goldman sued for allegedly fixing metal price
2014-11-26, BBC News
http://www.bbc.com/news/business-30209544

Goldman Sachs and HSBC are among four platinum and palladium dealers to be sued in New York for allegedly fixing the price of the metals. The four companies are said to have rigged prices for eight years. BASF and Standard bank were also sued in the first lawsuit of its kind in the US. The four defendants declined to comment. Modern Settings, a Florida-based maker of jewellery and police badges, said purchasers lost millions of dollars. The Florida company filed the complaint in Manhattan federal court. The companies were accused of having conspired since 2007 to rig the twice-daily platinum and palladium fixings. It is alleged that the companies illegally shared customer data and then used that information to engage in front running ... a form of market manipulation in which traders profit by using information about their clients' trading intentions. Traders will often know how a particular client order will affect the market and can place their own trades ahead of that order to benefit. The four companies in this case are also accused of manufacturing "spoof" orders. Goldman, HSBC and Standard Bank declined to comment. International regulators have tightened scrutiny of pricing benchmarks in recent years. The tighter regulation comes after a currency trading scandal and the Libor scandal, which fixed a benchmark interest rate.

Note: For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing articles about widespread corruption in banking and finance. For additional information, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Banking Corruption Information Center.


Ex-Chief of Iceland Bank Sentenced to Jail for Role in 2008 Crisis
2014-11-19, New York Times
http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/11/19/ex-chief-of-iceland-bank-sentenced-to-...

The former chief executive of Landsbanki of Iceland was sentenced to prison on Wednesday, the third of the top executives of the country’s three largest banks that the government has successfully prosecuted and jailed for misconduct during the financial crisis. Iceland was one of the countries hardest hit by the financial crisis and was forced to nationalize its three largest lenders in 2008. Mr. Arnason is the third former chief executive of an Icelandic bank to be ordered jailed for misdeeds in the run-up to the nationalization of Landsbanki and two other of the island nation’s biggest lenders. Kaputhing, at one time Iceland’s largest lender, saw its chief executive, Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson, and its chairman, Sigurdur Einarsson, convicted of market manipulation last year. Mr. Sigurdsson was sentenced to five and a half years in prison, while Mr. Einarsson was sentenced to five years in prison. Larus Welding, the former chief executive of Glitnir, the first of the banks to be nationalized, was convicted of fraud in 2012. The Icelandic lenders expanded beyond their borders during the boom years, only to collapse under a mountain of debt as financial conditions worsened in 2008. After the banks were nationalized, Iceland’s government restructured them, purging their management and refusing to bail out foreign bondholders who held tens of billions of dollars of the banks’ debt. A special prosecutor, Olafur Hauksson, was appointed to investigate the actions of bank executives in the run-up to the financial crisis.

Note: So the one nation that jailed its big bankers and let banks go bust is doing very well. Why are so exceedingly few bankers in other countries being jailed for crimes involving trillions of dollars and bankrupting millions of citizens? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the financial industry.


Doctor Transparency: Why Leana Wen Received Threats After Launching
2014-11-19, International Business Times
http://www.ibtimes.com/doctor-transparency-why-leana-wen-received-threats-aft...

Leana Wen created the “Who’s My Doctor” campaign last year. The effort ... goes a step further than the federal government’s mandate requiring physicians to disclose all money they receive from drug companies. Last month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released data that outlined the $3.5 billion that companies paid to the nation’s doctors. The Open Payments database ... was heavily opposed by physician groups and pharmaceutical companies. “Incentives matter,” said Wen in a recent TED talk, “If you go to your doctor because of back pain, you might want to know he’s getting paid $5,000 to perform spine surgery versus $25 to refer you to see a physical therapist.” As part of the “Who’s My Doctor” effort, each physician voluntarily publishes a “Total Transparency Manifesto,” which ... flows into a searchable database that prospective patients can use. One year after starting the project, only 34 “transparent doctors” are listed on the website. There are many more who were less than pleased. “I thought some doctors would sign on and others wouldn’t, but I had no idea of the backlash that would ensue,” she said in her TED talk. The criticism quickly went beyond online comments. Soon, people were asking Wen’s employer to fire her, and sending mail to her home address with threats.

Note: Don't miss the inspiring TED talk of Dr. Wen. And check out her website "Who's My Doctor" at http://www.whosmydoctor.com.


New Scrutiny of Goldman’s Ties to the New York Fed After a Leak
2014-11-19, New York Times
http://dealbook.nytimes.com//2014/11/19/rising-scrutiny-as-banks-hire-from-th...

From his desk in Lower Manhattan, a banker at Goldman Sachs thumbed through confidential documents — courtesy of a source inside the United States government. The banker came to Goldman through the so-called revolving door ... that connects financial regulators to Wall Street. He joined in July after spending seven years as a regulator at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the government’s front line in overseeing the financial industry. He received the confidential information, lawyers briefed on the matter suspect, from a former colleague who was still working at the New York Fed. The previously unreported leak, recounted in interviews with the lawyers briefed on the matter who spoke anonymously ... illustrates the blurred lines between Wall Street and the government. When Goldman hired the former New York Fed regulator, who is 29, it assigned him to advise the same type of banks that he once policed. And the banker obtained confidential information [that] provided Goldman a window into the New York Fed’s private insights. The emergence of the leak comes as questions mount about a perceived coziness between the New York Fed and Wall Street banks — Goldman in particular. Revelations from a former New York Fed employee, Carmen Segarra, recently stoked that debate. Ms. Segarra released taped conversations suggesting that her supervisors went soft on Goldman. The new accounts of a regulator and a banker actually sharing confidential documents — violating a cardinal rule of the regulatory world — suggest that ... Goldman, perhaps more than any other Wall Street bank, appears to be entwined with the New York Fed.

Note: For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing articles about widespread corruption in government and banking and finance. For additional information, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Banking Corruption Information Center.


Waste Water from Oil Fracking Injected into Clean Aquifers
2014-11-14, NBC News (San Francisco Affiliate)
http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/Waste-Water-from-Oil-Fracking-Inject...

State officials allowed oil and gas companies to pump nearly three billion gallons of waste water into underground aquifers that could have been used for drinking water or irrigation. Those aquifers are supposed to be off-limits to that kind of activity, protected by the EPA. California’s Department of Conservation’s Chief Deputy Director, Jason Marshall, told NBC Bay Area, “There have been past issues where permits were issued to operators that they shouldn’t be injecting into those zones." In “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing operations, oil and gas companies use massive amounts of water to force the release of underground fossil fuels. The practice produces large amounts of waste water that must then be disposed of. Marshall said that often times, oil and gas companies simply re-inject that waste water back deep underground where the oil extraction took place. But other times, Marshall said, the waste water is re-injected into aquifers closer to the surface. In the State’s letter to the EPA, officials admit that in at least nine waste water injection wells, the waste water was injected into “non-exempt” or clean aquifers. For the EPA, “non-exempt” aquifers are underground bodies of water that are “containing high quality water” that can be used by humans to drink, water animals or irrigate crops. "It should not have been permitted,” said Marshall.

Note: The complete article summarized above includes maps of the Bakersfield, CA wells contaminated by these fracking waste injections. For more along these lines, read this Los Angeles Times article about how fracking poisons drinking water, and see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Showdown looms as California eyes pesticides
2014-11-08, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/energy-environment/showdown-looms-as-c...

With organic food growers reporting double-digit growth in U.S. sales each year, producers are challenging a proposed California pest-management program they say enshrines a pesticide-heavy approach for decades to come, including compulsory spraying of organic crops at the state’s discretion. The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s pest-management plan says compulsory state pesticide spraying of organic crops would do no economic harm to organic producers, on the grounds that the growers could sell sprayed crops as non-organic instead. “I would rather stop farming than have to be a conventional farmer. I think I am not alone in that,” said Zea Sonnabend, a Watsonville organic apple-grower with California Certified Organic Farmers. The fate of the pest-management plan outlined by the state isn’t a theoretical concern. It’s an immediate issue ... due, in part, to a disease-carrying pest. The disease spread by the Asian citrus psyllid kills citrus trees. California’s $2.4 billion citrus industry has found incursions by the bug. The standard treatment for the citrus pest is conventional pesticides, including neocotinoids linked to the decline of crop-pollinating bees. Organic farmers are asking the state to give more consideration to non-toxic controls, including long-term methods to strengthen crops and habitats in advance against marauding tropical species, said Kelly Damewood, policy director for California Certified Organic Farmers.

Note: Read concise summaries of deeply revealing articles that show bee colony deaths and autism are linked to pesticide exposure. Is compulsory state spraying of these pesticides really in the public's best interest?


Hard-Nosed Advice From Veteran Lobbyist: ‘Win Ugly or Lose Pretty’
2014-10-30, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/31/us/politics/pr-executives-western-energy-al...

The oil and gas industry ... must be prepared to employ tactics like digging up embarrassing tidbits about environmentalists and liberal celebrities, a veteran Washington political consultant told a room full of industry executives in a speech that was secretly recorded. The blunt advice from Richard Berman, the founder and chief executive of the Washington-based Berman & Company consulting firm, came as Mr. Berman solicited up to $3 million from oil and gas industry executives to finance an advertising and public relations campaign called Big Green Radicals. Executives ... must be willing to exploit emotions like fear, greed and anger and turn them against the environmental groups. And major corporations secretly financing such a campaign should not worry about offending the general public. “Think of this as an endless war,” Mr. Berman told the crowd ... whose members include Devon Energy, Halliburton and Anadarko Petroleum, which specialize in extracting oil and gas through hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. “I get up every morning and I try to figure out how to screw with the labor unions,” Mr. Berman said in his speech. “People always ask: "How do I know that I won’t be found out as a supporter of what you’re doing?" Mr. Berman told the crowd, “We run all of this stuff through nonprofit organizations that are insulated from having to disclose donors. There is total anonymity. People don’t know who supports us.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing stories about manipulation of mass media and corporate corruption from reliable sources.


Red Cross 'Diverted Assets' During Storms' Aftermath To Focus On Image
2014-10-29, National Public Radio
http://www.npr.org/2014/10/29/359365276/on-superstorm-sandy-anniversary-red-c...

Within hours of Superstorm Sandy slamming the East Coast two years ago, Americans opened their wallets to help — donating millions to the first charity that came to mind: the American Red Cross. In the months after the disaster, the Red Cross touted its success in delivering food, clothes and shelter to tens of thousands of people left homeless by the storm. The venerable charity's track record in dealing with the megastorm is now being challenged. Multiple internal documents obtained by NPR and ProPublica along with interviews with top Red Cross officials ... depict an organization so consumed with public relations that it hindered the charity's ability to provide disaster services. Among NPR and ProPublica's findings: The Red Cross national headquarters in Washington "diverted assets for public relations purposes." A former Red Cross official managing the Sandy effort says 40 percent of available trucks were assigned to serve as backdrops for news conferences. Distribution of relief was "politically driven instead of [Red Cross] planned." Relief organizers were ordered to produce 200,000 additional meals one day — to drive up numbers. They did it at extraordinary cost, even though there was no one to deliver them to and most went to waste. It wasn't just Sandy. When Isaac hit Mississippi and Louisiana earlier in 2012 ... one Red Cross official had 80 trucks drive around empty or largely empty "just to be seen," as one of the drivers recalls.

Note: The above story follows up on this Salon/ProPublica article, where the Red Cross called its spending habits a "trade secret". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing stories about corporate corruption from reliable sources.


Lobbyists, Bearing Gifts, Pursue Attorneys General
2014-10-28, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/29/us/lobbyists-bearing-gifts-pursue-attorneys...

Attorneys general are now the object of aggressive pursuit by lobbyists and lawyers who use ... lavish corporate-sponsored conferences and other means to push them to drop investigations, change policies, negotiate favorable settlements or pressure federal regulators, an investigation by The New York Times has found. A robust industry of lobbyists and lawyers has blossomed as attorneys general have joined to conduct multistate investigations. But unlike the lobbying rules covering other elected officials, there are few revolving-door restrictions or disclosure requirements governing state attorneys general. The routine lobbying and deal-making occur largely out of view. “The current and increasing level of the lobbying of attorneys general creates, at the minimum, the appearance of undue influence,” said James E. Tierney, a former attorney general of Maine. “It is undermining the credibility of the office of attorney general.” Giant energy producers and service companies ... have retained their own teams of attorney general specialists, including Andrew P. Miller, a former attorney general of Virginia. “An attorney general is entrusted with the power to decide which lawsuits to file and how to settle them, and they have great discretion in their work,” said Anthony Johnstone, a former assistant attorney general in Montana. “It’s vitally important that people can trust that those judgements are not subject to undue influence because of outside forces. And from what I have seen ... those forces have intensified.”

Note: For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable sources.


Too Big to Tax: Settlements Are Tax Write-Offs for Banks
2014-10-27, Newsweek
http://www.newsweek.com/2014/11/07/giant-penalties-are-giant-tax-write-offs-w...

At the Justice Department, senior officials like to congratulate themselves on the headline-making, big bucks settlements they have imposed upon banks and lenders. Those settlement figures are not quite what they seem, because settlements can be deducted from tax liabilities. For nearly every dollar a bank or lender has pledged to pay ... up to 35 cents will find its way back into bank coffers. Under Attorney General Eric Holder, whose agency has not prosecuted a single major bank or executive in the aftermath of the 2008 meltdown, the Justice Department has [allowed] windfall tax deductions [to be] set against the civil settlements imposed. [These may] total more than $44 billion. Astonishingly, for an economic crisis estimated to have cost the U.S. economy anywhere from $6 trillion to $14 trillion in lost output and value —if not twice that, according to a September 2013 study by the Dallas Federal Reserve bank— tracking the settlements and the deductions against taxes via government websites is almost impossible. There’s [a] self-serving reason for the Justice Department to hike civil settlement payments while allowing for most of the sum to be tax-deductible. The agency receives a cut of up to 3 percent of its share of the total settlements for its Working Capital Fund, a slush fund common across major government agencies. The Justice Department’s slush fund ... signals an institutional interest in getting big numbers.

Note: For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing articles about widespread corruption in government and banking and finance.


Assange: Google Is Not What It Seems
2014-10-23, Newsweek
http://www.newsweek.com/assange-google-not-what-it-seems-279447

In June 2011, (WikiLeaks’ founder) Julian Assange received an unusual visitor: the chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt. The stated reason for the visit was a book. Schmidt was penning a treatise with Jared Cohen, the director of Google Ideas. Cohen had moved to Google from the U.S. State Department. Schmidt arrived first, accompanied by his then partner, Lisa Shields ... a vice president of the Council on Foreign Relations. Two months later, WikiLeaks’ release of State Department cables was coming to an abrupt end. Two years later, in the wake of his early 2013 visits to China, North Korea and Burma, it would come to be appreciated that the chairman of Google might be conducting, in one way or another, “back-channel diplomacy” for Washington. In 1999 ... Schmidt joined the New America Foundation. The foundation and its 100 staff serve as an influence mill, using its network of approved national security, foreign policy and technology pundits to place hundreds of articles and op-eds per year. In 2003, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) had already started systematically violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). During the same period, Google ... was accepting NSA money to the tune of $2 million to provide the agency with search tools. In 2012, Google arrived on the list of top-spending Washington, D.C., lobbyists. Whether it is being just a company or “more than just a company,” Google’s geopolitical aspirations are firmly enmeshed within the foreign-policy agenda of the world’s largest superpower.

Note: Read the complete Newsweek article summarized above for Julian Assange's detailed accounting of the connections between Washington D.C. insiders, Google and related technology companies, intelligence agencies, and civil society organizations. For more about Wikileaks, read this news article summary. For more on the geopolitical big picture, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles from reliable major media sources.


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