Corporate Corruption News Stories
Excerpts of Key Corporate Corruption News Stories in Major Media
Below are many highly revealing excerpts of important corporate corruption news stories reported in the major media that suggest a major cover-up.
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Showdown looms as California eyes pesticides
2014-11-08, Washington Post
Posted: 2014-11-16 21:40:14
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
Posted: 2014-11-10 10:38:34
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.
The criminalisation of American business
2014-08-30, The Economist
Posted: 2014-11-10 10:32:50
Who runs the world’s most lucrative shakedown operation? If you are a big business ... America’s regulatory system. The formula is simple: find a large company that may (or may not) have done something wrong; threaten its managers; force them to use their shareholders’ money to pay an enormous fine to drop the charges in a secret settlement. Repeat with another large company. In many cases, the companies deserved some form of punishment: BNP Paribas ... abetted genocide, American banks fleeced customers. BP despoiled the Gulf of Mexico. But justice should not be based on extortion. Regulators and prosecutors are in effect conducting closed-door trials. The agencies that pocket the fines have become profit centres: Rhode Island’s bureaucrats have been on a spending spree courtesy of a $500m payout by Google, while New York’s governor and attorney-general have squabbled over a $613m settlement from JPMorgan. Not only are regulators in effect judge and jury as well as plaintiff in the cases they bring; they can also use the threat of the criminal law. The public never finds out the full facts of the case, nor discovers which specific people — with souls and bodies — were to blame. Since the cases never go to court ... it is unclear what exactly is illegal. That enables future shakedowns. Nor is it clear how the regulatory booty is being carved up. This ... risks the prospect of a selective — and potentially corrupt — system of justice in which everybody is guilty of something and punishment is determined by political deals.
Note: For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption and civil liberties news articles from reliable sources.
Travelers, say bon voyage to privacy
2014-10-16, Dallas News
Posted: 2014-11-10 10:24:06
Did you know that when you buy an airline ticket and make other travel reservations, the federal government keeps a record of the details in a file called Passenger Name Record or PNR? If airlines don’t comply, they can’t fly in the U.S., explains Ed Hasbrouck, a privacy expert with the Identity Project who has studied the records for years and is considered the nation’s top expert. Before each trip, the system creates a travel score for you, generated by your PNR. Before an airline can issue you a boarding pass, the system must approve your passage, Hasbrouck explains. That’s one way people on the No Fly List are targeted. The idea behind extensive use of PNRs, he says, is not necessarily to watch known suspects but to find new ones. Want to appeal the process? “It’s a secret administrative process based on the score you don’t know, based on files you haven’t seen,” Hasbrouck says. The program collects seemingly trivial details. If you have an argument with an airline gate agent and that agent enters a notation ... that record stays in your PNR. “The U.S. government is getting the data and sharing it in ways we don’t fully know about with other governments,” Hasbrouck says. The information collected by the airlines is shared with third-party data companies who store it. Where? In the cloud. Make you feel safer? In Canada and the European Union, the collection of this information spurred public debate. But not here.
Note: Read this excellent article for lots more details on how the government spies on your travels. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable sources.
Red Cross 'Diverted Assets' During Storms' Aftermath To Focus On Image
2014-10-29, National Public Radio
Posted: 2014-11-10 10:14:33
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.
Assange: Google Is Not What It Seems
Posted: 2014-11-03 02:05:07
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.
Lobbyists, Bearing Gifts, Pursue Attorneys General
2014-10-28, New York Times
Posted: 2014-11-03 02:02:13
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.
4 Banks, Including JPMorgan, Fined in Europe Over ‘Cartel’ Behavior
2014-10-21, New York Times
Posted: 2014-11-03 01:57:29
The European Commission on Tuesday fined four major financial institutions 93.9 million euros, or about $120 million, over two types of activity that it deemed as cartel behavior. In one case, the European Commission fined JPMorgan Chase €61.7 million euros for manipulating the Swiss franc Libor benchmark interest rate in an “illegal bilateral cartel” with the Royal Bank of Scotland. Interest-rate derivatives – such as forward rate agreements, swaps, futures and options – are financial products intended to help manage interest-rate fluctuations. In December 2013, the European Union fined several global financial institutions a combined €1.7 billion to settle charges that they colluded to fix benchmark interest rates. Regulators accused R.B.S. and JPMorgan of trying to distort the process used to price interest rate derivatives. In a separate settlement also announced on Tuesday, the European Commission said R.B.S., UBS, JPMorgan and Credit Suisse, operated a cartel on bid-ask spreads of Swiss franc interest-rate derivatives, imposing fines worth a total of €32.4 million. from May to September 2007, R.B.S., UBS, JPMorgan and Credit Suisse agreed to quote to clients wider, fixed bid-ask spreads on certain categories of franc interest-rate derivatives. The banks maintained narrower spreads for trades among themselves. The aim was to lower the banks’ transaction costs and continue the flow of trades between themselves while preventing others from participating on the same terms in the franc derivatives market. Global financial institutions have paid more than $6 billion in fines over manipulating benchmark rates.
Note: For more along these lines, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Banking Corruption Information Center.
Free Pigs From the Abusive Crates
2014-10-17, New York Times
Posted: 2014-11-03 01:46:10
Would you cram a dog into a crate for her entire life, never letting her out, until you took her to the pound to kill her? Of course you wouldn’t, and yet that’s effectively what happens to most mother pigs in this country. They spend their lives in what are called gestation crates ... immobilized in these crates until they are taken to the slaughterhouse. Pigs are smart. They learn rudimentary video games as quickly as chimpanzees. When abnormally enclosed, their muscles and bones waste away, and they go insane from boredom. Fortunately, we’re seeing changes. We’re seeing policies to get rid of these crates from the likes of McDonald’s, Burger King and Smithfield Foods. We’ve also seen bills or initiatives passed in nine states that require that all pigs be given at least enough space to turn around. It’s a modest improvement, but the pork producers are fighting it. These laws are bipartisan. A poll conducted last month by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research found that 93 percent of New Jersey voters wanted to see these crates banned. A year ago, Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a ... bill (to ban gestation crates) that had passed the Assembly and Senate by huge bipartisan majorities.
Note: For more along these lines, see this excerpt of a deeply revealing ABC News article about standardized animal cruelty in chicken farming.
The Cost of Campaigns
2014-10-19, New York Times
Posted: 2014-10-27 21:25:13
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in 2010 tossed aside decades of legislative restrictions, freeing corporations and unions to spend as much as they wished. Six months ago, the Supreme Court took its Citizens United decision further. In McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, it struck down long standing caps on what an individual may contribute to all federal candidates, collectively, in any two-year election cycle. With conservative justices dominant, the court expanded the concept that money is equivalent to speech, protected by the First Amendment. Corporations, it said, enjoy the same political rights as individuals. A study by the Sunlight Foundation, an advocate for government transparency, found that 31,385 people — that is 1 percent of 1 percent of the United States population — accounted for 28 percent of all disclosed contributions in the 2012 elections. This year, an analysis by The New York Times shows, more than half of broadcast advertising in the midterm elections has been paid for by groups that reveal little or nothing about their donors. Overwhelmingly, the main beneficiaries have been conservative organizations.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing election news articles from reliable major media sources. For more along these lines, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.
Our Dysfunctional Financial System
2014-10-02, Time Magazine
Posted: 2014-10-20 19:20:45
Did anyone ever doubt that the New York Fed was in hock to Wall Street? Or that Fed bank examiners ... might fear alienating the powerful financiers on whom they depend for information or future jobs? It’s one thing to know and another to hear in painful, crackling detail how the Fed’s financial cops slip on their velvet gloves to deal with Goldman Sachs. Or how Segarra, one of a group of examiners brought in after the financial crisis to keep a closer watch on the till, was fired, perhaps for doing her job. Consider one of the shady deals highlighted on the secret tapes of New York Fed meetings, which Segarra made with a spy recorder before she was let go and which were made public on Sept. 26. The Fed employees, who work inside the banks they examine (yes, it’s literally an inside job), knew the deal was dodgy. Numerous experts believe that the size of the financial sector is slowing growth in the real economy by sucking the monetary oxygen out of the room. Banks don’t want to lend; they want to trade, often via esoteric deals that do almost nothing for anyone outside Wall Street. This disconnect between the real economy and finance is now being closely studied by policymakers and academics. Adair Turner, a former British banking regulator, thinks that only about 15% of U.K. financial flows go to the real economy; the rest stay within the financial system, propping up existing corporate assets, supporting trading and enabling $40 million briefcase-watching fees. If the New York Fed really wants to redeem itself, it might consider commissioning a similar study to look at Wall Street’s contribution to the U.S. economy.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing financial news articles from reliable major media sources. For more along these lines, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Banking Corruption Information Center.
Did Merck Unfairly Monopolize the Market for a Mumps Vaccine?
2014-09-10, Wall Street Journal blog
Posted: 2014-10-13 16:19:58
Did Merck use false pretenses to monopolize the market for mumps vaccines? A pair of lawsuits – one of which is filed by former employees and the other by doctors – make this allegation and a federal judge is allowing both claims to proceed. The former employees – virologists who filed a whistleblower lawsuit four years ago – charge Merck knew its vaccine was less effective than the purported 95% efficacy level. And they alleged that senior management was aware, complicit and in charge of testing that concealed the actual effectiveness. They claim to have witnessed fIrsthand what they describe as “improper testing and data falsification in which Merck engaged in order to conceal what the drug maker knew about the vaccine’s diminished efficacy. In fact, their Merck superiors and senior management pressured them to participate in the fraud and subsequent cover up when they objected to and tried to stop it,” according to their lawsuit. The feds declined to join the lawsuit, which was unsealed two years ago. Shortly afterwards, the physicians subsequently filed the other lawsuit charge the vaccine was mislabeled and was not the product for which the government or other purchasers paid, which meant that Merck violated the False Claims Act. Both lawsuits note that Merck held an exclusive license to sell a mumps vaccine and its actions discouraged competition. “The ultimate victims here are the millions of children who, every year, are being injected with a mumps vaccine that is not providing them with an adequate level of protection,” the lawsuit filed by the virologists states. Meanwhile, the mumps vaccine was ringing the register at Merck, which reported that sales reached $621 million last year.
Note: Read a CBS News article which shows how Merck literally created a hit list for doctors who opposed use of the deadly drug Vioxx, which was responsible for thousands of deaths. A second CBS article shows how Merck created a fake medical journal to support Vioxx and harassed reporters revealing the truth. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Syria-to-Ukraine Wars Send U.S. Defense Stocks to Records
Posted: 2014-10-13 16:12:06
Led by Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), the biggest U.S. defense companies are trading at record prices as shareholders reap rewards from escalating military conflicts around the world. Investors see rising sales for makers of missiles, drones and other weapons as the U.S. hits Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq, said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Chicago-based BMO Private Bank. “As we ramp up our military muscle in the Mideast, there’s a sense that demand for military equipment and weaponry will likely rise,” said Ablin, who oversees $66 billion including Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC) and Boeing Co. (BA) shares. “To the extent we can shift away from relying on troops and rely more heavily on equipment -- that could present an opportunity.” Bombardments of Islamic State strongholds added to tensions this year that include U.S.-led sanctions on Russia for backing Ukrainian rebels. The U.S. also is the biggest foreign military supplier to Israel, which waged a 50-day offensive against the Hamas Islamic movement in the Gaza Strip. A Bloomberg Intelligence gauge of the four largest Pentagon contractors ... rose 19 percent this year through yesterday, outstripping the 2.2 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Industrials Index. Lockheed, the world’s biggest defense company, reached an all-time high of $180.74 on Sept. 19, when Northrop, Raytheon Co. (RTN) and General Dynamics Corp. (GD) also set records. That quartet and Chicago-based Boeing accounted for about $105 billion in federal contract orders last year. U.S. lawmakers including Representative Peter King, a New York Republican, have suggested that the new global threats could prompt Congress to reconsider planned reductions in defense spending.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.
New Merck Allegations: A Fake Journal; Ghostwritten Studies; Vioxx Pop Songs; PR Execs Harass Reporters
2009-04-23, CBS News
Posted: 2014-10-10 10:50:16
Federal prosecutors in the U.S. will be reading with amusement the Australian press's coverage of a class action trial down under for patients who took Merck's now-withdrawn painkiller Vioxx. Details emerging in Oz make some of the antics that Merck's American counterparts got up to look tame by comparison. For example, in Australia, Merck allegedly: Had a doctor sign his name to an entirely ghostwritten journal article even though a Merck staffer had complained that the data within it was based on "wishful thinking;" created a fake "peer-reviewed" journal, the "Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine," in which to publicize pro-Vioxx articles; created a Ricky Martin-style pop song to get Merck sales reps all jazzed up about Vioxx; [and] hatched a Blackadder-style "cunning plan" to seed seminars with speakers who were sympathetic to Vioxx. Here's The Australian's description of the Merck PR team's over-the-top "handling" of reporters at ... a class action trial down under for patients who took Merck's now-withdrawn painkiller Vioxx: A hired crisis management team sits in court every day, under the guidance of Merck & Co's media spokeswoman flown out from the US, watching what journalists write, who they talk to and where they go in the court breaks. The team ... follow journalists out of court, ask them what they are writing, hand out daily press releases and send "background" emails they say should not be attributed to the company but which detail what they think are the "salient points" from the evidence presented in court. The team rings reporters first thing in the morning, accuses them of "cherry-picking" the evidence and bombards newspapers with letters to the editor arguing their case in detail based on the day's evidence - five were sent to The Australian in just seven days.
Note: FDA analysts estimated that Vioxx caused between 88,000 and 139,000 heart attacks, 30 to 40 percent of which were probably fatal, in the five years the drug was on the market. Read another CBS News article which shows how Merck literally created a hit list for doctors who opposed use of Vioxx. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Merck Created Hit List to 'Destroy,' 'Neutralize' or 'Discredit' Dissenting Doctors
2009-05-06, CBS News
Posted: 2014-10-10 10:44:43
Merck made a "hit list" of doctors who criticized Vioxx, according to testimony in a Vioxx class action case in Australia. According to The Australian, Merck emails from 1999 showed company execs complaining about doctors who disliked using Vioxx. The list, emailed between Merck employees, contained doctors' names with the labels "neutralise," "neutralised" or "discredit" next to them. One email said: We may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live. The plaintiffs' lawyer gave this assessment: "It gives you the dark side of the use of key opinion leaders and thought leaders. If (they) say things you don't like to hear, you have to neutralise them." The court was told that James Fries, professor of medicine at Stanford University, wrote to the then Merck head Ray Gilmartin in October 2000 to complain about the treatment of some of his researchers who had criticised the drug. "Even worse were allegations of Merck damage control by intimidation," he wrote. "This has happened to at least eight (clinical) investigators. I was mildly threatened myself, but I never have spoken or written on these issues." The allegations come on the heels of revelations that Merck created a fake medical journal -- the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine -- in which to publish studies about Vioxx; had pop songs commissioned about Vioxx to inspire its staff, and paid ghostwriters to draft articles about the drug.
Note: FDA analysts estimated that Vioxx caused between 88,000 and 139,000 heart attacks, 30 to 40 percent of which were probably fatal, in the five years the drug was on the market. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Inside the Koch Brothers' Toxic Empire
2014-09-24, Rolling Stone
Posted: 2014-10-08 21:02:20
Together, Charles and David Koch control one of the world's largest fortunes, which they are using to buy up our political system. The Kochs [have] cornered the market on Republican politics and are nakedly attempting to buy Congress and the White House. Koch-affiliated organizations raised some $400 million during the 2012 election, and aim to spend another $290 million to elect Republicans in this year's midterms. Koch ... is larger than IBM, Honda or Hewlett-Packard and is America's second-largest private company. Brothers Charles and David are each worth more than $40 billion. But what they don't want you to know is how they made all that money. The company's stock response to inquiries from reporters: "We are privately held and don't disclose this information." The company's troubled legal history – including a trail of congressional investigations ... civil lawsuits and felony convictions ... combine to cast an unwelcome spotlight on the toxic empire. The company has paid out record civil and criminal environmental penalties. According to the University of Massachusetts Amherst's Political Economy Research Institute, only three companies rank among the top 30 polluters of America's air, water and climate: ExxonMobil, American Electric Power and Koch Industries. Koch Industries dumps more pollutants into the nation's waterways than General Electric and International Paper combined. Koch has profited precisely by dumping billions of pounds of pollutants into our waters and skies. The Koch brothers get richer as the costs of what Koch destroys are foisted on the rest of us – in the form of ill health, foul water and a climate crisis that threatens life as we know it on this planet.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Monsanto gives $4.7M to Colorado campaign against GMO labeling
2014-09-30, Colorado Public Radio
Posted: 2014-10-08 20:49:28
Monsanto is donating $4.7 million to the campaign to oppose GMO labeling in Colorado. The St. Louis-based agriculture company is a primary producer of genetically modified seeds. The No on 105 committee has raised almost $10 million through Sept. 24, with Pepsico and Kraft Foods also giving more than $1 million each. The group begins running TV ads against the initiative this week. Meanwhile, the supporters of the labeling initiative, Right to Know GMO, have raised about $323,000, including almost $120,000 in the most recent two weeks. That groups top donors are Food Democracy Action at $140,000 total and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps at $25,000.
Note: In every election where GMO labeling was on the ballot, big industry has poured in many times more money that those in favor of disclosure. This is a very good example of how in the US, it is much more a democracy of every dollar gets one vote rather than every person gets one vote. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
Japan's Shinkansen Bullet Train Turns 50
2014-10-01, ABC News/Associated Press
Posted: 2014-10-08 20:45:07
Zipping cross-country in a super-high speed train has become commonplace in many countries these days, but it was unheard of when Japan launched its bullet train between Tokyo and Osaka 50 years ago Wednesday. The Shinkansen, as it's called in Japan, gave a boost to train travel in Europe and Asia at a time when the rise of the automobile and the airplane threatened to eclipse it. The first bullet train, with its almost cute bulbous round nose, traveled from Tokyo to Osaka in four hours, shaving two and a half hours off the 513-kilometer (319-mile) journey. The latest model, with a space-age-like elongated nose, takes just two hours and 25 minutes. The first Shinkansen had a maximum speed of 210 kilometers (130 miles) per hour. The fastest trains previously, in Europe, could reach 160 kph. Today's bullet trains, in Japan and elsewhere, have reached and in some cases exceeded 300 kph (186 mph). By average speed, China has the fastest train in the world, averaging 284 kph. Turkey last year became the ninth country to operate a train at an average speed of 200 kph. South Korea and Taiwan also operate high-speed systems in Asia. The fastest train in the U.S., Amtrak's Acela Express, averages 169 kph (105 mph) on a short stretch between Baltimore and Wilmington, Delaware. Shanghai launched a German-built maglev train in 2004 on a 30-kilometer route between the city and the airport. It can hit 430 kph (267 mph). A Japanese maglev train in development has topped 500 kph (310 mph) in tests.
Note: Gas and oil interests have lobbied hard to keep Americans wedded to their cars and stop the development of high-speed trains. For more on this, see this excellent article and concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on suppressed energy inventions from reliable major media sources.
Who profits from our new war? Inside NSA and private contractors’ secret plans
Posted: 2014-09-26 12:30:36
A massive, $7.2 billion Army intelligence contract signed just 10 days ago underscores the central role to be played by the National Security Agency and its army of private contractors in the unfolding air war being carried out by the United States and its Gulf States allies against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. INSCOM’s “global intelligence support” contract will place the contractors at the center of this fight. Under its terms, 21 companies, led by Booz Allen Hamilton, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, will compete over the next five years to provide “fully integrated intelligence, security and information operations” in Afghanistan and “future contingency operations” around the world. INSCOM announced the global intelligence contract two days after President Obama, in a speech to the nation, essentially declared war on ISIS in Iraq and Syria and outlined a campaign of airstrikes and combat actions to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the terrorist group. The top contractors on the INSCOM contract are already involved in the war. Lockheed Martin, for example, makes the Hellfire missiles that are used extensively in U.S. drone strikes. Northrop Grumman makes the Global Hawk surveillance drone. Both companies have large intelligence units. 70 percent of the U.S. intelligence budget is spent on private contractors. This spending [is] estimated at around $70 billion a year. [There is a] revolving door between INSCOM and its contractors. The system is corrupted by the close relationships between the companies and their agencies, said [Tom] Drake, who as a whistle-blower was nearly sent to prison for exposing the waste, fraud and abuse in a contracted program at the NSA that ended up losing over $7 billion.
Note: Read a powerful essay written by a top US general showing how he was fooled into supporting wars that were generated by the powerful global elite who want never-ending war in order to keep their profits flowing.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Fined $488.8 Million for 'Massive Bribery Network' in China
2014-09-19, ABC News
Posted: 2014-09-26 12:22:04
China has fined the British pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) $488.8 million (3 billion Yuan) for a "massive bribery network" to get doctors and hospitals to use its products. Five former employees were sentenced to two to four years in jail, but ordered deported instead of imprisoned, according to state news agency Xinhua today. The fine was the biggest ever imposed by a Chinese court. The court gave Mark Reilly, former head of GSK Chinese operations, a three-year prison sentence with a four-year reprieve, which meant he is set to be deported instead of serving his time in a Chinese jail. Reilly was accused of operating a “massive bribery network” in May. The police said it is believed Reilly authorized his salespeople to pay doctors, hospital officials and health institutions to use GSK’s products since 2009. Throughout 2012 a stream of anonymous emails alleging bribery authorized by senior staff at GSK were sent to Chinese regulators. At the beginning of 2013, the anonymous emails began to arrive at GSK headquarter in London, along with a sex tape of Mark Reilly and his Chinese girlfriend. The charges claim that GSK hired Shanghai-based investigator Peter Humphrey and his American wife, Yu Yingzeng, to locate the whistleblower. The Humphreys were detained and charged with illegally obtaining phone logs, travel records and other data which then they put in a report to GSK. GSK released a statement of apologies to the Chinese government and people on its website. "GSK Plc has reflected deeply and learned from its mistakes, has taken steps to comprehensively rectify the issues identified at the operations of GSKCI, and must work hard to regain the trust of the Chinese people," the statement said.
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