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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to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
With limited oversight, the wealthy get a charitable tax break
2015-01-02, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2015-01-11 22:25:23
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.
Why the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Is a Pending Disaster
2015-01-06, Baltimore Sun (Baltimore's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2015-01-11 22:22:11
Republicans who now run Congress say they want to cooperate with President Obama, and point to the administration's Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, as the model. The only problem is the TPP would be a disaster. If you haven't heard much about the TPP, that's part of the problem. It would be the largest trade deal in history ... representing 792 million people and accounting for 40 percent of the world economy -- yet it's been devised in secret. Lobbyists from America's biggest corporations and Wall Street's biggest banks have been involved but not the American public. That's a recipe for fatter profits and bigger paychecks at the top, but not a good deal for most of us, or even for most of the rest of the world. Big corporations and Wall Street want ... more international protection when it comes to their intellectual property and other assets. But they want less protection of consumers, workers, small investors, and the environment, because these interfere with their profits. So they've been seeking trade rules that allow them to override these protections. Not surprisingly for a deal that's been drafted mostly by corporate and Wall Street lobbyists, the TPP provides exactly this mix. In other words, the TPP is a Trojan horse in a global race to the bottom, giving big corporations and Wall Street banks a way to eliminate any and all laws and regulations that get in the way of their profits.
Note: The above article is written by former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. For more along these lines, see this summary of an article that appeared in the Guardian newspaper in 2013. You can also read the TPP's Intellectual property and environment language for yourself.
At America’s court of last resort, a handful of lawyers now dominates the docket
Posted: 2015-01-04 21:58:09
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.
The Government Problem
2014-12-23, Chicago Tribune
Posted: 2015-01-04 21:51:37
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.
Too Big to Tax: Settlements Are Tax Write-Offs for Banks
Posted: 2014-12-28 15:34:04
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.
Energy Firms in Secretive Alliance With Attorneys General
2014-12-06, New York Times
Posted: 2014-12-28 15:27:29
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.
Doctor Transparency: Why Leana Wen Received Threats After Launching
2014-11-19, International Business Times
Posted: 2014-12-22 08:17:16
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.
Full scale of plastic in the world's oceans revealed for first time
2014-12-10, The Guardian
Posted: 2014-12-22 08:03:14
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.
The Red Cross CEO Has Been Misleading About Where Donors' Dollars Are Going
2014-12-04, MSN News
Posted: 2014-12-07 23:37:30
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.
Komen is supposed to be curing breast cancer. So why is its pink ribbon on so many carcinogenic products?
2014-10-21, Washington Post
Posted: 2014-12-01 02:40:06
Breast cancer giant Susan G. Komen has found its strangest bedfellow yet in one of the world’s largest oilfield services corporations, Baker Hughes. The two have teamed up for a second year to distribute 1,000 pink drill bits to oil fields worldwide. This is just the latest example of “pinkwashing” – when a company or organization claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink-ribbon product but at the same time manufactures or sells products that are linked to the disease. Pinkwashing has become a central component of the breast cancer industry: a web of relationships and financial arrangements between corporations that cause cancer, companies making billions off diagnosis and treatment, nonprofits seeking to support patients or even to cure cancer, and public relations agencies that divert attention from the root causes of disease. The partnership with fracking company Baker Hughes is among the worst examples of Komen’s pinkwashing so far. More than 700 chemicals are used in the process of drilling and fracking for oil and gas. In a study of about 350 of those chemicals, researchers found that up to half can cause health problems, including nervous, immune and cardiovascular symptoms. More than one-third can disrupt the hormone system. And a quarter of the chemicals, such as benzene and formaldehyde, increase the risk of cancer. Baker Hughes is doing more to cause breast cancer than to cure it. And Komen, with its poisonous partnerships, is giving Baker Hughes — and many other companies — the perfect pink disguise.
Note: For more along these lines, read this Los Angeles Times article about how fracking introduces carcinogens into drinking water, and see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
HSBC and Goldman sued for allegedly fixing metal price
2014-11-26, BBC News
Posted: 2014-12-01 02:24:38
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.
New Scrutiny of Goldman’s Ties to the New York Fed After a Leak
2014-11-19, New York Times
Posted: 2014-12-01 02:22:12
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.
Vaccine Makers Enjoy Immunity
2009-02-23, Wall Street Journal
Posted: 2014-12-01 02:08:54
A special "vaccines court" hears cases brought by parents who claim their children have been harmed by routine vaccinations. The court buffers Wyeth and other makers of childhood-disease vaccines from ... litigation risk. The legal shield, known as the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, was put into place in 1986. Vaccines ... are poised to generate $21.5 billion in annual sales for their makers by 2012, according to France's Sanofi-Aventis SA, a leading producer of inoculations. Vaccines' transformation into a lucrative business has some observers questioning whether the shield law is still appropriate. Critics ... underscored the limited recourse families have in claiming injury from vaccines. "When you've got a monopoly and can dictate price in a way that you couldn't before, I'm not sure you need the liability protection," said Lars Noah, a specialist in medical technology. Kevin Conway, an attorney at Boston law firm Conway, Homer & Chin-Caplan PC, which specializes in vaccine cases and brought one of the recent autism suits, says the lack of liability for the pharmaceutical industry compromises safety. Even if they had won their cases, the families of autistic children wouldn't have been paid by the companies that make the vaccines. Instead, the government would have footed the bill, using the funds from a tax levied on inoculations.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines from reliable major media sources showing huge corruption and deception.
Waste Water from Oil Fracking Injected into Clean Aquifers
2014-11-14, NBC News (San Francisco Affiliate)
Posted: 2014-11-23 18:32:26
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.
Leaked treaty is a Hollywood wish list. Could it derail Obama’s trade agenda?
2013-11-12, Washington Post Blog
Posted: 2014-11-23 18:20:11
Officially, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade treaty that will ease the flow of goods and services among the United States ... and other nations along the Pacific Rim. But it has attracted criticism for its secrecy, and for the inclusion of controversial provisions related to copyright, patent, and trademark protections. Wikileaks released an August draft of the "intellectual property" chapter of the treaty. The United States has been using the treaty as a vehicle to pressure its negotiating partners to make their laws more favorable to the interests of U.S. filmmakers, drug companies, and other large holders of copyright and patent rights. Several proposed items are drawn from Hollywood's wish list. The United States has also pushed for a wide variety of provisions that would benefit the U.S. pharmaceutical and medical device industries. The Obama administration wants to require the extension of patent protection to plants, animals, and medical procedures. It wants to require countries to offer longer terms of patent protection to compensate for delays in the patent application process. The United States also wants to bar the manufacturers of generic drugs from relying on safety and efficacy information that was previously submitted by a brand-name drug maker — a step that would make it harder for generic manufacturers to enter the pharmaceutical market and could raise drug prices.
Note: Why was this vitally important, yet little-reported news relegated to a blog? Read an October, 2014 update on the secret trade deal in The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers). The Environment Chapter of the TPP has also been leaked. For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing articles about government secrecy.
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.
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