Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Media Articles in Major Media
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Saudi Arabia’s well-funded public relations apparatus moved quickly after Saturday’s explosive execution of Shiite political dissident Nimr al-Nimr to shape how the news is covered in the United States. The execution led protestors in Shiite-run Iran to set fire to the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, precipitating a major diplomatic crisis. The Saudi side of the story is getting a particularly effective boost in the American media through pundits who are quoted justifying the execution, in many cases without mention of their funding or close affiliation with the Saudi Arabian government. Meanwhile, social media accounts affiliated with Saudi Arabia’s American lobbyists have pushed English-language infographics, tweets, and online videos to promote a narrative that reflects the interests of the Saudi regime. An editorial published by the Wall Street Journal approvingly quoted Joseph Braude of the Foreign Policy Research Institute claiming that Nimr was a violent extremist. Braude’s depiction of Nimr aligns with ... Saudi Arabia’s terrorism law, [which] includes as acts of terrorism merely criticizing the government. But as journalists and editors from the Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian, the BBC, and other prominent outlets have reported, Nimr advocated nonviolence and encouraged his followers to protest peacefully. Braude did not provide any evidence for his claims beyond anonymous “Saudi sources.”
Note: Read about the Saudi campaign to charm American policy makers even as it set a record in the number of public beheadings. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption and media manipulation.
Alex Hummell says few dentists seem worried enough about invisible, odorless mercury to take the kinds of precautions needed to prevent everyday exposures. As the head of a ... firm that sells sophisticated equipment to gauge airborne levels of highly toxic mercury at industrial sites worldwide, Hummell has watched manufacturers of all sorts put their employees through strict training programs in which they don special equipment to avoid even tiny exposures. Then he walks into dental clinics and is dumbfounded. On numerous occasions, he said, he has detected mercury levels in dental offices that were two to three times the average workday exposure limit of 100 micrograms per cubic meter set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, but patients and the staff were wearing little or no protective equipment. “I’ve seen in dental offices what would make these other offices have to shut down,” said Hummell. “They would be closing their doors and getting respirators on.” Instead, he said, “there are kids running around everywhere. It’s nuts. It’s the exact same toxin, and it’s being treated totally differently.” Several years ago, Hummell said, he set up a booth at a regional dental conference in Denver to demonstrate how his equipment could pick up rising mercury levels with a mere gentle brushing of a filling in an old tooth.
Note: For more on risks of mercury in fillings, see this mercola.com article. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics has released new evidence that mass incarceration continues to unwind in the United States. The rate of U.S. adults under some form of criminal justice supervision declined for the seventh straight year, dropping to a level not seen since 1996. The criminal justice supervision rate comprises individuals on probation or parole as well as those incarcerated in local jails or in federal or state prison. A total of 6,851,000 adults were under criminal justice supervision in at the end of 2014, a decline of 52,200 from the year before. Evaluating change in the criminal justice system as whole is essential for determining whether the nation is truly making progress on reducing mass incarceration. Research on the state and federal prison population has documented a decline for over half a decade, but such data can be misleading if the criminal justice system is playing a shell game - transferring prisoners to local jails or moving them onto parole. The new Bureau of Justice System report shows that the correctional system is indeed shrinking across the board rather than simply shifting offenders from one form of supervision to another.
Note: This is great news. But it will take a very long time for the era of mass incarceration to end if the criminal justice supervision rate shrinks by less than one percent per year. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the NSA under President Obama targeted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his top aides for surveillance. In the process, the agency ended up eavesdropping on ... U.S. lawmakers and American-Jewish groups. People who spent many years cheering for and defending ... programs of mass surveillance are suddenly indignant now that they know the eavesdropping included them. Long-time GOP chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and unyielding NSA defender Pete Hoekstra last night was truly indignant: "WSJ report that NSA spied on Congress and Israel communications very disturbing. Actually outrageous. Maybe unprecedented abuse of power ... NSA and Obama officials need to be investigated and prosecuted. NSA loses all credibility. Scary." This pattern - whereby political officials who are vehement supporters of the Surveillance State transform overnight into crusading privacy advocates once they learn that they themselves have been spied on - is one that has repeated itself over and over. So now, with yesterday’s WSJ report, we witness the tawdry spectacle of large numbers of people who for years were fine with, responsible for, and even giddy about NSA mass surveillance suddenly objecting. Overnight, privacy is of the highest value because now it’s their privacy, rather than just yours, that is invaded.
Note: Read the full Wall Street Journal article on how the US government is secretly spying on Israeli leaders and more. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.
The Transportation Security Administration’s new rules for screening passengers with its controversial full-body scanners - which were quietly changed just before the busy holiday travel season - represent a significant policy reversal that could affect your next flight. Getting checked by the TSA’s advanced-imaging technology used to be entirely optional, allowing those who refused a scan to be subjected to a pat-down. In fact, many observers thought the agency installed the 740 body scanners in 160 airports with an understanding that no one would be forced to use them, ever. But on a Friday in late December, the TSA revised its rules, saying an “opt out” is no longer an option for certain passengers. “The TSA is going back on its word,” says Fred Cate, a law professor at Indiana University and prominent TSA-watcher. “The scanners were sold to Congress and the public on the promise that they were optional, but for at least some people, that is no longer the case.” In previous court filings, the agency offered written assurance that the scanners were optional. Based on the agency’s statements, a federal appeals court affirmed the legality of using the full-body scanners as long as fliers were given a choice.
Note: Read more on the controversy surrounding TSA's costly but technically questionable scanners. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The very richest Americans have financed a sophisticated and astonishingly effective apparatus for shielding their fortunes. Some call it the “income defense industry,” consisting of a high-priced phalanx of lawyers, estate planners, lobbyists and anti-tax activists. All are among a small group providing much of the early cash for the 2016 presidential campaign. Operating largely out of public view - in tax court, through arcane legislative provisions and in private negotiations with the Internal Revenue Service - the wealthy have used their influence to steadily whittle away at the government’s ability to tax them. The effect has been to create a kind of private tax system, catering to only several thousand Americans. Two decades ago ... the 400 highest-earning taxpayers in America paid nearly 27 percent of their income in federal taxes, according to I.R.S. data. By 2012 ... that figure had fallen to less than 17 percent, which is just slightly more than the typical family making $100,000 annually. Some of the biggest current tax battles are being waged by some of the most generous supporters of 2016 candidates. Whatever tax rates Congress sets, the actual rates paid by the ultra-wealthy tend to fall over time as they exploit their numerous advantages.
Note: The IRS now conducts only half as many audits of the super-rich as it did five years ago. Over half of the money contributed so far to 2016 US presidential candidates has come from just 158 families. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and income inequality from reliable major media sources.
U.S. intelligence agencies recently fought off a move by Congress to require the CIA and other spy services to disclose more details about high-ranking employees who have been promoted or fired. Under a provision drafted by the Senate Intelligence Committee this year, intelligence agencies would have been required to regularly provide names of those being promoted to top positions and disclose any “significant and credible information to suggest that the individual is unfit or unqualified.” But that language faced intense opposition from Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr.. As a result, the wording was watered down by Congress this month and now requires Clapper only to furnish “information the Director determines appropriate.” U.S. spy chiefs chafed at the idea of subjecting their top officials to such congressional scrutiny and went so far as to warn that candidates for certain jobs would probably withdraw. Former CIA director Michael Hayden said he [opposed the provision] “for simply being too invasive.”
Note: As a vocal advocate of intrusive spying, former CIA director Michael Hayden's claim that congressional oversight of spy agency personnel could be "too invasive" is ironic. The unaccountable US intelligence agencies were recently called a "secret government" in the Boston Globe. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the intelligence community.
In April 2012, a Kansas SWAT team raided the home of Robert and Addie Harte, their 7-year-old daughter and their 13-year-old son. The couple, both former CIA analysts, awoke to pounding at the door. The family was then held at gunpoint for more than two hours while the police searched their home. They found no evidence of any criminal activity. The investigation leading to the raid began ... when Robert Harte and his son went to a gardening store to purchase supplies to grow hydroponic tomatoes. The Johnson County Sheriff’s Department began [sending] deputies out to sort through the family’s garbage. The deputies repeatedly found “saturated plant material” that they thought could possibly be marijuana. On two occasions, a drug testing field kit inexplicably indicated the presence of THC, the active drug in marijuana. Lab tests would later reveal that the “saturated plant material” was actually loose-leaf tea. Why did the field tests come up positive for pot? These tests come up positive whenever the police need them to. The tests [can] be manipulated to generate positive results. The Hartes wanted to know what happened. They spent more than $25,000 in legal fees just to learn why the sheriff had sent a SWAT team into their home. Once they finally had that information, the Hartes filed a lawsuit. U.S. District Court Judge John W. Lungstrum dismissed every one of the Hartes’s claims, [and] ruled that the police were under no obligation to know that drug testing field kits are inaccurate.
Note: A detailed report by forensics expert John Kelly and former FBI chief scientist Dr. Frederick Whitehurst reveals "a drug testing regime of fraudulent forensics used by police, prosecutors, and judges." And recently the FBI was found to have faked an entire branch of forensic science. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.
Ramadi was liberated today, but will anyone notice? The sad fact is that nothing that actually happens on the ground against Daesh (ISIS) is likely going to have a material effect on the culture of fear that has been created to infest the American psyche by so many people who should know so much better. A whopping 59% of Democrats are unhappy with the progress President Obama has made on the war on terror, along with 86% of Republicans and 69% of independents. What did anyone expect? Since the Paris shootings, and certainly since the shootings in San Bernardino, through the efforts of our leading television news stars, Daesh has been converted into the greatest threat to Western civilization since the Battle of Tours. They are supervillains with mad computer skillz and secret Muslim mind-tricks who can turn your children into implacable murder machines. If you want to see what losing the war on terror really looks like, don't look to the Middle East. Instead, watch the television commercials approved by the various Republican presidential candidates. The three Democratic candidates are better, but not by much. You can't win a "war" on terror any more than you can win a "war" on hate or a "war" on any other easily activated human emotion, if there are enough powerful institutions that can profit from its activation. It's really up to the rest of us ... to keep things in perspective about the genuine dangers and the fantastical ones by which other people profit.
Note: Explore powerful evidence that ISIS is aided and was possibly even created by covert US support. Watch this video which shows how the US and its allies stoke war in order to pad the pockets of mega-corporations which profit greatly from arms sales. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the manipulation of public perception.
To the average person, it may seem that the biggest technology advances of 2015 were the larger smartphone screens. But a ... broad range of technologies reached a tipping point. 1. The Internet and knowledge: As of 2015 ... India has more Internet users than the U.S. does, and China has twice as many. Never before has all of humanity been connected in this way. 2. Doctors in our pockets: In 2015, smartphone-connected medical devices came into the mainstream. Previous generations of medical advances were for the rich; now all can benefit. 3. Bitcoin and disintermediation: One of the most controversial technology advances recently is Bitcoin, an unregulated and uncontrolled digital currency. In 2015, it gained acceptance by retailers such as Overstock.com. And the technology that underlies it, blockchain ... has the potential to transform the lives of billions of people who lack bank accounts and access to the legal and administrative infrastructure that we take for granted. 4. Engineering of life: Another technology that came into the mainstream was Crispr gene modification. Via Crisprs, DNA can be edited for as little as $100. 5. The drone age: As the technologies advance, drones will carry increasing amounts of weight and travel over longer distances. 6. Saving the planet with clean energy: U.S. lawmakers struck [a deal] to extend tax credits for solar and wind capture for another five years, which will accelerate the progress of clean energy. By, 2030, solar capture could provide 100 percent of today’s energy.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
For decades, the Hershey Co. has used sugar made from both sugar beets and sugar cane, but it decided earlier this year to stop buying beet sugar because it comes from genetically modified, or GM, seeds. Hershey communications director Jeff Beckman confirmed that the kisses and many other products stocked on shelves since Halloween no longer contain beet sugar. The company also is transitioning away from artificial to natural ingredients, he said. About 55 percent of domestic U.S. sugar is produced from sugar beets, and nearly 100 percent of the beet seeds are genetically modified to tolerate the herbicide glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. Hershey is the only national brand that has dropped beet sugar, although other companies have been asking questions and there has been a lot of chatter about GM sugar on social media. Part of the pressure on Hershey came from a coalition of groups called GMO Inside that began a campaign in 2013 suggesting that consumers tell Hershey and Mars, another large candy manufacturer, to drop all GM ingredients from their products. Elizabeth O’Connell, campaigns director for Green America, one of the groups in the anti-GM coalition ... said consumer groups will continue to pressure companies to remove GM ingredients from food, or at least to label them so consumers know what they’re buying. A current priority is dairy products, she said, because cows are fed mixtures of soy meal, corn and other products from GM seed.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Over the past 15 months, beleaguered Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has released a steady stream of messages retrieved from a state email server that show state officials and employees trading pornographic, racist and misogynistic messages. There are jokes about rape and sexual assault, photos mocking African Americans and other minorities, and insults leveled at people because of their weight, their sexual orientation or their religion. The scandal that has been dubbed "Porngate" ... is a disaster for the state’s justice system. Kane, the first woman and first Democrat elected to that office, faces a criminal indictment for felony perjury and multiple misdemeanors in an unrelated case. [Her] office ... has long maintained she’s innocent of the charges. She has cast herself as a victim of a powerful, political “old boys network,” angry that she’s shared their darkest emails. About 10,000 messages have been shared at this point. There could be as many as 100,000. Thus far, the scandal has resulted in the firing of at least six state employees and the resignation of a state Supreme Court judge. Another justice will go before a judicial ethics board later this month on charges of misconduct. If found guilty, he too could be removed from the bench. At least 60 people working for the attorney general’s office were reprimanded because of sexually explicit content found on their state computers.
Note: This is clearly a case where an old boys network involved with child sex abuse rings is coming down as hard as possible to get rid of the courageous attorney general who is exposing their dirty deeds. For more on this, see http://truthaboutkathleenkane.com. Watch an excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team titled "Spies, Lords and Predators" on a pedophile ring in the UK which leads directly to the highest levels of government. A second suppressed documentary, "Conspiracy of Silence," goes even deeper into this sad subject.
Nearly a thousand times this year, an American police officer has shot and killed a civilian. In a year-long study, The Washington Post found that ... the great majority of people who died at the hands of the police fit at least one of three categories: they were wielding weapons, they were suicidal or mentally troubled, or they ran when officers told them to halt. Although black men make up only 6 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 40 percent of the unarmed men shot to death by police this year. The FBI is charged with keeping statistics on such shootings. Fewer than half of the nation’s 18,000 police departments report their incidents to the agency. The Post documented well more than twice as many fatal shootings this year as the average annual tally reported by the FBI over the past decade. The research also noted whether victims were mentally ill or experiencing an emotional crisis. Officers fatally shot at least 243 people with mental health problems: 75 who were explicitly suicidal and 168 for whom police or family members confirmed a history of mental illness. Most of them died at the hands of police officers who had not been trained to deal with the mentally ill. An average of five officers per year have been indicted on felony charges over the previous decade; this year, 18 officers have been charged with felonies. Such accusations rarely stick, however.
Note: A similar project run by The Guardian called "The Counted" tracks police killings by all methods - not just shootings - and had noted 1117 such deaths in 2015 as the above story went to press. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable major media sources.
Foreign arms sales by the United States jumped by almost $10 billion in 2014, about 35 percent, even as the global weapons market remained flat and competition among suppliers increased, a new congressional study has found. American weapons receipts rose to $36.2 billion in 2014 from $26.7 billion the year before, bolstered by multibillion-dollar agreements with Qatar, Saudi Arabia and South Korea. The United States remained the single largest provider of arms around the world last year, controlling just over 50 percent of the market. Russia followed the United States as the top weapons supplier, completing $10.2 billion in sales, compared with $10.3 billion in 2013. Sweden was third, with roughly $5.5 billion in sales, followed by France with $4.4 billion and China with $2.2 billion. South Korea ... was the world’s top weapons buyer in 2014, completing $7.8 billion in contracts. Iraq followed South Korea, with $7.3 billion in purchases. Some arms producers have adopted measures like flexible financing, counter-trade guarantees and coproduction and co-assembly agreements to try to secure sales. Given its positioning, the United States was likely to remain the dominant supplier of arms to developing nations in coming years. As in previous years, the vast majority of arms were supplied by large, established countries to developing ones, which made $61.8 billion in total purchases in 2014.
Note: This annual report is among the most detailed nonclassified international arms sales data available to the public. Watch this video which shows how the US and its allies stoke war in order to pad the pockets of mega-corporations which profit greatly from arms sales. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Seven years ago, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department bailed out the largest financial institutions in this country because they were considered too big to fail. But almost every one is bigger today than it was before the bailout. If any were to fail again, taxpayers could be on the hook for another bailout. To rein in Wall Street, we should begin by reforming the Federal Reserve, which oversees financial institutions. Unfortunately, an institution that was created to serve all Americans has been hijacked by the very bankers it regulates. What went wrong at the Fed? The chief executives of some of the largest banks in America are allowed to serve on its boards. During the Wall Street crisis of 2007, Jamie Dimon, the chief executive and chairman of JPMorgan Chase, served on the New York Fed’s board of directors while his bank received more than $390 billion in financial assistance from the Fed. Next year, four of the 12 presidents at the regional Federal Reserve Banks will be former executives from one firm: Goldman Sachs. We would not tolerate the head of Exxon Mobil running the Environmental Protection Agency. And we should not allow big bank executives to serve on the boards of the main agency in charge of regulating financial institutions. Financial reforms must not stop with the central bank. We must reinstate Glass-Steagall and break up the too-big-to-fail financial institutions. The sad reality is that the Federal Reserve doesn’t regulate Wall Street; Wall Street regulates the Fed.
Note: After the bailout in 2008, the percentage of US banking assets held by the big banks has almost doubled. Could this possibly have been planned? And why is the only US presidential candidate talking seriously about bank reform being given little attention by mainstream media? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the financial industry.
About 8 percent of Americans experience PTSD; for veterans, that number is 30 percent. Treatment is notoriously difficult, but people could find relief in an unusual form: psychedelic drugs. MDMA - found in molly and ecstasy - earned a bad rap in the 1990s as ravers’ drug of choice. But psychotherapists are coming to value the way it increases empathy while decreasing fear and defensiveness. “MDMA gives people the ability to revisit an event that’s still painful without being overwhelmed,” says psychiatrist Michael Mithoefer. Following a recent MDMA trial, 83 percent of his treatment-resistant participants no longer showed symptoms of PTSD. In one study, Mithoefer worked with a New York City firefighter post-9/11. The subject had tried treatment before. While undergoing a popular method that uses eye movement to reprocess a trauma, he’d been so overcome that he ripped a sink off the wall. MDMA, however, worked. “It wasn’t easy for him,” Mithoefer says. “But our sink is still attached.” MDMA isn’t a one-trick pony either; it can treat end-of-life anxiety and alcoholism, and it’s not addictive. “We’re talking about the rise of a whole field of medicine,” says Rick Doblin, founder of the nonprofit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, which is running a handful of MDMA trials, including Mithoefer’s. Doblin thinks the FDA will greenlight the drug for mainstream use by 2021.
Dr. Nav Persaud, a family doctor in Toronto, asked and received thousands of pages of documents from Health Canada, and what he saw made him question the effectiveness of a popular morning sickness drug. But he can't talk about it, because Health Canada forced him to sign a confidentiality agreement, and threatened him with legal action if he makes the data public. Matthew Herder, [a] health law associate professor ... is calling on other doctors, researchers and journalists to bombard Ottawa with their own demands for drug industry data, using [a] new legislative lever written into ... the Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act, which was passed late last year. Today, in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Herder is urging Canadians to use the clause [to request] data that has long been protected by a wall of bureaucratic and corporate secrecy. The European Medicines Agency has started publishing all of the clinical reports submitted as part of drug marketing authorization applications - the same material Health Canada refuses to disclose. Almost half of the drug trials remain secret. [In the US], one group looked at 12 antidepressants, comparing the published studies with the internal FDA assessments. 94 per cent of the published studies were positive, compared to 51 per cent when they included all of the studies assessed by the FDA. The authors concluded that without seeing all the data, drug effectiveness can be exaggerated, leading doctors and patients to assume the medications work better than they do.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption and big pharma profiteering. Then read an in-depth essay titled "The Truth About Drug Companies" by acclaimed author Dr. Marcia Angell.
What if helping others is an innate part of being human? What if it just makes us feel good to give? Those questions have inspired a series of ground-breaking neuroscience studies ... by researchers Jamil Zaki, an assistant professor of psychology at Stanford University, and Jason Mitchell, an associate professor of the social sciences at Harvard University. Zaki and Mitchell’s research has gone head-to-head with standard economic models of decision making, which assume that when people exhibit kind, helpful (or “pro-social”) behavior, they are doing so to protect their reputation, avoid retribution, or benefit when their kindness is reciprocated. But in a study published in 2011 in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Zaki and Mitchell tested an alternate theory: that we feel good when helping others ... because behaviors like fairness, cooperation, and reciprocity are intrinsically rewarding. They found that acting equitably ... is rewarding, even when it means putting someone else’s interests before our own. On the other hand, making inequitable choices activated ... a brain area that has been associated with negative emotional states like pain and disgust. “Our model flips the traditional model on its head,” says Zaki. “Instead of people wanting to be selfish and then forcing themselves through control to be generous, we’re getting a picture where people enjoy being generous.”
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Good news. Sometimes, it comes in the form of a cancelled hydro dam that spares 20,000 people from the burden of displacement. Other times, it takes the shape of a simple court admission that Indigenous Peoples do actually make the best conservationists. Indigenous rights victories give us all pause to celebrate, to reflect and to rejuvenate our own quests for justice. In a landmark decision last week, the Dutch Court of Appeals ruled that four Ogoni farmers from Nigeria can take their case against [oil company] Shell to a judge in the Netherlands. Alali Efanga, one of the Ogoni farmers who ... said the ruling "offers hope that Shell will finally begin to restore the soil around my village so that I will once again be able to take up farming and fishing on my own land." The Wampis nation ... took an unprecedented step forward by establishing the first Autonomous Indigenous Government in Peru's history. Spanning a 1.3 million hectare territory - a region the size of the State of Connecticut - the newly created democratically-elected government brings together 100 Wampis communities representing some 10,613 people. Monsanto ... took another big hit after Mexico's Supreme Court suspended a permit to grow genetically modified soybeans across 250,000 hectares on the Yucatán peninsula. The judgment stemmed from a constitutional law in Mexico that requires the consideration of indigenous communities. The judge commented in the ruling that co-existence between honey production and GM soybeans is simply not possible.
Note: Don't miss the details of these and many other recent indigenous community victories at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
In the span of a mere 11 days this month, $1 billion in future federal tax payments vanished. As congressional leaders were hastily braiding together a tax and spending bill of more than 2,000 pages, lobbyists swooped in to add 54 words that temporarily preserved a loophole sought by the hotel, restaurant and gambling industries, along with billionaire Wall Street investors, that allowed them to put real estate in trusts and avoid taxes. The small changes, and the enormous windfall they generated, show the power of connected corporate lobbyists to alter a huge bill that is being put together with little time for lawmakers to consider. Some executives at companies with the most at stake are also big campaign donors. The real estate provision, released on Dec. 7, is intended to close a loophole in federal law that has allowed casinos, hotels, restaurant chains and other businesses to raise billions of dollars in cash by spinning off the buildings they own into a separate real estate investment trust, or REIT, without triggering a capital gains tax payment, a potentially big benefit. The revised language drew almost no notice from members of Congress, who were given three days to review a 2,009-page spending plan and the 233-page list of tax breaks before they were asked to vote on the package with almost no debate. Three House lawmakers interviewed just after the vote said they had known nothing about it.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Important 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.