Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Media Articles in Major Media
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Portugal decriminalized the use of all drugs in 2001. Weed, cocaine, heroin, you name it -- Portugal decided to treat possession and use of small quantities of these drugs as a public health issue, not a criminal one. Whenever we debate similar measures in the U.S. - marijuana decriminalization, for instance - many drug-policy makers predict dire consequences. But in Portugal, the ... prevalence of past-year and past-month drug use among young adults has fallen since 2001. Overall adult use is down slightly too. And new HIV cases among drug users are way down. Now, numbers just released from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction paint an even more vivid picture of life under decriminalization: drug overdose deaths in Portugal are the second-lowest in the European Union. Among Portuguese adults, there are 3 drug overdose deaths for every 1,000,000 citizens. Comparable numbers in other countries range from 10.2 per million in the Netherlands to 44.6 per million in the U.K., all the way up to 126.8 per million in Estonia. The E.U. average is 17.3 per million. Perhaps more significantly, the report notes that the use of ... so-called "synthetic" marijuana, "bath salts" and the like is lower in Portugal than in any of the other countries for which reliable data exists. This is arguably a positive development for public health in the sense that many of the designer drugs that people develop to skirt existing drug laws have terrible and often deadly side effects.
Note: Portugal's inspiring approach has contributed to public health outcomes that starkly contrast U.S. trends.
A nurse was unfairly denied unemployment benefits after she was fired for refusing a flu shot without claiming a religious or medical exemption, a New Jersey appeals court ruled Thursday. The three-judge panel wrote that the hospital's policy of allowing religious or medical exemptions to the flu shot requirement "unconstitutionally discriminated against" plaintiff June Valent by rejecting her refusal to be vaccinated for secular reasons. Valent was working as a nurse at Hackettstown Community Hospital in 2010 when the hospital's parent company began requiring employees to take the flu vaccine unless they had medical or religious reasons not to. Employees claiming an exemption were required to sign a form and provide documentation. Anyone refusing the vaccine was required to wear a mask while at work. Valent declined the vaccine but didn't state a medical or religious reason, and agreed to wear a mask. She was terminated based on her refusal of the vaccine and disqualified for unemployment benefits by a Department of Labor board of review after several hearings and appeals from both sides. The board concluded that the hospital demonstrated Valent had engaged in work-related misconduct by refusing the flu shot, according to Thursday's ruling. The appellate judges concluded that the hospital violated Valent's right to freedom of expression by endorsing the religious-based exemption while denying her secular choice.
Have you heard the story about the Muslim community in Belgium that raised money to restore a local synagogue? Probably not. But it is really important that you do. The oldest Jewish house of worship in Belgium, Synagogue d'Arlon, had been forced to close its doors because of structural problems with the building. The Jewish congregation was short of the funds needed to re-open, [so] a local Muslim community took it upon themselves to call for donations at Friday prayer - even though they themselves do not have a permanent mosque and pray in a converted house. The movement ... spread to Muslims across Belgium who contributed to the fund. In a communiqué released by the Association of Muslims of Arlon (AMA), Hajib el-Hajjaji urged fellow Muslims to contribute. The Muslim community ended up raising 2,400 Euro (about 2,600 dollars), which they presented to Rabbi Jacobs at an emotional roundtable discussion on the theme of "Living Together". Ultimately it was not about the money, but about "a much larger project," [General Secretary of AMA] Bouezmarni explained: "Jews and Muslims have lived together for centuries. Do you know that the first hydraulic clock was invented by a Jew so that Muslims can observe prayer times? Imams in France protected Jews during war. It is regrettable that religions are used for political purposes and sow discord between men." This intentional peacemaking is happening all around the globe.
Note: How sad that the media focuses so little on the many inspiring stories of people of differing faiths working together and supporting each other. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
A study has found rules that required Canadian aboriginals to attend state-funded church schools were responsible for "cultural genocide". The report released on Tuesday found that First Nation children were often physically and sexually abused. "They were stripped of their self-respect and they were stripped of their identity," said Murray Sinclair, one of the study's authors. More than 130 residential schools operated across Canada. The Canadian government forced more than 150,000 First Nation children to attend these schools from the 19th Century until the mid-1990s. The schools sought to integrate the children into mainstream Canadian society, but in doing so rid them of their native culture. The policies have been cited as a major factor in an epidemic of substance abuse on reservations. Students said they were beaten for speaking their native language and were separated from their parents and customs. Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a historic apology in parliament in 2008, acknowledging the physical and sexual abuse that took place in the schools. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which wrote the report, was created in 2006 as part of a $5bn (Ł3.3bn) class action settlement between the government, churches and the 90,000 surviving First Nation students. The report issued 94 recommendations including an investigation into missing and murdered aboriginal women and an apology from Pope Francis on behalf of the Catholic Church.
Note: Watch powerful evidence in a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sex abuse scandals and violations of basic civil rights.
WikiLeaks on Wednesday released 17 different documents related to the Trade in Services Agreement (Tisa), a controversial pact currently being hashed out between the US and 23 other countries – most of them in Europe and South America. The document dump comes at a tense moment in the negotiations over a series of trade deals. President Barack Obama has clashed with his own party over the deals as critics have worried about the impact on jobs and civil liberties. Unions, which fear heavy job losses once long-standing trade protections are dismantled, reacted with dismay following publication of the previously hidden documents. Rosa Pavanelli, general secretary of the Public Services International union, said: “It is outrageous that our democratically elected governments will not tell us the laws they are making. What has our democracy come to when the community must rely on Wikileaks to find out what our governments are doing on our behalf?” Nick Dearden, director of the charity Global Justice Now ... said: “These leaks reinforce the concerns of campaigners about the threat that TISA poses to vital public services. There is no mandate for such a far-reaching programme. It’s a dark day for democracy when we are dependent on leaks like this for the general public to be informed of the radical restructuring of regulatory frameworks that our governments are proposing.”
Note: According to an investigation by The Guardian, it cost about $1,148,971 to "fast-track" the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), another secret trade deal. How much are corrupt corporations paying to corrupt politicians to purchase their favor for TISA?
Peter Sharp of Liberators International ... has created impromptu dance parties in the Perth CBD, he’s shocked shoppers by dancing through aisles at the supermarket and, most recently, he challenged notions of racism by staging an act in which a blindfolded Aboriginal girl stood on the beach with a sign asking for free hugs – and received them. In Spain, Pete would wander the streets of Barcelona. "Spain [had] just been smashed by the economic crisis. There’s so much negativity, uncertainty for the future. I thought what we could do is create positive actions in a public space that prove to people that we don’t need to feel this despair." Pete grabbed a bunch of his mates ... and welcomed a busload of tourists arriving in Barcelona as if they were celebrities. Next ... they started approaching people with biscuits and saying “How could you pay for this cookie without money?” At first confused, people soon started getting creative. Someone started singing opera for a cookie, others danced in the street. “It’s just astounding how much creativity is out there – every single moment of every single day if you create the platform for that to be expressed,” Pete says. If people were so willing to connect, to share love and joy when given the opportunity, perhaps there was no need for the distrust that permeates modern society. Perhaps, Pete pondered, we could rewire our brains to trust others, to connect with strangers, to spread love and kindness.
Note: Watch videos of Sharp's playful, inspiring work in action at the link above.
For the fearmongers in the West and their allies, it’s always the scariest time ever. In February, former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morrell, arguing for renewal of the Patriot Act, warned that “the ‘lone wolf’ terrorist threat to the United States has never been greater.” In January, an anonymous senior aide to U.K. Prime Minister ... argued for a new “snooper” bill by saying that “the terrorist threat has never been greater.” In mid-2014, U.K. Prime Minister Cameron himself raised the threat level to “severe” and announced: “Britain faces the ‘greatest and deepest’ terror threat in the country’s history.” Throughout the Bush years ... officials raised their color-coded terror alerts and issued similar warnings so many times that it became a running joke. Years later, the face of that joke, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, admitted he was pressured to issue warnings for political gain. Here we are 14 years after 9/11, and it’s still always the worst threat ever in all of history. If we always face the greatest threat ever, then one of two things is true: 1) fearmongers serially exaggerate the threat for self-interested reasons, or 2) the threat is always getting more severe, year after year — which might mean we should evaluate the wisdom of “terrorism” policies that constantly make the problem worse. Whatever else is true, the people who should have the least credibility on the planet are [those] who have spent the last 15 years exploiting the terror threat in order to terrorize the American population into doing what they want.
Note: Read an excellent essay by a top US general exposing how war is a racket. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in the intelligence community and the manipulation of public perception.
FBI Behind Mysterious Surveillance Aircraft Over US Cities
June 2, 2015, ABC News/Associated Press
Scores of low-flying planes circling American cities are part of a civilian air force operated by the FBI and obscured behind fictitious companies. The aircraft are equipped with high-tech cameras, and ... technology capable of tracking thousands of cellphones. The surveillance equipment is used for ongoing investigations, the FBI says, generally without a judge's approval. The Drug Enforcement Administration has its own planes, also registered to fake companies, according to a 2011 Justice Department ... report. At the time, the DEA had 92 aircraft in its fleet. And since 2007, the U.S. Marshals Service has operated an aerial surveillance program with its own fleet equipped with technology that can capture data from thousands of cellphones. "These are not your grandparents' surveillance aircraft," said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union. Evolving technology can record higher-quality video from long distances, even at night, and can capture certain identifying information from cellphones using a device known as a "cell-site simulator" [to] trick pinpointed cellphones into revealing identification numbers of subscribers, including those not suspected of a crime. The Obama administration [has] been directing local authorities through secret agreements not to reveal their own use of the devices. During the past few weeks, the AP tracked planes from the FBI's fleet on more than 100 flights over at least 11 states plus the District of Columbia.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the corrupt intelligence agencies that facilitate the erosion of privacy rights in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Iraqi security forces lost 2,300 Humvee armored vehicles when Islamic State overran the northern city of Mosul in June 2014. Coupled with previous losses of American weapons, the conclusion is simple: The United States is effectively supplying Islamic State with tools of war the militant group cannot otherwise hope to acquire. Losses to Islamic State include at least 40 M1A1 main battle tanks ... 74,000 machine guns, and as many as 52 M198 howitzer mobile gun systems. To help replenish Iraq's motor pool, the U.S. State Department last year approved a sale to Iraq of 1,000 Humvees, along with their armor upgrades, machine guns and grenade launchers. The United States previously donated 250 Mine Resistant Armored Personnel carriers (MRAPs) to Iraq, plus unaccountable amounts of material left behind when American forces departed in 2011. The United States is currently in the process of moving to Iraq 175 M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks, 55,000 rounds of main tank-gun ammunition, $600 million in howitzers and trucks, $700 million worth of Hellfire missiles and 2,000 AT-4 rockets. The Hellfires and AT-4's, anti-tank weapons, are presumably going to be used to help destroy the American armor in the hands of Islamic State. It's a surreal state of affairs in which American weaponry is being sent into Iraq to destroy American weaponry previously sent into Iraq.
Note: Remember that many in power want perpetual war to keep the profits flowing. Read a verifiable and carefully researched report on the covert origins of ISIS. Explore a powerful article titled "Ex-US Intelligence Officials Confirm: Secret Pentagon Report Proves US Complicity In Creation Of ISIS." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
The US Central Intelligence Agency used a wider array of sexual abuse and other forms of torture than was disclosed in a Senate report last year, according to a Guantánamo Bay detainee turned government cooperating witness. Majid Khan said interrogators poured ice water on his genitals, twice videotaped him naked and repeatedly touched his “private parts” – none of which was described in the Senate report. Khan’s is the first publicly released account from a high-value al-Qaida detainee who experienced [these] “enhanced interrogation techniques”. The 35-year-old Khan ... is awaiting sentencing after [confessing] to delivering $50,000 to al-Qaida operatives in Indonesia. Khan was captured in Pakistan and held at an unidentified CIA “black site” from 2003 to 2006, according to the Senate report. In the interviews with his lawyers, Khan described a carnival-like atmosphere of abuse when he arrived at the CIA detention facility. He said that he experienced excruciating pain when hung naked from poles and that guards repeatedly held his head under ice water. In a July 2003 session, Khan said, CIA guards hooded and hung him from a metal pole for several days and repeatedly poured ice water on his mouth, nose and genitals. When a doctor arrived to check his condition, Khan begged for help. Instead, Khan said, the doctor instructed the guards to again hang him from the metal bar. After hanging from the pole for 24 hours, Khan was forced to write a “confession” while being videotaped naked.
Note: For more, read about the 10 Craziest Things in the Senate Report on Torture and many other questionable intelligence agency practices.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), fresh off a fight over the Patriot Act, has turned his attention to another national security battle: declassifying 28 pages of a 2002 Senate inquiry into the cause of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Paul is sponsoring the "Transparency for the Families of 9/11 Victims and Survivors Act," which would require President Obama to declassify and make public the pages. The issue is a politically charged one, with some claiming the pages will show that Saudi Arabia financed the attacks. Paul appeared at a Capitol Hill press conference with a bipartisan group of House sponsors, including Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), and Former Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.). The group were flanked by members of the group 9/11 Families United for Justice Against Terrorism. Paul pointed out that 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, saying that information that has been reported over the years "does raise question about their (the government's) support" and if it was provided to the hijackers. "We cannot let page after page of blanked out documents to be obscured by a veil, leaving these family members to wonder if there is additional information surrounding these horrible acts," Paul said. "The 28 pages in the report of over 800 pages go to the question of who financed 9/11and they point a strong finger at Saudi Arabia," Graham said.
Note: Rand Paul joins several prominent current and former US politicians that are working to expose the Saudi government money behind terrorism by declassifying this material. Explore the statements of over 3,000 respected government officials, professors, military officers, architects, engineers who have gone on the record raising serious questions about the 9/11 official story. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing 9/11 investigation news articles from reliable major media sources.
Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was paying a former student to keep quiet about allegations of sexual abuse from the time when Hastert was a teacher and wrestling coach in Illinois, two sources with knowledge of the federal government investigation told CNN on Friday afternoon. Hastert was a teacher and wrestling coach in Yorkville, Illinois between 1965 and 1981 before entering politics. Federal prosecutors indicted Hastert on Thursday for lying to the FBI about $3.5 million he agreed to pay to an undisclosed person to "cover up past misconduct." A federal law enforcement official confirmed to CNN early Friday evening that the former student was a male and a minor when the alleged abuse took place. Federal law enforcement officials also said that investigators decided not to pursue a possible extortion case in the matter. Much remains unclear in the seven-page indictment federal officials lodged against the former Republican House speaker. The indictment lists relevant facts as including Hastert's time working as a teacher and coach in Yorkville for 16 years. But Hastert was not approached by "Individual A" until 2010. From 2010 until 2014, Hastert first negotiated with and then made secret payments to the unknown subject. Charges were not filed against Hastert until Thursday, a half century after the first relevant date listed in the indictment.
Note: Watch powerful evidence in a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sex abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
Cardinal George Pell is "a dangerous individual" and "almost sociopathic" in his response to child sexual abuse victims, Pope Francis' specially-appointed commissioner for the protection of children, Peter Saunders, says. Pope Francis last December appointed Mr Saunders, a British survivor of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, to the new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors to ensure the Catholic Church acted with greater accountability and transparency in relation to child sexual abuse. Mr Saunders said that ... Cardinal Pell was "making a mockery of the Papal Commission, of the Pope himself, but most of all, of the victims and the survivors". "I think anybody who is a serious obstacle to the work of the commission and to the work of the Pope in trying to clean up the church's act over this matter, I think they need to be taken aside very, very quickly and removed from any kind of position of influence." Cardinal Pell was appointed to manage the Vatican's finances in February last year, making him one of the most powerful men in the Catholic Church. Questions have been raised over whether Cardinal Pell had supported notorious paedophile priests, including Gerald Ridsdale, instead of protecting victims and their families. Cardinal Pell has previously apologised to the commission for accompanying Ridsdale to court in 1993, but has denied he tried to bribe a victim to keep quiet as part of a cover-up and that he was dismissive of victims and their families.
Note: Watch a revealing 60 Minutes video on Pell's case. These accusations were originally made back in 2002, but were later dismissed. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sex abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
The US government does not keep a comprehensive record of people killed by law enforcement, often leaving families, politicians and advocates powerless to quantify and analyse the size of the issue at hand. The lack of data has been glaring amid the protests, riots and the national debate set in motion by the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown last summer in Ferguson, Missouri. “We lack the ability right now to comprehensively track the number of incidents,” the outgoing US attorney general Eric Holder said before stepping down earlier this year. “Fixing this is an idea that we should all be able to unite behind.” The Guardian has begun an investigative project, The Counted, to record the deaths of people at the hands of US police. When informed of the comprehensive reporting project, which will also be crowdsourced, the families of those whose deaths led to international attention called The Counted a breakthrough. [Many] relatives, campaign groups, activists and authorities ... argue that a national standard of mandatory accounting is a prerequisite for an informed public discussion about the use of force by police. Erica Garner-Snipes, daughter of Eric Garner: "Giving this kind of data to the public is a big thing. Other incidents like murders and robberies are collected, so why not police-involved killings? With better records, we can look at what is happening and what might need to change."
Note: Another recent Guardian article, titled The Uncounted, describes why the U.S. government claims it is unable to keep track of killings by police, but does not mention that police shootings rise as crime falls.
Federal law designates the secretary of state as “responsible for the continuous supervision and general direction of sales” of arms, military hardware and services to foreign countries. In practice, that meant that [Hillary] Clinton was charged with rejecting or approving weapons deals — and when it came to Clinton Foundation donors, Hillary Clinton’s State Department did a whole lot of approving. While Clinton was secretary of state, her department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors. That figure ... is almost double the value of arms sales to those countries during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term. The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that gave to the Clinton Foundation. That was a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. The 143 percent increase in U.S. arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors compares to an 80 percent increase in such sales to all countries over the same time period. American military contractors and their affiliates that donated to the Clinton Foundation — and in some cases, helped finance speaking fees to Bill Clinton — also got in on the action. Those firms and their subsidiaries were listed as contractors in $163 billion worth of arms deals authorized by the Clinton State Department.
Note: If you can not access this article at the link above, it is also available here. If you look at war and global politics from the point of view of war profiteering, you can see why despite popular opposition to war, it never stops. Read an excellent essay by a top US general exposing how war is a racket.
The number of hungry people globally has declined from about one billion 25 years ago to about 795 million today, or about one person out of every nine, despite a surge in population growth, the United Nations reported Wednesday. In developing regions, the number of hungry people has fallen to 780 million today, or 12.9 percent of the population, from 991 million 25 years ago, or 23.3 percent of the population at the time. Despite the finding that nearly 800 million people in the world remain hungry, the report described the progress made as a significant achievement. It said that 72 of the 129 nations monitored by the Food and Agriculture Organization had achieved the target under the so-called Millennium Development Goals of halving the percentages of hungry people in their populations and that developing regions had missed the target by only a small margin. The Millennium Development Goals are a set of eight international objectives, including hunger eradication, established by the United Nations in 2000. “The near-achievement of the M.D.G. hunger targets shows us that we can indeed eliminate the scourge of hunger in our lifetime,” said José Graziano da Silva, the director general of the Food and Agriculture Organization. Progress was most pronounced in East Asia, Southeast and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. But the report also illustrated failures, especially in parts of Africa, where ... “extreme weather events, natural disasters, political instability and civil strife have all impeded progress.”
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Welcome to “Spring Fever” week in primary schools across the Netherlands, the week of focused sex ed classes. In the Netherlands, the approach, known as “comprehensive sex education,” starts as early as age 4. You’ll never hear an explicit reference to sex in a kindergarten class. In fact, the term for what’s being taught here is sexuality education rather than sex education. All primary school students in the Netherlands must receive some form of sexuality education. The system allows for flexibility in how it’s taught. But it must address certain core principles — among them, sexual diversity and sexual assertiveness. That means encouraging respect for all sexual preferences and helping students develop skills to protect against sexual coercion, intimidation and abuse. The underlying principle is straightforward: Sexual development is a normal process that all young people experience, and they have the right to frank, trustworthy information on the subject. “There were societal concerns that sexualization in the media could be having a negative impact on kids,” [health promotion official Robert] van der Vlugt said. “We wanted to show that sexuality also has to do with respect, intimacy, and safety.” The Dutch approach to sex ed has garnered international attention, largely because the Netherlands boasts some of the best outcomes. The teen pregnancy rate in the Netherlands is one of the lowest in the world, five times lower than the U.S. Rates of HIV infection and sexually transmitted diseases are also low.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is reaching its climax and as Congress hotly debates the biggest trade deal in a generation, its backers have turned on the cash spigot in the hopes of getting it passed. TPP passed another crucial vote ... to give Barack Obama the authority to speed the bill through Congress. The president’s own supporters, senior economists and a host of activists have lobbied against a pact they argue will favor big business but harm US jobs, fail to secure better conditions for workers overseas and undermine free speech. Fast-tracking the TPP, meaning its passage through Congress without having its contents available for debate or amendments, was only possible after lots of corporate money exchanged hands with senators. This chart shows all donations that corporate members of the US Business Coalition for TPP made to US Senate campaigns between January and March 2015, when fast-tracking the TPP was being debated in the Senate. Out of the total $1,148,971 given, an average of $17,676.48 was donated to each of the 65 “yea” votes. The average Republican member received $19,673.28 from corporate TPP supporters. The average Democrat received $9,689.23 from those same donors. Almost 100% of the Republicans in the US Senate voted for fast-track.
For months, the U.N.'s top human rights officials knew about allegations of child sexual abuse by French soldiers in Central African Republic. But they didn't follow up because they assumed French authorities were handling it ... even as France pressed the U.N. for more information about the case. The deputy high commissioner for human rights also says that her colleague who first informed French authorities last July did it because he didn't think the recently created U.N. peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic would act on the allegations. A year after the U.N. first heard allegations from children as young as 9 that French soldiers had sexually abused them, sometimes in exchange for food, it seems that the only person who has been punished is the U.N. staffer who told French authorities. The Paris prosecutor's office this month, however, blamed the U.N. "hierarchy" for taking more than six months to supply answers to its questions. The U.N. finally handed over written answers on April 29, the Paris prosecutor's office said — the same day that the Guardian newspaper first made the French and U.N. inquiries public. French soldiers had been tasked with protecting civilians in Central African Republic from vicious violence between Christians and Muslims. Thousands of scared people had crammed into a camp for displaced people. Residents have told the AP that soldiers offered cookies, other food or bottles of water in exchange for sodomy or oral sex. It is still not clear where the accused soldiers are now.
Note: Explore powerful evidence from a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about sexual abuse scandals and government corruption from reliable major media sources.
The May 20 settlement between the Justice Department and five giant banks reveals the appalling weakness of modern antitrust. The banks had engaged in the biggest price-fixing conspiracy in modern history. It was a "brazen display of collusion" that went on for years, said Attorney General Loretta Lynch. But there will be no trial [and] no executive will go to jail. The fines ... will be treated by the banks as costs of doing business. America used to have antitrust laws that permanently stopped corporations from monopolizing markets. No longer. The result has been higher prices for the many, and higher profits for the few. It's a hidden upward redistribution from the majority of Americans to corporate executives and wealthy shareholders. Similar upward distributions are occurring elsewhere in the economy. The four largest food companies control 82 percent of beef packing, 85 percent of soybean processing, 63 percent of pork packing, and 53 percent of chicken processing. Monsanto alone owns the key genetic traits to more than 90 percent of the soybeans planted by farmers in the United States, and 80 percent of the corn. Big Agribusiness wants to keep it this way. The list goes on, industry after industry, across the economy. Antitrust has been ambushed by the giant companies it was designed to contain. The market is rigged. And unless government unrigs it through bold antitrust action to restore competition, the upward distributions hidden inside the "free market" will become even larger.
Note: The above article was written by former US Secretary of Labor and current professor of public policy at UC Berkeley Robert Reich. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the systemically corrupt financial industry and the income inequality that this contributes to.
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.