Media Articles
Excerpts of Key Media Articles from Major Media


Below are many highly revealing excerpts of key media articles from the major media that suggest major cover-ups and corruption. Links are provided to the full articles on their media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These media articles are listed in reverse date order. You can also explore the articles listed by order of importance or by date posted. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.


 Media Articles


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.

Federal prison population drops for 1st time in decades
2014-09-23, San Francisco Chronicle/Associated Press
http://www.sfgate.com/nation/article/Federal-prison-population-drops-for-1st-...

The federal prison population has dropped in the last year by roughly 4,800, the first time in several decades that the inmate count has gone down. In a speech Tuesday in New York City, Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department expects to end the current budget year next week with a prison population of roughly 215,000 inmates. It would be the first time since 1980 that the federal prison population has declined during the course of a fiscal year. The crime rate has dropped along with the prison population, Holder said, proving that “longer-than-necessary prison terms” don’t improve public safety. “In fact, the opposite is often true,” he said. The Bureau of Prisons accounts for roughly one-third of the Justice Department budget, and the prison population has exploded in the last three decades as a result of “well-intentioned policies designed to be 'tough’ on criminals,” Holder said. In August 2013, for instance, he announced a major shift in sentencing policy, instructing federal prosecutors to stop charging many nonviolent drug defendants with offenses that carry mandatory minimum sentences. More recently, the Justice Department has encouraged a broader swath of the prison population to apply for clemency, and has supported reductions in sentencing guideline ranges for drug criminals that could apply to tens of thousands of inmates. “We know that over-incarceration crushes opportunity. We know it prevents people, and entire communities, from getting on the right track,” Holder said. Holder also said that there should be new ways for the government to measure success of its criminal justice policies beyond how many people are prosecuted and sent to prison.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise's summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.




U.S. Ramping Up Major Renewal in Nuclear Arms
2014-09-21, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/22/us/us-ramping-up-major-renewal-in-nuclear-a...

A sprawling new plant [near Kansas City] in a former soybean field makes the mechanical guts of America’s atomic warheads. Bigger than the Pentagon, full of futuristic gear and thousands of workers, the plant, dedicated last month, modernizes the aging weapons that the United States can fire from missiles, bombers and submarines. It is part of a nationwide wave of atomic revitalization that includes plans for a new generation of weapon carriers. A recent federal study put the collective price tag, over the next three decades, at up to a trillion dollars. This expansion comes under a president who campaigned for “a nuclear-free world” and made disarmament a main goal of American defense policy. Supporters of arms control, as well as some of President Obama’s closest advisers, say their hopes for the president’s vision have turned to baffled disappointment as the modernization of nuclear capabilities has become an end unto itself. “A lot of it is hard to explain,” said Sam Nunn, the former senator whose writings on nuclear disarmament deeply influenced Mr. Obama.

Note: Consider the possibility the Obama, shortly after becoming president, may have received a death threat to his children if he didn't comply with the desires of powerful, greedy forces which want everlasting war on our planet. The trillion-dollar war industry has no qualms threatening anyone who gets in the way of their profits. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources and read what a top US general had to say about how he was manipulated.




Rockefellers, Heirs to an Oil Fortune, Will Divest Charity of Fossil Fuels
2014-09-21, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/22/us/heirs-to-an-oil-fortune-join-the-divestm...

John D. Rockefeller built a vast fortune on oil. Now his heirs are abandoning fossil fuels. The family whose legendary wealth flowed from Standard Oil is planning to announce on Monday that its $860 million philanthropic organization, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, is joining the divestment movement that began a couple years ago on college campuses. In recent years, 180 institutions — including philanthropies, religious organizations, pension funds and local governments ... have pledged to sell assets tied to fossil fuel companies from their portfolios and to invest in cleaner alternatives. In all, the groups have pledged to divest assets worth more than $50 billion from portfolios. Some say they are taking action to align their assets with their environmental principles. Others want to shame companies that they believe are recklessly contributing to a warming planet. Ultimately ... their actions, like those of the anti-apartheid divestment fights of the 1980s, could help spur international debate, while the shift of investment funds to energy alternatives could lead to solutions to the carbon puzzle. At the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, there is no equivocation. The fund has already eliminated investments involved in coal and tar sands entirely while increasing its investment in alternate energy sources. The family has also engaged in shareholder activism with Exxon Mobil, the largest successor to Standard Oil. Members have met privately with the company ... in efforts to get it to moderate its stance on issues pertaining to the environment and climate change. They acknowledged that they have not caused the company to greatly alter its course.

Note: Read through a rich collection of energy news articles with inspiring and revealing news on energy developments. Then explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.




St. Louis Police Academy offers 'highly entertaining' media training course on Ferguson shooting
2014-09-21, Yahoo! News
http://news.yahoo.com/st-louis-police-ferguson-media-training-course-14022601...

The police response to the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo. — which included heavily armed militarized police clashing with protesters in the St. Louis suburb — is a case study for how not to manage a crisis. The St. Louis Police Academy seems to agree, offering a new fall course that teaches "tactics, skills and techniques that will help you WIN WITH THE MEDIA!" According to the Oct. 24 program's description, the "highly entertaining" class will cover lessons learned from both Ferguson and Newtown: • Meet the 900-Pound Gorilla • Feeding the Animals • "No Comment" is a comment • Dont' Get Stuck on Stupid! • Managing Media Assault and Battery. The one-day course, led by former WGN anchor-turned-public relations consultant Rick Rosenthal, is aimed at "upper-echelon law enforcement professionals" who expect to face the media, including "top-level decision-makers," supervisors and public information officers. During the protests, the city of Ferguson retained a PR firm to help its communications department deal with the "large volume of media queries." But some criticized the city for hiring a firm, Common Ground, with an all-white staff.

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




The coming era of unlimited — and free — clean energy
2014-09-19, Washington Post blog
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/wp/2014/09/19/the-coming-era-...

In the 1980s, leading consultants were skeptical about cellular phones. The handsets were heavy, batteries didn’t last long, coverage was patchy, and the cost per minute was exorbitant. The experts are saying the same about solar energy now. They say that solar is inefficient, too expensive to install, and unreliable, and will fail without government subsidies. They too are wrong. Solar will be as ubiquitous as cellular phones are. Futurist Ray Kurzweil notes that solar power has been doubling every two years for the past 30 years — as costs have been dropping. He says solar energy is only six doublings — or less than 14 years — away from meeting 100 percent of today’s energy needs. By Kurzweil’s estimates, inexpensive renewable sources will provide more energy than the world needs in less than 20 years. In places such as Germany, Spain, Portugal, Australia, and the Southwest United States, residential-scale solar production has already reached “grid parity” with average residential electricity prices. In other words, it costs no more in the long term to install solar panels than to buy electricity from utility companies. The prices of solar panels have fallen 75 percent in the past five years alone and will fall much further as the technologies to create them improve and scale of production increases. By 2020, solar energy will be price-competitive with energy generated from fossil fuels on an unsubsidized basis in most parts of the world. Within the next decade, it will cost a fraction of what fossil fuel-based alternatives do. Despite the skepticism of experts and criticism by naysayers, there is little doubt that we are heading into an era of unlimited and almost free clean energy.

Note: This article also points out how some big energy companies and the Koch brothers are lobbying to stop alternative technologies from flowering. Read through a rich collection of energy news articles with inspiring and revealing news on energy developments. And explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.




GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Fined $488.8 Million for 'Massive Bribery Network' in China
2014-09-19, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/International/glaxosmithkline-gsk-fined-4888-million-ma...

China has fined the British pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) $488.8 million (3 billion Yuan) for a "massive bribery network" to get doctors and hospitals to use its products. Five former employees were sentenced to two to four years in jail, but ordered deported instead of imprisoned, according to state news agency Xinhua today. The fine was the biggest ever imposed by a Chinese court. The court gave Mark Reilly, former head of GSK Chinese operations, a three-year prison sentence with a four-year reprieve, which meant he is set to be deported instead of serving his time in a Chinese jail. Reilly was accused of operating a “massive bribery network” in May. The police said it is believed Reilly authorized his salespeople to pay doctors, hospital officials and health institutions to use GSK’s products since 2009. Throughout 2012 a stream of anonymous emails alleging bribery authorized by senior staff at GSK were sent to Chinese regulators. At the beginning of 2013, the anonymous emails began to arrive at GSK headquarter in London, along with a sex tape of Mark Reilly and his Chinese girlfriend. The charges claim that GSK hired Shanghai-based investigator Peter Humphrey and his American wife, Yu Yingzeng, to locate the whistleblower. The Humphreys were detained and charged with illegally obtaining phone logs, travel records and other data which then they put in a report to GSK. GSK released a statement of apologies to the Chinese government and people on its website. "GSK Plc has reflected deeply and learned from its mistakes, has taken steps to comprehensively rectify the issues identified at the operations of GSKCI, and must work hard to regain the trust of the Chinese people," the statement said.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.




Grenade launchers in schools? U.S. school police stock up on free military gear
2014-09-17, Toronto Star/Associated Press
http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2014/09/17/grenade_launchers_in_schools_us_...

School police departments across the country have taken advantage of free military surplus gear, stocking up on mine resistant armoured vehicles, grenade launchers and scores of M16 rifles. At least 26 school districts across the country have participated in the Pentagon’s surplus program. Federal records show schools in California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Nevada, Texas and Utah obtained surplus military gear. Nearly two dozen education and civil liberties groups sent a letter earlier this week to the Pentagon and the Justice and Education departments urging a stop to transfers of military weapons to school police. The Los Angeles Unified School District — the nation’s second-largest school district, enrolling more than 900,000 students — said in a statement this week that it would remove three grenade launchers it had acquired under the program in 2001 because they “are not essential life-saving items within the scope, duties and mission” of the district’s police force. But the district plans to keep 60 M16s and a MRAP, a military vehicle used in Iraq and Afghanistan that is built to withstand mine blasts. Los Angeles school board member Steve Zimmer said the district will likely also let go of the MRAP, too. The board was told of the specific equipment the district had received only after the protests last month in Ferguson, Zimmer said. Jill Poe, police chief in the Southern California’s Baldwin Park school district, said she’ll be returning the three M16 rifles acquired under her predecessor.

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




Occupy abolishes $4 million in other people's student loan debt
2014-09-17, CNN
http://money.cnn.com/2014/09/17/pf/college/occupy-wall-street-student-loan-de...

Occupy Wall Street is tackling a new beast: student loans. Marking the third anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the group's Strike Debt initiative announced ... it has abolished $3.8 million worth of private student loan debt since January. It said it has been buying the debts for pennies on the dollar from debt collectors, and then simply forgiving that money rather than trying to collect it. In total, the group spent a little more than $100,000 to purchase the $3.8 million in debt. While the group is unable to purchase the majority of the country's $1.2 trillion in outstanding student loan debt because it is backed by the federal government, private student debt is fair game. This debt Occupy bought belonged to 2,700 people who had taken out private student loans to attend Everest College, which is run by Corinthian Colleges. Occupy zeroed in on Everest because Corinthian Colleges is one of the country's largest for-profit education companies and has been in serious legal hot water lately. Following a number of federal investigations, the college told investors this summer that it plans to sell or close its 107 campuses due to financial problems -- potentially leaving its 74,000 students in [the] lurch. "Despite Corinthian's dire financial straits, checkered past, and history of lying to and misleading vulnerable students, tens of thousands of people may still be liable for the loans they have incurred while playing by the rules and trying to get an education," a Strike Debt member said in an email.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.




Artificial sweeteners could cause spikes in blood sugar
2014-09-17, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/study-suggests-sweetene...

Artificial sweeteners might be triggering higher blood-sugar levels in some people and contributing to the problems they were designed to combat, such as diabetes and obesity, according to new findings published Wednesday in the journal Nature. Researchers suspect that artificial sweeteners could be disrupting the microbiome, a vast and enigmatic ecosystem of bacteria in our guts. In a series of experiments, researchers found that several of the most widely used types of non-calorie sweeteners in food and drinks — saccharin, sucra­lose and aspartame — caused mice to experience increased risk of glucose intolerance, a condition that can lead to diabetes. The same scientists also monitored what happened to seven human volunteers who did not typically use artificial sweeteners but were given regular doses of saccharin over the course of a week. Four developed significant glucose intolerance. Separately, the researchers analyzed nearly 400 people and found that the gut bacteria of those who used artificial sweeteners were noticeably different from people who did not. [These] findings add an intriguing new dimension to the long-running, contentious debate over the potential health benefits and risks of artificial sweeteners, which are among the most common food additives and are consumed by hundreds of millions of people around the globe. Other research has suggested that certain artificial sweeteners might actually contribute to obesity and other problems, including cancer. Perhaps no sweetener has proven more controversial than saccharin, which was discovered not long after the end of the Civil War. In 1977, the FDA tried to ban saccharin because of safety concerns after studies showing that rats had developed bladder cancer after receiving high doses of the chemical sweetener. Congress blocked that effort.

Note: Read more powerful, reliable evidence from top experts that aspartame is toxic to the human body. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles suggesting corruption and profiteering from reliable major media sources.




Who’s Paying the Pro-War Pundits?
2014-09-16, The Nation Magazine
http://www.thenation.com/article/181601/whos-paying-pro-war-pundits#

Retired General Anthony Zinni [has demanded] up to 10,000 American boots on the ground to battle ISIS. Retired General Jack [Keane has made] more vague demands, such as for “offensive” air strikes and the deployment of more military advisers to the region. Many of these former Pentagon officials [have a vested interest] as paid directors and advisers to some of the largest military contractors in the world. Ramping up America’s military presence in Iraq and directly entering the war in Syria, along with greater military spending more broadly, is a debatable solution to a complex political and sectarian conflict. But those goals do unquestionably benefit one player in this saga: America’s defense industry. Keane is a great example of this phenomenon. His think tank, the Institute for the Study of War, ... has provided the data on ISIS used for multiple stories by The New York Times, the BBC and other leading outlets. Keane has appeared on Fox News at least nine times over the last two months to promote the idea that the best way to stop ISIS is through military action—in particular, through air strikes deep into ISIS-held territory. Left unsaid during his media appearances ... are Keane’s other gigs: as special adviser to Academi, the contractor formerly known as Blackwater; as a board member to tank and aircraft manufacturer General Dynamics; a “venture partner” to SCP Partners, an investment firm that partners with defense contractors, including XVionics, an “operations management decision support system” company used in Air Force drone training; and as president of his own consulting firm, GSI LLC. Retired General Anthony Zinni, perhaps the loudest advocate of a large deployment of American soldiers into the region to fight IS, is a board member to BAE Systems’ US subsidiary, and also works for several military-focused private equity firms.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.




The billionaire, the NSA and the no-fly list: America's 'state secret' obsession has gone too far
2014-09-16, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/16/america-state-secret-pri...

In lawsuits challenging NSA mass surveillance, torture and drone strikes on Americans in recent years, the US government has turned what was once a narrow legal privilege into an immunity trump card – a kind of get-out-of-jail-free card for “matters of national security”. And now, despite publicly promising to restrict its use, attorney general Eric Holder is trying to expand the power even further. In [the] New York Times, Matt Apuzzo [reports on a] court case between two private parties in which the US justice department has invoked the so-called state secrets privilege. A Greek shipping magnate has accused an advocacy group pushing for sanctions on Iran of lying about him, but the government argues that the case must be dismissed with hardly an explanation, citing only a “concerned federal agency”. Holder refuses to disclose the agency demanding secrecy, the type of information he wants [to keep] secret, or even the basis for invoking the state secrets clause (which, by the way, is an invention of the US supreme court from a 1953 case that was later proved to be based on a lie). The Obama justice department has been using the controversial clause to squash cases of more significant consequence for years. Holder allegedly created a policy for restricting its use to all but the most critical national-security cases when he first came into office. But, alas, Holder has since proceeded to shut down the exact types of cases for which George W Bush was so harshly criticized.

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




Snowden: New Zealand’s Prime Minister Isn’t Telling the Truth About Mass Surveillance
2014-09-15, The Intercept
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/09/15/snowden-new-zealand-surveillance

Prime Minister John Key ... has denied that New Zealand’s spy agency GCSB engages in mass surveillance, mostly as a means of convincing the country to enact a new law vesting the agency with greater powers. Let me be clear: any statement that mass surveillance is not performed in New Zealand, or that the internet communications are not comprehensively intercepted and monitored, or that this is not intentionally and actively abetted by the GCSB, is categorically false. If you live in New Zealand, you are being watched. At the NSA I routinely came across the communications of New Zealanders in my work with a mass surveillance tool we share with GCSB, called “XKEYSCORE.” It allows total, granular access to the database of communications collected in the course of mass surveillance. It is not limited to or even used largely for the purposes of cybersecurity, as has been claimed, but is instead used primarily for reading individuals’ private email, text messages, and internet traffic. I know this because it was my full-time job in Hawaii, where I worked every day in an NSA facility with a top secret clearance. The prime minister’s claim to the public, that “there is no and there never has been any mass surveillance” is false. The GCSB, whose operations he is responsible for, is directly involved in the untargeted, bulk interception and algorithmic analysis of private communications sent via internet, satellite, radio, and phone networks. It means they have the ability see every website you visit, every text message you send, every call you make, every ticket you purchase, every donation you make, and every book you order online. From “I’m headed to church” to “I hate my boss” to “She’s in the hospital,” the GCSB is there. Your words are intercepted, stored, and analyzed by algorithms long before they’re ever read by your intended recipient.

Note: New Zealand's prime minister has acknowledged that Snowden may be right, as reported in this article. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government surveillance news articles from reliable major media sources.




Buddha seems to bring tranquility to Oakland neighborhood
2014-09-15, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/johnson/article/Buddha-seems-to-bring-tranquill...

Dan Stevenson is neither a Buddhist nor a follower of any organized religion. The 11th Avenue resident in Oakland's Eastlake neighborhood was simply feeling hopeful in 2009 when he went to an Ace hardware store, purchased a 2-foot-high stone Buddha and installed it on a median strip in a residential area at 11th Avenue and 19th Street. He hoped that just maybe his small gesture would bring tranquility to a neighborhood marred by crime. What happened next was nothing short of stunning. Area residents began to leave offerings at the base of the Buddha: flowers, food, candles. A group of Vietnamese women in prayer robes began to gather at the statue to pray. And the neighborhood changed. People stopped dumping garbage. They stopped vandalizing walls with graffiti. And the drug dealers stopped using that area to deal. The prostitutes went away. Since 2012, when worshipers began showing up for daily prayers, overall year-to-date crime has dropped by 82 percent. Robbery reports went from 14 to three, aggravated assaults from five to zero, burglaries from eight to four, narcotics from three to none, and prostitution from three to none. To this day, every morning at 7, worshipers ring a chime, clang a bell and play soft music as they chant morning prayers. The original statue is now part of an elaborate shrine that includes a wooden structure standing 10 feet tall and holding religious statues, portraits, food and fruit offerings surrounded by incense-scented air. On weekends, the worshipers include more than a dozen people: black folks, white folks, all folks, said Andy Blackwood, a neighborhood resident.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.




US Senator: 'US Turned Blind Eye to Saudi Role in 9/11, Fuelling Rise of Isis'
2014-09-14, International Business Times
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/us-senator-us-turned-blind-eye-saudi-role-9-11-fuell...

The rise of ISIS has been aided by the failure of the US government to investigate the connection between the Saudi Arabian government and jihadist networks, said former senator Bob Graham. Senator Graham, who chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that successive administrations had failed to examine the connections between the Saudis and Sunni militant groups. "I believe that the failure to shine a full light on Saudi actions ... has contributed to the Saudi ability to continue to engage in actions that are damaging to the US – and in particular their support for ISIS," he said. The Saudis have been accused of using Sunni militant groups as proxies, channeling money to Islamist groups battling the forces of president Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war, as Sunni and Shia battle for hegemony in the Middle East. The Shia Iranians are chief backers of Assad, and Nouri al Maliki's Shia-dominated government which collapsed following ISIS' onslaught in Iraq, accused the Saudi Arabia and Qatar of funding ISIS, and facilitating "genocide". [Graham] said that Saudi Arabia gives support to the "the most extremist elements among the Sunni". Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was the son of a wealthy construction magnate, who had close ties to the Saudi royal family. It is alleged that redacted pages of the [Joint Congressional 9/11 inquiry] report establish links between Saudi government officials and al-Qaida.

Note: Watch the highly illuminating BBC documentary "Power of Nightmares" that reveals that al-Qaida, under the control of Osama bin Laden, has never actually existed, but is a US/UK-government psychological operation to launch the "Global War on Terror". For more on this, read Prof. David Ray Griffin's deeply revealing book Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive?




Sun and Wind Alter Global Landscape, Leaving Utilities Behind
2014-09-14, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/science/earth/sun-and-wind-alter-german-lan...

Of all the developed nations, few have pushed harder than Germany to find a solution to global warming. And towering symbols of that drive are appearing in the middle of the North Sea. They are wind turbines, standing as far as 60 miles from the mainland, stretching as high as 60-story buildings and costing up to $30 million apiece. On some of these giant machines, a single blade roughly equals the wingspan of the largest airliner in the sky, the Airbus A380. By year’s end, scores of new turbines will be sending low-emission electricity to German cities hundreds of miles to the south. It will be another milestone in Germany’s costly attempt to remake its electricity system, an ambitious project that has already produced striking results: Germans will soon be getting 30 percent of their power from renewable energy sources. Germany’s relentless push into renewable energy has implications far beyond its shores. By creating huge demand for wind turbines and especially for solar panels, it has helped lure big Chinese manufacturers into the market, and that combination is driving down costs faster than almost anyone thought possible just a few years ago. The changes have devastated its utility companies, whose profits from power generation have collapsed. The word the Germans use for their plan is starting to make its way into conversations elsewhere: energiewende, the energy transition. Worldwide, Germany is being held up as a model, cited by environmental activists as proof that a transformation of the global energy system is possible.”

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing new energy development news articles from reliable major media sources. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.




Growing wealth gap pinching states’ budgets
2014-09-14, Boston Globe/Associated Press
http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2014/09/14/wealth-gap-putting-squeeze-sta...

Income inequality is taking a toll on state governments. The widening gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else has been matched by a slowdown in state tax revenue. Even as income for the affluent has accelerated, it has barely kept pace with inflation for most other people. That trend can mean a double-whammy for states: The wealthy often manage to shield much of their income from taxes. And they tend to spend less of it than others do, thereby limiting sales tax revenue. As the growth of tax revenue has slowed, states have faced tensions over whether to raise taxes or cut spending to balance their budgets. ‘‘Rising income inequality is not just a social issue,’’ said Gabriel Petek, the S&P credit analyst who wrote the report. ‘‘It presents a very significant set of challenges for the policy makers.’’ Stagnant pay for most people has compounded the pressure on states to preserve funding for education, highways, and social programs such as Medicaid. Income inequality isn’t the only factor slowing state tax revenue. Online retailers account for a rising chunk of consumer spending. Yet they often manage to avoid sales taxes. Consumers are spending more on untaxed services, too. Before income inequality began to rise consistently, state tax revenue grew an average of 9.97 percent a year from 1950 to 1979. That average steadily fell with each subsequent decade, dipping to 3.62 percent between 2000 and 2009.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.




U.S. threatened massive fine to force Yahoo to release data
2014-09-11, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/us-threatened-massive-fine-...

The U.S. government threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 a day in 2008 if it failed to comply with a broad demand to hand over user communications — a request the company believed was unconstitutional — according to court documents unsealed [on September 11] that illuminate how federal officials forced American tech companies to participate in the National Security Agency’s controversial PRISM program. The documents ... outline a secret and ultimately unsuccessful legal battle by Yahoo to resist the government’s demands. The company’s loss required Yahoo to become one of the first to begin providing information to PRISM, a program that gave the NSA extensive access to records of online communications by users of Yahoo and other U.S.-based technology firms. The ruling by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review became a key moment in the development of PRISM, helping government officials to convince other Silicon Valley companies that unprecedented data demands had been tested in the courts and found constitutionally sound. Eventually, most major U.S. tech companies, including Google, Facebook, Apple and AOL, complied. Microsoft had joined earlier, before the ruling, NSA documents have shown. PRISM was first revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden last year. Documents made it clear that the program allowed the NSA to order U.S.-based tech companies to turn over e-mails and other communications to or from foreign targets without search warrants for each of those targets. Other NSA programs gave even more wide-ranging access to personal information of people worldwide, by collecting data directly from fiber-optic connections.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government surveillance news articles from reliable major media sources.




The Artful Dodgers
2014-09-11, Time Magazine
http://time.com/3326573/the-artful-dodgers/

Corporations in the U.S. today are hoarding about $2 trillion in profits overseas, arguing that the U.S. corporate tax rate of 35% makes it too difficult to bring this cash home and invest it here–better to keep the money abroad and pay lower taxes in other countries. Yet the truth is that legions of tax lawyers make sure that most big American corporations never pay anywhere close to that rate. FORTUNE 500 companies on average pay more like 19.4%, and a third pay less than 10%, chiefly because of all the generous loopholes Congress has afforded corporations over the years. Partly as a result, U.S. firms are enjoying record profit margins, making more money than ever before yet paying a lower share of the overall U.S. tax pie than they have in decades. They want the benefits of U.S. talent and markets but not the responsibilities. Taxpayer-funded, early-stage investments in areas like the Internet, transportation and health care research are the reason many of the largest U.S. companies got so big and successful to begin with. As the academic Mariana Mazzucato argues in her excellent book The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths, many of the most lauded corporate innovations, including the parts of smartphones that make them smart (Internet, GPS, touchscreen display and voice recognition), came out of state-funded research. Ditto any number of pharmaceutical, biotech and cybersecurity innovations. “In so many cases, public investments have become business giveaways, making individuals and their companies rich but providing little return to the economy or the state,” says Mazzucato. Tax [dodges] that expatriate the gains of American corporations to enrich a tiny managerial caste symbolize a whole new genre of selfish capitalism.

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




Book review: ‘Acid Test,’ on psychedelic drug therapy for PTSD
2014-09-11, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/book-review-acid-test-on-lsd-as-therap...

LSD, ecstasy (MDMA) and other psychedelics are powerful, mind-altering drugs that, as described by former Washington Post Magazine editor Tom Shroder, “intrinsically [challenge] the rationalist, materialist underpinnings of Western culture.” For most of a century, our society has struggled to come to grips with these “profoundly threatening drugs,” largely without success. They’ve all been made illegal. For decades, the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration have strictly banned scientific investigations into their potential benefits — which is unfortunate, since these psychoactive drugs also seem able to do incredible good, particularly in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Every year, as many as 5 million Americans suffer from its effects. Frequent consequences include depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and a host of associated health problems. In “both humanitarian and economic terms,” the costs are staggering. And PTSD stubbornly resists treatment. Psychoactive drugs such as LSD and MDMA seem to bring powerful healing energies to bear on the underlying issues. But despite a growing mountain of evidence supporting the therapeutic benefits delivered by these drugs, government authorities have blocked scientific and therapeutic explorations of their potential. Fortunately, the government’s prohibitions may be loosening, thanks to a cadre of psychedelic advocates who have steadfastly refused to surrender to the taboos. The story of those people and their efforts to win scientific and therapeutic approval for psychedelic drugs is the central thrust of Shroder’s strangely wonderful new book, Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy, and the Power to Heal.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing mind-altering drugs news articles from reliable major media sources.




Obama's legal rationale for ISIS strikes: shoot first, ask Congress later
2014-09-11, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/11/obama-isis-syria-air-strikes-leg...

In the space of a single primetime address on [September 10], Barack Obama dealt a crippling blow to a creaking, 40-year old effort to restore legislative primacy to American warmaking. The administration’s rationale, at odds with the war it is steadily expanding, is to forestall an endless conflict foisted upon it by a bloodthirsty legislature. Yet one of the main authorities Obama is relying on for avoiding Congress is the 2001 ... document known as the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) that few think actually applies to ISIS. Taken together with the congressional leadership’s shrug, Obama has stripped the veneer off a contemporary fact of American national security: presidents make war on their own, and congresses acquiesce. An allergy to congressional authorisation is enmeshed with the president’s stated desire to end what he last year termed a “perpetual war” footing. It has led Obama in directions legal scholars consider highly questionable. Not only has Obama rejected restrictions of his warmaking power, he has also rejected legislative expansions of it - a more curious choice. Obama has been wary that Congress will offer up new laws that entrench and expand an amorphous war that, in his mind, he has waged with the minimum necessary amount of force. Obama last year advocated the eventual repeal of the 2001 authorisation - as well as the 2002 congressional approval of the Iraq war - to aid in turning a page on a long era of US warfare. [After Obama's address] a senior administration official told reporters that the 2001 authorisation covered the war against ISIS.

Note: The war machine marches on as the US presidency claims ever more power over Congress. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.





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