News Stories
Excerpts of Key News Stories in Major Media


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


 News stories


Note: This comprehensive list of news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.

The greatest trick Obama ever pulled was convincing the world America isn't still at war
2015-01-06, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-01-19 21:02:46
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/06/obama-america-still-at-w...

The [recent] holiday headlines blared: “End of War” and “Mission Ends” and “U.S. formally ends the war in Afghanistan." Great news! Except: “the fighting is as intense as it has ever been since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001,” according to the Wall Street Journal. And about 10,000 troops will remain there for the foreseeable future. They’ll continue to engage in combat regularly. This is the new reality of war: As long as the White House doesn’t admit the United States is at war, we’re all supposed to pretend as if that’s true. This ruse is not just the work of the president. Members of Congress [are also] letting the public think we’re Definitely Not at War. Another place the United States is Definitely Not at War? Pakistan, where, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the US conducted multiple drone strikes between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, killing at least nine people. Another six “militants” were reportedly killed in a drone strike in Pakistan on Sunday. There was yet another American drone strike in Somalia on 30 December. Meanwhile, the Defense Department quietly announced ... that, later this month, another 1,300 troops will deploy to Iraq in its ever-expanding undeclared war on Isis. The US continues to launch airstrikes against Isis and various other groups in Syria as well. Legal experts across the political spectrum believe this war is without precedent.

Note: Although 21st Century military combat operations may no longer be called war, war has been called a racket since the era of General Smedley Butler, one of the most highly decorated US generals ever. Read General Butler's eye-opening essay "War is a Racket." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.




U.S. Moves to Block Graphic Photos of Detainee Abuse, Again
2014-12-22, Newsweek
Posted: 2015-01-19 21:00:34
http://www.newsweek.com/us-moves-block-graphic-photos-detainee-abuse-again-29...

“There was never going to be a perfect time to release this report,” President Barack Obama said earlier this month after the Senate Intelligence Committee unleashed its long-awaited “torture report.” But in the wake of this rare moment of transparency, the administration took the next step in keeping additional evidence of prisoner abuse concealed. The government is withholding nearly 2,100 images that show the military’s brutal treatment of detainees at various prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan. While the previously disclosed pictures from Abu Ghraib are the stuff of nightmares – piles of naked bodies, detainees being led on leashes and U.S. soldiers giving a thumbs-up as it all happens – these photographs are said to be even more disturbing. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) originally sued for the images’ release in 2004. Obama ... blocked the release, [and now] contends that the photographs could further encourage attacks against the U.S. personnel still in Afghanistan and Iraq and could be used by the recently galvanized Islamic State—the terrorist group commonly known as ISIS. Alex Abdo, an ACLU staff attorney working on the case since 2005, said ... that the government is essentially arguing that [the images must remain] secret because they powerfully document abuse. “If there’s anything the debate over torture is missing, it’s the sort of evidence that photographs give you—irrefutable evidence of the brutality of the mistreatment,” Abdo said.

Note: U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein will review the next round of justifications for keeping this material classified on January 20. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.




Prince Andrew sex allegations: Jeffrey Epstein 'the most dangerous sexual predator America has ever seen', lawyer's letter claims
2015-01-07, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-01-19 20:58:39
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/prince-andrew-sex-allegations-lawyers-lette...

The FBI allegedly possesses "secret documents" about the American billionaire [Jeffrey Epstein] that could provide evidence for under-age "sex slave" accusations against him, [which include] forcing a 17-year-old girl to have sex with Prince Andrew, Duke of York. FBI documents are said to show that Epstein controlled under-age girls who could provide evidence about the claims. In May last year, prosecutors surrendered 541 pages of correspondence with Epstein’s lawyers leading up to a 2008 non-prosecution agreement. A letter released by the court last year showed Brad Edwards, [alleged victim Virginia] Roberts’s lawyer, telling the US attorney’s office that Epstein "may be the most dangerous sexual predator that the country has ever seen". The letter continued: "The evidence suggests that for at least four years he was sexually abusing as many as three to four girls a day. "He uses his extraordinary wealth and power to lure in poor, underprivileged little girls and then also uses his wealth to shield himself from prosecution and liability." Lawyers for Virginia Roberts ... have said that evidence against the billionaire was covered up after lobbying by his “political and social” connections. Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to a single charge of soliciting prostitution.

Note: An FBI investigation has identified 40 female victims of Epstein's elite criminal enterprise. For more along these lines, watch powerful evidence in a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government, or read concise summaries of deeply revealing sex abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.




By ‘Editing’ Plant Genes, Companies Avoid Regulation
2015-01-01, New York Times
Posted: 2015-01-19 20:56:17
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/02/business/energy-environment/a-gray-area-in-...

Its first attempt to develop genetically engineered grass ended disastrously for the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. The grass escaped into the wild from test plots in Oregon in 2003. Yet Scotts is once again developing genetically modified grass that would ... be resistant to damage from the popular weedkiller Roundup. But this time the grass will not need federal approval before it can be field-tested and marketed. Scotts and several other companies are developing genetically modified crops using techniques that either are outside the jurisdiction of the Agriculture Department or use new methods — like “genome editing” — that were not envisioned when the regulations were created. “If you take genetic material from a plant ... there’s a bunch of stuff you can do that at least technically is unregulated,” Jim Hagedorn, Scotts chief executive, told analysts in December 2013. Other companies, including Cellectis, are using new genome-editing techniques that can change the plant’s existing DNA rather than insert foreign genes. Cibus, a privately held San Diego company, is beginning to sell herbicide-resistant canola developed this way. “With our technology, we can develop the same traits but in a way that’s not transgenic,” said Peter Beetham, chief executive of Cibus, using a term for a plant containing foreign genes. Regulators around the world are now grappling with whether these techniques are even considered genetic engineering and how, if at all, they should be regulated.

Note: Scotts is Monsanto's exclusive agent for consumer RoundUp. They are trying to engineer plants to be more resistant to RoundUp's toxicity, so that greater quantities of this deadly poison can be dumped on our lawns and food crops. It remains impossible to contain the spread of transgenetic material that escaped a Scotts Miracle-Gro Company lab in 2003. For more, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles.




Spy Drones Over North Carolina Factory Farms Reveal ‘Lagoons Of Filth’
2014-12-19, International Business Times
Posted: 2015-01-19 20:54:17
http://www.ibtimes.com/spy-drones-over-north-carolina-factory-farms-reveal-la...

Mark Devries ... a documentary filmmaker who flew spy drones over North Carolina pig farms, claims to have captured video footage showing oceans of untreated animal waste ... oozing into the green Carolina countryside, in some cases close to residential areas. [Devries] shot the drone footage as part of a two-year investigation into the public-health consequences of waste management on farms operated by Smithfield Foods Inc. -- the largest pork producer in the country. Devries said he first became aware of the “toxic cesspools” after speaking with neighbors who live near Smithfield facilities. “I was shocked,” Devries said. “Pig manure is fairly similar to human waste, so it would be similar to having a pit of untreated human sewage the size of several football fields out in the open -- and in many cases, right in the vicinity of people’s homes.” A spokeswoman for Smithfield Foods said [that] state and federal regulators “sign off” on the company’s treatment systems. The meat-packing giant is no stranger to criticism from environmentalists and animal-rights groups. Its “sea of waste” once earned it one of the largest fines ever from the Environmental Protection Agency, Rolling Stone reported in 2006. The project is likely to further spur the debate over “ag-gag” laws, which make it illegal to conduct undercover investigations at agricultural facilities. Although ag-gag is often framed as an animal-rights issue, such laws also meet with fierce opposition and legal challenges from free-speech advocates. “The issue that it brings up is a much broader issue of laws criminalizing information gathering by the press,” Devries said.

Note: Learn how cruelly pigs are treated in this revealing video. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.




Heavyweight Response to Local Fracking Bans
2015-01-03, New York Times
Posted: 2015-01-19 20:51:42
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/04/us/heavyweight-response-to-local-fracking-b...

Longmont [Colorado] has become a cautionary tale of what can happen when cities decide to confront the oil and gas industry. In an aggressive response to a wave of citizen-led drilling bans, state officials, energy companies and industry groups are taking Longmont and other municipalities to court, forcing local governments into ... expensive, long-shot efforts to defend the measures. Two years ago, [Longmont] residents voted to ban hydraulic fracturing from their grassy open spaces and a snow-fed reservoir. In Colorado, the energy industry, which argues that cities lack the authority to outlaw fracking, has already won rulings overturning three fracking prohibitions. Longmont, which sits near the juncture of rolling plains and jagged mountains, has spent about $136,000 fighting — unsuccessfully so far — to defend a 2012 measure that outlawed fracking. In July, a district court judge tossed out the ban, and the city is appealing. A judge also overturned a fracking ban last year in Fort Collins, Colo., and denied pleas from the city to keep the ban in place while local officials went to court to defend a five-year fracking moratorium. In Broadview Heights, Ohio, energy companies are suing the town — and residents are suing the energy companies in return — over a bill of rights that outlawed fracking and the disposal of its byproducts. While the Longmont City Council voted unanimously in August to defend the fracking ban, other towns have decided it is just too costly a fight.

Note: Fracking can poison drinking water, negatively impact human health, and may cause earthquakes.




Why Zephyr Teachout can claim victory after losing by 30 points
2014-09-11, Washington Post
Posted: 2015-01-19 20:49:34
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/09/11/why-zephyr-teachou...

Zephyr Teachout took only 34 percent of the vote in [2014's] Democratic primary against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but she succeeded in bringing her old-fashioned populist platform to the attention of the media and a broad audience of voters. Outside of New York, of course, it's still only a few people who have had exposure to Teachout's unusual political views. The Fordham University law professor has consistently argued -- on the stump and in her academic work -- that the government should do more to ensure free competition, both in elections and in the economy. She is calling for more aggressive government in these areas, but to the end of decentralizing political and financial power. Public financing of campaigns was one of two main planks in her platform. The other plank was a renewed commitment to preventing monopolies and oligopolies in business. She argues that in industries from health care to banking to meat processing, policies adopted during the Reagan administration have permitted mergers and acquisitions resulting in the concentration of market power in the hands of a few firms. As a result ... consumers pay higher prices and workers are paid less, and large firms can lobby in a coordinated way for legislative protection from would-be competitors. As Democrats decide on a compelling agenda to rally voters in 2016 ... the ideas Teachout has advocated could be appealing.

Note: Learn how Teachout spent 1/40th of what her opponent did in the elections, yet she still gained over 30% of the vote. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections news articles from reliable major media sources.




Maligned and banned: The American comeback of industrial hemp
2015-01-12, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2015-01-19 20:47:18
http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/article/Maligned-and-banned-The-American-comeba...

Hemp is back, semi-legalized in the 2014 Farm Bill. Humankind’s most ancient cultivated plant has never had an easy time in America, and there’s no reason to believe that its return is going to be accompanied by a red carpet. It’s back and it’s legal, but ... farmers can’t legally get the seeds. You, as a citizen, can’t legally grow it. It would be easier to grow medical marijuana, hemp’s twin (same species, Cannabis sativa linnaeus). The Drug Enforcement Agency, a policing arm of the U.S. Department of Justice, remains an anti-hemp force to be reckoned with — despite federal rules (in the Farm Bill and the Dec. 9 Congressional budget bill that cut DOJ enforcement funding) that have purportedly removed it from hemp oversight. Nineteen states have declared hemp farming to be legal, but state officials can’t guarantee there will be no federal raids. These contradictions are part of hemp’s new world: The promise of a brilliant future amid political and regulatory uncertainty. Re-establishing hemp as a viable American industry will take rebuilding, piece by piece, a working infrastructure that would include contract farming, growers’ associations, trade lines, material transportation, research and development and niche manufacturing, and, more importantly, further legislation fully guaranteeing its legal status. By the time the landmark Farm Bill was signed, 18 states had declared hemp legal, 33 states had introduced hemp farming legislation and 22 had passed other various pro-hemp bills.

Note: The article linked to above provides a detailed history of hemp's complex legal status under US federal law. Although industrial hemp remains entangled with the failed war on drugs, American companies may eventually join Canadian manufacturers in building cars out of hemp.




Sleeping-Bag Coats Warm, Employ Detroit Homeless
2013-05-09, ABC News
Posted: 2015-01-19 20:44:30
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/05/sleeping-bag-coats-warm-employ-...

The Empowerment Plan began in 2010 as an idea to fulfill Veronika Scott’s assignment for her product-design class at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. “We had to design something that could actually happen,” Scott, 22, of Detroit said. Scott’s product was a coat that transformed into a sleeping bag for the homeless population of Detroit. The latest design ... can be rolled up and turned into a shoulder bag for the warmer months. After her class ended, Scott [continued to work] with the homeless at the shelter Neighborhood Service Organization in Detroit to develop the first prototype. Scott said the coat was initially meant to offer comfort and pride for the homeless, but one homeless woman’s words changed that. “She said, ‘Your coats don’t matter, jobs matter. We need jobs, not coats,’” Scott said. “It was then about who I could employ.” The Empowerment Plan [now] employs 13 former and current homeless people to manufacture its coats, [and] only hires homeless single parents without a violent crime record. Employees are paid well above the minimum wage in Michigan and are given microloans. The coats are not only ordered by nonprofit organizations for free distribution to the homeless, but are also used by the Red Cross for disaster relief. With the help of donations ... the Empowerment Plan plans to create 4,000 coats this year. Scott said that she wants the Empowerment Plan to be a model for U.S. humane manufacturing.

Note: Don't miss the inspiring three-minute video of this courageous woman which shows how one person can make a big change.




From Rwandan Garbage Dump To Harvard
2014-05-24, Huffington Post
Posted: 2015-01-19 20:42:26
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tp-allen/rwanda-orphans_b_5357352.html

Life -- indeed, survival -- was always difficult for 8-year-old Justus Uwayesu. During the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, Justus' father was executed for being born into a family whose identity cards had the Tutsi box arbitrarily checked. His mother vanished shortly thereafter. By the time Justus was 8, he [was living] in the garbage dump for Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. One Sunday ... a taxi [rattled down the dusty road] transporting Clare Effiong, a visitor from the U.S. She was on a mission, "letting the Spirit lead" in a way that causes many to feel very uncomfortable and even suspicious. Through an interpreter Clare ... asked little Justus [what he wanted]. He said, "I want to go to school." Clare drove Justus to a friend's home in Gikondo and told him, "Educate this boy and I will send money to pay for school fees, school materials, uniform, shoes -- whatever." From his first day of school, Justus' most distinctive attribute has been (and remains) his ever-present conviction that it is a precious privilege to learn. Justus obsessively studied, [and received] guidance in applying to colleges and universities in the United States. On [college admissions] "decision day," at 11 PM Rwandan time (5 PM EST), Justus ... fumbled and struggled at first to get into the secure admissions site. Then the letter began to load, and Justus read the first word: "CONGRATULATIONS!" Justus screamed with joy and fell to the floor. When he composed himself, he borrowed my phone to call Clare in the U.S. "Mom, MOM!" he yelled. "I'm going to Harvard!"

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




Video: Woman makes connection to late stage Alzheimer’s patient using music
2014-12-13, Fox News Affiliate
Posted: 2015-01-19 20:40:31
http://fox4kc.com/2014/12/13/video-woman-makes-connection-to-late-stage-alzhe...

The holidays are a time which put a lot of people in the spirit of giving and helping others, and one YouTube video, which is currently trending on social media, encompasses just that. In the video, uploaded by an organization called Memory Bridge, the selfless and caring spirit of one woman is displayed as she forms a very personal interaction using gospel music with someone who has longed for that connection while in the late and deteriorating stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. According to her biography, Naomi Feil, the founder of Validation Therapy and someone who has worked with the elderly for over 40 years, has long believed traditional methods of working with severely disoriented elderly people needed to change. That belief led her to write several books on the subject, and develop alternative therapies.

Note: What a beautiful way to connect with those who have late stage Alzheimers disease. Don't miss this most touching video with a beautiful surprise at the end.




Fasting for three days can regenerate entire immune system, study finds
2014-06-05, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-01-19 20:38:12
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/10878625/Fasting-for-three-days-can-re...

Fasting for as little as three days can regenerate the entire immune system, even in the elderly, scientists have found in a breakthrough described as "remarkable". Although fasting diets have been criticised by nutritionists for being unhealthy, new research suggests starving the body kick-starts stem cells into producing new white blood cells, which fight off infection. Scientists at the University of Southern California say the discovery could be particularly beneficial for people suffering from damaged immune systems. It could also help the elderly whose immune system becomes less effective as they age, making it harder for them to fight off even common diseases. The researchers say fasting "flips a regenerative switch" which prompts stem cells to create brand new white blood cells, essentially regenerating the entire immune system. Fasting for 72 hours also protected cancer patients against the toxic impact of chemotherapy. "While chemotherapy saves lives, it causes significant collateral damage to the immune system. The results of this study suggest that fasting may mitigate some of the harmful effects of chemotherapy," said co-author Tanya Dorff, assistant professor of clinical medicine at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital. "More clinical studies are needed, and any such dietary intervention should be undertaken only under the guidance of a physician.”

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




The Saudi Role in Sept. 11 and the Hidden 9/11 Report Pages
2015-01-07, Newsweek
Posted: 2015-01-11 22:42:06
http://www.newsweek.com/saudi-arabia-911-george-w-bush-barack-obama-prince-ba...

28 still-classified pages pages in a congressional inquiry on 9/11 ... raise questions about Saudi financial support to the hijackers in the United States prior to the attacks. Both the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama have refused to declassify the pages on grounds of national security. But [some] members of Congress who have read the pages ... say national security has nothing to do with it. Former Florida Senator Bob Graham, a Democrat who co-chaired the joint investigation of the House and Senate intelligence committees into the Sept. 11 attacks ... maintains that nothing in them qualifies as a legitimate national security secret. The 2002 joint congressional committee probe [Graham] co-chaired reported only that, “contacts in the United States helped hijackers ...” But in an interview with Newsweek, Graham said “the contacts” were Saudis with close connections to their government. The Florida Democrat charged that there has been “an organized effort to suppress information” about Saudi support for terrorism, which "started long before 9/11 and continued ... after 9/11. ISIS ... is a product of Saudi ideals, Saudi money and Saudi organizational support, although now they are making a pretense of being very anti-ISIS,” Graham added. The two co-chairman of ... the 9/11 Commission, likewise urged the White House to declassify the 28 pages. “I’m embarrassed that they’re not declassified,“ former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind) said at a press conference with his co-chair Tom Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey. Meanwhile, Washington and the Saudi royals still maintain their decades-long, cozy relationship.

Note: Several current and former government officials are trying to expose the Saudi government money behind ISIS and other terrorist groups. For more along these lines, read concise summaries of deeply revealing 9/11 investigation news from reliable major media sources.




Prince Andrew Sex Scandal Lawsuit Has High Legal Stakes
2015-01-07, Time
Posted: 2015-01-11 22:38:22
http://time.com/3658851/prince-andrew-jeffrey-epstein/

A federal court filing accuses ... Prince Andrew of having sex in three countries with the self-described “sex slave” of an American financier, Jeffrey Epstein. The lawsuit that mentions these charges [targets] the U.S. Department of Justice. The case [started] in 2005, when Florida police began investigating claims that Epstein was paying underage girls for sex at his West Palm Beach home. Investigators uncovered evidence that more than a dozen girls may have been victimized by Epstein. The Justice Department agreed to a deal with Epstein that required him to plead guilty to two state charges, including a single count of solicitation of minors for prostitution, to register as a sex offender and to serve a short jail sentence. In exchange, the U.S. Attorney agreed to drop any further prosecution. The agreement also said that “the parties anticipate that this agreement will not be made part of any public record,” an unusual condition for such a criminal plea. The [deal] shocked several of the victims. The case has been now been ongoing for six years, with more than 280 filings. In legal filings, Edwards [a Florida trial lawyer] and Cassell [a victims' rights advocate and former federal judge] have questioned [the] pressure on the U.S. Attorney to keep the case from trial, either from Prince Andrew or former President Clinton, who travelled with Epstein on his private plane at the time but has not been accused of wrongdoing. “The elephant in the room is this: How does a guy who sexually abused 40 girls end up doing basically one year in a halfway house,” says Cassell.

Note: This is the second recent child sex scandal connected with UK royalty. 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.




Child abuse inquiry is being deliberately sabotaged by Government
2014-12-22, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-01-11 22:36:15
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11307460/Simon-Danczuk-child-abu...

The Government is deliberately sabotaging the inquiry into historic claims of child abuse to protect “high profile figures,” a Labour MP has claimed. A letter leaked at the weekend showed that Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is considering abandoning the current panel, amid a catalogue of problems including the resignations of two chairman. [Labour MP Simon Danczuk] told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “If Government are set on doing this then it can be achieved, but you can’t help thinking that they aren’t intent on getting this right. There’s a catalogue of mistakes that have been made, some of them fairly basic, and you can’t blame the survivors of child abuse for wondering [if] some of this is quite deliberate.” Asked why the Government would want to sabotage the probe, he went on: “Well, because they don’t want to get to the truth. The Home Secretary in this process is in complete disarray. We’re not moving forward and it’s been six months now. I think that people will turn to more direct action and you can hardly blame them.” Peter Saunders, of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, [says that] “The only people who want to see this fail, to not get off the ground and to not do the work that it potentially would be able to do are abusers themselves or those people who have covered up in the past. “I have yet to encounter any survivors themselves who have any confidence in the process and in the panel as it is currently constituted."

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.




Betting on Default
2015-01-02, New York Times
Posted: 2015-01-11 22:34:11
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/03/opinion/betting-on-default.html?_r=0

Imagine a lender demanding that you miss a payment. That is the situation described in a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. In 2013, GSO Capital Partners ... refused to renew a $122.3 million loan to the Spanish gambling company Codere unless it delayed paying interest on other existing debt. Why? It turns out that GSO had placed a bet that Codere’s existing debt would not be paid on time. When, lo and behold, the payment was late, GSO collected on its bet. The bet in this scenario was a credit default swap. Credit default swaps, a type of derivative, can be used to hedge against losses on bonds that investors own, or to speculate on how the underlying companies will perform. The Dodd-Frank financial reform law was supposed to curb speculation in swaps. But ... hedge funds are increasingly using swaps to wager on whether weak firms will live or die. RadioShack ... is one of several prominent examples. In December, RadioShack’s total debt came to about $1.4 billion, but swaps outstanding on the performance of the debt totaled $23.5 billion. Similarly, J.C. Penney ... had total debt of some $8.7 billion, but swaps outstanding on the debt totaled $19.3 billion. Last month, Congress repealed an anti-speculation provision of Dodd-Frank that would have prevented federally insured banks from conducting several types of swap transactions. In addition, the Federal Reserve recently gave the banks two extra years to meet [another important] Dodd-Frank provision. Sooner or later, poorly regulated credit derivatives will again play a role in damaging the economy.

Note: Derivatives trading in the shadow banking system has produced a speculative bubble, valued at nearly a quadrillion dollars, that has been described as a financial time bomb.




And the Winner of the ‘War On Terror’ Financed Dream Home 2014 Giveaway Is…
2014-12-21, The Intercept
Posted: 2015-01-11 22:31:00
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/12/31/winner-war-terror-financed-drea...

The combined cost of the “war on terror” comes to an estimated $1.6 trillion. A lot of former senior government officials who played important roles in this debacle have done quite well for themselves. [Former CIA director George Tenet] missed multiple signs of a major Al Qaeda attack directed against the United States [prior to 9/11] and approved the Bush administration’s torturing of terror suspects. He got the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He [also] received a $4 million advance to write a memoir. Tenet has received millions more in his current role as ... a board director and advisor to intelligence and military contractors. Louis Freeh, Tenet’s counterpart at the FBI during the run-up to 9/11 [also mishandled] “significant and urgent” intelligence of “serious operational planning” for terrorism attacks by Islamic radicals. Freeh resigned from the FBI two months before 9/11. In 2008, [a businessman named Nasser Kazeminy] was accused of bribing former Senator Norm Coleman, [and] hired Freeh to conduct a “thorough investigation” of the allegations against him in the hopes of clearing his name. In 2011, Freeh issued a public statement saying that his investigation had “completely vindicated” both Kazeminy and Coleman. Freeh also met with the Justice Department – which was investigating the bribery charges but declined to bring a case — on Kazeminy’s behalf. [Today, Freeh has a $3 million] Palm Beach penthouse. Freeh’s wife co-owns it with Kazeminy. The quit claim deed giving Freeh’s wife one-half ownership of the penthouse was signed nine days after Freeh’s vindication of Kazeminy.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in intelligence agencies and government.




Saying it is so doesn’t make it so
2014-01-02, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2015-01-11 22:28:08
http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/reich/article/Saying-it-is-so-doesn-t-make-it-s...

According to reports, one of the first acts of the Republican-controlled Congress will be to fire Doug Elmendorf, director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, because he won’t use “dynamic scoring” for his economic projections. Dynamic scoring is the magical math Republicans have been pushing since they came up with supply-side “trickle-down” economics. It’s based on the belief that cutting taxes unleashes economic growth and thereby produces additional government revenue. Dynamic scoring would make it easier to enact tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, because the tax cuts wouldn’t look as if they increased the budget deficit. Few economic theories have been as thoroughly tested in the real world as the asserted revenue effects of supply-side economics, and so notoriously failed. Ronald Reagan cut the top income tax rate from 70 to 28 percent and ended up nearly doubling the national debt. George W. Bush inherited a budget surplus from Bill Clinton, but then slashed taxes, mostly on the rich. The Bush tax cuts reduced revenue by $3 trillion. Yet Republicans don’t want to admit supply-side economics is hokum. As a result, they’ve never had much love for the truth-tellers at the Congressional Budget Office. The pattern seems to be: If you don't like the facts, make them up. Or have your benefactors finance think tanks filled with hired guns who will tell the public what you and your patrons want them to say.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption and income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.




With limited oversight, the wealthy get a charitable tax break
2015-01-02, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2015-01-11 22:25:23
http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/With-limited-oversight-the-wealthy-get...

Nicholas and Jill Woodman ... will receive a huge tax deduction for their [charitable] donation of 5.8 million shares of company stock to a donor-advised fund. But there’s no guarantee that one dollar of their October donation will ever be spent [on charity]. Donors gets an immediate, one-time tax break by depositing their money or assets in a donor-advised fund. They can advise the institution holding their money where and when to spend it on their timetable. Boston College Law School Professor Ray Madoff points out, “It is like money-laundering." There was $54 billion under management in donor-advised funds in 2013. Top financial houses like Fidelity, Schwab and Vanguard have fully embraced donor-advised funds. Fidelity Charitable, with $13.2 billion worth of assets under management, is now the nation’s second-largest charity. Even though organizations like Fidelity Charitable, Schwab Charitable and Vanguard Charitable were founded by their financial house namesakes, they are separate 501(c)3 charities. But while Fidelity Charitable is independent from the financial institution, roughly two-thirds of the money in the charitable arm is invested in Fidelity mutual funds. Madoff said that because investment advisers can charge a fee for managing the money in these accounts, they have a natural incentive to keep the money in these accounts growing — and not leaving.

Note: For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing articles about widespread corruption in government and banking and finance.




Why the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Is a Pending Disaster
2015-01-06, Baltimore Sun (Baltimore's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2015-01-11 22:22:11
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/bal-why-the-transpacific-partnership...

Republicans who now run Congress say they want to cooperate with President Obama, and point to the administration's Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, as the model. The only problem is the TPP would be a disaster. If you haven't heard much about the TPP, that's part of the problem. It would be the largest trade deal in history ... representing 792 million people and accounting for 40 percent of the world economy -- yet it's been devised in secret. Lobbyists from America's biggest corporations and Wall Street's biggest banks have been involved but not the American public. That's a recipe for fatter profits and bigger paychecks at the top, but not a good deal for most of us, or even for most of the rest of the world. Big corporations and Wall Street want ... more international protection when it comes to their intellectual property and other assets. But they want less protection of consumers, workers, small investors, and the environment, because these interfere with their profits. So they've been seeking trade rules that allow them to override these protections. Not surprisingly for a deal that's been drafted mostly by corporate and Wall Street lobbyists, the TPP provides exactly this mix. In other words, the TPP is a Trojan horse in a global race to the bottom, giving big corporations and Wall Street banks a way to eliminate any and all laws and regulations that get in the way of their profits.

Note: The above article is written by former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. For more along these lines, see this summary of an article that appeared in the Guardian newspaper in 2013. You can also read the TPP's Intellectual property and environment language for yourself.





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