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.
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Rigging currency markets
2013-10-12, The Economist
Posted: 2013-10-22 10:34:01
[Banks] have rigged LIBOR, an interest rate used to peg contracts worth trillions. Its equivalent in the world of derivatives, ISDAfix, has also come under question. Commodities prices from crude oil to platinum have been the subject of allegations and inquiries. Now prices in global currency markets, where turnover is $5 trillion a day, are being scrutinised by authorities, who suspect bankers have tampered with those too. Switzerland’s financial watchdog announced on October 4th that it was investigating a slew of banks it thinks have manipulated currencies. Britain and the European Union also have probes under way. Concerns reportedly centre around abnormal movements ahead of a widely-used daily snapshot of exchange rates, known as the 4pm “London fix”. It represents the average of prices agreed during 60 seconds’ trading, and is used as a reference rate to execute a much larger set of currency deals. Bankers, who are big participants in the market, have huge incentives to nudge the price of a given currency pairing ahead of the fix. With billions of dollars changing hands, a difference of a fraction of a cent can add a tidy sum to the bonus pool. If proven, the charge would amount to banks fleecing their clients. Banks know the big trades they are about to execute on others’ behalf, and are often themselves the counterparty. By moving the markets ahead of the fix, they could alter the rate to their profit and their clients’ loss. One suspected method is “banging the close”: submitting a quick succession of orders just as the benchmark is set, to distort its value.
Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Tax the rich? IMF sparks a mini revolution
2013-10-11, Yahoo!/Agence France Presse
Posted: 2013-10-22 10:31:05
Tax the rich and better target the multinationals: The IMF has set off shockwaves this week in Washington by suggesting countries fight budget deficits by raising taxes. Guardian of financial orthodoxy, the International Monetary Fund, which is holding its annual meetings with the World Bank this week in the US capital, typically calls for nations in difficulty to slash public spending to reduce their deficits. But in its Fiscal Monitor report, subtitled "Taxing Times", the Fund advanced the idea of taxing the highest-income people and their assets to reinforce the legitimacy of spending cuts and fight against growing income inequalities. "Scope seems to exist in many advanced economies to raise more revenue from the top of the income distribution," the IMF wrote, noting "steep cuts" in top rates since the early 1980s. According to IMF estimates, taxing the rich even at the same rates during the 1980s would reap fiscal revenues equal to 0.25 percent of economic output in the developed countries. "The gain could in some cases, such as that of the United States, be more significant," around 1.5 percent of gross domestic product, said the IMF report, which also singled out deficient taxation of multinational companies. In the US alone, legal loopholes deprive the Treasury of roughly $60 billion in receipts, the global lender said. The IMF managing director, Christine Lagarde, kept up the sales pitch for a more just fiscal policy. "It's clearly something finance ministers are interested in, it's something that is necessary for the right balance of public finances," said Lagarde, a former French finance minister.
Note: Yahoo! was the only major media in the US to pick up this eye-opening news, with the possible exception of a Forbes article which shows how afraid they are of this development. For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Documents reveal NSA’s extensive involvement in targeted killing program
2013-10-16, Washington Post
Posted: 2013-10-22 10:29:16
It was an innocuous e-mail, one of millions sent every day by spouses with updates on the situation at home. But this one was of particular interest to the National Security Agency and contained clues that put the sender’s husband in the crosshairs of a CIA drone. Days later, Hassan Ghul ... was killed by a drone strike in Pakistan’s tribal belt. Documents provided ... by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden confirm his demise in October 2012 and reveal the agency’s extensive involvement in the targeted killing program that has served as a centerpiece of President Obama’s counterterrorism strategy. The documents provide the most detailed account of the intricate collaboration between the CIA and the NSA in the drone campaign. [The] collection of records in the Snowden trove [make] clear that the drone campaign — often depicted as the CIA’s exclusive domain — relies heavily on the NSA’s ability to vacuum up enormous quantities of e-mail, phone calls and other fragments of signals intelligence, or SIGINT. To handle the expanding workload, the NSA created a secret unit known as the Counter-Terrorism Mission Aligned Cell, or CT MAC, to concentrate the agency’s vast resources on hard-to-find [targets]. Former CIA officials said the files are an accurate reflection of the NSA’s contribution to finding targets in a campaign that has killed more than 3,000 people [in] Pakistan.
Note: For more on the use of drones to kill abroad and spy at home, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Report: Obama Brings Chilling Effect on Journalism
2013-10-10, ABC News/Associated Press
Posted: 2013-10-22 10:26:34
The U.S. government's aggressive prosecution of leaks and efforts to control information are having a chilling effect on journalists and government whistle-blowers, according to a report released [on] U.S. press freedoms under the Obama administration. The Committee to Protect Journalists conducted its first examination of U.S. press freedoms amid the Obama administration's unprecedented number of prosecutions of government sources and seizures of journalists' records. Usually the group focuses on advocating for press freedoms abroad. Leonard Downie Jr., a former executive editor of The Washington Post, wrote the 30-page analysis entitled "The Obama Administration and the Press." The report notes President Barack Obama came into office pledging an open, transparent government after criticizing the Bush administration's secrecy, "but he has fallen short of his promise." "In the Obama administration's Washington, government officials are increasingly afraid to talk to the press," wrote Downie, now a journalism professor at Arizona State University. Downie interviewed numerous reporters and editors, including a top editor at The Associated Press, following revelations this year that the government secretly seized records for telephone lines and switchboards used by more than 100 AP journalists. Downie also interviewed journalists whose sources have been prosecuted on felony charges. Those suspected of discussing classified information are increasingly subject to investigation, lie-detector tests, scrutiny of telephone and email records and now surveillance by co-workers under a new "Insider Threat Program" that has been implemented in every agency.
Note: For more on government secrecy, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Pentagon unit held 'phony' ceremonies for MIAs, using planes that can't fly
2013-10-10, NBC News
Posted: 2013-10-22 10:25:12
A unit of the U.S. Department of Defense has been holding so-called "arrival ceremonies" for seven years, with an honor guard carrying flag-draped coffins off of a cargo plane as though they held the remains of missing American service men and women returning that day from old battlefields. After NBC News raised questions about the arrival ceremonies, the Pentagon acknowledged Wednesday that no honored dead were in fact arriving, and that the planes used in the ceremonies often couldn't even fly but were towed into position. The ceremonies have been attended by veterans and families of MIAs, led to believe that they were witnessing the return of Americans killed in World War II, Vietnam and Korea. The ceremonies also have been known, at least among some of the military and civilian staff here, as The Big Lie. Photos behind the scenes show that the flag-draped boxes had not just arrived on military planes. The Pentagon insisted that the flag-draped cases do contain human remains recently recovered, just not ones that arrived that day. The Pentagon statement did not explain why the rituals were called "arrival ceremonies" if no one was arriving, or why the public had been told that remains removed that morning from the lab were about to go to the lab to "begin the identification process."
Note: For a revealing book by Robert Kirkconnell, a 27-year USAF veteran who personally witnessed heroin being smuggled in the bodies of dead GIs, click here. For more on military corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Why are the JFK files still sealed after 50 years?
2013-08-17, MSN/Associated Press
Posted: 2013-10-22 10:23:26
Five decades after President John F. Kennedy was fatally shot and long after official inquiries ended, thousands of pages of investigative documents remain withheld from public view. The contents of these files are partially known — and intriguing — and conspiracy buffs are not the only ones seeking to open them for a closer look. Some serious researchers believe the off-limits files could shed valuable new light on nagging mysteries of the assassination — including what U.S. intelligence agencies knew about accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald before Nov. 22, 1963. It turns out that several hundred of the still-classified pages concern a deceased CIA agent, George Joannides, whose activities just before the assassination and, fascinatingly, during a government investigation years later, have tantalized researchers for years. "This is not about conspiracy, this is about transparency," said Jefferson Morley, a former Washington Post reporter and author embroiled in a decade-long lawsuit against the CIA, seeking release of the closed documents. "I think the CIA should obey the law. I don't think most people think that's a crazy idea." But so far, the Joannides files and thousands more pages primarily from the CIA remain off-limits at a National Archives center in College Park, Md. Anthony Summers, a British author whose sequel to his JFK book Not In Your Lifetime will be released this year, [said] "By withholding Joannides material, the agency continues to encourage the public to believe they're covering up something more sinister."
Note: For more on the strange secrecy around Joannides and his checkered past, see the New York Times article summarized here. For more on political assassinations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Exercise May Be as Effective as Drugs in Treating Disease
2013-10-01, Bloomberg BusinessWeek
Posted: 2013-10-22 10:19:51
Physical activity may be as effective as drugs in treating heart disease and should be included as a comparison in the development of new medicines, according to a review published today in the British Medical Journal. No statistically detectable differences were evident between exercise and drug treatment for patients with coronary heart disease or prediabetes, and exercise was more effective among patients recovering from a stroke, according to a review of 16 meta-analyses that included 305 studies involving 339,274 participants. The analysis adds to evidence showing the benefit of non-medical approaches to disease through behavior and lifestyle changes. Given the cost of drug treatment, regulators should consider requiring pharmaceutical companies to include exercise as a comparator in clinical trials of new medicines, according to authors Huseyin Naci of Harvard and John Ioannidis of Stanford. “Patients deserve to understand the relative impact that physical activity might have on their condition,” Naci and Ioannidis said in the published paper. In the meantime, “exercise interventions should therefore be considered as a viable alternative to, or, alongside, drug therapy.” A landmark study by Dean Ornish, founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, found that a low-fat vegetarian diet, increased exercise and stress management can reduce heart disease more than standard medical care. Patients who receive training from medical professionals on Ornish’s program for reversing heart disease have been reimbursed by Medicare since January 2011.
Note: For more inspiring ideas on replacing drugs with exercise, see Dr. Mercola's article at this link. For more on important health issues, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Jimmy Savile NHS abuse probe: 'Up to 30' hospitals involved
2013-10-14, BBC News
Posted: 2013-10-22 10:17:56
Up to 30 hospitals are now under investigation as part of the inquiry into Jimmy Savile's alleged abuse of patients at NHS hospitals. Inquiries had originally just focused on Broadmoor and Stoke Mandeville and Leeds General Infirmary. Revelations that Savile had sexually abused children prompted hundreds of victims to come forward, including those who said they were attacked on BBC premises and at a number of other institutions. Savile had a bedroom at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, an office and living quarters at Broadmoor, and widespread access to Leeds General Infirmary. Liz Dux, an abuse lawyer who represents more than 70 of the claimants, told the BBC she was worried the extension would prolong the distress of her clients. "These hospitals were known about - all my clients gave their evidence some time ago to the NHS investigation.
These victims want the investigation concluded, naturally as efficiently as possible, but they want it over, they need closure," she said. The revelations about Savile have led to a number of inquiries. The police investigation, Operation Yewtree, ... has three strands. One looking specifically at the actions of Savile is due to report in the new year. The BBC understands it will put the number of alleged victims at over 500. The second strand concerns allegations against "Savile and others". The third relates to complaints against other people unconnected to the Savile investigations, made by people who came forward after widespread coverage of the scandal
Note: For more on sexual abuse of children in institutional settings, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Oops: Azerbaijan released election results before voting had even started
2013-10-09, Washington Post
Posted: 2013-10-22 10:12:16
Azerbaijan's big presidential election ... was anticipated to be neither free nor fair. President Ilham Aliyev, who took over from his father 10 years ago, has stepped up intimidation of activists and journalists. Rights groups are complaining about free speech restrictions and one-sided state media coverage. The BBC's headline for its story on the election reads "The Pre-Determined President." So expectations were pretty low. [But] it was a bit awkward when Azerbaijan's election authorities released vote results – a full day before voting had even started. The vote counts ... were pushed out on an official smartphone app run by the Central Election Commission. It showed Aliyev as "winning" with 72.76 percent of the vote. That's on track with his official vote counts in previous elections: 76.84 percent of the vote in 2003 and 87 percent in 2008. In second place was opposition candidate Jamil Hasanli with 7.4 percent of the vote. The data were quickly recalled. The official story is that the app's developer had mistakenly sent out the 2008 election results as part of a test. But that's a bit flimsy, given that the released totals show the candidates from this week, not from 2008. As of this writing, Azerbaijan's election authorities say they've counted 80 percent of the ballots, with Aliyev winning just under 85 percent of the vote so far. He's been officially reelected.
Note: And for any who think elections manipulation only happens in smaller, corrupt countries, see undeniable evidence of major manipulation of elections in the U.S. and elsewhere at this link. For more on electoral corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Bogus science paper reveals peer review's flaws
2013-10-14, CBC News (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)
Posted: 2013-10-22 10:11:01
A bogus scientific paper about a new anti-cancer compound was accepted by more than half of 300 scientific journals it was submitted to in the past year, despite having obvious and serious scientific flaws. Science journalist John Bohannon reported the results of his experiment in the journal Science. Bohannon, who holds a PhD in molecular biology and is a visiting scholar at Harvard University’s program in ethics and health, ... concluded [that] “a huge proportion” of the journals were not ensuring their papers were peer reviewed. Even in cases where peer review happened, it didn’t always function correctly. For example, the Ottawa-based International Journal of Herbs and Medicinal Plants clearly sent the paper out to be reviewed by real scientists, who pointed out some flaws, Bohannon recalled. Even so, when Bohannon submitted a revised version of the paper without correcting any of the flaws, it was accepted. Bohannon said peer review is “crucial” so that readers of a scientific paper know it has “at least passed muster with a couple of experts who are in a position, hopefully, to judge. It could be the whole peer review system is just failing under the strain of the tens of thousands of journals that now exist.” He added that if peer review isn’t working, then people with what amounts to fraudulent scientific credentials and publication records “are slowly filling university departments and government offices, making important science-based policy decisions.” In addition, “terrible science” is polluting the global pool of knowledge."
Note: For more on the corruption of science, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Learning from a '50s Housewife on Acid
2011-01-18, ABC News
Posted: 2013-10-22 10:09:47
A video [that went viral] featured footage of a mid-1950s housewife on an acid trip during an LSD experiment. In the film, a researcher, Dr. Sidney Cohen, is shown interviewing, and then dosing, a volunteer at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Los Angeles. The woman, who is identified only as the wife of a hospital employee, is in her late 20s or early 30s and appears fairly typical of her time. LSD was a legal pharmaceutical drug until 1966. Journalist Don Lattin says he came across the video in the archives of philosopher Gerald Heard while researching a group biography on him, the British writer Aldous Huxley, and Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. In the video that Lattin posted online, [the housewife] is clearly under the influence and appears to be rather enjoying it. She says: "Everything is alive. This is reality. I wish you could see it. I wish I could talk in technicolor." "This shows that very early on in the 1950s, researchers were aware that there were possible beneficial uses, rather than military or more nefarious uses," he says. In the early 1950s and into the '60s the Army and CIA secretly funded a lot of research to see if LSD could be used as a chemical weapon or a truth serum, says Lattin. But Cohen and his ilk were pursuing a different line of study. They wanted to understand how it works, how the mind works and the connection between the psychotic state and a spiritually enlightened state." Indeed, Wilson, the AA co-founder, did a fair amount of LSD in the 50s , says Lattin. "This surprises people, but he wasn't doing it to get high," he adds. "It was to achieve that spiritual awakening."
Note: The video of this session is quite inspiring. See it at this link. For more on mind-altering drugs, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Malala Yousafzai wows 'The Daily Show'
2013-10-10, USA Today
Posted: 2013-10-22 10:08:26
Sixteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai ... is a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize for her courage in the face of death threats in her home country of Pakistan over her advocacy of education for girls. On Thursday, she won the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Malala was shot in the head and neck one year ago on her school bus by a gunman who was sent by the Taliban, the Muslim clerical group that believes in adherence to a strict version of Islamic law. Where it can, the Taliban has imposed rules forbidding girls from going to school, listening to music or taking most jobs. Malala, who lives in England now, told Stewart that she was stunned when she was told as a 14-year-old girl that the Taliban had issued a death threat against her for her activism and for her blog on the BBC, in which she wrote about how hard it was to live under strict Muslim rule as a girl. "I just could not believe it, I said no, it's not true," she said, saying she thought the Taliban would instead come after her father, who operates a school and opened up his classes to girls. "We thought the Taliban were not that much cruel that they would kill a child." After she was shot, she was allowed to go to Britain for brain surgery. She now lives outside London with her family. Though the Taliban has threatened her life again, she says striking back at them would not help. "If you hit a Talib, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib," she said. "You must not treat others with cruelty. … You must fight others through peace and through dialogue and through education."
Note: You can watch portions of this inspiring show at the link above and at this link. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
Malala Yousafzai meets with the Obamas in the Oval Office
2013-10-11, Washington Post
Posted: 2013-10-22 10:07:06
Malala Yousafzai may not have won the Nobel Peace Prize ... but she enjoyed a private Oval Office audience with President Obama and the first family. Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani student who was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen for speaking out in support of the right of girls to go to school, met Friday with Obama and his wife, Michelle. [and] the Obamas' 15-year-old daughter, Malia. Yousafzai said she was honored to meet Obama and that she raised concerns with him about the administration's use of drones, saying they are "fueling terrorism." "I thanked President Obama for the United States' work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees," Yousafzai said in a statement published by the Associated Press. "I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact." The Pakistani teen was in Washington on Friday for an address at the World Bank, part of her U.S. visit to promote her new memoir, I Am Malala.
Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
Census protester Audrey Tobias acquitted of not filing form
2013-10-09, CBC News (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)
Posted: 2013-10-22 10:05:47
An 89-year-old peace activist who refused to fill out the census because of its link to a U.S. military contractor is not guilty of violating the Statistics Act, a Toronto judge decided today. Audrey Tobias, who faced jail time if she had been convicted, argued she didn't file her 2011 census because it is processed using software from Lockheed Martin. Outside the Old City Hall courthouse after the ruling, the Toronto woman thanked the judge. “He put a lot of work and analysis and care into that judgment,” she said. "I respect it and I am grateful. I think it’s a significant issue for Canadians. I think people will know now what their government is all about.” Tobias said she would have been willing to go to jail. “I would have done whatever was necessary,” she said. “Under no circumstances would I have paid a fine, which was a way of saying I was guilty.” Tobias's lawyer, Peter Rosenthal, had argued that forcing her to complete the census would violate her freedoms of conscience and free expression. Judge Ramez Khawly noted that for a conviction both the act and intent of a crime must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, so he had to acquit Tobias. The judge also described the Justice Department's decision to prosecute Tobias, a Second World War veteran, as a "PR disaster." In 2011, StatsCan received 13 million completed census forms, a 98 per cent response rate. Overall, it referred 54 people for prosecution for failing to complete the mandatory census form.
Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
New York photographer turns strangers into friends
2013-08-02, CBS News
Posted: 2013-10-22 10:04:29
Forty-five-year-old Richard Renaldi is looking for someone -- two someones, actually. Two total strangers who were meant to be together, if only for a moment. Richard is a New York photographer working on a series of portraits. For each shot he grabs strangers off the street -- like Jenny Wood, an airline employee from Virginia, and Dominek Tucker, a college student from Brooklyn -- and poses them like adoring family. Richard calls the project "Touching Strangers." He started shooting it six years ago and now has hundreds of portraits of these unlikely intimates. Richard puts the people in these poses, but the sentiment that seems to shine through is real -- at least so say the subjects. At first, Brian Sneeden, a poetry teacher, saw no rhyme or reason for posing with 95-year-old retried fashion designer Reiko Ehrman, but eventually he, too, felt a change. "I felt like I cared for her," Brian says. "I felt like it brought down a lot of barriers." Pretty much everyone shared that same sentiment. "Everyone seems to come away with kind of a good feeling," Richard says. "It's kind of lovely. It's lovely." Most photographers capture life as it is, but in these strangers, Richard Renaldi has captured something much more ethereal and elusive. He shows us humanity as it could be -- as most of us wish it would be -- and as it was, at least for those one fleeting moments in time.
Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
Washington state battles over genetically modified food
2013-10-06, USA Today
Posted: 2013-10-15 11:02:53
Washington state is the next battleground in an ongoing effort by food activists to get products containing genetically engineered ingredients labeled. Initiative 522 goes before voters Nov. 5. It would require that foods containing ingredients from genetically engineered plants be labeled as such. "We believe that we have a right to know what's in our food," said Elizabeth Larter, the Seattle-based communications director for the Yes on 522 campaign. "This campaign is not about whether GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are good or bad; this is really just providing more information for consumers." The labeling effort is being funded by grass-roots donations and a large contribution from Dr. Bronner's Magic All-One, a California soap company founded in the 1960s. "This is about chemical companies buying up the seed companies," said David Bronner, president of the company. Opponents to labeling "understand that if they lose in Washington state, game over," he said of why the company is supporting the initiative and encouraging others to do so. "In 2013 alone there have been 26 states that have introduced labeling legislation," says Katey Parker with the Just Label It coalition, a pro-labeling group based in Washington, D.C. Washington's Yes on 522 campaign so far has raised $4.8 million. Squaring off on the other side is a coalition of food manufacturers and seed producers that thus far has raised a war chest of $17.2 million. That's a state record. The top five contributors were the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, Dow AgroSciences and Bayer CropScience.
Note: For lots more on the serious risks posed by genetically-modified food, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Eric Schlosser on the Secret History of America's Nuclear Arsenal
2013-09-16, Rolling Stone
Posted: 2013-10-15 11:01:46
In his new book, Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety, award-winning investigative journalist [Eric Schlosser] challenges and expands on the U.S. government's secretive record regarding nuclear accidents. Let's get the big question out of the way: How many times have we just barely avoided nuclear armageddon in the U.S.? It's a very secretive subject, and I did my best, through interviews and through the Freedom of Information Act, to get as much information as I could on these accidents. The Pentagon lists 32 broken arrows, which are their official nuclear weapon accidents that they consider really serious. A lot of other accidents [posed the] threat of accidental detonation on American soil. For many years, there were safety flaws with our nuclear weapons which weren't being addressed and which were being covered up. We're just very, very ... fortunate that a major city has not been destroyed by a nuclear weapon since Nagasaki. But there's no guarantee that that luck will last. Very little has been written about the ordinary servicemen and women who often took great risks. I tell the story of a guy whose job it was to walk over to a nuclear weapon damaged in an accident and dismantle it – basically a bomb squad guy trained to handle nuclear weapons. That takes a lot of nerve to do. People like that put themselves at risk in order to prevent catastrophes. I think their stories are really worth telling. It was important to me to show, not just the bureaucratic incompetence in many cases, but also the incredible heroism of these ordinary servicemen. So it's not a simplistic, black-and-white anti-military thing at all.
Note: For more on the dangers of nuclear technologies, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Rich Man’s Recovery
2013-09-13, New York Times
Posted: 2013-10-15 11:00:19
A few days ago, The Times published a report on a society that is being undermined by extreme inequality. This society claims to reward the best and brightest regardless of family background. In practice, however, the children of the wealthy benefit from opportunities and connections unavailable to children of the middle and working classes. And it was clear from the article that the gap between the society’s meritocratic ideology and its increasingly oligarchic reality is having a deeply demoralizing effect. If the rich are so much richer than the rest that they live in a different social and material universe, that fact in itself makes nonsense of any notion of equal opportunity. The data in question have been compiled for the past decade by the economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, who use I.R.S. numbers to estimate the concentration of income in America’s upper strata. According to their estimates, top income shares took a hit during the Great Recession, as things like capital gains and Wall Street bonuses temporarily dried up. But the rich have come roaring back, to such an extent that 95 percent of the gains ... since 2009 have gone to the famous 1 percent. In fact, more than 60 percent of the gains went to the top 0.1 percent, people with annual incomes of more than $1.9 million. The growing concentration of income at the top [is undermining] all the values that define America. Year by year, we’re diverging from our ideals. Inherited privilege is crowding out equality of opportunity; the power of money is crowding out effective democracy.
Note: For more on extreme income inequality, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
ATF rejects agent’s ‘Fast and Furious’ book
2013-10-07, Washington Post
Posted: 2013-10-15 10:59:01
Two years ago, federal agent John Dodson turned whistleblower and exposed a botched gun operation in Phoenix that led to senior-level resignations, 18 months of congressional investigations and the first vote in history by the House to hold a sitting attorney general in contempt of Congress. Now, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, where Dodson works, is preventing him from publishing a book about the failed gun investigation, dubbed “Fast and Furious,” because the agency says it would hurt morale at the agency. The American Civil Liberties Union came to Dodson’s defense [on October 7] and filed a protest with the ATF, strongly objecting to the agency’s efforts to block Dodson from publishing his book, which has been written, saying the decision violates his “constitutional protections.” Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), two persistent critics of the ATF, wrote a foreword for the book. “This isn’t the first time somebody from the ATF or another government agency has written a book,” Grassley said. “Just because the ATF leadership doesn’t like the content of the book doesn’t mean they should be able to prevent the author from giving his side of the story.” During the gun-trafficking operation run by Phoenix special agents between late 2009 and early 2011, the ATF lost track of more than 2,000 guns that investigators were monitoring as they were sold to traffickers suspected of arming Mexican drug cartels. The operation to link guns to a cartel fell apart after two of the guns being tracked were found at the scene of a shootout that killed U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
Note: For more on government secrecy, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Nixon and Kissinger’s Forgotten Shame
2013-09-30, New York Times
Posted: 2013-10-15 10:57:29
Some of Bangladesh’s current problems stem from its traumatic birth in 1971 — when President Richard M. Nixon and Henry A. Kissinger, his national security adviser, vigorously supported the killers and tormentors of a generation of Bangladeshis. On March 25, 1971, the Pakistani Army launched a devastating crackdown on the rebellious Bengalis in [East Pakistan, now Bangladesh]. Midway through the bloodshed, both the C.I.A. and the State Department conservatively estimated that about 200,000 people had died (the Bangladeshi government figure is much higher, at three million). As many as 10 million Bengali refugees fled across the border into India, where they died in droves in wretched refugee camps. Nixon and Kissinger stood stoutly behind Pakistan’s generals, supporting the murderous regime at many of the most crucial moments. Nixon and Kissinger barely tried to exert leverage over Pakistan’s military government. They did not offer warnings or impose conditions that might have dissuaded the Pakistani junta from atrocities. Nor did they threaten the loss of American military or economic support after the slaughter began. They were unmoved by the suffering of Bengalis, despite detailed reporting about the killing from Archer K. Blood, the brave United States consul general in East Pakistan. After Mr. Blood’s consulate sent an extraordinary cable formally dissenting from American policy, decrying what it called genocide, Nixon and Kissinger ousted Mr. Blood from his post in East Pakistan. Kissinger privately scorned Mr. Blood as “this maniac”.