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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Richie Parker, Star NASCAR Engineer At Hendrick Motorsports, Doesn't Have Arms
2013-07-23, Huffington Post
Posted: 2013-11-12 08:06:57
The fact that Richie Parker can ride a bike doesn't sound impressive -- until you see him do it. Same goes for the car repairs he makes using power tools. Parker was born without arms, a disability he's overcome time and time again, ultimately leading him to his job engineering chassis and body components for Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR's most winning organization. "Based on his resume, I knew he could do the things that I needed him to do, it was more a question of how,” Rex Stump, engineering manager at Hendrick, said of Parker. Just like every other hurdle in his life, Parker found a way, placing the keyboard and mouse on the floor, then operating both with his feet to build custom high-performance automotive parts. His story has also inspired countless others, not the least of [whom] is Magic Johnson. After watching [an] ESPN segment [on Parker], the retired NBA star tweeted, "Richie Parker's story proves that you can do anything you set your mind to. We should all stop complaining and giving excuses." Or, as Parker says, "I don't know there's a lot in life ... that I'd say I can't do. Just things I haven't done yet."
Note: Don't miss the most awesome video of Richie at the link above. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
On leaving the Guardian - By Glenn Greenwald
2013-10-31, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-11-05 08:55:55
Reporting the NSA story hasn't been easy, but it's always been fulfilling. It's what journalism at its crux is about, and we must protect that. I'm leaving the Guardian in order to work with Pierre Omidyar, Laura Poitras, Jeremy Scahill and soon-to-be-identified others on building a new media organization. Leaving the Guardian was not an easy choice, but this was a dream opportunity that was impossible to decline. The new site will be up and running reasonably soon. I'll also periodically post on my personal blog – here – with an active comment section, as well as on our pre-launch temporary blog. Reporting the NSA story has never been easy, but it's always been invigorating and fulfilling. It's exactly why one goes into journalism and, in my view, is what journalism at its crux is about. I really urge everyone to take note of, and stand against, [the] sustained and unprecedented attack on press freedoms and the news gathering process in the US. That same menacing climate is now manifest in the UK as well. There are extremist though influential factions in both countries which want to criminalize not only whistleblowing but the act of journalism itself. I'm not leaving because of those threats – if anything, they make me want to stay and continue to publish here – but I do believe it's urgent that everyone who believes in basic press freedoms unite against this. Allowing journalism to be criminalized is in nobody's interest other than the states which are trying to achieve that.
Note: For confirmation of Glenn Greenwald's warnings of immediate government threats to press freedom in the UK, click here.
Gang Rape in India, Routine and Invisible
2013-10-27, New York Times
Posted: 2013-11-05 08:53:34
The trial in [a] Mumbai gang-rape case has opened ... without the crush of reporters who documented every twist in a similar case in New Delhi in which a woman died after being gang-raped on a private bus. The Mumbai case provides an unusual glimpse into a group of bored young men who had committed the same crime often enough to develop a routine. The police say the men had committed at least five rapes in the same spot. Their casual confidence reinforces the notion that rape has been a largely invisible crime here, where convictions are infrequent and victims silently go away. Not until their arrest, at a moment when sexual violence has grabbed headlines and risen to the top of the state’s agenda, did the seriousness of the crime sink in. “It was exactly like watching a kid in school who has been caught doing something,” said [the victim's coworker], who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect the identity of the victim, who cannot be identified according to Indian law. “It’s like a bunch of kids who found a dog and tied a bunch of firecrackers to its tail, just to see what would happen. Only in this case it was far more egregious. It was malevolent, what happened.” None of the men worked regularly. There were jobs chicken-plucking at a neighborhood stand — a hot, stinking eight-hour shift that paid 250 rupees, or $4. The men told their families they wanted something better, something indoors, but that thing never seemed to come. They passed time playing cards and drinking.
Note: For more on sex crimes, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Kenya petition over 'grass cutting for gang-rape' tops 1m
2013-10-28, BBC News
Posted: 2013-11-05 08:52:06
More than a million people have signed an online petition demanding justice after three men accused of brutally gang-raping a girl in Kenya were ordered to cut grass as punishment. The policemen who ordered the punishment should be disciplined for failing to investigate rape charges, the petition said. The 16-year-old was gang-raped and dumped in a pit latrine in Busia. When her case came to light earlier this month, it caused national outrage. The director of public prosecutions has ordered the national police to investigate why the local force, known as administration police, did not fully investigate the alleged rape, and instead ordered the suspects to cut grass. The alleged rapists are reported to have gone into hiding. The petition - published by online campaign group Avaaz called on Kenya's police chief David Kimaiyo to "deliver justice" for the girl, named Liz. Her alleged attackers should be immediately arrested and prosecuted and disciplinary action should be instituted against police officers who "dismally failed to handle her case", the petition said. "By holding these police officers to account you will send a strong message to police everywhere that rape is not a misdemeanour, it is a serious crime, and if police do not uphold the law they will be held to account," it added. "We call on you to ensure Liz's case is a turning point to end the war on girls." The 16-year-old was attacked after returning from a grandfather's funeral in a village in Busia, western Kenya, the local Daily Nation newspaper reported.
Note: For more on sex crimes, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Grand jury prepared child abuse indictment against JonBenet Ramsey's parents, newly released documents show
2013-10-25, NBC News
Posted: 2013-11-05 08:50:49
A Colorado court [has] released a long-sealed 1999 grand jury indictment of JonBenet Ramsey's parents for child abuse resulting in death, but it gave no specifics and did not accuse them of killing her. Prosecutors declined to act on the indictment and charge John or Patsy Ramsey at the time, and years later they publicly exonerated the couple and suggested an unknown intruder was the culprit. Yet the Boulder Police Department — which put the Ramseys under an "umbrella of suspicion" soon after the 6-year-old beauty queen's slaying in 1996 — portrayed the belated document release as a vindication of their investigation. "The grand jury of 12 objective jurors ultimately agreed with investigators that probable cause existed for the filing of charges," the department said in a statement. The Ramseys' lawyer, L. Lin Wood, however, called the unsealing of just four pages of the grand jury record a "miscarriage of justice" and noted that the panel did not have the benefit of DNA evidence that cleared the couple years later. JonBenet was found strangled in the basement of her home on Dec. 26, 1996 — the start of a murder mystery that would fascinate the nation for months and spawn books, TV movies and countless theories about who killed her. A grand jury spent more than a year combing through a mountain of evidence before preparing charges. But they were never made public after the Boulder district attorney announced there wasn't enough evidence to charge anyone.
Note: Why were these documents kept secret for so many years? Could there be more to this case than meets the eye? For more on abuse of children, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Rabobank Fined $1.1 Billion Over Libor, Euribor Manipulation
2013-10-29, Bloomberg Businessweek
Posted: 2013-11-05 08:44:17
Rabobank Groep, the co-operative formed in 1898 to lend to Dutch farmers, was fined 774 million euros ($1.1 billion) and the chairman resigned as the scandal over the rigging of benchmark interest rates ensnared a fifth firm. The Utrecht, Netherlands-based lender entered into an agreement with the Justice Department to accept responsibility for manipulation of Libor and Euribor to avoid prosecution. The fines are the largest-ever against the bank and second-largest over manipulation of the London interbank offered rate. Global investigations into banks’ attempts to manipulate the benchmarks for profit have led to fines and settlements for Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, UBS and ICAP. Rabobank derivatives and money-market traders influenced the lender’s submissions to benefit their positions linked to Libor and conspired with employees of other banks to rig rates from May 2005 to January 2011. More than 500 attempts were made by Rabobank to manipulate Libor, according to the regulator. Thirty current and former employees of the Dutch lender were involved, Rabobank executive board member Sipko Schat said today. Five of them were fired, he said, while 14 are still working for the bank. The lender is also clawing back 4.2 million euros in bonuses, Rabobank said in a statement. The manipulation “directly affected the rates referenced by financial products held by and on behalf of companies and investors around the world,” Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington field office, said in a statement.
Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Spain colluded in NSA spying on its citizens, Spanish newspaper reports
2013-10-30, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-11-05 08:42:53
The widespread surveillance of Spanish citizens by the US National Security Agency, which caused outrage when it was reported this week, was the product of a collaboration with Spain's intelligence services, according to one Spanish newspaper. Spanish agents not only knew about the work of the NSA but also facilitated it, El Mundo reports. An NSA document entitled "Sharing computer network operations cryptologic information with foreign partners" reportedly shows how the US relies on the collaboration of many countries to give it access to intelligence information, including electronic metadata. According to the document seen by El Mundo, the US classifies cooperation with various countries on four different levels. In the first group – "Comprehensive Cooperation" – are the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The second group – "Focused Cooperation" – of which Spain is a member, includes 19 countries, all of them European, apart from Japan and South Korea. The third group – "Limited cooperation" – consists of countries such as France, Israel, India and Pakistan; while the fourth – "Exceptional Cooperation" – is made up of countries that the US considers to be hostile to its interests. The NSA documents [suggest] the Spanish intelligence services were working hand in hand with the NSA, as were other foreign agencies. But if there was any doubt as to who held the upper hand, the NSA documents make clear that any collaboration was always to serve the needs of protecting American interests.
Note: For more on the realities of intelligence agency activities, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Arizona Air National Guard swept up in fraud scam
2013-10-21, CBS News/Associated Press
Posted: 2013-11-05 08:41:09
Nearly two dozen current and former members of the Arizona Air National Guard responsible for remotely operating drones to support troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have been indicted on charges including theft and money laundering in a $1.4 million scam to defraud the federal government. The eight officers and 13 enlisted men and women, including the colonel and former commander of the 214 Reconnaissance Group, falsified their records and used fake home addresses in order to receive money meant for those traveling outside of their home regions for duty assignments, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne said. Between November 2007 and September 2010, authorities said some of the defendants took home salaries that were up to five times the amount they should have been receiving. Some of the suspects defrauded the government of more than $100,000 each, Horne said. "In this case, all of these people lived in Tucson and put down fraudulent homes of record in other states" to qualify for the extra pay, Horne added. The suspects worked out of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson and were part of an elite military unit tasked with flying drones over Iraq and Afghanistan aimed at providing vital information to troops on the ground. The charges include conspiracy, conducting an illegal enterprise, fraud, theft and money laundering. Authorities said, if convicted, some of the defendants could be sentenced to up to 12.5 years in prison with the commander facing more serious charges for using his position of power to help facilitate the scam.
Note: For more on military corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
New book reveals how much FBI, CIA knew about Oswald before Kennedy assassination
2013-10-27, CBS News
Posted: 2013-11-05 08:39:55
It has long been known that the Warren Commission ... was flawed in ways that led to generations of conspiracy theories about what happened on Nov. 22, 1963. A [new] book from former New York Times reporter Philip Shenon digs into exactly what the commission got wrong, both by intentional concealment, or, in Shenon's view, extensive attempts by both the CIA and FBI to withhold just how much they knew about Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. "Much of the truth about the Kennedy assassination has still not been told, [and] much of the evidence about the president's murder was covered up or destroyed - shredded, incinerated, or erased - before it could reach the commission," Shenon writes in the prologue to A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination, which draws its title from the first sentence of the commission's report. Shenon tells the story of how Navy pathologist James Humes threw his blood-stained notes from Kennedy's autopsy into the fire after he transcribed a fresh copy of the report. He said that he wanted to keep the documents from falling into the hands of "ghouls," and gave a similar rationale for ordering that the sheets that covered Kennedy's head wounds in Dallas be laundered during the autopsy. The commission's investigators never even saw the photos and X-rays from the autopsy. Shenon also points to the CIA as having taken great steps to cover up their knowledge of Oswald's visit to Mexico City before the assassination.
Note: As the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination approaches see our powerful JFK assassination information center and the best videos and news articles on the topic. For more on political assassinations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Curbing antibiotics on farms taking too long: Our view
2013-10-27, USA Today
Posted: 2013-11-05 08:37:40
Want to ensure that miracle drugs can no longer perform miracles? Then do what some physicians and industrial livestock farmers have done for years: Overprescribe antibiotics to people, and use them cavalierly in farm animals to promote growth or prevent infections before they even occur. Last month, federal officials quantified that danger: At least 23,000 people die from antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which said that's a conservative figure. For more than four decades, scientists and government health agencies have warned about the danger this poses for development of drug-resistant bugs. Yet last week, the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future reported that little progress has been made on limiting the use of antibiotics on farms. The agriculture industry maintains that the connection is murky between antibiotic use in animals and drug resistance in people. On the other side of the debate is a long list of scientists, public health officials and veterinarians whose views carry more sense and less self-interest. In 2011 alone, 1.9 million pounds of penicillins and 12.3 million pounds of tetracyclines were sold for use in food animals. It's hard to believe that wouldn't have an effect. According to the CDC, humans can pick up drug-resistant bugs through contact with animals or by eating contaminated food. But neither Congress nor the FDA has acted to curtail the broad dangers. The well-financed agriculture industry has won most rounds. And regulators have dragged their feet.
Note: For more on important health issues, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Thinking Outside The GMO Box
Posted: 2013-11-05 08:35:50
Some argue [that Genetically Modified Organisms] are the way to “feed the world” and that an exploding population will require them. Others see GMO technology as part of a corporate plot to take over fields and drive farmers into debt, while everything from pesticide use to allergies are on the rise because of them. [But] the GMO debate is also distracting us from [other] interventions which have worked to dramatically reduce hunger and malnutrition over the last fifty years, and are today in desperate need of our continued support. These successful programs had a remarkable impact on the number in need today because they made small-scale farmers more profitable and families more self-reliant, diets more diverse and children and adults better educated. “Success [is] not simply about increasing the physical supply of food,” states “Millions Fed,” a report by the International Food Policy Research Institute. “Rather, [successes] are about reductions in hunger that result…from a change in an individual’s ability to secure quality food.” “Nutrition is multifaceted – it involves access to food, water and sanitation, hygiene, disease and infection, poverty,” says Nancy Haselow, Vice President of the Helen Keller International (HKI). “There is no single solution to solve malnutrition, so we need to provide multiple and synergistic interventions, a combination of approaches is best. Sustainable solutions that can be left in the community, are owned by the community, and put tools and knowledge and skills in the hands of mothers and fathers are important to addressing the problem.” A myriad of initiatives, non-reliant on GMO technology, have already proven successful in reducing hunger.
Note: For more on the grave risks associated with GMO foods, see the deeply revealing summary available here.
Canada should investigate Dick Cheney for war crimes
2013-10-29, Toronto Star (One of Canada's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-11-05 08:33:59
As vice-president of the United States, Dick Cheney was a key architect of a post-9/11 response that featured waterboarding and other acts of torture, a global secret detention program where people were held for years without charge, and “extraordinary rendition,” by which innocent men such as Maher Arar were sent to countries like Syria to be tortured. His legacy of “endless war” continues today. Dick Cheney’s $500-a-person book tour appearance in Vancouver in September 2011 resulted in protests, with demonstrators calling for Cheney to be banned or prosecuted as a war criminal. Instead of returning to Canada last year, Cheney cancelled a trip to Toronto, deeming Canada too dangerous because of the likely demonstrators that would greet him. It’s unclear why Cheney now feels safe enough to venture north to Toronto. Bush was also met by hundreds of protestors seeking his arrest when he spoke at a business forum in Surrey, British Columbia in October 2011. In addition, with the support of the Canadian Centre for International Justice and the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, four men who were tortured at Guantánamo initiated a private prosecution for torture against Bush. Canada is a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Torture. Under the Torture Convention, Canada is obligated to investigate and prosecute known torturers present in its territory (or, when possible, extradite them elsewhere for prosecution). Canada has incorporated this obligation into its domestic criminal code.
Note: How amazing to read an article like this in one of Canada's most respected newspapers! The times they are a-changin'!
Drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in U.S., data show
2011-09-17, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2013-11-05 08:32:18
Propelled by an increase in prescription narcotic overdoses, drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in the United States, a Times analysis of government data has found. Drugs exceeded motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death in 2009, killing at least 37,485 people nationwide, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While most major causes of preventable death are declining, drugs are an exception. The death toll has doubled in the last decade, now claiming a life every 14 minutes. By contrast, traffic accidents have been dropping for decades because of huge investments in auto safety. This is the first time that drugs have accounted for more fatalities than traffic accidents since the government started tracking drug-induced deaths in 1979. Fueling the surge in deaths are prescription pain and anxiety drugs that are potent, highly addictive and especially dangerous when combined with one another or with other drugs or alcohol. Among the most commonly abused are OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax and Soma. One relative newcomer to the scene is Fentanyl, a painkiller that comes in the form of patches and lollipops and is 100 times more powerful than morphine. Such drugs now cause more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. Overdose victims range in age and circumstance from teenagers who pop pills to get a heroin-like high to middle-aged working men and women who take medications prescribed for strained backs and bum knees and become addicted. The seeds of the problem were planted more than a decade ago by well-meaning efforts by doctors to mitigate suffering, as well as aggressive sales campaigns by pharmaceutical manufacturers.
Note: For more on pharmaceutical industry corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Gore Vidal claims 'Bush junta' complicit in 9/11
2002-10-27, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-11-05 08:30:35
[Famed US novelist] Gore Vidal has launched the most scathing attack to date on George W Bush's Presidency, calling for an investigation into the events of 9/11 to discover whether the Bush administration deliberately chose not to act on warnings of Al-Qaeda's plans. Vidal's highly controversial 7000 word polemic titled 'The Enemy Within' - published in the print edition of The Observer today - argues that what he calls a 'Bush junta' used the terrorist attacks as a pretext to enact a pre-existing agenda to invade Afghanistan and crack down on civil liberties at home. Vidal writes: 'We still don't know by whom we were struck that infamous Tuesday, or for what true purpose.' Vidal argues that the real motive for the Afghanistan war was to control the gateway to Eurasia and Central Asia's energy riches. But, Vidal argues, US administrations, both Democrat and Republican, were aware that the American public would resist any war in Afghanistan without a truly massive and widely perceived external threat. 'Osama was chosen on aesthetic grounds to be the frightening logo for our long-contemplated invasion and conquest of Afghanistan ... [because] the administration is convinced that Americans are so simple-minded that they can deal with no scenario more complex than the venerable, lone, crazed killer ... who does evil just for the fun of it 'cause he hates us because we're rich 'n free 'n he's not.' Vidal also attacks the American media's failure to discuss 11 September and its consequences: 'Apparently, "conspiracy stuff" is now shorthand for unspeakable truth. It is an article of faith that there are no conspiracies in American life.
Note: "The Enemy Within" by Gore Vidal is available here. For more on Vidal's writings on the 9/11 attacks and the reasons behind them, click here. For a video clip of Vidal recommending The New Pearl Harbor by David Ray Griffin, which reveals a major 9/11 cover-up, click here.
The Neuroscience of Why Gratitude Makes Us Healthier
2013-10-30, Daily Good
Posted: 2013-11-05 08:28:58
Gratitude ... makes you happier and healthier. If you can find any authentic reason to give thanks, anything that is going right with the world or your life, and put your attention there, then statistics say you're going to be better off.
Does this mean to live in a state of constant denial and put your head in the sand? Of course not. Gratitude works when you're grateful for something real. What are you actually grateful for? It's a question that could change your life. Recent studies have concluded that the expression of gratitude can have profound and positive effects on our health, our moods and even the survival of our marriages. Dr. John Gottman at the University of Washington has been researching marriages for two decades. The conclusion of all that research, he states, is that unless a couple is able to maintain a high ratio of positive to negative encounters (5:1 or greater), it is likely the marriage will end. With 90 percent accuracy, Gottman says he can predict, often after only three minutes of observation, which marriages are likely to flourish and which are likely to flounder. The formula is that for every negative expression (a complaint, frown, put-down, expression of anger) there needs to be about five positive ones (smiles, compliments, laughter, expressions of appreciation and gratitude). Keep a daily journal of three things you are thankful for. This works well first thing in the morning, or just before you go to bed. Make it a practice to tell a spouse, partner or friend something you appreciate about them every day. To practice it further, join thousands of others in a transformative 21-Day Gratitude Challenge starting November 7th leading up to Thanksgiving.
Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
Google searching for new ways to give back
2013-10-07, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2013-11-05 08:27:43
Google's founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, made giving back a company priority from the beginning. Their hope was that "someday this institution (under the rubric of 'Google.org') may eclipse Google itself in terms of overall world impact by ambitiously applying innovation and significant resources to the largest of the world's problems." Google has firmly established itself as a powerful and innovative player on the corporate philanthropy scene. Google's philanthropic entity was initially formed with a pledge of 3 million shares to make grants in several broad areas, including global poverty, disease and renewable energy. In 2009, Google announced a major strategic shift: to not only fund traditional nonprofits through cash grants, but also to concentrate on using Google's strengths in data-driven technologies and information aggregation to address the world's problems - to, in effect, engineer for social benefit. Google gave away $105 million in grants during 2012, plus $1 billion more in product donations, principally productivity apps and advertising grants for nonprofits. The company was the 12th-largest U.S. corporate cash donor in 2011 and 2012, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Between $45 million and $50 million of that 2012 total [was] directed toward disaster relief, university research and community organizations in Silicon Valley - with $23 million dedicated to Google's Global Impact Awards. Last year's Impact Awardees include Charity: Water, which Google granted $5 million to install remote sensors at 4,000 water points across Africa by 2015. The low-cost sensors will monitor and record actual water flow rate to ensure better maintenance of and access to clean water for more than 1 million people.
Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
Camp Kesem may be 'Cancer Camp,' but most kids want to come back for s'more
2013-06-22, San Jose Mercury News (Silicon Valley, CA's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2013-11-05 08:26:17
Camp Kesem, which gets its name from the Hebrew word for "magic," is a transformative experience for most of the campers, who spend a week between Woodside and La Honda, amid the redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains. "A lot of them resist it before they come," said camp director Heather Paul, "and then they get here and find out it's not a cancer camp." Unlike other camps, which often forbid phone calls to and from parents, Camp Kesem has a hotline specifically for that purpose. "For a lot of them, the homesickness can be intense," Paul said, "especially if the parent was recently diagnosed." There had long been camps for children suffering from cancer and other life-threatening diseases, but until Stanford University's Hillel organization started Camp Kesem 13 years ago, there was almost no place for kids from families stricken with the disease to turn when they needed a break from watching their parents' suffering. "Kesem is a little haven where everyone understands and supports each other," said 15-year-old Juliane Bombosch, of San Bruno, whose mother was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. Juliane this year is attending her fourth Kesem, and among the 120 campers and 75 counselors -- all undergraduate volunteers from Stanford -- are many who keep coming back until they exceed the age limit. There are 37 Kesems nationwide, with another five expected to be available next year, but because cancer is expensive, the camps remain free of charge -- and fundraising is a constant challenge.
Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
Finally, a Guilty Verdict for Wall Street
2013-10-24, US News & World Report
Posted: 2013-10-29 09:13:11
"The Hustle." That's the name of a program run by Countrywide, the slimy subprime lender purchased by Bank of America in 2008. Under the program, Countrywide brokers were paid bonuses to originate loans, firing them off to borrowers with less than stellar credit in an attempt to gin up quick profits. The loans were then sold to government-backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, where they often went sour. This sounds like a fairly typical tale from the financial crisis: Most of the nation's largest banks have, in one way or another, been accused of formulating sloppy loans and dumping them off on the taxpayer or of selling toxic mortgage securities to unwitting customers. But there's a new twist to the old story: Yesterday, a jury found Bank of America guilty of fraud, the first time that a major U.S. bank has been held responsible by a U.S. court for actions tied to the financial crisis. The jury also held a former Countrywide manager liable for fraud. That we're still wondering whether the banks will face any consequences for their actions more than five years after the financial crisis began in earnest is a pretty damning indictment of the Obama administration's approach to the matter. Can lawmakers summon the will to actually take on Wall Street or are a few good headlines from DOJ all we can hope for? The Dodd-Frank financial reform law was a good opening effort and, despite its imperfections, will make some difference in reining Wall Street. But there is still a lot that the law either left unaddressed or up to the interpretation of regulators who are bombarded by missives from Wall Street lobbyists.
Note: For more on the collusion of big banks and banking regulators, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
NSA monitored calls of 35 world leaders after US official handed over contacts
2013-10-24, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-10-29 09:11:47
The National Security Agency monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders after being given the numbers by an official in another US government department, according to a classified document provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The confidential memo reveals that the NSA encourages senior officials in its "customer" departments, such as the White House, State and the Pentagon, to share their "Rolodexes" so the agency can add the phone numbers of leading foreign politicians to their surveillance systems. The document notes that one unnamed US official handed over 200 numbers, including those of the 35 world leaders, none of whom is named. These were immediately "tasked" for monitoring by the NSA. The revelation is set to add to mounting diplomatic tensions between the US and its allies, after the German chancellor Angela Merkel ... accused the US of tapping her mobile phone. The NSA memo obtained by the Guardian suggests that such surveillance was not isolated, as the agency routinely monitors the phone numbers of world leaders – and even asks for the assistance of other US officials to do so. The memo, dated October 2006 and which was issued to staff in the agency's Signals Intelligence Directorate (SID), was titled "Customers Can Help SID Obtain Targetable Phone Numbers". In the wake of the Merkel row, the US is facing growing international criticism that any intelligence benefit from spying on friendly governments is far outweighed by the potential diplomatic damage.
Note: For more on the hidden realities of intelligence agency operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Congressional oversight of the NSA is a joke. I should know, I'm in Congress
2013-10-25, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-10-29 09:10:02
Recently, the US House of Representatives voted on an amendment ... that would have curbed the NSA's omnipresent and inescapable [spying] tactics. Despite furious lobbying by the intelligence industrial complex and its allies, and four hours of frantic and overwrought briefings by the NSA's General Keith Alexander, 205 of 422 Representatives voted for the amendment. The vote signaled a clear message to the NSA: we do not trust you. The vote also conveyed another, more subtle message: members of Congress do not trust that the House Intelligence Committee is providing the necessary oversight. On the contrary, "oversight" has become "overlook". Despite being a member of Congress possessing security clearance, I've learned far more about government spying on me and my fellow citizens from reading media reports than I have from "intelligence" briefings. My colleagues feel the same way. In fact, one long-serving conservative Republican told me that he doesn't attend such briefings anymore, because, "they always lie". Many of us worry that Congressional Intelligence Committees are more loyal to the "intelligence community" that they are tasked with policing, than to the Constitution. And the House Intelligence Committee isn't doing anything to assuage our concerns. Supporters of the NSA's vast ubiquitous domestic spying operation assure the public that members of Congress can be briefed on these activities whenever they want. Senator Saxby Chambliss says all a member of Congress needs to do is ask for information, and he'll get it. Well I did ask, and the House Intelligence Committee said "no", repeatedly. And virtually every other member not on the Intelligence Committee gets the same treatment.
Note: The above article was written by courageous U.S. Congressman Alan Grayson. For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.