Bailout Tab in Trillions, SEC Charges Politically Motivated, Intelligence Policy Not in Transition
Revealing News Articles
November 21, 2008
Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on new estimates that the bailout money provided by the US government to Wall Street and large corporations totals in the multiple trillions of dollars, evidence that the SEC's charges against Mark Cuban are politically motivated, indications that intelligence policies under Pres. Obama may not differ sustantially from those under Pres. Bush, and more. Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails to function, click here. Key sentences are highlighted for those with limited time. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
Paulson makes it clear: He's in charge
November 13, 2008, San Francisco Chronicle
Henry Paulson's speech Wednesday made it pretty clear: The Treasury secretary has seized control of the financial system. "He is absolutely the most powerful person in the country. Maybe the world," says Wall Street accounting expert Robert Willens. The most telling line in his speech came when Paulson was explaining why he did a 180-degree turn with money approved by Congress under the $700 billion bailout bill. Instead of using it to buy troubled mortgage assets from banks, as clearly envisioned, he scrapped that idea and used it to make equity investments in banks. "In consultation with the Federal Reserve, I determined that the most timely, effective step to improve credit market conditions was to strengthen bank balance sheets quickly through direct purchases of equity in banks," he said. If Paulson bothered consulting with President Bush, he didn't mention it. In fact, he didn't even mention the president until the tail end of his speech, when he talked about the global summit Bush is hosting this weekend. I can understand why Paulson wants to distance himself from an unpopular president, especially one who has little facility for complex financial matters. But Bush is [the] president and even President-elect Barack Obama knows there can be only one president at a time. And his last name is not Paulson. In September, when Paulson asked for a $700 billion blank check from Congress to fix the financial markets, he got a lot of blowback. By the time Congress was done with his proposal, it had grown from 2 1/2 pages to more than 450. Yet it now appears that Paulson got the blank check he wanted.
Note: Why doesn't Congress have some say in what is done with this $700 billion? That's over $3,000 for every taxpayer in the U.S. which is being spent with practically no accountability. Is this what democracy looks like? For many key articles revealing the hidden realities of the bailout, click here.
Warning: King Henry's bailout like Rummy's Iraq
November 10, 2008, MarketWatch (A Wall Street Journal Digital Network Website)
So you thought Barack Obama's victory signaled the death of Reaganomics? Wrong, wrong: Reaganomics is very much alive. In a subtle, bloodless coup, the Reaganomics ideology magically pulled victory out of the jaws of defeat in the meltdown. The magic happened fast and quietly, in the shadows, while you were in a trance, distracted by the election drama. Recently Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, framed the issue perfectly: "Has the Treasury partially nationalized the private banks, as we have been told? Or is it the other way around?" The question was rhetorical, the answer painfully clear. In a few weeks Wall Street did the old bait and switch, emerging from an economic and market disaster with new powers, in total control of America. And thanks to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's brilliant bailout coup, Reaganomics is now the new "sleeper cell" quietly hidden inside the Obama White House and America's Treasury, where it will be for a long time to come. Listen closely folks: You and your government are and will continue being conned out of trillions. Klein further exposed this insanity in a recent Rolling Stone article, "The New Trough: The Wall Street bailout looks a lot like Iraq, a 'free-fraud zone' where private contractors cash in on the mess they helped create." Paulson's privatization, outsourcing and management of the $700 billion bailout has the exact same Reaganomics ideological, strategic and deceptive footprints that President George W. Bush and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld used to privatize, outsource and mismanage the costly Iraq War blunder.
Financial Crisis Tab Already In The Trillions
November 18, 2008, CNBC
Given the speed at which the federal government is throwing money at the financial crisis, the average taxpayer, never mind member of Congress, might not be faulted for losing track. CNBC, however, has been paying very close attention and keeping a running tally of actual spending as well as the commitments involved. Try $4.28 trillion dollars. That's $4,284,500,000,000 and more than what was spent on WW II, if adjusted for inflation, based on our computations from a variety of estimates and sources. Not only is it an astronomical amount of money, it's a complicated cocktail of budgeted dollars, actual spending, guarantees, loans, swaps and other market mechanisms by the Federal Reserve, the Treasury and other offices of government taken over roughly the last year, based on government data and news releases. Strictly speaking, not every cent is a direct result of what's called the financial crisis, but it is arguably related to it. Some 68-percent of the sum falls under the Federal Reserve's umbrella, while another 16 percent is the under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, TARP, as defined under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, signed into law in early October. The TARP alone is bigger than virtually any other US government endeavor dating back to the Louisiana Purchase.
Note: That's over $10,000 per man, woman, and child in the U.S. Click on the link above to view a highly informative slideshow, the "Biggest Budget Items in US History," comparing the Wall Street bailout to famous historic government expenditures, and a chart, the "Financial Crisis Balance Sheet," detailing the many components of the bailout. For many key articles revealing the hidden realities of the bailout, click here.
Mark Cuban Is Charged With Insider Trading
November 18, 2008, New York Times
Mark Cuban, the Internet entrepreneur turned owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, has never shied from a fight. But now the pugnacious billionaire is squaring off against his biggest adversary yet: the federal government. On Monday, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil suit charging Mr. Cuban with insider trading for selling shares of a small Internet search company in 2004, just before its share price fell. [Allegedly] Mr. Cuban saved himself a $750,000 loss. Scott W. Friestad, the S.E.C.'s deputy director of enforcement, said the investigation of Mr. Cuban's trading began in early 2007, but declined to say what had set off the inquiry. A person close to Mr. Cuban provided what he said was one of a series of e-mail messages from Jeffrey B. Norris, an S.E.C. lawyer in Fort Worth, who accused the billionaire of being unpatriotic for helping to finance a movie named "Loose Change." In the e-mail message, Mr. Norris described the movie as a "vicious and absurd documentary" that "posits that President Bush planned the demolition of the World Trade Center as a pretext for going to war against Iraq." In the e-mail message, sent from his S.E.C. e-mail address, Mr. Norris said he was informing Christopher Cox, the chairman of the S.E.C., of Mr. Cuban's actions. "If this upsets you, I wonder how George Bush feels," Mr. Norris wrote. "I assume that Mr. Cox would view your involvement with 'Loose Change' much as I do. After all, he served his country as a Republican congressman from Orange County for nearly 20 years and was appointed by President Bush."
Note: This New York Times report clearly suggests that Cuban is being pursued by the SEC because of his support for the 9/11-truth documentary Loose Change Final Cut, for which WantToKnow team member David Ray Griffin acted as script consultant. To read the full text of the email from Norris to Cuban, click here. Another project Mark Cuban supports is the highly useful website for tracking the Wall Street bailout, bailoutsleuth.com, which has recently estimated the bailout to date at over $2.5 trillion!
Intelligence Policy to Stay Largely Intact
November 11, 2008, Wall Street Journal
President-elect Barack Obama is unlikely to radically overhaul controversial Bush administration intelligence policies, advisers say, an approach that is almost certain to create tension within the Democratic Party. Mr. Obama is being advised largely by a group of intelligence professionals ... who have supported Republicans. The intelligence-transition team is led by former National Counterterrorism Center chief John Brennan and former CIA intelligence-analysis director Jami Miscik, say officials close to the matter. Mr. Brennan is viewed as a potential candidate for a top intelligence post. Ms. Miscik left amid a slew of departures from the CIA under then-Director Porter Goss. Mr. Brennan is a leading contender for one of the two jobs, say some advisers. He declined to comment. Gen. James L. Jones, a former North Atlantic Treaty Organization commander; Thomas Fingar, the chief of analysis for the intelligence director; Joan A. Dempsey, who served in top intelligence and Pentagon posts; former Rep. Tim Roemer of Indiana, who served on the 9/11 Commission; and [Rep. Jane] Harman have also been mentioned. Ms. Harman has also been cited as a potential secretary of homeland security.
Note: According to the New York Times, John O. Brennan, president-elect Obama's intelligence-transition leader and a top candidate for director of national intelligence or the CIA in the Obama administration, "[was] a senior adviser to [CIA Director George] Tenet in 2002 [and] was present at the creation of the C.I.A.'s controversial detention and interrogation program." Jane Harman has been the principal Congressional proponent of the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, with its McCarthyesque provisions for criminalizing political thought. For more on increasing threats to civil liberties from reliable sources, click here.
Justices Revoke Limits On Navy Use of Sonar
November 13, 2008, Washington Post
In issuing a deliberately narrow ruling yesterday in a controversial case involving whales and the U.S. Navy, the Supreme Court strongly indicated that it intends to defer to the military in future disputes pitting national security against environmental concerns. The justices voted 6 to 3 to lift restrictions on the Navy's use of sonar off the Southern California coast, backing the military in a longstanding battle over whether anti-submarine training harms marine mammals. Environmentalists say the exercises disrupt habitats and leave the mammals with permanent hearing loss and decompression sickness. But the Navy argued that the training missions are essential to detecting a new generation of "quiet" submarines deployed by China, North Korea and other potential adversaries. "We do not discount the importance of plaintiffs' ecological, scientific, and recreational interests in marine mammals," Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in the first decision of the court's current term. "Those interests, however, are plainly outweighed by the Navy's need to conduct realistic training exercises to ensure that it is able to neutralize the threat posed by enemy submarines." Although the majority tailored its decision on narrow legal grounds and indicated that future environmental disputes will be decided on a case-by-case basis, the court made sweeping statements of deference to military judgments. Roberts unquestioningly accepted the assertion of top Navy officers that the exercises "are of utmost importance to the Navy and the Nation," writing that "the proper determination of where the public interest lies does not strike us as a close question."
Ditch the smooth transition. The people voted for change
November 14, 2008, The Guardian (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
The more details emerge, the clearer it becomes that Washington's handling of the Wall Street bail-out is not merely incompetent: it is borderline criminal. In a moment of high panic in September, the US treasury pushed through a radical change in how bank mergers are taxed - a change long sought by the industry. Despite the fact that this move will deprive the government of as much as $140bn in tax revenue, legislators found out only after the fact. According to the Washington Post, more than a dozen tax attorneys agree that "[the] treasury had no authority to issue the [tax change] notice". Of equally dubious legality are the equity deals the treasury has negotiated with many of the banks. According to Congressman Barney Frank, one of the architects of the legislation that enables the deals: "Any use of these funds for any purpose other than lending - for bonuses, for severance pay, for dividends, for acquisitions of other institutions ... is a violation of the act." Yet this is exactly how the funds are being used. Then there is the nearly $2 trillion that America's central bank, the Federal Reserve, has handed out in emergency loans. Incredibly, the Fed will not reveal which corporations have received these loans or what it has accepted as collateral. Bloomberg news service believes this secrecy violates the law and has filed a federal suit demanding full disclosure. Yet the Democrats are either openly defending the administration or refusing to intervene. Obama owes it to the people who elected him to call this what it is: an attempt to undermine the electoral process by stealth.
Note: For many key articles revealing the hidden realities of the bailout, click here.
Refusing to be Muzzled by LA Auto Show, AFS Trinity Pulls 150 MPG SUV out of Show
November 7, 2008, MarketWatch (A Wall Street Journal Digital Network Website)
AFS Trinity Power Corporation today announced it pulled its 150 MPG plug-in hybrid SUV prototypes out of the LA Auto Show but will independently exhibit and demonstrate the super fuel-efficient vehicles on their own elsewhere in downtown LA during the show. The company's decision followed actions by the LA Auto Show to muzzle AFS Trinity from highlighting the 150 miles per gallon fuel economy of its XH150 prototype vehicles. "The suppression by the automakers of information about technologies such as this raises serious questions about the judgment, vision, intentions and capabilities of the leadership of these companies," said Edward W. Furia, Chairman and CEO of AFS Trinity. "Such conduct by the automakers, who are currently seeking tens of billions of taxpayer dollars, ostensibly to develop fuel efficient vehicle technologies, is evidence they are reluctant to embrace solutions they didn't invent." First shown at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit in January, 2008, two XH150 prototypes have toured the country for the last ten months and received positive reactions from the American public, national media, public officials, governors, ... members of Congress as well as automotive fleet managers and engineers in Austin, Salt Lake City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Seattle, Livermore and Sacramento. Furia explained that, when AFS Trinity sought exhibition space on the main floor of the LA Auto Show, the only space that show management offered was the Kentia Hall basement.
Note: The LA Auto Show is "owned" by the Greater Los Angeles New Car Dealers Association, which, in turn, is closely associated with the major auto makers in Detroit. For lots more exciting developments in automotive and new energy technologies from reliable, verifiable sources, click here.
Why We Believe
Nov. 3, 2008 Issue, Newsweek
It wasn't immediately obvious to Walter Semkiw that he was the reincarnation of John Adams. Semkiw is a doctor. In 1984, a psychic told the then [skeptical] medical resident and psychiatrist-in-training that he is the reincarnation of a major figure of the Revolution, possibly Adams. But one day in 1995, when Semkiw was the medical director for Unocal 76, the oil company, he heard a voice in his head intoning, "Study the life of Adams!" Now he found details much more telling than those silly coincidences he had learned a dozen years earlier. It was all so persuasive, thought Semkiw ... that as a man of science and reason whose work requires him to critically evaluate empirical evidence, he had to accept that he was Adams reincarnated. If you have never had a paranormal experience ... you are in a lonely minority. According to periodic surveys by Gallup and other pollsters, fully 90 percent of Americans say they have experienced such things or believe they exist. Raised as a Roman Catholic, Semkiw is driven by a what-if optimism. If only people could accept reincarnation, he believes, Iraq's Sunnis and Shiites might stop fighting (since they might be killing someone who was once one of them). He is dismissive of the idea that reincarnation has not been empirically proved. That was the status of everything science has since proved, be it the ability of atoms to vibrate in synchrony (the basis of the laser) or of mold to cure once-lethal infections (penicillin). Dedicated to the empirical method, Semkiw believes the world is on the brink of "a science of spirituality."
Note: This article overall is strongly dismissive of paranormal phenomena, yet it contains some interesting information. For Semkiw's website on the return of the revolutionaries, click here. For an excellent essay on how science is sometimes blind to new concepts, click here.
Climate change at the poles IS man-made
October 31, 2008, The Independent (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
Changes to the climate due to human activity can now be detected on every continent, following a study showing that temperature rises in the Antarctic as well as the Arctic are the result of man-made emissions of greenhouse gases. It is the first time scientists have been able to prove the link between the temperature changes in both polar regions are down to human activity and it also undermines climate sceptics who believe the warming trend seen in the Arctic in recent decades is part of the climate's natural variability. The findings contradict the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which said that Antarctica was the only continent where the human impact on the climate had not been observed. The new study shows that Antarctica has been caught up in the changes to the global climate over the past 60 years and that this warming cannot be attributed to natural variations. Using four computer models and data from dozens of weather stations sited around both the North and South poles, the study conclusively shows that humans are responsible for the significant increases in temperatures observed in the Arctic and the Antarctic over the past half century. "We're able for the first time to directly attribute warming in both the Arctic and the Antarctic to human influences on the climate," said Nathan Gillett of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, who led the study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
Note: For many key reports from reliable sources on the reality of global warming, click here.
Line between good, evil is not easily drawn
July 4, 2008, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
The great watershed event of this present chapter in American life has been the 9/11 attacks and all that has ensued in response, both in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as here at home. The terms in which the attacks were understood and the framework in which the U.S. would respond were laid out very quickly after 9/11 by the president. It was a battle of good against evil, "us" vs. "them." We Americans were encouraged to think of ourselves as "good and compassionate," terms in which the president frequently described us, while those who opposed us were evil people who "hated our freedom." I can go along with this a little ways. The attacks of 9/11 were an appalling evil. Where the line is drawn between good and evil is another matter. The Soviet dissident and author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote, "If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being." Lincoln resisted the temptation that comes in every time of conflict and fear, in every polarized situation, to draw the line between good and evil between the two sides. Lincoln famously wrote, "In the present civil war it is quite possible that God's purpose is something different from the purpose of either party." That is not to say that Lincoln doubted that slavery was evil. He did not. But he refused to claim his own side as God's or to depict, as Bush does, any who opposed him as the embodiment of evil.
Born Without Limbs, Refusing Limitations
March 27, 2008, ABC News
The crowds that 25-year-old Nick Vujicic draws as an evangelist would have been unimaginable only a few years ago, and impossible had he been born under other circumstances. "In some third world countries ... I would be seen as cursed, a shame to the family," said Vujicic (pronounced VOY-chich). "The possibilities of me being killed at my birth would have been quite high." But Vujicic, who was born without arms or legs, does have one of the most powerful of all human attributes: a voice. Through the ministry he calls Life Without Limbs and a motivational program titled "Attitude is Altitude," Vujicic said he has made 1,600 speaking appearances in 12 nations. "No matter who you are, no matter what you're going through, God knows it," he said. "He is with you. He is going to pull you through." Like all skilled evangelists, he can imagine the deepest vulnerabilities of his listeners, especially among teenage audiences. "I used to think that I needed my circumstance to change before I had any hope," he said. "I wanted to know that there was someone else out there in my position, to know that there is hope, that there is more than just the little box that I see in my life." He cannot avoid the reasons why people are fascinated by his physical condition, and he uses it to his advantage in his speeches, often delivered from a tabletop in front of the audience. He says it lends credibility "to know that somebody has been through something, that they've learned something that you know you need to apply in your own life."
Note: For an amazing five-minute video this man who has overcome challenges that are almost guaranteed to make your problems seem like nothing, click here.
Key Articles From Years Past
Intelligence Czar Can Waive SEC Rules
May 23, 2006, BusinessWeek
President George W. Bush has bestowed on his intelligence czar, John Negroponte, broad authority, in the name of national security, to excuse publicly traded companies from their usual accounting and securities-disclosure obligations. Notice of the development came in a brief entry in the Federal Register, dated May 5, 2006, that was opaque to the untrained eye. Unbeknownst to almost all of Washington and the financial world, Bush and every other President since Jimmy Carter have had the authority to exempt companies working on certain top-secret defense projects from portions of the 1934 Securities Exchange Act. Administration officials told BusinessWeek that they believe this is the first time a President has ever delegated the authority to someone outside the Oval Office. It couldn't be immediately determined whether any company has received a waiver under this provision. The timing of Bush's move is intriguing. On the same day the President signed the memo, Porter Goss resigned as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Only six days later ... USA Today reported that the National Security Agency had obtained millions of calling records of ordinary citizens provided by three major U.S. phone companies. Negroponte oversees both the CIA and NSA in his role as the administration's top intelligence official. In addition to refusing to explain why Bush decided to delegate this authority to Negroponte, the White House declined to say whether Bush or any other President has ever exercised the authority and allowed a company to avoid standard securities disclosure and accounting requirements.
Note: For many revealing reports on government secrecy from major media sources, click here.
Obama: I have a deep faith
April 5, 2004, Chicago Sun-Times
Barack Obama is alone on this Saturday afternoon in the city, his press secretary nowhere in sight. He's not carrying anything with him. Not even notes. Yet he appears confident as he answers questions about his spiritual life, a subject that would make many politicians -- on or off the campaign trail -- more skittish than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. If an hourlong conversation about his faith unnerves him, Obama's not letting on. The first question he fields without hesitation: What does he believe? "I am a Christian," the 42-year-old ... says. "So, I have a deep faith," Obama continues. "I'm rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people. That there are values that transcend race or culture, that move us forward, and there's an obligation for all of us individually as well as collectively to take responsibility to make those values lived." It's perhaps an unlikely theological position for someone who places his faith squarely at the feet of Jesus to take, saying essentially that all people of faith -- Christians, Jews, Muslims, animists, everyone -- know the same God. That depends, Obama says, on how a particular verse from the Gospel of John, where Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me," is heard. "Alongside my own deep personal faith, I am a follower, as well, of our civic religion," he says. "I am a big believer in the separation of church and state. I am a big believer in our constitutional structure."
Note: For those who want to understand the spiritual beliefs of Barack Obama, the full article at the link above is highly recommended. Even better, for the powerful transcript of this interview between the religion columnist of the Sun-Times and Obama, click here.
Special note: For highly revealing information on how the government and media at times attack the usefulness of dietary supplements, click here.
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Bailout Tab in Trillions, SEC Charges Politically Motivated, Intelligence Policy Not in Transition