Refugees Killed in Gaza, Skyrocketing US Debt, Foreign Investors Flee Wall Street
Revealing News Articles
January 9, 2009
Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on estimates that the US national debt will skyrocket to $2 trillion dollars this year, a report revealing that investors are fleeing Wall Street and other equities markets all over the world, the shelling by Israel of a UN school in Gaza killing 30 or more refugees there, 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.
U.S. Debt Expected To Soar This Year
January 3, 2009, Washington Post
With President-elect Barack Obama and congressional Democrats considering a massive spending package aimed at pulling the nation out of recession, the national debt is projected to jump by as much as $2 trillion this year, an unprecedented increase that could test the world's appetite for financing U.S. government spending. For now, investors are frantically stuffing money into the relative safety of the U.S. Treasury, which has come to serve as the world's mattress in troubled times. Interest rates on Treasury bills have plummeted to historic lows, with some short-term investors literally giving the government money for free. But about 40 percent of the debt held by private investors will mature in a year or less, according to Treasury officials. When those loans come due, the Treasury will have to borrow more money to repay them, even as it launches perhaps the most aggressive expansion of U.S. debt in modern history. With the government planning to roll over its short-term loans into more stable, long-term securities, experts say investors are likely to demand a greater return on their money, saddling taxpayers with huge new interest payments for years to come. Some analysts also worry that foreign investors, the largest U.S. creditors, may prove unable to absorb the skyrocketing debt, undermining confidence in the United States as the bedrock of the global financial system.
Note: For many revealing reports on the realities of the Wall Street bailout and its impacts on the national debt, click here.
Investors dump $89B in U.S. securities in historic fire sale
January 4, 2009, USA Today
The deep river of private money that helped knit together the global economy has abruptly dried up, new government figures show. As the global financial crisis grew more severe this summer, foreigners sold almost $90 billion of U.S. securities – the greatest quarterly fire sale by overseas investors since the government began keeping track in 1960. U.S. investors also are retrenching; they unloaded about $85 billion worth of foreign holdings in the quarter, says the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis. "We've had a global panic. Everyone is pulling their money home," says economist Adam Posen of the Peterson Institute in Washington, D.C. That's bad for economic growth in the U.S. because it threatens to starve capital-hungry companies and entrepreneurs. But it's especially serious for emerging-market countries that rely heavily on outside financing. Capital flows into countries such as South Korea, Turkey and Brazil were evaporating even before the mid-September Lehman Bros. bankruptcy made things worse. The reversal of private capital flows signals an abrupt end to a nearly two-decades-long era of financial globalization, says economist Brad Setser of the Council on Foreign Relations. Private flows into and out of the U.S. for purchases of stocks, corporate bonds and federal agency bonds have dropped from around 18% of economic output to near zero "in a remarkably short period of time," Setser says.
Note: For many revealing reports on the realities of the Wall Street bailout, click here.
Gaza attack could prompt Israel to pull out
January 7, 2009, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Middle East observers felt a sense of deja vu Tuesday as Israeli tank shells slammed into a U.N. school near Gaza City, killing at least 30 Palestinians who had taken refuge there from the war raging around their homes. In 1982, a massacre carried out by a Christian militia group at the Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps killed hundreds of Palestinians; the camps had been under Israeli control. In 1996, there were 118 people killed at a U.N. compound by Israeli artillery in the town of Qana, and in 2006, an Israeli air strike killed 56 in an apartment complex in the same town. All three events spelled the beginning of the end of Israeli campaigns into Lebanon. Until now, the international community - including Egypt - has given Israel a long leash to strike a heavy blow against Hamas. But with the shelling of the U.N. school in the northern Gaza town of Jebaliya on Tuesday, the clock might start ticking for Israel to withdraw its troops. Dr. Bassam Abu Warda, director of Kamal Adwan Hospital, told reporters that 36 people were killed in the strike on the school. The United Nations confirmed that 30 were killed and 55 injured by tank shells. Gerald Steinberg, professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, said the strike against the U.N. school and ensuing diplomatic pressure it could create were not only foreseen but discussed in advance by Israeli policymakers. "There were many meetings on how to deal with this before the fighting started. It happens every time," said Steinberg.
Note: For many revealing reports on the realities of war from reliable sources, click here.
More Groups Than Thought Monitored in Police Spying
January 4, 2009, Washington Post
The Maryland State Police surveillance of advocacy groups was far more extensive than previously acknowledged, with records showing that troopers monitored -- and labeled as terrorists -- activists devoted to such wide-ranging causes as promoting human rights and establishing bike lanes. Intelligence officers created a voluminous file on Norfolk-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, calling the group a "security threat" because of concerns that members would disrupt the circus. Angry consumers fighting a 72 percent electricity rate increase in 2006 were targeted. The DC Anti-War Network, which opposes the Iraq war, was designated a white supremacist group, without explanation. One of the possible "crimes" in the file police opened on Amnesty International, a world-renowned human rights group: "civil rights." The [surveillance] ... confirmed the fears of civil liberties groups that have warned about domestic spying since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. "No one was thinking this was al-Qaeda," said Stephen H. Sachs, a former U.S. attorney and state attorney general appointed by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) to review the case. "But 9/11 created an atmosphere where cutting corners was easier." Maryland has not been alone. The FBI and police departments in several cities, including Denver in 2002 and New York before the 2004 Republican National Convention, also responded to [dissent] by spying on activists.
Note: For wide coverage from reliable sources of disturbing threats to civil liberties, click here.
Land-auction meddler has a new plan
January 2, 2009, Salt Lake Tribune
The University of Utah student who foiled a federal oil and gas lease auction the Friday before Christmas hopes he can buy time for Utah's scenic redrock desert - and himself - until the Bush administration is out the door. Tim DeChristopher announced Wednesday afternoon that he would pay the U.S. Bureau of Land Management $45,000 to hold the 13 lease parcels he won in a Dec. 19 sale. The 27-year-old economics major faces possible federal felony charges after winning bids totaling about $1.8 million on 13 lease parcels that he admitted he had neither the intention nor the money to pay for. But since committing what he called an act of civil disobedience, DeChristopher has heard from hundreds of individuals around the country willing to chip in to keep drill rigs off the land and DeChristopher out of prison. So far, would-be benefactors have pledged $14,000, he said. The amount is based on a percentage of the $1.8 million; the agency requires such payments of all bidders to hold their parcels. Three Web sites have been set up to take pledges: www.wateradvocacy.org, www.oneutah.org, [and] www.bidder70.org. The 13 bids [DeChristopher] won by raising his auction paddle were on 22,000 acres of land near Arches and Canyonlands national parks. [He] admitted he ran up other bids by about $500,000 and said he would be willing to go to jail to defend his generation's prospects in light of global climate disruption and other environmental threats.
Urban Tool in Recruiting by the Army: An Arcade
January 5, 2009, New York Times
At the Franklin Mills mall [in Philadelphia], past the Gap Outlet and the China Buddha Express, is a $13 million video arcade that the Army hopes will become a model for recruitment in urban areas, where the armed services typically have a hard time attracting recruits. The Army Experience Center is a fitting counterpart to the retail experience: 14,500 square feet of mostly shoot-'em-up video games and three full-scale simulators, including an AH-64 Apache Longbow helicopter, an armed Humvee and a Black Hawk copter with M4 carbine assault rifles. For those who want to take the experience deeper, the center has 22 recruiters. Or for more immediate full-contact mayhem, there are the outlet stores. The facility, which opened in August, is the first of its kind. Philadelphia has been a particularly difficult area for recruitment. In recent years the Army has tried a number of ways to increase enlistment, including home video games, direct marketing promotions, a stronger online presence and recruitment-themed music videos. In 2007 it added bonuses of up to $2,000 for Army reservists who signed up new recruits. Civil liberties groups have criticized the Pentagon for its efforts to reach high school students. [At the arcade] conversations with recruiters [took] place in an adjacent room or the central lounge area, where there were comfortable leather chairs and a soundtrack of Jane's Addiction and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Note: For lots more on modern war, click here.
Cheney says he gets to decide which records to archive
December 19, 2008, Los Angeles Times/Associated Press
Dick Cheney's lawyers are asserting that the vice president alone has the authority to determine which records, if any, from his tenure will be handed over to the National Archives when he leaves office in January. That claim is in federal court documents asking that a lawsuit over the records be dismissed. Cheney leaves office Jan. 20, potentially taking millions of records that might otherwise become public. Cheney is being sued by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group that is trying to ensure that no presidential records are destroyed or handled in a way that makes them unavailable to the public. The 1978 Presidential Records Act requires that all presidential and vice presidential records to be transferred to the National Archives immediately upon the end of the president's last term and charges the archivist with preserving and controlling access to presidential records. The law allows exceptions for personal or purely party records. But the law is unclear on how disagreements will be resolved about disputed records, said Steven Aftergood, a government secrecy expert at the Federation of American Scientists. "Decisions that are made in the next couple of weeks may prove irrevocable. If records are held from the archivist now, they may never be recovered," Aftergood said. A judge in September ordered Cheney to preserve all records while the suit continued.
Note: For many reports from reliable sources on government secrecy, click here.
Sex slavery: Living the American nightmare
December 22, 2008, MSNBC
When FBI and immigration agents arrested a 28-year-old Guatemalan woman three months ago in Los Angeles, they announced that they had shut down one of the most elaborate sex trafficking rings in the country. But it was one of only a few such cases to be spotlighted by national media, contributing to the false impression that cases of immigrant sex trafficking are isolated incidents. The reality is that human trafficking goes on in nearly every American city and town, said Lisette Arsuaga, director of development for the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, a human rights organization in Los Angeles. Her assessment is shared by authorities in Bexar County, Texas, where the Sheriff's Office has formed a task force with Shared Hope International, an anti-slavery organization founded by former Rep. Linda Smith, D-Wash. Bexar County is considered a crossroads of the cross-border Mexican sex slave trade. Federal officials agree that the trafficking of human beings as sex slaves is far more prevalent than is popularly understood. While saying it is difficult to pinpoint the scope of the industry, given its shadowy nature ... officials estimated that it likely generates more than $9.5 billion a year. The Justice Department maintains a human trafficking hotline at 1-888-428-7581. "We've come to learn that cases of trafficking are all around us in plain sight," [Carmen Pitre, executive director of the Task Force on Family Violence,] said. "Today, you can buy a human being for $200 in any major city in the world."
FDA Will Continue To Study Chemical: No Action Planned on Bisphenol A
December 16, 2008, Washington Post
The Food and Drug Administration, criticized by its own scientific advisers for ignoring available data about health risks posed by a chemical found in everyday plastic, said yesterday it has no plans to amend its position on the substance but will continue to study it. The agency has been reviewing its risk assessments for bisphenol A, a chemical used to harden plastic that is found in a wide variety of products, from baby bottles to compact discs to the lining of canned goods. The chemical, commonly called BPA, mimics estrogen and may disrupt the body's carefully calibrated endocrine system. Over the past decade, more than 130 studies have linked BPA to breast cancer, obesity, diabetes, neurological problems and other disorders. Much of the new research suggests that BPA has an effect at very low doses -- lower than the current safety standard set by the FDA. The most prominent finding was by the National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, which reported that there is "some concern" that BPA may affect the brain and behavioral development of fetuses, infants and young children. In October, the FDA was faulted by its own panel of independent science advisers, who said the agency's position on BPA was scientifically flawed. Yesterday, Laura Tarantino, director of the FDA's Office of Food Additive Safety, said the FDA will respond to that recommendation by performing additional analysis. She said she did not know if it would last months or years. "I can't tell you when we will finalize this," she said.
Note: For important new results in health research from reliable sources, click here.
Grape extract kills cancer cells
December 31, 2008, BBC News
An extract from grape seeds can destroy cancer cells, US research suggests. In lab experiments, scientists found that the extract stimulated leukaemia cells to commit suicide. Within 24 hours, 76% of leukaemia cells exposed to the extract were killed off, while healthy cells were unharmed, Clinical Cancer Research reports. The study raises the possibility of new cancer treatments, but scientists said it was too early to recommend that people eat grapes to ward off cancer. Grape seeds contain a number of antioxidants, including resveratrol, which is known to have anti-cancer properties, as well as positive effect on the heart. Previous research has shown grapeseed extract has an effect on skin, breast, bowel, lung, stomach and prostate cancer cells in the laboratory. It can also reduce the size of breast tumours in rats and skin tumours in mice. However, the University of Kentucky study is the first to test its impact on a blood cancer. Lead researcher Professor Xianglin Shi said: "These results could have implications for the incorporation of agents such as grapeseed extract into prevention or treatment of haematological (blood) malignancies and possibly other cancers. What everyone seeks is an agent that has an effect on cancer cells but leaves normal cells alone, and this shows that grapeseed extract fits into this category."
Note: For lots more on promising new cancer research findings from major media sources, click here.
Key Articles From Years Past
Senator Reveals Secret Bush Legal Opinions
December 7, 2007, CBS News
A member of the Senate Intelligence Committee said ... President Bush is standing by "feverish legal theories" to justify actions which are unconstitutional. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., made the comments on the Senate floor during debate. Whitehouse said that ... he had examined "highly classified secret legal opinions" issued by the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel [OLC]. Whitehouse recounted that, "Sitting in that secure room, as a lawyer, as a former U.S. Attorney, legal counsel to Rhode Island's Governor, and State Attorney General, I was increasingly dismayed and amazed as I read on." Whitehouse related three OLC legal opinions which he got declassified: "An executive order cannot limit a President. There is no constitutional requirement for a President to issue a new executive order whenever he wishes to depart from the terms of a previous executive order." ... "The President ... can determine whether an action is a lawful exercise of the President's authority"; [and] "The Department of Justice is bound by the President's legal determinations." "Imagine a general counsel to a major U.S. corporation telling his board of directors, 'In this company the counsel's office is bound by the CEO's legal determinations,'" Whitehouse said. "The board ought to throw that lawyer out - it's malpractice, probably even unethical." We are a nation of laws, not of men. This nation was founded in rejection of the royalist principles that ... 'The King can do no wrong'."
Note: To hear the revealing Senate speech on this vital topic by Senator Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, click here. For Whitehouse's comments on this topic on his Senate website, click here.
Maestro a flop with rush hour audience
April 13, 2007, Sydney Morning Herald
Joshua Bell is one of classical music's most celebrated figures, but fame did not stop the Grammy Award-winning violinist's music from falling on deaf ears at a subway station in Washington. Bell, 39, received the most coveted prize in classical music, the Avery Fisher Prize ... two days after The Washington Post revealed he had failed to draw even a tiny crowd while playing in an anonymous setting. Bell swapped his formal concert garb for jeans, a T-shirt and a baseball cap to play six classical pieces outside a subway station in a test of perception and public taste conducted by the Post. Bell said he was surprised by the results of his 43-minute performance during morning rush hour - $US 32.17 and only one of 1097 people who passed by recognised him. "I was quite nervous and it was a strange experience, being ignored," said Bell, who attracts a young following and commands ticket prices of $US100 or more at his concerts. Playing a violin handcrafted in 1713 by Antonio Stradivari that cost about $US 3.5 million, Bell said he expected commuters might not be open to listening to music "or experiencing art". "I expected that, but it was still almost hurtful sometimes when somebody just walked by when I really did try to play my best," he said. Bell, who gained fame for playing the Academy Award-winning score for the film The Red Violin, is philosophical about the experiment. It made him realise that ... the musical experience was "a participatory thing" in which performer and listener must be involved. "Maybe once is enough for me for this kind of experiment. But I myself will certainly be paying more attention to street musicians when I walk by."
Special note: For those concerned about spraying of chemicals in the form of chemtrails and otherwise, see the excellent piece available here.
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Refugees Killed in Gaza, Skyrocketing US Debt, Foreign Investors Flee Wall Street