Health Care Outrage, Executive Order for Indefinite Detention, BoA Cover-Up
Revealing News Articles
June 29, 2009
Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on health care outrage over HMO manipulations, a new executive order for indefinite detention on US soil, investigations into a cover-up of the Fed's role in BoA's acquisition of Merrill Lynch, 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. The most important 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.
Health Insurance Insider: 'They Dump the Sick'
June 24, 2009, ABC News
Frustrated Americans have long complained that their insurance companies valued the all-mighty buck over their health care. Today, a retired insurance executive confirmed their suspicions, arguing that the industry that once employed him regularly rips off its policyholders. "[T]hey confuse their customers and dump the sick, all so they can satisfy their Wall Street investors," former Cigna senior executive Wendell Potter said during a hearing on health insurance today before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Potter, who has more than 20 years of experience working in public relations for insurance companies Cigna and Humana, said companies routinely drop seriously ill policyholders so they can meet "Wall Street's relentless profit expectations." "They look carefully to see if a sick policyholder may have omitted a minor illness, a pre-existing condition, when applying for coverage, and then they use that as justification to cancel the policy, even if the enrollee has never missed a premium payment," Potter said. Small businesses, in particular, he said, have had trouble maintaining their employee health insurance coverage, he said. "All it takes is one illness or accident among employees at a small business to prompt an insurance company to hike the next year's premiums so high that the employer has to cut benefits, shop for another carrier, or stop offering coverage altogether," he said. More and more people, he said, are falling victim to "deceptive marketing practices" that encourage them to buy "what essentially is fake insurance," policies with high costs but surprisingly limited benefits.
Note: For lots more on corruption in the health industry, click here.
Commentary: Health care outrage goes uncovered
June 19, 2009, CNN
You probably have never heard of Robin Beaton, and that's what's wrong with the debate over health care reform. Beaton, a retired nurse from Waxahachie, Texas, had health insurance -- or so she thought. She paid her premiums faithfully every month, but when she was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, her health insurance company, Blue Cross, dumped her. The insurance company said the fact that she had seen a dermatologist for acne, who mistakenly entered a notation on her chart that suggested her simple acne was a precancerous condition, allowed Blue Cross to leave her in the lurch. Beaton testified before a House subcommittee this week. So did other Americans who thought they had insurance but got the shaft. The subcommittee's chairman, Democrat Bart Stupak of Michigan, called the hearing to highlight the obnoxious and unethical practice called rescission. His researchers produced performance reviews of insurance company bureaucrats who were praised and rewarded for kicking people off their coverage. Then Stupak asked three health insurance executives the big question: Will your company pledge to end the practice of rescission except in cases of intentional fraud? All three health insurance executives said no. It was as dramatic as congressional testimony gets. Yet it got no airtime on the networks, nor, as far as I can tell, on cable news, although CNN.com did run a story. The story did not make The New York Times. Nor The Washington Post, which found space on the front page the morning after the hearing for a story on the cancellation of Fourth of July fireworks in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, but not a story on the cancellation of health insurance for deathly ill Americans who've paid their premiums.
Note: For lots more on corruption in the health industry, click here.
White House Weighs Order on Detention
June 27, 2009, Washington Post
Obama administration officials ... are crafting language for an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely, according to three senior government officials with knowledge of White House deliberations. Such an order would embrace claims by former president George W. Bush that certain people can be detained without trial for long periods under the laws of war. In a May speech, President Obama broached the need for a system of long-term detention and suggested that it would include congressional and judicial oversight. "We must recognize that these detention policies cannot be unbounded. They can't be based simply on what I or the executive branch decide alone," he said. A senior Republican [Congressional] staff member said that senators have yet to see "a comprehensive, detailed policy" on long-term detention from the administration. "They can do it without congressional backing, but I think there would be very strong concerns," the staff member said, adding that "Congress could cut off funding" for any detention system established in the United States. Concerns are growing among Obama's advisers that Congress may try to assert too much control over the process. "Legislation could kill Obama's plans," said one government official involved. The official said an executive order could be the best option for the president at this juncture. Under one White House draft that was being discussed this month, according to administration officials, detainees would be imprisoned at a military facility on U.S. soil, but their ongoing detention would be subject to annual presidential review.
Note: Again the Obama administration is following in the footsteps of the Bush administration, despite prior promises not to do so. For more on threats to civil liberties from reliable sources, click here.
Lawmaker accuses Fed of "cover-up" in BofA deal
June 25, 2009, Boston Globe/Reuters News
The Federal Reserve sought to hide its involvement in Bank of America Corp's acquisition of Merrill Lynch as Merrill's financial condition worsened, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said on Wednesday. The Fed "engaged in a cover-up and deliberately hid concerns and pertinent details regarding the merger from other federal regulatory agencies," Representative Darrell Issa said in a statement released to Reuters. Bernanke has in the past denied any inappropriate pressure on Bank of America. Fed spokeswoman Michelle Smith on Wednesday referred to a letter Bernanke sent Representative Dennis Kucinich on April 30 and later testimony in which he offered an "unconditional assertion" that he did not ask Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis to withhold information regarding Merrill. The Democrat who heads the committee, Edolphus Towns of New York, has called Bernanke to testify on Thursday. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has also been called to testify before Congress next month about the Bank of America-Merrill Lynch transaction. After rescuing Bank of America in January, U.S. regulators tightened their grip on the bank with a secret agreement that contributed to the ongoing shakeup of its directors and executives, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter. The paper, citing internal documents, added that Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair wrote to Bernanke before the aid to the bank was unveiled to express the FDIC's "discomfort" with the deal..
Note: For a treasure trove on the hidden realities of the governmental bailout of Wall Street, click here.
New Fed powers not matched with accountability
June 25, 2009, Reuters News
President Barack Obama's proposal for a regulatory overhaul of the financial industry vastly expands the reach of the Federal Reserve, yet fails to make policy-makers more accountable for their actions. Critics argue that the new legislation fundamentally misses the problems that led to the financial crisis. It was a lack of enforcement by supervisors, they say, not insufficient rules, that fostered a cowboy culture of rampant risk-taking on Wall Street. "Obama is letting the Fed and everyone else off the hook by saying that the problem was with the regulations and not the regulators," said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic Policy Research in Washington. "If regulators know that even if they totally fail on the job, they will face no career consequences, then at some future point, when there is a choice between confronting the financial industry or just going along, the regulators will just go along," said Baker. Some feel uncomfortable with a broader role for the Fed primarily because of the Fed's closeness to the banking sector. The Fed is not technically a public entity. Each of the Fed's 12 branches are overseen by a nine-member board of directors, two-thirds of whom are elected by the bankers in the district. "The Federal Reserve has massive conflicts of interest that make it ill-suited for its present regulatory functions and certainly for an expanded regulatory reach," said Robert Auerbach, a professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. "The officials leading the Fed today preside over an organization that is run in substantial part by the bankers they regulate."
Note: For empowering insight into the historic roots of the Federal Reserve's unaccountability, click here.
Mystery of Fake U.S. Bonds Fuels Web Theories
June 26, 2009, New York Times
Ever since two middle-aged men with Japanese passports were caught in Italy this month trying to smuggle a purported $134.5 billion in United States government bearer bonds into Switzerland, the Internet has been abuzz with theories. In all, the Italian financial police and customs guards confiscated 249 paper bonds, each supposedly worth $500 million, and 10 bonds with a face value of $1 billion each. After reports of the seizure began to trickle out of Italy, the blogosphere sprang into action, the ponderings fueled by suspicions that the mainstream media was willfully ignoring the tale. The story took on greater life after Italian authorities – who have refused to talk about the scandal – declined to declare the bonds fakes until they were examined by Washington. Col. Rodolfo Mecarelli, the provincial commander of the financial police in Como, said the investigations were focused on "understanding who these men were and where they were from." Also unknown are the whereabouts of the two men, who were released after being stopped in early June. "The men were questioned, but not arrested," said Naoki Oyakawa, an official at the Japanese consulate in Milan. He said the two men had valid Japanese passports, but he would not elaborate further on their identities. "We don't know where they are now," he said. "We have had no contact with the two men. They have not asked us for our help." What the bonds were for remains unclear. "It's not the sort of thing that you can just go into a bank and convert," said Colonel Mecarelli. "But they may have been useful to guarantee business deals among people who don't use cash." Agencies that deal with financial crimes, including Europol, declined to comment while the Italian investigation was still under way."
Note: Although this dismissive article asserts that the bonds seized are fakes, many odd circumstances remain unexplained, including the "unknown" identity of the smugglers and why they would smuggle fake securities. The US, Italian and Japanese authorities and mainstream media again have failed to report something of potential significance.
'If I didn't confess to 7/7 bombings MI5 officers would rape my wife,' claims torture victim
June 25, 2009, Daily Mail (a popular U.K. newspaper)
A British man spoke publicly for the first time yesterday to accuse MI5 officers of forcing him to confess to masterminding the July 7 bombings. Jamil Rahman claims UK security officers were behind his arrest in 2005 in Bangladesh. He says he was beaten repeatedly by local officials who also threatened to rape him and his wife. Mr Rahman, who is suing the Home Office, said a pair of MI5 officers who attended his torture and interrogation would leave the room while he was beaten. He claims when he told the pair he had been tortured they merely answered: 'They haven't done a very good job on you.' Mr Rahman told the BBC: 'They threatened my family. They go to me, "In the UK, gas leaks happen, if your family house had a gas leak and everyone got burnt, there's no problems, we can do that easily".' He says he eventually made a false confession of involvement in the July 7 bomb plots. The extraordinary allegations will add to pressure on UK ministers to come clean over the way Britain's intelligence agencies have been allowed to gather evidence around the world in the eight years since the September 11 attacks. Jamil Rahman, a former civil servant from south Wales, is a British citizen who moved to Bangladesh in 2005 and married a woman he met there. He returned to the UK last year. He said: 'It was all to do with the British. Jamil Rahman is one of a number of former detainees who accuse the British Government colluded in their torture abroad. His account echoes that of former Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed, who said he was tortured in Pakistan and Morocco with MI5's knowledge. The 30-year-old Ethiopian says he was beaten and deprived of sleep to try to make him confess to an Al Qaeda 'dirty bomb' plot, and his treatment is now the subject of an unprecedented police investigation into MI5's conduct.
Note: For lots more on the hidden strategies used to maintain the "war on terror", click here.
D.C. Crash Kills General Who Scrambled Jets on 9/11
June 24, 2009, Bloomberg News
David F. Wherley Jr., the head of the Washington National Guard who scrambled jets over the city during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, was among those killed in the worst commuter train crash in the city's history, officials said. Wherley's wife, Ann, was also among the nine people killed when a train plowed into the rear of a stopped train during rush hour on June 22, Quintin Peterson, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department, said in a telephone interview. Both were 62 and lived in southeast Washington. Wherley was commander of the 113th Fighter Wing at Andrews Air Force base in Maryland during the September 2001 terrorist attacks and sent up aircraft with orders to protect the White House and the Capitol, according to the 9/11 Commission report. He commanded the District of Columbia National Guard from 2003 to 2008, the unit said in a statement. Wherley flew T-38 training jets and F-105 Thunderchief and F-4 Phantom combat jets during a military career that began in 1969, according to the guard's statement. It said he earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Fordham University in New York City in 1969, and a master's in business administration from the University of Maryland in 1977.
Note: Could there be something more than a mere accident behind the death of the commander of the air defense forces over Washington DC on 9/11? Many questions continue to swirl concerning what was in the air over the city that morning, what was launched by Gen. Wherley and when, and why no interception of an attack aircraft approaching the Pentagon occurred. He knew more than the public does about what really took place in those crucial hours, but he will now not be available for questioning should a real investigation into the 9/11 attacks take place. For lots more on the suspicions that surround the official explanation and calls by highly respected citizens for just such an investigation, click here and here.
Bid to classify cloud formation
June 2, 2009, BBC News
A cloudspotter from Somerset believes he has identified a new type of cloud. Gavin Pretor-Pinney, from Somerton, who also founded the Cloud Appreciation Society, wants recognition for what he has named the asperatus cloud. He said: "It looks quite violent - as if you are looking up from underneath the turbulent surface of the sea." Weather forecaster Michael Fish told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he thinks it is caused by a mixing of two air masses or the bottom of a storm cloud. Mr Pretor-Pinney, who wrote the Cloudspotter's Guide ... asked his cousin - who is a Latin teacher - for a word that means choppy or turbulent that is used to describe the sea to name the cloud after. "Asperatus comes from the Latin verb aspero meaning 'to roughen up' or 'agitate'," he said. "It was used by the poet Virgil to describe the surface of a choppy sea." Mr Fish said he was "quite amazed" by pictures showing clouds fitting Mr Pretor-Pinney's asperatus description. "There has been no change to the classifications of clouds since 1953 and maybe this should be considered now. I can offer two explanations - they are either the mixing of two air masses - very warm humid air and and very cold dry air and it is like oil and water - it doesn't mix. These clouds could be formed at the boundary of these two air masses. Or ... they could be the turbulent underbelly of one of the huge thunder clouds." Mr Pretor-Pinney said the pictures were sent in by cloud society members from all over the world and some of them said there was no storm activity or heavy precipitation in the area at the time.
Note: How strange that a new type of cloud is now appearing. What changes could be causing this new formation? For more photos of these most unusual new clouds, click here. Or visit the Cloud Appreciation Society, founded by Mr. Pretor-Pinney.
Torture tests say battery power's hardly nerdy
March 30, 2009, Boston Globe
Bill Dubé gets giddy when he talks about batteries and speed. After all, his 500-horsepower Killacycle electric motorcycle goes from 0 to 60 miles per hour in under a second. He claims it is the fastest electric vehicle on the planet. In October, the Killacycle traveled a quarter mile in 7.89 seconds, topping out at 174 mph, a record. Dubé, 56, an engineer and Rhode Island native whose day job is designing air chemistry instruments at the University of Colorado, is the bike's designer, owner, and builder. He is out to prove that electric vehicles do not have to be "nerd-mobiles." At the heart of electric vehicles like the Killacycle are the batteries. A123 Systems Inc., based in Watertown, sponsors the Killacycle and provides its battery. Dubé read about A123's lithium-ion battery technology in 2003 and decided to approach company officials. He thought drag racing was a great way to torture-test the company's innovative battery cells. "I told them I'll take the battery cells out to the drag strip and set a world record," he said. Electric-vehicle racing hit the start line about 15 years ago, when pioneers like Dubé began building the machines. "Bill is quite amazing and does pretty good promoting electric-vehicle racing in general," said Mike Willmon, president of the National Electric Drag Racing Association, based in Santa Rosa, Calif. The mission of the group, whose membership stands at 100, is to increase public awareness about the performance side of electric vehicles.
Note: Why such a weak title for this amazing bike? Why not a title like "Electric motorcycle goes 0 to 60 in one second"? Could it be the media doesn't want us to know things like this? For lots more suggesting this may be the case, click here. And for more on this amazing motorcyle and an unassuming electric car that does the quarter mile in under 12 seconds, click here.
Key Articles From Years Past
E-dragsters go for gas-powered records
July 29, 2007, MSNBC/Associated Press
Straddling a 619-pound motorcycle, Scotty Pollacheck tucks in his knees and lowers his head as he waits for the green light. When he revs the engine, there's no roar. The bike moves so fast that within seconds all that's visible is a faint red taillight melting in the distance. Pollacheck crosses the quarter-mile marker doing 156 mph; he's traveled 1,320 feet in 8.22 seconds, faster than any of the gas-powered cars, trucks or motorcycles that have raced in the drag sprints on this weekend at Portland International Raceway. It's particularly impressive given Pollacheck is riding a vehicle that uses no gasoline and is powered entirely by lithium-ion batteries. Pollacheck and his bike – dubbed the KillaCycle – are part of a growing movement that's exploiting breakthroughs in battery technology and could soon challenge the world's fastest-accelerating vehicles in the $1 billion drag-racing industry. "In professional drag racing I expect to see the electrics eventually pass up the fuel dragsters," said Dick Brown, president of AeroBatteries, which sponsors White Zombie, the world's quickest-accelerating street-legal electric car – a 1972 white Datsun 1200. "Electric gives you instant torque whereas gasoline you have to build up," Brown said. The KillaCycle runs on 990 lithium-ion battery cells that feed two direct current motors, generating 350 horsepower. The bike accelerates from zero to 60 mph in just under a second – faster than many professional gas-powered drag motorcycles and within striking distance of the quickest bikes that run on nitromethane. With that hyper-potent racing fuel, riders can get to 60 mph in 0.7 seconds.
Note: For more on this amazing motorcyle and an unassuming electric car that does the quarter mile in under 12 seconds, click here.
Claims of 9/11 conspiracy have suspect running scared
May 25, 2007, Rocky Mountain News (One of Denver's leading newspapers)
A former Federal Emergency Management Agency videographer accused of killing his wife in Denver is seeking political asylum in Argentina, claiming the U.S. government wants him silenced for what he saw in the smoldering ruins of the Twin Towers after 9/11. Kurt Sonnenfeld's efforts to avoid extradition have gained interest from human rights organizations in South America and broad attention from conspiracy theorists on the Internet. Sonnenfeld, 44, is charged with first-degree murder in the New Year's Day 2002 shooting death of his 36-year-old wife, Nancy. Sonnenfeld is quoted by the Argentine newspaper el Pais as saying, "I realized that they were after something else: the tapes of Ground Zero in my possession." Sonnenfeld said he was arrested by Interpol agents on the new Denver charges a week after delivering a demo video of 9/11 footage to a TV producer in Argentina. "I find that extremely coincidental," he said. In other interviews with Argentine media, Sonnenfeld is quoted as saying, "What I saw (at 9/11) leads me to the terrible conclusion that there was foreknowledge of what was going to happen – the precautions that were taken to save certain things that the authorities there considered irreplaceable or invaluable. For example, certain things were missing that could only have been removed with a truck. Yet after the first plane hit one of the towers, everything in Manhattan collapsed and no one could have gotten near the towers to do that." Sonnenfeld is quoted as saying documentation was removed from U.S. intelligence agencies in the World Trade Center, including the CIA, prior to the attacks.
Note: To read a more recent, powerful Voltaire Network interview with Kurt Sonnenfeld, click here. The truth is coming out more all the time!
Special note: An elections bill currently being discussed in Congress is titled the "Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act." This bill actually decreases confidence in and accessiblity to elections monitoring. More government double-speak. To learn more about this important bill and what you can do to help defend our right to open and fair elections, click here.
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