Saudi Arms Sale Largest Ever, Senate Approves Lawsuit Settlements, Record Corporate Profits
Revealing News Articles
November 29, 2010
Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on the largest arms sale in US history to Saudi Arabia, Senate approval of settlements to lawsuits brought against the federal government by Native Americans and black farmers, record corporate profits resulting from layoffs and wage cuts, 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.
Special note: For an intriguing six-minute video clip showing how some crop circles have been deciphered with most fascinating results, click here. For an interesting History Channel documentary on underwater UFOs, click here. For a highly revealing 7-minute video on Michael Chertoff's profiteerng from the new full body scanners, click here. For a one-minute video of Congressional testimony on this, click here. And for just how crazy these searches get, watch the incredible 10-minute collection of news clips at this link. Former governor Jessie Ventura's revealing 44-minute documentary on the JFK assassination is available here.
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Critics Slam Obama Administration for 'Hiding' Massive Saudi Arms Deal
November 19, 2010, ABC News
The Obama administration has quietly forged ahead with its proposal to sell $60 billion worth of fighter jets and attack helicopters to Saudi Arabia unhampered by Congress, despite questions raised in legislative inquiries and in an internal congressional report about the wisdom of the deal. The massive arms deal would be the single largest sale of weapons to a foreign nation in the history of the U.S., outfitting Saudi Arabia with a fully modernized, potent new air force. Critics are questioning the deal, and the stealthy effort by the Obama administration to avoid a more probing congressional review by notifying Congress last month, just as members were headed home for the November elections. Congress had 30 days to raise objections -- a review period that concludes Saturday. The arrangement would ship 84 F-15 fighter jets and more than 175 attack helicopters to the Saudis over the next 15 years. Morris J. Amitay, a former head of the Pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC, told ABC News a chief aim of the sale is insuring that Saudi Arabia can serve as another regional military counterweight to Iran. In part for that reason, he said, Israel has not been raising significant objections to the deal, even though he suspects Israel will push hard to insure the aircraft are not equipped with weapons systems as advanced as those held by Israel's own military.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on war and war preparations in the Middle East, click here.
Senate Votes $4.6 Billion for Indian, Black Farmer Settlements
November 20, 2010, Bloomberg/Businessweek
The U.S. Senate yesterday approved spending $4.6 billion to settle two lawsuits: one by black farmers who alleged racial discrimination by government lenders and the other by 300,000 American Indians who said they had been cheated out of land royalties dating to 1887. Passage of the measure, by voice vote, unblocks a legislative logjam that has thwarted payouts, negotiated by the Obama administration, of $1.15 billion to the black farmers and $3.4 billion to the American Indians. The House ... must vote on the settlements again. At least seven times this year, Senate Republicans blocked efforts to include the spending provisions in pending legislation. The farmers' 1997 class-action lawsuit alleged discrimination by the Agriculture Department's lending programs. Under a negotiated settlement announced in February, qualified farmers can collect as much as $50,000, plus debt relief. Others may collect monetary damages up to $250,000. One of the largest class-action cases filed against the U.S., the 1996 lawsuit by American Indian plaintiffs accused the Interior Department of mismanaging trust funds that collected royalties for grazing rights and the extraction of minerals, oil and natural gas from tribal lands.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on government corruption, click here.
Corporate Profits Were the Highest on Record Last Quarter
November 24, 2010, The New York Times
The nation's workers may be struggling, but American companies just had their best quarter ever. American businesses earned profits at an annual rate of $1.659 trillion in the third quarter, according to a Commerce Department report. That is the highest figure recorded since the government began keeping track over 60 years ago. The next-highest annual corporate profits level on record was in the third quarter of 2006, when they were $1.655 trillion. Corporate profits have been doing extremely well for a while. Since their cyclical low in the fourth quarter of 2008, profits have grown for seven consecutive quarters, at some of the fastest rates in history. As a share of gross domestic product, corporate profits also have been increasing, and they now represent 11.2 percent of total output. That is the highest share since the fourth quarter of 2006, when they accounted for 11.7 percent of output.
Note: Long-term unemployment is at a record high, yet corporations are raking in record profits. With record profits, why aren't corporations hiring more new employees? For many reports from reliable souces on corporate profiteering, click here.
Winning the Class War
November 27, 2010, The New York Times
The class war that no one wants to talk about continues unabated. Even as millions of out-of-work and otherwise struggling Americans are tightening their belts for the holidays, the nation's elite are lacing up their dancing shoes and partying like royalty as the millions and billions keep rolling in. Recessions are for the little people, not for the corporate chiefs and the titans of Wall Street who are at the heart of the American aristocracy. They have waged economic warfare against everybody else and are winning big time. The ranks of the poor may be swelling and families forced out of their foreclosed homes may be enduring a nightmarish holiday season, but American companies have just experienced their most profitable quarter ever. The corporate fat cats are becoming alarmingly rotund. Their profits have surged over the past seven quarters at a pace that is among the fastest ever seen, and they can barely contain their glee. On the same day that The Times ran its article about [record corporate] profits, it ran a piece on the front page that carried the headline: "With a Swagger, Wallets Out, Wall Street Dares to Celebrate." Anyone who thinks there is something beneficial in this vast disconnect between the fortunes of the American elite and those of the struggling masses is just silly. It's not even good for the elite. The rich may think that the public won't ever turn against them. But to hold that belief, you have to ignore the turbulent history of the 1930s.
Note: For many reports from reliable souces on corporate profiteering, click here.
U.S. Says Genes Should Not Be Eligible for Patents
October 30, 2010, The New York Times
Reversing a longstanding policy, the federal government said on [October 29] that human and other genes should not be eligible for patents because they are part of nature. The new position could have a huge impact on medicine and on the biotechnology industry. The new position was declared in a friend-of-the-court brief filed by the Department of Justice ... in a case involving two human genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer. "We acknowledge that this conclusion is contrary to the longstanding practice of the Patent and Trademark Office, as well as the practice of the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies that have in the past sought and obtained patents for isolated genomic DNA," the brief said. The issue of gene patents has long been a controversial [one]. Opponents say that genes are products of nature, not inventions, and should be the common heritage of mankind. They say that locking up basic genetic information in patents actually impedes medical progress. Proponents say genes isolated from the body are chemicals that are different from those found in the body and therefore are eligible for patents. In its brief, the government said it now believed that the mere isolation of a gene, without further alteration or manipulation, does not change its nature.
Note: This is great news. To see how patents have been used in scary ways to promote global monopolies, watch this documentary.
A placebo is a placebo is a placebo ... or maybe not, a new study suggests
October 18, 2010, The Los Angeles Times
Many drug trials involve a placebo, a sham drug whose results are compared with the results of the real medication. A placebo is supposed to contain a harmless substance, such as sugar or vegetable oil, which has no significant effect on the body. In [a new] study, researchers delved into 176 studies published in reputable medical journals ... from January 2008 to December 2009 to see if placebo contents were disclosed and if so, what they were. The study authors argue that placebo ingredients may not always be as inconsequential as some may think. They write: "For instance, olive oil and corn oil have been used as the placebo in trials of cholesterol-lowering drugs. This may lead to an understatement of drug benefit: The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids of these 'placebos,' and their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, can reduce lipid levels and heart disease." Certain placebos, they add, may skew results in favor of the active drug. The researchers referenced a trial for a drug used to treat anorexia linked with cancer in which a lactose placebo was used. Since lactose intolerance is common among cancer patients, the fact that some suffered stomach problems from the placebo may have made the actual drug look more beneficial. "Perfect placebo is not the aim," they write, "rather, we seek to ensure that its composition is disclosed."
Note: For key reports from major media sources on important issues related to health and medicine, click here.
Your angry God will not save you now
November 17, 2010, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
We are often the agents of our own pain. We cause our own deaths, conflicts, illnesses, every single day. We made cancer. Also, we invented war. Scientists have found almost no trace of cancer in the mummified remains of bodies from ancient civilizations. It simply did not exist. Cancer is [a] byproduct of heavily industrialized, high tech, toxic modern society. Same goes, in a way, for war and combat, our need to dominate and defeat. Plentiful are the cultures and peoples throughout time and geography that, even despite scarce natural resources, despite having all the supposed reasons to go to war, never once found a need to take up arms, or even understand the concept. War is learned behavior. Cancer is a modern invention, the dark underbelly of our madhouse race to progress. We create -- and even knowingly promote -- many of the sociocultural factors that spawn depression and internal demonization. But when it comes to love, sexuality, the infinite powers of the heart? It's just the opposite. The love, the sex, the chemistry of desire ... has its roots deep in our very being ... woven into our very DNA. You actually can't choose your particular wiring for love, but you can choose to be a warlike, antagonistic force of cancerous doom. We cannot design our innate sexual chemistry, but we sure as hell can choose whether to celebrate it with wine and song and fearless abandon, or poison it at its heart with ignorance, panic, a violent misreading of God.
The Giving Pledge: Billionaires Promise to Donate at Least Half Their Fortunes to Charity
August 4, 2010, ABC News
At the urging of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, forty of the world's richest families have promised to give at least half of their fortunes to philanthropy. By taking the "Giving Pledge," the forty families or individuals, most of whom are billionaires, are promising a collective sum of at least $125 billion to charitable causes, based on Forbes' current estimates of their net worth and other data sources. According to the pledge, the giving can occur either during donors' lifetimes or after their passing. Each has committed at least 50 percent of their net worth, but many have committed to larger percentages, Buffett said. The men and women taking the pledge are free to direct their money to causes of their choice, and the organization is not pooling any money or dictating areas of need. In fact, the pledge is non-binding, though the organizers say the billionaires are making a "moral commitment," publicly signing their names to letters posted on a website, GivingPledge.org. Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates reached out to some 80 members of the Forbes billionaires list, asking them to sign on. Buffett wrote that by spending any more than one percent of his fortune on his own family, "neither our happiness nor our well-being would be enhanced. In contrast, that remaining 99 percent can have a huge effect on the health and welfare of others."
Note: For one of the great organizations behind this cause, click here.
Key Articles From Years Past
U.S. Bicycle Route System In The Works
December 11, 2008, CBS News
State officials and bicycle enthusiasts are stitching together more than 50,000 miles of pedal-friendly pavement to form a vast network of bicycle routes connecting byways, cities and offroad trails in a system like the one created for cars and trucks over half a century ago. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, working with the Adventure Cycling Association and other groups, recently approved a plan, four years in the making, that lays the foundation for the network. Now it's up to each state to create the routes and put up signs. "It's a big turning point," said Jim Sayer, executive director of the Adventure Cycling group, the authority on transcontinental bike travel. The effort relies on cartography instead of construction, signposts instead of earth-movers. Working from a bewildering tangle of existing roads, planners mapped a web of corridors where the national bicycle system should go. They considered traffic volume, terrain, amenities and ways to link together lightly traveled byways, secondary roads, urban trails and already established transcontinental bicycle routes.
Note: For a more recent article on this inspiring development, click here.
Solar Energy, All Night Long
July 31, 2008, Forbes Magazine
MIT professor Daniel G. Nocera has long been jealous of plants. He desperately wanted to do what they do--split water into hydrogen and oxygen and use the products to do work. That, he figures, is the only way we humans can solve our energy problems; enough energy pours down from the sun in one hour to power the planet's energy needs for a year. Nocera's discovery [is] a cheap and easy way to store energy that he thinks will be used to change solar power into a mainstream energy source. Plants catch light and turn it into an electric current, then use that energy to excite catalysts that split water into hydrogen and oxygen during what is called photosynthesis' light cycle. The energy is then used during the dark cycle to allow the plant to build sugars used for growth and energy storage. Nocera and Matthew Kanan, a postdoctoral fellow in Nocera's lab, focused on the water-splitting part of photosynthesis. They found cheap and simple catalysts that did a remarkably good job. They dissolved cobalt and phosphate in water and then zapped it with electricity through an electrode. The cobalt and phosphate form a thin-film catalyst around the electrode that then use electrons from the electrode to split the oxygen from water. The oxygen bubbles to the surface, leaving a proton behind. A few inches away, another catalyst, platinum, helps that bare proton become hydrogen. The hydrogen and oxygen, separated and on-hand, can be used to power a fuel cell whenever energy is needed.
Whistleblower Complains of FBI Obstruction
May 30, 2002, Fox News
[An] FBI counter-terrorism agent [is] accusing the agency of prohibiting him from conducting his probe into terror financing activities because he complained about obstruction by bureau superiors. Chicago-based FBI Special Agent Robert Wright ... said the recent trajectory of his FBI career has taken a downward spiral since he complained about two incidents that inhibited his ability to continue terror funding and money laundering probes of members of ... Hamas and Hezbollah. The FBI has been under fire since it was revealed that FBI field alerts to Washington of Middle Eastern men training at U.S. flight schools during the summer of 2001 were buried in paperwork, and agents in Minneapolis who circumvented normal channels to contact the CIA about suspected "20th hijacker" Zacarias Moussaoui were reprimanded. Agents who have complained about bureaucratic barriers in the past have been punished, and Wright said that he is one of them. Wright has been demoted to "paper pusher" and "chief dishwasher" at the Chicago field office since he complained about the wrenches thrown into his probe. Wright is under threat of retribution should he talk to members of Congress about what he knows. Wright said throughout his six-year posting in counter-terrorism, he was involved in probes of Hamas and Hezbollah. His most successful 'get' netted $1.4 million in terrorist money in 1998, money that he said today was linked to Saudi businessman and financier Yassin Kadi, who was identified late last year as a close associate of Usama Bin Laden.
The Pentagon's quest for nonlethal arms is amazing. But is it smart?
June 29, 1997, US News and World Report
For [many] years, sci-fi writers have imagined weapons that might use energy waves or pulses to knock out, knock down, or otherwise disable enemies--without necessarily killing them. And for a good 40 years the U.S. military has quietly been pursuing weapons of this sort. Much of this work is still secret. But now ... the search for weapons that could incapacitate people without inflicting lethal injuries has intensified. Police, too, are keenly interested. Scores of new contracts have been let, and scientists, aided by government research on the "bioeffects" of beamed energy, are searching the electromagnetic and sonic spectrums for wavelengths that can affect human behavior. Recent advancements in miniaturized electronics, power generation, and beam aiming may finally have put such pulse and beam weapons on the cusp of practicality. Scientists say they are natural successors to projects already underway--beams that disable the electronic systems of aircraft, computers, or missiles, for instance. "Once you are into these antimateriel weapons, it is a short jump to antipersonnel weapons," says Louis Slesin, editor of the trade journal Microwave News. That's because the human body is essentially an electrochemical system, and devices that disrupt the electrical impulses of the nervous system can affect behavior and body functions. But these programs--particularly those involving antipersonnel research--are so well guarded that details are scarce. "People [in the military] go silent on this issue," says Slesin, "more than any other issue. People just do not want to talk about this."
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on so-called "non-lethal weapons, click here.
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