GE Pays No Taxes, $59,490 Billed for One Ultrasound, War on Drugs a Failure
Revealing News Articles
April 5, 2011
Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on GE (General Electric) paying no taxes for 2010, a $59,490 bill for one ultrasound, the war on drugs being a failure, and much 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. And don't miss the "What you can do" box below the summaries. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
Special note: For a beautiful 45-minute documentary by news anchor Tom Brokaw on seeing the beauty in every person, click here. For the inspiring five-minute video of a powerful speech by an Iraq war veteran exposing the realities of war, click here. For an excellent 20-minute 1996 ABC News clip on the Patterson energy cell, which appears to have more energy output than input, click here. For another great four-minute clip on this device, click here. For a wonderfully empowering program pulling women out of poverty in Africa in which you can participate, click here to read the article and watch a very inspiring video.
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Ultrasound at $59,490 Is Outrage in Aetna Claim Against Doctors
March 24, 2011, Bloomberg/BusinessWeek
Aetna Inc. is suing six New Jersey doctors over medical bills it calls "unconscionable," including $56,980 for a bedside consultation and $59,490 for an ultrasound that typically costs $74. The lawsuits could help determine what pricing limits insurers can impose on "out-of-network" physicians who don't have contracts with health plans that spell out how much a service or procedure can cost. One defendant billed $30,000 for a Caesarean birth, and another raised his fee for seeing a critically ill patient in a hospital to $9,000 in 2008 from $500 the year before, the insurer alleges in the suits. Aetna tried in 2007 to impose caps on some out-of-network payments, prompting doctor complaints to the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance. The agency sided with the doctors, fined the company $2.5 million, and ordered it to pay out-of-network practitioners enough so that patients wouldn't be asked to pay balances other than co-pays. In 2009, Aetna, UnitedHealth Group Inc., Cigna Corp. and WellPoint Inc. were accused by the New York attorney general of underpaying out-of-network physicians by manipulating a database used to calculate payments. They paid a total of $90 million in settlements without admitting wrongdoing. UnitedHealthcare agreed that year to pay $350 million to settle a lawsuit by the American Medical Association over the same issues. Similar AMA lawsuits against Aetna, Cigna and Wellpoint are pending.
Note: Is the American health care system out of control? For lots more from reliable sources on corporate corruption, click here.
G.E.'s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes Altogether
March 25, 2011, New York Times
General Electric, the nation's largest corporation, had a very good year in 2010. The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States. Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion. That may be hard to fathom for the millions of American business owners and households now preparing their own returns, but low taxes are nothing new for G.E. The company has been cutting the percentage of its American profits paid to the Internal Revenue Service for years, resulting in a far lower rate than at most multinational companies. Its extraordinary success is based on an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore. G.E.'s giant tax department, led by a bow-tied former Treasury official named John Samuels, is often referred to as the world's best tax law firm. Indeed, the company's slogan "Imagination at Work" fits this department well. The team includes former officials not just from the Treasury, but also from the I.R.S. and virtually all the tax-writing committees in Congress. While General Electric is one of the most skilled at reducing its tax burden, many other companies have become better at this as well.
IRS: 400 richest averaged $345M in '07 income, 16% tax rate
February 18, 2010, USA Today
The [IRS] reports that the nation's 400 highest-earning households reported an average income of $345 million in 2007 – up 31% from 2006 – and that their average tax bill fell to a 15-year low. Bloomberg writes that the elite 400's average income more than doubled that year from $131.1 million in 2001, the year Congress adopted tax cuts urged by then-President George W. Bush. Each household in the top 400 of earners paid an average tax rate of 16.6 percent, the lowest since the agency began tracking the data in 1992. Their average effective tax rate was about half the 29.4 percent in 1993, the first year of President Bill Clinton's administration. The top 400 earners received a total $138 billion in 2007, up from $105.3 billion a year earlier. On an inflation-adjusted basis, their average income grew almost fivefold since 1992. Almost three-quarters of the highest earners' income was in capital gains and dividends taxed at a 15 percent rate set as part of Bush-backed tax cuts in 2003.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on income inequality, click here.
War on drugs has failed, say former heads of MI5, CPS and BBC
March 21, 2011, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
The "war on drugs" has failed and should be abandoned in favour of evidence-based policies that treat addiction as a health problem, according to prominent public figures including former heads of MI5 and the Crown Prosecution Service. Leading peers – including prominent Tories – say that despite governments worldwide drawing up tough laws against dealers and users over the past 50 years, illegal drugs have become more accessible. Vast amounts of money have been wasted on unsuccessful crackdowns, while criminals have made fortunes importing drugs into this country. The increasing use of the most harmful drugs such as heroin has also led to "enormous health problems", according to the group. The MPs and members of the House of Lords, who have formed a new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform, are calling for new policies to be drawn up on the basis of scientific evidence. It could lead to calls for the British government to decriminalise drugs, or at least for the police and Crown Prosecution Service not to jail people for possession of small amounts of banned substances.
Note: If you examine topics on which the government has declared war, what is being fought against often increases instead of decreasing. Could it be that the best way to deal with serious problems is not to wage war?
Fed to release bank loan data after Supreme Court rejects appeal
March 21, 2011, Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg News
The Federal Reserve will disclose details of emergency loans it made to banks in 2008, after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an industry appeal that aimed to shield the records from public view. The justices ... left intact a court order that gives the Fed five days to release the records, sought by Bloomberg News' parent company, Bloomberg. The order marks the first time a court has forced the Fed to reveal the names of banks that borrowed from its oldest lending program, the 98-year-old discount window. "I can't recall that the Fed was ever sued and forced to release information" in its 98-year history, said Allan H. Meltzer, the author of three books on the U.S central bank and a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. The disclosures, together with details of six bailout programs released by the central bank in December under a congressional mandate, would give taxpayers insight into the Fed's unprecedented $3.5 trillion effort to stem the 2008 financial panic. Under the trial judge's order, the Fed must reveal 231 pages of documents related to borrowers in April and May 2008, along with loan amounts. News Corp.'s Fox News is pressing a bid for 6,186 pages of similar information on loans made from August 2007 to November 2008.
Note: For a treasure trove of reports from major media sources on the hidden activities of the Fed and the biggest Wall Street and international banks, click here.
Scrimping on regulators puts public safety at risk
March 27, 2011, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
General Electric marketed the Mark 1 boiling water reactors that were used in Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi plant as cheaper to build than other reactors because they used a smaller and less expensive containment structure. Yet American safety officials have long thought the smaller design more vulnerable to explosion and rupture in emergencies than competing designs. Here's the problem: Profit-making corporations have every incentive to underestimate these probabilities and lowball the likely harms. This is why it's necessary to have such things as government regulators and why regulators need enough resources to enforce the regulations. And it's why recent proposals in Congress to cut the budgets of agencies charged with protecting public safety are so wrong-headed. It's also why regulators have to be independent of the industries they regulate. When there's a revolving door between regulatory agency and industry, officials are reluctant to bite the hands that will feed them. Finally, the tendency of corporations to understate the probabilities of public harms requires that limits be placed on corporate political power. The public cannot not be adequately protected as long as big corporations ... are allowed to bribe legislators with campaign donations and boondoggles.
Note: The author of this opinion, Robert Reich, is a professor at UC Berkeley and former Secretary of Labor.
Got Plans for the Next 25,000 Years?
March 21, 2011, CNBC
It turns out that nuclear waste has more in common with the financial world than being a metaphor for the worst of its toxic assets. Nuclear waste – some of which remains disastrously radioactive for 100,000 years – turns out to be the ultimate tail risk. Tail risk, of course, is the statistical term much in vogue in the financial press for describing unlikely events. (The 'tail' in tail risk refers to the tail-shaped edges in the bell curve of a normal distribution.) These allegedly unlikely events are sometimes referred to as black swans. Black swans are occurring with such regularity in these volatile times that they can no longer be considered true statistical outliers. [Take] a look at these outlier events within the context of building nuclear waste containment vessels. Repository builders have to take into account a tail risk of future humans disturbing the site and not realising the danger facing themselves and their ecology. People might regress towards a pre-industrial state or lose language over a timescale like that. So you have to design a marker that scares people away, but doesn't flip them over into morbid curiosity towards exploring further and, potentially, dooming an entire civilisation with radioactive poisoning.
Parents Lose High Court Appeal in Vaccine Case
February 22, 2011, U.S. News & World Report/Associated Press
The Supreme Court closed the courthouse door ... to parents who want to sue drug makers over claims their children developed autism and other serious health problems from vaccines. The ruling was a stinging defeat for families dissatisfied with how they fared before a special no-fault vaccine court. The court voted 6-2 against the parents of a child who sued the drug maker Wyeth in Pennsylvania state court for the health problems they say their daughter, now 19, suffered from a vaccine she received in infancy. Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the court, said Congress set up a special vaccine court in 1986 to ... create a system that spares the drug companies the costs of defending against parents' lawsuits. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented. Nothing in the 1986 law ''remotely suggests that Congress intended such a result,'' Sotomayor wrote, taking issue with Scalia. Scalia's opinion was the latest legal setback for parents who felt they got too little from the vaccine court or failed to collect at all. Such was the case for Robalee and Russell Bruesewitz of Pittsburgh, who filed their lawsuit after the vaccine court rejected their claims for compensation. According to the lawsuit, their daughter, Hannah, was a healthy infant until she received the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine in April 1992. Within hours of getting the DPT shot, the third in a series of five, the baby suffered a series of debilitating seizures.
Note: Vaccines have been strongly promoted for decades, yet the research supporting many vaccines is amazingly weak. For more powerful information questioning the efficacy of vaccines, click here.
Clearing the smoke: the science of cannabis
March 3, 2011, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
A new documentary [has been] produced and aired by Montana PBS, a non-profit publicly-supported broadcasting television service in the United States. Their programme, "Clearing the Smoke", investigates the science of marijuana, [exploring] how cannabis acts on the brain and in the body in medically beneficial ways to treat nausea, pain, epilepsy and possibly even cancer. This programme includes extensive interviews with patients, doctors, [and] researchers, and skeptics detail the promises and the limitations of medicinal cannabis. Marijuana use is illegal throughout many countries of the world for reasons that are not clear. This video is important because it mainly investigates the scientific basis underlying the medical benefits of marijuana use instead of focusing on the social, political and legal hysteria that have been attached to it. The paper mentioned in this video, Marijuana Reconsidered, was published in book form and can be purchased from Amazon. The author, Dr Grinspoon, is the world's leading authority on marijuana. In this book, Dr Grinspoon examines -- and debunks -- many of the common misconceptions about marijuana.
Are U.S. government microwave mind-control tests causing TV presenters' brains to melt down?
April 2, 2011, Daily Mail (One of the UK's largest-circulation newspapers)
A bizarre spate of television presenters dissolving into on-air gibberish has sparked claims that the U.S. military could be to blame. In four high-profile cases, the latest involving fast-talking Judge Judy, the presenters have started off speaking properly but have then descended into undecipherable nonsense - looking confused and unstable. The frequency of the 'attacks' - and the fact that recorded examples of the mental meltdowns have been popular on websites - has led to conspiracy theorists pointing the finger at shadowy government experiments. A popular theory being circulated online blames the U.S. Military's supposed research into using microwaves as a mind control weapon. America has never admitted conducting such research but proponents say the effects - produced by microwave signals stimulating the brain with fake images and voices - exactly mimic those displayed in the recent on-air breakdowns. Serene Branson's garbled Grammys report became an internet sensation, while WISCTV's Sarah Carlson suffered a similar meltdown in January. Judith Sheindlin, the fast-talking judge on Judge Judy, was taken to hospital ... after she began speaking a nonsensical string of words during a live recording of her courtroom TV show.
Note: We don't normally use the UK's Daily Mail as a reliable source, but as the video included in this article clearly demonstrate something highly unusual, we've included it here. Another video of this highly strange phemomenon is available here. There is a possibility that some kind of HAARP technologies may be used in doing this. For more, click here. For reliable, verifiable information on secret government mind control programs, see the powerful two-page summary available here.
Italian Scientists Claim (Dubious) Cold Fusion Breakthrough
January 24, 2011, Fox News/Popular Science
Two Italian scientists claim to have successfully developed a cold fusion reactor that produces 12,400 watts of heat power per 400 watts of input. Not only that, but they'll be commercially available in just three months. Cold fusion is a tricky business -- some say a theoretically implausible business. Hypothetically (and broadly) speaking, the process involves fusing two smaller atomic nuclei together into a larger nucleus, a process that releases massive amounts of energy. If harnessed, cold fusion could provide cheap and nearly limitless energy with no radioactive byproduct or massive carbon emissions. Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi claim [their reactor] fuses atomic nuclei of nickel and hydrogen using about 1,000 watts of electricity which, after a few minutes, is reduced to an input of just 400 watts. This reaction purportedly can turn 292 grams of 68 degree water into turbine-turning steam -- a process that would normally require 12,400 watts of electricity, netting them a power gain of about 12,000 watts. They say that commercially scaled, their process could generate eight units of output per unit of input and would cost roughly one penny per kilowatt-hour, drastically cheaper than your average coal plant.
Note: For a balanced and informative article on this, see the Technology News article available here. Sadly, the only other media report on this fascinating news was a Washington Times article available here. For lots more useful information and videos on this exciting discovery, click here.
Key Articles From Years Past
Memphis Jury Sees Conspiracy in Martin Luther King's Killing
December 9, 1999, New York Times
A jury in a civil suit brought by the family of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. decided today that a retired Memphis cafe owner was part of a conspiracy in the 1968 killing of Dr. King. The jury's decision means it did not believe that James Earl Ray, who was convicted of the crime, fired the shot that killed Dr. King. After four weeks of testimony and one hour of deliberation, the jury in the wrongful-death case found that Loyd Jowers as well as ''others, including governmental agencies'' had been part of a conspiracy. The jury awarded the King family the damages they had sought: $100, which the family says it will donate to charity. The family has long questioned Mr. Ray's conviction and hoped the suit would change the legal and historical record of the assassination. Mr. Jowers, in a 1993 television interview, said that he had hired a Memphis police officer to kill Dr. King from the bushes behind his restaurant. Mr. Jowers said he had been paid to do so by a Memphis grocery store owner with Mafia connections. In an unlikely alliance, the King family was represented in the case by William Pepper, who had been Mr. Ray's lawyer. The King family maintains that Mr. Pepper's version of the assassination is the one that gets at the real truth behind Dr. King's death, not the official version with Mr. Ray as the gunman. Mr. Pepper said federal, state and Memphis governmental agencies, as well as the news media conspired in the assassination.'
Note: For an awesome six-minute clip on this most important trial, click here. For other major media article with powerful evidence of conspiracies to kill the Kennedy brothers and more, click here. And for more from the MLK family on this incident, see their fascinating discussion at this link.
Scientists Urge Study Of Ufos
June 30, 1998, Chicago Tribune/Boston Globe
Nine scientists from major universities and research institutions in the U.S. and Europe have reviewed a variety of UFO reports and concluded that there is no proof the reports have anything to do with extraterrestrial intelligence, but that the subject deserves far more attention. The first such review by a scientific panel in 28 years, the report ... was critical of scientists for their lack of curiosity about a subject that has attracted such widespread public interest. It also criticized scientific journals for a reluctance to publish research on the topic. But the report had high praise for the French government, which for 21 years has had a panel devoted to collecting scientific evidence related to new sightings. "Whenever there are unexplained observations, there is the possibility that scientists will learn something new by studying those observations," the panel said in its report, published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration. The journal specializes in publishing reports by legitimate scientists on topics considered too controversial for many other scientific journals. "It may be valuable to carefully evaluate UFO reports to extract information about unusual phenomena currently unknown to science," the group wrote. The panel met last fall for four days to hear various UFO investigators present their "best case" evidence. It focused on reports where there was some kind of physical evidence: photographs, radar recordings, damaged soil or plants or physical symptoms suffered by witnesses.
Note: For lots more on the excellent French report (The Cometa Report), which revealed fascinating, solid evidence of ET visitation, click here. For other key resources on UFOs, see our UFO Information Center.
C.I.A. Admits Government Lied About U.F.O. Sightings
August 3, 1997, New York Times
In the darkest days of the cold war, the military lied to the American public about the true nature of many unidentified flying objects in an effort to hide its growing fleets of spy planes, a Central Intelligence Agency study says. The deceptions were made in the 1950's and 1960's amid a wave of U.F.O. sightings that alarmed the public and parts of official Washington. The C.I.A. study says the Air Force knew that most reports by citizens and aviation experts were based on fleeting glimpses of U-2 and SR-71 spy planes, which fly extremely high. Rather than acknowledging the existence of the top-secret flights or saying nothing about them publicly, the Air Force decided to put out false cover stories, the C.I.A. study says. For instance, unusual observations that were actually spy flights were attributed to atmospheric phenomena like ice crystals and temperature inversions. ''Over half of all U.F.O. reports from the late 1950's through the 1960's were accounted for by manned reconnaissance flights'' over the United States, the C.I.A. study says. ''This led the Air Force to make misleading and deceptive statements to the public in order to allay public fears and to protect an extraordinarily sensitive national security project.'' The admission of Federal deception on the issue appears to be a first, experts said in interviews. ''It's very significant,'' said Richard Hall, chairman of the Fund for U.F.O. Research, a group in Washington.
Note: For key resources on the UFO controversy, see our UFO Information Center.
Please note that most of the summarizing of the revealing news articles in the above summary was done by Tod Fletcher of WantToKnow.info. Many thanks to Tod for all the time and skill he puts into this. The box below provides several ideas on what you can do to spread the news.
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