Top 1% Income Triples, Derivatives Bubble May Soon Burst, Fukushima Fallout Far Worse
Revealing News Articles
November 1, 2011
Below are key excerpts of important news articles on a Congressional Budget Office analysis showing the income of the top 1 percent rose 275% from 1979 to 2007, the possible bursting of the derivatives bubble, reports revealing that fallout from Fukushima was 2 to 20 times worse than admitted by officials, 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. 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.
Note on Recent WTK Message Being Filtered to Spam: Last Friday, I (Fred) sent an email message to the WTK list with revealing excerpts from major media articles on powerful secret societies which wield incredible influence over our world. I then sent out a follow-up email that the earlier message was filtered to my Gmail spam folder for the first time, possibly because the title included the term "secret societies." Several dozen subscribers then responded. Nine Gmail subscribers reported that they also had the messaged filtered to spam, while 17 did not. Yet 12 subscribers who used services other than Gmail also reported the message was filtered to spam. Very strange. I am uncertain as to how or why this filtering was so inconsistent.
Special note: For a great five-minute video on why we should support the Occupy Wall Street movement, click here. For a two-minute video of U.S. Representative Alan Grayson speaking out in support of Occupy Wall Street, click here. For a fascinating study which showed that high cholesterol can actually do more good than harm, click here. To learn about how Breast Cancer Awareness month was initiated by a pharmaceutical company to increase profits, click here. For a highly revealing MSNBC clip showing clearly how the wealthy elite look after their own and even praise dictatorial leaders like Hitler, click here. And for a breakthrough with Andrea Rossi's exciting E-Cat generator (apparently producing 470 megawatts/hour over unity), click here.
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Top 1 Percent's Income Grew 275 Percent From 1979 to 2007
October 26, 2011, ABC News
The income of the richest 1 percent in the U.S. soared 275 percent from 1979 to 2007, but the bottom 20 percent grew by just 18 percent, new government data shows. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a study this week that compared real after-tax household income between 1979 and 2007, which were both after recessions and had similar overall economic activity. While the income of the richest 1 percent nearly tripled, increases were smaller down the economic ladder. After the 1 percent, income for the next highest 20 percent grew by 65 percent, much faster than it did for the remaining 80 percent of the population but still lagging well behind the top percentile. The changes illustrate how the better off have captured the bulk of income gains over the past three decades. The top quintile has seen its share of income rise while the other four quintiles have suffered declines in their shares, according to John Bowler, director of country risk service with the Economist Intelligence Unit. The role of globalization, he added, is "controversial." "Even some policymakers who would traditionally be in the free trade camp are now questioning the benefits of globalization to the middle and lower-income U.S. households, even if they have benefited from cheaper imported manufactured goods," he said.
Note: For key reports on income inequality from reliable sources, click here.
BofA and JPMorgan Derivatives Value Exceed World's GDP
November 18, 2011, Bloomberg/Businessweek
Bank of America Corp., hit by a credit downgrade last month, has moved derivatives from its Merrill Lynch unit to a subsidiary flush with insured deposits. Derivatives are financial instruments used to hedge risks or for speculation. They're derived from stocks, bonds, loans, currencies and commodities, or linked to specific events such as changes in the weather or interest rates. Keeping such deals separate from FDIC-insured savings has been a cornerstone of U.S. regulation for decades, including last year's Dodd-Frank overhaul of Wall Street regulation. Three years after taxpayers rescued some of the biggest U.S. lenders, regulators are grappling with how to protect FDIC-insured bank accounts from risks generated by investment-banking operations. "The concern is that there is always an enormous temptation to dump the losers on the insured institution," said William Black, professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a former bank regulator. "We should have fairly tight restrictions on that." Bank of America's holding company -- the parent of both the retail bank and the Merrill Lynch securities unit -- held almost $75 trillion of derivatives at the end of June. That compares with JPMorgan's deposit-taking entity, JPMorgan Chase Bank NA, which contained 99 percent of the New York-based firm's $79 trillion of notional derivatives.
Note: Remember that the GDP of the entire world is estimated at around $60 trillion, less than JPMorgan or BofA own in derivatives. For an excellent article laying out the incredible risk this creates of a major economic collapse, click here. For more on the high risk and cost to taxpayers of BofA moving its massive amount of derivatives to its subsidiary, click here. For lots more from major media sources on the illegal profiteering of major financial corporations enabled by lax government regulation, click here.
Banking Run Amok Is Less Likely a Year After Dodd-Frank
July 17, 2011, Bloomberg News
With the first anniversary of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law on July 21, ... what has it accomplished? Consumer advocates, many congressional Democrats and some economists say banks are still too big, the derivatives market remains untamed and opaque, and regulators have been slow to write hundreds of rules. Rules forcing most derivatives trades to be processed through clearinghouses, and backed by collateral, should ... be accepted globally to avoid regulatory arbitrage, in which trading firms move to countries with the least intrusive, and lowest cost, oversight. Less than three years ago, the financial system almost buckled under the weight of worthless mortgages, and the country narrowly avoided another Great Depression. Regulators had been blind to the credit boom and bust; banks took huge risks that exploited regulatory gaps. Today, the economy remains weak ... because of the lingering fallout of the financial crisis. Dodd-Frank isn't perfect, but already its influence on the financial system has been positive, in ways big and small. Accounting is more transparent; off-balance-sheet assets are largely a thing of the past. [Yet] with the top 10 U.S. banks holding 77 percent of the industry's domestic assets, compared with 55 percent in 2002, too-big-to-fail is an even bigger worry today. Thomas M. Hoenig, the Kansas City Federal Reserve president, has said that the incentives for risk-taking that existed before the crisis all remain in place.
Note: For many of the most informative reports from major media sources on the financial meltdown and government bailout of the biggest banks, click here.
A Secretive Banking Elite Rules Trading in Derivatives
December 12, 2010, New York Times
On the third Wednesday of every month, the nine members of an elite Wall Street society gather in Midtown Manhattan. The men share a common goal: to protect the interests of big banks in the vast market for derivatives, one of the most profitable – and controversial – fields in finance. They also share a common secret: The details of their meetings, even their identities, have been strictly confidential. Drawn from giants like JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, the bankers form a powerful committee that helps oversee trading in derivatives, instruments which, like insurance, are used to hedge risk. In theory, this group exists to safeguard the integrity of the multitrillion-dollar market. In practice, it also defends the dominance of the big banks. The banks in this group ... have fought to block other banks from entering the market, and they are also trying to thwart efforts to make full information on prices and fees freely available. Banks' influence over this market, and over clearinghouses like the one this select group advises, has costly implications for businesses large and small. The size and reach of this market has grown rapidly over the past two decades. Pension funds today use derivatives to hedge investments. States and cities use them to try to hold down borrowing costs. Airlines use them to secure steady fuel prices. Food companies use them to lock in prices of commodities like wheat or beef.
Note: The GDP of the entire world in 2011 is estimated at under $60 trillion, less than either Bank of America or JP Morgan own in derivatives. For an excellent article laying out the incredible risk this creates of a major economic collapse, click here. For a treasure trove of reports from reliable sources detailing the amazing control of major banks over government and society, click here.
Buffett warns on investment 'time bomb'
March 4, 2003, BBC News
The rapidly growing trade in derivatives poses a "mega-catastrophic risk" for the economy and most shares are still "too expensive", ... investor Warren Buffett has warned. The derivatives market has exploded in recent years, with investment banks selling billions of dollars worth of these investments to clients as a way to off-load or manage market risk. But Mr Buffett argues that such highly complex financial instruments are time bombs and "financial weapons of mass destruction" that could harm not only their buyers and sellers, but the whole economic system. Derivatives are financial instruments that allow investors to speculate on the future price of, for example, commodities or shares - without buying the underlying investment. Outstanding derivatives contracts - excluding those traded on exchanges such as the International Petroleum Exchange - are worth close to $85 trillion, according to the International Swaps and Derivatives Association. Some derivatives contracts, Mr Buffett says, appear to have been devised by "madmen". He warns that derivatives can push companies onto a "spiral that can lead to a corporate meltdown", like the demise of the notorious hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management in 1998.
Note: Though written in 2003, this excellent article reveals the incredible risk of creating derivatives that have more value than the entire GDP of the world. The risk has increased tremendously since then.
Fukushima Fallout Was Almost Twice as Bad as Official Estimates, New Study Says
October 26, 2011, Popular Science magazine
This spring's nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant released almost double the amount of radiation the Japanese government has claimed, according to a new analysis. The authors say the boiling pools holding spent fuel rods played a role in the release of some of the contaminants, primarily cesium-137 – and that this could have been mitigated by an earlier response. Researchers at the Norwegian Institute of Air Research ... say the amount of cesium-137, a long-lived isotope that persists in the atmosphere, was about twice as high as the Japanese government's official estimate. The researchers also say about 20 percent of the total fallout landed over Japan, but the vast majority fell over the Pacific Ocean. (The effects of this fallout on fisheries and aquatic wildlife are still being determined.) Cesium-137 emissions peaked three or four days after the quake and tsunami, remaining high until March 19, according to this new study. That's the day authorities started spraying water on the spent-fuel pool at reactor unit 4, the researchers note. "This indicates that emissions were not only coming from the damaged reactor cores, but also from the spent-fuel pool of unit 4 and confirms that the spraying was an effective countermeasure," they say. This contradicts Japanese government reports claiming the pools released no radiation.
Note: According to the French nuclear agency, the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN, Institut de Radioprotection et de Surete Nucleaire), even the higher estimate of radiation release described in this article is too low. The agency estimates that 20 times more cesium-137 was released than has been admitted by Tepco.
U.S. drone base in Ethiopia is operational
October 27, 2011, Washington Post
The Air Force has been secretly flying Reaper drones on counterterrorism missions from a remote civilian airport in southern Ethiopia as part of a rapidly expanding U.S.-led proxy war ... in East Africa, U.S. military officials said. The Reapers began flying missions earlier this year over neighboring Somalia. The United States has relied on lethal drone attacks, a burgeoning CIA presence in Mogadishu and small-scale missions carried out by U.S. Special Forces. The Washington Post reported last month that the Obama administration is building a constellation of secret drone bases in the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa. The location of the Ethiopian base and the fact that it became operational this year, however, have not been previously disclosed. Some bases in the region also have been used to carry out operations ... in Yemen. The U.S. military deploys drones on attack and surveillance missions over Somalia from a number of bases in the region. The Air Force operates a small fleet of Reapers from the Seychelles, a tropical archipelago in the Indian Ocean, about 800 miles from the Somali coast. The U.S. military also operates drones – both armed versions and models used strictly for surveillance – from Djibouti, a tiny African nation that abuts northwest Somalia at the junction of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
Note: For more from reliable sources on war manipulations and the expanding use of drones worldwide, click here.
Founder Says WikiLeaks, Starved of Cash, May Close
October 25, 2011, New York Times
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, said ... that his controversial website could be forced to shut down by the end of the year because a 10-month-old "financial blockade" had sharply reduced the donations on which it depends. Calling the blockade a "dangerous, oppressive and undemocratic" attack led by the United States, Assange said at a news conference that it had deprived his organization of "tens of millions of dollars," and warned, "If WikiLeaks does not find a way to remove this blockade, we will not be able to continue by the turn of the new year." Since the end of 2010, financial intermediaries - including Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union - have refused to allow donations to WikiLeaks to flow through their systems, he said, blocking "95 percent" of the website's revenue and leaving it to operate on its cash reserves for the past 10 months. An aide said that WikiLeaks was now receiving less than $10,000 a month in donations. Assange said that WikiLeaks had been forced to halt work on the processing of tens of thousands of secret documents that it has received, and to turn its attention instead to lawsuits it has filed in the United States, Australia, Scandinavian countries and elsewhere, as well as to a formal petition to the European Commission to try to restore donors' ability to send it money through normal channels.
Note: For more on this from BBC, click here.
The bankers' blockade of WikiLeaks must end
October 24, 2011, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
In December 2010 three of the world's biggest payment providers, Visa, Mastercard and Paypal, cut off funding to WikiLeaks. Ten months later, Julian Assange has announced the whistleblowing site will suspend operations until the blockade is lifted – and warned WikiLeaks does not have the money to continue into 2012 at current levels of funding. The banking blockade against WikiLeaks is one of the most sinister developments in recent years, and perhaps the most extreme example in a western democracy of extrajudicial actions aimed at stifling free speech. Payment companies representing more than 97% of the global market have shut off the funding taps between WikiLeaks and those who would donate to it. Unlike many of the country's leading corporations, WikiLeaks has neither been charged with, nor convicted of, any crime at either state, federal, or international level. Visa and Mastercard are already inescapable. As the world becomes ever-more digital ... they will become still more pervasive. If they are allowed to cut off payment to lawful organisations with whom they disagree, the US's first amendment, the European convention on human rights' article 10, and all other legal free speech protections become irrelevant. Those who value free expression, whether they like WikiLeaks or loathe it, should hope it wins its current battle.
Note: For more on this from BBC, click here.
Obama should give press access to his fundraisers
October 25, 2011, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
The Obama White House's restrictions on media access to its fundraising events makes a mockery of its claim to be the most transparent administration in history. If anything, there is almost a Nixonian quality to the level of control, paranoia - and lack of credibility - this White House has demonstrated on the issue of media access to President Obama's fundraisers. Bay Area reporters will not be allowed inside the W Hotel today when the president meets with hundreds of contributors paying $7,500 or more to attend. Only Washington-based journalists were allowed in the pool - continuing a disturbing trend by this White House to severely limit access to fundraisers. Fundraisers are not private events in this post-Watergate era. Contributions are a matter of public record, and the public has a right to know what is being said to and by the president. Local journalists are better positioned than their Beltway brethren to recognize who is there - and why. The White House press office seems to have missed the transparency memo. Now it has cut all local reporters out of the pool. Most transparent administration in history? We'll see. Right now, we'd settle for straight answers and the opportunity to do our jobs.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on government secrecy, click here.
Ex-Abramoff associate Ring sentenced to 20 months in 1 of scandal's harshest punishments
October 26, 2011, Washington Post/Associated Press
A former lobbyist who was a rising star under Jack Abramoff's tutelage was sentenced ... to nearly two years in prison for giving public officials meals and event tickets. Kevin Ring argued up until his emotional sentencing hearing that he was operating in a corrupt Washington environment controlled by people with money and that he did not break the law. U.S. District [Judge] Ellen Segal Huvelle said Ring's conduct was not nearly as egregious as ringleader Abramoff or some of the others involved in a scandal that resulted in stricter lobbying rules in Washington. But the judge gave Ring a sentence of 20 months, one of the stiffest terms among the 21 defendants in the investigation. Most others involved cooperated with prosecutors and got plea deals that avoided prison. Huvelle said she did not consider Ring's conduct [nearly as] bad as that of Abramoff and his business partner, Michael Scanlon, who bilked their American Indian tribal clients out of $20 million in fees, or former Rep. Bob Ney, who accepted golf and gambling trips, tickets to sporting events, free meals and campaign donations. But Abramoff, Scanlon and Ney all reached plea agreements with prosecutors that helped cut their sentences while Ring fought at trial. His sentence ranks with theirs – Abramoff got 48 months, Ney 30 months and Scanlon also was sentenced to 20 months.
Note: A petty thief steals three times for a total value of a few thousand dollars and by the "three strikes" law ends up in jail for life. Abramoff, the former head of the NASDAQ stock exchange, along with his assistants bilk many thousands of investors out of many billions of dollars and serve less than four years in jail. Many get off with no jail time. Is the US justice system biased towards the rich?
Dear White House: Please Tell Us the Truth About E.T.
October 18, 2011, Wall Street Journal
When the White House promised to answer citizen petitions on the most pressing problems of the day, it may not have had extraterrestrial life in mind. More than 10,000 petitions have poured in since the new initiative was announced last month in a bid to bring government closer to the people. [Among the] Top Ten Petitions: Abolish the TSA, and use its monstrous budget to fund more sophisticated, less intrusive counter-terrorism intelligence -- 26,328 signatures; End the destructive, wasteful and counterproductive "War on Drugs" -- 16,422 signatures; Formally acknowledge an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race - Disclosure -- 10,316 signatures. Stephen Bassett ... wants to end the "truth embargo," or what he believes is the government's deliberate decision to withhold what it has long known about the existence of extraterrestrial life. "The fact is that there is an extraterrestrial presence. I know this because I'm familiar with the research and a couple hundred government witnesses have come forward in the last couple years," he said. "Acknowledging this E.T. presence is about open government." Mr. Bassett decided to post a petition as soon as he heard about the opportunity and immediately sent a link to his 10,000-person email list.
Note: For excellent information on UFOs and the possibility of extraterrestrial visitation, check out our UFO Information Center.
Drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in U.S., data show
September 1, 2011, Los Angeles Times
Propelled by an increase in prescription narcotic overdoses, drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in the United States, a Times analysis of government data has found. Drugs exceeded motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death in 2009, killing at least 37,485 people nationwide, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While most major causes of preventable death are declining, drugs are an exception. The death toll has doubled in the last decade, now claiming a life every 14 minutes. By contrast, traffic accidents have been dropping for decades because of huge investments in auto safety. Public health experts have used the comparison to draw attention to the nation's growing prescription drug problem, which they characterize as an epidemic. This is the first time that drugs have accounted for more fatalities than traffic accidents since the government started tracking drug-induced deaths in 1979. Fueling the surge in deaths are prescription pain and anxiety drugs that are potent, highly addictive and especially dangerous when combined with one another or with other drugs or alcohol. Such drugs now cause more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
Prescription drug abuse destroys millions of lives
April 21, 2010, Baltimore Sun
There isn't much attention paid to prescription drug abuse, except perhaps when a Hollywood star dies from an overdose. However, it is estimated that nearly one in five Americans has used prescription drugs for nonmedicinal reasons, and 15 percent may be abusing prescription drugs. This silent epidemic has become the leading cause of addiction. The dangers of prescription drug abuse are growing at an exponential rate. Between 1992 and 2002, the number of prescriptions written increased by 61 percent, but the number of prescriptions written for opiates increased by almost 400 percent. Opiates reflect three-quarters of all prescription drugs abused. According to a report this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospitalizations for poisoning by prescription opioids, sedatives and tranquilizers jumped 65 percent from 1999 to 2006. One-third of new addicts report that their first drug experience was with prescription drugs. More and more teenagers are turning away from street drugs and using prescription drugs to get high.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
Last of US's most powerful nuclear bombs, put into service in 1962, dismantled in Texas
October 25, 2011, Minneapolis Star-Tribune/Associated Press
The last of the nation's biggest nuclear bombs, a Cold War relic 600 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was dismantled [on October 25]. Workers in Texas separated the roughly 300 pounds of high explosives inside from the special nuclear material – uranium – known as the pit. The work was done outside of public view for security reasons, but explosives from a bomb taken apart earlier were detonated as officials and reporters watched from less than a mile away. Put into service in 1962, when Cold War tensions peaked during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the B53 weighed 10,000 pounds and was the size of a minivan. The B53's disassembly ends the era of big megaton bombs, said Hans Kristensen, a spokesman for the Federation of American Scientists. The biggest nuclear bomb in the nation's arsenal now is the 1.2-megaton B83, he said. The B53 was 9 megatons. The 15-kiloton bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, at the end of World War II killed as many as 140,000 people. Kristensen said the Obama administration shouldn't boast too much about dismantling the B53 when its arsenal of active nuclear warheads has been reduced by only 10 in the past seven months and Russia's arsenal has grown by 29. The two nations signed a treaty in December to reduce their arsenals.
Chocolate curbs stroke in women, study suggests
October 11, 2011, CBS News
Chocolate seems to be good for the cardiovascular system - no secret there. Studies have tied the sweet stuff to lower blood pressure, healthier blood vessels, and reduced risk of blood clots. And now Swedish researchers have linked chocolate to a reduced risk for stroke. The scientists found that the women who ate the most chocolate - 66.5 grams a week, or about 2.4 ounces - were 20 percent less likely to have a stroke than the women who never or seldom ate chocolate. The study was published in the October 2011 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. But before you unleash your inner chocoholic, be aware that not all forms of chocolate are thought to be beneficial. Dark chocolate is best because it contains more of the antioxidant-rich cocoa and less sugar and fewer calories than milk chocolate.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
Key Articles From Years Past
Secret Nazi 'Lebensborn children' go public
November 4, 2006, MSNBC/Associated Press
Folker Heinicke always had the feeling that something about his upbringing just wasn't right. Raised in a German home full of wealth and privilege did not dull his notions that something was missing, but it would be decades before he would learn the full truth: he was the child of a Nazi program to strengthen the German race with Aryan blood. He and other children – known as "Lebensborn Kinder" or "source of life" kids – were the product of parents chosen for their traits to breed Hitler's idealized blue-eyed, blonde-haired Aryan race. The Lebensborn program was the mirror opposite of the Nazi's other, more hideous racial experiments. While millions of Jews and others deemed "undesirable," were slaughtered, these children were carefully selected for their Aryan qualities and brought into the world in comfortable surroundings, well away from the Allied bombing raids. Of the estimated 5,000 to 8,000 born into Lebensborn homes in Germany, some were raised by their birth mothers, but many were given over to families of high-ranking SS officers to be raised according to Nazi doctrine.
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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