Bin Laden Death Records Missing, Corporations: Record High Profits, Record Low Taxes
Revealing News Articles
March 27, 2012
Below are key excerpts of important news articles on corporations reaching record high profits while paying the lowest tax rate in 50 years, the Pentagon's claim that its records are missing on the Osama bin Laden 'death raid,' 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.
Special note: For a rich and powerful four-minute video on the specialness of enjoying being alone, click here. For a powerful documentary on the dangers of GM food, click here. For Matt Taibbi's latest excellent piece on banking manipulations, click here. For an inspiring five-minute video about the Occupy movement which could be called "Occupy your heart," click here. For James Bamford's amazing new report about the NSA's vast expansion of its surveillance capabilities, click here.
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Corporations pay less in taxes than Buffett, Romney
March 12, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Corporations pay a lower effective tax rate than Warren Buffett and Mitt Romney, but you wouldn't know it from all the complaints that our corporate tax rate puts our country at a competitive disadvantage. Despite an official corporate tax rate 35 percent, last year, U.S. corporations paid just 12.1 percent of their earnings in federal corporate income taxes. Buffett's tax rate is 17.4 percent; Romney's reported 2010 tax rate was 13.9 percent. Our broken tax system blesses U.S. multinational corporations with lots of loopholes that enable them to pay less in taxes than Main Street businesses. It has starved our government of revenue. Contrary to common perception, U.S. corporations pay far less toward the cost of public services and infrastructure than they did in decades past, and less than foreign competitors pay in their countries today. In the 1950s, corporate federal income taxes accounted for nearly one-third of federal government revenue; in 2011, corporate taxes accounted for less than 8 percent. U.S. corporate profits account for more than 10 percent of GDP, a 50-year high. Federal corporate income taxes collected as a percent of GDP are at a 50-year low. The challenge of corporate taxes and competitiveness is not that rates are too high, but that loopholes, preferences and subsidies make corporate tax collections far too low.
Pentagon says it has no records of bin Laden's death; CIA hasn't answered open records request
March 15, 2012, Minneapolis Star Tribune/Associated Press
Government officials have openly discussed details of the mission [to kill Osama bin Laden] in speeches, interviews and television appearances, but the administration won't disclose records that would confirm their narrative of that fateful night. The Associated Press asked for files about the raid in more than 20 separate [FOIA] requests, mostly submitted the day after bin Laden's death. The Pentagon told the AP this month it could not locate any photographs or video taken during the raid or showing bin Laden's body. It also said it could not find any images of bin Laden's body on the Navy aircraft carrier where the al-Qaida leader's body was taken. The Pentagon said it could not find any death certificate, autopsy report or results of DNA identification tests for bin Laden, or any pre-raid materials discussing how the government planned to dispose of bin Laden's body if he were killed. It said it searched files at the Pentagon, U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, Fla., and the Navy command in San Diego that controls the USS Carl Vinson, the aircraft carrier used in the mission. The Defense Department told the AP in late February it could not find any emails about the bin Laden mission or his "Geronimo" code name that were sent or received in the year before the raid by William McRaven, the three-star admiral at the Joint Special Operations Command who organized and oversaw the mission. It also could not find any emails from other senior officers who would have been involved in the mission's planning.
Note: WantToKnow team member Prof. David Ray Griffin, in his book Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive?, lays out the extensive evidence that bin laden died in December 2001, and that since that time Pentagon psyops had been keeping him "alive" with fake videos and audiotapes to maintain a crucial pretext for the ever-expanding "war on terror." Could it be that the Pentagon will produce no records of its purported "death raid" because in fact it will reveal major manipulations involving bin Laden's death?
Executive Order -- National Defense Resources Preparedness
March 16, 2012, The White House
Section 101. Purpose. This order delegates authorities and addresses national defense resource policies and programs under the Defense Production Act of 1950. Sec. 103. General Functions. Executive departments and agencies ... responsible for plans and programs relating to national defense ... or for resources and services needed to support such plans and programs, shall: ... (c) be prepared, in the event of a potential threat to the security of the United States, to take actions necessary to ensure the availability of adequate resources and production capability, including services and critical technology, for national defense requirements; ... Sec. 310. Critical Items. The head of each agency engaged in procurement for the national defense is delegated the authority of the President ... to take appropriate action to ensure that critical components, critical technology items, essential materials, and industrial resources are available from reliable sources when needed to meet defense requirements during peacetime, graduated mobilization, and national emergency. Appropriate action may include restricting contract solicitations to reliable sources, restricting contract solicitations to domestic sources (pursuant to statutory authority), stockpiling critical components, and developing substitutes for critical components or critical technology items. [signed] BARACK OBAMA
Note: For analysis of this executive order issued by President Obama giving legal power to the executive office to take control of all national resources, public or private, in peacetime or in war, click here.
Safety worries shut down San Onofre nuclear plant
March 16, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle/Associated Press
A nuclear reactor on the Southern California coast will remain shut down indefinitely while a team of federal inspectors determines why several relatively new tubes became so frail that tests found they could rupture and release radioactive water, a federal official said [on March 15]. The Unit 3 reactor at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, located about 45 miles north of San Diego, was shut down as a precaution on Jan. 31 after a water leak from another tube in a massive steam generator. Since then, investigators have been looking into excessive wear found on steam generator tubes in the seaside plant and its twin, Unit 2, which has been offline for maintenance and refueling. The two huge steam generators at Unit 2, each containing 9,700 tubes, were replaced in fall 2009, and a year later in Unit 3 as part of a $670 million overhaul. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission dispatched a special, five-member team to Unit 3 ... after pressure tests showed three of the metal-alloy tubes had become so degraded that they could rupture under some circumstances. Such ruptures can require a plant to shut down, if spewing water reaches 150 gallons a day. According to the NRC, the tubes have an important safety role because they represent one of the primary barriers between the radioactive and non-radioactive sides of the plant. If a tube breaks, radioactivity from the system that pumps water through the reactor could escape into the atmosphere.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on the dangers of nuclear power, click here.
Fugitives from justice: Roman Catholic priests
March 11, 2012, Chicago Tribune
Few clergy who fled the U.S. after being accused of sexual abuse of minors have been returned to face the charges. Since 1985, at least 32 Roman Catholic priests have left the United States for foreign countries while facing criminal charges or a police investigation over allegations that they sexually assaulted or abused minors, according to federal warrants, news reports and law enforcement sources. Only five have been returned to the U.S. to face trial; some died abroad. The number of fugitive priests grows by more than two dozen if it includes those who left the country while facing internal church probes or civil allegations of child sex misconduct, instead of a criminal investigation, and those who were transferred to foreign countries by church authorities before or after allegations surfaced. Many have maintained their innocence. Authorities also have pursued religious leaders from other faith traditions who fled the U.S. amid abuse allegations.
Note: This extensive, multi-part report includes detailed stories on individual priests who have fled justice, and photos of many such fugitives, as well as other types of fugitive criminals. For key reports from reliable sources on sexual abuse scandals, click here.
Sandusky labeled 'likely pedophile' in 1998 report
March 24, 2012, MSNBC
More than a decade before former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with more than 50 counts of child sex abuse, a psychologist warned university police that his actions fit that of a "likely pedophile's pattern." The finding by State College, Pa., psychologist Dr. Alycia A. Chambers, the therapist for one of Sandusky's alleged victims, was contained in the internal Penn State files of a 1998 police investigation of the former coach. Chambers' detailed report is potentially significant because it was the first clear warning about the former Penn State coach's actions – nearly four years before a then-graduate assistant, Mike McQueary, reported to the late Coach Joe Paterno and other top school officials that he had found Sandusky in the Penn State showers one evening with [a] young boy, engaged in what he viewed as sexual contact. In her interview with NBC News, Chambers described her anguish when she was contacted by police last year and learned that authorities were again investigating Sandusky for allegedly molesting multiple other boys, 13 years after she first raised her concerns. "I was horrified to know that there were so many other innocent boys who had their hearts and minds confused, their bodies violated," said Chambers. "It's unspeakable."
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on sexual abuse scandals, click here.
MF Global Still Set to Pay Bonuses
March 12, 2012, Wall Street Journal
Three top executives of MF Global Holdings Ltd. when it collapsed could get bonuses of as much as several hundred thousand dollars each under a plan by a trustee overseeing the securities firm's bankruptcy case. Louis Freeh, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director now in charge of unwinding what is left of the New York company, is expected to ask a bankruptcy-court judge as soon as this month to approve performance-related payouts for the chief operating officer, finance chief and general counsel at MF Global. Under the expected pay plan, the three executives and as many as 20 other MF Global employees working for Mr. Freeh would get the bonuses only if they hit specified targets such as increasing the value of MF Global's estate for creditors. The bonus plan could face fierce resistance. One reason: Criminal and civil investigators are scrutinizing the role of top executives and others at MF Global in money transfers that resulted in a $1.6 billion shortfall in customer accounts. So far, many hedge funds, farmers and other investors who bought and sold through MF Global have gotten about 72 cents out of every $1 held by the firm when it collapsed. Hopes for additional recoveries have dimmed as the probe grinds on. Neal Wolkoff, a former executive at the New York Mercantile Exchange who now works as a consultant, said it "is shocking" that Messrs. Abelow and Steenkamp still work at MF Global and could earn bonuses "because it represents a conflict of interest."
Note: For an abundance of major media articles revealing major financial manipulations, click here.
Goldman Sachs is latest to hear wrath of ex-worker
March 16, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
The Goldman Sachs executive who didn't so much burn as firebomb his career bridges with a poisonous resignation letter in the New York Times wasn't the only former employee to go on a publicized rant this week. A couple of days earlier, James Whittaker, an engineering director at Google who recently moved to Microsoft, took direct aim at the Mountain View search giant in a blog post arguing that the company has lost its way in the desperate quest to funnel users into its social network. Later that day, in an opinion piece on Wired.com, Andy Baio assailed Yahoo's patent-infringement suit against Facebook ... calling it "extortion" and a betrayal of employees. Obviously these parting shots carried extra weight coming from onetime senior, internal sources. While it's hard to draw broad conclusions about the criticisms, we can safely draw some narrow ones: Goldman Sachs should stop being an awful, awful corporate citizen (but then we've known that). Google shouldn't undermine its culture and core product in search of the next big thing. And Yahoo should drop this embarrassing lawsuit over bogus patents and get to work on real innovation. Alas, the conclusion most companies will probably draw from these episodes is that they need to toughen up their nondisclosure agreements.
In R-rated world, 'Bully' deserves to be heard
March 16, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Nobody connected with the documentary "Bully," from filmmaker Lee Hirsch to the Weinstein Co.'s Harvey Weinstein, could possibly be surprised by the film's getting an R rating from the MPAA. If even I know that two f-words will almost always get you an automatic R rating from the Motion Picture Association of America, then Weinstein, who knows a few things about making movies, certainly knew it, too. Nor is there any question that things could not have worked out better for "Bully" had they planned it - so they probably did plan it. The outrage over the R rating for this documentary, about kids getting bullied in school, is the absolute best publicity that a distributor could hope for. Documentaries are like the literary novel of the movie world - lots of respect but a limited audience. Now this movie has become a cause and will be seen by everybody. "Bully," which exposes the horrible bullying that millions of kids are subjected to and that our schools and institutions tolerate, initially received an R rating on the basis of its "language." Weinstein and one of the kids depicted in the film made a personal appeal to the MPAA board, but the R rating was upheld by a single vote. In a country in which kids are coming home beaten up or demoralized, and in which social media have become the ultimate goon squad to browbeat, intimidate and humiliate the young and delicate among us, the MPAA needs to reverse its decision. But whatever they do, the good news is that they've all but guaranteed that "Bully" will find an audience.
Note: To learn about Challenge Day, the amazing organization which put bullying on the map, click here. A documentary on their transformative work won and Emmy award. You can watch powerful clips of this moving documentary at the link just given.
A Drumbeat on Profit Takers
March 20, 2012, New York Times
Dr. Arnold S. Relman [is] 88; Dr. Marcia Angell, 72. But their voices are as strong as ever. Colleagues for decades, late-life romantic partners, the pair has occasionally, wistfully, been called American medicine's royal couple. In fact, controversy and some considerably less complimentary labels have dogged them as well. From 1977 to 2000, one or both of them filled top editorial slots at The New England Journal of Medicine as it grew into perhaps the most influential medical publication in the world, with a voice echoing to Wall Street, Washington and beyond. Many of the urgent questions in the accelerating turmoil surrounding health care today were first articulated during their tenure. Or, as Dr. Relman summarized one recent afternoon ..., Dr. Angell nodding in agreement by his side: "I told you so." Their joint crusade ... is against for-profit medicine, especially its ancillary profit centers of commercial insurance and drug manufacture – in Dr. Relman's words, "the people who are making a zillion bucks out of the commercial exploitation of medicine." Some have dismissed the pair as medical Don Quixotes, comically deluded figures tilting at benign features of the landscape. Others consider them first responders in what has become a battle for the soul of American medicine.
Note: For a powerful summary of Dr. Marcia Angell's critique of corruption in the medical industry, click here.
Cage Vs. Free Range Eggs
February, 2012, National Geographic
Egg-laying hens confined to cages do not have space to move, stretch or engage in natural behaviors, which causes them to engage in repetitive or destructive behaviors, such as feather-pulling or pecking at their neighbors. Caged hens show more fearful behavior and become prone to skeletal problems because of captivity. Because free-range hens are allowed outdoor access, more space to move around and more opportunities to engage in natural behaviors, free-range eggs are generally regarded as a more humane alternative to conventionally produced eggs. Large numbers of animals confined in small spaces, as seen in conventional egg-production facilities, pollute the air, water and soil with the vast amounts of manure they produce. Animal-based agriculture doesn't have to create a liability for the environment. In his 2006 book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan described poultry farms where rotating pastured poultry among fields provided enough manure to boost the nutrient levels in the soil without becoming toxic. At the same time, the chickens helped to control pests. In addition to being healthier for the planet, free-range eggs are often healthier for you too. In 2007, Mother Earth News collected nutritional data from the eggs produced by 14 flocks of free-range pastured hens and compared that with data provided by the USDA for conventional eggs. The study revealed that the free-range eggs, on average, contained one-third less cholesterol and one-quarter less saturated fat, in addition to higher levels of vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids.
Solar Flare: What If Biggest Known Sun Storm Hit Today?
March 8, 2012, NationalGeographic.com
A powerful sun storm–associated with the second biggest solar flare of the current 11-year sun cycle–is now hitting Earth, so far with few consequences. But the potentially "severe geomagnetic storm," in NASA's words, could disrupt power grids, radio communications, and GPS as well as spark dazzling auroras. The storm ... won't hold a candle to an 1859 space-weather event, scientists say–and it's a good thing too. If a similar sun storm were to occur in the current day–as it well could–modern life could come to a standstill, they add. That storm has been dubbed the Carrington Event, after British astronomer Richard Carrington, who witnessed the megaflare and was the first to realize the link between activity on the sun and geomagnetic disturbances on Earth. During the Carrington Event, northern lights were reported as far south as Cuba and Honolulu, while southern lights were seen as far north as Santiago, Chile. The flares were so powerful that "people in the northeastern U.S. could read newspaper print just from the light of the aurora," Daniel Baker, of the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, said at a geophysics meeting in December 2010. In addition, the geomagnetic disturbances were strong enough that U.S. telegraph operators reported sparks leaping from their equipment–some bad enough to set fires, said Ed Cliver, a space physicist at the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory in Bedford, Massachusetts. If something similar happened today, the world's high-tech infrastructure could grind to a halt.
Note: For more on this, click here and here. The first article talks about the vulnerability of the world's nuclear reactors to such a storm. If telegraph systems failed in the solar storm of 1859, how much damage do you think such a storm would do to our modern electronics? And why aren't more people talking about this?
Hippies head for Noah's Ark: Queue here for rescue aboard alien spaceship
March 25, 2012, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
A mountain looming over a French commune with a population of just 200 is being touted as a modern Noah's Ark when doomsday arrives – supposedly less than nine months from now. A rapidly increasing stream of New Age believers – or esoterics, as locals call them – have descended in their camper van-loads on the usually picturesque and tranquil Pyrenean village of Bugarach. They believe that when apocalypse strikes on 21 December this year, the aliens waiting in their spacecraft inside Pic de Bugarach will save all the humans near by and beam them off to the next age. For decades, there has been a belief that Pic de Bugarach, which, at 1,230 metres, is the highest in the Corbières mountain range, possesses an eery power. Often called the "upside-down mountain" – geologists think that it exploded after its formation and the top landed the wrong way up. Since the 1960s, it has attracted New Agers, who insist that it emits special magnetic waves. Further, rumours persist that the country's late president François Mitterrand was transported by helicopter on to the peak, while the Nazis, and, later, Israel's Mossad, performed mysterious digs there. A grizzled man wearing a white linen smock, who calls himself Jean, set up a yurt in the forest a couple of years ago to prepare for the earth's demise. "The apocalypse we believe in is the end of a certain world and the beginning of another," he offers. "A new spiritual world. The year 2012 is the end of a cycle of suffering. Bugarach is one of the major chakras of the earth, a place devoted to welcoming the energies of tomorrow."
Note: If you are waiting for any particular date or any particular person or group to be saved, you are still waiting. The time is now, and we are the ones we've been waiting for!
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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