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Radioactivity Pours Into Pacific, NSA Pays UK Millions To Spy, Weed Turnaround at CNN
Revealing News Articles
August 12, 2013

Dear friends,

Below are key excerpts of important news articles on radioactivity pouring into the Pacific from disabled Japanese reactors, the revelation that the NSA is paying the UK millions to spy on it's behalf, a weed turnaround at CNN by CNN's medical correspondent, and more. Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on the whistled names used by dolphins to communicate with each other and the vast number of planets suitable for life in our universe. You can also skip to this section now.

Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails, see this page. The most important sentences are highlighted. And don't miss the "What you can do" section below the summaries. By educating ourselves and spreading the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

With best wishes,
Tod Fletcher and Fred Burks for PEERS and WantToKnow.info

Special note: To learn how Wells Fargo has come to control almost 40% of the US mortgage market and become the world's largest bank in terms of market capitalization, click here. For a great story about a Hollywood executive who chose to beg at a freeway onramp one day to find renewed inspiration in his life, click here. For an inspiring video about the masks men wear, click here. For an excellent article suggesting there is much more to the Detroit bankruptcy than meets the eye, click here. For a touching four-minute video inspiring greater compassion for all around us, click here.


New Leaks Into Pacific at Japan Nuclear Plant
August 7, 2013, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/07/world/asia/leaks-into-pacific-persist-at-japan-nuclear-plant.html

Tons of contaminated groundwater from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant have overwhelmed an underground barrier and are emptying daily into the Pacific, creating what a top regulator has called a crisis. The water contains strontium and cesium, as well as tritium. The plant was already struggling to store hundreds of thousands of tons of contaminated water that flowed through the buildings housing three reactors where [three] meltdowns occurred in 2011. But the contamination in this new groundwater problem is from different sources, Tepco said. The company has admitted that it failed to respond quickly enough to the latest groundwater contamination, saying it was preoccupied with more pressing issues like cooling the damaged reactors. "Tepco appears overwhelmed in dealing with what is a very serious problem," said Akio Yamamoto, a professor of nuclear engineering at Nagoya University, who serves as outside expert for the Nuclear Regulation Authority, Japan's nuclear watchdog. Critics contend that the plant has emitted far more radioactive materials than it is saying, based in part on levels of contaminants discovered in the harbor, which are well above safe levels in some places. The contamination appears to be spreading, with tests last month by Tepco showing high levels of tritium and other radioactive elements like strontium starting at other locations near the two other crippled reactors.

Note: Declaring the situation an "emergency", the Japanese government has stepped in to take over control of the response from Tepco. For more on this, click here. For a National Geographic article on what you need to know about the radioactive contamination of the Pacific Ocean by the Fukushima disaster, click here. It reports that scientists have estimated that contaminated seawater could reach the West Coast of the United States in five years or less. For more on the environmental devastation of nuclear power, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Toxic Fukushima fallout threatens fishermen's livelihoods
August 9, 2013, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/09/fukushima-fallout-threatens-fishermens-livelihoods

Despite his age, 63-year-old Kazuo Niitsuma believes there are many more years of fishing ahead of him. The sea is in his family's blood, he says. His octogenarian father began working on boats when he was 12, and only retired three years ago. But ... Niitsuma knows he may never again get the chance to board his boat and head out into the Pacific in search of sole, whitebait, flounder and greenling. The greatest threat to Niitsuma's livelihood, and that of other fishermen in Hisanohama ... lies just up the coast at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The environment ministry recently announcement that 300 tonnes of contaminated groundwater from Fukushima Daiichi is still seeping over or around barriers into the Pacific every day, more than two years after it was struck by a tsunami in March 2011. Government officials said they suspected the leaks had started soon after the accident. The admission by the ministry, confirmed by Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), which runs the plant, is likely to keep Hisanohama's 40 fishing boats in port for the foreseeable future. Tepco's failure to handle the contaminated water – and accusations that it tried to cover up the leaks – is a serious setback to attempts to clean up Fukushima Daiichi, 18 months after the government declared it had reached a "safe" state known as cold shutdown. "I haven't been able to fish since the tsunami," Niitsuma said. "People want to be reassured that they are buying fish that is safe to eat, and we can't give them that guarantee at the moment."

Note: Declaring the situation an "emergency", the Japanese government has stepped in to take over control of the response from Tepco. For more on this, click here. For a National Geographic article on what you need to know about the radioactive contamination of the Pacific Ocean by the Fukushima disaster, click here. It reports that scientists have estimated that contaminated seawater could reach the West Coast of the United States in five years or less. For more on the environmental devastation of nuclear power, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Americans pay GCHQ 100m to spy for them, leaked papers claim
August 1, 2013, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/10217280/Americans-pay-GCHQ-100m-to-spy-for...

GCHQ has received at least 100 million from the US to help fund intelligence gathering, raising questions over American influence on the British agencies. The money was paid across a range of projects over three years and resulted in GCHQ spying on behalf of America, according to leaked documents. It also emerged that the intelligence agency wants the ability to "exploit any phone, anywhere, any time" and that some staff have raised concerns over the "morality and ethics" of their operational work. The payments from the US National Security Agency (NSA) are detailed in GCHQ's annual "investment portfolios", leaked by Mr Snowden to The Guardian. The NSA paid GCHQ 22.9 million in 2009, 39.9 million in 2010 and 34.7 million in 2011/12. The 2010 funding included ... 17.2 million for the agency's "Mastering the Internet" project, which gathers "raw" information from the web to be analysed. In return, GCHQ has to have the American view in mind when prioritising work, the papers claim. One strategy briefing disclosed the pressure on GCHQ to meet NSA demands, saying: "GCHQ must pull its weight and be seen to pull its weight." In another document, from 2010, GCHQ apparently acknowledged that the US had "raised a number of issues with regards to meeting NSA's minimum expectations".

Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Why I changed my mind on weed
August 9, 2013, CNN
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/08/health/gupta-changed-mind-marijuana/index.html

Over the last year, I [CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta] have been working on a new documentary called "Weed." The title "Weed" may sound cavalier, but the content is not. I traveled around the world to interview medical leaders, experts, growers and patients. I spoke candidly to them, asking tough questions. What I found was stunning. Long before I began this project, I had steadily reviewed the scientific literature on medical marijuana from the United States and thought it was fairly unimpressive. Reading these papers five years ago, it was hard to make a case for medicinal marijuana. I even wrote about this in a TIME magazine article, back in 2009, titled "Why I would Vote No on Pot." Well, I am here to apologize. I apologize because I didn't look hard enough, until now. I didn't look far enough. I didn't review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis. I mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a schedule 1 substance because of sound scientific proof. Surely, they must have quality reasoning as to why marijuana is in the category of the most dangerous drugs that have "no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse." They didn't have the science to support that claim, and I now know that when it comes to marijuana neither of those things are true. It doesn't have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works.

Note: This article was authored by CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. For more on the proven benefits from many mind-altering drugs, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


US directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans
August 5, 2013, CNBC/Reuters
http://www.cnbc.com/id/100938530

A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans. Documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin–not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges. The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to "recreate" the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant's constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don't know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence–information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses. "I have never heard of anything like this at all," said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers. "It is one thing to create special rules for national security," Gertner said. "Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations."

Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Email service used by Snowden shuts itself down, warns against using US-based companies
August 9, 2013, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/09/lavabit-shutdown-snowden-silicon-valley

A Texas-based encrypted email service recently revealed to be used by Edward Snowden - Lavabit - announced yesterday it was shutting itself down in order to avoid complying with what it perceives as unjust secret US court orders to provide government access to its users' content. "After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations," the company's founder, Ladar Levinson, wrote in a statement to users posted on the front page of its website. He said the US directive forced on his company "a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit." He chose the latter. CNET's Declan McCullagh ... speculates that Lavabit was served "with [a] federal court order to intercept users' passwords" to allow ongoing monitoring of emails; specifically: "the order can also be to install FedGov-created malware." After challenging the order in district court and losing - all in a secret court proceeding, naturally - Lavabit shut itself down to avoid compliance while it appeals to the Fourth Circuit. What is particularly creepy about the Lavabit self-shutdown is that the company is gagged by law even from discussing the legal challenges it has mounted and the court proceeding it has engaged. In other words, the American owner of the company believes his Constitutional rights and those of his customers are being violated by the US Government, but he is not allowed to talk about it. Lavabit has been told that they would face serious criminal sanctions if they publicly discuss what is being done to their company.

Note: For more on government and corporate privacy invasions, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


The Public-Private Surveillance Partnership
July 31, 2013, Bloomberg News
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-31/the-public-private-surveillance-partnership.html

Computers and networks inherently produce data, and our constant interactions with them allow corporations to collect an enormous amount of intensely personal data about us as we go about our daily lives. Sometimes we produce this data inadvertently simply by using our phones, credit cards, computers and other devices. Sometimes we give corporations this data directly on Google, Facebook, [or] Apple's iCloud ... in exchange for whatever free or cheap service we receive from the Internet in return. The NSA is also in the business of spying on everyone, and it has realized it's far easier to collect all the data from these corporations rather than from us directly. The result is a corporate-government surveillance partnership, one that allows both the government and corporations to get away with things they couldn't otherwise. There are two types of laws in the U.S., each designed to constrain a different type of power: constitutional law, which places limitations on government, and regulatory law, which constrains corporations. Historically, these two areas have largely remained separate, but today each group has learned how to use the other's laws to bypass their own restrictions. The government uses corporations to get around its limits, and corporations use the government to get around their limits. This partnership manifests itself in various ways. The government uses corporations to circumvent its prohibitions against eavesdropping domestically on its citizens. Corporations rely on the government to ensure that they have unfettered use of the data they collect.

Note: For more on government and corporate privacy invasions, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


C.I.A. Report Finds Concerns With Ties to New York Police
June 27, 2013, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/27/nyregion/cia-sees-concerns-on-ties-to-new-york-police.html

Four Central Intelligence Agency officers were embedded with the New York Police Department in the decade after Sept. 11, 2001, including one official who helped conduct surveillance operations in the United States, according to a newly disclosed C.I.A. inspector general's report. That officer believed there were "no limitations" on his activities, the report said, because he was on an unpaid leave of absence, and thus exempt from the prohibition against domestic spying by members of the C.I.A. Another embedded C.I.A. analyst – who was on its payroll – said he was given "unfiltered" police reports that included information unrelated to foreign intelligence, the C.I.A. report said. The once-classified review, completed by the C.I.A. inspector general in December 2011, found that the four agency analysts – more than had previously been known – were assigned at various times to "provide direct assistance" to the local police. The report also raised a series of concerns about the relationship between the two organizations. The C.I.A. inspector general, David B. Buckley, found that the collaboration was fraught with "irregular personnel practices," that it lacked "formal documentation in some important instances," and that "there was inadequate direction and control" by agency supervisors. The declassification of the executive summary, in response to a Freedom of Information Act suit, comes ... comes amid lawsuits against the Police Department alleging unconstitutional surveillance of Muslim communities and mosques in New Jersey and New York.

Note: For more on the realities of intelligence agency operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


The Stench of the Potomac
August 1, 2013, New York Magazine
http://nymag.com/news/frank-rich/this-town-washington-lobbyists-2013-8/

The tale of how the Obama economic team was recruited en masse from Robert Rubin acolytes who either facilitated Wall Street's pre-crash recklessness while in the Clinton administration or cashed in on it later (or, like Rubin, did both) never loses its power to shock. Michael Froman, Rubin's chief of staff as Clinton Treasury secretary, not only served as the Obama transition team's personnel director but moonlighted as a Citigroup managing director while doing so. "Obama essentially entrusted the repairing of the china shop to the bulls who'd helped ransack it," [Jeff] Connaughton writes [in The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins]. [In This Town Mark] Leibovich updates the story of the tacky prehistory of the Obama White House with its aftermath–the steady parade of Obama alumni who traded change we can believe in for cash on the barrelhead as soon as they left public service. The starry list includes, among many others, Peter Orszag (director of the White House's Office of Management and Budget, now at Citi), Jake Siewert (the Treasury Department counselor turned chief flack for Goldman Sachs), and David Plouffe (the campaign manager and senior presidential adviser who did consulting for Boeing and General Electric). "When I am president," Obama had said in 2008, "I will start by closing the revolving door in the White House that's allowed people to use their administration job as a stepping-stone to further their lobbying careers." Puzzling over how so many colleagues have strayed from this credo, the former press secretary Robert Gibbs has theorized that either "somehow we have all changed" or, alternatively, "maybe Washington changed us."

Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


California duped on energy buys again
August 1, 2013, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/California-duped-on-energy-buys-again-4699301.php

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has agreed to pay federal regulators $410 million to settle allegations that the giant bank manipulated energy markets in California and Michigan. About $285 million of the settlement will go to the U.S. Treasury for civil penalties, and about $124 million will be refunded to California ratepayers. The remainder will be refunded to Michigan ratepayers. If this story sounds familiar, that's because it is. Californians who remember the Enron energy debacle of 2000-01 won't be surprised to learn that JPMorgan's traders have been accused of fraudulent behavior. Once again, the fraud was performed by manipulating the auction system that was developed by a quasi-state agency, the California Independent System Operator, to handle California's electricity needs. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found that JPMorgan engaged in 12 manipulative bidding strategies, which wound up forcing ratepayers to pay higher amounts than they should have - all because the bank wanted to find a cheap way to profit off of aging power plants in Southern California. JPMorgan used a variety of bait-and-switch strategies - duping Cal-ISO into paying exorbitant fees for running the plants at a low level, for instance, or manipulating the bidding system so that Cal-ISO was forced to pay rates that were many times higher than market rate. The fact that this kind of manipulation is still happening is upsetting. And while $410 million is a record settlement for the FERC, it's a drop in the bucket to JPMorgan, which reported $6.5 billion in quarterly profits this month.

Note: Remember Enron, which scammed millions and then went bankrupt, wiping out pensions of its many employees? To read CBS reports on how Enron purposely shut down power plants so they could cause and then cash in on the energy crisis, click here.


Banks hate Richmond homeowners' bailout plan
August 5, 2013, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/johnson/article/Banks-hate-Richmond-homeowners-bailout-plan...

Richmond [CA] city officials took a giant leap forward for everyday people last week when they announced a program to purchase ailing residential mortgages and refinance them through a financial partnership and a bold new initiative that's already begun. To accomplish the task, the city said it will use its eminent domain powers in reverse: To save a home instead of condemn it. Much to the displeasure of the banking industry, the city sent offer letters to more than 600 homeowners whose mortgages are held by nongovernment lending institutions. The program offers to pay lenders the current market value of the property, not the higher value of the mortgage. Under the Richmond program, a bank that approved a $500,000 mortgage would be paid roughly 80 percent of its investment. Already, some lenders contend that such a law violates constitutionally protected property rights and sets a precedent that could open the floodgates for other cities in the same predicament. The mere exploration of similar programs in a half-dozen California cities and counties provoked a strong reaction from the banking industry. Financial experts have warned that the Richmond policy is certain to spawn legal challenges and a backlash from lenders who recalculate higher mortgages in Richmond to offset the risk of the city using a local law to claim a foreclosed property. That's interesting, because no measure was too extreme, no taxpayer sacrifice too great to come up with and fund a new financial model to bail out the bankers and brokerage firms in 2008. But that's what the federal government - and American taxpayers did.

Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Key Articles From Years Past


Gardasil Researcher Speaks Out
August 29, 2009, CBS News
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-500690_162-5253431.html

Amid questions about the safety of the HPV vaccine Gardasil, one of the lead researchers for the Merck drug is speaking out about its risks, benefits and aggressive marketing. Dr. Diane Harper says young girls and their parents should receive more complete warnings before receiving the vaccine to prevent cervical cancer. Dr. Harper helped design and carry out the Phase II and Phase III safety and effectiveness studies to get Gardasil approved, and authored many of the published, scholarly papers about it. She has been a paid speaker and consultant to Merck. It's highly unusual for a researcher to publicly criticize a medicine or vaccine she helped get approved. Dr. Harper joins a number of consumer watchdogs, vaccine safety advocates, and parents who question the vaccine's risk-versus-benefit profile. She says data available for Gardasil shows that ... there is no data showing that it remains effective beyond five years. This raises questions about the CDC's recommendation that the series of shots be given to girls as young as 11-years old. "If we vaccinate 11 year olds and the protection doesn't last... we've put them at harm from side effects, small but real, for no benefit," says Dr. Harper. "The benefit to public health is nothing, there is no reduction in cervical cancers, they are just postponed, unless the protection lasts for at least 15 years, and over 70% of all sexually active females of all ages are vaccinated." She also says that enough serious side effects have been reported after Gardasil use that the vaccine could prove riskier than the cervical cancer it purports to prevent. Cervical cancer is usually entirely curable when detected early through normal Pap screenings.

Note: For more on the dangers of vaccines, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


U.S. Strategy Plan Calls For Insuring No Rivals Develop
March 8, 1992, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/1992/03/08/world/us-strategy-plan-calls-for-insuring-no-rivals-develop.html

In a broad new policy statement that is in its final drafting stage, the Defense Department asserts that America's political and military mission in the post-Cold-War era will be to insure that no rival superpower is allowed to emerge in Western Europe, Asia or the territory of the former Soviet Union. The classified document makes the case for a world dominated by one superpower whose position can be perpetuated by constructive behavior and sufficient military might to deter any nation or group of nations from challenging American primacy. With its focus on this concept of benevolent domination by one power, the Pentagon document articulates the clearest rejection to date of collective internationalism, the strategy that emerged from World War II when the five victorious powers sought to form a United Nations that could mediate disputes and police outbreaks of violence. Though the document is internal to the Pentagon and is not provided to Congress, its policy statements are developed in conjunction with the National Security Council and in consultation with the President or his senior national security advisers. Its drafting has been supervised by Paul D. Wolfowitz, the Pentagon's Under Secretary for Policy. Mr. Wolfowitz often represents the Pentagon on the Deputies Committee, which formulates policy in an interagency process dominated by the State and Defense departments. The document is known in Pentagon parlance as the Defense Planning Guidance, an internal Administration policy statement that is distributed to the military leaders and civilian Defense Department heads to instruct them on how to prepare their forces, budgets and strategy for the remainder of the decade.

Note: For more on the long-term planning for future war, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Inspiring Articles


A Universe Full of Planets
July 26, 2013, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/26/opinion/global/a-universe-full-of-planets.html?pagewanted=all

Using techniques of exquisite sensitivity and technological finesse, astronomers have spent the past two decades on an astonishing voyage of cosmic discovery. They have found that the universe is full of planets: cold, small, and dark next to their large and glaring suns, these worlds have previously been hidden from us. To spot them represents a challenge that has been compared to looking across thousands of miles to see a firefly buzzing around a brilliant searchlight. They exert a gravitational pull, tugging their parent stars into a gently wobbling motion that we can now detect. We now have firm evidence for thousands of planets, around thousands of stars. We also know something about these worlds, their sizes, their orbits, often their ages. In a handful of cases ... we have even measured the temperature of their upper atmospheres and [determined] their gaseous chemistry, finding substances like sodium, methane and water. No matter how conservative or optimistic we are, the statistics tell us that something like an astonishing one out of every seven stars must harbor a planet similar in size to the Earth, and at roughly the right orbital distance to allow for the possibility of a temperate surface environment. In other words, roughly 15 percent of all suns could, in principle, be hosting a place suitable for life as we know it. Since our galaxy contains at least 200 billion stars, this implies a vast arena for the universe's ubiquitous carbon chemistry to play in – a process that, as here on Earth, might lead to the complex machinery of life. Indeed, there is a 95-percent confidence – give or take a few percent – that one of these worlds could be within a mere 16 light years of us.

Note: For fascinating testimony from top military and government officials revealing a major cover-up of the existence of UFOs and ETs, click here. For more on the nature of reality, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Dolphins Use Names for Each Other
July 24, 2013, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/dolphins-names/story?id=19751193

They escape from aquarium tanks. They locate underwater mines. Now, a new paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science claims that dolphins recognized their own name when called. Vincent Janik, one of the authors of the study and a biology researcher at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, said that the name is actually a specific type of dolphin vocalization that the animals respond to. "They're these high pitched whistles that have a little bit of a melody," he told ABC News. These sounds are referred to as "signature whistles." Janik and his colleague, Stephanie King, cruised along the east coast of Scotland looking for bottlenose dolphins. After spotting and identifying a dolphin in the wild, the researchers would play one of three different sounds: a modified sound clip of that dolphin's signature whistle, a signature whistle of one of its podmates, or the signature whistle of a completely foreign dolphin. They played the dolphin's own signature whistle and the animal would come up and approach the boat and whistle back. However, the dolphin didn't respond to the other two types of whistles and mostly kept about its business. It may seem odd that the dolphins don't react much to the whistles of their fellow herdmates, but Janik says that copying a dolphin's signature whistle just right is part of their social group. "This copying only occurs between closely associated animals, like between mothers and their calves," he said. Dolphins only need to respond to their own signature whistles, since any socially relevant animal will have learned how to copy it. "It says to them, 'I know that this [whistle] is a friend.'"

Note: For an abstract of this intriguing study, click here. For more on the fascinating capabilities of marine mammals, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Delaware 'Public Benefit Corporation' Lets Directors Serve Three Masters Instead Of One
July 16, 2013, Forbes
http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielfisher/2013/07/16/delaware-public-benefit-corporation-lets-directors...

[On July 17 Delaware] Gov. Jack Markell is scheduled to sign a law creating a new "public benefit corporation" where directors must balance the interests of the owners with those of employees, the general public and the environment. Delaware becomes the 19th state to pass such a law, but it may be the most important one since it is home to half of all publicly traded U.S. companies. Not that Ford Motor Co. or Intel are likely to avail themselves of this new corporate structure. Under the Delaware law, 90% of shareholders must approve a shift to benefit status. The law will likely be more popular with closely held firms like Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade products with more than $500 million a year in sales. It gives them a chance to declare a broader set of objectives than profit alone, and a legal structure to pursue them without risking lawsuits by disgruntled shareholders who might prefer a fatter dividend, say, than the comfort of knowing no endangered species were wiped out by their company's logging operations. Under the new Delaware law, the purpose of a public benefit corporation is to operate in a "responsible and sustainable manner." Directors can't be sued for pursuing objectives that advance "artistic, charitable, cultural ...scientific or technological" goals. The benefit corporation movement has even formed the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board to come up with the equivalent of GAAP for the Birkenstock-wearing set.

Note: For more on this exciting development, see the Huffington Post article written by Delaware's governor at this link.


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