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Corporate Taxes Plummet, Hypocrisy on Military Budget, Free Public Transit in Kansas City
Revealing News Articles
December 24, 2019

Dear friends,

Corporate Taxes Plummet.

Explore below key excerpts of revealing news articles on plummeting corporate tax rates including 91 Fortune 500 companies that paid zero US federal taxes last year, hypocrisy around the massive increase in the US military budget, how the medical industry contributed to the opioid crisis by encouraging patients to fear pain, and more.

Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on Kansas City's new law making public transit free, evidence that the world's population is leveling off, the late Hans Rosling's incredible contributions to the field of data visualization, and more. 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 for a transformed world,
Fred Burks for PEERS and WantToKnow.info
Former White House interpreter and whistleblower

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Special note: Did you know that 5,135 inventions are under US secrecy orders for reasons of "national security"? Listen to a 30-minute NY Times newscast showing the blatant lies behind the Afghanistan war. Learn the disturbing truth of sexual predators targeting preteen girls and a great organization dedicated to stopping this. Check out an awesome, inspiring website sharing the profound wisdom of those who have had a near-death experience and come back to tell about it.

Quote of the week: "Many things in this world are worse than war, yet war brings all of them."  ~~  Source unknown

Video of the week: Watch a very informative video featuring David Wilcock talking about the release of declassified documents, including patents just granted this year on what looks like an antigravity device and an antigravity vehicle. More details on this webpage.


Corporations paid 11.3 percent tax rate last year, in steep drop under Trump’s law
December 16, 2019, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/12/16/corporations-paid-percent-tax...

400 of America’s largest corporations paid an average federal tax rate of about 11 percent on their profits last year, roughly half the official rate established under President Trump’s 2017 tax law. The 2017 tax law lowered the U.S. corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, but in practice large companies often pay far less than that because of deductions, tax breaks and other loopholes. In the first year of the law, the amount corporations paid in federal taxes on their incomes — their “effective rate” — was 11.3 percent on average ... according to a report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. From 2008 to 2015, under the previous tax code, the corporations’ effective rate was about 21 percent. The report also found that 91 corporations in the Fortune 500, many worth billions of dollars, paid no federal taxes last year. The findings come amid an explosion in the federal deficit, which this year rose to almost $1 trillion. Corporate tax revenue fell markedly during the first year of the tax law, from about $300 billion in 2017 to $204 billion in 2018. “When drafting the tax law, lawmakers could have eliminated special breaks and loopholes in the corporate tax to offset the cost of reducing the statutory rate,” the report says. “Instead, the new law introduced many new breaks and loopholes, though it eliminated some old ones.” The 91 profitable Fortune 500 corporations that paid no federal tax in 2018 earned a combined $101 billion last year. As a group, their effective federal tax rate was -5.9 percent.

Note: How is it that 91 of the biggest corporations in the U.S. get away with paying no taxes? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.


3 books focus on America’s income inequality, and why it’s getting worse
November 18, 2019, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
https://datebook.sfchronicle.com/books/review-3-books-focus-on-americas-income...

Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman say we’re coddling “a tiny minority of ultra-rich” Americans, and they’d like to put a stop to it. “The Triumph of Injustice” demonstrates how small sets of wealthy, white, well-connected citizens command inordinate financial and political clout. This, it seems, is the season for such books. Investigative reporter Aaron Glantz’s “Homewreckers” focuses on billionaires who cash in when the middle class struggles. Anne Nelson’s “Shadow Network” is about a coterie of influential far-right operatives. Taken together, these smart, engrossing titles paint a stark picture of the power wielded by a handful of plutocrats and religious hard-liners. There’s always been economic inequality, but it’s worse today than just decades ago. According to Saez and Zucman, America’s richest 1% own 37% of the nation’s wealth (“housing, pension funds, and all financial assets”), up from 22% at the end of the 1970s. “Conversely, the wealth share of the bottom 90% of adults has declined from 40% to 27%.” Counting all forms of taxation, Saez and Zucman say that the great majority of Americans pay 25% to 30% of their income in taxes into the public coffers. By contrast, America’s 400 richest people “barely pay 20%.” This disparity is the result of many factors. These include ... access to “offshore bank accounts, exotic trusts (and) hidden shell corporations,” Saez and Zucman write. Corporations use similar tactics. Facebook, for one, “has dodged billions in corporate taxes” by establishing a presence in the Cayman Islands.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality from reliable major media sources.


Deficit hawks once again show their hypocrisy on military spending
December 16, 2019, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/12/16/bernie-sanders-deficit-hawks...

The Senate will be voting this week on the Trump military budget, which calls for a massive increase in defense spending. I strongly oppose this legislation. At a time when we have massive levels of income and wealth inequality; when half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck; when more than 500,000 Americans are homeless; and when public schools throughout the country are struggling to pay their teachers a livable salary, it is time to change our national priorities. I find it ironic that when I and other progressive members of Congress propose legislation to address the many unmet needs of workers, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor, we are invariably asked, “How will we pay for it?” Yet we rarely hear that question with regard to huge increases in military spending, tax breaks for billionaires or massive subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. When it comes to giving the Pentagon $738 billion — even more money than it requested — there is a deafening silence within Congress and the ruling elites about what our nation can and cannot afford. When I talk about changing national priorities, I’m talking about the fact that the $120 billion increase in Pentagon spending — compared with the final year of the Obama administration — could have made every public college, university, trade school and apprenticeship program in the United States tuition free, eliminated homelessness and provided universal school meals to every kid in our nation’s public schools.

Note: The above article was written by Bernie Sanders. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and income inequality from reliable major media sources.


I helped write the official lies to sell the Afghanistan war
December 13, 2019, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/i-helped-write-the-official-lies-to-sell...

This past week, Washington Post reporting showed that the conflict in Afghanistan has been an operation of deception. But The Afghanistan Papers were not a revelation to me. I was one of the deceivers. From July 2009 to March 2010, I served as one of the U.S. Air Force’s designees for a nation-building mission, and I witnessed the disconnect between what happened on the ground and the messages the public heard about it. As my team’s information operations officer, I played a direct role in crafting those messages. But my job wasn’t only to mislead the American public: Our information campaign extended to the Afghan people and to higher-ups within the American military itself. I arrived in Paktia province in July 2009, as part of a provincial reconstruction team (PRT). I wrote broadcast news copy for the team’s interpreters to translate and thought of it as a persuasive tool. Local listeners were, in military lingo, the subjects of “non-lethal targeting.” As accusations of fraud, ballot tampering and voter intimidation circulated around the presidential election, I followed my supervisors’ directives to “aggressively pursue” interviews ... “highlighting the transparency and legitimacy of the election process.” Corruption littered our daily interactions, and a few months into our deployment, my PRT launched an investigation that ultimately uncovered a scheme that wound its way through upper-level government officials, including Paktia’s then-governor and chief of police.

Note: Listen to a 30-minute NY Times newscast showing the blatant lies behind the Afghanistan war. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.


What the C.I.A.’s Torture Program Looked Like to the Tortured
December 4, 2019, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/04/us/politics/cia-torture-drawings.html

One shows the prisoner nude and strapped to a crude gurney, his entire body clenched as he is waterboarded by an unseen interrogator. Another shows him with his wrists cuffed to bars so high above his head he is forced on to his tiptoes. They are sketches drawn in captivity by the Guantánamo Bay prisoner known as Abu Zubaydah, self-portraits of the torture he was subjected to during the four years he was held in secret prisons by the C.I.A.. In each illustration, Mr. Zubaydah ... portrays the particular techniques as he says they were used on him at a C.I.A. black site in Thailand in August 2002. They demonstrate how, more than a decade after the Obama administration outlawed the program — and then went on to partly declassify a Senate study that found the C.I.A. lied about both its effectiveness and its brutality — the final chapter of the black sites has yet to be written. Mr. Zubaydah, 48, drew them this year at Guantánamo for inclusion in a 61-page report, “How America Tortures,” by his lawyer, Mark P. Denbeaux, a professor at the Seton Hall University School of Law in Newark, and some of Mr. Denbeaux’s students. The report uses firsthand accounts, internal Bush administration memos, prisoners’ memories and the 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report to analyze the interrogation program. The program was initially set up for Mr. Zubaydah, who was mistakenly believed to be a top Qaeda lieutenant. He has never been charged with a crime.

Note: For more along these lines, see the "10 Craziest Things in the Senate Report on Torture". For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption from reliable major media sources.


Our dangerous fear of pain
November 27, 2019, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/11/27/our-dangerous-fear-pain...

One of the first things I learned about pain was its value. I was a third-year medical student in 1976. We were ... encouraged to listen carefully to the patient’s experience of pain, the timing, the duration and any factors that made it better or worse. Forty years later, our concept of pain couldn’t be more different. Instead of learning from pain, we now regard it as an illness in and of itself. Insurance companies, health-care providers and drugmakers have all worked to increase the public’s fear of pain, leading us to see it as something to be treated, eliminated, banished — never lived with or accommodated or managed — lest it destroy us. They turned our natural fear into big business; our fee-for-service system has multiplied treatments based primarily on the financial rewards for pharmaceutical companies, doctors and hospitals. That attitude shift is perhaps the most overlooked explanation for an opioid crisis that kills tens of thousands of Americans every year. A healthy fear of pain ... protects us from injury and reminds us to allow time for healing. But otherwise, the fear of pain, and the belief that a pain-free existence is optimal or even possible, has been a catastrophe for patients. Before the opioid revolution, doctors understood that pain was important to keeping us safe, to be lived with and managed. Even if this meant we bore frequent episodes of discomfort, that was better than the nationwide crisis America faces today. Life isn’t “pain free.” If we want to end the epidemic of addiction, we need to relearn that lesson.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.


Prince Andrew email surfaces as American woman alleges "disgusting" sexual assault
December 3, 2019, CBS News
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/prince-andrew-interview-epstein-sexual-allegations...

Britain's royal family was reeling from yet another damning interview. This time it was an American woman who accuses the queen's son, Prince Andrew, of having sex with her when she was just 17 years old. Virginia Roberts Giuffre spoke out in the interview with the BBC about what she says the prince did to her, and what he may know about Jeffrey Epstein. The American woman described being forced to have sex with Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, three times while she was still a teenager. "It didn't last very long. It was disgusting. He wasn't mean or anything, but he got up and he said, 'thanks,' and walked out," she told the BBC. Roberts Giuffre said she met Prince Andrew at properties owned by Epstein, the American financier and convicted sex offender who was found dead in his New York jail cell earlier this year. She said she was made to dance with the duke at a London nightclub. "It was horrible, and this guy was sweating all over me, his sweat was like it was raining," she said. Last month Prince Andrew denied ever meeting Roberts Giuffre — despite being photographed with her — and claimed that due to a "peculiar medical condition" he was physically unable to sweat "at the time." He did admit to spending time at Epstein's homes. Now, five more American women have said Prince Andrew witnessed abuse at Epstein's home. Meanwhile, an email has emerged this week ... that was sent by the prince in January 2015 to his long-time friend Ghislaine Maxwell... "Let me know when we can talk. Got some specific questions to ask you about Virginia Roberts."

Note: Watch powerful evidence in a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse rings reach to the highest levels of government. Then watch an excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team "Spies, Lords and Predators" on a pedophile ring in the UK which also leads directly to the highest levels of government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Jeffrey Epstein from reliable major media sources.


Jeffrey Epstein’s Charity: An Image Boost Built on Deception
November 26, 2019, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/26/business/jeffrey-epstein-charity.html

Jeffrey Epstein’s foundation looked for all the world like a charitable powerhouse: On its websites and in its press releases, the foundation was described as a patron of hospitals, universities and film festivals, run by a global philanthropist. The organization — known by various names, but usually called the J. Epstein Virgin Islands Foundation — wasn’t officially a charity for much of its existence, having lost its tax-exempt status in 2008 ... the same year Mr. Epstein pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution from a minor. In the years between that case and his suicide in August as he faced federal sex-trafficking charges, Mr. Epstein was unshackled from the rigorous financial disclosures that charities are supposed to file every year with the government — allowing him to exaggerate his philanthropy as he sought to rebuild his reputation. The most glaring exaggeration appeared on Wikipedia. A user name apparently connected to Mr. Epstein edited the page for the foundation and put its annual outlay at $200 million a year. In reality, the foundation was worth a small fraction of that amount, according to documents obtained by The New York Times through a public records lawsuit in the Virgin Islands. Eighteen years of financial statements show that just under $20 million flowed into the foundation since it was founded in 2000. Roughly $16.6 million was spent on donations and grants; most of the rest paid unspecified “general and administrative” expenses and $1.5 million in interest for what appears to be an undisclosed debt.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Jeffrey Epstein from reliable major media sources.


Key Article From Years Past


U.S. Military Wanted to Provoke War With Cuba
May 1, 2001, ABC News
https://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=92662

In the early 1960s, America's top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba. Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities. The plans were developed as ways to trick the American public and the international community into supporting a war to oust Cuba's ... Fidel Castro. America's top military brass even contemplated causing U.S. military casualties, writing: "We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba," and, "casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation." The plans had the written approval of all of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and were presented to President Kennedy's defense secretary, Robert McNamara, in March 1962. But they apparently were rejected by the civilian leadership and have gone undisclosed for nearly 40 years. The Joint Chiefs even proposed using the potential death of astronaut John Glenn during the first attempt to put an American into orbit as a false pretext for war with Cuba. Should the rocket explode and kill Glenn, they wrote, "the objective is to provide irrevocable proof … that the fault lies with the Communists." The scary thing is none of this stuff comes out until 40 years after.

Note: Why was ABC the only major news source to report on this highly revealing story? Read the shocking declassified documents on Operation Northwoods. Many military and political leaders look at the world as a grand chessboard. Sacrificing pawns (innocent civilians) is sometimes necessary to capture the queen. Explore revealing news articles on military corruption. Then check out eye-opening 9/11 news articles.


Inspiring Articles


Kansas City Makes All Public Transit Free to Ride
December 6, 2019, Newsweek
https://www.newsweek.com/kansas-city-makes-all-public-transit-free-ride-while...

Kansas City, Missouri city council members voted unanimously to abolish bus fares Thursday. Residents will soon be able to ride buses in the city for free, in a move that will cost around $8 million per year. Lawmakers expect the change will improve the lives of residents and believe it is well worth the cost. The vote makes Kansas City the first major U.S. to offer free public transportation. Fare-free travel was already available on the city's light rail. The change to buses will require the city manager to allocate funds to the project, which is expected to be implemented in 2020. While arguments against free public transportation often cite the potentially large costs involved, advocates insist the practice has a multitude of benefits for society at large. One advantage is claimed to be a positive impact on the environment. Encouraging people to travel in buses or trains instead of cars could result in cities substantially reducing their carbon footprint. Proponents also say that quality of life for individuals could be improved by eliminating fares on public transportation. A 2018 report in the journal Metropolitics studied the free system in Dunkirk, France and noted the benefits of increased mobility for young and elderly people, who may feel an improved sense of freedom and autonomy as a result. In addition to Kansas City, a number of other U.S. cities are said to be considering making the move to free public transportation.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Don't Panic - The Truth About Population
November 7, 2013, BBC News
https://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2013/45/this-world-hans-rosling.html

With the world’s population at 7 billion and still growing we often look at the future with dread. In Don’t Panic - The Truth About Population, world famous Swedish statistical showman Professor Hans Rosling presents a different view. We face huge challenges in terms of food, resources and climate change but at the heart of Rosling’s statistical tour-de-force is the message that the world of tomorrow is a much better place than we might imagine. Professor Rosling reveals that the global challenge of rapid population growth, the so-called population explosion, has already been overcome. In just 50 years the average number of children born per woman has plummeted from 5 to just 2.5 and is still falling fast. This means that in a few generations’ time, world population growth will level off completely. In Bangladesh ... families of two children are now the norm. We meet Taslima Khan who travels through rural villages dispensing contraceptives and advice on how to deal with difficult husbands. Deep in rural Mozambique – one of the poorest countries in the world – we meet subsistence farmers Andre and Olivia who’ve been saving for two years to buy a piece of life-transforming technology – a bicycle. Even in these countries, economic growth, investment in healthcare and infrastructure are paving the way to huge improvements in living standards. Globally, the proportion of people in extreme poverty is at its lowest ever, and now the United Nations is setting itself the goal of eradicating extreme poverty completely.

Note: Don't miss this awesome 5-minute video by author Hans Rosling showing the detailed statistics in a most entertaining way. For more see the many TED talks he gave.


Remembering Hans Rosling, the visualization pioneer who made data dance
February 8, 2017, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/02/08/remembering-hans-rosling...

Professor Hans Rosling, the statistician and epidemiologist who brought dramatic flair to animated visualizations of dry public health data, has died. For much of the public not steeped in the arcana of epidemiological data sets or data visualization techniques (a.k.a. normal people), Rosling burst onto the scene in 2010 as part of the BBC special “The Joy of Stats.” “Hans Rosling's famous lectures combine enormous quantities of public data with a sport's commentator's style to reveal the story of the world's past, present and future development,” the BBC wrote at the time. Rosling's work was a driver of some of the explosion of interest in data visualization in the news and nonprofit sectors starting in the early 2000s. His BBC special and TED Talks sparked an interest in “storytelling with data,” rather than just with words. Not every data set tells as clear or compelling a story as Rosling's wealth and life expectancy numbers. Rosling's genius wasn't just in the flashy presentations he gave. It also derived from knowing exactly what type of data would lend itself to such flair. The other thing Rosling's moving chart did incredibly well was to allow viewers to grapple with multiple dimensions simultaneously, with ease. The loss of Rosling hurts especially in this moment, as politicians and media outlets wrestle over what's fake and what's real. Above all Rosling was an advocate for a “fact-based worldview,” one which his family says they'll carry on at the foundation he started.

Note: Don't miss this awesome 5-minute video by author Hans Rosling showing the detailed statistics in a most entertaining way. For more see the many TED talks he gave.


Free-hug man speaks out
September, 28, 2006, Sydney Morning Herald (Australia's leading newspaper)
http://www.smh.com.au/news/music/freehug-man-speaks-out/2006/09/28/1159337257...

The man behind the latest YouTube sensation has spoken out for the first time about his global cuddling controversy. Serial hugger Juan Mann describes the free hugs he hands out...as fast-food emotion. His cuddling campaign received an international dose of publicity today, after a clip showing his public displays of affection won a coveted front page spot on the video sharing website. An American television audience of millions also watched him at work, when the video was broadcast on the prime-time breakfast program Good Morning America yesterday. Today, the hugger was at it again, brandishing his "free hugs" sign in the busy pedestrian thoroughfare, and having quite a few people take him up on his offer. "It's a way to make people smile," Mann said. "For every person who gets a hug, you see five walk past with a smile on their face." But his efforts to spread the love became a little too popular for some people's liking, according to a blurb on the YouTube video, which said: "As this symbol of human hope spread across the city, police and officials ordered the Free Hugs campaign BANNED." Undeterred, Mann collected more than 10,000 signatures on a petition he presented to the City of Sydney council. Demands for a halt to the hugs petered out shortly after, and the end of the clip shows Mann hugging an official. City worker Elly Mitchell, who handed out a few free hugs on her lunch break today, said she was inspired to organise [an] event after seeing the video online. "We're going to hug the city," Ms Mitchell said.

Note: If you haven't seen this powerfully inspiring four-minute video clip, join the many millions who have by watching it on this webpage. The free hugs movement spread rapidly around the world! See this fun video and this inspiring one for great examples. Then check out several other short, deeply inspiring videos.


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