Corporate Corruption News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on corporate corruption
Christy Mack, the wife of Morgan Stanley Chairman John Mack, and Susan Karches, the widow of the company's former investment-banking division president, Peter Karches, are among the chief investors in a company that received $220 million in low-interest loans. The funds came from a federal bailout program that "virtually guaranteed them millions in risk-free income," according to the article ... "The Real Housewives of Wall Street," which appears in [Rolling Stone]. In 2009, Christy Mack and Susan Karches launched Waterfall TALF Opportunity, a company with a Cayman Islands address, although the two women did not seem "to have any experience whatsoever in finance." TALF stands for "Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility." The federal aid they received "falls under a broader category of bailout initiatives designed" by Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. With an initial upfront investment of $15 million, Waterfall TALF received $220 million in cash from the Fed, most of which it used to purchase "student loans and commercial mortgages." The loans were set up so that the investors "would keep 100% of any gains on the deal while the Fed and the Treasury (read: the taxpayer) would eat 90% of the losses."
Note: We don't usually quote the New York Daily News, but as they were the only major media to report this important story, we've included it here. Why are the major media silent on this powerful information uncovered by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders? For the full story on this, click here. For lots more from reliable sources on corruption in the government bailouts of the biggest banks, click here.
Do you know who really owns your mortgage? That question has become a nightmare for many homeowners since the invention of mortgage-backed securities. Yes, those were the exotic investments that sparked the financial collapse in this country. And they're still causing problems. As it turns out, Wall Street cut corners when it bundled homeowners' mortgages into securities that were traded from investor to investor. Now that banks are foreclosing on people, they're finding that the legal documents behind many mortgages are missing. So, what do the banks do? Some companies appear to be resorting to forgery and phony paperwork in what looks like a nationwide epidemic. Even if you're not at risk of foreclosure, there could be legal ramifications for a homeowner if the chain of title has been lost.
Note: Don't miss at the link above the most excellent, six-minute CBS video explaining more on this blatant deception and manipulation by many banks. You have to put up with a one-minute commercial shortly after the video starts. For lots more from reliable sources on the criminal practices of mortgage lenders, click here.
Scientists have created genetically modified cattle that produce "human" milk in a bid to make cows' milk more nutritious. The scientists have ... introduced human genes into 300 dairy cows to produce milk with [some of] the same properties as human breast milk. The scientists behind the research ... hope genetically modified dairy products from herds of similar cows could be sold in supermarkets. The research has the backing of a major biotechnology company. Genetically modified food has become a highly controversial subject and currently they can only be sold in the UK and Europe if they have passed extensive safety testing. The consumer response to GM food has also been highly negative, resulting in many supermarkets seeking to source products that are GM free. Helen Wallace, director of biotechnology monitoring group GeneWatch UK, said: "We have major concerns about this research to genetically modify cows with human genes. There are major welfare issues with genetically modified animals as you get high numbers of still births. There is a question about whether milk from these cows is going to be safe for humans and it is really hard to tell that unless you do large clinical trials like you would a drug, so there will be uncertainty about whether it could be harmful to some people. Ethically there are issues about mass producing animals in this way."
Note: For a powerful summary of the dangers of genetically modified foods, click here. And for other major media news articles exposing the serious risks and dangers of genetically modified foods, click here.
A consortium of U.S. organic farmers and seed dealers filed suit against global seed giant Monsanto Co. on [March 29], in a move to protect themselves from what they see as a growing threat in the company's arsenal of genetically modified crops. The Public Patent Foundation filed the suit on behalf of more than 50 organizations challenging the chemical giant's patents on its genetically modified seeds. The group is seeking a ruling that would prohibit Monsanto from suing the farmers or dealers if their organic seed becomes contaminated with Monsanto's patented biotech seed germplasm. Monsanto has filed scores of lawsuits and won judgments against farmers they claimed made use of their seed without paying required royalties. Many farmers have claimed that their fields were inadvertently contaminated without their knowledge, and the issue has been a topic of concern for not only farmers, but also companies that clean and handle seed. "This case asks whether Monsanto has the right to sue organic farmers for patent infringement if Monsanto's genetically modified seed should land on their property," said Dan Ravicher, executive director of PUBPAT. The suit also alleges that Monsanto's GMO seeds do more harm than good and claims the patents on genetically modified seed are invalid because they don't meet the "usefulness" requirement of patent law.
Note: For a powerful, quality documentary revealing the gross abuses of Monsanto which endanger public health, click here.
General Electric, the nation’s largest corporation, had a very good year in 2010. The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States. Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion. That may be hard to fathom for the millions of American business owners and households now preparing their own returns, but low taxes are nothing new for G.E. The company has been cutting the percentage of its American profits paid to the Internal Revenue Service for years, resulting in a far lower rate than at most multinational companies. Its extraordinary success is based on an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore. G.E.’s giant tax department, led by a bow-tied former Treasury official named John Samuels, is often referred to as the world’s best tax law firm. Indeed, the company’s slogan “Imagination at Work” fits this department well. The team includes former officials not just from the Treasury, but also from the I.R.S. and virtually all the tax-writing committees in Congress. While General Electric is one of the most skilled at reducing its tax burden, many other companies have become better at this as well.
Carlos Lam, a Republican activist and Indiana deputy prosecutor, has resigned amid revelations that he sent an email calling for a fake attack on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker designed to discredit union protesters. Walker, a Republican, was the target of protests for his efforts to roll back many union collective bargaining rights in his state. In a Feb. 19 email uncovered by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, Lam apparently told Walker he had a "good opportunity" to win public sympathy with a "'false flag' operation." "If you could employ an associate who pretends to be sympathetic to the unions' cause to physically attack you (or even use a firearm against you), you could discredit the unions," read the email. Lam initially denied having sent the email. He [claimed] he had been shopping for a minivan with his family when it was sent, and suggested his email account had been infiltrated by his political enemies. Lam resigned as deputy prosecutor on Thursday morning, however, reportedly telling his boss he had indeed sent the email. Last month, another Indiana official -- Deputy Attorney General Jeff Cox - lost his job for calling on law enforcement to "use live ammunition" on Wisconsin protesters. Also in February, Walker was the victim of a prank call by a liberal journalist pretending to be billionaire conservative activist David Koch. When the journalist suggested planting people among the protesters to stir up trouble, Walker responded that "we thought about that" but added that he had decided against it.
Note: To learn more about the prevalence of "false flag" operations in politics with links to reliable, verifiable sources, click here. For more on this official's call for a false-flag attack, click here.
"Forgive me," said Berkeley filmmaker Charles Ferguson upon receiving an Academy Award on Sunday night for his documentary "Inside Job." "I must start by pointing out that three years after a horrific financial crisis caused by fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail - and that's wrong." A number of people would agree, including a majority of Americans, according to opinion polls, who blame U.S. banks and other private institutions for the 2007-08 financial meltdown documented in Ferguson's film. "He raised exactly the right question," said William Black, a senior regulator at the former Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp., which helped clean up the far less costly S&L crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s. More than 1,800 S&L officials were convicted of felonies in its aftermath, with more than 1,000 jailed. But the difference between then and now - and with the 1929 crash, which saw a number of bankers go to jail - is open to much debate. "We had well over 10,000 criminal referrals from regulators in the S&L crisis," said Black, now an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. "This time, zero."
Note: For other major media articles revealing the vast extent of unmitigated corruption related to the banking bailouts, click here. For reliable, eye-opening information on how the public is continually deceived about banking, click here. And for an excellent study guide on the facts presented in this revealing film, click here.
The Supreme Court closed the courthouse door ... to parents who want to sue drug makers over claims their children developed autism and other serious health problems from vaccines. The ruling was a stinging defeat for families dissatisfied with how they fared before a special no-fault vaccine court. The court voted 6-2 against the parents of a child who sued the drug maker Wyeth in Pennsylvania state court for the health problems they say their daughter, now 19, suffered from a vaccine she received in infancy. Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the court, said Congress set up a special vaccine court in 1986 to ... create a system that spares the drug companies the costs of defending against parents' lawsuits. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented. Nothing in the 1986 law ''remotely suggests that Congress intended such a result,'' Sotomayor wrote, taking issue with Scalia. Scalia's opinion was the latest legal setback for parents who felt they got too little from the vaccine court or failed to collect at all. Such was the case for Robalee and Russell Bruesewitz of Pittsburgh, who filed their lawsuit after the vaccine court rejected their claims for compensation. According to the lawsuit, their daughter, Hannah, was a healthy infant until she received the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine in April 1992. Within hours of getting the DPT shot, the third in a series of five, the baby suffered a series of debilitating seizures.
Note: Vaccines have been strongly promoted for decades, yet the research supporting many vaccines is amazingly weak. For more powerful information questioning the efficacy of vaccines, click here.
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. ignored or dismissed warning signs about the Madoff fraud even as it earned hundreds of millions of dollars from its relationship with his firm, according to a lawsuit unsealed [on February 3]. The $6.4 billion lawsuit ... claims that bankers at J.P. Morgan discussed the possibility that Bernard Madoff was operating a Ponzi scheme, worried that a firm of such size was audited by a storefront accountant and called his returns "too good to be true." "While numerous financial institutions enabled Madoff's fraud, JPMC was at the very center of that fraud, and thoroughly complicit in it," according to the 115-page lawsuit, filed under seal in December by Irving Picard, the trustee seeking to recover money for Mr. Madoff's victims. The complaint seeks the return of nearly $1 billion in J.P. Morgan's profits and fees, and $5.4 billion in damages. It goes into great detail about the bank's alleged efforts, starting in about 2006, to make money by offering products tied to Mr. Madoff through investment funds that fed money to him. The lawsuit offers a detailed account of the more than two decade relationship between J.P. Morgan and Mr. Madoff. The lawsuit claims that the bank didn't pay attention to billions of dollars passing through the Madoff firm's main J.P. Morgan account, much of it by hand-written check, or to discrepancies in the account balance and unreported obligations.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on the criminal practices of the biggest financial institutions, click here.
"We certainly applaud the efforts of the commission," said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, referring to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Report. "Frankly, I'm not sure much has changed," said one of commissioners, Byron Georgiou. "The concentration of assets in the nation's 10 biggest banks is bigger now than it was five years ago, from 58 percent in 2006 to 63 percent now." Referring to executives who remain at the head of those banks that almost ran aground, Georgiou said ... "Either they knew and didn't want to tell us, or they really didn't know. Either way, they put their institutions at risk." And have yet to be held accountable. Commissioner Brooksley Born can enjoy a certain sense of vindication. Not only had "over-the-counter derivatives contributed significantly to this crisis," ... but the enactment of legislation in 2000 to ban their regulation "was a key turning point in the march toward the financial crisis." As head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in the 1990s, Born was aware of the damage the largely unregulated instruments had already caused. Born suggested some more regulation. [She] was squashed like a bug by Clinton administration heavyweights, including Lawrence Summers and Robert Rubin, [and] Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. One of the results: The Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 eliminated government oversight of the OTC market. As the report documents, the use of such derivatives ... helped bring the entire financial system to its knees. Born hasn't seen much change in terms of accountability. One thing the report makes clear ... is just how preposterous were the "Who knew?" and "Who could have predicted?" statements offered up by chief executives and top government officials.
Note: So the 10 biggest banks now control 63% of total U.S. bank assets. The total for these banking assets as of the second quarter of 2010 were calculated at $13.22 trillion. Yet four of these megabanks also control an astounding 95% of the $574 trillion derivatives market, a sum over 40 times the amount of bank assets! Do you think there might be a problem with a derivatives bubble?
Enough uncertainty surrounds silver-colored metal dental fillings with mercury that U.S. regulators should add more cautions for dentists and patients, a U.S. advisory panel [has] said. The fillings should be accompanied by warnings about unknown risks for vulnerable people such as children and pregnant women. "There really is no place for mercury in children," Suresh Kotagal, a panelist and neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said of the toxic metal. Mercury has been linked to neurological damage at high exposure levels and makes up about half of a metal filling. While the panel stopped short of urging a ban, it wants the FDA to look at the latest data and reassess its guidance after the agency last year declared the fillings safe. Some European nations have banned amalgam use. Critics told the advisers there was a clear link between mercury fillings and side effects, especially in more vulnerable patients. They should be banned or not implanted unless patients give consent, they said.
Note: Why is mercury still used in most dental fillings, when there is a known risk and other materials are available? Our teeth are not a good place for mercury. Studies have proven that small amounts of mercury are released by these fillings in gases into the mouth, only the toxicity is debated. For more, click here.
New disclosures show the Federal Reserve rushed trillions of dollars in emergency aid not just to Wall Street but also to ... foreign-owned banks in 2008 and 2009. The central bank's aid programs also supported U.S. subsidiaries of banks based in East Asia, Europe and Canada. The biggest users of the Fed lending programs were some of the world's largest banks, including Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Swiss-based UBS and Britain's Barclays, according to more than 21,000 loan records released [December 1] under new financial regulatory legislation. The data reveal banks turning to the Fed for help almost daily in the fall of 2008 as the central bank lowered lending standards and extended relief to all kinds of institutions it had never assisted before. The extent of the lending to major banks - and the generous terms of some of those deals - heighten the political peril for a central bank that is already under the gun for a wide range of actions, including a recent decision to try to stimulate the economy by buying $600 billion in U.S. bonds. "The American people are finally learning the incredible and jaw-dropping details of the Fed's multitrillion-dollar bailout of Wall Street and corporate America," said Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), a longtime Fed critic whose provision in the Wall Street regulatory overhaul required the new disclosures. "Perhaps most surprising is the huge sum that went to bail out foreign private banks and corporations." The Fed launched emergency programs totaling $3.3 trillion in aid, a figure reached by adding up the peak amount of lending in each program.
Note: The figure of $3.3 trillion cited in this article was simply the peak amount lent at one moment in time; the total amount lent by the Fed over the years covered by the data exceeded $20 trillion. For analysis of this data release, click here.
The Department of Health is putting the fast food companies McDonald's and KFC and processed food and drink manufacturers such as PepsiCo, Kellogg's, Unilever, Mars and Diageo at the heart of writing government policy on obesity, alcohol and diet-related disease. In an overhaul of public health, said by [critics] to be the equivalent of handing smoking policy over to the tobacco industry, health secretary Andrew Lansley has set up five "responsibility deal" networks with business, co-chaired by ministers, to come up with policies. The groups are dominated by food and alcohol industry members, who have been invited to suggest measures to tackle public health crises. The alcohol responsibility deal network is chaired by the head of the lobby group the Wine and Spirit Trade Association. The food network to tackle diet and health problems includes processed food manufacturers, fast food companies, and Compass, the catering company. The food deal's sub-group on calories is chaired by PepsiCo, owner of Walkers crisps. The leading supermarkets are an equally strong presence. In early meetings, these commercial partners have been invited to draft priorities and identify barriers, such as EU legislation, that they would like removed. They have been assured by Lansley that he wants to explore voluntary not regulatory approaches, and to support them in removing obstacles.
Somebody owes us $20 trillion. "Inside Job," a riveting, eye-opening, infuriating documentary about the financial collapse of 2008, coolly presents a prosecutor's brief against the culprits who engineered the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. They occupy both sides of the legislative aisle, corporate boardrooms, Ivy League faculty lounges and bank headquarters. They made money – sometimes obscene amounts of it – while rigging a monetary meltdown that left middle-class taxpayers holding the bag, and thousands of less-fortunate former homeowners holding cardboard signs beside freeway on-ramps. This is no dry economics lesson; it is a vital wakeup call. The presentation is articulate and rigorously factual, presented in six chapters, from "How We Got There" to "Accountability." The financial earthquake was not only entirely avoidable, but was utterly predictable given the steady erosion of scrutiny of financial markets here and abroad. Reducing state monitoring under the Reagan administration set the stage for the savings-and-loan crisis and the collapse of the junk-bond market. But that was a luau compared with what lay ahead. Successive administrations, Democratic and Republican alike, heeded advisers pushing for further deregulation, leading to WorldCom, Enron, the dot-com bubble and the 2008 panic. Many of those laissez-faire advocates were prominent academics receiving sizable consulting fees to testify in antitrust cases and in Congress on Wall Street's behalf.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on the long history of criminal and corrupt practices of major financial powers and regulatory bodies, click here.
As George H. Painter was preparing to retire recently as one of two administrative law judges presiding over investor complaints at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, he issued an extraordinary request: Please don't assign my pending cases to the other judge. [The CFTC oversees trading of the nation's most important commodities, including oil, gold and cotton.] Painter said Judge Bruce Levine ... had a secret agreement with a former Republican chairwoman of the agency to stand in the way of investors filing complaints with the agency. "On Judge Levine's first week on the job, nearly twenty years ago, he came into my office and stated that he had promised Wendy Gramm, then Chairwoman of the Commission, that we would never rule in a complainant's favor," Painter wrote. "A review of his rulings will confirm that he fulfilled his vow. Judge Levine ... forces pro se complainants to run a hostile procedural gauntlet until they lose hope, and either withdraw their complaint or settle for a pittance, regardless of the merits of the case." Levine was the subject of a story 10 years ago in the Wall Street Journal, which said that except in a handful of cases in which defunct firms failed to defend themselves, Levine had never ruled in favor of an investor. Gramm [wife of former senator Phil Gramm (R-Tex.)], was head of the CFTC just before president Bill Clinton took office. She has been criticized by Democrats for helping firms such as Goldman Sachs and Enron gain influence over the commodity markets. After leaving the CFTC, she joined Enron's board.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on government corruption, click here.
If you want to understand the way prescription drugs are marketed today, have a look at the 1928 book, Propaganda, by Edward Bernays, the father of public relations in America. For Bernays, the public relations business was less about selling things than about creating the conditions for things to sell themselves. When Bernays was working as a salesman for Mozart pianos, for example, he did not simply place advertisements for pianos in newspapers. That would have been too obvious. Instead, Bernays persuaded reporters to write about a new trend: Sophisticated people were putting aside a special room in the home for playing music. Once a person had a music room, Bernays believed, he would naturally think of buying a piano. As Bernays wrote, "It will come to him as his own idea." Just as Bernays sold pianos by selling the music room, pharmaceutical marketers now sell drugs by selling the diseases that they treat. The buzzword is "disease branding." To brand a disease is to shape its public perception in order to make it more palatable to potential patients. Once a branded disease has achieved a degree of cultural legitimacy, there is no need to convince anyone that a drug to treat it is necessary. It will come to him as his own idea. It is hard to brand a disease without the help of physicians, of course. So drug companies typically recruit academic "thought leaders" to write and speak about any new conditions they are trying to introduce.
Note: This key topic is discussed in great depth in the BBC's documentary "Century of the Self" available here. And for a top doctor's analysis that the cholesterol scare was largely manufactured for profit, click here.
Americans die sooner than citizens of a dozen other developed nations and the usual suspects -- obesity, traffic accidents and a high murder rate -- are not to blame. Instead, poor healthcare may be to blame, the team at Columbia University in New York reported. They found that 15-year survival rates for men and women aged 45 to 65 have fallen in the United States relative to the other 12 countries over the past 30 years. In June, the Commonwealth Fund, which advocates on and does research focusing on healthcare reform, reported that Americans spend twice as much on healthcare as residents of other developed countries -- $7,290 per person -- but get lower quality and less efficiency. Between 1975 and 2005, medical costs went up in all the countries, as did life expectancy. But costs went up far more in the United States and life expectancy increased to a far lower degree. "In 1950, the United States was fifth among the leading industrialized nations with respect to female life expectancy at birth, surpassed only by Sweden, Norway, Australia, and the Netherlands," [the report authors] wrote. At last count, the United States was 46th in female life expectancy; 49th for both sexes.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
The astounding revelation that U.S. medical researchers intentionally gave Guatemalans gonorrhea and syphilis more than 60 years ago is so horrifying that we want to believe that what happened then could never happen today. A report from the United States Department of Health and Human Services noted that roughly 80 percent of drug approvals in 2008 were based in part on data from outside the U.S. Susan Reverby, a distinguished historian at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, has ... long researched the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study, the experiment where poor, black men in rural Alabama were deliberately left untreated for syphilis by government researchers. The study, somehow, was allowed to run from 1932 to 1972. More recently, Reverby came across documents that showed that Dr. John C. Cutler, a physician who would later be one of the researchers involved in the Tuskegee study, was involved in a completely unethical research study much earlier in Guatemala. Cutler, who went to his grave defending the Tuskegee experiment, directly inoculated unknowing prisoners in Guatemala with syphilis and also encouraged them to have sex with diseased prostitutes for his research from 1946-48. His work was sponsored by lauded organizations such as the United States Public Health Service, the National Institutes of Health with collaboration of the Pan American Health Sanitary Bureau (now the Pan American Health Organization), and the Guatemalan government.
Note: The author of this commentary is Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. For many other examples of government-sponsored experimentation on human guinea pigs, click here.
The head of the American Association of University Professors has accused BP of trying to "buy" the best scientists and academics to help it contest litigation after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. "This is really one huge corporation trying to buy faculty silence in a comprehensive way," said Cary Nelson. BP faces more than 300 lawsuits so far. In a statement, BP says it has hired more than a dozen national and local scientists "with expertise in the resources of the Gulf of Mexico". The BBC has obtained a copy of a contract offered to scientists by BP. It says that scientists cannot publish the research they do for BP or speak about the data for at least three years, or until the government gives the final approval to the company's restoration plan for the whole of the Gulf. And it adds that scientists must take instructions from lawyers offering the contracts and other in-house counsel at BP. What Mr Nelson is concerned about is BP's control over scientific research. "Our ability to evaluate the disaster and write public policy and make decisions about it as a country can be impacted by the silence of the research scientists who are looking at conditions," he said. "It's hugely destructive. I mean at some level, this is really BP versus the people of the United States."
Note: For lots more on corporate corruption from reliable sources, click here.
In the fall of 1999, the drug giant SmithKline Beecham secretly began a study to find out if its diabetes medicine, Avandia, was safer for the heart than a competing pill, Actos, made by Takeda. Avandia’s success was crucial to SmithKline, whose labs were otherwise all but barren of new products. But the study’s results, completed that same year, were disastrous. Not only was Avandia no better than Actos, but the study also provided clear signs that it was riskier to the heart. But instead of publishing the results, the company spent the next 11 years trying to cover them up, according to documents recently obtained by The New York Times. The company did not post the results on its Web site or submit them to federal drug regulators, as is required in most cases by law. The heart risks from Avandia first became public in May 2007, with a study from a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic who used data the company was forced by a lawsuit to post on its own Web site. In the ensuing months, GlaxoSmithKline officials conceded that they had known of the drug’s potential heart attack risks since at least 2005. But the latest documents demonstrate that the company had data hinting at Avandia’s extensive heart problems almost as soon as the drug was introduced in 1999, and sought intensively to keep those risks from becoming public.
Note: For lots more on corporate corruption from major media sources, click here.
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