Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Media Articles in Major Media
Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
The same insider trading that can land a regular citizen in jail is perfectly legal for members of Congress. Steve Kroft reports on how America's lawmakers can legally make tidy profits on information only they know, simply because they won't pass a law against themselves. Among the revelations in Kroft's report: Members of Congress have bought stock in companies while laws that could affect those companies were being debated in the House or Senate. At least one representative made significant stock purchases the day after he and other members of Congress attended a secret meeting in September 2008, where the Fed chair and the treasury secretary informed them of the imminent global economic meltdown. The meeting was so confidential that cell phones and other digital devices were confiscated before it began. Efforts to make such insider trading off limits to Washington's lawmakers have never been able to get traction. Former Rep. Brian Baird says he spent half of his 12 years in Congress trying to get co-sponsors for a bill that would ban insider trading in Congress and also set some rules up to govern conflicts of interest. In 2004, he and Rep. Louise Slaughter introduced the "Stock Act" to stop the insider trading. How far did they get? "We didn't get anywhere. Just flat died," he tells Kroft.
Former MF Global customers like Koch Industries, which pulled billions of dollars out of the stricken broker's accounts weeks or months before its collapse, have counted their blessings in recent days. But their relief may prove premature depending on the outcome of a separate, 4-year-old bankruptcy case involving Sentinel Management Group Inc. The lawyer overseeing that case has gone to court to try to force some of Sentinel's former clients to take a share of the losses. Many customers pulled out a large sum of cash before the company declared bankruptcy Oct. 31, regulatory data and exchange estimates show. At issue is MF Global's "segregated accounts," client money meant to be kept strictly separate from the broker's own funds, but which regulators say is $600 million short. That pot of money shrank by $1.5 billion in August alone, government data showed. Another $1.8 billion fled during the following two months, according to preliminary estimates. In total, customers pulled out more than a third of their accounts in the three months leading up to MF Global's downfall, much of that in the frenzied final days, traders reckon. For instance, privately held Koch Industries, whose businesses make it a leading commodities trader, sent a letter to trading partners Oct. 3 saying it was switching eight accounts from MF Global to Mizuho Securities USA. Koch Industries did not comment on the reason for its move.
Note: For evidence that the Koch brothers and others were warned to move their money before the bankruptcy, click here.
In September, news about a previously unknown FBI investigation into possible ties between 9/11 hijackers and a Saudi family living near Sarasota led the agency to deny there was any connection and assert that it made all of its files available to congressional investigators a decade ago. But two months later, the FBI has been unable or unwilling to substantiate that it disclosed any information regarding its Sarasota investigation to Congress, says former Florida U.S. Sen. Bob Graham. He has long contended the FBI stonewalled Congress about what it knows about possible Saudi support for the 9/11 hijackers. The FBI investigation began shortly after 9/11 when residents of the gated community of Prestancia, south of Sarasota, called to report the abrupt departure from their luxury home of a Saudi family about two weeks before [9/11]. The most important information came when the FBI examined gatehouse security logs and photographs of license plates, according to then-homeowner’s association administrator Larry Berberich and a counterterrorism agent involved in the investigation. They said the security records revealed that the home was visited by vehicles used by 9/11 terrorist leader Mohamed Atta and fellow hijacker-pilot Ziad Jarrah.
It is strange that Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar never prosecuted Jerry Sandusky on child-rape charges 13 years ago, some speculate, because Gricar was known for being fiercely independent and hard on crime. But it is even stranger that we cannot ask Gricar why Sandusky was not put behind bars, because the tough-as-nails district attorney disappeared in 2005. And though he was declared dead July of this year, his body has never been found. He disappeared on April 15, 2005 after telling his girlfriend that he was going on a drive. Ray Gricar’s car was found the next day in a Lewisburg parking lot and his laptop, sans hard drive, was found in the Susquehanna River. Ray Gricar’s friend, Montour County District Attorney Robert Buehner Jr., told the New York Times that if the ardent district attorney had committed suicide, he would have wanted his body found. But in the case of possible foul play, no suspects have emerged from investigations. When it comes to the Sandusky case, friends and former co-workers are all of the opinion that Ray Gricar would never back down from a righteous prosecution.
Note: Is it just a coincidence that Gricar never charged Sandursky (a rare act of tolerance for crime on the DA's part) and subsequently disappeared (a very rare occurrence for anyone)?
The White House is suggesting that President Obama hasn’t damaged his relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, following an embarrassing moment in France last week when he was overheard making dismissive remarks about the Israeli leader. As fallout from the episode mounts, the White House had been saying little about the exchange between Obama and his French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy, at the G20 summit in Cannes. The two men were speaking in private, apparently unaware that their microphones were still on. “I can’t stand to see him anymore, he’s a liar,’’ Sarkozy told Obama, according to a French translation of the exchange. “You are fed up with him, but me, I have to deal with him every day,’’ Obama replied. Briefing reporters at the White House on Wednesday, Ben Rhodes, a spokesman for the National Security Council, took a question about the flap. Obama “has a very close working relationship with Prime Minister Netanyahu,’’ Rhodes said. “They speak very regularly.’’ Indeed, Rhodes said, Obama has “probably spent more time one on one’’ with Netanyahu than with any other world leader. Most of what happens at international summit meetings is off limits to the public. So the Obama-Sarkozy exchange is being treated as a rare window into the unvarnished thinking of two world leaders.
Note: For more on this story from the BBC, click here.
Nearly a decade and hundreds of miles separate Penn State from the clergy sex abuse scandal that erupted in Boston's Roman Catholic archdiocese [and] then spread nationwide, but those who lived through the church crisis see painful parallels. At Penn State, school administrators, including a [football] coach known for his integrity, didn't notify prosecutors when they learned years ago that former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky had been accused of molesting children. In the Archdiocese of Boston, the case of one predator priest led to revelations that for decades church leaders had moved guilty clergy among parish assignments without alerting parents or police. Both cases have had consequences for administrators. Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law wound up leaving his post and, on Wednesday, Penn State President Graham Spanier and coach Joe Paterno were fired. The scope of the crimes alleged to have taken place at Penn State doesn't nearly match those in Boston, where dozens of priests were accused of abusing hundreds of victims over six decades. At Penn State, Sandusky was indicted on charges he abused eight boys over the course of 15 years. Two Penn State officials, Senior Vice President Gary Schultz and Athletic Director Tim Curley, turned themselves in after being indicted on perjury charges and accused of failing to alert police about abuse complaints. The indictment paints a picture of administrators who had ample warning about Sandusky but failed to act.
Note: For powerful evidence that this kind of abuse is much more widespread than expected, click here. To understand how this relates to secret societies and deep hidden knowledge of our world, click here.
As a result of Bank Transfer Day, in which consumers were encouraged to switch to credit unions, 54 percent of credit unions reported an increase in share growth, according to a survey from the National Association of Federal Credit Unions sent to 10,000 respondents. At least 650,000 people have switched to credit unions since Sept. 29, according to the Credit Union National Association. About 80 percent of credit unions offer at least one free checking account with no minimum balance requirement and no monthly or activity fee, according to Moebs Services. About 64 percent of the largest U.S. banks offer the same. Credit unions can help consumers save money because they are non-profit, and can pay higher interest rates on savings accounts, and offer lower loan and credit card rates. The National Association of Federal Credit Unions ... has a web tool that allows people to search by address, credit union name or company/affiliation. The site had the highest traffic ever on Saturday, Bank Transfer Day. In October visits to the website were more than five times its monthly average. Visitors to the website last month increased by more than 700 percent compared to October 2010.
Prominent international human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith was impressed by the 16-year-old boy who wanted to draw attention to civilian deaths caused by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan. Tariq Aziz had volunteered to take pictures of people killed by the remotely piloted aircraft to help Stafford Smith highlight what he calls illegal killings. Three days later, on October 31, he and his 12-year-old cousin were themselves killed by a drone missile strike in the North Waziristan region on the Afghan border, Stafford Smith said. For the veteran lawyer, the deaths highlighted major flaws in the CIA-run drone campaign, which U.S. officials say is invaluable in the war on militants. He considers the drones as "scandalous" as the secret U.S. bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War. "What we are seeing in Waziristan is a process that is alienating the population just as napalm in Vietnam did and it's achieving very little benefit." Stafford Smith [also] drew parallels between Guantanamo and the drone campaign in Pakistan, arguing both detentions and strikes were often based on dubious intelligence. He suspects the death of Aziz was a prime example of that. "We as America offer large bounties to different informants and these informants would sell their own mothers," said Stafford Smith, 52, a dual U.S.-British citizen who is the director of Reprieve, an organization that advocates for prisoners' rights.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on the killing of innocent people by US drones, click here.
Continental Airlines Flight 1403 made history when it landed at O'Hare International Airport on Monday, becoming the first revenue passenger trip in the U.S. powered by biofuel. The Boeing 737-800 ... burned a "green jet fuel'' derived partially from genetically modified algae that feeds off plant waste and produces oil. In completing the Continental flight from Houston, parent company United Continental Holdings Inc. thus won by a scant two days the competition to launch the first biofuel-powered air service in the U.S. Alaska Airlines is scheduled to begin 75-passenger flights along with its sister airline, Horizon Air, that will take place over the next few weeks using a biofuel blend made from recycled cooking oil. Alaska Airlines officials said the 20 percent biofuel blend its planes will use will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 10 percent. More U.S. airlines are expected to join the effort to fly more cleanly — and eventually more economically — than the use of traditional, petroleum-based Jet-A fuel allows, based on a crude oil price of $100 a barrel or higher, experts said.
Note: For many inspiring reports on new energy developments from major media sources, click here.
Elaine Riddick was 13 years old when she got pregnant after being raped by a neighbor in Winfall, N.C., in 1967. The state ordered that immediately after giving birth, she should be sterilized. Doctors cut and tied off her fallopian tubes. Riddick’s records reveal that a five-person state eugenics board in Raleigh had approved a recommendation that she be sterilized. The records label Riddick as “feebleminded” and “promiscuous.” They said her schoolwork was poor and that she “does not get along well with others.” North Carolina was one of 31 states to have a government run eugenics program. By the 1960s, tens of thousands of Americans were sterilized as a result of these programs. Eugenics was a scientific theory that grew in popularity during the 1920s. Eugenicists believed that poverty, promiscuity and alcoholism were traits that were inherited. To eliminate those society ills and improve society’s gene pool, proponents of the theory argued that those that exhibited the traits should be sterilized. Some of America’s wealthiest citizens of the time were eugenicists including Dr. Clarence Gamble of the Procter and Gamble fortune and James Hanes of the hosiery company. Hanes helped found the Human Betterment League which promoted the cause of eugenicists.
Note: For additional information view the MSNBC video accompanying this report (click here). If you want to explore even deeper into this disturbing news, click here. The article fails to mention that the laws for sterilizations like this were not removed from the books until 2003.
Ethics reforms put in place since the influence-peddling scandal surrounding high-rolling lobbyist Jack Abramoff haven't cleaned up the system "at all," a now-free Abramoff says. Abramoff served three and a half years in prison for conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion before his release last December. In an interview ... on CBS News' "60 Minutes," he said the reforms imposed after his guilty plea have little effect while campaign finance remains untouched. "You can't take a congressman to lunch for $25 and buy him a hamburger or a steak or something like that," he said. "But you can take him to a fund-raising lunch and not only buy him that steak, but give him $25,000 extra and call it a fund-raiser -- and have all the same access and all the same interactions with that congressman." Abramoff's interview with "60 Minutes" aired the night before a memoir, Capitol Punishment, is scheduled to hit shelves. Abramoff describes some of the techniques he employed as a lobbyist as "evil," "terrible" and, at the same time, "effective" for his firm, his clients and Republican politicians he usually worked with. Abramoff said the best way to get what he wanted to was to offer high-ranking congressional aides a job when they left public office. Once that was done, he told CBS, "We owned them." "Everything that we want, they're going to do. Not only that, they're going to think of things we can't think of to do," Abramoff said, estimating his office had "very strong influence" on 100 of the 535 congressional offices.
Note: For a powerful, six-minute analysis of legalized corruption based on Abramoff's comments on CBS 60 Minutes, click here. A petty thief steals three times for a total value of a few thousand dollars and by the "three strikes" law ends up in jail for life. Abramoff, along with his assistants, successfully corrupt U.S. Senators and Congress members and serve less than four years in jail. Some of his assistants got off with no jail time. Is the US justice system biased towards the rich?
Jack Abramoff may be the most notorious and crooked lobbyist of our time. He became a master at showering gifts on lawmakers in return for their votes on legislation. Five years ago ... Jack Abramoff pled guilty ... and served three and a half years in prison. Abramoff: I think most congressmen don't feel they're being bought. [They] can in their own mind justify the system. The "best way" to get a congressional office ... was to offer a staffer a job that could triple his salary. The moment I [offered] that to them ... we owned them. Most of the people ... on Capitol Hill wanted ... to be lobbyists. Republican Congressman Bob Ney was ambitious and looked at Abramoff as a way to build alliances with the White House and the majority leader. Neil Volz, his former chief of staff, by then a lobbyist for Abramoff .. asked Ney to insert some language into a reform bill that would give a backdoor license to an Indian casino. Abramoff: We crafted language that was so obscure ... but so precise to change the U.S. code. "Public law 100-89 is amended by striking section 207 101 stat. 668, 672." Members don't read the bills. Ney: It was a great big shell game. Ney would eventually serve 17 months in federal prison, the only congressman who was ever charged. But Abramoff says that there were many other members that did his bidding that could have been charged. Abramoff: I'm talking about giving a gift to somebody who makes a decision on behalf of the public. That's really what bribery is. But it is done everyday. There were very few members who ... didn't at some level participate in that. Our system is flawed and has to be fixed. He says the most important thing that needs to be done is to prohibit members of Congress and their staff from ever becoming lobbyists in Washington.
Note: To watch this incredibly revealing interview, click here. For a powerful, six-minute analysis of legalized corruption based on Abramoff's comments, click here. A petty thief steals three times for a total value of a few thousand dollars and by the "three strikes" law ends up in jail for life. Abramoff, along with his assistants, successfully corrupt U.S. Senators and Congress members and serve less than four years in jail. Many get off with no jail time. Is the US justice system biased towards the rich?
Thirty-one seconds after the pilot reported muzzle flashes, the Marines at Alcatraz ordered that the Predator be prepared to strike if the shooters could be confirmed as hostile. At 8:49 a.m., 29 minutes after the ambush began, they authorized the pilot to fire. In minutes, two Americans would be dead. The decision to fire a missile from one of the growing fleet of U.S. unmanned aircraft is the result of work by ground commanders, pilots and analysts at far-flung military installations, who analyze video and data feeds and communicate by a system of voice and text messages. In addition to the platoon taking fire that morning in Helmand province's Upper Sangin Valley, the mission involved Marine Corps and Air Force personnel at four locations: Marines of the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion at Alcatraz, the drone crew in Nevada, the analyst in Indiana and a mission intelligence coordinator at March Air Reserve Base in California. Senior officers say drone technology has vastly improved their ability to tell friend from foe in the confusion of battle. But the video can also prompt commanders to make decisions before they fully understand what they're seeing. In February 2009, a crew operating a drone over Afghanistan misidentified a civilian convoy as an enemy force. The Predator pilot and the Army captain who called in the airstrike disregarded warnings from Air Force analysts who had observed children in the convoy. At least 15 people were killed.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on the illegal and immoral prosecution of the global "war on terror" by the US military and NATO, click here.
The Elephant Sanctuary south of Nashville is more than 2,000 acres of freedom for elephants. But for a resident named Tarra, there's not enough room in Tennessee to escape the bad news she got last week. For nearly a decade, Tarra had been best friends with a dog named Bella, a mutt who wandered onto the sanctuary grounds and into the heart of the gentle giant. They were so close, in fact, that when Bella got injured a few years ago and had to spend three weeks recuperating in the sanctuary office, guess who held vigil the entire time? Twenty-two hundred acres to roam free, and Tarra just stood in the corner waiting. Home video of their reunion shows how inseparable they'd become and remained, right to the end. Last week, sanctuary workers found Bella's body. By all indications she'd been attacked by coyotes. Where they found Bella is not where she was attacked. "When I looked around ... there was no signs of an attack here," said director of elephant husbandry, Steve Smith. "And Tarra, on the underside of her trunk, had blood - as if she picked up the body." Steve's theory is Tarra carried Bella possibly a mile or more to bring her home. [The sanctuary's CEO Rob] Atkinson said the elephants are ... spending more time with Tarra and being extra nice - making gestures like giving her a portion of their food. Of course, anyone who's lost a dog knows you can't eat your way out of the grief - as much we might try - but still nice to know at least Tarra's not alone in this. It's also nice to see that compassion is much more than just human.
Note: Don't miss the beautiful video of this sad event at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
This is your moment of zen today. Two adventurers set out in a canoe and happened upon a [flock of] starlings (collectively known as a murmuration) doing their amazing collective dance in the sky. Watch the video. Just take it in. The starlings' coordinated movements do not seem possible, but then, there they are, doing it. Scientists have been similarly fascinated by starling movement. Those synchronized dips and waves seem to hold secrets about perception and group dynamics. Last year, Italian theoretical physicist Giorgio Parisi took on the challenge of explaining the [phenomenon]. What he found ... is that the math equations that best describe starling movement are borrowed "from the literature of 'criticality,' of crystal formation and avalanches -- systems poised on the brink, capable of near-instantaneous transformation." They call it "scale-free correlation," and it means that no matter how big the flock, "If any one bird turned and changed speed, so would all the others." It's a beautiful phenomenon to behold. And neither biologists nor anyone else can yet explain how starlings seem to process information and act on it so quickly. It's precisely the lack of lag between the birds' movements that make the flocks so astonishing.
Italian physicist and inventor Andrea Rossi has conducted a public demonstration of his "cold fusion" machine, the E-Cat, at the University of Bologna, showing that a small amount of input energy drives an unexplained reaction between atoms of hydrogen and nickel that leads to a large outpouring of energy, more than 10 times what was put in. The first seemingly successful cold fusion experiment was reported two decades ago. Two types of atoms, typically a light element and a heavier metal, seem to fuse together, releasing pure heat that can be converted into electricity. The process is an attractive energy solution for two reasons: Unlike in nuclear fission, the reaction doesn't give off dangerous radiation. Unlike the fusion processes that take place in the sun, cold fusion doesn't require extremely high temperatures. In April ... Rossi and fellow physicist Sergio Focardi successfully demonstrated the device for a group of Swedish physicists. At the demo in October, after an initial energy input of 400 watts into each module, each one then produced a sustained, continuous output of 10 kilowatts (470 kW altogether) for three to four hours. Peter Hagelstein, an MIT professor of electrical engineering and computer science and one of the most mainstream proponents of cold fusion research, thinks the process may involve vibrational energy in the metal's lattice driving nuclear transitions that lead to fusion.
Note: For lots more on this exciting development, click here. And for a CBS video segment and another excellent documentary showing top researchers who continue to be very excited about results of ongoing cold fusion experiments, click here. For media reports on other suppressed new energy inventions, click here.
Israel's prime minister [Benyamin Netanyahu] has ordered an investigation into alleged leaks of plans to attack Iran's nuclear facilities. According to the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Jarida, the main suspects are the former heads of the Mossad and the Shin Bet, respectively Israel's foreign and domestic intelligence agencies. Netanyahu is said to believe that the two, Meir Dagan and Yuval Diskin, wanted to torpedo plans being drawn up by him and Ehud Barak, the defence minister, to hit Iranian nuclear sites. The purpose of the leaks was to prevent an attack, which had moved from the stage of discussion to implementation. Both Dagan and Diskin oppose military action against Iran unless all other options – primarily international diplomatic pressure and perhaps sabotage — have been exhausted. In January the recently retired Dagan, a hawk when he was running the Mossad, called an attack on Iran "the stupidest idea I've ever heard". The Kuwait paper has a track record of running stories based on apparently high-level leaks from Israeli officials. Even well-informed Israeli observers admit to being confused about what is going on behind the scenes. "It seems that only Netanyahu and Barak know," commented Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff, both respected Haaretz writers. "While many people say Netanyahu and Barak are conducting sophisticated psychological warfare and don't intend to launch a military operation, top officials … are still afraid."
Note: The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that "U.S. officials are concerned that Israel will not warn them before taking military action against Iran's nuclear facilities."
A well-known psychologist in the Netherlands whose work has been published widely in professional journals falsified data and made up entire experiments, an investigating committee has found. Experts say the case exposes deep flaws in the way science is done in a field, psychology, that has only recently earned a fragile respectability. The psychologist, Diederik Stapel, of Tilburg University, committed academic fraud in “several dozen” published papers, many accepted in respected journals and reported in the news media, according to a report released ... by the three Dutch institutions where he has worked. The journal Science, which published one of Dr. Stapel’s papers in April, posted an “editorial expression of concern” about the research online. The scandal, involving about a decade of work, is the latest in a string of embarrassments in a field that critics and statisticians say badly needs to overhaul how it treats research results. In recent years, psychologists have reported a raft of findings on race biases, brain imaging and even extrasensory perception that have not stood up to scrutiny. Outright fraud may be rare, these experts say, but they contend that Dr. Stapel took advantage of a system that allows researchers to operate in near secrecy and massage data to find what they want to find, without much fear of being challenged.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on corruption in scientific research and publication, click here.
Voters in Boulder, Colo., narrowly backed the creation of a municipal power authority to replace Xcel Energy Inc., the biggest electricity provider in Colorado. The city can't cut all ties with Xcel right away. The shift to a municipal utility will take at least three years and could be derailed over issues such as how much Boulder will pay Xcel for its infrastructure. Supporters of the move argue that a public utility would allow Boulder, a liberal college town, to embrace renewable energy and sharply reduce carbon emissions. Xcel relies heavily on coal-fired plants. Xcel spent nearly $1 million to try to defeat the Boulder ballot measures, outspending supporters about 10 to 1. "People like a David-and-Goliath story, and that's absolutely what this is," said Ken Regelson, who led a community group supporting a public utility. Nationwide, 16 new public power authorities have been formed in the last decade, including 13 that have taken over from private utilities. Nearly all serve communities of less than 10,000, said Ursula Schryver, a vice president of the American Public Power Association, a trade group. Boulder's population is nearly 100,000. The last large-scale municipalization took place in 1998, on New York's Long Island.
Note: This is significant positive news as the largest city yet in the U.S. has voted to take control of their energy and make it greener. For a more optimistic and detailed description of this major victory, click here.
The British drugmaker Glaxo-SmithKline has tentatively agreed to pay the U.S. government $3 billion to settle multiple civil and criminal investigations, the largest settlement in the federal government’s recent crackdown on the pharmaceutical industry’s marketing practices. If the deal is finalized, it will mark the latest success in the federal government’s push to rein in drug companies’ promotional efforts. Of the 165 settlements reached between pharmaceutical companies and federal and state governments in the past two decades, about three-quarters took place between 2006 and 2010, according to a report by Public Citizen. Before the Glaxo agreement, the largest federal settlements took place in 2009: Pfizer paid $2.3 billion to settle federal investigations tied to the promotion of the anti-inflammatory drug Bextra and other drugs, and Eli Lilly & Co. paid $1.4 billion related to the marketing of the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa. Still, consumer advocates said the penalties are not enough. “The size of the penalties, although large, are not as large as the money [the drug companies] make and so they keep doing it over again,” said Sidney M. Wolfe, director of Public Citizen’s health research group. “The only way this is going to stop, or get reversed, is to greatly increase the size of the penalties or to start sending some of the executives to jail.”
Note: For insight into corruption in the pharmaceutical industry, click here.
Important Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.