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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Top 10 greedy people in America

You won't see much about this in the mainstream news, but Common Dreams has an article on America's top 10 greediest people:

America’s Greediest: The 2013 Top Ten

Butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers. You won’t find any of them in this latest annual list of America’s most avaricious. You will find wheelers and dealers and a candy store heiress.

The headlines haven’t been particularly kind to America’s most relentlessly greedy over the past year. In just the last month alone, the world’s two most visible religious leaders — Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama — have once again dramatically denounced our global concentration of income and wealth. And the world’s most powerful political leader, Barack Obama, has chimed in, too.

The impact on America’s super rich — and super-rich wannabees? Not much. They haven’t even deigned to slow their grabbing.

At Too Much, the Institute for Policy Studies weekly on excess and inequality, we’ve been taking names. Lots of them. The greediest of them all? We think we can make a good case for the ten below. We hope you’ll find some useful insights from our choices — and maybe even some new incentive to help make our world a more equal place.

So who is the top 10? Check them out here:
(note: One is in my state of North Carolina!)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Huge counterterrorism news!

Just as I have stated on numerous occasions, and even written about as well, a study finds that US intelligence gathering is actually making us LESS safe in some ways. Years ago I wrote: "Every minute and every dollar spent determining the books that I read is a minute and a dollar not spent addressing real threats, and there are real threats out there." Turns out, unfortunately, that I was right.

Report Finds Police Intelligence Gathering Tactics Threaten National Security

Report Finds Police Intelligence Gathering Tactics Threaten National Security (By Candice Bernd, Truthout | Report)

To top that off, a federal judge has ruled that the entire NSA data mining program is a violation of the US Constitution, just as I wrote about as well. After all, why have a Fourth Amendment prohibiting unreasonable searches and seizures without a warrant unless it is going to apply to the federal government?!?!?

According to the Washington Post, "U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon found that a lawsuit by Larry Klayman, a conservative legal activist, has 'demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success' on the basis of Fourth Amendment privacy protections against unreasonable searches.

"Leon granted the request for an injunction that blocks the collection of phone data for Klayman and a co-plaintiff and orders the government to destroy any of their records that have been gathered. But the judge stayed action on his ruling pending a government appeal, recognizing in his 68-page opinion the 'significant national security interests at stake in this case and the novelty of the constitutional issues.'"

This is what Justice Leon, a judge on the US District Court for the District of Columbia, wrote:

“I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval. Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment.”

And, incredibly, if you recall, Obama's Director of National Intelligence stated publicly that this program did not even exist!

Obama Urged to Fire Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (By Staff, Consortium News | News Analysis)

And finally, we learn this:

Beyond the NSA: Other Agencies Spy on You, Too (By Shahid Buttar, Truthout | Op-Ed)

Reading all this might make you think, what? USA! USA! USA! USA!????
Clearly, this is big news. Thanks at least to the news agencies covering it!


Monday, December 16, 2013

Here is your latest form of fraud ...

So the FBI reports that all thefts, burglaries, and car thefts cost about $ 20 billion per year.

My research shows that fraud cost probably about $1 trillion every year, not including the types of business whose business IS fraud! ... you know ... the weight loss industry, stuff like that.

And now there is this ... just more evidence of that. Imagine if every dollar spent on multivitamins AND antibacterial soap is just fraud? Wow!

Are multivitamins a waste?

Editorial in medical journal says yes

An editorial published in the Annals of Internal Medicine says that using supplements and multivitamins to prevent chronic conditions is a waste of money.FULL STORY

Friday, December 13, 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Can you kill four people and seriously injure others and avoid prison?

Yes you can. If you are rich.

So this 16 year old kid stole some beer. Then he got really drunk. Then he drove his truck with friends in the back. Then he crashed, killing four people and seriously injuring his friends.

And for this, he gets probation!

Why, because his parents are so rich, he never learned to be responsible.

Teen gets probation for DUI wreck that killed 4
The defense argued that Ethan Couch was not fully to blame because his parents didn't set limits for him. Families of the victims are angry. FULL STORY

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Crime, crime, crime in the news

As usual, stories of crime dominate the news. Here are but a few examples from today, stories that focus on crime, guns, violence, or criminal justice:

Town may vote to shoot down drones
Drones beware: Hunters take aim  Drones beware: Hunters take aim
Police: Slain student fought with officer
Cop: Student hit officer with baton  Cop: Student hit officer with baton
Did bride push husband off cliff?  Did bride push husband off cliff?
Report: NSA spying on gamers  Report: NSA spying on gamers
Zimmerman's girlfriend wants him free
Cops: Teens let friend drive drunk  Cops: Teens let friend drive drunk
As it turns out today, about one-half of the lead stories are about crime and criminal justice. Just another normal day in crime-obsessed America.
Hey, did you know street crime is at near record lows?

And that white-collar and corporate crime is so widespread that it threatens to cripple our economy about every five years?

Yet stories about street crime dominate the news and white-collar and corporate crime are ignored?

Monday, December 9, 2013

ATF in the news ...

... and it's not good:

  • ATF AGENTS IN CITIES across America reportedly used rogue tactics to go gun hunting, allegedly exploiting the mentally ill, buying up weapons for way more than they're worth — even letting minors smoke pot and drink.
I personally wonder if this story is on Fox News only because it can be linked to President Obama and the "Fast and Furious" gun-walking program. But whatever the reason, it is in the news, at least on Fox.
Interestingly, the story does not appear on CNN. Its lead story is about the ice storm.

Instead, they have these gyms:

Thursday, December 5, 2013

THIS is not news ... THIS is ...

But THIS is the lead story on CNN:

No charges against FSU QB

Prosecutor: No reasonable chance of conviction

Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston will not be charged in a case of alleged rape, the state attorney for Lee County, Florida, said.FULL STORY
And THIS is just on a comedy show ...
In this series of clips, comedian Jon Stewart illustrates what happens to corporate criminals, what doesn't happen to them, and explains why. And also shows why it is not news.
Heavy SettleEpisode #19031Corporations pay the nominal price for years of systemic fraud. (03:34)Tags:business, housing, corruption, lawsuits, laws, money, crime, stocks, Wall Street, Banking, masturbation, monkeys!, Jon Stewart
Aired: 12/04/13
Viewed: 7,249
Heavy Settle - Admissions of Non-GuiltEpisode #19031Corporations escape full prosecution for financial fraud by paying back a portion of their ill-gotten gains in legal settlements. (03:29)Tags:business, corruption, lawsuits, laws, money, crime, Banking, No Disrespect impression, health, prison
Aired: 12/04/13
Viewed: 10,061
Full Episode AvailableDecember 04, 2013 - Jehane Noujaim
Blackstone & CodereEpisode #19031Samantha Bee investigates the shady, totally legal business dealings of a private equity firm called Blackstone. (07:00)Tags:Samantha Bee, Banking, money, laws, crime, ethics, wealth, corruption, media, Wall Street, New York Times, print media, Pat Kiernan, appearances, cats & cats, Internet
Aired: 12/04/13
Viewed: 19,712

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Innocent people in prison? I'm shocked!

CNN today actually has a lead story worth reading.
It is about wrongful conviction, an understudied issue in criminal justice.

They said he killed his wife, but he was innocent

Watch this video

Michael Morton's amazing journey

Jurors didn't believe Michael Morton when he said he didn't kill his wife. By the time DNA tests proved his innocence, Morton had lost 25 years in prison. FULL STORY

Be sure to read the story linked above about why America imprisons so many; it is about the imbalance in courts where the prosecutor has all the power, the war on drugs, and how this leads to more incarceration.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What kills kids?

It is a horrible tragedy when children die.

No matter how they die.

But when the media focus on some forms of killing--devoting page after page and hour after hour to some forms of killing, while ignoring others--it creates misconceptions of what actually puts out kids at the most risk.

This is the lead story in USA Today right now.

A look at mass killings in the USA.

Its story and its graphic are extensive. And important.

But they create the false impression that our kids are likely to die in a mass killing (for example, a school shooting).

But these events appear nowhere on the actual leading causes of death for young people.

So the media share major blame for why people fear the wrong things. And prepare to protect themselves from the wrong things, as well.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Ah, disaster ...

We rely on you so much.

You make us feel so much better about our lives.

Though you make us feel insecure, without you, we'd only focus on the trivial things and not remember the importance of just being alive!

Without you, we'd have only this:

But because of you, we have:

Watch this video

'Gravel came flying up in our faces'

Even though the train was careening around a curve, Amanda Swanson felt the wreck in slow motion. "The train felt like it was on its side and dragging for a long time," she said. FULL STORY