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  1. Atypical is offline
    11-29-2011, 06:02 PM #141

    Hank Paulson’s Secret: Of Course the System Is Rigged

    Hank Paulson knows the system is rigged (photo viw Wikipedia)

    When former Goldman Sachs exec Henry Paulson was Treasury Secretary he apparently gave his hedge fund buddies extremely helpful and lucrative secret information about his plans to seize Freddie Mae and Fannie Mac while still assuring the public everything was fine. To a room full of hedge fund mangers, including many of his former colleagues, Paulson let it be known the companies would soon go into conservatorship.

    From Bloomberg (I highly recommend you read the whole shocking article.)

    Paulson explained that under this scenario, the common stock of the two government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs, would be effectively wiped out. So too would the various classes of preferred stock, he said.

    The fund manager says he was shocked that Paulson would furnish such specific information — to his mind, leaving little doubt that the Treasury Department would carry out the plan. The managers attending the meeting were thus given a choice opportunity to trade on that information.

    This is an important reminder that we don’t have a meritocracy. We don’t have a fair or free market. Many of the people at the very top with all the wealth are not now making incredibly more money than regular Americans because they are super genius Galtian “job creators.”

    Many of these people are making huge sums of money, because we have a system rigged for them, by them. A well trained gorilla could become insanely rich if it had the triple benefit of the Treasury Secretary giving it incredibly useful insider information, the Fed giving it effective interest free loans, and the special carried interest tax loophole so it paid a lower tax rate than a school teacher.

    If our top government officials showered regular Americans with even one tenth of the favoritism they have shown to Wall Street, I doubt we would have people protesting in the streets right now.


    This is how the corporatocracy functions.


  2. Atypical is offline
    12-05-2011, 06:19 PM #142

    "I Know How to Beat Republicans": Interview With Former GOP Staffer Mike Lofgren

    By Leslie Thatcher, Truthout: "Establishment liberals just don't understand what's happening and are too often supercilious, condescending and off-topic."

    Read the article.


    This former GOP staffer skewers everyone.

    Liberals for their lack of understanding as to what needs to be done to combat conservatives - and their lack of vigor in doing it.

    Republicans for their stupid, empty positions and tactics.

    Corporations for their nasty actions.

    It is a must-read. I agree with all of it.
    Last edited by Atypical; 12-05-2011 at 06:22 PM.

  3. Atypical is offline
    12-06-2011, 06:12 PM #143

    Carriers Admit to Installing Hidden App

    The cellphone spying saga is heating up.

    On Friday, Rep. Ed Markey joined Sen. Al Franken in demanding answers from Carrier IQ, the company that has worked with mobile carriers to install a hidden application that has the ability to secretly track nearly everything users do — including the keys they press, the numbers they dial and the websites they visit — on more than 140 million cellphones. Researcher Trevor Eckhart uncovered the secret app.

    Rep. Ed Markey has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Carrier IQ.

    News about the issue has spread like wildfire, and every tech blog worth its salt is on the case. Here are a few updates that have come in since we first dug into this issue Thursday:

    AT&T and Sprint have admitted to installing Carrier IQ’s software on their phones.

    The Wall Street Journal’s tech blog AllThingsD spoke to Larry Lenhart and Andrew Coward, Carrier IQ’s CEO and VP of marketing, whose carefully scripted responses left a lot to be desired. “The software receives a huge amount of information from the operating system,” Lenhart said. “But just because it receives it doesn’t mean that it’s being used to gather intelligence about the user or passed along to the carrier.” In other words, Carrier IQ has the ability to track nearly everything you’re doing, but it doesn’t necessarily do anything with all that info. Why should we trust this company to do the right thing?
    Also of interest is how Lenhart and Coward passed the buck on to the carriers. They’re essentially saying, “We just provide the tools to spy on you. The carriers decide how they want to use them.”

    HTC (the maker of the phone that Eckhart used to expose Carrier IQ) claims it doesn’t receive data from Carrier IQ. Nevertheless, HTC and Samsung got hit with a lawsuit claiming that, as others have suggested, the software violates laws against wiretapping).

    Free Press is continuing to press Congress and the Justice Department to investigate Carrier IQ.

    People are tired of these unwarranted, unannounced intrusions into their online lives. As Sophos analyst Chester Wisniewski put it, “the community is becoming fed up with being spied upon, our personal lives and habits being invaded through secret programs and increasingly complicated and confusing privacy statements.”


    I'm sure there is a simple, necessary, and benign reason for companies to do this.

    For example:

    This might create jobs (for various types of spies and blackmailers)
    Offer something for their executives to do. (self-abuse)
    Could provide other important organizations with useful info. (Police, CIA and FBI)
    Might give other companies an idea to improve their phones and security devices. (Cameras that film you in the bathroom)

    What's the problem? Just trust them, okay?

    Corporations are wonderful.

    Aren't they?

  4. SiriuslyLong is offline
    SiriuslyLong's Avatar
    Joined: Jan 2009 Location: Ann Arbor, MI Posts: 3,560
    12-07-2011, 10:00 AM #144
    "Corporations are wonderful.

    Aren't they?"

    Yes, most are. The least wonderful corporations are the ones that gave you the technology to constantly whine here on these message boards lol.

  5. Atypical is offline
    10-24-2012, 06:38 PM #145
    Federal Prosecutors Sue Bank of America Over Mortgage Program

    Wednesday, 24 October 2012 13:23 By Ben Protess, The New York Times News Service

    Federal prosecutors in New York sued Bank of America on Wednesday, accusing the giant bank of carrying out a mortgage scheme that defrauded the government during the depths of the financial crisis.

    In a civil complaint that seeks to collect $1 billion in damages from the bank, the Justice Department took aim at a home loan program known as the “hustle,” a venture that Bank of America inherited with its purchase of Countrywide Financial during the crisis. Prosecutors say the effort, created in 2007 but kept alive through 2009 by Bank of America, was designed to churn out mortgages at a rapid pace without proper checks on wrongdoing. The bank then sold the “defective” loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-controlled housing giants, which were stuck with heavy losses and a glut of foreclosed properties.

    “The fraudulent conduct alleged in today’s complaint was spectacularly brazen in scope,” Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, said in a statement. Mr. Bharara brought the case with the inspector general of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the government watchdog for the bank bailout program.

    The case is the latest legal headache for Bank of America stemming from its acquisition spree during the crisis. The bank in September paid $2.4 billion to settle a securities class-action lawsuit that it misled investors about the takeover of Merrill Lynch.

    The Countrywide case filed on Wednesday also overlaps with a number of lawsuits that government agencies are pursuing against Wall Street. The case builds on the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s decision last year to sue 17 big banks over losses sustained by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The twin mortgage companies, bailed out by taxpayers in 2008, are also hammering firms like Bank of America to repurchase billions of dollars in bad loans.

    A spokesman for Bank of America did not immediately return a request for comment.

  6. Atypical is offline
    10-27-2012, 05:45 PM #146
    Paying Taxes to Your Boss: A Step Toward 21st Century Feudalism

    By Tim Price, Next New Deal

    Employers are already treating their workers like their subjects. Now some of them get to collect taxes, too.

    Though a lot of Americans really (really, really) hate paying taxes, most of us can at least justify it as our contribution to some greater good, whether it’s the broad range of social programs favored by progressives or a libertarian night watchman state. But what if the government instead told us, “We don’t want your money, but we would like to make friends with some rich guys, so just give it to them and let them have fun with it”? That could soon be the law of the land in Pennsylvania, where the state legislature has passed a bill that would, as Philadelphia City Paper blogger Daniel Denvir describes it, “allow companies that hire at least 250 new workers in the state to keep 95-percent of the workers' withheld income tax.” These workers will essentially be paying their employers for the privilege of having a job. Some have called this “corporate socialism,” but it also calls to mind an even older economic model that was once popular in Europe – except back then, the bosses were called lords. It’s a more modern innovation in the U.S., but combined with increased political pressure from employers and a crackdown on workers’ rights, it all adds up to feudalism, American-style.

    The Pennsylvania bill is just the most recent example of state income taxes being turned into employer subsidies. It’s already the law of the land in one form or another in 19 states, and according to Good Jobs First, it’s taking $684 million a year out of the public coffers. The theory is that this will boost job creation. But the authors of the Good Jobs First report note, “payments often go to firms that simply move existing jobs from one state to another, or to ones that threaten to move unless they get paid to stay put.” In other words, it’s more like extortion than stimulus. With state governments facing a projected $4 trillion budget shortfall and continuing to cut social services and public sector jobs, they can hardly afford to be wasting money on companies that already have plenty and have no intention of putting it to good use. And the more governments turn over their privileges to businesses, the more the distinction between the two becomes blurred.

    But if corporations have state governments over a barrel, they have their employees stuffed inside the barrel and ready to plunge down the waterfall. As I’ve noted before, some conservatives view all taxation as theft, but there’s surely no better term for what happens when employers promise their workers a certain wage or salary and then pocket some of the money for themselves. When you pay taxes to the government, you get something in return, whether it’s a school for your kids or a road to drive on or a firefighter to rescue you from a burning building. When you pay taxes to your boss, you… well, you give your boss your money. Your only reward is that you get to continue to “work the land,” so to speak. The lords didn’t consult with the peasants on which tapestries they should buy with the money they collected from them.

    Did I forget to mention that these employers aren’t even required to tell their workers that this is how their “income taxes” are being used? Journalist David Cay Johnston, who covers this issue in his new book, The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use ‘Plain English’ to Rob You Blind, writes that this bait-and-switch is “stealthy by design.” Of course it is; if these workers were important enough to know where their money is going, it wouldn’t be legal to steal it.

    Employers may be able to exert pressure, but they can’t actually control who you support, right? Well, they might not be able to accompany you to the voting booth (yet), but if you work in a state that allows your employer to confiscate your tax withholdings and donate them to a pro-Romney Super PAC, they can turn you into a Romney supporter whether you like it or not. It’s not enough that our current campaign finance system gives wealthy executives nearly unchecked power to support the candidate of their choice; subsidizing them with income taxes allows them to choose for everyone in their fiefdom.

    If employers were always secretive about their exploitation, the comparison to feudalism might not seem apt – after all, serfs were pretty clear on what the score was. But there’s nothing subtle about the way some employers have begun to apply political pressure in the workplace. From forcing workers to attend Romney rallies without pay to outright threatening their jobs if President Obama is reelected, employers in the post-Citizens United era are feeling emboldened to conscript their employees as bannermen for the candidates of their choice. Suddenly, a job is not just a job, but an oath of allegiance. And Republicans, at least, are all for it. Mike Elk reports that Mitt Romney himself urged business owners to lobby their employees on his behalf, assuring them that there is “Nothing illegal about you talking to your employees about what you believe is best for the business.” And as we all know, if you can’t technically be arrested or fined for doing something, that means it’s totally okay to do it. Q.E.D., coal miners.

    This lopsided power dynamic is reflected more generally in the shoddy state of modern labor law. In most states employers can fire their workers whenever they want for pretty much any reason, forcing them to fall in line with even the pettiest demands. When your boss is trying to tell you when you can and can’t go to the bathroom, forcing you to hide your Obama bumper sticker seems like an almost trifling concern in comparison. This lack of employee agency has led Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren to describe today’s employers as “mini-dictators,” and as more public funds are diverted to private business owners, that comparison is only becoming more literal.

    If conservative policymakers succeed in their nationwide effort to eliminate collective bargaining rights and neutralize already weakened unions, conditions aren’t likely to get better for workers anytime soon. Business owners and corporate execs will continue to assert more and more authority, bending their workers’ will to their own while using those workers’ paychecks to solidify their power. But there’s still hope of turning things around and restoring a more balanced playing field. If more American workers take note of the fact that two of their least favorite people, the tax collector and their boss, are being combined into one entity, it might just spark enough anger for them to fight back. As the feudal lords eventually learned, the peasants were the ones holding the pitchforks.

  7. Atypical is offline
    11-03-2012, 07:13 PM #147
    Steroid company’s political ties surface as meningitis outbreak worsens.

    Victims of the meningitis outbreak blamed for 29 deaths across 19 states are now reporting spinal infections, The New York Times reported Thursday.

    Most of the reports of the infection, known as an epidural abscess, have originated in Michigan, site of 112 meningitis cases during the outbreak.

    “This is a significant shift in the presentation of this fungal infection, and quite concerning,” said Dr. Lakshmi K. Halasyamani, chief medical officer at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “An epidural abscess is very serious. It’s not something we expected.”

    Nationally, 404 people have been diagnosed with meningitis since late September, after using a contaminated steroid issued by the New England Compounding Center (NECC). The Food and Drug Administration confirmed the company’s link to the outbreak last month when it matched the contaminant involved in the outbreak, Exserohilum rostratum, to a steroid batch the company made in August.

    Salon reported on Tuesday that while NECC has been reprimanded several times over the past decade, the company was spared from more serious sanctions by entering into a consent agreement with a state agency, the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy.

    The company’s president and co-owner, Greg Coniglario, was also revealed to have hosted a fundraiser for Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), one of 10 senators to sign a letter asking the FDA to loosen regulations on the drug compounding industry.

    Coniglario has allegedly contributed thousands of dollars to both Brown’s campaign and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

    About 14,000 people were injected with the steroid, methylprednisolone acetate, after it was initially shipped to hospitals. The drug is mostly used to treat neck and back pain, but some patients reported infections after being injected for arthritic joint pain.

    Both NECC and a sister company, Ameridose — also owned by NECC’s owners, Coniglario and Barry Cadden — have been shuttered during the investigation, and their products have been recalled.

    Raw Story (

    By all means, let's loosen controls on business. We don't EVER need no stinkin' regulations.

    Now, who can we get to do that for us?

    I know - repukes!

    People die from this "arrangement" to make it easier for business to make money. Greed is all that matters.
    Last edited by Atypical; 11-03-2012 at 07:30 PM.

  8. Atypical is offline
    11-27-2012, 04:59 PM #148
    Dead On the Operating Table: A Q&A with journalist Mina Kimes

    by Marshall Allen

    When the multibillion dollar medical device maker Synthes enticed doctors to use its bone cement on people’s spines, patients died on the operating table. The company’s actions led to indictments and prison time for executives.

    Journalist Mina Kimes of Fortune magazine investigated how it all happened, talking to doctors who performed the treatments, former company employees and the families of patients who died. Her report, “Bad to the Bone: A Medical Horror Story,” lays out in detail how the company navigated around Food and Drug Administration rules meant to inform and protect patients.

    As part of our ongoing interest in patient safety, ProPublica health reporter Marshall Allen interviewed Kimes at ProPublica’s New York office for the #MuckReads podcast. The interview has been edited for clarity and length.

    ProPublica: You use the term “human experimentation” to describe what was happening in this story. That sure gets people’s attention.

    Kimes:I think that’s what it was. The company held unauthorized clinical trials and released and promoted a product for a use that was unapproved [by the FDA] without informing patients that the product was unapproved. People participate in clinical trials all the time, but they do so knowingly, and I think that's the core transgression here: Some people had knowledge and some people didn't. And ultimately, the people who did not were the patients.

    ProPublica: Tell us about the company and the product.

    Kimes: Synthes is a Switzerland-based device company that was bought earlier this year by Johnson & Johnson for about $20 billion, the biggest acquisition in J&J's history. Before they were acquired they developed a product called Norian, which is a calcium phosphate bone cement. Many people described the product as miraculous because it had properties that enabled it to stimulate the growth of actual human bone. Norian was approved for use in the skull and the arm.

    The story is about the company’s efforts to convince doctors to use the product in the spine as a treatment for vertebral compression fractures – painful fissures in the spine that are a common side effect of osteoporosis. But Norian was never approved for vertebral compression fractures, and the FDA specifically forbade the treatment. So over the course of a couple of years, the company made a series of ill‑fated decisions that led to them promoting it for that use even after some alarming scientific results and patient deaths.

    ProPublica: What happened when they used Norian in the spine?

    Kimes:Well, this is really at the heart of what they did wrong: They never did a clinical trial on people. When a medical device maker wants to introduce a device for a new purpose, there's a variety of ways in which they can get approval for it. If it's an untested high-risk device, often what they'll have to do is obtain something called Premarket Approval, or PMA, which requires clinical trials. These trials can be long and costly. Some employees estimated that it would take about three years and cost over $1 million. They would have had to convince a large number of patients to do it. And they could fail. One of the things that probably deterred them from doing the clinical trials was that the company had not had a lot of success doing this in the past.

    The other way that you can get approval is to establish similarity to an already approved device, which is the approach they took. However, the approval that they got from the FDA said specifically that they could not mix Norian with other materials, which is what they needed to do for the spine treatment. The FDA later said this cannot be used to treat vertebral compression fractures.

    Between 2002 and 2004, which was when the illegal trials were going on, there were three deaths. The first one was a 70‑year‑old woman whose X‑rays, in a disturbing twist, were later used in materials to promote the product. Then later on, an 83‑year‑old man and an 83‑year‑old woman died, both on the operating table.
    In all cases, the patients’ blood pressure dropped extremely quickly and they were unable to be resuscitated.
    Experts later theorized that the cement was forming clots and causing blockages in the bloodstream. That's also what happened in a completely separate animal trial conducted at the University of Washington, where scientists injected the cement into a pig that also died for the same reason.

    ProPublica: So they did not have FDA approval, but still promoted it for use in the spine. How did the marketing work?

    Kimes: We’re talking here about off‑label marketing, an extremely common crime that’s led to huge settlements in recent years for drug companies and device makers. Doctors and surgeons are able to prescribe drugs and use devices in ways that they see fit. However, companies cannot promote them to doctors and surgeons for the unapproved, off‑label uses. As you can imagine this creates a bit of tension, especially when a company recognizes that doctors might be interested in using it in an unapproved fashion, or there's a potential revenue stream.

    So what we encountered in this story was that the company expressed interest in this unapproved use, and it was documented that they promoted it for that use. I interviewed many surgeons who were involved in the unauthorized clinical trials. They told me that they talked to some of these sales representatives about this unauthorized use, and that in itself is off‑label marketing.

    There are so many ways companies cross the line, whether it's giving information to doctors, bringing these devices into certain surgeries, or giving them instructions on how to use it. Synthes did all of these things and more. In one case, during a training session with surgeons, they explicitly showed them how to do this spinal procedure. They were giving out materials that talked about the procedure. Some of the promotional materials did not include the warning that the FDA had told them to include, saying not to use Norian to treat vertebral compression fractures. So there were many ways in which they committed the crime.

    ProPublica: Did regulation fail, or did they flout the regulation?

    Kimes:I think they definitely flouted the regulation. The question, I think, of whether or not the regulations were strong or clear enough is a matter of dispute. The FDA had issued a public warning about this procedure being off‑label. There was some confusion amongst surgeons and the company about the label, and I know from my interviews with employees that they knew what they were doing was not right. That said, there's still a lot of gray area.

    ProPublica: How much influence do you think the marketing has over physicians?

    Kimes: I think there's a great deal of influence. There has to be a confluence of factors. The appetite for the product was already out there. This is a procedure that was growing in popularity at the time. Plus, there was no clear treatment. Vertebroplasties were being conducted using a different kind of cement that had a lot of disadvantages. So there was certainly an audience for it. I imagine it was quite convincing when surgeons were presented with this miraculous‑seeming product and not told about some of the issues, such as the scientific trials. Also, many of the surgeons were flown out to training sessions where they had dinners and golf outings and whatnot. And at those training sessions, they were told all the good things about it and all the potential for it, and many walked away thinking it was a really wonderful opportunity.

    One of the most surprising things I learned while reporting this story was that in all of these surgeries there was a sales representative from the company in the room. I didn't know that before. And I think that's emblematic of the relationship between doctors and companies, which is intermeshed and in some ways co-dependent.

    ProPublica: What did this story tell you in general about patient safety?

    Mina:Much of this has to do with knowledge. I mean, when you make a health care decision, you should be equipped with the best knowledge possible. This story was about the withholding of that knowledge at many crucial points, but especially to these patients who died not knowing that this product had been used in animal trials where there were very alarming results, and not knowing that it wasn't actually approved for the procedure that they were about to go into. The risks weren't properly communicated.

    All the patients’ families maintain that they were not told about the unapproved nature of the product, about the animal trials and the risks associated with them. There were three deaths that took place during the clinical trials, but there was another death that occurred in July of 2009 after the company had been indicted. So if that particular family had simply known the name of the product — and they say they weren't told the name — they could've Googled it and seen a criminal indictment filed two weeks earlier.


    Another example of corporate malfeasance and greed. People die because of it.
    Last edited by Atypical; 11-27-2012 at 05:25 PM.

  9. Atypical is offline
    12-04-2012, 09:12 AM #149
    Big Pharma Company Mocked Patients Who Got "Jawbone Death" from Drug: "Ma Toot Hurts So Bad"

    Newly available emails reveal Merck was far from concerned when a disease linked to Fosamax surfaced.

    December 3, 2012

    As early as 2004, Merck knew its blockbuster osteoporosis drug Fosamax was causing osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) after in-office dental procedures and ridiculed afflicted patients. The condition, also called jawbone death, occurs when traumatized tissue doesn't heal but becomes "necrotic" and dies. "Ma toot hurts so bad" mimicked Merck bone scientist Don Kimmel in a 2004 email to Merck health science consultant Sharon Scurato about the type of patient who was developing ONJ. Such a patient "could be an oral hog," wrote Kimmel, then a bone scientist in Merck's department of Molecular Endocrinology/Bone Biology and trained as a dentist--someone with pre-existing infections and periodontal disease who omits preventative care.

    Newly available emails and internal Merck documents reveal the company was far from concerned or surprised when ONJ-links to Fosamax surfaced in the early 2000's and launched elaborate spin campaigns to keep the $3 billion a year pill afloat. In fact, animal studies revealed ONJ in rats given bisphosphonates (the class of drugs Fosamax belongs to) as early as 1977 Kimmel admitted under oath in 2008.

    Thousands of lawsuits have been filed on behalf of patients who say they developed ONJ after dental procedures like tooth extraction because they took Fosamax. Treating ONJ is almost impossible said dentists and oral surgeons quoted the Review-Journal in 2005, because "further surgery in an effort to correct the problem only exacerbates it, leaving the patient with even more exposed bone and even more disfigured," Jaw removal, bone grafts, and even tracheostomies were reported by the News-Press in 2006. "Even short-term oral use of alendronate [Fosamax] led to ONJ in a subset of patients after certain dental procedures were performed,” read a study in the Journal of the American Dental Association in 2009.

    Besides attributing ONJ to patients' bad oral hygiene and, tautologically, their advanced years, Merck withheld crucial safety data from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) when the group sought to develop a position paper on bisphosphonate-related ONJ. Of 428 suspected ONJ cases related to Fosamax, 378 of which were highly likely to be ONJ, only 50 cases were shared with ASBMR, according to court documents. "I see the 50 with regard to the postmarketing," admitted Thomas Bold, Merck's director of clinical risk management and safety surveillance in 2009, upon viewing the slides Merck provided to ASBMR. "I don't see 378 mentioned and I don't know why that is the case," he conceded.

    Though he was prepared for questioning by Merck lawyers, he said, for "approximately 60 hours," Don Kimmel (of the "ma toot" joke) was similarly confused under oath. He did not remember collaborating with researcher Jack Gotcher until he was shown their co-written paper. "Yes. This looks to be an experiment that Jack did," he allowed, but, when asked "Why is your name on it?" replied, "I think assisted in it, and we talked about it."

    Kimmel, an animal research expert who served as longtime Director of Animal Experimentation at Merck, also disagreed with colleague Gotcher's conclusions in a PowerPoint presentation that bisphosphonate drugs "caused ONJ" in rats. Despite decades of his own related research in rats, Kimmel said, "It's not proven that a rat is a reliable model of producing ONJ," and "Dr. Gotcher has a viewpoint." Nor was Kimmel certain about the applicability of dogs and rabbits to bisphosphonate effects in humans. There's no loss of bone in dogs on the drugs, he lamented, "even when you take their ovaries out" and Merck is repeating already completed human experiments on the drugs on rabbits to build lacking "confidence in the rabbit as an animal model."

    Kimmel was less doubtful about the noxiousness of the ONJ condition itself and admitted to writing "Ooooh! Ickkkkk! Yuckkk! It's ONJ," on an informational slide he prepared about ONJ. But when asked if "That's a fair way to describe ONJ, it's icky, yucky, it's something you don't want to have, right?" Kimmel responded, "The outcome of ONJ is a lot different than the early cases."


    There is no end to the greedy, sociopathic activity of the companies we rely on for our basic needs. All that matters is the MONEY.

  10. Atypical is offline
    01-13-2013, 04:30 PM #150
    What Watchdog? How the Financial Press Has Failed the American Public

    Investigative journalist Dean Starkman explains why the mainstream press is so soft on Wall Street.

    January 9, 2013

    From revelations about this week’s hasty, multibillion-dollar bank settlements to AIG’s brief threat to sue the federal government for its own $128-billion bailout (which the company contends wasn’t as generous as other bailouts), 2013 is already shaping up to be another year of government-backed wins for Wall Street.

    As the New York Times’ Gretchen Morgenson wrote, “If you were hoping that things might be different in 2013 — you know, that bankers would be held responsible for bad behavior or that the government might actually assist troubled homeowners — you can forget it. A settlement reportedly in the works with big banks will soon end a review into foreclosure abuses, and it means more of the same: no accountability for financial institutions and little help for borrowers.”

    This type of clear condemnation of Wall Street and its lack of accountability remains a rare voice in mainstream media, with few willing to join Morgenson and Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi on their crusades against banking abuses.

    The lack of outrage or investigation by mainstream media comes in stark contrast to the public response to the settlement announcements. The comments sections of settlement-related articles are bursting with scathing comments--including demands for both criminal prosecution for bankers and more investigative journalism in the U.S. In an LA Times poll, 94 percent of respondents said that this latest settlement agreement lacked appropriate transparency.

    So if readers are hungering for more information and outrage, why is the mainstream press so soft on Wall Street? Is it the last three decades' rampant media consolidation, which has put 90 percent of the nation's media in the hands of onlysix major corporations? (That's down from 50 companies in 1983.) What about the increasing magazine and newspaper ad revenue coming directly from Wall Street? Or perhaps it's even due to a redefinition of what constititues financial journalism?

    Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Dean Starkman, whose 2009 Columbia Journalism Review article“Power Problem”outlined just how badly the financial press failed in the lead-up to 2006, has some ideas.

    Laura Gottesdiener: Thanks, Dean, for taking the time to talk. To start simple: In your mind, what’s the role of the press--if it’s doing its job?

    Dean Starkman: To me, journalism is particularly important because it is the oxygen of democracy. At its best, it is the main thing that is capable of explaining complex problems to a mass audience.That’s its most critical role--and its most difficult task.

    Looking back over the 20th century, the great stories are the ones that pull the curtain back on things that are truly complex, baffling and dangerous problems. I’m thinking particularly of an iconic story that journalists stand up and salute: the Standard Oil series from 1902-1904. This knowledge allowed the public to participate in the question of trusts, and the rest is literally history. The government filed an anti-trust case, and Standard Oil was broken up in 1911. That’s the gold standard, the benchmark for journalism.


    Another revealing piece well worth reading. Find the rest here:

    Over many years, the right-wing has blasted media for being "liberal". Bill Kristol, a conservative, admitted that the charge was made-up to discredit any objections levelled against the right. See Eric Alterman's "What Liberal Media".

    There are six companies that control almost everything we see, hear and read. They are primarily run by those of the corporate class who do not want any attempt to change their (and their 'friends') privileged status to succeed.

    Instead of hard-hitting investigative reports that expose the huge pillage of the country for the benefit of the greedy bloodsuckers, we get, for example, the Kardashians latest antics. Keeping us occupied with diversions is the plan.

    There are many serious problems in the country that are not being addressed or even publicized. You have to go to the right books written by those who really know the facts, and to those in media that are not afraid to challenge power. There aren't many - and Tom Brokaw and others like him are not on the list.

    Anything written by David Cay Johnston; The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein; Bailout by Neil Barofsky; It's Even Worse Than It Looks by Norm Ornstein; We Meant Well by Peter Van Buren; and Deadly Spin by Wendell Potter are extremely worthwhile.

    Without making that effort all you really know is the propaganda you are being fed. And that's dangerous.
    Last edited by Atypical; 01-13-2013 at 04:34 PM.

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