Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’
Brain-altering drugs and digital “indoctrination” pose a potential threat not only to the stability of many individuals but of society itself.
At least 10 percent of all Americans over six-years-old are on antidepressants. That’s more than 35 million people, double the number from less than two decades ago. Anti-psychotics have meanwhile eclipsed cholesterol treatments as the country’s fastest selling and most profitable drugs, even though half the prescriptions treat disorders for which they haven’t been proven effective. At least 5 million children and adolescents use them, in part because more kids are being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
This raises some troubling issues: Are a growing number of people experiencing psychological troubles? Have we just become better at recognizing them? Or is some other dynamic at work?
One possibility is that the criteria for what constitutes a mental illness or disability may have expanded to the point that a vast number appear to have clinical problems. But there’s an even more insidious development: the drugs being used to treat many of the new diagnoses could cause long-term effects that persist after the original trouble has been resolved. That’s the case made by Robert Whitaker in his book, Anatomy of an Epidemic:
Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America.
Speaking of long-term impacts on the brain, we’re also heading toward a world where humans are directly linked with computers that profoundly influence their perceptions and ideas. Despite many potential benefits, there is danger here as well. Rather than simply augmenting our memories by providing neutral information, the brain-computer connection may lead people into separate realities based on their assumptions and politics.
Brain-altering drugs and digital “indoctrination” – a potent combination. Together, they pose a potential threat not only to the stability of many individuals but of society itself. Seduced by the promise that our brains can be managed and enhanced without serious side-effects, we may be creating a future where psychological dysfunction becomes a post-modern plague and powerful forces use cyberspace to reshape “reality” in their private interest.
~Everyone has to remember that the movement towards policy now; started a very long time ago…With each administration accelerating the program. ~jude
Former NSA intelligence agent Russell Tice condemns reports that the Agency has been engaged in eavesdropping on U.S. citizens without court warrants. Tice has volunteered to testify before Congress about illegal black ops programs at the NSA. Tice said, “The freedom of the American people cannot be protected when our constitutional liberties are ignored and our nation has decayed into a police state.” [includes rush transcript]
We turn now to the growing controversy over President Bush’s decision to order the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens inside the country without the legally required court warrants. Bush’s decision was first revealed in the New York Times in mid-December. The Times published the expose after holding the story for more than a year under pressure from the White House. The paper reportedly first uncovered the illegal order prior to the 2004 election. When the editors at the Times decided last month to go ahead with the article, President Bush personally summoned the paper’s publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, and executive editor, Bill Keller, to the Oval Office in an attempt to talk them out of running the story. Since the story broke, calls for Congressional hearings and the possible impeachment of the president have intensified. Conservative legal experts have even admitted Bush may have committed an impeachable offense by ordering the NSA to break the law.
On Sunday, the New York Times revealed there was dissent within the upper echelon of the Bush administration over the legality of the president’s order. According to the Times, Attorney General John Ashcroft’s top deputy, James Comey, refused to sign on to the continuation of the secret program in 2004 amid concerns about its legality and oversight. At the time, Comey was serving in place of then Attorney General John Ashcroft while Ashcroft was hospitalized for a medical condition. Comey’s refusal prompted senior Presidential aides Andrew Card and Alberto Gonzales to visit Ashcroft in his hospital room to grant the approval. The Times reports Ashcroft expressed reluctance to sign on to the program. It is unclear if he eventually relented. Both Ashcroft and Comey’s concerns appear to have led to a temporary suspension of parts of the program for several months. But the administration has repeatedly defended its actions.
The Wall Street Journal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Columbia School of Journalism is our nation’s finest. They grant the Pulitzer Prize, and their journal, The Columbia Journalism Review, is the profession’s gold standard. CJR reporters are high priests of a decaying temple, tending a flame in a land going dark.
In 2006 a CJR editor (a seasoned journalist formerly with Time magazine in Asia, The Wall Street Journal Europe, and The Far Eastern Economic Review) called me to discuss suspicions he was forming about the US financial media. I gave him leads but warned, “Chasing this will take you down a rabbit hole with no bottom.” For months he pursued his story against pressure and threats he once described as, “something out of a Hollywood B movie, but unlike the movies, the evil corporations fighting the journalist are not thugs burying toxic waste, they are Wall Street and the financial media itself.”
His exposé reveals a circle of corruption enclosing venerable Wall Street banks, shady offshore financiers, and suspiciously compliant reporters at The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, CNBC, and The New York Times. If you ever wonder how reporters react when a journalist investigates them (answer: like white-collar crooks they dodge interviews, lie, and hide behind lawyers), or if financial corruption interests you, then this is for you. It makes Grisham read like a book of bedtime stories, and exposes a scandal that may make Enron look like an afternoon tea.
By Patrick M. Byrne, Deep Capture Reporter
The Story of Deep Capture
By Mark Mitchell, with reporting by the Deep Capture Team Introduction – by Mark Mitchell
I began working on a version of this story in January 2006, while serving as an editor for the Columbia Journalism Review, a publication tasked with upholding the standards of the American media. In November 2006, a hedge fund that was at the center of the scandal I was investigating offered the Columbia Journalism Review a great deal of money. Shortly before CJR accepted the money, I left my job, so I do not know if my editors, whom I believe to be honest people, would have allowed me to persevere. But I have no doubt that the hedge fund’s “beneficence” was aimed at preventing the publication of stories like this one.
And it might well have succeeded if Patrick Byrne had not approached me with an idea. Why not combine forces and spearhead a whole new approach to investigative journalism? Most media content is produced by rumpled journalists (i.e., people like me), working alone under tight constraints. Deep Capture could be something different – a power team circumventing the traditional media and pushing limits to uncover the truth.
Courtesy of Michael Snyder of Economic Collapse
The results of the elections in France and Greece have made it abundantly clear that there is a tremendous backlash against the austerity approach that Germany has been pushing. All over Europe, prominent politicians and incumbent political parties are being voted out. In fact, Nicolas Sarkozy has become the 11th leader of a European nation to be defeated in an election since 2008. We have seen governments fall in the Netherlands, the UK, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Greece. Whenever they get a chance, the citizens of Europe are using the ballot box to send a message that they do not like what is going on. It turns out that austerity is extremely unpopular. But if newly elected politicians all over Europe begin rejecting austerity, this puts Germany in a very difficult position. Should Germany be expected to indefinitely bail out all of the members of the eurozone that choose to live way beyond their means? If Germany pulled out of the euro tomorrow, the euro would absolutely collapse, bond yields for the rest of the eurozone would skyrocket to unprecedented heights, and without German bailout money troubled nations such as Greece would be headed directly for default. The rest of the eurozone is absolutely and completely dependent on Germany at this point. But as we have seen, much of the rest of the eurozone is sick and tired of taking orders from Germany and is rejecting austerity. A lot of politicians in Europe apparently believe that they should be able to run up gigantic amounts of debt indefinitely and that the Germans should be expected to always be there to bail them out whenever they need it. Will the Germans be willing to tolerate such a situation, or will they simply pick up their ball and go home at some point?
Over the past several years, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have made a formidable team. They worked together to push the eurozone on to the path of austerity, but now Sarkozy is out.
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
A good time was had by all at the White House correspondents’ dinner. And why not? The corporate media and the White House both serve the same masters: corporate power and U.S. empire. “Is it any wonder that the New York Times, Washington Post and all the networks ignore torture, drone strikes, mass incarceration terror, continued bankster bailouts, high unemployment and endless war?”
Freedom Rider: Journalists in Bed with the President
“Long gone are the days of investigative journalism.”
By Chris Floyd
April 11, 2012 “Information Clearing House“ —
The ordeal of Fatima Bouchar, detailed by Ian Cobain in the Guardian, exemplifies the vile essence of the ‘Terror War’ being conducted by United States and its abject satellite, Great Britain, against large swathes of the world’s population (including, increasingly, their own people). It is a case of brutal torture against an innocent, defenseless pregnant woman, whose only “crime” was to be married to a man who belonged to an organization which had long been supported by the US and UK — until the geopolitics of oil made the group expendable. It is a tale of cowardice and cruelty, of hypocrisy and corruption, of deliberate atrocity that exacerbates the extremism it purports to combat. It is the emblem of an evil system ordered, countenanced, championed and protected at the very highest levels of the two governments — a system that is very much still in operation today.
Bouchar was married to Abdel Hakim Belhaj, a member of a group seeking to overthrow Moamar Gadafy in Libya. For 10 years, members of the group had been given asylum in Britain and other countries. According to credible reports, they were being supported by British intelligence in their efforts to oust the Libyan dictator. Then Gadafy began negotiating his deal with George W. Bush and Tony Blair to open up Libyan oil fields to the West. Suddenly, his enemies became enemies of the West; as in Afghanistan, stalwart “freedom fighters” were transformed into “terrorists” overnight, when the agenda of the West’s corporate overlords demanded it. (The same process would be reversed in 2011, after Gadafy had proved less servile than expected.)
At that point, Bouchar and her husband suddenly became bargaining chips in the backroom deal being greased in Washington, London and Tripoli. As proved by secret files and messages unearthed in Libya after Gadafy’s fall, Bouchar and Belhaj were offered to Gadafy as a gift from the British, a sweetener to pave the way for his first meeting with Tony Blair — and for the oil deals that swiftly followed.
Here is what happened to the couple in 2004 when they were detained in Thailand — site of one of America’s innumerable secret prisons — as they tried to fly to the “friendly” confines of the UK. They were kidnapped by American agents at the behest of British intelligence. As Cobain writes:
Just when Fatima Bouchar thought it couldn’t get any worse, the Americans forced her to lie on a stretcher and began wrapping tape around her feet. They moved upwards, she says, along her legs, winding the tape around and around, binding her to the stretcher. They taped her stomach, her arms and then her chest. She was bound tight, unable to move.
Picture of interest rates swaps listing on newspaper Category:Finance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Posted on March 22, 2012 by Ellen Brown
Far from reducing risk, derivatives increase risk, often with catastrophic results.
— Derivatives expert Satyajit Das, Extreme Money (2011)
The “toxic culture of greed” on Wall Street was highlighted again last week, when Greg Smith went public with his resignation from Goldman Sachs in a scathing oped published in the New York Times. In other recent eyebrow-raisers, LIBOR rates—the benchmark interest rates involved in interest rate swaps—were shown to be manipulated by the banks that would have to pay up; and the objectivity of the ISDA (International Swaps and Derivatives Association) was called into question, when a 50% haircut for creditors was not declared a “default” requiring counterparties to pay on credit default swaps on Greek sovereign debt.
Interest rate swaps are less often in the news than credit default swaps, but they are far more important in terms of revenue, composing fully 82% of the derivatives trade. In February, JP Morgan Chase revealed that it had cleared $1.4 billion in revenue on trading interest rate swaps in 2011, making them one of the bank’s biggest sources of profit. According to the Bank for International Settlements:
[I]nterest rate swaps are the largest component of the global OTC derivative market. The notional amount outstanding as of June 2009 in OTC interest rate swaps was $342 trillion, up from $310 trillion in Dec 2007. The gross market value was $13.9 trillion in June 2009, up from $6.2 trillion in Dec 2007.
For more than a decade, banks and insurance companies convinced local governments, hospitals, universities and other non-profits that interest rate swaps would lower interest rates on bonds sold for public projects such as roads, bridges and schools. The swaps were entered into to insure against a rise in interest rates; but instead, interest rates fell to historically low levels. This was not a flood, earthquake, or other insurable risk due to environmental unknowns or “acts of God.” It was a deliberate, manipulated move by the Fed, acting to save the banks from their own folly in precipitating the credit crisis of 2008. The banks got in trouble, and the Federal Reserve and federal government rushed in to bail them out, rewarding them for their misdeeds at the expense of the taxpayers.
Further News On The Goldman Sach’s Scandal!
Wall Street is buzzing this morning about a resignation – a historic one. Greg Smith, the executive director and head of Goldman Sachs’s United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, not only decided to quit Goldman, he decided to do it in the New York Times, eloquently deconstructing the firm’s moral slide in a lengthy op-ed piece.
The essence of Smith’s piece is devastating. He points to one simple, specific problem in the company: the fact that Goldman routinely screws its own clients. Anyone familiar with the report prepared by Senator Carl Levin’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations will recognize the jargon Smith points to in this line, in which he talks about what one has to do to become a leader in today’s Goldman:
Execute on the firm’s “axes,” which is Goldman-speak for persuading your clients to invest in the stocks or other products that we are trying to get rid of because they are not seen as having a lot of potential profit.
We heard about “axes” before in the tales about loser mortgage-derivative products like Timberwolf – that Goldman gave incentives to executives to unload its most toxic crap on clients. It was one thing to read about it in a Senate report, but here we have it from one of the firm’s own directors. He goes further, talking about the ways in which Goldman executives derided their own clients as fools and dupes:
~a little late with this…have been discovering new ways to get info ;)…this is a timeline of the Sachs ongoing saga~jude
March 15, 2012
This article documents what is probably merely the tip of the iceberg in the case against Goldman Sachs.–t.h.g.
13 Reasons Goldman’s Quitting Exec May Have a Point
By Cora Currier
An executive at Goldman Sachs left the firm today with a bang, penning a New York Times op-ed accusing the company of increasingly putting profits ahead of clients. Greg Smith started as an intern 12 years ago and last headed a derivatives department. Not surprisingly, Goldman quickly and strongly disagreed with his take.
There have obviously been plenty of unflattering headlines about Goldman in the past few years. We decided to look at just one aspect of their record: SEC charges levied against Goldman and its employees over the past decade.
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“I care not what puppet is placed on the throne of England to rule the Empire, … The man that controls Britain’s money supply controls the British Empire. And I control the money supply.”
by: Baron Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836) London financier, one of the founders of the international Rothschild banking dynasty … ~jude
SS United States (Photo credit: kchbrown)
by MYCHAL MASSIE
There is no difference between Democrats and Republicans – just a matter of degree – and it has been that way for a long, long time. It’s just that, until recently, Republicans did a better job of concealing it. The reason for this is that the majority of those comprising leadership in both parties, and those in the media, are spawned from the same centers of intellectual indoctrination. David Horowitz has done stellar work exposing this.
People fail to realize that the majority of mainstream media and party leadership on both sides of the aisle attended the same schools. George Bush, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Obama and a host of other apparatchiks either had the same professors or were students of other, like-minded professors. Do you think those professors changed course outlines based on class attendees?
Which full circles back to my comment, that they’re spawned from the same seed and that the difference between them is a matter of degree, not substance. This is why they go about business as they do. It’s why the media is so enamored with Obama – he is their king; he’s the communist who broke the political glass ceiling.
In his marvelous book about the “American experience known as the Vietnam War” and the lives of several brave Marines who lived it firsthand, Larry Henry quotes the following:
“Ladies and gentlemen, our time has come. We must seize the reigns of power. Get involved in politics, join your hometown civic organizations, school boards, newspapers, city planning. Work your way up the political ladder. Patience and hard work, that’s what it takes. And a sincere desire for government expansion. Through government we can control every aspect of the American way of life, our economy, banking, Wall Street. There will be no more opposition from the military industrial complex. Those people will be working for us.” (“Plato’s Cave,” Page 12)
The afore-referenced quote was by a Harvard professor speaking at a 1968 anti-war demonstration. And that, my friends, is exactly where we are today – but it didn’t happen overnight. Their movement didn’t start in just the last few years. It started to take root at the beginning of the 20th century. Those advancing said movement have just become more emboldened in recent years.