‘Trust in others and confidence in societal institutions are at their lowest point in over three decades, analyses of national survey data reveal. The findings are forthcoming in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
“Compared to Americans in the 1970s-2000s, Americans in the last few years are less likely to say they can trust others, and are less likely to believe that institutions such as government, the press, religious organizations, schools, and large corporations are ‘doing a good job,'” explains psychological scientist and lead researcher Jean M. Twenge of San Diego State University.’
‘The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation today gave a master class in calm, credible breaking news reporting.
Anchored by the unflappable Peter Mansbridge, news of the shootings in Ottawa unfolded live on the CBC much like they do here in the United States: lots of sketchy details, conflicting reports, unreliable witnesses, and a thick fog of confusion. All of that was familiar. What was less familiar was how Mansbridge and his team managed that confusion, conveying a concise and fact-based version of fast-moving events to viewers across Canada and the world.
This live bit of level-headed reporting by Mansbridge, from around 11:10am Wednesday, should be given to journalism students around the country. It basically contains everything you need to know about why CBC did its audience proud.’
‘Freedom of expression and the press have sharply deteriorated in the Americas over the last six months due to an increase in censorship and physical attacks on journalists, the Inter American Press Association said Tuesday.
Eleven journalists were killed in attacks “carried out by organized crime, drug traffic hit men and police-style groups on the orders of several governments of the region,” the group said in a statement at the end of its 70th General Assembly.
Journalists suffered violence in almost every country in the region, including Venezuela, where some were attacked by police, and in Bolivia, Brazil and Peru during election coverage. Journalists also experienced violence while reporting on street protests in the U.S. city of Ferguson, Missouri, and the Brazilian cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.’
‘A 10-year veteran Internal Revenue Service (IRS) attorney has demanded a Congressional audit of the IRS to investigate the agency’s alleged role in allowing American corporations to illegally avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes at the same time the agency is cracking down on individuals and small businesses.
In a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, IRS commissioner John A. Koskinen, and IRS chief counsel William Wilkins, Jane J. Kim, an attorney in the IRS Office of the Chief Counsel in New York, accused IRS executives of “deliberately” facilitating multi-billion dollar tax giveaways. The letter, dated October 19, will add further pressure on the agency, which is under fire for allegedly targeting conservative and Tea Party groups.’
‘Should ethical investment funds be putting millions of pounds of people’s money into oil, gas and coal companies?
A new report says too many UK ethical funds are still invested in fossil fuels and heavily polluting industries, at a time when growing numbers of people are looking to reduce their exposure to these sectors.
Launched to coincide with Good Money Week (the new name for National Ethical Investment Week), which kicks off on Sunday 19 October, the report from ethical independent financial adviser firm Barchester Green names the “sinners” and “winners” of the multibillion-pound ethical and environmental funds industry.’
‘So, a can of Red Bull doesn’t give you wings after all. The energy drink giant has agreed to pay $13 million to settle a lawsuit in the US over false advertising.
The drinks maker is refunding customers who were allegedly deceived by a marketing slogan that said “Red Bull gives you wings.”
The Austrian company admitted no wrongdoing, but said it would give a $10 refund or $15 worth of products to US customers who purchased Red Bull between January 1st 2002 and October 3rd 2014.’
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
‘One of the most accidentally revealing media accounts highlighting the real meaning of “democracy” in U.S. discourse is a still-remarkable 2002 New York Times Editorial on the U.S.-backed military coup in Venezuela, which temporarily removed that country’s democratically elected (and very popular) president, Hugo Chávez. Rather than describe that coup as what it was by definition – a direct attack on democracy by a foreign power and domestic military which disliked the popularly elected president – the Times, in the most Orwellian fashion imaginable, literally celebrated the coup as a victory for democracy:
With yesterday’s resignation of President Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator. Mr. Chávez, a ruinous demagogue, stepped down after the military intervened and handed power to a respected business leader, Pedro Carmona.
Thankfully, said the NYT, democracy in Venezuela was no longer in danger . . . because the democratically-elected leader was forcibly removed by the military and replaced by an unelected, pro-U.S. “business leader.” The Champions of Democracy at the NYT then demanded a ruler more to their liking: “Venezuela urgently needs a leader with a strong democratic mandate to clean up the mess, encourage entrepreneurial freedom and slim down and professionalize the bureaucracy.”’
‘Behind the sleek face of the iPad is an ugly backstory that reveals once more the horrors of globalization. The buzz about Apple’s sordid business practices comes courtesy of the New York Times series on the “iEconomy.” In some ways it’s well reported but adds little new to what critics of the Taiwan-based Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics manufacturer, have been saying for years. The series’ biggest impact may be discomfiting Apple fanatics who as they read the articles realize that the iPad they are holding is assembled from child labor, toxic shop floors, involuntary overtime, suicidal working conditions, and preventable accidents that kill and maim workers.
It turns out the story is much worse. Researchers with the Hong Kong-based Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) say that legions of vocational and university students, some as young as 16, are forced to take months’-long “internships” in Foxconn’s mainland China factories assembling Apple products. The details of the internship program paint a far more disturbing picture than the Times does of how Foxconn, “the Chinese hell factory,” treats its workers, relying on public humiliation, military discipline, forced labor and physical abuse as management tools to hold down costs and extract maximum profits for Apple.’
- Apple To Investigate Claims Of Unsafe Work Conditions At Chinese Supplier Catcher
- Apple chastised for unsafe working conditions in supplier factory
- Apple Executives Expose 24/7 Pressures of Working for Steve Jobs
- How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work
- U.S. Treasury has less cash on hand than Apple Inc.
- China’s Shaky Economic Foundation
- iPod City: Apple criticized for factory conditions
‘Front companies in the UK are at the heart of an investigation into one of Europe’s biggest money-laundering operations, allegedly forming part of a conspiracy to make $20bn (£12.5bn) of dirty money look legitimate. The funds are believed to have come from major criminals and corrupt officials around the world wanting to make their ill-gotten cash appear “clean”, so they can spend it without suspicion.
At least 19 UK-based front companies are under suspicion. The scandal highlights how lax corporate rules have made this country an attractive destination for global organised crime. The secrecy company directors are entitled to under UK law is also hindering attempts to identify the “Mr Bigs” behind the scam.
An investigation by The Independent and the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, an NGO, has identified dozens of firms in a global web spreading from Birmingham to Belize.’
‘The richest 1% of the world’s population are getting wealthier, owning more than 48% of global wealth, according to a report published on Tuesday which warned growing inequality could be a trigger for recession.
According to the Credit Suisse global wealth report (pdf), a person needs just $3,650 – including the value of equity in their home – to be among the wealthiest half of world citizens. However, more than $77,000 is required to be a member of the top 10% of global wealth holders, and $798,000 to belong to the top 1%.
“Taken together, the bottom half of the global population own less than 1% of total wealth. In sharp contrast, the richest decile hold 87% of the world’s wealth, and the top percentile alone account for 48.2% of global assets,” said the annual report, now in its fifth year.’
- Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report
- Oxfam: 85 richest people as wealthy as poorest half of the world
- Britain’s five richest families worth more than poorest 20%
- Piketty’s Inequality Story in Six Charts
- Pope Francis denounces ‘trickle-down’ economics
- The Global 1%: Exposing the Transnational Ruling Class
- From The Price of Inequality: Joseph Stiglitz on the 1 Percent Problem
- £13tn hoard hidden from taxman by global elite
- Why economic inequality leads to collapse
- The Rise of the New Global Elite
‘Cambodia’s aggressive anti-trafficking campaign is designed to rescue and rehabilitate sex workers. But many women say authorities in Cambodia are actually forcing them into a trade where conditions and pay are even worse: making clothing for Western brands. VICE founder Suroosh Alvi traveled to Phnom Penh to speak with former and current sex workers, officials, and labor organizers to investigate what is happening to those swept up in the country’s trafficking crackdown.’ (VICE)
‘Agents from New Zealand’s national police force ransacked the home of a prominent independent journalist earlier this month who was collaborating with The Intercept on stories from the NSA archive furnished by Edward Snowden. The stated purpose of the 10-hour police raid was to identify the source for allegations that the reporter, Nicky Hager, recently published in a book that caused a major political firestorm and led to the resignation of a top government minister.
But in seizing all the paper files and electronic devices in Hager’s home, the authorities may have also taken source material concerning other unrelated stories that Hager was pursuing. Recognizing the severity of the threat posed to press freedoms from this raid, the Freedom of the Press Foundation today announced a global campaign to raise funds for Hager’s legal defense.’
- Dirty Politics: Police raid Nicky Hager’s home
- Help Support New Zealand Investigative Reporter Nicky Hager’s Legal Defense Fund
- New Zealand Launched Mass Surveillance Project While Publicly Denying It
- Key slams Greenwald over potential spiking of NZ’s UN bid
- New Zealand spied on its allies, Greenwald claims
- Police search warrant in Nicky Hager raid
- Police property record sheet: Items seized from Nicky Hager
- Nicky Hager book shows National’s ‘dirty politics’
- Judith Collins resigns: The money men and how they toppled her
- New Zealand’s center-right National Party wins third term
‘James Risen’s new book on war-on-terror abuses comes out tomorrow, and if you want to find a copy it shouldn’t be hard to obtain. As natural as that seems, it almost wasn’t the case with the Risen’s last book, “State of War,” published in 2006. Not only did U.S. government officials object to the publication of the book on national security grounds, it turns out they pressured Les Moonves, the CEO of CBS, to have it killed.
The campaign to stifle Risen’s national security reporting at the Times is already well-documented, but a 60 Minutes story last night provided a glimpse into how deeply these efforts extended into the publishing world, as well. After being blocked from reporting on the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program for the paper of record, Risen looked into getting these revelations out through a book he was already under contract to write for Simon & Schuster, a book that would look at a wide range of intelligence missteps in the war on terror.’
- Journalists criticize White House for ‘secrecy’
- 8 ways the Obama administration is blocking information
- White House ‘awarded’ for press freedom
- Obama, Intelligence Community Continue Crack Down on Transparency
- Obama Administration Has Gone To Unprecedented Lengths To Thwart Journalists, Report Finds
- Veteran CBS Anchor, Bob Schieffer: Obama administration ‘most manipulative and secretive administration I’ve covered’
- Pentagon Papers lawyer on Obama, secrecy and press freedoms: ‘worse than Nixon’
- The Obama Administration and the Press
- Obama in 2010: The most transparent and open administration ever…
‘A former director of the National Security Agency says he doesn’t see the need for the U.S. government to prosecute the New York Times reporter who revealed the agency’s warrantless surveillance of Americans.
Michael Hayden says he is “conflicted” about whether reporter James Risen should be compelled to reveal his sources. Risen is facing potential jail time as he battles government efforts to force him to testify at the trial of a former CIA officer accused of leaking classified information.
Hayden tells CBS’ “60 Minutes” that Risen’s story damaged national security. But Hayden also says it’s “wrong” if “the method of redressing that actually harms the broad freedom of the press.” Hayden says “government needs to be strong,” but not so strong that it threatens individual liberties.’
‘Ever since New York Times reporter James Risen received his first subpoena from the Justice Department more than six years ago, occasional news reports have skimmed the surface of a complex story. The usual gloss depicts a conflict between top officials who want to protect classified information and a journalist who wants to protect confidential sources. Meanwhile, Jeffrey Sterling—a former undercover CIA officer now facing charges under the Espionage Act, whom the feds want Risen to identify as his source—is cast as a disgruntled ex-employee in trouble for allegedly spilling the classified beans.
But the standard media narratives about Risen and Sterling have skipped over deep patterns of government retaliation against recalcitrant journalists and whistleblowers. Those patterns are undermining press freedom, precluding the informed consent of the governed and hiding crucial aspects of US foreign policy. The recent announcement of Eric Holder’s resignation as attorney general has come after nearly five years of the Obama administration extending and intensifying the use of the Justice Department for retribution against investigative journalism and whistleblowing.’
America’s intelligence agencies agree: ISIS isn’t that big of a threat, so why are we all freaking out?
‘I am no fan of America’s national-security state, which continues to grow steadily larger, more intrusive, and increasingly dismissive of civil liberties. The NSA has removed all expectations of privacy in digital communications, and the TSA is, at best, inept security theater. The Department of Homeland Security’s “If you see something, say something” campaign imagines a terrorist around every corner, while the CIA is busy spying on Congress and torturing away the rule of law.
But sometimes, America’s intelligence agencies are actually the voice of reason, offering a far less scary view of security threats than public perception or political pontificating provides. But we don’t listen.
Perhaps nowhere is this phenomenon more obvious than in an unjustified level of fear of ISIS, says Karen Callaghan, a political scientist at Texas Southern University who researches framing in political discourse about terrorism.’
- DHS: ISIS Fighters Not Coming in From Mexico
- The Panic Over Traveling Terrorists Could Ruin Your Vacation
- 10 Myths About Obama’s Latest War in Iraq and Syria
- Senator: Congress should debate terrorist threat
- The shocking number of terror alerts from Obama
- Fox’s new poll and the lie that could lead to more war
- CNN poll finds majority of Americans alarmed by ISIS
- A Dictionary Reference to the War on ISIS
- But This Threatiness Goes to 11…
- Beheadings, Mania, and Threat Inflation
- Beverly Hills, Fearing ISIS Attack, Fights Public Transportation
- Former Homeland Security head says he was pressured to raise terror alert
‘“UKIP MP strangely familiar”. “Anything bends if you f**k about with it enough, says Apple.” “Non-smokers have no way to signal that sex is over.” Those are just a typical day’s headlines from The Daily Mash, the British satirical website that has become a surprise dotcom money-spinner – even if Nigella Lawson failed to see the joke.
Launched by a pair of disillusioned newspaper journalists in 2007, who spotted a gap for a domestic parody news website inspired by the success of The Onion in the US, The Daily Mash has grown from a source of online distraction for office workers into a thriving business, complete with a lucrative merchandise sideline.’
‘[...] Ketchum, a public relations firm that has represented the Russian government and Gazprom, the Russian oil behemoth, just filed its latest 6-month disclosure form with the US Department of Justice. Under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, a law signed by President Franklin Roosevelt to regulate international lobbying, agents of foreign governments are required to report a significant amount of their activities to the public. The disclosures show a number of media contacts on behalf of the Russian government, including with the New York Times, AP, Bloomberg, the Washington Post, Politico, CNBC, CNN, and PBS.
The form also shows that Ketchum has corresponded closely with two trade groups that have been pivotal in beating back sanctions against Russia since the revolution in Ukraine: the US-Russia Business Council and the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, a Moscow affiliate to the US Chamber of Commerce known as an AmCham. Both groups are funded by companies with a stake in the US and Russia, including CitiGroup, BP, GE, GM, and Caterpillar.
But the most important business link between the two countries is ExxonMobil. The oil giant has multiple deals with Rosneft worth upwards of $1 trillion, including plans to drill in the Arctic, throughout Siberia, and in Alaska. ’
- Russia: The cost of sanctions
- Despite Ruble’s Fall, Russians Trust Putin to Prevent the Worst
- Russia sanctions strengthen Putin says former State official
- Khodorkovsky warns against strict Russia sanctions
- Putin Shrugs Off Damage From Western Sanctions
- 14 Ways Russia Can Retaliate to Western Sanctions
- Business leaders propose Ukraine steer course between West, Moscow
- Medvedev: Western sanctions are testing Russia’s strength
- Russia to appeal against US, EU sanctions to WTO
‘Coca-Cola has been investing in the World Cup’s pulling power since 1974 – and it will take more than a few years of scandal and corruption to shake its trust in FIFA. Complaints have escalated about the lack of backbone shown by the world federation’s commercial partners in insisting on greater integrity at the top of the power pyramid.
The latest critic was Michael Hershman. The former member of FIFA’s independent reform panel suggested on Monday that sponsors such as Coca-Cola, Adidas, Visa and Emirates merely “paid lip-service” to concerns about internal integrity failings.
But Amber Steele, director of football management for the soft drinks giant, insisted at Leaders Sport Summit in London that the company trusted FIFA – and by implication president Sepp Blatter – to put its house in order.’
‘Bono’s statement that Ireland’s “tax competitiveness has brought our country the only prosperity we’ve known” will be regarded with derision by Irish people suffering deprivation and poverty, one of the Republic’s largest unions has said.
Unite, which represents 100,000 workers on the island of Ireland, launched a blistering attack on the U2 singer for remarks in the Observer defending the 12.5% tax rate on corporations enjoyed by multinational companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon.
“We are a tiny little country, we don’t have scale, and our version of scale is to be innovative and to be clever, and tax competitiveness has brought our country the only prosperity we’ve known,” Bono said.’
Editor’s Note: Robert Johnson is the Executive Director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, a Senior Fellow and Director of the “Project on Global Finance” at the Roosevelt Institute. He was also a former currency trader on Wall Street who worked under George Soros.
‘The new Hollywood film “Kill The Messenger” tells the story of Gary Webb, one of the most maligned figures in investigative journalism. Webb’s explosive 1996 investigative series “Dark Alliance” for the San Jose Mercury News revealed ties between the CIA, Nicaraguan contras and the crack cocaine trade ravaging African-American communities. The exposé provoked protests and congressional hearings, as well as a fierce reaction from the media establishment, which went to great lengths to discredit Webb’s reporting. We revisit Webb’s story with an extended clip from the documentary “Shadows of Liberty,” and speak with Robert Parry, a veteran investigative journalist who advised Webb before he published the series.’ (Democracy Now!)
- Can MSM Handle the Contra-Cocaine Truth?
- ‘The New York Times’ Wants Gary Webb to Stay Dead
- Kill The Messenger: How The Media Destroyed Gary Webb
- The Sordid Contra-Cocaine Saga
- Managing a Nightmare: How the CIA Watched Over the Destruction of Gary Webb
- The CIA/MSM Contra-Cocaine Cover-up
- Audio: Gary Webb on ‘Dark Alliance,’ CIA and Drugs
- Dark Alliance: CIA, the Contras and the Crack Cocaine Explosion (Book)
- Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press (Book)
‘We are on the road in Detroit, broadcasting from the “Great Lakes State” of Michigan, which has one of the longest freshwater coastlines in the country. But its residents are increasingly concerned about their access to affordable water. A judge overseeing Detroit’s bankruptcy recently ruled the city can continue shutting off water to residents who have fallen behind on payments after a judge concluded there is no “enforceable right” to water. The city began cutting off water to thousands of households several months ago, prompting protests from residents and the United Nations. Today, some 350 to 400 customers reportedly continue to lose water service daily in Detroit, where poverty rate is approximately 40 percent, and people have seen their water bills increase by 119 percent within the last decade. Most of the residents are African-American. Two-thirds of those impacted by the water shutoffs involve families with children. We speak with Alice Jennings, the lead attorney for residents who have lost their water access. “What’s happening here is nothing short of a humanitarian crisis,” Jennings says. “In a military way, the truck would start at one end of the street, and by the time it reached the other end maybe 50 percent of the homes were shut off.”’ (Democracy Now!)
- The South Bronx Came Back—Can Detroit?
- One in six Detroit babies born pre-term
- Child Poverty Rampant in Many of Biggest U.S. Cities
- Michigan incomes rise 1.7%, poverty levels unchanged
- Shutoff: Detroit’s Water War
- Despite Calls for Humanity, Detroit Resumes Water Shutoffs
- When Water is a Commodity Instead of a Human Right
- Companies proclaim water the next oil in a rush to turn resources into profit
- Detroit: The bankrupt city turned corporate luxury brand
- Michigan Leads Nation in Massive Corporate Tax Breaks
- Detroit Red Wings Get New $400 Million Taxpayer-Financed Stadium While the City Goes Bankrupt
- Is Detroit’s Bankruptcy Really a Feeding Frenzy for Privatization?
- Detroit’s Collapse Reveals the Awful Dystopia that the United States Is Becoming
- A financial dictator for Detroit
- Decline of Detroit
‘New financial disclosure documents released this month by the National Security Agency (NSA) show that Keith Alexander, who served as its director from August 2005 until March 2014, had thousands of dollars of investments during his tenure in a handful of technology firms.
Each year disclosed has a checked box next to this statement: “Reported financial interests or affiliations are unrelated to assigned or prospective duties, and no conflicts appear to exist.”
Alexander repeatedly made the public case that the American public is at “greater risk” from a terrorist attack in the wake of the Snowden disclosures. Statements such as those could have a positive impact on the companies he was invested in, which could have eventually helped his personal bottom line.’
“There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.” ~ George Orwell, 1984
‘Three of the UK’s four big mobile phone networks have made customers’ call records available at the click of a mouse to police forces through automated systems, a Guardian investigation has revealed.
EE, Vodafone and Three operate automated systems that hand over customer data “like a cash machine”,as one phone company employee described it.
Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International, a transparency watchdog, said: “If companies are providing communications data to law enforcement on automatic pilot, it’s as good as giving police direct access [to individual phone bills].”
O2, by contrast, is the only major phone network requiring staff to review all police information requests, the company said.’
- Theresa May vows Tory government would introduce ‘snooper’s charter’
- ISPs take legal action against GCHQ over mass network infrastructure surveillance
- NSA and GCHQ Using the ‘Treasure Map’ to Real-Time Spy on World’s Internet and Telecom Networks
- GCHQ ‘set up fake LinkedIn profiles to spy on mobile phone networks’
- NSA and GCHQ caught spying on Angry Birds players
- Mass surveillance in the United Kingdom