January 11, 2012
By Cindy Galli
Montana farmers have filed a class action suit against former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine, charging that the failed financial firm run by Corzine stole millions from their accounts to pay off its spiraling debts, and that Corzine’s “single-minded obsession” with making MF Global a big player on Wall Street led to the firm’s collapse.
MF Global’s clients included 38,000 wheat farmers, cattle ranchers and others who “hedged” their crop prices by placing millions in MF Global accounts. Those accounts were supposed to be “segregated and secure,” according to the federal suit, meaning MF Global could not draw on those funds.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of all 38,000 customers, alleges that when MF Global made a series of bad investments — notably in European debt — it began “siphoning funds withdrawn from segregated client accounts” to cover its debts.
“This is a suit by the real victims of MF Global,” said plaintiff’s attorney Mark Baker of the law firm Anderson, Baker & Swanson. “The missing funds were not investments in MF Global, or loans to MF Global, but rather the customer’s own money as collateral to guaranty their contracts. They were not to be used by others – let alone their own broker – to speculate on risky and exotic securities.”
October 5th, 2011
By: Jonathan Benson
It may be a simple coincidence, or it may be the perfect embodiment of exactly why thousands of protesters across the US are hitting the streets en masse under the banner of Occupy Wall Street (OWS). Earlier this year, financial giant JPMorgan Chase & Co. donated $4.6 million to the New York Police Department (NYPD) to “strengthen security in the Big Apple” and several months later, the NYPD conveniently arrests over 700 individuals, all at one time, involved in peaceful OWS protests.
JPMorgan Chase, of course, is already the epitome of what OWS protesters are speaking out against — the corporation was one of the first to receive taxpayer-funded federal bailout money to the tune of at least $12 billion from the Federal Reserve back in 2008. And meanwhile, millions of Americans are still unemployed or underemployed as the US economy continues its rapid descent into oblivion.
By all appearances, JPMorgan’s generous donation to NYPD is no different than Monsanto’s donations to political candidates in exchange for support of policies that shelter genetically-modified organisms (GMO) from public scrutiny.
It is similar to Merck & Co.’s donations to Texas Gov. Rick Perry in exchange for pushing Gardasil on young schoolgirls. It is just that, in this case, instead of taking place on the federal level with politicians, corporate bribary is now occurring at the local level with law enforcement.
You can see JPMorgan’s donation announcement here:
The OWS protests, which officially began on September 17, 2011, in New York City, and have since spread to other US cities, have received little media attention — that is until it was exposed that NYPD officers were pepper spraying and arresting large groups of nonviolent protesters. And even following the rapid spread of this information through alternative media sources and YouTube, the mainstream media (MSM) has been lacking, to say the least, in maintaining any semblance of adequate coverage of the events (http://www.naturalnews.com/033761_O…).
Nevertheless, any corporation — especially one like JPMorgan Chase — that donates nearly $5 million to a police department most likely expects something in return. In this case, it is too odd a coincidence that the corporation’s donation to NYPD, which represents the largest donation it has ever received, comes just before Wall Street protesters were planning to hit the streets to protest against both it and the many other corporations that have corrupted the entire US government.
Those interested in following the OWS protests can view live streaming footage of the events taking place in New York City here:
Today, Kevin explains how buying organic not only creates a healthier new you, but also saves you money in the long run.
Take Trudeau on the Go! Click here to download this show to your iPod, mp3 player, or PC through iTunes!
September 20, 2010
News of the World
The H1N1 vaccine will be mixed into the regular flu jab for OAPs, pregnant women and others at high risk.
While millions refused to take the jab during last winter’s pandemic, this time they will have no choice if they want to be protected against normal flu.
The Government was left with more than 30million swine flu vaccines after the pandemic fizzled out in 2010.
Some types of swine flu vaccinations are suspected of being linked to an increase in the rare condition narcolepsy, which causes sufferers to suddenly fall asleep at random times.
In Finland, one brand – Pandemrix, produced by GlaxoSmithKline – was banned, and officials in Sweden have started a Europe-wide investigation into it.
An NHS spokesman said that while the pandemic of the H1N1 swine flu virus was over, the disease was still a threat.
The Department of Health said the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority, which monitors vaccines, had given the H1N1 jab the all-clear after fears in Europe over the narcolepsy outbreak.
She added: “By March this year, that particular H1N1 vaccine had been given out 5.5million times and there have been no reported cases of narcolepsy in Britain.”
August 10 ,2010
By: Mike Adams
Do you ever wonder things like “Who is actually gullible enough to think that Vitaminwater is healthy?” Although that question may seem demeaning or even arrogant, it turns out that the Coca-Cola company (which owns the Vitaminwater brand) is essentially asking that exact question.
How so? In response to a recent lawsuit against Coca-Cola filed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Coke’s attorneys replied in court briefings that, “…no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking vitaminwater was a healthy beverage.”
Except, of course, millions of consumers were misled into believing precisely that. This illusion was helped in no small part by Coca-Cola’s advertising of Vitaminwater, which blatantly positions it as a health-enhancing beverage. Even the name itself implies that the product is made solely out of vitamins and water.
But of course it isn’t.
“Sugarwater” might be a better name
If Vitaminwater were accurately named, it would actually be called Sugarwater. Its first two ingredients are, not surprisingly, sugar and water (the sugar coming in the form of crystalline fructose, a processed sweetener that has been linked to health problems) (http://www.naturalnews.com/029371_f…).
In addition to the sugar and water, Vitaminwater contains a smattering of synthetic vitamin chemicals that any informed health consumer probably wouldn’t want to ingest. So in reality, Vitaminwater is really sugar water with the addition of synthetic chemicals that happen to be called “vitamins” (but which are not the natural, plant-based nutrients your body would greatly prefer).
So what we have now with Vitaminwater is a beverage that’s positioned and marketed as a health-enhancing beverage, yet its own corporate lawyers dismiss any notion that the beverage is “healthy.” How, then, can Coca-Cola get away with advertising Vitaminwater as a healthy beverage?
Simple: Because corporations use advertisements to lie to consumers. And virtually no one in the history of corporate advertising has mastered the art of deception better than Coca-Cola — a company whose products have contributed to untold numbers of diabetes victims while being positioned as cool, hip drinks that make you feel energized or inspired.
Coca-Cola isn’t really in the business of selling beverages, you see. It’s in the business of selling the illusion of happiness in a bottle or a can. Buy their products, say the advertisements, and you too can feel happiness (or freedom, or sexiness or whatever). But what Coca-Cola delivers isn’t really happiness at all: Many of Coke’s products deliver the liquid sugars, artificial chemical sweeteners and bone-dissolving acids (like phosphoric acid) that promote disease and suffering. And no reasonable person would equate degenerative disease with happiness.
Misleading name, misleading labels
Speaking of disease, how much sugar is actually in Vitaminwater? A lot more than you might think: While the label claims only 13 grams of sugar per serving, one bottle of vitamin water is actually 2.5 servings, meaning that you’re chugging down 32 grams of liquid sugars with every bottle.
That’s just one of the many “deceptive and unsubstantiated claims” pointed out by CSPI in its lawsuit against Coca-Cola. It is this lawsuit that resulted in Coke’s lawyers making the incredible statement that no reasonable person could possibly conclude Vitaminwater was a healthy beverage.
Lawyers, by the way, can argue absolutely anything — even if it makes no sense. And they can do it with a straight face, too. If you’re looking for a professional liar, hire a lawyer. Coca-Cola seems to already have its share working at their headquarters in Atlanta.
Using its lawyers, Coca-Cola tried to argue its way out of this CSPI lawsuit, but that effort was rejected by the courts. “A federal judge has denied Coca-Cola’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit over what the CSPI says are deceptive and unsubstantiated claims on the company’s “vitaminwater” line of soft drinks,” touts an article on the CSPI website (http://www.cspinet.org/new/20100723…)
That same announcement goes on to quote Judge John Gleeson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, who says “The names of the drinks, along with other statements on the label have the potential to reinforce a consumer’s mistaken belief that the product is comprised of only vitamins and water.”
CSPI’s litigation director Steve Gardner adds, “For too long, Coca-Cola has been exploiting Americans’ desire to eat and drink more healthfully by deceiving them into thinking that vitaminwater can actually prevent disease. In fact, vitaminwater is no more than non-carbonated soda, providing unnecessary added sugar and contributing to weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and other diseases. We look forward to representing all Americans whom Coke has deceived.”
Who really drinks Vitaminwater?
Reading all this, you might wonder who drinks Vitaminwater in the first place. I’ve never even tried the beverage myself because I read ingredients labels and I don’t drink liquid sugars.
But most consumers don’t read labels. Even if they attempted to, most consumers are simply unable to decode what food labels really mean. People simply believe whatever is most prominently displayed on the front of the package, which in this case are the two words “vitamin” and “water.”
On top of that, mainstream consumers are disturbingly gullible. If a product is positioned as being healthy, that’s what people believe it’s for, even if it makes no sense whatsoever. After all, why do so many people believe Slim-Fast will make them lose weight even though it’s made mostly from processed refined sugar?
Slim-Fast, by the way, never technically claims it’s a weight loss product. It dances around that claim with all sorts of other gray-area language that implies it is a weight loss product without making any direct claims. If pushed in the courts, its manufacturer would no doubt pull the same thing Coca-Cola just did and proclaim that no reasonable person could conclude that Slim-Fast is a weight loss product.
You see, big food companies are masters at making implied claims about their products that, upon closer inspection, are blatantly false. There are all sorts of false claims found on the labels of popular food products: A chocolate milk product made with sugar claims it “builds strong bones!” A liquid meal substitute sold in cans and made mostly with sugars and milk proteins claims to provide “balanced nutrition!” A product for diabetics claims to be “sugar free” but neglects to mention it’s sweetened with a chemical that may actually promote diabetes.
July 15, 2010
By: Jonathan Karl and Gregory Simmons
As the midterm election season approaches, new road signs are popping up everywhere – millions of dollars worth of signs touting “The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act” and reminding passers-by that the program is “Putting America Back to Work.”
On the road leading to Dulles Airport outside Washington, DC there’s a 10′ x 11′ road sign touting a runway improvement project funded by the federal stimulus. The project cost nearly $15 million and has created 17 jobs, according to recovery.gov.
However, there’s another number that caught the eye of ABC News: $10,000. That’s how much money the Washington Airports Authority tells ABC News it spent to make and install the sign – a single sign – announcing that the project is “Funded by The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act” and is “Putting America Back to Work.” The money for the sign was taken out of the budget for the runway improvement project.
ABC News has reached out to a number of states about spending on stimulus signs and learned the state of Illinois has spent $650,000 on about 950 signs and Pennsylvania has spent $157,000 on 70 signs. Other states, like Virginia, Vermont, and Arizona do not sanction any signs.
One state brags it posts signs but manages to keep the process cost-effective. The Tennessee Department of Transportation boasts, “There are a total of 324 signs statewide for a total cost of $12,931 and an average of $37.67 each.” The reason for the small cost, they say, is that their signs are small– about equal to a speed limit sign.
In response to questions by ABC News, Jill Zuckman of the Department of Transportation said, “The best estimate is that states have spent about $5 million of the $28 billion spent on road projects on signs – or less than .02 percent of overall project spending.”
Still, some Republicans are crying foul. Congressman Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Earl Devaney, Chairman of the Recovery Act and Transparency and Accountability Board, requesting an investigation to “determine the scope and impact of the Obama administration’s guidance” regarding signs to stimulus recipients.
Rep. Issa writes that the passage of the Stimulus Bill, “has provided an opportunity for the Obama administration to claim political credit for the various projects around the country that have been funded by this redistribution of taxpayer dollars.”
At the center of the controversy are a series of guidelines provided to stimulus recipients. In the letter, Rep. Issa cites what he calls “perhaps the most overly political guidance on stimulus advertising” involving the Department of Housing and Urban Development and a stimulus recipient. According to investigators from the oversight committee, HUD provided the Office of Native American Programs with information on “signage requirements.” The document suggested a sign template informing the public the projects had been, “Funded By: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Barack Obama, President.”
Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) has joined the chorus of Republican outrage over stimulus signs and claims at least $20 million has been spent on them. He told ABC News, “I think it’s a bit of an oxymoron to spend tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, borrowed money, on a bunch of signs to tell them how we are spending their taxpayer money.”
Schock’s office provided ABC News with administration guidance on stimulus signs sent to him from a constituent. The document, dated March of 2009, outlines the “General Guidelines for Emblem and Logo Applications.” The Recovery Act logo which was provided not only looks oddly similar to the Obama logo from the 2008 campaign but its stated purpose, according to the document, is to act as “a symbol of President Obama’s commitment to the American people to invest their tax dollars wisely and put Americans back to work.”
Rep. Schock argues that the signs are not a wise investment at all, but rather, a waste of money. He took to the House floor today to offer a bill, “to prevent funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 from being used for physical signage indicating that a project is funded by such Act, and for other purposes.”
Massachusetts Democrat James McGovern fired back, “This is the best we can get? Not putting up signs?” He continued, “How about paying for the tax cuts for the rich that my friends on the other side of the aisle passed? Hundreds of billions of dollars in debt that you put on the backs of my kids and my grandkids so that the wealthiest of the wealthy in this country can get a tax break.”
When asked about Republican outcry over spending on stimulus signs, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs quipped, ” I’m glad the Republicans have noticed the several – nearly 11,000 road projects that are underway this summer.”
July 7, 2010
By: Melissa Eddy
A German data protection official said Wednesday he launched legal proceedings against Facebook, which he accused of illegally accessing and saving personal data of people who don’t use the social networking site.
Johannes Caspar said his Hamburg data protection office had initiated legal steps that could result in Facebook being fined tens of thousands of euros for saving private information of individuals who don’t use the site and haven’t granted it access to their details.
“We consider the saving of data from third parties, in this context, to be against data privacy laws,” Caspar said in a statement.
Facebook has until Aug. 11 to respond formally to the legal complaint against it. Its response will determine whether the case goes further.
The company, based in Palo Alto, California, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Germans are protected by some of the world’s most strict privacy laws, which lay out in detail how and how much of an individual’s private information may be accessed by whom.
Germany also has launched an investigation into Google Inc. over its Street View mapping program.
In April, Facebook changed its privacy settings to allow users to block access to the contacts listed in their e-mail, but Caspar argues that the previously saved contacts have not been erased and are being used for marketing purposes.
“It is a system that is designed around making it possible for Facebook to expand, for its own benefit,” Caspar said in a telephone interview.
He said his office had received complaints from “many” people who had been contacted by Facebook after it obtained their names and e-mail addresses through people listing them as a contact.
He could not give a specific number, but said that it indicated third parties’ data had been obtained by Facebook had been saved for future use.
“Given that several million people in Germany alone are members, this is a very unsettling notion,” he said.
Germany’s consumer protection minister, Ilse Aigner, said last month that she plans to give up her Facebook account, arguing that it still wasn’t doing enough to protect users’ data.
May 27, 2010
London Evening Standard
By Sri Carmichael
Tony Blair is set to earn millions of pounds advising an American businessman on how to make money from tackling climate change.
The former prime minister will be paid at least £700,000 a year to act as a “strategic adviser” to Khosla Ventures, a venture capitalist firm founded by Indian billionaire Vinod Khosla.
The Californian company bankrolls businesses hoping to profit from technology that helps reduce global warming and carbon emissions.
Mr Blair secured the job thanks to his “influence” and high level international contacts, whom he will be expected to lean on to open doors.
He has told friends he needs £5 million a year to fund his lifestyle.
May 18, 2010
By Matthew Daly
WASHINGTON (AP) – Last week, it was oil executives who faced the wrath of lawmakers eager to find blame for the massive oil spill spreading in the Gulf of Mexico.
On Tuesday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and other federal officials will come under questioning for what the government did – or did not do – to prevent the oil spill, and how they have responded since oil started streaming into the Gulf last month.
Salazar, who oversees the federal agency that monitors offshore drilling, will testify before two Senate committees. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen also will testify at separate hearings, and oil company executives are back for a second round of questions.
The hearings come amid the first high-level resignation related to the oil spill and a decision by President Barack Obama to name a presidential commission to investigate the cause of the rig explosion that unleashed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, where engineers are struggling after three weeks to stop the flow.
The presidential panel will be similar to ones that examined the Challenger space shuttle disaster and the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident, said a White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the decision had not been formally announced.
The commission would be one of nearly a dozen investigations and reviews launched since the April 20 explosion, although it probably would be the most comprehensive.