Thursday, October 01, 2009

What Would You Expect In Return If You Gave Someone 64 Million Dollars?

What Would You Expect In Return If You Gave Someone 64 Million Dollars?
By Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff

You'll find the answer to the title question and other puzzling social and political issues in the new book from Project Censored, Censored 2010, co-edited by Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff, and researched this year by over two hundred faculty and students at nine colleges and universities. The work includes the annual selection of the twenty-five most important news stories not covered by the US corporate media and a comprehensive critical review of media today.

1. US Congress Sells Out to Wall Street
Federal lawmakers responsible for overseeing the US economy and approving over $700 billion in bailout funds have received millions of dollars from Wall Street firms. Since 2001, eight of the most troubled firms have donated $64.2 million to congressional and presidential candidates in the Republican and Democratic parties. The donors include investment bankers Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, insurer American International Group, and mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

2. US Schools are More Segregated Today than in the 1950s
Schools in the United States are more segregated today than they have been in more than four decades. Millions of non-white students are locked into “dropout factory” high schools, where huge percentages do not graduate, and few are well prepared for college or a future in the US economy.

3. Toxic Waste Behind Somali Pirates
The international community has come out in force to condemn and declare war on the Somali fishermen pirates, while discreetly protecting the illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fleets from around the world that have been poaching and dumping toxic waste in Somali waters since the fall of the Somali government eighteen years ago.

4. Nuclear Waste Pools in North Carolina
One of the most lethal patches of ground in North America is located in the backwoods of North Carolina, where Shearon Harris nuclear plant is housed and owned by Progress Energy. The plant contains the largest radioactive waste storage pools in the country.

5. Europe Blocks US Toxic Products
US deregulation of toxic substances, such as lead in lipsticks, mercury in electronics, and phthalates (endocrine disruptors) in baby toys, may not only pose disastrous consequences to our health, but also to our economic and political status in the world. International markets are moving toward a European model of insisting on environmental and consumer safety. Hundreds of companies located in the US produce or import hundreds of chemicals designated as dangerous by the European Union.

6. Lobbyists Buy Congress
According to a study by The Center for Responsive Politics, special interests paid Washington lobbyists $3.2 billion in 2008, or $32,523 per legislator per day—more than any other year on record. This was a 13.7 percent increase from 2007.

7. Obama’s Military Appointments Have Corrupt Past
Obama’s retention of Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense makes Gates the first person ever in US history from an opposing party to be kept on as Secretary of Defense or War. Gates was formally a senior CIA official under Reagan who helped undermine the CIA analytical division’s commitment to objective intelligence.

8. Bailed out Banks and America’s Wealthiest Cheat IRS Out of Billions
A 2008 study done by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that eighty-three of the top publicly held US companies have operations in tax havens like the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, and the Virgin Islands. Fourteen of these companies, including AIG, Bank of America, and Citigroup, received money from government bailouts.

9. US Arms Used for War Crimes in Gaza
Israel’s repeated firing of US-made white phosphorus shells over densely populated areas of Gaza during its recent military campaign was indiscriminate and is evidence of war crimes, Human Rights Watch said in a report released March 25, 2009.

10. Ecuador Declares Foreign Debt Illegitimate
In November 2008, Ecuador became the first country to examine the legitimacy and structure of its foreign debt. An independent debt audit documented hundreds of allegations of irregularity, illegality, and illegitimacy in contracts of debt to predatory international lenders. The loans, according to the report, violated Ecuador’s domestic laws, US Securities and Exchange Commission regulations, and general principles of international law.

Peter Phillips is Professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University and former director of Project Censored. Mickey Huff is Associate Professor of History at Diablo Valley College and former associate director of Project Censored. They both serve on the executive committee of the Media Freedom Foundation and work with Media Freedom International publishing Validated Independent News and Investigate Reports in support of a truly free press, in contrast to corporate media propaganda. They are co-editors of Censored 2010 from Seven Stories Press.

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