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Top news: Plutocrats dressed in drag, bankers too big to jail, more

Plutocrats dressed in drag, bankers too big to jail
Plutocrats dressed in drag, bankers too big to jailCreative Commons

Below are key excerpts of important news articles which include revealing information on Wall Street plutocrats dressed in drag for secret society Kappa Beta Phi, bankers at the largest banks deemed too big to jail by the US Department of Justice, the shockingly low global ranking of the US in press freedoms, and more.

Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on the improvement to the quality of life brought by energy conservation and the power of touch to communicate emotion. To skip to the section on inspiring articles, click here.

Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails, click here. The most important sentences are highlighted. And don't miss the "What you can do" section below the summaries. By educating ourselves and spreading the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

Special note: For an informative article on the press slamming Katie Couric for allowing women on her show to talk negatively about the Gardasil vaccine, click here. For a very touching nine-minute video on the magical connection between a boy and his dog, click here. For an intriguing 9-minute TED talk showing what Facebook and Google hide from us, click here. For an awesome list of 16 suppressed new-energy technologies which could completely change our world, click here. For a cool song putting the truth out there by a WantToKnow.info supporter, click here.

Quote of the Week: "What lies behind us and what lies before us " ~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

One-Percent Jokes and Plutocrats in Drag: What I Saw When I Crashed a Wall Street Secret Society
February 17, 2014, New York Magazine
http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/02/i-crashed-a-wall-street-secret-society.html

Recently, our nation’s financial chieftains have been feeling a little unloved. Venture capitalists are comparing the persecution of the rich to the plight of Jews at Kristallnacht, Wall Street titans are saying that they’re sick of being beaten up, and this week, a billionaire investor, Wilbur Ross, proclaimed that “the 1 percent is being picked on for political reasons.” Ross's statement seemed particularly odd, because two years ago, I met Ross at an event that might single-handedly explain why the rest of the country still hates financial tycoons – the annual black-tie induction ceremony of a secret Wall Street fraternity called Kappa Beta Phi. It was January 2012, and Ross, ... the leader (or “Grand Swipe”) of the fraternity, was preparing to invite 21 new members — “neophytes,” as the group called them — to join its exclusive ranks. I’d heard whisperings about the existence of Kappa Beta Phi. It was a secret fraternity, founded at the beginning of the Great Depression, that functioned as a sort of one-percenter’s Friars Club. Each year, the group’s dinner features comedy skits, musical acts in drag, and off-color jokes, and its group’s privacy mantra is “What happens at the St. Regis stays at the St. Regis.” For eight decades, it worked. No outsider in living memory had witnessed the entire proceedings firsthand. The first and most obvious conclusion was that the upper ranks of finance are composed of people who have completely divorced themselves from reality. No self-aware and socially conscious Wall Street executive would have agreed to be part of a group whose tacit mission is to make light of the financial sector’s foibles. Not when those foibles had resulted in real harm to millions of people in the form of foreclosures, wrecked 401(k)s, and a devastating unemployment crisis.

Note: This article is adapted from Kevin Roose’s new book Young Money. For more on secret societies, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Gangster Bankers: Too Big to Jail
February 14, 2014, Rolling Stone
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/gangster-bankers-too-big-to-jail-20130214

The deal was announced quietly, just before the holidays. The U.S. Justice Department granted a total walk to executives of the British-based bank HSBC for the largest drug-and-terrorism money-laundering case ever. They issued a fine – $1.9 billion, or about five weeks' profit – but they didn't extract so much as one dollar or one day in jail from any individual, despite a decade of stupefying abuses. For at least half a decade, the storied British colonial banking power helped to wash hundreds of millions of dollars for drug mobs, including Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel, suspected in tens of thousands of murders just in the past 10 years. The bank also ... aided countless common tax cheats in hiding their cash. That nobody from the bank went to jail or paid a dollar in individual fines is nothing new in this era of financial crisis. What is different about this settlement is that the Justice Department, for the first time, admitted why it decided to go soft on this particular kind of criminal. It was worried that anything more than a wrist slap for HSBC might undermine the world economy. "Had the U.S. authorities decided to press criminal charges," said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer at a press conference to announce the settlement, "HSBC would almost certainly have lost its banking license in the U.S., the future of the institution would have been under threat and the entire banking system would have been destabilized."

Note: For more on the collusion of government with the biggest, most corrupt banks, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Finland No. 1, US sinks to 46th in global press freedom rankings
February 12, 2014, Yahoo! News
http://news.yahoo.com/finland--1--us-sinks-to-46th-in-global-press-freedom-rankings-145044630.html

The United States did not live up to the promise of the First Amendment last year, “far from it,” sinking to 46th in global press freedom rankings, a respected international nonprofit group said. The U.S. plummeted 13 slots to 46th overall “amid increased efforts to track down whistle-blowers and the sources of leaks,” Reporters Without Borders warned in an annual report. “The trial and conviction of Private Bradley Manning and the pursuit of NSA analyst Edward Snowden were warnings to all those thinking of assisting in the disclosure of sensitive information that would clearly be in the public interest,” the organization said. The group ... also cited the Department of Justice’s seizure of Associated Press telephone records and a court’s pressure on New York Times reporter James Risen to testify against a CIA staffer accused of leaking classified information. “The whistle-blower is clearly the enemy in the U.S.,” Delphine Halgand, who heads the RSF outpost in Washington, told Yahoo News. “Eight whistle-blowers have been charged under the Obama administration, the highest number of any administration, of all other administrations combined.” Overall, RSF said in its report, “countries that pride themselves on being democracies and respecting the rule of law have not set an example, far from it.” “Freedom of information is too often sacrificed to an overly broad and abusive interpretation of national security needs, marking a disturbing retreat from democratic practices. Investigative journalism often suffers as a result,” the group said.

Note: As if to underscore the sad state of US press freedom, we couldn't find any major media who reported this sad news, other than a Washington Post blog at this link, which simply downplays the news and tries to explain it away. To read how the media censors some of the biggest stories never reported, click here.

The David Miranda judgment has chilling implications for press freedom, race relations and basic justice
February 19, 2014, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/19/david-miranda-press-freedom-race-justice

One person's freedom fighter may be another's terrorist, but David Miranda is very clearly neither. Yet he was detained at Heathrow airport for nine hours under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. That the high court has now found his detention to be lawful is disappointing, to say the least. If someone travelling as part of journalistic work can be lawfully detained like this – questioned for hours without a lawyer present, his electronic equipment confiscated and cloned and all without the merest suspicion of wrongdoing required – then clearly something has gone wrong with the law. Schedule 7 suffers the same glaring flaws as the old section 44 counter-terrorism power that also allowed stop and search without suspicion. Such laws leave themselves wide open to discriminatory misuse: section 44 never once led to a terrorism conviction but was used to stop people like journalist Pennie Quinton. In a significant victory, Liberty took her case to the European court of human rights and the power was declared unlawful. Liberty and other organisations intervened in [Miranda's] case on just this point, arguing that the detention violated article 10 of the European convention, the right to freedom of expression. Our riled security services' transparent intimidation and interference with Miranda is shocking. But it's also important that we use his case to shed light on the murky everyday reality of schedule 7.

Note: For more on threats to civil liberties, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Journalist Sues Police Who Questioned Drone Use
February 18, 2014, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/journalist-sues-police-questioned-drone-22568049

A journalist filed a lawsuit [on February 18] alleging that Hartford [Connecticut] police officers violated his free-speech rights by questioning his use of a remote-controlled aircraft to record images of a car wreck. Pedro Rivera['s] complaint says that officers demanded that Rivera stop flying the remote-controlled aircraft, asked him to leave the area and told his employer that he had interfered with a police investigation. "I told them I was there on my personal time," said Rivera, who was suspended for a week from his on-call job with a Connecticut television station. "They went to my employer and caused a lot of problems for me and my job." The lawsuit ... seeks damages for Rivera but also asks the court to declare that he did not break any laws by operating the 2 1/2-pound, four-rotor aircraft above the scene of the fatal Feb. 1 wreck. It says that Rivera made clear he was not working for the television station, WFSB-TV, although he acknowledged that he occasionally sent the video feed from his drone to the station. "The suit is as much about trying to make sure police officers don't legislate from the beat as it is about getting a court to weigh in and say what the standards are," said Norm Pattis, the attorney for Rivera. Rivera, 29, of Hartford, argues in the lawsuit that police violated his First Amendment right to free expression as well as his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable seizures.

Note: This could be a key case which determines who has the right to use drones. Do we really want only the military and government to have the right to use them?

Judge Tosses Muslim Spying Suit Against NYPD, Says Any Damage Was Caused by Reporters Who Exposed It
February 21, 2014, The Intercept
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/02/21/judge-tosses-muslim-spying-suit-nypd...

A federal judge in Newark has thrown out a lawsuit against the New York Police Department for spying on New Jersey Muslims, saying if anyone was at fault, it was the Associated Press for telling people about it. In his ruling ... U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martini simultaneously demonstrated the willingness of the judiciary to give law enforcement alarming latitude in the name of fighting terror, greenlighted the targeting of Muslims based solely on their religious beliefs, and blamed the media for upsetting people by telling them what their government was doing. The NYPD’s clandestine spying on daily life in Muslim communities in the region — with no probable cause, and nothing to show for it — was exposed in a Pulitzer-Prize winning series of stories by the AP. The stories described infiltration and surveillance of at least 20 mosques, 14 restaurants, 11 retail stores, two grade schools, and two Muslim student associations in New Jersey alone. In a cursory, 10-page ruling issued before even hearing oral arguments, Martini essentially said that what the targets didn’t know didn’t hurt them: "None of the Plaintiffs’ injuries arose until after the Associated Press released unredacted, confidential NYPD documents and articles expressing its own interpretation of those documents. Nowhere in the Complaint do Plaintiffs allege that they suffered harm prior to the unauthorized release of the documents by the Associated Press. This confirms that Plaintiffs’ alleged injuries flow from the Associated Press’s unauthorized disclosure of the documents. The harms are not “fairly traceable” to any act of surveillance."

Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Pedophile Rights Campaign Still Causing a Stink for Harriet Harman -- 40 Years On
February 19, 2014, International Business Times
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/paedophile-rights-campaign-still-causing-stink-harriet-harman-40-years-1437152

The Labour party is facing fresh revelations about the relationship between some of its most senior members and an organisation called the Paedophile Information Exchange, which campaigned for the legalisation of sex with children under five, during the 1970s. The discredited organisation has been linked to a number of big Labour names including the party's current deputy leader, Harriet Harman, by a Daily Mail investigation. Harman and her husband, Labour's shadow minister for policing Jack Dromey, are tied to Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) by their shared past in the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL), the former name of human rights group Liberty. Former health secretary Patricia Hewitt was general secretary of the NCCL from 1974-83, Harman was its legal officer from 1978-82 and Dromey sat on the group's executive committee for nine years, between 1970 and 1979. During those years, the NCCL built links with PIE and lobbied parliament on behalf of its agenda. Close relations between the groups were apparently founded on the shared principle of social and sexual progressiveness. PIE members maintained that sexual relations between children and adults did not harm the former. In 1978, Harman claimed that sex abuse images should be given back to paedophiles by police who had seized them because doing otherwise would be censorship.

Note: For more on sexual abuse of children, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Key Articles From Years Past

Cave complex may lie beneath Giza Pyramids
August 14, 2009, NBC News
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/32417238/ns/technology_and_science-science

An enormous system of caves, chambers and tunnels lies hidden beneath the Pyramids of Giza, according to a British explorer who claims to have found the lost underworld of the pharaohs [at] the pyramid field at Giza. British explorer Andrew Collins [has detailed] his findings in the book Beneath the Pyramids, tracked down the entrance to the mysterious underworld after reading the forgotten memoirs of a 19th century diplomat and explorer. "In his memoirs, British consul general Henry Salt recounts how he investigated an underground system of 'catacombs' at Giza in 1817," Collins said. With the help of British Egyptologist Nigel Skinner-Simpson, Collins reconstructed Salt's exploration on the plateau, eventually locating the entrance to the lost catacombs in an apparently unrecorded tomb west of the Great Pyramid. According to Collins, the caves — which are tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years old — may have both inspired the development of the pyramid field and the ancient Egyptian's belief in an underworld. "Ancient funerary texts clearly allude to the existence of a subterranean world in the vicinity of the Giza pyramids," Collins [said]. Zahi Hawass, chief of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, has dismissed the discovery. "There are no new discoveries to be made at Giza. We know everything about the plateau," he stated. But Collins remarks that after extensive research, he found no mention of the caves in modern times. "To the best of our knowledge nothing has ever been written or recorded about these caves since Salt's explorations.

Note: For an intriguing documentary showing the incredible extent of these caves, click here.

Inspiring Articles

Amory Lovins: energy visionary sees renewables revolution in full swing
February 17, 2014, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/feb/17/amory-lovins-renewable-energy

Amory Lovins last year harvested from his small garden more than 30 pounds of bananas, along with guava, mango, papaya, loquat, passion and other exotic fruit. Nothing remarkable in that, except that the energy analyst and chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) does not live in the tropics but in an unheated house 6,500 feet up a mountain near Aspen, Colorado, where the temperature falls to -44C and where last week more than two feet of snow fell in less than 24 hours. The fruit is grown in a greenhouse that is part of the sprawling, experimental, super-insulated house at Old Snowmass, built 30 years ago for $500,000 (£300,000) and an inspiration for a generation of energy thinkers, designers and sustainable builders. Visited by 100,000 people, it was the archetype for the European Passivhaus movement. "Heating systems are so 20th century," he says. "We have found you actually save money by not putting in a heating system. It's cheaper. The monitoring system uses more energy than the lights." Lovins has always maintained that energy conservation not only pays for itself, but that energy-saving technology can lead to higher quality of life at lower cost. He has advised many of the world's largest companies and dozens of countries how to reduce bills with renewables but has also challenged the giant car, aviation and construction industries to rethink the way they operate. Renewables have scaled up incredibly fast, he says. "Worldwide it is faster than mobile phones. More Kenyans now get first electricity now from solar than the grid. China got more generation from wind in 2012 than from nuclear and it added more generation from non-hydro renewable energy than fossil and nuclear combined. It is now the world leader in seven of the 10 renewable energies and wants to be top in all 10.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.

Homeless Hungarian man hits lottery jackpot with his last few coins
February 16, 2014, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/16/homeless-hungarian-lottery-win-laszlo-andrasche

Unemployed, in debt and facing another year living on the streets in Hungary, László Andraschek spent his last remaining coins on a lottery ticket. Now the formerly homeless man has a choice of accommodation around the world after becoming one of Hungary's biggest lottery winners, with a prize of about £1.7m. Andraschek, whose 630m Hungarian forint win last September went unnoticed until he made a significant donation to a hostel for the homeless this month, said buying the ticket was a chance decision at a railway station on his way to Budapest for a workshop for recovering alcoholics. [He] now plans to use his winnings to establish a foundation for addicts and women abused by their husbands. He and his wife, Anikó, said they will invest their money cautiously and avoid the ruinous spending splurges of many a lottery winner. "I have become rich but I have not become a different person. I could buy a large-screen TV because I can afford it, but I won't buy three because I can afford it." Having struggled with alcoholism, Andraschek finally quit five years ago and says he "now has no need to return". The news of Andraschek's dramatic upturn in fortunes came as human rights activists organised a wave of protests worldwide against a new Hungarian law that bans sleeping rough, in a country that has 30,000 homeless people.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.

The Power of Touch
March 11, 2013, Psychology Today
http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201302/the-power-touch

Probing our ability to communicate nonverbally is hardly a new psychological tack; researchers have long documented the complex emotions and desires that our posture, motions, and expressions reveal. Yet until recently, the idea that people can impart and interpret emotional content via another nonverbal modality—touch—seemed iffy, even to researchers, such as DePauw University psychologist Matthew Hertenstein, who study it. In 2009, he demonstrated that we have an innate ability to decode emotions via touch alone. In a series of studies, Hertenstein had volunteers attempt to communicate a list of emotions to a blindfolded stranger solely through touch. The results suggest that for all our caution about touching, we come equipped with an ability to send and receive emotional signals solely by doing so. Participants communicated eight distinct emotions—anger, fear, disgust, love, gratitude, sympathy, happiness, and sadness—with accuracy rates as high as 78 percent. "I was surprised," Hertenstein admits. "I thought the accuracy would be at chance level," about 25 percent. "Everywhere we've studied this, people seem able to do it," he says. Indeed, we appear to be wired to interpret the touch of our fellow humans. If touch is a language, it seems we instinctively know how to use it. But apparently it's a skill we take for granted. When asked about it, the subjects in Hertenstein's studies consistently underestimated their ability to communicate via touch—even while their actions suggested that touch may in fact be more versatile than voice, facial expression, and other modalities for expressing emotion. His research shows that touch can communicate multiple positive emotions: joy, love, gratitude, and sympathy.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.

Young boy comes to the aid of cash-strapped family
January 16, 2013, Fox News (Atlanta affiliate)
http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/story/20605651/young-boy-raises-60k-for-charities

Aidan Hornaday may only be 12, but he's got his sights set on big things. The Woodstock boy is trying to rally kids all over the country to make a difference. The youngster has created Aidan Cares. He wants to prove to kids and grownups that everybody has something they can use to help other people. He found his something when he picked up his big brother's harmonica four years ago. The next night, waiting for his mom at C & S Seafood Oyster Bar in Vinings, Aidan took off his cap and started playing. "[I] was blowing harmonica, one note, then looking at it, then blowing another. And then, out of nowhere, I got $80. And I thought, 'Wow, 80 bucks for taking my hat off,'" said Hornaday. A 7-year-old philanthropist was born. "That night I came home and I said, 'You know what, I'm going to donate this $80 to African orphans to help fight intestinal parasites,'" said Hornaday. Soon people were asking him to play at their events and inviting him to speak to them. And the more he played, the more donations rolled in. In four years, he's raised more than $60,000.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.

Please note that most of the summarizing of the revealing news articles in the above summary was done by Tod Fletcher of WantToKnow.info. Many thanks to Tod for all the time and skill he puts into this. The section below provides several ideas on what you can do to spread the news.

What you can do:

  • Inform your media and political representatives of any or all of important news articles above. For information on how to contact those close to you, click here.
  • See an index of the most revealing media articles ever sorted by topic at this link.
  • Learn more about how some of the most vital news is censored by corporate major media ownership in this powerful lesson from the free Insight Course.
  • Read excerpts of the most revealing major media articles ever reported at this link.
  • Spread this news to your friends and colleagues, and bookmark this article on key news websites using the "Share This" icon on this page, so that we can fill the role at which the major media is sadly failing. Together, we can make a difference.