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The Top 25 Censored Stories of 2008-9 - Page 3 PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Feature Stories
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 12 November 2009 06:32

19. Bank Bailout Recipients Spent to Defeat Labor

On October 17, 2008, three days after Bank of America Corporation received $25 billion in federal bailout funds, it hosted a conference call to organize opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). Participants, including AIG, were urged to persuade their clients to send "large contributions" to groups working against the EFCA, as well as to vulnerable Senate Republicans who could be used to help block the passage of the pro-labor bill that would make it easier for employees to organize into unions.

20. Secret Control of the Presidential Debates

The Obama and McCain campaigns jointly negotiated a detailed secret contract dictating the terms of the 2008 debates. This included who got to participate, what topics were to be raised, and the structure of the debate formats.

Since 1987, a private corporation created by and for the Republican and Democratic parties called the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) has sponsored the U.S. presidential debates and implemented debate contracts. In order to shield the major-party candidates from criticism, CPD has refused to release debate-contract information to the public.

Since the CPD took control of the presidential debates in 1988, the debates have been primarily funded by corporate contributions. Multinational corporations with regulatory interests before Congress have donated millions of dollars in contributions to the CPD, and debate sites have become corporate carnivals, where sponsoring companies market their products, services, and political agendas. Tobacco giant Phillip Morris was a major sponsor in 1992 and 1996. Anheuser-Busch sponsored presidential debates in its hometown of St. Louis in 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008.

The current structure enables corporations to give money to both the Democratic and Republican parties, which essentially supports their duopoly over the political process and excludes third-party voices that may be hostile to corporate power.

21. Recession Causes States to Cut Welfare

Many states are in the midst of an aggressive action to push thousands of eligible mothers off Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, traditionally known as welfare. Families are being denied aid so that savings can be redirected in state budgets.

Nationally, the number of welfare recipients fell more than 40 percent between 2001 and June 2008. Louisiana, Texas, and Illinois have each dropped 80 percent of adult recipients since January 2001. The state of Georgia had a 90-percent drop, with fewer than 2,500 adults receiving benefits, down from 28,000 in 2004.

22. Obama's Trilateral Commission Team

Barack Obama appointed 11 members of the Trilateral Commission to top-level and key positions in his administration within his first 10 days in office. This represents a narrow source of international leadership inside the Obama administration.

Obama was groomed for the presidency by key members of the Trilateral Commission. Most notably, Zbigniew Brzezinski, co-founder of the Trilateral Commission with David Rockefeller in 1973, has been Obama's principal foreign-policy advisor.

According to official Trilateral Commission membership lists, there are only 87 members from the United States. (The other 337 members are from other countries.) Thus, within two weeks of his inauguration, Obama's appointments encompassed more than 12 percent of commission's entire U.S. membership.

Trilateral appointees include: Secretary of Treasury Tim Geithner, Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, National Security Advisor General James L. Jones, Deputy National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon, Economic Recovery Committee Chair Paul Volker, Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis C. Blair, Assistant Secretary of State (Asia & Pacific) Kurt M. Campbell, Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, State Department Special Envoy, Richard Haass, State Department Special Envoy Dennis Ross, and State Department Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke.

23. Activists Slam World Water Forum as a Corporate-Driven Fraud

Water-rights activists blasted the World Water Forum, held in Turkey in late March 2009, as a corporate trade show promoting privatization of water. Three hundred Turkish activists gathered near the forum's entrance and were faced with the overwhelming force of between 2,000 and 3,000 police. The forum opened with Turkish police firing tear gas and detaining protesters, who were shouting, "Water for life, not for profit."

According to its Web site, the World Water Forum is "an open, all-inclusive, multi-stakeholder process" through which governments, non-governmental organizations, businesses, and others "create links, debate, and attempt to find solutions to achieve water security."

However, the forum's main organizer, the World Water Council, is dominated by two of the world's largest private water corporations, Suez and Veolia. Critics contend that the council's links to Suez and Veolia, as well as the large representation of the business industry in the council, compromise its legitimacy. Corporate interests that make up the World Water Council are in constant contact with the World Bank and other financial institutions. Each forum is set up as a quasi-United Nations event, to the extent of issuing a Ministerial Statement at the forum's close promoting global-policy approaches to water and sanitation.

The council promotes expensive and destructive dam and water-diversion projects as well as policies such as public-private partnerships that put water services under private ownership.

24. Dollar Glut Finances U.S. Military Expansion

The worldwide surplus of dollars is forcing foreign central banks to bear the costs of America's expanding military empire. Keeping international reserves in "dollars" means that when U.S. financial speculation and deficits pump "paper" into foreign economies, these banks have little option but to recycle it into U.S. Treasury bills and bonds -- which the Treasury then spends on financing an enormous, hostile military build-up to encircle the major dollar-recyclers: China, Japan, and Arab OPEC oil producers. These governments are forced to recycle dollar inflows in a way that funds U.S. military policies which they have no say in formulating.

25. Fast-Track Oil Exploitation in Western Amazon

The western Amazon, home to the most biodiverse and intact rainforest on Earth, may soon be covered with oil rigs and pipelines. Vast swaths of the region are to be opened for oil and gas exploration, putting some of the planet's most pristine forests at risk, conservationists have warned.

A new study has found that at least 35 multinational oil and gas companies operate more than 180 oil and gas "blocks" -- areas zoned for exploration and development -- which now cover the Amazon in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and western Brazil.

The western Amazon is also home to many indigenous ethnic groups, including some of the world's last uncontacted peoples living in voluntary isolation. Underlying this landscape of extraordinary biological and cultural diversity, which environmental scientists refer to as the lungs of the planet, are large reserves of oil and gas. Growing global demand is stimulating unprecedented levels of new oil and gas exploration and extraction -- and the threat of environmental and cultural devastation.

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