Corporate Corruption Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Corporate Corruption Media Articles in Major Media
Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
An offshore company that is trusted by the major web browsers and other tech companies to vouch for the legitimacy of websites has connections to contractors for U.S. intelligence agencies and law enforcement, according to security researchers, documents and interviews. Google's Chrome, Apple's Safari, nonprofit Firefox and others allow the company, TrustCor Systems, to act as what's known as a root certificate authority, a powerful spot in the internet's infrastructure that guarantees websites are not fake, guiding users to them seamlessly. The company's Panamanian registration records show that it has the identical slate of officers, agents and partners as a spyware maker identified this year as an affiliate of Arizona-based Packet Forensics, which ... has sold communication interception services to U.S. government agencies for more than a decade. TrustCor's products include an email service that claims to be end-to-end encrypted, though experts consulted by The Washington Post said they found evidence to undermine that claim. A test version of the email service also included spyware developed by a Panamanian company related to Packet Forensics. A person familiar with Packet Forensics' work confirmed that it had used TrustCor's certificate process and its email service, MsgSafe, to intercept communications and help the U.S. government catch suspected terrorists. The physical address in Toronto given in [TrustCor's] auditor's report, 371 Front St. West, houses a UPS Store mail drop.
BBC reporter Marianna Spring ... created five fake Americans and opened social media accounts for them, part of an attempt to illustrate how disinformation spreads on sites like Facebook, Twitter and TikTok despite efforts to stop it, and how that impacts American politics. Spring worked with the Pew Research Center in the U.S. to set up five archetypes. Besides the very conservative Larry and very liberal Emma, there's Britney, a more populist conservative from Texas; Gabriela, a largely apolitical independent from Miami; and Michael, a Black teacher from Milwaukee who's a moderate Democrat. Emma is a lesbian who follows LGBTQ groups, is an atheist, takes an active interest in women's issues and abortion rights, supports the legalization of marijuana and follows The New York Times and NPR. These "traits" are the bait, essentially, to see how the social media companies' algorithms kick in and what material is sent their way. That's ... left Spring and the BBC vulnerable to charges that the project is ethically suspect in using false information to uncover false information. "By creating these false identities, she violates what I believe is a fairly clear ethical standard in journalism," said Bob Steele, retired ethics expert. "We should not pretend that we are someone other than ourselves, with very few exceptions." For a story last year, the Wall Street Journal created more than 100 automated accounts to see how TikTok steered users in different directions.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media manipulation from reliable sources.
Earlier this year, Kik Messenger user "heyyyydude1" was selling a stash of videos he'd amassed of child sexual abuse. One customer, who said he was a 35-year-old father of two, offered to buy 200 videos for $45. "How do I pay?" he asked. "Cash App," heyyyydude1 responded, sending over his payment details and a code for a Cash App referral fee. With each transaction, and many more disturbing videos sent, the seller was unknowingly providing a pile of evidence to an undercover agent with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement's child exploitation unit. Current and former police, as well as nonprofits working directly with cops to fight child exploitation, say that such crimes are often happening via Cash App, which brings in billions in gross profit every year for Block, Inc., the Jack Dorsey-run payments giant formerly known as Square. They say that whether it's to pay for sex with a minor, to send children funds in return for nude images or to traffic a young adult victim, Cash App is often the payment tool of choice. Though it recently launched a Cash App for Teens feature, the company is conspicuously absent from collaborative efforts to fight abuse, failing to provide any tips to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), America's national clearing house for sexual abuse material found on tech platforms. Hundreds of pages of court filings describe cases where law enforcement said Cash App was used to either pay for sexualized images or sex with minors and adults.
Since Buzzfeed reported in June that employees of TikTok's Chinese parent company ByteDance had access to US consumer data, TikTok has been the focus of rare bipartisan calls for regulation and inquiry. Those inquiries became more pressing when in July, the FBI director, Christopher Wray, called Chinese espionage the "greatest long-term threat to our nation's ... economic vitality". TikTok is a relatively new player in the arena of massive global social media platforms but it's already caught the eye of regulators in Europe. New laws around child safety and general internet safety in the UK and the EU have forced the company to become more transparent about the way it operates and the way content spreads on its platform. In the US, moves to rein in the video platform have gained momentum only relatively recently, although there's little debate that the round of regulatory pressure is warranted. With 1 billion users, the platform, which uses an algorithmic feed to push users short-form videos, has had its fair share of run-ins with misinformation, data privacy and concerns about child safety. Experts the Guardian spoke with did not question the cybersecurity threat China posed. However, some said they worried regulators' hyper-focus on TikTok's China connection could distract from other pressing concerns, including TikTok's algorithm and how much user data the company collects, stores and shares. There are currently no federal regulations that protect such information.
Gargantuan profits continue to roll in at Europe's energy giants. London-based Shell reported adjusted earnings of $9.45 billion for the third quarter, its second-highest profit on record. On the same day, Paris-based TotalEnergies reported a profit of $9.9 billion. For both companies, the profits were more than double what they earned in the same period a year ago. Shell and Total, like other energy companies this year, are benefiting from high oil and natural gas prices partly stoked by the war in Ukraine, as Russia squeezes gas flows to Europe. For Shell, the profit was a step down from the record-breaking $11.5 billion it reported for the second quarter, when it received an average of just over $100 a barrel for oil, compared with $93 in the third quarter. Natural gas prices, however, increased in the third quarter. Shell is returning a large chunk of this bounty to shareholders. The company said that it planned to increase its dividend to shareholders for the fourth quarter by 15 percent, to about 29 cents a share. In what may provoke a political storm in Britain, Shell said it had not yet been obliged to pay the "windfall" tax on oil and gas profits enacted earlier this year by the British government. The tax allows companies to deduct capital expenditures.
Note: Once again mega-corporations rake in the cash and stick it to the consumers. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
Pfizer's plan to as much as quadruple U.S. prices for its COVID-19 vaccine next year is beyond Wall Street's expectations and will spur its revenue for years despite weaker than anticipated demand for the new booster shot so far, analysts said. The drugmaker, which developed and sells the vaccine with Germany's BioNTech, said on Thursday evening that it is targeting a range of $110 to $130 a dose for the vaccine once the United States moves to a commercial market next year. Analysts said the move could lead to price hikes by rivals. The companies have varied the pricing during the pandemic, with wealthy countries paying the most for the shots and the poorest countries the least. Wells Fargo analyst Mohit Bansal said the new pricing range for the vaccine could add around $2.5 billion to $3 billion in annual revenue for Pfizer. "This is much higher than our assumption of $50 per shot," Bansal wrote in a research note. Global vaccine access group the People's Vaccine Alliance, which has pushed for Pfizer to allow cheaper copies of the vaccine to be made, called the proposed price hike "daylight robbery." The price range announced by Pfizer represented a more than 10,000% markup over what experts have estimated it costs the vaccine makers to produce the shots.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
Chemical companies are dodging a federal law designed to track how many PFAS "forever chemicals" their plants are discharging into the environment by exploiting a loophole created in the Trump administration's final months, a new analysis of federal records has found. The Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act put in place requirements that companies discharging over 100lb annually of the dangerous chemicals report the releases to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). But during the implementation process, Trump's EPA created an unusual loophole that at least five chemical companies have exploited. PFAS ... accumulate in humans and the environment. A growing body of evidence links them to serious health problems like cancer, birth defects, liver disease and autoimmune disorders. The Trump EPA gave PFAS an unusual exemption under the law that allows companies not to report discharges if the amounts are ... less than 1% of a total mixture. Companies discharging thousands of pounds of PFAS could have gotten their releases under the 1% threshold via several routes. Companies may have added water to PFAS to dilute it to the point that it is below 1%. However, the total amount of PFAS released is still high, and may present a threat once in the environment. Companies may also be using complex mixtures with multiple PFAS. If the companies keep any one PFAS compound below the 1% threshold, then they won't have to report it.
Note: Read more about the risks and dangers of these 'forever chemicals.' For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
By next year, half of Medicare beneficiaries will have a private Medicare Advantage plan. Most large insurers in the program have been accused in court of fraud. The health system Kaiser Permanente called doctors in during lunch and after work and urged them to add additional illnesses to the medical records of patients they hadn't seen in weeks. Doctors who found enough new diagnoses could earn bottles of Champagne, or a bonus in their paycheck. Anthem, a large insurer now called Elevance Health, paid more to doctors who said their patients were sicker. And executives at UnitedHealth Group, the country's largest insurer, told their workers to mine old medical records for more illnesses. Each of the strategies – which were described by the Justice Department in lawsuits against the companies – led to diagnoses of serious diseases that might have never existed. But the diagnoses had a lucrative side effect: They let the insurers collect more money from the federal government's Medicare Advantage program. A New York Times review of dozens of fraud lawsuits, inspector general audits and investigations by watchdogs shows how major health insurers exploited the program to inflate their profits by billions of dollars. Eight of the 10 biggest Medicare Advantage insurers – representing more than two-thirds of the market – have submitted inflated bills, according to the federal audits. And four of the five largest players – UnitedHealth, Humana, Elevance and Kaiser – have faced federal lawsuits alleging ... fraud.
The main U.S.-based scientific organization at the center of the controversy over the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic has won a new grant from the National Institutes of Health for risky bat coronavirus surveillance research, despite losing a previous award for failing to provide records essential to an investigation into that origin. The grant was awarded September 21 to EcoHealth Alliance, helmed by Peter Daszak, and is titled "Analyzing the potential for future bat coronavirus emergence in Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam." The new grant comes despite an open congressional investigation into the organization, which has two other ongoing NIH grants and a third in negotiation. The aim of the new research is to identify areas of potential concern for future pandemic emergence in order to help public health authorities suppress an outbreak before it breaks containment. But the process of performing the research introduces the risk of sparking an outbreak that would not otherwise have occurred, a concern highlighted by The Intercept last year: "Virtually every part of the work of outbreak prediction can result in an accidental infection. Even with the best of intentions, scientists can serve as vectors for the viruses they hunt – and as a result, their work may put everyone else's lives on the line along with their own." "It is disturbing that additional funding continues to be awarded for the same high-risk research that may have caused the current pandemic," said [molecular biologist] Richard Ebright.
Note: Watch an excellent interview in which a former EcoHealth Alliance VP turned whistleblower reveals blatant law-breaking and lies committed by Peter Daszak and EcoHealth Alliance. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
In a cheerfully animated promotional video, a woman narrates Cubic Transportation Systems' vision for the future. Travelers will pay fares using a ticket-free mobile account. Real-time data will be aggregated, linked, and shared. "The more information that is gathered, the more powerful the system becomes," the narrator tells us. "The piece of the puzzle missing ... is you." Over the past decade, Cubic has taken the first steps toward actualizing its vision by snapping up contracts for the development of mobile-based, contactless fare collection systems in eight of America's 10 largest public transit networks. Transit authorities have embraced tap-to-pay technology for its convenience and speed, but privacy advocates are worried that the new fare collection systems pose serious surveillance and security risks. In addition to its transit operation, Cubic is a vast military contractor doing hundreds of millions of dollars in business with the U.S. military and sales to foreign militaries. The company supplies surveillance technologies, training simulators, satellite communications equipment, computing and networking platforms, and other military hardware and software. As Cubic's quiet grip on fare collection takes hold in more cities, the company's ability to process rider data grows with it, creating a sprawling corporate apparatus that has the extraordinary potential to gather up reams of information on the very people it is supposed to serve.
In 2018, senior executives at one of the country's largest nonprofit hospital chains, Providence, were frustrated. They were spending hundreds of millions of dollars providing free health care to patients. It was eating into their bottom line. The executives, led by Providence's chief financial officer at the time, devised a solution: a program called Rev-Up. Rev-Up provided Providence's employees with a detailed playbook for wringing money out of patients – even those who were supposed to receive free care because of their low incomes, a New York Times investigation found. If patients did not pay, Providence sent debt collectors to pursue them. More than half the nation's roughly 5,000 hospitals are nonprofits like Providence. They enjoy lucrative tax exemptions; Providence avoids more than $1 billion a year in taxes. In exchange, the Internal Revenue Service requires them to provide services, such as free care for the poor, that benefit the communities in which they operate. But in recent decades, many of the hospitals have become virtually indistinguishable from for-profit companies, adopting an unrelenting focus on the bottom line and straying from their traditional charitable missions. And, as Providence illustrates, some hospital systems have not only reduced their emphasis on providing free care to the poor but also developed elaborate systems to convert needy patients into sources of revenue. The result ... is that thousands of poor patients were saddled with debts that they never should have owed.
The push for a "green revolution" in Africa ... has spent $1 billion to date, much of it from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As an annual African farming summit takes place this week in Rwanda, activists, farmers and faith leaders from Seattle to Nairobi are calling on the Gates Foundation and other funders to stop supporting an effort they say has failed to deliver on promises to radically reduce hunger and increase farmer productivity. Critics say the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, founded in 2006 with money from the Gates and Rockefeller foundations, has promoted an industrial model of agriculture that poisons soils with chemicals and encourages farmers to go into debt by buying expensive seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. As a result of that debt, some farmers have had to sell their land or household goods like stoves and TVs, said Celestine Otieno and Anne Maina, both active with organizations in Kenya advocating for ecologically friendly practices. "I think it's the second phase of colonization," Otieno said. A donor-funded evaluation last December ... found "AGRA did not meet its headline goal of increased incomes and food security." Peter Little, director of the global development program at Emory University, puts it another way: "I don't think it's come close to what it promised to do." The criticism ... has clearly stung. This week, AGRA is launching a rebranding that drops the term "green revolution" from the organization's name, to be known from now on by its acronym only.
Note: Read a sobering open letter to Bill Gates written by 50 food sovereignty organizations that reveals how the "Green Revolution" and genetic engineering technologies have done the opposite of reducing hunger and increasing food access. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption from reliable major media sources.
The most important economic and political issues facing this country are the extraordinary levels of income and wealth inequality, the rapidly growing concentration of ownership, the long-term decline of the American middle class and the evolution of this country into oligarchy. We know how important these issues are because our ruling class works overtime to prevent them from being seriously discussed. We now have more income and wealth inequality than at any time in the last hundred years. Wages ... are lower today than they were almost 50 years ago. When I was a kid growing up, most families were able to be supported by one breadwinner. Now an overwhelming majority of households need two paychecks to survive. Since 1975, there has been a massive redistribution of wealth in America that has gone in exactly the wrong direction. Over the past 47 years, according to the Rand Corporation, $50tn in wealth has been redistributed from the bottom 90% of American society to the top 1%, primarily because a growing percentage of corporate profits has been flowing into the stock portfolios of the wealthy and the powerful. During this terrible pandemic ... some 700 billionaires in America became nearly $2tn richer. Just three Wall Street firms (Blackrock, Vanguard and State Street) control assets of over $20tn and are the major stockholders in 96% of S&P 500 companies. In terms of media, some eight multinational media conglomerates control what we see, hear and read.
Note: The above was written by Sen. Bernie Sanders. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality from reliable major media sources.
The biggest thing the federal government now does with businesses is subsidize them. The Clean Air Act of 1970 authorized the government to regulate air pollution. The Inflation Reduction Act, which Joe Biden signed into law ... allocates more than $300bn to energy and climate reform, including $30bn in subsidies for manufacturers of solar panels and wind turbines. Notice the difference? This shift from regulation to subsidy has characterized every recent administration. Today it's politically difficult, if not impossible, for government to demand that corporations (and their shareholders) bear the costs of public goods. Spending by corporations on lobbying increased from $1.44bn in 1999 to $3.77bn in 2021 and is on track to exceed $4bn this year. This tidal wave of corporate money has occurred at the same time large American corporations have globalized ... demanding government subsidies in return for creating jobs and doing their cutting-edge research in America. The question [is] whether the government should subsidize certain industries that generate large social benefits in the form of new technologies. I argued that the government was already engaged in a hidden industrial policy, disguised, for example, as grants to the aerospace and telecom industries by the Department of Defense and to the pharmaceutical industry by the National Institutes of Health. It would be far better to do industrial policy in the open, so that the public could assess what it was paying for and what it was getting in return.
Note: This article was written by former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. For more revealing information on the government sponsoring corporate, financial interests without public input, see concise summaries of news articles on corporate corruption, and corruption in government and the financial industry.
The web browser used within the TikTok app can track every keystroke made by its users, according to new research that is surfacing as the Chinese-owned video app grapples with U.S. lawmakers' concerns over its data practices. The research from Felix Krause, a privacy researcher and former Google engineer, did not show how TikTok used the capability, which is embedded within the in-app browser that pops up when someone clicks an outside link. But Mr. Krause said the development was concerning because it showed TikTok had built in functionality to track users' online habits if it chose to do so. Collecting information on what people type on their phones while visiting outside websites, which can reveal credit card numbers and passwords, is often a feature of malware and other hacking tools. Apps sometimes use in-app browsers to prevent people from visiting malicious sites or to make online browsing easier with the auto-filling of text. But while Facebook and Instagram can use in-app browsers to track data like what sites a person visited ... TikTok goes further by using code that can track each character entered by users. As with many apps, TikTok offers few chances for people to click away from its service. Instead of redirecting to mobile web browsers like Safari or Chrome, an in-app browser appears when users click on ads or links embedded within the profiles of other users. These are often the moments people enter key information like credit card details or passwords.
For decades, mallgoers, slightly confused teenage girls and horny teenage boys have wondered what secret this mysterious Victoria is hiding. The new three-part Hulu docuseries "Victoria's Secret: Angels and Demons" explores these secrets and, well, they are less "she only wears thongs (wink)" and more "wait, was this brand just a lot of pink thongs covering up the very real exploitation of underage girls?" The business was sold to Les Wexner [in 1982]. With Victoria's Secret in about 100 stores across America, Les Wexner hired Jeffrey Epstein as an investment advisor. Then Wexner quite suddenly gave him power of attorney in 1991, the most expensive home in New York City in the mid-'90s and sold Epstein his private jet well below market value. That private jet became known in the press as the Lolita Express, aka the jet where Epstein is accused of taking underage girls to be abused and exploited. Epstein allegedly began describing himself to women he'd meet as a recruiter for Victoria's Secret models in 1993. Wexner claims he cut all ties with Epstein after his first arrest, and he would go on to publicly condemn Epstein after his death in 2019, but the documentary alleges that L Brands directly paid for Epstein's legal defense, which was never publicly reported. There [was] a reported instance where Epstein, while staying in the guest house on Wexner's property, held a woman hostage for 12 hours after he and Ghislaine Maxwell allegedly assaulted her, leading her to call the police for help.
Note: Watch an eye-opening video on the top 10 shocking reveals of this documentary. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Jeffrey Epstein's child sex ring from reliable major media sources.
Big Pharma spent more than any other industry to lobby Congress and federal agencies this year, a Reuters analysis shows, but is still on course for a major defeat by failing to stop a bill that allows the government to negotiate prices on select drugs. The $430 billion Inflation Reduction Act to change climate, health, and tax policies cleared its largest hurdle last week when Democratic lawmakers passed it in the Senate. The U.S. House of Representatives is also expected to pass it on Friday, allowing President Joe Biden to sign it into law. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll in October found that 83% of Americans, including 95% of Democrats and 71% of Republicans, want the federal Medicare health plan for seniors to negotiate prices. The industry's powerful trade association, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), urged senators in a public letter to reject the bill. A Reuters analysis ... shows that the pharmaceutical industry has spent at least $142.6 million on lobbying Congress and federal agencies in the first half of 2022, more than any industry, and at least $16.1 million on campaign contributions during the current mid-term election cycle. Almost two thirds of the money spent on lobbying ... came from PhRMA and its member companies. The bill's provision for drug price negotiations was scaled back in November, allowing Medicare to focus on an annual maximum of 20 of the costliest medicines by 2029, instead of an initial proposal to help reduce prices for 250 treatments.
It's estimated that more than 107,000 people in the United States died due to opioid overdoses in 2021. Washington Post journalist Scott Higham notes it's "the equivalent of a 737 Boeing crashing and burning and killing everybody on board every single day." In the new book, American Cartel, Higham and co-author Sari Horwitz make the case that the pharmaceutical industry operated like a drug cartel, with manufacturers at the top; wholesalers in the middle; and pharmacies at the level of "street dealers." The companies collaborated with each other – and with lawyers and lobbyists – to create legislation that protected their industry, even as they competed for market share. "It really is the companies that run the show," Higham says. "People were dying by the thousands while these companies were lobbying members of Congress ... to pass legislation and to lobby members of the Department of Justice and try to slow down the DEA enforcement efforts." Big pharma fought to create legislation that would limit the DEA's ability to go after drug wholesalers. The efforts were effective; more than 100 billion pills were manufactured, distributed and dispensed between 2006 and 2014. Meanwhile, both federal and state DEA agents are frustrated by the ways in which their enforcement efforts have been curtailed. Right now there are 40,000 Americans who are in jail on marijuana charges. And not one executive of a Fortune 500 company involved in the opioid trade has been charged with a crime.
Global capitalism is an incredible machine for extracting fossil fuels from our planet, refining them, shipping them to every corner of the Earth and making staggering amounts of money doing so. Unfortunately the machine is also poisoning us all. But one of its exquisitely evolved functions is to make it almost impossible to turn it off. Oil and gas profits in the most recent quarter were astounding. Exxon Mobil made $18bn in profits in the past three months. Shell and Chevron each made nearly $12bn. Those are all record numbers. A recent study showed that for the past 50 years, the oil industry has made profits of more than $1tn a year, close to $3bn a day. These profits are driven [by] cartels, mega-corporations and the regulatory capture of governments, conspiring to create a market free of both competition and of a price that reflects the actual cost to the world of the product that is being sold. These profits are illusory. They are plagued by an externality large enough to outweigh a trillion dollars a year – the costs that the climate crisis will impose on billions of people who are alive now and many generations to come. The fossil fuel industry as a whole is not just another business, providing a service to meet a demand; it is a predatory drug dealer that works every day to keep the world addicted to its poisonous product, knowing full well that it will eventually prove fatal. It fights to keep the population fooled. It is a problem to be solved.
The US's biggest oil companies pumped out record profits over the last few months as Americans struggled to pay for gasoline, food and other basic necessities. On Friday, ExxonMobil reported an unprecedented $17.85bn (Ł14.77bn) profit for the second quarter, nearly four times as much as the same period a year ago, and Chevron made a record $11.62bn (Ł9.61bn). The sky-high profits were announced one day after the UK's Shell shattered its own profit record. The record profits came after similarly outsized gains in the first quarter when the largest oil companies made close to $100bn in profits. High energy prices are one of the leading factors driving inflation to a four-decade high in the US. Gas prices have fallen slightly in recent weeks but are now averaging $4.25 a gallon across the US, more than $1 a gallon higher than a year ago. Soaring energy prices are being baked into delivery costs, which is driving up the cost of everything from apples to toilet paper. In addition to oil company executives, shareholders also reaped the benefits of high energy prices during the quarter. Since the start of 2022, Exxon and Chevron shares have risen close to 46% and 26%, respectively.
Note: A telling analysis shows a 235% profit jump for big oil funded by us at the gas pumps. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and the energy industry from reliable major media sources.
Important Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.