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Americans seeing a glimmer of reality? Trust in MSM returns to low of 40%

After registering slightly higher trust last year, Americans' confidence in the media's ability to report "the news fully, accurately, and fairly" has returned to its previous all-time low of 40%. Americans' trust in mass media has generally been edging downward from higher levels in the late 1990s and the early 2000s.

Prior to 2004, Americans placed more trust in mass media than they do now, with slim majorities saying they had a "great deal" or "fair amount" of trust. But over the course of former President George W. Bush's re-election season, the level of trust fell significantly, from 54% in 2003 to 44% in 2004. Although trust levels rebounded to 50% in 2005, they have failed to reach a full majority since.

Americans' trust in the media in recent years has dropped slightly in election years, including 2008, 2010, 2012, and again this year -- only to edge its way back up again in the following odd-numbered years. Although the differences between the drops and the recoveries are not large, they suggest that something about national elections triggers skepticism about the accuracy of the news media's reporting.

Comment: It is slightly encouraging that some people are open and inquisitive enough to question the mouthpieces of their 'masters'. It would be heartening if more people were that courageous as certainly most people realize that things are fairly horrific on the BBM, yet a still sizable majority keep believing the tired excuses the psychopaths keep spewing. What a difference it could make if enough people were informed with the truth.

Lament for Babylon

Dollar Gold

People Power: Occupy abolishes $4 million in other people's student loan debt

© Unknown
Occupy helps alleviate student debt
Marking the third anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the group's Strike Debt initiative announced Wednesday it has abolished $3.8 million worth of private student loan debt since January. It said it has been buying the debts for pennies on the dollar from debt collectors, and then simply forgiving that money rather than trying to collect it.

In total, the group spent a little more than $100,000 to purchase the $3.8 million in debt.

While the group is unable to purchase the majority of the country's $1.2 trillion in outstanding student loan debt because it is backed by the federal government,private student debt is fair game.

This debt Occupy bought belonged to 2,700 people who had taken out private student loans to attend Everest College, which is run byCorinthian Colleges. Occupy zeroed in on Everest because Corinthian Colleges is one of the country's largest for-profit education companies and has been in serious legal hot water lately.

Following a number of federal investigations, the college told investors this summer that it plans to sell or close its 107 campuses due to financial problems -- potentially leaving its 74,000 students in a lurch.

Comment: The occupy movement is doing something the government won't, abolish student debt.

Handcuffs

Russian billionaire accused of money laundering is placed under house arrest

Vladimir Yevtushenkov
© RIA Novosti / Ramil Sitdikov
Vladimir Yevtushenkov
The main stockholder in the Russian conglomerate AFK Sistema and the country's 15th richest man according to Forbes, Vladimir Yevtushenkov, has been placed under house arrest on charges of money laundering.

The billionaire is accused of acquiring shares in oil producer Bashneft, in the Russian province of Bashkiria, by "criminal means."

"Investigators have reasonable grounds to believe that Sistema Board Chairman Vladimir Yevtushenkov is involved in the legalization of property acquired by criminal means. Today he was accused of money laundering," the Russian Investigative Committee said in a statement on its website.

The alleged crime carries a possible penalty of seven years in prison and a fine of one million rubles (US$26,000).

Yevtushenkov must stay under house arrest until November 16. His lawyers have three days to appeal against the Moscow Court decision.

The accusations against Yevtushenkov follow months of investigation.

Comment: It seems that Putin is still cleaning house! It is quite unfortunate that the UK and USA don't have leaders with sufficient conscience to do the same:

Handcuffs

Drug-bust: Vatican car belonging to Argentinian Cardinal detained at French border

drugs
© Reuters / Enrique Castro-Mendivil
Using an official Vatican car to transport cocaine and cannabis did not help two Italians to avoid justice. Diplomatic plates failed to protect the two smugglers as they were stopped and arrested in France.

Two Italians, 30 and 41, whose names have not been revealed, are now in a French prison.

There are varying reports on where the arrest was made. Local sources say the incident took place at a French border checkpoint, while AFP reported the two were detained at a toll station near Chambéry, in the French Alps.

When law enforcement searched the Vatican vehicle, they found four kilos of cocaine and 200 grams of cannabis.
Dollar Gold

Number of world billionaires hits record high

billionaires
© Reuters/Alexander Demianchuk
The number of billionaires increased by 155 in 2014 reaching a record high of 2,325
The number of billionaires increased by 155 in 2014 reaching a record high of 2,325, according to the Billion Census report. The research showed that more than half of the new super-rich are self-made, and more than a third don't have a university degree.

There was a 7.1 percent increase in the number of billionaires across the world in 2014 said the report, compiled by the consulting company Wealth-X and the Swiss bank UBS.

Even though 2,325 is a new record, experts suggest the number could reach almost 4,000 by 2020 in the most bullish scenario, while conservatively it could reach 3,600.

The report shows that 55 percent of the wealthiest people are self-made men and the number who inherited wealth has decreased.

Around 35 percent of the world's billionaires don't have university degree, but those who do usually go on to pursue further studies like MBA or Ph.D. So the report suggests education is not a prerequisite for becoming a billionaire.

Comment: While the ranks of the super-rich have been growing, the rest of humanity is struggling and far too many have been plunged into poverty. So much for 'trickle-down' economics. The uber-rich could do much to end the suffering of the poor, but as many of them are elite psychopaths, there is little that will change until Mother Nature decides to level the balance. And the way things are looking, that could be rather soon.

Lament for Babylon

Stop

Ex-prosecutor and wife adopt, then sentenced for physically neglecting and abusing the children

© Unknown
Emotional neglect is the norm in modern, narcissistic society. Childhood abuse is widespread as well.
An ex-prosecutor and his wife have been sentenced for endangering the welfare of two adopted Ethiopian children after county welfare officials found the boy had been underfed and the girl physically abused.

Douglas Barbour, 35, who resigned from the state attorney general's office last year, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor counts in June and was sentenced to five years' probation on Monday. Kristen Barbour, a 32-year-old stay-at-home mother who was the children's primary caretaker, was sentenced to six to 12 months in alternative housing followed by four years' probation.

The Franklin Park couple was charged in October 2012, when the boy was 6 and found to be malnourished, and the girl was 18 months old and had multiple head fractures in various stages of healing.

Comment: For information on child abuse and how it affects the child's future health, check out: And at the highest levels of government child abuse is a primary form of psychopathic "entertainment" and blackmail:

Handcuffs

Rolling Jubilee Debt Buy #4 on September 17th

student debt
© Matson
Strike Debt's Rolling Jubilee project has abolished almost $4 million in private student debt for a little over $100,000

These debts were held by students who attended Everest College, a predatory for-profit institution in the Corinthian Colleges network. You can read a sample letter received by debtors here. Details about the purchase are available here. We bought debt from this school in order to focus public attention on the grim consequences of allowing higher education to be used as a vehicle for private profit. The students at this college were conned. The schools are now being closed or sold off to other predatory companies, leaving students with no good options. The Department of Education is not doing its job to protect the students.

In the short term, we intend to help Corinthian College students pursue a complete cancellation of all their debts. But our long term goal is to end student debt, along with other forms of predatory lending. Access to vital common goods, like education and healthcare, must be available for free, as they are in almost every other wealthy country. To achieve this goal, debtors need to be able to organize together and use their debts as leverage.

In recent months, we have joined Everest students in their fight against Corinthian and the Department of Education. We've also launched the Debt Collective, a platform for debtors around the country to find each other and fight back. Learn more at debtcollective.org.

The debt purchased by the Rolling Jubilee - almost $4 million worth - belongs to the most extorted students we know of. They were enrolled in Everest College, a predatory for-profit institution that is part of the Corinthian College network (CCI). Now in its death throes, Corinthian is trying to sell off its campuses, along with its own high-interest student loans, so that the swindling can continue under new management. We chose Everest because it is the most blatant con job on the higher ed landscape. But the problems go far beyond the sleazy for-profit sector. It's time for all student debtors to get relief from their crushing burden. That's why this Rolling Jubilee debt buy (one of the last we will make as we get close to spending all of our funds) is also the beginning of the Debt Collective, a long-term organizing project.

Comment: What better way to divert the potential of bright and eager youth than saddling them with a stressful situation that will go on for decades. Every progressive country recognizes that education is a human right, except the "leader of the free world".

Pistol

Gun shop in Texas stirs controversy with 'Obama family beheading'

© Image from facebook.com/pages/Tactical-Firearms
A Texas gun shop known for its controversial signs has managed to raise eyebrows once again by criticizing President Barack Obama and bringing up the gruesome issue of beheadings to do it.

Outside of the Katy, Texas-based Tactical Firearms, the company currently has a sign asking, "Does one of Obama's family members have to be beheaded for 'change' to happen?"

The sign, of course, is up in the midst of American grieving and anger over the beheadings of two American journalists at the hands of Islamic State extremists. Over the weekend, the group also claimed to execute a British aid worker.

Despite the controversial nature of the sign, the company's CEO, Jeremy Alcede, defended the content as well as the general decision to put it up.

"I look and see what's going on throughout the week, realize what's an issue, what needs to be fixed, and if I think it's important then that's what I'll voice my opinion," Alcede said to Houston-based KHOU.
Hourglass

Level of social injustice increased in most EU countries due to austerity policies - study

© Reuters/Jon Nazca
A man walks past a beggar in Madrid, June 19, 2014.
The level of social injustice has increased in most EU countries in recent years, and the severe austerity policies haven't done much to stabilize the situation, according to a new report by the German Bertelsmann Stiftung Foundation.

The study, published on Monday, found there is an "enormous discrepancy" in social justice across the 28 EU members.

The best performing overall were Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and the Netherlands and falling below average were Malta, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Ireland, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, Croatia, Latvia, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, and Greece.

The report lauds the effort of post-communist states Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Estonia for ranking above average on the overall index, which is based on 35 separate criteria related to health, employment, education, poverty, and social factors such as discrimination.
© Image from bertelsmann-stiftung.de

Comment: History repeats itself.

Too much austerity led to Nazism, says Austrian banker

People 2

Noam Chomsky: Why Americans are knowledgeable about sports but ignorant of world affairs

Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky
The following is a short excerpt from a classic, The Chomsky Reader, which offers a unique insight on a question worth asking - how is it that we as a people can be so knowledgeable about the intricacies of various sports teams, yet be colossally ignorant about our various undertakings abroad?

QUESTION: You've written about the way that professional ideologists and the mandarins obfuscate reality. And you have spoken - in some places you call it a "Cartesian common sense" - of the commonsense capacities of people. Indeed, you place a significant emphasis on this common sense when you reveal the ideological aspects of arguments, especially in contemporary social science. What do you mean by common sense? What does it mean in a society like ours? For example, you've written that within a highly competitive, fragmented society, it's very difficult for people to become aware of what their interests are. If you are not able to participate in the political system in meaningful ways, if you are reduced to the role of a passive spectator, then what kind of knowledge do you have? How can common sense emerge in this context?

CHOMSKY: Well, let me give an example. When I'm driving, I sometimes turn on the radio and I find very often that what I'm listening to is a discussion of sports. These are telephone conversations. People call in and have long and intricate discussions, and it's plain that quite a high degree of thought and analysis is going into that. People know a tremendous amount. They know all sorts of complicated details and enter into far-reaching discussion about whether the coach made the right decision yesterday and so on. These are ordinary people, not professionals, who are applying their intelligence and analytic skills in these areas and accumulating quite a lot of knowledge and, for all I know, understanding. On the other hand, when I hear people talk about, say, international affairs or domestic problems, it's at a level of superficiality that's beyond belief.

In part, this reaction may be due to my own areas of interest, but I think it's quite accurate, basically. And I think that this concentration on such topics as sports makes a certain degree of sense. The way the system is set up, there is virtually nothing people can do anyway, without a degree of organization that's far beyond anything that exists now, to influence the real world. They might as well live in a fantasy world, and that's in fact what they do. I'm sure they are using their common sense and intellectual skills, but in an area which has no meaning and probably thrives because it has no meaning, as a displacement from the serious problems which one cannot influence and affect because the power happens to lie elsewhere.

Now it seems to me that the same intellectual skill and capacity for understanding and for accumulating evidence and gaining information and thinking through problems could be used - would be used - under different systems of governance which involve popular participation in important decision-making, in areas that really matter to human life.

There are questions that are hard. There are areas where you need specialized knowledge. I'm not suggesting a kind of anti-intellectualism. But the point is that many things can be understood quite well without a very far-reaching, specialized knowledge. And in fact even a specialized knowledge in these areas is not beyond the reach of people who happen to be interested.

...

Comment: see also: Ten mind control techniques used today to create non-thinking automatons

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