Tag Archives | US government

Washington’s National Security State: A Practical Failure, a Faith-Based Success Story

514zcaXr01L[Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from Tom Engelhardt’s new book, “Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.” It is available on Amazon

Engelhardt runs the website TomDispatch. You can follow TomDispatch.com on Facebook and Twitter.]

Looked at another way, the NSS [Washington’s national security state] is also a humongous humbug, a gigantic fraud of a belief system that only delivers because its followers never choose to look at the world through Martian eyes.

Let’s start with its gargantuan side. No matter how you cut it, the NSS is a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! of staggering numbers that, once you step outside its thought system, don’t add up. The US national defense budget is estimated to be larger than those of the next thirteen countries combined–that is, simply off-the-charts more expensive. The US Navy has eleven aircraft carrier strike groups when no other country has more than two.… Read the rest

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Federal Regulators Sue Big Banks Over Mortgages

resize_bank_of_america_signWill the Obama administration finally approach national banks with an iron fist? The New York Times reports:

A bruising legal fight pitting the country’s most powerful banks against the full force of the United States government began Friday, as federal regulators filed suits against 17 financial institutions that sold the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac nearly $200 billion in mortgage-backed securities that later soured.

The suits are the latest legal salvo fired at the banks accusing them of misdeeds during the housing boom. Investors fled financial shares Friday amid growing concern that the litigation could last for years and undermine earnings and balance sheets in the process.

The complaints were filed just as the stock market closed Friday afternoon, but with word leaking out of the impending legal action during the trading session, shares of Bank of America fell more than 8.3 percent, while JPMorgan Chase dropped 4.6 percent and Goldman fell 4.5 percent.

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U.S. Reviews Syphilis Experiment In Guatemala: Researchers Knew It Was Unethical

Tuskeegee_studyAll too often groups of people are unknowingly infected with disease as a means of isolated experimentation. Earlier this week the Commision for the Study of Bioethical Issues reviewed the 1940s incident  where the U.S. government infected Guatemalan prisoners and patients with syphilis. Via Reuters:

U.S. government researchers must have known they were violating ethical standards by deliberately infecting Guatemalan prison inmates and mental patients with syphilis for an experiment in the 1940s, according to a U.S. presidential commission.

The U.S.-funded research in Guatemala did not treat participants as human beings, failing to even inform them they were taking part in research, as was the case for a similar study in the United States, the commission said on Monday.

The United States apologized last year for the experiment, which was meant to test the drug penicillin, after it was uncovered decades later by a college professor.

President Barack Obama’s Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues investigated the syphilis experiment and discussed its key findings in Washington on Monday.

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