Power Corrupts, Weapons Sales,
Orgasm for Peace, Whale Rescue
Revealing News Articles
November 22, 2006
Below are one-paragraph excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails to function, click
here. These news articles include revealing information on how power corrupts, weapons sales, the orgasm for peace movement, an inspiring whale rescue, and more. Key sentences are highlighted for those with limited time. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread
the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
With best wishes,
Fred Burks for PEERS and WantToKnow.info
Former language interpreter for Presidents Bush and Clinton
November 15, 2006, Wall Street Journal
The most important--and unfortunately the least debated--issue in politics today is our society's steady drift toward a class-based system, the likes of which we have not seen since the 19th century. America's top tier has grown infinitely richer and more removed over the past 25 years. Few among them send their children to public schools; fewer still send their loved ones to fight our wars. They own most of our stocks, making the stock market an unreliable indicator of the economic health of working people. The top 1% now takes in an astounding 16% of national income, up from 8% in 1980. The tax codes protect them, just as they protect corporate America, through a vast system of loopholes. Incestuous corporate boards regularly approve compensation packages for chief executives and others that are out of logic's range. As this newspaper has reported, the average CEO of a sizeable corporation makes more than $10 million a year, while the minimum wage for workers amounts to about $10,000 a year, and has not been raised in nearly a decade. When I graduated from college in the 1960s, the average CEO made 20 times what the average worker made. Today, that CEO makes 400 times as much. Trickle-down economics didn't happen. Wages and salaries are at all-time lows as a percentage of the national wealth. This ever-widening divide is too often ignored or downplayed by its beneficiaries. A sense of entitlement has set in among elites, bordering on hubris.
CIA role claim in Kennedy killing
November 21, 2006, BBC News
New video and photographic evidence...puts three senior CIA operatives at the scene of Robert Kennedy's assassination. It reveals that the operatives and four unidentified associates were at the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles in the moments before and after the shooting on 5 June, 1968. The CIA had no domestic jurisdiction and some of the officers were based in South-East Asia at the time, with no reason to be in Los Angeles. Kennedy had just won the California Democratic primary on an anti-War ticket and was set to challenge Nixon for the White House. A 24-year-old Palestinian, Sirhan Sirhan, was arrested as the lone assassin. However, even under hypnosis, he has never been able to remember the shooting and defence psychiatrists concluded he was in a trance at the time. Witnesses placed Sirhan's gun several feet in front of Kennedy but the autopsy showed the fatal shot came from one inch behind. Dr Herbert Spiegel, a world authority on hypnosis at Columbia University, believes Sirhan may have been hypnotically programmed to act as a decoy for the real assassin. Three of these men have been positively identified as senior officers who worked together in 1963 at JMWAVE, the CIA's Miami base. David Morales was Chief of Operations and once told friends: "I was in Dallas when we got the son of a bitch and I was in Los Angeles when we got the little bastard." George Joannides was Chief of Psychological Warfare Operations. Now, we see him at the Ambassador Hotel the night a second Kennedy is assassinated.
Note: There is ample evidence that Sirhan Sirhan was a programmed Manchurian Candidate. Declassified CIA documents show that U.S. intelligence services were creating programmed assassins back as early as the 1950s. For reliable, verifiable information on this key topic, click here.
Power is not only an aphrodisiac, it does weird things to some of us
November 19, 2006, San Francisco Chronicle
Lyndon Johnson relished summoning underlings in to confer with him while he sat on the toilet. Richard Nixon authorized illegal wiretaps on perceived enemies because, as he later told an interviewer, "when the president does it, it's not illegal." Bill Clinton wantonly had sex with intern Monica Lewinsky. Why is it said that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely? In the past few years...research has zeroed in on what an intoxicating elixir power can be. And one thing has become clear: The phrase "drunk with power" is often a dead-on description. These new studies show that power acts to lower inhibitions, much the same as alcohol does. It explains why powerful people act with great daring and sometimes behave rather like gorillas. "Disinhibition is the very root of power," said Stanford Professor Deborah Gruenfeld, a social psychologist who focuses on the study of power. "For most people, what we think of as 'power plays' aren't calculated and Machiavellian -- they happen at the subconscious level. When people feel powerful, they stop trying to 'control themselves.'" People with power...tend to be more oblivious to what others think, more likely to pursue the satisfaction of their own appetites, poorer judges of other people's reactions, more likely to hold stereotypes, overly optimistic and more likely to take risks. People who are naturally selfish grow even more selfish if they attain power, while people who are naturally selfless and giving become more so with power. Henry Kissinger discerned that power is "the ultimate aphrodisiac." "Nearly all men can stand adversity," said Abraham Lincoln, "but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."
Note: This most excellent article graphically describes the problems that can occur when a hierarchical political systems places certain individuals in positions of great authority. For more on this fascinating topic, click here.
Calif. Couple Calls for Orgasm for Peace
November 19, 2006, Washington Post/Associated Press
Two peace activists have planned a massive anti-war demonstration for the first day of winter. But they don't want you marching in the streets. The Global Orgasm for Peace was conceived by Donna Sheehan, 76, and Paul Reffell, 55, whose immodest goal is for everyone in the world to have an orgasm Dec. 22 while focusing on world peace. "The orgasm gives out an incredible feeling of peace during it and after it," Reffell said Sunday. "Your mind is like a blank. It's like a meditative state. And mass meditations have been shown to make a change." The couple have studied evolutionary psychology and believe that war is mainly an outgrowth of men trying to impress potential mates, a case of "my missile is bigger than your missile," as Reffell put it. By promoting what they hope to be a synchronized global orgasm, they hope to get people to channel their sexual energy into something more positive. The couple said interest appears strong, with 26,000 hits a day to their Web site, http://www.globalorgasm.org. "The dream is to have everyone in the world (take part)," Reffell said. "And if that means laying down your gun for a few minutes, then hey, all the better."
Anti-war couple conceive new way to generate peace
November 19, 2006, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Living on their houseboat off the Marin County coast, anti-war activists Donna Sheehan and her partner, Paul Reffel, concocted a way for the world to communally create a lot of peaceful vibes. They want everyone to have an orgasm on the same day. On Dec. 22, they're asking the world to contribute in their own way to the Global Orgasm for Peace. Sheehan said not to worry if you don't have a partner. Busy multi-taskers shouldn't despair about trying to cram this global activism into their busy schedules, either, she said. Take any time during the 24-hour period at the beginning of the winter solstice to join the demonstration. Just make sure to think of peace before or after participating. Once you've committed, there's even a secret sign to show others that you plan to take part: Flash the universal "OK" sign and wink. Or, as it has been redubbed, "The O" sign. While the Global O may sound much like other collective actions attempted over the years, the O's organizers promise something more on their Web site: "The combination of high-energy orgasmic energy combined with mindful intention may have a much greater effect than previous mass meditations and prayers."
Cops Taser UCLA Student
November 17, 2006, ABC News
There is [a] painful six-minute video that has suddenly spread all over the world. It shows part of what happened in front of students who had been studying in the UCLA library when an Iranian-American student reportedly did not show any ID to campus police. The excruciating video clip [shows] enraged students screaming at police; police yelling back and using strong force trying to get students under control. "Here's your Patriot Act!" shouts a student, using profanity after screaming out in anguished pain from the electric jolts of a police Taser. "Stand up or you'll get Tasered again!" the police shout back. Appalled fellow students crowd in, some demanding the badge numbers of the police. To watch the video, click here. Police Department Assistant Chief Jeff Young [said] "He had refused to identify himself; he had refused to leave the library, and...he went limp, which is a form of resistance." Some students saw it differently. "Tabatabainejad was also stunned with the Taser when he was already handcuffed," complained third-year student Carlos Zaragoza. Tasers are increasingly controversial — a powerful means of control for police that is apparently sometimes too powerful. While it is often referred to as a "non-lethal" weapon [a study] found that since 1999, 84 people in the United States and Canada have died after being shocked by a Taser. Four of UCLA's nearly 60 full-time police officers recently won "Taser Awards," given by the manufacturers of the electronic shock device.
For lots more reliable information on "non-lethal weapons," click here.
Israel developing anti-militant "bionic hornet"
November 17, 2006, ABC News/Reuters
Israel is using nanotechnology to try to create a robot no bigger than a hornet that would be able to chase, photograph and kill its targets, an Israeli newspaper reported on Friday. The flying robot, nicknamed the "bionic hornet," would be able to navigate its way down narrow alleyways to target otherwise unreachable enemies such as rocket launchers. It is one of several weapons being developed by scientists to combat militants. Others include super gloves that would give the user the strength of a "bionic man" and miniature sensors to detect suicide bombers. Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres [said] "The war in Lebanon proved that we need smaller weaponry. It's illogical to send a plane worth $100 million against a suicidal terrorist. So we are building futuristic weapons." Prototypes for the new weapons are expected within three years, he said.
Gitmo detainees denied witnesses: Lawyer calls legal proceedings ‘shams'
November 16, 2006, MSNBC/Associated Press
The U.S. military called no witnesses, withheld evidence from detainees and usually reached a decision within a day as it determined that hundreds of men detained at Guantanamo Bay were "enemy combatants," according to a new report. The analysis of transcripts and records...found that hearings that determined whether a prisoner should remain in custody gave the accused little opportunity to contest allegations against him. "These were not hearings. These were shams," said Mark Denbeaux, an attorney and Seton Hall University law professor who along with his son, Joshua, is the author of the report. The military held Combatant Status Review Tribunals for 558 detainees...between July 2004 and January 2005 and found all but 38 were enemy combatants. Handcuffed detainees appeared before a panel of three officers with no defense attorney, only a military "personal representative." Representatives said nothing in the hearings 14 percent of the time and made no "substantive" comments in 30 percent. In 74 percent of the cases, the government denied requests to call witnesses who were detained at the prison. The report is based on transcripts...released earlier this year in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit... The Military Commissions Act, which President Bush signed on Oct. 17, strips all non-U.S. citizens held under suspicion of being an enemy combatant of their right to challenge their detention in civilian courts with petitions of habeas corpus.
Counting the Vote, Badly
November 16, 2006, New York Times
Last week's elections provided a lot of disturbing news about the reliability of electronic voting. In a Congressional race...Sarasota County [Florida] reported that more than 18,000 people, or one in eight, did not choose either candidate. That "undervote" of nearly 13 percent is hard to believe, given that only about 2.5 percent of absentee voters did not vote. Ms. Jennings trails Mr. Buchanan by about 400 votes. The serious questions about the Buchanan - Jennings race only add to the high level of mistrust that many people already feel about electronic voting. Congress has resisted all appeals to pass a law that would ensure that electronic voting is honest and accurate across the nation. Partisan secretaries of state continue to skew the rules to favor their parties and political allies. States are adopting harsh standards for voter registration drives to make it harder for people to register. Some states have adopted an indefensible rule that provisional ballots cast at the wrong table of the correct polling place must be thrown out. Congress has failed to address these and other important flaws with the mechanics of the election system. But this...may be about to change. Senator Feinstein is saying that providing fair access to the ballot will be among her committee's top priorities in the coming year. Election reform has tended to be a partisan issue, with Democrats arguing for reform and Republicans resisting it. It shouldn't be. Congressional Democrats should make fixing this country's broken system of elections a top priority, and Republicans should join them.
Physics promises wireless power
November 15, 2006, BBC News
The tangle of cables and plugs needed to recharge today's electronic gadgets could soon be a thing of the past. US researchers have outlined a relatively simple system that could deliver power to devices such as laptop computers or MP3 players without wires. The concept exploits century-old physics and could work over distances of many metres. Although the team has not built and tested a system, computer models and mathematics suggest it will work. "Resonance" [is] a phenomenon that causes an object to vibrate when energy of a certain frequency is applied. "When you have two resonant objects of the same frequency they tend to couple very strongly," Professor Soljacic [explained]. Resonance can be seen in musical instruments. "When you play a tune on one, then another instrument with the same acoustic resonance will pick up that tune, it will visibly vibrate," he said. Instead of using acoustic vibrations, the team's system exploits the resonance of electromagnetic waves. Electromagnetic radiation includes radio waves, infrared and X-rays. The team from MIT is not the first group to suggest wireless energy transfer. Nineteenth-century physicist and engineer Nikola Tesla experimented with long-range wireless energy transfer, but his most ambitious attempt - the 29m [it was actually 187 feet] high aerial known as Wardenclyffe Tower, in New York - failed when he ran out of money. A UK company called Splashpower has also designed wireless recharging pads onto which gadget lovers can directly place their phones and MP3 players to recharge them.
Note: What the article fails to mention is that Tesla's experiments previous to the 1903 Wardenclyffe tower were quite successful, so much so that J.P. Morgan was willing to pour huge amounts into the tower. When he learned, however, that Tesla's intention was to make energy available free to the public, he pulled the plug on the project and many of Tesla's amazing inventions were buried and erased from the history books. For verification, click here and here. For lots more on suppressed energy inventions, click here.
US is top purveyor on weapons sales list
November 13, 2006, Boston Globe
The United States last year provided nearly half of the weapons sold to militaries in the developing world, as major arms sales to the most unstable regions -- many already engaged in conflict -- grew to the highest level in eight years, new US government figures show. The United States supplied $8.1 billion worth of weapons to developing countries in 2005 -- 45.8 percent of the total. The figures underscore how the largely unchecked arms trade to the developing world has become a major staple of the American weapons industry, even though introducing many of the weapons risks fueling conflicts rather than aiding long-term US interests. [The U.S.] also signed an estimated $6.2 billion worth of new deals last year to sell attack helicopters, missiles, and other armaments to developing nations such as the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, India, Israel, Egypt, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. There is growing evidence that the sales are increasingly more about dollars and cents for the US military-industrial complex. A UN panel [recently] voted to study whether a new treaty might be possible to regulate the sale of conventional arms. The United States was the only country out of 166 to vote no. A study last year by the progressive World Policy Institute found that the United States transferred weaponry to 18 of the 25 countries involved in an ongoing war. More than half of the countries buying US arms...were defined as undemocratic by the State Department's annual Human Rights Report, including top recipients Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Uzbekistan.
Pentagon boosts 'media war' unit
October 31, 2006, BBC News
The US defence department has set up a new unit to better promote its message across 24-hour rolling news outlets, and particularly on the internet. The Pentagon said the move would boost its ability to counter "inaccurate" news stories and exploit new media. The newly-established unit would use "new media" channels to push its message and "set the record straight", Pentagon press secretary Eric Ruff said. A Pentagon memo seen by the Associated Press news agency said the new unit would "develop messages" for the 24-hour news cycle and aim to "correct the record". The unit would reportedly monitor media such as weblogs and would also employ "surrogates", or top politicians or lobbyists who could be interviewed on TV and radio shows.
Daring rescue of whale: Humpback nuzzled her saviors in thanks
December 14, 2005, San Francisco Chronicle
A humpback whale freed by divers from a tangle of crab trap lines near the Farallon Islands nudged its rescuers and flapped around in what marine experts said was a rare and remarkable encounter. "It felt to me like it was thanking us, knowing that it was free and that we had helped it," James Moskito, one of the rescue divers, said Tuesday. "It stopped about a foot away from me, pushed me around a little bit and had some fun." Sunday's daring rescue was the first successful attempt on the West Coast to free an entangled humpback. It was a very risky maneuver...because the mere flip of a humpback's massive tail can kill a man. "I was the first diver in the water, and my heart sank when I saw all the lines wrapped around it," said [James] Moskito. "I really didn't think we were going to be able to save it." Moskito said about 20 crab-pot ropes, which are 240 feet long with weights every 60 feet, were wrapped around the animal. Rope was wrapped at least four times around the tail, the back and the left front flipper, and there was a line in the whale's mouth. Moskito and three other divers spent about an hour cutting the ropes with a special curved knife. The whale floated passively in the water the whole time, he said, giving off a strange kind of vibration. "When I was cutting the line going through the mouth, its eye was there winking at me, watching me," Moskito said. "It was an epic moment of my life." When the whale realized it was free, it began swimming around in circles, according to the rescuers. Moskito said it swam to each diver, nuzzled him and then swam to the next one.
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