Excerpts of Key News Stories in Major Media
Below are many highly revealing excerpts of key news stories from the major media that suggest major cover-ups.
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Programmed to act
2013-09-06, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2013-09-16 16:38:09
Over decades and diverse administrations, justifications for the use of force - limited and full scale - have constantly revolved around weapons of mass destruction. Protection against them, real and imaginary, has served [as] justification for government excess and a curtailment of our freedoms. We stop everything because it is WMD and we fret about the consequences of both action and inaction because it is WMD. We do so because of a little known and little understood entity that truly drives American national security practices: It's called the Program. Founded in the darkest days of nuclear threat during the Eisenhower administration, the Program began as a limited system given responsibility for survival of the government. The nuclear arms race ended, but the Program never completely went away. And since 9/11, like everything else about national security, its mission and focus have expanded. The Program exists through a system of sealed envelopes - four dozen formal Presidential Emergency Action Documents more secret than anything that has been revealed about the National Security Agency of late, arrangements that instruct a surviving entity of what to do if a nation-destroying calamity befalls Washington or the United States. Because Doomsday is now thought by the experts in government to be any day, and because the potential battlefield is anyplace and every place, the work of the Program, and its power, have dramatically expanded. A survival apparatus operates behind the scenes as if survival is perpetually and instantly at stake.
Note: The author of this analysis, William M. Arkin, has written American Coup: How a Terrified Government is Destroying the Constitution, and is co-author of the best-selling book and newspaper series Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State.
5 years after crash, wealthy are better off
2013-09-11, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2013-09-16 16:36:02
This week marks the fifth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Bros., heralding the Great Recession. The better off are better off than ever. Most of the rest are right where they started, or worse. For example, earnings of the top 1 percent (those families making more than $394,000 a year) commanded 95 percent of the income gains generated between 2009 and 2012. Their earnings grew by 31 percent in the period, compared with 0.4 percent for the less fortunate. That's according to a study published last week by UC Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez, whose finding in 2011 that income inequality in the United States is the widest since 1928 was highly publicized. In fact, according to the latest study by Saez, whose numbers are drawn from IRS data, America's top 10 percent (those households earning above $114,000) account for more than half of the nation's total income, the highest percentage since 1917. Despite improvements in the economy, "it seems unlikely that U.S. income concentration will fall much in the coming years," Saez concludes. Or it could intensify. Factoring in inflation, median household income ($52,000) has actually fallen by 4.4 percent since June 2009, according to Sentier Research, a Maryland consultancy, in a report last week based on government statistics. Then there's the Federal Reserve, which reported that American families have recovered just 45 percent of the $16 trillion in wealth that went down the tubes in the recession. And most of the recovery has gone to the wealthy, whose income bounced back largely thanks to the recovery of the stock market, according to an analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in May.
Note: To read the UC Berkeley report on extreme income disparities, click here. For more on income inequality, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The Rich Get Richer Through the Recovery
2013-09-10, New York Times
Posted: 2013-09-16 16:34:10
The top 10 percent of earners took more than half of the country’s total income in 2012, the highest level recorded since the government began collecting the relevant data a century ago, according to an updated study by the prominent economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty. The top 1 percent took more than one-fifth of the income earned by Americans, one of the highest levels on record since 1913. The figures underscore that even after the recession the country remains in a new Gilded Age, with income as concentrated as it was in the years that preceded the Depression of the 1930s, if not more so. High stock prices, rising home values and surging corporate profits have buoyed [the] incomes of the most affluent Americans, with the incomes of the rest still weighed down by high unemployment and stagnant wages for many blue- and white-collar workers. “These results suggest the Great Recession has only depressed top income shares temporarily and will not undo any of the dramatic increase in top income shares that has taken place since the 1970s,” Mr. Saez, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote. The income share of the top 1 percent of earners in 2012 [jumped] to about 22.5 percent in 2012 from 19.7 percent in 2011. The economy remains depressed for most wage-earning families. With sustained, relatively high rates of unemployment, businesses are under no pressure to raise their employees’ incomes because both workers and employers know that many people without jobs would be willing to work for less. The share of Americans working or looking for work is at its lowest in 35 years.
Note: To read the UC Berkeley report on extreme income disparities, click here. For more on income inequality, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Remaking the basic bargain
2013-09-03, Chicago Tribune
Posted: 2013-09-16 16:32:46
Back in 1914, Henry Ford announced he was paying workers on his Model T assembly line $5 a day -- three times what the typical factory employee earned at the time. The Wall Street Journal termed his action "an economic crime." But Ford knew it was a cunning business move. The higher wage turned Ford's auto workers into customers who could afford to buy Model Ts. In two years, Ford's profits more than doubled. Yet in the years leading up to the Great Crash of 1929 [the] wages of most American workers stagnated even as the economy surged. Gains went mainly into corporate profits and into the pockets of the very rich. American families maintained their standard of living by going deeper into debt, and the rich gambled with their gigantic winnings. In 1929, the debt bubble popped. The same thing happened in the years leading up to the crash of 2008. The lesson should be obvious. When the economy becomes too lopsided -- disproportionately benefiting corporate owners and top executives rather than average workers -- it tips over. It's still lopsided. We're slowly emerging from the depths of the worst downturn since the Great Depression, but nothing fundamentally has changed. Corporate profits are up largely because payrolls are down. Even Ford Motor Company is now paying its new hires half what it paid new employees a few years ago. All over the American economy, employee pay is now down to the smallest share of the economy since the government began collecting wage and salary data 60 years ago. And corporate profits constitute the largest share of the economy since then.
Note: The author of this analysis, Robert Reich, is former U.S. Secretary of Labor, a professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, and the author of Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future. He blogs at http://www.robertreich.org. For more on income inequality, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Food best source of vitamins, study finds
2013-09-10, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2013-09-16 16:30:45
About half of all Americans take a daily multivitamin as a way to improve their health and cut their risk of diseases. But experts now say that - in almost all cases - the best way to get a full dose of vitamins is from nutritious foods rather than from pills. There is a lot of scientific evidence showing diets rich in produce, nuts, whole grains and fish promote health and decrease risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer, according to a new "Vitamins and Minerals" report from Harvard Medical School. On the other hand, studies involving vitamin supplements - and there have been many - show mixed results. In fact, after reviewing a large body of research in 2006, the National Institutes of Health decided not to definitively rule for or against multivitamins' ability to prevent diseases. So what are the quickest ways to boost the vitamin content in your meals? The report identifies about three dozen foods that have the most nutrients per calorie, including avocados, berries, cantaloupe, dark leafy greens, eggs, yogurt, lentils, beans, almonds, fish, chicken and turkey. And although most people think of citrus as the best source of vitamin C, a red pepper has twice as much as an orange. Similarly, potatoes and white beans have more potassium than bananas. The final advice from Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, the report's editor: "Spend your time and money improving your diet, which is far more likely to pay off in the long run than popping a pill."
Note: The Harvard report can be found here: http://hvrd.me/9Uixox. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
Santa Clara, Stanford compete in Solar Decathlon
2013-09-07, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2013-09-16 16:29:23
Designed by students, the small blue house wedged onto a corner of the Santa Clara University campus generates all the electricity it needs. And it needs very little. Solar cells blanket most of the roof. A separate solar array heats water. Pipes in the ceiling circulate cold water to keep the house cool. A mobile phone app controls the lights and windows. Dubbed Radiant House, the building is the university's entry in this year's Solar Decathlon, an international student competition to create energy-efficient houses that run their systems and appliances on sunlight. To win, the houses can't just be a collection of technologies. They have to feel inviting and livable. Judges grade them on comfort and curb appeal in addition to innovation. This year's decathlon culminates next month in Orange County, when 20 university teams present their homes to judges drawn from the fields of architecture, development and renewable energy. First held in 2002, the Solar Decathlon runs in two-year cycles, giving teams enough time to design, finance and build their creations. This year, students from two Bay Area schools - Santa Clara and Stanford University - will compete against teams from as far afield as Austria and the Czech Republic. The contest rules require that the houses can't be larger than 1,000 square feet and must produce at least as much energy as they consume over the course of a week. Solar panels donated by Bosch Solar Energy coat the central room's tilted roof and can generate up to 7.14 kilowatts of electricity, more than a typical home array. The panels rest on a new type of rack, made by startup company Sunplanter, that is integrated into the structure of the roof.
Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
Jacob Barnett, 14-Year-Old With Asperger's Syndrome, May Be Smarter Than Einstein
2013-05-11, Huffington Post
Posted: 2013-09-16 16:27:48
When Jacob Barnett was 2 years old, he was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism. Doctors told his parents that the boy would likely never talk or read and would probably be forever unable to independently manage basic daily activities like tying his shoe laces. But they were sorely, extraordinarily mistaken. Today, Barnett -- now 14 -- is a Master's student, on his way to earning a PhD in quantum physics. The teen, who boasts an IQ of 170, has already been tipped to one day win the Nobel Prize. Since enrolling at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) at the age of 10, Barnett has flourished -- astounding his professors, peers and family with his spectacular intelligence. The teen tutors other college students in subjects like calculus and is a published scientific researcher, with an IQ that is believed to be higher than that of Albert Einstein. In fact, according to a 2011 TIME report, Barnett, who frequently tops his college classes, has asserted that he may one day disprove Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Outside of his rigorous university commitments, Barnett, who has Asperger's Syndrome, is also an entrepreneur and aspiring author. The teen, who, with his family, runs a charity called Jacob's Place for kids on the spectrum, has used his story to raise awareness and dispel myths about autism. In April, [his mother] Kristine Barnett's memoir about her family's experience with autism, The Spark: A Mother's Story of Nurturing Genius, was released. A movie deal is said to be in the works.
Note: For the CBS 60 Minutes piece on this child genius, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
A war the Pentagon doesn’t want
2013-09-05, Washington Post
Posted: 2013-09-10 08:50:39
Written by Robert H. Scales, a retired Army general and former commandant of the U.S. Army War College. The tapes tell the tale. Go back and look at images of our nation’s most senior soldier, Gen. Martin Dempsey, and his body language during [the] Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on Syria. It’s pretty obvious that Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, doesn’t want this war. Dempsey’s unspoken words reflect the opinions of most serving military leaders. They are embarrassed to be associated with the amateurism of the Obama administration’s attempts to craft a plan that makes strategic sense. None of the White House staff has any experience in war or understands it. So far, at least, this path to war violates every principle of war, including the element of surprise, achieving mass and having a clearly defined and obtainable objective.
Prospective U.S. action in Syria is not about threats to American security. They are outraged by the fact that what may happen is an act of war and a willingness to risk American lives to make up for a slip of the tongue about “red lines.” These acts would be for retribution and to restore the reputation of a president. Our serving professionals make the point that killing more Syrians won’t deter Iranian resolve to confront us. The Iranians have already gotten the message. Our people lament our loneliness. Our senior soldiers take pride in their past commitments to fight alongside allies and within coalitions that shared our strategic goals. This war, however, will be ours alone.
Note: For a two-minute video of four-star general Wesley Clark declaring that Syria was in the crosshairs of the US as early as 2001, click here. For more on why the U.S.'s proposed war of aggression against Syria must be stopped, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
What happened to the antiwar movement?
2013-09-05, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2013-09-10 08:49:22
A mere 72 hours after President Obama delivered an encomium honoring the life of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., he announced his intention to pound yet another country with bombs. The oxymoron last week was noteworthy for how little attention it received. Yes, a president memorialized an antiwar activist who derided the U.S. government as "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world." Then that same president quickly proposed yet more violence - this time in Syria. Almost nobody mentioned the contradiction. Even worse, as Congress now debates whether to launch yet another military campaign in the Middle East, the antiwar movement that King represented - and that so vigorously opposed the last war - is largely silent. So what happened to that movement? The shorter answer is: It was a victim of partisanship. That's the conclusion that emerges from a recent study by professors at the University of Michigan and Indiana University. Evaluating surveys of more than 5,300 antiwar protesters from 2007 to 2009, the researchers discovered that the many protesters who self-identified as Democrats "withdrew from antiwar protests when the Democratic Party achieved electoral success" in the 2008 presidential election. The withdrawal occurred even as Obama was escalating the war in Afghanistan and intensifying drone wars in places like Pakistan and Yemen. The researchers thus conclude that during the Bush years, many Democrats were not necessarily motivated to participate in the antiwar movement because they oppose militarism and war - they were instead "motivated to participate by anti-Republican sentiments."
Note: For more on why the proposed war of aggression against Syria must be stopped, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Physician Who Told of Handling Roswell Debris Dies
2013-08-28, ABC News/Associated Press
Posted: 2013-09-10 08:47:39
Dr. Jesse Marcel Jr., who said he handled debris from the 1947 crash of an unidentified flying object near Roswell, N.M., has died at the age of 76. Over the past 35 years, Marcel appeared on TV shows, documentaries and radio shows; was interviewed for magazine articles and books, and traveled the world lecturing about his experiences in Roswell. "He was credible. He wasn't lying. He never embellished — only told what he saw," his wife Linda said. Marcel's father was an Air Force intelligence officer and reportedly the first military officer to investigate the wreckage in early July 1947. Marcel said he was 10 when his father brought home some of the debris, woke him up in the middle of the night and said the boy needed to look at it because it was something he would never see again. His father maintained the debris "was not of this Earth," Linda Marcel said. After an initial report that a flying saucer had been recovered on a ranch near Roswell, the military issued a statement saying the debris was from a weather balloon. "They were told to keep it quiet and they did for years and years and years," Linda Marcel said. Interest in the case was revived, however, when physicist and UFO researcher Stanton Friedman spoke with Jesse Marcel Sr. in the late 1970s. Friedman wrote the foreword to Marcel Jr.'s 2007 book The Roswell Legacy, and described him as a courageous man who "set a standard for honesty and decency and telling the truth. His legacy is that he had the courage to speak out when he didn't have to about handling wreckage that his Dad brought home," Friedman said Tuesday. "He could have kept his mouth shut. A lot of people did."
Note: For more reliable, verifiable information on the UFO cover-up, see our deeply revealing UFO Information Center.
The hidden truth about exercise
2013-09-02, Sydney Morning Herald/New York Times
Posted: 2013-09-10 08:46:27
We all know exercise promotes health, reducing most people’s risk of developing diabetes and becoming obese. Now light has been shed on how it does this at a cellular level. It seems exercise may be able to drastically alter how genes operate, studies show. Genes are not static. They turn on or off depending on the biochemical signals they receive from elsewhere in the body. One powerful means of affecting gene activity involves a process called methylation, in which methyl groups, a cluster of carbon and hydrogen atoms, attach to the outside of a gene and make it easier or harder for that gene to receive and respond to messages from the body. What is particularly fascinating about the methylation process is that it seems to be driven largely by lifestyle. Diet, for instance, notably affects the methylation of genes. But the role of physical activity in this has been poorly understood. Researchers ... began by recruiting dozens of sedentary but generally healthy adult men. Using new molecular techniques, researchers mapped the methylation patterns on the DNA within [their] cells. Then, under the guidance of a trainer, the volunteers began attending hour-long spin or aerobics classes about twice a week for six months. By the end of that time, the men had ... altered the methylation pattern of many of the genes in their fat cells. More than 17,900 individual sites on 7663 separate genes in the fat cells now displayed changed methylation patterns. Other studies have found that exercise has an equally profound effect on DNA methylation within human muscle cells.
Note: For more on health issues, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Hackers Reveal Nasty New Car Attacks
2013-08-12, Forbes Magazine
Posted: 2013-09-10 08:44:49
[The] fact that a car is not a simple machine of glass and steel but a hackable network of computers, is what [Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek] have spent the last year trying to demonstrate. Miller, a 40-year-old security engineer at Twitter, and Valasek, the 31-year-old director of security intelligence at the Seattle consultancy IOActive, received an $80,000-plus grant last fall from [the] Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to root out security vulnerabilities in automobiles. The need for scrutiny is growing as cars are increasingly automated and connected to the Internet. Practically every American carmaker now offers a cellular service or Wi-Fi network like General Motors’ OnStar, Toyota’s Safety Connect and Ford’s SYNC. Without better security it’s all potentially vulnerable, and automakers are remaining mum or downplaying the issue. As I drove their vehicles for more than an hour, Miller and Valasek showed that they’ve reverse-engineered enough of the software of the [Ford] Escape and the Toyota Prius (both the 2010 model) to demonstrate a range of nasty surprises: everything from annoyances like uncontrollably blasting the horn to serious hazards like slamming on the Prius’ brakes at high speeds. They sent commands from their laptops that killed power steering, spoofed the GPS and made pathological liars out of speedometers and odometers. Finally they directed me out to a country road, where Valasek showed that he could violently jerk the Prius’ steering at any speed, threatening to send us into a cornfield or a head-on collision.
Note: Don't miss the unbelievable video at the above link which shows how a good hacker can take control of your car's steering, brakes, and much more. For more on the OnStar system in most GM cars now and how it allows spying on you, read the CNN article titled "OnStar's 'brazen' data tracking comes under fire" at this link. For more on government and corporate digital security invasions, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Revealed: how US and UK spy agencies defeat internet privacy and security
2013-09-05, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-09-10 08:42:44
US and British intelligence agencies have successfully cracked much of the online encryption relied upon by hundreds of millions of people to protect the privacy of their personal data, online transactions and emails, according to top-secret documents revealed by former contractor Edward Snowden. The files show that the National Security Agency and its UK counterpart GCHQ have broadly compromised the guarantees that internet companies have given consumers to reassure them that their communications, online banking and medical records would be indecipherable to criminals or governments. The agencies, the documents reveal, have adopted a battery of methods in their systematic and ongoing assault on what they see as one of the biggest threats to their ability to access huge swathes of internet traffic – "the use of ubiquitous encryption across the internet". Those methods include covert measures to ensure NSA control over setting of international encryption standards, the use of supercomputers to break encryption with "brute force", and – the most closely guarded secret of all – collaboration with technology companies and internet service providers themselves. Through these covert partnerships, the agencies have inserted secret vulnerabilities – known as backdoors or trapdoors – into commercial encryption software. "Backdoors are fundamentally in conflict with good security," said Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist and senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union. "Backdoors expose all users of a backdoored system, not just intelligence agency targets, to heightened risk of data compromise."
Note: For an excellent article in the New York Times on this, click here. For a guide from the Guardian on "How to remain secure against NSA surveillance", click here.
N.S.A. Able to Foil Basic Safeguards of Privacy on Web
2013-09-06, New York Times
Posted: 2013-09-10 08:41:18
The National Security Agency is winning its long-running secret war on encryption, using supercomputers, technical trickery, court orders and behind-the-scenes persuasion to undermine the major tools protecting the privacy of everyday communications in the Internet age, according to newly disclosed documents. The agency has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the e-mails, Web searches, Internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world, the documents show. Many users assume — or have been assured by Internet companies — that their data is safe from prying eyes, including those of the government, and the N.S.A. wants to keep it that way. The agency treats its recent successes in deciphering protected information as among its most closely guarded secrets, restricted to those cleared for a highly classified program code-named Bullrun, according to the documents, provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor. Beginning in 2000, as encryption tools were gradually blanketing the Web, the N.S.A. invested billions of dollars in a clandestine campaign to preserve its ability to eavesdrop. Having lost a public battle in the 1990s to insert its own “back door” in all encryption, it set out to accomplish the same goal by stealth. The agency ... deployed custom-built, superfast computers to break codes, and began collaborating with technology companies in the United States and abroad to build entry points into their products [called "backdoors"].
Note: For an excellent article in the UK's respected Guardian on this, click here. For a guide from the Guardian on "How to remain secure against NSA surveillance", click here.
Greg Palast: Potential Fed Chair Summers at Heart of Global Economic Crisis
Posted: 2013-09-10 08:38:37
Investigative journalist Greg Palast has obtained a secret memo authored by then deputy Treasury secretary Larry Summers and his protégé Timothy Geithner detailing their plans to roll back financial regulation. In the piece, titled "The Confidential Memo at the Heart of the Global Financial Crisis", [Palast] writes:
"The Memo confirmed every conspiracy freak's fantasy: that in the late 1990s, the top U.S. Treasury officials secretly conspired with a small cabal of banker big-shots to rip apart financial regulation across the planet. When you see 26.3 percent unemployment in Spain, desperation and hunger in Greece, riots in Indonesia and Detroit in bankruptcy, go back to this End Game memo, the genesis of the blood and tears." [Palast:] This is really important right now because Larry Summers is President Obama's top choice to become head of a Federal Reserve Board. He would take Ben Bernanke's place. And what this memo is--they call it the "end game memo". Geithner calls it the "end game". And what's the game being played? The memo asks Summers to get back to the five biggest, most powerful bankers in the United States to act on and determine what our policy should be for world governance of the banking system. Basically, there were secret calls going between Larry Summers and the head of Bank of America, the head of Goldman Sachs, the head of Citibank and Merrill, the five big boys, to find out what should happen to the world financial policing order. And the answer was: smash it. Summers was holding secret meetings with the big bankers to come up with a scheme to eliminate financial regulation across the planet.
Note: Greg Palast is a New York Times-bestselling author and a freelance journalist for the British Broadcasting Corporation as well as the British newspaper The Observer. He is one of the few journalists uncovering the deepest layers of secrecy in our world. For a key past report of his on elections corruption, click here.
FOIA Documents Obtained by Judicial Watch Reveal 200 Claims Filed With HHS for HPV Vaccine Injuries and Deaths, 49 Compensated
2013-03-20, MarketWatch (a Wall Street Journal Website)
Posted: 2013-09-10 08:37:08
Documents reveal that the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) has paid out nearly $6 million in claims to victims of HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine, including families of two dead. Judicial Watch announced today that it has received documents from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) revealing that its VICP has awarded $5,877,710 dollars to 49 victims in claims made against the highly controversial HPV vaccines. To date 200 claims have been filed with VICP, with barely half adjudicated. The documents came in response to a February 28, 2013, Judicial Watch lawsuit against HHS to force the department to comply with a November 1, 2012, Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. From its inception, the use of HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccines for sexually transmitted diseases has been hotly disputed. According to the Annals of Medicine: "At present there are no significant data showing that either Gardasil or Cervarix (GlaxoSmithKline) can prevent any type of cervical cancer since the testing period employed was too short to evaluate long-term benefits of HPV vaccination." "This new information from the government shows that the serious safety concerns about the use of Gardasil have been well-founded," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "Public health officials should stop pushing Gardasil on children."
Note: For lots more on the risks and dangers of this vaccine being promoted by big pharma, click here.
FSA 'endangering public health' by ignoring concerns over GM food
2013-09-05, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-09-10 08:34:34
The French researcher who caused a scientific storm when he claimed to show that some GM food led to tumours and cancers in rats has accused the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) of "recklessly endangering public health" by not demanding long-term testing of the foods. In a series of parliamentary and public meetings held this week in London, Edinburgh and Cardiff, Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini has challenged UK politicians and safety authorities to review the way safety is assessed. Séralini, a molecular biologist at Caen University, said: "Our research found severe toxicity from GM maize and [Monsanto pesticide] Roundup. The British Food Standards Agency has uncritically accepted the European Food Safety Authority's dismissal of the study, even though many of EFSA's experts have been exposed as having conflicts of interest with the GM industry. At the very least, the British government should demand long-term mandatory safety testing on all GM foods before they are released onto the market," he said. "The British scientific authorities are deliberately misleading their government and are recklessly endangering public health in ignoring the findings of our research." Séralini's study found that rats developed much higher levels of cancers and died earlier than controls when fed a diet of Monsanto's Roundup-tolerant GM maize NK603 for two years, or were exposed to Roundup over the same period. The usual industry tests last for 90 days.
Note: For more on the risks from GMO foods, see the highly informative summary available here.
Income Gap Grows Wider (and Faster)
2013-09-01, New York Times
Posted: 2013-09-10 08:32:59
Income inequality in the United States has been growing for decades, but the trend appears to have accelerated during the Obama administration. One measure of this is the relationship between median and average wages. The median wage is straightforward: it’s the midpoint of everyone’s wages. Interpreting the average, though, can be tricky. If the income of a handful of people soars while everyone else’s remains the same, the entire group’s average may still rise substantially. So when average wages grow faster than the median, as happened from 2009 through 2011, it means that lower earners are falling further behind those at the top. One way to see the acceleration in inequality is to look at the ratio of average to median annual wages. From 2001 through 2008, during the George W. Bush administration, that ratio grew at 0.28 percentage point per year. From 2009 through 2011, the latest year for which the data is available, the ratio increased 1.14 percentage points annually, or roughly four times faster. The reasons for the widening income gap aren’t entirely clear. Yes, the nation has had a big recession, but recessions typically tend to lessen inequality rather than increase it.
Note: For more on income inequality, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Analyst who raised alarm about Madoff nine years ago lambasts authorities
2009-02-04, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-09-10 08:31:31
The financial analyst who nine years ago discovered Bernard Madoff's multi-billion dollar ... fraud scheme today lambasted US securities officials who ignored his warnings, calling for a shakeup of the US securities and exchange commission's structure. Harry Markopolos, a Massachusetts financial analyst who since 2000 several times sought to alert the SEC to Madoff's fraud, told a House of Representatives committee that the agency should replace its lawyer-heavy enforcement staff with senior securities professionals who have years of industry experience and can understand cutting-edge financial instruments used by hedge fund traders. He said regulators should give fraud investigators a pay incentive to unearth large fraud, and eliminate the turf wars that he said kept New York-based regulators from heeding tips he fed to the Boston office. Markopolos discovered Madoff's alleged malfeasance in May 2000, after he became suspicious of his years-long record of success in all market conditions. Markopolos said it took him about five minutes perusing Madoff's marketing materials to suspect fraud, and another roughly four hours to develop mathematical models to prove it. He eventually delivered a detailed case to securities regulators in Boston and followed up several times over the next eight years as he continued to gather evidence. He said that important SEC officials in New York and Boston brushed his reports aside. In testimony before members of the House financial services committee, Markopolos described "an abject failure by the regulatory agencies we entrust as our watchdog".
Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Mindfulness in Politics
Posted: 2013-09-10 08:29:18
The movement for “mindfulness meditation” is growing, but can it break the modern political gridlock? Congressman Tim Ryan [wants] everyone to develop greater “mindfulness”, through simple forms of meditation and other practices that focus our attention and help us listen to each other. Elected to the House of Representatives at the tender age of 29, the Democrat from Ohio spoke out repeatedly against the policies of President George W. Bush on Iraq, the economy and other issues. But then so did many others. What makes Ryan stand out is his conviction that the USA can be transformed – not just “tinkered with”, as he puts it in A Mindful Nation, the book he published in 2012. Practicing mindfulness may not get everyone on the same page in detailed policy terms, he believes, but it could help to find more common ground between different views and break the political gridlock. In this sense the personal is always political. There’s an upbeat tone in Ryan’s approach that seems out of place with the realities of Washington DC: “Strip away the materialism, the marketing, the media and the technology and our fundamental nature is revealed,” he writes, “joyous, generous and courageous.” Still, given that US politics is soaked through with cynicism, “gotcha” tactics and manipulation, even admitting that you meditate, let alone publicly recommending it to others, is a courageous thing to do. And who knows, the “quiet revolution” of mindfulness might even work.
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