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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. Links are provided to the full stories on their media websites. If any link fails to function, click here. These news stories are listed by date posted. For the same list by order of importance, click here. For the list by date of news story, click here. For a list with headlines and links only to key news stories, click here. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.



Note: This comprehensive list of news stories is usually updated once a week. For an index to revealing excerpts of news stories on several dozen engaging topics, click here.

Trekking through mud, rivers and jungle to provide free medical care
2013-11-03, CNN
Posted: 2014-01-13 16:01:38
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/01/world/africa/cnnheroes-bwelle-cameroon-doct...

For 21 years, Georges Bwelle watched his ill father slip in and out of consciousness, traveling to hospitals that weren't equipped to help him. In Cameroon, there is only one doctor for every 5,000 people, according to the World Health Organization. And even if they could see a physician, many Cameroonians couldn't afford it. Two out of five people in the country live below the poverty line, and nearly three-quarters of the country's health-care spending is private. Seeing his father and so many of his countrymen suffer, Bwelle was determined to do something about it. He became a doctor himself, working as a vascular surgeon in Yaounde's Central Hospital. And he started a nonprofit, ASCOVIME, that travels into rural areas on weekends to provide free medical care. Since 2008, he and his group of volunteers have helped nearly 32,000 people. Almost every Friday, he and up to 30 people jam into vans, tie medical supplies to the roofs and travel across rough terrain to visit villages in need. "We are receiving 500 people in each trip," Bwelle said. "They are coming from 60 kilometers (37 miles) around the village, and they're coming on foot." Each of these weekend clinics provides a variety of medical care. Many people are treated for malaria, tuberculosis, malnutrition, diabetes, parasites and sexually transmitted diseases. Others might receive crutches, a pair of donated eyeglasses or free birth certificates -- documentation that's required for school but that many impoverished families simply can't afford. In the evenings, the team will do simple surgeries with local anesthesia.

Note: For more on this inspiring man and how you can help his great cause, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Modern Pied Piper Cheats Death
2009-05-01, CBS News
Posted: 2014-01-13 16:00:21
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/modern-pied-piper-cheats-death/

Every time 70-year-old Andy Mackie draws a breath, it's music to his ears - whether there's a harmonica there or not. Mackie's just glad to be alive. Mackie jokes, "I guess they don't need a harmonica player in heaven yet." Mackie, a Scottish-born retired horse trainer, lives in a camper in northwest Washington state - he lives there, even though technically -- medically -- he should have died long ago. After his ninth heart surgery, Mackie's doctors had him on 15 different medicines. But the side effects made life miserable. So one day he quit taking all 15 and decided to spend his final days doing something he always wanted to do. He used the money he would have spent on the prescriptions to give away 300 harmonicas, with lessons included. "I really thought it was the last thing I could ever do," he says. And when he didn't die the next month, he bought a few hundred more. Harmonicas in hand, he explains, "I just started going from school to school." It's now 11 years and 13,000 harmonicas later. Today there's nary a kid in the county who hasn't gotten a free harmonica from Mackie, or played one of his strum sticks. To keep the kids interested in music as they get older, Mackie now spends the bulk of his Social Security check making them beginner string instruments. He also buys store-made instruments for kids that show a special interest. He provides free lessons to everyone by getting the older kids to teach the younger kids. Mackie says, "I tell them music is a gift, you give it away - you give it away and you get to keep it forever." The end result is something truly unique to his corner of Washington. It seems everywhere you look, everyplace you go, every kid you meet has the same genuine passion for fiddle music.

Note: Don't miss the inspiring video of this story at the link above. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Cheerios drops genetically modified ingredients
2014-01-02, USA Today
Posted: 2014-01-06 16:18:56
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/01/02/cheerios-gmos-cereals...

Under pressure from consumers and activist groups, General Mills says it will stop using genetically modified ingredients to make its original Cheerios cereal. While the oats used to make Cheerios have never contained any genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the company did make changes to its sourcing — and now, for example, only uses non-GMO pure cane sugar instead of beet sugar, says spokesman Mike Siemienas. The move is being hailed by anti-GMO activist groups as a major victory. It comes at a time activists have been increasingly pressuring American food makers to remove GMOs from all foods — or, at the very least, label all foods that do contain GMOs. Last year, Whole Foods became the first national grocery chain to require all of its suppliers to label all products that contain GMOs by 2018. In the past year, Chipotle announced plans to phase out GMOs and Kashi is also is taking action to phase out GMOs. "This is a big deal," says Todd Larsen, corporate responsibility director at Green America, a green economy activist group. "Cheerios is an iconic brand and one of the leading breakfast cereals in the U.S." What's more, he adds, "We don't know of any other example of such a major brand of packaged food, eaten by so many Americans, going from being GMO to non-GMO. " One year ago, the group used social media efforts to rally consumers to pressure General Mills to make Cheerios without GMOs. Cheerios was picked, in part, because it's one of the first foods given to many toddlers.

Note: For more on the health risks of GMO foods, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




France approves Francois Hollande's 75% 'millionaires tax'
2013-12-30, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2014-01-06 16:17:39
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/france-approves-francois-holl...

France's constitutional council has given President Francois Hollande the green light to introduce a 75 per cent tax rate taking aim at the super rich. Under the new plan, which the French council found constitutional, companies will have to pay 50 per cent tax on all salaries exceeding one million euros, or the equivalent of approximately £833, 000. Including social contributions, the rate will effectively stand at 75 per cent, although the total amount will be capped at 5 per cent of a company's turnover. The levy is set to affect income earned this year and in 2014. The 'millionaire tax' could affect more than 450 companies and several football clubs, and could raise more than 200 million euros on an annual basis. The super tax, a flagship pledge in Hollande's political manifesto, has infuriated business leaders, high earners and celebrities. President Hollande, who once admitted that he dislikes the rich and has been accused of taking an anti-business stance, has fired back at critics insisting that high earners should do more to boost the country's public finances. But the super tax has sparked fears of a mass exodus of businesses, bankers and celebrities. Last year, Prime Minister David Cameron said he would "roll out the red carpet" and "welcome more French businesses to Britain" if Hollande raised taxes on the wealthy.

Note: A New York Times article shows that the tax rate for those earning over $8 million per year in the U.S. dropped from 41% in 1995 to 31.5% in 2005. For more on income inequality, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Billionaires Worth $3.7 Trillion [in] 2013
2014-01-02, Bloomberg News
Posted: 2014-01-06 16:16:14
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-02/billionaires-worth-3-7-trillion-surg...

The richest people on the planet got even richer in 2013, adding $524 billion to their collective net worth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world’s 300 wealthiest individuals. The aggregate net worth of the world’s top billionaires stood at $3.7 trillion at the market close on Dec. 31. The biggest gains came in the technology industry, which soared 28 percent during the year. Bill Gates, the founder and chairman of Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft Corp., was the year’s biggest gainer. The 58-year-old tycoon’s fortune increased by $15.8 billion to $78.5 billion, according to the index, as shares of Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, rose 40 percent. Gates recaptured the title of world’s richest person on May 16 from Mexican investor Carlos Slim. Slim lost $1.4 billion during 2013. His America Movil SAB, the largest mobile-phone operator in the Americas, dropped 12 percent in the first three months of the year after Mexico’s Congress passed a bill to quash the billionaire’s market dominance. Sheldon Adelson, founder of Las Vegas Sands Corp., the world’s largest casino company, was the second-biggest gainer in 2013, adding $14.4 billion to his net worth as the company’s shares rose 71 percent.

Note: For more on income inequality, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Inequality Is a Choice
2013-10-13, New York Times
Posted: 2014-01-06 16:14:43
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/13/inequality-is-a-choice/

It’s well known by now that income and wealth inequality in most rich countries, especially the United States, have soared in recent decades and, tragically, worsened even more since the Great Recession. But what about the rest of the world? New research by a World Bank economist named Branko Milanovic, along with other scholars, points the way to some answers. Overall equality across humanity, considered as individuals, has improved very little. So while nations in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, as a whole, might be catching up with the West, the poor everywhere are left behind, even in places like China where they’ve benefited somewhat from rising living standards. From 1988 to 2008, Mr. Milanovic found, people in the world’s top 1 percent saw their incomes increase by 60 percent, while those in the bottom 5 percent had no change in their income. And while median incomes have greatly improved in recent decades, there are still enormous imbalances: 8 percent of humanity takes home 50 percent of global income; the top 1 percent alone takes home 15 percent. The United States provides a particularly grim example for the world. And because, in so many ways, America often “leads the world,” if others follow America’s example, it does not portend well for the future. Last year, the top 1 percent of Americans took home 22 percent of the nation’s income; the top 0.1 percent, 11 percent. Ninety-five percent of all income gains since 2009 have gone to the top 1 percent.

Note: For more on income inequality, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Poverty wages in the land of plenty
2013-12-05, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2014-01-06 16:13:17
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/05/campaign-to-raise-minimu...

The holiday season is upon us. Sadly, the big retailers are Scrooges when it comes to paying their workers. Undergirding the sale prices is an army of workers earning the minimum wage or a fraction above it, living check to check on their meager pay and benefits. The dark secret that the retail giants like Walmart don't want you to know is that many of these workers subsist below the poverty line, and rely on programs like food stamps and Medicaid just to get by. This holiday season, though, low-wage workers from Walmart to fast-food restaurants are standing up and fighting back. Wal-Mart is the world's largest retailer, with 2.2 million employees, 1.3 million of whom are in the US. It reported close to $120bn in gross profit for 2012. Just six members of the Walton family, whose patriarch, Sam Walton, founded the retail giant, have amassed an estimated combined fortune of between $115bn to $144bn. These six individuals have more wealth than the combined financial assets of the poorest 40% of the US population. Walmart workers have been organizing under the banner of OUR Walmart, a worker initiative supported by the United Food and Commercial Workers union. Workers have taken courageous stands, protesting their employer and engaging in short-term strikes. Walmart has retaliated, firing many who participated. Parallel to the Walmart campaign is a drive for higher wages in the fast-food industry. In more than 100 cities, workers are organizing protests and strikes ... and winning.

Note: For more on income inequality, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Even After Volcker, Banks Aren't Safe Enough
2013-12-30, Time Magazine
Posted: 2014-01-06 16:11:59
http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2160950,00.html

Despite the hoopla over the approval of the Volcker rule, which restricts banks from making certain types of speculative investments, our financial system isn't much safer than it was before 2008. A major reason for the continued complexity and risk in the financial system is lobbying power. The Volcker rule as it stands now has been turned into Swiss cheese by bank lobbyists, who represent the second biggest corporate special-interest bloc after the health care complex, spending nearly half a billion dollars a year on lobbying, according to the nonprofit, nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. So while the rule limits federally insured banks from trading for its own sake, they are still allowed to hedge their portfolios, which opens up a lot of gray territory for trading. Certainly having more lenders rather than fewer would help other kinds of businesses, and having trading walled off from lending would encourage that. The fact that the five largest U.S. financial holding companies control 55% of industry assets--compared with 20% in 1990--keeps competition low and credit constrained. In the next two to five years, there will likely be another crisis or trading loss of the kind that reignites the debate over closing trading loopholes and creating a truly safer financial system. Right now, banks complain about rules that would require them to hold a mere 5% of their assets in high-quality, low-risk capital (known as Tier 1 capital), despite the fact that in any other industry, doing business with less than 50% of your own cash would be considered extreme.

Note: For more on government collusion with the biggest banks, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




I worked on the US drone program. The public should know what really goes on
2013-12-29, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2014-01-06 16:10:40
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/29/drones-us-military

Whenever I read comments by politicians defending the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Predator and Reaper program – aka drones – I wish I could ask them a few questions. I'd start with: "How many women and children have you seen incinerated by a Hellfire missile?" Few of these politicians who so brazenly proclaim the benefits of drones have a real clue of what actually goes on. I, on the other hand, have seen these awful sights first hand. What the public needs to understand is that the video provided by a drone is not usually clear enough to detect someone carrying a weapon, even on a crystal-clear day. This makes it incredibly difficult for the best analysts to identify if someone has weapons for sure. One example comes to mind: "The feed is so pixelated, what if it's a shovel, and not a weapon?" I felt this confusion constantly, as did my fellow UAV analysts. We always wonder if ... we destroyed an innocent civilian's life all because of a bad image or angle. I know the feeling you experience when you see someone die. Horrifying barely covers it. When you are exposed to it over and over again it becomes like a small video, embedded in your head, forever on repeat, causing psychological pain and suffering. UAV troops are victim to not only the haunting memories of this work that they carry with them, but also the guilt of always being a little unsure of how accurate their confirmations of weapons or identification of hostile individuals were. The UAVs in the Middle East are used as a weapon, not as protection, and as long as our public remains ignorant to this, this serious threat to the sanctity of human life – at home and abroad – will continue.

Note: For more on war crimes committed by the US and UK in the illegal "global war on terror", see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




The FBI COINTELPRO Program and the Fred Hampton Assassination
2013-12-03, Huffington Post
Posted: 2014-01-06 16:08:58
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/g-flint-taylor/the-fbi-cointelpro-progra_b_4375...

On December 4th it [was exactly] 44 years since a select unit of 14 Chicago Police officers, on special assignment to Cook County State's Attorney Edward Hanrahan, executed a pre-dawn raid on a west side apartment that left Illinois Black Panther Party leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark dead, several other young Panthers wounded, and the seven raid survivors arrested on bogus attempted murder charges. The physical evidence soon exposed the claims of a "shootout" that were made by Hanrahan and his men to be blatant lies, and that the murderous reality was that the police fired nearly 100 shots while the Panthers fired but one. But those lies were only the first layer of a massive cover-up that was dismantled and exposed over the next eight years -- a cover-up designed to suppress the central role of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and its COINTELPRO program in the assassination. The first documentation [of the operation and its cover-up] surfaced in March of 1971 when the Citizens Commission to Investigate the FBI broke into a small FBI office in Media Pennsylvania and expropriated over 1000 FBI documents. These documents exposed the FBI's super-secret and profoundly illegal COINTELPRO program and its focus in the 1960s on the black liberation movement and its leaders. Citing the assassinated Malcolm X as an example, Hoover directed all of the Bureau's Offices to "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, and otherwise neutralize" African American organizations and leaders.

Note: For more on the realities of intelligence agency activity, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




The Soviet Union Spent $1 Billion On Mind-Control Experiments During The Cold War As Part Of Arms Race With The US: Report
2013-12-16, International Business Times
Posted: 2014-01-06 16:07:36
http://www.ibtimes.com/soviet-union-spent-1-billion-mind-control-experiments-...

The battle between the U.S. and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, for technological and scientific one-upmanship, included a costly effort that involved the two superpowers' attempts to develop mind-control weapons, according to a new study. A blog post at the Physics arXiv Blog, citing a new paper by researcher Serge Kernbach, said that both the U.S. and the Soviet Union experimented with parapsychology, mind control and remote influence. And, while some of the work conducted by the U.S. on these topics is now public, much less is known about the Soviet body of knowledge, which reportedly cost about a billion dollars to gather. “The Soviets had a similar program. This included experiments in parapsychology, which the Soviets called psychotronics,” the blogpost said. “The work built on a long-standing idea in Soviet science that the human brain could receive and transmit a certain kind of high frequency electromagnetic radiation and that this could influence other objects too.” Kernbach provided an overview of the Soviet Union’s efforts in unconventional research between 1917 and 2003, [based] on publications in Russian technical journals and recently declassified documents. The U.S. developed a 20-year CIA program, called Project MKULTRA, which began in the early 1950s to study ways of manipulating people’s minds and altering their brain functions. The Soviets too focused on a similar program and developed a device called a "cerpan" that could generate and store high-frequency electromagnetic radiation produced by the human brain in hopes of influencing other objects.

Note: For an excellent two-page summary of reliable information on secret government mind control programs, click here. For more on mind control research and operations by the CIA, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Jesuits to pay $166M to settle sex abuse claims
2011-03-25, CBS News/Associated Press
Posted: 2014-01-06 16:05:29
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/jesuits-to-pay-166m-to-settle-sex-abuse-claims/

In one of the largest settlements in the Roman Catholic church's sweeping sex abuse scandal, an order of priests agreed [to] pay $166.1 million to hundreds of Native Americans and Alaska Natives who were abused at the order's schools in the northwestern U.S. The settlement between more than 450 victims and the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus also calls for a written apology to the victims and disclosure of documents to them, including their personal medical records. "It's a day of reckoning and justice," said Clarita Vargas, 51, who said she and her two sisters were abused by the head of St. Mary's Mission and School, a former Jesuit-run Indian boarding school on the Colville Indian Reservation near Omak, Washington state, in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The abuse began when they were as young as 6 or 7, she said. The province ran village and reservation schools in Oregon, Washington state, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. The claims are from victims who were students at schools in all five states. Nearly all the victims are American Indian or Alaska Native. The province previously settled another 200 claims. Then the organization filed for bankruptcy in 2009, claiming the payments had depleted its treasury. But victims argued the province remained wealthy because it controls and owns Gonzaga University, Gonzaga Preparatory School, Seattle University and other schools and properties. Many of the abuses happened in remote villages and on reservations. The order was accused of using those areas as dumping grounds for problem priests.

Note: For more on sexual abuse scandals, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Jesuits to Elect a New 'Black Pope'
2008-01-04, Time Magazine
Posted: 2014-01-06 16:04:14
http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1700157,00.html

Just down the block from St. Peter's Square, church elders — though not all so old, and without a Cardinal among them — have begun gathering for a closed-door meeting to elect the man dubbed the "black pope." That's the moniker historically assigned to the leader of the Jesuit order: for the color of the simple priestly vestments he keeps on wearing, for his lifetime posting, and for the planetary influence he carries. Though more recently established, more traditionalist movements and religious orders such as Opus Dei and the Legionaries of Christ have gotten more attention of late, the Jesuits are still far and away the largest clerical order in the Church. The election for the latest successor of St. Ignatius, the 16th century founder of the Jesuits, will take place in the days following [the] opening of the 35th General Congregation, a meeting of 226 delegates elected from the order's geographical "provinces" around the world. The voting begins only after four days of what in Latin is called "murmuratio" or private discussions among the delegates about necessary requisites and possible candidates for the job. Anyone showing any sign of ambition is automatically disqualified. Then, after a prayer to the Holy Spirit and oath of allegiance, the voting is carried out with secret written ballots. Like the Cardinal electors in a papal conclave, the Jesuit delegates will be considering candidates' prayerfulness, leadership and organizational capacity, language skills and geography. The order was founded with a special mission to directly serve the Pontiff, and has been dubbed the "Pope's cavalry," engendering suspicion in the past of conspiracies and secret powers.

Note: For an inside scoop on the deeper power of the "black pope" and the powerful role he plays, click here.




Dark Side of Dubai's Boomtown
2006-11-17, ABC News
Posted: 2014-01-06 15:58:22
http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=2663252

In the world of thoroughbred racing, the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohamed, has spared no expense in making himself a big man. The sheikh's taking the same no expense spared approach to promoting Dubai around the world. Prominent figures, including former President Bill Clinton, have been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to speak, or act as consultants. President Bush's brother Neil was a guest of the royal family last year. And as Dubai grows from desert town to boomtown, again, no expense is being spared. Just putting up the world's tallest building isn't enough. The building will be twice this height when completed next year. One hundred sixty floors of the most luxurious apartments and offices the world has ever seen. All being built, it turns out, by workers who on average make less than a dollar an hour. Behind the glitzy world of Dubai are some 500,000 foreign workers who human rights groups say live in virtual enslavement. A report out just this week from the group Human Rights Watch concludes workers putting up Dubai's soaring towers are being systematically cheated and abused, with the sheikh's government looking the other way.

Note: If you want to see how deep this ugly hole goes, don't miss the eye-opening ABC News video at this link.




2013: Fewest Police Deaths by Firearms Since 1887
2013-12-30, ABC News/Associated Press
Posted: 2014-01-06 15:56:45
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/2013-fewest-police-deaths-firearms-1887-21...

The number of law-enforcement officers killed by firearms in 2013 fell to levels not seen since the 19th century, according to a [new] report. The annual report from the nonprofit National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund also found that deaths in the line of duty generally fell by 8 percent and were the fewest since 1959. According to the report, 111 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officers were killed in the line of duty nationwide this past year, compared to 121 in 2012. Forty-six officers were killed in traffic related accidents, and 33 were killed by firearms. The number of firearms deaths fell 33 percent in 2013 and was the lowest since 1887. The report credits an increased culture of safety among law-enforcement agencies, including increased use of bulletproof vests, that followed a spike in law-enforcement deaths in 2011. Since 2011, officer fatalities across all categories have decreased by 34 percent, and firearms deaths have dropped by 54 percent. Fourteen officers died from heart attacks that occurred while performing their duties.

Note: Violent crime rates have dropped dramatically in the last 20 years, which is one of the least reported good news stories. For more on this, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




What Would You Do? Interracial Couple Faces Criticism
2013-12-10, ABC News
Posted: 2014-01-06 15:53:10
http://abcnews.go.com/WhatWouldYouDo/video/interracial-couple-faces-criticism...

It was a simple idea, an interracial couple ridiculed at a barber shop ... in the heart of Harlem. It resonated throughout the internet with millions of hits and comments like, "there may be hope for us yet" and "everyone should watch this!" Rachel is an actor playing a hairdresser who has her eye on a new customer. Gabriel [also an actor] has a girlfriend and when she shows up, it's a rude awakening for Rachel. "Wait, what? You're with a white girl?" If you saw this woman berating an interracial couple, what would you do? [Unsuspecting customer] Denise is so upset there is nothing holding her back. "She's ignorant. I'm letting you know, black girl to another black girl. You sound stupid. As much criticism we went through as a people you're going to do it to the next person. Who gives you that right?" But nothing prepared us for this last woman. Marcia, an HR executive and diversity trainer cannot believe what she's hearing. She tries to get to the bottom of Rachel's intolerance. "Where is your caring and loving heart. If she was laying in the street bleeding would you help her? Let's try to rise together. She wants Rachel to apologize. "Yes, you should, while it's still on your spirit so you can sleep better tonight. Come on. Go up to her. ... That's what works for us. HUGS, Helping Us Grow Spiritually." Why did [Marcia] get involved? "Sometimes you have to step up so that you don't fall back. It hurt me because that's not what I'm about." So many people stepped forward against hatred and bigotry, a sermon at the barber shop now ringing through the streets of harlem and beyond.

Note: Don't miss the great video of this awesomely inspiring episode of "What Would You Do?" which restores hope in human nature. You can find it at the link above. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Prison Gardens Grow New Lives for Inmates
2013-10-23, ABC News blog
Posted: 2014-01-06 15:51:54
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2013/10/prison-gardens-grow-new-lives-f...

From Enfield, Conn., to New York City and the San Francisco Bay, lush gardens filled with ripe fruits, vegetables and flowers are growing in unexpected places — prison yards. Prisons use them to rehabilitate inmates and to teach them basic landscaping skills that they can use to get jobs. For the last three years, all 18 state prisons in Connecticut have had garden programs. None cost taxpayers money. Last year, Connecticut prisons produced more than 35,000 pounds of produce – saving taxpayers $20,000 a year by putting produce back into the prison system. “We believe that everybody has a heart and everybody has a chance for transformation,” said Beth Waitkus, the director of the Insight Garden Program that started 10 years ago at San Quentin prison. “What happens with gardening is … they reconnect to themselves. They reconnect to their feelings. They reconnect to each other as a community, a small community in the prison, and they really reconnect to nature. And, I think that offers a huge opportunity for transformation when we reconnect to ourselves and to the natural world. While Waitkus spends her time in San Quentin teaching inmates how to plant flowers, take care of soil and prune plants, she also keeps the connection strong once they leave prison. Nationally, the recidivism rate is more than 60 percent, according to the 2011 Annual Recidivism Report. For garden prisoners at San Quentin, Waitkus said the return rate is less than 10 percent, and most other prison gardens report return rates in the single digits. In Connecticut, officials say not one of the garden graduates has returned.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




An Early Eco-City Faces the Future
2012-02-16, New York Times
Posted: 2014-01-06 15:50:20
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/16/garden/an-early-eco-city-faces-the-future.h...

Occupying the middle of nowhere must have appealed to the students, architects and seekers of the 1970s who founded Arcosanti, an “urban laboratory” in the desert 70 miles north of Phoenix. Above all, they were able to join an ongoing colloquy with the city’s visionary designer, Paolo Soleri. In a cosmic language of his own invention..., Mr. Soleri proselytized for a carless society in harmony with the natural world. Over the course of 40 years, some 7,000 souls would come and go. For the most part, though, they left. And last fall, Mr. Soleri joined this group himself, retiring at age 92 as the president of the parent Cosanti Foundation. The foundation’s new president, Jeff Stein, 60, [was] formerly dean of the Boston Architectural College. But if Mr. Stein can’t miraculously transform Arcosanti into a dense eco-city for 5,000 residents — and that was always Mr. Soleri’s plan — what should it become instead? Whatever Mr. Stein may wish to do, for now it will have to be accomplished with an operating budget of less than $1 million. His first job, perhaps, is to become an ambassador: to remind the world that Arcosanti exists as a going concern. Some 25,000 [visitors] stop here each year. 56 inspired souls ... continue to live and work and dream in the Arcosanti that exists today.

Note: For a beautiful slide show of this most unusual place, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




100 Years Later, The Federal Reserve Has Failed At Everything It's Tried
2013-12-20, Forbes
Posted: 2013-12-30 16:33:02
http://www.forbes.com/sites/markhendrickson/2013/12/20/100-years-later-the-fe...

On Dec. 23, 1913, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Owen Glass Act, creating the Federal Reserve. As we note its centennial, what has the Fed accomplished during the last 100 years? The stated original purposes were to protect the soundness of the dollar and banks and also to lessen the jarring ups and downs of the business cycle. Oops. Under the Fed’s supervision, boom and bust cycles have continued. Three of them have been severe: the Great Depression, the stagflationary period of 1974-82, and the current “Great Recession.” Bank failures have occurred in alarmingly high numbers. Depending on what measurements are used, the dollar has lost between 95 and 98 percent of its purchasing power. (Amazingly, the Fed’s official position today is that inflation is not high enough, so the erosion of the dollar continues as a matter of policy.) Having failed to achieve its original goals, the Fed also has had a miserable record in accomplishing later goals. The 1970 amendments to the Federal Reserve Act stipulated that the Fed should “promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.” In baseball parlance, the Fed has been “0-for-three.” So, what has the Fed accomplished during its century of existence? Well, it has become adept at bailing out mismanaged banks. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, the Fed orchestrated the big bailout of Wall Street. Politically, the Fed is repugnant. Its chairman is commonly referred to as the second most powerful person in the country. In a democratic republic, should the second most powerful policymaker be unelected?

Note: How remarkable for Forbes to publish an article chastising the Fed! The times are a changin'! For an essay by noted financial researcher Ellen Brown on this occasion, click here. For more on the collusion between government and the biggest banks, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Stealth Surprises in NSA Report Take on Non-NSA Spying
2013-12-20, ABC News
Posted: 2013-12-30 16:31:41
http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/stealth-surprises-nsa-report-nsa-spying/story?i...

The White House's expert NSA panel may have made headlines ... for telling President Barack Obama to knock off the collection of Americans' meta-data, but surveillance experts said they were surprised that the panel also took to task some controversial non-NSA-related spy tactics as well. One recommendation was to impose much stricter oversight on the FBI's ability to issue National Security Letters (NSLs), which have been used to obtain telephone call records and credit reports in terrorism and espionage cases. Another even more peculiar recommendation by the five national security experts ... was their advice that "governments" shouldn't hack into bank accounts and drain funds. "Governments should not use their offensive cyber capabilities to change the amounts held in financial accounts or otherwise manipulate the financial systems," the unanimous Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies report warned Obama. "That was a strangely specific recommendation for something nobody was talking about," Kel McClanahan, executive director of government transparency group National Security Counselors, told ABC News. Michelle Richardson, the American Civil Liberties Union's legislative council in Washington, also said the findings on "NSLs" and government hacking were unexpected -- but welcomed.

Note: The fact that this expert panel would even mention governments manipulating financial accounts suggests that if it hasn't already happened, some were seriously considering this. For lots more on this strange news, click here. For more on the realities of intelligence agency activities, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.





 

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