Health Industry Swarms Congress, Missing Bailout Funds, U.S. Claims Private Computers
Revealing News Articles
August 17, 2009
Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed, which include revealing information on the thousands of health industry lobbyists swarming Congress, the Treasury Department's refusal to provide information about how bailout funds have been spent, the Transportation Department's attempt to claim ownership of private computers, and more. Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails to function, click here. The most important sentences are highlighted. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
Special note: For a Fox News affiliate report on an amazing new energy invention by Paul Pantone, with information on how to reproduce it yourself, click here. If anyone is willing to transcribe this video and send it to us, we will include it in one of our news summaries. And if you want to be blown away by what's possible on a bicycle, watch the six-minute video available here.
Health Care Battle: Lobbyists Outnumber Lawmakers
August 14, 2009, ABC News
The time, money and manpower that lobbying firms devote to courting lawmakers reveals an investment inside the Beltway of staggering proportions. For every lawmaker in Congress, there are about six lobbyists pushing their health care priorities, according to a Bloomberg News investigation released today. That's about 3,300 registered health care lobbyists working Capitol Hill. A total of $263 million has been spent on health lobbying in 2009, according to the latest data from the Center for Responsive Politics. That's more money spent on health than any other sector this year. The list of the top 20 spenders in 2009 across all sectors includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at No. 1, spending more than $26 million, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) at No. 3, spending $13 million, and Pfizer in the No. 6 spot, spending $11 million. Also joining the ranks of the top 20 spenders this year are Blue Cross Blue Shield, AARP, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association and Eli Lilly, each having doled out between $7 and $10 million this year. Wendell Potter, a 20-year health insurance veteran and former CIGNA vice president, ... spoke out about insurance companies operating behind the scenes. Potter recalled previous health care fights, saying insurers have undoubtedly tried to shape the battle. "It is usually done through the PR firms that work for them," Potter said. "They want to keep their fingerprints off stuff like that. "With this history, you can rest assured that the industry is up to the same dirty tricks, using the same devious PR practices it has used for many years to kill reform this year, or even better, to shape it so that it benefits insurance companies and their Wall Street investors far more than average Americans," he said.
Note: For lots more on the corrupt medical/governmental complex, click here.
Where did that bank bailout go? Watchdogs aren't sure
August 9, 2009, Sacramento Bee/McClatchy News
Although hundreds of well-trained eyes are watching over the $700 billion that Congress last year decided to spend bailing out the nation's financial sector, it's still difficult to answer some of the most basic questions about where the money went. Despite a new oversight panel, a new special inspector general, the existing Government Accountability Office and eight other inspectors general, those charged with minding the store say they don't have all the weapons they need. Ten months into the Troubled Asset Relief Program, some members of Congress say that some oversight of bailout dollars has been so lacking that it's essentially worthless. "TARP has become a program in which taxpayers are not being told what most of the TARP recipients are doing with their money, have still not been told how much their substantial investments are worth, and will not be told the full details of how their money is being invested," a special inspector general over the program reported last month. The "very credibility" of the program is at stake, it said. The program was controversial from the start. Critics say it's unfairly rewarded the big banks and Wall Street firms that pushed the economy to the brink.
Note: For many revealing reports from reliable sources on the hidden realities of the Wall Street bailout, click here.
President Obama in 'snooping' row over US car scrappage scheme
August 7, 2009, Times of London (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
President Obama's effort to revive the American car industry with a "cash-for-clunkers" scheme has become embroiled in a row over government snooping. The problems arose after the Department of Transportation claimed that when dealers logged on to the clunkers website their computers – and everything on them – become the property of the US Government. "This application provides access to the Department of Transportation (DoT) CARS system," the warning message read. "When logged on to the CARS system, your computer is considered a Federal computer system and is the property of the United States Government. Any or all uses of this system and all files on this system may be intercepted, monitored, recorded, copied, audited, inspected, and disclosed to authorised CARS, DoT, and law enforcement personnel, as well as authorised officials of other agencies, both domestic and foreign." By the time the disclaimer had been circulated widely on blogs, posted on YouTube and become the subject of a ferocious on-air editorial by the conservative Fox News host Glenn Beck, the Department of Transportation had issued a statement saying that "we are working to revise the language". No explanation was given as to why the original disclaimer was worded so aggressively. Members of the general public do not need to log on to the website so were not asked to agree to the same conditions as dealers. Mr Obama's ... critics argue that the controversy is another example of the intrusiveness that will accompany the President's plans to expand the role of government in the lives of Americans.
Note: Watch a revealing Fox news video report of this unbelievable development at this link. Big Brother at work.
Health care alone can't make nation healthier, experts say
August 12, 2009, Sacramento Bee/McClatchy News
Ask around for the healthiest country in the world, and the United States won't come close to topping the list. People live longer in just about every industrialized nation, from Canada to our north, throughout much of Europe, and around the Pacific in Japan, Australia and New Zealand. New mothers and their babies also face a rockier start here, with U.S. infant and maternal death rates double some of our industrialized peers. As debate swirls in Washington and at town halls nationwide over health care reform, there is also a more fundamental question – what about health? "If you want to see dramatic changes in health, you're not going to get there even by doubling the efficiency and effectiveness of the health care system," said Dr. Richard Kravitz, a University of California, Davis, professor of medicine whose research interests include quality of care. "When you need it, you really need it ... but in general, the benefits of medical care to populations are a little bit overrated," he said. When taken all together, the other factors that play a bigger role include education, income, toxins in the environment, crime, violence, family structure, stress, obesity, nutritious food and exercise. Across large populations, he said, numerous studies suggest that medical care contributes only modestly to overall health, perhaps somewhere between 10 percent and 25 percent. Health care for all would provide a "very large" improvement for some deprived populations, Kravitz said, but "a surtax on high fructose corn syrup would probably be more effective ... than anything we could do for the health care system, just because of obesity."
Note: For many highly informative reports on health issues, click here.
2 U.S. Architects of Harsh Tactics in 9/11's Wake
August 12, 2009, New York Times
Jim Mitchell and Bruce Jessen were military retirees and psychologists, on the lookout for business opportunities. They found an excellent customer in the Central Intelligence Agency, where in 2002 they became the architects of the most important interrogation program in the history of American counterterrorism. They had never carried out a real interrogation, only mock sessions in the military training they had overseen. They had no relevant scholarship; their Ph.D. dissertations were on high blood pressure and family therapy. They had no language skills and no expertise on Al Qaeda. But they had psychology credentials. Seven months after President Obama ordered the C.I.A. interrogation program closed, its fallout still commands attention. In the next few weeks, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is expected to decide whether to begin a criminal torture investigation, in which the psychologists' role is likely to come under scrutiny. The Justice Department ethics office is expected to complete a report on the lawyers who pronounced the methods legal. And the C.I.A. will soon release a highly critical 2004 report on the program by the agency's inspector general. The psychologists' ... fall from official grace has been as swift as their rise in 2002. With a possible criminal inquiry looming, Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Jessen have retained a well-known defense lawyer, Henry F. Schuelke III. Mr. Schuelke said they would not comment for this article.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on the torture employed by the CIA and US military in "the war on terror," click here.
U.S. battling CIA rendition case in 3 courts
August 10, 2009, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
The Obama administration is fighting on multiple fronts - in courts in San Francisco, Washington and London - to keep an official veil of secrecy over the treatment of a former prisoner who says he was tortured at Guantanamo Bay. The administration has asked a federal appeals court in San Francisco to reconsider its ruling allowing Binyam Mohamed and four other former or current prisoners to sue a Bay Area company for allegedly flying them to overseas torture chambers for the CIA. Most recently, a British government lawyer told her nation's High Court last month that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had threatened to limit U.S. intelligence-sharing with Great Britain if the court disclosed details of Mohamed's treatment in Guantanamo. The British court declared in August 2008 that there was evidence Mohamed had been tortured, but deleted the details from its public version of the ruling at the Bush administration's insistence. Mohamed, 30, an Ethiopian refugee and British resident, ... and four other men have sued Jeppesen Dataplan, a San Jose subsidiary of the Boeing Co., for its alleged role in arranging their flights for the CIA. A Council of Europe report in 2007 described Jeppesen as the CIA's aviation services provider. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco reinstated the suit in April, rejecting arguments originally made by the Bush administration that the case posed grave risks to national security. Obama administration lawyers endorsed those arguments at a hearing in February and have asked the court for a rehearing. Mohamed's lawyers, Clive Stafford Smith and Ahmad Ghappour of the British human-rights group Reprieve, were threatened with jail after drafting a letter to Obama in February urging him to release the evidence of their client's treatment in U.S. custody or to authorize Britain to do so.
Note: For many illuminating reports from major media sources on government secrecy, click here.
Judge: CIA interrogations not relevant to 9/11 accused's sanity
August 10, 2009, Miami Herald
U.S. military defense lawyers for accused 9/11 conspirator Ramzi bin al Shibh cannot learn what interrogation techniques CIA agents used on the Yemeni before he was moved to Guantanamo to be tried as a terrorist, an Army judge has ruled. Bin al Shibh, 37, is one of five men charged in a complex death penalty prosecution by military commission currently under review by the Obama administration. But his lawyers say he suffers a "delusional disorder," and hallucinations in his cell at Guantanamo may leave him neither sane enough to act as his own attorney nor to stand trial. Prison camp doctors treat him with psychotropic drugs. Army Col. Stephen Henley, the military judge on the case, has scheduled a competency hearing for mid-September. Meantime, the judge ruled on Aug. 6 that "evidence of specific techniques employed by various governmental agencies to interrogate the accused is . . . not essential to a fair resolution of the incompetence determination hearing in this case." Prosecutors had invoked a national security privilege in seeking to shield the details from defense lawyers. Many of the techniques used on the men have already been made public. They included waterboarding, sleep deprivation and sexual humiliation methods meant to break a captive's will. But Navy Cmdr. Suzanne Lachelier, the Yemeni's Pentagon appointed defense attorney, said court-approved mental health experts -- as well as the judge -- need to know the specifics to assess her client's mental illness. If he suffers post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his CIA interrogations, there may be PTSD treatments that could make him competent.
Note: For many reports from reliable sources on the hidden realities of "the war on terror," click here.
A Window Into C.I.A.'s Embrace of Secret Jails
August 13, 2009, New York Times
In March 2003, two C.I.A. officials surprised Kyle D. Foggo, then the chief of the agency's main European supply base, with an unusual request. They wanted his help building secret prisons to hold some of the world's most threatening terrorists. Mr. Foggo, nicknamed Dusty, ... agreed to the assignment. With that, Mr. Foggo went on to oversee construction of three detention centers, each built to house about a half-dozen detainees. The existence of the network of prisons to detain and interrogate [captives] has long been known, but details about them have been a closely guarded secret. In recent interviews, though, several former intelligence officials have provided a fuller account. Mr. Foggo acknowledged a role, which has never been previously reported. He pleaded guilty last year to a fraud charge involving a contractor that equipped the C.I.A. jails and provided other supplies to the agency, and he is now serving a three-year sentence in a Kentucky prison. Eventually, the agency's network would encompass at least eight detention centers, including one in the Middle East, one each in Iraq and Afghanistan and a maximum-security long-term site at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The C.I.A. has never officially disclosed the exact number of prisoners it once held, but top officials have put the figure at fewer than 100. Mr. Foggo's success in Frankfurt, including his work on the prisons, won him a promotion back in Washington. In November 2004, he was named the C.I.A.'s executive director, in effect its day-to-day administrative chief. "It was like taking a senior NCO and telling him he now runs the regiment," said A. B. Krongard, the C.I.A.'s executive director from 2001 to 2004. "It popped people's eyes."
Note: Kyle "Dusty" Foggo's case is highly unusual. Very few high-level CIA officers have ever been imprisoned for corruption. His predecessor as Executive Director of the CIA, quoted in the article above, A.B. "Buzzy" Krongard, who held the office on 9/11, had been the chief executive of a branch of the investment company which placed the still unexplained "put options" on American and United Airlines stocks the week before the attacks, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars of profits to "unknown" parties.
Ministers must explain destruction of 'torture flight' papers, says panel of MPs
August 9, 2009, The Guardian (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
Ministers must explain why crucial documents relating to CIA "torture flights" that stopped on sovereign British territory were destroyed, a panel of MPs has said. In particular, the MPs ... call for an explanation for the missing papers, which might explain the role of Diego Garcia, the British overseas territory, in the US's "extraordinary rendition" programme. The report says: "We recommend that the government discloses how, why and by whom the records relating to flights through Diego Garcia since the start of 2002 were destroyed." Foreign secretary David Miliband admitted 18 months ago that two US planes refuelled on the Indian Ocean island. The committee now wants a detailed account of the record-keeping and disposal policy regarding flights through the territory and "elsewhere through UK airspace". It also criticises the government's inability to offer assurances that ships anchored outside Diego Garcia's waters were not involved in the rendition programme. "The government must address the use of UK airspace for empty flights that may be part of a rendition circuit," says the report. Amnesty International said the MPs' verdict underlined the need for a full, independent inquiry into the UK's involvement in "war on terror" and human rights abuses. The committee also voiced disquiet over claims that British intelligence officers were complicit in the torture of detainees held overseas. According to documents revealed by the high court last month, an MI5 officer visited Morocco three times during the time British resident Binyam Mohamed claims he was secretly interrogated and tortured there.
Note: For many reports from reliable sources on the hidden realities of "the war on terror," click here.
Wish you weren't here: The devastating effects of the new colonialists
August 9, 2009, The Independent (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
Jacques Diouf, head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, has warned that the world may be slipping into a "neo-colonial" system. The extent of this new colonialism is vast. The buyers are wealthy countries that are unable to grow their own food. The Gulf states are at the forefront of new investments. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar – which between them control nearly 45 per cent of the world's oil – are snapping up agricultural land in fertile countries such as Brazil, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Egypt. But they are also targeting the world's poorest countries, such as Ethiopia, Cameroon, Uganda, Zambia and Cambodia. The amounts of land involved are staggering. South Korean companies have bought 690,000 hectares in Sudan, where at least six other countries are known to have secured large land-holdings – and where food supplies for the local population are among the least secure anywhere in the world. The Saudis are negotiating 500,000 hectares in Tanzania. Firms from the United Arab Emirates have landed 324,000 hectares in Pakistan. But they are not the only buyers. Countries with large populations such as China, South Korea and even India are acquiring swathes of African farmland to produce food for export. The Indian government has lent money to 80 companies to buy 350,000 hectares in Africa and recently lowered the tariffs under which Ethiopian agri-products can enter India. One of the biggest holdings of agriculture land in the world is a Bangalore-based company, Karuturi Global, which has recently bought huge areas in Ethiopia and Kenya. Food is not all the new colonialists are after. About a fifth of the massive new deals are for land on which to grow biofuels.
Swine flu jab link to killer nerve disease: Leaked letter reveals concern of neurologists
August 15, 2009, Daily Mail (One of the U.K.'s most popular newspapers)
A warning that the new swine flu jab is linked to a deadly nerve disease has been sent by the Government to senior neurologists in a confidential letter. The letter from the Health Protection Agency, the official body that oversees public health, has been leaked to The Mail on Sunday, leading to demands to know why the information has not been given to the public before the vaccination of millions of people, including children, begins. [The letter] tells the neurologists that they must be alert for an increase in a brain disorder called Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), which could be triggered by the vaccine. GBS attacks the lining of the nerves, causing paralysis and inability to breathe, and can be fatal. The letter, sent to about 600 neurologists on July 29, is the first sign that there is concern at the highest levels that the vaccine itself could cause serious complications. It refers to the use of a similar swine flu vaccine in the United States in 1976 when: * More people died from the vaccination than from swine flu. * 500 cases of GBS were detected. * The vaccine may have increased the risk of contracting GBS by eight times. * The vaccine was withdrawn after just ten weeks when the link with GBS became clear. * The US Government was forced to pay out millions of dollars to those affected. Concerns have already been raised that the new vaccine has not been sufficiently tested and that the effects, especially on children, are unknown. The British Neurological Surveillance Unit (BNSU), part of the British Association of Neurologists, has been asked to monitor closely any cases of GBS as the vaccine is rolled out. One senior neurologist said last night: 'I would not have the swine flu jab because of the GBS risk.'
Note: For more on the swine flu scare and the dangers of vaccines, click here.
Scientists explore how the humble leaf could power the planet
August 11, 2009, The Guardian (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
It is one of evolution's crowning achievements - a mini green power station and organic factory combined and the source of almost all of the energy that fuels every living thing on the planet. Now scientists developing the next generation of clean power sources are working out how to copy, and ultimately improve upon, the humble leaf. The intricate chemistry involved in photosynthesis, the process where plants use sunlight to convert water and carbon dioxide into sugar, is the most effective solar energy conversion process on Earth. And researchers believe that mimicking parts of it could be the ticket to a limitless supply of clean power. The untapped potential for using the sun's rays is huge. All human activity for a whole year could be powered by the energy contained in the sunlight hitting the Earth in just one hour. Harnessing even a small amount of this to make electricity or useful fuels could satisfy the world's increasing need for energy, predicted to double by 2050, without further endangering the climate. Most solar power systems use silicon wafers to generate electricity directly. But although costs are coming down, these are still too expensive in many cases when compared with fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas. Scientists are keen to develop more efficient and cheaper alternatives sources of energy. At Imperial College London, researchers have embarked on a £1m project to study, and eventually mimic, photosynthesis. Part of a project called the "artificial leaf", involves working out exactly how leaves use sunlight to make useful molecules. The team then plans to build artificial systems that can do the same to generate clean fuels such as hydrogen and methanol. These would then be used in fuel cells to make electricity or directly to power super-clean vehicles..
Note: For more reports from reliable sources on exciting new energy developments, click here.
Taking Charge Taking Charge
August 8, 2009, Sydney Morning Herald (One of Australia's leading newspapers)
Once upon a time, you needed a crystal ball to see the future. Now all you need is a powerpoint. This week in Japan, Nissan unveiled the future of motoring, the production-ready, plug-in, electric family car. Called the Leaf, this spacious five-door hatch promises to usher in a new paradigm of motoring. Its name was chosen to indicate clean air, or, as the company said, because it "purifies air by taking emissions out of the driving experience." It's not a far-off dream of engineers, either. The Leaf will be on the roads in Japan and the US next year. And Nissan has two more EVs (electric vehicles) that are "imminent," as one senior company executive [said]. Simple in concept yet sophisticated in its execution, the car plugs into regular powerpoints to charge its onboard batteries. Unlike hybrids such as Toyota's Prius, Honda's Insight and the forthcoming Holden Volt, the Leaf doesn't require any petrol. It's 100 per cent electric. So far, Nissan, in its alliance with Renault (the two companies share the one chief executive but have separate boards), has signed understandings or agreements with 27 governments around the world to bring in electric cars. For consumers, though, the biggest hurdle will be its price. Rival Mitsubishi has its first all-electric car, the iMiEV, on the cusp of entering Japanese showrooms but, contrary to its diminutive size, it carries a big price tag there -- nearly $60,000 [Australian]. But Nissan is working on the financing details of the Leaf so it costs less to own and run than a comparable petrol car. It's Nissan's EV strategy to take the technology to the masses.
Note: For more reports from reliable sources on exciting new automotive technology and energy developments, click here.
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