Machine Reads Minds, Drug Industry Manipulates Congress, Widening Income Gap
Revealing News Articles
April 4, 2007
Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on a machine that reads minds, the drug industry's manipulations of Congress, the widening income gap, 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. Key sentences are highlighted for those with limited time. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
Under The Influence
April 2, 2007, CBS News
If you have ever wondered why the cost of prescription drugs in the United States are the highest in the world or why it's illegal to import cheaper drugs from Canada or Mexico, you need look no further than the pharmaceutical lobby and its influence in Washington, D.C. Congressmen are outnumbered two to one by lobbyists for an industry that spends roughly a $100 million a year in campaign contributions and lobbying expenses to protect its profits. One reason [drug company] profits have exceeded Wall Street expectations is the Medicare prescription drug bill ... passed three-and-a-half years ago. The unorthodox roll call on one of the most expensive bills ever placed before the House of Representatives began in the middle of the night. The only witnesses were congressional staffers, hundreds of lobbyists, and U.S. Representatives like Dan Burton, R-Ind., and Walter Jones, R-N.C. "The pharmaceutical lobbyists wrote the bill," says Jones. Why did the vote finally take place at 3 a.m.? "They didn't want on national television in primetime," according to Burton. "I've been in politics for 22 years," says Jones, "and it was the ugliest night I have ever seen." Jones says the arm-twisting was horrible. It certainly wasn't ugly for the drug lobby which ... has been a source of lucrative employment opportunities for congressmen when they leave office. In all, at least 15 congressional staffers, congressmen and federal officials left to go to work for the pharmaceutical industry, whose profits were increased by several billion dollars. "They have unlimited resources," Burton says. "And when they push real hard to get something accomplished in the Congress of the United States, they can get it done."
Note: This article also states that the Medicare prescription bill "was the largest entitlement program in more than 40 years, and the debate broke down along party lines." Usually Republicans are against entitlement programs while Democrats support them. Why was it the opposite in this case? Could it be that big industry made huge profits from the passage of this bill? For lots more, click here.
Man with tuberculosis jailed for not wearing mask
April 3, 2007, CNN/Associated Press
Behind the county hospital's tall cinderblock walls, a 27-year-old tuberculosis patient ... sits in a jail cell equipped with a ventilation system that keeps germs from escaping. Robert Daniels has been locked up indefinitely, perhaps for the rest of his life, since last July. But he has not been charged with a crime. Instead, he suffers from an extensively drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis. It is considered virtually untreatable. County health authorities obtained a court order to lock him up as a danger to the public because ... he did not heed doctors' instructions to wear a mask in public. "I'm being treated worse than an inmate," Daniels said. "I'm all alone. Four walls. Even the door to my room has been locked. I haven't seen my reflection in months." He said sheriff's deputies will not let him take a shower -- he cleans himself with wet wipes -- and have taken away his television, radio, personal phone and computer. His only visitors are masked medical staff members who come in to give him his medication. Though Daniels' confinement is extremely rare, health experts say it is a situation that U.S. public health officials may have to confront more and more because of the spread of drug-resistant TB and the emergence of diseases such as SARS and avian flu.
Note: Are we being prepared for mass quarantines and imprisonment due to disease? For more, click here.
Income Gap Is Widening, Data Shows
March 29, 2007, New York Times
Income inequality grew significantly in 2005, with the top 1 percent of Americans – those with incomes that year of more than $348,000 – receiving their largest share of national income since 1928. The top 10 percent, roughly those earning more than $100,000, also reached a level of income share not seen since before the Depression. While total reported income in the United States increased almost 9 percent in 2005, the most recent year for which such data is available, average incomes for those in the bottom 90 percent dipped slightly compared with the year before, dropping $172, or 0.6 percent. The gains went largely to the top 1 percent, whose incomes rose to an average of more than $1.1 million each, an increase of more than $139,000, or about 14 percent. The new data also shows that the top 300,000 Americans collectively enjoyed almost as much income as the bottom 150 million Americans. The top group received 440 times as much as the average person in the bottom half earned, nearly doubling the gap from 1980. The disparities may be even greater. The [IRS] estimates that it is able to accurately tax 99 percent of wage income but that it captures only about 70 percent of business and investment income, most of which flows to upper-income individuals. For Americans in the middle, the share of income taken by federal taxes has been essentially unchanged across four decades. By comparison, it has fallen by half for those at the very top of the income ladder. [Incomes of] the top tenth of a percent and top one-hundredth of a percent ... soared by about a fifth in one year, largely because of the rising stock market and increased business profits.
Police Log Confirms FBI Role In Arrests
April 3, 2007, Washington Post
A secret FBI intelligence unit helped detain a group of war protesters in a downtown Washington parking garage in April 2002 and interrogated some of them on videotape about their political and religious beliefs. [Washington] D.C. police said authorities only recently found the logs of police responses to that day's events. That discovery came after three years of police assurances in federal court that no such records or logs existed showing the FBI's role. The FBI and D.C. police said they had no records of such an incident. And police told a federal court that no FBI agents were present when officers arrested more than 20 protesters that afternoon for trespassing; police viewed them as suspicious for milling around the parking garage entrance. Similar intelligence-gathering operations have been reported in New York, where a local police intelligence unit tried to infiltrate groups planning to protest at the Republican National Convention in 2004, and in Colorado, where records surfaced showing that the FBI collected names and license plates of people protesting timber industry practices at a 2002 industry convention.
Fastest Train in the World Hits France
April 3, 2007, ABC News
France's famous high-speed train, the TGV, broke its 17-year-old world speed record today when it hit a top speed of 357.2 mph. Another French train held the previous rail train record, set in 1990, of 320.2 mph. Normal TGV trains have a cruising speed of 186 mph. Japan holds the absolute speed record for a train, with its magnetically levitated Maglev train that floats over a guideway on a magnetic field without ever touching the track. The Maglev set a record of 361 mph in 2003.
Note: A CNN report states that the fastest train in the U.S. is the Acela, with a top speed of 150 mph. The same report notes "the top speed for most passenger trains outside the Northeast Corridor ... is 79 mph." Another CNN article comments "Japan's Shinkansen trains, introduced just before the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, regularly hit 186 mph." Why are American trains so backward compared to the rest of the world? Could it have anything to do with oil? For more, click here.
Can Rumi save us now?
April 1, 2007, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
The Persian poet Rumi was surrounded by news of terrorism. Mass murders from war -- what today would be called genocide and ethnic cleansing -- were a routine part of Rumi's 13th-century world. So, where's the bloodshed in Rumi's writing? Rumi, a man so advanced in Islamic training that he could issue fatwas, divorced himself from talk of revenge, retribution and eye-for-an-eye killings. Like Jesus, Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., Rumi insisted violence was an unsatisfying way of resolving issues. Sentiments like that have turned Rumi into one of America's best-selling poets -- someone whose thoughts on love and other matters are revered by hundreds of thousands of readers. Interest in the mystic from Persia (now Iran) -- in his all-inclusive message that the faithful of all religions have a common humanity -- has mushroomed in the past six years. Go to Borders, Barnes & Noble or any neighborhood bookstore, and you're likely to find many more Rumi titles than books by Robert Frost or Walt Whitman. So, who is Rumi? He was a mystic and a scholar. He was an adherent of religious Islam ... who, in the later part of his life, famously said, "I am not a Jew nor a Christian, not a Zoroastrian nor a Moslem." The love and longing that Rumi felt was everywhere, including his soul. "Keep in mind that the holy Quran states there is no force in religion," says Naini, a Rumi expert who has lectured on the poet at the United Nations. "Rumi wants to remind us that we are all children and the creation of God, regardless of religion, race, color, nationality, etc." In the current climate of war and warmongering ... Rumi's biggest gift to readers today may be his emphasis on the power of love and tolerance.
Japan's Textbooks Reflect Revised History
April 1, 2007, New York Times
In another sign that Japan is pressing ahead in revising its history of World War II, new high school textbooks will no longer acknowledge that the Imperial Army was responsible for a major atrocity in Okinawa, the government announced late Friday. The Ministry of Education ordered publishers to delete passages stating that the Imperial Army ordered civilians to commit mass suicide during the Battle of Okinawa, as the island was about to fall to American troops in the final months of the war. The decision was announced as part of the ministry's annual screening of textbooks used in all public schools. The ministry also ordered changes to other delicate issues to dovetail with government assertions, though the screening is supposed to be free of political interference. The decision on the Battle of Okinawa ... came as a surprise because the ministry had never objected to the description in the past. The fresh denial of the military's responsibility in the Battle of Okinawa and in sexual slavery – long accepted as historical facts – is likely to deepen suspicions in Asia that Tokyo is trying to whitewash its militarist past even as it tries to raise the profile of its current forces. The ministry's new position appeared to discount overwhelming evidence of coercion, particularly the testimony of victims and survivors themselves.
Note: History many times is written -- or in this case re-written -- by those in power.
Former Arizona Governor's Close Encounter With UFO
March 30, 2007, ABC News
For six years, Fife Symington was governor of Arizona. He now says that while he was governor, he had a brush with something not from America or from this planet. "It was absolutely breathtaking," Symington said. "I mean when I saw it, I said this is definitely a UFO. I have never seen anything like this in my life." It was an event that is now the stuff of legend, called the Phoenix Lights. There was video taken in 1997 of those mysterious lights flying in formation in the Arizona night sky, and was witnessed by thousands. Symington recently described his sighting of the Phoenix Lights as "a geometric form with extremely bright lights on the leading edge." That's a different story than Symington gave when he was governor, when he held a fake news conference to present the source of the glowing lights: his chief of staff in a Martian costume. Symington now says that he was just trying to keep everyone calm. The Air Force claimed that the famed Phoenix Lights were nothing more than flares that had been dropped by military aircraft during training exercises. But Symington believes otherwise. "There is always that 5 percent of sightings, which are inexplicable, which leads me to believe there are definitely UFOs," he said. Many people agree with Symington. Just this week, France became the first country to put all its X-files online – about 100,000 documents were released, describing many sightings over the last 70 years. There was so much public interest, the Web site crashed within two hours.
Note: For lots more reliable, verifiable information suggesting a major UFO cover-up, click here.
Pakistan: A Problematic Ally
March 29, 2007, CBS News
Ever since the 9/11 attacks, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has doggedly made the case to Washington that he is the finger in the dike holding back a wave of Islamic extremism. Having successfully argued his own indispensability, General Musharraf has reaped billions of dollars in economic aid and arms sales — while encountering little challenge from Washington over his backsliding from steps toward democratic rule. Military aid to Pakistan grew from under $10 million in the three years prior to 9/11 to more than $4 billion in the three years after. But now it is political protest, fueled by Musharraf's steps to consolidate and extend his power, that is washing over Pakistan. That is presenting the U.S. with a classic dilemma of the war on terrorism: Does a key leader's security value outweigh his authoritarian practices? Earlier this month, Musharraf suspended the country's Supreme Court chief justice. Ever since, Pakistan's middle classes – one of the chief beneficiaries of the military leader's eight-year rule – have taken to the streets. Also fueling the uproar are suspicions that Musharraf is paving the way to another term as both president and chief military leader. Musharraf cited "abuse of power" when he suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry on March 9. Chaudhry had also expressed his view that it was not legal under the constitution for Musharraf to seek another presidential term while remaining the Army chief. The Bush administration has ... has expressed concern over some clashes that have turned violent but has reiterated support for Musharraf as a valuable ally in the war on terror.
Note: Once again security triumphs over democracy as the U.S. pours billions of tax dollars into this dictatorship which has been known to harbor terrorists.
A monstrous war crime
March 28, 2007, The Guardian (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
Our collective failure has been to take our political leaders at their word. This week the BBC reported that the government's own scientists advised ministers that the Johns Hopkins study on Iraq civilian mortality was accurate and reliable. Published in the Lancet ...it estimated that 650,000 Iraqi civilians had died since the American and British led invasion in March 2003. Immediately after publication, the prime minister's official spokesman said that the Lancet's study "was not one we believe to be anywhere near accurate". The foreign secretary ... said that the Lancet figures were "extrapolated" and a "leap". President Bush said: "I don't consider it a credible report". Scientists at the UK's Department for International Development thought differently. They concluded that the study's methods were "tried and tested". Indeed, the Johns Hopkins approach would likely lead to an "underestimation of mortality". The Ministry of Defence's chief scientific adviser ... recommended "caution in publicly criticising the study". When these recommendations went to the prime minister's advisers, they were horrified. Tony Blair was advised to say: "The overriding message is that there are no accurate or reliable figures of deaths in Iraq". At a time when we are celebrating our enlightened abolition of slavery 200 years ago, we are continuing to commit one of the worst international abuses of human rights of the past half-century. Two hundred years from now, the Iraq war will be mourned as the moment when Britain violated its delicate democratic constitution and joined the ranks of nations that use extreme pre-emptive killing as a tactic of foreign policy.
Note: This article is written by Richard Horton, the editor of the highly esteemed British medical journal Lancet.
Does Maya calendar predict 2012 apocalypse?
March 28, 2007, USA Today
With humanity coming up fast on 2012, publishers are helping readers gear up and count down to this mysterious – some even call it apocalyptic – date. Since November, at least three new books on 2012 have arrived in mainstream bookstores. Journalist Lawrence Joseph forecasts widespread catastrophe in Apocalypse 2012: A Scientific Investigation Into Civilization's End. Spiritual healer Andrew Smith predicts a restoration of a "true balance between Divine Feminine and Masculine" in The Revolution of 2012. In 2012, Daniel Pinchbeck anticipates a "change in the nature of consciousness." Each arrives in the wake of the 2006 success of 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, which has been selling thousands of copies a month since its release in May. The books also build on popular interest in the Maya. Authors disagree about what humankind should expect on Dec. 21, 2012, when the Maya's "Long Count" calendar marks the end of a 5,126-year era. Maya civilization, known for advanced writing, mathematics and astronomy, flourished for centuries in Mesoamerica, especially between A.D. 300 and 900. Its Long Count calendar ... tracks more than 5,000 years, then resets at year zero. Publishers seem to be courting readers who believe humanity is creating its own ecological disasters and desperately needs ancient indigenous wisdom. Part of the 2012 mystique stems from the stars. On the winter solstice in 2012, the sun will be aligned with the center of the Milky Way for the first time in about 26,000 years. This means that "whatever energy typically streams to Earth from the center of the Milky Way will indeed be disrupted on 12/21/12 at 11:11 p.m. Universal Time," Joseph writes.
Note: There are many misconceptions spreading about 2012. Some say the Mayan calendar ends in 2012, when in fact the Mayan calendar never ends. The "alautun," for example is a Mayan unit of time measure equal to over 60 million years. The claim that the sun will align with the center of the Milky way is 2012 is also a misconception. Calculations of this date are not exact, with one expert giving a date of 1998 plus or minus 18 years. Many seem to want something big to happen in 2012, when perhaps the most important time on which to focus on is this moment, right now.
Unsung fortune: A rich man's secret
March 26, 2007, Philadelphia Inquirer
Hal Taussig wears baggy jeans and fraying work shirts that Goodwill might reject. His shoes have been resoled three times. At age 81, he doesn't own a car. He performs errands and commutes to the office by bicycle. And he has given away millions. Given the fortune that Taussig has made through Untours, his unique travel business, and has given away through the Untours Foundation, you could call him the Un-millionaire. If he so chose, he could be living in a Main Line mansion and driving a Mercedes. But he considers money and what he calls "stuff," beyond what he needs to survive, a burden, an embarrassment. In many respects, he's a 21st-century Thoreau. "Let your capital be simplicity and contentment," the sage of Walden Pond wrote. "Those are my sentiments precisely," says Taussig, who has three children, five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. He directs the Untours Foundation, into which he pours all his profits - $5 million since 1992. The money is used to make low-interest loans to ventures and projects that help the needy and jobless - from a craft store in Hanoi to a home-health-care cooperative in Philadelphia. "I invest in entrepreneurial efforts to help poor people leverage themselves out of poverty." "In America, we worship success," he says. "It's a shoddy ethic that leads us to value who we are by what we are." The motto of the Untours Foundation is "a hand up, not a handout." It provides low-interest loans, here and abroad, to create jobs, build low-income housing, and support fair-trade products: goods such as coffee that are sold at a price that guarantees producers and workers a fair wage and decent livelihood.
Note: For an easy way you can use your investments to help families pull out of poverty, click here.
My National Security Letter Gag Order
March 23, 2007, Washington Post
The Justice Department's inspector general revealed on March 9 that the FBI has been systematically abusing one of the most controversial provisions of the USA Patriot Act: the expanded power to issue "national security letters." It no doubt surprised most Americans to learn that between 2003 and 2005 the FBI issued more than 140,000 specific demands under this provision. It did not, however, come as any surprise to me. Three years ago, I received a national security letter (NSL) in my capacity as the president of a small Internet access and consulting business. The letter ordered me to provide sensitive information about one of my clients. There was no indication that a judge had reviewed or approved the letter, and it turned out that none had. The letter came with a gag provision that prohibited me from telling anyone, including my client, that the FBI was seeking this information. Based on the context of the demand -- a context that the FBI still won't let me discuss publicly -- I suspected that the FBI was abusing its power. Living under the gag order has been stressful and surreal. Under the threat of criminal prosecution, I must hide all aspects of my involvement in the case -- including the mere fact that I received an NSL -- from my colleagues, my family and my friends. When I meet with my attorneys I cannot tell my girlfriend where I am going or where I have been. I hide any papers related to the case in a place where she will not look. When clients and friends ask me whether I am the one challenging the constitutionality of the NSL statute, I have no choice but to look them in the eye and lie. At some point -- a point we passed long ago -- the secrecy itself becomes a threat to our democracy.
O'Donnell, Sheen Back 9/11 Conspiracy Theories
March 22, 2007, WCBS News - New York CBS Affiliate
A controversial new film about 9/11 is raising eyebrows, not only for its content, but also for the people involved in the project: Rosie O'Donnell and Charlie Sheen. The sitcom actor and talk show hostess have both become spokespeople for the 9/11 conspiracy movement. The video "Loose Change" ... has been floating around the Internet for years, but now Sheen is in talks with Magnolia Pictures to narrate a new version of the video and redistribute it. Sheen believes the government may have been behind the attacks. O'Donnell has been using her Web site to reprint excerpts from the 9/11 conspiracy site, Whatreallyhappened.com. Magnolia Films founder Mark Cuban, who also owns the Dallas Mavericks, said they're also looking for a film telling the other side of the story, saying "we like controversial subjects."
Note: To view this film which has awoken tens of millions to the 9/11 cover-up, click here.
The brain scan that can read people's intentions
February 9, 2007, The Guardian (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
A team of world-leading neuroscientists has developed a powerful technique that allows them to look deep inside a person's brain and read their intentions before they act. They have devised a system that analyses brain activity to work out a person's intentions before they have acted on them. The research breaks controversial new ground in scientists' ability to probe people's minds and eavesdrop on their thoughts, and raises serious ethical issues over how brain-reading technology may be used in the future. The research builds on a series of recent studies in which brain imaging has been used to identify tell-tale activity linked to lying, violent behaviour and racial prejudice. The computer learns unique patterns of brain activity or signatures that correspond to different thoughts. It then scans the brain to look for these signatures and predicts what the person is thinking. More advanced versions may be able to read complex thoughts and even pick them up before the person is conscious of them. Barbara Sahakian, a professor of neuro-psychology at Cambridge University, said the rapid advances in neuroscience had forced scientists in the field to set up their own neuroethics society late last year to consider the ramifications of their research.
Note: Remember that secret projects within the military and other branches of government are almost always at least a decade ahead of public research. For important, reliable information on government-sponsored mind control programs, click here.
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Machine Reads Minds, Drug Industry Manipulates Congress, Widening Income Gap