Hollywood Sex Abuse Scandals, Montana Bucks Corporations, US Homicides Off Top Deaths List
Revealing News Articles
December 17, 2012
Below are key excerpts of important news articles on Hollywood child sex abuse scandals that are making waves, Montana bucking big corporations with a new elections campaign law, US homicides dropping off the list of top reasons for deaths, 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 for those with limited time. And don't miss the "What you can do" box below the summaries. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
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Special note: To see just how controlled the media is, watch the reporting of many different TV news stations on a single historic event in the three-minute clip available here. If you want to see how much of the world lives, watch this fun and moving documentary of a British bus driver who volunteers to drive a bus in the Philippines for 10 days. For a fun, one-minute video showing a crazy bird who likes to snowboard, click here. For a four-minute video on the transformative power of gratefulness, click here. For an excellent article on the huge disparity in cost of some medical procedures and how you can save lots of money on them, click here.
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Child sexual abuse cases in Hollywood attract attention
January 8, 2012, Los Angeles Times
In his private journal, Jason Michael Handy once described himself as a "pedophile, full blown." His job as a production assistant at one of the nation's most prominent producers of children's television programs, Nickelodeon, gave him access to child actors on and off the set, and allowed him to exchange email addresses and phone numbers with them. He used the hopes of at least two girls who dreamed of careers in TV to sexually exploit them. Handy was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading no contest in 2004 to two felony counts, one of lewd acts on a child and one of distributing sexually explicit material by email, and to a misdemeanor charge related to child sexual exploitation. His arrest and prosecution received scant media attention at the time but are attracting renewed interest now, after the recent arrest of a talent manager on molestation charges and reports by The Times that a registered sex offender was working with children as a casting associate. The Handy case, which in part prompted Nickelodeon to toughen its background checks for all employees, is among at least a dozen child molestation and child pornography prosecutions since 2000 involving actors, managers, production assistants and others in the industry, according to court documents and published accounts.
Note: For released government documents showing sexual abuse in secret mind control programs that make these Hollywood child sex abuse cases look mild in comparison, click here.
Montana bucks U.S. ruling on corporate contributions
January 12, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
The Montana Supreme Court issued a stunning ruling Dec. 30 that rejected arguments that the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark ruling in Citizens United vs. FEC applied to Montana's century-old ban on corporate election spending. The 5-2 ruling overturned a lower court and reinstated Montana's Corrupt Practices Act, a citizen initiative passed to confront some of the most overt corporate corruption in American history. Citizens United struck down a federal law that prohibited corporations from directly spending company funds to advocate for or against political candidates. Justice Kennedy's majority opinion in Citizens United ... asserted that "independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption." That astounding claim promptly birthed super PACs, which can accept unlimited donations to support their favored candidate and attack his or her opponents. By the time the public knows the people or corporations behind the super PAC attacks, four primaries will be complete and the winner may be apparent. The Montana ruling is cause for celebration, but its value can only be realized if other states and courts follow. An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is likely and, without far more visible public advocacy for the democratic republic promised by our Constitution, the Roberts court is unlikely to veer from its agenda of steadily enlarging corporate privilege.
Note: For illuminating analyses from reliable sources of the threats to democracy from corporate money in the US elections, click here.
Homicide Drops off US List of Top Causes of Death
January 11, 2012, ABC News/Associated Press
For the first time in almost half a century, homicide has fallen off the list of the nation's top 15 causes of death. The 2010 list, released by the government [on January 11], reflects at least two major trends: Murders are down, and deaths from certain diseases are on the rise as the population ages, health authorities said. This is the first time since 1965 that homicide failed to make the list, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The government has been keeping a list of the top causes of death since 1949. Homicide has historically ranked fairly low. It was as high as 10th in 1989 and in 1991 through 1993, when the nation saw a surge in youth homicides related to the crack epidemic. In the past decade, homicide's highest ranking was 13th. That was in 2001 and was due in part to the 9/11 attacks. Murders have been declining nationally since 2006, according to FBI statistics. Criminologists have debated the reasons but believe several factors may be at work. Among them: Abusive relationships don't end in murder as often as they once did, thanks to increased incarcerations and better, earlier support for victims. "We've taken the home out of homicide," said James Alan Fox, a Northeastern University criminologist who studies murder data.
Note: For lots more inspiring, yet little-reported news on the major drop in violent crimes (over 60%) in the last two decades, click here.
Derivatives industry eyes UK Lehman appeal ruling
December 14, 2011, Reuters News Agency
Regulators and the world's $700 trillion derivatives industry are closely watching a legal battle that began in Britain ... and which will fuel a sea change in swaps payouts. Four cases, including one involving a unit of collapsed U.S. bank Lehman Brothers, are being presented in a five-day hearing at the UK Court of Appeal. All revolve around payouts under the derivatives industry's "master agreement", a framework contract. A bank that trades swaps with another bank typically has one master agreement which sets the terms for millions of transactions between them. The master agreement ... covers around 90 percent of off-exchange derivatives transactions. Under the agreement, Lehman's bankruptcy is considered a default. However, in the four cases before the court this week, the other party in the contracts elected not to terminate them because they would have had to pay out to the defunct bank.
Note: Like most reporting in the major media, this article trivializes the massive size of the derivatives market. $700 trillion is equivalent to $100,000 for every man, woman, and child in the world! Do you think the financial industry is out of control? For lots more powerful, reliable information on major banking manipulations, click here. For a powerful analysis of just how crazy things have gotten and with some rays of hope by researcher David Wilcock, click here.
North Carolina sterilisation victims win compensation
January 11, 2012, BBC News
Victims of a decades-old sterilisation programme in the US state of North Carolina are to receive $50,000 each in compensation. As many as 7,600 people were sterilised by the state from 1929 to 1974, often without their knowledge. About half a dozen states have apologised for similar programmes, but North Carolina is the only one to consider financial payment. The figure will have to be approved as part of the state's next budget. The sterilisation victims were sometimes mentally disabled or institutionalised people. However, a task force set up by North Carolina found that starting the 1950s the state increasingly focussed its programme - which the task force dubbed a "eugenics" programme - on welfare recipients. This led to a "dramatic rise of sterilisation for African-Americans and women that did not reside in state institutions". Dr Laura Gerald, the head of the task force, said in a statement that the compensation served to send the message that "we do not tolerate bureaucracies that trample on basic human rights". North Carolina has so far verified 72 sterilisation victims, but about 2,000 are estimated to still be alive.
Note: For a detailed timeline of disturbing experiments where humans were used as guinea pigs without their knowledge with links to reliable sources for verification, click here.
U.S. troops quietly surge into Middle East
January 13, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
The Pentagon has quietly shifted combat troops and warships to the Middle East after the top American commander in the region warned that he needed additional forces to deal with Iran and other potential threats, U.S. officials said. Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, who heads U.S. Central Command, won White House approval for the deployments late last year after talks with the government in Baghdad broke down over keeping U.S. troops in Iraq, but the extent of the Pentagon moves is only now becoming clear. The Pentagon has stationed nearly 15,000 troops in Kuwait, adding to a small contingent already there. The new units include two Army infantry brigades and a helicopter unit - a substantial increase in combat power after nearly a decade in which Kuwait chiefly served as a staging area for supplies and personnel heading to Iraq. The Pentagon also has decided to keep two aircraft carriers and their strike groups in the region. Earlier this week, the American carrier Carl Vinson joined the carrier Stennis in the Arabian Sea, giving commanders major naval and air assets in case Iran carries out its recent threats to close the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic chokepoint in the Persian Gulf, where one-fifth of the world's oil shipments passes.
Ten years later, Guantanamo still harms us all
January 11, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
It has been 10 years since Guantanamo Bay became a prison. Today, 171 men are still held there with no real prospect of either trial or release. Bush administration officials have admitted ordering torture against prisoners in Guantanamo, Afghanistan, Iraq and secret sites in [other] countries, yet no one has been held to account for violating U.S. law. Their illegal actions and the recent passage - and signing by President Obama - of the National Defense Authorization Act have undermined fundamental structures of law and morality that are our heritage as Americans. More than 80 percent of Americans self-identified as "religious" in a 2011 Pew poll. Today, 312 U.S. faith groups are members of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. Organized in 2006, it is a vehicle for people of faith seeking to denounce abusive practices by the United States. Under President Obama, we have held no one accountable for torture. With the passage of the Defense Act, indefinite detention without trial has become law ... including even American citizens captured on U.S. soil, a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. The loss of habeas corpus rights under the Defense Act now puts every ordinary person at risk of indefinite detention. As citizens, it is our right and responsibility to demand that our government investigate the U.S. torture program and uphold our constitutional rights. As a nation of people of faith, this is our sacred duty.
Note: The author, Louise Specht, is the convener of the Bay Area Religious Campaign Against Torture, the Northern California affiliate of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.
A medieval oligarchy - America's real occupiers
January 13, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
[The US is now] a country whose patrician overlords are regularly conjuring the feudalism of Europe circa the Middle Ages. Today, our mayors deploy police against homeless people and protesters; our governors demand crushing budget cuts from the confines of their taxpayer-funded mansions; our Congress exempts itself from insider-trading laws and requires the government to offer lawmakers the good health benefits so many Americans have no access to ; and our nation's capital has become one of the world's wealthiest cities, despite the recession. Taken together, we see that there really are "Two Americas," as the saying goes - and that's no accident. It's the result of a permanent elite that is removing itself from the rest of the nation. Nowhere is this more obvious than in education - a realm in which this elite physically separates itself from us mere serfs. The Washington Post, for instance, notes that it has become an unquestioned "tradition among Washington's power elite" - read: elected officials - to send their kids to the ultra-expensive private school Sidwell Friends. At the same time, many of these officials have backed budget policies that weaken public education. In many cases, these aristocrats aren't even required to publicly explain themselves. Worse, on the rare occasions that questions are posed, privacy is the oft-used excuse to not answer. This might be a convincing argument about ordinary citizens' personal education choices, but it's an insult coming from public officials.
Travelwise: Bike sharing around the world
September 9, 2011, BBC
Bike sharing is on the verge of becoming an integral part of public transportation in cities across the globe. This system of impromptu bike renting is helping urban areas reduce automotive traffic and pollution while providing locals and tourists with a convenient, cheap and healthy means of transport. Currently, there are nearly 300 organized bike sharing programs worldwide. That number is growing – and not just in the West. In India, for example, the Ministry of Urban Development is preparing to launch a 10-city public bike scheme as part of its "Mission for Sustainable Habitat". So how does bike sharing work? In most cities, visitors can purchase short-term subscriptions at bike stations themselves. Just walk up to a station's electronic kiosk, choose the duration for which you need access to the service, and swipe your credit card. With more than 50,000 bikes and 2,050 bike stations, the Chinese city of Hangzhou is home to the world's largest bike sharing program. Bike sharing is well integrated with other forms of public transport, with bike stations available near bus and water taxi stops.
Note: For more on this encouraging development, click here.
Haiti earthquake: Where has the aid money gone?
January 12, 2012, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Shortly after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which killed more than 300,000 people and left more than 1 million homeless, politicians worldwide promised large amounts of aid, and the international aid industry geared up to tackle one of the largest and most complex emergencies in history. Less than three months after the earthquake struck on 12 January 2010, world leaders gathered in New York and pledged billions for long-term reconstruction. Two years on, what's happened to all that money? Figures released by the UN special envoy for Haiti show that only 53% of the nearly $4.5bn pledged for reconstruction projects in 2010 and 2011 has been delivered. Venezuela and the US, which promised ... more than $1.8bn together have disbursed just 24% ($223m) and 30% ($278m) respectively. Some crucial sectors face particularly large funding gaps. Donors disbursed just $125m of the $311m in grants allocated to agriculture projects. [And] only $108m of the $315m in grants allocated to health projects has been disbursed. A separate report ... found that only 23 out of 1,490 contracts awarded by the US government after the earthquake had gone to Haitian companies, accounting for just $4.8m of the total $194m awarded between January 2010 and April 2011. Contractors from the Washington area took 39.4% ($76m).
Note: It seems that many governments see natural disasters like this at least partially as a means for awarding lucrative contracts to their own people and businesses.
Vermont governor signs single-payer health law
May 26, 2011, CBS News
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin ... signed into law a bill establishing a single-payer health care plan for the state, making Vermont the first state to do so. Shumlin lauded the legislation as an "economic and fiscal imperative" -- as well as a moral one. "This law recognizes an economic and fiscal imperative - that we must control the growth in health care costs that are putting families at economic risk and making it harder for small employers to do business," he said. "We have a moral imperative to fix this problem, with 47,000 Vermonters uninsured and another 150,000 underinsured and worried about how to afford keeping their families healthy." Vermont lawmakers passed the legislation in March by a 92-49 margin. At the time of its passage, Shumlin lauded the legislature for becoming "the first state in the country to make the first substantive step to deliver a health care system where health care will be a right and not a privilege." The legislation, when fully enacted, will guarantee every Vermont resident the right to enroll in a state-sponsored insurance plan, Green Mountain Care. The law is set to become operational in 2014.
Note: The huge medical and pharmaceutical industries in the U.S. have a vested interest in keeping health care private in order to maintain their massive profits. This may be why the important news above was hardly reported in the media. The rest of the industrialized world already knows that it is much cheaper for government to provide medical care than for the private sector. Yet the media, a major source of whose income comes from advertising by these industries, is quite biased against providing health care for all, unless it is done through a profitable private system.
PG&E buys Via Motors e-Rev electric pickups
January 11, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Think of the pickup truck from Via Motors as an electric generator on wheels. The truck, unveiled [on January 10] at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, runs on electricity. But it also can supply electricity - enough to power whole houses. PG&E has been testing two of the pickups since 2010. The trucks could respond to small power outages, temporarily supplying electricity to blacked-out homes. The trucks can supply a maximum of 15 kilowatts of electricity at any given moment - more than the typical house requires. PG&E field workers also could use the pickups to run their power tools. Many of the electric cars now hitting the market are small passenger vehicles, made for commuters. Via, however, targets the other end of the size spectrum. The company, based in the Detroit suburbs, has focused on electrifying large vehicles: trucks, SUVs and vans. Each Via truck has saved PG&E about $2,700 per year in fuel costs, when compared with a conventional pickup. The utility has about 3,500 similar vehicles in its fleet, and converting all of them would save PG&E about $9.5 million each year.
Note: For exciting reports from reliable sources on promising new automotive and energy inventions, click here.
Two Degrees energy bars support famine relief
January 13, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
For every Two Degrees energy bar purchased, the company provides a peanut-paste packet to a starving child in Malawi through its partnership with Valid Nutrition. The idea of feeding starving children through business came from a pairing of two entrepreneurs at opposite ends of their career. Will Hauser, a 2008 graduate of Harvard University, did a yearlong stint at Goldman Sachs before settling on his true passion - entrepreneurship. His business partner, Lauren Walters, is a seasoned entrepreneur. But both are fairly new to tackling some of the world's most serious problems like famine and hunger. A decade ago, Walters became involved with Boston nonprofit group Partners in Health, and six years ago he had his first encounter with malnourished children. During a trip with the organization in Rwanda, he was struck by the severity of the situation and the lack of ready-to-use therapeutic foods being made locally. The therapeutic foods are packets of a nutrition paste fortified with vitamins and minerals designed to reverse malnutrition. Four years later, Walters met Steve Collins, a doctor who had worked in famine relief for two decades, at the Oxford Skoll Forum. There, Walters' business acumen combined with Collins' humanitarian ambitions. Collins and his business partner, Paul Murphy, had started Valid Nutrition, which produces the packets of nutrition paste in Africa, relying on local farmers, labor and suppliers.
Note: For many other highly inspiring articles reported in the major media, click here.
Key Articles From Years Past
July 5, 2009, New York Times
Like others in the so-called good-food movement, [Will] Allen, who is 60, asserts that our industrial food system is depleting soil, poisoning water, gobbling fossil fuels and stuffing us with bad calories. Like others, he advocates eating locally grown food. But to Allen, local doesn't mean a rolling pasture or even a suburban garden: it means 14 greenhouses crammed onto two acres in a working-class neighborhood on Milwaukee's northwest side, less than half a mile from the city's largest public-housing project. And this is why Allen is so fond of his worms. When you're producing a quarter of a million dollars' worth of food in such a small space, soil fertility is everything. Without microbe- and nutrient-rich worm castings (poop, that is), Allen's Growing Power farm couldn't provide healthful food to 10,000 urbanites – through his on-farm retail store, in schools and restaurants, at farmers' markets and in low-cost market baskets delivered to neighborhood pickup points. He couldn't employ scores of people, some from the nearby housing project; continually train farmers in intensive polyculture; or convert millions of pounds of food waste into a version of black gold. With seeds planted at quadruple density and nearly every inch of space maximized to generate exceptional bounty, Growing Power is an agricultural Mumbai, a supercity of upward-thrusting tendrils and duct-taped infrastructure.
Note: For another excellent article on this most amazing man and the urban farming movement, click here.
Please note that most of the summarizing of the revealing news articles in the above summary was done by Tod Fletcher of WantToKnow.info. Many thanks to Tod for all the time and skill he puts into this. The box below provides several ideas on what you can do to spread the news.
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