Occupy Grandmas Shut Bank, Corporate Political Spending Ban, Manufactured Drug Shortage
Revealing News Articles
January 10, 2012
Below are key excerpts of important news articles on a group of Occupy grandmas who shut down a major bank, Montana's ban on corporate political spending, the DEA's manufactured drug shortage, 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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'Wild Old Women' Close San Francisco Bank Of America Branch
January 5, 2012, KCBS (CBS News San Francisco Affiliate)
It was a slow-moving Occupy Wall Street protest, but it was an effective one. A dozen senior citizens calling themselves "the wild old women" succeeded in closing a Bank of America branch in Bernal Heights Thursday. The women, aged 69 to 82, who live at the senior home up Mission street from the Bernal Heights Bank of America branch, decided to hold their own protest by doing what they called a "run on the bank." Tita Caldwell, 80, who led the charge of women with walkers and wheelchairs, said that they're demanding the bank lower fees, pay higher taxes, and stop foreclosing on, and evicting, homeowners. "We're upset about what the banks are doing, particularly in our neighborhood and neighboring areas, in evicting people and foreclosing on their homes," said Caldwell. "We're upset because the banks are raising their rates because it really affects seniors who are on a fixed income." As they arrived, Bank of America closed and locked its doors, to the surprise and delight of the elderly protestors, who said that they had no intention of storming the bank. The women waved signs, but didn't march or chant, with one woman on supplemental oxygen adding that the group was too old for that.
Montana Supreme Court restores 100-year-old state ban on corporate political money
December 30, 2011, Washington Post/Associated Press
The Montana Supreme Court restored the state's century-old ban on direct spending by corporations on political candidates or committees in a ruling ... that interest groups say bucks a high-profile U.S. Supreme Court decision granting political speech rights to corporations. The corporation that brought the case, and is also fighting accusations that it illegally gathers anonymous donations to fuel political attacks, said the state Supreme Court got it wrong. The lawsuit was prompted by the U.S. Supreme Court Citizens United decision from last year granting political speech rights to corporations. A lower court then ruled the state ban was unconstitutional in the wake of the high court's decision. But the Montana Supreme Court on Friday reversed the lower state court's analysis and application of the Citizen United case. The Montana Supreme Court said Montana has a "compelling interest" to uphold its rationally tailored campaign finance laws that include a combination of restrictions and disclosure requirements. A group seeking to undo the Citizen United decision lauded the Montana high court, with its co-founder saying it was a "huge victory for democracy." "With this ruling, the Montana Supreme Court now sets up the first test case for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit its Citizens United decision, a decision which poses a direct and serious threat to our democracy," John Bonifaz, of Free Speech For People, said in a statement.
Note: For revealing reports from major media sources on corporate influence on the electoral process, click here.
F.D.A. Finds Short Supply of Attention Deficit Drugs
January 1, 2012, New York Times
Medicines to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are in such short supply that hundreds of patients complain daily to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that they are unable to find a pharmacy with enough pills to fill their prescriptions. The shortages are a result of a troubled partnership between drug manufacturers and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), with companies trying to maximize their profits and drug-enforcement agents trying to minimize abuse by people. Shortages, particularly of cheaper generics, have become so endemic that some patients say they worry almost constantly about availability. The DEA sets manufacturing quotas that are designed to control supplies and thwart abuse. Every year, the DEA ... allots portions of the expected demand to various companies. How each manufacturer divides its quota among its own ADHD medicines – preparing some as high-priced brands and others as cheaper generics – is left up to the company. Officials at the FDA say the shortages are a result of overly strict quotas set by the DEA, which, for its part, questions whether there really are shortages or whether manufacturers are simply choosing to make more of the expensive pills than the generics, creating supply and demand imbalances.
Note: This curious story reveals an astonishing level of government manipulation of the manufacturing and availability of medications, and corporations appear to go along with it because it keeps profits high. For lots more on government and corportate corruption from reliable sources, click here and here.
The NDAA's historic assault on American liberty
January 2, 2012, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
President Barack Obama rang in the New Year by signing the NDAA law with its provision allowing him to indefinitely detain citizens. Obama signed one of the greatest rollbacks of civil liberties in the history of our country. It was a continuation of the dishonest treatment of the issue by the White House since the law first came to light. The White House told citizens that the president would not sign the NDAA because of the provision. [But] sponsor Senator Carl Levin ... went to the floor and disclosed that it was the White House [that] insisted that there be no exception for citizens in the indefinite detention provision. The almost complete failure of the mainstream media to cover this issue is shocking. Reporters continue to mouth the claim that this law only codifies what is already the law. That is not true. The administration has fought any challenges to indefinite detention to prevent a true court review. Moreover, most experts agree that such indefinite detention of citizens violates the constitution. The White House conducted a misinformation campaign to secure this power while portraying the president as some type of reluctant absolute ruler, or, as Obama maintains, a reluctant president with dictatorial powers. Most Democratic members joined their Republican colleagues in voting for this un-American measure. Some Montana citizens are moving to force the removal of these members who, they insist, betrayed their oaths of office and their constituents.
Ecuador court upholds $8.6 billion ruling against Chevron
January 4, 2012, CNN
An Ecuadorian appeals court upheld an $8.6 billion ruling against oil giant Chevron stemming from claims that the company had a detrimental impact on Amazonian communities where it operated. The judgment against Chevron is the latest in 19 years of litigation between Amazon residents and Texaco, which was later purchased by Chevron. In addition, the appeals court ruled that Chevron must publicly apologize to Ecuador, and if it fails to do so, the fine will be doubled to nearly $18 billion. The case, Aguinda v. ChevronTexaco, was originally filed in New York in 1993 on behalf of 30,000 inhabitants of Ecuador's Amazon region. The suit was eventually transferred to the Ecuadorian court and Ecuadorian jurisdiction. The lawsuit alleges that Texaco used a variety of substandard production practices in Ecuador that resulted in pollution that decimated several indigenous groups in the area, according to a fact sheet provided by the Amazon Defense Coalition. According to the group, Texaco dumped more than 18 billion gallons of toxic waste into Amazon waterways, abandoned more than 900 waste pits, burned millions of cubic meters of gases with no controls and spilled more than 17 million gallons of oil due to pipeline ruptures. Cancer and other health problems were reported at higher rates in the area, the group says.
Note: For key reports on corporate corruption from reliable sources, click here.
Parade ordinance power grab
January 2, 2012, Chicago Tribune
A City Hall rewrite to tighten rules for protesters at this spring's gathering of international leaders in Chicago would also place permanent and little-publicized restrictions on all future demonstrations. Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed the changes to the city's parade ordinance in his December request to the City Council for expanded powers to deal with the NATO and G-8 summits, set to overlap between May 19-21. The mayor said his request for new spending authority and additional restrictions on public gatherings "is temporary and it's just for the conference and it's appropriate." But the mayor's office now acknowledges the protest rules would be permanent. And a closer look at Emanuel's proposals reveals a series of changes to arcane parade regulations that would be accompanied by a large boost in fines for violations – from the current $50 for some to a minimum $1,000 per violation. Stiffening rules on typically fluid demonstrations will increase the likelihood of violations, giving police more opportunity to crack down and making it more costly for demonstrators, free speech advocates said. "It's clear the more stringent the provisions, the more numerous, the greater the difficulty in complying with those provisions," said Harvey Grossman, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.
Note: For those who may have forgotten Rahm Emanuel is Obama's former chief of staff.
Insurance profits soar after health care overhaul
January 6, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle/Bloomberg News
Insurance companies spent millions of dollars trying to defeat the U.S. health care overhaul, saying it would raise costs and disrupt coverage. Instead, profit margins at the companies widened to levels not seen since before the recession, a Bloomberg Government study shows. Insurers led by WellPoint ... recorded their highest combined quarterly net income of the past decade after the law was signed in 2010, said Peter Gosselin, the study author. "The industry that was the loudest, most persistent critic of this law, the industry whose analysts and executives predicted it would suffer immensely because of the law, has thrived," Gosselin said. Health insurers contributed $86.2 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to oppose the law after Obama administration officials criticized the [corporations'] plans for enriching themselves by raising customer premiums. Companies are changing their business focus to gain from provisions in the law that will expand the size of Medicaid, the $401 billion government health plan for the poor.
Note: Is it surprising that health insurance companies are raking in big profits from the new health care legislation?
Cambodia: Life sentence for former anti-drug head
January 6, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
The former head of Cambodia's antidrug office was sentenced to life in prison ... for masterminding a drug ring from his office, a court official said. Lt. Gen. Mok Dara, secretary-general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs until his arrest last January, faced more than 30 counts of bribery and drug trafficking and was given a life sentence. An associate, anti-drug officer Chea Leang, also received a life sentence, while a third defendant, Morn Doeun, who was at large, was sentenced to 25 years by the court in the northwestern province, which borders Thailand. The case, which lasted several weeks, was one of the largest to go through Cambodia's court system and involved the testimonies of scores of witnesses. Cambodia has been working in recent years to reduce corruption. Mok Dara's is the latest in a string of cases brought by the government's new Anti-Corruption Unit. Mok Dara maintained he was innocent, people attending the proceedings said. Nop Virak, a trial monitor at the Cambodian Center for Human Rights who observed the case, said Mok Dara's sentencing will serve as a warning to corrupt officials.
Note: How long before the rogue elements in Western governments running drug operations are arrested? It's only a matter of time.
German President Christian Wulff's home loan row erupts
January 5, 2012, BBC News
German President Christian Wulff has rejected a request to allow publication of a voicemail at the heart of a home loan scandal. There are two things seasoned (and perhaps cynical) politicians know: beware cover-ups; and don't tangle with the country's most popular paper. President Wulff may yet reflect on those tenets. He went on prime time television simultaneously on two channels and asserted that he hadn't tried to kill the story about his loan, just get it delayed so, as he put it, "we could talk about it, so that it could be correct". Bild flatly contradicts that. And it raised the stakes by saying it wanted to make public the message President Wulff left on a Bild editor's voicemail. President Wulff says "No". Bild went ahead and published the story that [Wulf] had received a low interest 500,000 euro loan (�417,000; $649,000) from the wife of a wealthy businessman in October 2008, while prime minister of Lower Saxony state. Mr Wulff was later asked in Lower Saxony's parliament if he had had business relations with the businessman, Egon Geerkens, and said he had not, making no mention of his dealings with Mr Geerkens's wife. He rejected calls for his resignation.
Note: For lots more on government corruption from reliable sources, click here.
'Mother Robin' delivers for poor women in Indonesia
March 10, 2011, CNN
Two women ... waited all night for a chance to see their newborn babies, whom the hospital is holding until the medical bills are paid in full. "Holding babies until payment is common in Indonesia," said Robin Lim, a midwife who founded birthing clinics in Aceh and the island of Bali. "Mother Robin," or "Ibu Robin" as she is called by the locals, is working to change that with her Yayasan Bumi Sehat (Healthy Mother Earth Foundation) health clinics. These birthing sanctuaries offer free prenatal care, birthing services and medical aid to anyone who needs it. And the needs are vast in Indonesia. The average family earns the equivalent of $8 a day, according to the International Monetary Fund, but a normal hospital delivery without complications costs around $70. Working as a midwife in Indonesia was not something Lim, a U.S. citizen and author of many books related to infant and maternal health, planned for her life. But after several personal tragedies, her life shifted in a new direction. "In the span of a year, I lost my best friend and one of the midwives who delivered my child," said Lim, who has eight children. "My sister also died as a complication of her third pregnancy, and so did her baby. I was crushed, just crushed. But I decided not to get angry. I decided to become part of the solution. If I could help even one family prevent the loss of a mother or a child, I would do that. I would dedicate my life to it."
Note: Check out the Bumi Sehat Foundation website at www.bumisehatbali.org and see how to help.
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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