Gas Prices Set by Wall St., WikiLeaks' Latest Major Revelations, Nuclear 'Myth of Safety'
Revealing News Articles
March 6, 2012
Below are key excerpts of important news articles on gas price spikes caused by Wall Street speculation, WikiLeaks latest major revelations on the company Stratfor, Japan's Prime Minister describing the nuclear 'myth of safety,' 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. 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: For the awesome testimony of an oil executive's son on his inspiring vision for energy of the future, click here. For otherwise unreported news on Monsanto's victory in a lawsuit filed by over 270,000 organic farmers, click here. For some excellent information on the dangers of mammograms, click here.
The extra dollars you're paying at the pump are going to Wall Street speculators
February 28, 2012, Chicago Tribune
The current surge in gas prices has almost nothing to do with energy policy. It doesn't even have much to do with global supply and demand. It has most to do with America's continuing failure to adequately regulate Wall Street. Oil supplies aren't being squeezed. Over 80 percent of America's energy needs are now being satisfied by domestic supplies. In fact, we're starting to become an energy exporter. Demand for oil isn't rising. Oil demand in the U.S. is down compared to last year at this time. The American economy is showing only the faintest signs of recovery. Meanwhile, global demand is still moderate. Europe's debt crisis hasn't gone away. China's growth continues to slow. But Wall Street is betting on higher oil prices. Hedge-fund managers and traders assume that mounting tensions in the Middle East will hobble supplies later this year. Wall Street speculators also assume global demand for oil will rise in the coming year. These are just expectations, not today's realities. But they're pushing up oil prices just the same, because Wall Street firms and other big financial players now dominate oil trading. Where there's money to be made, Wall Street will find a way of making it. And when it comes to oil, so much money is at stake that gigantic sums can be made if the bets pay off. Speculators figure they can hedge against bad bets. Financial speculators historically accounted for about 30 percent of oil contracts, producers and end users for about 70 percent. But today speculators account for 64 percent of all contracts.
Note: This article was written by Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley and the author of Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future. He blogs at www.robertreich.org. For lots more reliable information from the major media on energy manipulations, click here.
Leaked emails shine rare light on Stratfor
February 28, 2012, MSNBC/Associated Press
Private intelligence firm Stratfor ... sells what clients and subscribers consider some of the best geopolitical analysis that money can buy. Now the Texas-based think tank is the latest target of WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange, who says his anti-secrecy group has more than 5 million of Stratfor's emails and is promising to release damaging material in the coming weeks. The first, small batch published [on February 27] revealed clients that Stratfor has long safeguarded and refused to disclose. They range from local universities to megacorporations like Coca-Cola. An initial examination of the emails turned up a mix of the innocuous and the embarrassing. But Assange has accused Stratfor of serious deeds, such as funneling money to informants through offshore tax havens, monitoring activist groups on behalf of big corporations and making investments based on its secret intelligence. "What we have discovered is a company that is a private intelligence Enron," Assange told London's Frontline Club, referring to the Texas energy giant whose spectacular bankruptcy turned it into a byword for corporate malfeasance. In December, Stratfor founder George Friedman gave advice on handling sources to one of his analysts gathering information on the health of Venezuela President Hugo Chavez. "If this is a source you suspect may have value, you have to take control (of) him. Control means financial, sexual or psychological control to the point where he would reveal his sourcing and be tasked," the email read.
Note: For more powerful information on this most recent release of revealing documents by Wikileaks, click here. For verifiable information on astounding secret methods used to gain control of people as reported in declassified U.S. government documents, click here.
Almost year after tsunami, Fukushima nuclear plant in shambles, running on makeshift equipment
February 28, 2012, Washington Post/Associated Press
Japan's tsunami-hit Fukushima power plant remains fragile nearly a year after it suffered multiple meltdowns, its chief said [on February 28], with makeshift equipment – some mended with tape – keeping crucial systems running. An independent report, meanwhile, revealed that the government downplayed the full danger in the days after the March 11 disaster and secretly considered evacuating Tokyo. Journalists given a tour of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant on Tuesday ... saw crumpled trucks and equipment still lying on the ground. A power pylon that collapsed in the tsunami, cutting electricity to the plant's vital cooling system and setting off the crisis, remained a mangled mess. The equipment that serves as the lifeline of the cooling system is shockingly feeble-looking. Plastic hoses cracked by freezing temperatures have been mended with tape. A set of three pumps sits on the back of a pickup truck. Along with the pumps, the plant now has 1,000 tanks to store more than 160,000 tons of contaminated water. The Unit 3 reactor, whose roof was blown off by a hydrogen explosion, resembles an ashtray filled with a heap of cigarette butts. Officials say radiation hot spots remain inside the plant and minimizing exposure to them is a challenge.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on the corruption in the nuclear power industry, click here.
Japan Leader Points to Disaster Response Failures
March 3, 2012, ABC News/Associated Press
Japan's prime minister acknowledged Saturday the government failed in its response to last year's earthquake and tsunami, being too slow in relaying key information and believing too much in "a myth of safety" about nuclear power. "We can no longer make the excuse that what was unpredictable and outside our imagination has happened," Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said. "Crisis management requires us to imagine what may be outside our imagination." Noda was speaking to reporters at his official residence ahead of the anniversary of the March 11 disaster that killed nearly 20,000 people in northeastern Japan and set off the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl. The phrase "soteigai," or "outside our imagination," was used repeatedly by Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility that ran the plant, as the reason why it was not prepared for the giant tsunami that hit after the magnitude-9.0 quake. Although some scholars had warned about such tsunami risks, both the utility and regulators did little and kept backup generators in basements where they could be flooded. Japan has also drawn criticism as having been slow with information about the meltdowns and about radiation leaks into the air and the ocean. "We can say in hindsight that the government, business and scholars had all been seeped in a myth of safety," Noda said of the oversights in the accident. "The responsibility must be shared."
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on the corruption in the nuclear power industry, click here.
Ritual abuse of children: a hidden and under-reported crime
March 1, 2012, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
In the past 10 years police in greater London have investigated 83 incidents of child abuse and torture linked to witchcraft and other religious rituals. Of these children, four ... were murdered during ritualised violence. One police source said more cases of this kind were coming to light – either because the problem was increasing or because the light shone on the issue had led to increased reporting of incidents. The horrific cases of child abuse are often familial and often emerge from within the African diaspora. While most of the child killings have led to perpetrators being brought to justice, others remain mysteries. Ritualised abuse involves witchcraft-style exorcisms within many different cultures, including Caribbean, Congolese and Asian communities, according to the Met. The police set up Project Violet seven years ago to target the problem and work with other agencies to raise awareness of children at risk. "We know this is an under-reported crime, we know this is a hidden crime," said Det Supt Terry Sharpe, head of Scotland Yard's child abuse investigation command. "That is why Project Violet is working with communities to try to raise the awareness within the community and among professionals so people can see the danger signs."
Note: Sadly very few people are willing to look into these very dark shadows. If you are one of the few, please don't miss the most important documentary on this available here. For lots more powerful information from one who escaped from a powerful cult involved in ritual abuse, click here.
Cop-cadet sex case has precedents
March 1, 2012, Seattle Post-Intelligencer/Associated Press
When an on-duty police officer was shot and killed by a colleague a month ago, residents of [Santa Maria, CA, an] agricultural community north of Santa Barbara were horrified. Outrage grew when they learned the shooting occurred as fellow officers tried to arrest the policeman on suspicion he was having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl in the city's "Police Explorers" program. But inappropriate relationships between officers and youths in the junior police program aren't all that rare. No organization keeps statistics but an Associated Press examination of news accounts during the 21 years since the Explorers was spun off from the Boy Scouts of America found at least 97 cases involving officers accused of sexual assault on minor girls, and sometimes boys, in the program. And that's likely a fraction of all such incidents, said Samuel Walker, a University of Nebraska-Omaha criminal justice professor and expert on police misconduct and accountability. Most relationships never become public because a youth is unlikely to report it and even if fellow officers are aware, they're reluctant to do anything. "More often than not other officers know that something wrong is going on and they don't report it," Walker said. "Police departments are like villages: everybody gossips and everybody knows." The Explorer program is run by Learning for Life, a subsidiary of Boy Scouts of America.
Note: When a Chilean friend of this website's founder was facing a serious traffic ticket which could have gotten her kicked out of the country, the police officer offered to let her go if she would have sex with him later. She accepted but then managed to escape. She never reported the incident. This type of sexual abuse by authorities is likely much more common than most people would imagine. For more powerful evidence of this, click here and here.
Vets feel abandoned after secret drug experiments
March 1, 2012, CNN
The moment 18-year-old Army Pvt. Tim Josephs arrived at Edgewood Arsenal in 1968, he knew there was something different about the place. "It just did not look like a military base, more like a hospital," recalled Josephs, a Pittsburgh native. Josephs had volunteered for a two-month assignment at Edgewood, in Maryland, lured by three-day weekends closer to home. "It was like a plum assignment," Josephs said. "The idea was they would test new Army field jackets, clothing, weapons and things of that nature, but no mention of drugs or chemicals." But when he went to fill out paperwork the morning after his arrival, the base personnel were wearing white lab coats, and Josephs said he had second thoughts. An officer took him aside. "He said, 'You volunteered for this. You're going to do it. If you don't, you're going to jail. You're going to Vietnam either way -- before or after,'" Josephs said recently. From 1955 to 1975, military researchers at Edgewood were using not only animals but human subjects to test a witches' brew of drugs and chemicals. They ranged from potentially lethal nerve gases like VX and sarin to incapacitating agents like BZ. The military also tested tear gas, barbiturates, tranquilizers, narcotics and hallucinogens like LSD. Josephs, 63, believes the chemical agents he received during his two-month stint at Edgewood [harmed] him, triggering health problems that continue to plague him four decades later.
Note: For a comprehensive list of example of humans being used as guinea pigs by the military and government over the past century with links for verification, click here.
Feinstein detainee bill for citizens, residents
March 1, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Sen. Dianne Feinstein said [on February 29] that her legislation to roll back an antiterror law, which allows the military to indefinitely detain people in the United States suspected of ties to al Qaeda or "associated forces," would have to be limited to citizens and permanent legal residents. Her bill, the Due Process Guarantee Act, ... would ensure that the detainee portions of last year's National Defense Authorization Act, or any declaration of war or congressional authorization to use military force, would not allow the military to imprison without trial citizens and green card holders living in the United States. Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove (Sacramento County) has introduced a companion bill in the House. The detainee provisions of the law ... have generated a rare combination of outrage from liberals and conservatives who say it violates constitutional liberties and habeas corpus rights that provide an individual redress to unlawful imprisonment by the state. Civil liberties groups have argued that the Constitution's Bill of Rights extends to all people, regardless of their citizenship. Noncitizens include tourists, students and business travelers as well as illegal immigrants. Feinstein said including noncitizens in her bill is not politically feasible. Feinstein described her bill as a follow-on to the 1971 Non-Detention Act, a response to the Japanese internment that was signed by former President Richard Nixon. The act bars imprisonment of citizens suspected of sabotage without explicit congressional approval.
Note: The NDAA clearly violates the U.S. Bill of Rights, which clearly states in the fifth amendment that no person shall be held to answer for a crime "without due process of law," and in the sixth amendment which states that "the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial." It is simply amazing that the American public is not loudly protesting this breach of the constitution.
Cheat, lie, break the law? Chances are, you're rich
February 27, 2012, Globe and Mail (One of Canada's leading newspapers)
The wealthy really are different from everyone else: They're more likely to cheat, lie, and break the law. At least that's the unflattering conclusion of a team of professors from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management and the University of California, Berkeley, who ran a battery of tests involving more than 1,000 people, seeking to answer the question of whether being rich or poor influenced ethical behaviour. In results from seven separate studies, they found a consistent tendency among those they termed "upper-class" to be more likely to break the law while driving, take valued goods from others, lie in negotiations, cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize and endorse unethical behaviour at work. The reason for the ethical difference was simple. Wealthier people are more likely to have an attitude that greed is good. At first glance, it might seem more likely that poorer people would be more tempted to cheat or break the law, in order to improve their lot in life. But a growing body of research is coming to the opposite conclusion – that it's people at the top of the income scale for whom honesty, integrity, and generosity seem to be a challenge. In the United States, for instance, despite the perception that the rich are great philanthropists, data show that upper-class households donate a smaller proportion of their incomes to charity than do lower-class families. Other research has found that those who are well off have a reduced concern for others.
Monsanto Agrees To Pay Up $93 Million In Agent Orange Settlement
February 24, 2012, NPR blog
More details about [a] preliminary agreement to settle an "Agent Orange" related class-action lawsuit filed against the Monsanto Company [have been released]. Monsanto agreed to settle a case over pollution claims made on behalf of current and former residents of the small town of Nitro, West Virginia. In a written statement today Monsanto says it's agreeing to pay up to $93 million dollars. $84 million of that would go toward medical monitoring for residents ($21 million up front and up to $63 million over 30 years). The company also is agreeing to spend up to $9 million to professionally clean homes in the affected area, which includes an estimated 4500 houses. Putnam Circuit Court Judge Derek Swope will now give the agreement a thorough review before giving the deal his final approval.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on corporate corruption, click here. For information on a major lawsuit and settlement for U.S. veterans injured by the government's use of agent orange, click here.
FDA deputy with ties to Monsanto draws fire
March 1, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle/Bloomberg
A top federal regulator's ties to Monsanto Co., a maker of genetically modified food, are fueling an election-year recall push by consumer and public-interest groups flexing their clout on the Internet. Michael Taylor, the Food and Drug Administration's deputy commissioner for food safety, is at the center of a burgeoning dispute between opponents who have collected more than 420,000 signatures on an online petition demanding he be fired and supporters who praise his efforts to curb food-borne illnesses. At issue is the 16 months ending in 2000 that Taylor worked as Monsanto's vice president for public policy, between stints in the Clinton and Obama administrations. The petition reflects anger over the agency's enforcement actions against small food producers and products such as raw milk. The online petition, along with others circulated on Facebook and other social-media sites since at least August, blames Taylor for allowing genetically modified organisms into the U.S. food supply without requiring testing as to their effects while he served at the agency in the 1990s. Taylor, in an interview, said his work is misrepresented, and the effort to have him fired "is more about Monsanto than about me. The claim is I was a Monsanto lobbyist, which paints a bad picture," he said. "It doesn't say what I did there or what I think about biotechnology."
Snowe's departure may fuel anger at Congress that puts partisanship before solutions
March 1, 2012, Washington Post
The surprising retirement of moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine moves congressional centrists a step closer to extinction and highlights the great paradox of American politics. Even with her party standing a good chance to regain the Senate majority, Snowe wanted no more of the endless gridlock that has rendered Congress barely able to carry out the most basic functions, such as keeping the federal government's doors open. She expressed frustration "that an atmosphere of polarization and 'my way or the highway' ideologies has become pervasive in campaigns and in our governing institutions." Snowe is one of the few remaining moderate Republicans, a group that once dominated the Northeast and vied for control of the national GOP under leaders such as Nelson Rockefeller. She was instrumental in forcing President George W. Bush to limit the size of his 2001 tax cut. She was one of three Senate Republicans who backed President Barack Obama's 2009 stimulus plan. "She just quit in disgust," even though she easily could have won a fourth term this fall, said Matt Bennett of the centrist-Democratic group Third Way. By some measures, Snowe is the Senate's most liberal Republican and Ben Nelson of Nebraska is its most conservative Democrat. Both are retiring this year, raising serious possibilities they will be replaced by less moderate members of the opposite party, further widening the chamber's partisan divide.
Ways to help: Making a difference
February 23, 2012, CNN blog
The most valuable weapon in the fight against human trafficking may be you. People from West Africa, South America, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, have all joined the fight. Watch the "Taking a Stand, Making a Difference" show [at the link above] in three parts. In the first segment, viewers horrified by our expose of working conditions for people [farming cocoa] in West Africa campaign for more Fair Trade products. Natalie, in Romania, was moved to stop eating chocolate until Fair Trade cocoa is on sale in local shops. Gerry, in New Zealand, tried to make a regionally-inspired dish using only Fair Trade products. Meanwhile, young Christians at a U.S. convention built a statue symbolizing the extent of slavery [and] raised $3 million for related charities. Their stories also offer practical ideas and information to others who want to get involved in helping the victims of modern-day slavery. In part two, the idea that people are not for sale is spreading across Ukraine, and one South Korean school is now campaigning to abolish the modern-day scourge. In part three, one woman beat her fashion bug to help women rescued from human trafficking. Amy Seiffert wore the same dress for six months and donated the money she would have spent on clothes to a local organization building a shelter for rescued women in Ohio. She says it was a small thing that reinforced the message that her ability to choose is [a] privilege denied to many. Along the way she inspired others, and the Daughter Project's shelter is now a reality.
Note: The CNN videos included in this message are quite inspiring. Things are changing. Yea!!! For lots more inspiring news, click here.
Bras liberate women from sex slavery
February 22, 2012, CNN blog
Staring down a mountain of bras in her basement, Kimba Langas knew things had gotten out of hand. The stay-at-home-mom started collecting unwanted bras as a way to help women on the other side of the world. It started small through word of mouth, and then a Facebook page. But the bras quickly overran her home in suburban Denver, Colorado. They were in her basement, in her garage, in her car. They were in bags, in boxes, in envelopes. Her husband, Jeff, tried to navigate his way around them, but it wasn't easy. Langas collects unwanted bras for a charity called "Free the Girls" which gives them to young women coming out of sex trafficking in Mozambique - not to wear, but to sell in used clothing markets where bras are a luxury item and command top dollar. The girls can make three times the average wage, more than enough to support themselves and not be trafficked again. It was the pastor of her church who came up with the idea for Free the Girls. He was planning on moving to Mozambique for missionary work, and called Langas to see if she would run the project with him. She thought it sounded like fun. Shortly after launching the Facebook page, the bras started coming. The response was much bigger than she expected. "There was a drive in Arizona and the women collected 8,000 bras. There's a church in Tennessee that collected 3,000 bras. There's a group ... in Denver that collected 1,250 bras. It's just one of those things that caught on and spread."
Note: For lots more inspiring news, click here.
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