Military Rape Victims Labeled 'Crazy', Puberty Before Age 10 Common, 'Bully' Will Save Lives
Revealing News Articles
April 24, 2012
Below are key excerpts of important news articles with important information on the frequent labeling of rape victims by the US military as mentally disturbed, the increasingly early onset of puberty in girls in the US, a review of the potentially life-saving film 'Bully,' 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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Rape victims say military labels them 'crazy'
April 14, 2012, CNN
Stephanie Schroeder joined the U.S. Marine Corps not long after 9/11. A year and a half later, the Marines diagnosed her with a personality disorder and deemed her psychologically unfit for the Corps. Anna Moore enlisted in the Army after 9/11 and planned to make a career of it. She was diagnosed with a personality disorder and dismissed from the Army. Jenny McClendon was serving as a sonar operator on a Navy destroyer when she received her personality disorder diagnosis. These women joined different branches of the military but they share a common experience: Each received the psychiatric diagnosis and military discharge after reporting a sexual assault. CNN has interviewed women in all branches of the armed forces, including the Coast Guard, who tell stories that follow a similar pattern -- a sexual assault, a command dismissive of the allegations and a psychiatric discharge. Despite the Defense Department's "zero tolerance" policy, there were 3,191 military sexual assaults reported in 2011. Given that most sexual assaults are not reported, the Pentagon estimates the actual number was probably closer to 19,000. Anu Bhagwati, a former company commander in the Marines and executive director of Service Women's Action Network, a veterans advocacy group, says she sees a pattern of the military using psychiatric diagnoses to get rid of women who report sexual assaults. From 2001 to 2010, the military discharged more than 31,000 service members because of personality disorder, according to documents obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request by the Vietnam Veterans of America.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on sexual abuse in institutional settings, click here.
Puberty Before Age 10: A New 'Normal'?
April 1, 2012, New York Times
In the late 1980s, Marcia Herman-Giddens, then a physician's associate in the pediatric department of the Duke University Medical Center, started noticing that an awful lot of 8- and 9-year-olds in her clinic had sprouted pubic hair and breasts. The medical wisdom, at that time, based on a landmark 1960 study of institutionalized British children, was that puberty began, on average, for girls at age 11. But that was not what Herman-Giddens was seeing. So she started collecting data, eventually leading a study with the American Academy of Pediatrics that sampled 17,000 girls, finding that among white girls, the average age of breast budding was 9.96. Among black girls, it was 8.87. When Herman-Giddens published these numbers, in 1997 in Pediatrics, she set off a social and endocrinological firestorm. "I had no idea it would be so huge," Herman-Giddens told me recently. "The Lolita syndrome" – the prurient fascination with the sexuality of young girls – "created a lot of emotional interest. As a feminist, I wish it didn't." Along with medical professionals, mothers, worried about their daughters, flocked to Herman-Giddens's slide shows, gasping as she flashed images of possible culprits: obesity, processed foods, plastics. One concern, among parents and researchers, is the effect of simultaneous exposures to many estrogen-mimics, including the compound BPA, which is ubiquitous. Ninety-three percent of Americans have traces of BPA in their bodies.
Note: For lots more on from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
'Bully' review: powerful film kids need to see
April 13, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
"Bully" is a very good documentary, but one that's elevated to a status beyond its apparent virtues by its sheer usefulness: This movie really does have the power to save lives. It might save 10 kids or a thousand, or maybe just one, but just that one is more than enough to justify every public-relations machination of [producer] Harvey Weinstein's master design. "Bully" will be most useful in changing the behaviors of two categories of people who aren't bullies or victims: Average kids in school. And school administrators. "Bully" will make average kids want to gang up on bullies and protect the weak. Meanwhile, school administrators will see this movie and experience horror. First, they will feel the sympathetic horror of seeing the human misery they cause when they turn a blind eye - anguish, terror, even death. But second they will feel the empathetic horror of watching the administrators in "Bully" exposed on camera, and before all the world, as smug, self-satisfied and thunderously, cataclysmically and world-shakingly useless. "Bully" follows a handful of school kids, including Alex, a shy, awkward boy who gets smacked around every day on the bus (and the camera records this); and Kelby, a lesbian in Oklahoma. As soon as Kelby came out, people in the community stopped talking to her parents.
Note: To learn about Challenge Day, the amazing organization which put bullying on the map, click here. A documentary on their transformative work won an Emmy award. You can watch powerful clips of this moving documentary at the link just given.
Whooping cough vaccine fades in pre-teens
April 4, 2012, Fox News
During a whooping cough outbreak in California in 2010, immunized children between eight and 12 years old were more likely to catch the bacterial disease than kids of other ages, suggesting that the childhood vaccine wears off as kids get older, according to new research. Whooping cough, or pertussis, is caused by Bordetella pertussis bacteria. The pertussis vaccine, a five-shot series referred to as DTaP, is recommended for children at ages two-, four-, six- and 18-months, and at four to six years old. The CDC recommends that at age 11 or 12 kids get the booster shot called Tdap. In early 2010, a spike in cases appeared at Kaiser Permanente in San Rafael, and it was soon determined to be an outbreak of whooping cough -- the largest seen in California in more than 50 years. [Dr. David Witt, senior author of the study,] had expected to see the illnesses center around unvaccinated kids, knowing they are more vulnerable to the disease. "We started dissecting the data. What was very surprising was the majority of cases were in fully vaccinated children. That's what started catching our attention," said Witt. Comparing the kids who got pertussis to the more than 22,000 kids in the medical center's database who didn't, Witt's group wrote in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases that the vaccine is effective about half of the time for all kids, and just 24 percent of the time in the eight to 12 year old age group.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on the dangers and questionable science surrounding vaccines, click here.
Cispa will give US unprecedented access, internet privacy advocates warn
April 18, 2012, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Washington looks set to wave through new cybersecurity legislation next week that opponents fear will wipe out decades of privacy protections at a stroke. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (Cispa) will be discussed in the House of Representatives next week and already has the support of 100 House members. It will be the first such bill to go to a vote since the collapse of the Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) in January after global protests and a concerted campaign by internet giants such as Google, Wikipedia and Twitter. The author of the new bill, Mike Rogers, the Republican chair of the House intelligence committee, has said it is aimed at tracking the nefarious activities of hackers, terrorists and foreign states, especially China. But its critics charge the bill will affect ordinary citizens and overturn the privacy protections they now enjoy. Opponents fear the way it is currently drafted will open up ordinary citizens to unprecedented scrutiny. The bill uses the wording: "Notwithstanding any other provision of law," a phrase that if it became law would trump all existing legislation, according to critics. In one section, the bill defines "efforts to degrade, disrupt or destroy" a network as an area that would trigger a Cispa investigation. Opponents argue something as simple as downloading a large file – a movie for example – could potentially be defined as an effort to "degrade" a network. The bill also exempts companies from any liability for handing over private information.
Note: For lots more on government and corporate threats to civil liberties, click here.
Web freedom faces greatest threat ever, warns Google's Sergey Brin
April 15, 2012, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
The principles of openness and universal access that underpinned the creation of the internet three decades ago are under greater threat than ever, according to Google co-founder Sergey Brin. In an interview with the Guardian, Brin warned there were "very powerful forces that have lined up against the open internet on all sides and around the world". "I am more worried than I have been in the past," he said. "It's scary." The threat to the freedom of the internet comes, he claims, from a combination of governments increasingly trying to control access and communication by their citizens, the entertainment industry's attempts to crack down on piracy, and the rise of "restrictive" walled gardens such as Facebook and Apple, which tightly control what software can be released on their platforms. He said five years ago he did not believe China or any country could effectively restrict the internet for long, but now says he has been proven wrong. Brin's comments come on the first day of a week-long Guardian investigation of the intensifying battle for control of the internet being fought across the globe between governments, companies, military strategists, activists and hackers. From the attempts made by Hollywood to push through legislation allowing pirate websites to be shut down, to the British government's plans to monitor social media and web use, the ethos of openness championed by the pioneers of the internet and worldwide web is being challenged on a number of fronts.
Note: For lots more on government and corporate threats to civil liberties, click here.
Where drones in Pakistan undermine U.S. interests
April 15, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
The CIA's use of unmanned aircraft to kill ... began under President George W. Bush in 2004. The covert operations became more frequent under the Obama administration, which viewed them as a way ... to hit Taliban fighters headed to the Afghanistan battlefield from sanctuaries in Pakistan's remote tribal areas. To Pakistanis, the drone strikes represent a brazen breach of their nation's sovereignty and a callous disregard for the lives of civilians who are in the vicinity of the so-called smart missiles. There is no precise count of casualties, but Pakistani officials suggest the deaths have numbered in the hundreds, with thousands more wounded. Opposition to the drone strikes is one of the rare issues that unites a country that is riven with divisions of geography, class, culture and tribal affiliations. Because the drone operations are covert, the Obama administration refuses to answer substantive questions about their necessity or results. In a recent meeting with U.S. journalists, diplomats at the American Embassy in Islamabad refused to discuss the program even on a background basis. Unlike the Bush team, the Obama administration has refused to keep Pakistani military leaders in the loop.
Note: For lots more on the illegal methods employed by the CIA and Pentagon in its "endless war", click here.
Q&A with Fair Trade USA founder Paul Rice
April 15, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Paul Rice spent more than a decade in Nicaragua before returning to the United States to start Fair Trade USA in late 1998. Then known as TransFair, the Oakland nonprofit began to push businesses to practice fair trade. Today, the group works with more than 800 brands, including Peet's Coffee & Tea, Numi Tea and Ben & Jerry's, which have adopted fair-trade practices and carry its fair-trade label on certain products. [Rice:] The way it works is farmers organize themselves into marketing cooperatives and sell direct. When they sell direct to Starbucks, Peet's, Ben and Jerry's, or any number of the 800 brands we work with today, they're able to get a much higher price for their harvest. It's like a farmers' market gone global. Fair Trade USA plays three critical roles in the fair-trade movement. The first role - and defining function - is to certify fair-trade products. We certify 90 percent of fair-trade products in the U.S. That label gives consumers the assurance that the product came from a sustainable farm and farmers received a fair price for their products. We have auditors around the world that audit and inspect farms. We also have a supply-chain audit. It tracks the product from the farm to the grocery store shelves. We also have two other functions, consumer education and farmer support. With consumer education, our goal is to develop programs that raise awareness among consumers in the U.S. We (also) run training programs for farmers all over the world, to help them improve the quality of their products, develop strong business skills and to help them get access to capital.
Top five regrets of the dying
February 1, 2012, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
A palliative nurse who has counselled the dying in their last days has revealed the most common regrets we have at the end of our lives. And among the top, from men in particular, is 'I wish I hadn't worked so hard'. Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai, which gathered so much attention that she put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom. "When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently," she says, "common themes surfaced again and again." Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware: 1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. 2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard. "All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence." 3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings. 4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. 5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Note: For inspiring articles from major media sources on at-death and near-death experiences, click here.
The UN Embraces the Economics of Happiness
April 12, 2012, Yes! Magazine
Imagine ... a world where the metric that guides our decisions is not money, but happiness. That is the future that 650 political, academic, and civic leaders from around the world came together to promote on April 2, 2012. Encouraged by the government of Bhutan, the United Nations held a High Level Meeting for Wellbeing and Happiness: Defining a New Economic Paradigm. The meeting marks the launch of a global movement to shift our focus away from measuring and promoting economic growth as a goal in its own right, and toward the goal of measuring–and increasing–human happiness and quality of life. Some may say these 650 world leaders are dreamers, but they are the sort that can make dreams come true. The meeting began with an address by Prime Minister Jigmi Thinley of Bhutan, where the government tracks the nation's "Gross National Happiness": "The time has come for global action to build a new world economic system that is no longer based on the illusion that limitless growth is possible on our precious and finite planet or that endless material gain promotes well-being. Instead, it will be a system that promotes harmony and respect for nature and for each other; that respects our ancient wisdom traditions and protects our most vulnerable people as our own family, and that gives us time to live and enjoy our lives and to appreciate rather than destroy our world. It will be an economic system, in short, that is fully sustainable and that is rooted in true, abiding well-being and happiness."
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