Tea Party Meets MoveOn, TSA Removing Worst Scanners, Canada's First Nations Idle No More
Revealing News Articles
January 22, 2013
Below are key excerpts of important news articles on leaders of the Tea Party and MoveOn.org meeting to find common ground, the removal from airports of intrusive x-ray body scanners by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), 'First Nations' protests across Canada, and more.
Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails, see this page. The most important sentences are highlighted. And don't miss the "What you can do" section below the summaries. By educating ourselves and to spreading the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
Special note: For some of the best quotes and information on Martin Luther King, Jr. as we celebrate his birthday, click here. For an important underreported case of two children who were recently awarded millions of dollars due to vaccines and related autism charges, click here. For a very fun six-minute video challenging traditional concepts of energy and physics, click here. For a long, but fascinating interview with veteran Mike Powers on very strange evidence around the Sandy Hook murders, click here. More Sandy Hook strangeness is reported in this intriguing video.
MoveOn founder, Tea Party figure meet
January 17, 2013, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
It was a mind-blowing political tableau: a co-founder of liberal bulwark MoveOn sitting in her Berkeley living room, laughing, sharing homemade blueberry scones and occasionally agreeing with a national Tea Party figure. MoveOn's Joan Blades ... and Mark Meckler, ... have been talking online and over the phone for a few years now. Quietly, until now. "Transpartisanship" is the genteel word for what they're doing. Blades has been involved in similar types of projects for about a decade, but this is a fairly new school of political thought, which posits that people can come together to find some common ground without abandoning their core beliefs. The occasion was the latest installment of Living Room Conversations, Blades' latest national transpartisan project that she co-founded with former GOP operative Amanda Kathryn Roman [of] New Jersey. It involves one or two co-hosts pulling together an intimate gathering of folks who might believe they agree on little politically - until they sit down together to listen to one another's perspective. Civilly. Eventually, they find places they agree. That's what happened between Blades and Meckler, and it should give hope to a nation locked in scrums over guns and immigration and taxes. The day's assigned topic was "crony capitalism." It was conservative commentator Ralph Benko who introduced Meckler and Blades online. As Meckler recalled Benko saying, "If MoveOn and the Tea Party ever agree on anything, all politicians should watch out."
Note: What would happen if we focus less on what separates us and more on what brings us together?
TSA removing 'virtual strip search' body scanners
January 19, 2013, CNN
Airport body scanners that produce graphic images of travelers' bodies will be removed from checkpoints by June, the Transportation Security Administration says, ending what critics called "virtual strip searches." Passengers will continue to pass through machines that display a generic outline of the human body, raising fewer privacy concerns. The TSA move came after Rapiscan, the manufacturer of the 174 so-called "backscatter" machines, acknowledged it could not meet a congressional-ordered deadline to install privacy software on the machines. "It is big news," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. "It removes the concern that people are being viewed naked by the TSA screener." Currently, the TSA uses the 174 backscatter machines in 30 airports, and has another 76 units in storage. It uses millimeter wave machines in 170 airports. The decision to remove the backscatter machine will make moot, at least temporarily, travelers' concerns about the health effects of the machines. Backscatter machines use X-rays, while millimeter wave machines use radio waves. The TSA has long maintained both machines are safe, but recently signed an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences to study the scanners. The study will continue even though the machines are being pulled, the TSA said, because they could be reintroduced in the future.
Note: Each of those machines cost $175,000. Someone sure made a lot of money on these machines which had a very short lifespan.
Aboriginal groups protest at border crossing, highways across Canada in treaty rights dispute
January 16, 2013, Washington Post/Associated Press
Aboriginals slowed highway traffic, snarled a rail line and protested at the busiest Canada-US crossing point on [January 16] as part of a "day of action" in their ongoing dispute with the Canadian government over treaty rights. The Idle No More movement, which has shown unusual staying power and garnered a worldwide following through social media, has reopened constitutional issues involving the relationship between the federal government and the million-plus strong Aboriginal community. The protests erupted almost two months ago against a budget bill that affects Canada's Indian Act and amends environmental laws. Protesters say the bill undermines century-old treaties by altering the approval process for leasing Aboriginal lands to outsiders and changing environmental oversight in favor of natural resource extraction. Hundreds of supporters of the Idle No More movement gathered at one entrance of the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ontario. At one point, trucks were lined up for about almost a mile (2 kilometers). In northern Ontario, a group of people set up a blockade on a rail line Wednesday. Marchers also temporarily diverted traffic from a bridge in New Brunswick. About 200 First Nations protesters also took part in a 45-minute highway blockade north of Victoria. Protesters were also blocking the Canadian National rail line through Kitwanga, in northwest British Columbia.
Note: For more information on Idle No More, click here.
The FBI and protesters, then and now
January 18, 2013, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Recently released FBI files about the Occupy movement do not reveal the kind of dirty tricks J. Edgar Hoover's bureau used against demonstrators in the Bay Area during the '60s, but they present some striking parallels to those dark days and have rightly raised concern among civil libertarians. The records ... show that over the decades the machinery of surveillance remains much the same, even as expanded intelligence powers and technological advances magnify potential abuse. As in the '60s, the FBI reports use sweeping language like "potential terrorist threat" to characterize nonviolent dissent. As then, the bureau exchanges information with a vast network of federal agencies, state and local police, campus cops and corporate security. And once again the FBI is invoking great secrecy. Such activity, Congress found in the '70s, contributed to massive intelligence abuses. The FBI released 99 heavily redacted pages and withheld 288 more in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, a public-interest legal organization in Washington, D.C. Even while noting Occupy organizers do "not condone the use of violence," the records show that FBI field offices across the nation collected information on the premise [that] the protests posed a potential "terrorist" or "criminal" threat. The bureau shared information on Occupy with police on joint terrorism task forces, which have raised concerns about skirting local surveillance restrictions, and with fusion centers, regional intelligence hubs recently criticized by Congress as violating civil liberties.
Note: The writer of this article, Seth Rosenfeld, is the author of Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the games intelligence agencies play, click here.
The inspiring heroism of Aaron Swartz
January 12, 2013, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Aaron Swartz, the computer programmer and internet freedom activist, committed suicide on [January 11] in New York at the age of 26. Much of Swartz's tragically short life was filled with acts that are genuinely and, in the most literal and noble sense, heroic. He became something of a legend in the internet and programming world before he was 18. His path to internet mogul status and the great riches it entails was clear, easy and virtually guaranteed: a path which so many other young internet entrepreneurs have found irresistible, monomaniacally devoting themselves to making more and more money long after they have more than they could ever hope to spend. Swartz had little interest in devoting his life to his own material enrichment, despite how easy it would have been for him. He committed himself to the causes in which he so passionately believed: internet freedom, civil liberties, making information and knowledge as available as possible. Critically, Swartz didn't commit himself to these causes merely by talking about them or advocating for them. He repeatedly sacrificed his own interests, even his liberty, in order to defend these values and challenge and subvert the most powerful factions that were their enemies. Nobody knows for sure why federal prosecutors decided to pursue Swartz so vindictively. I believe it ... was waged as part of ... the war over how the internet is used and who controls the information that flows on it - and that was his real crime in the eyes of the US government: challenging its authority and those of corporate factions to maintain a stranglehold on that information.
Note: For a video showing the inspiring activism of this young man, click here. This video shows why this courageous man was likely targeted to stop him from empowering others. Please spread the word.
Bradley Manning denied chance to make whistleblower defence
January 17, 2013, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused of being behind the largest leak of state secrets in America's history, has been denied the chance to make a whistleblower defence in his upcoming court martial in which he faces possible life in military custody with no chance of parole. The judge presiding over Manning's prosecution by the US government ... ruled in a pre-trial hearing that Manning will largely be barred from presenting evidence about his motives in leaking the documents and videos. In an earlier hearing, Manning's lead defence lawyer, David Coombs, had argued that his motive was key to proving that he had no intention to harm US interests or to pass information to the enemy. The ruling is a blow to the defence as it will make it harder for the soldier's legal team to argue he was acting as a whistleblower and not as someone who knowingly damaged US interests at a time of war. "This is another effort to attack the whistleblower defence," said Nathan Fuller, a spokesman for the Bradley Manning support network, after the hearing. The judge also blocked the defence from presenting evidence designed to show that WikiLeaks caused little or no damage to US national security. The most serious charge, "aiding the enemy", which carries the life sentence, accuses [Manning] of arranging for state secrets to be published via WikiLeaks on the internet knowing that al-Qaida would have access to it.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on civil liberties, click here.
U.S. military suicides exceed combat deaths
January 14, 2013, CBS News/Associated Press
Suicides in the U.S. military surged to a record 349 last year, far exceeding American combat deaths in Afghanistan, and some private experts are predicting the dark trend will worsen this year. The problem reflects severe strains on military personnel burdened with more than a decade of combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, complicated by anxiety over the prospect of being forced out of a shrinking force. The 349 suicides among active-duty troops last year were up from 301 the year before and exceeded the Pentagon's own internal projection of 325. Last year's total is the highest since the Pentagon began closely tracking suicides in 2001. It exceeds the 295 Americans who died in Afghanistan last year. Military suicides began rising in 2006 and soared to a then-record 310 in 2009 before leveling off for two years. It came as a surprise to many that the numbers resumed an upward climb this year, given that U.S. military involvement in Iraq is over and the Obama administration is taking steps to wind down the war in Afghanistan.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the realities of the "endless war", click here.
The ability to persuade people that the US opposes tyranny is a testament to the potency of propaganda
January 12, 2013, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
The most significant problem in political discourse is not that people embrace destructive beliefs after issues are rationally debated. It's that the potency of propaganda, by design, often precludes such debates from taking place. Consider how often one hears the claim that the US is committed to spreading democracy and opposing tyranny in the Middle East. The single most repressive regime in that region is also America's closest ally: while Saudi [Arabian] leaders have exploited the rhetoric of the Arab Spring to undermine leaders its dislikes (primarily in Syria and Iran), its only direct action was to send its troops into Bahrain "to stave off a popular revolt and prop up the Bahraini monarchy" and use "its influence in the Gulf Cooperation Council, the alliance of autocratic Persian Gulf states, to pull together support for the beleaguered royal houses of Morocco and Jordan." The US has been there every step of the way with its close Saudi allies in strengthening these same tyrannies. As the Bahraini regime has systematically killed, tortured, and imprisoned its own citizens for the crime of demanding democracy, the Obama administration has repeatedly armed it and trumpeted the regime as "a vital US partner in defense initiatives" and "a Major Non-NATO Ally". The US continues to be a close partner of the Yemeni dictator ("elected" as the only candidate allowed on the ballot). And it stands as steadfastly as ever behind the Gulf State monarchies of Jordan, Kuwait and Qatar as, to varying degrees, they repress democratic movements and imprison dissidents.
Chuck Hagel's Chevron tie not criticized
January 15, 2013, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
In his bid to become Secretary of Defense, former Sen. Chuck Hagel has come under fire from both the left and right for his comments on Iraq, Israel and gays. His membership on the board of one of America's largest oil companies, however, has caused barely a stir. Since 2010, Hagel has served on the board of Chevron Corp., a position he would have to leave if he wins Senate confirmation as defense secretary. He received $301,199 in compensation from the San Ramon company in 2011, including $184,000 in stock. Chevron is a major federal contractor, with more than $501 million in sales to the U.S. government in the last fiscal year. But critics of the "revolving door" between the federal government and the private sector haven't raised any complaints about Hagel. That's largely due to the nature of Chevron's federal contracts. Almost all the money Chevron made from the U.S. government in fiscal year 2012 came from selling fuel to the Pentagon, according to a government website that tracks federal spending. Chevron, the nation's second-largest oil company, has a history of politically connected board members. Condoleezza Rice served on the company's board before becoming national security adviser for President George W. Bush. The practice of former federal officials landing jobs with government contractors - and vice versa - has long angered many government watchdogs. They were appalled when Obama, early in his first term, nominated a lobbyist for the Raytheon Corp. to serve as deputy secretary of defense.
Note: US Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel has also been implicated in serious elections manipulations by none other than the New York Times. For more, see this link.
A Pedophile in Plain Sight
January 12, 2013, New York Times
Poly Prep Country Day School [has] settled a lawsuit alleging a more than 40-year cover-up of the predatory pedophilia of its legendary football coach, Philip Foglietta. The lawsuit charged that school administrators were repeatedly informed from the 1960s until his forced retirement in 1991 that Mr. Foglietta was sexually abusing boys – on campus, in his apartment and during trips. Mr. Foglietta, who died in 1998, fondled and raped dozens, if not hundreds, of children. The case raises difficult questions for a generation of Poly boys: "What did we know about Coach Phil?" "What should we have done?" Coach was often a bully. Kids who had quit the team, he would suggest, deserved to be beaten up. He would talk about the "fruits" and "homos" on the male faculty. Many of us also knew that Coach Phil showered with the fifth graders. We knew that he hung around the locker room and checked that each of us had thoroughly rinsed off. Most of us knew he invited kids for car rides to Coney Island in his green Chevy Impala and for overnight stays at the apartment he shared with his mother. We knew something was going on. We joked with one another about the showers and the car rides. One of my teammates wrote on a Web site created for Coach's victims, "How is it that as a 14-year-old Poly freshman, I just knew that something was very wrong?"
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on sexual abuse scandals, click here.
Police launch criminal investigation into MPs' child sex ring
January 17, 2013, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Scotland Yard tonight launched a full investigation into allegations that Conservative politicians were members of a paedophile ring which abused children in care the 1980s. Operation Fernbridge will centre on the alleged historic sexual abuse of children at Elm Guest House in ... south-west London. Residents of a nearby care home run by Richmond Council claim they were sexually assaulted at the property by a network of prominent individuals, including Tory MPs, who used their connections to escape justice. The allegations are one of several lines of inquiry being considered by specialist detectives at the country's biggest force as a result of information supplied to them by Labour MP Tom Watson. Mr Watson - who alleged widespread phone hacking at the News of the World before police began a new inquiry - urged Scotland Yard to re-open the evidence file on Peter Righton, a former child care consultant who was convicted of importing illegal homosexual pornography in 1992. Saying that the file contained "clear intelligence of a widespread paedophile ring", Mr Watson said at Prime Minister's Questions: "One of its members boasts of a link to a senior aide of a former Prime Minister, who says he could smuggle indecent images of children from abroad. The leads were not followed up, but if the files still exist, I want to ensure that the Metropolitan Police secure the evidence, re-examine it, and investigate clear intelligence suggesting a powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and No 10."
Note: The sad truth is beginning to surface. If you want to learn how top politicians have been involved in child sex rings for decades, watch the highly revealing Discovery Channel documentary at this link.
Washington police accused of 'disturbing' failures to investigate rape
January 17, 2013, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers
Police in Washington DC frequently fail to investigate reports of rape, and treat victims so dismissively at times, that they experience fresh trauma while the chances of the perpetrator being caught are undermined, according to a comprehensive report due out next week. Human Rights Watch is expected to uncover "disturbing evidence of police failure" in a 200-plus page report after a two-year investigation into law enforcement practices in the US capital. But although shocking, the situation in Washington is far from isolated. There are widespread examples across the US of the police routinely neglecting crimes of sexual violence and refusing to believe victims. "This is a national crisis requiring federal action. We need a paradigm shift in police culture, because rapes and sexual assaults are being swept under the rug, and too many victims are being bullied," said Carol Tracy of the Women's Law Project, a legal advocacy group that specialises in sexual violence cases. Human Rights Watch began looking into the situation in Washington after discovering evidence that the city's Metropolitan police department (MPD) were refusing even to document a significant number of reports of sexual assaults coming in from the central hospital where victims are treated. HRW ... estimated that more than 37% of reports of serious sexual assault and rape were not being followed up on by investigators. In many cities across the US, the police record an alarming proportion of reported rapes as "unfounded" cases, meaning they decide the crime did not happen and the report was false or baseless.
Note: Full details and statistics will be disclosed by HRW in its final report, due to be published on 24 January.
U.S. cancer death rates decline
January 15, 2013, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
A report released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and three prominent cancer research groups shows that cancer deaths in the United States are declining for men, women and children. New cancer diagnoses also declined for men from 2000 through 2009, the period the report examines, but remained stable for women and increased slightly for children. Here are the numbers: 1.8%: The percentage that cancer deaths decreased for both men and children from 2000 through 2009. For women, the decrease was 1.4 percent. 10%: The percentage that death rates decreased in the most common cancers in men. 15: The number of cancers most common in women that showed decreased death rates.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on promising cancer treatments and trends, click here.
Some With Autism Diagnosis Can Overcome Symptoms, Study Finds
January 16, 2013, New York Times
Doctors have long believed that disabling autistic disorders last a lifetime, but a new study has found that some children who exhibit signature symptoms of the disorder recover completely. The study, posted online ... by the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, is the largest to date of such extraordinary cases and is likely to alter the way that scientists and parents think and talk about autism, experts said. The findings suggest that the so-called autism spectrum contains a small but significant group who make big improvements in behavioral therapy for unknown, perhaps biological reasons, but that most children show much smaller gains. Deborah Fein of the University of Connecticut at Storrs recruited 34 people who had been diagnosed before the age of 5 and no longer had any symptoms. They ranged in age from 8 to 21 years old and early in their development were in the higher-than-average range of the autism spectrum. The team conducted extensive testing of its own, including interviews with parents in some cases, to gauge current social and communication skills. On measures of social and communication skills, the recovered group scored significantly better than 44 peers who had a diagnosis of high-functioning autism or Asperger's syndrome. Dr. Fein emphasized the importance of behavioral therapy. "These people did not just grow out of their autism," she said. "I have been treating children for 40 years and never seen improvements like this unless therapists and parents put in years of work."
Note: There are numerous documented cases where an abundance of acceptance and love led to autistic children being able to lead normal or near normal lives. As one example, the excellent book Giant Steps by Barry Kaufman relates the story of how he was able to heal his own fully autistic child. You can read the relevant excerpt from the book at this link. In the book, he also relates the stunning story of the cure of another severely autistic child by fully accepting the behavior of the child as normal. Great book!
Biofuel created by explosive technology
January 13, 2013, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Chemical engineers at UC Berkeley have created a new, cleaner fuel out of an old concoction that was once used to make explosives. The fuel, which uses a century-old fermentation process to transform plant material into a propellant, could eventually replace gasoline and drastically cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, according to the team of Berkeley scientists. The discovery, published in the journal Nature, means corn, sugar cane, grasses and other fast-growing plants or trees, like eucalyptus, could be used to make the propellant, replacing oil. The research into creating a diesel substitute is part of a 10-year development program by the Energy Biosciences Institute, a collaboration among UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The research, paid for using $50 million a year from the British oil company BP, has been going on for five years. [The researchers] extracted the acetone and butanol from the fermentation mixture [and] then created a catalyst that converted the brew into a mix of hydrocarbons similar to those in diesel fuel. The resulting substance burns as well as petroleum-based fuel and contains more energy per gallon than ethanol, according to the study. It can be produced using a variety of renewable starches and sugars that can be grown in crops. The expectation in California is that it will be used initially for niche markets, like the military, and eventually in trucks, trains and other vehicles that need more oomph than hybrid or battery power can provide.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on promising new energy developments, click here.
Saudi Arabia's King Allows Women to Join National Advisory Council
January 11, 2013, New York Times
Women are not allowed to drive and cannot yet vote in Saudi Arabia, but on [January 11] they were given a voice in an advisory council that debates the kingdom's legislation. The Saudi king, Abdullah, issued a decree that for the first time gave women seats on the Shura council, an assembly whose members are appointed to discuss laws and other issues and advise the king, but that has no legislative power. The decree ... gave women 30 of the 150 seats on the council with all the duties of their male counterparts. The decision was met with a mixture of optimism that the country was inching forward with reforms and skepticism from activists who are pushing for greater freedom for women in the conservative kingdom, one of the world's few remaining absolute monarchies. In a decree in 2011, King Abdullah granted women the right to vote and run in municipal elections scheduled for 2015, the biggest change in a decade for women in the puritanical kingdom. He also promised to name women to the Shura council at that time. But Saudi women still cannot make ordinary decisions, like marrying or traveling abroad, without written permission from a legal male guardian, "effectively treating her as a minor all her life," [a women's rights activist from Saudi Arabia, Manal al-Sharif,] wrote in a separate statement on the Web site of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights. Women also continued to be arrested for driving. In one case in 2011, a woman was sentenced to 10 lashes for violating the ban. The king later revoked the sentence.
Note: Why is there so little national or international pressure on Saudi Arabia to promote gender equality, or democracy for that matter? Could it be that their huge wealth buys sways the political will of nations around the world? How sad.
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