Police Steal Millions From Innocents, Koch Brothers' Toxic Empire, Crowdsourcing Medicine
Revealing News Articles
October 6, 2014
Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on US police stealing millions from innocent drivers, the Koch brothers' toxic empire of corporations, and more.
Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on exciting new ways to crowdsource medicine, a breakthrough in solar cells being used as batteries, and more. You can also skip to this section now.
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 spreading the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
Special note: For any who didn't receive our last message, with great sadness we report that Tod Fletcher, who summarized these news articles for many years, passed away about one week ago along with his wife Susan. This is a great loss for us. Please join in sending their souls and their families lots of love and support. Thank you. You are also invited to watch a powerful 3-minute video of a respected black man talk about the huge stress of being pulled over by a white cop. Then watch an awesome 2 1/2 minute video on the choice between fear and love.
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Video of the Week: In memory of our co-worker Tod, watch an incredible 16-minute video of scientific experiments related to life after death titled The Afterlife Investigations.
Aggressive police take hundreds of millions of dollars from motorists not charged with crimes
September 6, 2014, Washington Post
The spread of an aggressive brand of policing ... has spurred the seizure of hundreds of millions of dollars in cash from motorists and others not charged with crimes. Thousands of people have been forced to fight legal battles that can last more than a year to get their money back. Behind the rise in seizures is a little-known cottage industry of private police-training firms that teach the techniques of "highway interdiction" to departments across the country. [It has] enabled police nationwide to share detailed reports about American motorists – criminals and the innocent alike – including their Social Security numbers, addresses and identifying tattoos, as well as hunches about which drivers to stop. A thriving subculture of road officers on the network now competes to see who can seize the most cash and contraband, describing their exploits in the network's chat rooms and sharing "trophy shots" of money and drugs. Some police advocate highway interdiction as a way of raising revenue for cash-strapped municipalities. Unexplored until now is the role of the federal government and the private police trainers in encouraging officers to target cash on the nation's highways. There have been 61,998 cash seizures made on highways and elsewhere since 9/11 without search warrants ... totaling more than $2.5 billion. State and local authorities kept more than $1.7 billion of that while Justice, Homeland Security and other federal agencies received $800 million. 298 departments and 210 task forces have seized the equivalent of 20 percent or more of their annual budgets since 2008. In 400 federal court cases examined by The Post where people who challenged seizures and received some money back, the majority were black, Hispanic or another minority.
Inside the Koch Brothers' Toxic Empire
September 24, 2014, Rolling Stone
Together, Charles and David Koch control one of the world's largest fortunes, which they are using to buy up our political system. The Kochs [have] cornered the market on Republican politics and are nakedly attempting to buy Congress and the White House. Koch-affiliated organizations raised some $400 million during the 2012 election, and aim to spend another $290 million to elect Republicans in this year's midterms. Koch ... is larger than IBM, Honda or Hewlett-Packard and is America's second-largest private company. Brothers Charles and David are each worth more than $40 billion. But what they don't want you to know is how they made all that money. The company's stock response to inquiries from reporters: "We are privately held and don't disclose this information." The company's troubled legal history – including a trail of congressional investigations ... civil lawsuits and felony convictions ... combine to cast an unwelcome spotlight on the toxic empire. The company has paid out record civil and criminal environmental penalties. According to the University of Massachusetts Amherst's Political Economy Research Institute, only three companies rank among the top 30 polluters of America's air, water and climate: ExxonMobil, American Electric Power and Koch Industries. Koch Industries dumps more pollutants into the nation's waterways than General Electric and International Paper combined. Koch has profited precisely by dumping billions of pounds of pollutants into our waters and skies. The Koch brothers get richer as the costs of what Koch destroys are foisted on the rest of us – in the form of ill health, foul water and a climate crisis that threatens life as we know it on this planet.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Artificial sweeteners could cause spikes in blood sugar
September 17, 2014, Washington Post
Artificial sweeteners might be triggering higher blood-sugar levels in some people and contributing to the problems they were designed to combat, such as diabetes and obesity, according to new findings published Wednesday in the journal Nature. Researchers suspect that artificial sweeteners could be disrupting the microbiome, a vast and enigmatic ecosystem of bacteria in our guts. In a series of experiments, researchers found that several of the most widely used types of non-calorie sweeteners in food and drinks – saccharin, sucra–lose and aspartame – caused mice to experience increased risk of glucose intolerance, a condition that can lead to diabetes. The same scientists also monitored what happened to seven human volunteers who did not typically use artificial sweeteners but were given regular doses of saccharin over the course of a week. Four developed significant glucose intolerance. Separately, the researchers analyzed nearly 400 people and found that the gut bacteria of those who used artificial sweeteners were noticeably different from people who did not. [These] findings add an intriguing new dimension to the long-running, contentious debate over the potential health benefits and risks of artificial sweeteners, which are among the most common food additives and are consumed by hundreds of millions of people around the globe. Other research has suggested that certain artificial sweeteners might actually contribute to obesity and other problems, including cancer. Perhaps no sweetener has proven more controversial than saccharin, which was discovered not long after the end of the Civil War. In 1977, the FDA tried to ban saccharin because of safety concerns after studies showing that rats had developed bladder cancer after receiving high doses of the chemical sweetener. Congress blocked that effort.
Note: Read more powerful, reliable evidence from top experts that aspartame is toxic to the human body. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles suggesting corruption and profiteering from reliable major media sources.
George Brandis has silently swept away your freedoms
September 29, 2014, Sydney Morning Herald (Australia's leading newspaper)
Australia has changed radically since last week though it might not look like it on the surface. Late Thursday night the Senate passed the National Security Amendment Bill (No.1) 2014 giving unlimited power to spies and secret police. Now officials can break the law with immunity from prosecution - and without having to answer to a court. They can act in total secrecy. They will decide what they do and to whom and when. They do not have to ask permission. They will choose when to interfere in your life and when they won't. They can dip into your most private communications and they don't need a warrant to do so. Sometimes they will do it because it is necessary to fight crime. Sometimes because they enjoy it. If they mess up your life and you tell anybody, you will get 10 years' jail – even if it doesn't harm security. When a Special Intelligence Operation (SIO) is declared then any participant can break the law on you with no consequences, according to Schedule 3 section 35k. There are broad limits. They cannot kill or torture you, or cause significant physical injury. Minor injury or mental torment is fine. Anyone involved in an SIO will have these powers – but who are they? ASIO, with 1778 staff. The Australian Federal Police, with more than 6900 staff. NSW Police with about 16,370 officers and a spy database called COPS which has more than 30 million entries on the people of NSW. But not just them. Anyone involved in an SIO enjoys legal immunity, including affiliates and subcontractors – whoever they are. Many Senators clearly hadn't read the 128 pages of major legal changes in the NSA Bill. The citizen needs protection from the state built into the laws and that is what they smashed on Thursday.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Warren Calls for Hearings on New York Fed Allegations
September 27, 2014, BloombergBusinessweek
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren called for congressional hearings into allegations that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has been too deferential to the firms it regulates. A radio program about the regional Fed bank raised "disturbing issues." "It's our job to make sure our financial regulators are doing their jobs," Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat and member of the Senate Banking Committee, said in a statement yesterday. The program "This American Life" released the transcript of a broadcast that includes excerpts of conversations it said were secretly recorded by Carmen Segarra, a former New York Fed bank examiner who was fired in 2012, with some of her colleagues and her supervisor. In the transcript, Segarra described how she felt that her Fed colleagues were afraid of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and handled it with kid gloves. Senator Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat who's also on the banking committee, backed Warren's call for a probe. Segarra sued the New York Fed last October, alleging she was fired in May 2012 after refusing to change her findings on the conflict-of-interest policy. In 2009, New York Fed President William C. Dudley commissioned a probe into his own institution's practices by David Beim, a finance professor at Columbia Business School. In a report submitted that year and released by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in 2011, Beim wrote that a number of people he interviewed at the reserve bank "believe that supervisors paid excessive deference to banks and as a result they were less aggressive in finding issues or in following up on them in a forceful way."
Sen. Warren: We Need Regulators Who 'Work For The American People'
October 1, 2014, NPR Blog
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, says newly released recordings of conversations between Federal Reserve officials show that the same kind of cozy relationships that led to the 2008 financial crisis still dominate Wall Street. "You really do, for a moment, get to be the fly on the wall that watches all of it, and there it is to be exposed to everyone: the cozy relationship, the fact that the Fed is more concerned about its relationship with a too-big-to-fail bank than it is with protecting the American public," Warren says. The recordings don't reveal anything outright illegal. Instead, they reveal Fed officials discussing "legal but shady" transactions and then wringing their hands over how to delicately bring them up with the bank. Warren, who before coming into office led an effort to create the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, says that trepidation is another thing wrong with regulators today. "The fact that Goldman could mount a legal defense here is not really the point of these tapes. The point of these tapes is that the regulators are backing off long before anyone's in court making a legal argument about whether or not they came right up to the line or they crossed over the line." The bottom line, Warren says, is that the United States needs regulators "who understand that they work for the American people, not for the big banks."
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing financial corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Fake Terror Threat Used To Justify Bombing Syria
September 28, 2014, The Intercept with Glenn Greenwald
As the Obama Administration prepared to bomb Syria without congressional or U.N. authorization, it faced two problems. The first was the difficulty of sustaining public support for a new years-long war against ISIS, a group that clearly posed no imminent threat to the "homeland." A second was the lack of legal justification for launching a new bombing campaign. The solution to both problems was found in the wholesale concoction of a brand new terror threat that was branded "The Khorasan Group." After spending weeks depicting ISIS as an unprecedented threat – too radical even for Al Qaeda! – administration officials suddenly began spoon-feeding their favorite media organizations ... tales of a secret group that was even scarier and more threatening than ISIS, one that posed a direct and immediate threat to the American Homeland. The unveiling of this new group was performed in a September 13 article by the Associated Press, who cited unnamed U.S. officials. AP depicted the U.S. officials who were feeding them the narrative as engaging in some sort of act of brave, unauthorized truth-telling. On the morning of September 18, CBS News broadcast a segment that is as pure war propaganda as it gets: directly linking the soon-to-arrive U.S. bombing campaign in Syria to the need to protect Americans from being exploded in civilian jets by Khorasan. As usual, anonymity was granted to U.S. officials to make these claims. As usual, there was almost no evidence for any of this. Nonetheless, American media outlets – eager, as always, to justify American wars – spewed all of this with very little skepticism. Worse, they did it by pretending that the U.S. government was trying not to talk about all of this – too secret! – but they, as intrepid, digging journalists, managed to unearth it from their courageous "sources."
Note: Read the entire informative article to see how the media participates in manipulating unsuspecting citizens into more war. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing media corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
How Former Treasury Officials and the UAE Are Manipulating American Journalists
September 25, 2014, The Intercept with Glenn Greenwald
Qatar has become a hostile target for two nations with significant influence in the U.S.: Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Israel is furious over Qatar's support for Palestinians ... while the UAE is upset that Qatar supports the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. This animosity has resulted in a new campaign in the west to demonize the Qataris as the key supporter of terrorism. The Israelis have chosen the direct approach of publicly accusing their new enemy in Doha of being terrorist supporters, while the UAE has opted for a more covert strategy: paying millions of dollars to a U.S. lobbying firm – composed of former high-ranking Treasury officials from both parties – to plant anti-Qatar stories with American journalists. That more subtle tactic has been remarkably successful, and shines important light on how easily political narratives in U.S. media discourse can be literally purchased. The Camstoll Group [has] key figures [who] are all former senior Treasury Department officials ... whose responsibilities included managing the U.S. government's relationships with Persian Gulf regimes and Israel. Most have backgrounds as neoconservative activists. Camstoll's Managing Director, Howard Mendelsohn, was Acting Assistant Secretary of Treasury, where he also had ample policy responsibilities involving the Emirates. In other words, a senior Treasury official responsible for U.S. policy toward the Emirates leaves the U.S. government and forms a new lobbying company, which is then instantly paid millions of dollars by the very same country for which he was responsible, all to use his influence, access and contacts for its advantage. The UAE spends more than any other country in the world to influence U.S. policy and shape domestic debate, and it pays former high-level government officials who worked with it ... to carry out its agenda within the U.S.
Monsanto gives $4.7M to Colorado campaign against GMO labeling
September 30, 2014, Colorado Public Radio
Monsanto is donating $4.7 million to the campaign to oppose GMO labeling in Colorado. The St. Louis-based agriculture company is a primary producer of genetically modified seeds. The No on 105 committee has raised almost $10 million through Sept. 24, with Pepsico and Kraft Foods also giving more than $1 million each. The group begins running TV ads against the initiative this week. Meanwhile, the supporters of the labeling initiative, Right to Know GMO, have raised about $323,000, including almost $120,000 in the most recent two weeks. That groups top donors are Food Democracy Action at $140,000 total and Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps at $25,000.
Note: In every election where GMO labeling was on the ballot, big industry has poured in many times more money that those in favor of disclosure. This is a very good example of how in the US, it is much more a democracy of every dollar gets one vote rather than every person gets one vote. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
Domestic violence down since 1995, but not much in past decade
September 24, 2014, San Francisco Chronicle/Associated Press
Domestic violence committed by intimate partners – current or former spouses, boyfriends or girlfriends – has declined by more than 60 percent since the mid-1990s, according to Justice Department figures. Yet the dramatic decrease from 1995 through 2004 has largely stalled, with the numbers stabilizing at a level that appalls people in the prevention field. The latest federal figures for "serious" intimate partner violence – sexual assault or aggravated physical assault – showed 360,820 such incidents in 2013, or roughly 1,000 per day. The sharp decline in domestic violence began soon after the 1994 enactment of the federal Violence Against Women Act, which toughened penalties for offenders, expanded training for law enforcement and improved services for victims. However, that drop in domestic violence coincided with a comparable drop in virtually all types of violent crime. Most law enforcement agencies have vastly improved their handling of domestic violence over the past 20 years, while public attitudes and understanding have lagged behind.
Note: The dramatic decrease in all forms of violence crimes over the past 20 years is one of the most underreported stories out there. For more on this wonderful development, see this article. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Japan's Shinkansen Bullet Train Turns 50
October 1, 2014, ABC News/Associated Press
Zipping cross-country in a super-high speed train has become commonplace in many countries these days, but it was unheard of when Japan launched its bullet train between Tokyo and Osaka 50 years ago Wednesday. The Shinkansen, as it's called in Japan, gave a boost to train travel in Europe and Asia at a time when the rise of the automobile and the airplane threatened to eclipse it. The first bullet train, with its almost cute bulbous round nose, traveled from Tokyo to Osaka in four hours, shaving two and a half hours off the 513-kilometer (319-mile) journey. The latest model, with a space-age-like elongated nose, takes just two hours and 25 minutes. The first Shinkansen had a maximum speed of 210 kilometers (130 miles) per hour. The fastest trains previously, in Europe, could reach 160 kph. Today's bullet trains, in Japan and elsewhere, have reached and in some cases exceeded 300 kph (186 mph). By average speed, China has the fastest train in the world, averaging 284 kph. Turkey last year became the ninth country to operate a train at an average speed of 200 kph. South Korea and Taiwan also operate high-speed systems in Asia. The fastest train in the U.S., Amtrak's Acela Express, averages 169 kph (105 mph) on a short stretch between Baltimore and Wilmington, Delaware. Shanghai launched a German-built maglev train in 2004 on a 30-kilometer route between the city and the airport. It can hit 430 kph (267 mph). A Japanese maglev train in development has topped 500 kph (310 mph) in tests.
Note: Gas and oil interests have lobbied hard to keep Americans wedded to their cars and stop the development of high-speed trains. For more on this, see this excellent article and concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on suppressed energy inventions from reliable major media sources.
Key Articles From Years Past
'Absurd' drug laws 'hinder research' - Prof David Nutt
April 6, 2013, BBC News
'Absurd' laws dealing with magic mushrooms, ecstasy and cannabis are hindering medical research, according to a former government drugs adviser. Prof David Nutt says he has funding to research the use of the chemical psilocybin - found in fungi known as "magic mushrooms" to treat depression. But he says "insane" regulations mean he cannot get hold of the drug. The Home Office said there was "no evidence" that regulations were a barrier to research. It is not the first time Prof Nutt has been at odds with government policy. He was sacked as an adviser over views that ecstasy and LSD were less harmful than alcohol. Earlier research at Imperial College London showed that injections of psilocybin could calm a region of the brain which is overactive in depression. The UK's Medical Research Council has given the lab a £550,000 grant to test the idea - in 30 patients who have not responded to at least two other therapies. They have also been given ethical approval. However, there are more stringent regulations for testing the drug as a treatment than in earlier experiments. As a potential medicine it must meet Good Manufacturing Practice requirements set out by the EU. "It hasn't started yet because the big problem is getting hold of the drug," said Prof Nutt. He said finding a company to provide a clinical-grade psilocybin had "yet proved impossible" as none was prepared to "go through the regulatory hoops". He told the BBC: "We have regulations which are 50 years old, have never been reviewed and they are holding us back, they're stopping us doing the science and I think it's a disgrace actually."
Note: Watch an informative three-minute BBC news clip of an interview with Prof. Nutt. Another good five-minute BBC interview is available here. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on mind-altering drugs from reliable major media sources. See also the website of MAPS, and excellent organization supporting scientific study of the healing powers of these drugs.
CrowdMed wants to bring crowdsourcing to medicine
May 10, 2014, Star Tribune/San Jose Mercury News
What Wikipedia has done for knowledge, a San Francisco company called CrowdMed is betting it can do for medicine. Send your symptoms and a nominal fee to CrowdMed.com, and dozens of medical professionals, students and average Joes will "crowdsource" – that is, share their knowledge and expertise – to help diagnose what's wrong with you. The company isn't out to replace your family doctor, but instead take advantage of the reach of social media to tap into an age-old medical practice: seeking second opinions. Or, in this case, hundreds of them. At the UC-Berkeley/UC-San Francisco Joint Medical Program, Dr. Amin Azzam, director of the "problem-based learning" curriculum, wants to use CrowdMed "to push the boundaries of how we train medical students." Instead of teaching first- and second-year students with "pretend patients," as is done now, Azzam is proposing adding CrowdMed's cases to the curriculum. "They might even be more motivated to learn because it's a real patient," he said. Within 90 days of a consumer putting a case online, CrowdMed's algorithm generates a list of the most probable diagnoses submitted by its "medical detectives," along with their explanations. Patients are asked to give those suggestions to their physicians for consideration. Once it's confirmed that the suggestions were helpful, the patients are refunded their $50 deposit and the detective who made the correct diagnosis gets his or her reward.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Federal prison population drops for 1st time in decades
September 23, 2014, San Francisco Chronicle/Associated Press
The federal prison population has dropped in the last year by roughly 4,800, the first time in several decades that the inmate count has gone down. In a speech Tuesday in New York City, Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department expects to end the current budget year next week with a prison population of roughly 215,000 inmates. It would be the first time since 1980 that the federal prison population has declined during the course of a fiscal year. The crime rate has dropped along with the prison population, Holder said, proving that "longer-than-necessary prison terms" don't improve public safety. "In fact, the opposite is often true," he said. The Bureau of Prisons accounts for roughly one-third of the Justice Department budget, and the prison population has exploded in the last three decades as a result of "well-intentioned policies designed to be 'tough' on criminals," Holder said. In August 2013, for instance, he announced a major shift in sentencing policy, instructing federal prosecutors to stop charging many nonviolent drug defendants with offenses that carry mandatory minimum sentences. More recently, the Justice Department has encouraged a broader swath of the prison population to apply for clemency, and has supported reductions in sentencing guideline ranges for drug criminals that could apply to tens of thousands of inmates. "We know that over-incarceration crushes opportunity. We know it prevents people, and entire communities, from getting on the right track," Holder said. Holder also said that there should be new ways for the government to measure success of its criminal justice policies beyond how many people are prosecuted and sent to prison.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise's summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Scientists Create Very First Solar Battery that Stores its Own Power
October 3, 2014, Science World Report
Scientists may have created the very first solar battery. Researchers have succeeded in combining a battery and a solar cell into one hybrid device, which could be huge in terms of renewable energy capture and storage. "The state of the art is to use a solar panel to capture the light, and then use a cheap battery to store the energy," said Yiying Wu, one of the researchers, in a news release. "We've integrated both functions into one device. Any time you can do that, you reduce cost." The key to the new device is a mesh solar panel, which allows air to enter the battery. There's also a special process for transferring electrons between the solar panel and the battery electrode; inside the device, light and oxygen enable different parts of the chemical reactions that charge the battery. "Basically, it's a breathing battery," said Wu. "It breathes in air when it discharges, and breathes out when it charges." The mesh solar panel forms the first electrode. Beneath the mesh is a thin sheet of porous carbon, which acts as the second electrode, and a lithium plate, which acts as the third electrode. Between the electrodes are layers of electrolyte to carry electrons back and forth. During charging, light hits the mesh solar panel and creates electrons. Then inside the battery, electrons are involved in the chemical decomposition of lithium peroxide into lithium ions and oxygen. The oxygen is released into the air, and the lithium ions are stored in the battery as lithium metal after capturing the electrons. The findings could be huge in terms of creating sustainable energy for powering a variety of devices. Currently, the researchers are continuing to move forward in improving the efficiency of the battery and the amount of power the panel can absorb and convert. The findings are published in the journal Nature.
Note: For astounding major media articles on new energy inventions which have gotten very little press, explore this webpage. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
U.S. to pay Navajo Nation $554 million in largest settlement with single Indian tribe
September 24, 2014, Washington Post
In the largest settlement with a single American Indian tribe, the Obama administration will pay the Navajo Nation $554 million to settle claims that the U.S. government has mismanaged funds and natural resources on the Navajo reservation for decades. The settlement, to be signed in Window Rock, Ariz., on Friday, resolves a long-standing dispute between the Navajo Nation and the U.S. government, with some of the claims dating back more than 50 years. The sprawling Navajo reservation, located in parts of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico, is the largest and most populous Indian reservation, with 14 million acres of trust lands, which are leased for farming, grazing, and oil, gas and other mineral extraction. The land is also leased for businesses, rights-of-way, easements and housing. "The Navajo Nation has worked tirelessly for many years to bring this issue to a close," said Ben Shelly, president of the Navajo Nation. "After a long, hard-won process, I am pleased that we have finally come to a resolution on this matter to receive fair and just compensation for the Navajo Nation." Shelly said the tribe will host town hall meetings across the Navajo Nation to decide how the funds can be used or invested. Although the settlement marks the largest ever with one tribe, the Obama administration has made several other multimillion-dollar agreements with tribes since 2009 to settle long-standing grievances by Native Americans. Along with the Navajo Nation, the administration has negotiated settlements resulting in a total of $2.61 billion paid to 80 tribes since 2010 for tribal trust accounting and trust management claims.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
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