Fracking Poisons Drinking Water, Cops Ignore Sex Crimes, Flipped Schools Help Kids
November 24, 2014
Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on the fracking waste US state officials allowed to poison California drinking water, New Orleans cops who systematically ignore sex crimes, secret US Department of Justice planes that watch nearly everyone in the US, and more.
Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on the new "flipped" schools that are inverting standard practices to improve graduation rates in troubled schools, teens solving everyday problems with inventiveness, a college dean who moved into a campus dumpster, 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: Watch an incredible video of an amazing woman with no arms who can eat with chopsticks, thread a needle, and much more. Watch a fun, touching video on a movement called Prank it forward. Read an informative article on how the US 2014 election results may not be what they seem. Read powerful evidence of the dangers of genetically modified food from a new study. Read revealing excerpts from the book "A New Freedom" published in 1913 by US President Woodrow Wilson to see how big corporations ruled the US even 100 years ago.
Quote of the Week: "Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it." ~~ President Woodrow Wilson, excerpt from his 1913 book "The New Freedom" (Entire book available online free at this link)
Video of the Week: Watch the powerfully incriminating documentary "The Day Israel Attacked America" about the 1967 intentional attack on the USS Liberty which was virtually erased from all historical accounts.
Waste Water from Oil Fracking Injected into Clean Aquifers
November 14, 2014, NBC News (San Francisco Affiliate)
State officials allowed oil and gas companies to pump nearly three billion gallons of waste water into underground aquifers that could have been used for drinking water or irrigation. Those aquifers are supposed to be off-limits to that kind of activity, protected by the EPA. California's Department of Conservation's Chief Deputy Director, Jason Marshall, told NBC Bay Area, "There have been past issues where permits were issued to operators that they shouldn't be injecting into those zones." In "fracking" or hydraulic fracturing operations, oil and gas companies use massive amounts of water to force the release of underground fossil fuels. The practice produces large amounts of waste water that must then be disposed of. Marshall said that often times, oil and gas companies simply re-inject that waste water back deep underground where the oil extraction took place. But other times, Marshall said, the waste water is re-injected into aquifers closer to the surface. In the State's letter to the EPA, officials admit that in at least nine waste water injection wells, the waste water was injected into "non-exempt" or clean aquifers. For the EPA, "non-exempt" aquifers are underground bodies of water that are "containing high quality water" that can be used by humans to drink, water animals or irrigate crops. "It should not have been permitted," said Marshall.
Note: The complete article summarized above includes maps of the Bakersfield, CA wells contaminated by these fracking waste injections. For more along these lines, read this Los Angeles Times article about how fracking poisons drinking water, and see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
New Orleans Police Routinely Ignored Sex Crimes
November 12, 2014, New York Times
A scathing examination of this city's Police Department has concluded that five detectives tasked with investigating sex crimes failed to pursue hundreds of reported cases. "It was a persistent, systemic problem," said Howard Schwartz, the inspector general's lead investigator. The report described how victims' charges of sexual assault were ignored, referrals from medical personnel were dismissed, and evidence was not processed; in some cases the detective would mark down in a report that evidence had been sent to the state laboratory, though no records could be found that the laboratory received anything. In one case, a 2-year-old was brought to the emergency room on suspicion of having been the victim of a sexual assault and was found to have a sexually transmitted disease. The detective did no follow-up and closed the case. In another, a nurse collected DNA evidence from a victim in a rape kit, but the detective apparently never submitted the kit for testing. That same detective, the report said, told at least three different people that he or she "did not believe that simple rape should be a crime." These findings are not new to the New Orleans police force, which is under federal court supervision after having been found to have a pattern of inefficient, abusive and corrupt police work.
Historical abuse inquiry: Police examine 'possible homicide'
November 14, 2014, BBC News
Police are investigating "possible homicide" linked to what has been described as a paedophile ring involving powerful people in the 1970s and 1980s. The group is alleged to have included senior figures in public life, the military, politics and law enforcement. A key witness who has spoken to police has told the BBC that he was abused for nine years as a boy. The Metropolitan Police said, "At this early stage in this inquiry, with much work still to do, it is not appropriate to issue appeals or reveal more information." Using the name "Nick", the alleged victim said he had given three days of video-taped evidence to detectives. His accounts are being assessed as part of ... a new Scotland Yard investigation. Nick, now in his 40s, says ... the group was "very organised" and would arrange for chauffeur-driven cars to pick up boys, sometimes from school, and drive them to "parties" or "sessions" at locations including hotels and private apartments in London and other cities. "Some of them were quite open about who they were. They had no fear at all of being caught, it didn't cross their mind." Nick said he had one motivation for speaking to the BBC - to encourage other alleged victims or those who unwittingly assisted the abusers to come forward. "People who drove us around could come forward. Staff in some of the locations could come forward. We weren't smuggled in under a blanket through the back door. It was done openly and people must have questioned that and they need to come forward."
Note: Explore powerful evidence from a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government. And read an abundance of major media news articles showing rampant child sexual abuse at high levels in many prominent organizations.
Organised child sex abuse 'widespread in England', MPs say
November 18, 2014, BBC News
Organised child sex abuse is widespread in England, a report by MPs on the Rotherham exploitation scandal says. Their report said: "On the evidence we took, the alarming conclusion is that Rotherham was not an outlier and that there is a widespread problem of organised child sexual exploitation in England." The MPs inquiry was prompted by a report by Prof Alexis Jay, which revealed up to 1,400 children were estimated to have been victims of abuse in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013. Ofsted, which carried out a series of inspections during the period, said it had introduced a "more rigorous inspection framework". The parliamentary committee called for an investigation into missing files at the council and said council officials "should be held accountable for their actions." In a statement, Ofsted said it welcomed "the opportunity to give evidence to the committee. In common with a number of organisations, we accept that past inspections may not have given child sexual exploitation the forensic focus it needed and deserved," it said.
Note: Explore powerful evidence from a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government. And read an abundance of major media news articles showing rampant child sexual abuse at high levels in many prominent organizations.
Government planes mimic cellphone towers to collect user data
November 14, 2014, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
The US justice department is reportedly using electronic equipment on aircraft to simulate cellphone towers so it can collect phone location and identifying information on a mass scale from users on the ground below. The US Marshals Service has for seven years flown Cessna aircraft ... that mimic cellular towers, permitting the collection of thousands of unique IDs and location data from users. The planes operate from at least five metropolitan airports, permitting a "flying range covering most of the US population". [This] indiscriminate collection would permit ... justice department agencies to avoid having to seek records from the phone companies themselves, especially in criminal investigations where a court order may be required. The legal basis for the previously undisclosed program is unclear. It is not reportedly a national security or counterterrorism program. Michael German, a former FBI agent now with New York University Law School, said: "The government's attitude seems to be if it can, it should, without regard to the violation of Americans' rights, so long as nobody knows. This program is being kept secret so that the thousands of innocent Americans whose data is being collected improperly won't complain. We shouldn't have to just trust that the government will handle the data it intercepts about our communications properly."
Leaked treaty is a Hollywood wish list. Could it derail Obama's trade agenda?
November 12, 2013, Washington Post Blog
Officially, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade treaty that will ease the flow of goods and services among the United States ... and other nations along the Pacific Rim. But it has attracted criticism for its secrecy, and for the inclusion of controversial provisions related to copyright, patent, and trademark protections. Wikileaks released an August draft of the "intellectual property" chapter of the treaty. The United States has been using the treaty as a vehicle to pressure its negotiating partners to make their laws more favorable to the interests of U.S. filmmakers, drug companies, and other large holders of copyright and patent rights. Several proposed items are drawn from Hollywood's wish list. The United States has also pushed for a wide variety of provisions that would benefit the U.S. pharmaceutical and medical device industries. The Obama administration wants to require the extension of patent protection to plants, animals, and medical procedures. It wants to require countries to offer longer terms of patent protection to compensate for delays in the patent application process. The United States also wants to bar the manufacturers of generic drugs from relying on safety and efficacy information that was previously submitted by a brand-name drug maker – a step that would make it harder for generic manufacturers to enter the pharmaceutical market and could raise drug prices.
Note: Why was this vitally important, yet little-reported news relegated to a blog? Read an October, 2014 update on the secret trade deal in The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers). The Environment Chapter of the TPP has also been leaked. For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing articles about government secrecy.
The Fed Needs Governors Who Aren't Wall Street Insiders
November 19, 2014, Wall Street Journal
The Federal Reserve's Board of Governors and the New York Fed have been responsible for supervising Wall Street banks. After the 2008 crisis and the regulatory lapses it revealed, Congress gave the Fed even more oversight authority. Two recent reports highlight that the Fed isn't very good at supervising certain banks. In September, Carmen Segarra, a former bank examiner at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, released secret recordings she had made of meetings at the New York Fed in 2012. The recordings revealed that New York Fed employees had identified concerns with a proposed Goldman Sachs deal. The New York Fed didn't attempt to make Goldman address these concerns. The recordings also showed Ms. Segarra's superiors pressuring her to soften her finding that Goldman did not comply with federal regulations on conflicts of interest. An October report from the Fed's Office of Inspector General provided additional confirmation that the Fed is failing to oversee the big banks. The report found that the New York Fed had failed to examine J.P. Morgan Chase's Chief Investment Office despite a recommendation to do so in 2009. The report concluded that the New York Fed needed to improve its supervision of the biggest, most complex banks. We're all counting on the Fed to monitor the big banks and stop them from taking on too much risk, but evidence is mounting that this faith in the Fed is misplaced.
Note: If the above link fails, click here. For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing articles about widespread corruption in government and banking and finance. For additional information, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Banking Corruption Information Center.
The growing wealth and clout of the richest .01 percent
November 18, 2014, Chicago Tribune
According to new research by Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley and Gabriel Zucman of the London School of Economics, the richest one-hundredth of one percent of Americans now hold more than 11 percent of the nation's total wealth. That's a higher share than the top .01 percent held in 1929, before the Great Crash. We're talking about 16,000 people, each worth at least $110 million. This explosion of wealth at the top has been accompanied by an erosion of the wealth of the middle class and the poor. Some might think [that] if those at the top are winning big while the bottom 90 percent is losing, too bad. That's the way the game is played. But the top .01 percent have also been ... changing the game. Their political investments have paid off in the form of lower taxes on themselves and their businesses, subsidies for their corporations, government bailouts, federal prosecutions ... where executives don't go to jail, watered-down regulations, and non-enforcement of antitrust laws. Since the top .01 began investing big time in politics, corporate profits and the stock market have risen to record levels. That's enlarged the wealth of the richest .01 percent. But the bottom 90 percent ... rely on wages, which have been trending downward. Politicians don't seem particularly intent on reversing this trend. If you want to know what's happened to our democracy, follow the richest .01 percent. They'll lead you to the politicians who have been selling our democracy.
Note: For more along these lines, see these summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles.
Ukraine crisis is about Great Power oil, gas pipeline rivalry
March 6, 2014, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Russia's armed intervention in the Crimea undoubtedly illustrates President Putin's ruthless determination to get his way in Ukraine. But less attention has been paid to the role of the United States in interfering in Ukrainian politics and civil society. Both powers are motivated by the desire to ensure that a geostrategically pivotal country with respect to control of critical energy pipeline routes remains in their own sphere of influence. The reported leak of the recording of an alleged private telephone conversation between US assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland and US ambassador to Kiev Geoffrey Pyatt ... suggests active US government interference. A recent US State Department-sponsored report notes that "Ukraine's strategic location between the main energy producers (Russia and the Caspian Sea area) and consumers in the Eurasian region ... make the country "a potentially crucial player in European energy transit" - a position that will "grow as Western European demands for Russian and Caspian gas and oil continue to increase." Ukraine is caught hapless in the midst of this accelerating struggle to dominate Eurasia's energy corridors in the last decades of the age of fossil fuels. For those who are pondering whether we face the prospect of a New Cold War, a better question might be - did the Cold War ever really end?
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles from reliable major media sources.
Key Articles From Years Past
New revelations in attack on American spy ship
October 2, 2007, Chicago Tribune
Bryce Lockwood, Marine staff sergeant, Russian-language expert, recipient of the Silver Star for heroism: "I'm angry! I'm seething with anger! Forty years, and I'm seething with anger!" Lockwood was aboard the USS Liberty, a super-secret spy ship on station in the eastern Mediterranean, when four Israeli fighter jets flew out of the afternoon sun to strafe and bomb the virtually defenseless vessel on June 8, 1967, the fourth day of what would become known as the Six-Day War. Four decades later, many of the more than two dozen Liberty survivors located and interviewed by the Tribune cannot talk about the attack without shouting or weeping. Their anger has been stoked by the declassification of government documents and the recollections of former military personnel. In declassifying the most recent and largest batch of materials last June 8, the 40th anniversary of the attack, the NSA ... acknowledged that the attack had "become the center of considerable controversy." It was not the agency's intention, it said, "to prove or disprove any one set of conclusions, many of which can be drawn from a thorough review of this material." Air Force Capt. Richard Block was ... monitoring Middle Eastern communications [on June 8, 1967]. "Some of the pilots did not want to attack," Block said. "The pilots said, 'This is an American ship. Do you still want us to attack?'" And ground control came back and said, 'Yes, follow orders.'"
Note: The Jerusalem Post has now confirmed that Israel knew the USS Liberty was American. Watch the powerfully incriminating documentary "The Day Israel Attacked America" about the 1967 intentional attack on the USS Liberty which was virtually erased from all historical accounts.
Spencer Bachus, incoming House financial chairman, gets heat for saying regulators should 'serve' banks
December 15, 2010, Los Angeles Times
The incoming Republican chairman of the House Financial Services Committee is facing fire for recently saying that Washington and banking regulators should "serve" the banks. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), who recently beat back a challenge from Ed Royce of Fullerton to win the chairmanship of the powerful committee, made the comments in an interview with the Birmingham News. "In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks," Bachus said. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee quickly dubbed him "Big Bank Bachus" and highlighted the more than $1 million in campaign contributions he has received from Wall Street over the years. Outgoing Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) jumped into the fray. He slammed Bachus' intentions to scale back the recently enacted financial reform law, including trying to limit the powers of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, saying the comments showed "a seriously flawed view of the relationship that should exist between financial institutions and those who set the rules governing safety and soundness. His view of the role of regulation, expressed before he 'clarified' his genuine belief, explains why he is so opposed to an independent consumer financial protection bureau, and why he wants to weaken restraints on speculation by banks with depositors' money," Frank said.
Note: For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing articles about widespread corruption in government and banking and finance. For additional information, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Banking Corruption Information Center.
New Jersey ACLU app gives new meaning to 'police tape'
July 6, 2012, Los Angeles Times
If you've ever been in a did-that-really-just-happen scenario, you might have wished you had a recorder running -- particularly when it comes to run-ins with the law. The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey just released an app that allows Android phone users to record and store their interactions with police to "hold police accountable." The app, cleverly called "Police Tape," also includes legal information about citizens' rights during encounters with law enforcement. What sets this apart from being just a video camera with a send button is that you can also record in "stealth mode." The app disappears from the screen once the recording starts, "to prevent any attempt by police to squelch the recording," according to the ACLU of New Jersey site. Users can send the recording to the organization through the app for backup storage and analysis. Though there is no federal law preventing recording police in public, some states have different statutes covering such activity. Earlier, the New York American Civil Liberties Union released its Stop and Frisk Watch application. The New York ACLU promotes that app as a way for bystanders and designated event observers to record incidents. That's probably a better idea than whipping out your phone when a cop asks for your license, particularly if you are in an emotionally charged or intense setting. That's probably not going to be received well.
Turning Education Upside Down
October 9, 2013, New York Times Blog
Three years ago, Clintondale High School, just north of Detroit, became a "flipped school" – one where students watch teachers' lectures at home and do what we'd otherwise call "homework" in class. Teachers record video lessons, which students watch on their smartphones, home computers or at lunch in the school's tech lab. In class, they do projects, exercises or lab experiments in small groups while the teacher circulates. In the fall of 2011, Clintondale flipped completely – every grade, every class. "On average we approximated a 30 percent failure rate," said Green. "With flipping, it dropped to under 10 percent." Graduation rates rose dramatically, and are now over 90 percent. College attendance went from 63 percent in 2010 to 80 percent in 2012. Flipping also changes the distribution of teacher time. In a traditional class, the teacher engages with the students who ask questions – but it's those who don't ask who tend to need the most attention. The biggest effect of flipping classrooms is on the students at the bottom. "It's tough to fail a flipped class, because you're doing the stuff in here," said Rob Dameron, the head of the English department. "I used to have about a 30 percent failure rate in English. Now, out of 130 kids, I have three who are failing – mostly due to attendance problems." Flipped classrooms require more creativity and energy from the teacher. "Lots of teachers who aren't really good teachers are resistant to this – they like to build time into the day when kids are working to do their taxes or catch up on email.".
Living Simply in a Dumpster
September 11, 2014, The Atlantic
Tucked behind the women's residence halls in a back corner of Huston-Tillotson University's campus in Austin, Texas, sits a green dumpster. Were it not for the sliding pitched roof and weather station perched on top, a reasonable person might dismiss the box as "just another dumpster"–providing this person did not encounter the dean of the University College Jeff Wilson living inside. Until this summer, the green dumpster was even less descript than it is now. There was no sliding roof; Wilson kept the rain out with a tarp. The goal was to establish a baseline experience of the dumpster without any accoutrements, before adding them incrementally. Not long ago, Wilson was nesting in a 2,500 square foot house. Now he says almost everything he owns is in his 36-square-foot dumpster, which is sanctioned and supported by the university as part of an ongoing sustainability-focused experiment called The Dumpster Project. "We could end up with a house under $10,000 that could be placed anywhere in the world," Wilson said at the launch, "[fueled by] sunlight and surface water, and people could have a pretty good life." Wilson, known around town as Professor Dumpster, recounted in another recent interview that he now owns four pairs of pants, four shirts, three pairs of shoes, three hats, and "eight or nine" bow ties. He keeps all of this in cubbies under a recently installed false floor.
Note: The article above includes many amazing photos of Wilson's unconventional home. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
These 14 Teenage Inventors Built a Glove That Translates Sign Language–and Other Tech Solutions
November 11, 2014, Yes! Magazine
These 16 individuals under 20 have all invented solutions that have somehow eluded those who can legally drink. Many of these kids were inspired by simple necessity. Others were driven by compassion. Some of them were just doing science fair projects. Eesha Khare: This 18-year-old from Saratoga, California, was still in high school when she invented a battery that can be charged in 20 seconds. It also lasts 10 times as long as a standard battery. Ryan Patterson: The inability to communicate with most hearing people makes life difficult for deaf persons. Knowing this, Colorado-born Ryan invented a glove that translates sign language. It's simply a golf glove that uses sensors, a radio frequency transmitter, and a microcontroller to interpret hand movements. He was 17. Why didn't anyone else think of this? Raquel Redshirt: Growing up in New Mexico's Navajo Nation, Raquel experienced poverty so extreme that her family and neighbors often couldn't afford electricity, making it near impossible to cook anything. So at 16, she discovered a way to make solar-powered ovens using the simple materials collected around the area. Working with old tires, aluminum foil, shredded paper, and dirt, she made these usually expensive ovens for the people in her community. Have you built any ovens for your neighbors lately?
Note: Why aren't some of these inventions being hailed and promoted widely in the media? Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Obama administration endorses treaty banning torture
November 12, 2014, Washington Post
The Obama administration has formally endorsed provisions of an international treaty banning torture and cruel treatment of prisoners held by the United States. In a statement Wednesday to a U.N. treaty-monitoring committee in Geneva, Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski said, "We believe that torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment are forbidden in all places, at all times, with no exceptions." State Department legal adviser Mary E. McLeod affirmed to the committee that the definition covers all areas under U.S. jurisdiction and territory. McLeod also reaffirmed that no statement made by a person as a result of torture is admissible in any legal proceeding. The ... issue is likely to reemerge in the United States with the release of a lengthy summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee's classified report on the detention and interrogation program that was put in place following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The release has been held up in a dispute between the committee majority and the CIA over portions of the report the intelligence agency believes should remain secret. In her remarks to the committee, McLeod said that "in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, we regrettably did not always live up to our own values. As President Obama has acknowledged, we crossed the line and we take responsibility for that."
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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