The Doctor Threatened by Other Doctors, US Congress Secretly Changes Retirement Rules, Mindfulness Heals
December 22, 2014
Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on a brave doctor who was threatened by other doctors after her call for transparency, the US Congress secretly changing the rules on savings and retirement accounts, the Senate report's proof that many innocent people were tortured by the CIA, and more.
Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on the practice of mindfulness to heal addiction to technology, the measurable power of meditation to improve bodily health, the award winning chef that now feeds San Francisco's less fortunate, 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.
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Special note: Read about the real man behind the legend of Santa Claus and be prepared to be surprised. Watch a great 10-minute speech by US Senator Elizabeth Warren revealing the incredible revolving door between Citibank and high government positions. Watch a beautiful 10-minute video showing how one woman used gratefulness to deal with the loss of her baby. Read a powerful article by former US Congressman Dennis Kucinich showing how a bill was recently quietly slipped through Congress to feed the war mongers and push us towards another Cold War with Russia and China.
Video of the Week: Watch this truly touching video of what happens when police play secret Santa (three minutes). After the intensity and brutality of several recent police killings, this is a powerful reminder that there are many good and noble policemen out there.
Doctor Transparency: Why Leana Wen Received Threats After Launching "Who's My Doctor"
November 19, 2014, International Business Times
Leana Wen created the "Who's My Doctor" campaign last year. The effort ... goes a step further than the federal government's mandate requiring physicians to disclose all money they receive from drug companies. Last month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released data that outlined the $3.5 billion that companies paid to the nation's doctors. The Open Payments database ... was heavily opposed by physician groups and pharmaceutical companies. "Incentives matter," said Wen in a recent TED talk, "If you go to your doctor because of back pain, you might want to know he's getting paid $5,000 to perform spine surgery versus $25 to refer you to see a physical therapist." As part of the "Who's My Doctor" effort, each physician voluntarily publishes a "Total Transparency Manifesto," which ... flows into a searchable database that prospective patients can use. One year after starting the project, only 34 "transparent doctors" are listed on the website. There are many more who were less than pleased. "I thought some doctors would sign on and others wouldn't, but I had no idea of the backlash that would ensue," she said in her TED talk. The criticism quickly went beyond online comments. Soon, people were asking Wen's employer to fire her, and sending mail to her home address with threats.
Where's the outrage? Congress changes savings accounts and retirement funds, and America sleeps
December 16, 2014, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Congress has passed, and President Obama has said he would sign, a budget bill that allows banks to use your savings when they make giant financial bets called derivatives. Again. And because those savings are insured by the federal government, you, the taxpayer, would be on the hook if those bets go south. Again. This isn't arcane financial stuff we can ignore. These are the exact financial mechanisms that led to the global crisis just six (short!) years ago. The Dodd-Frank reform law that was passed in the wake of that crisis forbade this from ever happening. People in the personal finance field love to talk about how if we could just get more Americans to save, if we could just get more Americans to learn the basics of the stock market, if we could just convince Americans to forego that latte at Starbucks, if we could just put Americans on a budget, then things would be OK. But how is any of that supposed to work when banks can use people's savings to play the roulette wheel that is the stock market – and then when they lose, they just order another cup of coffee and use the federal budget to make sure that the losses fall not on them but on the people who just tried to save a little money in the first place? This one is only on workers if they say nothing and fail to educate themselves on what is being plundered from their futures. The powers that be are counting on you not to pay attention, or to feel so impotent that you just give up.
Note: Read how literally hundreds of trillions of dollars are being recklessly gambled by the banks using our savings and retirement. For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing articles about widespread corruption in government and banking and finance.
Forbidden Topic in Health Policy Debate: Cost Effectiveness
December 16, 2014, New York Times
For the most part, we're avoiding [the subject of cost effectiveness] when we talk about health care. When the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the body specifically set up to do comparative effectiveness research, was founded, the law explicitly prohibited it from funding any cost-effectiveness research at all. As it says on its website, "We don't consider cost effectiveness to be an outcome of direct importance to patients." As a physician, a health services researcher and a patient ... I think understanding how much bang for the buck I, my patients and the public are getting from our health care spending is of great importance. The United States Preventive Services Task Force ... was set up by the federal government to rate the effectiveness of preventive health services on a scale of A to D. When it issues a rating, it almost always explicitly states that it does not consider the costs of providing a service in its assessment. And because the Affordable Care Act mandates that all insurance must cover, without any cost sharing, all services that the task force has rated A or B, that means that we are all paying for these therapies, even if they are incredibly inefficient. If we are going to mandate that recommendations and interventions must be covered by health insurance ... it seems logical that we at least consider their economic value.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Amid Details on Torture, Data on 26 Who Were Held in Error
December 12, 2014, New York Times
One quiet consequence of this week's sensational release of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on the C.I.A. detention program was a telephone call that a human rights lawyer, Meg Satterthwaite, placed to a client in Yemen, Mohamed Bashmilah. For eight years since Mr. Bashmilah, 46, was released from C.I.A. custody, Ms. Satterthwaite ... had been trying without success to get the United States government to acknowledge that it had held him in secret prisons for 19 months and to explain why. In the phone call on Wednesday, she told him that the Senate report listed him as one of 26 prisoners who, based on C.I.A. documents, had been "wrongfully detained." After learning the news, Mr. Bashmilah pressed Ms. Satterthwaite, who heads the global justice program at New York University Law School, to tell him what might follow from the Senate's recognition. Would there be an apology? Would there be some kind of compensation? Among the others mistakenly held for periods of months or years, according to the report, were an "intellectually challenged" man held by the C.I.A. solely to pressure a family member to provide information; two people who were former C.I.A. informants; and two brothers who were falsely linked to Al Qaeda. Ms. Satterthwaite was not able to answer Mr. Bashmilah's question about an apology or reparation. No apology was forthcoming from the C.I.A., which declined to comment on specific cases.
Note: An ACLU lawsuit filed on behalf of Mr. Bashmilah and others flown to prisons on C.I.A. aircraft was dismissed on the grounds that it might expose state secrets. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing stories about questionable intelligence agency practices from reliable sources.
Bob Jones University Blamed Victims of Sexual Assaults, Not Abusers, Report Says
December 11, 2014, New York Times
For decades, officials at Bob Jones University told sexual assault victims that they were to blame for their abuse, and to not report it to the police because doing so would damage their families, churches and the university, according to a long-awaited independent report released Thursday. Bob Jones, an evangelical Christian institution, displayed a "blaming and disparaging" attitude toward abuse victims, according to 56 percent of the 381 current and former students and employees who replied to a confidential survey and said they had knowledge of how the university handled abuse cases. Abuse victims said the university actively discouraged them from going to the police. "I was abused from the ages of 6 to 14 by my grandfather," one respondent said. "When I went for counselling I was told: 'Did you repent for your part of the abuse?" Another person said that at Bob Jones, "abuse victims are considered 'second-rate Christians.' " And another said, "by the time I left B.J.U., I didn't think God loved me at all." The criticism of Bob Jones differs from that prompted by the sexual-assault scandals that have erupted at colleges across the country, in that it is not primarily about assaults on or near campus. Rather, the university has been criticized for penalizing victims who reported incidents or sought treatment.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sex abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
Full scale of plastic in the world's oceans revealed for first time
December 10, 2014, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
More than five trillion pieces of plastic, collectively weighing nearly 269,000 tonnes, are floating in the world's oceans, causing damage throughout the food chain, new research has found. Data collected by scientists from the US, France, Chile, Australia and New Zealand suggests a minimum of 5.25tn plastic particles in the oceans, most of them "micro plastics" measuring less than 5mm. The volume of plastic pieces, largely deriving from products such as food and drink packaging and clothing, was calculated from data taken from 24 expeditions over a six-year period to 2013. The research, published in the journal PLOS One, is the first study to look at plastics of all sizes in the world's oceans. "We saw turtles that ate plastic bags and fish that ingested fishing lines," said Julia Reisser, a researcher based at the University of Western Australia. "But there are also chemical impacts. When plastic gets into the water it acts like a magnet for oily pollutants. It's hard to visualise the sheer amount, but the weight of it is more than the entire biomass of humans." The research, the first of its kind to pull together data on floating plastic from around the world, will be used to chart future trends in the amount of debris in the oceans. But researchers predict the volume will increase due to rising production of throwaway plastic, with only 5% of the world's plastic currently recycled.
Note: Ocean acidification was number one on 2014's top 25 stories subjected to press censorship.
U.S. TV Provides Ample Platform for American Torturers, But None to Their Victims
December 16, 2014, The Intercept
Ever since the torture report was released last week, U.S. television outlets have endlessly featured American torturers and torture proponents. But there was one group that was almost never heard from: the victims of their torture. The War on Terror generally has been "reported" for 13 years and counting by completely silencing those whose lives are destroyed or ended by U.S. crimes. In 2002, Maher [Arar], a Canadian citizen of Syrian descent who worked as an engineer, was travelling back home to Ottawa when he was abducted by the U.S. Government at JFK Airport, [secretly] interrogated for weeks, then "rendered" to Syria where the U.S. arranged to have him brutally tortured ... for 10 months. He was completely innocent, [and was] unceremoniously released back to his life in Canada as though nothing had happened. U.S. courts refused even to hear his case, accepting the Obama DOJ's claim that it was too secret to safely adjudicate. The Canadian government ... publicly apologized for its role, and paid him $9 million. There are hundreds if not thousands of Maher Arars the U.S. media could easily and powerfully interview. The detainees held without charges, tortured, and then unceremoniously released from Guantanamo and Bagram are rarely if ever heard from on U.S. television, even when the U.S. Government is forced to admit that they were guilty of nothing.
The CIA Didn't Just Torture, It Experimented on Human Beings
December 16, 2014, The Nation
The "war on terror" is not the CIA's first venture into human experimentation. At the dawn of the Cold War, German scientists and doctors with Nazi records of human experimentation were given new identities and brought to the United States under Operation Paperclip. In 1953, the CIA established the MK-ULTRA program, [which] evolved into experiments in psychological torture. During the Vietnam War, the CIA developed the Phoenix program, which combined psychological torture with brutal interrogations, human experimentation and extrajudicial executions. In 1963, the CIA produced a manual titled "Kubark Counterintelligence Interrogation" to guide agents in the art of extracting information. An updated version of the Kubark guide [was] produced in 1983 and titled "Human Resource Exploitation Manual" [for CIA supported] right-wing regimes in Latin America and Southeast Asia. Here we are again. On April 15, 2002, [psychologists hired by the CIA] Mitchell and Jessen arrived at a black site in Thailand to supervise the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, the first "high-value detainee" captured by the CIA. From then ... at least thirty-eight people were subjected to psychological and physical torments, and the results were methodically documented and analyzed. That is the textbook definition of human experimentation.
Note: For more along these lines, see this list depicting the rampant use of humans as guinea pigs in government, military, and medical experiments over the last century, or watch "Human Resources", a two-hour documentary on the subject. For more, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Mind Control Information Center.
Fueled by Recession, U.S. Wealth Gap Is Widest in Decades, Study Finds
December 17, 2014, New York Times
A report released on Wednesday by the Pew Research Center found that the wealth gap between the country's top 20 percent of earners and the rest of America had stretched to its widest point in at least three decades. Last year, the median net worth of upper-income families reached $639,400, nearly seven times as much of those in the middle, and nearly 70 times the level of those at the bottom. There has been growing attention to the issue of income inequality. But while income and wealth are related ... the wealth gap zeros in on a different aspect of financial well-being: how much money and other assets you have accumulated over time. "The Great Recession destroyed a significant amount of middle-income and lower-income families' wealth, and the economic 'recovery' has yet to be felt for them," the report concluded. The median household net worth last year for those in the middle was $96,500, only slightly above the $94,300 mark it hit in 1983 (after being adjusted for inflation). A poor household actually had a higher median net worth 30 years ago ($11,400 in 1983) than it counted last year ($9,300). Compare those results with the top fifth of income earners. In 1983, when the Fed began collecting the data, that group had a median wealth of $318,000; in 2013 it owned more than twice that.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Coin of the Realm
December 16, 2014, Chicago Tribune
The Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 banned insider trading but left it up to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the courts to define it. Which they have -- in recent decades so broadly that confidential information [is now Wall Street's] "coin of the realm." If a CEO tells his golf buddy that his company is being taken over, and his buddy makes a killing on that information, no problem. If his buddy leaks the information to a hedge fund manager and doesn't say where it came from, the hedge fund manager can also use the information to make a bundle. CEOs and other top executives ... routinely use their own inside knowledge of when their companies will buy back large numbers of shares from the public -- thereby pumping up share prices -- in order to time their own personal stock transactions. That didn't used to be legal. Until 1981, the Securities and Exchange Commission required companies to publicly disclose the amount and timing of their buybacks. But Ronald Reagan's SEC removed those restrictions. Then, George W. Bush's SEC allowed top executives, even though technically company "insiders" ... to quietly cash in their stock options without public disclosure. Now it's normal practice. Many CEOs are making vast fortunes not because they're good at managing their corporations but because they're good at using insider information.
Note: Is the trend to relax the rules on insider trading related to the revolving door between big banks and government? For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing articles about widespread corruption in government and banking and finance.
Suicide surpassed war as the military's leading cause of death
October 31, 2014, USA Today
War was the leading cause of death in the military nearly every year between 2004 and 2011 until suicides became the top means of dying for troops in 2012 and 2013, according to a bar chart published this week in a monthly Pentagon medical statistical analysis journal. For those last two years, suicide outranked war, cancer, heart disease, homicide, transportation accidents and other causes as the leading killer, accounting for about three in 10 military deaths each of those two years. Transportation accidents, by a small margin, was the leading cause of military deaths in 2008, slightly more than combat. The fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan accounted for anywhere from one out of three deaths in the military – in 2005 and 2010 – to more than 46 percent of deaths in 2007, during the height of the Iraq surge, according to the chart. More than 6,800 troops have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11 and more than 3,000 additional service members have taken their lives in that same time, according to Pentagon data.
The remarkable collapse of our trust in government, in one chart
December 4, 2014, Washington Post
No one likes -- or trusts -- the government. At this point, that's accepted conventional wisdom. And most people assume it has always been like that. But that lack of trust hasn't always been a part of the American experience -- as this awesome chart from our friends at the Pew Research Center shows. The downward trajectory is stark. The collapse began during the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson, which, not coincidentally, overlapped with the Vietnam War. The 1970s -- thanks to Vietnam and Watergate -- sped up the loss of faith in the government. And, after a quasi-resurgence during the 1980s, the trend line for the past few decades is quite clear. With the exception of relatively brief spikes that overlap with the first Gulf War and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the number of people who trust the government has been steadily declining; the last time Pew asked the question, in February, just 24 percent said they trust the government "always" or "most of the time". Exit polling from the 2014 midterms makes clear that things haven't improved. That's a tough starting place for any politician. But, if the chart [linked to] above is any indication, it's the new normal.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption.
December 14, 2014, CBS News
There's a growing movement in America to train people to get around the stresses of daily life. It's a practice called "mindfulness" and it basically means being aware. Jon Kabat-Zinn is an MIT-trained scientist who's been practicing mindfulness for 47 years. Back in 1979, he started teaching mindfulness through meditation to people suffering from chronic pain and illness. That program is now used in more than 700 hospitals worldwide. Jon Kabat-Zinn: When your alarm goes off and you jump out of bed, what is the nature of the mind in that moment? Are you already like, "oh my God," your calendar pops into your mind and you're driven already, or can you take a moment and just lie in bed and just feel your body breathing. And remember, "oh yeah, brand new day and I'm still alive." So, I get out of bed with awareness, brush my teeth with awareness. When you're in the shower next time check and see if you're in the shower. You may not be. You may be in your first meeting at work. You may have 50 people in the shower with you. If you look at people out on the street, if you look at people at restaurants, nobody's having conversations anymore. They're sitting at dinner looking at their phone, because their brain is so addicted to it. So all of this is leading to a societal exhaustion. But if you're starting to think mindfulness is something you should start practicing, he says you may be missing the point.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Changing Our DNA through Mind Control?
December 16, 2014, Scientific American
Findings from a new study published in Cancer by a Canadian group suggest that our mental state has measurable physical influence on ... our DNA. Dr. Linda E. Carlson and her colleagues found that in breast cancer patients, support group involvement and mindfulness meditation – an adapted form of Buddhist meditation in which practitioners focus on present thoughts and actions in a non-judgmental way ... are associated with preserved telomere length. Telomeres are stretches of DNA that cap our chromosomes and help prevent chromosomal deterioration. We want our telomeres intact. In Carlson's study distressed breast cancer survivors were divided into three groups. The first group was randomly assigned to ... mindfulness meditation and yoga; the second to 12-weeks of group therapy; and the third was a control group, receiving just a 6-hour stress management course. Telomeres were maintained in both treatment groups but shortened in controls. Previous work hinted at this. More recent work looking at meditation reported similar findings. The biologic benefits of meditation in particular extend well beyond telomere preservation. Earlier work by Carlson found that ... mindfulness is associated with healthier levels of the stress hormone cortisol and a decrease in compounds that promote inflammation.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Rescuing good food to feed less-fortunate
May 13, 2007 San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Mary Risley, a chef, writer and founder of Tante Marie's Cooking School, works to alleviate hunger in the city through the nonprofit organization Food Runners. Founded by Risley in 1997, Food Runners picks up 10 tons a week of food that would otherwise be thrown away and serves more than 350 community organizations, including residential hotels and substance abuse treatment centers. The group has 200 volunteers and a paid driver of a refrigerated truck. Donors include local restaurants, hotels, cafes, caterers, retail markets and wholesalers. In 1997, Risley was honored as cooking teacher of the year by Bon Appétit magazine, but she yearned for more. "Dianne Feinstein was the mayor at the time, and I phoned her office and asked what was being done about hunger. They recommended that I call the San Francisco Food Bank [and] was referred to Daily Bread in Berkeley. Its founder, Carolyn North, became her mentor. She modelled Food Runners after Daily Bread. "I copied (North's) program, because she believes, like I do, that we all belong in the same world," said Risley. "None of us are an entity standing alone, living alone, doing our own thing. We depend on each other as part of our existence. The ultimate goal for Food Runners is to make sure no business in San Francisco is throwing away nutritional, edible food," Risley said.
Note: Watch an inspiring two-minute video on this great movement.
Unique traffic stops in Missouri bring drivers to tears
December 12, 2014, CBS News
Earlier this month, in Kansas City, Missouri, the Jackson County Sheriff's Department was out looking for people. What made this operation especially unusual was the man behind it: a fellow in a red hat -- known to these men only as "Secret Santa." Every year this anonymous, wealthy businessman gives out about a hundred thousand dollars worth of hundred dollar bills to random strangers. But this year, instead of doing it all himself, he deputized these deputies to give away much of it. And so, armed to the teeth with Benjamins, the officers went out to do Santa's bidding. They specifically went after people they thought would appreciate it most. "Merry Christmas," a deputy said while handing money to a driver. "You're kidding. Oh my God, no," answered the driver in disbelief. Most people weren't just blown away -- most people were moved to tears. Their reactions were a combination of really needing the money and being caught off guard. This year "Secret Santa" also had a secret agenda. "What do you want the officers to get out of this?" I asked him. "Joy," he answered. "You know, as tough as they are they have hearts that are bigger than the world." Let's face it, it hasn't been a good year for law enforcement -- but for the vast majority of decent officers who will never make headlines -- Secret Santa offered this gift.
Note: Don't miss the incredibly beautiful three-minute video on this.
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