Boston Globe on US Fear Mongering, NYT False Reporting on San Bernardino Terrorism, Hard-wired for Fairness
December 28, 2015
Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on the illusory security threats to the US and how fear mongering is used to drive arms sales, the New York Times terrorism reporting that got key facts about the San Bernardino shooters wrong, Monsanto's latest attempt to buy scientists in a bid to sway public opinion, and more.
Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on the new studies showing how people's brains are hard-wired for fairness and generosity, Santa's moving words to a boy with autism, the social skills that predict lifelong success when taught to children, 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 an incredible, touching article about a family who decided to reach out and help those most in need. Take a fun NY Times test on religion. Watch a fun video on bringing "the hood" to "the 'burbs." Watch an excellent three-minute news video showing Lockheed Martin's CEO lauding the profits that come from war. The US Justice Department thankfully has now shut down the police forfeiture program. Watch a fun, one-minute video based on Star Wars asking you to choose between the light and the dark.
Quote of the week: "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." ~~ Buckminster Fuller
Video of the week: Watch Abby Martin give an incredibly revealing interview to retired U.S. Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former national security advisor to the Reagan administration, who spent years as an assistant to Secretary of State Colin Powell during both Bush administrations. He lays out the vast corruption of the military-industrial complex which is constantly pushing for war to seek ever greater power and profits. In another public radio interview he leaves no doubt that Pentagon contractors are driving US foreign policy.
The world of threats to the US is an illusion
April 12, 2015, Boston Globe
When Americans look out at the world, we see a swarm of threats. China seems resurgent and ambitious. Russia is aggressive. Iran menaces our allies. Middle East nations we once relied on are collapsing in flames. Latin American leaders sound steadily more anti-Yankee. Terror groups capture territory and commit horrific atrocities. We fight Ebola with one hand while fending off Central American children with the other. In fact, this world of threats is an illusion. The United States has no potent enemies. We are not only safe, but safer than any big power has been in all of modern history. It will be generations before China is able to pose a serious challenge to the United States — and there is little evidence it wishes to do so. Russia is ... not always a friendly neighbor but no threat to the United States. Violence in the Middle East has no serious implication for American security. As for domestic terrorism, the risk for Americans is modest: You have more chance of being struck by lightning on your birthday than of dying in a terror attack. Promoting the image of a world full of enemies creates a “security psychosis” that misshapes our view of the world. In extreme cases, it pushes us into wars aimed at preempting threats that do not actually exist. Arms manufacturers profit from the security psychosis even more directly than militarists. Finding new threats is always good business for someone.
Note: Explore powerful evidence that ISIS is aided and was possibly even created by covert US support. Watch this video which shows how the US and its allies stoke war in order to pad the pockets of mega-corporations which profit greatly from arms sales. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption and the manipulation of public perception.
New York Times reviewing reporting on San Bernardino assailants
December 17, 2015, Washington Post
The New York Times is taking a second look at its reporting on the Internet activities of the assailants in the San Bernardino, Calif., massacre. The review is addressing a discrepancy between the paper’s reporting and statements made ... by FBI Director James B. Comey. The New York Times reported in a front-page Sunday piece that Tashfeen Malik, who with her husband Syed Rizwan Farook committed the slayings, “talked openly on social media about her views on violent jihad.” In a session with reporters yesterday, Comey announced: “So far, in this investigation we have found no evidence of posting on social media by either of them at that period in time and thereafter reflecting their commitment to jihad or to martyrdom. I’ve seen some reporting on that, and that’s a garble.” Following Comey’s statements, the New York Times published an article acknowledging the inconsistencies. That the New York Times appears to have botched this story isn’t a shocker. “American law enforcement officials” - upon whom the paper relied for its scoop - are famous for feeding contradictory and unfounded information to the media. Yet the paper’s explanation is indeed a shocker, especially these two sentences: "While those remarks were made online, Mr. Comey said, they were “direct private messages” and not easily accessed. Nevertheless, the F.B.I. was able to obtain them in the days since the attacks." This is a story that needs a large correction, if not a retraction.
Note: Somebody wants us to be afraid. Read an excellent analysis raising serious questions about these alleged mass murderers and others. A New York Times editor admitted that the NYT failed to accurately report the news after 9/11. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the manipulation of public perception.
Strike Two for Pair of New York Times Reporters
December 16, 2015, Mother Jones
Today, FBI director James Comey said the San Bernardino shooters never talked openly about violent jihadism on social media: "So far, in this investigation we have found no evidence of posting on social media by either of them at that period in time and thereafter reflecting their commitment to jihador to martyrdom." So where did this notion come from, anyway? The answer is a New York Times story on Sunday headlined "U.S. Visa Process Missed San Bernardino Wife's Zealotry on Social Media." It told us that Tashfeen Malik "talked openly" on social media about jihad and that, "Had the authorities found the posts years ago, they might have kept her out of the country." The story was written by Matt Apuzzo, Michael Schmidt, and Julia Preston. Do those names sound familiar? They should. The first two were also the authors of July's epic fail claiming that Hillary Clinton was the target of a criminal referral over the mishandling of classified information in her private email system. In the end, virtually everything about the story turned out to be wrong. Clinton was not a target. The referral was not criminal. The emails in question had most likely not been classified at the time Clinton saw them. That's two strikes. Schmidt and Apuzzo either have some bad sources somewhere, or else they have one really bad source somewhere. And coincidentally or not, their source(s) have provided them with two dramatic but untrue scoops that make prominent Democrats look either corrupt or incompetent.
Note: A New York Times editor admitted that the NYT failed to accurately report the news after 9/11. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the manipulation of public perception.
Scientists assembled for Monsanto say herbicide not carcinogenic, disputing WHO report
December 7, 2015, CNBC/Reuters
A panel of scientists is disputing a World Health Organization report published earlier this year that concluded glyphosate, the world's most widely used weed killer and main ingredient in Monsanto Co's Roundup herbicide, is probably carcinogenic to humans. The 16-member panel, assembled by Intertek Scientific & Regulatory Consultancy, will present its findings to the annual meeting of the Society for Risk Analysis on Monday, aiming to publish the study at a later date after peer review. Monsanto paid Intertek for the panel's work. Concerns about glyphosate on food have been a hot topic of debate in the United States recently and contributed to the passage in Vermont last year of the country's first mandatory labeling law for foods that are genetically modified. Critics say that industry-linked scientists are downplaying the risk to human health and trying to discredit the IARC report by casting doubt on some of the scientific studies that it reviewed. Ten of the 16 scientists on the Intertek panel have been consultants for Monsanto in the past and two others are former Monsanto employees.
Note: Read an informative article titled "Monsanto Charged With Crimes Against Humanity" on mercola.com. Read how the EPA used industry studies while ignoring independent studies to declare Roundup safe. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
Hospitality and Gambling Interests Delay Closing of Billion-Dollar Tax Loophole
December 20, 2015, New York Times
In the span of a mere 11 days this month, $1 billion in future federal tax payments vanished. As congressional leaders were hastily braiding together a tax and spending bill of more than 2,000 pages, lobbyists swooped in to add 54 words that temporarily preserved a loophole sought by the hotel, restaurant and gambling industries, along with billionaire Wall Street investors, that allowed them to put real estate in trusts and avoid taxes. The small changes, and the enormous windfall they generated, show the power of connected corporate lobbyists to alter a huge bill that is being put together with little time for lawmakers to consider. Some executives at companies with the most at stake are also big campaign donors. The real estate provision, released on Dec. 7, is intended to close a loophole in federal law that has allowed casinos, hotels, restaurant chains and other businesses to raise billions of dollars in cash by spinning off the buildings they own into a separate real estate investment trust, or REIT, without triggering a capital gains tax payment, a potentially big benefit. The revised language drew almost no notice from members of Congress, who were given three days to review a 2,009-page spending plan and the 233-page list of tax breaks before they were asked to vote on the package with almost no debate. Three House lawmakers interviewed just after the vote said they had known nothing about it.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Report slams U.N. for "gross institutional failure" in child sex abuse cases
December 17, 2015, CBS/Associated Press
The United Nations' "gross institutional failure" to act on allegations that French and other peacekeepers sexually abused children in the Central African Republic led to even more assaults, according to a new report. One young boy who initially reported an attack on his friends more than a year ago now says he has been raped, too. [An] independent panel found that the accounts by children as young as 9 of trading oral sex and other acts in exchange for food in the middle of a war zone in early 2014 were "passed from desk to desk, inbox to inbox, across multiple U.N. offices, with no one willing to take responsibility." Among those said to have looked the other way were the U.N. children's agency, UNICEF, as well as human rights staffers. The panel, led by Canadian judge Marie Deschamps, found that U.N. staffers failed or hesitated to pass the children's allegations to more senior officials, sometimes because of political concerns with France involved; showed "unconscionable delays" in protecting and supporting the children; failed to further investigate the allegations; failed to properly vet peacekeepers for past abuses; and, overall, appeared more concerned with whether one U.N. staffer had improperly alerted French authorities. "The welfare of the victims and the accountability of the perpetrators appeared to be an afterthought, if considered at all," the report says. As of now, more than a year and a half after U.N. staffers first heard the children's allegations of sexual abuse, no one has been arrested.
Note: Watch an excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team titled "Spies, Lords and Predators" on a pedophile ring in the UK which leads directly to the highest levels of government. A second suppressed documentary, "Conspiracy of Silence," goes even deeper into this sad subject. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
In the war against sexual assault, the Army keeps shooting itself in the foot
December 19, 2015, Washington Post
For the past two years, the Pentagon has acknowledged having a severe problem with sexual assault in the ranks. Soldiers entrusted with key roles in the campaign against sexual assault and harassment have ... been accused of committing those very offenses. The Army Reserve’s 80th Training Command summoned about 350 personnel to an Orlando hotel in 2013 for a four-day conference on sexual-assault prevention. One session highlighted how excessive drinking is often at the root of sex crimes committed by those in uniform. Soon after the conference began, sheriff’s deputies were called to the hotel to investigate a report that a female guest had been raped by one of the participants - an inebriated soldier she had met at the hotel pool. Overall, the Defense Department received 6,131 reports of sexual assault last year, a figure that has more than doubled since 2007. In March, a sexual-assault-prevention officer for an Army battalion at Fort Hood, Tex., pleaded guilty to acting as a pimp by luring cash-strapped young female soldiers into a prostitution ring. Last year, the Army disciplined its former top sex-crimes prosecutor after receiving a complaint that he had kissed and groped a female officer - while attending a conference on sexual assault. The system shows that the military doesn’t really take sexual assault seriously.
Note: When it comes to sexual abuse, the US military has reportedly fostered a culture of coverup. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report details deaths of 3,201 children in residential schools
December 15, 2015, The Star (One of Canada's leading newspapers)
More than 3,000 indigenous children and youth died in residential schools - many of them buried in unmarked graves - and those who had the power to prevent these deaths did little to stop it. The heartbreaking details of those deaths are contained in the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released Tuesday, which details the dark history and unsettling legacy of Canadian residential schools that saw 150,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit children come through their doors. “Many students who went to residential school never returned,” says the final report. “They died at rates that were far higher than those experienced by the general school-aged population. Their parents were often uninformed. No one took care to count how many died or to record where they were buried.” says the final report, [which] includes a volume titled “Missing Children and Unmarked Burials” detailing the circumstances, when known, of the 3,201 students deaths between 1867 and 2000 it was able to record. “Both the regulatory regime in which the schools operated and the level of compliance with that regime were inadequate to the task of protecting the health and safety of the students. "Government, church, and school officials were well aware of these failures and their impact on student health. If the question is, ‘Who knew what when?’ the clear answer is, ‘Everyone in authority at any point in the system’s history was well aware of the health and safety conditions in the schools,’ ” the report concludes.
Note: A recent BBC report goes deeper into the role of these schools in Canada's "cultural genocide" of First Nation peoples. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable major media sources.
‘The Big Short,’ Housing Bubbles and Retold Lies
December 18, 2015, New York Times
In May 2009 Congress created a special commission to examine the causes of the financial crisis. Some commission members sought to block consideration of any historical account that might support efforts to rein in runaway bankers. One ... wrote [that] it was important that what they said “not undermine the ability of the new House G.O.P. to modify or repeal Dodd-Frank,” the financial regulations introduced in 2010. Never mind what really happened; the party line, literally, required telling stories that would help Wall Street do it all over again. Which brings me to a new movie the enemies of financial regulation really, really don’t want you to see. “The Big Short” is based on the Michael Lewis book of the same name, one of the few real best-sellers to emerge from the financial crisis. It does a terrific job of making Wall Street skulduggery entertaining. Many influential, seemingly authoritative players, from Alan Greenspan on down, insisted not only that there was no bubble but that no bubble was even possible. And the bubble whose existence they denied really was inflated largely via opaque financial schemes that in many cases amounted to outright fraud - and it is an outrage that basically nobody ended up being punished for those sins aside from innocent bystanders, namely the millions of workers who lost their jobs and the millions of families that lost their homes. While the movie gets the essentials of the financial crisis right, the true story of what happened is deeply inconvenient to some very rich and powerful people.
Disgraced CEO Shkreli embodies problem with U.S. pharma industry
December 18, 2015, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspapers)
Martin Shkreli ... gained notoriety in August when, as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, he acquired a drug to treat parasitic infections, especially in pregnant women and AIDS patients, and proceeded to hike the price to from $13.50 to $750 per pill. He resigned from Turing Friday after being arrested on unrelated charges of securities fraud at a hedge fund. Shkreli was no doubt a first-class tool. But to focus exclusively on shaming Shkreli risks missing the larger problem, that the American health care system allows opportunists like him to [exploit] the lack of transparency on how drugs are priced in the United States. His price gouging was perfectly legal and even justified under the market-based system that underpins the health care industry. “There’s no law that he has to be ethical,” said [Dr. Jeffrey] Lobosky, author of It's Enough To Make You Sick. “His job is not to make drugs available and save patients. His responsibility is to make a profit for his shareholders.” On paper, Turing is a drug company, but it more closely resembles a private-equity firm: it buys undervalued assets - older drugs already approved by federal regulators - and makes money by charging more than what it paid. Many firms make drugs that are mere copies of others and offer no real therapeutic value, Lobosky said.
How 'Qi' wireless battery charging could help people ditch the cords
December 16, 2015, Christian Science Monitor
With cellphone batteries typically lasting about a day because battery technology hasn’t kept pace with the ever-increasing power of many feature-rich phones, reaching for a cumbersome charger is a necessary chore. A new standard for wireless charging that’s becoming increasingly prevalent in furniture, cars, and some airport lounges and hotels wants to change that. The concept behind the chargers is straightforward - a base plugged into an electrical outlet emits a constantly-varying magnetic field, which causes a receiver in the device to vibrate, powering the battery and allowing it to charge. So far, more than 200 companies - including Microsoft, Samsung, LG Electronics, Verizon, Sanyo, and Phillips - have agreed to use a standard for the chargers called Qi. The market for wireless chargers has been growing steadily, with companies shipping 55 million devices that charged wirelessly in 2014, which grew to an expected 160 million this year, or $1.7 billion in sales. Since the technology is relatively new, there are some catches - Apple’s iPhone doesn’t natively support wireless charging, for example. Carmakers are taking notice of the technology, with Toyota offering wireless charging in its popular Camry and Toyota models and in Lexus cars, while BMW and Audi have begun offering it in some vehicles. Wireless charging continues to be adopted for use with more devices at home, at work, and in the car.
Note: The wireless products industry funds studies that downplay health risks associated with wireless technologies.
Key Articles From Years Past
The NSA: 'The Abyss From Which There Is No Return'
August 19, 2013, Huffington Post
The news that the National Security Agency (NSA) is routinely operating outside of the law and overstepping its legal authority by carrying out surveillance on American citizens is not really much of a surprise. This is what happens when you give the government broad powers and allow government agencies to routinely sidestep the Constitution. Consider that the government's Utah Data Center (UDC), the central hub of the NSA's vast spying infrastructure, will be a clearinghouse and a depository for every imaginable kind of information - whether innocent or not, private or public - including communications, transactions and the like. In fact, anything and everything you've ever said or done, from the trivial to the damning - phone calls, Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, Google searches, emails, bookstore and grocery purchases, bank statements, commuter toll records, etc. - will be tracked, collected, cataloged and analyzed by the UDC's supercomputers and teams of government agents. By sifting through the detritus of your once-private life, the government will come to its own conclusions about who you are, where you fit in, and how best to deal with you should the need arise. Surveillance of all citizens ... is not friendly to freedom. Frankly, we are long past the point where we should be merely alarmed. These are no longer experiments on our freedoms. These are acts of aggression.
Note: Former US Senator Frank Church warned of the dangers of creating a surveillance state in 1975. By 2013, it had become evident that the US did not heed his warning. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.
How Our Brains Make Us Generous
December 21, 2015, Greater Good
What if helping others is an innate part of being human? What if it just makes us feel good to give? Those questions have inspired a series of ground-breaking neuroscience studies ... by researchers Jamil Zaki, an assistant professor of psychology at Stanford University, and Jason Mitchell, an associate professor of the social sciences at Harvard University. Zaki and Mitchell’s research has gone head-to-head with standard economic models of decision making, which assume that when people exhibit kind, helpful (or “pro-social”) behavior, they are doing so to protect their reputation, avoid retribution, or benefit when their kindness is reciprocated. But in a study published in 2011 in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Zaki and Mitchell tested an alternate theory: that we feel good when helping others ... because behaviors like fairness, cooperation, and reciprocity are intrinsically rewarding. They found that acting equitably ... is rewarding, even when it means putting someone else’s interests before our own. On the other hand, making inequitable choices activated ... a brain area that has been associated with negative emotional states like pain and disgust. “Our model flips the traditional model on its head,” says Zaki. “Instead of people wanting to be selfish and then forcing themselves through control to be generous, we’re getting a picture where people enjoy being generous.”
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Santa's Powerful Message For Boy With Autism: 'It's OK To Be You'
December 10, 2015, Huffington Post
Last Friday, 6-year-old Landon Johnson went to the RiverTown Crossings Mall in Grandville with his family. While there, the boy and his cousins took turns chatting with Santa. After telling the man in red he wanted a Wii, a toy dinosaur and a remote control car, Landon hopped off Santa’s lap to rejoin his family. But a few moments later, he raced back to Santa’s side: he’d forgotten to tell him something important. “He wanted to tell [Santa] that he has autism,” Landon’s mom, Naomi Johnson, said in a moving Facebook post about the encounter this week. Specifically, Landon shared his worry with Santa that his autism would land him on the “naughty list.” His mom explained ... that Landon is often told he’s “naughty” by people who mistake his autism [for] bad behavior. He’s been told by other people before, "You don’t need to be so naughty," or, "Why are you naughty?" Santa took the time to listen to Landon's worries, and held the boy's hands soothingly all the while. “Santa sat him next to him and took L's hands in his and started rubbing them, calming them down. Santa asked L if it bothered him, having Autism? L said yes, sometimes. Then Santa told him it shouldn't. It shouldn't bother him to be who he is,” Johnson wrote. Landon told Santa that he sometimes “gets in trouble at school and it's hard for people to understand that he has autism,” but that he's “not a naughty boy.” “You know I love you and the reindeer love you and it’s OK. You’re a good boy,” Santa told WOOD-TV.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Kind Kids Lead to Healthier Communities
December 16, 2015, Greater Good
Skills like kindness, cooperation, and empathy are sometimes dismissed as “soft” skills in education. Developing “hard” skills like math and reading can seem far more practical and important - hence our education system’s rigorous focus on teaching and testing them. But [a] recent study, published last month in the American Journal of Public Health, turns that thinking on its head. After following hundreds of students from kindergarten through early adulthood, the study suggests that possessing those “soft” skills is key to doing well in school and avoiding some major problems afterwards. Neglecting these skills could pose a threat to public health and safety. Importantly, these findings held true regardless of the student’s gender, race, or socioeconomic status, the quality of their neighborhood, their early academic skills, or several other factors. Those who were rated as more pro-social in kindergarten were more likely to succeed. In some cases, kids’ kindness was more strongly related to certain outcomes later in life than were other factors that might seem more relevant. For example, surprisingly to the researchers, the level of aggression that a student showed in kindergarten couldn’t predict whether the student would have a run-in with the law later in life - but his level of pro-social behavior could. The results make a convincing case for investing more in nurturing students’ social and emotional skills - which, according to prior research, are malleable and can be improved, with lasting and meaningful results.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
'Looking for Adam': Son makes video to help his mother find a new mate
May 15, 2015, NBC
Alex Lyngaas says his mother, Eva, had given up on finding love after raising two boys and seeing her second marriage come to an end. But he and his and older brother, Chris, believe their mom, who lives in Norway, is a "total catch." The brothers encouraged Eva to date again, even buying her a subscription to an online dating service. But all their efforts were for naught until Alex got the idea to create a video highlighting all of his mom's best qualities, in hopes of connecting her with the man of her dreams. The video, "Looking for Adam," is a play on Eva's nickname, Eve. It's garnered nearly 1.5 million views since it was posted to YouTube less than a week ago. Alex kept the project a secret from his mother until it was completed, and her reaction is part of the video, which begins with mother and sons watching it together on her computer. "My mom is ... always making sacrifices and putting her children first. Now I feel it's my turn to put her first and help her fill a void in her life, finding her someone to love her like she deserves to be loved," Alex told TODAY. As the video comes to a close, Eva asks her son, "My gosh, Alex, what do you want to do with this?" When Alex suggests putting it on YouTube, she responds, "The Internet?" "After discussing whether to put it online for days on end, she finally said, 'I realize I have nothing to lose. You can do as you like,'" Alex told TODAY. "A few days later, here we are with a video that has seemingly captured the hearts and imaginations of people all over the world."
Note: Don't miss this fun, touching video which now has over 10 million views.
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