People Possessed by Computers, Drones Create Terrorists, 9 Nanas Covertly Spread Happiness
July 27, 2015
Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on psychological research into human-machine interaction that has people "possessed" by computer programs, the former top U.S. Army general that says drones create terrorists, the finding that a Texas State Trooper violated departmental procedures in arresting Sandra Bland - who was later found dead in her jail cell, and more.
Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on "9 Nanas" that have been secretly spreading happiness by helping those in need for 35 years, peer-to-peer lending programs that are changing the way that people borrow money, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's "Six Pillars of Nonviolent Resistance," 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 inspiring video which shows what happens when a good samaritan starts paying for people's groceries. Watch a video revealing how common subliminal sexual innuendo is in advertising and the entertainment industry. Read 25 excellent questions which will make you think twice about vaccinations.
Quote of the week: "No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man's reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable – and we believe they can do it again." ~~ John F. Kennedy, 1963
The people 'possessed' by computers
July 20, 2015, BBC
Sophia Ben-Achour ... is an “echoborg” – a living, breathing person who has temporarily given themselves over to become a robot’s mouthpiece. Whatever she says originated in a chatbot across the internet, and is then fed to her through a small earpiece. The bizarre set-up has a serious purpose: to understand the way that the body and appearance of artificial intelligence can shape our perception. It’s particularly crucial to our understanding of AI because in the future we may be surrounded by machines that are indistinguishable from ourselves – and we need to know how we will react. Kevin Corti, one of the researchers, [is investigating this by combining] a human body with a robot mind, “so that people actually believe they are encountering another person.” Corti and his supervisor Alex Gillespie were inspired by work on “cyranoids” – an experiment invented by the controversial psychologist Stanley Milgram. He is most famous for his notorious experiment on obedience ... showing how easily we will harm another rather than question authority. By the end of his life, however, Milgram seems to have turned his mind to the gentler subject of body perception. When we are talking to someone ... are our opinions pre-formed, based solely on what a person looks like? Milgram [eventually] set up experiments in which a “cyranoid” is fed words from another person in another room, through a small radio transmitter in the ear.
Note: Stanley Milgram's early experiments revealed some uncomfortable truths about mind control, while his later work informs the research described above. This shows that most people can not tell if they are speaking with the person in front of them, someone else remotely telling that person what to say, or a robot. This is further evidence that everyday perceptions are manipulable.
Retired General: Drones Create More Terrorists Than They Kill, Iraq War Helped Create ISIS
July 16, 2015, The Intercept
Retired Army Gen. Mike Flynn, a top intelligence official in the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, says in a forthcoming interview ... that the drone war is creating more terrorists than it is killing. He also asserts that the U.S. invasion of Iraq helped create the Islamic State. Flynn, who in 2014 was forced out as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has in recent months become an outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s Middle East strategy. The former three star general ... describes the present approach of drone warfare as “a failed strategy.” What we have is this continued investment in conflict,” the retired general says. “The more weapons we give, the more bombs we drop, that just … fuels the conflict.” In 2010, [Flynn] published a controversial report on intelligence operations in Afghanistan, stating in part that the military could not answer “fundamental questions” about the country and its people despite nearly a decade of engagement there. Earlier this year, Flynn commended the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture saying that torture had eroded American values and that in time, the U.S. “will look back on it, and it won’t be a pretty picture.”
Note: Drone strikes almost always miss their intended targets. Casualties of war whose identities are unknown are frequently mis-reported to be "militants". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about military corruption.
Texas: Trooper in traffic stop violated policy
July 22, 2015, USA Today
A trooper who pulled over and later arrested a woman found dead in her jail cell was put on desk duty Friday for violating procedures, the Texas Department of Public Safety said. Sandra Bland, 28, was arrested July 10, and after spending the weekend in the Waller County jail, she was found hanged in her cell Monday. Harris County's medical examiner said the death was a suicide, but Bland's family disputes the finding. The FBI has joined the Texas Rangers in investigating the circumstances surrounding her death. The state Public Safety Department and Waller County district attorney have requested that the FBI conduct a forensic analysis on video footage from the incident. In arresting Bland, the trooper "violated the department's procedures regarding traffic stops and the department's courtesy policy," state public safety officials said Friday without specifying what procedures the trooper, whose name has not been released, had violated. Since Bland's death, alleged video of her arrest has been posted to both Facebook and YouTube. The video shows deputies cuffing Bland on the ground. She appears to be yelling, saying the deputies slammed her head into the ground. One of the deputies then turns his attention to the person recording the altercation, telling the person to leave.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the routine violation of civil liberties.
‘I will light you up!': Texas officer threatened Sandra Bland with Taser during traffic stop
July 22, 2015, Washington Post
According to newly released police video, a Texas trooper threatened Sandra Bland with a Taser when he ordered her out of her vehicle during a traffic stop on July 10, three days before she was found dead in a county jail. Bland — a 28-year old African American woman — was stopped for failing to signal while changing lanes, but the routine traffic stop turned confrontational after the officer, Brian Encinia, ordered Bland to put out her cigarette. Bland refused. Encinia opened the driver’s door and attempted to physically remove Bland from the vehicle. “I’m going to yank you out of here,” Encinia said as the two struggled in the car. “Don’t touch me, I’m not under arrest,” Bland said. “I will light you up!” Encinia said, while pointing the Taser at Bland. State Sen. Royce West (D) said that after viewing the video, he could confirm that Bland was threatened with a Taser by the officer. Details of the confrontation were not included in the arrest warrant written by Encinia, which officials released ... eight days after Bland’s death in the Waller County Jail. During the incident, Bland repeatedly asks why she is being arrested. The remainder of the confrontation occurs outside the view of the camera, but the audio captured what appeared to be a struggle. On Wednesday, authorities responded to allegations that the dashcam video had been edited from its original form. The video uploaded by state officials to YouTube contains visual sequences that appeared to repeat themselves.
Note: The video referenced above was removed from YouTube after this article was published. See strong evidence in this NPR report showing the video was altered to hide what really happened. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the routine violation of civil liberties.
Mass Incarceration Is Destroying America
July 21, 2015, Time Magazine
America ... is indecently over-incarcerated. We lock up far more people per capita than any nation even close to our size: roughly 2.4 million men, women, and children. The financial toll of mass incarceration is irresponsible; the human toll is unconscionable. Just 40 years ago, our incarceration rates were much lower, and on par with our peer nations. Since then, however, our prison population has ballooned by about 700%. What happened? We launched the so-called War on Drugs. Criminalizing drug abuse only further shatters people and families that are already in pieces. Our criminal-justice system ... takes people whom we have failed since birth — subjecting them to substandard food, poor living conditions, failing schools, unsafe communities — and then tries to “correct” them through inhumane, over-punitive treatment. For four decades, we have embraced the lie that incarceration ... protects us. Mass incarceration does not make us safer; it makes us more vulnerable. It destroys communities, wastes resources, separates families, ruins lives. It is the result of policies that criminalize poverty and make prisons and jails become warehouses for deeply damaged people with little or no access to mental health or substance abuse treatment. Instead, let’s invest those resources in our neighbors and family members so they don’t end up in the system to begin with, and if they do, so they can get back on their feet.
Note: What is not mentioned here is the role of the greedy prison-industrial complex which has privatized prisons and made imprisoning people profitable. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the corrupt prison industry built upon by systematic violations of civil rights.
The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think
January 20, 2015, Huffington Post
It is now one hundred years since drugs were first banned. Through this long century of waging war on drugs, we have been told a story about addiction by our teachers and by our governments. Almost everything we have been told about addiction is wrong. Nearly fifteen years ago, Portugal had one of the worst drug problems in Europe, with 1 percent of the population addicted to heroin. They had tried a drug war, and the problem just kept getting worse. So they decided to do something radically different. They resolved to decriminalize all drugs, and transfer all the money they used to spend on arresting and jailing drug addicts, and spend it instead on reconnecting them - to their own feelings, and to the wider society ... so they have a purpose in life, and something to get out of bed for. They are helped, in warm and welcoming clinics, to learn how to reconnect with their feelings, after years of trauma and stunning them into silence with drugs. The results of all this are now in. An independent study by the British Journal of Criminology found that since total decriminalization, addiction has fallen, and injecting drug use is down by 50 percent. For too long, we have talked exclusively about individual recovery from addiction. We need now to talk about social recovery - how we all recover, together, from the sickness of isolation. But this new evidence isn't just a challenge to us politically. It doesn't just force us to change our minds. It forces us to change our hearts.
Note: The above was written by Johann Hari, bestselling author of Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs. Read more about Portugal's stunning success in curbing drug addiction by ending its drug war and cultivating human connection. For more, read about how the science behind the bonding theory of addiction has been suppressed since the 1970's by drug war profiteers.
How Medical Marijuana’s Chemicals May Protect Cells
January 20, 2015, Scientific American
Edward Maa did not plan to become a marijuana researcher. But a few years ago, when the neurologist and epilepsy specialist surveyed his patients about their use of alternative medicines, he discovered that more than a third had turned to marijuana to try to control their seizures. According to the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado, the widely reported case of Charlotte Figi, a child whose nearly constant seizures were dramatically curtailed with cannabidiol, a marijuana ingredient, has helped trigger an influx of families from around the U.S. [into Colorado] seeking similar treatment for their children with seizure disorders. Maa wants to move beyond anecdote and into data. He is monitoring 150 epilepsy patients who all take a product derived from the same strain of marijuana that Figi used, provided by the same source. Although the federal government still lists marijuana as a Schedule I drug, a class “with no currently accepted medical use,” a body of recent research suggests that cannabinoids, which are the active ingredients in marijuana, may have medicinal uses even beyond the approved ones. They might protect the brain from the effects of trauma, ease the spasms of multiple sclerosis and reduce epileptic seizures. Further preliminary work indicates that the chemicals may slow the growth of tumors and reduce brain damage in Alzheimer's disease. Before World War II, marijuana was listed as a medicine in the country's encyclopedia of drugs, the United States Pharmacopeia.
Note: Read a summary of a CNN News story that describes how marijuana helped stem the seizures of 6 year old Jayden. Colorado has become the first U.S. state to directly fund medical marijuana research.
Leon Brittan among senior Westminster figures named in new child abuse files
July 22, 2015, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Government papers about the former home secretary Leon Brittan are among a fresh batch of documents which have come to light months after the conclusion of an official review into whether allegations of child abuse were covered up by the Home Office in the 1980s. The documents also reveal that the then director general of MI5 corresponded with the Cabinet Secretary in 1986 about an unnamed MP who was alleged to have “a penchant for small boys”. The letter from Sir Anthony Duff to Sir Robert Armstrong added: “At the present stage ... the risks of political embarrassment to the government is rather greater than the security danger.” “The risk to children is not considered at all,” Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, and barrister Richard Whittam, said in a supplement to their review. The papers ... will be passed to an ongoing independent inquiry into child abuse within state and non-state institutions. Previously unreleased files also concern figures including Margaret Thatcher’s parliamentary private secretary, the late Sir Peter Morrison, former diplomat Sir Peter Hayman and former minister Sir William van Straubenzee. The papers also contain material on allegations by a former British army intelligence agent, Colin Wallace, about the Kincora boys’ home in Northern Ireland, which has long been at the centre of abuse claims. The Wanless review, published in November after the investigation of 114 missing Home Office files, could not rule out the possibility of files being destroyed as part of a coverup.
Note: Watch powerful evidence in a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sex abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.
Is religion doing enough to root out abuse?
July 23, 2015, BBC
From when Karen Morgan was 12, until she was well into her teens, she was sexually abused by her uncle - a ministerial servant with the Jehovah's Witnesses. Christian churches, as well as other religions, have faced claims of child abuse. But what is striking about the Jehovah's Witnesses is their explicit policy of dealing with abuse in-house, [and that] they insist there must be two witnesses to a crime. In Karen's case a second witness did come forward: Wendy, a family friend and fellow [church] member ... had been raped by the same man. Despite a pattern of predatory sexual behaviour, it took more than two decades to bring Wendy and Karen's abuser to justice. He is now serving a 14-year prison sentence. His punishment from the Jehovah's Witnesses? There wasn't one. When the case came to court, the organisation was reluctant to co-operate. Jehovah's Witnesses are not the only religious organisation to try to deal with allegations of sexual abuse in-house. For many decades, that was the preferred method of the Roman Catholic Church. Only this month, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish scholar from Manchester - who fled to Israel after he was exposed as a paedophile - was jailed for 13 years. The court had heard that both women who testified ... in the case had been "ostracised" by their community as a result of speaking out.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sex abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.
Senator: Compensate Residents Near Site of Atomic Bomb Test
July 16, 2015, ABC News/Associated Press
People who lived near the site of the first atomic bomb test in the New Mexico desert and later developed cancer and other health problems need to be compensated, a U.S. senator said Thursday. The federal government neglected residents of the historic Hispanic village of Tularosa near the Trinity Site, where the weapon was detonated on July 16, 1945, Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., said in a speech on the Senate floor on the 70th anniversary of the test. "The rest of the world didn't know about the tragedies that happened in the Tularosa Basin. For a long time, the government denied that anything happened at all," Udall said. "Attention ... must be paid now." Udall met with residents and family members who lived near the test site. He believes they should be included in the federal Radiation Exposure Compensation Act program, which could provide a $50,000 payout. Many of those living near the Trinity Site were not told about the dangers and later suffered rare forms of cancer. Researchers from the National Cancer Institute are studying past and present cancer cases in New Mexico that might be related to the test, [which] took place in southern New Mexico as part of the Manhattan Project, the secretive World War II program that provided enriched uranium for the atomic bomb.
Note: For more along these lines, read how the effects of the atomic bomb were covered up.
The Spirit of Judy Miller is Alive and Well at the NYT, and It Does Great Damage
July 21, 2015, The Intercept
Former New York Times reporter Judy Miller ... granted anonymity to government officials and then uncritically laundered their dubious claims. As the paper’s own editors put it in their 2004 mea culpa about the role they played in selling the [Iraq] war: “We have found a number of instances of coverage that ... seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged.” But 12 years after Miller left, you can pick up that same paper on any given day and ... find reporters doing exactly the same thing. It is worth observing how damaging it continues to be, because, shockingly, all sorts of self-identified “journalists” — both within the paper and outside of it — continue to equate unverified assertions from government officials as Proven Truth, even when these officials are too cowardly to attach their names to these claims, as long as papers such as the NYT launder them. Among the assertions mindlessly repeated by the Paper of Record from its beloved anonymous officials is this one: that ISIS learned to use couriers as a result of the Snowden revelations. The claim itself ... is monumentally stupid. Terrorists have known for a very long time that the U.S. government and its allies are trying to intercept their communications, and have long used encryption and other means to prevent that. This is the same process that enabled the New York Times, more than any other media outlet, to sell the Iraq War to the American public, and they’re using exactly the same methods to this day.
NBC News Releases the Long-Awaited Trailer for its Summer Horror Film About ISIS
July 23, 2015, The Intercept
During a discussion yesterday in Aspen with ... CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, FBI Director James Comey somberly warned that ISIS now officially poses a bigger threat to the “U.S. homeland” than the one posed by former title-holder Al Qaeda — because, of course, the Latest Threat must always be the Greatest Threat. Comey also said that the previous bigger-than-Al-Qaeda contender, “The Khorasan Group,” has been “diminished” by “the work done by our great military” — because the War on Terror narrative requires that it must always be somehow simultaneously true that (1) the Terror Threat facing Americans is Greater Than Ever™ and (2) U.S. military actions against Terrorism are succeeding. To dramatize ISIS as The New Greatest Threat to the Homeland, FBI Director Comey first summoned the TV-actor-who-plays-the-journalist-character-called-Wolf-Blitzer to Aspen, and then NBC News posted to the top of its news article a slick, scary, music-and-graphic-driven video using all of Hollywood’s horror film staples to provide the visceral kick. I’m really grateful that because Americans have a free press, we’re not subject to state propaganda the way people in those bad, unfortunate countries are.
Note: Read an excellent essay by a top US general exposing how war is a racket. Is this why terrorist fear-mongers always claim that it is the scariest time ever? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the manipulation of public perception.
The Business 9 Women Kept A Secret For Three Decades
June 20, 2012, Huffington Post
"The 9 Nanas" ... gather in the darkness of night. At 4am they begin their daily routine - a ritual that no one, not even their husbands, knew about for 30 years. They have one mission and one mission only: to create happiness. And it all begins with baked goods. Over the next three hours, The 9 Nanas (who all consider themselves sisters, despite what some of their birth certificates say) will whip up hundreds of pound cakes, as part of a grand scheme to help those in need. Before anyone gets as much as a glimpse of them, they’ll disappear back into their daily lives. Their master plan ... began 35 years ago. They’d eavesdrop - and when they heard about a widow or a single mom who needed a little help, they’d step in and anonymously pay a utility bill or buy some new clothes for the children. The Nanas would find out where the person lived and send a package with a note that simply said, “Somebody loves you” - and they’d be sure to include one of MaMaw Ruth’s special pound cakes. 30 years into their secret mission ... the sisters came clean. They told the husbands, [who then] offered to help. It wasn’t long before the couples decided it was also time to tell their grown children. And that’s when happiness began to happen in an even bigger way. The children encouraged their mothers to start selling MaMaw Ruth’s pound cakes online, so they could raise money to help even more people. That’s when the 9 Nanas moved their covert baking operation out of their homes. In the last 35 years, the 9 Nanas have contributed nearly $900,000 of happiness to their local community.
Note: To learn more about The 9 Nanas and Happiness Happens or to purchase one of MaMaw Ruth’s special pound cakes, you can visit their website.
How Peer-to-Peer Lending Is Changing the Way We Borrow Money
July 16, 2015, Time Magazine
Tired of sharing a single bathroom with his teenage son, Sean Rosas hatched a plan. But ... renovating their broken-down bathroom ... would cost more than what Rosas, the director of volunteer services at a nonprofit, had on hand. That’s when Rosas, 43, stumbled on Lending Club, a website that matches borrowers directly with individual lenders. If you need a loan, the site pulls up your credit score, vets your application within minutes and assigns an interest rate. If enough people sign up to lend, you can get the money in days. More than 250 people chose to back Rosas, giving him a three-year, $16,000 loan at 8.9% annual interest. Rosas, who has made every monthly payment so far, is thrilled with his deal. “It was a much more human experience than if I had gone to a faceless bank,” he says. Peer-to-peer has grown partly as a response to the recession; when credit was tight, traditional banks pulled back on lending, and consumers needed alternatives. Compared with a traditional loan application, Lending Club is blissfully easy. To qualify, borrowers need only an active bank account, a minimum FICO credit score of 660 ... and at least three years of credit history. What lenders are really doing is investing: they’re putting their money in notes backed by the prospective repayment of loans. The sizes of the loans range from $1,000 to $35,000. Investors can buy notes in increments as small as $25. Since its founding in 2006, Lending Club has delivered investors an average annual return of 7.79%–appealing at a time when three-year Treasury bonds average 1%.
Note: Curious about emerging alternatives to traditional banking? Learn more about the inspiring microcredit movement.
An Experiment in Love: Martin Luther King, Jr. on the Six Pillars of Nonviolent Resistance and the Ancient Greek Notion of 'Agape'
July 20, 2015, Daily Good
Although Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used Christian social ethics ... his enduring ethos, at its core, is nonreligious. It champions a set of moral, spiritual, and civic responsibilities. Nowhere does he transmute spiritual ideas from various traditions into secular principles more masterfully than in his extraordinary 1958 essay “An Experiment in Love.” Penned five years before his famous Letter from Birmingham City Jail ... the essay was eventually included in the indispensable A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.. In the first of the six basic philosophies, Dr. King addresses the tendency to mistake nonviolence for passivity. The second tenet: "Nonviolence ... does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win his friendship and understanding. The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness." In considering the third characteristic of nonviolence, Dr. King appeals to the conscientious recognition that those who perpetrate violence are often victims themselves. Out of this recognition flows the fourth tenet: "Nonviolent resistance [requires] a willingness to accept suffering without retaliation." The fifth basic philosophy [extends from] the noblest use of what we call “love”. With this, he turns to the sixth and final principle of nonviolence as a force of justice, undergirded by the nonreligious "creative force in this universe that works to bring the disconnected aspects of reality into a harmonious whole."
Inside Avaaz – can online activism really change the world?
November 16, 2013, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Avaaz – which means "voice" in various languages – has become a global pressure group to be reckoned with. It's a new kind of activism that isn't issue-led, it's issues-led. It's human rights abuses in Burma, or it's the Syrian civil war, or it's threats against the Great Barrier Reef or it's homophobia in Costa Rica. It's whatever its supporters, guided by the Avaaz team, choose to click on most this month. If it launches a campaign, it throws its resources at it – and a chunk of its $12m budget a year, all donated from individuals – and there's a fair chance it will have an impact. Avaaz is both global and globalised and its approach is less bleeding-heart liberal than hard-headed pragmatist. Its growth is exponential: they've gone from nine employees in year one to 100 now. In September, I interviewed its softly spoken Canadian founder, Ricken Patel, and noted in the transcript that [Avaaz] now had 26 million [members]. By the time this piece appears in print in November, that number will be hovering around the 30 million mark. "Liking" a Facebook page isn't going to save the world. But five times as many people in Britain are members of Avaaz than they are of the Labour Party. And 30,000 people donate money to it every month. To save the world, click here.
Note: Read and inspiring article on the founder of Avaaz, Ricken Patel. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
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