Pennsylvania's 'Porngate' Scandal, 1,000 Fatal Police Shootings in 2015, Indigenous Rights Victories
January 4, 2016
Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane's whistleblowing on top state officials in a scandal dubbed "porngate", the nearly 1,000 fatal police shootings of civilians in the US in 2015, government officials that promote mass surveillance only until their own privacy is violated, and more.
Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on the under-reported indigenous rights victories won by communities all over the world in 2015, Egypt's groundbreaking experiment to partner with drug companies to provide free hepatitis C medication to its citizens, the surprising benefits of embracing uncertainty in education, 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.
Big thank you! A huge thank you to all of you who helped us to end 2015 in the black. It looks like we finished the year nearly $900 in the positive column. Considering how much we were in the red all year, that's a small miracle!!!
Special note: Read an article suggesting that Chipotle's was targeted in retaliation for their anti-GMO menu. Read about a class action lawsuit filed against Monsanto charging the company with deliberate falsification to conceal the fact that glyphosate is harmful to humans and animals. Read an excellent article and watch a video by firefighters involved with 9/11 questioning the official story of that fateful day. Read an eye-opening article about a very strange police chase and arrest that happened shortly after the San Bernardino shootings, but was somehow not reported.
Quote of the week: "If you love the sacred and despise the ordinary, you are still bobbing in the ocean of delusion." ~~ Lin Chi
Video of the week: Watch a touching five-minute video of gratitude made by a woman whose life was transformed at a critical moment in which she lost her husband, yet the life of her son was saved by dozens of emergency workers who rarely receive the thanks they so deserve.
Pornographic email scandal roils Pennsylvania politics
December 26, 2015, Washington Post
Over the past 15 months, beleaguered Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has released a steady stream of messages retrieved from a state email server that show state officials and employees trading pornographic, racist and misogynistic messages. There are jokes about rape and sexual assault, photos mocking African Americans and other minorities, and insults leveled at people because of their weight, their sexual orientation or their religion. The scandal that has been dubbed "Porngate" ... is a disaster for the state’s justice system. Kane, the first woman and first Democrat elected to that office, faces a criminal indictment for felony perjury and multiple misdemeanors in an unrelated case. [Her] office ... has long maintained she’s innocent of the charges. She has cast herself as a victim of a powerful, political “old boys network,” angry that she’s shared their darkest emails. About 10,000 messages have been shared at this point. There could be as many as 100,000. Thus far, the scandal has resulted in the firing of at least six state employees and the resignation of a state Supreme Court judge. Another justice will go before a judicial ethics board later this month on charges of misconduct. If found guilty, he too could be removed from the bench. At least 60 people working for the attorney general’s office were reprimanded because of sexually explicit content found on their state computers.
Note: This is clearly a case where an old boys network involved with child sex abuse rings is coming down as hard as possible to get rid of the courageous attorney general who is exposing their dirty deeds. For more on this, see http://truthaboutkathleenkane.com. 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.
A year of reckoning: Police fatally shoot nearly 1,000
December 26, 2015, Washington Post
Nearly a thousand times this year, an American police officer has shot and killed a civilian. In a year-long study, The Washington Post found that ... the great majority of people who died at the hands of the police fit at least one of three categories: they were wielding weapons, they were suicidal or mentally troubled, or they ran when officers told them to halt. Although black men make up only 6 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 40 percent of the unarmed men shot to death by police this year. The FBI is charged with keeping statistics on such shootings. Fewer than half of the nation’s 18,000 police departments report their incidents to the agency. The Post documented well more than twice as many fatal shootings this year as the average annual tally reported by the FBI over the past decade. The research also noted whether victims were mentally ill or experiencing an emotional crisis. Officers fatally shot at least 243 people with mental health problems: 75 who were explicitly suicidal and 168 for whom police or family members confirmed a history of mental illness. Most of them died at the hands of police officers who had not been trained to deal with the mentally ill. An average of five officers per year have been indicted on felony charges over the previous decade; this year, 18 officers have been charged with felonies. Such accusations rarely stick, however.
Note: A similar project run by The Guardian called "The Counted" tracks police killings by all methods - not just shootings - and had noted 1117 such deaths in 2015 as the above story went to press. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable major media sources.
Spying on Congress and Israel: NSA Cheerleaders Discover Value of Privacy Only When Their Own Is Violated
December 30, 2015, The Intercept
The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the NSA under President Obama targeted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his top aides for surveillance. In the process, the agency ended up eavesdropping on ... U.S. lawmakers and American-Jewish groups. People who spent many years cheering for and defending ... programs of mass surveillance are suddenly indignant now that they know the eavesdropping included them. Long-time GOP chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and unyielding NSA defender Pete Hoekstra last night was truly indignant: "WSJ report that NSA spied on Congress and Israel communications very disturbing. Actually outrageous. Maybe unprecedented abuse of power ... NSA and Obama officials need to be investigated and prosecuted. NSA loses all credibility. Scary." This pattern - whereby political officials who are vehement supporters of the Surveillance State transform overnight into crusading privacy advocates once they learn that they themselves have been spied on - is one that has repeated itself over and over. So now, with yesterday’s WSJ report, we witness the tawdry spectacle of large numbers of people who for years were fine with, responsible for, and even giddy about NSA mass surveillance suddenly objecting. Overnight, privacy is of the highest value because now it’s their privacy, rather than just yours, that is invaded.
Note: Read the full Wall Street Journal article on how the US government is secretly spying on Israeli leaders and more. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.
Federal judge: Drinking tea, shopping at a gardening store is probable cause for a SWAT raid on your home
December 28, 2015, Washington Post
In April 2012, a Kansas SWAT team raided the home of Robert and Addie Harte, their 7-year-old daughter and their 13-year-old son. The couple, both former CIA analysts, awoke to pounding at the door. The family was then held at gunpoint for more than two hours while the police searched their home. They found no evidence of any criminal activity. The investigation leading to the raid began ... when Robert Harte and his son went to a gardening store to purchase supplies to grow hydroponic tomatoes. The Johnson County Sheriff’s Department began [sending] deputies out to sort through the family’s garbage. The deputies repeatedly found “saturated plant material” that they thought could possibly be marijuana. On two occasions, a drug testing field kit inexplicably indicated the presence of THC, the active drug in marijuana. Lab tests would later reveal that the “saturated plant material” was actually loose-leaf tea. Why did the field tests come up positive for pot? These tests come up positive whenever the police need them to. The tests [can] be manipulated to generate positive results. The Hartes wanted to know what happened. They spent more than $25,000 in legal fees just to learn why the sheriff had sent a SWAT team into their home. Once they finally had that information, the Hartes filed a lawsuit. U.S. District Court Judge John W. Lungstrum dismissed every one of the Hartes’s claims, [and] ruled that the police were under no obligation to know that drug testing field kits are inaccurate.
Note: A detailed report by forensics expert John Kelly and former FBI chief scientist Dr. Frederick Whitehurst reveals "a drug testing regime of fraudulent forensics used by police, prosecutors, and judges." And recently the FBI was found to have faked an entire branch of forensic science. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.
U.S. Foreign Arms Deals Increased Nearly $10 Billion in 2014
December 25, 2015, New York Times
Foreign arms sales by the United States jumped by almost $10 billion in 2014, about 35 percent, even as the global weapons market remained flat and competition among suppliers increased, a new congressional study has found. American weapons receipts rose to $36.2 billion in 2014 from $26.7 billion the year before, bolstered by multibillion-dollar agreements with Qatar, Saudi Arabia and South Korea. The United States remained the single largest provider of arms around the world last year, controlling just over 50 percent of the market. Russia followed the United States as the top weapons supplier, completing $10.2 billion in sales, compared with $10.3 billion in 2013. Sweden was third, with roughly $5.5 billion in sales, followed by France with $4.4 billion and China with $2.2 billion. South Korea ... was the world’s top weapons buyer in 2014, completing $7.8 billion in contracts. Iraq followed South Korea, with $7.3 billion in purchases. Some arms producers have adopted measures like flexible financing, counter-trade guarantees and coproduction and co-assembly agreements to try to secure sales. Given its positioning, the United States was likely to remain the dominant supplier of arms to developing nations in coming years. As in previous years, the vast majority of arms were supplied by large, established countries to developing ones, which made $61.8 billion in total purchases in 2014.
Note: This annual report is among the most detailed nonclassified international arms sales data available to the public. 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 war news articles from reliable major media sources.
CNN Mongers the ISIS Fear Then Wonders Where It Came From
December 28 2015, Esquire
Ramadi was liberated today, but will anyone notice? The sad fact is that nothing that actually happens on the ground against Daesh (ISIS) is likely going to have a material effect on the culture of fear that has been created to infest the American psyche by so many people who should know so much better. A whopping 59% of Democrats are unhappy with the progress President Obama has made on the war on terror, along with 86% of Republicans and 69% of independents. What did anyone expect? Since the Paris shootings, and certainly since the shootings in San Bernardino, through the efforts of our leading television news stars, Daesh has been converted into the greatest threat to Western civilization since the Battle of Tours. They are supervillains with mad computer skillz and secret Muslim mind-tricks who can turn your children into implacable murder machines. If you want to see what losing the war on terror really looks like, don't look to the Middle East. Instead, watch the television commercials approved by the various Republican presidential candidates. The three Democratic candidates are better, but not by much. You can't win a "war" on terror any more than you can win a "war" on hate or a "war" on any other easily activated human emotion, if there are enough powerful institutions that can profit from its activation. It's really up to the rest of us ... to keep things in perspective about the genuine dangers and the fantastical ones by which other people profit.
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 the manipulation of public perception.
Researcher issues 'call to action' to force release of hidden drug safety data
December 22, 2015, CBC (Canada's public broadcasting system)
Dr. Nav Persaud, a family doctor in Toronto, asked and received thousands of pages of documents from Health Canada, and what he saw made him question the effectiveness of a popular morning sickness drug. But he can't talk about it, because Health Canada forced him to sign a confidentiality agreement, and threatened him with legal action if he makes the data public. Matthew Herder, [a] health law associate professor ... is calling on other doctors, researchers and journalists to bombard Ottawa with their own demands for drug industry data, using [a] new legislative lever written into ... the Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act, which was passed late last year. Today, in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Herder is urging Canadians to use the clause [to request] data that has long been protected by a wall of bureaucratic and corporate secrecy. The European Medicines Agency has started publishing all of the clinical reports submitted as part of drug marketing authorization applications - the same material Health Canada refuses to disclose. Almost half of the drug trials remain secret. [In the US], one group looked at 12 antidepressants, comparing the published studies with the internal FDA assessments. 94 per cent of the published studies were positive, compared to 51 per cent when they included all of the studies assessed by the FDA. The authors concluded that without seeing all the data, drug effectiveness can be exaggerated, leading doctors and patients to assume the medications work better than they do.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption and big pharma profiteering. Then read an in-depth essay titled "The Truth About Drug Companies" by acclaimed author Dr. Marcia Angell.
New York City’s Flu Shot Mandate for Young Children Is Struck Down
December 17, 2015, New York Times
A judge ruled on Thursday that the New York City health department could not require young children to be vaccinated for the flu to attend city-licensed preschools and day care centers, striking down one of the more ambitious public health initiatives of the Bloomberg administration. Justice Manuel J. Mendez ... said the city could not add influenza to the list of diseases requiring immunization without action by the State Legislature. The mandate ... was scheduled to take effect in January. It required children between the ages of 6 months and 59 months to be vaccinated by shot or mist. The measure was approved unanimously by the Board of Health. But the proposal soon met fierce opposition, with many parents resisting and saying that their doctors told them the vaccine was not needed. The court ruling did not delve into the debate about vaccines. Michelle Carroll, 44, one of the plaintiffs in the suit and the mother of a 4-year-old girl, said the ruling was a victory for parents. “It’s important for people to remember that vaccines are drugs and just like any other drug, not every vaccine is going to be right for every single child,” Ms. Carroll said. The ruling was important, she said, because it left “the decision about whether or not to vaccinate our smallest, youngest, most vulnerable citizens” with pediatricians and parents.
Note: According to this NPR article, last year "the vaccine was only about 13 percent effective against the main strain." Could it be that we are being tricked into believing these vaccines a much more effective than they really are? Remember that big Pharma makes big profits from vaccines. For more, see this mercola.com article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing vaccine controversy news articles from reliable major media sources.
Bernie Sanders: To Rein In Wall Street, Fix the Fed
December 23, 2015, New York Times
Seven years ago, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department bailed out the largest financial institutions in this country because they were considered too big to fail. But almost every one is bigger today than it was before the bailout. If any were to fail again, taxpayers could be on the hook for another bailout. To rein in Wall Street, we should begin by reforming the Federal Reserve, which oversees financial institutions. Unfortunately, an institution that was created to serve all Americans has been hijacked by the very bankers it regulates. What went wrong at the Fed? The chief executives of some of the largest banks in America are allowed to serve on its boards. During the Wall Street crisis of 2007, Jamie Dimon, the chief executive and chairman of JPMorgan Chase, served on the New York Fed’s board of directors while his bank received more than $390 billion in financial assistance from the Fed. Next year, four of the 12 presidents at the regional Federal Reserve Banks will be former executives from one firm: Goldman Sachs. We would not tolerate the head of Exxon Mobil running the Environmental Protection Agency. And we should not allow big bank executives to serve on the boards of the main agency in charge of regulating financial institutions. Financial reforms must not stop with the central bank. We must reinstate Glass-Steagall and break up the too-big-to-fail financial institutions. The sad reality is that the Federal Reserve doesn’t regulate Wall Street; Wall Street regulates the Fed.
Note: After the bailout in 2008, the percentage of US banking assets held by the big banks has almost doubled. Could this possibly have been planned? And why is the only US presidential candidate talking seriously about bank reform being given little attention by mainstream media? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the financial industry.
Congress quietly ends federal government's ban on medical marijuana
December 16, 2014, Los Angeles Times
Tucked deep inside the 1,603-page federal spending measure is a provision that effectively ends the federal government's prohibition on medical marijuana and signals a major shift in drug policy. The bill's passage over the weekend marks the first time Congress has approved nationally significant legislation backed by legalization advocates. Under the provision, states where medical pot is legal would no longer need to worry about federal drug agents raiding retail operations. Agents would be prohibited from doing so. Congress' action marked the emergence of a new alliance in marijuana politics: Republicans are taking a prominent role in backing states' right to allow use of a drug the federal government still officially classifies as more dangerous than cocaine. 32 states and the District of Columbia have legalized pot or its ingredients to treat ailments. The Drug Enforcement Administration, however, continues to place marijuana in the most dangerous category of narcotics, with no accepted medical use. Congress for years had resisted calls to allow states to chart their own path on pot. The marijuana measure, which forbids the federal government from using any of its resources to impede state medical marijuana laws, was previously rejected half a dozen times.
Note: One year later, some federal raids continue. While the war on drugs has been called a "trillion dollar failure", the healing potentials of mind altering drugs are starting to be investigated more openly.
Key Articles From Years Past
Study: US is an oligarchy, not a democracy
April 17, 2014, BBC News
The US is dominated by a rich and powerful elite. So concludes a recent study by Princeton University Prof Martin Gilens and Northwestern University Prof Benjamin I Page. This is not news, you say. Perhaps, but the two professors have conducted exhaustive research to try to present data-driven support for this conclusion. Here's how they explain it: "Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organised groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence." In English: the wealthy few move policy, while the average American has little power. "A proposed policy change with low support among economically elite Americans (one-out-of-five in favour) is adopted only about 18% of the time," they write, "while a proposed change with high support (four-out-of-five in favour) is adopted about 45% of the time." On the other hand: When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favour policy change, they generally do not get it. Eric Zuess, writing in Counterpunch, isn't surprised by the survey's results. "American democracy is a sham, no matter how much it's pumped by the oligarchs who run the country" he writes. "The US, in other words, is basically similar to Russia or most other dubious 'electoral' 'democratic' countries. We weren't formerly, but we clearly are now."
Note: Read an article by Robert Reich with excellent thoughts on this. Read also how "billionaire oligarchs" are becoming their own political party. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and income inequality from reliable major media sources.
15 Indigenous Rights Victories that You Didn't Hear About in 2015
December 21, 2015, Intercontinental Cry (a publication of the Center for World Indigenous Studies)
Good news. Sometimes, it comes in the form of a cancelled hydro dam that spares 20,000 people from the burden of displacement. Other times, it takes the shape of a simple court admission that Indigenous Peoples do actually make the best conservationists. Indigenous rights victories give us all pause to celebrate, to reflect and to rejuvenate our own quests for justice. In a landmark decision last week, the Dutch Court of Appeals ruled that four Ogoni farmers from Nigeria can take their case against [oil company] Shell to a judge in the Netherlands. Alali Efanga, one of the Ogoni farmers who ... said the ruling "offers hope that Shell will finally begin to restore the soil around my village so that I will once again be able to take up farming and fishing on my own land." The Wampis nation ... took an unprecedented step forward by establishing the first Autonomous Indigenous Government in Peru's history. Spanning a 1.3 million hectare territory - a region the size of the State of Connecticut - the newly created democratically-elected government brings together 100 Wampis communities representing some 10,613 people. Monsanto ... took another big hit after Mexico's Supreme Court suspended a permit to grow genetically modified soybeans across 250,000 hectares on the Yucatán peninsula. The judgment stemmed from a constitutional law in Mexico that requires the consideration of indigenous communities. The judge commented in the ruling that co-existence between honey production and GM soybeans is simply not possible.
Note: Don't miss the details of these and many other recent indigenous community victories at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Curing Hepatitis C, in an Experiment the Size of Egypt
December 15, 2015, New York Times
Abdel Gawad Ellabbad knows exactly how he was infected with hepatitis C. As a schoolboy in this Nile Delta rice-farming village, his class marched to the local clinic every month for injections against schistosomiasis, a parasitic disease spread by water snails. Six million Egyptians were infected with hepatitis C by unsterile needles during the country’s decades-long fight against schistosomiasis. The virus spread insidiously; today, at least 10 percent of Egyptians, nearly nine million people, are chronically infected, the highest rate in the world. But a grand experiment unfolding across the country may change all that. Pharmaceutical companies are testing ... a complicated deal to sell hepatitis drugs at a fraction of their usual cost. If [successful] the arrangement in Egypt may serve as a blueprint not just for curing hepatitis around the world, but also for providing other cutting-edge medicines to citizens in poor countries who could never afford them. The experiment here is about a year old and, while still fragile, appears to be headed for success. Mr. Ellabbad, for one, was finally cured of hepatitis this spring. An air-conditioning repairman, he took a three-month regimen that included sofosbuvir, first of the new generation of miracle drugs. The pills would have cost more than $84,000 in the United States. He got them free from the Egyptian government, which paid about $900. “Before, I felt like I was dying,” he said. “Now I feel like I’ve never felt before. Like I’m 35 again.”
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
How to Spark Curiosity in Children Through Embracing Uncertainty
October 21, 2015, KQED/NPR
In the classroom, subjects are often presented as settled and complete. But our collective understanding of any given subject is never complete, according to Jamie Holmes, who has just written a book on the hidden benefits of uncertainty. In “Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing,” Holmes explores how the discomforting notions of ambiguity and uncertainty affect the way we think and behave. Confronting what we don’t know sometimes triggers curiosity. Teachers who hope to inspire curiosity in their students, and to encourage tolerance for ambiguity, can take steps to introduce uncertainty into the classroom. “The emotions of learning are surprise, awe, interest and confusion,” Holmes said. But because confusion provokes discomfort, it should be discussed by teachers to help students handle the inevitable disquiet. “The best assignments should make students make mistakes, be confused and feel uncertain,” he said. Teachers who instruct with a sense of humanity, curiosity and an appreciation for mystery are more apt to engage students in learning, Holmes explained. “Those with an outlook of authority and certainty don’t invite students in,” he said. Also, when teachers present themselves as experts imparting wisdom, students get the mistaken idea that subjects are closed. “Teachers should help students find ways to think and learn,” he said. “The best teachers are in awe of their subjects.” The process of discovery is often messy and non-linear.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Kaiser Permanente's New Medical School Will Focus On Teamwork
December 18, 2015, NPR
Kaiser Permanente ... plans to open its own medical school in Southern California in 2019. The nonprofit, national provider of managed health care says it plans to train students in its own style of integrated diagnosis and treatment - focusing on research, the use of new technologies, and teaching doctors to work as part of a collaborative caregiving team. Their new school will be about more than just primary care. "We need to prepare physicians for the way health care is delivered in the future," says Dr. Edward Ellison, executive medical director for the Southern California Permanente Medical Group. Students need to learn not just medicine, he says, but about integrated systems of care and how to work in a much different medical environment. "Our advantage is we can start from scratch," he says. Another advantage is the HMO's deep pockets. "They've got huge resources," says Dr. George Thibault, president of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, which focuses on medical education. "This is a grand experiment, but if anybody can do it, Kaiser can."
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Kindly support this important work. Donate here.
Please note that most of the summarizing of the revealing news articles in the above summary was done by Mark Bailey of WantToKnow.info. Many thanks to Mark for all the time and skill he puts into this. The section below provides several ideas on what you can do to spread the news.
Finding Balance: WantToKnow.info Inspiration Center
WantToKnow.info believes it is important to balance disturbing cover-up information with inspirational writings which call us to be all that we can be and to work together for positive change. For an abundance of uplifting material, please visit our Inspiration Center.
See our exceptional archive of revealing news articles.
www.momentoflove.org - Every person in the world has a heart
www.personalgrowthcourses.net - Dynamic online courses powerfully expand your horizons
www.WantToKnow.info - Reliable, verifiable information on major cover-ups
www.weboflove.org - Strengthening the Web of Love that interconnects us all
Subscribe/Unsubscribe/Change email address: The WantToKnow.info email list (two messages a week)