Zika Virus Fear Mongering
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Zika Virus Fear Mongering, Flint May Be Tip of Iceberg, Bikes Fixed for Good Behavior
February 1, 2016

Dear friends,

Zika Virus Fear Mongering

Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on Zika virus fear mongering despite the relatively mild threat to most people, the deliberate and systematic underestimation of lead toxicity in the US water supply coming to light as the crisis in Flint, Michigan unfolds, the failure of the US government to adequately enforce laws against major corporate criminals, and more.

Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on the NASA engineer that has been fixing and giving away bikes to kids who promise to stay out of trouble and do well in school, the unlikely pairing of a former child soldier and a former prisoner of her armed group on Colombia's version of "Dancing with the Stars", Obama's recent executive order that bans solitary confinement for juvenile offenders in the US federal prison system, 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.

With best wishes for a transformed world,
Mark Bailey and Fred Burks for PEERS and WantToKnow.info

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Zika virus: 6 things to know about the growing outbreak
January 28, 2016, CBC (Canada's public broadcasting system)
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/zika-virus-explained-1.3422663

The mosquito-borne Zika virus is drawing global attention. Earlier today, the head of the World Health Organization said Zika is "spreading explosively." Brazil has reported more than 4,000 cases of babies born recently with microcephaly, a brain condition characterized by an abnormally small head that can lead to developmental issues or even death. That number compares with fewer than 150 cases in the country for all of 2014. The virus is mainly a health concern for women who are pregnant and it does not have long-lasting effects on most people. The virus is primarily transmitted through the Aedes aegypti mosquito. So far there is limited evidence on whether Zika can be transferred from mother to child. ​But because of the rash of microcephaly cases in Brazil, which spiked after the first confirmed case of Zika, this maternal link is "strongly suspected" and being closely studied. Only one in five of those infected with Zika show symptoms, which develop up to one week after being bitten. Most symptoms are mild, and ... can be easily treated with rest and plenty of fluids. Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti told CBC News, "the one thing to make very clear is that Zika, once it's out of your body, it's gone. It's not something like Hepatitis B or HIV that can stay in your body forever. "Overall, Zika is a very mild illness apart from what we think might be happening in pregnant women."

Note: Lots more fear mongering with this latest virus. Yet there is actually very little risk, with the possible exception of pregnant mothers, and even this is being exaggerated. Remember, powerful people want to keep us in fear, as that makes it easier to manipulate us. The swine flu, avian flu and ebola are prime examples of supposed "doomsday diseases" that turned out to harm relatively few. For more on how these diseases were manipulated and who profited, see concise summaries of deeply revealing major media news articles from reliable sources on this.


US authorities distorting tests to downplay lead content of water
January 22, 2016, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/22/water-lead-content-tests-us...

Water authorities across the US are systematically distorting water tests to downplay the amount of lead in samples. Water boards in cities including Detroit and Philadelphia, as well as the state of Rhode Island, have distorted tests by using methods deemed misleading by the Environment Protection Agency. The revelation comes as the growing crisis in Flint, Michigan, has prompted an emergency EPA order, the condemnation of Barack Obama and the resignation of a top agency official. “Gamed” tests help ensure that water utilities don’t breach federal lead and copper rules. Dr Yanna Lambrinidou, a Virginia Tech academic, has disclosed what she considers to be evidence of deceptive practices ... after she sat on an EPA taskforce that reviewed federal rules on lead and copper poisoning. The taskforce ended its work last year, shortly before the full extent of the city of Flint’s problems with smelly, brown water hit the headlines, with Lambrinidou criticising the final report for failing to step up protections. Several cities have advised residents to use questionable methods when conducting official tests for lead content. These include encouraging testers to run taps for several minutes to flush out lead from the pipes. Such methods have been criticized by the EPA for not providing accurate results. If the water was tested directly from lead pipes, up to 96 million Americans could be found to be drinking water with unsafe levels of lead.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Beyond Flint: Poor Blacks, Latinos Endure Oversized Burden Of America’s Industrial Waste And Hazards
January 25, 2016, International Business Times
http://www.ibtimes.com/beyond-flint-poor-blacks-latinos-endure-oversized-burden-americas...

The Flint water crisis continues to generate headlines, but the negligence and mismanagement of public resources in largely minority communities reaches far beyond the borders of that central Michigan city. Across the country, blacks and Latinos are more likely than whites to live dangerously close to environmental hazards. Connecticut is among the states with the worst disparities, with a higher proportion of poor minorities living near facilities that use, store, process or emit harmful chemicals, according to the Center for Effective Government report released this month. Nationwide, proximity to such sites increases the risk of death, disease and other poor health outcomes. Flint’s water problems are more complex than simple proximity to an industrial facility. In a bid to save the financially ailing city money on its water supply infrastructure in 2014, Flint officials stopped sourcing water from a Detroit supplier that took proper anti-contamination measures. Instead, it drew from the contaminated Flint River through pipes without proper chemicals, resulting in dangerous levels of lead, E. coli and other contaminants in darkly colored and odiferous water for the city’s 100,000 residents. For months, residents complained to state and local officials in Michigan about the contaminated water. But instead of a swift response to clean it up, officials scrambled to minimize liability and convince residents that they were safe to shower, drink and cook with the water.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Flint, part two? Ohio town's pipes may be contaminated with lead
January 25, 2016, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2016/0125/Flint-part-two-Ohio-town-s-pipes-may-be...

Tests that showed elevated levels of lead and copper in water flowing from an Ohio town’s taps has led officials to close schools Monday and order another round of inspections. The city manager of Sebring, a small town of some 4,000 people ... issued an advisory Thursday night warning children and pregnant women to avoid drinking the village system’s tap water after seven of 20 homes showed levels of copper and lead beyond US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. The warning comes as neighboring Michigan grapples with a lead-poisoning crisis in Flint – a disaster that experts say underscores the growing need for investment and innovation in the nation’s aging infrastructure. A weakened economy and the passage of time have made repair and replacement of old pipes a challenge, and have led to higher costs and a decline in water quality, especially in many older cities. Poor asset management, shrinking federal and state budgets, and a lack of political will to address the issue over decades has left the US with deteriorating water and wastewater systems – some dating back to the Civil War era – in urgent need of repair and replacement. The cost of restoring and expanding them to serve a growing population could cost up to $1 trillion over the next 25 years, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) estimates. The EPA’s forecasts are more conservative – an investment of just over $330 billion over 20 years.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


The U.S. was supposed to leave Afghanistan by 2017. Now it might take decades
January 26, 2016, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/01/26/the-u-s-was-supposed...

Top U.S. military commanders, who only a few months ago were planning to pull the last American troops out of Afghanistan by year’s end, are now quietly talking about an American commitment that could keep thousands of troops in the country for decades. The new American outlook marks a striking change for Obama, who campaigned on a promise to bring American troops home and has said repeatedly that he does not support the “idea of endless war.” And it highlights a major shift for the American military, which has spent much of the past decade racing to hit milestones as part of its broader “exit strategy” from Afghanistan and Iraq. These days, that phrase has largely disappeared from the military’s lexicon. In its place, there is a broad recognition in the Pentagon that building an effective Afghan army and police force will take a generation’s commitment, including billions of dollars a year in outside funding and constant support from thousands of foreign advisers on the ground. There are now 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Plans call for Obama to halve that force by the time he leaves office, but he could defer the decision to the next president.

Note: The US has spent several trillion dollars pursuing a policy of endless war since 9/11. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.


The Populist Revolution: Bernie and Beyond
January 27, 2016, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ellen-brown/the-populist-revolution-b_b_9080300.html

The world is undergoing a populist revival. From the revolt against austerity led by the Syriza Party in Greece and the Podemos Party in Spain, to Jeremy Corbyn's surprise victory as Labour leader in the UK, to Donald Trump's ascendancy in the Republican polls, to Bernie Sanders' surprisingly strong challenge to Hillary Clinton - contenders with their fingers on the popular pulse are surging ahead of their establishment rivals. What Sanders is proposing ... is a real financial revolution, a fundamental change in the system itself. Banks today have usurped the power to create the national money supply. As the Bank of England recently acknowledged, banks create money whenever they make loans. Banks determine who gets the money and on what terms. How can banking be made to serve the needs of the people and the economy, while preserving the more functional aspects of today's highly sophisticated global banking system? We could have a system of publicly-owned banks that were locally controlled, operating independently to serve the needs of their own communities. Making these banks public institutions would differ from the current system only in that the banks would have a mandate to serve the public interest, and the profits would be returned to the local government for public use.

Note: 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.


Elizabeth Warren: One Way to Rebuild Our Institutions
January 29, 2016, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/29/opinion/elizabeth-warren-one-way-to-rebuild-our...

I just released a report examining 20 of the worst federal enforcement failures in 2015. Its conclusion: “Corporate criminals routinely escape meaningful prosecution for their misconduct.” In a single year, in case after case, across many sectors of the economy, federal agencies caught big companies breaking the law - defrauding taxpayers, covering up deadly safety problems, even precipitating the financial collapse in 2008 - and let them off the hook with barely a slap on the wrist. Often, companies paid meager fines, which some will try to write off as a tax deduction. Justice cannot mean a prison sentence for a teenager who steals a car, but nothing more than a sideways glance at a C.E.O. who quietly engineers the theft of billions of dollars. Last year, five of the world’s biggest banks, including JPMorgan Chase, pleaded guilty to criminal charges that they rigged the price of billions of dollars worth of foreign currencies. No corporation can break the law unless people in that corporation also broke the law, but no one from any of those banks has been charged. The Securities and Exchange Commission ... is far behind on issuing congressionally mandated rules to avoid the next financial crisis. It has repeatedly granted waivers so that lawbreaking companies can continue to enjoy special privileges, while the Justice Department has dodged one opportunity after another to impose meaningful accountability on big corporations and their executives.

Note: Senator Elizabeth Warren was called "the champion of Main Street versus Wall Street" by the Boston Globe in 2014. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the corporate world.


Louisiana, ‘Prison Capital’ Of The World, Hosts Biggest US Prison Convention
January 25, 2016, International Business Times
http://www.ibtimes.com/louisiana-prison-capital-world-hosts-biggest-us-prison-convention...

The salesman stood outside the prison bus, inviting people inside for a brief tour. The price tag for such a vehicle? About $580,000. This bus, along with hundreds of other products and services, are on display this week at the American Correctional Association’s annual winter conference in New Orleans. It has become the largest gathering of corrections personnel in the United States. The trade show ... offers a peek into the sprawling private industry around incarceration. Unlike other conventions, however, this convention is closed to the public, and the customers on the trade show floor are mostly prison wardens, jail officials and directors from state corrections agencies. The exhibitors are there to make their pitch for a slice of the $80 billion incarceration industry in the US. The companies aren't the only ones looking to earn money. In many states, sheriffs and wardens ... look to private companies to help pay the bills. They do this, in many cases, by taking commissions on revenue from goods sold to inmates - everything from phone calls and commissary goods to ... e-cigarettes. “The whole idea of a system that exists for the purpose of keeping people locked up for profit creates all the wrong incentives,” said Marjorie R. Esma, the executive director of the local American Civil Liberties Union in New Orleans. Such incentives, of course, can lead to more people in jail for petty crime. Look no further than Louisiana, which has been dubbed the “prison capital of the world” because of its high incarceration rates.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Taking antidepressants during pregnancy linked to increased risk of autism
December 14, 2015, USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/12/14/taking-antidepressants-during-pregnancy...

Women who took antidepressants in the last six months of pregnancy were 87% more likely to have a child later diagnosed with autism. Doctors saw no increase in autism rates in women who took medication for depression in the first three months of pregnancy, according to [a new] study, published online Monday in JAMA Pediatrics. In the U.S., about 2.2% of children ages 3 to 17 - about one in 45 - have autism, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health Interview Survey, conducted in 2014. Women who took a specific type of antidepressants, called selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, had more than double the risk of having a child with autism. Women who took more than one medication for depression ... were four times as likely to have a child with autism. The new study is ... part of a growing body of research that suggests that the events that cause autism largely occur before birth. Studies have found that children are at higher risk for autism, for example, if they are born early or very small. Children are also at higher risk if they are in medical distress during delivery; if they have older mothers or fathers; or if they are born less than a year after an older sibling.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.


Pricey hepatitis C drugs threaten health care system
January 11, 2016, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/Pricey-hepatitis-C-drugs-threaten...

When does Big Pharma profiting become profiteering? This issue was the subject last month of a Senate Finance Committee investigation of pricing practices of Gilead Sciences Inc., a leading provider of hepatitis C medications. After examining 20,000 pages of internal company documents, looking at Medicaid data and interviewing health care experts, the authors concluded that the Foster City drugmaker “pursued a calculated scheme for pricing and marketing its hepatitis C drug based on one goal: maximizing revenue regardless of the human consequences.” With the hepatitis C virus affecting about 3 million people in the United States, the impact of Gilead’s pricing strategy is real, measurable - and devastating. With a 12-week course of Gilead’s Harvoni priced at nearly $100,000, taxpayer-funded Medicare Part D spent $4.6 billion on hepatitis C alone in the first half of 2015. When insurers refuse to pay for treatment, all but the wealthy are left at risk for cirrhosis, liver cancer and death. While anticipating record profits of $30 billion in 2015, Gilead virtually eliminated its medication assistance program. More than 90 percent of hepatitis C patients can achieve a cure with as little as one pill a day. But to realistically address this epidemic at current pricing levels would bankrupt our health care system. Pharmaceutical innovation holds great promise for the future of our health care system. But not if none of us can afford it.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about big pharma profiteering. Then read an in-depth essay titled "The Truth About Drug Companies" by acclaimed author Dr. Marcia Angell.


CBC retracts supplement report
January 21, 2016, CBC (Canada's public broadcasting system)
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/marketplace-vitamins-protein-powders-lab-testing...

Some Marketplace reports about vitamins and supplements published in November contained incorrect information, CBC has learned. Last fall, Marketplace commissioned lab testing for samples of fish oil, vitamin C and protein powder supplements to see if consumers are actually getting what they pay for. Based on those test results, Marketplace reported that Emergen-C and two protein powders: GNC Lean Shake 25 and Cytosport Muscle Milk failed to live up to label claims. However, subsequent re-testing of the samples has found that the lab results and analysis provided to Marketplace were incorrect, and that there is no evidence of problems with those products. The original lab tests were performed by an independent lab in Michigan, which is ISO-17025 accredited, registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and used by the supplement industry. The lab was recommended by Neil Thanedar, co-founder and CEO of LabDoor, a company that has products tested and makes those results public to help guide consumers about vitamins and supplements. CBC re-tested some of the products at other independent, accredited labs. None of them found problems with the samples. While Thanedar admits some of the lab results he provided to Marketplace were flawed, he was still unable to explain how the mistakes were made.

Note: Definitely something fishy going on here. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.


“Black Americans for a Better Future” Super PAC 100% Funded by Rich White Guys
January 28, 2016, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2016/01/28/black-americans-for-a-better-future...

New FEC filings show that all of the $417,250 in monetary donations to a Super PAC called “Black Americans for a Better Future” comes from conservative white businessmen - including $400,000, or 96 percent of the total, from white billionaire hedge fund manager Robert Mercer. Mercer, co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies on Long Island, is best-known politically for donating $11,000,000 to Keep the Promise I, a Super PAC backing Ted Cruz’s presidential run. BABF appears to exist solely as a vehicle for Washington, D.C., consultant Raynard Jackson, who is African-American. Jackson is quoted on his firm’s website stating that “You have a fundamental right to pursue business interests with the least amount of interference from the government.” Jackson has elsewhere accused Barack Obama of “relentless pandering to homosexuals.” At an event in November 2015 at the National Press Club, which cost BABF $13,252.79 for the venue and catering, Jackson said that “Having well-trained, credible, experienced African-Americans constantly challenging the liberal orthodoxy in the media will create a tectonic shift in the perception of the Republican Party within the Black community.” Other donations to BABF [include] $10,000 from Keller Investment Properties of Utah, whose CEO is the white Scott Keller, a member of Mitt Romney’s donor network, [and] $5,000 from the very white Marc Stanley Goldman.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about elections corruption and the manipulation of public perception.


Inspiring Articles


NASA engineer repairs bikes – and young lives
September 15, 2015, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/Change-Agent/2015/0917/NASA-engineer...

Trent Griffin was concerned last summer when he saw a child riding a bike that was missing a front tire in his neighborhood in Huntsville, Ala. He bought supplies to make the fix and offered the boy a newly repaired bike. Soon, Mr. Griffin was visited by many young bike riders. Griffin went to thrift stores to get materials to repair the bikes. He even gave bikes away to children in need. When a child received a freshly fixed bike, he or she also received a life lesson. His sister, Nicole Griffin Fields, told ABC News, "He makes them sign contracts that require them to have good behavior, to maintain their good grades, and to obey their parents." Is a little life counseling from a NASA engineer a good price to pay for having a freshly repaired bike? At least 1,000 people and a NASA astronaut said it was. Griffin's friends and family nominated him for the "Above and Beyond" award from "Good Morning America." His prize was a field full of 50 relatives and 1,000 grateful participants at the US Space and Rocket station near the Marshall Space Flight Center where Griffin works. Griffin also met an astronaut at the International Space Station, Scott Kelly, via a NASA video chat. Commander Kelly told Griffin he would receive 50 bicycles from Schwinn and Mongoose that he can give to more children in his neighborhood. Kelly finished the video chat with a low-gravity flip. America has a rich tradition of active community involvement, and people like Griffin share that with children by example.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Former enemies share samba in Colombia's 'Dancing with the Stars'
January 15, 2016, Christian Science Monitor/Reuters
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/Change-Agent/2016/0115/Former-enemies...

Colombia's version of the hit TV contest "Dancing with the Stars" hopes to show millions of viewers that former battlefield enemies can live side by side. John Pinchao, a policeman held captive in a jungle camp, often in chains, by rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) until he escaped in 2007, is now sharing the dance floor with ex-FARC child soldier Ana Pacheco, who joined the rebel group aged 14. The prime-time show comes at a time when the three-year-old peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC are approaching the goal the two sides have set of signing an accord by March 23. If successful, this would end half a century of war that has killed 220,000 people and displaced 6.5 million, and would lead to some 7,000 FARC fighters handing in their weapons. As the March deadline for signing a peace deal looms, Colombians are considering to what extent they are ready to forgive FARC and accept former combatants back into society. For Pacheco, who left the rebel ranks when she was 16, the TV show is an opportunity to show the human face of former fighters. The producers of the TV show ... hope the unexpected line-up can foster empathy among Colombians with people who suffered during the years of conflict. "We want the show to awaken solidarity. We weren't just looking for great dancers and celebrities, what inspired us was to show the reality that faces Colombia, it's about living together," said Fox Colombia executive producer Oscar Guarin.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Obama bans solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons
January 26, 2016, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-bans-solitary-confinement-for-juveniles...

President Obama on Monday announced a ban on solitary confinement for juvenile offenders in the federal prison system, saying the practice is overused and has the potential for devastating psychological consequences. In an op-ed that appears in Tuesday editions of The Washington Post, the president outlines a series of executive actions that also prohibit federal corrections officials from punishing prisoners who commit “low-level infractions” with solitary confinement. The new rules also dictate that the longest a prisoner can be punished with solitary confinement for a first offense is 60 days, rather than the current maximum of 365 days. The president’s reforms apply broadly to the roughly 10,000 federal inmates serving time in solitary confinement. The reforms come six months after Obama, as part of a broader criminal-justice reform push, ordered the Justice Department to study how solitary confinement was being used by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. “How can we subject prisoners to unnecessary solitary confinement, knowing its effects, and then expect them to return to our communities as whole people?” Obama wrote in his op-ed. He said he hoped his reforms at the federal level will serve as a model for states to rethink their rules on the issue.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


New $130 million project to cut food waste from field to table
January 22, 2016, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/Change-Agent/2016/0122/New-130-million...

More than a third of the world's food goes uneaten, and many crops harvested in Africa are discarded rather than sold, according to an initiative announced Jan. 21 by the Rockefeller Foundation to cut food waste and loss by half. The seven-year, $130 million project aims to tackle food waste from crops in the fields to dinner tables in industrialized nations. Sub-Saharan Africa will receive much of the initiative's resources. In Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania, up to half of some crops are lost due to inefficient harvesting, storage, processing, and time to market. Enough food is grown to feed the 1.2 billion hungry or undernourished people worldwide, but a third is never eaten, according to United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization figures. The initiative, called YieldWise, aims at cutting food waste and loss in half by 2030. Last year, the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama also announced a goal of reducing food waste by 50 percent by 2030. In France, legislators have banned big supermarkets from destroying unsold but edible food. Training at mango farms in Kenya, maize farms in Tanzania, and tomato farms in Nigeria is already in the works, the New York-based philanthropic organization said, teaching farmers such skills as the use of crop-preserving technologies and strategies against crop loss.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


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