Cancer Drug Deception, Bizarre Corporate Tax Laws, Tijuana Arts Farm
June 20, 2016
Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on a whistleblower lawsuit exposing blatant deception by Genentech in selling a cancer drug to patients for whom they knew it wouldn't work, bizarre corporate tax desertion laws allowing Johnson Controls, inc. to avoid paying US taxes on $8.1 billion in offshore cash, "mafia-like" tactics used by the Catholic Church to avoid accountability for its protection of pedophile priests, and more.
Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on a K-9 comfort dog team bringing relief to Orlando, Florida in the wake of the recent mass shooting there, a Tijuana arts farm that helped reduce violence in one of the world's most dangerous neighborhoods by a stunning 85%, artist Pedro Reyes' creative recycling of guns taken off the streets into shovels and musical instruments, 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: This Washington Post article on the father of the Orlando mass murderer raises questions about the possibility of his being a Manchurian Candidate. Watch a seven-minute video raising more serious questions on the Orlando shooting. Watch a great video showing how a photographer's bias can completely affect the subject they shoot. Another beautiful four-minute video shows how one photographer's disaster turned his life around. Learn about an excellent, sustainable new method of farming based on "syntropy" in this 15 minute video.
Quote of the week: “Of all the things that human beings make and do for each other, it is the unquantifiable ones that contribute most to human happiness.” ~~ Charles Eistenstein
Video of the week: Wow!!! Break out the kleenex for this most profound, 6-minute video message every young person should watch (including those young at heart)!
Drugmakers pay $67 million to settle claims they exaggerated cancer drug's effectiveness
June 7, 2016, Los Angeles Times
Genentech and another drugmaker will pay $67 million to settle claims that they misled doctors into prescribing a treatment to lung cancer patients for whom the companies knew it would not work. As a result, some patients may have died earlier than they would have if they had taken more effective drugs, a lawsuit brought by a former Genentech employee and joined by federal prosecutors alleges. From 2006 to 2011 Genentech and its marketing partner OSI Pharmaceuticals promoted Tarceva to treat all patients with non-small-cell lung cancer even though studies had shown that it worked for just those who had never smoked or had a certain gene mutation known as EGFR. Epidermal growth factor receptor is a type of protein found on the surface of cells in the body. The whistle-blower lawsuit was filed in 2011 by Brian Shields, who worked as a Tarceva sales representative and then a product manager. The lawsuit said the companies ... discouraged doctors from testing patients for EGFR. The companies also promoted Tarceva ... by giving doctors illegal kickbacks disguised as fees for making speeches or serving on Genentech’s advisory boards. Sales representatives across the country were “instructed to spend lavishly” on physicians, the case said, and given “an unlimited budget to wine and dine.” Genentech also organized lunches or dinners for lung cancer patients where “patient ambassadors” were paid fees to speak about how Tarceva could be used in ways never approved by regulators, the lawsuit said.
Note: While Genentech was inaccurately describing its new drugs to doctors and patients, this company was also fiercely lobbying to prevent others from selling affordable alternatives to its costly drugs. Practices like this, along with the suppression of promising cancer research, show how Big Pharma puts profit before people.
This is corporate tax desertion taken to a whole new level
February 4, 2016, Washington Post
If you want an example of how bizarre U.S. tax laws can be - and how companies can game the system - look no further than the recently announced deal for Johnson Controls Inc. of Milwaukee to desert our country by combining with a previous corporate deserter, Tyco International PLC. Tyco is run out of Princeton, N.J., but for tax purposes it is based in Ireland, where the combined Johnson Controls PLC will be based. This [is] an especially aggressive transaction that, among other things, will let Johnson game the tax system by handing its shareholders about $3.9 billion in cash in order to get tax-free access to $8.1 billion in cash currently held overseas. Under our tax laws, if a U.S. company combines with a foreign company (or a nominally foreign company such as Tyco), it can play a variety of tax games, provided that the shareholders of the U.S. company own more than 60 percent but less than 80 percent of the stock in the new, combined company. However, the company can play far more games ... if the shareholders of the U.S. company own more than 50 percent of the combined company but less than 60 percent. By being in [this] sweet spot, Johnson PLC can get its hands on its offshore cash directly, instead of having to leap through various hoops. [Who knows] why it’s legal for Johnson to buy in a chunk of its shares to make the numbers work - but apparently, it is. So there you have it. Johnson, a vendor to the taxpayer-rescued U.S. auto industry, repays us by doing ... a mega-desertion.
Note: Under current US laws, in what the Washington Post calls a "corporate predator state", profitable multinationals often pay no US taxes at all. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Catholic church accused of using 'mafia-like' tactics to fight sex abuse bill
June 17, 2016, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
The Catholic church in Pennsylvania has been accused of employing “mafia-like” tactics in a campaign to put pressure on individual Catholic lawmakers who support state legislation that would give victims of sexual abuse more time to sue their abusers. The lobbying campaign ... is being led by Philadelphia archbishop Charles Chaput, a staunch conservative who recently created a stir after inadvertently sending an email to a state representative Jamie Santora, in which he accused the lawmaker of “betraying” the church and said Santora would suffer “consequences” for his support of the legislation. The email has infuriated some Catholic lawmakers, who say they voted their conscience in support of the legislation on behalf of sexual abuse victims. At stake ... is a state bill that would allow victims of sexual abuse to file civil claims against their abusers, and those who knew of abuse, until they are 50 years old. Critics of Chaput’s strategy say the archbishop used the same tactics to successfully derail similar legislation in Colorado, where he previously served as archbishop. Joan Fitz-Gerald, the former Democratic head of the state senate in Colorado who had introduced the bill, recalled it was the most vicious and difficult experience of her life, with Chaput allegedly telling one of his lobbyists that he did not believe Fitz-Gerald would be going to heaven. “He is the most vehement supporter of the secrecy of the Catholic church over pedophiles,” Fitz-Gerald said.
Note: ABC News recently reported that one Roman Catholic diocese in Pennsylvania is under investigation for racketeering due to its organized effort to cover up sex crimes by corrupting and wielding influence over government officials. Watch an excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team "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 topic in the US.
John Lydon says he was 'banned from BBC' over Jimmy Savile comments
September 24, 2015, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
John Lydon has claimed he was banned from the BBC after speaking out against Jimmy Savile. The former Sex Pistol was referring to an interview he’d given in 1978, during which he had said that Savile was “into all sorts of seediness. We all know about it but we’re not allowed to talk about it." Speaking to Piers Morgan for his Life Stories show, he said: “I’m very, very bitter that the likes of Savile and the rest of them were allowed to continue. I did my bit, I said what I had to. But they didn’t air that.” He continued: “I found myself banned from BBC radio for quite a while, for my contentious behaviour. They wouldn’t state this directly; there’d be other excuses.” The band were already in the BBC’s bad books before Lydon’s Savile comments: God Save The Queen received a total ban on radio play from the corporation in May 1977. Lydon didn’t go into the specifics of what the ban entailed, although he said: “Weren’t I right? I think most kids wanted to go on [Savile's popular show] Top of the Pops, but we all knew what that cigar muncher was up to.”
Note: Watch an excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team "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 topic in the US. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
Are Big Oil lawsuits echoing the ones against Big Tobacco?
June 11, 2016, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
In April, the email in-boxes of energy executives filled with alerts from the nation’s top corporate law firms. The subject: the multistate investigation into whether Exxon Mobil committed fraud by publicly discounting the impact of fossil fuels on climate change. The investigations into whether their industry suppressed findings and misled investors, policymakers and the public about global warming not only raise the prospects of criminal charges, but add momentum to a legal campaign [comparable] to the decades-long battle against Big Tobacco. In April, a federal judge in Oregon ruled that a case against the U.S. government for inaction on climate change could proceed, explaining that “the alleged valuing of short term economic interest despite the cost to human life” required examination by the courts. Environmental lawyers have argued for years that governments and companies are legally obligated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They had little success, with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2011 that the federal government alone had the power to control carbon emissions. But the recent entry of state prosecutors into the legal battle opens up a new line of inquiry: Did fossil fuel companies mislead their investors and the public on their own views on climate change and the risk it posed to their business? The recent legal rush follows the revelation last year that Exxon had engaged in climate change research in the 1970s and ’80s, and was warned by its own scientists of the growing threat.
Note: Read about the recent New York Attorney General's investigation into Exxon's climate change lies. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing climate change news articles from reliable major media sources.
Revealed: Cambodia's vast medieval cities hidden beneath the jungle
June 10, 2016, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Archaeologists in Cambodia have found multiple, previously undocumented medieval cities not far from the ancient temple city of Angkor Wat. The Australian archaeologist Dr Damian Evans ... will announce that cutting-edge airborne laser scanning technology has revealed multiple cities between 900 and 1,400 years old beneath the tropical forest floor, some of which rival the size of Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. Some experts believe that the recently analysed data - captured in 2015 during the most extensive airborne study ever undertaken by an archaeological project, covering 734 sq miles (1,901 sq km) – shows that the colossal, densely populated cities would have constituted the largest empire on earth at the time of its peak in the 12th century. Evans said: “We have entire cities discovered beneath the forest that no one knew were there.” [A prior] survey uncovered an array of discoveries, including elaborate water systems that were built hundreds of years before historians believed the technology existed. The [latest] findings are expected to challenge theories on how the Khmer empire developed, dominated the region, and declined around the 15th century. “Our coverage of the post-Angkorian capitals also provides ... new insights on the ‘collapse’ of Angkor,” Evans said. “There’s an idea that somehow the Thais invaded and everyone fled down south – that didn’t happen. It calls into question the whole notion of an Angkorian collapse.”
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing archeology news articles from reliable major media sources.
Key Articles From Years Past
Robert F. Kennedy saw conspiracy in JFK’s assassination
November 24, 2013, Boston Globe
Much has been made of Bobby Kennedy’s impossible burden following the assassination of his brother. A review of [documents released as recently as a few months ago] by the Globe, fortified by the work of historians and new interviews with former Kennedy aides, paints a picture of a brother responding to the assassination with equal parts crippling grief and growing suspicions. In the five years between his brother’s murder and his own assassination in 1968, Bobby Kennedy voiced public support for the findings of the Warren Commission, namely that a pathetic, attention-seeking gunman had alone been responsible for the murder of President Kennedy. Privately, though, Bobby was dismissive of the commission, seeing it ... as a public relations tool. After hearing the news out of Dallas, it’s clear that he quickly focused his attention on three areas of suspicion: Cuba, the Mafia, and the CIA. Crucially, Bobby had become his brother’s point man in managing all three of those highly fraught portfolios. And by the time the president was gunned down, Bobby understood better than anyone how all three had become hopelessly interwoven, and how much all three bore his own imprint. For while John Kennedy was the one gunned down, Bobby had reason to believe he may have been the ultimate target. Walking the grounds of Hickory Hill just an hour after receiving confirmation of his brother’s death, Bobby confided in an aide something truly unsettling. That aide, Edwin Guthman, would later recount it in his book “We Band of Brothers.” “I thought they would get one of us,” Bobby said, adding, “I thought it would be me.”
Note: In 2006, BBC reported that CIA operatives were directly involved in Robert Kennedy's assassination, and that Sirhan Sirhan may have been a programmed Manchurian Candidate. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing assassinations news articles from reliable major media sources.
Latest Word on the Trail?
July 15, 2012, New York Times
The push and pull over what is on the record is one of journalism’s perennial battles. But those negotiations typically took place case by case, free from the red pens of press minders. Now, with a millisecond Twitter news cycle and an unforgiving, gaffe-obsessed media culture, politicians and their advisers are routinely demanding that reporters allow them final editing power over any published quotations. Quote approval is standard practice for the Obama campaign, used by many top strategists and almost all mid-level aides ... at the White House - almost anyone other than spokesmen who are paid to be quoted. (And sometimes it applies even to them.) It is also commonplace throughout Washington and on the campaign trail. From Capitol Hill to the Treasury Department, interviews granted only with quote approval have become the default position. Those officials who dare to speak out of school, but fearful of making the slightest off-message remark, shroud even the most innocuous and anodyne quotations in anonymity by insisting they be referred to as a “top Democrat” or a “Republican strategist.” It is a double-edged sword for journalists, who are getting the on-the-record quotes they have long asked for, but losing much of the spontaneity and authenticity in their interviews. Many journalists spoke about the editing only if granted anonymity, an irony that did not escape them. Those who did speak on the record said the restrictions seem only to be growing.
A history of Israel's nuclear weapons program, which remains shrouded in secrecy.
November 1, 1998, New York Times
This was a difficult book for Avner Cohen to write. As an Israeli, he had to break the code of silence that surrounds the discussion of nuclear weapons in his homeland. But he has done a superb job of laying out the political history of Israel's nuclear program from its foundation in 1950 through the acceptance by the United States of Israel as a nuclear-weapon state in 1970. With "Israel and the Bomb," he has written a scholarly treatise that includes over 1,200 footnotes, yet reads like a novel. Israel was the sixth nation in the world - and the first in the Middle East - to acquire nuclear weapons. However, unlike those of the first five, its nuclear program has remained opaque, that is, shrouded in secrecy, officially unacknowledged and insulated from domestic politics. Israel's policy was also shaped by its interaction with France, the United States and Egypt. For its part, the United States realized as early as the Eisenhower Administration that it was not in a position to stop the Israeli program. At the same time, Israel could not openly defy American opposition to the spread of nuclear weapons. Opacity was the solution. Israel also did not wish to provoke the Arab nations into developing their own nuclear weapons or launching a pre-emptive attack on its Dimona reactor. As long as the Israelis kept a low profile, the Arabs, led by Egypt, played down the issue. Israel today remains the only nuclear-opaque state in the world.
Note: Israel refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or allow UN inspectors to inspect its opaque nuclear program. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government secrecy news articles from reliable major media sources.
Making The Police Less Powerful
November 28, 2014, Forbes
Many have become fed up with police violence and a perceived lack of accountability in this country. In addition to the worrying trend of police militarization, many areas of the country have police forces that seem fairly unaccountable for excessive violence or other problems. In Philadelphia, an inquiry was recently completed on 26 cases since 2008 where police officers were fired from charges ranging from domestic violence, to retail theft, to excessive force, to on duty intoxication. Shockingly, the Police Advisory Committee undertaking the investigation found that so far 19 of these fired officers have been reinstated. Why does this occur? The committee blamed the arbitration process. Another implication of police power is political. For example, the Miami-Dade police union recently blocked body cameras for police officers. And when Wisconsin limited collective bargaining rights for public sector workers it exempted police and firefighter unions. When most people mess up at work their bosses don’t need arbitration to determine whether they can be fired. Even if the error was “reasonable” people can be fired just to please the customer. Police should be as accountable to the public as the rest of us our to our employers and customers. The police are extremely powerful in this country. With the public’s trust justifiably falling, it’s time to strip them of job protections and political power that lead to unaccountability and injustice. This is not going to happen while police unions remain intact.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing police corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
In a Shaken Orlando, Comfort Dogs Arrive With ‘Unconditional Love’
June 16, 2016, New York Times
On the Monday following the Orlando massacre, 12 golden retrievers arrived in the Florida city. They had come to offer comfort to some of the victims of the attack, the families of those killed and the emergency medical workers. The animals are part of the K-9 Comfort Dogs team, a program run by the Lutheran Church Charities. Founded in 2008, the team has comforted victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting. Tim Hetzner, the president of the charity, said that the dogs in Orlando were helping to provide a feeling of safety, allowing those in distress to relax their guard and express their vulnerability during a difficult time. “We’ve had a lot of people here that start petting the dog, and they break out crying,” he said. The dogs and their 20 handlers have visited hospitals and churches, and attended vigils and memorial services. On Wednesday, they visited some of the hospitalized victims. “People couldn’t get out of their bed, so we had to bring the dog up so they could pet the dog while laying down,” Mr. Hetzner said. “They start smiling, and in a couple cases, they started talking as much as they could.” Comfort dogs ... are often employed by therapists and medical doctors to help soothe patients. Studies have shown that they can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression as well as the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. There are more than 120 dogs in the K-9 Comfort Dog unit, in 23 states. All of them have received extensive training similar to that of a service dog.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Violence plunged after he brought the arts to a Tijuana neighborhood
June 9, 2016, Christian Science Monitor
The “bunker” houses the Torolab project known as La Granja Transfronteriza, or La Granja (The Farm) for short – a place brimming with the arts and more that draws community members of all ages. As Tijuana garnered a reputation as one of the most violent places in the world, Camino Verde held the inglorious title of the most dangerous neighborhood in the city. But today, Camino Verde’s story is changing. And La Granja, founded in 2010, has been no small factor. On weekday afternoons, the bunker is bustling with young kids screeching out notes on their violins under the guidance of instructors. Families gather on the weekend to grow vegetables in the nascent community garden. There’s a computer lab upstairs, and parents can pursue their GED certificates. Most strikingly, however, violence in Camino Verde has plunged, falling by 85 percent since 2010. “This was one of the most violent places in the world, where you weren’t expected to make it out,” [Torolab founder Raúl] Cárdenas says. “Now it’s common to see governments and arts schools from around the globe coming to the neighborhood to learn.” When, in 2010, a group of local leaders came together to talk about what they could do to change Tijuana’s violent trajectory, Cárdenas took charge of pinpointing where they could make the biggest difference. “What people want and what people need is to have a livable space,” he says. Already, the project has received multiple prizes and global recognition.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Artist Transforms Guns To Make Music - Literally
January 25, 2014, NPR
Pedro Reyes says being Mexican is like living in an apartment where an upstairs neighbor has a leaking swimming pool. "Just what is leaking," says Reyes, "is hundreds of thousands of guns." Reyes believes art should address social issues like gun violence, even when they're difficult and controversial. "We have to be allowed to ask questions," he says. "If you are not allowed to ask questions, you are not free." Reyes also addresses the issue of gun violence in another way, by using guns themselves. His first project began in 2007 in the Mexican city of Culiacan. As part of a campaign to curb shootings, the city collected 1,527 guns. He used them to create art. "Those 1,527 guns were melted and made into the same number of shovels," he says. "So for every gun now, there's a shovel. And with every shovel, we planted a tree." Now Reyes is working on a new project. It is one that transforms guns into something more musical. An exhibition of the work is on display at the University of South Florida's Contemporary Art Museum. It's called "Disarm," and consists of guns that have been turned into musical instruments." To me at least," Pedigo says, "the concept is about taking weapons that are destructive in nature and chaotic and trying to make them for something else. So, instead of objects of destruction, they become objects of creation." That's exactly Reyes' point. Art, he says, is about transformation. "It's the same metal," he says, "but it is no longer a gun. It's now a flute or a guitar."
Note: Don't miss the pictures of Reyes' latest inspiring project at the link above.
An All-Volunteer Squad Of Farmers Is Turning Florida Lawns Into Food
May 15, 2016, NPR
Chris Castro has an obsession - turning the perfectly manicured lawns in his Orlando neighborhood into mini-farms. "The amount of interest in Orlando is incredibly surprising," Castro says. Surprising because he's asking Floridians to hand over a good chunk of their precious yards to volunteers who plant gardens full of produce. His program is called Fleet Farming, and it's starting off small, with 10 of these yard farms. Most of them sit smack in the middle of the front yard. Lawns are a thing here. Urban farms? Not so much. But so far, no neighbors have complained. Castro makes sure every garden is meticulously maintained - including homeowner Gary Henderson's. "I just think that the whole idea of lawns, especially in a place like Florida, is absurd," says Henderson, standing amid rows of tomatoes, sweet lettuce, carrots and arugula growing smack in the middle of his front yard. All of Fleet Farming's volunteers only ride bikes, going from garden to garden to harvest the produce. Because the program is bike-powered, Castro keeps the yard gardens within a mile of the local farmers market, where Fleet Farming sells most of the produce. Henderson offers this advice to anyone thinking about replacing their lawn with a garden: "Give it a try ... and once you get to the point where you realize that you can eat your lawn, I think it makes a whole lot of sense." And so do 300 other residents of central Florida. That's how many people are on Fleet Farming's waiting list, ready to eat their lawns instead of having to mow them.
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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