Horrific Military Initiation Rite, MDs Bought for $20, ‘Veggielante’ Urban Farming
June 27, 2016
Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on the widespread use of rape as an initiation rite for Australian military cadets, the finding that doctors are up to twice as likely to prescribe a costly brand name drug if big Pharma sales reps buy them a single meal for $20, serious questions on how much intelligence services knew about the dangers of the Orlando Shooter, and more.
Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on "Veggielante" James Brady's innovative use of urban farming to promote health and economic empowerment in schools, the tenacity and perseverance of 80-year-old body builder Ernestine Shepherd, the 49 personalized crosses made by carpenter Greg Zanis to honor of each of the victims of the recent mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, 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: The US House of Representatives has passed a bill using Orwellian double talk designed to prevent states from passing labelling laws for GMOs. Watch a four-minute video showing how children get it and adults don't about looks. Learn about an excellent, sustainable new method of farming in this 15 minute video. Learn how great leaders inspire in this TED Talk.
Quote of the week: "Clean but the mirror and the message shines forth." ~~ Course in Miracles
Australian commission: Military cadets raped as initiation
June 22, 2016, CNN
Teenage recruits were raped by staff and forced to rape each other as part of initiation practices in the Australian military going back to 1960, a public inquiry heard on Tuesday. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse is hearing evidence from men and women who say they were sexually abused when they were as young as 15, in certain divisions of the Australian defense force. This commission is focusing on alleged abuse at the naval training center HMAS Leeuwin in Western Australia and the army apprentice school Balcombe in Victoria during the 1960s, '70s and '80s and also among cadets with the Australian defense force since 2000. In total, 111 victims came forward to report abuse. More than a dozen of them will give evidence to the inquiry. "On multiple occasions, I was snatched from my bed in the middle of the night by older recruits and dragged to a sports oval," said one male witness who wasn't named. The witness said he was forced to rape other recruits, and was raped himself by older recruits and staff. "The environment made it useless to resist," he said. "One could stand only so much abuse before realizing that saying 'no' was pointless." Many survivors say that when they reported the abuse, they were ignored, punished, or told it was "a rite of passage" in their initiation period. The inquiry also will hear evidence from former and current staff members, and examine the handling of complaints and the responses to claims for compensation.
Note: Watch videos providing powerful evidence rape has also been used to initiate future officers in the US Marine Corps. 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.
Even $20 meals can sway doctors, study finds
June 20, 2016, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Physician influence can be bought for as little as a $20 meal, UCSF researchers have found. A study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine ... found that doctors who received just one meal averaging $20 were up to twice as likely to prescribe brand-name drugs being promoted than doctors who did not receive any free food. Gifts from pharmaceutical companies to doctors ... have come under scrutiny in recent years for concerns that the money spent by drugmakers directly influences what physicians write on their prescriptions pads. Some doctors deny they’re influenced by money, but a growing number of studies show that financial ties can affect their professional behavior. The UCSF researchers looked at ... the routine briefings many doctors and their staff receive from drug reps during lunches in their offices. The study found that the effect increased as doctors got more meals. Those who received multiple meals were up to three times as likely to prescribe the promoted brand-name drug. Higher-cost meals were associated with greater influence. Doctors who received four or more meals to promote Allergan’s Bystolic to treat hypertension prescribed the drug at 5.4 times the rate of physicians who received no meals. For Pfizer’s depression drug Pristiq, that rate was 3.4 times higher. UCSF researchers said that their studies show the buying power of drug makers decreases the use of cheaper, generic drugs and raises costs for patients as well as the health care system.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing big Pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.
Security Firm Moved Mateen After Al Qaeda Boast, But Didn't Fire Him
June 15, 2016, NBC News
The security firm that employed Orlando shooter Omar Mateen concluded that allegations about his inflammatory comments while an armed guard in 2013 were serious enough to transfer him to an unarmed position. But the company, G4S Secure Solutions USA Inc., dropped the matter [and] did not take away his company-issued service weapon. That decision, coupled with the fact that Mateen underwent three separate inquiries by the FBI in 2013 and 2014, raises questions about whether G4S - the U.S. subsidiary of one of the world's largest security firms - properly vetted Mateen in the years before Sunday's mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub. Former G4S security guard Daniel Gilroy ... complained repeatedly about Mateen to supervisors at G4S. They ignored his concerns. Ultimately, Gilroy said, he quit rather than have to face Mateen, who he said threatened him. [A company official] said G4S has so far found no evidence of any other employees making complaints about Mateen, including those who worked at the St. Lucie County Courthouse with him in 2013. FBI Director James Comey said earlier this week that colleagues said Mateen claimed to have family connections to terror groups al Qaeda and Hezbollah, and that he hoped law enforcement would raid his home "so he could martyr himself." Those remarks prompted courthouse officials to request Mateen's immediate removal from the St. Lucie County Courthouse, and to make "the appropriate notifications to inform our federal partners," including the FBI.
‘Clerical error’ on Orlando killer’s psychological eval named wrong doctor
June 17, 2016, Miami Herald
Nine years ago, the state of Florida received documentation from a security firm vouching for the mental health of Omar Mateen, who launched a bloody attack this week on Orlando nightclub patrons. But the psychologist whose name appears on the document in state records said Friday that she never evaluated [Mateen]. In fact, she wasn’t even living in Florida when the evaluation was supposedly completed. The revelation Friday became another source of scrutiny for the G4S security firm, which was known as Wackenhut at the time. The psychological evaluation done for the company, which is required under state law, cleared Mateen to carry a firearm as a private security guard. “What I do know is that in September 2007, I was not living or working in Florida, I was not performing any work for Wackenhut, and I did not administer any type of examination to Omar Mateen,” Dr. Carol Nudelman, who now lives in Colorado, said in a statement. The global security firm - which does work in more than 100 countries - is locally based in Jupiter. Its operations have come under scrutiny a number of times over the years. In the mid-2000s, G4S was accused of overbilling Miami-Dade County taxpayers of at least $3 million for security services that were not actually provided. But a criminal case against company employees fizzled in 2012.
Note: A CBS News story titled, "Locked Inside a Nightmare" sheds light on Wackenhut's profoundly corrupt history. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Terror watch lists have grown dramatically since 9/11
June 17, 2016, Washington Post
The push by congressional Democrats to bar suspected terrorists from acquiring guns and explosives has focused renewed attention on the government’s secretive terrorist watch lists, which have grown exponentially since the 9/11 attacks. Since the mass shooting in a gay nightclub in Orlando on June 12, Democrats have endorsed various measures to get weapons out of the hands of people on the lists. The Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen, had been on the FBI’s terrorist watch list but was removed in 2014. His was one of approximately 800,000 names in that database, the most prominent of at least seven overlapping watch lists. The government does not release the exact number of watch lists or the specific criteria for getting on them. The no-fly list ... contained 16 people on Sept. 11, 2001. By 2014, it had grown to about 64,000 people. Civil liberties advocates [say] the watch lists are riddled with inaccurate and outdated information, nearly impossible to get off and stigmatize the people on them. The largest watch list is The Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE), maintained by the National Counterterrorism Center. As of August 2014, it contained about 1.1 million names. The FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center ... maintains what is known as the government’s "consolidated Terrorist Watchlist." It contains about 800,000 names. Last year, [a] federal judge ruled that the government’s lack of effective procedures for people to challenge their inclusion on the no-fly list was unconstitutional.
Note: A 2013 New York Times article further describes the rapid expansion of these mysterious lists, which are made according to secret rules. Some people have reportedly been added to watch lists by federal air marshals simply to meet quotas. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable major media sources.
Cleveland Bans Soapboxes and Sleeping Bags, Not Guns, Near Republican Convention
June 22, 2016, The Intercept
Anyone venturing into a 3.3-square-mile “event zone” surrounding next month’s Republican National Convention will be prohibited from carrying tennis balls, tape, rope, bike locks, sleeping bags, or any object they could stand on to rise above the crowd and speak. But if they have a license, they’ll be permitted to openly carry real guns, including assault weapons. The restrictions imposed on the large event zone drawn around Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena ... have earned the city a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Ohio and widespread criticism. “It’s the first time I’ve gone to a protest where there’s been so much talk of guns and the fact that people can carry them legally,” said [activist] John Penley. “They throw pro- and anti-Trump protesters together, and throw in the fact that maybe people will be carrying weapons. It seems like what they want to do is increase the chances for conflict.” Cleveland received a $50 million federal grant to gear up for the RNC. The city has obtained ... 10,000 sets of flex cuffs; “nonlethal munitions” like bean bag pellets; pepper spray; 2,000 sets of riot gear; 2,000 retractable steel batons; 3.7 miles’ worth of steel barriers; as well as ... video surveillance equipment, laptops, night vision devices, and 16 Pointer Illuminator Aiming Lasers, which a technology retailer describes as being used for “night direct-fire aiming and illumination.” The convention center itself is under the control of the Secret Service, which has imposed a separate set of restrictions, including a ban on weapons.
Note: New York City in 2014 agreed to pay $18 million to settle lawsuits brought by hundreds of people illegally arrested at the 2004 RNC. Non-lethal weapons including a noise gun originally developed for military use may be used at this year's RNC in Cleveland.
The Supreme Court winks at an illegal police stop
June 21, 2016, Los Angeles Times
At a time of justified concern about arbitrary police stops, the Supreme Court on Monday made such harassment more likely. By a 5-3 vote, the court upheld the search of a drug defendant that grew out of a stop that the state conceded was unlawful. The decision in a Utah case pokes yet another hole in an important principle: that courts may not consider evidence that is the result of an illegal search or seizure – the so-called “fruit of the poisonous tree.” Edward Strieff was stopped by a police officer after he walked out of a house in South Salt Lake City. After Strieff identified himself, the officer ran his name through a database and discovered an outstanding arrest warrant for a traffic violation. The officer then arrested Strieff on that charge and searched him, finding a bag containing methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. The state subsequently admitted that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion to stop Strieff, as required under Supreme Court interpretations of the 4th Amendment. Writing for the majority, Justice Clarence Thomas concluded that it didn’t matter if the officer had no basis on which to stop Strieff; the evidence was admissible anyway. The decision could have far-reaching consequences. As Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a powerful dissent: “This case allows the police to stop you on the street, demand your identification, and check it for outstanding traffic warrants - even if you are doing nothing wrong. If the officer discovers a warrant for a fine you forgot to pay, courts will now excuse his illegal stop.”
White Cop Growing Pot Gets Off Easy. Black Teens Do Hard Time.
June 22, 2016, Daily Beast
There are more than 20 states in the U.S. where growing small amounts of marijuana is legal. North Carolina isn’t one of them. Those caught cultivating cannabis in the Tar Heel State are usually slapped with a felony, prison time, and anywhere from a $200 to $200,000 fine. Unless, apparently, that person is a police officer. Take the case of Thomas Daniel Gaskins. Police arrested the 33-year-old on June 13 in connection to 11 marijuana plants found in a forest. At the time of his arrest, Gaskins ... worked as a police officer. Local news confirmed the arrest and initially reported that he had been charged both with “manufacturing” and possession of marijuana. But later reports began reflecting that he had only been charged with possession, a misdemeanor. His story is a perfect representation of the war on drugs’ biggest problem - racial bias. Minorities are nearly four times more likely to be arrested for pot than whites. While 11 marijuana plants may not seem like a large offense, it dwarfs many marijuana crimes that minorities are serving life sentences for today. Take the case of Fate Vincent Winslow, who was sentenced to life in prison ... for selling $20 worth of weed to an undercover officer. Winslow was accompanied by a white man in the sale, who - despite receiving $15 of the $20 - was never even arrested. That’s not to say that white men haven’t fallen victim to the drug war, just that they’re far less likely to serve the kind of hard time that minorities are often slapped with.
Which doctors should "own" end-of-life planning?
February 11, 2015, Reuters
The duty to guide patients through the end-of-life decision-making process rests squarely upon primary care providers, writes one internist in The New England Journal of Medicine. Susan Tolle, director of the Center for Ethics in Health Care at the Oregon Health and Science University, is one of three physicians responding to the NEJM’s most recent “Clinical Decisions” case feature, detailing a woman undergoing treatment for metastatic breast cancer. The two other physicians who responded with their opinions ... claim an oncologist or palliative specialist should initiate the conversation about the patient’s goals. But Tolle says it is the primary care physician’s obligation to lead this difficult discussion. [Yet] without widespread intervention of primary providers, patients will be less likely to ensure their end of life wishes are honored. Leaders within the American College of Physicians ... agree. “Somebody has to step up,” said Robert Centor, Chair of the ACP Board of Regents. “If you’re a primary care physician, it’s incumbent on you to have the discussion with patients before and especially after they get sick about goals. If we don’t know a patient’s goals, they can’t get the best possible care.” End of life planning, however, is not a billable Medicare service.
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.
Attacking Elizabeth Warren? Political Reporters Will Grant You Anonymity
June 21, 2016, The Intercept
The fast rise of Sen. Elizabeth Warren within the Democratic Party has coincided with another phenomenon: the continual use by elite-media journalists of anonymous sources in articles that either criticize Warren directly or warn other politicians about the dangers of embracing ... the policies she advocates. That journalistic trend manifested itself most recently on Monday, in a piece by Ben White in Politico that quoted fully five anonymous sources - including “one top Democratic donor,” “one moderate Washington Democrat” and “one prominent hedge fund manager” - to the effect that Hillary Clinton would be making a major misstep by selecting Warren as her running mate. Warren is an expert in bankruptcy and predatory lending and a leading critic of the financial industry. Is the “top Democratic donor” Politico quoted a self-interested executive at Citigroup or Goldman Sachs fearful that Warren would influence policy decisions? We’ll never know. Journalists in this way let powerful individuals take potshots without any fear of accountability and without the reader being able to discern what conflicts of interest might be involved. And when it comes to Warren in particular, pretty much any “administration official” or “political strategist” interested in advancing a narrative gets the anonymous treatment. The Intercept in short order compiled a list of 15 other articles and political newsletters over the last few years of the anonymously sourced, anti-Warren genre.
Note: The complete list of examples of anti-Warren propaganda articles is available at the link above. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing media manipulation news articles.
Key Articles From Years Past
The $2 trillion economic risk you haven’t heard about
August 7, 2014, PBS
Every so often, on time scales measured in days or weeks, a solar flare appears in the sun’s outermost layers. Many flares produce coronal mass ejections (CMEs is the term of art). Although the sun continuously pushes charged particles outward to form the “solar wind,” a CME outburst produces many times the normal particle flux, and contains particles moving at higher speeds than the ordinary solar-wind particles possess. Consider the greatest CME recorded on Earth: the “Carrington event” that ended August 1859. Intense streams of charged particles from the sun ... shook the Earth’s magnetic field, inducing electrical currents that put telegraph systems on the fritz around the world. Today, of course, we no longer rely on the telegraph. Instead, we routinely depend on transformers ... to regulate the electrical currents that power pretty much everything. A sufficiently powerful CME could burn out these transformers and deaden the electrical grid. It might also induce short circuits in anything that uses electrical circuits. The National Academy of Sciences estimates that the economic damage [from such an event] could reach $2 trillion. When can we expect the big one to arrive? Earlier this year, the physicist Peter Riley, ... published his estimate. Analyzing the records of CMEs for the past half-century, Riley estimates that the chance of a CME packing the punch of a Carrington-like event during the next decade at 12 percent, which he called “a sobering figure.”
Note: For more on this, see this Guardian article.
U.S. Repeals Propaganda Ban, Spreads Government-Made News to Americans
July 14, 2013, Foreign Policy
For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. government’s mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. That came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts. So what just happened? Until this month, a vast ocean of U.S. programming produced by the Broadcasting Board of Governors such as Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks could only be viewed or listened to at broadcast quality in foreign countries. The programming [is] viewed in more than 100 countries in 61 languages. The restriction of these broadcasts was [lifted with] the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012, which passed as part of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. But if anyone needed a reminder of the dangers of domestic propaganda efforts, the past 12 months provided ample reasons. Last year, two USA Today journalists were ensnared in a propaganda campaign after reporting about millions of dollars in back taxes owed by the Pentagon’s top propaganda contractor in Afghanistan. The firm [created] phony websites and Twitter accounts to smear the journalists anonymously.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing media manipulation news articles.
‘Veggielante’ helps folks grow food in small spaces
June 18, 2016, Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, California's leading newspaper)
Friends tease James Brady about his devotion to urban farming, calling him a veggielante and a veggie preacher, but that doesn’t stop his proselytizing. Brady and his business partners create microscale systems that allow schoolchildren and others to grow produce in small or nontraditional spaces. They recently sold nine of their “adaptive growing modules” to Sacramento-area schools. The modules consist of raised storage bins hooked up to a recirculating water system and filled with a composted growing medium. “Part of your next meal should come from no (more) than 10-15 feet from your kitchen table,” Brady said, “so that means if you’re in an apartment building, you can put a bin like this on your patio [and] get food to feed your family, lower your carbon footprint and hopefully contribute to making your family healthier.” The growing modules from Con10u2Farm.com will show students they don’t necessarily need land to grow produce or to create a crop-based business. Reggie Brown, the principal for John Still’s elementary and middle school campuses, said his campus lies within a food desert, an urban area where it’s difficult for families to buy fresh, affordable, high-quality food. Consequently, the campus worked ... to teach children how to plant and tend gardens and why fresh produce is good for nutrition. “We’re excited because we have our kitchen right there,” said Brown, pointing to a door less than 10 feet from the school’s adaptive growing module.
80-Year-Old Body Builder: 'Age is Nothing But a Number'
June 20, 2016, Yahoo!
One of the world’s oldest female body builders, Ernestine Shepherd, just gained another year in what she’s called her “long happy journey” of life. Now 80, the fitness trainer, model, competitive body builder, and new author celebrated her June 16 birthday with a Facebook post declaring her continued determination, dedication, and discipline. “I am 80 years young today and I thank God for bringing me this far. I’m still determined, I’m still dedicated and I’m still disciplined to be fit!” Shepherd wrote. After being named the oldest female body builder by the Guinness Book of World Records in both 2010 and 2011, Shepherd began to publicly share the story of how she came to live a life of tenacity and perseverance beginning at the age of 56. What started as a modest curiosity about working out turned into a life-changing route to happiness once her sister died suddenly from a brain aneurysm. In an attempt to fulfill the fitness goals Shepherd had created with her late sister, she developed a following and a legacy admired by people of all ages. Shepherd celebrated her current success with the release of her book The “Ageless” Journey of Ernestine Shepherd in which she writes about the secrets to her health and well-being. The book ... details the keys to her motivation, including: “Age is nothing but a number.” In addition to her mantra, “Determined, dedicated, disciplined to be fit,” Shepherd believes that “being out of shape as we age truly is merely an option – NOT a mandate!”
Man drives 1,200 miles to deliver 49 wooden crosses to Orlando
June 19, 2016, Yahoo!
In the wake of [the] massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., a man drove 1,200 miles from his Chicago home to deliver 49 wooden crosses to Orlando Regional Medical Center in honor of each of the mass shooting victims. “My message today is love your brother, love your neighbor,” Greg Zanis told reporters Thursday as he was unloading them. “Don’t judge them.” The 65-year-old carpenter used donated lumber to create the three-foot-tall crosses - each bearing a victim’s name and emblazoned with a red heart - in his garage workshop, then made the 17-hour trek from Illinois to central Florida to set up the makeshift memorial. “I’m doing this for their families,” Zanis [said]. “This individualizes it.” He also brought markers so mourners could write messages on them. Zanis’ crosses have become a familiar sight in communities reeling from tragedy - in 2012, he delivered them to Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., following those mass shootings, and to Boston after the 2013 marathon bombings. But the tribute in Orlando is Zanis’ biggest memorial to date. “When you see all these lined up, it will be like ‘Oh my God,’ and they will see the severity of what happened,” Zanis told the paper. Forty-nine people were killed and 53 others wounded in the June 12 attack at Pulse nightclub - the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. “It is an act of Christian love,” Zanis said. “Even though some of these people might not be Christians, I have never been turned back.”
Pillow Talk With a Professional Cuddler
June 18, 2016, New York Times
In recent years, cuddling - billed as therapeutic, nonsexual touch on sites like the Snuggle Buddies and Cuddlist - has become the latest thing in wellness, beyond yoga and meditation. A quasi movement that dates back more than a decade thanks to snuggle mixers sponsored by the nonprofit group Cuddle Party has morphed into a cuddle-for-hire industry of one-on-one sessions. Pro cuddlers promise a physical and psychic salve through spooning, arm tickling and deep embraces. One such practitioner, at $80 an hour, is Brianna Quijada. A manager at a vegan restaurant on the Upper East Side by day, she recently discussed her second career on the Cuddlist network, plying the world’s newest profession by night. What drew you to cuddling? "I just wanted touch. It seemed like a safe way to explore that," [said Quijada]. "It seems weird to think that if I wasn’t in a monogamous relationship and wasn’t having sex, I wasn’t getting that kind of touch." What is the value of touch? "When I experience consensual touch, I am more in my body, I’m more comfortable. It’s like a feeling of being understood. It raises your oxytocin, it calms the fight-or-flight response. At the same time, there’s a feeling of vulnerability, so it’s a really interesting way to connect." What do private clients ask for? "It could be hand holding, synchronized breathing, eye-gazing. I’ve done cuddling while sitting, whether it’s an embrace, holding hands, or their head in my lap, or standing and holding each other. They come to me for relaxation."
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