Data of 200 Million US Citizens Exposed, iPhone Factory Suicides, Religious Leaders Unite
June 27, 2017
Explore below key excerpts of revealing news articles on the public exposure of 200 million US citizens' detailed personal data by a political marketing firm, inhuman conditions leading to worker suicides at a Chinese factory that assembles iPhones and other popular Apple products, Amazon's new patent to prevent online comparison shopping by exercising control over your phone's web browser, and more.
Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on 22 of the world's top religious leaders who united behind an appeal for religious tolerance and interfaith friendship, the rapid decline in global coal burning, how giving vegetables "seductive" names may make healthy choices more popular in cafeterias, and more. You can also skip to this section now.
Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails, see this page. The most important sentences are highlighted. And don't miss the "What you can do" section below the summaries. By educating ourselves and spreading the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
Special note: Watch a 91-year-old gymnast perform feats very few of us could do. Read a revealing news article showing just how easy it is for a U.S. physician to make millions through scamming the system. Check out an informative article on the pros and cons of using prisoners for cheap labor. Read an alternative analysis of what's going on in Syria written by a former Secretary of the Treasury in the US. Watch a hauntingly beautiful four-minute video of India's holy city Varanasi. Watch a fascinating 10 minute video on a very unusual mummy found in Peru.
Quote of the week: "Our future selves are constantly transmitting great ideas to us back through time, but most of us don't believe that's possible and consequently are not alert for it." ~~ Vimala Blavatsky
Video of the week: This amazing Disney seven-minute video goes way deep!!!
Personal details of nearly 200 million US citizens exposed
June 19, 2017, BBC News
Sensitive personal details relating to almost 200 million US citizens have been accidentally exposed by a marketing firm contracted by the Republican National Committee. The 1.1 terabytes of data includes birthdates, home addresses, telephone numbers and political views of nearly 62% of the entire US population. The data was available on a publicly accessible Amazon cloud server. Anyone could access the data. The information seems to have been collected from a wide range of sources - from posts on controversial banned threads on the social network Reddit, to committees that raised funds for the Republican Party. The information was stored in spreadsheets uploaded to a server owned by Deep Root Analytics. It had last been updated in January. Although it is known that political parties routinely gather data on voters, this is the largest breach of electoral data in the US to date and privacy experts are concerned about the sheer scale of the data gathered. "This is not just sensitive, it's intimate information, predictions about people's behaviour, opinions and beliefs that people have never decided to disclose to anyone," [said] Privacy International's policy officer Frederike Kaltheuner. However, the issue of data collection and using computer models to predict voter behaviour is not just limited to marketing firms - Privacy International says that the entire online advertising ecosystem operates in the same way.
Note: Elites like hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer have been backing a major effort to produce powerful new forms of mind control by combining mass media with Big Data. As the data collected for this purpose becomes increasingly accessible, privacy disappears.
Life and death in Apple’s forbidden city
June 18, 2017, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Foxconn’s enormous Longhua plant is a major manufacturer of Apple products. It might be the best-known factory in the world; it might also might be among the most secretive and sealed-off. The vast majority of plants that produce the iPhone’s component parts and carry out the device’s final assembly are based here. The sprawling factory was once home to an estimated 450,000 workers. In 2010, Longhua assembly-line workers began killing themselves. Worker after worker threw themselves off the towering dorm buildings, sometimes in broad daylight, in tragic displays of desperation – and in protest at the work conditions inside. The corporate response spurred further unease: Foxconn CEO, Terry Gou, had large nets installed outside many of the buildings to catch falling bodies. Workers were made to sign pledges stating they would not attempt to kill themselves. “It’s not a good place for human beings,” says [a former Foxconn worker], who goes by the name Xu. He’d worked in Longhua for about a year, until a couple of months ago, and he says the conditions inside are as bad as ever. The work is very high pressure and he and his colleagues regularly logged 12-hour shifts. Management is both aggressive and duplicitous, publicly scolding workers for being too slow and making them promises they don’t keep, he says, [painting] a bleak picture of a high-pressure working environment where exploitation is routine and where depression and suicide have become normalised.
Note: This is an edited extract from "The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone" by Brian Merchant. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Amazon has a patent to keep you from comparison shopping while you’re in its stores
June 16, 2017, Washington Post
As grocery shoppers work to digest Amazon’s massive acquisition of Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, the digital storefront recently scored a victory that aims to reinforce the company’s growing investments in brick-and-mortar retail. Amazon was awarded a patent May 30 that could help it choke off a common issue faced by many physical stores: Customers’ use of smartphones to compare prices even as they walk around a shop. But Amazon now has the technology to prevent that type of behavior when customers enter any of its physical stores and log onto the WiFi networks there. Titled “Physical Store Online Shopping Control,” Amazon’s patent describes a system that can identify a customer’s Internet traffic and sense when the smartphone user is trying to access a competitor’s website. When that happens, Amazon may take one of several actions. It may block access to the competitor’s site, preventing customers from viewing comparable products from rivals. It might redirect the customer to Amazon’s own site or to other, Amazon-approved sites. It might notify an Amazon salesperson to approach the customer. Or it might send the customer’s smartphone a text message, coupon or other information designed to lure the person back into Amazon’s orbit.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Texas makes it nearly impossible to obtain records in police abuse cases
April 25, 2017, Washington Post
A couple in the town of Mesquite, [Texas] have spent the past several years trying to learn how and why their son died after being arrested by local police. [Kathy Dyer was told that her son] Graham had been out of his mind on LSD and had bitten one of the officers while they were taking him into custody, [and that] he’d seriously injured himself inside the police cruiser as they drove to the jail. After the funeral, his parents noticed items in the hospital records that didn’t match the police account the night he was arrested. So they asked police department for records. They were denied. Under state law, police agencies aren’t required to turn over records from investigations that don’t result in a conviction. Because Graham is dead, there would be no conviction. Graham’s parents did finally get ... videos [of the arrest]. They showed clear discrepancies between how her son died and how local police claim he died. He was Tasered repeatedly, including in the testicles, and put in a restraint chair. Even after Graham showed signs of distress, police waited more than two hours to call an ambulance. Before they had obtained the video, the Dyers had filed a complaint in federal court. It was quickly dismissed for being too vague. After the videos, a federal ... judge allowed the lawsuit to go forward. This problem isn’t limited to Texas. Law enforcement agencies know that federal courts require specificity in these types of lawsuits. So there’s a strong incentive to be as stingy with information as possible.
The Super Predators
June 21, 2017, Huffington Post
If domestic abuse is one of the most underreported crimes, domestic abuse by police officers is virtually an invisible one. It is frighteningly difficult to track or prevent - and it has escaped America’s most recent awakening to the many ways in which some police misuse their considerable powers. It is nearly impossible to calculate the frequency of domestic crimes committed by police - not least because victims are often reluctant to seek help from their abuser’s colleagues. Courts can be perilous to navigate, too, since police intimately understand their workings and often have relationships with prosecutors and judges. Police are also some of the only people who know the confidential locations of shelters. Diane Wetendorf, a domestic violence counselor who wrote a handbook for women whose abusers work in law enforcement, believes they are among the most vulnerable victims in the country. Jonathan Blanks, a Cato Institute researcher who publishes a daily roundup of police misconduct, said that in the thousands of news reports he has compiled, domestic violence is “the most common violent crime for which police officers are arrested.” And yet most of the arrested officers appear to keep their jobs. An ABC 7 investigation this February found that nine of every 10 domestic violence allegations made against Chicago police officers by spouses or children resulted in no disciplinary action.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing police corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Poultry Producer Sanderson Farms Stands Its Ground: It’s Proud to Use Antibiotics
August 1, 2016, New York Times
In the last couple of years, the poultry industry has sharply reduced its use of antibiotics, responding to concerns among public health officials and regulators about the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. But ... Sanderson Farms, the country’s third-largest poultry producer, has started an advertising campaign to defend its continued use of antibiotics. The ads feature two blue-collar men, Bob and Dale, in plaid shirts and baseball caps talking about the labels on chicken. “The ones that say ‘raised without antibiotics,’ ” Dale says in one of the ads, “That’s just a trick to get you to pay more money.” Sanderson’s marketing campaign ... is likely to intensify the already fierce fight over the use of antibiotics in agriculture. Consumers, advocacy groups and corporate customers like McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A have said they will buy only chicken raised without the antibiotics used to treat humans. Those commitments and others ... have persuaded four of the five large American poultry producers to begin reducing their reliance on antibiotics. But not Sanderson. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has repeatedly expressed concern that the use of antibiotics in animal husbandry is contributing to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In a 2013 report, the agency linked two of 18 antibiotic-resistant bacteria to the use of antibiotics in animals.
How Drug-Resistant Bacteria Travel from the Farm to Your Table
December 1, 2016, Scientific American
Antibiotic resistance is a problem both for people and for livestock. But how can we be sure that the two are connected and that resistance is exacerbated by on-farm antibiotic use? In 1975 the Animal Health Institute asked this very question and recruited Tufts University biologist Stuart Levy to find out. Levy and his colleagues fed low doses of the antibiotic tetracycline to a group of 150 chickens. Within a week, almost all the E. coli bacteria in their intestines were tetracycline-resistant. Three months in ... the chickens were also resistant to four other types of antibiotics. After four months, the ... chickens on the farm that had not been fed tetracycline also harbored resistance to the drug. In 1977, soon after Levy's study was published, the FDA announced that it was considering banning several antibiotics from animal feed over safety concerns. In the 39 years since, the industry has fought hard against these plans by arguing there was no definitive proof of harm. These arguments ultimately caused the FDA to [pursue] voluntary guidances instead. Several members of the U.S. Congress, including New York State Representative and microbiologist Louise Slaughter, have introduced bills to more tightly regulate antibiotic use on farms. Slaughter has pushed for her Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act for more than a decade. It has been supported by 454 organizations, including the American Medical Association. But ... the bill never reaches a vote.
Trump's Administration is the Same as Obama's, Outgoing Republican Chaffetz Claims
June 19, 2017, Newsweek
A Republican set to leave Congress in two weeks has lashed out at President Donald Trump’s administration. Representative Jason Chaffetz, who was a vocal critic of former President Barack Obama, said he does not see a lot of change in the current administration when compared to its predecessor. Chaffetz, who acted as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, handed in his resignation a month ago and had withdrawn his support for Trump shortly before the presidential election. He told the Sinclair Broadcast Group that federal agencies’ actions under Trump had left him disappointed, explaining he had hoped they would be more accommodating with requests from the House Oversight Committee. “In many ways it's almost worse, because we're getting nothing, and that's terribly frustrating, and with all due respect, the attorney general has not changed at all,” he said in the interview. “I find him to be worse than what I saw with [former Attorney General] Loretta Lynch in terms of releasing documents and making things available. That's my experience, and that's not what I expected.” Announcing his resignation on May 18, Chaffetz - who could have stayed on as House Oversight chairman until 2020 - explained he “did not believe Congress should be a lifetime career.”
Note: Most progressives held high hopes for Obama after his 2008 election. Yet it wasn't long before Obama began solid support of the war machine and resisted almost all attempts to support whistleblowers and the release of documents. Most conservatives held high hopes for Trump after his 2016 election. Yet it wasn't long before Trump began solid support of the war machine and resisted almost all attempts to support whistleblowers and the release of documents. To understand why this is, see "War is a Racket" by a highly decorated US general and see this series of essays.
'Full Measure': Quitting Congress
June 18, 2017, ABC News (Washington DC affiliate)
Just a couple of months ago, we profiled Congressman Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the powerful House Oversight Committee which was poised to dig deep on wide-ranging investigations into government mischief, waste, fraud and abuse. A few weeks later, Chaffetz abruptly resigned from Congress. We asked the "Oversight Man" what changed his mind. "The reality is, sadly, I don't see much difference between the Trump administration and the Obama administration," [Chaffetz said]. "I thought ... these floodgates would open up with all the documents we wanted from the Department of State, the Department of Justice, the Pentagon. "We have everything from the Hillary Clinton email investigation, which is really one of the critical things. There was the investigation into the IRS. And one that was more than seven years old is Fast and Furious. We have been in court trying to pry those documents out of the Department of Justice and still to this day, they will not give us those documents. And at the State Department, nothing. Stone-cold silence."
Note: Watch this very important interview which shows why neither Obama nor Trump are able to get to the bottom of what is really going on in the US government.
Homeland Security official: Russian government actors tried to hack election systems in 21 states
June 21, 2017, Washington Post
People connected to the Russian government tried to hack election-related computer systems in 21 states. Samuel Liles, the Department of Homeland Security’s acting director of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis Cyber Division, said vote-tallying mechanisms were unaffected and that the hackers appeared to be scanning for vulnerabilities — which Liles likened to walking down the street and looking at homes to see who might be inside. Liles was testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia’s efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election. Officials in Arizona and Illinois had previously confirmed that hackers targeted their voter registration system. In a separate hearing ... former Department of Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson testified that Russia’s meddling ... was “unprecedented, the scale and the scope of what we saw them doing.” He said the severity of Russia’s efforts persuaded him to sign onto an Oct. 7 statement publicly blaming the Kremlin for what had happened. “We needed to do it, and we needed to do it well before the election to inform American voters of what we saw,” Johnson said. FBI Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Bill Priestap ... said Russia for years has tried to influence U.S. elections but that the “scale” and “aggressiveness” of its efforts in 2016 made the attempts more significant.
Note: Many who follow elections closely have known and spread the word for years about serious vulnerabilities in US electronic voting, yet only now that Russia is involved is it getting widespread coverage. Do you really think the Russians are the only ones who have hacked US elections? Read an enlightening analysis of elections hacking in the US which raises many serious questions. And don't miss the critically important information provided in our Elections Information Center.
Psychologists Open a Window on Brutal C.I.A. Interrogations
June 21, 2017, New York Times
Fifteen years after he helped devise the brutal interrogation techniques used on terrorism suspects in secret C.I.A. prisons, John Bruce Jessen, a former military psychologist, expressed ambivalence about the program. He described himself and a fellow military psychologist, James Mitchell, as reluctant participants in using the techniques, some of which are widely viewed as torture. The two psychologists ... are defendants in the only lawsuit that may hold participants accountable for causing harm. Revelations about the C.I.A. practices ... led to an eventual ban on the techniques and a prohibition by the American Psychological Association against members’ participation in national security interrogations. The two psychologists argue that the C.I.A., for which they were contractors, controlled the program. But it is difficult to successfully sue agency officials because of government immunity. Under the agency’s direction, the two men ... proposed [and applied] the “enhanced interrogation” techniques. Their business received $81 million. When [the psychologists] wanted to end the waterboarding sessions as no longer useful, C.I.A. supervisors ... ordered them to continue. Dr. Mitchell said that the C.I.A. officials told them: “‘You guys have lost your spine.’ I think the word that was actually used is that you guys are pussies. There was going to be another attack in America and the blood of dead civilians are going to be on your hands.”
Note: Prior to condemning torture, some of the American Psychological Association’s top officials sought to curry favor with Pentagon officials by supporting the CIA's brutal interrogation methods. For more along these lines, read about how the torture program fits in with a long history of human experimentation by corrupt intelligence agencies working alongside unethical scientists. For more, see this list of programs that treated humans as guinea pigs.
Memo Shows Watergate Prosecutors Had Evidence Nixon White House Plotted Violence
June 20, 2017, NBC News
Watergate prosecutors had evidence that operatives for then-President Richard Nixon planned an assault on anti-war demonstrators in 1972, including potentially physically attacking Vietnam whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, according to a never-before-published memo obtained by NBC News. The document, an 18-page 1973 investigative memorandum from the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, sheds new light on how prosecutors were investigating attempts at domestic political violence by Nixon aides, an extremely serious charge. A plot to physically attack Ellsberg is notable because the former Pentagon official has long alleged that Nixon operatives did more than steal his medical files, the most well-known effort to discredit him. [The memo] states that “an extensive investigation” found evidence that Nixon operatives plotted an “assault on antiwar demonstrators” at a rally at the U.S. Capitol featuring Ellsberg and other anti-war "notables.” The anti-war demonstration occurred near a viewing of recently deceased FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. An accompanying memo [states that] the attack would be on "long-haired demonstrators, in particular Ellsberg” ... with the objectives of impugning Ellsberg for protesting near to Hoover lying in state and "simply having Ellsberg beaten up.”
World’s Top Religious Leaders Issue Rare Joint Appeal
June 15, 2017, Huffington Post
In a rare move, major religious leaders ― from Pope Francis to the Dalai Lama ― issued a joint appeal Wednesday asking people to follow a simple bit of advice: Make friends with people of other faiths. “Our advice is to make friends to followers of all religions,” Ayatollah Sayyid Fadhel Al-Milani, one of the U.K.’s most senior Shia Muslim clerics, said in a video recording. “Personal contact, personal friendship, then we can exchange a deeper level of experience,” the Dalai Lama said. Pope Francis chose to speak about his long friendship with the Argentinian Rabbi Abraham Skorka, who also appeared in the video. “Make Friends” is an initiative of the Elijah Interfaith Institute, an interfaith organization with offices in Israel and the United States. In a press release, organizers said the project’s mission is to counter the idea that people view each others’ religions with distrust or disdain - and to potentially even reduce violence conducted in the name of religion. Rabbi Dr. Alon Goshen-Gottstein, the Elijah Interfaith Institute’s director, said that this project ... affirms the need for friendship between faiths. The 22 leaders involved in the appeal represent a wide spectrum of religious beliefs. Each leader contributed a personal statement specifically for the purposes of this project.
Note: How strange that very few major media picked up on this important and inspiring article.
World Coal Production Just Had Its Biggest Drop on Record
June 13, 2017, Bloomberg
It’s the end of an era for coal. Production of the fossil fuel dropped by a record amount in 2016, according to BP Plc’s annual review of global energy trends. China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, burned the least coal in six years and use dropped in the U.S to a level last seen in the 1970s, the company’s data show. Coal, the most polluting fuel that was once the world’s fastest growing energy source, has been a target of countries and companies alike as the world begins to work toward the goals of the Paris climate agreement. Consumption is falling as the world’s biggest energy companies promote cleaner-burning natural gas, China’s economy evolves to focus more on services than heavy manufacturing and renewable energy like wind and solar becomes cheaper. U.S. demand for coal fell by 33.4 million tons of oil equivalent last year to 358.4 million, the biggest decline in the world in absolute terms, BP data show. Global consumption dropped 1.7 percent last year compared with an average 1.9 percent yearly increase from 2005 to 2015, according to BP. Consumption of coal fell in every continent except Africa, the BP data show. Germany, Europe’s biggest user, consumed 4.3 percent less coal. U.K. demand fell 52.5 percent, the biggest percentage decline among the world’s major economies, according to BP’s data.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
'Seductive names' make vegetables more appealing
June 13, 2017, BBC News
How do you get more people to eat their greens? Give vegetables seductive names, say US researchers. A team at Stanford tried it out on students in the university cafeteria and found veggie sales went up by 25% when indulgent labels were used. "Sizzlin' beans", "dynamite beets" and "twisted citrus-glazed carrots" tempted diners to fill their plates. Healthy labels, such as "wholesome", were a turn-off, even though the dishes were identical in every other way. The indulgent labels came out top and included "twisted garlic-ginger butternut squash wedges" and "dynamite chilli and tangy lime-seasoned beets". The researchers, Brad Turnwald and colleagues, say the findings, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, make sense when you consider the psychology behind food choices. "When most people are making a dining decision, they are motivated by taste. And studies show that people tend to think of healthier options as less tasty for some reason. "Labels really can influence our sensory experience, affecting how tasty and filling we think food will be. So we wanted to reframe how people view vegetables, using indulgent labels." Although most of us know that we should eat plenty of veg, too few of us do it. People are advised to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Roughly a quarter of UK adults actually achieve this, however.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
In Beijing, Two Wheels Are Only a Smartphone Away
March 19, 2017, New York Times
Beijing was once a city of bikes, the capital of a country known as the Bicycle Kingdom for the millions of two-wheelers that dominated urban transport in a state-planned economy where cars were reserved for official business and the politically powerful. Decades of remarkable economic growth, beginning in the 1990s, led to a huge influx of cars in cities like Beijing. As the economy roared, autos pushed bikes off the roads, creating heavy pollution and miserable traffic. Now, Beijing may be returning to its roots. Thanks to about two dozen technology start-ups, brightly colored shared bikes have flooded Beijing since last year, dotting a normally drab cityscape with flashes of bumblebee yellow, kingfisher blue and tangerine. Commuters pick up the bikes and then ride and drop them off anywhere they like, locking the back wheel, with no need to find a stand or retether them. Costing as little as 7 cents a half-hour and designed to take people the last leg from public transport to their places of work or entertainment, the bikes have the potential to transform urban living and even shape people’s decisions about where to live and work. Those are vital issues in this sprawl of about 20 million people, many of whom spend hours a day commuting. “Having a bike like this might allow me to choose, say, to live a bit further out, or take another job in a place that isn’t as easy to get to,” said Ms. Cao, [an] employee at [an] advertising agency.
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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