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Big Oil's $18 Billion Loophole, FBI Spying on Black Americans, Video Games for Peace
Revealing News Articles
November 5, 2019

Dear friends,

Big Oil's $18 Billion Loophole.

Explore below key excerpts of revealing news articles on a loophole that has allowed big oil companies in the Gulf of Mexico to avoid paying over $18 billion in royalties on oil and gas to the U.S. government since 1996, the FBI's use of 'black identity extremism' as a new domestic terrorism category to spy on black Americans, major problems in California rehab centers leading to hundreds of patient deaths, and more.

Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on former refugee Lual Mayen's development of video games designed to promote peace, South Korea's incredible food waste recycling programs, the 1,700-mile Route of Parks in Chilean Patagonia designed to balance tourism with protection of biodiversity, 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,
Fred Burks for PEERS and WantToKnow.info
Former White House interpreter and whistleblower

Special note: Read a National Geographic report about very strange seismic waves that went out on 11/11 last year and are leaving scientists baffled. For those interested in the Seth material by Jane Roberts, check out this informative New York Times article. Watch a touching video of what happened when a deaf man who had no language was finally able to communicate with others.

Financial note: At the start of every month, the amount we are in the red for the year jumps several thousand dollars. This is because that's when we add our expenses for the month (about $6,000) to the amount we are in the red. The red ink amount then gradually decreases over the course of the month as caring supporters like you make donations. Read more on this. Please help us to decrease our deficit by donating here.

Quote of the week: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.  ~~  Margaret Mead

Video of the week: Watch an excellent video interview of courageous Google whistleblower Zack Vorhies, who worked as a senior engineer at YouTube (owned by Google). He presents documents he collected and leaked showing how Google secretly ranks news sources. The documents include a diagram on how Google plans to "program people." In a second great video, he reveals how and why alternative health websites have been deranked in Google searches. Features like "authoritativeness" and "machine learning fairness" are stealthily being used to sweep aside alternative viewpoints and promote the agendas of the power elite. For more, see this great article.


Government Loophole Gave Oil Companies $18 Billion Windfall
October 24, 2019, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/24/climate/oil-lost-revenue-gao.html

The United States government has lost billions of dollars of oil and gas revenue to fossil-fuel companies because of a loophole in a decades-old law. The loophole dates from an effort in 1995 to encourage drilling in the Gulf of Mexico by offering oil companies a temporary break from paying royalties on the oil produced. However, the rule was poorly written, the very politicians who originally championed it have acknowledged, and the temporary reprieve was accidentally made permanent on some wells. As a result, some of the biggest oil companies in the world, including Chevron, Shell, BP, Exxon Mobil and others, have avoided paying at least $18 billion in royalties on oil and gas drilled since 1996, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. The companies, which hold government leases to drill in the Gulf, continue to extract oil and gas from those wells while not being required to pay royalties, a right the industry has gone to court to defend. Roughly 22 percent of oil production from federal leases in the Gulf of Mexico was royalty-free in 2018 because of the loophole, the Interior Department said. The report of the windfall to oil companies comes as the Trump administration has moved to further reduce the cost of offshore drilling for the industry, proposing to significantly weaken safety rules put in place after the deadly 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.

Note: A 2013 Washington Post article suggests practices like this are common across major industries. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.


The FBI Spends a Lot of Time Spying on Black Americans
October 29, 2019, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2019/10/29/fbi-surveillance-black-activists/

The FBI has come under intense criticism after a 2017 leak exposed that its counterterrorism division had invented a new, unfounded domestic terrorism category it called “black identity extremism.” A number of civil rights groups have filed public records requests to try to better understand who exactly the FBI is investigating under that designation. The latest batch of FBI documents ... reveals that between 2015 and 2018, the FBI dedicated considerable time and resources to opening a series of “assessments” into the activities of individuals and groups it mostly labeled “black separatist extremists.” This designation was eventually folded into the category of “black identity extremism.” Assessments differ from full-blown investigations - or “predicated investigations,” in the bureau’s lingo - because they do not need to be predicated on a factual basis. As a new report by the civil liberties group Defending Rights & Dissent notes, when choosing targets for an assessment, agents are allowed to use ethnicity, religion, or speech protected by the First Amendment as a factor, “as long as it is not the only one.” As the report notes, “Even though the standards for opening an assessment are extraordinarily low, the FBI is allowed to use extremely intrusive investigative techniques in performing them, including physical surveillance, use of informants, and pretextual interviews.” The bureau has in recent years shifted its target from those espousing “separatist” views to the much larger group of those protesting police violence.

Note: Read more about the FBI's use of "Black Identity Extremism" as a label in its terrorism investigations. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties from reliable major media sources.


Investigation Shows Hundreds Of Patients Dying At California Rehab Centers
June 25, 2019, CBS (Bay Area affiliate)
https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2019/06/25/hundreds-of-patients-dying-in-california...

The average 30-day stay at a California rehab costs families $40,000. It’s expensive and often highly risky. The Russells [checked] their 19-year-old son, Teddy Russell, into Mountain Vista last summer. “During intake, they had trouble with the blood pressure cuff and she said, ‘No, I have no medical training at all,’” said Anne Russell, talking about the counselor at the rehab. Mountain Vista Farm is a state licensed residential detox facility, which in California is not required to have a doctor on site. Anne Russell believes the lack of medical support drastically changed the course of her family’s life. “We trusted them to help him and our son trusted us and it was just a nightmare,” she said. Detox centers must check on patients every 30 minutes for the critical first 72 hours but that didn’t happen. Seven hours after being dropped off at Mountain Vista Farm, Teddy Russell was dead. The state has the power to suspend a rehab facility’s license after a Class A deficiency. Teddy’s death resulted in two of those. But the state didn’t shut this place down. In fact, we’ve learned it rarely shuts any rehab down. Instead the penalty in Teddy’s case was a $700 fine. Public records show Teddy’s story is not unique. 190 people have died at other rehab facilities in California since 2010. We found dozens of deficiencies, from falsifying records, failing to report deaths, and employing unqualified staff to not monitoring patient vitals, like what happened to Teddy.

Note: John Oliver has a hard-hitting video on the serious problems found at many rehab centers. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.


NBC News can’t seem to shake Ronan Farrow and the scandal he uncovered
October 27, 2019, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-scandal-that-keeps-on-giving...

NBC News just can’t seem to escape the talk of scandal. For weeks, the network has been rebutting allegations by a former correspondent, Ronan Farrow, that it suppressed his reporting on sexual assault allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein and covered up harassment and assault accusations against its former star, Matt Lauer. The story has been propelled by Farrow’s best-selling book, “Catch and Kill,” which asserts ... that NBC stopped Farrow’s reporting on Weinstein in mid-2017 after Weinstein threatened to reveal Lauer’s misconduct. Farrow published a blockbuster story about Weinstein in the New Yorker seven weeks later. In an extraordinary segment on her MSNBC show, Rachel Maddow urged NBC News to undertake an independent investigation of the network’s conduct. “The allegations about the behavior of Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer are gut-wrenching,” said Maddow, MSNBC’s biggest star and the second, after MSNBC host Chris Hayes, to call out her bosses on an NBC-owned platform. Brooke Nevils [is] a “Today” show producer who in Farrow’s book accuses Lauer of raping her. Network officials deny any pattern of harassment complaints or “hush-money” settlements, and say Lauer was fired just hours after Nevils came forward with her accusation in late 2017. But NBC has resisted calls for the kind of independent investigation that other news organizations have undertaken in the wake of harassment scandals.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sexual abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.


Women At Ernst & Young Instructed On How To Dress, Act Nicely Around Men
October 21, 2019, Huffington Post
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/women-ernst-young-how-to-dress-act-around-men...

When women speak, they shouldn’t be shrill. Clothing must flatter, but short skirts are a no-no. After all, “sexuality scrambles the mind.” Women should look healthy and fit, with a “good haircut” and “manicured nails.” These were just a few pieces of advice that around 30 female executives at Ernst & Young received at a training held in the accounting giant’s gleaming new office in Hoboken, New Jersey, in June 2018. The 55-page presentation, used during the day-and-a-half seminar on leadership and empowerment, was given to HuffPost by an attendee who was appalled by its contents. Full of out-of-touch advice, the presentation focused on how women need to fix themselves to fit into a male-dominated workplace. The training, called Power-Presence-Purpose or PPP ... was billed to participants as advice on how to be successful at EY, according to Jane, a training attendee and former executive director at the firm. Attendees were even told that women’s brains are 6% to 11% smaller than men’s, Jane said. She wasn’t sure why they were told this, nor is it clear from the presentation. Women’s brains absorb information like pancakes soak up syrup so it’s hard for them to focus, the attendees were told. Men’s brains are more like waffles. They’re better able to focus because the information collects in each little waffle square. The only reason to talk to women about their size of their brains is to make them feel inferior to men, said Bruce McEwen, a neuroscientist at Rockefeller University.

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


General Motors Sides With Trump in Emissions Fight, Splitting the Industry
October 28, 2019, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/28/climate/general-motors-california-emissions-trump...

General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and Toyota said Monday they were intervening on the side of the Trump administration in an escalating battle with California over fuel economy standards for automobiles. Their decision pits them against leading competitors, including Honda and Ford, who this year reached a deal to follow California’s stricter rules. The Trump administration has proposed a major weakening of federal auto emissions standards set during the Obama administration, prompting California to declare that it will go its own course and keep enforcing the earlier, stricter standards. The automakers siding with the administration, led by the industry group the Association of Global Automakers, say that the federal government, not California, has the ultimate authority to set fuel economy standards. The legal fight between the Trump administration and California over auto pollution rules has swelled into a battle over states’ rights and climate change that is likely to only be resolved once it reaches the Supreme Court. The Obama-era national fuel economy standard requires automakers to build vehicles that achieve an average fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, which would eliminate about six billion tons of carbon dioxide pollution over the lifetime of those vehicles. The Trump administration is planning to roll back the fuel-economy standard to about 37 miles per gallon. Nearly two dozen other states have filed suit against the Trump administration, alongside California, over the emissions rules.

Note: This is proof that the mileage our cars get is not determined by market forces, but rather by government regulation. Average mileage has risen consistently with regulation, not with innovation. For lots more on this, see this webpage. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.


Key Articles From Years Past


Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science
November 1, 2010, The Atlantic
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/11/lies-damned-lies-and-medical...

Can any medical-research studies be trusted? That question has been central to [Dr. John] Ioannidis’s career. He’s what’s known as a meta-researcher, and he’s become one of the world’s foremost experts on the credibility of medical research. He zoomed in on 49 of the most highly regarded research findings in medicine over the previous 13 years, as judged by the science community’s two standard measures: the papers had appeared in the journals most widely cited in research articles, and the 49 articles themselves were the most widely cited articles in these journals. Of the 49 articles, 45 claimed to have uncovered effective interventions. Thirty-four of these claims had been retested, and 14 of these, or 41 percent, had been convincingly shown to be wrong or significantly exaggerated. If between a third and a half of the most acclaimed research in medicine was proving untrustworthy, the scope and impact of the problem were undeniable. “Even when the evidence shows that a particular research idea is wrong, if you have thousands of scientists who have invested their careers in it, they’ll continue to publish papers on it,” he says. “It’s like an epidemic, in the sense that they’re infected with these wrong ideas, and they’re spreading it to other researchers through journals.” Of those 45 super-cited studies that Ioannidis focused on, 11 had never been retested. Perhaps worse, Ioannidis found that even when a research error is outed, it typically persists for years or even decades.

Note: For more along these lines, read the revealing comments of Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, on the massive corruption she found in the medical industry. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in science from reliable major media sources.


Too Many Men
April 18, 2018, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/world/too-many-men/

A combination of cultural preferences, government decree and modern medical technology in the world’s two largest countries has created a gender imbalance on a continental scale. Men outnumber women by 70 million in China and India. The consequences of having too many men, now coming of age, are far-reaching: Beyond an epidemic of loneliness, the imbalance distorts labor markets, drives up savings rates in China and drives down consumption, artificially inflates certain property values, and parallels increases in violent crime, trafficking or prostitution in a growing number of locations. Among men, loneliness and depression are widespread. Villages are emptying out. Men are learning to cook and perform other chores long relegated to women. Bachelors are furiously building houses in China to attract wives, and prices are soaring. But otherwise they are not spending, and that in turn fuels China’s huge trade surplus. In India, there is the opposite effect: Because brides are scarce, families are under less pressure to save for expensive dowries. Trafficking of brides is on the rise. Foreign women are being recruited and lured to China, effectively creating similar imbalances in China’s neighbors. With the increase in men has come a surge in sexual crime in India and concerns about a rise in other crimes in both countries. Harassment of schoolgirls in India has in some towns sparked an effort to push back — but at a cost of restricting them to more protected lives.

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


The New Sex Abuse Scandal: 2,400 Doctors Implicated by Patients
July 6, 2016, ABC News
https://abcnews.go.com/US/sex-abuse-scandal-2400-doctors-implicated...

More than 2,400 U.S. doctors have been sanctioned for sexually abusing their patients, according to a new report that, for the first time, surveyed records from all 50 states and reveals the nationwide scope of a problem that may be almost as far-reaching as the scandal involving Catholic priests. State medical boards, which oversee physicians, allowed more than half the sanctioned doctors to keep their licenses even after the accusations of sexual abuse were determined to be true, according to a yearlong investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We found a culture of secrecy,” said Carrie Teegardin, a reporter on the paper’s investigative team. Even after being convicted of sex crimes and losing their licenses, doctors are often able to reapply to practice again. The Journal-Constitution investigation began with a story about one Georgia doctor that led to efforts to document the problem nationwide. By combing through news reports, state medical board records and court files going back 16 years, the Journal-Constitution's reporters compiled a list of physicians who were either convicted in criminal cases or disciplined by state medical boards. Many of the doctors were accused by large numbers of their patients, in most cases females being seen by male doctors. “One thing we found that was shocking to us is some of these doctors are the most prolific sex offenders in the country, with hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of victims,” Teegardin said.

Note: For more on this, see this excellent article from Atlanta's leading newspaper. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.


Inspiring Articles


Once he was a refugee. Now he’s a CEO making video games for peace.
October 14, 2019, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/video-games/2019/10/14/once-he-was-refugee-now-hes...

Lual Mayen sits in a modern office space, set in a trendy Washington, D.C., neighborhood. As a newborn in his parents’ arms, Mayen endured a 225-mile trek from his war-torn home in South Sudan to a refugee camp in Northern Uganda. Mayen was born into war, but his mission is peace. Now 24 years old, he is a video game developer residing in the United States, leading his own company and using the experiences from his past to inform his products: games aimed at peace-building and conflict resolution. He created the first version of Salaam, which means “peace” in Arabic, while still living as a refugee. In the game’s new version, players adopt the role of a refugee who must flee falling bombs, find water and gain energy points to ensure the character’s survival as the player’s country journeys from a war-torn present into a peaceful existence. If the player’s character runs out of energy, the player is prompted to purchase more food, water, and medicine for their character with real-world money. The funds go beyond the game to benefit a living refugee through Junub’s partnerships with various NGOs. Mayen is aiming to have Salaam ready to launch in December, determined to grow the category of social impact gaming to give back to his community. “Peace is something that is built over time,” Mayen said. “It’s not about people coming together and signing cease-fires and so on. It’s a generation of change. It’s a change of mindset. It’s a change of attitude toward each other."

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


The Country Winning The Battle On Food Waste
April 8, 2019, Huffington Post
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/food-waste-south-korea-seoul_n_5ca48bf7e4b0ed0d780edc54

Chung Sun-hee finely crushes eggshells, dries and saves her coffee grounds, and separates large vegetable offcuts into smaller pieces. Later, the 55-year-old professional translator will bury them in her backyard, in rotating plots. Chung is one of a growing number of city dwellers who are getting into urban farming, not just to grow their own vegetables, but also as an exercise in waste reduction. Her new habits reflect a larger change underway in South Korea’s densely populated capital. Once a city where unsightly and foul-smelling landfills loomed over entire neighborhoods, Seoul now operates one of the most rigorous food waste recycling programs in the world. The South Korean government banned sending food to landfills in 2005 and, in 2013, also prohibited the dumping of garbage juice (leftover water squeezed from food waste) into the sea. Today, a staggering 95 percent of food waste is recycled ― a remarkable leap from less than 2 percent in 1995. On Chung’s street, residents emerge at dusk to deposit small yellow bags into designated waste collection buckets. Since 2013, South Koreans have been required by law to discard food waste in these biodegradable bags, priced according to volume and costing the average four-person family about $6 a month. This tax pays for roughly 60 percent of the cost of collecting and processing the city’s food waste, according to government data.

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


Why Chile’s Route of Parks will be a ‘game changer for tourism’
September 26, 2019, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2019/sep/26/patagonia-chile-routes-parks-national...

The pioneering conservationist behind the world’s most ambitious rewilding project has revealed “game-changing” plans that could transform tourism in Chilean Patagonia. After 25 years of strategic land acquisition by Kristine Tompkins and her late husband Douglas – which led to the creation last year of five new national parks in southern Chile – Tompkins said the next challenge was to encourage 60 communities across the region to develop tourism ventures that will help protect the biodiversity on their doorstep. Speaking in London at the European launch of the 1,700-mile Route of Parks, a marketing initiative encompassing 17 national parks throughout Patagonia, Tompkins said: “We want local people to have a sense of ownership and pride. They will become the first line of defence in conservation.” The launch of the route ... follows the creation of five new national parks and the expansion of three others, all in Chilean Patagonia after the Tompkins Foundation handed over a million acres to the Chilean state – the largest private donation of land ever. The handover was ... aimed at returning farmed land to its natural state and creating wildlife corridors. The Foundation also owns land in Argentina, where its flagship rewilding project is seeing species being reintroduced to the newly created Iberá national park in the north-west. In total the Tompkins’ philanthropic work amounts to $345m. To date the Foundation has helped protect 5.75 million hectares across Chile and Argentina.

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


How Finland Solved Homelessness
January 30, 2019, Huffington Post
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/homelessness-finland-housing...

Finland’s much-lauded “housing first” approach ... has been in place for more than a decade. The idea is simple. To solve homelessness you start by giving someone a home, a permanent one with no strings attached. If they want to drink, they can; if they want to take drugs, that’s fine too. Support services are made available to treat addiction, mental health and other problems, and to help people get back on their feet, from assisting with welfare paperwork to securing a job. The housing in Finland is a mix of designated standard apartments sprinkled through the community, and supported housing: apartment blocks with on-site services, built or renovated specifically for chronically homeless people. Formerly homeless residents ... pay rent from their own pockets or through the benefits afforded by Finland’s relatively generous welfare state. The approach is working. As homelessness rises across Europe, Finland’s numbers are falling. In 1987, there were around 18,000 homeless people. In 2017, there were 7,112 homeless people, of which only 415 were living on the streets or in emergency shelters. The vast majority (84 percent) were staying temporarily with friends or relatives. Between 2008 and 2015, the number of people experiencing long-term homelessness dropped by 35 percent. While it’s expensive to build, buy and rent housing for homeless people, as well as provide the vital support services, the architects of the policy say it pays for itself. Studies have found housing one long-term homeless person saves society around €15,000 ($17,000) a year ... due to a reduction in their use of services such as hospital emergency rooms, police and the criminal justice system.

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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