Wells Fargo Fined $1.7 Billion, Geoengineering Controversy, Healing Call-Out Culture
Revealing News Articles
January 3, 2023
Welcome to 2023! May we tap into deeper insight, courage, and meaning in our lives as we face whatever this year brings. Explore below key excerpts of revealing news articles on Wells Fargo being fined $1.7 billion and ordered to pay $2 billion in civil penalties for a host of illegal activities, the growing controversy around geoengineering, the U.S. government's ongoing failure to effectively regulate dangerous chemicals in the workplace, and more.
Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on the power of privately calling people in instead of publicly calling them out, how the city of Baltimore made healing from trauma into official policy, new limits on underwater noise in the E.U. to protect marine ecosystems, 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: In this era that some are calling fifth-generation warfare, war is not being fought on a battlefield somewhere, but in the minds of everyday people to manipulate and control public perception; this sobering article emphasizes the importance of increasing our independence from authoritarian systems and creating a parallel society on our own terms. Read an eye-opening paper that reveals how US arm sales and national security strategies have fueled conflict and war, as opposed to diplomatic solutions towards peace.
Quote of the week: The opposite of war isn't peace. It's creation. ~~ Jonathan Larson
Video of the week: Watch civil rights activist and scholar Loretta Ross gracefully deliver a powerful Ted Talk on simple tools for calling people in instead of calling people out, inspiring people to have productive and constructive conversations across differences that heal the harmful impacts of cancel culture and public shaming.
Wells Fargo ordered to pay $3.7 billion for ‘illegal activity’ including unjust foreclosures and vehicle repossessions
December 20, 2022, CNN News
Federal regulators fined Wells Fargo a record $1.7 billion on Tuesday for “widespread mismanagement” over multiple years that harmed over 16 million consumer accounts. Wells Fargo’s “illegal activity” included repeatedly misapplying loan payments, wrongfully foreclosing on homes, illegally repossessing vehicles, incorrectly assessing fees and interest and charging surprise overdraft fees. The CFPB ordered Wells Fargo to pay the $1.7 billion civil penalty in addition to more than $2 billion to compensate consumers for a range of “illegal activity.” CFPB officials say this is the largest penalty imposed by the agency. The misconduct described by the CFPB echoes previously reported revelations that have emerged about Wells Fargo since 2016 when the bank’s fake-accounts scandal created a national firestorm. “Wells Fargo’s rinse-repeat cycle of violating the law has harmed millions of American families,” Rohit Chopra, the CFPB’s director, said in a statement. Chopra noted that the settlement does not provide immunity for individuals at Wells Fargo, and the agency recognizes the $3.7 billion in fines and restitution will not fix the bank’s problems. Although Chopra credited Wells Fargo with making some progress, he said it’s not clear “they are making rapid enough progress” and said the agency is concerned that the bank’s product launches, growth initiatives and profit-boosting efforts have “delayed needed reform.”
Note: In 2016, Wells Fargo was caught opening millions of fake accounts in its customers' names. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial system corruption from reliable major media sources.
Can geoengineering fix the climate? Hundreds of scientists say not so fast
December 25, 2022, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
The White House has set into motion a five-year outline for research into “climate interventions”. Those include methods such as sending a phalanx of planes to spray reflective particles into the upper reaches of the atmosphere, in order to block incoming sunlight from adding to rising temperatures. Previous attempts at running experiments for what is known as solar radiation management (SRM) have faced staunch opposition. Last year, an exploratory flight in Sweden of a high-altitude SRM balloon, led by Harvard University researchers, was halted after objections by environmentalists and Indigenous leaders. This prospect horrifies opponents of solar geoengineering. An open letter signed by more than 380 scientists demands a global non-use agreement for SRM; it also says that growing calls for research in this area are a “cause for alarm”, due to an unknown set of ramifications that will have varying consequences in different parts of the world and could scramble “weather patterns, agriculture and the provision of basic needs of food and water”. Frank Biermann, an expert in global governance ... said he’s also disturbed that solar geoengineering will create a sort of moral hazard where governments ease off efforts to cut emissions and fossil fuel companies use it as cover to continue business as usual. There isn’t any international governance around solar geoengineering. Unilateral action to alter the climate could spark conflict if one part of the world benefits, while another suffers.
Note: There is much controversy around geoengineering, yet there is considerable evidence that reveals the possibility of its many applications. For more along these lines, explore revealing media articles on geoengineering and HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program), a little-known U.S. military defense project that conducted investigations into weather control technologies, among many other concerning explorations.
Why the government fails to limit many dangerous chemicals in the workplace
December 15, 2022, NPR
The permissible exposure limit for ortho-toluidine is 5 parts per million in air, a threshold based on research conducted in the 1940s and '50s without any consideration of the chemical's ability to cause cancer. Despite ample evidence that far lower levels can dramatically increase a person's cancer risk, the legal limit has remained the same. Paralyzed by industry lawsuits from decades ago, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has all but given up on trying to set a truly protective threshold for ortho-toluidine and thousands of other chemicals. The agency has only updated standards for three chemicals in the past 25 years; each took more than a decade to complete. David Michaels, OSHA's director throughout the Obama administration, [said] that legal challenges had so tied his hands that he decided to put a disclaimer on the agency's website saying the government's limits were essentially useless: "OSHA recognizes that many of its permissible exposure limits (PELs) are outdated and inadequate for ensuring protection of worker health." The agency has also allowed chemical manufacturers to create their own safety data sheets, which are supposed to provide workers with the exposure limits and other critical information. OSHA does not require the sheets to be accurate or routinely fact-check them. As a result, many fail to mention the risk of cancer and other serious health hazards. Almost one-third of more than 650 sheets for dangerous chemicals contain inaccurate warnings.
Congress and Industry Leaders Call for Crackdown on Hospice Fraud
December 19, 2022, MSN News
After ProPublica and the New Yorker published an exposé of hospice fraud, members of Congress have called on the Department of Health and Human Services to “immediately investigate this situation.” The ... investigation described how the lucrative design of the Medicare benefit incentivizes many profit-seeking hospices to cut corners on care and target patients who are not actually dying. It chronicled the lack of regulation and the frustrated efforts of whistleblowers to hold end-of-life care conglomerates accountable. And it drew on state and federal data to reveal how, in the absence of oversight, the number of for-profit hospice providers in California, Texas, Arizona and Nevada has lately exploded. Hospice began more than 60 years ago as a countercultural charity movement to help patients die with comfort, support and as little pain as possible. After the 1980s, when President Ronald Reagan authorized Medicare to cover the service, dying became a big business. In 2000, less than a third of all hospices were for-profit. Today, more than 70% are. Between 2011 and 2019, the number of hospices owned by private equity firms tripled. For profit-seeking providers, hospice is lucrative: Medicare pays a fixed rate per patient a day, regardless of how much help is offered. The aggregate Medicare margins of for-profit providers hover around 20% compared with just 5% for nonprofits. For-profit hospices are more likely than their nonprofit counterparts to have less skilled staff ... and fewer home visits.
In the Southeast, power company money flows to news sites that attack their critics
December 19, 2022, NPR
Six news outlets across Alabama and Florida [have] financial connections to the consulting firm Matrix LLC. The firm, based in Montgomery, Alabama, has boasted clients including Alabama Power and another major U.S. utility, Florida Power & Light. Last year, Florida Power & Light wrote a bill that was passed by the Florida Legislature and that would have gutted the ability of homeowners to make money off solar panels. One state away, Alabama Power runs and owns a coal-fired power plant that is the largest single source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. In Alabama and Florida, Matrix sought to ensure much coverage was secretly driven by the priorities of its clients. Payments flowed as the utilities in Florida and Alabama fought efforts to incorporate more clean energy in electric grids — a fight they are still waging. [Floodlight and NPR investigations reveal] a complex web of financial links, in which the six outlets collectively received, at minimum, $900,000 from Matrix, its clients, and associated entities between 2013 and 2020. Matrix shrewdly took advantage of the near collapse of the local newspaper industry and a concurrent plunge in trust in media in propelling its clients' interests. Matrix founder Joe Perkins has long held an interest in the power of the media. As a doctoral student at the University of Alabama, he wrote his thesis about a specific quandary: How can journalists' choice of sources and anecdotes affect public sentiment?
The Scorched-Earth Legal Strategy Corporations Are Using to Silence Their Critics
December 16, 2022, The Intercept
Weeks before he was murdered, Victor Hugo Orcasita presented his wife with a letter describing his last wishes. Orcasita, a union leader, had been pushing for better conditions at his workplace, a mine in northern Colombia owned by a subsidiary of the Alabama-based coal company Drummond. Then the death threats started coming in. The miners’ union was convinced that Drummond was involved in the murders. To make the case that the company was complicit in the killings, the union turned to Terry Collingsworth, a lifelong human rights attorney. In March 2015, the case took a surprising turn. Drummond had returned fire in the legal fight with an unusual accusation. The company charged that Collingsworth — an advocate who recently brought a case before the U.S. Supreme Court — had led a “multifaceted criminal campaign” to extort Drummond into paying a costly settlement. This campaign, Drummond alleged, was in fact a racketeering conspiracy as defined by the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, better known as RICO. Drummond’s charges represent a scorched-earth legal strategy in which corporations are turning the tables on attorneys and advocates who accuse them of wrongdoing. By shifting the spotlight to these attorneys’ conduct, corporations effectively sidestepped the original allegations against them. The true purpose ... is to send attorneys and activists a message: Going toe-to-toe with heavyweight corporations can lead to personal ruin.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
What the Pentagon Doesn't Want You to Know About China
December 20, 2022, Common Dreams
To encourage Congress to authorize the largest defense budget ever, the Pentagon just released its annual report on China, which dangerously misrepresents the country's defense strategy. Such deliberate lies about China to drum up justification for more US war spending need to be urgently addressed. The Pentagon reports that China may challenge the US in the international arena. It is true that China is taking the lead internationally in economic development, in technological innovation, and in fighting climate change. Other countries around the world are happy for its support in growing their capacities to be independent of United States hegemony in their regions. China builds relationships through economic cooperation and good diplomacy. In contrast, the United States asserts its global dominance through direct or proxy war, occupation, crippling sanctions, and regime-changing coups. The international order that the United States seeks to maintain is rooted in violence and destruction. While the United States is desperately pursuing its outdated policy of enforcing global hegemony, the rest of the world is already moving towards a multilateral sphere, which ensures the greatest chance for peace. Escalating tension with China was a mistake, and building a colossal military budget is doubling down on this mistake. We must be vigilant about the warmongering lies about China. "China is not our enemy" is not a hollow slogan but firm ground that peacemakers stand on.
Note: The US attempts to position itself as a global leader of democracy and peaceful diplomacy, while its policies continue to demonstrate just the opposite. Why aren’t many media outlets questioning the aggressive efforts to escalate tension with China, including proposals for billions of dollars in military assistance to Taiwan? 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
Another Runaway General: Army Deploys Psy-Ops on U.S. Senators
February 24, 2011, Rolling Stone
The U.S. Army illegally ordered a team of soldiers specializing in “psychological operations” to manipulate visiting American senators into providing more troops and funding for the war. The orders came from the command of Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, a three-star general in charge of training Afghan troops – the linchpin of U.S. strategy in the war. Over a four-month period last year, a military cell devoted to what is known as “information operations” at Camp Eggers in Kabul was repeatedly pressured to target visiting senators and other VIPs who met with Caldwell. When the unit resisted the order, arguing that it violated U.S. laws prohibiting the use of propaganda against American citizens, it was subjected to a campaign of retaliation. “My job in psy-ops is to play with people’s heads, to get the enemy to behave the way we want them to behave,” says Lt. Colonel Michael Holmes, the leader of the IO unit, who received an official reprimand after bucking orders. “I’m prohibited from doing that to our own people. When you ask me to try to use these skills on senators and congressman, you’re crossing a line.” Those singled out in the campaign included senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Jack Reed, Al Franken and Carl Levin; Rep. Steve Israel of the House Appropriations Committee; Adm. Mike Mullen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ... and a host of influential think-tank analysts.
Note: Read more about military PsyOps used to manipulate populations. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
U.S. Government Planned False Flag Attacks to Start War With Soviet Union, JFK Documents Show
November 20, 2017, Newsweek
The U.S. government [planned] false flag attacks with Soviet aircraft to justify war with the USSR or its allies, newly declassified documents surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy show. In a three-page memo, members of the National Security Council wrote, "There is a possibility that such aircraft could be used in a ... provocation operation in which Soviet aircraft would appear to attack US or friendly installations to provide an excuse for U.S. intervention." The memo shows that the department, along with the CIA, considered buying Soviet aircraft to stage the attacks, even getting estimates from the Air Force on how long it would take and how much it would cost to produce the planes domestically and covertly. The document also outlined the possibility of purchasing such aircraft from non-Soviet Bloc countries that had received planes from the USSR, or from pilots that had defected, instead of building them domestically. The CIA deemed those plans too risky. It is unclear when the memo was written or circulated. The NSC staff mention a meeting on March 22, 1962, when a "Special Group" discussed the attorney general's questions about acquiring Soviet aircraft. The document was last reviewed by the CIA in February 1998, and a stamp shows it was declassified in March 2016. But, strangely, the document's cover letter shows a date of "00/00/00."
Note: ABC News back in 2001 was the only major media to report on Operation Northwoods, which is the code name for a very similar plan, when the first documents on this were declassified. As these earlier documents show, the plan was approved by the top Pentagon chiefs to create a pretext for war with Cuba by sinking an American ship in the Havana harbor or creating a "terror campaign" in cities like Miami and Washington D.C. Why was this stunning news only reported by ABC? For a possible reason, see this excellent summary of testimony by major media whistleblowers.
What if Instead of Calling People Out, We Called Them In?
November 19, 2020, New York Times
Loretta J. Ross [identifies] the characteristics, and limits, of call-out culture: the act of publicly shaming another person for behavior deemed unacceptable. Civil conversation between parties who disagree has also been part of activism, including her own, for quite some time. “I am challenging the call-out culture,” Ross said. “I think you can understand how calling out is toxic. It really does alienate people, and makes them fearful of speaking up.” The antidote to that ... Professor Ross believes, is “calling in.” Calling in is like calling out, but done privately and with respect. “It’s a call out done with love,” she said. That may mean simply sending someone a private message, or even ringing them on the telephone to discuss the matter, or simply taking a breath before commenting, screen-shotting or demanding one “do better” without explaining how. Calling out assumes the worst. Calling in involves conversation, compassion and context. “I think we overuse that word ‘trigger’ when really we mean discomfort,” she said. “And we should be able to have uncomfortable conversations.” Ross told the students ... “I think we actually sabotage our own happiness with this unrestrained anger. And I have to honestly ask: Why are you making choices to make the world crueler than it needs to be and calling that being woke?" She thought of what her organization’s founder, the Rev. C.T. Vivian ... told her: “When you ask people to give up hate, you have to be there for them when they do.”
Note: Watch Ross's powerful Ted Talk on simple, yet deeply inspiring tools for calling people in instead of calling people out.
In Baltimore, Healing Trauma Is Now Official Policy
December 2, 2022, Reasons to be Cheerful
In the year since Donna Bruce started working at the Baltimore public library’s Penn North branch, she has connected more than 400 visitors to housing programs, food assistance and substance abuse recovery options — and saved a man from dying of a drug overdose by administering the emergency treatment Narcan. Poverty is pervasive in the neighborhoods around the Penn North library, and many people come in simply looking for heat or shelter. Bruce is leading a team of “peer navigators” in the library system trained to provide trauma-informed engagement and support to the public. All navigators have personal experience with mental health challenges or substance abuse disorders and act as role models in the community. Peer Navigators is the first city agency program that owes part of its origin story to Baltimore’s 2020 Elijah Cummings Healing City Act. The goal of the groundbreaking legislation is to help departments reckon with and change policies that have caused — and continue to cause — trauma, while charting a new path rooted in healing. The act mandates that city employees receive training, to gain awareness and learn how to help those who have been harmed. At the same time, agency leaders must evaluate their practices and procedures to determine if they are causing trauma and how to change those that are to better serve Baltimore’s communities. Evidence shows the approach can improve social environments, decrease violence, and reduce other negative encounters.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
First ever EU-wide limits for underwater noise
November 29, 2022, European Commission
Underwater noise due to human activities at sea can harm marine biodiversity, leading for example to hearing impairment and behavioural disturbances. EU experts have adopted recommendations on maximum acceptable levels for impulsive (for example from oil and gas exploration and extraction) and continuous (such as from shipping) underwater noise. The new limits mean, that to be in tolerable status, no more than 20% of a given marine area, can be exposed to continuous underwater noise over a year Similarly, no more than 20% of a marine habitat can be exposed to impulsive noise over a given day, and no more than 10% over a year. These underwater noise pollution limits deliver on the Zero Pollution Action Plan and are the first of this kind at global level. The threshold values will contribute to set limits on where and for how long marine habitats can be exposed to underwater noise. Impulsive underwater noise, such as from oil and gas exploration, occurs in about 8 % of the EU’s seas: it is particularly present in large areas of the Baltic, North and Celtic Seas, and the Mediterranean area. Maritime traffic is the main source of continuous underwater noise. With 27% of its area subject to shipping, the Mediterranean Sea sees the highest shipping traffic in the EU. This is followed by the Baltic Sea (19 % of the area). Overall, only 9% of the EU’s sea area has no shipping traffic. EU Member States will now need to take these threshold values into account when they update their marine strategies.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
August 31, 2007, Denver Post (Denver's leading newspaper)
Wadded-up tissues littered Rishel Middle School's gym floor as tough teenagers sobbed, hugged their peers and told gut-wrenching stories about their lives during an all-day session intended to break down barriers. One 13-year-old said he was abandoned by his parents and that he lies awake at night scared by sounds of gunshots outside his window. A 15-year-old girl talked about attempting suicide and urged anyone with similar thoughts to reach out for help. And a teacher tearfully warned students about their actions by revealing he was a bully when he was younger – until the person he tormented tried to kill himself. The confessions were shared ... as part of "Challenge Day," a nationally recognized anti-bullying program that travels to schools around the country. Challenge Day promotes self respect and acceptance, and inspires students to become positive leaders. [The] 20-year-old program [was] designed by Yvonne and Rich St. John-Dutra. "We want to create a world where every child feels safe," said Rich St. John-Dutra. The program, which was featured on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." The events combined ice-breaking routines to get students to drop their guards with soul-searching exercises designed to reveal their true selves. Students wept as their troubles tumbled out - from worries about their parents, medical problems within the family, troubles with gangs, and battles with alcohol and drugs. Students later apologized to others who they had put down or teased over the years. "This is going to change people," said Eddie Castillo, 13. "I never knew people had problems with their families and their brothers and drugs. I never saw that sensitive side until now."
Note: For one of the most inspiring video clips ever, watch an incredibly moving 15-minute clip from an Emmy-award winning documentary on Challenge day. Learn more about this amazing program on the Challenge Day website.
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