Crisis of Trust in U.S. Institutions, COVID Censorship a Threat to First Amendment, FDA Designates MDMA As 'Breakthrough Therapy'
Revealing News Articles
September 26, 2023
Explore below key excerpts of revealing news articles on the unprecedented crisis of trust in U.S. institutions, a federal court ruling that the Biden administration likely infringed upon the First Amendment when pressuring social media companies to censor COVID-19 information, indications that the August Republican presidential primary debate was buried by Google search results manipulation, and more.
In our independent media section, don't miss articles on how the U.S. seems to be inching towards war with China and a court case highlighting the invasion of privacy by government drones.
Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on the drug MDMA clearing another hurdle on its way to regulatory approval, the growing body of evidence that MDMA-enhanced therapy dramatically reduces PTSD symptoms, a restaurant championing the adoption of regenerative agriculture in the food system, 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.
Quote of the week: I’m intrigued by the idea that we’ve been given false templates to follow in terms of solving our problems—one being to "fight our enemies"—templates provided for us through so much social conditioning and the media. Here, the idea is that we must find the heart or the head of the organization and somehow kill that person or that group, or whatever it is; eliminate that, and everything will magically turn to the better! I think what's needed is a more fundamental revolution: not of overthrowing a specific instantiation of this idea, but of overthrowing the idea altogether. And that can only come from building up an alternative system to which people actually want to apply themselves. ~~ James Corbett
Video of the week: Watch an excellent 30-minute interview with former Blackrock executive and author Edward Dowd, who has analyzed the shocking increase in non-COVID related excess deaths and disabilities in the last few years, particularly among youth. Related resources, articles, interviews, and videos are included for further exploration.
How American Institutions Went From Trust to Bust
September 8, 2023, Wall Street Journal
At the heart of America’s political and cultural turmoil is a crisis of trust. In the space of a generation, the people’s confidence in their leaders and their most important institutions to do the right thing has collapsed. The federal government, big business, the media, education, science and medicine, technology, religious institutions, law enforcement and others have seen a precipitous decline. Since 1979 Gallup has measured trust among the public in the most important American institutions. Its latest survey ... found that across the nine key institutions Gallup has tracked consistently, the proportion of Americans who said they had “a great deal or quite a lot of confidence” averaged out at 26%. That is the lowest figure ever recorded. Some institutions have forfeited more trust than others. In 1979 Gallup found that 51% of Americans had a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in newspapers. This year the number was 18%. The biggest factor driving mistrust ... is surely the widening cultural gap between the people who have led and thrived in our major institutions and the rest of the population. The past 20 years have seen the rapid emergence of a new elite—expensively educated, versed in progressive nostrums, increasingly distant from and disdainful of the rest of America and its values. This crowd comprises much of the nation’s permanent government classes, almost its entire academic establishment, most of the people who control its news and cultural output, and a good deal of its corporate elite.
Note: About half of Americans lost faith in the scientific community after this "new elite" repeatedly misled the public on issues related to the pandemic. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and media manipulation from reliable sources.
Biden officials ‘likely violated First Amendment’ in Big Tech COVID censorship efforts, appeals court affirms
September 8, 2023, New York Post
The Biden administration likely infringed upon the First Amendment when it leaned on social media companies to remove false or misleading COVID-19 content, a federal court of appeals ruled Friday — narrowing a bombshell district court order that barred several officials and agencies from communicating with the platforms. The White House, surgeon general, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FBI “likely coerced or significantly encouraged social-media platforms to moderate content” and in doing so, “likely violated the First Amendment,” the New Orleans-based Fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals determined. The three-judge panel, however, adjusted the scope of US District Judge Terry Doughty’s July 4 order ... removing officials from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the State Department from the injunction. The Fifth Circuit vacated nine of the 10 provisions in Doughty’s order that prevented Biden administration officials from “urging, encouraging, pressuring” or “inducing” social media companies from removing content. Similarly, the appeals court determined that “following up with social-media companies” about content moderation, “requesting content reports from social-media companies” or asking platforms to “Be on The Lookout” for certain types of material does not violate individuals’ First Amendment rights.
Note: Many posts that were censored contained factual information on COVID-related issues. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and media manipulation from reliable sources.
Rumble Had Exclusive Rights To Stream Republican Debate — Yet Was Buried In Google Search
September 20, 2023, The Intercept
Leading up to the August Republican presidential primary debate ... An RNC official told Google via email that the debate would be streaming exclusively on the upstart video platform Rumble. The August 23 debate was broadcast on Fox News and streamed on Fox Nation, which requires a subscription, while Rumble was the only one to stream it for free. On the day of and during the debate, however, potential viewers who searched Google for “GOP debate stream” were returned links to YouTube, Fox News, and news articles about the debate, according to screen recordings. Rumble was nowhere on the first page. For Rumble, which is currently in discovery in an antitrust lawsuit against Google in California, this is a case of Google suppressing its competitors in favor of its own product, YouTube. YouTube is owned by Google, and it has regularly been the subject of anticompetitive allegations from rivals, who charge that Google unfairly and illegally favors YouTube in its search algorithm. Google, in fact, is in the middle of a landmark antitrust trial, charged with anticompetitive practices by the Department of Justice. The company would not have been required by antitrust law to promote [Rumble's] link. It would, however, be barred from suppressing the competitor’s link from organic results. The fact that Rumble’s link did not appear on the first page even though it was the most relevant link the search could return means either the search engine failed at its task or the link was suppressed.
New York Times Doesn’t Want Its Stories Archived
September 17, 2023, The Intercept
The New York Times tried to block a web crawler that was affiliated with the famous Internet Archive. The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine has long been used to compare webpages as they are updated over time, clearly delineating the differences between two iterations of any given page. Several years ago, the archive added a feature called “Changes” that lets users compare two archived versions of a website from different dates or times on a single display. The tool can be used to uncover changes in news stories that have been made without any accompanying editorial notes, so-called stealth edits. The Times has, in the past, faced public criticisms over some of its stealth edits. In a notorious 2016 incident, the paper revised an article about then-Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. ... drastically after publication — changing the tone from one of praise to skepticism. More recently, the Times stealth-edited an article that originally listed “death” as one of six ways “you can still cancel your federal student loan debt.” Following the edit, the “death” section title was changed to a more opaque heading of “debt won’t carry on.” A service called NewsDiffs — which provides a similar comparative service but focuses on news outlets such as the New York Times, CNN, the Washington Post, and others — has also chronicled a long list of significant examples of articles that have undergone stealth edits, though the service appears to not have been updated in several years.
Note: The manipulation of media coverage for Bernie Sanders' campaign was widespread, as discussed in an WantToKnow.info interview with media activist Tony Brasunas. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and media manipulation from reliable sources.
Google wanted to ‘manipulate choices’ to become default search engine, behavioral expert testifies at antitrust trial
September 14, 2023, New York Post
Google fought hard to be the default search engine on smartphones and browsers so it “can manipulate your choices,” an expert on human behavior testified for the government at the closely watched antitrust trial. Antonio Rangel, a behavioral economist ... took the stand for the second day and said Google has leaned heavily on default settings to keep users hooked on its search engine and other lucrative services. The Justice Department is arguing ... that the Alphabet unit sought agreements with mobile carriers to win powerful default positions on smartphones to dominate search. The antitrust case – the largest of its kind in more than two decades – will ultimately hinge on whether Google is determined to have taken anticompetitive steps to cut off rivals while building its search behemoth. In testimony on Wednesday, Rangel questioned Google’s argument that users could easily switch their default search engine, telling the court that he acquired an Android smartphone and found that it took 10 steps for the owner to switch Google for Microsoft’s Bing. “That is considerable choice friction,” Rangel said. Justice Department attorneys said Google paid “more than $10 billion per year” to major companies, including smartphone makers Apple and Samsung, browser operators like Mozilla and wireless providers such as AT&T, to secure a 91% share of the search market. The case’s outcome won’t be determined by a jury. Instead, US District Judge Amit Mehta will reach a determination on the outcome.
In our blood: how the US allowed toxic chemicals to seep into our lives
September 13, 2023, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
For decades, it was the secret behind the magic show of homemaking across the US. Applied to a pan, it could keep a fried egg from sticking to the surface. Perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, was ... seeping into the blood and organs of hundreds of millions of people who used products containing the chemical. PFOA is just one of dozens of modern-day chemicals that are found in the bodies of the majority of Americans. Research has also shown that more Americans are facing a growing number of ailments and disorders, from autoimmune disease to developmental disorders such as autism and some cancers. Scientists are increasingly concerned these two truths are linked. Scientists have accumulated enough data to conclude with confidence that humans face significant health risks from exposure to common commercial chemicals, and that regulations designed to protect them are failing. Due to flaws in federal regulation, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is perennially playing catch up. The majority of the 86,000 consumer chemicals registered with the agency have never received vigorous toxicity testing. Kyla Bennett, a former EPA employee [said] that at recent rates of review, it would take thousands of years to assess all 86,000 chemicals currently approved for use. EPA staff ... say the agency’s chemical programs remain understaffed, overwhelmed and burdened by still-ineffective regulations and a persistent culture that enables the chemical industry instead of counterbalancing it.
Revolving door redux: The DEA’s recently departed No. 2 returns to a Big Pharma consulting firm
September 20, 2023, Associated Press
Louis Milione retired from the DEA a second time this summer amid reporting by The Associated Press on potential conflicts caused by his prior consulting for the pharmaceutical industry. Less than three months later, Milione again landed a plum job at Guidepost Solutions, a New York-based firm hired by some of the same companies he had been tasked with regulating when he returned to the DEA in 2021. Milione had spent four years at Guidepost prior to his return, leveraging his extensive experience and contacts from a 21-year DEA career. Milione is the most senior of a slew of DEA officials to have traded their badge and gun for a globe-trotting consulting job. His career stands out for two cycles through the revolving door between government and industry, raising questions about the potential impact on the DEA’s mission to police drug companies blamed for tens of thousands of American overdose deaths. Milione’s private-sector clientele also included Morris & Dickson Co., the nation’s fourth-largest wholesale drug distributor, as it tried to stave off DEA sanctions for disregarding thousands of suspicious, high-volume orders. The DEA allowed the company to continue shipping drugs for nearly four years after a judge recommended its license be revoked for “cavalier disregard” of rules aimed at preventing opioid abuse. It was not until AP began asking questions this spring that the DEA moved to finally strip the Shreveport, Louisiana-based company of its license to distribute highly addictive painkillers.
How “windfall profits” from AI companies could fund a universal basic income
July 28, 2023, Vox
There’s a lot of money in AI. Economists are predicting a massive boom in productivity as AI use takes off, buoyed by empirical research showing tools like ChatGPT boost worker output. Demis Hassabis, the founder of DeepMind, sold his company to Google in 2014 only after the latter agreed to an independent ethics board that would govern how Google uses DeepMind’s research. ChatGPT maker OpenAI is structured as a nonprofit that owns a for-profit arm. Anthropic, which makes the chatbot Claude, is divesting control over a majority of its board to a trust composed not of shareholders, but independent trustees meant to enforce a focus on safety ahead of profits. Those three companies, plus Microsoft, got together ... to start a new organization meant to self-regulate the AI industry. There are three broad ways the profits reaped by AI companies could make their way to a more general public. The first ... is taxes. The second, considerably less important, is charity. The third is if the companies themselves decide to donate a large share of their profits. This was the key proposal of a landmark 2020 paper called “The Windfall Clause.” The idea is simple: The clause is a voluntary but binding commitment that AI firms could make to donate a set percentage of their profits in excess of a certain threshold to a charitable entity. They suggest the thresholds be based on profits as a share of the gross world product (the entire world’s economic output).
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
Key Articles From Independent Media
The US Is Fanning the Flames of War With China
August 31, 2023, Truthout
The United States is gunning for war with China. By cozying up to Taiwan and arming it to the teeth, President Joe Biden is undermining the “One China” policy which has been the cornerstone of U.S.-China relations since 1979. In March, U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines called China the “leading and most consequential threat to U.S. national security.” More than 90 percent of the most advanced microchips in the world are manufactured in Taiwan. The chips are used to power our smartphones, train artificial intelligence systems and guide missiles. The Trump administration imposed heavy tariffs on Chinese imports to cut off China’s access to the software technology and equipment required to build the advanced chips. Biden has maintained and dramatically expanded Trump’s coercive economic measures and imposed a blockade on advanced semiconductors. Biden has repeatedly stated that the United States would use military force to defend Taiwan if it is attacked by China. The Biden administration has provided Taiwan with $619 million worth of high-tech arms. China has not been at war with any country since 1979. By contrast, the United States has had only 16 years of peace in its 247 years. K.J. Noh, an activist scholar who writes about the geopolitics of the Asian continent ... described South Korea as key to the U.S.’s escalating war on China. “The United States has operational control over South Korean troops,” Noh said. The U.S. is also “weaponizing Taiwan into an imperial outpost for war.”
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
EFF to Michigan Court: Governments Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Use a Drone to Spy on You Without a Warrant
September 19, 2023, ScheerPost
Should the government have to get a warrant before using a drone to spy on your home and backyard? We think so, and in an amicus brief filed last Friday in Long Lake Township v. Maxon, we urged the Michigan Supreme Court to find that warrantless drone surveillance of a home violates the Fourth Amendment. In this case, Long Lake Township hired private operators to repeatedly fly drones over Todd and Heather Maxon’s home to take aerial photos and videos of their property in a zoning investigation. The Township did this without a warrant and then sought to use this documentation in a court case against them. In our brief, we argue that the township’s conduct was governed by and violated the Fourth Amendment and the equivalent section of the Michigan Constitution. Drone prevalence has soared in recent years, fueled by both private and governmental use. We have documented more than 1,471 law enforcement agencies across the United States that operate drones. In some cities, police have begun implementing “drone as first responder” programs, in which drones are constantly flying over communities in response to routine calls for service. Authorities have routinely used aerial surveillance technologies against individuals participating in racial justice movements. Under this backdrop, states like Florida, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota, and Virginia have enacted statutes requiring warrants for police use of drones.
Key Articles From Years Past
The New Sex Abuse Scandal: 2,400 Doctors Implicated by Patients
July 6, 2016, ABC News
read on abcnews.go.com
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 papers 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.
Psychedelic drug MDMA moves closer to US approval following success in PTSD trial
September 14, 2023, Nature
The psychedelic drug MDMA, also known as ecstasy or molly, has passed another key hurdle on its way to regulatory approval as a treatment for mental illness. A second large clinical trial has found that the drug — in combination with psychotherapy — is effective at treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In June, Australia became the first country to allow physicians to prescribe MDMA for treating psychiatric conditions. MDMA is illegal in the United States and other countries because of the potential for its misuse. But the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) ... has long been developing a proprietary protocol for using MDMA as a treatment for PTSD and other disorders. MAPS has been campaigning for its legalization. In 2021, researchers sponsored by MAPS reported the results of a study in which 90 people received a form of psychotherapy developed by the organization alongside either MDMA or a placebo. After three treatment sessions, 67% of those who received MDMA with therapy no longer qualified for a PTSD diagnosis, compared with 32% of those who received therapy and a placebo. The results of a second trial ... were similar: 71% of people who received MDMA alongside therapy lost their PTSD diagnosis. A MAPS spokesperson says that the organization plans to seek formal FDA approval before the end of this year, and that because the agency has already designated MDMA as a ‘breakthrough therapy’ ... it will be evaluated quickly.
Note: Read more about the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs. Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.
The History And Potential Of MDMA
June 29, 2023, NPR
Stuck indoors during the peak of COVID lockdown, science journalist Rachel Nuwer found herself at a professional crossroads. She had already published a nonfiction book on the dark world of wildlife trafficking and was looking for her next subject. A moment of clarity came at a surprising time. She and her partner, at home with nothing much to do, ingested MDMA. MDMA, also known as ecstasy or molly, is illegal. It is listed as a Schedule 1 drug by the U.S. federal government (the same group as marijuana and psilocybin, or magic mushrooms). A growing body of academic research has suggested potential benefits of MDMA beyond the recreational ecstasy some partygoers are familiar with. One study found that MDMA-enhanced therapy dramatically reduced PTSD symptoms. Another showed that psychedelics like MDMA could reopen so-called critical periods of time when brains are especially impressionable and open to learning. A scientific case study profiled a former white supremacist who reformed his extremist views after taking MDMA. Nuwer experienced similar clarity while on the drug. Her new book, "I Feel Love: MDMA and the Quest for Connection in a Fractured World," is the result of her epiphany. She explores the history and potential of the so-called love drug.
Note: Read more about the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs. Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.
Can a Tiny Restaurant Surcharge Move the Needle on Climate?
September 19, 2023, Reasons to be Cheerful
When Anthony Myint and his wife Karen Leibowitz opened their San Francisco restaurant The Perennial in 2016, they had big ambitions: They wanted it to be the first carbon-neutral restaurant in the world, and they succeeded. From the recycled floor tiles and reclaimed lumber to the aquaponic herb garden and compostable paper menus, the culinary duo designed every part of the diner with the climate in mind. “We shifted the menus, reduced food waste, switched to renewable energy, started composting and bought carbon offsets,” Myint says. They were motivated by the knowledge that agriculture and food systems contribute nearly a third of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. The Perennial’s menu championed sourdough loaves baked with perennial Kernza grains, and the chefs bought their steaks from regenerative ranches associated with the Marin Carbon Project, the country’s foremost center for regenerative farming. The more Myint learned about regenerative agriculture, the more he became convinced that this was the global solution he needed to champion. “It became clear to me that this is the future of food, similar to the way renewable energy is the future of energy,” he says. “The whole food system needs to gradually transition.” Zero Foodprint is asking restaurant customers and other participating businesses to give one percent of their sales to a pool that funds regenerative agriculture. More than 80 businesses have signed up.
Note: We've summarized a handful of stories about the power of regenerative agriculture practices to reverse and heal global ecological destruction. Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.
What if Schools Taught Kindness?
February 1, 2016, Greater Good
read on greatergood.berkeley.edu
Every school teaches math and reading, but what about mindfulness and kindness? Twice a week for 20 minutes, pre-kindergarten kids were introduced to stories and practices for paying attention, regulating their emotions, and cultivating kindness. The initial results of our research ... suggest that this program can improve kids grades, cognitive abilities, and relationship skills. Having classrooms full of mindful, kind kids completely changes the school environment. Imagine entire schools - entire districts - where kindness is emphasized. That would be truly powerful. Teaching kindness is a way to bubble up widespread transformation that doesn't require big policy changes or extensive administrative involvement. If you had visited one of our classrooms during the 12-week program, you might have seen a poster on the wall called Kindness Garden. When kids performed an act of kindness or benefitted from one, they added a sticker to the poster. The idea is that friendship is like a seed - it needs to be nurtured and taken care of in order to grow. Through that exercise, we got students talking about ... how we might grow more friendship in the classroom. Students who went through the curriculum showed more empathy and kindness and a greater ability to calm themselves down when they felt upset, according to teachers ratings. They earned higher grades at the end of the year in certain areas (notably for social and emotional development), and they showed improvement in the ability to think flexibly and delay gratification, skills that have been linked to health and success later in life.
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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