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Colorado resident Michael Kent recently sat down at a tattoo parlor in Colorado Springs to have his swastikas covered up. Kent, a former neo-Nazi, credits an African-American parole officer named Tiffany Whittier with helping him to see beyond skin color and changing his views about white supremacy. “If it wasn’t for her I would have seeped back into it,” said Kent. “I look at her as family.” Whittier, 45, even inspired Kent, 38, to take down the Nazi flags he had hanging in his living room and replace them with smiley faces. “I’m not here to judge him. That’s not my job to judge. My job is to be that positive person in someone’s life,” Whittier said. Redemption Ink, a national non-profit that offers free removals of hate-related tattoos, helped connect Kent with Fallen Heroes Tattoo in Colorado to begin the 15-hour process of covering his swastikas. The sterile environment is new to Kent who had his previous ink work done in prison. “I’ve never, never, never been inside of a tattoo shop getting a professional tattoo,” he said. Kent believes the painful process will help him move forward after spending years as a member of a violent skinhead group based in Arizona. As a father of two young children, Kent also hopes his children will see the world differently. “I don’t want my kids to live the life I lived and live with hate,” said Kent. “I want my kids to know me for who I am now—a good father, a hard worker, and a good provider.”
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
President Trump has some advice for National Football League owners: Fire players who kneel during the national anthem. He's also encouraging fans to walk out in protest. And the president is bemoaning what he describes as a decline in violence in the sport. Several athletes, including a handful of NFL players, have refused to stand during "The Star-Spangled Banner" to protest of the treatment of blacks by police. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started the trend last year when he played for the San Francisco 49ers, hasn't been signed by an NFL team for this season. The NFL Players Association reacted to Mr. Trump's comments Saturday morning in a statement: "This union ... will never back down when it comes to constitutional rights of our players as citizens as well as their safety as men in a game that exposes them to great risks." During his campaign, Mr. Trump often expressed nostalgia for the "old days" - claiming, for example, that protesters at his rallies would have been carried out on stretchers back then. He recently suggested police officers should be rougher with criminals and shouldn't protect their heads when pushing them into squad cars. It's also not the first time he's raised the kneeling issue. Earlier this year he took credit for the fact that Kaepernick hadn't been signed.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable major media sources.
All you need is love. Love is all you need. I'm singing that old Beatles song in my head and trying to wrap my mind around a beautiful love-fueled relationship between members of Black Lives Matter and the most passionate Trump supporters. That word - love - came up in a conversation with Hawk Newsome, who represents Black Lives Matter of Greater New York. "At some point, we're going to have to talk to the other side," he told me. And realize, he added, sometimes the situation calls for "words, for love, for compassion, as opposed to words of anger." He realized that smack in the middle of hundreds of pro-Trumpers at the Mother of All Rallies event ... in Washington, DC. As Newsome and his fellow activists waded through the mostly white crowd, ready to do battle, something totally radical happened. A Trump supporter, speaking from a makeshift stage, invited him to speak. "We're going to give you two minutes of our platform to put your message out," the Trump supporter told Newsome. "Whether they disagree or agree with your message is irrelevant. It's the fact you have a right to have the message." "This was a first-time occurrence," [Newsome said]. "It was hostile before we were invited on that stage." But, when he took the stage and started shouting his beliefs and found that some in the crowd actually listened, that word popped into his head - love. It's a small thing, which shines the light on what we already know - love and compassion go a long way. We just have to listen to that song in our heads.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Increased levels of prenatal fluoride exposure may be associated with lower cognitive function in children, a new study says. The study, published ... in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, evaluated nearly 300 sets of mothers and children in Mexico and tested the children twice for cognitive development over the course of 12 years. The study found a drop in scores on intelligence tests for every 0.5 milligram-per-liter increase in fluoride exposure beyond 0.8 milligrams per liter found in urine. Although the researchers found a potential connection to a child's exposure to fluoride in utero, they found no significant influence from fluoride exposure on brain development once a child was born. "Childhood exposure to fluoride is safer than prenatal. The fetal system tends to be more sensitive to environmental toxicants than once the child is born," said the study's lead author, Howard Hu, founding dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Fluoride is commonly added to drinking water in the United States in order to improve dental health, though a number of communities including Portland, Oregon, and Tucson, Arizona, have rejected water fluoridation. What the new research means for pregnant women in the United States is up in the air. Previous studies have found fluoride to be a potential neurotoxin at extremely high levels.
Note: This Newsweek article and this MSNBC article also raise serious questions about the benefits and risks of fluoride in our water. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.
Employees at the Environmental Protection Agency are attending mandatory training sessions this week to reinforce their compliance with laws and rules against leaking classified or sensitive government information. It is part of a broader Trump administration order for anti-leaks training at all executive branch agencies. The Associated Press obtained training materials from the hourlong class. Government employees who hold security clearances undergo background checks and extensive training in safeguarding classified information. Relatively few EPA employees deal with classified files, but the new training also reinforces requirements to keep "Controlled Unclassified Information" from unauthorized disclosure. President Donald Trump has expressed anger repeated leaks of potentially embarrassing information to media organizations. In a speech last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said those responsible for the "staggering number of leaks" coming out of the administration would be investigated and potentially prosecuted. "We share the White House's concern with the unlawful leaks throughout the government," Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior said. A three-page fact sheet sent to EPA employees as part of the training warned that leaks of even unclassified information could have serious consequences to national security.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Adding fluoride to public drinking water for dental purposes has been controversial since the practice first began in 1945. A new study suggests that prenatal exposure to this chemical may affect cognitive abilities and that children born to mothers exposed to high amounts of fluoride could have lower IQs. The study ... found an association between lower intelligence and prenatal fluoride exposure in 299 mother-child pairs in Mexico. Even when other possible factors were taken into account, such as exposure to other chemicals, results continually showed that higher prenatal fluoride exposure was linked to lower scores on tests of cognitive function in children at age 4 and then again between 6 and 12. The mothers in this study did not have fluoride added to their water. In Mexico, fluoridated salt is the main way that women get salt into their diet, says Hu, unlike in the U.S., where fluoridated water is the main avenue. The data could renew the debate about the safety of adding fluoride to tap water, in part because experts have not been quick to dismiss the findings. "This is a very well-conducted study, and it raises serious concerns about fluoride supplementation in water," says Dr. Leonardo Trasande, a pediatrician who studies potential links between environmental exposures and health problems at New York University. Trasande ... also explains that fluoride is known to disrupt thyroid function, which in turn is crucial for brain development.
Note: Another Newsweek article and this MSNBC article also raise serious questions about the benefits and risks of fluoride in our water. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.
It is often said that money doesn’t bring happiness, but researchers may have found the two things that do – sex and sleep. The Living Well Index, developed by researchers Oxford Economics, found that spending time in the bedroom is a lot more significant than quadrupling your income. A poll carried out by the National Centre for Social Research found that the most rested people score 15 points higher on the index than those who struggled with their sleep. People who are deeply dissatisfied with their sex lives score seven points lower on average than those who say they were very satisfied. By the same metric, increasing household income from Ł12,500 to Ł50,000 results in an increase of just two points. The report ... said: “For the typical Brit, improving their sleep to the level of someone at the top of the index would be equivalent to them having over four times as much disposable income,” adding that sleep was the “strongest indicator of a broader sense of well-being”. Other factors include living in a strong community, job security and the health of close relatives. The analysis also found ... a strong association between happiness and having a young child at home. “Baby boomers” who were still in work were the second-happiest group because of good job security and a high standard of living. The survey of 8,250 adults also found that older people are objectively happier than younger ones – even when other factors, such as wealth and lifestyle, are controlled.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
John N. Tye wants to make it easier to expose government wrongdoing without getting fired or breaking the law. Tye, a former State Department whistleblower, and lawyer Mark S. Zaid have formed Whistleblower Aid, a nonprofit law office to help would-be tipsters in government and the military navigate the bureaucratic and legal morass involved in reporting governmental misdeeds. Whistleblowing can be a challenge for people who have taken an oath of office to support and defend the Constitution ... Tye said in a telephone interview. “Then you get into government and you see something wrong,” he said. “You’ve sworn to stop it, but there aren’t a lot of tools at your disposal, especially if it’s your supervisor who’s breaking the law. People are scared. They’re worried about their jobs. If it involves classified information, they can be criminally prosecuted.” Tye’s interest in whistleblowing came from a stint as section chief for Internet freedom in the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. He came forward as a whistleblower to publicize the government’s electronic surveillance practices. He wrote about it in 2014 in a Washington Post opinion piece that he submitted to the State Department for approval. His quest to air his concerns cost him $13,000 in legal fees. If a whistleblower comes to Whistleblower Aid with classified information, he or she will be steered to investigators with security clearances and the power to do something about it.
One September morning in 1983, Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov, a 44-year-old commanding officer with the Soviet Union’s Air Defense Forces, saved the world from erupting into nuclear war. Petrov died on May 19 ... at his home in the Moscow suburb of Fryazino. According to the New York Times, he lived at his Fryazino home alone on a pension. How did Petrov “save the world?” On Sept. 26, 1983, Oko (the Soviet Union’s early-warning satellite system for nuclear attack) detected that the United States had launched five ballistic missiles, all headed toward the USSR. But as the alarms went off and screens flashing the word “LAUNCH” lit up, Petrov, who was just a few hours into his shift as duty officer at command center Serpukhov-15, remained calm. “For 15 seconds, we were in a state of shock,” he told The Washington Post in 1999. Petrov’s gut feeling ... led him to believe the launch reports were probably false. “When people start a war, they don't start it with only five missiles,” he remembered thinking. He said his decision to stand down ... was “at best, a ‘50-50’ guess.” And, as Wired Magazine put it in 2007, “he hoped to hell he was right.” That gut feeling and Petrov’s calm, common-sense analysis saved the world from potential catastrophe. The satellite that signaled the false alarm had picked up the sun’s reflection atop the clouds, mistaking it for a missile launch. After the classified incident became public ... Petrov went on to earn the German Media Prize in 2012 (other GMP winners include Nelson Mandela, Dalai Lama and Kofi Anan).
An Oregon parent wanted details about school employees getting paid to stay home. College journalists in Kentucky requested documents about the investigations of employees accused of sexual misconduct. Instead, they got something else: sued by the agencies they had asked for public records. Government bodies are increasingly turning the tables on citizens who seek public records that might be embarrassing or legally sensitive. Instead of granting or denying their requests, a growing number of school districts, municipalities and state agencies have filed lawsuits against people making the requests - taxpayers, government watchdogs and journalists who must then pursue the records in court at their own expense. The lawsuits generally ask judges to rule that the records being sought do not have to be divulged, [and] name the requesters as defendants. The recent trend has alarmed freedom-of-information advocates, who say it's becoming a new way for governments to hide information, delay disclosure and intimidate critics. At least two recent cases have succeeded in blocking information while many others have only delayed the release. Even if agencies are ultimately required to make the records public, they typically will not have to pay the other side's legal bills. "You can lose even when you win," said Mike Deshotels, an education watchdog who was sued by the Louisiana Department of Education after filing requests for school district enrollment data last year.
In a democracy, no one should be comforted to hear that generals have imposed discipline on an elected head of state. That was never supposed to happen in the United States. Now it has. Ultimate power to shape American foreign and security policy has fallen into the hands of three military men: General James Mattis, the secretary of defense; General John Kelly, President Trump’s chief of staff; and General H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser. They do not put on their ribbons to review military parades or dispatch death squads to kill opponents, as members of old-style juntas did. Yet their emergence reflects a new stage in the erosion of our political norms and the militarization of our foreign policy. Already they have exerted a stabilizing influence. Mattis refuses to join the rush to bomb North Korea, Kelly has imposed a measure of order on the White House staff, and McMaster pointedly distanced himself from Trump’s praise for white nationalists after the violence in Charlottesville. Being ruled by generals seems preferable to the alternative. It isn’t. Trump has made clear that when he must make foreign policy choices, he will defer to “my generals.” Military commanders are trained to fight wars, not to decide whether fighting makes strategic sense. That is properly the job of diplomats. Many Americans ... are so disgusted by the corruption and shortsightedness of our political class that they turn to soldiers as an alternative. It is a dangerous temptation.
Note: Check out this excellent article which shows how Trump, like Obama and his other predecessors, has been co-opted to support the hugely profitable war machine. According to this recent New York Times article, John Kelly now directly controls what news President Trump is and is not allowed to see. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the military.
The importance of empathy as a character trait is garnering increased attention in an age of rapid technological change. In Denmark, empathy has long been a part of the zeitgeist of the nation, taught and valued everywhere, from preschools to corporate suites. By many measures, Denmark ... excels at instilling emotional well-being. Still, Denmark is facing challenges that would sound familiar to American educators. At the Hedegĺrdenes school ... one-third of the 400 students, from the first year of school through the ninth year, come from immigrant backgrounds, and another third from what administrators call troubled homes. As a result, says Thomas Brinch, vice principal, “the work with empathy is more important than ever. The kids need to treat each other with respect no matter where they are from, what their religion is.” Schools see empathy as a way to deal with another challenge as well: the saturation of social media. In the classroom of Ida Nielsen, a fifth-year teacher at the Hedegĺrdenes school ... the class has drawn up social media user guidelines together and is now discussing what they mean in practice. One of the first rules sounds simple enough: Don’t say anything mean. But it leads one boy to question if that just applies to people, or whether they may make negative statements about not liking longer school hours. Such discussions are crucial, says Ms. Nielsen, when asked about the pressures to devote time to academic learning during the day. “This is their lives,” she says.
Chelsea Manning, the transgender U.S. Army soldier who spent seven years in prison for leaking classified documents, will not be distinguished visiting fellow at Harvard after growing backlash prompted the school to rescind the invitation. The school withdrew Manning's invite two days after announcing she would be one of roughly ten visiting fellows this fall. Manning's designation as a visiting fellow led to Mike Morell, former deputy director and acting director of the CIA, to resign his post as a senior fellow at Harvard University, CBS reported. CIA Director Mike Pompeo also canceled a speaking event Thursday at a Harvard forum in protest of what he called the school's decision to place Manning in a "position of honor." Manning was convicted of leaking more than 700,000 classified documents, including battlefield reports on Iraq and Afghanistan and State Department cables, while working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq. She said the leaks were intended to expose wrongdoing. Manning was arrested in May 2010 and given a 35-year sentence, which was commuted in the final days of the Obama administration. Manning was known as Pvt. Bradley Manning at the time of her arrest, but announced she was transgender during her incarceration. Elmendorf said Manning will still spend a day at the Kennedy School and speak in the Forum, though she will not be designated a visiting fellow.
Note: Read about Manning's wartime whistleblowing in this CNN story. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in intelligence agencies and in the corporate world.
The blaring, grinding noise jolted the American diplomat from his bed. He moved just a few feet, and there was silence. He climbed back into bed. The agonizing sound hit him again. It was as if he’d walked through some invisible wall cutting straight through his room. Soon came the hearing loss, and the speech problems, symptoms both similar and altogether different from others among at least 21 US victims in an astonishing international mystery still unfolding in Cuba. New details learned by the Associated Press indicate at least some of the incidents were confined to specific rooms or even parts of rooms with laser-like specificity, baffling US officials who say the facts and the physics don’t add up. Suspicion initially focused on a sonic weapon. Yet the diagnosis of mild brain injury, considered unlikely to result from sound, has confounded the FBI, the state department and US intelligence agencies involved in the investigation. Some victims now have problems concentrating or recalling specific words, several officials said, the latest signs of more serious damage than the US government initially realized. The United States first acknowledged the attacks in August – nine months after symptoms were first reported. The cases vary deeply: different symptoms, different recollections of what happened. In several episodes recounted by US officials, victims knew it was happening in real time, and there were strong indications of a sonic attack.
Note: Sound weapons developed for war and increasingly used against civilian populations are well-documented. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing non-lethal weapons news articles from reliable major media sources.
A puzzling study of U.S. pregnancies found that women who had miscarriages between 2010 and 2012 were more likely to have had back-to-back annual flu shots that included protection against swine flu. Past studies have found flu vaccines are safe during pregnancy, though there’s been little research on impact of flu vaccinations given in the first three months of pregnancy. This study focused only on miscarriages, which occur in the first 19 weeks of pregnancy and are common. The study’s authors, two of whom are CDC researchers, saw a big difference when they looked at women who had miscarried within 28 days of getting a shot that included protection against swine flu, but it was only when the women also had had a flu shot the previous season. They found 17 of 485 miscarriages they studied involved women whose vaccinations followed that pattern. Just four of a comparable 485 healthy pregnancies involved women who were vaccinated that way. Some of the same researchers are working on a larger study looking at more recent data to see if a possible link between swine flu vaccine and miscarriage holds up.
Note: Shortly after publication, this article was removed from the ABC News website. The complete article text is available here. The study in Vaccine can be found on this page. An important article on this study by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on this webpage further states "in women who received the H1N1 vaccine in the previous flu season, the odds of spontaneous abortion in the 28 days after receiving a flu vaccine was 7.7 times greater." Could it be that the major media don't want to lose the huge revenue gained by drug ads by pharmaceuticals?
Wells Fargo’s admission that its employees created up to 3.5 million fraudulent accounts suggests a reckless, out-of-control culture. But the San Francisco banking giant seems to have a split personality of sorts. While branch employees aggressively pressured consumers ... commercial bankers adopted a relatively stingy approach to lending money to companies. That strategy allowed Wells Fargo to avoid the same kind of bad commercial loans that wiped out many banks during the financial crisis a decade ago. Had Wells Fargo applied the same due diligence to consumer banking as it did to commercial banking, the company might have avoided its current troubles. How do we reconcile these reckless/conservative sides of Wells Fargo? For one thing, federal regulators were not exactly keeping a close watch over Wells Fargo’s consumer business. Over the past two decades, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which is charged with protecting consumers, issued just 448 enforcement actions against Wells Fargo, even as the bank’s total assets have soared from nearly $200 billion in 1998 ... to $1.85 trillion today. The sheer size ... of the bank allows different divisions to essentially act like separate companies. That means community and commercial operations can boast completely different strategies and methods of compensating employees. In Wells Fargo’s case, branch employees would receive more pay if they hit aggressive sales goals, prompting them to open fraudulent accounts.
Note: Read more about the massive fraud perpetrated by Wells Fargo. Steve Glazer, chairman of the California Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee, recently compared this bank's actions with the behavior of Enron when its culture of corruption initially came to light. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing banking corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
When U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ introduces his Medicare-for-All legislation on Wednesday, advocates of a single-payer, government-sponsored health care hope it will be the end of a bitterly fought policy battle that has roiled the Democratic Party for generations. Since Democratic President Harry Truman first proposed a government-sponsored universal health care system in 1945 - and since a Democratic president and Democratic congress first enacted Medicare and Medicaid in the mid-1960s - progressives have hoped that the United States would follow other industrialized countries by guaranteeing health care to all citizens. Now ... Democrats from across the party’s ideological spectrum are flocking to [Sanders'] legislation. With polls showing rising support for government-sponsored health care, the party’s long civil war over the issue may be over, potentially allowing a more unified party to campaign on Medicare-for-All in 2018. As some ... continue to oppose single-payer, popular support for the idea is rising: 53 percent of Americans support “a national health plan in which all Americans would get their insurance from a single government plan,” according to a June Kaiser Health survey.
Sinead O’Connor is opening up about the horrifying sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother in an emotional interview on Dr. Phil. The “Nothing Compares 2 U” singer ... detailed how her mother Marie O’Connor “ran a torture chamber” and tormented her until she ran away from home at 13. “She was not well. She was very, very, very not well. I would say she was possessed. Although I’m not sure I believe in such things,” O’Connor, 50, said.“I ran away,” the singer added. “She used to make me say over and over ‘I am nothing. I am nothing’ or else she’d beat me.” Marie O’Connor died decades ago in a car crash when Sinead was 19 years old. O’Connor has made headlines in recent years for her erratic behavior. Despite this, she denied that she is mentally unstable, telling Dr. Phil, “I am fed up of being defined as the crazy person; the child abuse survivor.”
Note: Watch excerpts from Sinead O’Connor's interview with Dr. Phil. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
The government is under pressure to reconsider its commitment to a new generation of nuclear power stations after the cost of offshore wind power reached a record low. Experts said green energy had reached a tipping point in the UK after two windfarms secured a state-backed price for their output that was nearly half the level awarded last year to Britain’s first new nuclear power site in a generation, Hinkley Point C. Vince Cable, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, said the breakthrough should prompt a rethink of the government’s energy plans, which have pencilled in atomic plants at Wylffa in Wales, Sizewell in Suffolk and Bradwell in Essex. “The spectacular drop in the cost of offshore wind is extremely encouraging and shows the need for a radical reappraisal by government of the UK’s energy provision,” he said. The government spending watchdog this year described Hinkley as a “risky and expensive” project that generations of British consumers will have to pay for through electricity bills. The auction results are unlikely to halt the Hinkley project. But they pose a serious dilemma for ... new nuclear power plants around the UK and are likely to feed into a flagship government review of energy costs out next month. Most industry watchers had expected future nuclear projects to cost Ł80-Ł90 per MWh, a long way from the Ł62.14 average awarded to offshore windfarms. The price of building offshore windfarms has fallen by nearly a third since 2012 as the technology matured.
The Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington DC may have funded a “dry run” of the 9/11 attacks, according to evidence submitted to an ongoing lawsuit against the Saudi government. As reported by the New York Post, the embassy might have used two of its employees for the so-called dry run before a dozen hijackers flew two planes into the Twin Towers. The complaint, filed on behalf of 1,400 family members of the victims, stated that the Saudi Government paid two nationals, posing as students in the US, to take a flight from Phoenix to Washington and test out flight deck security before 9/11. FBI documents, submitted as evidence, claimed that the two Saudi nationals ... Mohammed al-Qudhaeein and Hamdan al-Shalawi, were in fact members of “the Kingdom's network of agents” in the country. The documents claimed the men trained in Afghanistan with a number of other al-Qaeda operatives that participated in the attacks. Qudhaeein was allegedly employed at the Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs, and Shalawi was a “longtime employee of the Saudi government” in Washington DC. In November 1999 they boarded an America West flight to Washington, and tried to access the cockpit several times. Their plane tickets were reportedly paid for by the Saudi Embassy. The allegations in the class action lawsuit were based on almost 5,000 pages of evidence. A total of 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi. Hundreds of thousands of US documents regarding Saudi Arabia remain secret.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing 9/11 news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our 9/11 Information Center.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.