Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Media Articles in Major Media
Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing 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.
A former lobbyist who was a rising star under Jack Abramoff’s tutelage was sentenced ... to nearly two years in prison for giving public officials meals and event tickets. Kevin Ring argued up until his emotional sentencing hearing that he was operating in a corrupt Washington environment controlled by people with money and that he did not break the law. U.S. District [Judge] Ellen Segal Huvelle said Ring’s conduct was not nearly as egregious as ringleader Abramoff or some of the others involved in a scandal that resulted in stricter lobbying rules in Washington. But the judge gave Ring a sentence of 20 months, one of the stiffest terms among the 21 defendants in the investigation. Most others involved cooperated with prosecutors and got plea deals that avoided prison. Huvelle said she did not consider Ring’s conduct [nearly as] bad as that of Abramoff and his business partner, Michael Scanlon, who bilked their American Indian tribal clients out of $20 million in fees, or former Rep. Bob Ney, who accepted golf and gambling trips, tickets to sporting events, free meals and campaign donations. But Abramoff, Scanlon and Ney all reached plea agreements with prosecutors that helped cut their sentences while Ring fought at trial. His sentence ranks with theirs — Abramoff got 48 months, Ney 30 months and Scanlon also was sentenced to 20 months.
Note: A petty thief steals three times for a total value of a few thousand dollars and by the "three strikes" law ends up in jail for life. Abramoff, along with his assistants, successfully corrupt U.S. Senators and Congress members and serve less than four years in jail. Many get off with no jail time. Is the US justice system biased towards the rich?
[New York police] officers — five are still on the force, and three are retired — and four other men were accused of transporting M-16 rifles and handguns, as well as what they believed to be stolen merchandise across state lines, according to a complaint filed in the case in Federal District Court in Manhattan. The gun-trafficking accusations strike at the heart of one of the Police Department’s most hard-fought and robust initiatives, and one that has been a central theme of the administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg: getting guns off the city’s streets. Mr. Bloomberg is the head of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a coalition of 600 municipal chief executives from around the nation. [NYPD], the largest municipal police force in the nation, [is] already besieged by corruption accusations. In recent weeks, testimony at the trial of a narcotics detective has featured accusations that he and his colleagues in Brooklyn and Queens planted drugs or lied under oath to meet arrest quotas and earn overtime, leading to the arrests of eight officers, the dismissal of hundreds of drug cases because of their destroyed credibility and the payout of more than $1 million in taxpayer money to settle false arrest lawsuits.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on government corruption, click here.
This spring’s nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant released almost double the amount of radiation the Japanese government has claimed, according to a new analysis. The authors say the boiling pools holding spent fuel rods played a role in the release of some of the contaminants, primarily cesium-137 — and that this could have been mitigated by an earlier response. Researchers at the Norwegian Institute of Air Research ... say the amount of cesium-137, a long-lived isotope that persists in the atmosphere, was about twice as high as the Japanese government’s official estimate. The researchers also say about 20 percent of the total fallout landed over Japan, but the vast majority fell over the Pacific Ocean. (The effects of this fallout on fisheries and aquatic wildlife are still being determined.) Cesium-137 emissions peaked three or four days after the quake and tsunami, remaining high until March 19, according to this new study. That’s the day authorities started spraying water on the spent-fuel pool at reactor unit 4, the researchers note. “This indicates that emissions were not only coming from the damaged reactor cores, but also from the spent-fuel pool of unit 4 and confirms that the spraying was an effective countermeasure,” they say. This contradicts Japanese government reports claiming the pools released no radiation.
Note: According to the French nuclear agency, the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN, Institut de Radioprotection et de Surete Nucleaire), even the higher estimate of radiation release described in this article is too low. The agency estimates that 20 times more cesium-137 was released than has been admitted by Tepco.
The Coalition for Mercury-free Drugs (CoMeD) exposes communications between Centers for Disease Control (CDC) personnel and vaccine researchers revealing U.S. officials apparently colluded in covering-up the decline in Denmark's autism rates following the removal of mercury from vaccines. Documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) show that CDC officials were aware of Danish data indicating a connection between removing Thimerosal (49.55% mercury) and a decline in autism rates. Despite this knowledge, these officials allowed a 2003 article to be published in Pediatrics that excluded this information, misrepresented the decline as an increase, and led to the mistaken conclusion that Thimerosal in vaccines does not cause autism. In Denmark, Thimerosal, a controversial mercury compound used as a preservative in certain vaccines, was removed from all Danish vaccines in 1992. The well-publicized Danish study published in Pediatrics 2003 claimed that autism rates actually increased after Thimerosal was phased out. This study subsequently became a cornerstone for the notion that mercury does not cause autism. However, one of the FOIA documents obtained from CDC clearly indicates that this study omitted large amounts of data showing autism rates actually dropping after mercury was removed from Danish vaccines.
Note: For the complete text of the article, which has been taken down from the Sacramento Bee website, click here. Read about a key scientific study which showed that monkeys given standard human vaccines developed autism symptoms, at this link. And an MSNBC/Associated Press report shows that the FDA rejected limits on thimerosal and that "most doses of flu vaccine still contain thimerosal."
Drinking lots of soda may increase the risk of violent behavior in teens, a new study suggests. Teens in the study who drank more than five cans of non-diet soda per day were significantly more likely to report behaving violently towards others, and more likely to report having carried a gun or knife in the past year, the researchers said. The results held even after the researchers took into account other factors that have been linked to violent behavior, including age, alcohol and tobacco use, and the frequency of family dinners. It's possible that the caffeine and sugar in the soda may directly affect teens' behavior, the researchers said. However, it's also possible that people who are violent have a penchant for soda. Additional research is needed to find the exact reason for the link. It's possible that an underlying condition, such as low blood sugar, may result in both high soda consumption and aggressive behavior, the researchers said. But even if soda consumption doesn't cause violent behavior, it may be a useful marker for aggressive, the researchers say.
Note: For an important article showing how violent behavior dramatically decreased at a school where junk food was replaced by healthy food, click here. For key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, said ... that his controversial website could be forced to shut down by the end of the year because a 10-month-old "financial blockade" had sharply reduced the donations on which it depends. Calling the blockade a "dangerous, oppressive and undemocratic" attack led by the United States, Assange said at a news conference that it had deprived his organization of "tens of millions of dollars," and warned, "If WikiLeaks does not find a way to remove this blockade, we will not be able to continue by the turn of the new year." Since the end of 2010, financial intermediaries - including Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union - have refused to allow donations to WikiLeaks to flow through their systems, he said, blocking "95 percent" of the website's revenue and leaving it to operate on its cash reserves for the past 10 months. An aide said that WikiLeaks was now receiving less than $10,000 a month in donations. Assange said that WikiLeaks had been forced to halt work on the processing of tens of thousands of secret documents that it has received, and to turn its attention instead to lawsuits it has filed in the United States, Australia, Scandinavian countries and elsewhere, as well as to a formal petition to the European Commission to try to restore donors' ability to send it money through normal channels.
Note: For more on this from BBC, click here.
The Obama White House's restrictions on media access to its fundraising events makes a mockery of its claim to be the most transparent administration in history. If anything, there is almost a Nixonian quality to the level of control, paranoia - and lack of credibility - this White House has demonstrated on the issue of media access to President Obama's fundraisers. Bay Area reporters will not be allowed inside the W Hotel today when the president meets with hundreds of contributors paying $7,500 or more to attend. Only Washington-based journalists were allowed in the pool - continuing a disturbing trend by this White House to severely limit access to fundraisers. Fundraisers are not private events in this post-Watergate era. Contributions are a matter of public record, and the public has a right to know what is being said to and by the president. Local journalists are better positioned than their Beltway brethren to recognize who is there - and why. The White House press office seems to have missed the transparency memo. Now it has cut all local reporters out of the pool. Most transparent administration in history? We'll see. Right now, we'd settle for straight answers and the opportunity to do our jobs.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on government secrecy, click here.
The last of the nation's biggest nuclear bombs, a Cold War relic 600 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was dismantled [on October 25]. Workers in Texas separated the roughly 300 pounds of high explosives inside from the special nuclear material — uranium — known as the pit. The work was done outside of public view for security reasons, but explosives from a bomb taken apart earlier were detonated as officials and reporters watched from less than a mile away. Put into service in 1962, when Cold War tensions peaked during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the B53 weighed 10,000 pounds and was the size of a minivan. The B53's disassembly ends the era of big megaton bombs, said Hans Kristensen, a spokesman for the Federation of American Scientists. The biggest nuclear bomb in the nation's arsenal now is the 1.2-megaton B83, he said. The B53 was 9 megatons. The 15-kiloton bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, at the end of World War II killed as many as 140,000 people. Kristensen said the Obama administration shouldn't boast too much about dismantling the B53 when its arsenal of active nuclear warheads has been reduced by only 10 in the past seven months and Russia's arsenal has grown by 29. The two nations signed a treaty in December to reduce their arsenals.
“Democracy Now!,” the 15-year-old public radio and television program ... distinguishes itself by documenting social movements, struggles for justice and the effects of American foreign policy, along with the rest of the day’s developments. Operated as a nonprofit organization and distributed on a patchwork of stations, channels and Web sites, “Democracy Now!” is proudly independent, in that way appealing to hundreds of thousands of people who are skeptical of the news organizations that are owned by major media companies. Though it has long had a loyal audience, “Democracy Now!” has gained more attention recently for methodical coverage of two news events — the execution of the Georgia inmate Troy Davis and the occupation of Wall Street and other symbolic sites across the country. [Host Amy] Goodman broadcast live from Georgia for six hours on Sept. 21, the evening of the execution, and “Democracy Now!” reporters were fanned out in Manhattan from the first day of the protests against corporate greed. The media, Ms. Goodman said in an interview last week, can be “the greatest force for peace on earth” for “it is how we come to understand each other.” But she asserted that the views of a majority of Americans had been “silenced by the corporate media.” “Which is why we have to take it back,” she said.
Note: Up until now, there has been a virtual ban on mentioning the important work of Amy Goodman and Democracy Now. Could this be a signal of some real change?
In December 2010 three of the world's biggest payment providers, Visa, Mastercard and Paypal, cut off funding to WikiLeaks. Ten months later, Julian Assange has announced the whistleblowing site will suspend operations until the blockade is lifted – and warned WikiLeaks does not have the money to continue into 2012 at current levels of funding. The banking blockade against WikiLeaks is one of the most sinister developments in recent years, and perhaps the most extreme example in a western democracy of extrajudicial actions aimed at stifling free speech. Payment companies representing more than 97% of the global market have shut off the funding taps between WikiLeaks and those who would donate to it. Unlike many of the country's leading corporations, WikiLeaks has neither been charged with, nor convicted of, any crime at either state, federal, or international level. Visa and Mastercard are already inescapable. As the world becomes ever-more digital ... they will become still more pervasive. If they are allowed to cut off payment to lawful organisations with whom they disagree, the US's first amendment, the European convention on human rights' article 10, and all other legal free speech protections become irrelevant. Those who value free expression, whether they like WikiLeaks or loathe it, should hope it wins its current battle.
Note: For more on this from BBC, click here.
One week after a U.S. military airstrike killed a 16-year-old American citizen in Yemen, no one in the Obama administration, Pentagon or Congress has taken responsibility for his death, or even publicly acknowledged that it happened. The absence of official accountability for the demise of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, a Denver native and the son of [Anwar al-Awlaki], deepens the legal and ethical murkiness of the Obama administration’s campaign to kill alleged enemies of the state outside of traditional war zones. Officials throughout the U.S. government ... have refused to answer questions for the record about how or why Awlaki was killed Oct. 14 in a remote part of Yemen, along with eight other people. The official silence about the death of the American teenager contrasts with the Obama administration’s eagerness to trumpet another airstrike in Yemen two weeks earlier. In that case, armed drones controlled by the CIA killed the teen’s father, Anwar al-Awlaki. [A] U.S. official said the airstrike was launched by the military’s secretive Joint Special Operations Command, or JSOC. The younger Awlaki was the third U.S. citizen killed by the U.S. government in Yemen in recent weeks.
Note: For deep background on reasons why the US government may have wanted to eliminate Anwar al-Awlaki and his son, click here.
Three Massachusetts State Police officers once staked out organized-crime chief Whitey Bulger for months, all the while not knowing that he was an FBI informant who was tipped to their surveillance. James “Whitey” Bulger, now 82, is the Al Capone of Boston. A fugitive since 1995 who seemed untouchable, he is also compared to the “Teflon Don” of New York, John Gotti. His brother, Billy Bulger, was once the most powerful political figure in Massachusetts. "Whitey" was an FBI informant for decades while ruling the Irish organized-crime world. He made millions from rackets and drugs and committed an untold number of murders to keep his empire safe. On June 22, he was arrested in Santa Monica, California. The seizure of weapons and more than $800,000 in cash was no surprise. Recently, I spoke with three of the best—Bob Long, Rick Fraelick, and Jack O’Malley. Intrepid Bob Long was in charge. Bob Long says that if Bulger and Flemmi had not been protected by the FBI, “then ... nine murders would have never taken place. Long said he believes that Agents Morris and Connolly identified more than a dozen individuals to Bulger and Flemmi as FBI informants or could-be FBI informants and all of those people were killed. Connolly is now in prison; Morris received a grant of immunity for testimony.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on government corruption, click here.
Dr. Jim Withers has been caring exclusively for [Pittsburgh, PA's] homeless since 1992. Night after night, he and his team make their rounds at homeless camps. They treat everything, head to toe -- from mental illness to frostbitten feet. What little money Withers makes comes mostly from grants and teaching at a medical school. But he doesn't think about money. In fact, he doesn't think at all like a typical doctor. "The essence of healthcare is going to where people are. Either physically or even more importantly spiritually, emotionally," he said. "When they're shown that they matter," Withers said, ... "then hope grows. And amazing things happen. That's why we've been able to house well over 700 people. You know, if I could I'd write a prescription for a house for all the street people because it is immensely important for health." Jim Ellis, 49, was on the streets for eight years until he met Withers, who first treated his back pain and then helped cure his homelessness. Through a non-profit Withers started called Operation Safety Net, he and his staff have been remarkably successful at finding apartments for people like Jim. Over the years, Operation Safety Net has been able to help so many that today homelessness in Pittsburgh is literally half the problem it used to be - half as many people on the streets. About a dozen cites in America are now trying to copy the program, in firm belief that this doctor definitely knows best.
Measles cases have surged in parts of Canada and the United States this year. A still smoldering outbreak of measles in Quebec is the largest in the Americas in over a decade. An investigation into an outbreak in a high school in a town that was heavily hit by the virus found that about half of the cases were in teens who had received the recommended two doses of vaccine in childhood — in other words, teens whom authorities would have expected to have been protected from the measles virus. It's generally assumed that the measles vaccine ... should protect against measles infection about 99 per cent of the time. So the discovery that 52 of the 98 teens who caught measles were fully vaccinated came as a shock to the researchers who conducted the investigation.
Note: For an excellent report endorsed by dozens of respected doctors and nurses on the serious risks and dangers of vaccines, click here. For key reports from reliable sources on the dangers and questionable science surrounding vaccines, click here.
Wall Street's total price tag on settlements with U.S. securities regulators for allegedly misleading investors about mortgage bonds churned out ahead of the financial crisis surged past $1 billion with a deal by Citigroup Inc. to pay $285 million ... to end civil-fraud charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC claimed Citigroup sold slices of the $1 billion mortgage-bond deal without disclosing to investors that the bank was shorting $500 million of the deal, or betting its assets would lose value. Several Wall Street firms have settled similar claims by the SEC, which has generally stuck to the strategy used by the agency to get a $550 million settlement last year with Goldman Sachs Group Inc.. And the SEC's investigation of the Wall Street mortgage machine isn't over yet. Lorin Reisner, deputy enforcement director at the SEC, said civil mortgage-related cases against Goldman, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Countrywide Financial Corp., New Century Financial Corp. and other companies "read like an index to unlawful conduct in connection with the financial crisis." The SEC has collected a total of $1.03 billion through mortgage-bond-deal settlements. In addition to Citigroup, the total includes Goldman, J.P. Morgan, Royal Bank of Canada, Wells Fargo & Co. and Credit Suisse Group AG.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on the illegal profiteering of major financial corporations, click here.
“We are the 99 percent!” The chant thunders through the streets, from Wall Street in New York City, where the Occupy movement began, to K Street in Washington, where high-paid lobbyists influence government, to streets in cities and small towns all across the nation. In hundreds of Occupations, ordinary people have been moved to fill parks and streets and squares with signs, tents, impromptu soup kitchens, intense conversations and lengthy meetings. What’s going on? All share a common heart, a revulsion against an economy and a politics that increasingly say, “You don’t count, except as something to exploit. Your voice is drowned out by money, your labor is expendable, your needs must be sacrificed to the gods of profit.” The Occupy movement demonstrates a very different model of organizing: emergent, decentralized, without a command and control structure. At its essence, the message of the Occupations is simply this: “Here in the face of power we will sit and create a new society, in which you do count. Your voice carries weight, your contributions have value, whoever you may be. We say that love and care are the true foundations for the society we want to live in. We’ll stand with the poor and sleep with the homeless if that’s what it takes to get justice. We’ll build a new world.”
Note: Find your nearest occupation at: http://www.occupytogether.org/ . For lots more from major media sources on the reasons why people worldwide are occupying the financial centers of their cities, check out our "Banking Bailout" news articles.
After years of criminality and deception that included scouting targets for the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks — a slaughter that left 166 people dead — Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley was arrested by U.S. authorities in October 2009. Facing the death penalty and possible extradition overseas, he chose to cooperate. A federal judge yesterday ordered federal prosecutors to make public two video clips of the FBI’s interrogation of Headley shortly after he was arrested. The tapes show Headley ... trying to make the kind of deal that had won his freedom twice before. His first success came in 1988, when his cooperation with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) shrunk an eight-year sentence for importing heroin down to four years. When he was arrested again on heroin charges in 1997, he again cooperated with the DEA, becoming an informant and even traveling to Pakistan on the agency’s behalf. He served 15 months in prison, when he had been looking at nine years. From these experiences, Headley knew the more information he gave, the sweeter the deal. Once again, Headley succeeded in getting himself a deal. His plea agreement saved him from extradition and the death penalty, but his cooperation included testifying against his childhood best friend, Tahawwur Rana, who in June was found guilty of conspiring with Headley to attack a Danish newspaper. During Rana’s trial, the defense played these two clips of Headley’s interrogation in court.
Note: Videos of Headley's manipulations are available at the link above. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
Pap smear tests are still the best way to prevent cervical cancer, but women should not seek them every year, a U.S. government-backed expert panel and major cancer groups said. Instead, every three years is a reasonable timetable, according to the Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), the same group that recently recommended against routine prostate cancer tests for healthy men. Proposing changes to 2003 recommendations, the task force also said evidence is still insufficient to weigh harms and benefits of tests screening for human papillomavirus (HPV) -- in contrast with the views of cancer patient advocates. However, in a rare show of unity, the groups including the American Cancer Society sided with the panel on the new recommendations and proposed new screening guidelines themselves for the first time, bluntly recommending against the common practice of annual Pap tests. Echoing the panels' recommendations, the cancer groups also said women younger than 21 do not need to get tested. However, despite the task force's skepticism over the effectiveness of the HPV test in preventing cancer, the cancer society and other groups called the combination of regular Pap plus HPV testing the "preferred strategy" for women over 30, if done every three to five years.
Note: For an excellent Dr. Mercola article on the risks involved with both Pap tests and the HPV vaccine Gardasil, click here.
Federal employees whose compensation averages more than $126,000 and the nation’s greatest concentration of lawyers helped Washington edge out San Jose as the wealthiest U.S. metropolitan area, government data show. The U.S. capital has swapped top spots with Silicon Valley, according to recent Census Bureau figures, with the typical household in the Washington metro area earning $84,523 last year. The national median income for 2010 was $50,046. The figures demonstrate how the nation’s political and financial classes are prospering as the economy struggles with unemployment above 9 percent and thousands of Americans protest in the streets against income disparity, said Kevin Zeese, director of Prosperity Agenda, a Baltimore-based advocacy group trying to narrow the divide between rich and poor. “There’s a gap that’s isolating Washington from the reality of the rest of the country,” Zeese said. “They just get more and more out of touch.” In recent years Washington has attracted more lobbyists and firms with an interest in the health-care overhaul and financial regulations signed into law by President Barack Obama. “Wall Street has moved to K Street,” said Barbara Lang, president and chief executive officer of the DC Chamber of Commerce, referring to the Washington street that’s home to prominent lobbying firms.
A highly sophisticated computer worm which has many of the same characteristics of the virus used to attack Iran's nuclear programme has been discovered targeting companies in Europe. Experts say its code is so similar to the Stuxnet worm that attacked Iran, that it may have been engineered by the same people. The US and Israel were widely thought to be behind Stuxnet, which sent many of the centrifigues at Tehran's nuclear facilities spinning out of control. It took this kind of cyberwarfare to a new level. The new virus was discovered by Symantec, a leading cybersecurity firm, and has been called Duqu. Symantec would not disclose which firms had been targeted. "The majority of the code is consistent with the Stuxnet code," said a spokesman for Symantec. "So this new worm either came from the authors of Stuxnet, or someone was given access to the Stuxnet source codes." Symantec suspects that Duqu may have been the first in a wave of new Stuxnet-style viruses, and that further sophisticated versions of it with a more aggressive purpose may emerge in the coming months. Stuxnet showed that cyberwarfare is developing fast, and is increasingly being thought of by states as a means of inflicting maximum damage with minimum risk. Earlier this year the Guardian revealed that the UK is developing its own "first strike" capability.
Important Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing 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.