Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Media Articles in Major Media
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.
Ministers are preparing to offload millions of unwanted swine flu vaccines, it has emerged, as officials predicted that there will be no third wave of the pandemic this winter. Millions of [dollars] could be wasted if the Government is unable to get out of orders for the vaccine it has placed with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the pharmaceutical giant. Officials confirmed that they are considering a number of options, including attempting to sell or give away millions of the vaccines. They also considering whether to stand down the National Pandemic Flu Service, the network of call centres which diagnose swine flu and hand out antiviral medications. In May, even before a pandemic had been declared, ministers had signed contracts thought to be worth around Ł100 million to deliver 90 million vaccines to Britain. Britain has now received almost 29 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine, but only just over 3.7 million have been given out and in total the Government has announced plans to inoculate only 14 million people.
Note: For a powerful insight into the corrupt symbiosis between pharmaceutical corporations and government, read this analysis by Marcia Angell, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine. For lots more on the swine flu scare, click here.
Men who have sex at least twice a week can almost halve their risk of heart disease, according to new research. It shows men who indulge in regular lovemaking are up to 45 per cent less likely to develop life-threatening heart conditions than men who have sex once a month or less. The study, of over 1,000 men, shows sex appears to have a protective effect on the male heart but did not examine whether women benefit too. Now the American researchers who carried out the investigation are calling for doctors to screen men for sexual activity when assessing their risk of heart disease. Although sex has long been regarded as good for physical and mental health, there has been little scientific evidence to show the full benefits that frequent intercourse can have on major illnesses such as heart disease. An earlier study at the National Cancer Institute in the US showed men who ejaculated through sex or masturbation at least five times a week were much less likely to get prostate cancer.
Note: For a treasure trove of key reports on important health issues, click here.
Mad about the bank bailouts? Had enough of huge bonuses and too-big-to-fail apologies? Here's one way to do something about it. Take your money out. That's right. Take your checking and savings account out of that big money-center financial institution and move it to a community bank or credit union. There's even a movement afoot to help consumers make the switch, called Move Your Money. The website offers search tools so consumers thinking about switching can type in their zip codes to find a credit union or a strong community bank nearby. Even in 2008, the latest numbers available, credit unions and community banks have seen an increase in depositors. Now "other people are taking up the call to move their money into a community bank," says Karen Tyson, senior vice president for communications at the Independent Community Bankers of America. "We can't help but be happy with that." Amber Taylor of Arlington, Va., is one of those who's actually switching. "I never thought about what bank I chose before," she says. "I don't know what huge difference this will make in the big world [but] it's one little thing that I discovered I could do."
Data, data, data. There's loads of it out there and more coming your way as governments open their statistics vaults around the world. First the US with data.gov, then Australia and New Zealand followed suit. Now it's the UK's turn with data.gov.uk. And that's in addition to the cities and US states that have made government data available too: London launched very recently - you can get the full set of links for government data sites around the world here. You now have tens of sites around the world providing you access, but how do you find them? Well, this is now the place. To coincide with the launch of data.gov.uk, we have created the ultimate gateway to world government data. At World Government Data you can: • Search government data sites from the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand and London ... in one place and download the data • Help us find the best dataset by ranking them • Collect similar datasets together from around the world • Browse all datasets by each country.
Antidepressants ... may be no better than dummy pills for people with mild or moderate depression, according to a study that suggests 70 percent of patients wouldn’t benefit from the drugs. In a review of six trials of antidepressants involving more than 700 patients published yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers led by Jay Fournier at the University of Pennsylvania found the drugs helped only those patients with the most severe depression. Doctors, policy makers and sufferers should be made aware that there’s little evidence to show the treatments will benefit patients with less severe symptoms, the authors said. “This important feature of the evidence base is not reflected in the implicit messages present in the marketing of these medications to clinicians and the public,” they said. The researchers combined data from six trials. The drugs had a “nonexistent to negligible” effect on patients with mild, moderate and severe symptoms, compared with those who took a placebo, according to a commonly used scale used to measure the disorder. The pills had a large effect on patients with very severe symptoms, the study found.
Note: For a treasure trove of important reports on corruption regarding major health issues, click here.
It took a five-year-old girl to save her father's life. She talked to 911 dispatchers when she thought her father was having a heart attack. About 9:30 Monday night, Hancock county dispatcher Jason Bonham got a call. At first, he couldn't understand the person who was on the line. A man was in distress and unable to speak. That's when Savannah, the man's five-year-old daughter, picked up the phone. "My dad can't hardly breathe," she told Bonham. The call to 911 came from a cell phone, so dispatchers didn't automatically have an address. With her father's help, the little voice clearly repeated their street address, and with time of the essence, gave dispatchers all the information they needed. "Is your Daddy still awake?" "Yeah." "Most people when you talk to them, they're hysterical," said Bonham. Her calm was not nearly as surprising as her tender age. "How old are you?" "I'm five years old." For nearly ten minutes she stayed on the line, handling a scary situation with courage and grace. "He looks like he's real shaky," Savannah said. "You're doing a good job, all right, Savannah? They should be there in a few minutes." "How many minutes?" "Okay, you have to stay awake they'll be here in a couple minutes." "It's okay, Dad." Savannah is now credited for saving her father's life. The girl's father was back at work Wednesday as doctors try to figure out what happened.
Note: For an awesome four-minute video of this inspiring event, click here.
An investigation by BBC's Newsnight has cast doubts on the key piece of evidence which convicted the Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi. Tests aimed at reproducing the blast appear to undermine the case's central forensic link, based on a tiny fragment identified as part of a bomb timer. The tests suggest the fragment, which linked the attack to Megrahi, would not have survived the mid-air explosion. Newsnight has ... exposed serious doubts about the forensics used to identify the fragment as being part of a trigger circuit board. The fragment was found three weeks after the attack. For months it remained unnoticed and unremarked, but eventually it was to shape the entire investigation. The fragment was embedded in a charred piece of clothing, which was marked with a label saying it was made in Malta. So the focus turned to Malta and the question of who had bought the clothes. A shopkeeper on the island identified Megrahi, but this came only years later after he saw him pictured in a magazine as a Lockerbie suspect. Newsnight has discovered that the fragment - crucial to the conviction - was never subjected to chemical analysis or swabbing to establish whether it had in fact been involved in any explosion.
Note: For a revealing documentary showing a major cover-up of the Lockerbie bombing, click here. For many reports from major media sources questioning the evidence presented in the prosecution of "terrorism" cases, click here.
It is not illegal for the Federal Reserve or the U.S. Treasury to buy S&P 500 futures. This type of intervention could explain some of the unusual market action in recent months, with stock prices grinding higher on low volume even as companies sold huge amounts of new shares and retail investors stayed on the sidelines. Some market watchers have charted that virtually all of the market’s upside since mid-September has come from after-hours futures activity. [These claims are] based on an analysis of the possible sources of the $600 billion in net new cash that was needed to boost the U.S. stock market capitalization by $6 billion since March. The usual sources, such as retail investors and pension funds, could muster only about $100 billion. The rest had to come from somewhere. The Fed has been openly buying some $1.7 trillion worth of long-term bonds since last March, which is something it hasn't done since the 1950s. Today, the Fed is making purchases to support housing by keeping mortgages cheap. As these purchases are phased out over the next few months, long-term interest rates will continue to move higher. This will cause long-term bond prices to fall, causing this new "bond bubble" to deflate. Stock investors will benefit, just as they did in the 1950s and 1960s as capital was moved from falling bonds into rising stocks.
Note: For a treasure trove of key reports from reliable sources on the secret manipulations keeping Wall Street afloat, click here.
The nation’s top scientists and spies are collaborating on an effort to use the federal government’s intelligence assets — including spy satellites and other classified sensors — to assess the hidden complexities of environmental change. The collaboration ... has the strong backing of the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Secrecy cloaks the monitoring effort ... because the United States wants to keep foes and potential enemies in the dark about the abilities of its spy satellites and other sensors. Controversy has often dogged the use of federal intelligence gear for environmental monitoring. About 60 scientists — mainly from academia but including some from industry and federal agencies — run the effort’s scientific side. All have secret clearances. The C.I.A. runs the program and arranges for the scientists to draw on federal surveillance equipment, including highly classified satellites of the National Reconnaissance Office. Officials said the effort to restart the program originated on Capitol Hill in 2008 after former Vice President Al Gore argued for its importance with Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, who was then a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee; she became its chairwoman in early 2009.
Note: What happens to the public perception of science if research relies increasingly on secret data and collaboration with spy agencies? How could the results of important studies be verified by independent researchers? For lots more on the ever-expanding world of government secrecy, click here.
Of the 84,000 chemicals in commercial use in the United States -- from flame retardants in furniture to household cleaners -- nearly 20 percent are secret, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, their names and physical properties guarded from consumers and virtually all public officials under a little-known federal provision. Under the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, manufacturers must report to the federal government new chemicals they intend to market. But the law exempts from public disclosure any information that could harm their bottom line. Government officials, scientists and environmental groups say that manufacturers have exploited weaknesses in the law to claim secrecy for an ever-increasing number of chemicals. In the past several years, 95 percent of the notices for new chemicals sent to the government requested some secrecy, according to the Government Accountability Office. About 700 chemicals are introduced annually. Some companies have successfully argued that the federal government should not only keep the names of their chemicals secret but also hide from public view the identities and addresses of the manufacturers.
Note: So according to this law, the bottom line (profits) trumps public health. For lots more on corporate and government secrecy, click here.
Researchers are already using brain-computer interfaces to aid the disabled, treat diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, and provide therapy for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Work is under way on devices that may eventually let you communicate with friends telepathically, give you superhuman hearing and vision or even let you download data directly into your brain, a la "The Matrix." Researchers are practically giddy over the prospects. "We don't know what the limits are yet," says Melody Moore Jackson, director of Georgia Tech University's BrainLab. At the root of all this technology is the 3-pound generator we all carry in our head. It produces electricity at the microvolt level. But the signals are strong enough to move robots, wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs -- with the help of an external processor. One of the more controversial uses under development is telepathy. It would require at least two people to be implanted with electrodes that send and receive signals. DARPA, the Pentagon's technology research division, is currently working on an initiative called "Silent Talk," which would let soldiers on secret missions communicate with their thoughts alone. This stealth component is attractive, but naysayers fear that such soldiers could become manipulated for evil means.
Note: Remember that secret military research such as that undertaken by DARPA is often years ahead of capabilities publicly acknowledged.
Bush administration officials came up with all kinds of ridiculously offensive rationalizations for torturing prisoners. Itâ€™s not torture if you donâ€™t mean it to be. Itâ€™s not torture if you donâ€™t nearly kill the victim. Itâ€™s not torture if the president says itâ€™s not torture. It was deeply distressing to watch the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sink to that standard in April when it dismissed a civil case brought by four former GuantĂˇnamo detainees never charged with any offense. The court said former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the senior military officers charged in the complaint could not be held responsible for violating the plaintiffsâ€™ rights because at the time of their detention ... it was not â€śclearly establishedâ€ť that torture was illegal. The Supreme Court could have corrected that outlandish reading of the Constitution, legal precedent, and domestic and international statutes and treaties. Instead, last month, the justices abdicated their legal and moral duty and declined to review the case. The justices surely understood that their failure to accept the case would further undermine the rule of law. In effect, the Supreme Court has granted the government immunity for subjecting people in its custody to terrible mistreatment. It has deprived victims of a remedy and Americans of government accountability, while further damaging the countryâ€™s standing in the world.
Note: For many reliable reports on the torture used by governments pursuing the "war on terror", click here.
Dolphins have been declared the worldâ€™s second most intelligent creatures after humans, with scientists suggesting they are so bright that they should be treated as â€śnon-human personsâ€ť. Studies into dolphin behaviour have highlighted how similar their communications are to those of humans and that they are brighter than chimpanzees. These have been backed up by anatomical research showing that dolphin brains have many key features associated with high intelligence. The researchers argue that their work shows it is morally unacceptable to keep such intelligent animals in amusement parks or to kill them for food or by accident when fishing. Some 300,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises die in this way each year. â€śMany dolphin brains are larger than our own and second in mass only to the human brain when corrected for body size,â€ť said Lori Marino, a zoologist at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, who has used magnetic resonance imaging scans to map the brains of dolphin species and compare them with those of primates. Thomas White, professor of ethics at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, who has written a series of academic studies suggesting dolphins should have rights, [said], â€śThe scientific research ... suggests that dolphins are â€non-human personsâ€™ who qualify for moral standing as individuals."
Note: For many reliable accounts of the wonderful intelligence of marine mammals and how they have been abused by human activities, click here.
About six million Americans receiving food stamps report they have no other income, according to an analysis of state data collected by The New York Times. In declarations that states verify and the federal government audits, they described themselves as unemployed and receiving no cash aid â€” no welfare, no unemployment insurance, and no pensions, child support or disability pay. Their numbers were rising before the recession as tougher welfare laws made it harder for poor people to get cash aid, but they have soared by about 50 percent over the past two years. About one in 50 Americans now lives in a household with a reported income that consists of nothing but a food-stamp card. Members of this straitened group range from displaced strivers ... to weathered men who sleep in shelters and barter cigarettes. Some draw on savings or sporadic under-the-table jobs. Some move in with relatives. Some get noncash help, like subsidized apartments. While some go without cash incomes only briefly before securing jobs or aid, others rely on food stamps alone for many months. The surge in this precarious way of life has been so swift that few policy makers have noticed. But it attests to the growing role of food stamps within the safety net. One in eight Americans now receives food stamps, including one in four children.
Note: For revealing reports from major media sources on increasing income inequality, click here.
Just before Christmas, the US President, Barack Obama, signed into law one of his country's biggest aid pledges of the year. It was bound not for Africa or any of the many struggling countries on the World Bank's list. It was a deal for $US2.77 billion ($3 billion) to go to Israel in 2010 and a total of $US30 billion over the next decade. Israel is bound by the agreement to use 75 per cent of the aid to buy military hardware made in the US. For the first time the US is also providing $US500 million to the Palestinian Authority, including $US100 million to train security forces, under the strict proviso that the authority's leadership recognises Israel. For many years Israel has been the largest recipient of US foreign aid, followed by Egypt ($US1.75 billion), which also receives most of its assistance in tied military aid. The Congressional Research Service says that the US spent 17 per cent of its total aid budget - or $US5.1 billion - on military aid in 2008, of which $US4.7 billion was grants to enable governments to receive equipment from the US.
Note: Israel's population is 7.5 million. If you do the math, the US is providing the equivalent of $4,000 in aid to every man, woman and child in Israel over the next decade, with $3,000 of that to buy US military hardware. For lots more on government-facilitated profiteering in the arms industry, click here and here.
For most of the past 70 years, the U.S. economy has grown at a steady clip, generating perpetually higher incomes and wealth for American households. But since 2000, the story is starkly different. The past decade was the worst for the U.S. economy in modern times, a sharp reversal from a long period of prosperity. It was, according to a wide range of data, a lost decade for American workers. The decade began in a moment of triumphalism -- there was a current of thought among economists in 1999 that recessions were a thing of the past. By the end, there were two, bookends to a debt-driven expansion that was neither robust nor sustainable. There has been zero net job creation since December 1999. No previous decade going back to the 1940s had job growth of less than 20 percent. Economic output rose at its slowest rate of any decade since the 1930s as well. Middle-income households made less in 2008, when adjusted for inflation, than they did in 1999 -- and the number is sure to have declined further during a difficult 2009. The Aughts were the first decade of falling median incomes since figures were first compiled in the 1960s. And the net worth of American households ... has also declined when adjusted for inflation, compared with sharp gains in every previous decade since data were initially collected in the 1950s.
Note: For revealing reports from major media sources on the realities of the economic crisis, click here.
Along with Wall Street’s resurgent bonuses will come a jump in an ancillary benefit: tax breaks. For all banks and Wall Street firms, “I’m sure we’re talking $200 billion total compensation, which would create a tax savings for the firms of $80 billion,” said Robert Willens, an accounting and tax analyst in New York. The tax deductions, which will increase the bottom line of the banks, are perfectly legal and not new. They come as compensation for 2009 has roared back after the largest banks paid back billions of dollars in federal aid, an outlay still fresh in the minds of taxpayers. As pay goes up, so do the deductions. Many American banks already pay minuscule federal income taxes. Because of various deductions and clever tax planning the payout-related breaks will reduce their tax bills further in coming years. The biggest tax break will go to Goldman Sachs. It expects to award its employees $23 billion in bonuses — the most in its history. Because most employee compensation is a deductible expense under tax laws, Goldman Sachs ... will save about $9 billion in federal income taxes on the bonuses it pays out for 2009.
Note: For a treasure trove of reliable reports on the government bailout of Wall Street, click here.
In 2009, the Justice Department began to release reports and top-secret memos detailing interrogation techniques ... used by CIA officers against suspected terror operatives. The list of brutal techniques, including holding prisoners in small boxes, staging mock executions, and water torture, is reminiscent of some of the worst human-rights abuses on record. In medieval Europe, torture was more than just a means of punishment. Many criminal trials of the era consisted of one or more 'ordeals,' painful tests designed to prove guilt or innocence through supernatural judgment. During waterboarding, a technique first used in the 14th century, torturers begin by pumping water directly into a victim's stomach or slowly flooding his throat with liquid. Used extensively during the Spanish Inquisition, the practice became less publicly acceptable during the Enlightenment, then experienced an underground resurgence in the 19th century. Since World War II, different forms of waterboarding have been employed by governments in Japan, Cambodia, the United Kingdom and the United States, among others. In addition to performing forced labor, prisoners at Nazi concentration camps became subjects in some of the cruelest medical experiments ever performed. They were often held at extreme altitudes and temperatures to help develop new survival strategies or exposed to deadly gases and diseases in order to test vaccines. Many of these tests, directed by the infamous Josef Mengele at Auschwitz, advanced Nazi ideology by establishing 'Jewish racial inferiority.'
Note: The above link leads to a revealing 12-part slide show on the history of torture. For more disturbing information on how Nazi torture techniques were eventually used by the CIA for mind control, click here.
Since the attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day, former Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff has given dozens of media interviews touting the need for the federal government to buy more full-body scanners for airports. What he has made little mention of is that the Chertoff Group, his security consulting agency, includes a client that manufactures the machines. An airport passengers' rights group ... criticized Chertoff, who left office less than a year ago, for using his former government credentials to advocate for a product that benefits his clients. "Mr. Chertoff should not be allowed to ... privately gain from the sale of full-body scanners under the pretense that the scanners would have detected this particular type of explosive," said Kate Hanni, founder of FlyersRights.org, which opposes the use of the scanners. Chertoff's advocacy for the technology dates back to his time in the Bush administration. In 2005, Homeland Security ordered the government's first batch of the scanners. Today, 40 body scanners are in use at 19 U.S. airports. The number is expected to skyrocket at least in part because of the Christmas Day incident. The Transportation Security Administration this week said it will order 300 more machines.
Note: For lots more on the profiteering that underlies "the war on terror," click here.
Deception [is reliant] on the close control of information, running agents (and double-agents) and creating stories that adversaries will readily believe. In an era of ubiquitous information access, anonymous leaks and public demands for transparency, deception operations are extraordinarily difficult. Nevertheless, successful strategic deception has in the past provided the United States with significant advantages that translated into operational and tactical success. Successful deception also minimizes U.S. vulnerabilities, while simultaneously setting conditions to surprise adversaries. Thus, strategic deception capabilities and plans must perforce be highly classified. Deception cannot succeed in wartime without developing theory and doctrine in peacetime. In order to mitigate or impart surprise, the United States should develop more robust interagency deception planning and action prior to the need for military operations. To be effective, a permanent standing office with strong professional intelligence and operational expertise needs to be established.
Note: The above excerpts can be found on pages 77 and 78. For a powerful two-page summary of a top general's description of how the American public is deceived into supporting war, click here.
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.