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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.
Japan's tsunami-stricken nuclear-power complex came closer to a catastrophic meltdown than previously indicated by its operator [which on November 30] described how one reactor's molten nuclear core likely burned through its primary containment chamber and then ate as far as three-quarters of the way through the concrete in a secondary vessel. The [new] assessment—offered by Japan's government and Tokyo Electric Power Co., ... marked Japan's most sobering reckoning to date of the nuclear disaster sparked by the country's March 11 earthquake and tsunami. But it came nearly six months after U.S. and international nuclear experts and regulators had reached similar conclusions. For the first time, Tokyo Electric ... said that nuclear-fuel rods in the complex's No. 1 reactor had likely melted completely, burning through their so-called pressure vessel and then boring through concrete at the bottom of a second containment vessel. That brought the fuel closer than previously believed to breaching the containment vessel and foundation and continuing to burn through the ground below — a scenario sometimes described as the "China Syndrome." The findings are the latest reminder of how much remains unknown about the extent of the mid-March Fukushima Daiichi accident.
Note: For further information on the developing understanding of the severity of the meltdowns at Fukushima, see these reports at The Guardian and The New York Times. For key reports from major media sources on corporate and government corruption, click here and here.
Can the president use the military to arrest anyone he wants, keep that person away from a judge and jury, and lock him up for as long as he wants? In the Senate’s dark and terrifying vision of the Constitution, he can. Last week ... the Senate Armed Services Committee decided to meet in secret. Behind closed doors, it drafted an amendment to a bill appropriating money for the Pentagon. The amendment would permit the president to use the military for law enforcement purposes in the United States. Essentially, this legislation would enable the president to divert from the criminal justice system, and thus to divert from the protections of the Constitution, any person he pleases. And that person, under this terrifying bill, would have no recourse to a judge to require the president either to file charges against him or to set him free. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution says, “No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Note, the Founders used the word “person.” Thus, the requirement of due process must be accorded to all human beings held by the government -- not just Americans, not just nice people, but all persons. If this legislation becomes law, it will be dangerous for anyone to be right when the government is wrong. It will be dangerous for all of us. Just consider what any president could get away with. Who would he make disappear first? Might it be his political opponents? Might it be you?
Note: The author of this op-ed, Andrew P. Napolitano, is a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey. His most recent book is It Is Dangerous to Be Right When the Government Is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom.
Amnesty International on [December 1] called on Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia to arrest former U.S. President George W. Bush for human rights abuse when he visits the region this month. During his time as President from 2001 to 2009, Bush authorized the use of waterboarding and other interrogation techniques that Amnesty and other human rights groups consider torture. "International law requires that there be no safe haven for those responsible for torture; Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia must seize this opportunity to fulfill their obligations and end the impunity George W. Bush has so far enjoyed," Matt Pollard, senior legal adviser, said in a statement. Bush has defended the use of waterboarding -- which simulates the sensation of drowning -- as key to preventing a repeat of the September 11 attacks on the United States. Bush is expected to visit the region this week to raise awareness about cancer in Africa, Amnesty said.
Note: For the full text of Amnesty's call for the arrest of George W. Bush, click here. For lots more from major media sources on the crimes of the Bush administration during the "global war on terror," click here.
The federal government has not done enough to oversee the treatment of America's foster children with powerful mind-altering drugs, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. The GAO's report, based on a two-year-long investigation, looked at five states - Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon and Texas. Thousands of foster children were being prescribed psychiatric medications at doses higher than the maximum levels approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in these five states alone. And hundreds of foster children received five or more psychiatric drugs at the same time despite absolutely no evidence supporting the simultaneous use or safety of this. Overall, the GAO ... found that more than one-fourth of foster children were prescribed at least one psychiatric drug, [and] were prescribed psychotropic drugs at rates up to nearly five times higher than non-foster children. The chances of a foster child compared to a non-foster child being given five or more psychiatric drugs at the same time were alarming. In Texas, foster children were 53 times more likely to be prescribed five or more psychiatric medications at the same time than non-foster children. Foster children were also more than nine times more likely than non-foster children to be prescribed drugs for which there was no FDA-recommended dose for their age. For ... those less than 1 year old, foster children were nearly twice as likely to be prescribed a psychiatric drug compared to non-foster children.
Silver amalgam fillings, which have plugged American cavities for more than 150 years, have lost their luster over the last couple of decades thanks to the rise of more attractive tooth-colored fillings and concerns about the environmental and health impact of their chief ingredient: mercury. Although use of amalgam fillings has dropped 30 percent in the last decade, according to the American Dental Association, these fillings are still sitting in hundreds of millions of mouths, and dentists continue to fill some 50 million teeth with amalgam each year — especially in children. Mercury, a known neurotoxin, makes up 50 percent (in weight) of amalgam fillings, which also contain silver, copper and tin. For some dentists, toxicologists and advocates, the fact that mercury has been shown to hurt the neurological system, kidneys and other organs is reason enough to keep it out of people's mouths. "When you plant a neurotoxin two inches from the brain, can you say no one is ever harmed from that?" said Charlie Brown, director of Consumers for Dental Choice. His group advocates that dentists be required to disclose the mercury content of amalgam fillings to patients. The buildup of mercury from vapors 24 hours a day, over a lifetime, is the greatest concern, said Boyd Haley, retired professor emeritus at the University of Kentucky. Eighty percent of mercury vapor stays in body tissue for days, months, even years, because the body doesn't have a good system for excreting it, he said.
Note: For an informative article by Dr. Mercola showing that there is no reason to put mercury in your mouth and plenty of risk, click here.
The latest person to accuse former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky of sexual abuse also claims that Sandusky threatened to hurt the boy’s family if he ever told anyone about the abuse. Sandusky’s newest accuser, who is now 29, had not told anyone about the abuse until he read about the grand jury presentment charging Sandusky with 40 counts of child molestation over 15 years, his lawyer Jeff Anderson said today. Until that time, he had thought he was the only victim. Anderson said the boy met Sandusky through the Second Mile foundation when the alleged victim was 10, and was abused by Sandusky from 1992 to 1994. He said that Sandusky threatened to harm the boy’s family if the boy told anyone about the abuse. Sandusky also paid for sports camps, plied the boy with gifts, and took him on trips, Anderson said. The lawyer said during a press conference today that they had filed suit against Sandusky, Penn State and the Second Mile charity seeking reparations for over 100 acts of sexual abuse. Anderson alleged that Sandusky had abused the boy at Penn State University, at Second Mile events, at his home, at a Penn State bowl game out of state, and in Philadelphia.
Note: For powerful evidence from a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government, click here.
The federal government has agreed to pay $2.5 million to the widow and children of the first person killed in the anthrax letter attacks of 2001, settling a lawsuit claiming that the Army did not adequately secure its supply of the deadly pathogen. The settlement with the family of Robert Stevens, a tabloid photo editor in Florida, follows an eight-year legal battle that exposed slack rules and sloppy recordkeeping at the Armys biodefense laboratory at Fort Detrick, in Frederick, Md. As part of the agreement, Justice Department lawyers are seeking to have many documents that were uncovered in the litigation kept under court seal or destroyed. Mr. Stevenss widow, Maureen, filed suit against the government in 2003, as evidence accumulated that the anthrax powder in the lethal letters had come from an Army laboratory. Mr. Stevens, 62, died on Oct. 5, 2001, days after inhaling anthrax powder at work.
Note: Why would the government want these documents destroyed? Remember that these attacks, which happened within weeks of the 9/11 attacks, were at first attributed to terrorists. Now it is fully acknowledged they were the responsibility of someone in government. Hmmmmm.
About a year ago, a homeless man in Arizona found a bag full of cash and made a fateful decision: He returned it. 49-year-old Dave Tally of Tempe ... was in debt, unemployed and had lost his driver's license for DUI violations. Homeless, he was sleeping on a mat in a church-based homeless shelter when he found $3,300 in a backpack at a local light-rail station. That could have gotten Tally out of his hole, but he decided that was the wrong thing to do. Instead, he tracked down the owner of the cash, a college kid named Bryan Berlanger who had planned to use the money to buy a car to replace one he'd lost in an accident. When word got out that Tally had turned in the cash instead of keeping it, the national media came looking for him. Donations poured in, and Tally suddenly found himself with $10,000. But he was determined not to fritter it away. He began paying off his bills, clearing up his driving record, and taking the long road back. He even moved into a no-frills apartment across from the shelter as "a reminder of where I've been and where I'm not going back again." One year later, Tally has landed his "dream job," managing a community garden. Recently ... Tally started overseeing an internship program that allows people who are homeless to volunteer in the garden. But he doesn't preach to anyone. "I let them know that when they're ready to make changes, it's possible," he says.
[Aravind Eye Care System] began modestly in 1976 with an 11-bed hospital. [It] now has 4,000 beds in seven hospitals, most in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It was late founder Dr. G. Venkataswamy's goal to eliminate needless blindness. About 45 million people in the world are blind. About 80 percent of them could be cured through surgery. Dr. "V," as he is known, founded the organization on a deep belief in the spirituality of service. R.D. Thulasiraj, a top Aravind official, says that early on the organization embraced the simple idea that if it wanted to have a real impact in reducing blindness, its surgeons needed to work as efficiently as possible. That attention to process has made Aravind surgeons quite possibly the most productive in the world. In total, the number of sight-restoring eye surgeries that Aravind Eye Care System conducts each year is 300,000 — and about half, or nearly half, are free. The push for more efficiency forces down the average cost of a surgery for Aravind. But that doesn't mean quality is sacrificed. Aravind surgeons have just half the number of complications that the British health system has for the same procedure. That high quality allows Aravind to attract patients who are willing to pay market rates. Then it takes the large profit made on those surgeries to fund free and subsidized surgeries for poor people.
Note: For the inspiring review of an excellent book written on this amazing service to humankind, click here.
Three days before the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt was warned in a memo from naval intelligence that Tokyo's military and spy network was focused on Hawaii. In the newly revealed 20-page memo from FDR's declassified FBI file, the Office of Naval Intelligence on December 4 warned, "In anticipation of open conflict with this country, Japan is vigorously utilizing every available agency to secure military, naval and commercial information, paying particular attention to the West Coast, the Panama Canal and the Territory of Hawaii." The memo, published in the new book December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World went on to say that the Japanese were collecting "detailed technical information" that would be specifically used by its navy. To collect and analyze information, they were building a network of spies through their U.S. embassies and consulates. Historian and acclaimed Reagan biographer Craig Shirley, author of the just released December 1941, doesn't blame FDR for blowing it, but instead [said] that it "does suggest that there were more pieces to the puzzle" that the administration missed. He compares the missed signals leading up to Japan's attack to 9/11, which government investigations also show that the Clinton and Bush administrations missed clear signals that an attack was coming. "So many mistakes through so many levels of Washington," said Shirley. "Some things never change."
Note: Explore powerful evidence that US president Franklin Roosevelt was baiting Japan into an attack on Pearl Harbor. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson stepped off the elevator into the Third Avenue offices of hedge fund Eton Park Capital Management LP in Manhattan. It was July 21, 2008, and market fears were mounting. Amid tumbling home prices and near-record foreclosures, attention was focused on a new source of contagion: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which together had more than $5 trillion in mortgage-backed securities and other debt outstanding. Around the conference room table were a dozen or so hedge-fund managers and other Wall Street executives -- at least five of them alumni of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., of which Paulson was chief executive officer and chairman from 1999 to 2006. After a perfunctory discussion of the market turmoil ... the discussion turned to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The secretary [desribed] a possible scenario for placing Fannie and Freddie into “conservatorship” -- a government seizure designed to allow the firms to continue operations despite heavy losses in the mortgage markets. Paulson explained that under this scenario, the common stock of the two government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs, would be effectively wiped out. So too would the various classes of preferred stock, he said ... leaving little doubt that the Treasury Department would carry out the plan. The managers attending the meeting were thus given a choice opportunity to trade on that information.
Note: For a treasure trove of reports from reliable sources on corruption and collusion between government officials and the largest financial firms, click here.
The Senate on Tuesday rejected an effort to strip divisive provisions from a defense bill that deal with the capture and handling of suspected terrorists. “The provisions would dramatically change broad counterterrorism efforts by requiring law enforcement officials to step aside and ask the Department of Defense to take on a new role they are not fully equipped for and do not want,’’ said Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., who added that the legislation would make the military “police, judge and jailer.’’ His amendment would have taken out the sections on detainees and instead called for congressional hearings with Pentagon and administration officials on the issue. The bill would require military custody of a suspect deemed to be a member of al-Qaida or its affiliates. The vote came shortly after the weekly Republican and Democratic policy luncheons. A guest at the Republican session was former Vice President Dick Cheney, an advocate for harsh interrogation tactics against suspected U.S. enemies during his two terms in office. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and FBI Director Robert Mueller have spelled out their opposition in letters to lawmakers. Mueller said Monday that because the legislation applies to people detained in the United States, it could disrupt ongoing international terrorism investigations.
Note: The implications of the Senate's vote to authorize the US military to carry out domestic arrest and imprisonment of US citizens have hardly been reported on by the major media. The defense authorization bill passed by the Senate undermines protections established by the Bill of Rights and the Posse Comitatus Act against use of US military forces in domestic control and arrest. The ACLU has issued an analysis; for further analysis of the implications of this legislation, click here and here.
It ought to be illegal for members of Congress to buy and sell based on inside information ... but it is not illegal because Congress has exempted itself from insider-trading laws. In 2006, when Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., introduced the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge - or STOCK - Act to prohibit members of Congress and their staff from trading stocks based on nonpublic information, her bill attracted only 14 co-sponsors. Peter Schweizer, a fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, believes that some in Congress see the public trust as a "venture opportunity" that allows them to leverage information not available to the general public. Slaughter's STOCK Act would not stop members or staffers from dabbling in the markets. The legislation, however, would make Capitol Hill insiders subject to prosecution if they buy or sell securities based on nonpublic information. It also would cut into K Street's latest boutique business practice - "political intelligence" - that allows lobbyists to gather inside financial information which they can give to hedge-fund clients.
Note: Congress exempts itself from all kinds of laws which apply to the remainder of US citizens. If you don't believe this, read the Time magazine article at this link. It's time for a change.
Last week, 5,000 files of private email correspondence among several of the world's top climate scientists were anonymously leaked onto the Internet. Like the first "climategate" leak of 2009, the latest release [includes emails from] top scientists in the field ... like Michael Mann of Penn State University and Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia. The new release of emails was timed to coincide with the second anniversary of the original climategate leak and with the upcoming United Nations climate summit in Durban, South Africa. And it has already stirred strong emotions. But at least one scientist involved -— Mr. Mann -— has confirmed that the emails are genuine. If the case for man-made global warming is really as strong as the so-called consensus claims it is, why do the climategate emails show scientists attempting to stamp out dissenting points of view? This is the real significance of the climategate emails. They show that major scientists who inform the IPCC can't be trusted to stick to the science and avoid political activism. This, in turn, has very worrying implications for the major international policy decisions adopted on the basis of their research.
Note: We are not taking a stand for or against global warming. We post this to show that both sides of the debate are manipulating the data for their own political agendas.
The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing. The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates. Saved by the bailout, bankers lobbied against government regulations, a job made easier by the Fed, which never disclosed the details of the rescue to lawmakers even as Congress doled out more money and debated new rules aimed at preventing the next collapse. Details suggest taxpayers paid a price beyond dollars as the secret funding helped preserve a broken status quo and enabled the biggest banks to grow even bigger. “When you see the dollars the banks got, it’s hard to make the case these were successful institutions,” says Sherrod Brown, a Democratic Senator from Ohio who in 2010 introduced an unsuccessful bill to limit bank size. “This is an issue that can unite the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street.”
Note: For a treasure trove of reports from reliable sources on corruption and collusion between government officials and the largest financial firms, click here.
Jose Guerena Ortiz was sleeping after an exhausting 12-hour night shift at a copper mine. His wife, Vanessa, had begun breakfast. Their 4-year-old son, Joel, asked to watch cartoons. An ordinary morning was unfolding in the middle-class Tucson neighborhood — until an armored vehicle pulled into the family's driveway and men wearing heavy body armor and helmets climbed out, weapons ready. They were a sheriff's department SWAT team who had come to execute a search warrant. But Vanessa Guerena insisted she had no idea, when she heard a "boom" and saw a dark-suited man pass by a window, that it was police outside her home. She shook her husband awake and told him someone was firing a gun outside. A U.S. Marine veteran of the Iraq war, he was only trying to defend his family, she said, when he grabbed his own gun — an AR-15 assault rifle. What happened next was captured on video after a member of the SWAT team activated a helmet-mounted camera. The officers — four of whom carried .40-caliber handguns while another had an AR-15 — moved to the door, briefly sounding a siren, then shouting "Police!" in English and Spanish. With a thrust of a battering ram, they broke the door open. Eight seconds passed before they opened fire into the house. And 10 seconds later, Guerena lay dying in a hallway 20-feet from the front door. The SWAT team fired 71 rounds, riddling his body 22 times, while his wife and child cowered in a closet.
Note: For a survey of the decade-long trend toward militarization of police forces in the US, click here. For analyses of the militaristic police responses to the Occupy movement, click here and here.
The violent police assaults across the US are no coincidence. Occupy has touched the third rail of our political class's venality. US citizens of all political persuasions are still reeling from images of unparallelled police brutality in a coordinated crackdown against peaceful OWS protesters in cities across the nation this past week. But just when Americans thought we had the picture – was this crazy police and mayoral overkill, on a municipal level, in many different cities? – the picture darkened. The New York Times reported that "New York cops have arrested, punched, whacked, shoved to the ground and tossed a barrier at reporters and photographers" covering protests. In New York, a state supreme court justice and a New York City council member were beaten up; in Berkeley, California, one of our greatest national poets, Robert Hass, was beaten with batons. The Mayor of Oakland acknowledged that the Department of Homeland Security had participated in an 18-city mayor conference call advising mayors on "how to suppress" Occupy protests. I noticed that rightwing pundits and politicians on the TV shows on which I was appearing were all on-message against OWS. Journalist Chris Hayes reported on a leaked memo that revealed lobbyists vying for an $850,000 contract to smear Occupy. Message coordination of this kind is impossible without a full-court press at the top. As the puzzle pieces fit together, they began to show coordination against OWS at the highest national levels.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on the reasons why people nationwide are occupying their city centers in protest against the collusion between powerful corporate and government elites, click here.
Silicon Valley's tech titans are in full holiday mode - tax holiday that is. Google, Apple, Oracle, Cisco and other multinationals have fielded more than 160 lobbyists and consultants - including, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, 60 insiders such as Karen Olick, former chief of staff for Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. - to get Congress to give them a giant tax break on their overseas profits. U.S. multinationals currently have $1.4 trillion parked offshore. Banded together with pharmaceutical companies and other multinationals in a group called the Win America coalition, Bay Area technology giants say that slashing their tax rate from 35 percent to 5.25 percent on foreign profits they return or "repatriate" to the United States will create millions of jobs. Both parties in Congress, desperate to find something they can agree on to goose the economy, are warming to the idea. But the last time a holiday was tried in 2004, under a law Boxer sponsored, billions of dollars in tax breaks went to a tiny swath of multinationals concentrated in the technology and pharmaceutical industries, many studies found. Most of the money went to dividends, stock buybacks and executive pay, despite express prohibitions. Some companies, such as Hewlett Packard, cut jobs after repatriating earnings, while boosting executive pay.
Note: A Forbes magazine article states "most profitable corporations enjoy a far lower tax rate than you do," yet now they want even more tax breaks. And did you know that before 1913, except for a period during the Civil War, there was no personal income tax on the general public in the U.S.?
Battlefield technology is coming to the streets of Los Angeles County. Starting this month, one of the nation's major military contractors is outfitting the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department's patrol cars with sophisticated computer systems and high-tech gadgetry that has been perfected for the battlefield. At a total cost to taxpayers of $20 million, Raytheon Co. promises to deliver technology that will enable deputies on the road to sort through key intelligence information in mere seconds. In a single roadside stop, they'll have the ability to run a background check using a searchable FBI database — or pull up a suspect's mug shots or even obtain biometric data, such as fingerprints — on the spot. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is the largest in the nation, covering more than 4,000 square miles and a population of more than 10 million. Daniel J. Crowley, president of Raytheon's Network Centric Systems, noted that ... the Sheriff's Department's new equipment is being used by security forces in the Green Zone in Baghdad to police the area. "The military's situation overseas may be much different from the Sheriff's Department, but the need is basically the same."
Note: For an illuminating article revealing that the Pentagon is supplying police departments across the US with military technology and supplies for no cost, click here.
It's pretty easy to conclude that the world is spinning down the toilet. Despite the gloomy mood, the historical backdrop is stunning progress in human decency over recent centuries. War is declining, and humanity is becoming less violent, less racist and less sexist — and this moral progress has accelerated in recent decades. To put it bluntly, we humans seem to be getting nicer. That's the central theme of an astonishingly good book just published by Steven Pinker, a psychology professor at Harvard. It's called The Better Angels of Our Nature. [Pinker] acknowledges, "In a century that began with 9/11, Iraq and Darfur, the claim that we are living in an unusually peaceful time may strike you as somewhere between hallucinatory and obscene." Still, even in a 20th century notorious for world war and genocide, only around 3% of humans died from such manmade catastrophes. In the 17th century, the Thirty Years' War reduced Germany's population by as much as one-third. Wars make headlines, but there are fewer conflicts today, and they typically don't kill as many people. Many scholars have made that point, most notably Joshua S Goldstein in his recent book, Winning the War on War: The Decline of Armed Conflict Worldwide. Look also at homicide rates, which are now far lower than in previous centuries.
Note: For more great research showing that long-term, we are becoming nicer and more civilized, click here.
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.