• THE U.S. GOV’T HAS FORMALLY ADMITTED “BEING AFRAID TO PROSECUTE” THE BIG BANKS. The risk of “destabilizing the banking system… and global instability” is how the Justice Dep’t rationalized recently settling for cash instead of criminal prosecution in two huge banking scandals: (1) HSBC, which committed the “largest drug-and- terrorism money-laundering case ever” got away with a simple fine after helping to wash hundreds of trillions of dollars for drug cartels, terrorist organizations including Al Qaeda & Hezbollah, Russian gangsters, blacklist-sanctioned countries like Iran/Sudan/North Korea, and tax evaders; (2) UBS, Barclays & Royal Bank of Scotland, which admitted conspiring to manipulate the rate at which banks lend to each other – “perhaps the biggest anti-trust price-fixing case in history involving hundreds of trillions in financial products” – also settled for relatively nominal fines. In cohort with British regulators, the Justice Dep’t explanation for “declaring near total surrender to both crime and monopoly… was to ensure that counter-parties don’t flee an institution, that jobs are not lost, that there’s not some world economic event that’s disproportionate… and that the social cost of putting execs in jail might end up being larger than the cost of letting them get away with anything… an unarrestable class.” [ROLLING STONE – Feb 28, 13]
  • AMERICA’S THIRD LARGEST ‘RACIAL’ GROUPING IS “SOME OTHER RACE,” according to the 2010 Census.” This occurred since one-third of ‘Hispanics’ – actually an ethnicity, not a race – “were puzzled by a form that asked them first to declare whether or not they were of Hispanic origin, and then to say what race they belonged to… selecting from five officially ‘recognized’ races: white, black Asian, American Indian, or Pacific Islander… Interestingly, half identified themselves as white… consistent with a Pew Hispanic Center finding that among Hispanics of the third generation or above, almost half preferred to call themselves American.” [THE ECONOMIST – Feb 8, 13]
  • “HUMAN INTELLIGENCE IS SLOWLY DECLINING… losing cognitive capabilities and becoming more emotionally unstable,” according to experts in many fields of science who collectively suggest that “our food system is contributing to lower intelligence across the board.” Researchers at Harvard and 23 earlier studies have found “significant relation between fluorides and children’s IQ”; A Columbia University study found that “pesticides, rampant among the food supply, are creating lasting changes in overall brain structure… with significant abnormalities linked to lower intelligence and decreased cognitive function”; British researchers following 14,000 children found that kids “consuming a processed diet at age 3…had suffered IQ decline by age 8, compared to those who ate a nutrient-rich diet including conventional fruits & vegetables and had increased IQ”; UCLA research found that high fructose corn syrup “sabotages learning and memory” – the official release actually says that “it can make you stupid.” Lots of other factors – environment, cultural shift, gene mutations, advertising, religion, whatever – may also impact our species’ decline, but our diet also clearly has a major impact on making us dumber and dumber. [NATURAL SOCIETY – Feb 17, 13]
  • RE-USABLE PLASTIC BAGS CAN BE A SERIOUS HEALTH HAZARD. Several west coast cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, have adopted ‘bans’ on plastic bags for environmental reasons including pollution and killing of marine animals. This causes people to re-use existing bags. However – consistent with the law of ‘unintended consequences’ – the result has been significant increases in emergency room admissions for outbreaks of E. Coli, salmonella, notovirus-induced diarrhea/nausea and other bacterial infections, which research indicates stemming from coliform bacteria found in over half the reusable bags. Surveys now attribute this to the fact that 75% of plastic bags are used to carry raw meat and/or vegetables, and that 97% of people “never wash” the bags before reusing. It turns out that “when bags were stored in hot car trunks for two hours, bacteria grew ten-fold.” [BLOOMBERG.COM – Feb 4, 13]
  • THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: “People who want to share their religious view almost never want you to share yours.”
    “Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.”
    “If you help someone when they’re in trouble, they will remember you when they’re in trouble again.”