The ‘fire and fury’ of US President Donald Trump has translated into many memorable phrases that have baffled, amused or infuriated observers. RT looks at the top quotes from the first year of his presidency. January 2017: ‘You are fake news’ Trump had famously sparred with the media throughout his campaign. He reserved his ire […]
One case involved a 36-year-old mother from New Mexico, who wrote about how her eight-week-old baby died on July 2021.
“He became very sick with a high fever on June 21, about two weeks after I got the first Pfizer vaccine,” she wrote. “He was treated for two weeks with IV antibiotics for a supposed bacterial infection, however they never found any bacteria.”
“After the 14-day course of antibiotics, he was home for one week, but exhibited strange symptoms,” she continued, noting how her child had a swollen eyelid, strange rashes and was regularly vomiting.
“I took him back to the hospital on July 15, where he presented with what they called an atypical Kawasaki disease. He passed away shortly thereafter from clots in his severely inflamed arteries,” she concluded.
Makis presented another case, that of a five-month old baby who died on March 20, 2021, just three days after the infant’s mother received her second dose of Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine.
Just one day after the mother was fully vaccinated, the infant instantly developed a rash and “became inconsolable, refusing to eat and developed a fever,” Makis wrote. “Baby was brought to ER, blood analysis revealed elevated liver enzymes, was hospitalized but continued to decline and died on March 20, 2021, with a diagnosis of TTP.”
Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) is a disorder characterized by the sudden formation of blood clots in small blood vessels that can block the flow of blood to vital organs like the brain, kidneys and heart.
Doctors have been warning against vaccinating pregnant and breastfeeding mothers since the beginning
Medical experts have been warning governments almost since the beginning of the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines that these jabs should be kept away from pregnant and breastfeeding women over serious concerns about their safety.
One such group – composed 66 doctors, scientists and other clinical practitioners – published its own open letter warning that the safety concerns about COVID-19 vaccinations in pregnancy are too dangerous to ignore.
The group, which includes obstetricians and gynecologists from the U.K., have warned against recent advice from medical organizations in the country about vaccinating pregnant women, claiming that it is in complete contradiction to everything that “it itself and academic institutions have been teaching about evidence-based medicine.”
“This advice is that: COVID-19 vaccines are not only safe but strongly recommended for pregnant women,” wrote the group in the letter. “Such advice is not grounded in robust data based on ethically conducted research – and anyone who is medically and academically trained should take serious issue with this.”
The experts noted how concerned and “deeply disturbed” they are about how best scientific practices are being distorted just to bring a newly developed pharmaceutical product to market.
“We have a collective duty to restore the principles of medical ethics to our practice and to clinical research to protect the most vulnerable groups from harm, and this includes pregnant women and their babies,” the group concluded.
Community Activist Brenda Martinez Fights Against 5G in Los Angeles
When a community garden is destroyed to make room for a 5G cell tower in the East Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights, Brenda Martinez takes action to protect the health of her family and community.
Even as a teenager, Brenda Martinez had the fighting spirit to defend her integrity. Newly arrived in the U.S. from Mexico, one of her junior high teachers told her to do a “chicken dance” in front of her classmates. It was an unprovoked humiliation and Brenda had no intention of complying with it.
The degrading request had to be interpreted by a classmate since Brenda did not yet speak English. Her refusal was translated back to her teacher, who sent her to the principal’s office for noncompliance. When her sympathetic Spanish-speaking principal immediately transferred her to a different class, Brenda learned firsthand the importance of advocacy.
Fast forward and Brenda is now the mother of two children, a young adult and a teenager, both of whom have faced neurological challenges. During their early years she was their main advocate, but true to her spirit, Brenda supported other parents of children with special needs. This led to her work with the UCLA Autism Clinic as both a parent coach and a Spanish language translator.
Although the cause of her children’s neurological injuries is unclear, Brenda’s neighborhood of Boyle Heights on the east end of Los Angeles has long been vulnerable to industrial toxins. A nearby and now defunct battery recycling plant, Exide, was found to have blanketed the community for decades with layers upon layers of lead and cancer-causing arsenic.
Boyle Heights is crisscrossed by six freeways, making it the most freeway-dissected area on the planet. With air quality levels exceeding allowable standards, elevated rates of both asthma and cardiovascular disease hospitalizations have been reported.
Yet in the middle of an urban Los Angeles neighborhood plagued by toxic assaults, Brenda still remembers the harvest of fresh vegetables grown in the community garden that she helped to sustain with neighbors just a couple of years ago. The garden provided nutritious food for a community with many health challenges, as well as a wholesome way for people to come together.
But rather than let a good thing be, the owners of the property — a nonprofit called the East LA Community Corporation (ELACC) — cut a deal with Verizon to allow the construction of a large 5G cell tower on the property.
Brenda took up the fight against the ELACC-Verizon deal and its lack of transparency. For months she devoted her time to reach out to community members, educating them about what was at stake. The community garden was destroyed by ELACC, while the tower project was stalled by community resistance.
Although Brenda reached out to her city council and congressional representatives, the community was essentially left to fend for itself against the corporate behemoth Verizon and the ELACC. When attempts to stop the project were unsuccessful, Verizon completed construction of the tower and it was reportedly turned on.
Unbeknownst to many, scientific reviews of the dangers of wireless technology have been ignored by the Federal Communications Commission and the Food and Drug Administration. In October 2022, for example, a group of scientists called for a moratorium on 5G after publishing a peer-reviewed study on the health risks of wireless radiation.
Meanwhile, the Alliance for Quality Broadband Los Angeles, which partnered with the corporate telecommunications giant Charter Spectrum, has initiated a campaign to expand 5G wireless technology in Los Angeles County. This group appears to use the ruse of closing the digital divide and helping marginalized communities push its agenda.
Brenda is part of a community response to this latest stealth corporate offensive. She has been playing an important role in the Fiber First LA campaign, a common sense effort to bring the much safer and more dependable option of fiber optic technology to her community and to all of Los Angeles County. The fiber optic choice is a clear alternative to the dangers posed by wireless 5G electromagnetic radiation.
The Fiber First LA website informs us, “The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is considering changes to the County Code that would fast-track wireless broadband and might jeopardize LA’s ability to receive federal funding for fiber optic!”
As the fight against 5G continues, Brenda has been a tireless advocate for her community. You can watch her recent interview on Good Morning CHD.TV.
“The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Children’s Health Defense.”
(Natural News) Artificial chicken meat grown in stainless steel “bioreactors” is the next thing to hit the American market, thanks to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The corrupt federal regulatory agency has green-lighted not just one but two different lab-grown “chicken meat” products for human consumption: one produced by Upside Foods and the other by GOOD Meat, both based out of California (GOOD Meat also has an office in Singapore).
Last year, the FDA announced that the laboratory-derived “chicken” made by Upside Foods is “safe to eat,” which means the company can soon start mass producing it for the consumer market.
“To manufacture its meat, Upside Foods harvests cells from live animals, chicken tissue, and uses the cells to grow meat in stainless-steel tanks known as bioreactors,” one report explains.
The FDA proudly announced that it has “no further questions” about the safety of Upside Foods fake meat, which Commissioner Robert M. Califf declared to be safe for human consumption.
“The world is experiencing a food revolution,” Califf said.
“Advancements in cell culture technology are enabling food developers to use animal cells obtained from livestock poultry, and seafood in the production of food with these products expected to be ready for the U.S. market in the near future.”
(Related: Check out our earlier coverage from last year about the abomination known as lab-grown “meat” and why you should avoid eating it at all costs.)
FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf says agency’s main purpose is to promote fake food
Califf went on to praise the fake meat industry for supporting the FDA’s own mission, which apparently involves rubber-stamping approval for anything and everything that is synthetic and probably unhealthy for people to eat.
“The FDA’s goal is to support innovation in food technologies while always maintaining as our first priority the safety of the foods available to U.S. consumers,” Califf admitted.
Upside Foods founder and CEO Uma Valeti publicly celebrated the FDA’s decision, calling it a really good thing for the company’s bottom line.
As for GOOD Meat, Reuters celebrated the FDA’s decision to make it the second “cultivated meat product” available on the market.
“GOOD Meat’s chicken is the second cultivated meat product to receive a ‘no-questions’ letter from the FDA after California-brd [sic] UPSIDE Foods got the regulator’s green light for its cultivated chicken breast last November,” the fake news media outlet reported.
“The letter means the FDA accepts the company’s conclusion that its product is safe for humans to eat.”
Just like it did with Upside Foods, the FDA indicated that it has “no questions at this time” about GOOD Meat’s “conclusion that foods comprised of or containing cultured chicken cell material [are] as safe as comparable foods produced by other methods.”
Keep in mind that the FDA still will not allow you to buy and sell natural raw milk or butter products. Those healthy foods are “unsafe,” according to the agency. But fake, lab-grown meat? Open wide!
The United States is now closer than ever to seeing fake chicken and other fake meat products hit not only store shelves but also restaurant menus. Chances are that in the near future, any meat products ordered at a standard American restaurant will contain synthesized ingredients that look, smell, and taste like the real thing – and you probably will not even know about it since the FDA is notorious for not requiring proper labeling for such things.
“It takes two weeks to grow the equal to one chicken, a thousand chickens or 100,000 chickens,” Valeti told the media about how long it takes for his company’s lab-grown chicken meat to form in a bioreactor.
The powers that be are turning everything into an abomination, including the food you feed your family. To learn more, visit Frankenfood.news.
(Natural News) A high-profile artificial intelligence (AI) researcher is warning that unless all advanced AI systems and associated programs are immediately shut down, humanity will eventually become extinct at the hands of the life-destroying robots they are unleashing.
Eliezer Yudkowsky, co-founder of the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI), wrote an op-ed for TIME magazine this week explaining the risks involved with the creation of these synthetic life forms. He wrote that:
“The most likely result of building a superhumanly smart AI, under anything remotely like the current circumstances, is that literally everyone on Earth will die.”
This is a serious warning that others are now echoing as they come to the stark realization that the agenda will not stop with GPT-4 “chatbots” and other seemingly innocuous AI programs. The truth is that these AI systems are becoming possessed by demons with an anti-human agenda, and thus must be stopped immediately before it is too late.
(Related: Elon Musk and other billionaires have signed a petition calling for an immediate pause on all AI developments.)
AI systems can already be “emailed DNA” to turn into “artificial life forms,” Yudkowsky says
Like Musk, Yudkowsky wants all AI labs to immediately cease, for at least the next six months, all AI training programs that are more powerful than GPT-4. He also commented on the petition, stating that it is “asking for too little to solve” the problems posed by the rapid and uncontrolled development of AI systems.
These AI systems do “not care for us nor for sentient life in general,” Yudkowsky argues, adding that in order to survive an encounter with one, a person would need “precision and preparation and new scientific insights” that, generally speaking, humanity lacks.
“A sufficiently intelligent AI won’t stay confined to computers for long,” he added, further explaining that it is already possible to email DNA strands to a laboratory that can manufacture proteins for AI “to build artificial life forms or bootstrap straight to postbiological molecular manufacturing.”
It is the stuff of the Terminator movie franchise but in real life, in other words. And it is happening faster than many people realize as the media distracts everyone with just about every other topic under the sun.
“There can be no exceptions, including for governments or militaries,” Yudkowsky says about how all AI systems need to be stopped immediately.
“If intelligence says that a country outside the agreement is building a GPU (graphics processing unit) cluster, be less scared of a shooting conflict between nations than of the moratorium being violated; be willing to destroy a rogue datacenter by airstrike.”
How to get every country of the world on board with stopping AI could prove challenging, though. Is it even possible to regulate such a thing, especially when it is taking place in private in the remotest areas of the world outside the control or even the knowledge of law enforcement?
Yudkowsky sees AI as such a threat that he thinks it should be made “explicit in international diplomacy that preventing AI extinction scenarios is considered a priority above preventing a full nuclear exchange.”
In the comments, someone joked that “first it was aliens, then it was a zombie apocalypse, and now it’s terminator robots,” the implication being that perhaps Yudkowsky and his ilk are overblowing the AI threat.
“April Fool’s Day,” joked another.
“It has been a well acknowledged and accepted fact that technological, and biological products have been already developed and operating within the military complex for many years before any public awareness!” suggested another. “Are these bio artificial intelligence human form androids already among us?”
Will the world be taken over by demon-possessed AI robots? Learn more at Robots.news.
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According to police, a homeowner in DeKalb County, Georgia, shot a potential burglar who he saw attempting to break into his home.
At around 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, shots were fired when the unnamed homeowner shot the unnamed male suspect, who was later taken to a nearby hospital. The injured suspect eventually passed away, according to internal sources.
Melan Sydnor, a neighbor who heard the gunshots, alerted authorities while she was cooking breakfast.
“I was in the kitchen and there were gunshots and it was really loud… I heard a few gunshots and then about five minutes later the police pulled up“, Sydnor told the press.
Joann Proctor, another local citizen who overheard the shots, said that she felt a lot of anxiety regarding the incident and how burglars target residences during the early hours of the morning.
“Young guys are stalking the neighborhood at night, like 4-5 in the morning, they checking doors“. Proctor said.
Police questioned the homeowner, who has also gone unidentified. The homeowner eventually went back to his house around midday, unbothered.
He reportedly will not face any charges, since he was protecting his residence and himself.
This is a win for not only the affected homeowner, but also for many other pro-gun advocates in the state who solely own a weapon in case situations like this one were to occur.
“I just think it’s a sad state of affairs for the country… In this case, somebody having a gun was a good thing“, said an anonymous neighbor to the press.
According to sources, the investigation into the shooting is still pending. The motive for the suspect’s attempt to enter the house and if the homeowner was a specific target has not yet been disclosed by authorities.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) is planning to introduce a bill which forces an audit of the tens of billions of dollars in aid the United States has handed over to Ukraine. The announcement came just on the eve of the Ukraine invasion hitting the one-year mark.
“It’s going to force Congress to give the American people an audit,” Greene told Tucker Carlson in an interview Thursday night. “And that is exactly what the American people need, an audit of Ukraine, because we have no idea where all this money’s going.”
She’s introducing a resolution of inquiry in the House on Friday, which is a method to formally request information from the executive branch, according to The Hill.
“I’m introducing this resolution, and I’m looking forward to seeing my Republican colleagues support it,” Greene said. The move is motivated in large part, she described, due to growing concerns that the White House and US military’s ever-deepening involvement in Ukraine will spark a world war.
She called Biden “so disconnected with what the American people want that they are literally going to lead us into World War III.”
“There’s not bipartisan support among the American people for fighting a war in Ukraine that does nothing for Americans except force them to pay for it,” Greene added. Indeed many die-hard supporters of Ukraine have complained about “Ukraine fatigue” now gripping much of the American public.
According to a number of recent opinion polls, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say there should be a limit to US support given to Kiev, or else it should be halted altogether.
Greene’s resolution also comes after Pentagon officials have themselves admitted that accounting for where US weapons end up once they enter Ukraine is very difficult. The Pentagon currently has a task force in place, consisting of limited numbers of officers and troops, which are on the ground attempting to track serial numbers and provided limited oversight of shipments.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, and close political ally of Greene, has also submitted a “Ukraine fatigue” bill which has divided Republicans’ response…
Recently Greene charged that when it comes to Democrats and their policies, “The only border they care about is Ukraine, not America’s southern border.” She pledged of the new GOP-led House that “Under Republicans, not another penny will go to Ukraine. Our country comes first. They don’t care about our border
However, Republican leadership is still composed primarily of hawks who have been generally supportive of Biden’s steady trickle of aid packages and weapons for Ukraine, including tanks, yet have only voiced concerns over not wanting a ‘blank check’.
This month, the CDC took the vile step of adding COVID vaccines to the childhood vaccine schedule — for babies as young as 6 months old.Children’s Health Defense will pursue every avenue, legal and otherwise, to block this corrupt agency’s evil-minded war on innocent children… including suing any state that tries to mandate these shots.Please make a tax-deductible donation today to help us protect children from one of the most dangerous medical products in history.Thank you!
Amazingly, the CDC, who has admitted that they knew the “vaccine” would not work, along with Fauci who had the definition of vaccine reworded, they still attempt to force the jab upon anyone and everyone. Our Socialist Leader has decried the pandemic over. So, WTF are they doing? I hear that children are already forced to have something like 70+ vaccines, when are people going to stand up and say NO MORE?
We have young athletes killing over in the middle of sports, runners, falling over dead, and numerous people injured from these shots, now they want you to give them to your babies.
5G Towers Can Make Healthy People Sick, Two Case Reports Show
A new case report on two previously healthy men who developed “microwave syndrome” symptoms after a 5G cell tower was installed on the roof of their office, and a similar report published last month, show that non-ionizing 5G radiation can cause health problems in people with no prior history of electromagnetic sensitivity.
A new case report shows that two previously healthy men rapidly developed typical “microwave syndrome” symptoms shortly after a 5G cell tower was installed on the roof of their office.
According to the report, published Feb. 4 in the Annals of Clinical Case Reports, the men experienced headaches, joint pain, tinnitus, abnormal fatigue, sleep disturbances, burning skin, anxiety and trouble concentrating.
The two reports appear to be the first studies in the world on the health effects in humans from exposure to 5G, according to the authors.
The case reports’ lead author, Dr. Lennart Hardell — a world-leading scientist on cancer risks from radiation — said the two reports are “groundbreaking” because they serve as the “first warning of a health hazard.”
“This may be the case for 5G and these results must be taken seriously,” he said.
“People shouldn’t have to leave their homes because of 5G,” said Hardell, an oncologist and epidemiologist with the Environment and Cancer Research Foundation who has authored more than 100 papers on non-ionizing radiation.
Just the ‘tip of the iceberg’
Hardell told The Defender the two case studies are likely just “the tip of the iceberg” when it comes to 5G’s impact on people’s health.
Mona Nilsson — managing director of the Swedish Radiation Protection Foundation and co-author of the case reports — said it was a “great scandal” that “5G has been rolled out for several years now in Sweden and in the U.S. without any study at all being performed about the health effects.”
“These two studies show that 5G is very dangerous to health and that the scientists and doctors who have been warning for years of serious consequences for human health due to a predicted massive increase in microwave radiation … have been right in their assessments,” Nilsson added.
5G impacts many organ systems
In the January case report, telecommunication companies replaced a 3G/4G cell tower with a 5G tower on the roof directly above the apartment of a healthy man and woman, ages 63 and 62.
Days after the 5G tower was installed, the two residents began developing acute physical symptoms, causing them to move out.
The residents’ physical symptoms quickly decreased or disappeared when they moved to a building with much lower radiation levels.
Measurements taken in their apartment showed extremely high levels of non-ionizing radiation throughout the apartment. The maximum value measured was more than 2,500,000 microwatts — the highest maximum value that the meter used can measure — so the actual radiation may have been even higher, Hardell and Nilsson said.
The report’s findings contradict assurances from the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority that the amount of radiation a cell tower emits is relatively below, behind or above the tower, she added.
The February report discussed the experiences of two men, ages 57 and 42, when a 3G/4G tower was replaced with 5G equipment on the roof of their office where they worked as information technology and management consultants and sometimes slept.
The men displayed symptoms shortly after the 5G tower was installed and chose to relocate — at which point their symptoms lessened or disappeared.
Hardell and Nilsson measured a maximum of 1,180,000 microwatts (μW/m2) in the men’s office.
Both case reports utilized the classic “provocation test” design which is “extremely important in medicine,” Hardell said because it clearly shows the symptoms that occur when a person is exposed to something — such as an allergen or drug or new radiation level.
Commenting on the findings, Hardell said he found it interesting that 5G appears to act as a “fundamental biological mechanism” because it affects “so many organ systems.”
“How is it explained that you get cognitive effects, heart palpitations, sleep problems and so on?” he said.
The individuals in the case reports had no history of EMS, so they were not “primed” to suspect 5G might be causing their illness, Hardell added.
Reports pave way for accurate classification of 5G health risks
This type of research is pivotal in getting the ball rolling toward the appropriate regulatory classification of 5G as posing human health risks, according to Hardell.
Meanwhile, Hardell and Nilsson are already conducting their third case report on the health effects of 5G on humans and hope to publish it next month.
While their first two reports focused on the health effects associated with living underneath a 5G tower, they told the Defender their next case report will document the health effects experienced by individuals living across the street from a tower.
“Those are also very alarming [situations],” Nilsson said.
Nilsson said they have already obtained a measurement of 2.5 million microwatts — “which is the top level that our meter can measure” — at 60 meters away from the tower, so people living within that range of a tower may be affected by radiation.
Hardell emphasized that case reports can have a big impact over time. “It [5G] reminds me of my studies on phenoxy herbicides and dioxins — all started with case reports,” Hardell said.
He called the chemical herbicides “Agent Orange stuff,” referring to how U.S. military forces used them during the Vietnam War to eliminate forest cover and crops for North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops.
In the 1970s, Hardell said he noticed a few of his patients who worked in the Swedish forestry industry — tasked with spraying hardwoods with these herbicides — developed a rare form of cancer called soft tissue sarcoma.
According to Hardell, ICNIRP appoints its own members and is closed to transparency.
ICNIRP has published only three articles with guidelines on RF-EMF exposure, he said.
“Only thermal (heating) effects from RF radiation are recognized, thereby excluding all studies showing harmful effects at lower non-thermal intensities,” Hardell said.
ICNIRP guidelines are set to allow very high exposure levels so that the deployment of this technology is not hampered, he said, adding that they were favored by industry while disadvantaging human health and the environment.
“In fact,” Hardell added, “the ICNIRP guidelines have never been challenged by industry in peer-reviewed articles, which must be taken as a green card for acceptance by industry.”
Van Rongen also said ICNRIP’s guidelines about the “safety of 5G” were “developed after a thorough review of all relevant scientific literature.”
However, Nilsson said the ICNIRP guidelines were developed by taking the average of RF levels over 6 minutes, which obfuscates the actual danger because 5G towers can emit pulsing signals.
Prior research has shown additional risk from pulsated radiation, Nilsson said.
She said that according to the authors of a 1971 review of EMF scientific studies done up until that time, researchers in the USSR, the U.S. and Czechoslovakia independently concluded that pulsed-wave radiation can cause greater biological effects in animals — including harm to the organs and death — than the same frequency when it is not pulsated.
Nilsson said it was unscientific of van Rongen to claim that studies have proven the safety of 5G regarding human health.
“Eric van Rongen will not be able to refer to any such studies because they simply do not exist!” Nilsson said.
Suzanne Burdick, Ph.D., is a reporter and researcher for The Defender based in Fairfield, Iowa. She holds a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Texas at Austin (2021), and a master’s degree in communication and leadership from Gonzaga University (2015). Her scholarship has been published in Health Communication. She has taught at various academic institutions in the United States and is fluent in Spanish.
Neighbor witnessing stabbing shoots suspect, police say
Union City police are praising the actions of a neighbor who they say stopped a man who had stabbed three women early Saturday morning.
UNION CITY, Ga. – Union City Police are praising a neighbor they say stopped a man who stabbed three women early Saturday morning. The man being hailed a good Samaritan spoke exclusively with FOX 5 Atlanta after the incident.
“I just couldn’t sit there and watch and hear what was going on,” Josh Dobbs told FOX 5’s Kim Leoffler.
Dobbs said he just jumped into action when he heard what he correctly assumed were a woman’s screams coming from the Hidden Lake Apartments.
Police said it turned out that two women had already been attacked, and Dobbs would just happen to step outside when the suspect began to stab a third victim.
One of the victims called the Union City Police for help.
“Officers responded to that location where they observed a female lying outside in between cars who had also been stabbed, as well as two subjects behind the apartment–the incident location. One had been stabbed, and it appeared the other one had been shot,” Prentice Brooks Union Police Department said.
Police said the person who was shot was the suspect accused of stabbing the women.
“As the male subject was assaulting these female subjects with the knife, an onlooker saw the assault taking place,” Cpt. Brooks said. “He stepped up and stopped the threat. He did shoot the suspect.”
Police said one of the women died after the stabbing.
“We actually commend him for what he did and stepping up,” the captain added.
The suspect was taken to the hospital where he later died from his injuries.
“I have a daughter, and I have a lot of respect for females and everything, so I was just doing the right thing and stepping up,” Dobbs told FOX 5.
Police are still investigating the incident, but for now they said this seemed to be the result of a domestic dispute.
In a Jan. 7 piece, NaturalHealth365 Managing Director Jonathan Landsman elaborated on the risks associated with using these oral care products.
“The pursuit of the ‘perfect smile’ tends to come at great sacrifice to [one’s] health. That’s because many of the oral hygiene products lining store shelves, including the multitude of toothpaste and mouthwash brands, actually contain toxic substances like fluoride and alcohol – which have been linked to an increased risk of cancer and other conditions,” he wrote.
“One of the most common issues linked to fluoride in toothpaste is the crumbling of teeth enamel. This is especially a problem in areas where fluoride is already added to drinking water,” Landsman noted. But according to the Fluoride Action Network (FAN), scientific studies have linked high levels of fluoride to a host of negative health effects. These include thyroid disorders, weakened bones, fractures, arthritis and impairment of the brain’s development and function.
Too much fluoride can also increase the risk of developing chronic skeletal fluorosis. Medical News Todaydefines skeletal fluorosis as the buildup of excess fluoride in the bones, causing stiffness and pain. In the most severe cases, ligaments can calcify – causing pain and trouble moving.
“The very products marketed as critical to good oral health are actually damaging teeth and gums, as well as causing secondary health problems,” commented Landsman. “Some reactions can even be life-threatening.”
Alcohol in mouthwash increases cancer risk
The NaturalHealth365 managing director also pointed out that the alcohol in mouthwash can increase the risk of developing cancer. He wrote: “While toothpaste products attack your health with toxic fluoride, swirling a swig of mouthwash around in your mouth is posing another risk. The use of mouthwashes that contain alcohol as an ingredient can drastically increase your risk of cancers of the mouth, head and neck.”
Landsman cited the findings of a study conducted by Australian researchers from the University of Melbourne and the University of Queensland School of Dentistry. They looked at the mouthwash-using habits of 3,210 people and compared it to the rates of mouth, head and neck cancers.
The researchers found that all participants in their study who used an alcohol-containing mouthwash at least once daily had a significantly increased risk of cancer. The correlation was independent of other risk factors such as smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages.
Natural health specialist Nadine Artemis pointed out this phenomenon during a speech at the Holistic Oral Health Summit, which Landsman created and organized.
“Even though we’ve got lots of periodontal choices at the drug store like fluoride floss and minty mouthwash, there is more dental decay than any previous century,” she said. According to Artemis, the issue with toxic ingredients in oral care products formed part of a “triple threat” to oral health.
First, she cited the harms of improper root canals and tooth extractions. Second, she pointed to the lack of understanding about dental lymph fluid. Lastly, she called attention to the dangers of harsh chemicals in toothpaste and mouthwash.
“It’s actually a system that promotes tooth decay,” Artemis concluded.
When I was conceived, a dark voice whispered to my parents: “Kill him!” They seriously considered aborting me, and prevent me from ever seeing the daylight.
My mother however also heard a different whisper. “Don’t kill your baby… Let him live!” She ultimately decided to listen to the second voice, and successfully gave birth to me. While she held me in her arms, she heard a beautiful, warm voice tell her:
“Give this baby a lot of love, because I love him a lot.”
During my life there were continuous attempts to take me out, and prevent me from fulfilling the reason why I had to be born. I was for example almost killed, during several accidents.
Once a car hit me so hard, I flew through the air, but a bystander leaped forward, and caught my head before it crashed on the concrete.
As a teenager I had an existential crisis, and felt a strong push to commit suicide. During the middle of the night, while sitting near a canal with the razor at my wrist, I heard a voice: “Don’t do it. God has a plan with you.” I was puzzled. “God? What the heck…” I had ran away from this Reality for years, and couldn’t believe I heard this. But I hopped on my bike, and paddled away.
Once I was poisoned at a hospital, which caused severe atrial fibrillation, and arrhythmia. The doctor said there was no hope for me. My youngest son threw himself on my hospital bed, and prayed for a miracle. A half hour later another doctor walked in, shocked me with a defibrillator, and I walked out the door, totally fine.
On another occasion somebody pushed me off a 40 feet chute, and I landed right on my head. I should have been dead.
A final example happened while driving during an insane rush hour, at night. Cars were racing way too fast, during rush hour, on a four lane highway, and I had no choice but to keep up. Suddenly the driver right in front of me hit his brakes like a mad man, and started swerving violently. There was no reason for this erratic behavior, and death stared me in the eyes.
In a split second it felt as if my steering wheel was taken over, and I observed in total amazement how my car swiftly swirled through the countless racing vehicles that surrounded me, and in less than two seconds I found myself on the breakdown lane. My entire body was shaking, my heart raced, and I blankly stared ahead of me, trying to understand what had just happened.
One moment I was headed for a lethal collision, and in the blink of an eye I was out of the crazy gridlock, in safety.
These are just a few examples of the many attacks I survived. I believe I am still around, thanks to the intervention of One who truly cares about all of us, even though many of us may not even be willing to acknowledge His presence.
I am still alive to tell you something
Through the years I began to understand I am alive for a reason. There is a message that has been placed inside of me, and it’s a burning fire that I cannot contain. This is the message:
There is hope. There is a future. There is more than just darkness. There is a world so much more beautiful, and powerful than the deep dungeons of darkness.
We can be intimidated by the tremendous power evil seems to have over our world. But one thing was shown to me, in a crystal clear way: the wicked have no authority. All they have is deception. Read this again, as it is a universal, timeless, and unchangeable basic reality: the wicked have no authority. All they have is deception. Their rule is entirely based on lies, that keep humanity in their grip. Once their lies are broken, they have NOTHING. Nothing at all.
The Creator did NOT appoint, or anoint the wicked to rule on earth. They have no mandate, no divine blessing, no crown, and no scepter. They are entirely illegitimate. The sole reason they have so much power, is because of their sophisticated deceptions that blind, and control mankind.
But there is good news: once we, the good people, are liberated from the many deceptions in our mind, we will rise up, and see that our adversaries are way below us, and not above us. It are the pure hearted people, who chose love and goodness, who have the blessing to rule on earth, with kindness, wisdom, justice, and truth.
Once the rightful rulers arise, it’s game over for the wicked.
That’s why the evil ones have focussed all their activities on suppressing, blinding, deceiving, and controlling the good people. It’s also why the wicked are terrified of truth coming out. They know that when their system of deception comes down, the rightful rulers will arise.
This is why we have to do every and all effort in our ability to support the worldwide spreading of truth. It’s not just to prevent tyranny. It’s to awaken, liberate, empower, and activate the children of the Light who are born to bring heaven on earth, and expel hell.
Strategic brainwashing of humanity
One of the ways the wicked have been strategically brainwashing us, the past decades, is to reject our loving Creator. None of us chose to do this. The reason we reject a personal Origin of love, is because our minds have been controlled by our perverted culture, media and education.
They don’t care if we believe in some abstract, impersonal, vague energy, universe, aliens, or whatever misty “spirituality” that still leaves us all alone, grasping for answers, and help. What they are terrified of, is when people truly come home, and are healed, restored, and empowered by the true Maker of heaven and earth.
Their activities have been focussed on removing this from human society worldwide.
Fifty years ago the understanding that there is One who made this world, was as basic as 1, 2, 3. Even in some early Disney movies, the actors in the film kneel down, and pray for help. You can see this for example in “Journey to the Center of the earth”. The adventurous heroes ask the Almighty for help, before they enter the depths of the earth. It was normal. The mass rejection of the Origin of all that is good, is a recent phenomenon, that gained traction as radio and TV was used to brainwash the world population to move away from what every human knows deep down to be true.
I invite you to step out of the mind programming, and return to the Giver of everything we long for: love, truth, healing, wholeness, harmony, joy, peace, honesty, and so much more. This dimension is so much more beautiful than we can even begin to imagine, and it’s what the current rulers of the world are terrified of.
They worship the realms of cruelty, oppression, abuse, greed, terror, deception and destruction. But they know the Light is much more powerful than their darkness. That’s why they have focussed on blinding us for it.
If we live disconnected, confused, wandering about without direction, purpose or identity, they can rule over us.
The utter insanity we have been injected with, is the idea that this is “religion”. But is friendship, truth, love, goodness, and healing religion? Of course not. Step away from this mad mindset that everything we long for is somehow “religious”. Wake up in the reality that we were made as personal individuals, by One who is the most beautiful Personal Individual there is, waiting for us to finally find our way back home.
Easy Money Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) officials recently discussed how to deal with the next approaching market collapse and hide alarming data from depositors to prevent bank runs, video of a meeting shows. November 2022 meeting shows financial regulators plot how to hide alarming market signals from depositors to prevent a bank-run panic. “The […]
Originally posted on Truth2Freedom’s Blog: For almost a year now, we have been dutifully tracking several key datasets within the auto sector to find the critical inflection point in this perhaps most leading of economic indicators which will presage not only a crushing auto loan crisis, but also signal the arrival of a…
‘Reckless’: McDonald’s, Walmart, Taco Bell Fueling Antibiotic Resistance Crisis
Data released Monday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reveal an increase in the sales of medically important antibiotics for use in the production of chicken, beef and pork. An investigation by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and The Guardian names retailers and restaurant chains sourcing beef containing harmful antibiotics.
Data released Monday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reveal a significant increase in the sales of medically important antibiotics for use in the production of chicken, beef and pork for human consumption.
The FDA report also follows the release of a joint investigation by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) and The Guardian revealing that several major retailers and restaurant chains — including McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Walmart — are sourcing beef that originates from farms using a specific category of antibiotics linked to impacts on human health and the spread of “superbugs.”
TBIJ’s investigation, published Nov. 21, drew from “unpublished U.S. government records,” revealing that beef produced for meat packing firms such as Cargill, Green Bay and JBS came from industrial farms using antibiotics categorized as the “highest-priority critically important” (HP-CIA) to human health.
The FDA report revealed that, despite an overall 1% decrease in antibiotic sales to the livestock industry in 2021 as compared to 2020, there were increases in antibiotic sales for use in the production of chicken (12%), pork (3%) and beef (1%).
Coupled with data showing that in 2021, chicken and pork production actually decreased compared to 2020, the results show “more antibiotics were sold for use in fewer animals,” according to Civil Eats and data from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“The reckless overuse of medically important antibiotics on factory farms is a major contributor to this deadly public health threat,” said U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) who has advocated for stricter controls on how antibiotics can be used in food production, according to The Guardian.
“Giant agribusinesses have built a system that is dependent on this misuse of antibiotics to maximise their profits, with no regard to the serious harm they are causing.”
In interviews with The Defender, a number of scientists, doctors and nonprofit advocacy groups that monitor the use of antibiotics in cattle and livestock commented on the FDA and TBIJ reports and the implications for human health of allowing the widespread use of antibiotics in animal agriculture.
CDC: 35,000 deaths annually in U.S. caused by antibiotic resistance
According to TBIJ’s report, the spread of drug-resistant bacteria in the environment represents a “huge public health challenge,” yet “many U.S. cattle farmers still routinely use antibiotics” on their food animals, “often for months on end.”
TBIJ’s report states:
“The drugs have historically been used in industrial farming to prevent diseases from spreading. But their use — and overuse — enables bacteria to develop resistance, meaning the drugs stop working.”
Katie Amos, director of communications and outreach with A Greener World, said the routine overuse of antibiotics provides the ideal conditions for bacteria to mutate and become resistant to their effects.
“The threat to human health that we are facing is the rise of bacteria that have survived this constant exposure and are now resistant to antibiotics, leading to a situation where we can no longer treat many common diseases,” Amos said.
“The link between antibiotic abuse in intensive livestock farming to the dramatic rise in life-threatening antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a global health threat that demands our immediate attention,” Amos added.
“Antibiotic residues in meat … are not the main way that farm antibiotic use contributes to resistance in human infections. The spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria on, or in, meat or dairy contributes a lot more.
“There is no reliable estimate of how much farm antibiotic use contributes to the resistance problem in human medicine, as the problem of tracing the resistance is very complicated since bacteria can pass resistance genes between each other through a mechanism called horizontal gene transfer.”
HP-CIAs ‘widespread’ in U.S. beef supply chains, according to TBIJ investigation
TBIJ’s investigation found that “residues of numerous HP-CIAs and other antibiotics were present in many of the US’s beef supply chains between 2017 and 2022,” according to tests by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.
According to TBIJ, among 10 of the biggest meat packers:
“All had at least one HP-CIA in use on farms supplying their abattoirs. Several were found to have as many as seven separate HP-CIAs in use.
“Cattle farms selling to JBS, which has sold beef to Wendy’s, Walmart and Taco Bell, were found to have used seven HP-CIAs. Farms serving Green Bay Dressed Beef, which has supplied the Kroger supermarket chain, also had seven in use.
“Cattle suppliers to Cargill, which sells beef to McDonald’s, were found to have at least five HP-CIAs in use.”
Richard Young, chief scientific advisor for the U.K.’s Sustainable Food Trust, told The Defender there are two reasons HP-CIAs are so popular in the animal agriculture industry.
“These are generally the most modern antibiotics available, as such they are currently highly effective against many infections in farm animals,” Young said. “But some of the antibiotics, for example, ceftiofur … have very short withdrawal periods, zero days in milk. As a result, the cow can be treated while the milk all still goes for human consumption.”
Dr. Dimitri Drekonja, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Minnesota Medical School, highlighted their effectiveness, ease of use and other ancillary benefits of HP-CIAs. “The high-priority antibiotics are generally more active against a broad range of bacteria, so if you want to kill bacteria, whether for disease prevention because of an exposure, or treating a sick animal, they are appealing.”
“And for reasons we never have really understood, receipt of antibiotics in farm animals results in more weight gain. If your business is raising as many pounds of meat as possible for your input, giving antibiotics is attractive. Use of antibiotics to ‘prevent’ disease allows more crowded conditions and other cheaper ways to farm.”
Amos told The Defender that the “routine antibiotic use in industrial farming systems — often to animals who are not sick — maximizes production of meat, milk or eggs by improving feed efficiency and suppressing diseases that would otherwise spread like wildfire in the confined, unsanitary, and stressful conditions typical of intensive livestock operations.”
The greatest volume of HP-CIAs, like most medically important antibiotics, are used in cattle and pigs,” according to Steven Roach, head of Keep Antibiotics Working.
“Much of the use in cattle is to prevent liver abscesses in feedlot cattle caused by inappropriate high energy diets,” he said, adding:
“Most of the [usage] in cattle is to prevent respiratory disease caused by moving calves off pasture and shipping them to feedlots, which makes them susceptible to respiratory disease. In pigs, a lot of the use is to prevent diarrhea and respiratory disease caused by unhealthy conditions in pig farms.”
TBIJ’s investigation noted, however, that other categories of antibiotics aside from HP-CIAs are used and have been found in beef products. Young provided background into some of these antibiotics — some of which are harmful to human health — telling The Defender:
“One antibiotic used in intensive pork production in the U.S. is a suspected carcinogen at the levels sometimes found in pork. It is called ‘carbadox’ [and] sold as Mecadox. This was banned in Europe in 1999. Consumers should demand that the industry stops using it and refuse to buy pork or bacon or ham until it does.
“Carbadox is a suspected carcinogen which is why it was banned throughout the EU in 1999. Tetracycline, on the other hand, an antibiotic widely used on U.S. farms has very low toxicity. Even if you had a thousand times the recommended safe amount, it would not have any toxic effects.”
Cargill, Taco Bell, McDonald’s defend use of antibiotics
Companies identified in TBIJ’s report defended their practices. Cargill stated:
“Judicious use of antibiotics prevents sick animals from entering the food supply, and ensures that animals do not unnecessarily suffer from disease.
“While we support the responsible use of human antibiotics in food production, we are committed not to use antibiotics that are critically important for human medicines as defined by the World Health Organization.”
Taco Bell claimed that it updated its fresh beef standards in 2019 “to require its US and Canada suppliers to restrict antibiotics important to human health in [the] beef supply chain by 25% by 2025.”
McDonald’s referred to its online statement on antibiotics, claiming the company will “establish market-appropriate targets for use of medically important antibiotics — as defined by the WHO.”
But Laura Rogers, deputy director of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, told The Defender that while “McDonald’s had made an announcement that it would be reducing antibiotics in its beef supply,” it “has not yet followed through with any meaningful action.”
In fact, many companies have not fulfilled similar pledges, said Gail Hansen, a veterinarian and public health consultant.
“The companies pledged to purchase more meat from animals that were given fewer, or no, antibiotics. The timing and amount varies by company, but several companies have let those pledges lapse without implementation.”
Most corporate pledges have come from chicken producers, Roach said.
“This has led to much of the chicken raised for meat in the U.S. not receiving antibiotics. Subway, Taco Bell and McDonald’s have made commitments on other meats but have not made progress on implementing them.”
“McDonald’s this year walked back a commitment made in 2018 to reduce use of antibiotics in its global meat supply. McDonald’s has changed its commitment to reduce use [and] to use antibiotics responsibly, which is much more difficult to measure and will not reduce resistance if it does not lead to reductions in use.”
Hansen highlighted “real progress” that has been made in the chicken industry, due to public demand: “There has been real progress in the chicken industry over the past 10 years to decrease the antibiotic use in that industry, partly as a result of consumer demand.”
“Raising cattle and the beef industry have a different set of issues to work through,” she added, “but I am convinced that significantly decreasing antibiotic use in beef cattle without sacrificing animal welfare — and without significantly raising costs to producers and consumers — can be accomplished if there is the political will and economic incentive to do so.”
‘Drug-resistant salmonella rise dramatically when poultry farmers use antibiotics to raise their flocks’
There are many examples of “pathogenic resistant bacteria infecting humans that have acquired at least some of their resistance from farm antibiotic use,” Nunan told The Defender.
“The extent to which farm antibiotic use has contributed to resistance in these pathogens,” said Nunan, “depends on the bacteria in question. It has contributed a lot in the case of campylobacter and salmonella, but less in the case of the other pathogens.”
Roach highlighted salmonella and campylobacter as particular threats. He said:
“CDC considers resistant salmonella and campylobacter as serious public health threats. Multidrug-resistant E. coli and MRSA are other examples of superbugs that threaten lives.
Young told The Defender that while extended spectrum beta-lactamase E. coli live harmlessly in the human gut, other strains of E. coli can transfer resistance genes to them.
“Community-acquired MRSA appears to come from farm animals, especially pigs via pork,” Young said, while “antibiotic resistance in campylobacter, salmonella and E. coli food poisoning can come from the use of antibiotics on farms.”
Other experts identified additional types of bacteria that can evolve into superbugs.
“Methicillin-resistant staph aureus strains resistant to tetracyclines have been linked to farms using tetracycline to raise swine,” Drekonja said, while “drug-resistant salmonella rise dramatically when poultry farmers use antibiotics to raise their flocks, and fall when antibiotics are removed.”
Jan Kluytmans, Ph.D, professor of medical microbiology at University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, described carbapenemase-producing bacteria as those that are “most feared,” noting they are included on the WHO priority list of resistant bugs.
Even if foods contain no antibiotic residues, the bacteria they naturally contain can still pass resistance on to humans, Young said.
“Essentially, the antibiotics kill off the bacteria that are sensitive to it, but because bacteria multiply so rapidly — E. coli can double in number every 20 minutes, salmonella every 30 minutes — a few of them can be naturally resistant to it.”
“Once the opposition has been killed off,” Young added, “the resistant ones soon create a population where they are all resistant.”
Peter Collignon, Ph.D., an infectious disease physician and microbiologist at Canberra Hospital in Australia, explained that it is such resistance, along with poor farming practices, that can give rise to superbugs.
“It is clear that ‘superbugs,’ or resistant bacteria, can spread to people from food animals … and from water contaminated with these resistant bacteria. Examples include bacteria such as campylobacter, salmonellae, Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli and enterococcus,” Collignon said.
‘Final nail in the coffin’ of FDA’s failure to regulate
David Wallinga, senior health officer with the NRDC, told Civil Eats the latest data are “just another nail in the coffin of a failed FDA approach to stewardship of antibiotics in the livestock sector.”
According to TBIJ, “Until 2017, antibiotics were added to animal feed to fatten up livestock. After the FDA announced a ban on the practice, the sale of antibiotics for use in agriculture dropped by a third.”
However, sales have since “leveled off,” as “farmers can still routinely use antibiotics to prevent disease, so long as they have a prescription from a vet.”
According to Roach, FDA regulations are insufficient and fall short of WHO recommendations. In reference to the FDA, he told The Defender:
“In 2003, they began requiring antibiotics to be reviewed prior to approval to determine if they are safe with respect to resistance. What they did not do was require antibiotics that were already approved to go under review and the bulk of the drugs now marketed were first approved before 2003.
“In addition, FDA rules are much less restrictive than what is recommended by the World Health Organization allowing almost any drug to be used in individual animals by injection.”
According to Hansen, for most farmers, obtaining antibiotics is as simple as getting a prescription from a veterinarian:
“As long as the antibiotics are used as directed on the label, there are no other regulations. Usually that means a veterinarian has prescribed the antibiotic.
“There are a few antibiotics that are not allowed to be used in animals raised for food, and veterinarians cannot prescribe antibiotics to be used ‘off label’ in animals raised for food — ‘off label; means that FDA has not approved the specific use for an antibiotic.”
“In many countries where antibiotic growth promotion is banned and antibiotic use is under veterinary prescription, antibiotics can still be added to animal feed or drinking water for disease prevention. This is the case for the U.S. and the U.K. In those countries it is legal for a vet to prescribe antibiotics for groups of animals preventatively, under certain conditions.
“Sometimes this differs very little from growth promotion as some of the same antibiotics that were licensed for growth promotion are permitted for preventative group treatments.”
Unlike the U.S., Nunan said, “Any form of routine antibiotic use is no longer legal in the EU since 28 January 2022, nor is using antibiotics to compensate for poor hygiene, inadequate animal husbandry or lack of care or poor farm management.”
“Antibiotics can still be used to treat groups of animals,” he added, “but a vet must diagnose disease within the animals and the disease must be sufficiently serious to justify antibiotic use.”
While TBIJ’s investigative piece noted that antibiotics can no longer be added to cattle feed in the U.S., this is not fully accurate, according to Nunan. “Antibiotics can still be added to cattle feed. … It is just that they are no longer permitted for growth promotion in some countries like the U.K., U.S. and EU.”
“Antibiotics are still added to cattle feed through a mechanism known as the ‘Veterinary Feed Directive’ (VFD). The veterinarian writes a ‘prescription’ for antibiotics to be added to the feed of several animals for a specific amount of time to prevent, control or treat disease.”
TBIJ investigation findings ‘alarming but not surprising’
Experts told The Defender they weren’t surprised by TBIJ’s findings.
“When the FDA disallowed the usage of antibiotics for growth promotion, we all expected to see a reduction in use,” Drekonja said. “But we also knew that lots of ‘preventative’ use could be done that looked very similar in terms of drugs used [and] doses used for growth promotion.”
So, the leveling off after the initial drop is “not too surprising,” Drekonja said.
The “preventative” use described by Drekonja refers to the common practice of preemptively administering antibiotics to cattle and livestock to prevent illness in the animals and the potential outbreaks of diseases on the farms.
“Responsible companies should only be allowing their suppliers to use antibiotics exceptionally, and not for routine disease prevention,” Nunan said, adding:
“Using antibiotics preventatively for groups of animals should not be called therapeutic use, since it is only done for productivity purposes and to compensate for poor husbandry and hygiene. It should not be allowed by these companies or by governments.”
Young connected the “preventative” use of antibiotics in food animals to the unsanitary conditions on industrial factory farms.
Young told The Defender:
“The fundamental problem is that the way most animals are raised in the U.S. and many other countries, means that they can only be prevented from becoming sick by daily doses of antibiotics.
“It’s no good telling farmers they have to use less antibiotics. There is a vicious circle here that involves everyone: consumers, multiple retailers, vets and farmers.
“The only way to break this cycle is for us to eat less meat overall, better quality meat, meat produced in less intensive and more natural ways, and yes that does mean more expensive meat. But if we factor in the negative impacts on human health and the environment this is by far the cheaper option overall.”
SHARE LOST PET JAPATUL’S RULE OF ENDEAVOR – Labrador Retriever Dog COLOR/MARKINGS Yellow (very light) GENDER & AGE Male | 2 YEARS MICROCHIP ID 956000013487317 COLLAR TAG ID SS21430501 REPORTED LOST 11/28/22
SHARE LOST PETJAPATUL’S RULE OF ENDEAVOR – Labrador Retriever Dog COLOR/MARKINGS Yellow (very light) GENDER & AGE Male | 2 YEARS MICROCHIP ID 956000013487317 COLLAR TAG ID SS21430501 REPORTED LOST 11/28/22
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Timbersays: October 14, 2022 at 11:17 am blinded by lazyness: Lemmings follow the Pyd Piper by words of Lies. Many accept lies as okay. Doesn’t noticeably affect the “me” I care not. interesting mind set, severe accident awaiting to happen. Over years of self view, Birds are gone many many magiratory fowl gone, All Pine Series of Tree’s FLASHED-DEAD. Own property Trees in of 16 acre dying breaking apart like pencil, “Melting at ground life lines or knuckle branching points of some large Branch. Dissolving wood. How does a 10” healthy tree break like being smashed 3 ft above ground. Residue as mention on Cedar decking, hard scrubbing reveals the sludge. Tree branches laden with winter snow turning black. Winds shaking pine needles off their pod. Full Trees De-Barked and rest around seem normal. how can one say Wake Up PPL. Till the truck drives over your head it will be a notice. The Effects if thinking will not bother me won’t affect me by any means. “Trust the Knowledge all Posted with extreme hard work to try and help all see the value in Truth BY THIS WEBSITE. The Dimming Although didn’t mention reproduction affects. It too as in all eco-system parts are all affected and being nuttered. Wild Berries are not as they use to flourish on a morning pick. Any time of day. I feed Deer with Corn- They come in running and savage their intake over hungry. They have no supporting food. So so Sad. So won’t affect the me of thought. Oh It will at a more promise time of thinking your invisible. No One Is or Are Safe under these Environment Acid Washings – Daily bombing sorties here in mid Ontario Canada. Daily soup of OverCast and Rain Like a Lake Falls out of the Sky. Reaps and Rapes the Ground Soils. Dropping the all Trees Lifes Lines at Bark to Tree Base to Ground levels. Roots of many exposed. Say no more. Wake Up Please be a thought – drop the TV, stupid phone from grasp, and use your GOD Given Sense try and look outside the box and Over top your Psychological Implants the “media” has placed in your consciousness. See what is happening to your world and think how are, to how long you “Might Continue” to live under these terrible life sucking conditions. We’re pretty much at that Expired Atmosphere able to support life. (yes its almost that critical a level) yet – oh it doesn’t bother me its just jet vapor trail. Odd then how come some commercial planes etc have Zero Trail. Challenge to the mind on that.. Answer by your own self awareness. Just look up for some moments. Wait for the Real Clear Skies and observe the Trails then. They run acid drops daily and your not paying attention. Checker boarding wait within 4-6 hrs for the next Weather Trauma! In your Face. Its been there already long time. Yet the Trees for the Forest are no longer the Forest for the Trees.
Fountain Pens. You remember them? That cartridge that you had to put into the pen, always leaked and got all over your clothes, and ink was one of the hardest things to get out of fabric. Messy!
I hadn’t thought about that for years, that when I was a kid, they didn’t have gel pens, or ball point pens, we had fountain pens with replacement cartridges. They wrote really nice, but were messy as hell.
Strange the things you think about when working in the middle of the night.
A handwriting expert several years ago told us about when the first ball point pens came out. We were wanting to prove that Georgia Power had forged the easement documents they claimed gave them an easement on our property. When the man saw the signatures, he laughed, and explained what was so funny. They didn’t have ball point pens in 1937 and 1941, the dates on the forged documents. They only had fountain pens back then. That was proof of the forgery. Judge Cynthia Becker at DeKalb County Superior Court in Georgia, who ruled on the case, was not amused, and ruled that GA Power did have an easement. She didn’t care that there weren’t ball point pens until the mid 60s, and even then only rich people and astronauts had them.
Good Ole DeKalb County GA Superior Court Judges, don’t give a damn about anything except who lines their pockets. Justice has no meaning, and didn’t back when we sued GA Power and lost because of her.
The thing was we were supposed to have a hearing at 9:30 AM, and she said we didn’t show up, but if you looked at the Order, it was written, signed and entered at 9:13 AM that same morning. Seventeen minutes before the hearing was going to start, she had already given an Order saying we did not appear at the hearing.
In April 2006, a massive storm damaged hundreds of homes in Indiana, with hailstones the size of baseballs smashing roof shingles, cracking windows, denting cars, and leaving a mountain of costly insurance claims in its wake.
Joe Radcliff, a contractor working in Indiana, started noticing that homeowners with State Farm insurance were having a particularly hard time getting their repairs paid for.
He was hardly the only one crying foul. The Indiana Department of Insurance received 425 complaints from State Farm customers whose claims had been denied following the storm, which generated almost 50,000 claims against State Farm alone.
Radcliff had worked in construction ever since he dropped out of high school to help his family make ends meet. He learned to do everything from cabinetry to roofing to plumbing and eventually launched his own contracting business, which negotiated claims directly with insurers on behalf of homeowners. Over the years, he grew accustomed to arguing with insurance companies about the need for big repairs following major weather events.
But that tension erupted in the fall of 2008, when a group of cops surrounded him on his way to an arbitration hearing related to a disputed claim from the epic hailstorm. The police arrested Radcliff, threw him in jail, and told him he was being charged with 14 felonies, including insurance fraud, corrupt business influence, and criminal mischief.
Although he’d had several run-ins with the law in the past, including a couple misdemeanor convictions, Radcliff had never faced anything like this.
“I’m not going to sit here and say that I’m this angel,” Radcliff said, but these accusations seemed wild. “I’m just a normal everyday guy who was standing up for people.”
When Radcliff’s arrest landed on the front page of the Indianapolis Star, his business took an immediate and massive hit. Suppliers told him they wouldn’t do business with a “criminal,” his referrals dried up, and he was forced to cut his staff from 400 people to just 15.
Eventually, Radcliff learned that State Farm was behind his prosecution. Internal company records show that the insurer began building a fraud case against him in 2007, around the same time it learned he had complained to a local TV reporter that the company had unfairly refused to cover repairs from the prior year’s storm.
“Some of the negative press that has been occurring in Indy has been generated by…questionable contractors in efforts to put pressure on us to simply pay,” an agent in State Farm’s Special Investigations Unit wrote in an email to a media relations executive two days after a segment about the company appeared on the local Call 6 Investigates show. “A good, positive story to indirectly expose some of these practices and help protect consumers would go a long way to helping change the public’s attitudes and perceptions.”
State Farm investigated 10 claims from homeowners who had hired Radcliff. Although other houses in the same neighborhoods also reported extensive hail damage and needed new roofs, investigators determined that some of the ones Radcliff worked on had been intentionally vandalized as part of a fraudulent conspiracy to bilk the insurer.
State Farm tried to pressure at least four of those homeowners into accusing Radcliff of fraud — telling three of them it would pay for the repairs only if they filed police reports alleging that it was the contractor who had damaged the roofs. In another case, State Farm reversed its own determination that a homeowner’s roof was damaged in the storm after it learned Radcliff was involved, locating new experts who now claimed the contractor had vandalized the property.
“It didn’t matter if I was innocent or guilty. They wanted to take myself and my business out.”
Despite the complaints, Tom Cockerill, an investigator for the insurer, took the allegations to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, an industry-funded nonprofit that acts as a liaison between insurers and law enforcement. But Cockerill withheld several crucial reports and customer statements that contradicted the company’s allegations.
The NICB passed the allegations on to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. Both the NICB and State Farm then worked closely with detectives to build the case, including reviewing the probable cause affidavit leading to Radcliff’s arrest before it was filed in court.
When Radcliff’s case made the local paper and even CNN, Cockerill, the State Farm investigator, celebrated — going so far as to forward a stick figure drawing depicting Radcliff being raped in prison to an NICB investigator. “Enjoy,” wrote Cockerill, who was named “Investigator of the Year” by the International Association of Special Investigation Units for his work on the case. (The association declined to comment. Cockerill, who according to his LinkedIn profile still appears to work in insurance, did not respond to requests for comment.)
But when it was eventually revealed that State Farm had withheld evidence that might have exonerated Radcliff, while key witnesses changed their stories or backed out, prosecutors dropped the charges.
Since then, Radcliff has tried to get several new businesses off the ground, but the accusations still haunt him. “It didn’t matter if I was innocent or guilty,” the contractor said. “They wanted to take myself and my business out.”
This past April, hundreds of law enforcement agents and insurance company officials gathered in a sprawling hotel in Hershey, Pennsylvania, for the Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority’s annual convention.
The mood was jovial. Enjoying drinks and catered meals, insurance company investigators and police detectives greeted one another as old friends, swapping war stories and trading the latest tips and tricks from the field. Vendors pitched surveillance services and social media monitoring software that allow investigators to covertly track policyholders suspected of fraud. Police officers in business casual attire, mindful of the lucrative investigative jobs open to former law enforcement officers, marveled at how easily insurers were able to obtain the kind of private information that law enforcement can get only with a court order — bank and phone records, for example — thanks to policy contracts that require customers to cooperate with investigations.
Versions of this fraud conference occur across the country. But nowhere is the relationship cozier than in Pennsylvania, where the state Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority not only organizes the annual meeting, but pays the salaries of dozens of police officers and prosecutors.
Insurance company officials make up the majority of the authority’s board, which last year doled out $14 million in targeted grants to fund the work of roughly 100 prosecutors, investigators, and support staffers across the state dedicated exclusively to rooting out insurance fraud.
Those law enforcement officials collected $5.6 million in restitution from people accused of insurance fraud in 2018, money that went back to the insurance companies. According to the IFPA’s annual report, the most commonly investigated cases don’t involve sophisticated organized crime rings, but individual policyholders ages 18 to 34 with no prior criminal record.
It’s an unusual arrangement that doesn’t exist in other states, though law enforcement agencies in several others, including California, Massachusetts, and Nevada, do collect money from insurers to fund fraud investigations.
The offices of the Philadelphia district attorney and the Pennsylvania attorney general are guaranteed a portion of the money each year. But other law enforcement agencies in the state must apply to receive continued funding. If the board members feel that the agencies are not conducting enough investigations or making enough arrests, it can terminate funding.
Although that’s rare, funding for the Montgomery County district attorney, just outside Philadelphia, was recently cut off. The IFPA was displeased the office’s arrests and prosecution numbers, its executive director, Tom Donahue, said in an interview, and the district attorney’s office didn’t bother to reapply for the money. (A spokesperson for the district attorney’s office said its arrests were low because state investigators were handling these types of cases in their region.)
Donahue, who previously worked as an investigator for several insurers, said the funding model doesn’t pose a conflict of interest. “The referrals are reviewed by seasoned professional prosecutors who accept or deny referrals based on the evidence provided,” he said. “I have not seen any evidence of criminal charges bolstering a company’s decision not to pay a claim or serve as a disincentive for legitimate claims to be filed.”
Roaming the halls of the IFPA’s annual convention at the Hershey Lodge, Patrick Gleason, a detective who specializes in insurance fraud at the Philadelphia district attorney’s office, was one of the few voices of concern over the relationship between law enforcement and the insurance industry. He said his office works hard to ensure investigations are conducted independently, but avoiding undue influence from the insurance companies requires vigilance. Over the years, Gleason said he’s witnessed one insurer withhold exculpatory evidence in a felony case, and taken calls from insurance officials asking for secret information he legally cannot give out.
Appearing on one of the convention’s panels — titled “Arson for Profit” — he warned insurers about the dangers of collaborating so closely with the cops. “You can’t work with us,” Gleason implored. “It will get you in trouble and it will get us in trouble too.”
Pressure to Take a Deal
When the Allegheny County district attorney’s office in Pittsburgh received its first industry-funded grant for a prosecutor dedicated to insurance fraud in 1998, Nicholas Radoycis Jr. was an obvious candidate to lead the unit. He’d worked briefly as an insurance underwriter, been a volunteer firefighter for over a decade, and had already worked closely with insurance company investigators while prosecuting several arson cases before the unit existed.
Radocyis, short with a full head of white hair and round, thin-rimmed glasses, went on to handle nearly every insurance fraud case in the county for the next two decades until his retirement this past spring.
His salary of $93,549, as well as those of the police officers assigned to work on insurance fraud, was entirely covered by grants from the Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority. Last year, the money that the insurance board gave Allegheny County to go after insurance fraud came to $728,202, all told, and over the past decade his office handled more such cases than almost any other agency in the state.
Insurance fraud charges filed by the Allegheny District Attorney’s office almost never made it all the way to trial — fewer than 3%, according to public records — and as a result the evidence he relied on to bring criminal charges was rarely scrutinized.
Instead, he acted less as a public prosecutor than as a debt collector for the insurance industry. Many of his cases were resolved in private negotiation with the defense, then approved by a lower-level judge, known as a magistrate judge, in a cramped basement courtroom below a banquet hall and a nail salon. Defendants were generally let off with no admission of guilt if they agreed to pay a fine, complete community service, and reimburse their insurers for the money they had claimed.
When Radoycis brought fraud charges against Michael Hart in 2017, there was every reason to assume he’d take a deal as well.
Hart, a 59-year-old bus driver, had been rear-ended on the way to work more than a year earlier, an accident that no one held to be his fault. But the other driver’s auto insurer, Progressive, took issue with his claim that his wrist had been seriously injured in the crash. Following the accident, the other driver had assaulted Hart, according to a police report. A Progressive investigator provided evidence to Radoycis’s fraud team suggesting Hart had been injured in that altercation instead of the crash, which would mean the company was not responsible for paying the claim. (Progressive acknowledged that it provided information about Hart in response to a request from the police, but said it did not suspect him of fraud.)
As the case moved toward trial, Radoycis offered Hart the same deal he’d offered so many times before: He would be put on probation for a few months, but could walk away without admitting guilt and ultimately get his record expunged.
Reviewing the evidence, Hart’s defense lawyer, Joe Otte, was surprised by how little independent investigation the detective, Richard Nowakowski, seemed to have done beyond the file that had been handed to him by Progressive. “It looked like he flipped through it, signed off on it, and it went to prosecution,” he said. Nowakowski, who has since retired, did not respond to requests for comment.
“I don’t understand how people can sleep at night when they ruin innocent people’s lives.”
Still, Otte cautioned his client about the risks of fighting the charges. On a bus driver’s salary, Hart simply couldn’t afford the $7,000 or more that expert witnesses would charge to testify in his defense — and without that evidence, he’d have a harder time proving his innocence. If he lost at trial, Hart could be looking at up to seven years in prison.
“I was very concerned that he was not understanding the ramifications” of fighting this case, said Otte.
But Hart was confident. He had no criminal record and figured if he wasn’t a liar, the law would be on his side. He stubbornly refused to take the deal, and started working more overtime to cover his mounting legal bills.
Finally, this past fall, he had his day in court. To Hart’s immense relief, the judge found that Radoycis hadn’t met the burden of proof required to convict Hart of insurance fraud, and found him not guilty.
The Allegheny County district attorney’s office said its efforts to fight insurance fraud are fair and effective. The industry-funded operation “not only helps to hold people who abuse the system accountable, but also serves as a deterrent to others contemplating similar behavior,” a spokesperson said.
But Hart soon found that criminal accusations can continue to haunt people even when they’re acquitted. Unexpunged charges can show up in background checks, making it harder to get a job or rent a home.
Despite the courtroom victory, his own insurer, Liberty Mutual, dropped his coverage. He said he’s been unable to convince Pennsylvania’s insurance regulator or other authorities to investigate what happened to him. Liberty Mutual declined to comment on the matter.
“I don’t understand how people can sleep at night when they ruin innocent people’s lives,” Hart said.
Even those who manage to prove their innocence have little recourse — thanks to a law that was written with the help of insurance companies.
In 1992, an industry study estimated that 1 in 10 claims paid by insurers were fraudulent. Many in the business find that statistic to be unreliable. But the study, which continues to be widely cited to this day, spotlighted what soon came to be viewed as a tremendous business opportunity: Companies realized they could save millions by aggressively denying claims they deemed fraudulent.
Three years later, the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, a group composed of insurance companies, consumer groups, and other stakeholders, helped craft model legislation that guaranteed companies broad immunity from any customer who wished to sue for being wrongly accused of fraud. In exchange, companies are required to report suspected fraud to law enforcement. The coalition then went to work getting versions of that legislation passed across the country with help from state insurance regulators.
“They’re saying, ‘We have a right to be wrong, and if we’re wrong you can’t sue us.’”
Granted that kind of immunity, insurers felt far more willing to accuse their own customers of crimes. “Overnight, we just saw insurers gladly report fraud,” said Jay, the executive director of the coalition.
But that’s left consumers at an unfair disadvantage, critics say.
To successfully sue over false fraud accusations, a consumer has to prove the insurer acted with malice or bad faith — a high bar that typically requires expensive litigation to obtain internal company records.
“They’re saying, ‘We have a right to be wrong, and if we’re wrong you can’t sue us,’” said Amy Bach, the executive director of United Policyholders, a consumer group that advocates for insurance policyholders. “You know how you have fishing nets for tuna and it also catches dolphins in the same net? If the system is too aggressively or too broadly applied, it hurts people who did not commit fraud but can’t muster the resources to defend themselves against the juggernaut of a big corporation.”
Today, the industry relies heavily on guidelines from the National Insurance Crime Bureau to help determine which claims should be scrutinized for fraud, a process that can involve extensive delays while people are without a home or car.
A nonprofit funded by more than a thousand insurance companies, the NICB was founded in the early 1990s. NICB agents help vet thousands of suspected fraud reports shared by insurance companies, embed in task forces with the FBI, and help craft threatening letters to customers suspected of fraud on behalf of state insurance regulators.
“Ninety-five percent of the time there is not a problem … But the other 5% catches a lot of innocent people.”
They also help develop “red flag” indicators to help companies spot fraudulent claims. Consumer advocates say some of these red flags — such as “insured is unusually knowledgeable regarding insurance” — seem overly broad. Others, they say, could disproportionately target low-income people, such as “experiencing financial difficulties.”
“The idea that if you have financial difficulties you’re inclined to defraud others is deeply troubling to me,” said Doug Heller, an insurance expert for Consumer Federation of America.
The NICB, for its part, said that no single indicator is proof of fraud; instead, the indicators serve merely as suggestions to help insurers identify which claims deserve greater scrutiny.
But Karl Smith, who until last year handled fraud cases as part of his job as a lawyer for Farmers Insurance in Nevada, said that based on his experience, that industry’s methodology still makes for a whole lot of false positives. “Ninety-five percent of the time there is not a problem. The claim is paid,” Smith said. “But the other 5% catches a lot of innocent people.”
Shanna Shackelford was a 21-year-old nurse’s aide and part-time employee at Walmart living in Carrollton, Georgia, when the house she was renting burned down. At least she’d bought renters insurance from State Farm, she thought as she watched almost everything she owned go up in flames.
At first, State Farm put Shackelford up at a nearby hotel, but two months later the insurer’s fraud investigators concluded she had intentionally set the fire, denied her claim, and referred her case to local law enforcement.
Three days after Christmas 2009, they stopped covering her temporary housing and Shackelford, unable to pay the rent herself, was kicked out of the hotel with nowhere to go. A few months later she was charged with criminal arson, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years.
State Farm and the landlord’s insurance company had collected samples from the scene of the fire, testing them for gasoline or other accelerants that might suggest the blaze was set intentionally. Eager to keep costs low, the Carrollton Fire Department, which helps local police with fire investigations, relied entirely on the reports given to it by the insurers rather than doing any of its own testing.
In a letter begging a pro bono attorney to take on her case, Shackelford wrote that she had “lost countless jobs, lost my home, my dogs, and had to sell everything I own to make it to this point. I now sleep in my car, and occasionally family members will allow me to come over to shower.” She was no arsonist, she protested: “I just don’t wanna die without someone knowing what these people are doing to me, and how I have cried, pleaded, and begged for help.”
The lawyer took her case and soon tracked down a fire expert who raised concerns about the reports that State Farm had handed the police. The evidence, the expert concluded, in fact strongly suggested the fire had been accidental and that Shackelford wasn’t responsible.
More than a year after the fire, the only remaining physical evidence were the samples the insurers originally sent to the lab. The prosecutor acknowledged that “the State’s case was based primarily on the insurance company’s analysis as to the cause of the fire.” Since it had proved impossible to obtain the insurers’ samples to retest, the charges were dropped.
It took years for Shackelford to get the charges expunged, during which time she said her status as a suspected felon made it extremely difficult to rent a new home or find a job. She’s now starting to get back on her feet and plans to get a law degree.
The Carrollton Police Department is hardly the only law enforcement agency to rely heavily, if not entirely, on evidence produced by insurers in fraud cases.
In Phoenix, the county attorney’s office dismissed felony charges against a woman facing 27 years in prison after the prosecutor determined Farmers Insurance and the local fire department investigator had an “incestuous relationship” and had ignored evidence that pointed to the policyholder’s innocence.
In Wisconsin, Joseph Awe spent nearly three years in prison because a local fire investigator recommended charges based on the determination by Mt. Morris Mutual Insurance that he’d burned his bar down to collect insurance money. That assessment turned out to be based on bad science, and Awe was released from prison in 2013.
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And in a 2010 criminal case in Pennsylvania, a judge became so frustrated with the testimony of an expert who seemed biased in favor of the insurance company that he threatened to refer him for prosecution for perjury.
The expert, hired by Erie Insurance, had opined that a faulty hair dryer could not have caused the fire that destroyed a policyholder’s home. But when the defense uncovered information suggesting it could have been the appliance after all, the expert went out of his way to side with the prosecution.
Experts “are supposed to be independent, notwithstanding the fact that they’re hired by one side or the other,” the judge said, according to the trial transcript. He admonished the prosecutor who was relying heavily on the expert’s testimony to make his case: “I want you to take your witness aside and tell him that no matter what the jury does, if I conclude, based on testimony, that he has not told the truth, I will advise the district attorney’s office to file perjury charges against him.”
Shortly afterward, the prosecutor dropped the charges. The expert, Richard Wunderley, and his employer, EFI Global, declined to comment.
A spokesperson for Erie Insurance said the company would “never knowingly work with an expert with a known bias or accused of perjury.”
Wunderley continues to provide expert testimony in insurance cases, and was recently named president of the Pennsylvania chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators.
Even When You Win, You Lose
In late 2010, Harry Schmidt’s case finally went to trial.
To cover the thousands of dollars in legal fees he was racking up to defend himself from charges he had plotted to steal his own truck for the insurance money, he had begun selling parts of his antique gun collection.
Over four days of testimony, Schmidt’s lawyers poked several holes in the prosecution’s fraud theory. The district attorney’s office argued that Schmidt must have been involved in the vehicle’s disappearance because the truck could only have been taken with one of the two factory-issued keys, both of which were in his possession. On the stand, the expert who had written the report that Erie Insurance gave to the police ultimately conceded that he couldn’t rule out other ways the car could have been stolen without a key, such as using a tow truck. And the prosecution offered no explanation for how Schmidt, who was in Florida at the time his truck disappeared, could have been involved.
In the face of such doubts, the judge found Schmidt not guilty.
But his fight with the insurance industry was far from over.
Schmidt, by then 59 and nearly broke, filed a lawsuit against Erie in hopes of recovering some of his legal expenses. Although Erie argued that it was immune from civil liability for reporting fraud, Schmidt’s lawyers contended that they had grounds to sue because the insurer had acted maliciously, failing to properly investigate the facts before passing his file on to prosecutors.
Erie responded by going on the offensive: It countersued Schmidt for fraud, even though a judge had just found him not guilty. The insurer — which had originally paid the veteran’s $28,101 claim for the stolen truck, only to help him get criminally charged soon thereafter — now wanted to recoup the money it had paid out.
“For State Farm, that’s nothing. If you or I did that, we’d be in prison.”
The competing lawsuits provided Schmidt access to internal company documents, which soon revealed Erie’s deep entanglement in the prosecution’s case. Although the expert that Nicholas Radoycis, Allegheny County’s specialized insurance fraud prosecutor, relied upon had claimed under oath, “I don’t receive any compensation for my testimony,” invoices and checks proved he had in fact been paid by Erie for his three appearances.
Soon after Schmidt presented that evidence, Erie settled with him for a confidential sum without admitting any wrongdoing.
Like Erie, State Farm also doubled down on the contractor Joe Radcliff when he was arrested, suing him for fraud while his criminal case was still pending.
Radcliff fought back, countersuing the insurer for defamation after the criminal charges against him had been dropped.
The civil court eventually determined that the insurer had investigated Radcliff not because of a good-faith effort to root out fraud, but because it was unhappy with his work helping State Farm customers file expensive claims that it didn’t want to pay. State Farm had used “deception, misinformation, intimidation, and omissions to ultimately present an investigation report that was fraudulent,” the judges concluded.
In 2014, Radcliff received a $14.5 million verdict — one of the largest defamation verdicts in US history. Much of it went to covering his legal bills and loans he’d taken out to survive during the years the lawsuit was pending.
He says it’s hard to think of the money as much of a victory.
“For State Farm, that’s nothing,” Radcliff said. “If you or I did that, we’d be in prison.” ●
Opening illustration by John J. Custer for BuzzFeed News.
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cali4kitty2 years agoHow terrible! I don’t even know how people can think of schemes like this. I’m glad this article was written! I never would have thought State Farm would do anything this blood boiling.5people love this comment
She 12 years agoVery informative…. God have mercy on the misused and abused. I knew insurance companies were not good but I didn’t realize they were this bad !4people love this comment
ncpd2514 days agoI worked SIU Farmers Ins. & experienced the corrupt dispositions of management in SIU. Chuck Bos was downright corrupt & unethical. He fired one investigator because she wouldn’t lie on the stand to cover his butt. He would announce in team meetings, that he plays favorites & who… Read more
When police showed up at Harry Schmidt’s home on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, he thought they were there to help. He was still mourning the disappearance of the beloved forest green Ford F-150 pickup that he’d customized with a gun storage cabinet, and he hoped the cops had solved the crime.
Instead, the officers accused him of faking the theft. The Vietnam veteran was now facing up to seven years in prison.
Schmidt was stunned, but he was even more upset when he found out who had turned him in.
Erie Insurance, one of the nation’s largest auto insurers, had not only provided the cops with evidence against its own loyal customer — it had actively worked with them to try to convict him of insurance fraud.
Erie had even paid part of the salary of the lead detective who knocked on Schmidt’s door that day, as well as that of the prosecutor who went on to charge him with felony insurance fraud. And it would also secretly cover the costs of an expert witness to testify against Schmidt in court.
Schmidt, a grandfather living on disability benefits from his war-related injuries, had no history of theft or fraud. But he found himself the target of an extraordinary alliance between private insurers and public law enforcement agencies — one that transforms routine claims into criminal evidence, premium-paying customers into suspects, and the justice system into a hired gun for a multibillion-dollar industry. It’s an arrangement essentially unheard of in other businesses, and one rife with potential conflicts of interest, as well as grave consequences for law-abiding customers.
“It made me really feel like the law is nothing but another racket,” said Schmidt, who said he had to sell many of his possessions to cover his mounting legal bills and stay out of prison.
A BuzzFeed News investigation has found that Erie, State Farm, Farmers, and other giant home and auto insurers around the country have co-opted law enforcement to intimidate and prosecute their own customers — tactics that can help companies boost their profits and avoid paying claims.
Insurance companies provide financial incentives to scores of police departments, prosecutors, and other public agencies to encourage them to focus on insurance fraud, a crime that has traditionally not been a priority for local law enforcement. In some cases, insurance giants even cover the salaries of dedicated prosecutors, detectives, and investigators whose caseloads consist primarily of referrals from those same companies.
The result is that dozens of premium-paying customers across the United States have faced jail for doing nothing more than filing insurance claims for damages to their property.
State Farm and Farmers Insurance both declined to comment on their companies’ fraud-fighting tactics.
“It made me really feel like the law is nothing but another racket.”
David Rioux, vice president of special investigations for Erie Insurance, said only a small percentage of claims were flagged as potentially suspicious and that he wasn’t aware of any instances where the company had falsely accused someone of fraud. He declined to comment on specific cases, but said the company follows laws requiring it to report fraud to law enforcement and it’s up to those agencies to decide whether to bring criminal charges.
BuzzFeed News examined 27 cases around the country in which people were falsely charged with felonies based in whole or in part on evidence insurers provided to law enforcement. In Indiana, State Farm helped detectives craft an arrest warrant for a contractor who was charged with 14 felonies. All charges were ultimately dropped when the evidence turned out to be deeply misleading — but not before the insurance giant’s allegations had destroyed his business. In Georgia, a local prosecutor relied on lab tests provided by an insurer to charge a woman with arson, resulting in a three-year ordeal in which she ended up homeless, only to drop the charges when the test results proved unreliable. And in Wisconsin, a man spent nearly three years in prison based on now-discredited science used by an insurance investigator until his conviction was overturned.
In these and other instances, law enforcement agencies have outsourced the hard work and substantial expense of building insurance fraud cases to the industry itself — relying heavily on evidence produced by insurers to prosecute their customers. But those insurers have a strong financial stake in the outcome: Criminal charges help bolster a company’s decision not to pay a claim, and serve as a powerful disincentive for others to file claims of their own.
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That has led to a culture inside some insurance companies where customers are viewed with suspicion and investigators have been observed openly celebrating when they manage to get them arrested, according to interviews with former employees. In an email reviewed by BuzzFeed News, for example, one of State Farm’s star fraud investigators celebrated one such arrest by circulating a stick figure drawing depicting the man — who it later turned out had been wrongly accused — being raped in prison.
It’s impossible to say how often innocent customers are the victims of false charges, because much of the potential evidence is hidden from public view by the companies themselves. In one case, investigators at State Farm withheld several crucial reports contradicting their fraud allegations from the bundle of evidence they handed over the law enforcement. In another, a Farmers manager admitted under oath that there was an “unwritten policy” within the company to withhold evidence from customers that could help prove their innocence.
Policyholders, meanwhile, often find it difficult and expensive to fight back, leading many to walk away from claims or face pressure to take plea deals for crimes they didn’t commit. And even those individuals who are able to successfully bring lawsuits against insurers are usually obliged to sign confidentiality provisions as part of the terms of any settlement, making it difficult if not impossible for others to find out what happened.
But by reviewing hundreds of court records from around the country, complaints filed with state regulators, and internal company records, and interviewing dozens of former insurance company employees, BuzzFeed News uncovered a system that has ensnared countless innocent people.
In Florida alone, state law enforcement received roughly 14,500 suspected fraud referrals about homeowners and vehicle claims in the past five years — the vast majority of them from insurance companies. Yet authorities determined that in more than 75% of the cases, there was not enough evidence to move forward with a criminal investigation. And regardless of whether fraud accusations turn out to be false, many sit in databases shared among insurers, where they can haunt people if they ever have to file another insurance claim.
These tactics can be applied with impunity, thanks to legislation in all 50 states restricting the ability of customers to sue insurers for wrongly accusing them of fraud — unless the customers can prove the allegations were malicious or made in bad faith.
The legislation was crafted with help from insurers, which worked to get versions of it passed across the country.
“The whole system got corrupted.”
But critics say that the way the law has been implemented favors insurance companies’ commercial interests while failing to provide adequate protections for innocent people.
“The whole system got corrupted,” said Tim Ryles, former Georgia insurance commissioner and chair of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Antifraud Committee, who helped pass a version of the legislation.
Insurance fraud is a real problem. Entire organized crime rings are dedicated to staging accidents in order to collect insurance money, for example, and industry groups say phony claims cost insurers billions of dollars a year, much of which is passed along to customers in increased premiums.
Insurers say that funding police and prosecutors, and referring criminal cases to them, is critical to efforts to root out fraud, since many law enforcement agencies lack the resources or expertise to bring complicated cases.
These efforts to fight phony claims have netted insurers at least a sevenfold return on investment since the ’90s, according to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, a nonprofit that receives most of its funding from insurance companies.
That yields a real benefit for policyholders by helping keep rates down, said Dennis Jay, the coalition’s executive director. “Bottom line is that insurers that hurt innocent consumers should be punished severely,” Jay said.
But for people like Schmidt — and other victims of false accusations — the system seems crafted to benefit only the billion-dollar insurance companies and their investors.
Blacktail Deer Creek in Yellowstone National Park, seen here in a 2019 photo from the ecological study known as NEON, is one site where researchers have bubbled sulfur hexafluoride into the water.
A massive ecological study that’s happening across the United States, and which is designed to track the impact of long-term changes like a warming climate, is deliberately releasing a highly potent and persistent greenhouse gas in national parks and forests.
The gas, sulfur hexafluoride, is “the most potent greenhouse gas known to date,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency. It’s 22,800 times more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, and lasts in the atmosphere for thousands of years.
So far, this ecology study has released around 108 pounds of the gas, which has about the same impact as burning more than a million pounds of coal.
That may not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of global emissions, but government scientists working at federal parks and forests have objected to using this gas on public lands — especially since this major study is designed to go on for 30 years and alternative gasses are available.
This kerfuffle has so far played out quietly within government agencies. But it comes at a time when all kinds of researchers are thinking about the climate effects of past practices, with some saying that scientists who understand the urgency of the climate crisis have a special obligation to set an example to the public by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of their own work.
The National Science Foundation (NSF), which funds this large ecology study, told NPR that it supports an evaluation that’s now underway to see whether phasing out the use of this gas would affect the quality of the information that’s being gathered.
That’s not good enough for one watchdog group, which is calling for an immediate halt to the release of this gas on public lands.
“We’re using just a tiny amount”
For decades, ecologists have sometimes burbled small amounts of sulfur hexafluoride into streams and rivers, in order to study how quickly gasses can move from the water into the air. One reason that’s of interest is that, although inland waterways cover up only a small fraction of the Earth’s surface, researchers believe these running waters could be an important source of greenhouse gasses, as rainfall can carry carbon from the ground into turbulent streams that later release it into the atmosphere.
Ecologists have always known that sulfur hexafluoride was itself a potent greenhouse gas, “but we always said, ‘Well, we’re using just a tiny amount of it,” says Bob Hall, a professor of stream ecology at the University of Montana.
“The beauty of sulfur hexafluoride is we only have to add very tiny quantities, and it’s really, really easy to measure and it’s perfectly unreactive. We’re not doing anything to the ecosystem by adding it, it’s not reacting with anything, it’s not poisoning anything,” says Hall, who once calculated that the amount he used in one of his experiments had about the same climate impact as burning 35 gallons of gasoline.
Given the usefulness of this gas in stream studies, it’s not surprising that tests involving sulfur hexafluoride were built into the standardized protocols of the National Ecological Observatory Network, or NEON, which is an ambitious government-funded effort to track ecological changes. Its mission is to use consistent methods to collect all kinds of data on 81 different locations across the nation–and to do this regularly for three decades.
“The idea is to understand the effects of things like climate change, land use change, and invasive species on these ecosystems,” says Kaelin Cawley, who works at Battelle, the nonprofit applied science and technology organization that operates NEON for the NSF.
NEON workers sample fish in 2019 at Lower Hop Brook in Massachusetts, one of the streams being monitored as part of this long-term ecological study.
The planning for this half-billion-dollar ecological project, and the construction of its monitoring instruments, took around twenty years. It began operating at full tilt in 2019.
That’s the same year when a scientist at Yellowstone National Park started to question why NEON was releasing sulfur hexafluoride at Blacktail Deer Creek, according to documents obtained through a public records request by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a group that supports workers within the government who are concerned about activities that can harm the environment.
The environmental consequence
NEON’s protocols called for it to annually release around 3.3 pounds of sulfur hexafluoride, or SF6, in Yellowstone National Park, hydrologist Erin White pointed out in a November, 2020 email to another National Park Service official. Over the 30-year lifetime of the project, White calculated, that meant the use of SF6 for research in Yellowstone National Park alone would be equivalent to burning over 1,139,000 pounds of coal.
“In short, the environmental consequence of a small SF6 application in the park is significant,” noted White, who recommended that NEON immediately substitute an alternative gas, such as argon, even though NEON staffers thought making this switch would be problematic because of things like lab contracting constraints.
It is somewhat ironic to study carbon cycling using a tracer gas with that much greenhouse forcing.
Bob Hall, a professor on stream ecology, and a colleague in a 2018 paper on the study of gas exchange
Bobby Hensley, who works on NEON for Battelle, told NPR that the climate impact from the scientific use of this gas has to be kept in perspective.
“I don’t want to sort of criticize Yellowstone National Park, but, I mean, there’s hundreds of thousands of vehicles driving through that park every single day,” says Hensley. “They can’t tell people, ‘Hey, you can’t come visit the park.’ But they can say, ‘You can’t use SF6.'”
Soon, government officials shared the concerns raised at Yellowstone with others who oversaw sites where NEON had been releasing this gas. Emails went out to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Bureau of Land Management, and the United States Forest Service. About half of the NEON sites with streams where sulfur hexafluoride was released were on forest service lands, records show.
“SF6 is a potent greenhouse gas and over the 30 year NEON program the release will be equivalent to burning millions of pounds of coal,” wrote Bret Schichtel of the National Park Service’s Air Resource Division to Linda Geiser, the National Air Program Manager for the Forest Service. “We would like to know if you are aware of this issue and share similar concerns.”
In December of 2020, representatives of the park and forest services held a virtual meeting with NEON employees. Emails sent after that meeting make it clear that the public land officials felt a “strong desire” to discontinue the use of this gas.
NEON subsequently convened a group of expert advisers to figure out if they could stop using the gas without disrupting the science.
One of those advisors was Hall, who says that he had already moved away from using SF6 in his own studies of streams, in part because of its extreme potency as a greenhouse gas. “It is somewhat ironic,” Hall and a colleague wrote in one paper, “to study carbon cycling using a tracer gas with that much greenhouse forcing.”
“This doesn’t fit with the mission”
It turns out that the physical features of streams that affect turbulence and gas exchange don’t change much over time. So NEON’s expert advisers basically felt it would be okay to just make sure this study had some baseline measurements using SF6 for each site and then leave it at that, rather than switching to an alternative gas that would require new instruments and training so that measurements could be taken year after year.
“We have discontinued it recently at several of our sites, but not all of them,” says Cawley, who notes that the water level in streams might currently be too low to get the data they want. “Some of the sites, we still need to get certain flow ranges that we haven’t covered yet.”
The NSF’s Program Director for NEON, Charlotte Roehm, told NPR in an emailed statement that Battelle was evaluating the impact of phasing out the use of SF6 and that “the NSF team that manages NEON is supportive of conducting that evaluation.”
In 2021, according to one memo sent from NEON to Roehm, NEON used approximately 18 pounds of the gas, which is the equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions from driving an average car over 460,000 miles. That memo stated the new plan was to use the gas to take measurements “up to three times per year at up to 10 sites,” likely for one to three more years.
“Eventually we will stop using SF6 when all sites have enough data to draw conclusions about gas exchange rates across a wide range of flows at a site,” the memo states.
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, however, wants them to stop using SF6 immediately.
“They’re doing these experiments on public lands like national parks and national forests,” says Chandra Rosenthal, who directs the non-profit’s Rocky Mountain office. “This doesn’t fit with the mission of these agencies at all.”
The government workers who manage those federal lands are unhappy about the use of this gas, she says, “but they haven’t really had the authority to do anything about the fact that this stuff is being used.”
This week, her group sent a letter to the director of the NSF, asking the agency to stop funding projects that use SF6 on federal lands, and to assess the value of using SF6 and other greenhouse gasses in all the research it funds. A similar letter, sent to U. S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and U. S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, calls on them to stop allowing the use of SF6 on the lands they manage. “It is our understanding,” the letter says, “that similar research projects have switched to argon without issue.”
One researcher who uses small amounts of SF6 for studies of gas exchange in the ocean, rather than streams, says he thinks NEON’s protocols could have been set up differently, to minimize the use of this greenhouse gas.
“If I was to do what they’re doing, I would do it differently. I wouldn’t be bubbling it in, because that does use a lot,” says David Ho, an oceanographer with the University of Hawaii, who explains that he might infuse a small amount of the gas into a bag of water and then release that into the stream. “They haven’t thought this through, in terms of the best way to do it.”
And even if the amount that’s been released by NEON and other scientific studies is essentially nothing compared to the amount of SF6 released globally from industrial sources, the concerns about it still seem reasonable to streams researcher Walter Dodds of Kansas State University, who served on NEON’s technical advisory panel.
“It may be an overreaction of sorts, but it’s completely understandable as well. We all are worried about what our own footprints are,” says Dodds. “Certainly we should be cognizant of the potential for that harm and at least minimize the amount of times we use it and the amount of gas that we use in each experiment.”
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