I can’t get to the article due to a monthly limit, but you can read it at your leisure!
Excessive supermarket food packaging is undermining householders’ efforts to recycle and adding to council tax bills, according to a new report.
Almost 40 per cent of supermarket food packaging cannot be easily recycled, according to a study by the Local Government Association.
The unnecessary packaging contributes to the estimated £1.8 billion councils will spend on landfill tax between 2008 and 2011, increasing the pressure for increases in council tax.
Researchers assessed the packaging in a typical shopping basket at eight supermarkets.
Waitrose had the heaviest packaging (802.5 grams) and Tesco the lightest (645.5 grams).
Lidl had the lowest level of packaging that could be easily recycled and Sainsbury’s had the highest.
Council leaders said that whilst people are recycling more rubbish their efforts are being held back by supermarkets.
They said supermarkets should pay towards recycling services so that more packaging can be recycled and council tax kept down.
Landfill tax costs councils £32 for every ton of rubbish they throw away, a figure that will rise to £48 a ton by 2010.
At current rates of landfill that will mean councils paying an extra £360 million in landfill taxes over the next two years.
Since the LGA first assessed the weight of food packaging in October 2007 it has been reduced overall, but the proportion that can be recycled has changed little.
Marks & Spencer is now the second best supermarket in terms of the weight of its packaging, having been second to last in the previous survey.
Cllr Margaret Eaton, Chairman of the Local Government Association, said: “At a time when we’re in recession and shoppers are feeling the pinch we have to move on from a world that tolerates cling filmed coconuts and shrink wrapped tins of baked beans.
“Britain is the dustbin of Europe with more rubbish being thrown into landfill than almost any other country in Europe. “Taxpayers don’t want to see their money going towards paying landfill taxes and EU fines when council tax could be reduced instead.
“If we had less unnecessary packaging it would cut costs and lead to lower prices at the tills.”
Some other European countries already have a system under which companies contribute towards recycling services and household collections of food packaging.
The National Federation of Women’s Institutes has called for shoppers to boycott stores that wrap goods in too much plastic and paper.
However, the British Retail Consortium maintains that councils do not provide good enough recycling facilities.
The food and drink industry cut food packaging by an estimated 70,000 tonnes last year.
Examples included Britvic saving 1,670 tons of plastic a year by redesigning Robinsons squash bottles and Cadbury, Mars and Nestle cutting packaging on Easter eggs by a quarter.
Juanita Broaddrick has told this reporter that she was raped not once but twice by Bill Clinton during the same infamous encounter in 1978.
Broaddrick has rarely discussed the actual details of the alleged incident due to the graphic and traumatic nature of the event.
In August 2000, Connecticut Rep. Chris Shays told a local talk show that based on evidence to which he was privy from the Clinton impeachment trial, he found that Broaddrick had “disclosed that she had been raped, not once, but twice” to Senate Judiciary Committee investigators.
“I believed that he had done it,” Shays continued. “I believed her that she had been raped 20 years ago. And it was vicious rapes, it was twice at the same event.”
Now Broaddrick has for the first time publicly confirmed her account that Clinton raped her twice.
She said that after the first round, in which the much stronger Clinton had her pinned down for a period of time, she was relieved when she thought it was over and was hoping he would leave the room.
Instead, she says Clinton turned to her and told her words to the effect of “I am going to do it again.”
And then he did, she says.
Out of sensitivity to the nature of the alleged event and its impact on her, this reporter did not ask Broaddrick to further describe the scene during our latest interview.
However, in an interview that broke nearly a decade of media silence, in November 2015 Broaddrick recounted some of the details to me.
Broaddrick’s story begins when she was a nursing home administrator volunteering for then-Arkansas Attorney General Bill Clinton’s 1978 gubernatorial bid.
She said Clinton singled her out during a campaign stop at her nursing home. “He would just sort of insinuate, you know when you are in Little Rock let’s get together. Let’s talk about the industry. Let’s talk about the needs of the nursing homes and I was very excited about that.”
Broaddrick said she finally took Clinton up on that offer in the spring of 1978 when she traveled to Little Rock for an industry convention along with her friend and nursing employee Norma Rogers. The two shared a room at the city’s Camelot Hotel.
Broaddrick phoned Clinton’s campaign headquarters to inform her of her arrival and was told by a receptionist that Clinton had left instructions for her to reach him at his private apartment.
“I called his apartment and he answered,” she told me. “And he said, ‘Well, why don’t we meet in the Camelot Hotel coffee room and we can get together there and talk. And I said, ‘That would be fine.’”
Clinton then changed the meeting location from the hotel coffee shop to Broaddrick’s room.
“A time later and I’m not sure how long it was, he called my room, which he said he would do when he got to the coffee shop. And he said ‘There are too many people down here. It’s too crowded. There’s reporters and can we just meet in your room?’”
“And it sort of took me back a little bit, Aaron,” she said of Clinton’s request.
“But I did say okay, I’ll order coffee to the room, which I did and that’s when things sort of got out of hand. And it was very unexpected. It was, you might even say, brutal. With the biting of my lip.”
Broaddrick said she did not want to rehash the alleged rape scene, explaining those painful details are fully available in previous news reports.
She told NBC’s Dateline in 1999 that she resisted when Clinton suddenly kissed her:
Then he tries to kiss me again. And the second time he tries to kiss me he starts biting my lip. … He starts to, um, bite on my top lip and I tried to pull away from him. And then he forces me down on the bed. And I just was very frightened, and I tried to get away from him and I told him “No,” that I didn’t want this to happen but he wouldn’t listen to me. … It was a real panicky, panicky situation. I was even to the point where I was getting very noisy, you know, yelling to “Please stop.” And that’s when he pressed down on my right shoulder and he would bite my lip. … When everything was over with, he got up and straightened himself, and I was crying at the moment and he walks to the door, and calmly puts on his sunglasses. And before he goes out the door he says, “You better get some ice on that.” And he turned and went out the door.
In our November interview, Broaddrick recounted the aftermath of the incident, when her friend Rogers came back to the room after Broaddrick failed to show up to the convention.
“I was in a state of shock afterwards,” an emotional Broaddrick said, clearly still impacted by the event. “And I know my nurse came back to the room to check on me because she hadn’t heard from me. … She came up and it was devastating to her and to me to find me in the condition that I was in.”
“We really did not know what to do. We sat and talked and she got ice for my mouth. … It was four times the size that it should be. And she got ice for me and we decided then I just wanted to go home. I just wanted to get out of there, which we did.”
The detail about Clinton allegedly biting her lip is instructive. One woman who would later say she had a consensual affair with Clinton, former Miss America pageant winner Elizabeth Ward Gracen, would also reveal Clinton bit her lip when a tryst became rough.
Broaddrick says Bill repeatedly called her after the alleged rape.
Apparently that wasn’t the end of it.
In January, Broaddrick told me that within a few weeks after Clinton allegedly raped her, he started to call her repeatedly with the aim of meeting again.
“I was shocked to say the least that he would have the audacity to call me after what he did to me,” Broaddrick said.
She said that just a few weeks after the 1978 alleged sexual assault, “He called the nursing home that I owned and they patched the call through to my office and I didn’t know that it was him. And he immediately said, ‘Hi, this is Bill Clinton. I was just wondering when you were coming back to Little Rock again.’
“This just caught me so off guard. I had not expected anything like this at all. And I told him I would not be coming back to Little Rock again and definitely would not ever be seeing him again. And I hung up.”
Broaddrick recalled that Clinton, the attorney general of Arkansas and candidate for governor at the time, called the nursing home where she worked on numerous occasions over the next six months.
And you would think that would have been the end of it. But it wasn’t. About two or three weeks later, I was in a meeting and my administrator came into the meeting and she said, “You are wanted on the phone.” And she said it was Mr. Clinton. And I told her, I said, “Please tell him I’m not here.” She wasn’t aware of what had happened to me. Nor were the nurses. The two directors of nursings [sic] were the only two who had known what he had done to me. So she wasn’t aware, but she was very caught off guard why I wouldn’t speak to him.
And I went into her office later and I said if there are ever any phone calls from him, I can’t explain but I do not want to have any phone calls from him. Whenever he calls please tell him that I’m not here.
And then it happened a couple of more times. The board secretary answered the phone. And she said, “Mr. Clinton is on the phone.” And I just looked at her and I said please tell him that I’m not here.
And I think there was probably a total of maybe four or five calls within a six-month period after the assault. And I think he finally figured out I wasn’t going to talk to him again.
Broaddrick was asked what she thought Clinton wanted from her.
She replied: “I think he thought, well this is just a usual occurrence. I probably was with him and I am wondering whether I can get with this woman again. I was shocked to say the least that he would have the audacity to call me after what he did to me.”
‘I felt responsible until Bill came back.’
Broaddrick said the climate of women’s issues in 1978 was such that “I felt responsible. I don’t know if you know the mentality of women and men at that time. But me letting him come to my room? I accepted full blame.”
“And I thought ‘This is your fault and you have to bear this. There’s nothing you can do. He’s the attorney general. And this is your fault.’”
She states that all that changed in 1991, when she says she was at a meeting at the Riverfront Hotel in Little Rock and Clinton approached her there.
Clinton found out she was at the hotel “and they called me out of the meeting and pointed to an area to go down around the corner by an elevator area. And I walked around the corner and there he stands.”
“And he immediately comes over to me with this gushing apology. Like, ‘I’m so sorry for what happened. I hope you can forgive me. I’m a family man now. I have a daughter. I’m a changed man. I would never do anything like that again.’”
Broaddrick said she thought Clinton was sincere until he announced his run for president the following week.
“But still I have to thank him for that day because the blame then went off of me and on to him. And I knew that it wasn’t my fault. I knew that I didn’t use good judgement, but I knew that the incident was no longer my fault.”
Broaddrick, Willey, Jones to Bill Clinton’s Defenders: ‘These Are Crimes,’ ‘Terrified’ of ‘Enabler’ HillaryOctober 10, 2016
In an exclusive video interview at the presidential suite of the historic Watergate Hotel, the victims of Bill Clinton’s alleged sexual assault — Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, and Paula Jones — got together for the first time in person to express their personal fear of Hillary Clinton and to warn voters that Clinton does not stand for women’s issues.
The three women, who say their lives were forever changed by their experiences with the Clintons, used words like “terrified” and “frightened” to describe their feelings about the prospects of a Hillary Clinton presidency.
Watch the video here:
When asked about the counter-argument that their allegations toward Bill Clinton only dig up past “infidelities,” all three women attacked establishment media figures for using this language.
“We were not willing participants,” Broaddrick said. “These were crimes.” In a separate interview, Broaddrick shared her own story of brutal sexual assault which she says Bill Clinton perpetrated against her.
Willey called out NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell and CNN’s Jake Tapper by name, challenging them: “These are not infidelities. A rape is not an infidelity. These are crimes. Any other people would be in jail…
“This is no longer about infidelities, indiscretions, girlfriends, sex, interns — none of those. This is about a serial rapist, a predator, and his wife who has enabled his behavior all of these years.”
Later in this interview, Jones, Willey, and Broaddrick expressed fear at how a potential President Hillary Clinton would use the power of her office.
“It terrifies me and it should terrify all women,” Jones stated about Hillary’s presidential ambitions.
“It should terrify all men and women,” Willey added. “She will annihilate any enemy. All of her enemies. Anybody who has spoken against her. Across the board for I don’t know how many years. She will get rid of them.”
“No woman who advocates for women attacks the victims of sexual assault be it by her husband or anybody else,” said Willey.
The women argued that the term “enabler” best describes Hillary Clinton’s role in her husband’s alleged sexual crimes.
“There is not a better word for any of this,” stated Broaddrick. “Especially when she threatened me personally.”
Willey added, “She is complicit in everything that he has done.”
“She had helped him do it,” asserted Jones.
“She has turned a blind eye for decades against what he has done” stated Broaddrick. “And she has been the main one to help cover this up. And go after us.”
Willey and Jones both accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault, with Willey saying that she suffered acts of intimidation in what she has described as a campaign to silence her. Broaddrick says that Bill Clinton raped her, and recently stated in an interview with this reporter that she was raped twice during the same 1978 alleged assault.
If you call yourself a “Conservative,” there’s a lot of responsibility that comes along with that title. Basic concepts like morals, integrity, and honesty, are just a few traits that come to mind. But there’s a woman on Facebook claiming to be a Conservative, who’s currently making a living from stealing from military veterans, and many other conservative journalists. But perhaps worst of all, is if you confront this lovely woman, she will simply block you, while continuing to make money off the content she steals from you.
Meet Katie Bunney, the plagiarizer and thief. She claims to be a “journalist” writing under the pen name Katie McGuire, while working for Right Wing News. Hardly a “journalist,” unless you consider right clicking and pasting other people’s hard work onto your website as “journalism.”
I was first introduced to this thief by my good friend and fellow journalist Dom (Dom the Conservative), who found out Katie Bunney was ripping off her stories word for word. Dom explained to me that as soon as she contacted Bunney about the stories she had stolen, that Bunney immediately blocked her. Below is the message that Dom sent to Bunney, shortly before being completely blocked.
“Perhaps you need to be informed on what constitutes plagiarism. Quoting a line or even a few paragraphs is understandable as long as you’re citing the author. Copying and pasting entire articles, regardless of linking or citing, is plagiarism and making money from someone else’s work. You know very well that no one will click your link to the original source if they just got the entire story on your site.”
When I contacted Bunney, the exact same thing happened to me. I messaged the thief on both her journalism page (where she goes by “GOP Katie”) as well as her personal profile. I told Bunney that she had exactly 24 hours to remove the content that she stolen from me.
But immediately after contacting her, I too was immediately blocked, and my messages went unanswered. Here’s where she blocked me on Facebook:
She blocked me from following her on Twitter also:
But Dom and I were not the only victims of Bunney’s thievery. A quick look at her “journalism” page shows something very disturbing. EVERY SINGLE STORY that’s on her page are ones that she has stolen from well-known Conservative sites. Her favorite place to loot as of lately, is Mad World News. Here’s the evidence I collected below.
What’s hilarious though, is that shortly after making a video to collect evidence on Bunney’s thievery, she changed the date of the story she stole from me, in order to make it appear as though she had written it first!
It must be nice making a living off of other people’s hard work. Here’s Bunney vacationing in Cabo, which I’m willing to bet wasn’t a cheap vacation.
That’s a nice hotel. She must’ve made quite a nice little chunk stealing from me and other hard-working Conservative journalists.
Here’s Bunney with her son. I wonder he knows that his mom makes a living from stealing from people?
I warned you what would happen if you didn’t remove my stolen content from your website, Katie. Now you can enjoy being internet famous, since you obviously enjoy attention so much.
If you would like to contact Bunney and let her know how you feel about her stealing from military veterans and Conservatives, there’s several ways you can contact her:
Facebook profile===> LINK
Journalism page===> LINK
Most of us enjoy a clean home, but not all of us manage to maintain one every day. Clean freaks, however, put the quest for cleanliness above other, more trivial ways of spending time. For them, a spotless home is the zenith of achievement. Read on for some clean freak wisdom.
1. Clean freaks are fit. Clean freaks are not interested in workout DVDs. Surely vacuuming the living room and dusting the curtain rods act as a decent workout with plenty of stretches?
As for jumping up to do some fat-burning lunges while the TV commercials are on, isn’t that the time when any self-respecting clean obsessive dusts under the sofa?
2. Some jobs can’t wait until morning — actually, all jobs. Going to bed without having done the dishes or run the dishwasher will lead to a very restless night’s sleep. No clean freak can relax knowing all that mess is lurking in the kitchen. Disturbing!
3. Cleaning products are compelling. Whether you love to try the latest deep-cleaning, germ-busting spray or are a devotee of delicious-sounding eco-friendly cleaning products, you are certainly not immune to the siren call of a quality cleaning product.
All those sprays, powders and liquids attract you with their promise of a shinier object, a more hygienic surface and a home that smells insanely fresh. You may even arrange your cleaning products on a shelf, much as a non-clean freak might arrange ornaments or books.
4. Open shelves are dangerous! All those containers, jars and plates sit open to the elements, getting dusty or, worse, greasy! If you, as a clean freak, do agree to have open shelves in your home, a thorough washing down of everything lined up on them should be scheduled frequently. You can’t be too careful.
5. Hiring a house cleaner is not an option. Some people treat themselves to a house cleaner during busy or stressful times. Others employ one year-round to make life easier. Clean freaks find this concept odd. What’s easier about having to go around each room to check for missed spots once the cleaner has left?
6. Cleaning trumps refreshment. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. That’s the saying, but clean freaks disagree. They say, when life gives you lemons, slice one in half and use it to disinfect your chopping board. Alternatively, mix lemon juice with white vinegar to make a natural, eco-friendly cleaner.
7. Spring is the best time of year. Each winter, clean freaks count the days until spring will start. Not because they hate the dark, cold months, but because spring means that they can dry-clean the curtains and pressure-wash the patio again. Whoopee!
8. There’s cleaning, and then there’s deep cleaning. Non-clean freaks are usually content to simply wipe down the stuff you can see in your house, such as the kitchen counters or the floor. But true clean freaks go deeper. Much deeper. To them, unclogging a drain, washing the freezer and vacuuming the chimney are vital and highly rewarding tasks.
9. Homemade tools are often best. A clean freak will have all the mops and cloths that a regular homeowner has, but is also adept at improvising. Cotton balls don’t just belong in the bathroom! They are brilliant for cleaning a computer keyboard or around a kitchen drain. Sticky notes will happily pick up crumbs or hairs, and the sharp end of a safety pin can be used for scraping out gunk from tiny crevices.
10. Clean freaks love a party. Now you might think that clean freaks would hate to host a party in their home. All those spilled drinks and chips crushed into the carpet. Yuck! But in fact, clean freaks love a party. Well, they love a party that’s just finished so they can snap on their rubber gloves, whip out their mop and really get to work putting the house back in order. Some people watch TV to calm down after a party. Clean freaks clean!
The Food and Drug Administration, under public pressure to start testing samples of U.S. food for the presence of a pesticide that has been linked to cancer, has some early findings that are not so sweet.
In examining honey samples from various locations in the United States, the FDA has found fresh evidence that residues of the weed killer called glyphosate can be pervasive – found even in a food that is not produced with the use of glyphosate. All of the samples the FDA tested in a recent examination contained glyphosate residues, and some of the honey showed residue levels double the limit allowed in the European Union, according to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. There is no legal tolerance level for glyphosate in honey in the United States.
Glyphosate, which is the key ingredient in Monsanto Co.’s Roundup herbicide, is the most widely used weed killer in the world, and concerns about glyphosate residues in food spiked after the World Health Organization in 2015 said its cancer experts determined glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen. Other international scientists have raised concerns about how heavy use of glyphosate is impacting human health and the environment.
Records obtained from the FDA, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, detail a range of revelations about the federal government’s efforts to get a handle on these rising concerns. In addition to honey, the records show government residue experts discussing glyphosate found in soybean and wheat samples, “glyphosate controversies,” and the belief that there could be “a lot of violation for glyphosate” residues in U.S. crops.
Even though the FDA annually examines foods for residues of many pesticides, it has skipped testing for glyphosate residues for decades. It was only in February of this year that the agency said it would start some glyphosate residues analysis. That came after many independent researchers started conducting their own testing and found glyphosate in an array of food products, including flour, cereal, and oatmeal. The government and Monsanto have maintained that any glyphosate residues in food would be minimal enough to be safe. But critics say without robust testing, glyphosate levels in food are not known. And they say that even trace amounts may be harmful because they are likely consumed so regularly in many foods.
The residue issues are coming into the spotlight at the same time that the EPA is completing a risk assessment to determine if use of this top-selling herbicide should be limited. The agency has scheduled public meetings on the matter Oct. 18-21 in Washington. The EPA’s risk assessment report was initially due out in 2015, but still has not been finalized. The agency now says it will be completed in “spring 2017.”
In the records released by the FDA, one internal email describes trouble locating honey that doesn’t contain glyphosate: “It is difficult to find blank honey that does not contain residue. I collect about 10 samples of honey in the market and they all contain glyphosate,” states an FDA researcher. Even “organic mountain honey” contained low concentrations of glyphosate, the FDA documents show.
According to the FDA records, samples tested by FDA chemist Narong Chamkasem showed residue levels at 107 ppb in samples the FDA associated with Louisiana-based Carmichael’s Honey; 22 ppb in honey the FDA linked to Leighton’s Orange Blossom Honey in Florida and residues at 41 ppb in samples the FDA associated with Iowa-based Sue Bee Honey, which is marketed by a cooperative of American beekeepers as “pure, all-natural” and “America’s Honey.” Customers “can be assured that Sue Bee Honey is 100% pure, 100% all-natural and 100% American,” the Sioux Honey Association states.
In a Jan. 8, 2016 email Chamkasem pointed out to fellow FDA scientists that the EU tolerance level is 50 ppb and there is no amount of glyphosate allowed at all in honey in the United States. But Chris Sack, an FDA chemist who oversees the agency’s pesticide residue testing, responded by reassuring Chamkasem and the others that the glyphosate residues discovered are only “technically a violation.”
“The bee farmers are not breaking any laws; rather glyphosate is being introduced by the bees,” Sack wrote in response. “While the presence of glyphosate in honey is technically a violation, it is not a safety issue.”
Sack said the EPA had been “made aware of the problem” and was expected to set tolerance levels for honey. Once tolerance levels are set by EPA – if they are set high enough – the residues would no longer be a violation. When contacted this week, the EPA said there are currently no pending requests to set tolerance levels for glyphosate in honey. But, the agency also said: “there is no dietary risk concern from exposure to glyphosate residues in honey at this time.”
Sioux Honey Vice President Bill Huser said glyphosate is commonly used on farm fields frequented by bees, and the pesticide travels back with the bees to the hives where the honey is produced.
“The industry doesn’t have any control over environmental impacts like this,” Huser said. Most of Sue Bee’s honey comes from bees located near clover and alfalfa in the upper Midwest, he said. Beekeepers located in the South would have honeybees close to cotton and soybean fields. Alfalfa, soybeans and cotton are all genetically engineered to be sprayed directly with glyphosate.
The FDA results are not the first to find glyphosate in honey. Sampling done in early 2015 by the scientific research company Abraxis found glyphosate residues in 41 of 69 honey samples with glyphosate levels between 17 and 163 ppb, with the mean average being 64 ppb.
Bee keepers say they are innocent victims who see their honey products contaminated simply because they might be located within a few miles of farms where glyphosate is used.
“I don’t understand how I’m supposed to control the level of glyphosate in my honey when I’m not the one using Roundup,” one honey company operator said. “It’s all around me. It’s unfair.”
The FDA did not respond to a question about the extent of its communications with Monsanto regarding residue testing, but the records released show that Monsanto has had at least some interaction with the FDA on this issue. In April of this year, Monsanto’s international regulatory affairs manager Amelia Jackson-Gheissari emailed FDA asking to set up a time to talk about “enforcement of residue levels in the USA, particularly glyphosate.”
The FDA routinely looks for residues of a number of commonly used pesticides but not glyphosate. The look for glyphosate this year is considered a “special assignment” and came after the agency was criticized by the U.S. Government Accountability Office in 2014 for failing to test for glyphosate.
The FDA has not released formal results of its testing plans or the findings, but Sack made a presentation in June to the California Specialty Crops Council that said the agency was analyzing 300 samples of corn; 300 samples of soy; and 120 samples each of milk and eggs. He described some partial results achieved through April that showed glyphosate levels found in 52 samples of corn and 44 samples of soybeans but not above legally allowed levels. The presentation did not mention honey. The presentation also stated that glyphosate testing at the FDA will be expanded to “routine screening.”
The USDA also will start testing for glyphosate, but not until next year, according to information the agency gave to the nonprofit group Beyond Pesticides in a meeting in Washington in January. Documents obtained through FOIA show a plan to test in syrups and oils in 2017.
Soybeans and Wheat
Like the FDA, the USDA has dragged its feet on testing. Only one time, in 2011, has the USDA tested for glyphosate residues despite the fact that the agency does widespread testing for residues of other less-used pesticides. In what the USDA called a “special project” the agency tested 300 soybean samples for glyphosate and found more than 90 percent – 271 of the samples – carried the weed killer residues. The agency said then that further testing for glyphosate was “not a high priority” because glyphosate is considered so safe. It also said that while residues levels in some samples came close to the very high levels of glyphosate “tolerance” established by EPA, they did not exceed those levels.
Both the USDA and the FDA have long said it is too expensive and is unnecessary to test for glyphosate residues. Yet the division within the USDA known as the Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) has been testing wheat for glyphosate residues for years because many foreign buyers have strong concerns about glyphosate residues. GIPSA’s testing is part of an “export cargo sampling program,” documents obtained from GIPSA show. Those tests showed glyphosate residues detected in more than 40 percent of hundreds of wheat samples examined in fiscal 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. The levels vary, the data shows. GIPSA has also been helping FDA access soybeans to test. In a May 2015 email, GIPSA chemist Gary Hinshaw told an FDA food safety official that “it isn’t difficult to find soybeans containing glyphosate.” In a December 7, 2015 email from FDA chemist Terry Councell to Lauren Robin, also a chemist and an FDA consumer safety officer, Councell said that glyphosate was present even in processed commodities, though “way below tolerance.”
The fact that the government is aware of glyphosate residues in food, but has dragged its feet on testing for so long, frustrates many who are concerned about the pesticide.
“There is no sense of urgency around these exposures that we live with day in and day out,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides.
The spokesman says you can “reduce your debt by up to 50 percent and make one low monthly payment,” in a TV ad for Freedom Debt Relief. The company says it can help you eliminate debt in as little as 24 to 48 months without credit counseling or declaring bankruptcy. Instead, it will negotiate with your creditors to reduce the amount you owe. But according to a recent lawsuit filed against the company, many people who signed on with Freedom Debt Relief increased their debt loads; some declared bankruptcy.
Freedom Debt Relief (FDR) claims to be a leader in the debt-settlement industry and says it has helped consumers erase more than $500 million in debt since 2003. (FDR is also an umbrella group that includes Bills.com, Freedom Financial Network, Freedom Tax Relief, and several others.) It operates like other settlement companies often do. Customers deposit about 15 percent of the amount they owe into a bank account and give FDR power of attorney so that it can access the money to settle their debts.
A 2009 lawsuit brought by the district attorney’s office in San Mateo, Calif., charged that the company often “did not even contact all of the consumers’ creditors to negotiate a settlement.” After months of being told FDR was settling their accounts, many consumers found that creditors had sent their accounts to a collection agency or had initiated legal actions against them, the suit alleged. It also charged that many clients never finished the debt-relief program, even after months or years. But Freedom Debt Relief continued to charge them for administrative and service fees for about the first 18 months the accounts were open. In addition, the suit said, customers who wanted to find out the status of their settlements were often rebuffed by the company, and some were denied the money-back guarantee it advertises.
To settle the lawsuit, FDR agreed to pay the San Mateo County district attorney’s office and the California Department of Corporations $450,000 in fees and court costs and $500,000 in refunds to customers without admitting wrongdoing.
As a result of the suit, an earlier complaint by the California Department of Corporations alleging that FDR operated in the state for seven years without a license, in violation of a 2002 desist and refrain order, was withdrawn. FDR has also been forced to refund money to customers in Colorado and Rhode Island. And New York’s attorney general is investigating FDR and 13 other debt-settlement firms.
People who are deep in debt should first talk with each creditor to see if it has a plan for hardship cases that might allow them to reduce their payments. If collection agencies are calling, try to negotiate a reduction in principal, which is what a debt-resolution company promises to do. If you’re successful, you may have to pay taxes on the total that was forgiven.
If you can’t handle negotiating with creditors on your own, find a nonprofit credit counselor through the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, at nfcc.org, or by calling 800-388-2227.
If those strategies don’t work, you may want to declare bankruptcy. Contact the American Bankruptcy Institute (www.abiworld.org) or the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (nacba.org) to find an attorney who can help you.
This article appeared in Consumer Reports Money Adviser.
For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the German government plans to tell citizens to stockpile food and water in case of an attack or catastrophe, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper reported on Sunday.
Germany is currently on high alert after two Islamist attacks and a shooting rampage by a mentally unstable teenager last month. Berlin announced measures earlier this month to spend considerably more on its police and security forces and to create a special unit to counter cyber crime and terrorism.
“The population will be obliged to hold an individual supply of food for ten days,” the newspaper quoted the government’s “Concept for Civil Defence” – which has been prepared by the Interior Ministry – as saying.
The paper said a parliamentary committee had originally commissioned the civil defense strategy in 2012.
A spokesman for the Interior Ministry said the plan would be discussed by the cabinet on Wednesday and presented by the minister that afternoon. He declined to give any details on the content.
People will be required to stockpile enough drinking water to last for five days, according to the plan, the paper said.
The 69-page report does not see an attack on Germany’s territory, which would require a conventional style of national defense, as likely.
However, the precautionary measures demand that people “prepare appropriately for a development that could threaten our existence and cannot be categorically ruled out in the future,” the paper cited the report as saying.
It also mentions the necessity of a reliable alarm system, better structural protection of buildings and more capacity in the health system, the paper said.
A further priority should be more support of the armed forces by civilians, it added.
Germany’s Defence Minister said earlier this month the country lay in the “crosshairs of terrorism” and pressed for plans for the military to train more closely with police in preparing for potential large-scale militant attacks.
As you know I rarely interject in my blog postings, I only state FACT.
Below are experts from articles about how biased the Lame Stream Media is. I have not decided on WHOM I will vote for, BUT based on what I’ve read of the Benghazi Papers AND the FBI’s own words it will NOT be Hillary. Enough Said.
THIS posting is about how the media is treating these two grieving families. All I have to say is:
- Humayun Kahn VOLUNTEERED to join the Military and defend the United States and the Constitution, as military personnel he KNEW that he may have to pay the ULTIMATE sacrifice.
- Ambassador Chris Stevens was an Ambassador who represents the interests of the United States in the country they are assigned. The are NOT expected to give their LIFE for their country as it is a DIPLOMATIC post.
Can you see the difference?
There is no question that Khan, whose soldier son was killed in Iraq, provided a heartbreaking moment in Philadelphia. Trump had nothing to do with his son’s wartime death, of course, but Khan took his proposed temporary ban on Muslim immigrants and used it to question whether the candidate has even read the Constitution (which Trump says he has).
The media have given this man and his wife an enormous platform—in a way they conspicuously declined to do when Patricia Smith blamed Hillary Clinton at the Republican convention for the death of her son in Benghazi.
Khan’s speech got a writeup on the front page of the New York Times. On Sunday he was on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and CNN’s “State of the Union,” calling Trump, among other things, a “black soul.” Yesterday it was the “Today” show, “Morning Joe” and “New Day.”
The New York Times is calling it “one of the biggest crises of his campaign,” saying it’s “too soon to say how severe the damage to Mr. Trump might be, but the clash has already entangled him in a self-destructive, dayslong argument with sympathetic accusers who are portraying him as a person of unredeemable callousness.”
The paper did add that “he has proved remarkably resilient, getting past controversies that might have sunk other candidates.”
The Washington Post says Trump “drew new criticism from his party” for taking on Khan. “But the Republican presidential nominee refused to back down from his attacks, and a former aide argued that the soldier would still be alive if Trump were president at the time of his service.”
New Hampshire state Rep. Al Baldasaro, who has called for Clinton to be killed, said this: “Follow the money trail on Mr Khan. Shame on him for using his Warrior son, who made the Ultimate sacrifice as a pawn.”
Patricia Smith drew little coverage for her speech attacking Clinton in Cleveland. That may be in part because she had repeatedly made the same allegations in television interviews. But Smith also drew criticism for bringing up Benghazi.
Ms. Smith told a nationally televised audience of roughly 10 million people that she blames Mrs. Clinton for the death of her son, an information management officer with the U.S. Foreign Service at the time of his death.
“Under no circumstances is it okay to invoke violence against women. As outraged as I was by parts of Pat Smith’s speech, to use this kind of language as a means of expressing that feeling was completely out of bounds,” the writer said on Tuesday. “I also completely understand how, regardless of my intent, it was extremely triggering for a lot of people. And for that I am genuinely sorry.”
As sheriff of Washoe County, I am committed to doing everything in my power to protect your families, your property and your community. I am equally committed to protecting your rights and freedoms as citizens of Nevada and the United States. One of my fundamental principles and promises to the citizens of this county is not to support any legislation that would infringe upon or restrict our Second Amendment rights.
In that light, I would like to express my concerns about Gun Control Question 1, which is on the ballot for November’s election. Largely bought and paid for by billionaire gun control advocate Michael Bloomberg, I believe Question 1 will do absolutely nothing to stop criminals while criminalizing the commonplace activities of many Nevada gun owners.
Armed with the facts, I am convinced Nevadans will defeat this anti-freedom measure.
If Question 1 passes, Nevada’s gun control laws on private transfers will be even more restrictive than the outrageous laws in California. The measure would force anyone who shares, loans or sells a firearm to a friend, or in some cases even a relative, to go through multiple government background checks, paying fees each time. If you don’t jump through all the government mandates, you could face up to a year in jail and a fine of $2,000. A second offense, and you could be a felon facing up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
All the while, actual criminals are free to go about their criminal business, because they will simply ignore the law.
Speaking as a member of law enforcement, I can tell you that if Question 1 passes, it will tax already scarce law enforcement resources without doing anything to make the public any safer.
Law enforcement would be required to investigate law-abiding Nevadans for many commonplace practices they do now. The initiative increases red tape, making it harder for law-abiding Nevadans to defend themselves.
Other states have tried to keep guns out of the hands of criminals by passing laws requiring criminal background checks on private transfers. The results from these states have been underwhelming. Reports out of Colorado and Connecticut have done more to create bureaucratic headaches and issues with noncompliance than increasing public safety.
Renewed calls in Congress for gun bans and more gun control following the Orlando terrorist attack will do nothing to make us any safer if they are based solely on emotion instead of effectiveness. These measures may only make it harder for law-abiding Americans to defend themselves.
Criminals will go around the laws. They always have and they always will.
I ask that you not be fooled by Bloomberg’s gun control groups in Nevada. Question 1 will not make us any safer and will do nothing to address violent crime. Question 1 is simply increased gun control on already law-abiding citizens.
In Kentucky, Dr. Ashok Alur was examining an infection on a patient’s abdomen when he entered forbidden territory. He told the patient she had sexy underwear. Then, he rubbed her and placed his mouth on her genitals. The patient pushed him away and went to police.
“It was so beautiful,” the doctor told her later, when she confronted him. “I couldn’t resist.”
In Missouri, Dr. Milton Eichmann asked a woman badly injured in a sexual assault if she liked being tied up during sex, whether she was easily stimulated and whether she liked to be urinated on. He then told the patient, who was seeing the doctor for treatment of urinary problems, that he was being aroused.
In California, a patient was leaving an appointment with Dr. Mandeep Behniwal, a psychiatrist, when the doctor put his hand down her blouse, grabbed her breast out of her bra and placed his mouth on it. He then exposed himself and ejaculated on her hand.
In New Mexico, Dr. Twana Sparks for years performed genital exams she said were for screening on ear, nose and throat patients who were under anesthesia and hadn’t given consent, the state medical board said. In Texas, Dr. Philip Leonard fondled patients’ breasts or pressed his erections against them during exams, 17 women reported. In Georgia, a patient who saw Dr. Jacob Ward for a back rash and facial redness said the doctor exposed and fondled her breasts and put his hands down her pants.
In each of these cases, described in public records, the doctors either acknowledged what they’d done or authorities, after investigating, believed the accusations. While the scale and scope of the physicians’ misdeeds varied tremendously, all were allowed to keep their white coats and continue seeing patients, as were hundreds of others like them across the nation.
In a national investigation, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution examined documents that described disturbing acts of physician sexual abuse in every state. Rapes by OB/GYNs, seductions by psychiatrists, fondling by anesthesiologists and ophthalmologists, and molestation’s by pediatricians and radiologists.
Victims were babies. Adolescents. Women in their 80s. Drug addicts and jail inmates. Survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
But it could be anyone. Some patients were sedated when they were sexually assaulted. Others didn’t realize at first what had happened because the doctor improperly touched them or photographed them while pretending to do a legitimate medical exam.
Some doctors were disciplined over a single episode of sexual misconduct. A few physicians — with hundreds of victims — are among the nation’s worst sex offenders. But the toll can’t be measured by numbers alone. For patients, the violations can be life-altering. The betrayal even pushed some to suicide.
How do doctors get away with exploiting patients for years?
Some victims say nothing. Intimidated, confused or embarrassed, they fear that no one will take their word over a doctor’s. Colleagues and nurses stay silent.
Hospitals and health care organizations brush off accusations or quietly push doctors out, the investigation found, without reporting them to police or licensing agencies.
Society condemns sexual misconduct by most citizens and demands punishment. A teenage boyfriend and girlfriend in North Carolina were arrested for “sexting” nude pictures of themselves to each other. A Georgia woman was placed on a sex offender registry for having sex when she was 19 with a 15-year-old who lied about his age. A Pennsylvania teacher who had sex with an 18-year-old student was dubbed a predator and sent to prison.
But when a physician is the perpetrator, the AJC found, the nation often looks the other way.
Physician-dominated medical boards gave offenders second chances. Prosecutors dismissed or reduced charges, so doctors could keep practicing and stay off sex offender registries. Communities rallied around them.
Erin Vance, who was sexually assaulted by an Oregon physician while she was under anesthesia, said the doctor should have been stopped long before she was wheeled into an operating room. He’d been reported by another patient years earlier.
“I keep going back to the ‘Do no harm’ aspect of the Hippocratic oath,” Vance said. “I mean, I couldn’t move. I was completely at the mercy of whoever was there, and it turned out that the person who was there was a serial predator.”
RYON HORNE / AJC
BRUSHED OFF AS RARE
The Roman Catholic Church, the military, the Boy Scouts, colleges and universities. They have all withered under the spotlight of sexual misconduct scandals and promised that abuse will no longer be swept under the rug.
The medical profession, however, has never taken on sexual misconduct as a significant priority. And layer upon layer of secrecy makes it nearly impossible for the public, or even the medical community itself, to know the extent of physician sexual abuse.
“There just isn’t accurate data,” said Dr. Gene Abel, an Atlanta physician who is a nationally recognized expert in evaluating sexual misconduct by professionals.
The AJC launched its national investigation a year ago after reaching a surprising finding in Georgia: two-thirds of the doctors disciplined in the state for sexual misconduct were permitted to practice again.
Today, after months of unearthing rarely viewed documents and tracking some cases from beginning to end, the AJC is exposing a phenomenon of physician sexual misconduct that is tolerated — to one degree or another — in every state in the nation.
The AJC obtained and analyzed more than 100,000 disciplinary documents and other records from across the country to find cases that may have involved sexual misconduct. Then reporters identified more than 3,100 doctors who were publicly disciplined since Jan. 1, 1999 after being accused of sexual infractions. More than 2,400 were sanctioned for violations that clearly involved patients. The rest were disciplined for sexual harassment of employees or for crimes such as child pornography, public indecency or sexual assault.
Yet many, if not most, cases of physician sexual misconduct remain hidden. The AJC investigation discovered that state boards and hospitals handle some cases secretly. In other cases, medical boards remove once-public orders from their websites or issue documents that cloak sexual misconduct in vague language.
When cases do come to the public’s attention, they are often brushed off by the medical establishment as freakishly rare. While the vast majority of the nation’s 900,000 doctors do not sexually abuse patients, the AJC found the phenomenon is akin to the priest scandal: It doesn’t necessarily happen every day, but it happens far more often than anyone has acknowledged.
‘A DELICATE BALANCE’
Over and over again, records show, predatory physicians took advantage of a doctor’s special privilege — the daily practice of asking trusting people to disrobe in a private room and permit themselves to be touched.
Offenses ranged from lewd comments during intimate exams to molestation, masturbation by the doctor in front of the patient, swapping drugs for sex and even rape. Because many orders are vague or undetailed, it isn’t always clear if a doctor claimed the patient consented. However, the profession says consent is never a defense because of the power imbalance between doctors and patients.
David Clohessy, the executive director of SNAP, a support and advocacy organization for people sexually abused by priests, doctors and others, said many Americans view physicians with too much deference and automatic respect.
“We are so reliant on them, we are so helpless and vulnerable and literally in pain often times when we go in there. We just have to trust them,” Clohessy said.
“So when they cross the boundary and their hands go into the wrong places, we are in shock, we are paralyzed, we’re confused, we’re scared. We just do not want to believe, first of all, that a doctor is capable of this , and secondly that their colleagues and supervisors will not address this immediately and effectively when we report it.”
Authorities say they take allegations of sexual misconduct seriously but sometimes compromise to settle cases without going through protracted battles.
Leanne Diakov, general counsel for the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure, said medical boards have to consider everything from the state’s need for physicians to the limits imposed by state law. In Kentucky, for example, doctors whose licenses are revoked by the medical board have a legal right to petition for reinstatement two years later.
“It’s always a balance,” Diakov said. “Obviously, the public looks at it and says, ‘Oh my gosh, how are they letting this physician practice.’ It’s a delicate balance between protecting public health resources, protecting patients and acting within the statutory authority that the legislature has given you.”
‘LOST MY JUDGMENT’
Sexual contact between a doctor and a patient, even if ostensibly consensual, is strictly forbidden. In ethical terms, it’s a never event. In a legal sense, it can be a crime. Physicians know it’s a line that can’t be crossed — it’s a prohibition as old as the Hippocratic oath.
Yet, the AJC found, even doctors who molest patients or subject them to bizarre exams for deviant purposes are frequently seen as sympathetic figures in need of therapy instead of predators who must answer to police. They get a diagnosis. They get a treatment. They come back.
Many are cleared to practice again after going to recovery centers where they take lie-detector tests and admit transgressions. They are expected to learn empathy and work through their issues, in some programs through art and yoga and in at least one through equestrian therapy. Others, seen in need only of further education, return to practice after attending weekend “boundary” classes at hotels or college campuses.
Only 11 states have a law requiring medical authorities to report to police or prosecutors when they suspect a sexual crime has been committed against an adult.
Doctors spend years in costly medical schools and training programs. They’re smart. They’re admired. They’re needed. Like the giant banks that were once viewed as “too big to fail,” the nation’s doctors are often considered too precious to discard.
Some of the disciplined doctors interviewed by the AJC expressed remorse. Some felt unfairly targeted by patients hoping to profit from a lawsuit. Others said they were frustrated that professionally damaging reports kept popping up years later, when they viewed their actions as brief lapses in judgment, not a life of misconduct. Most said they had paid dearly for the mistakes.
Behniwal, the California psychiatrist, said the patient who accused him initiated the sexual contact and he didn’t stop himself quickly enough. “For half a minute, I lost my judgment,” he said. Sparks, the New Mexico physician, said she was conducting cancer screening exams when she touched patients, with no sexual intent. But she said she paid a huge professional price because she didn’t have the patients’ consent. Eichmann, now retired and focused on charity work, said he was dedicated to helping his patients and regretted making inappropriate comments.
‘SALVAGE THAT PHYSICIAN’
Some states are apparently more forgiving than others when disciplining doctors in sexual misconduct cases. Georgia and Kansas, for example, allowed two of every three doctors publicly disciplined for sexual misconduct to return to practice, orders on board websites show. In Alabama, it was nearly three out of every four. In Minnesota, it was four of every five.
Nationwide, the AJC found that of the 2,400 doctors publicly disciplined for sexual misconduct, half still have active medical licenses today.
Larry Dixon, the executive director of the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners, has heard the argument that doctors who engage in sexual misconduct should be barred from practice. He doesn’t buy it.
“If you graduate a class of more than 100 people out of the University of Alabama medical school, the resources that have been poured into that education almost demand that you try to salvage that physician — if it’s possible,” said Dixon, who has led the Alabama board for 35 years.
Stop and think, he said, about how badly many communities need their doctors.
“You do not think so? Then leave Atlanta and go down to a little Georgia town and get sick,” Dixon said. “See how far they have to go to find a doctor.”
‘THE UGLY REALITY’
When examining cases, the AJC found all sorts of surprising twists allowing doctors to keep working.
Dr. Philip Leonard was a well-respected neurologist in Austin, Texas, when the first report of sexual misconduct came in. After one patient told police in 2001 that the doctor had rubbed his erection against her during an exam, 16 other patients came forward making similar complaints.
“It depended on where he was, but the way I like to put it (is) he led with his penis,” one told the Texas medical board, describing how Leonard pressed against her while seeing her for a head injury.
Yet today the 65-year-old doctor practices without restriction.
The medical board initially decided the complaints were credible and suspended Leonard’s license. But it later changed its mind after one patient’s criminal case went to trial and resulted in the doctor’s acquittal. Because there was no forensic evidence, the case hung on the patient’s credibility, which was attacked by the defense when she testified. The jury never heard about the other 16 women.
“It’s sickening,” said Cathryn Blue, the woman whose case went to trial.
RYON HORNE / AJC
The medical board reached a deal allowing Leonard to return to practice as long as he saw only male patients for 10 years, a restriction that ended in 2014. He declined to be interviewed for this story.
The physician who served as the board’s president at the time acknowledged that the agreement reflected how the board compromised to reach settlements doctors would accept without costly appeals.
“What (Leonard) did was clearly an abuse of his power over these women,” said Dr. Lee Anderson, a Fort Worth ophthalmologist. “But the ugly reality is, what can we actually achieve?”
‘THE RIGHT THINGS’
When the AJC examined Dr. Jacob Ward’s history, it found the physician is still practicing in suburban Atlanta even though he pleaded guilty after being accused of molesting a female patient.
The patient in 2011 told Woodstock police that Ward squeezed her buttocks, pulled up her shirt and felt her breasts and touched her genitals during an exam.
After Ward’s arrest, the Georgia medical board placed him on probation with restrictions that included a sexual misconduct treatment program and supervision and monitoring of his practice. He also was directed to have a chaperone with female patients.
Ward later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor sexual battery and received two years’ probation.
But documents obtained by the AJC reveal a startling back story: Two other patients had made similar charges against Ward four years earlier and the board did nothing other than write a “personal and confidential” letter to the doctor expressing its “concern regarding exams and patients of the opposite sex.”
Speaking at Ward’s sentencing, the victim in the 2011 case said she had recently learned, on her own, of the previous complaints and that it made her pain even greater.
“How he could still be able to have a practice and see patients right now is beyond me,” the woman said at the hearing.
Cherokee County Judge Dee Morris found the victim’s statement so compelling that he refused to go along with the initial plea agreement, which called for Ward to be sentenced as a first offender.
Ward, who now practices in Canton, declined to discuss his case in detail when contacted by the AJC.
“I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do, per the Georgia board,” he said. “I’m doing the right things.”
Doctors forced to stop practicing because of sexual misconduct in one state may get a second chance in another.
Alabama revoked Dr. Oscar Almeida Jr.’s license in 2002 after four female patients complained of various improprieties, including fondling and kissing and inappropriate vaginal exams. The Mobile physician steadfastly denied any wrongdoing and fought the decision in the courts, but the board’s ruling was upheld by the Alabama Supreme Court in 2004.
A year later, Almeida applied for a Mississippi license. His request was approved, with the State Board of Medical Licensure saying the doctor “would be an asset to the State of Mississippi.” In 2007, Alabama reinstated Almeida’s license. Its order cites his boundary training and says “it would be a great loss to the medical community, and to the public in general, if a physician of Dr. Almeida’s obvious skill and ability would never again be able to practice medicine.”
Some regulators have a dim view of state hopping. Aaron Haslam, a former executive director of the State Medical Board of Ohio, said he grew weary of seeing doctors that Ohio deemed unfit to practice wind up with licenses in other states.
“It’s frustrating now and it was frustrating then,” he said. “We would try to be tough on an individual that we thought had no business practicing medicine and that individual would lose his license and go set up shop in the state right next to us or in Georgia or in Florida.”
‘THE OBVIOUS QUESTION’
Even when sexual misconduct ends a doctor’s ability to practice, investigators sometimes uncover a trail of misdeeds that goes back for years or even an entire career, highlighting a system that shielded them.
Dr. Paul Emerson, a Michigan osteopath, was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison in 2010 after pleading guilty to a scheme in which he gave out bogus prescriptions in exchange for cash or sex. Three people who received his prescriptions overdosed and died.
When investigators dug into his past to prepare a sentencing memo, they found a long history of sexual misconduct: As an intern at a Detroit area hospital, he drew suspicion for conducting a pelvic exam on a 14-year-old complaining of asthma. In Mississippi, he was discharged from the Air Force after being accused of inappropriately touching female patients, lost his privileges at a hospital for “unprofessional conduct” and was terminated as a prison physician after being sued for sexual harassment by a nurse.
“It is this court’s belief that you simply were finally being caught and being charged with crimes that were perhaps ongoing for a long period of time,” U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts said at sentencing.
In Maryland, the medical board found that Dr. Ramon L. Gonzalez sexually abused female patients, including adolescents, all the way back to medical school in the 1970s. One patient gave birth to his child. But the doctor’s entire history of sexual malfeasance only came to light years later, baffling even those in charge of disciplining doctors.
“The obvious question,” an administrative law judge wrote in 2002, “is how (Gonzalez) was able to practice medicine for so many years and escape any substantial consequences for his actions.”
‘HALF A LOAF IS BETTER THAN NO LOAF’’
Georgia sometimes uses private consent orders and private agreements, Robert Jeffery, executive director of the state medical board, told the AJC. “Sometimes half a loaf is better than no loaf,” he said, explaining that such orders are used when the board is concerned a public order may not stick if the doctor fights it.
Public orders, he added, may inhibit doctors from reporting themselves or their peers. “If the response every single time is going to be public suspension, public this, public that, then I think what you would end up with is the unintended consequence of fewer reports,” he said.
In North Carolina, a public order involving Dr. Darlington Hart revealed how he had been subject to years of private actions and warnings.
In 2013, the medical board denied his application to have his license reinstated after he had surrendered it in 2011. To justify the denial, the board revealed a history that had been handled almost entirely in private in both North Carolina and South Carolina.
Allegations against Hart between 2001 and 2010 ranged from inappropriate hugging to sexual assault. All were dealt with through “private letters of concern” and a “private agreement” that required the doctor to use chaperones, take a boundaries course and submit to regular polygraph tests.
The North Carolina board reversed itself a year later and allowed him to start practicing again.
“Dr. Hart has always categorically and emphatically denied that he has ever sexually assaulted a co-worker or a patient,” said Alan Schneider, the doctor’s attorney.
Schneider said private letters do not constitute disciplinary action and that professional evaluations supported Hart’s denials. He said the evidence supported North Carolina’s decision to reinstate the license.
Jean Brinkley, a board spokeswoman, said the mission of the state’s physician-led board is patient protection, not doctor punishment.
“They tend to look at misconduct and look at what went wrong and what can we do to fix it,” she said. Private letters, she said, are used as a tool to help physicians improve.
As far as the public’s right to know, she pointed out that Hart’s history of private letters and confidential board actions was eventually noted in public documents on the board’s website. “At the very least,” she said, “there is a public record that any current, or prospective, patient has the opportunity to see.”
Dixon, the Alabama board’s executive director, said his board holds out confidentiality as a carrot for those physicians willing to admit their wrongdoing.
Alabama requires those doctors to be evaluated and treated by top experts. As long as they stick with the program, the information stays confidential.
“If you are trying to salvage them,” Dixon said, “you do not ruin their reputation.”
During his years battling the Catholic Church to get it to stop protecting predatory priests, Clohessy said he learned one lesson well: “Secrecy is the enemy.”
He said he sees that enemy at work today when it comes to abusive doctors.
“This tendency on the part of medical boards and medical officials to err on the side of a quiet suspension or a secret, out-of-court deal, that’s a recipe for disaster,” he said. “Crimes are crimes, no matter who commits them. They need to be reported to and investigated by and prosecuted by the independent professionals in law enforcement. Period. Not a panel of your peers, not by some committee of supervisors and not by other people who have earned the same titles you have earned.”
Vance, who was one of 12 women sexually assaulted by anesthesiologist Dr. Frederick Field as they lay incapacitated at a hospital in The Dalles, Ore., said she found the sweeping nature of the AJC’s findings startling.
“It would be one thing if it was only one incident, but to find out how prevalent it is, is frightening and angering,” she said.
Field received a 23-year prison sentence after pleading guilty. Beyond the assaults themselves, another story developed: The hospital, Mid-Columbia Medical Center, knew, or should have known, that Field was dangerous.
Three years before his arrest in 2011, a patient told a hospital administrator that Field fondled her nipples and placed her hands on his penis. Nurses also had notified hospital leaders in a series of memos in 2010 that, because of Field’s misconduct with a nurse, the staff had agreed “to make it a point to not leave anyone alone in Dr. Field’s presence.”
The hospital denied that it failed to act on complaints. Even so, a jury in 2013 ordered the hospital to pay Vance and two other victims $2.4 million in damages.
In a recent interview, Vance said she sensed that Field had kissed her on the lips and pressed her hand against his penis as she was regaining consciousness after surgery in December 2010. However, she didn’t report him to police until she learned of his arrest. At the time of her surgery, she said, she thought she had been dreaming.
“I remember telling myself, ‘It’s a hospital, how could that be true?’” she said.
“I hope people learn from that experience, to know that if they suspect something like that, it’s probably true. Don’t be afraid to say something. It can happen. It does happen.”
— AJC staff writers Johnny Edwards and Alan Judd contributed to this article.