Can bribes save the rainforest?

Rainforests are some of the only pieces of lush wilderness left on the planet. Just about every bit of land that isn’t frozen or desert has been turned into farmland. Unfortunately, deforestation is a big problem. A popular solution has been to offer locals payments for NOT cutting down trees. But does this system actually work? A group of scientists set out to find the answer.

The scientists knew that these bribes could go wrong. According to classical economic theory, people are selfish; they do whatever helps them the most. That means that the villagers could easily just take payments and keep harvesting trees.

Lots of research suggests that adding money to a situation can backfire. The villagers, who may have previously valued the forest for itself, might now start to look at it just as a source of income. After the bribes, they might cut down even more trees as a result.

burning rainforest for cattle© Greenpeace — Manmade fires are used to clear land for cattle or crops

So the researchers ran an experiment with 1,200 forest users living in 54 rural villages around the world. They had them play a game that simulated getting paid to not cut down trees.

So what happened?

As it turns out, the bribes seemed to work. The idea that people are totally selfish and do whatever is best for themselves didn’t actually hold up in this experiment. Villagers really did choose to chop fewer trees after receiving the payment. Yet another drop in the increasingly full bucket that classical economic theory is kind of absurd.

As for the idea that adding money would make villagers value the forest less — not so much.

“That is not how users in our experiment behaved,” flatly write the researchers in a study they published in Nature.

The villagers actually continued cutting down fewer trees even after the bribes stopped. The scientists think that’s because the villagers already saw the forest in part as a resource to be used.

“For this large group of people, forests provide fuel, construction materials, food and medicine, and help users earn income to meet other basic needs,” write the scientists.

They also found something surprising that mattered a lot: trust. In experiments where people communicated with each other more, they trusted their neighbors not to cut down trees, and then they themselves cut down fewer trees. In fact, communication might be as or more useful than bribes.

“Non-monetary interventions can be at least as effective,” write the scientists. “The strongest treatment during all stages of our experiment combined a monetary incentive with opportunities to communicate.”

That’s why the scientists recommend “community-based interventions that promote inclusive governance practices, deliberative decision-making and face-to-face communication among local resource users.”

So there you go. If you want to save a rainforest, hand out cash. Or at least, start talking about it.

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Trump’s Election Consultants Filmed Saying They Use Bribes and Sex Workers to Entrap Politicians

Trump’s Election Consultants Filmed Saying They Use Bribes and Sex Workers to Entrap Politicians

March 19th, 2018

Via: Channel 4:

An undercover investigation by Channel 4 News reveals how Cambridge Analytica secretly campaigns in elections across the world. Bosses were filmed talking about using bribes, ex-spies, fake IDs and sex workers.

Senior executives at Cambridge Analytica – the data company that credits itself with Donald Trump’s presidential victory – have been secretly filmed saying they could entrap politicians in compromising situations with bribes and Ukrainian sex workers.

In an undercover investigation by Channel 4 News, the company’s chief executive Alexander Nix said the British firm secretly campaigns in elections across the world. This includes operating through a web of shadowy front companies, or by using sub-contractors.

In one exchange, when asked about digging up material on political opponents, Mr Nix said they could “send some girls around to the candidate’s house�, adding that Ukrainian girls “are very beautiful, I find that works very well�.

In another he said: “We’ll offer a large amount of money to the candidate, to finance his campaign in exchange for land for instance, we’ll have the whole thing recorded, we’ll blank out the face of our guy and we post it on the Internet.�

Offering bribes to public officials is an offence under both the UK Bribery Act and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Cambridge Analytica operates in the UK and is registered in the United States.

The admissions were filmed at a series of meetings at London hotels over four months, between November 2017 and January 2018. An undercover reporter for Channel 4 News posed as a fixer for a wealthy client hoping to get candidates elected in Sri Lanka.

Mr Nix told our reporter: “…we’re used to operating through different vehicles, in the shadows, and I look forward to building a very long-term and secretive relationship with you.�




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Legal Opioids Have Killed Hundreds of Thousands As Big Pharma Bribes Politicians to Ignore It


More than 200,000 Americans have died from prescription opioid overdoses since 1999 and as the epidemic continues, it raises serious questions about why the United States government has failed to stop it in the last 20 years. According to a recent report, many influential politicians are receiving incentives from drug manufacturers to, in essence, look the other way.

Purdue Pharmaceuticals, the maker of OxyContin, has contributed millions of dollars directly and countless more dollars indirectly to lawmakers to keep its drugs flying off pharmacy shelves. Rightly considered “blood money” by critics, the contributions are made in an effort to buy off state and federal legislators.

The Sackler family, the private owners of Purdue, have made billions off of a drug that has killed citizens both young and old alike—the sum total of whose deaths amount to the population size of a small metropolitan city. Yet nothing has been done to even slow the death rate attributed to opioids, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ response has been to push for more federal involvement in states that have attempted to allow solutions such as cannabis.

An investigative report from the Daily Caller revealed that Purdue has given $2.3 million to politicians to ensure that the drug pipeline for the “drug cartel” stays open, further enriching the Sackler family—and that is just what is traceable.

“Purdue and the Sacklers have disbursed $2.3 million to nearly 300 U.S. candidates and political organizations since 1996, and Congress, until recently, has done very little to combat the opioid epidemic, TheDCNF’s investigation found. The OxyContin-backed politicians often held leadership positions, chairmanships, or served on committees that have oversight of the pharmaceutical industry. Conversely, the Sacklers have never publicly donated to addiction rehabilitation centers, a previous DCNF investigation found.”

For those holding out hope that the federal government will do anything about the burgeoning crisis in opioid overdose deaths, the future does not look promising. While President Trump has claimed that he wants to “Make America Great Again” and he plans to “Drain the Swamp” of corrupt politicians, his administration has moved in the opposite direction, and appears to be solidifying the pharmaceutical industry’s hold on Washington.

“It’s blood money, literally,” Public Citizen’s Health Research Group founder and senior adviser Sidney Wolfe told TheDCNF. “It’s money earned off people’s lives being spent. This is dirty, bloody money.”

As The Free Thought Project has reported, the appointment of pharmaceutical insider and one-time drug executive Alex Azar to the role of Health and Human Services Secretary was a figurative slap in the face to any family who has lost a loved one to opioid overdose.

Not only has Azar mocked the usefulness of the only natural alternative to opiates (cannabis), but in a recent speech to the American Federation of Hospitals, Azar made no mention of the overdose epidemic. Instead, he focused his attention on making sure the prices of drugs were transparent.

It is not the price of drugs that are killing Americans. It is the fact that opioids continue to be prescribed at record levels, inflating the profits of killer companies such as Purdue and other opioid manufacturers, which include Insys Pharmaceuticals.

Both Purdue and Insys have been investigated by the federal government, and the investigations resulted in Purdue paying out millions of dollars in damages and Insys’ CEO facing numerous felony charges. Yet nothing seems to be able to stop the spread of opioids and no one in the federal government seems to be making a legitimate attempt to end the kryptonite effect opioids are having on our society.

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Feds: Judge admitted taking bribes from indicted lobbyist

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – Federal prosecutors say an Arkansas judge admitted last month to taking $100,000 in bribes from an indicted lobbyist while the judge was a state lawmaker.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Mohlhenrich said Jefferson County Judge Henry “Hank” Wilkins IV admitted to taking bribes in a Feb. 22 statement to the FBI. Wilkins hasn’t been charged with any crime.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports Mohlhenrich referenced the incident Friday in Missouri federal court during the arraignment of indicted lobbyist Milton Russell Cranford on corruption charges.

Wilkins served in the Legislature from 2011 to 2015. During that time, authorities say Wilkins received money from Cranford in the form of donations to a Pine Bluff church where Wilkins is pastor.

Wilkins didn’t immediately return an e-mail seeking comment Saturday. His cellphone couldn’t accept a voicemail.

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Watch As Woman Dragged Away By Security For Exposing Oil Bribes & Ties To Politicians

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It’s no secret, the “1 percent” own everything and among this 1 percent are an even smaller group, and it’s this group that has a large stake in global financial institutions, which drip down into federal financial institutions and disseminates into various powerful corporations that deal with all aspects of human life from big food, to big pharma. Monsanto is a great example, a biotech corporations that manufactures genetically modified seeds, pesticides and more. Below that we have the government, and various government organizations. Within this tightly knit network of powerful people, comes corruption, and that’s no secret.

If you follow the money, it’s not hard to see.

For years, what we’re presented with in the public eye has largely contrasted to leaks and drips of information from several different sources. One example may be the corruption that’s been exposed between corporations like the CDC, for example, or the FDA. The list is a long one, and we see the same type of relationship between government, politicians, and energy corporations, as well.

It seems, these days, corruption at these levels is constantly brushed under the rug. The CDC whistleblower, William Thompson is a great recent example, or the group of scientists at the CDC (“The Spider”) who exposed high levels of corruption, fraud and manipulation within the agency.

Another great example is the relationship between pharmaceutical corporations and medical science. You can read more about that and see some examples here.

Why don’t we hear anything about it in the mainstream media? Why is there always massive censorship of information? The government has had a close relationship with mainstream media networks or decades, this has been evident by a massive disclosure of information over the years, which we present and elaborate more on in the articles linked below.

Declassified CIA Documents Shows Agencies Control Over Mainstream Media

The CIA and the Media: 50 Facts The World Should Know

The point is, there is more than enough information here to hold an open debate, but that doesn’t seem to be a solution for the ‘global elite.’ They would rather censor and ignore claims that threaten their chosen narrative and use their big platforms and power to push their own agenda. Sadly, this is how the majority of the global population have been subjected to perception manipulation.

Collectively, we are still watching too much television and mainstream news, if we want to know what’s really happening on our planet we can no longer rely on mainstream media networks, like CNN, to provide us with truth. The ones pointing the finger claiming ‘fake news’, in the eyes of many, are actually dishing it out.

The solution to fake news is not censorship, but, as NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden once emphasizes, more information, more transparency, and more critical thought.

“The problem of fake news isn’t solved by hoping for a referee. But rather because we as participants — we as citizens, we as users of these services — help each other. We talk, and we share, and we point out what is fake, we point out what is true. The answer to bad speech is not censorship. The answer to bad speech is more speech. We have to spread the idea that critical thinking matters now more than ever.”

– Edward Snowden

This is exactly why when a  candidate for the West Virginia House of Delegates was dragged out of a hearing after listing the donations received by state lawmakers from fossil fuel companies, it wasn’t right. She was testifying on a bill on oil and gas drilling rules, and brought up facts that need to be discussed. The problem is, some do not want to discuss it because some are probably guilty as charged. It seems that, before they get a chance to present and speak of their evidence, they are shut down.

RT points out,

“Lissa Lucas was criticizing a proposed bill, HB 4268, which would allow oil and gas companies to drill on private land with the consent of just 75 percent of the landowners. Energy companies are currently required to have 100 percent approval from landowners before they can extract gas and minerals from land.” 

Her testimony included  a list of names of lawmakers who received big donations from fossil fuel companies.

The people who are going to be speaking in favor of this bill are all going to be paid by the industry … the people who are going to be voting on this bill are often also paid by the industry

I got dragged out of House chambers … Because I was listing out who has been donating to Delegates on the Judiciary Committee, Lucas wrote on her blog.

She even named names, like Delegate Charlotte Lane,  who received 20 percent of her campaign donations from energy firms, and Delegate Jason Harshbarger who received 38 percent, according to Lucas.

If subjects like this type of corruption are not really proper to speak about, and have open conversations about, we’re not really going to get anywhere. Why are these topics always constantly shut down and censored like there is no truth to them? Why do we all in our own daily lives comply? Why are we afraid to question and bring to light that which we know isn’t right?

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WATCH: Security Drags Woman from Hearing for Exposing Big Oil Bribes to Politicians


West Virginia — (RT) A candidate for the West Virginia House of Delegates was dragged out of a hearing after listing the donations received by state lawmakers from fossil fuel companies. She was testifying on a bill on oil and gas drilling rules.

Lissa Lucas was criticizing a proposed bill, HB 4268, which would allow oil and gas companies to drill on private land with the consent of just 75 percent of the landowners. Energy companies are currently required to have 100 percent approval from landowners before they can extract gas and minerals from land.

As part of her testimony, she read out the list of names of lawmakers who received sizeable donations from fossil fuel companies. Her testimony elicited a less than warm reception from the legislature.

“The people who are going to be speaking in favor of this bill are all going to be paid by the industry … the people who are going to be voting on this bill are often also paid by the industry,” Lucas said.

Lucas was ordered by House Judiciary Committee members to desist from making “personal comments” about members. As Lucas persisted, her microphone was cut off. When lawmakers refused to let her finish speaking, she told them to “drag me off.” Security was called and in a video of the incident she can be seen being dragged from the floor.

“I got dragged out of House chambers … Because I was listing out who has been donating to Delegates on the Judiciary Committee,” Lucas wrote on her blog.

The names include Delegate Charlotte Lane who received 20 percent of her campaign donations from energy firms, and Delegate Jason Harshbarger who received 38 percent, according to Lucas.

Lucas took further aim at the alleged cosy relationship enjoyed by lawmakers and big energy lobbyists. “While lobbyists have the money to buy your time at fancy gatherings like the Wine and Whisky gala at the Marriott on Wednesday—members of the public have been allotted just about two minutes,” Lucas said.

State lawmakers are “getting paid to hand over your property rights to corporations,” Lucas wrote on her blog.

Lucas is a Democratic candidate for District 7 of the West Virginia House of Delegates. She had travelled to the House from her home 100 miles away in Cairo (WV) the previous day to ensure she would make her slot to speak on the issue. “I got [to the West Virginia House of Delegates] early and then I sat outside in the cold and sat on the concrete until they opened the doors, and then I got to the chambers really early,” she told The Intercept.

The bill was passed by the committee and will move to the lower House and state Senate for a full vote.

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Child Services Caught Taking Bribes to Look the Other Way As Mom Tortured 5yo Boy to Death


Cleveland, OH – In the same country where children can be taken from their homes if their parents are found possessing “illegal” plants, one woman who was being paid by the state to keep children safe, accepted bribes from a mother, and did nothing to interfere while she tortured her 5-year-old son to death.

Cleveland Police received a call from Pakistan in December, in which a man claimed his brother helped bury a young boy’s dead body in the backyard of a residential neighborhood. When investigators located the yard, they began digging and recovered the body of a boy who they believe died in September, according to report from

The boy’s body showed multiple signs of abuse, including broken ribs, and his mother, Larissa Rodriguez, 34, was arrested and charged with murder, felonious assault, gross abuse of a corpse and child endangerment.

While it is not clear what investigators believe happened to cause the boy’s death, his mother’s boyfriend, Christopher Rodriguez, was also charged with murder.

But there is another side to the tragic story that calls the legitimacy of social services into question. Nancy Caraballo, 45, a social worker with Catholic Charities, which is a division of the county’s Education Services department funded by Cuyahoga County and the State of Ohio, was assigned to the Rodriguez family.

Investigators are now revealing that while Caraballo visited the family’s home regularly, she did not report that Jordan Rodriguez, who was developmentally-disabled, had gone missing for months because she was being bribed by Larissa Rodriguez. WKYC News reported that Caraballo “bought more than $10,000 of their food stamps, paying 50 cents on the dollar.”

In addition to purchasing the food stamps that were supposed to buy food for the 5-year-old boy who was buried in the family’s backyard, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Mike O’Malley said Caraballo was also abusing her power by failing to report that Larissa Rodriguez’ nine children were living in a home infested with roaches, rats, and bedbugs.

“The home was infested with bedbugs and cockroaches and it was a very disgusting, unlivable situation,” O’Malley said. “As a mandatory reporter, she [Caraballo] would’ve been obligated to report these gross abuses that she [Rodriguez] was committing upon these children.”

Investigators claim the abuse has been ongoing since 2015, and they believe Caraballo falsified at least 11 monthly reports regarding the conditions of the home. While they cannot confirm whether Caraballo knew about the death of Jordan Rodriguez, O’Malley said that she could face additional charges if the county’s medical examiner’s office determines that malnourishment played a role in the boy’s death.

“If in fact, we can tie this deprivation of food to this child if we can tie that to his homicide,” O’Malley said.

Nancy Caraballo faces up to 50 years in prison for food stamp trafficking if no other charges are added. Larissa Rodriguez faces up to life in prison for the murder of Jordan Rodriguez, and a number of other charges that contributed to his death and the attempt to hide his body. reported that the county has opened 13 abuse or neglect investigations into Rodriguez since 1999, and social workers who have visited the home in the past have reported “deplorable and unsanitary conditions,” and even claimed that they witnessed “one child eating a cockroach-filled sandwich when they arrived at the house.”

In this case, it is clear that the same social worker who was paid by the state to report the inhumane conditions several children were being subjected to, had the power to save the life of Jordan Rodriguez. If only she had chosen to act in the interest of the innocent children who were being abused, instead of staying silent because she was getting half-priced food stamps.

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Azerbaijan’s bribes to journalists and politicians total 2.9 billion dollars

After the Danish daily newspaper Berlingske received confidential documents stolen from its former owner, Danske Bank, it had them analysed by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). From this analysis, it appears that Azerbaijan has set up an extensive system of illegal public relations.

These documents verify that between 2012 and 2014, Azerbaijan had used Danske Bank as a conduit to channel 2.9 billion dollars to bribe journalists and politicians.

Intermediaries who received illegal payments by Azerbaijan include:

- Eduard Lintner (the former German MP from the CSU. At the time these events took place, he was President of the Commission for Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.)

- Luca Volontè (the Italian MP from the Catholic group, “Communion and Liberation”. At the time these events took place, he was President of the Parliamentary Group of “Parti populaire européen” in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe).

- Kalin Mitrev (recently appointed director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development). He is the spouse of Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO.

- Zmago Jelinčič Plemeniti (former correspondent for the British Secret Service, leader of the Slovenian Extreme Right).

These revelations are clearly no more free than the lobbying seeking to cover up President Aliyev’s crimes. The OCCRP is indirectly funded by Washington and focuses its research attacking either Russia directly or the states or individuals that support her. This inquiry had been reproduced by about ten leading daily newspapers in Western Europe. Today, the Berlingske is owned by the Belgian magnate Christian Van Thillo.

In July 2017, we had referred to the investigation carried out by the Bulgarian journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva. This shed light on the massive arms trafficking operation by Azerbaijan, acting on behalf of the CIA and also the private investment fund KKR [1], involving at least 17 governments. Of course, since these revelations challenge the United States, they do not attract the OCCRP’s interest. As for Dilyana Gaytandzhieva, she has been arrested by the Bulgarian secret services. Because she refused to fess up the name of her source to the Azeri government, she has been dismissed from her newspaper, Trud – though in fairness to the latter, it was not afraid to publish her investigation.

The Azerbaijani Laundromat”, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, September 5, 2017.

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Venezuela’s Currency Is So Devalued that Cops Are Demanding Bribes in Colombian Pesos

[7/12/17  SABRINA MARTÍN]  The cataclysmic devaluation of the bolivar in Venezuela and the brutal repression in the South American country now go hand in hand; state security agencies are increasingly demanding bribes in relatively strong Colombian pesos to release unjustly detained protesters.

It is already public knowledge that the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) and the Bolivarian National Police (PNB) take advantage of opposition protests to arrest innocent young people, torture them, and then request bribes of between USD $500 and USD $1,000 to free them; however, in border states they are also increasingly charging such payments in Colombian pesos.

The opposition deputy for Táchira state, Franklin Duarte, denounced that the court bailiff in the region has demanded payments in foreign currency of the relatives of those detained in protests.

“The head of the Táchira sheriffs, Ever Beltran, is charging 80,000 Colombian pesos (approximately USD $24), to those seeking to bail out their loved ones. We make this complaint so that the presiding judge and president of the judicial judicial circuit, Yorley Perez, take measures,” said Duarte.

He explained that the sheriff is interfering in the cases and that merely to have the possibility a bail hearing, guarantors of the relatives must pay the 24 dollars, a small fortune given today’s economic realities in Venezuela.

The young detainees must not only face the possibility of being unjustly imprisoned for merely demonstrating against Nicolás Maduro, but also face the grim reality that their safety and health remains in the hands of police officers.

On May 16 the PanAm Post published a report with exclusive testimony that revealed that the GNB beats, kidnaps, and steals from Venezuelans who peacefully protest; but in addition they are taken prisoners. In many cases in complicity with the SEBIN (Venezuela‘s intelligence police), they ask for the familiar foreign currency to release them.

In Venezuela the only currency that can circulate freely and legally is the bolívar. The porous Colombian-Venezuelan border region has long been overrun with smuggling and criminal activity.

RELATED: The Federal Reserve tells banks to prepare for crashing…

In Venezuela’s sad new reality of hyperinflation and socialist mismanagement, the stable Colombian peso appears to be emerging as a viable currency for every day use.

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