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Thanksgiving, as told by the Addams Family


Growing up, my favorite Thanksgiving movie was Addams Family Values, the 1993 sequel to the movie The Addams Family. You might think that’s because there are only a few Thanksgiving movies and the rare Thanksgiving episodes in various TV shows, but you would be wrong. 

Truly one of the best moments in holiday cinema history was the story of Thanksgiving, as told by Wednesday Adams. Enjoy it in all its beauty.

What was your favorite thanksgiving movie moment? Tell us in the comments

The Great Thanksgiving Day Myth


Each year at this time, schoolchildren all over America are taught the official Thanksgiving story, and newspapers, radio, TV, and magazines devote vast amounts of time and space to it. It is all very colorful and fascinating.

It is also very deceiving. This official story is nothing like what really happened. It is a fairy tale, a whitewashed and sanitized collection of half-truths which divert attention away from Thanksgiving’s real meaning.

The official story has the Pilgrims boarding the Mayflower, coming to America, and establishing the Plymouth colony in the winter of 1620–21. This first winter is hard, and half the colonists die. But the survivors are hard working and tenacious, and they learn new farming techniques from the Indians. The harvest of 1621 is bountiful. The pilgrims hold a celebration, and give thanks to God. They are grateful for the wonderful new abundant land He has given them.
The official story then has the Pilgrims living more or less happily ever after, each year repeating the first Thanksgiving. Other early colonies also have hard times at first, but they soon prosper and adopt the annual tradition of giving thanks for this prosperous new land called America.

The problem with this official story is that the harvest of 1621 was not bountiful, nor were the colonists hard-working or tenacious. 1621 was a famine year and many of the colonists were lazy thieves.

How the Psychiatric Bible Is Destroying The Lives of Children


“Mental health experts ask: Will anyone be normal?” So read the title of a July 27 Reuters report. The “experts” warned that the fifth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), “could mean that soon no-one will be classed as normal. . . . [M]any people previously seen as perfectly healthy could in future be told they are ill.”

This is not news. More than 200 hundred years ago Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) warned: “I believe that in the end humanitarianism will triumph, but I fear that, at the same time, the world will become a big hospital, each person acting as the other’s humane nurse.”

Moreover, Goethe foresaw the moral hollowness of the “humanitarian science” on which such therapeutic tyranny would rest: “I could never have known so well how paltry men are, and how little they care for really high aims, if I had not tested them by my scientific researches. Thus I saw that most men only care for science so far as they get a living by it, and that they worship even error when it affords them a subsistence.”

The depths to which such men would happily sink when worshiping error brings them fame and fortune became obvious only in the twentieth century.

Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (1839–1908), the great Brazilian novelist and playwright, advanced the prescient literary satirization of the dark art of psychiatric diagnosis and the engine that drives it: the phony expert’s insatiable vanity and thirst for controlling his fellow man. His short story “O alienista” (1882, “The psychiatrist”) is a fable of a celebrated doctor retiring to a small town to pursue his scientific investigation of the human mind, gradually finding more and more of the townsfolk insane and needing to be incarcerated in his private asylum. Eventually he alone is left at liberty. As soon as modern psychiatry became a legitimate branch of medicine, Machado de Assis recognized and exposed its quintessentially unscientific-sadistic character.

It remained for the French playwright Jules Romains (1885–1972) to call public attention to the corruption of modern medicine by political power. “It’s a matter of principle with me,” declares his protagonist, “Dr. Knock” (1923), “to regard the entire population as our patients. . . . ‘Health’ is a word we could just as well erase from our vocabularies. . . . If you think it over, you’ll be struck by its relation to the admirable concept of the nation in arms, a concept from which our modern states derive their strength.”

Sigmund Freud (1856–1939), too, has played an important part in persuading people that health is an abnormal state. This old joke is illustrative: “If the patient is early for his appointment, he is anxious; if he is on time, he is obsessive-compulsive; if he is late, he is hostile.”

Particular psychiatric diagnoses have not escaped professional criticism. Wishing to make a name for themselves as psychiatrists, “critics” object to one or another diagnosis (homosexuality)—or to “overdiagnosis” (ADHD)—but continue to respect the American Psychiatric Association (APA) as a scientific organization and regard the various incarnations of the DSM as respectable legitimating documents. This is dishonest. Confronted with the DSM, the challenge we face is to delegitimize the authenticators, the APA and DSM, not distract attention from their fundamental phoniness by ridiculing one or another “diagnosis” and trying to remove it from the magical list.

I have consistently rejected this piecemeal approach. In my essay “The Myth of Mental Illness,” published in 1960, and in my book with the same title that appeared a year later, I stated my view forthrightly. I proposed that we view the phenomena conventionally called “mental diseases” as behaviors that disturb others (or sometimes the self), reject the image of “mental patients” as helpless victims of patho-biological events outside their control, and refuse to participate in coercive psychiatric practices as incompatible with the foundational moral ideals of free societies. In short, I rejected the authority of the APA as a legitimating organization and of the DSM as a legitimating document. I believe nothing less can undo the mischief wrought by the successive editions of the “psychiatric bible.”

Settled by Political Power

But times have changed. Fifty years ago it made sense to assert that mental illnesses are not diseases. It makes no sense to do so today. Professional debate about what counts as mental illness has been replaced by political-judicial decree. The controversy about the nature of so-called mental diseases/disorders has been settled by the holders of political power: They have decreed that “mental illness is a disease like any other.” Political power and professional self-interest have united in turning false beliefs into lying facts: “Mental illness can be accurately diagnosed, successfully treated, just as physical illness” (President William Clinton, 1999). “Just as things go wrong with the heart and kidneys and liver, so things go wrong with the brain” (Surgeon General David Satcher, 1999).

The claim that “mental illnesses are diagnosable disorders of the brain” is not based on scientific research; it is a deception and perhaps self-deception. My claim that mental illnesses are fictitious illnesses is also not based on scientific research; it rests on the pathologist’s materialist-scientific definition of illness as the structural or functional alteration of cells, tissues, and organs. If we accept this definition of disease, then it follows that mental illness is a metaphor, and asserting that view is stating an analytic truth not subject to empirical falsification.

For centuries the theocratic State exercised authority and used force in the name of God. The Founders sought to protect the American people from the religious tyranny of the State. They did not anticipate, and could not have anticipated, that one day medicine would become a religion and that the alliance between medicine and the State would then threaten personal liberty and responsibility exactly as they had been threatened by the alliance between church and State.

The Founders faced the challenge of separating the cure of souls by priests from the control of people by politicians. Today the therapeutic State exercises authority and uses force in the name of health. We face the challenge of separating the consensual treatment of patients by medical doctors from the coercive control of persons by agents of the State pretending to be healers.

When psychiatry was in its infancy the belief that all human “dysfunctions” are manifestations of brain diseases was a naive error. In its maturity the mistake was treated as a valid scientific theory and the justification for a powerful ideology and the powerful institutions based on it. Today, in its senescence, psychiatry is deceit and self-deceit—coercion concealed as objective science (“medical diagnosis”) and benevolent help (“medical treatment”). As a result, paraphrasing Orwell, telling the truth becomes “a revolutionary act.”

Thomas S. Szasz

Thomas S. Szasz

Dr. Thomas Szasz (1920-2012) was a Psychiatrist, academic, and champion of individual rights. He devoted much of his life to campaigning against many aspects of conventional psychiatry, in particular involuntary psychiatric treatment and commitment.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Why The End of Net Neutrality is Good for Liberty

At long last, with the end of “net neutrality,” competition could soon come to the industry that delivers Internet services to you. You might be able to pick among a range of packages, some minimalist and some maximalist, depending on how you use the service. Or you could choose a package that charges based only on what you consume, rather than sharing fees with everyone else.

Internet socialism is dead; long live market forces.
With market-based pricing finally permitted, we could see new entrants to the industry because it might make economic sense for the first time to innovate. The growing competition will lead, over the long run, to innovation and falling prices. Consumers will find themselves in the driver’s seat rather than crawling and begging for service and paying whatever the provider demands.
Ajit Pai, chairman of the FCC, is exactly right. “Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the internet. Instead, the F.C.C. would simply require internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them.”

A Fed for Communication
The old rules pushed by the Obama administration had locked down the industry with regulation that only helped incumbent service providers and major content delivery services. They called it a triumph of “free expression and democratic principles.” It was anything but. It was actually a power grab. It created an Internet communication cartel not unlike the way the banking system works under the Federal Reserve. 
Net Neutrality had the backing of all the top names in content delivery, from Google to Yahoo to Netflix to Amazon. It’s had the quiet support of the leading Internet service providers Comcast and Verizon. The opposition, in contrast, had been represented by small players in the industry, hardware providers like Cisco, free-market think tanks and disinterested professors, and a small group of writers and pundits who know something about freedom and free-market economics.
The public at large should have been rising up in opposition, but people were largely ignorant of what was going on with net neutrality. Consumers imagined that they would get censorship-free access and low prices. That’s not what happened.
What was sold as economic fairness and a wonderful favor to consumers was actually a sop to industrial giants.

Here’s what’s was really going on with net neutrality. The incumbent rulers of the world’s most exciting technology decided to lock down the prevailing market conditions to protect themselves against rising upstarts in a fast-changing market. The imposition of a rule against throttling content or using the market price system to allocate bandwidth resources protects against innovations that would disrupt the status quo.


Continued on next page 

Fries, Burger and Weed ? Drive-thru opens at Las Vegas pot shop


As the market for legal cannabis expands across the country, it’s now becoming as easy as getting a cheeseburger and fries. Now at a new drive-thru window installed at NuWu Cannabis Marketplace in downtown Las Vegas, you can have all your hedonistic wants met at one place.

According to Las Vegas Journal Review, NuWu, the recently-opened cannabis megastore converted their store to become a pothead’s dream.

To ensure security, they’re using a $30,000 bank vault window outfitted with bulletproof glass to ensure security, and are already getting tons of business.

According to the owner, Kevin Clock, just like all good movements in the market, it was customer demand that led to this brilliant move.

“The customers were asking for it,” Clock said.

According to Clock, many elderly and disabled customers simply had a very difficult time getting out of their car to purhcase products – the drive-thru now helps those people.

The drive-thru itself offers only a couple menu of popular items, while those who order choose to order online and pick it up at the window can choose from the full 700-item menu. The store hopes to process most transactions in 60 to 90 seconds, Clock said.

But as with all recreational marijuana shops, there are strict rules for the drive-thru.

Every person in the car must be 21 and will have their IDs checked.

Getting a recreational marijuana shop to Paiute tribe’s lands was a lengthy, 18-month process that culminated with NuWu’s opening on Oct. 16.

The 7 Best Tiny Houses You Can Buy On Amazon


Minimize. The term has become a buzzword as of late, but few people know what it means to make it a part of their lives. There is an option for people willing to make the leap – one that forces you to respect the space you take and the amount of time you spend stuffing meaningless material positions into meaningless boxes. That is, tiny houses.

Turns out, now you can purchase these tiny prefabricated modular on Amazon. Here are the 7 best tiny homes we have found.

1. Arlanda Garden House

Looking like a product of IKEA, this 180-square-foot garden house is a modern option. You must install any plumbing or wiring yourself, but the home itself is only $7,590, and comes with free shipping.


2. Bella Cabin

This cute cottage offers 237 square feet of living space in the main area, and an additional 86 square feet in the loft. With three rooms on the first floor, you can easily create a kitchen and a bathroom. This tiny home is $17,800, and shipping is free.


3. Claudia Cabin

This tiny house has windows galore on one side and 209 square feet of space for you to customize. Amazon sells it for $7,290 with free shipping.


4. Getaway Cabin

When you live in a tiny home, you take advantage of outdoor living space as well. The small porch on this cabin can serve as a fair weather living room. With three rooms downstairs and a loft upstairs, you get nearly 300 square feet for $19,250 plus free shipping.


5. Halmsted Garden House

One of the tiniest homes available on Amazon, this house is just 116 square feet. With sleek lines and a contemporary appeal, this kit costs $5,490 with free shipping.


6. Lillevilla Weekender Cabin

It’s only 75 square feet inside, but add the optional terrace to this charming cabin and it’s wonderfully inviting. This very tiny home is only $3,400, and it is shipped free.

7. MoonCliff Log Cabin

This single-room home has 164 square feet of floor space, as well as several floor-to-ceiling windows to let in lots of natural light. It costs $8,290 and—you guessed it!—ships for free.

Lighting a Room for a Month with a Potato – Yes, it Actually Works


As one of the most ubiquitous crops in the world, the potato is poised to feed the entire world.  Along the way, scientists discovered that the popular staple of many people’s diets may also have potential to help power it as well.

A couple years ago, researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem released their finding that a potato boiled for eight minutes can make for a battery that produces ten times the power of a raw one. Using small units comprised of a quarter-slice of potato sandwiched between a copper cathode and a zinc anode that’s connected by a wire, agricultural science professor Haim Rabinowitch and his team wanted to prove that a system that can be used to provide rooms with LED-powered lighting for as long as 40 days. At around one-tenth the cost of a typical AA battery, a potato could supply power for cell phone and other personal electronics in poor, underdeveloped and remote regions without access to a power grid.

H/T Smithsonian 

Elderly Couple Arrested After Cops Confuse Hibiscus Plant with Marijuana


According to a local NBC affiliate in Buffalo Township, Pennsylvania, Audrey and Edward Cramer – an elderly couple – were reported to the police by their Nationwide insurance agent. Was it for kidnapping children, running an illegal cockfighting ring, or being behind the JFK assassination? No. It was for a marijuana plant on their property.

The couple state that the police stormed their home, harassed both of them, took their plants and then arrested them. Audrey was still in her underwear.

Here’s the kicker, the police didn’t actually confiscate the “marijuana plants,” because they were no marijuana plants on the premises. What they actually confiscated were Kenaf hibiscus plants that they thought were marijuana.

“I’m starting to understand why a lot of the public do not trust police officers,” Audrey Cramer said. ” I really feel like I’ve been smacked in the face with this, and no, I don’t think I’ll ever trust a police officer again.”

In response, Audrey and Edward Cramer have now filed a civil lawsuit, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Not only against the Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., but also against Nationwide agent Jonathan Yeamans, Buffalo Township and three of its police officers.

Use of intentional infliction of emotional distress, false arrest, false imprisonment, and invasion of privacy are all listed among the allegations. 

Buffalo Township has not responded but the Cramers’ attorney, Al Lindsay, said they are seeking punitive damages.

“She came down. She opened the door. She was confronted with what she thought was a dozen police officers with assault weapons who said they had a warrant,” Lindsay said. “They pushed her. They went through the house.”

Your Rent is Too High and Your Commute Sucks – Here’s Why


Why is the rent so damn high? Why does it take hours to commute from cheap, plentiful housing to where the jobs of our modern economy live? If you are living in nearly every big city in America, you face this problem. And it isn’t just an American problem: From Ireland to New Zealand to The Philippines, the rent/commuting crisis is hitting the 21st century hard, right in the big cities where most of the economic growth is coming from, and where most of the jobs are. Meanwhile, in the economically plighted regions of America, everything seems to be falling apart, with lead in the tap water, crumbling roads, and municipal bankruptcy for thousands of towns and cities a very real possibility.

Real estate. House on stack of coins. Flat design business concept illustration.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are a few cities that seem to have figured out how to match a futuristic tech economy with futuristic transit and housing for the masses. And there are many small towns around the world that don’t face insurmountable backlogs of infrastructure repairs.

What are they doing differently? Why is the price per square foot for living space in Tokyo a third of what it is in Boston or San Francisco, which have similar incomes and geographic constraints? Why is it an enormous scandal in Japan for trains to leave a few seconds off schedule, while in America it is normal for your bus or train to be an hour late or never show up at all? Chalking everything up to cultural divides is an easy explanation, and may have some weight, but I submit that the underlying laws of human economics do not vary based on culture, and there is much that we can learn from looking abroad.

The story for Americans begins in the nineteenth century, when most of the country’s infrastructure was privately owned, as described in the paper “From Privies to Boulevards: The Private Supply of Infrastructure in the United States During the Nineteenth Century.” As a stand-in for all infrastructure, from highways to subways to sidewalks, let’s discuss sewers as a starting point. The main complaint at the time was that private sewer companies were not expanding fast enough: “Indeed, the main criticism leveled against private suppliers at the time was not poor service per se but a reluctance to expand to outlying areas.”

This frustration led to municipal regulation, subsidy, and eventually municipalization of the sewer systems: “By 1902, no city with a population of over thirty thousand still had a private sewer company.” Service began expanding to all areas of the city, and soon even small towns followed suit and were municipalizing and rapidly expanding their sewers, and nearly all their formerly private infrastructure. Problem solved, right?

Which brings us to Lafayette, Louisiana, the 200th largest city in the US, with a growing economy and a public infrastructure system that’s growing even faster. Charles Marohn, an infrastructure consultant, was hired to come on board and figure out why the city’s backlog of repairs was growing longer every year, and whether there were any solutions. His analysis is quite morbid:

“Except for a small handful of North American cities – literally five or less – Lafayette provides an insight into why your city has no money. Problems have solutions. Predicaments have outcomes. What is happening in Lafayette is not a problem; it’s a predicament…When we added up the replacement cost of all of the city’s infrastructure — an expense we would anticipate them cumulatively experiencing roughly once a generation — it came to $32 billion. When we added up the entire tax base of the city, all of the private wealth sustained by that infrastructure, it came to just $16 billion.”

There is simply no way that Lafayette will be able to maintain the infrastructure it has built, and Lafayette’s story is America’s story. How did the great infrastructure bubble occur? The core of the problem is about decision making process: How does a municipality decide whether to make a particular expansion of its infrastructure?

Back in the days of private infrastructure, a company would determine whether a given sewer expansion was profitable by adding up the expected sewer fees and determining whether they were greater than the long-term maintenance costs, i.e., was the investment profitable. With democratic municipalities, the decision-making process is quite different.

In a nutshell, the political economy of our democratic municipalities revolves around homeowner control. The main negotiation is one between the homeowners and the public employees, with some influence from developers, and even less from renters who are typically not very involved with their local government. The incentives of the homeowners are to lower taxes to as great a degree as possible while at the same time maintaining a well-funded public school, one of the main determinants of home price.

This is easily accomplished by allowing two types of construction: More single-family homes in the same price range as existing homes, and new commercial property that yields a revenue stream without associated public school costs. Projects that are almost always opposed are ones that increase density in areas that don’t require new infrastructure, due to the NIMBY principle: It is an extremely rare thing in American politics post-WWII for an already built neighborhood to become denser than they already are. Downzoning is the norm, and upzoning is an atypical exception. Before zoning took hold of America post-WWII, the normal development pattern was for the town center to be where almost all of the new development happened, and this is how towns grew into cities. After zoning, this process stopped: Once a neighborhood was even partially built out, it was typically downzoned so no new construction could occur.

Furthermore, homeowners care about the future of their towns for the next few years until they sell, but not beyond that. The story goes like this: A new shopping mall or cul de sac is proposed. The developer offers to pay for the initial install of the infrastructure, and for a decade or two there is new tax revenue with minimal costs, and everything is going fine. But then the town’s maintenance obligations kick in. Even in Homeowners Associations (HOAs) that are supposedly infrastructure self-sufficient, when the infrastructure reaches the end of its life cycle, there is nearly always a bailout of the HOA by the town. And the long-term unprofitability becomes glaringly apparent. In Detroit, it looks like abandoned neighborhoods. In Flint, it looks like poisoned water. And Detroit and Flint aren’t special, they just implemented these fiscally unsustainable development patterns a few decades before other cities, and indeed there are thousands of cities and towns that are already starting to look more and more like Flint.

The lack of a market feedback process produces forcibly sprawled, fiscally unsustainable cities and towns. The infrastructure-efficient urban core is downzoned, preventing any growth upward, and growth outward is heavily subsidized by flat infrastructure rates. A cul de sac might have 50 feet of street pipe per resident, whereas an apartment building might have 5 feet, but the residents in both locations pay the same. This is a subsidy to sprawl paid for by those who live densely and efficiently. Transit infrastructure is no different: Road construction can never keep pace with economic growth, and we get congestion and potholes, long commutes to where the housing is, and not enough housing where the jobs are.

The only way to begin designing our cities better is to admit that democratic socialism is very bad at city design. If there is a solution to our infrastructure woes, it is to incorporate more market feedback into the system, to avoid infrastructure boondoggles, and enable dense, efficient development. And some cities around the world show the path forward. Japanese mass transit infrastructure is a good case-in-point.

Over the past few decades, nearly all of Japan’s mass transit has been privatized. The trains are funded by fares, but more importantly, by the private rail companies’ real estate holdings. The rents from high rises constructed around the station pay for the operation of the rail line, which increases rents around the station, in a feedback mechanism. The profit/loss calculation determines how much housing construction should occur near which rail stations, and where the rail system should be expanded to next. As noted above, this has produced hi-tech high-speed trains that service nearly all of the 30 million or so folks in the Tokyo metro area.

And the rent is much cheaper, which is precisely related to the transit scheme above: In America, the socialist transit networks have very shallow penetration, with only a small fraction of the population living within walking distance of a rail stop. The trains don’t go to where the housing is, and the housing doesn’t go to where the trains are. Because land use is decided democratically, towns won’t approve high-density zoning by train stations, and so while many transit systems own quite a bit of developable land near train stations, they can’t build on it. This means they can’t fund an expansion of the rail system with these funds, and furthermore, even if you dump tons of money onto these transit systems, they don’t have the profit/loss mechanism to determine where the new stations should go.

And this is why Tokyo has futuristic trains and housing prices of around $339 per square foot, while in Boston prices are $661/sqft, and you have to be a lawyer to afford one of the highly prized scarce apartments within walking distance of transit, while the masses spend hours every day driving to the far corners of the metro area where housing is quasi-affordable.

The rent is too high, the commute is too long, the water is poisoned, and there are no easy answers, but the first step is for Americans to learn from the successful cities of the world, which are typically more market-based in their planning decisions than the supposedly hyper-capitalist US. Central planning for bread always produces bread lines, central planning for roads always produces congestion, and central planning for housing always produces rent crises. Americans know they don’t want their bread from the government, but until the same attitude is adopted toward infrastructure, we will all be desperately waiting in long queues for stale crumbs.

It Finally Happened: Keystone pipeline spills 210,000 gallons of oil


TransCanada, the company that owns and operates the Keystone Pipeline, says that an estimated 210,000 gallons, or 5,000 barrels, of oil have spilled near the small town of Amherst, S.D.

(NPR) The cause of the leak is under investigation, according to the company’s website. TransCanada crews detected a drop in pressure at about 6 a.m. CT Thursday morning and shut down the pipeline, which runs from Hardesty, Alberta, to Cushing, Okla., and Wood River/Patoka, Ill.

Amherst is about 200 miles north of Sioux Falls, S.D., and about 25 miles from the state’s border with North Dakota.

The conduit is not the controversial and long-delayed Keystone XL Pipeline that TransCanada is still shepherding through the approval process.

But as NPR’s Jeff Brady reports, the spill comes at a sensitive time for TransCanada.

“Regulators in the neighboring state of Nebraska are expected to announce a decision on the company’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline next week. The project and its route through Nebraska have been controversial. Some landowners are concerned about how an oil spill might harm their property and water supplies.”

The spill does nothing to enhance prospects for the XL Pipeline, which critics argue should not be allowed to operate.

“TransCanada cannot be trusted,” said Jane Kleeb, head of the Nebraska Democratic Party and a longtime activist opposed to Keystone XL, as quoted by the Washington Post.

“I have full confidence that the Nebraska Public Service Commission is going to side with Nebraskans, not a foreign oil company,” she added.

Brian Walsh, an environmental scientist manager at the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said the company was aware of the spill at about 5:30 a.m. CT. But his agency wasn’t alerted until about 10:30 a.m. CT.

“There is a time lag there and I expect that that will be some of the questions we need to answer over the coming months,” he told Jeff.

In its statement, TransCanada said, “The section of pipe along a right-of-way approximately 35 miles (56 kilometres) south of the Ludden pump station in Marshall County, South Dakota was completely isolated with 15 minutes and emergency procedures were activated.”

The spill occurred about 3 miles southeast of Amherst on private land, which Walsh described as a “flat, grassy area for grazing.” The company tweeted a picture of the site late Thursday.

The company says that it is providing state and federal regulators “with accurate and confirmed information on an ongoing basis.”