No-Bid Oil Deals in Iraq, US Nukes Out of UK,
BLM Freezes Solar Projects
Revealing News Articles
July 3, 2008
Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on the no-bid deals negotiated in Iraq for major Western oil companies, reports that the US has taken all its nukes out of the UK, the freezing of solar energy projects by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and more. Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails to function, click here. Key sentences are highlighted for those with limited time. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
U.S. Advised Iraqi Ministry on Oil Deals
June 30, 2008, New York Times
A group of American advisers led by a small State Department team played an integral part in drawing up contracts between the Iraqi government and five major Western oil companies to develop some of the largest fields in Iraq, American officials say. The disclosure, coming on the eve of the contracts' announcement, is the first confirmation of direct involvement by the Bush administration in deals to open Iraq's oil to commercial development and is likely to stoke criticism. In their role as advisers to the Iraqi Oil Ministry, American government lawyers and private-sector consultants provided template contracts and detailed suggestions on drafting the contracts, advisers and a senior State Department official said. At a time of spiraling oil prices, the no-bid contracts, in a country with some of the world's largest untapped fields and potential for vast profits, are a rare prize to the industry. The contracts are expected to be awarded Monday to Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP, Total and Chevron, as well as to several smaller oil companies. The deals have been criticized by opponents of the Iraq war, who accuse the Bush administration of working behind the scenes to ensure Western access to Iraqi oil fields even as most other oil-exporting countries have been sharply limiting the roles of international oil companies in development. Though enriched by high prices, the companies are starved for new oil fields. American military officials say the pipelines [in Iraq] now have excess capacity, waiting for output to increase at the fields.
Note: For many revealing reports from reliable sources on the real reasons behind the war in Iraq, click here.
Deals With Iraq Are Set to Bring Oil Giants Back
June 19, 2008, New York Times
Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concessions to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power. Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP – the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company – along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq's Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq's largest fields. The deals, expected to be announced on June 30, will lay the foundation for the first commercial work for the major companies in Iraq since the American invasion, and open a new and potentially lucrative country for their operations. The no-bid contracts are unusual for the industry, and the offers prevailed over others by more than 40 companies, including companies in Russia, China and India. The contracts [would] give the companies an advantage in bidding on future contracts. There was suspicion among many in the Arab world and among parts of the American public that the United States had gone to war in Iraq precisely to secure the oil wealth these contracts seek to extract. The Bush administration has said that the war was necessary to combat terrorism. Sensitive to the appearance that they were profiting from the war and already under pressure because of record high oil prices, senior officials of two of the companies, speaking only on the condition that they not be identified, said they were helping Iraq rebuild its decrepit oil industry.
Note: For many revealing reports from reliable sources on the real reasons behind the war in Iraq, click here.
US weapons 'withdrawn' from base
June 27, 2008, BBC News
Peace campaigners have welcomed reports that the US military has withdrawn its last nuclear weapons from Britain. The Federation of American Scientists said in a report 110 nuclear bombs were removed from RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk. The US military said it was policy not to confirm or deny the presence of nuclear weapons at Lakenheath. Kate Hudson, from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), said: "We would like official confirmation from the government that this has happened." She added: "We believe an open admission will be a confidence-boosting measure for future disarmament initiatives." The report's author, Hans Kristensen, said the move had happened in the past few years. Mr Kristensen, an expert on the US nuclear arsenal, said the withdrawal of the bombs [is] part of a general strategic shift since the end of the Cold War. The Suffolk base has been the site of many protests over the years, mainly due to the claims that nuclear bombs were stored at the base.
Citing Need for Assessments, U.S. Freezes Solar Energy Projects
June 27, 2008, New York Times
Faced with a surge in the number of proposed solar power plants, the federal government has placed a moratorium on new solar projects on public land until it studies their environmental impact, which is expected to take about two years. The Bureau of Land Management says an extensive environmental study is needed to determine how large solar plants might affect millions of acres it oversees in six Western states. But the decision to freeze new solar proposals temporarily ... has caused widespread concern in the alternative-energy industry ... just as the demand for viable alternative energy is accelerating. "It doesn't make any sense," said Holly Gordon, vice president for ... a solar thermal energy company in Palo Alto, Calif. "The Bureau of Land Management land has some of the best solar resources in the world. This could completely stunt the growth of the industry." Much of the 119 million surface acres of federally administered land in the West is ideal for solar energy. Galvanized by the national demand for clean energy development, solar companies have filed more than 130 proposals with the Bureau of Land Management since 2005. According to the bureau, the applications, which cover more than one million acres, are for projects that have the potential to power more than 20 million homes. Craig Cox, the executive director of the Interwest Energy Alliance, a renewable energy trade group, said he worried that the freeze would "throw a monkey wrench" into the solar energy industry at precisely the wrong time.
Note: For many encouraging stories on new energy developments, click here.
Chip implants can't be required in Missouri
June 26, 2008, Kansas City Star (Kansas City's leading newspaper)
Gov. Matt Blunt signed a bill ... prohibiting companies in Missouri from forcing workers to have microchips implanted in their bodies. You read that right. In Missouri, it's now illegal for businesses to require employees to have a microchip embedded under their skin. "When you're forced to have a chip put in you as a condition of employment, that's taking away your civil liberties and your freedom," said Rep. Jim Guest, a King City Republican. Guest added the microchip language to a bill concerning overtime and disability benefits. Next year, he said, he will introduce a bill to prohibit all microchip implants in humans. Only a few hundred people nationwide have been voluntarily implanted with the devices, and mandated microchips are virtually unheard of in Missouri or anywhere else. But three other states already prohibit mandatory implants. Guest ... said it's crucial to ban the technology before it gains any traction. "We want a law on the books so we can stop a major problem before it starts," he said. Privacy advocates and others worry that widespread use of such chips could allow individuals to be tracked or monitored without their knowledge and create identity theft issues. The chips, which use radio frequency identification [RFID] technology, are about the size of a grain of rice and are usually implanted in the upper arm. Guest and others have raised health concerns as well, citing studies that link implanted chips with cancerous tumors in laboratory animals.
Note: For lots more on microchip implants, click here.
Microchips Everywhere: a Future Vision
January 29, 2008, Seattle Times/Associated Press
Here's a vision of the not-so-distant future: Microchips with antennas will be embedded in virtually everything you buy, wear, drive and read, allowing retailers and law enforcement to track consumer items -- and, by extension, consumers -- wherever they go, from a distance. A seamless, global network of electronic "sniffers" will scan radio tags in myriad public settings, identifying people and their tastes instantly so that customized ads, "live spam," may be beamed at them. In "Smart Homes," sensors built into walls, floors and appliances will inventory possessions, record eating habits, monitor medicine cabinets -- all the while, silently reporting data to marketers eager for a peek into the occupants' private lives. Science fiction? In truth, much of the radio frequency identification [RFID] technology that enables objects and people to be tagged and tracked wirelessly already exists -- and new and potentially intrusive uses of it are being patented, perfected and deployed. Some of the world's largest corporations are vested in the success of RFID technology, which couples highly miniaturized computers with radio antennas to broadcast information about sales and buyers to company databases. Already, microchips are turning up in some computer printers, car keys and tires, on shampoo bottles and department store clothing tags. They're also in library books and "contactless" payment cards. With tags in so many objects, relaying information to databases that can be linked to credit and bank cards, almost no aspect of life may soon be safe from the prying eyes of corporations and governments, says Mark Rasch, former head of the computer-crime unit of the U.S. Justice Department.
Note: For lots more on microchip implants, click here.
White House Refused to Open Pollutants E-Mail
June 25, 2008, New York Times
The White House in December refused to accept the Environmental Protection Agency's conclusion that greenhouse gases are pollutants that must be controlled, telling agency officials that an e-mail message containing the document would not be opened, senior E.P.A. officials said last week. The document, which ended up in e-mail limbo, without official status, was the E.P.A.'s answer to a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that required it to determine whether greenhouse gases represent a danger to health or the environment. This week, more than six months later, the E.P.A. is set to respond to that order by releasing a watered-down version of the original proposal that offers no conclusion. Instead, the document reviews the legal and economic issues presented by declaring greenhouse gases a pollutant. Over the past five days, the officials said, the White House successfully put pressure on the E.P.A. to eliminate large sections of the original analysis that supported regulation, including a finding that tough regulation of motor vehicle emissions could produce $500 billion to $2 trillion in economic benefits over the next 32 years. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter. Both documents, as prepared by the E.P.A., "showed that the Clean Air Act can work for certain sectors of the economy, to reduce greenhouse gases," one of the senior E.P.A. officials said. "That's not what the administration wants to show. They want to show that the Clean Air Act can't work."
Note: For many important reports on global warming from major media sources, click here.
McCain's 'big advantage'
June 25, 2008, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Charlie Black, senior adviser to John McCain, caused a fluff by saying that a terrorist attack on U.S. soil would be a "big advantage" to his candidate. No one mentioned that eight years ago, the Project for a New American Century called for "a new Pearl Harbor" that could move the American people to accept the neoconservative vision of militarized global domination. Then 9/11 happened, lifting George W. Bush from the shadows of a disputed election to the heights of a "war presidency." Bush has taken on unprecedented powers since the events of 9/11. On that day, the president issued his "Declaration of Emergency by Reason of Certain Terrorist Attacks" under the authority of the National Emergencies Act. This declaration, which can be rescinded by joint resolution of Congress, has instead been extended six times. In 2007, the declaration was quietly strengthened with the issuance of National Security Presidential Directive 51, which gave the president the authority to do whatever he deems necessary in a vaguely defined "catastrophic emergency," including everything from canceling elections to suspending the Constitution to launching a nuclear attack. Not a single congressional hearing was held on this directive; members of Congress are not even allowed to read it. Will Congress act decisively to remove the president's emergency powers, challenge the directive and defend the Constitution?
Mercury Teeth Fillings May Harm Some: FDA
June 4, 2008, ABC News/Reuters
Silver-colored metal dental fillings contain mercury that may cause health problems in pregnant women, children and fetuses, the Food and Drug Administration said, after settling a related lawsuit. As part of the settlement with several consumer advocacy groups, the FDA agreed to alert consumers about the potential risks ... and to issue a more specific rule next year for fillings that contain mercury. "Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses," the FDA said. "Pregnant women and persons who may have a health condition that makes them more sensitive to mercury exposure, including individuals with existing high levels of mercury bioburden, should not avoid seeking dental care, but should discuss options with their health practitioner," the agency said. The lawsuit settlement was reached ... with several advocacy groups, including Moms Against Mercury, which had sought to have mercury fillings removed from the U.S. market. Some consumer groups contend the fillings can trigger a range of health problems such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease. Mercury has been linked to brain and kidney damage at certain levels. Amalgams contain half mercury and half a combination of other metals. Charles Brown, a lawyer for one of the groups called Consumers for Dental Choice, said the agency's move represented an about-face. "Gone, gone, gone are all of FDA's claims that no science exists that amalgam is unsafe," he said.
Note: For many reliable reports on health issues, click here.
Lou Dobbs Tonight: NAFTA Superhighway
May 28, 2008, CNN News
[News anchor LOU DOBBS:] Open borders advocates are refusing to acknowledge rising evidence of plans for a NAFTA superhighway. Many in the mainstream media absolutely refuse to acknowledge the reality. The plans could be a major step toward that North American Union of the United States, Canada and Mexico. BILL TUCKER, CNN Correspondent: There is no NAFTA superhighway. Not officially. In Texas planning a development is under way for what are officially called transportation corridors. The Trans Texas Corridor, I-69, a combination of rail lines, utility lines, car and truck lanes, [is planned] to be as wide as three football fields laid end to end. It will be financed by a private foreign company ... who will then own the lease on the road and the revenue generated by the tolls. Texas may use eminent domain to lay claim to some of the land needed to build it. For an imaginary road there's a lot of money and effort involved [and] some very real opposition. TERRI HALL, TEXASTURF.ORG: There's just no doubt that this is happening. We've been to the public hearings. We've seen the presentations. We've seen the documents. We waded through them and there's a whole lot more groups besides just ours. And we've got Farm Bureau, Sierra Club, a whole host of groups from the left and the right. TUCKER: In Kansas a resolution opposing the superhighway overwhelmingly passed the State House.
Note: To watch a video of this Lou Dobbs Tonight segment, click here.
5 electric cars you can buy now
June 8, 2008, CNN Money
The Tesla Roadster, which recently entered production, is probably the best known electric car in America. The company's president has called it "the only production electric car for sale in the United States." There are several other electric car companies that would differ with him on that point, but those other vehicles are either limited to speeds below 25 miles per hour or have fewer than four wheels, making their status as "cars" somewhat debatable. With a full set of wheels and a claimed top speed of 125 mph, there's no question this two-seat convertible is a real car. Tesla also boasts an amazing 220-mile range on a full charge as measured in EPA fuel economy tests. Meanwhile, the charging time claimed by Tesla is less than half that of other electric vehicles, thanks to advanced lithium-ion batteries -- which do account for much of the car's high cost. But even gasoline-powered two-seat soft-tops are luxury toys, not daily drivers. Tesla promises it is working hard on a more moderately priced four-door model for driving's other half. The GEM car, from Chrysler's Global Electric Motorcars division, is more typical of what's available to today's average consumer. It's a small, lightweight vehicle that can go up to 25 mph. It can go just a little faster on a downhill grade, but the electric motor automatically steps in to slow it down. The 25 mph top speed is a matter of law, not engineering. "Low Speed Vehicles" (LSVs) like the GEM don't have to meet the same safety requirements as faster cars. But 25 mph is still adequate for many daily commutes and around-the-town errands.
Note: For many exciting reports on new automotive and energy developments, click here.
How to give death a good name
June 23, 2008, The Telegraph (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
The elusive concept of a "good" death has become a hot topic, inspired by the leave-takings of two great communicators, the Irish writer Nuala O'Faolain and the American computer science lecturer Randy Pausch. It is also the subject of a new book, The Art of Dying, a nod to the medieval texts Ars Moriendi that set out [advice] for dying. The authors, Dr Peter and Elizabeth Fenwick, argue that, obsessed with prolonging life, we have lost the habit of helping people to die a good death. "Hi-tech around the deathbed is sometimes more concerned with the feelgood factor of the relatives and the medical profession, who need to feel they have done everything they can, than with the peace and comfort of the dying," they say. We are very good at making sure that when people die they are as comfortable and pain-free as possible, they add, but not so good at catering for, and teaching others to care for, the spiritual needs of the dying. So it is time for those dying and those around them to think about where and how they want to die. "Our fear of death and love of life," say the Fenwicks, "mean that we seldom prepare either for death itself or the process of dying. So although all of us will die, hardly anyone is prepared to 'die right'?." By "right", they mean pain-free and in an untroubled frame of mind. A "good death", they say, is the death a person wanted - whether surrounded by family at home, in a hospice with professional carers, or even alone. But 67 per cent of people die in hospital among staff untrained and unequipped to answer their emotional, social and spiritual needs.
Note: For a highly inspiring 12-minute video by Prof. Randy Pausch about his impending death and gratitude for life, click here.
Special note: For some very important information on the new energy-saving light bulbs, click here. This five-minute video of Congressional testimony shows that due to mercury inside, they are dangerous if broken. Listen to this video for important instructions on what to do if one breaks in your home.
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No-Bid Oil Deals in Iraq, US Nukes Out of UK, BLM Freezes Solar Projects