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BPA Plastic Linked to Health Problems, Interior Department Ethics, FEMA Wasted Funds
Revealing News Articles
September 19, 2008

Dear friends,

Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on the latest findings that the chemical BPA in plastic is associated with major health problems, the scandal at the Interior Department, a report that FEMA wasted funds in the Hurricane Katrina recovery program, 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.

With best wishes,
Tod Fletcher and Fred Burks for PEERS and

Study Links Chemical BPA to Health Problems
September 17, 2008, Washington Post

The first large study in humans of a chemical widely used in everyday plastics has found that people with higher levels of bisphenol A had higher rates of heart disease, diabetes and liver abnormalities. The research, published ... in the Journal of the American Medical Association by a team of British and American scientists, compared the health status of 1,455 men and women with the levels of the chemical, known as BPA, in their urine. The researchers divided the subjects into four statistical groupings according to their BPA levels and found that those in the quartile with the highest concentrations were nearly three times as likely to have cardiovascular disease than those with the lowest levels, and 2.4 times as likely to have diabetes. Higher BPA levels were also associated with abnormal concentrations of three liver enzymes. "This is the nail in the coffin," Frederick vom Saal, a reproductive scientist at the University of Missouri at Columbia and one of the first to document evidence of health problems in rodents exposed to low doses of BPA. "This is a huge deal." More than 100 studies have linked BPA exposure to health effects in animals. The FDA maintains that BPA is safe largely on the basis of two studies funded by the chemical industry, a fact that was repeatedly cited at yesterday's forum. "We're concerned that the FDA is basing its conclusion on two studies while downplaying the results of hundreds of other studies," said Amber Wise of the Union of Concerned Scientists. "This appears to be a case of cherry-picking data with potentially high cost to human health."

Note: For many important reports on health issues from reliable sources, click here.

Days Before Scandal, Interior Got Ethics Award
September 12, 2008, Washington Post

Just before the Department of Interior's inspector general released reports that laid bare the oil-and-sex scandal in the department's oil royalties office this week, Interior won an annual award from the federal Office of Government Ethics. The inspector general said Wednesday that federal officials in the Mineral Management Service's royalty-in-kind program allegedly were plied with alcohol and expensive gifts from industry representatives, and in some cases had sex and did drugs with them. The Denver-area office takes in roughly $4 billion each year in oil and natural gas reserves from companies drilling on federal and Indian land and offshore. But, on Monday, the Interior Department was praised for "developing a dynamic laminated Ethics Guide for employees" that was a "polished, professional guide" with "colorful pictures and prints which demand employees' attention." The guide, the award noted, was small enough for employees to carry. Interior also was lauded for having held a four-day seminar for its ethics advisors nationwide. It isn't known if those seminars included the royalty office, where investigators found that a former program director was paid more than $30,000 for improper outside work, bought cocaine using a personal check from his office and engaged in an illicit sexual relationship with a subordinate; employees accepted gifts, including sports tickets and vacations, from industry executives; and two former officials, with the help of a supervisor, arranged to get themselves hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting work after they retired.

Note: For many more reports of government corruption from major media sources, click here.

Could So Many UFO Witnesses Be Right?
September 12, 2008, ABC News

For decades, millions of people around the world have reported seeing UFOs hovering in their skies. It is a mystery that science has been unable to solve, and the phenomenon remains largely unexamined. Much of the reporting on this subject holds those who claim to have seen UFOs up to ridicule. "UFOs: Seeing is Believing" takes a serious look at the phenomenon in today's world. The 90-minute special includes interviews with scientists searching for proof of life beyond earth and UFO witnesses who claim aliens are already here. Building on the original Peter Jennings report in 2005, David Muir reports on new sightings, as well as NASA's current search for life on Mars. The program follows the entire scope of the UFO experience, from the first famous sighting by Kenneth Arnold in 1947 to the present day. Muir reports on a recent UFO sighting in Stephenville, Texas, where multiple witnesses reported seeing enormous lights moving in strange configurations on the evening of January 8, 2008. He interviews some of the most credible witnesses of the sighting and a radar expert who evaluated their claims and found something surprising in the data. Sophisticated animations approved by the eyewitnesses allow viewers to get a feel for the experience first hand. The special draws on interviews with police officers, pilots, military personnel, scientists and ordinary citizens who give extraordinary accounts of encounters with the unexplained.

Note: For an illuminating two-page summary of evidence for UFOs presented by highly credible government and military professionals, click here.

Audit: Feds wasted millions on Katrina work
September 10, 2008, MSNBC/Associated Press

The government wasted millions of dollars on four no-bid contracts it handed out for Hurricane Katrina work, including paying $20 million for a camp for evacuees that was never inspected and proved to be unusable, investigators say. A report by the Homeland Security Department's office of inspector general, obtained ... by The Associated Press is the latest to detail mismanagement in the multibillion-dollar Katrina hurricane recovery effort, which investigators have said wasted at least $1 billion. The review examined temporary housing contracts awarded without competition to Shaw Group Inc., Bechtel Group Inc., CH2M Hill Companies Ltd. and Fluor Corp. in the days immediately before and after the August 2005 storm that smashed into the U.S. Gulf Coast. It found that FEMA wasted at least $45.9 million on the four contracts that together were initially worth $400 million. FEMA subsequently raised the total amounts for the four contracts twice, both times without competition, to $2 billion and then $3 billion. FEMA did not always properly review the invoices submitted by the four companies, exposing taxpayers to significant waste and fraud, investigators wrote. In many cases, the agency also issued open-ended contract instructions for months without clear guidelines on what work was needed to be done and the appropriate charges. "We question how FEMA determined that the amounts invoiced were allowable and reasonable," the IG report states, warning that its review was limited in scope so that additional waste and fraud might yet to be found.

Note: For many more reports of government corruption from major media sources, click here.

The Army's Totally Serious Mind-Control Project
September 14, 2008, Time magazine,8599,1841108,00.html

Soldiers barking orders at each other is so 20th Century. That's why the U.S. Army has just awarded a $4 million contract to begin developing "thought helmets" that would harness silent brain waves for secure communication among troops. Ultimately, the Army hopes the project will "lead to direct mental control of military systems by thought alone." Improvements in computing power and a better understanding of how the brain works have scientists busy hunting for the distinctive neural fingerprints that flash through a brain when a person is talking to himself. The Army's initial goal is to capture those brain waves with incredibly sophisticated software that then translates the waves into audible radio messages for other troops in the field. It's not as far-fetched as you might think: video gamers are eagerly awaiting a crude commercial version of brain wave technology – a $299 headset from San Francisco-based Emotiv Systems – in summer 2009. The military's vastly more sophisticated system may be a decade or two away from reality, let alone implementation. The five-year contract it awarded last month to a coalition of scientists from the University of California at Irvine, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Maryland, seeks to "decode the activity in brain networks" so that a soldier could radio commands to one or many comrades by thinking of the message he wanted to relay and who should get it.

Note: The US military and intelligence agencies have been conducting and funding research in mind control for decades. Click here for a summary of this research.

Opinion: Let's impeach e-voting
September 8, 2008, Computerworld

Were software patches that didn't fix problems but instead changed results applied to electronic voting machines in two Georgia counties? Were the patches applied at the instruction of a top Diebold executive, without informing local election officials? This charge has been leveled several times since a rather surprising election in which two Democratic candidates had comfortable leads in polls just before Election Day yet lost by substantial margins. Of course, there's a strong correlation between your degree of suspicion of those results and which party you support. But we should all be frightened if there's no way to prove that tampering didn't occur. And when voting machines are electronic, paperless and proprietary, it's all but impossible to do a recount or check for errors in a way that can uncover a malicious hack. Election consultant Chris Hood told Rolling Stone magazine that he was working for Diebold in Georgia in 2002 when the head of the company's election division arrived to distribute a patch to workers. That code was applied to only about 5,000 machines in two counties. Hood says it was an unauthorized patch that was kept hidden from state officials. The Georgia allegations are disturbing but, sadly, not unique. An attorney and IT security consultant last month cited that incident to renew challenges to 2004 Ohio elections, which had a similar mix of paperless Diebold machines and statistically curious results.

Note: For many more reports of the risks associated with electronic voting systems, click here.

9/11 Rumors That Become Conventional Wisdom
September 9, 2008, New York Times

Seven years later, it remains conventional wisdom [in Cairo] that Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda could not have been solely responsible for the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and that the United States and Israel had to have been involved in their planning, if not their execution, too. "Look, I don't believe what your governments and press say. It just can't be true," said Ahmed Issab, 26, a Syrian engineer who lives and works in the United Arab Emirates. "Why would they tell the truth? I think the U.S. organized this so that they had an excuse to invade Iraq for the oil." Again and again, people said they simply did not believe that a group of Arabs – like themselves – could possibly have waged such a successful operation against a superpower like the United States. But they also said that Washington's post-9/11 foreign policy proved that the United States and Israel were behind the attacks, especially with the invasion of Iraq. "Maybe people who executed the operation were Arabs, but the brains? No way," said Mohammed Ibrahim, 36, a clothing-store owner in the Bulaq neighborhood of Cairo. "It was organized by other people, the United States or the Israelis." Zein al-Abdin, 42, an electrician, [said] "What happened in Iraq confirms that it has nothing to do with bin Laden or Qaeda. They went against Arabs and against Islam to serve Israel, that's why."

Note: For a two-page summary of many reports from reliable, verifiable sources that highlight unanswered questions about what really happened on 9/11, click here.

Clones' Offspring May Be In Food Supply: FDA
September 3, 2008, Reuters

Food and milk from the offspring of cloned animals may have entered the U.S. food supply, the U.S. government said on Tuesday, but [then claimed] it would be impossible to know because there is no difference between cloned and conventional products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in January [that] meat and milk from cloned cattle, swine and goats and their offspring were as safe as products from traditional animals. Before then, farmers and ranchers had followed a voluntary moratorium on the sale of clones and their offspring. While the FDA evaluated the safety of food from clones and their offspring, the U.S. Agriculture Department was in charge of managing the transition of these animals into the food supply. "It is theoretically possible" offspring from clones are in the food supply, said Siobhan DeLancey, an FDA spokeswoman. Cloning animals involves taking the nuclei of cells from adults and fusing them into egg cells that are implanted into a surrogate mother. There are an estimated 600 cloned animals in the United States. Critics contend not enough is known about the technology to ensure it is safe, and they also say the FDA needs to address concerns over animal cruelty and ethical issues. "It worries me that this technology is out of control in so many ways," said Charles Margulis, a spokesman with the Center for Environmental Health.

Note: For a revealing summary of the health risks associated with genetically modified foods, click here.

Talkin' 'bout my generation
September 2008 issue, Ode Magazine

In the 1920s, millions of rural Americans got their energy the same way they got their butter–they made it themselves. Off-grid when off-grid wasn't cool, they used some 600,000 windmills to run radios and power, maintaining sputtering lights with an electric current that ebbed, flowed and sometimes simply disappeared with the prairie wind. Fully 90 percent of those windmills disappeared within a generation, as even the most isolated farmers eagerly plugged in to the new centralized power system. But today the same technologies that help iPod-bedecked college students steal music are reviving the model of microgeneration–clean, decentralized power that people make themselves–by linking homes into a vast network that keeps buzzing even when the wind stops blowing. Microgeneration, meet the YouTube –generation. "We're talking about a new meaning of 'power to the people,'" raves Jeremy Rifkin, alternative energy activist and adviser to the European Union and many European governments. Forget about wind farms and solar plants run by conventional utility companies, he says. "In the new energy regime, the people are the utilities and their houses are the power plants." The cornerstone of this new grid is buildings that produce, rather than just consume, energy. These homes and office buildings convert wind, solar and biomass into electricity, which they use, store for later as hydrogen and "upload" onto the grid.

Note: This inspiring article comes from what may be the most inspiring news source in our world today, Ode Magazine. For more on this excellent magazine "for intelligent optimists," see

Bush Seeks to Affirm a Continuing War on Terror
August 28, 2008, New York Times

Tucked deep into a recent proposal from the Bush administration is a provision that has received almost no public attention: an affirmation that the United States is still at war with Al Qaeda. The language, part of a proposal for hearing legal appeals from detainees at the United States naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, goes beyond political symbolism. Echoing a measure that Congress passed just days after the Sept. 11 attacks, it carries significant legal and public policy implications for Mr. Bush, and potentially his successor, to claim the imprimatur of Congress to use the tools of war, including detention, interrogation and surveillance, against the enemy, legal and political analysts say. Some lawmakers are concerned that the administration's effort to declare anew a war footing is an 11th-hour maneuver to re-establish its broad interpretation of the president's wartime powers, even in the face of challenges from the Supreme Court and Congress. The proposal is also the latest step that the administration, in its waning months, has taken to make permanent important aspects of its "long war" against terrorism. From a new wiretapping law approved by Congress to a rewriting of intelligence procedures and F.B.I. investigative techniques, the administration is moving to institutionalize by law, regulation or order a wide variety of antiterrorism tactics. "This seems like a final push by the administration before they go out the door," said Suzanne Spaulding, a former lawyer for the Central Intelligence Agency and an expert on national security law.

Note: For many revealing reports from reliable sources of the realities behind the "war on terror," click here.

KBR, Partner in Iraq Contract Sued in Human Trafficking Case
August 28, 2008, Washington Post

A Washington law firm filed a lawsuit yesterday against KBR, one of the largest U.S. contractors in Iraq, alleging that the company and its Jordanian subcontractor engaged in the human trafficking of Nepali workers. Agnieszka Fryszman, a partner at Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, said 13 Nepali men, between the ages of 18 and 27, were recruited in Nepal to work as kitchen staff in hotels and restaurants in Amman, Jordan. But once the men arrived in Jordan, their passports were seized and they were told they were being sent to a military facility in Iraq, Fryszman said. As the men were driven in cars to Iraq, they were stopped by insurgents. Twelve were kidnapped and later executed, Fryszman said. The thirteenth man survived and worked in a warehouse in Iraq for 15 months before returning to Nepal. The lawsuit, filed in a federal court in California on behalf of the workers' families and the survivor, claims that the trafficking scheme was engineered by KBR and its Jordanian subcontractor, Daoud & Partners, according to Fryszman. This spring, an administrative law judge at the Department of Labor, which has jurisdiction over cases that involve on the job injuries at overseas military bases, ordered Daoud to pay $1 million to the families of 11 of the victims.

Note: For many more reports on corporate corruption from major media sources, click here.

Who Killed Chandra Levy?
July 27, 2008, Washington Post

In the six years since Chandra Levy was found in Rock Creek Park, her story continues to haunt many lives. Rep. Gary Condit was abandoned by the Democratic Party and was trounced in the primary for his House seat in 2002. He now splits his time among California, Colorado and Arizona, where he operated two Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlors. Ingmar Guandique, the Salvadoran immigrant convicted of attacking women in Rock Creek Park around the time Chandra disappeared, has never been charged in connection with the case. Most of the investigators have ... dispersed. All of those who agreed to be interviewed now say Condit had nothing to do with Chandra's disappearance. Nearly all of them consider Guandique to be the prime suspect, even as he consistently denies any involvement in the crime. The investigators continue to second-guess the case, especially the many lost opportunities to gather evidence about the killer. Among other things, they cite the failure to immediately obtain the security camera tape from Chandra's apartment building; the failure to promptly and correctly analyze the contents of her computer, which would have shown that she was searching for something to do in Rock Creek Park; the failure to conduct a more rigorous search of Rock Creek Park; and the failure to quickly recognize and capitalize on the possible link between Chandra's disappearance and Guandique's Rock Creek Park attacks. Jack Barrett, former D.C. chief of detectives, said the focus on Condit hurt the investigation. He also faulted his superiors ... for their constant news conferences that helped fuel the media frenzy.

Note: There is good reason to suspect U.S. Representative Gary Condit was targeted in this killing for trying to confront the powers that be. For more on this, click here.

Special note:
An excellent new documentary has come out titled "Zero: An Investigation Into 9-11." It may be the best, most incisive documentary yet on 9/11. You can watch it (broken into 12 segments) on YouTube at Esteemed scholar, 9/11 activist and WantToKnow team member David Ray Griffin has just published an exciting and up-to-the-minute "volume 2" to his famous first book on 9/11, entitled The New Pearl Harbor Revisited. You can read reviews and purchase it by clicking here. And for an inspiring article recommending a 9/11 truth and reconciliation commission by Congressman Dennis Kucinich, click here.

Finding Balance: Inspiration Center believes it is important to balance disturbing cover-up information with inspirational writings which call us to be all that we can be and to work together for positive change. For an abundance of uplifting material, please visit our Inspiration Center.

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BPA Plastic Linked to Health Problems, Interior Department Ethics, FEMA Wasted Funds