FBI Surveillance, Autism-Vaccine Debate,
Mindfulness for Children
Revealing News Articles
June 21, 2007
Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on FBI surveillance, the autism-vaccine debate, mindfulness for children, 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.
Autism Debate Strains a Family and Its Charity
June 18, 2007, New York Times
A year after their grandson Christian received a diagnosis of autism in 2004, Bob Wright, then chairman of NBC/Universal, and his wife, Suzanne, founded Autism Speaks, a mega-charity dedicated to curing the dreaded neurological disorder that affects one of every 150 children in America today. The Wrights' venture was also an effort to end the internecine warfare in the world of autism – where some are convinced that the disorder is genetic and best treated with intensive therapy, and others blame preservatives in vaccinations and swear by supplements and diet to cleanse the body of heavy metals. With its high-powered board ... the charity was a powerful voice, especially in Washington. It also made strides toward its goal of unity by merging with three existing autism organizations and raising millions of dollars for research into all potential causes and treatments. The Wrights call it the "big tent" approach. But now the fissures in the autism community have made their way into the Wright family, where father and daughter are not speaking after a public battle over themes familiar to thousands of families with autistic children. The Wrights' daughter, Katie, the mother of Christian, says her parents have not given enough support to the people who believe, as she does, that the environment – specifically a synthetic mercury preservative in vaccines – is to blame. No major scientific studies have linked pediatric vaccination and autism, but many parents and their advocates persist, and a federal "vaccine court" is now reviewing nearly 4,000 such claims.
Note: For a treasure trove of reliable and verifiable articles on autism, click here.
Sandy Berger gives up law license
June 8, 2007, MSNBC/Associated Press
Berger, now an international business consultant, said in a statement last month that he "decided to voluntarily relinquish my license" as a result of pleading guilty to unauthorized removal and retention of classified material, a misdemeanor. "I realized then that my law license would be affected," Berger said in the statement obtained Thursday. In April 2005, Berger admitted destroying some of the documents and then lying about it. He called his actions a lapse of judgment that came while he was preparing to testify before the Sept. 11 commission. The documents he took contained information on terror threats in the United States during the 2000 millennium celebration. Berger had only copies of documents; all the originals remain in the government's possession. A report by the archives inspector general said that Berger acknowledged hiding some of them at a construction site near the archives building in Washington.
Note: For a more in-depth analysis of Berger's admitted crime, which tries to answer the question "What information was worth risking his reputation, his career, and his freedom to keep hidden?", click here.
In the Classroom, a New Focus on Quieting the Mind
June 16, 2007, New York Times
The lesson began with the striking of a Tibetan singing bowl to induce mindful awareness. With the sound of their new school bell, the fifth graders at Piedmont Avenue Elementary School here closed their eyes and focused on their breathing, as they tried to imagine "loving kindness" on the playground. "I was losing at baseball and I was about to throw a bat," Alex Menton, 11, reported to his classmates the next day. "The mindfulness really helped." Students at dozens of schools across the country are trying hard to be in the present moment. This is what is known as mindfulness training, in which stress-reducing techniques ... are wedged between reading and spelling tests. Mindfulness, while common in hospitals, corporations, professional sports and even prisons, is relatively new in the education of squirming children. But a small but growing number of schools in places like Oakland and Lancaster, Pa., are slowly embracing the concept ... and institutions, like the psychology department at Stanford University and the Mindfulness Awareness Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, are trying to measure the effects. During a five-week pilot program at Piedmont Avenue Elementary, Miss Megan, the "mindful" coach, visited every classroom twice a week, leading 15 minute sessions on how to have "gentle breaths and still bodies."
Congress eyes voting machines in disputed race
June 15, 2007, Miami Herald (Miami's leading newspaper)
A congressional task force called Thursday for a speedy resolution to a southwest Florida election dispute that questions the accuracy of ATM-style voting machines. Democrat Christine Jennings claims that touch-screen voting machines in Sarasota County failed to register up to 18,000 votes. Republican Vern Buchanan was declared the winner by 369 votes after two recounts and a state audit found no problems. GAO investigators will gather information on Sarasota County's voting systems, analyze the 18,000 so-called ''undervotes,'' review tests and audits done after the election and determine if more tests are needed. Jennings said Thursday the she was pleased even though the approach brings her no closer to gaining access to hardware and software that the machines' maker, Omaha, Neb.-based Election Systems & Software Inc., says is a trade secret.
Note: The software in electronic voting machines is considered proprietary information, kept secret from Congress, the courts and even the President. Yet any computer programmer will tell you that this software can be manipulated. To join in demanding transparency in our elections process, contact your political representatives by clicking here. For more reliable information on this issue vital to democracy, click here.
Senators Try to Limit Fuel-Efficiency Rules
June 14, 2007, Washington Post
Allies of the U.S. auto industry stepped up a campaign yesterday to soften strict vehicle fuel-efficiency mandates in proposed energy legislation before the Senate, even as momentum for the tougher measures continued to build. Auto lobbyists said they were encountering stiff resistance on Capitol Hill. They said they felt like the industry was being punished for what one called the "sins of the past" -- successfully beating back attempts to make major changes to the nation's vehicle mileage laws. Yesterday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) defended the current bill, arguing that it would provide flexibility for automakers. "There are all kinds of dire warnings," Feinstein said. "The fact of matter is that Detroit has done nothing about mileage efficiency for the past 20 years, and the time has come."
Note: It is also worth noting that Congress itself has done nothing to mandate higher fuel efficiency in cars over the last twenty years. For a highly revealing article showing that while other industries have had many major breakthroughs and huge technological advances over the decades, automobile makers for some strange reason have been unable to improve car mileage since the days of the Model T, click here.
FBI Finds It Frequently Overstepped in Collecting Data
June 14, 2007, Washington Post
An internal FBI audit has found that the bureau potentially violated the law or agency rules more than 1,000 times while collecting data about domestic phone calls, e-mails and financial transactions in recent years, far more than was documented in a Justice Department report in March that ignited bipartisan congressional criticism. The new audit covers just 10 percent of the bureau's national security investigations since 2002. The vast majority of the new violations were instances in which telephone companies and Internet providers gave agents phone and e-mail records the agents did not request and were not authorized to collect. The agents retained the information anyway in their files. Two dozen of the newly-discovered violations involved agents' requests for information that U.S. law did not allow them to have. The results confirmed what ... critics feared, namely that many agents did not ... follow the required legal procedures and paperwork requirements when collecting personal information with one of the most sensitive and powerful intelligence-gathering tools of the post-Sept. 11 era -- the National Security Letter, or NSL. Such letters are uniformly secret and amount to nonnegotiable demands for personal information -- demands that are not reviewed in advance by a judge. After the 2001 terrorist attacks, Congress substantially eased the rules for issuing NSLs, [leading] to an explosive growth in the use of the letters. More than 19,000 such letters were issued in 2005 seeking 47,000 pieces of information, mostly from telecommunications companies.
Key Articles From Years Past
Autism rate doubles among state's kids
May 14, 2003, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
The number of kids in California being treated for autism doubled between 1998 and 2002, and there is still no end in sight to the growing trend, state officials reported. The report ... found that 10,360 autistic children sought services in 1998. By the end of last year the number had jumped to 20,377, a 97 percent increase, far outstripping the growth rate in population or births. Concern over rising autism rates has been growing since the late 1990s as parents, educators and pediatricians began reporting increasing numbers of affected children across the country. As many as 20 different genes are known to play a role, but it also is believed that environmental factors are at work. Steep increases have also been documented in other industrialized countries such as Japan and Israel. "California is absolutely not special," Huff said. "In fact, we're middle of the road in terms of our rates." Scientists continue to search for a cause. Theories abound, including the possibility that childhood immunizations may be involved. However, recent studies into the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine have not shown a link. Others have suggested that environmental toxins or food additives might be the cause. Some research has focused on possible causes in the womb, including a mother's immune response to common infections that could affect the developing fetus. Researchers connected to the MIND Institute found in an initial study that high levels of certain proteins in the blood of newborns could predict which ones went on to develop autism and mental retardation.
Note: Though industry-funded studies have shown no link between autism and vaccines, there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. For reliable information on this key topic, click here.
Fighting for the future of food
November 7, 2004, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
"Just about everybody is pretty serious about their chow," says Deborah Koons Garcia, enjoying the understatement. No matter how serious they are, though, Garcia knows most people don't realize that genetically engineered foods have quietly slipped into much of the American food supply, mostly from corn and canola. They're in an estimated 60 percent of all processed foods. "We are at a crossroads," says Garcia. She's spent the last three years ... making "The Future of Food," a documentary about GMO (genetically modified organism) foods. "Someone needed to make this film, because if this technology isn't challenged and if this corporatization of our whole food system isn't stopped, at some point it will be too late," says Garcia. "It became clear that GMOs are really a much bigger issue ... And it was really clear that there hadn't been a really good film that told the whole story from the cellular, from the microscopic level, all the way up to the global," Garcia says. Her 90-minute documentary ... expresses a strong point of view against letting new life forms loose on the land without long-term testing of the health effects and real government controls, especially labeling of foods. Garcia threads a clear path through the history, science and politics of GMO foods to a clear call for action.
Note: To view this highly educational film, which may encourage you to change your eating habits, click here.
UFO spotters slam 'US cover-up'
May 10, 2001, BBC News
The suitably sci-fi sounding Project Disclosure ... launched a campaign in Washington on Wednesday. It is aimed at persuading the US Congress to hold hearings on the existence of unidentified flying objects and extra-terrestrials. The campaign believes the US Government has known about the existence of UFOs for over 50 years but has been trying to hide it. It was surely the strangest ever news conference hosted by Washington's august National Press Club. Donna Hare was just one of over 20 witnesses, most of them ex-military, and all deadly serious. The brains behind Project Disclosure is country doctor turned ambassador to outer space Steven Greer. He says there are two reasons for the project: first, to persuade the US Government to reveal the astonishing planet-saving technology he says it has picked up from super-clever aliens, and second, to stop the Bush administration from annoying them by building weapons in space. Despite the impressive military credentials and undoubted sincerity of the witnesses, Congress is surely unlikely to move on their request for a hearing - unless a space ship lands on, or at least within sight of, Capitol Hill.
Note: Though BBC quotes one Army sergeant in this article, they fail to quote some of the many, credible higher ranking military officers and government officials who shared mind-boggling stories of personal experiences with a major government cover-up of UFOs. To watch a video of this highly revealing press conference, click here. For a reliable, verifiable two-page summary of the UFO cover-up, click here.
80 Institutions Used in C.I.A. Mind Studies
August 4, 1977, New York Times
Adm. Stansfield Turner, the Director of Central Intelligence, testified today that the C.I.A. had secretly supported human behavior control research at 80 institutions, including 44 colleges or universities as well as hospitals, prisons and pharmaceutical companies. He said that the main action years of MK-Ultra were from 1953 through 1963. The projects, he said, had included tests of LSD and of a "K," or "knockout drop." The agency had supported 185 nongovernment researchers in 149 separate research projects. Admiral Turner said that ... 8,000 pages of newly discovered documents do not contain the names of the subjects of the tests but do contain "leads" that might enable them to be found. Admiral Turner acknowledged under questioning that the C.I.A. had apparently planned to test drugs on terminal cancer patients at the same institution where it secretly contributed $375,000 toward the construction of a hospital building. The New York Times has independently confirmed the institution is Georgetown University Medical School here. Admiral Turner [also] said that "some unwitting testing took place on criminal sexual psychopaths confined at a state hospital." At the two-hour hearing today, Senator Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, pressed Admiral Turner to let the universities, researchers and possible subjects of the tests know of the C.I.A.'s involvement. "These individuals have a right to know who they are and why they were used," he said.
Special Note: To read the amazing near-death of an ordinary woman and how it saved her child and led to incredibly extraordinary experiences and the opportunity for all of us to join in a powerful movement, click here.
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FBI Surveillance, Autism-Vaccine Debate, Mindfulness for Children