Pesticide Dangers to Human Health Carry Through Multiple Generations

(NaturalNews) A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Texas at Austin has uncovered evidence that the damage done by pesticides may last for four generations or more.

Reproductive neuroendocrinologist Andrea Gore and evolutionary biologist David Crews compared the sexual behavior of two different groups of rats. One group of rats was a standard laboratory rat stock, while the other group was descended from rats that had been subjected to the hormone-disrupting effects of chemicals. Reproductive biologist had injected the great-grandmothers of these rats with vinclozolin, a common fungicide that is particularly popular among grape-growers.

Skinner’s research had previously shown that the male descendents of the rats who had been injected with vinclozolin developed various reproductive and other difficulties later in life, including sperm deficiencies, infertility, breast tumors and kidney disease.

Read morePesticide Dangers to Human Health Carry Through Multiple Generations

Israel flexes muscles with Iran attack drill

Israeli aircraft have conducted a long-range mission designed to prepare for a possible strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities and to send a message to the world that it is ready to take military action if diplomacy fails to halt Tehran’s atomic programme.

An Israeli political official familiar with the drill, held early this month, said that the Iranians should “read the writing on the wall . . . This was a dress rehearsal, and the Iranians should read the script before they continue with their programme for nuclear weapons. If diplomacy does not yield results, Israel will take military steps to halt Tehran’s production of bomb-grade uranium.”

Mohamed ElBaradei, Director-General of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, said that he would be forced to leave his position if Iran were attacked. “A military strike, in my opinion, would be worse than anything possible,” he told al-Arabiya television station. “It would turn the region into a fireball.It will mean that Iran, if it is not already making nuclear weapons, will launch a crash course to build nuclear weapons with the blessing of all Iranians, even those in the West.”

Western states suspect Iran of secretly aiming to build a nuclear bomb. Tehran insists that its nuclear facilities are intended to produce electricity.

More than a hundred Israeli F16 and F15 fighter jets took part in manoeuvres over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece to prepare for possible long-range strikes. The central command for the Greek Air Force said yesterday that it had taken part in “joint training exercises” with Israel near Crete.

Read moreIsrael flexes muscles with Iran attack drill

Secret Pentagon Funding Near All-Time High

The latest Pentagon budget request contains a near record high level of money for classified, or “black” programs, reports the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.  Fiscal year 2009 includes a whopping $34 billion to fund classified weapons purchases and development, though it is not the highest level ever.

“The FY 2007 level is higher than the FY 2009 request primarily because it includes war-related funding, while the FY 2009 figure does not,” notes the report, which is updated annually by Steven Kosiak. “It is likely that once war-related funding is included, the FY 2009 total will surpass the FY 2007 level-making it the highest total for classified acquisition programs since FY 1987 in real terms.”

The updated report does not speculate on what specific programs are being funded–though past reports have noted that classified space programs account for a good portion of the total. Longtime aerospace reporter Bill Sweetman has speculated that some chunk of this large amount of change is going toward a classified bomber prototype. And of course there’s also been longtime speculation–but little concrete proof–of an “Aurora” hypersonic aircraft (though if Aurora exists/existed, then someone needs to explain why the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is proposing Blackswift, a new hypersonic aicraft?).

Classified programs, though they have have produced some notable successes, like the B-2, have their downsides, as Kosiak points out.  “Restrictions placed on access to classified funding have meant that DoD and Congress typically exercise less oversight over classified programs than unclassified ones,” Kosiak writes. “This lower level of scrutiny, coupled with the compartmentalization of information generally associated with classified efforts has contributed to performance problems and cost growth in a number of programs, such as the Navy’s ill-fated A-12 attack aircraft program.”

By Sharon Weinberger
June 20, 2008

Source: Wired

Senate Housing Bill Requires eBay, Amazon, Google, and All Credit Card Companies to Report Transactions to the Government

Broad, invasive provision touches nearly every aspect of American commerce.

Washington, DC –  Hidden deep in Senator Christopher Dodd’s 630-page Senate housing legislation is a sweeping provision that affects the privacy and operation of nearly all of America’s small businesses. The provision, which was added by the bill’s managers without debate this week, would require the nation’s payment systems to track, aggregate, and report information on nearly every electronic transaction to the federal government.

Call Congress and Tell Them to Oppose The eBay Reporting Provision in the Housing Bill: 1-866-928-3035

FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey commented: “This is a provision with astonishing reach, and it was slipped into the bill just this week. Not only does it affect nearly every credit card transaction in America, such as Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express, but the bill specifically targets payment systems like eBay’s PayPal, Amazon, and Google Checkout that are used by many small online businesses. The privacy implications for America’s small businesses are breathtaking.”

“Privacy groups like the Center for Democracy and Technology and small business organizations like the NFIB sharply criticized this idea when it first appeared earlier this year. What is the federal government’s purpose with this kind of detailed data? How will this database be secured, and who will have access? Many small proprietors use their Social Security number as their tax ID. How will their privacy be protected? What compliance costs will this impose on businesses? Why is Sen. Chris Dodd putting this provision in a housing bailout bill? The bill also includes the creation of a new national fingerprint registry for mortgage brokers.

“At a time when concerns about both identity theft and government spying are paramount, Congress wants to create a new honey pot of private data that includes Social Security numbers. This bill reduces privacy across America’s payment processing systems and treats every American small business or eBay power seller like a criminal on parole by requiring an unprecedented level of reporting to the federal government. This outrageous idea is another reason to delay the housing bailout legislation so that Senators and the public at large have time to examine its full implications.”

From the Senate Bill Summary:

Read moreSenate Housing Bill Requires eBay, Amazon, Google, and All Credit Card Companies to Report Transactions to the Government

The Sunspot Enigma: The Sun is “Dead”—What Does it Mean for Earth?

Dark spots, some as large as 50,000 miles in diameter, typically move across the surface of the sun, contracting and expanding as they go. These strange and powerful phenomena are known as sunspots, but now they are all gone. Not even solar physicists know why it’s happening and what this odd solar silence might be indicating for our future.

Although periods of inactivity are normal for the sun, this current period has gone on much longer than usual and scientists are starting to worry-at least a little bit. Recently 100 scientists from Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and North America gathered to discuss the issue at an international solar conference at Montana State University. Today’s sun is as inactive as it was two years ago, and solar physicists don’t have a clue as to why.

“It continues to be dead,” said Saku Tsuneta with the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, program manager for the Hinode solar mission, noting that it is at least a little bit worrisome for scientists.

Dana Longcope, a solar physicist at MSU, said the sun usually operates on an 11-year cycle with maximum activity occurring in the middle of the cycle. The last cycle reached its peak in 2001 and is believed to be just ending now, Longcope said. The next cycle is just beginning and is expected to reach its peak sometime around 2012. But so far nothing is happening.

“It’s a dead face,” Tsuneta said of the sun’s appearance.

Tsuneta said solar physicists aren’t weather forecasters and they can’t predict the future. They do have the ability to observe, however, and they have observed a longer-than-normal period of solar inactivity. In the past, they observed that the sun once went 50 years without producing sunspots. That period coincided with a little ice age on Earth that lasted from 1650 to 1700. Coincidence? Some scientists say it was, but many worry that it wasn’t.

Geophysicist Phil Chapman, the first Australian to become an astronaut with NASA, said pictures from the US Solar and Heliospheric Observatory also show that there are currently no spots on the sun. He also noted that the world cooled quickly between January last year and January this year, by about 0.7C.

“This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record, and it puts us back to where we were in 1930,” Dr Chapman noted in The Australian recently.

If the world does face another mini Ice Age, it could come without warning. Evidence for abrupt climate change is readily found in ice cores taken from Greenland and Antarctica. One of the best known examples of such an event is the Younger Dryas cooling, which occurred about 12,000 years ago, named after the arctic wildflower found in northern European sediments. This event began and ended rather abruptly, and for its entire 1000 year duration the North Atlantic region was about 5°C colder. Could something like this happen again? There’s no way to tell, and because the changes can happen all within one decade-we might not even see it coming.

Read moreThe Sunspot Enigma: The Sun is “Dead”—What Does it Mean for Earth?

Ex-Press Secretary Decries Secretive White House


Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington

WASHINGTON – Former presidential spokesman Scott McClellan on Friday said President Bush has lost the public’s trust by failing to open up about his administration’s mistakes and backtracking on a promise to tell all about the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity.

“This White House promised or assured the American people that at some point when this was behind us they would talk publicly about it. And they have refused to,” McClellan told the House Judiciary Committee. “And that’s why I think more than any other reason we are here today and the suspicion still remains.”

The former White House press secretary suggested that Bush could do much to redeem his credibility on the Plame matter and his reasons for going to war in Iraq if he would embrace “openness and candor and then constantly strive to build trust across the aisle.”

“This is a very secretive White House,” McClellan said. “There’s some things that they would prefer not to be talked about.”

Read moreEx-Press Secretary Decries Secretive White House

Gold May Rise to $5,000 on Inflation, Schroder Says

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June 19 (Bloomberg) — Gold prices may rise to $5,000 an ounce as investors seek to protect themselves against accelerating inflation, said Schroder Investment Management Ltd., which oversees $277 billion of assets globally.

“You could easily see for the next several years that prices rise not to $1,000 an ounce, but prices rise to $5,000 an ounce or beyond as inflation psychology becomes more and more embedded and people become desperate to have a source of value,” said Christopher Wyke, London-based emerging market debt and commodities product manager at Schroder, which oversees about $10 billion of commodity assets.

Investors are turning to gold for protection as two-thirds of the world’s population cope with inflation rates that are climbing to more than 10 percent, Wyke said. Cash and inflation- linked bonds are poor substitutes as low interest rates, coupled with surging inflation, erode the real value of assets, he said.

Read moreGold May Rise to $5,000 on Inflation, Schroder Says

Critics Demand Resignation of U.N. Official Who Wants Probe of 9/11 ‘Inside Job’ Theories

‘Truth is treason in the empire of lies’ ‘Let the revolution begin!’ – Ron Paul

Related article:Government Insider: Bush Authorized 9/11 Attacks

Critics are calling for the resignation of a U.N. official who publicly supports investigating theories that the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were an “inside job.”

Richard Falk, the special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, investigates alleged Israeli violations of human rights law for the U.N.’s Human Rights Council.

But the former Princeton professor would also like to investigate whether “some sort of controlled explosion from within” destroyed the Twin Towers, he told FOXNews.com.

“I do think there are questions that haven’t been answered, questions about the way the buildings collapsed and the failure to heed a variety of signals that there was danger coming,” Falk said.

“I think [his beliefs are] fruitcake city, but among many delegations to the U.N. it’s probably the conventional wisdom,” said John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. known for his straight talk on U.N. hypocrisy.

But Hillel Neuer, executive director of U.N. Watch, a non-governmental organization that monitors the U.N., wants Falk removed from his job.

“He should resign,” said Neuer, who raised concerns about Falk’s ability to be an objective observer. Neuer has also criticized Falk for being biased against Israel.

“If he were a principled person he would recognize the fact that he has very extreme views,” Neuer said.

In 2004, Falk wrote the forward to “The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11,” a book written by David Ray Griffin, a Sept. 11 conspiracy theorist.

Read moreCritics Demand Resignation of U.N. Official Who Wants Probe of 9/11 ‘Inside Job’ Theories

House passes new surveillance law

WASHINGTON (AP) – The House Friday easily approved a compromise bill setting new electronic surveillance rules that effectively shield telecommunications companies from lawsuits arising from the government’s terrorism-era warrantless eavesdropping on phone and computer lines in this country.

The bill, which was passed on a 293-129 vote, does more than just protect the telecoms. The update to the 30-year-old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is an attempt to balance privacy rights with the government’s responsibility to protect the country against attack, taking into account changes in telecommunications technologies.

Read moreHouse passes new surveillance law

Officials suspend California aerial spraying program

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Officials on Thursday abruptly canceled a state program to spray chemicals to combat crop-eating moth in urban areas after months of public uproar over its unclear effects on the environment and human health.

A.G. Kawamura, state secretary of food and agriculture, announced that California had abandoned plans to send up pesticide-spraying planes to fight the light brown apple moth in cities. That includes the densely populated San Francisco Bay area, which had been scheduled for treatment this fall.

“I know there’s concern out there, and we want to be able to address that,” Kawamura told reporters. “Our focus is to use the technology that has moved progressively forward.”

Read moreOfficials suspend California aerial spraying program