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Archive for January 2010

We know too little about the food we eat

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by Rick Ackerman
Posted originally January 29, 2010

IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SEEN the documentary ‘Food, Inc.,” we strongly recommend that you rent it soon. It will not only change the way you eat, but the way you shop for groceries. Without sensationalizing the facts, the film builds a powerful case against agribusiness and its major players, just a few of whom control what we eat. It traces the rise of agribusiness to the explosive growth of fast food restaurants in the 1950s.

McDonald’s, for one, became such a large purchaser of beef that the company almost single-handedly reshaped the meat-packing industry. Because only the very largest suppliers could meet demand from McDonald’s, and because the ground beef itself had to be standardized across the U.S., meat-packing came to be dominated by just a few giant suppliers. They transformed the business into a manufacturing operation, consolidating it so that only fourteen slaughterhouses remain from the many thousands that once served wholesalers and retailers.

At the same time, the corn business was experiencing similar growth and consolidation. America’s farms are now geared toward producing corn so cheaply that we can undersell growers in every other country in the world, no matter how low their wages. Because of this, most cattle in this country no longer graze on grass; rather, they spend their lives in pens, fattened on corn. The sanitation problems that have resulted have only increased despite the growing use of antibiotics by feedlots. As the film documents, E coli outbreaks throughout the U.S. have become increasingly more numerous and lethal, killing children in particular with a vile ferocity that overwhelms the best efforts of doctors to save them.

Monsanto’s Lawyers
Monsanto comes off as a villain for the bullying tactics it has used to control the soybean business. Years ago, its patented soybean held a ten percent share of the market. That has increased to around 90 percent, and the company has unleashed a phalanx of lawyers on the farm belt to extinguish the remaining 10 percent who still dare to plant seeds not engineered by Monsanto. One of the firm’s primary targets is a man who cleans soybean seeds so that they can be stored and planted later. He reportedly has thrown in the towel, unable to meet the legal costs of battling such a powerful and well-financed enemy. His defeat will probably spell the end for all others in the same line of business.

The makers of this film were unable to elicit a single response from any of the companies reported on.  We recommend it in particular because it does not sensationalize its subject. Rather, it musters the facts in a way that will leave you convinced that Americans know dangerously little about the food they eat.

Written by aurick

29/01/2010 at 9:32 pm

The Massive Momentum Of 2009

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by Trace Mayer
Originally posted 27 January, 2010

THE GREAT MONETARY SCIENTIST Isaac Newton, who served as England’s Master of the Mint for 24 years, also did some ancillary work in physics. The laws of Newtonian physics are known by nearly everyone and are often used by analogy to apply logical reasoning in other fields. In this case, a few of these laws are particularly applicable in discussing the impending state of the economy in 2010 based on the massive momentum of 2009.

Stated in layman’s terms the three great Newtonian laws of motion are:
1.  A body persists in a state of uniform motion or of rest unless acted upon by an external force.
2.  Force equals mass times acceleration or F = ma.
3.  To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

In regards to human action a body seems to stay at rest rather than work unless acted upon by some type of force. The force can be either internal such as hunger, the desire for self-actualization or anywhere in between on the Maslow hierarchy of needs or external such as a saber-tooth tiger, boss or customer. To sustain life the human body must consume fuel.

Capital is the means of production and the difference between production and consumption flows into or out of the store of capital. Out of this dynamic human society has attempted to efficiently allocate capital to produce more and this has resulted in institutions, large and small, where individuals work in the attempt to produce in order to meet their needs and wants. Of course, the great fiction of government is that everyone can live off someone else’s production.

The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken. The mass of the economy times its speed in the Information Age has resulted in a tremendous force. But this mass has largely been built from the atomic level upon something which is inherently unstable and undefinable leading to chronic fingers of instability.

The problem is debt and because psychology is changing, The Great Credit Contraction has begun and the rate at which the mass of the economy is evaporating is truly scary. While many attribute the ongoing financial crisis to the subprime mortgage mess, which is surely a contributing factor, the problem is much more systemic than a few defaulted mortgages.

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Written by aurick

28/01/2010 at 11:06 am

One quarter of US grain crops fed to cars – not people

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by John Vidal, Environment editor, guardian.co.uk
Originally posted Friday 22 January 2010

A grain elevator in Illinois. In 2009, 107m tonnes of grain was grown by US farmers to be blended with petrol.
Photograph: AP Photo/Monty Davis

ONE QUARTER OF ALL THE MAIZE AND OTHER grain crops grown in the US now ends up as biofuel in cars rather than being used to feed people, according to new analysis which suggests that the biofuel revolution launched by former President George Bush in 2007 is impacting on world food supplies. The 2009 figures from the US Department of Agriculture shows ethanol production rising to record levels driven by farm subsidies and laws which require vehicles to use increasing amounts of biofuels.

“The grain grown to produce fuel in the US [in 2009] was enough to feed 330 million people for one year at average world consumption levels,” said Lester Brown, the director of the Earth Policy Institute, a Washington thinktank ithat conducted the analysis.

Last year 107 million tonnes of grain, mostly corn, was grown by US farmers to be blended with petrol. This was nearly twice as much as in 2007, when Bush challenged farmers to increase production by 500% by 2017 to save cut oil imports and reduce carbon emissions. More than 80 new ethanol plants have been built since then, with more expected by 2015, by which time the US will need to produce a further 5bn gallons of ethanol if it is to meet its renewable fuel standard. Read the rest of this entry »

Marketing medicines to people who don’t need them

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by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Originally posted December 30, 2009

THE FDA NOW APPROVES CRESTOR FOR PEOPLE who have no health problem to correct! Big Pharma has been trending this direction for a long time: marketing medicines to people who don’t need them and who have nothing wrong with their health. It’s all part of a ploy to position prescription drugs as nutrients – things you need to take on a regular basis in order to prevent disease.

The FDA recently gave its nod of approval on the matter, announcing that Crestor can now be advertised and prescribed as a “preventive” medicine. No longer does a patient need to have anything wrong with them to warrant this expensive prescription medication: They only need to remember the brand name of the drug from television ads.

This FDA approval for the marketing of Crestor to healthy people is a breakthrough for wealthy drug companies. Selling drugs only to people who are sick is, by definition, a limited market. Expanding drug revenues requires reaching people who have nothing wrong with them and convincing them that taking a cocktail of daily pharmaceuticals will somehow keep them healthy.
All this is, of course, the greatest quackery we’ve yet seen from Big Pharma, because once this floodgate of “preventive pharmaceuticals” is unleashed, the drug companies will be positioned to promote a bewildering array of other preventive chemicals you’re supposed to take at the same time. Did you take your anti-cancer pill today? How about your anti-diabetes pill? Anti-cholesterol pill? Don’t forget your anti-Alzheimer’s pill, too.

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The Melting of America: The Story of a Can’t-Do Nation

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by Orville Schell

LATELY, I’VE BEEN STUDYING THE CLIMATE-CHANGE induced melting of glaciers in the Greater Himalaya. Understanding the cascading effects of the slow-motion downsizing of one of the planet’s most magnificent landforms has, to put it politely, left me dispirited. Spending time considering the deleterious downstream effects on the two billion people (from the North China Plain to Afghanistan) who depend on the river systems – the Yellow, Yangtze, Mekong, Salween, Irrawaddy, Brahmaputra, Ganges, Indus, Amu Darya and Tarim – that arise in these mountains isn’t much of an antidote to malaise either.

If you focus on those Himalayan highlands, a deep sense of loss creeps over you – the kind that comes from contemplating the possible end of something once imagined as immovable, immutable, eternal, something that has unexpectedly become vulnerable and perishable as it has slipped into irreversible decline. Those magnificent glaciers, known as the Third Pole because they contain the most ice in the world short of the two polar regions, are now wasting away on an overheated planet and no one knows what to do about it.

To stand next to one of those leviathans of ice, those Moby Dicks of the mountains, is to feel in the most poignant form the magnificence of the creator’s work. It’s also to regain an ancient sense, largely lost to us, of our relative smallness on this planet and to be forcibly reminded that we have passed a tipping point.  The days when the natural world was demonstrably ascendant over even the quite modest collective strength of humankind are over. The power – largely to set an agenda of destruction – has irrevocably shifted from nature to us.

ANOTHER TIPPING POINT HAS ALSO been on my mind lately and it’s left me no less melancholy. In this case, the Moby Dick in question is my own country, the United States of America. We Americans, too, seem to have passed a tipping point. Like the glaciers of the high Himalaya, long familiar aspects of our nation are beginning to feel as if they were, in a sense, melting away.

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You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet!

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by David Galland,
Managing Director
Casey Research
Originally posted January 22, 2010

Dear Reader,
For a moment, put yourself into the well-polished shoes of the president. You’ve worked all your life to get to your position at the very apex of global power. Feels pretty good, eh? Except for a burning sensation on the back of your neck you suspect is connected with Brown’s win in Massachusetts. Damn!

After quickly reacquainting yourself with presidential powers related to ordering assassinations and being disappointed, you return to your calculations. What can you do to bring your former supporters, those fickle bastards, back under your rainbow-colored tent? After all, even after your $1.8 trillion in deficit spending last year, the job picture still sucks, and so does the housing market. The public has caught on to your cozy insider dealings with the big banks. The threat of global warming you were so vocal about has been exposed as a farce. And now your universal healthcare legislation is unraveling – and with it, your last best chance for a place in history as something other than a cultural footnote.

Oh, the humanity! Why can’t these fools realize that you know what’s best for them? That with just a bit more patience, you’ll lead them to a promised land of high-speed trains, affordable healthcare for all, and green jobs aplenty? But, noooo. Where you see high-speed trains, Mr. John Q. Stupid sees government make-work and waste. Where you see universal healthcare, the two-thirds of people who already have health insurance see nothing but higher costs, more taxes, and rationing. Green jobs? A joke. Why, things are getting so bad that the political cartoonists have gone from this… Read the rest of this entry »

Written by aurick

23/01/2010 at 6:19 pm

The new rules of Imperialism: Economic warfare, consumer products and disease exports

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by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com
Originally posted May 29, 2007

HISTORY TELLS US THAT nations quite predictably invade weaker nations on a regular basis… especially when those weaker nations happen to be standing on valuable natural resources like oil or uranium. Thanks to this desire for strategic control over territories, the twentieth century was the bloodiest in human history, with more people being lost to war, greed and conquest than during any single century in recorded history (including the centuries spanning Greek and Roman civilizations).

War remains as supported as ever today, and in fact, many nations actually thirst for war. Just look at the pro-war coverage on Fox News and the unending war games being played on computers and game consoles by young men who find entertainment in war. (In fact, the U.S. Army is actually recruiting young men now through a free, downloadable video game that teaches young boys how to pick up a rifle and kill people with it.)

Why some nations create war
The people of some nations actually create war (or support it) in their quest to express a sense of nationalistic heroism. Failing nations need heroes, and when those heroes are no longer found in the realms of science, art, politics or global achievement, they will be fabricated from the false victories of war.

The tearful American mom whose son dies in Iraq is, indeed, suffering a tremendous personal loss, but her loss is a necessary part of feeding the population’s desire to proclaim there are heroes among them. Through the sacrificing of young men who are killed in Iraq, the people of America can find common connection, righteousness, and purpose where none existed before. War gives meaning to empty lives, and it delivers a masochistic form of entertainment to those who are too young, too old or too wealthy to participate. This is precisely why, throughout human history, the leaders of failing nations have habitually turned to military imperialism as a method to distract the people from far more serious problems at home. When the sons of a nation are returning home in body bags, nobody pays much attention to failures in education or the economy.

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