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Archive for October 2010

Cheap Fluoride from China Leaves Unknown, Insoluble Residue in Municipal Water Systems

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Town halts Fluoride use in water supply, seeks solutions

By Lynne Hendricks        The Daily News of Newburyport Tue Jan 19, 2010

AMESBURY — Citing problems with the quality of sodium fluoride flooding the American market, Department of Public Works director Rob Desmarais said Amesbury has no current plans to resume its practice of adding fluoride to the town’s water supply.

Though the health benefits to children in adding it to the water supply are well documented, the town discontinued fluoridating its water in April.

Desmarais said he is concerned that the material Amesbury had been getting in recent years did not dissolve as raw sodium fluoride should, leaving questions about the possibility it’s being mixed with something else.

“This is the second time we’ve had to stop because we can’t get a reliable supply,” said Desmarais last week. “We’ve been buying the stuff from our supplier, which is the low bidder, and they’ve been providing us with product that comes from China, which doesn’t meet our standards.”

Desmarais said while soluble sodium fluoride has traditionally proved easy to dissolve and add to the water supply, in recent years he’s found that 40 percent of the product they’ve been buying will not dissolve, and he doesn’t know why. Desmarais has sent the material out for testing on two separate occasions, but had no luck in determining what it contained. He has sent it back to the supplier and had a better quality product delivered following the complaint. But the next delivery presents with the same problem, he said.

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Written by laudyms

October 30, 2010 at 7:37 am

U.S. should follow Europe and put the brakes on nanotech food and other products

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Nanoparticles are already used in many sunscreens.

(Photo: Alex Parlini, Proj. on Emerging Nanotechnologies)

by Jaydee Hanson 29 Jun 201     Grist.org

One month ago, the Committee on Environment, Health and Consumer Protection of the European Parliament voted in favor of excluding nanotechnology from the EU list of novel foods allowed on the market. This committee vote represents one of the first times ever that a legislative body has weighed in on the issue of nanotech particles in food. (Nanotechnology refers to materials or devices developed on an atomic or molecular scale, sized between 1 to 100 nanometers — basically, really, really, really tiny novel particles that our skin and other organs have never before encountered at this scale.)

For those of us watching how government views nanotechnology, this was welcome news.

Whether we are focusing on food or other consumer goods, so far more than a thousand products containing nanoparticles are currently available in the U.S. These nano-enabled products have been put on the market without testing their possible impacts on human health or the environment. And, without stringent government review and without regulation, these products are foisted on an unsuspecting public. People are using nanotechnology, such as sunscreen containing nanoparticles of zinc oxide, on a daily basis, almost completely unaware of what they’re putting on their bodies.

In some cases, nanotechnology has proven benefits, but without a clear understanding of the health and environmental impacts, how can the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, and the public assess whether or not use of nanotech products is worth the risks? Nanotechnology practically cries out for regulation.

It is a clear, prudent recognition of the overwhelming need for testing in the name of public safety.

That’s what’s encouraging about the European Parliament committee’s action, which also included a declaration that food produced from nanotechnology processes must undergo risk assessment before being approved for use and must be labeled on packaging. The decision was approved by the influential committee almost unanimously, with 42 votes in favor, two against, and three abstentions. While the final plenary vote on the issue is expected to take place in the European Parliament in July, the lopsided committee vote speaks to the absolute logic of such a move. It is a clear, prudent recognition of the overwhelming need for testing in the name of public safety.

It now looks as though U.S. regulatory agencies may be coming around to the point of view that testing should not be considered a burden, but rather an urgent need. The EPA is promising that it will release proposed regulations on nano pesticides soon. We hope the regulations will require companies to report the presence of nano-silver and other nanomaterials in hundreds of consumer products ranging from children’s pacifiers to athletic clothing.

EPA has broad authority under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) over all substances intended to kill pests, including germ killers, but has not addressed until now the growing nano-silver market (primarily as an anti-microbial agent in food packaging), or the market for most other nanochemicals. The proposed rules would be a response to a legal petition filed with the EPA by the International Center for Technology Assessment and the Center for Food Safety in May of 2008, on behalf of a coalition of 12 other public interest organizations, calling on EPA to regulate nano-silver products as pesticides.

The nanotechnology industry often touts the benefits to humanity that their discoveries and applications have created. Lawmakers and regulators should carefully review those real advances, but with balance and logic. We shouldn’t rush to include technology in foods and other products without a clear understanding of the long-term risks these products may pose. The European Commission should follow the directive of the Parliament and to put strong policies in place that will adequately protect human health and the environment from the potential hazards of these novel products. And in the U.S., the EPA and the FDA should do likewise.

Latest GMO fiasco: Mad Soy Disease Strikes Brazil

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Senior scientists in the United States, who have studied glyphosate and glyphosate-tolerant GM crops for decades, identified more than 40 diseases linked to glyphosate, and the list is growing.

Institute of Science in Society 10/27/10

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho

No cure for mad soy disease

They call it “mad soy disease” in Brazil, where it has been spreading from the north, causing yield losses of up to 40 percent, most notably in the states of Mato Grosso, Tocantins and Goias.
Like its namesake, mad cow disease, it is incurable [1, 2, 3].

This is the latest GMO fiasco to surface since our report on the meltdown in the USA [4] (GM Crops Facing Meltdown in the USA, SiS 46), China [5] (GM-Spin Meltdown in China, SiS 47), and Argentina [6] (Argentina’s Roundup Human Tragedy, SiS 48).

Mad soy disease has afflicted soybeans sporadically in the hot northern regions of Brazil in the past years, but is now spreading to more temperate regions in the south “with increased prevalence overall”, according to a US Department of Agriculture scientist.

The disease delays the maturation of infected plants indefinitely; the plants remain green until they eventually rot in the field. The top leaves thin out, and the stems thicken and become deformed. The leaves also darken compared to healthy plants; the pods, when formed, are abnormal with fewer beans.

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Resist the happily drifting handbasket! (Gradual fascism in an era of decline)

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Gradual fascism is an easy trick in an era of decline.  Don’t go there!

The New Democrats: The Coalition Pharma and Wall Street Love

a private weekend on Maryland’s Eastern Shore…. . lobbyists for large banks, pharmaceutical firms, insurance companies, and big-ticket trade groups. However, 28 were members of Congress, and 29 were legislative staffers, all part of a coalition of House Democrats


Chris Hedges on the Liberal Class:The World Liberal Opportunists Made


Jurassic Ballot: When Corporations Ruled the Earth By  Rebecca Solnit
They’ve invaded; they’ve infiltrated; they’ve conquered; and a lot of the most powerful people on Earth do their bidding, including five out of our nine Supreme Court justices


Fool Me Twice? American multinationals have about $1 trillion in profits stashed abroad


Understanding America’s Class System By Joe Bageant

the truth is that when we are looking at the political elite, we are looking at the dancing monkey, not the organ grinder who calls the tune.


American Everyman on Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox

dismissing the real left (what’s left of us) by the so-called left (the Vishy Dems).  Note: s/b Vichy- (those ever-practical French who caved to the Nazis)

Nine stories the press is underreporting — fraud, fraud and more fraud

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Nieman Watchdog:  Questions the press should ask

William K. Black on Capitol Hill in April. (AP)

ASK THIS | October 20, 2010   Harvard University

From liars’ loans to liars’ liens, the financial and foreclosure crisis has been one big story of banks defrauding their customers — a vast criminal enterprise. You wouldn’t know it from a lot of the media coverage, though. Regulatory hero and criminologist William K. Black helps connect the dots.

By Dan Froomkin

If it wasn’t already blindingly obvious that pervasive fraud was at the heart of the financial crisis and the ensuing foreclosure catastrophe, you would think that the latest news — that banks have routinely been lying their heads off in the rush to kick homeowners off the properties they fraudulently induced them to buy in the first place — would pretty much clinch it.

And yet the mainstream media still by and large hasn’t connected the dots.

What we are seeing all around us are the continued effects of a vast criminal enterprise that has never been brought to account,  employing a process that, as University of Texas economist James Galbraith explains, involved the equivalent of counterfeiting, laundering and fencing.

So the person with the right expertise to lead us here is a criminologist — in particular William K. Black, one of the few effective regulators in recent history (during the savings and loan crisis of the late 1980s), a notorious knocker of heads, and currently professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and author of the book, “The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One”.

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Scrambled Eggs: Report Spotlights “Systemic” Abuses in Organic Egg Production

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Family Farmers Face Unfair Competition from “Organic” Factory Farms
The Cornucopia Institute, Sept 26, 2010

CORNUCOPIA, WI – An independent report has been released that focuses on widespread abuses in organic egg production, primarily by large industrial agribusinesses. The study profiles the exemplary management practices employed by many family-scale organic farmers engaged in egg production, while spotlighting abuses at so-called factory farms, some confining hundreds of thousands of chickens in industrial facilities, and representing these eggs to consumers as “organic.”

The report will be formally presented to the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the October meeting of the National Organic Standards Board in Madison, Wisconsin.

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27 Signs That The Standard Of Living For America’s Middle Class Is Dropping Like a Rock

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61% of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck. That was up substantially from 49% in 2008 and 43% in 2007

Michael Snyder,   Business Insider Oct 16, 2010

If you still have a job and you can put food on the table and you still have a warm house to come home to, then you should consider yourself to be very fortunate.  The truth is that every single month hundreds of thousands more Americans fall out of the middle class and into poverty.  The statistics that you are about to read are incredibly sobering.  Household incomes are down from coast to coast.

Check out the signs here >

Enrollment in government anti-poverty programs sets new records month after month after month.  Home ownership is down, personal bankruptcies are way up and there are not nearly enough jobs to go around.  Meanwhile, the price of basics such as food and health care continue to skyrocket. Don’t be fooled by a rising stock market or by record bonuses on Wall Street.  The U.S. economy is not getting better.  After World War II, the great American economic machine built the largest and most vigorous middle class in the history of the world, but now America’s middle class is disintegrating at a blinding pace.

Most of those who write about the plight of the American middle class believe that things can be turned around and that the middle class will eventually be stronger than it ever has been.  But unfortunately, that is just not the case.  As a society, we have lived far, far beyond our means for decades.  Now the bills are coming due and none of our leaders seem to know what to do.

Meanwhile, the U.S. economy is being rapidly assimilated into the emerging one world economy.  Middle class American workers now find themselves in direct competition for jobs with the cheapest labor on the other side of the globe.  Of course many multinational corporations have taken advantage of this by moving factories and jobs to countries like China where blue collar workers make about a dollar an hour.  This has helped raise the standard of living for workers in those nations by a nominal amount, but it has been absolutely devastating for the standard of living of America’s middle class.

So what does all of this mean?

It means that the U.S. economy is headed for collapse and middle class Americans are in for some really, really hard times.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/standard-of-living-middle-class-2010-10#ixzz12eCVJGpL

6 Reasons to Avoid GMOs

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October 12, 2010   by Deniza Gertsberg     GMO Journal


Update: video added at end

When was the last time you thought about how food was made, where it came from, whether and if it was chemically treated?  With the first ever Non GMO Month around the corner, an awareness campaign launched by the Non GMO Project, perhaps now is a good time to pay attention. As you look at each food item and its ingredients, consider these fundamental unanswered questions concerning genetically modified (GM) foods — which are most foods that you eat today. Disturbingly, while we are force-fed “wholesome” messages about the alleged benefits of GM foods, a decade and a half after the first GM crops went commercial many of the same concerns persist.

Read on and find out whether you want frankenfood to be your next meal.

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The Sun Is Fading on Biotechnology

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Source: Global Research

from   Does Your Food Contain Genetically Modified Organisms?” by Rady Ananda  10/10/10

Biotechnology may have had its day in the sun, but that light is fading. The New York Times reported Monsanto’s stock dropped from a peak of $145 a share in 2008 to under $48 a share on Monday. The Christian Science Monitor noted that “the rapid increase in the percentage of US farm acres planted with biotech crops has slowed. It rose only 1 percent last year, from 85 percent to 86 percent, the smallest increase since 2001.”

Check out this interactive map of the history of GMO releases in the US from 1987 thru 2008:

Cataloguing the problems of the biotech industry, CSM states:

“Corn Belt farmers complain loudly about the soaring cost of seed. The federal government is investigating the industry for anticompetitive practices. Farmers are grappling increasingly with weeds that have grown resistant to Roundup, an herbicide widely used with genetically modified crops, and genetic contamination of conventional crops.”

Even the United Nations rebuked biotechnology this year when it concluded that agroecology “improves food production and farmers’ incomes while at the same time protecting the soil, water and climate.” The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter, reported:

“The widest study ever conducted on the subject found that agroecological approaches resulted in an average crop yield gain of 79 per cent. The study covered 286 projects in 57 developing countries, representing a total surface of 37 million hectares.” (That’s over 91 million acres.)

Biotech found a friend in billionaire Bill Gates, however, so this fading light still has juice. This is precisely why a home-grown solution like the Non-GMO Project can be so effective.  By verifying which products are GM-free, NGP allows consumers to make informed choices, despite censorship by the FDA.

Use NPG’s PDF shopping guide or their iPhone app to find products verified as GM-free. The Rodale Institute, also involved with NGP, advises to buy organic and grass-fed. Check the PLU code:

“GMO foods contain the number 8 before the four-digit code printed on the produce sticker. Organic foods contain the number 9.”

5 Key Principles that Unite Populist Progressives and Tea-Party Libertarians

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The Republicrats agree on perpetual war, playing monopoly with other people’s money, Big Brother surveillance, crony capitalism, and hit-and-run resource extraction.

October 7, 2010    Human World Order     Activist Post

The establishment must do everything it can to suppress unity among the growing herd of angry citizens. However, victory for the people is within our grasp.  In a dangerous scenario for the establishment, populists from the left and the right are increasingly finding common ground.  A recent Mother Jones article titled “Tea Party or Pot Party?” revealed to progressives that they can actually agree with Tea Party libertarians on issues such as legalizing marijuana.  With an honest look at each other’s principles we may find that what unites Populists is far more powerful than what divides us.

First, we must be cognizant that the establishment seeks to divide us by using such vile tactics as labeling progressives as “evil communists” and the Tea Party libertarians as “racists.”  Naturally, old-school civil rights liberals hate racists, and free-market conservative purists hate communists. Can we not see that the establishment knows precisely what buttons to push to keep us from uniting?  These false labels are irrelevant in our current struggle with a tyrannical Corporate State.

It is clear that we the people are all suffering in similar ways under the current system. We grasp for someone to blame for this manufactured suffering, and the establishment is all too eager to provide a culprit to misdirect our anger.  Progressives have been conditioned to blame big evil corporations, while conservatives have been conditioned to blame big evil government. But now, both are finally realizing that corporate cartels and the government have merged into a most evil monster that cares not for them, or the health of America for that matter.  Even Michael Moore is waking up to the fact that Obama is a mere puppet of the corporate masters.

The people have been fooled and divided for long enough.  Now, we must go beyond phony labels that the establishment has carefully crafted for us, and join our fellow populists to unite around our common human principles.

Here are five co-dependent principles that unite populist progressives and tea party libertarians: Read the rest of this entry »