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The American Dream: you have to be asleep to believe it

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2014: The Year Propaganda Came Of Age

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Meijer sums it all up very well (read the whole thing!)

2014: The Year Propaganda Came Of Age

   December 26, 2014    by

……that truly defines 2014 for me. A level of propaganda I don’t recognize, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. 2014 has for me been the year of utter nonsense. To wit, it just finished in fine form with a 5% US GDP growth number, just to name one example. Really, guys? 5%? Really? With all the numbers presented lately, the negative Thanksgiving sales data – minus 11% from what I remember -, the so-so at best Christmas store numbers to date, shrinking durable goods in November and all? Plus 5%?

It really doesn’t matter what I say, does it? You have enough people believing ridiculous numbers like that to make it worth your while. After all, that’s all that counts…..

…..Ukraine defines 2014 as the year western propaganda came into its own. Not just fictional stories about an economic recovery anymore, no, we had our politico-media establishment ram an entire new cold war down our throats. And we swallowed it whole. We may have had a million more years of higher education than our parents and grandparents, but we sure don’t seem to have gotten any smarter than them……

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Consumers Union: GMO labeling will cost consumers less than a penny a day

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October 1, 2014   OregonRightToKnow.org

A new analysis commissioned by Consumers Union, the policy arm of Consumer Reports, and conducted by the independent Portland-based economic research firm, ECONorthwest, found from a review of published research that the median cost to consumers of requiring labeling of genetically engineered food, also known as genetically modified (or GMO) food, is $2.30 per person annually. The report is available online now here.

“That’s less than a penny a day for each consumer—a tiny fraction of the cost estimates put out by industry and certainly a very small price to pay for consumers’ right to know if their food has been genetically engineered,” said Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union.

Consumers Union strongly supports Oregon’s GMO labeling ballot initiative, Measure 92. “Given the minimal cost to consumers, the increased herbicide use involved in growing almost all genetically engineered crops, as well as the failure of government to require human safety assessments before genetically engineered foods reach the marketplace, GMO labeling is well worth it,” Halloran said. “Companies change their labeling all the time and with GMO labeling costing so little, it is likely some producers won’t even bother to pass the minimal increase on to consumers.”

Consumers Union disputes claims made in ads opposing Measure 92 that labeling will force farmers and food producers to spend  “millions” and increase food costs for consumers. The group also takes issue with the assumptions made by industry-funded studies that it says have overestimated the cost of similar GMO labeling proposals in California, Washington and New York—putting the cost at $100-$200 annually (or $400-$800 for a family of four).

“Industry cost estimates incorporate unrealistic assumptions about how GMO labeling requirements will drive food producers to switch to all organic ingredients, which would be much more expensive. However, there is no factual basis for this assumption and we believe producers will continue to sell GMO foods once they are labeled, and many consumers will continue to buy them, with no discernible price impact,” asserted Halloran. “Measure 92 simply requires foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients to be labeled so that consumers can make an informed choice.”

Genetically engineered foods are already required to be labeled in 64 foreign countries, including many where American food producers sell their wares. Labeling has not increased food prices in those countries, according to Consumers Union.

“Producers are required to label foods that are frozen, from concentrate, homogenized, or irradiated, as well as a food’s country of origin. Poll after poll has found that more than 90 percent of consumers want foods that are genetically engineered to be labeled,” said Halloran.

In addition to the Oregon initiative, a GMO labeling requirement is on the ballot in Colorado in November. Vermont has already passed legislation requiring GMO labeling, and legislatures in dozens of other states are considering similar labeling bills.

For the original article, Click Here. 

For the study, Click Here.

Hope: its infinite value and why it changes you from the inside out

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Maybe this all seems self-evident to me because I worked with the CETA program in 1974 etc and saw many who had convinced themselves that sitting on the corner was what they wanted to do, instead sign up for subsidized training for real jobs that had a future. (Most had to sit on a waiting list for 6 months, then show up daily for another 6 months of training before job placement. And they did it.)

Too many programs were designed to fail, but CETA wasn’t one of them! Neither sentimentality nor mercilessness give people what they need, but those are the postures most often adopted by pundits. Ivan Illich  wrote that the means to end poverty were known by the middle of the 19th century, but that Capitalism chose to continue a profitable system powered by human misery.

I’m not suggesting that the answer is some great communist muddle without a range of outcomes. What I am saying is that endemic poverty with a crust of plutocrats is an artificial condition manufactured and maintained by a class of parasites, who just happen to run both of our political parties.

 

The Economist  May 12th 2012   Hope springs a trap

An absence of optimism plays a large role in keeping people trapped in poverty

THE idea that an infusion of hope can make a big difference to the lives of wretchedly poor people sounds like something dreamed up by a well-meaning activist or a tub-thumping politician. Yet this was the central thrust of a lecture at Harvard University on May 3rd by Esther Duflo, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology known for her data-driven analysis of poverty. Ms Duflo argued that the effects of some anti-poverty programmes go beyond the direct impact of the resources they provide. These programmes also make it possible for the very poor to hope for more than mere survival.

She and her colleagues evaluated a programme in the Indian state of West Bengal, where Bandhan, an Indian microfinance institution, worked with people who lived in extreme penury. They were reckoned to be unable to handle the demands of repaying a loan. Instead, Bandhan gave each of them a small productive asset—a cow, a couple of goats or some chickens. It also provided a small stipend to reduce the temptation to eat or sell the asset immediately, as well as weekly training sessions to teach them how to tend to animals and manage their households. Bandhan hoped that there would be a small increase in income from selling the products of the farm animals provided, and that people would become more adept at managing their own finances.

The results were far more dramatic. Well after the financial help and hand-holding had stopped, the families of those who had been randomly chosen for the Bandhan programme were eating 15% more, earning 20% more each month and skipping fewer meals than people in a comparison group. They were also saving a lot. The effects were so large and persistent that they could not be attributed to the direct effects of the grants: people could not have sold enough milk, eggs or meat to explain the income gains. Nor were they simply selling the assets (although some did).

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The government doesn’t give a wan, eitolated damn about you- Fred Reed

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The government doesn’t give a wan, eitolated damn about you. 

Eye-balling the Fifth Century

July 21, 2011   By Fred Reed       FredOnEverything.net

When a country works reasonably well—when the schools teach algebra and not governmentally mandated Appropriate Values, when the police are scarce and courteous, when government is remote and minds its business and works more for the benefit of the country than for looters and special interests, then pledging to it a degree of allegiance isn’t foolish. Decades back America was such a country, imperfect as all countries are, but good enough to cherish.

As decline begins, and government becomes oppressive, self-righteous, and ruthless yet incompetent, as official spying flourishes, as corruption sets in hard, and institutions rot, it is time to disengage. Loyalty to a country is a choice, not an obligation. In other times people have loved family, friends, common decency, tribe, regiment, or church instead of country. In an age of national collapse, this is wise.

A fruitful field of disengagement might be called domestic expatriation—the recognition that living in a country makes you a resident, not a subscriber. It is one thing to be loyal to a government that is loyal to you, another thing entirely to continue that loyalty when the Brown Shirts march and the government rejects everything that you believe in. While the phrase has become unbearably pretentious, it is possible to regard oneself as a citizen of the world rather than of the Reich.

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Scary Food Science: designed to be irresistible

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By Catherine Guthrie, Experience Life   July 2, 2011            Care2

Show me a chicken nugget and I will show you the world. The world, that is, of highly palatable foods engineered by the food industry to go down easily — in some cases, to quite literally “melt in the mouth” — while also stimulating us to crave more.

Commercial foods like chicken nuggets, French fries, chips, crackers, cookies and pastries are designed to be virtually irresistible. And, for a lot of reasons most of us don’t fully understand, they are.

There’s a “biological basis for why it’s so hard for millions of Americans to resist food,” former FDA commissioner David Kessler, MD, explained in a recent National Public Radio (NPR) interview. “We are all wired to focus on the most salient stimuli in our environment,” he says. “For some of us, it could be alcohol; it could be illegal drugs; it could be gambling, sex or tobacco. For many of us, though, one of the most salient stimuli in our environment is food. And how do you make food even more salient? Fat, sugar and salt.”

Of course, fat, sugar and salt have been around as kitchen staples for centuries, but it wasn’t until the past few decades that they became as abundant and cheap as they are now. And during the course of those same few decades, food manufacturers have been busily leveraging science and technology to enhance their products — manipulating food in ways that not only play on our innate fondness for sugar, salt and fat, but also dramatically boost their overall taste, texture, aroma and appearance.

Think about the flavor of beef infused into McDonald’s signature French fries, the creamy filling injected into a Twinkie or the fake crosshatched grill marks stamped onto a KFC grilled chicken breast, and you begin to get the idea. The stuff regularly served up at every chain restaurant, gas station and food court amounts to an edible — and irresistible — amusement park. And it’s all fueled by food science and technology we’d have a hard time imitating at home.

“It’s the multisensory combinations that provide the roller coaster in your mouth,” says Kessler, a professor at the University of California–San Francisco and author of The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite (Rodale, 2009). And over the past 30 years, food manufacturers have been coming up with increasingly wild rides.

“When we were kids,” recalls Kessler, “it was enough to put sugar in water, add a little coloring and get a relatively simple sensory experience called Kool-Aid. Since then, food makers have upped the ante.”  Today we’ve got Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and Double Chocolate Strawberry Cake Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Doritos brand snacks come in more than a dozen different varieties (including “Late Night All Nighter Cheeseburger”), all of which promise to “deliver a powerful crunch that unlocks the bold and unique flavors you crave.”

If we’re going to stand any chance of resisting this new breed of consumables, we need to have a better understanding about what we’re up against. That starts with a brief lesson in food technology.

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We’re their lab rats: Toxic pesticides from GM food crops found in unborn babies

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Reference added below
By Andy Bloxham   20 May 2011  Telegraph  

Toxic pesticides which are implanted into genetically modified food crops have lodged in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn babies, research shows.

Scientists at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, at the University of Sherbrooke Hospital Centre in Quebec, took dozens of samples from women.

Traces of the toxin were found 93 per cent of the pregnant mothers and in 80 per cent of the umbilical cords.

The research suggested the chemicals were entering the body through eating meat, milk and eggs from farm livestock which have been fed GM corn.

The findings appear to contradict the GM industry’s long-standing claim that any potentially harmful chemicals added to crops would pass safely through the body.

To date, most of the global research which has been used to demonstrate the safety of GM crops has been funded by the industry itself.

It is not known what, if any, harm the chemicals might cause but there has been speculation it could lead to allergies, miscarriage, abnormalities or even cancer.

One of the researchers told the scientific journal Reproductive Toxicology: “This is the first study to highlight the presence of pesticides associated with genetically modified foods in maternal, foetal and nonpregnant women’s blood.”

Pete Riley, the director of GM Freeze, a group opposed to GM farming, described the research as “very significant”.

The Agriculture Biotechnology Council, which speaks for the GM industry, has questioned the reliability and value of the research.

Dr Julian Little, its chairman, said: “Biotech crops are rigorously tested for safety prior to their use and over two trillion meals made with GM ingredients have been safely consumed around the world over the past 15 years without a single substantiated health issue.”

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See also:

New documentary investigates war being waged by biotechnology companies against scientists who expose the truth about GMOs