Saturday, October 17, 2015

End The FED – A Dismal Share

The Daily Coin
Vaniety Fair banksterby Bill Bonner, Acting-Man The Dow fell back below 17,000 on Wednesday, after Wal-Mart warned that it was having trouble selling things to people with no money – at least online. Its e-commerce efforts don’t seem to be paying off as quickly as it hoped. Why?   A bad day for WMT on the heels of a bad year for WMT – neither do its customers have enough money to buy stuff, nor is WMT...


Soda Wars: How Big Beverage Targets Poor People and Compromises Their Health Main RSS Feed
Soda sales may be declining among the more affluent, but a complex battle over public health rages on.

Every five years, the U.S. federal government releases its "Dietary Guidelines for Americans," a joint production of the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS). The new one is scheduled to be released in December.

According to the last one, released in 2010, sugary beverages are extremely popular, with soda, energy drinks and sports drinks making up the fourth highest source of calories among Americans overall — and the third highest source for children and adolescents up to the age of 18. These sweetened drinks also make up the lion's share (almost 36 percent) of the sources of added sugars in the American diet.

But tastes appear to be changing. As The New York Times recently noted, sales in full calorie soda in the U.S. have declined more than 25 percent over the last two decades, while bottled water sales have increased. Still, the overall dietary picture isn't great, as the majority of Americans continue to get their calories from unhealthy sources, including processed foods, grain-based desserts and alcohol. Pizza, often washed down with soda, is the fifth-highest source of Americans' caloric intake.

Looking more closely at the statistics reveals striking socioeconomic forces at work. In her new book Soda Politics:Taking on Big Soda (and Winning), Marion Nestle, chair of New York University's Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health, points out that soda drinking is split across race and class lines, with African and Hispanic Americans drinking more soda than their white counterparts, adding that their soda drinking habits "are strongly influenced by television advertising, especially when commercials feature celebrities of their own race and ethnicity." She also notes that "this diversity — in income, social status, and outlook — complicates efforts to reduce soda intake in minority communities."

And while the sharpest declines in soda consumption have occurred "among richer, white populations," according to the New York Times, Nestle said she expected "poor and minority customers would also reduce their soda intake over time, just as tobacco declines occurred first among educated consumers and then spread to a larger population."

I had a chance to ask Rebecca Spector, West Coast Director of the Center for Food Safety, a national non-profit public health and environmental advocacy organization, about the current state of soda drinking in the United States, how it cuts across race and class — and if we are heading towards a future free of sugary beverages.

Reynard Loki: For many health advocates, soda been used as a symbol for bad diets. Has the strategy worked?

Rebecca Spector: Soda has become the “poster child” for unhealthy foods for good reason: Sugary drinks are the single largest source of added sugars in the American diet. The ongoing campaign to educate the public about the risks associated with regular consumption of soda and sugary drinks — including greater risk of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay — has been successful in reducing soda consumption in the U.S. However, overall consumption of candy, potato chips and other processed foods is not declining. So the message about the negative health impacts from consuming soda and other sugary beverages is unfortunately not reducing consumption of other unhealthy foods. Curtailing soda consumption is an important goal, but it can’t be our only focus.

RL: Soda has been called the new tobacco. Is that a fair comparison?

RS: There are a lot of similarities between the soda industry and the tobacco industry. First, both industries are selling products that are unhealthy and are directly related to the onset of disease. Second, both have notoriously targeted children in their marketing. The difference right now is that one could argue that drinking soda in moderation is okay, while smoking, even in moderation, is not recommended. This is because of its strong links to lung and other cancers and its highly addictive nature. That said, research is showing that sugar is biologically addictive and I think that as the evidence grows in the coming years, we will realize how insidious sugar-laden products truly are.

RL: Is the decline in soda consumption temporary? What are soda companies doing to make up the loss in market share?

RS: The major soda manufacturers have already altered the portfolio of products they sell, diversifying into alternative beverages such as sports drinks, juices and bottled water, among other products. Such a market shift at the corporate level indicates that soda has lost its previous market share, and now the focus of these large beverage corporations will be on marketing other beverages and processed food products. What we’re seeing is that soda companies are now trying to tap into the current energy around healthy eating by developing supposedly healthy versions of their products, like Coca-Cola made with real sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup, or Pepsi with added vitamins. And we’re also seeing these companies buy up smaller brands that have healthy images, like Honest Tea. These corporations aren’t going away. They are just shifting to manufacturing and selling other (still mostly unhealthy) products.

RL: Sales of diet soda have also shrunk. How concerned should we be about the potential negative health effects of artificial sweeteners even though there hasn't been much evidence pointing to that?

RS: As you note, most mainstream medical associations have not linked artificial sweeteners to diseases or other health impacts. However, some independent studies have indicated otherwise, linking artificial sweeteners to a host of health problems, including cancer. We need many more independent studies to be conducted to ultimately shed more light on this controversial issue. One thing to note, however, is that consuming foods with artificial sweeteners can lead to cravings for other sweet foods, which may undermine any attempts to cut calories. In addition, some artificial sweeteners may be addictive. I think the answer is to severely limit the consumption of beverages that are sweetened with both sugar and artificial sweeteners and stick primarily to water, herbal teas (which are delicious as iced drinks) and diluted juices. And choose organic as much as possible to avoid exposure to pesticides used in the growing of fruits, vegetables, tea and coffee.

RL: Soda taxes have failed in New York State and San Francisco; only Berkeley has one. Is a soda tax is the right kind of tool to fight the obesity crisis?

RS: Soda taxes and other forms of legislation are great ways to educate the public about an issue — and that’s exactly what the soda tax fight has done. It’s accomplishing its mission by exposing and publicizing the truth about the impacts of sugary drinks and changing people’s diets through the power of information. In addition to taxes, laws requiring the labeling of sugary foods, stating that “drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay,” would provide the public with critical information before choosing a product. I hope to see more innovative legislation on this issue in the coming year.

RL: Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's fought to limit the size of sugary beverages sold at food service outlets. Though the New York Court of Appeals ruled that the board of health exceeded the scope of its authority in adopting the regulation, the ban may come back, at least for minors. The soda industry says it's an assault on consumer choice. Is the so-called "Big Gulp Ban" a good idea?

RS: Even if such a law to limit the size of sugary beverages sold at food service outlets was upheld, consumers would not be prohibited from consuming however much of these sugary beverages they want. The law would merely eliminate the sale of sodas larger than 16 ounces; it would not prevent a person from buying as many sodas as they want. Center for Food Safety argued that it is in fact the beverage companies that have taken away consumer choice when they replaced smaller sized fountain soda cups (7 or 12 ounces) with huge cups containing 42 to 128 ounces. The companies pushed the public into a consumption pattern that benefited their bottom line.

RL: The individual consumer choice argument eventually has to reckon with the public health issue. A more obese public may impact everyone through higher public expenses that go towards health care of obesity-related health issues, as well as the possibility of health care premiums going up across the board. Does this have a place in the overall narrative?

RS: When people’s individual choices affect other people, it becomes a public health issue. So yes, I think that as a society we have a responsibility to ensure our individual choices do not negatively impact others. When people become ill as a result of the individual choices they make, and that in turn increases public expenses towards health care, that is an issue for all of us. But obviously this applies to many things other than just food, such as alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. But the onus should not just be on the individual. It should also be on corporations that are bringing products to market that cause cancer and other diseases. These corporations and their products should be properly regulated, including containing warning labels when necessary, and held liable if appropriate (such as the tobacco industry). Ultimately, we need to craft an environment where making healthy choices is easy and the norm. Right now, it is far too difficult for consumers to get the information they need and to access the food that will keep them healthy.

RL: Much of the success in reducing obesity rates in children has come from changes in food offerings at schools, many of which have stopped offering soda. Are schools the primary battleground for fighting the obesity epidemic?

RS: Schools are a critical place to get children on the right dietary track. Millions of children eat both breakfast and lunch (in addition to snacks) at school five days a week. So for many kids, approximately half of their meals are eaten at school. By eliminating soda and other sugary foods at school, children are significantly reducing their consumption of these products and also establishing healthier eating habits that will serve them for the rest of their lives.

RL: What is your advice to concerned parents who are trying to instill healthy diets at home but are worried when their child goes out into the world?

RS: The models we establish at home shape the choices our children make out in the world. Feeding our children home cooked meals made from whole, unprocessed foods (and organic when possible to avoid pesticide residues) is the path to good health and to establishing healthy eating habits. It’s difficult if not impossible to prevent school-aged children from consuming soda or other processed foods in moderation when they are out and about. Knowing that my child may have a soda or candy when at a party or at the movies, I do not serve these products at home, ensuring a healthy balance. I think it’s important to allow for moderation and not make these foods “forbidden fruit,” which can result in a backlash and increased desire for these products. I don’t see any place for routine consumption of processed foods in a healthy diet, especially for children.

RL: Alice Green, executive director for the Albany-based Center for Law and Justice, called race-targeted soda ads “environmental racism.” Do you agree? Should soda marketing be more heavily regulated, as some lawmakers desire?

RS: I agree that race-targeted soda ads are “environmental racism,” as they disproportionally target a specific audience based on race and class, putting that population at greater risk for obesity and diabetes. I think the iniquitousness of soda and junk food ads are a problem for all of American society and I would like to see greater regulation of those ads and soda marketing in general as a benefit to all Americans, especially children and African and Hispanic Americans.

RL: Do you agree with Katie Bayne, Coca-Cola's president of sparkling beverages in North America, who told USA TODAY that "there is no scientific evidence" that connects sugar beverages to obesity? Sugary drinks, she added, can be part of any good diet.

RS: There is absolutely evidence linking regular consumption of sugary beverages and other high-calorie processed foods to obesity. A healthy diet requires consuming a majority of our daily calories from whole, unprocessed foods low in sugar – and when a 64 ounce soda (which is not even the largest size available at some convenience stores) contains almost 750 calories and nearly 200 grams (one full cup) of sugar, there is no place for that amount of soda in someone’s regular diet. Most of us have very regular habits of what we eat and drink, and those habits can be deeply swayed by persuasive marketing. As such, it’s critical to develop healthy habits early, which means severely limiting regular consumption of soda and other sugary foods and beverages. Personally I do not believe that regular soda consumption can be part of a truly healthy diet.

RL: Do soda companies bear responsibility for effect of their products on public health?

RS: I believe that corporations should be held accountable for how their products affect our society, in particular our health and our environment. When a product is responsible for poisoning our water supply or contributing to the onset of obesity and diabetes, I think the corporations that produce those products should be regulated and held accountable.

RL: If people aren't going to drink less soda on their own, what can be done to reduce the public health impact?

RS: I’d like to see more legislation to increase the regulation of these products and the marketing of them, as allowed by law. In addition, we need more education campaigns in schools and elsewhere that reveal the true risks of regular soda consumption. These campaigns should be coupled with boycotts of these foods by the public and by celebrities who currently endorse them. The overall downward trend of soda intake is a positive development, but we can’t take that to mean that our work here is done. It means we need to redouble our efforts, assess which strategies have been effective and which haven’t, and commit ourselves to affecting change even where the problem seems most intractable. I think one part of that will be to encourage community-led educational campaigns that can help reshape eating and drinking habits in schools and neighborhoods where those most vulnerable reside.

RL: For consumers, what's the bottom line? Is a little soda okay, or is it a slippery slope that should be avoided altogether?

RS: Personally, I think extreme moderation of soda is okay, but that can be a slippery slope given the addictive nature of products containing sugar and sugar substitutes. As a parent, my child is occasionally allowed a non-caffeinated soda at a restaurant or at the movies — adding up to less than half a dozen small sodas a year. As such, she doesn’t crave soda or ask for it, except on rare occasions. But it also is not forbidden. The same holds true for candy — it’s reserved for special occasions such as birthday parties and Halloween, so, there is no expectation or craving for it as it’s never something we buy at the store or keep in the house. But every person needs to decide what set of rules works best for them or their children to prevent daily or even weekly consumption of these unhealthy products. There is no debate that eating whole foods that are unprocessed, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, legumes, fish, and lean meats, should be making up the majority of our daily diets.

RL: How do you see the soda issue evolving in the coming years?

RS: Just as smoking has decreased dramatically over the decades, I think soda consumption will also continue to decline; however, I do not think it will be eradicated completely. New and alternative beverages, many of which are equally sugary, are steadily gaining market share and will continue to grow in popularity. With the expansion of this new market we will need to monitor the ingredients of these products and determine how they may be contributing to obesity and disease. Soda is just one piece of the processed food explosion, which we must continue to closely examine in order to truly improve health. Only with the necessary research and data can we craft meaningful and impactful policies. I think there are a lot of creative solutions to our public health problems yet to be explored. The fact that we’re discussing this issue at every level of government and society is a positive sign for the future.


Coca-Cola Says Its Drinks Don't Cause Obesity — Science Says Otherwise

Jamie Oliver Is Right: It’s Madness Not to Clamp Down on Sugar

Our Unhealthy Addiction to Sugar Is Harming the Poor And Making the Rich Richer

Poor Diets Are Lowering Children’s IQ

Coca-Cola Has Poisoned the Drinking Water of Millions in Sri Lanka

If You Thought K-Cups Were Bad, Wait Until Pods Come to Soda



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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Liberal Physicist Says Obama Is Wrong On Global Warming

The Daily Caller
'Republicans took the right side'


France’s Leading Meteorologist Sparks Controversy, Denies Reality of Climate Change

Somewhat Reasonable | Somewhat Reasonable
  France’s top meteorologist Mr Philippe Verdier has been fired claims in his new book Climat Investigation (Climate Investigation) that leading climatologists and political leaders have “taken the world hostage” with misleading data.[...]


Eric Garner and Tamir Rice among those missing from FBI record of police killings

US news | The Guardian
  • Only 224 of 18,000 law enforcement agencies reported fatal shootings in 2014
  • Previously unpublished FBI data sheds new light on flawed voluntary system

Killings by police that unleashed a new protest movement around the US in 2014, including those of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and John Crawford, are missing from the federal government’s official record of homicides by officers because most departments refuse to submit data.

Related: The tracking of police violence in the US may have reached a turning point

Continue reading...


Hysteria! Panic strikes Texas high school after students ask for 'gum'

Signs of the Times
Emotions are on a hair trigger in schools these days. So much so, just hearing the word "gum" can cause a school-wide freak-out, as evidenced by an episode Wednesday. A student at Lehman High School student reportedly asked for some chewing gum, but another student thought the student said "gun," KCEN reports. No gun was found and Hays County, Texas school district spokesman Tim Savoy insists the school was never in "lock down," though school administrators did "hold students in their extended class periods to investigate the concern with little to no disruption to their schedule." Principal Michelle Chae sent a letter home to parents after the incident, according to the Hays Free Press, writing: Dear Lobo Parents, This morning we received a report from a student that there was allegedly a weapon on campus. After investigating the concern, it was determined that a student thought he heard the word "gun," but in fact it was another student asking for some "gum." The safety of our students is always foremost on our list of priorities, so we take these concerns seriously. We continue to encourage students to report anything they see or hear that causes them concern. Fortunately, in this case, it was a misunderstanding and there was no threat to our school or need to conduct a lockdown. Because we are conducting the PSAT, we were able to hold students in their extended class periods to investigate the concern with little to no disruption to their schedule. Sincerely, Michelle Chae Principal, LHS No gun was ever found. No word on if the student ever got the requested gum.


“I Am The Creepy Guy at the Park”

Free Range Kids
Great letter in Wicked Local Cambridge (as in outside of Boston) begins: Dear Neighbor, Yesterday was a beautiful day, I think you will agree. I decided to take a short walk from my house on Hamilton Street to Dana Park, which I have been coming to almost daily since 1989, the year my son was born. […]


A New Whistleblower Exposes America’s Drone Assassinations Full Feed
Unintended targets listed as ‘enemies killed in action’ without any actual evidence.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Look at What Obama’s DHS Tried to do to this Whistleblower and Her 1-Year-Old Daughter!

Freedom Outpost

The Obama administration is certainly known for its criminal activity and its Chicago ties, as well as those tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. They are a thug organization. There is nothing lawful about the Obama's or the Obama administration. This was on display as senior special agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement Taylor Johnson told […]

The post Look at What Obama’s DHS Tried to do to this Whistleblower and Her 1-Year-Old Daughter! appeared first on Freedom Outpost.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Media Reports ISIS Nuclear Plot That Never Actually Involved ISIS Main RSS Feed
FBI posing as ISIS is not evidence of ISIS.

The AP published this week (10/5/15) a thrilling account of how the FBI, in concert with Moldovan authorities, “disrupted” a smuggling ring that was supposedly trying to sell “nuclear material” to ISIS and other terror organizations over a five-year span. The primary developments in the story are almost a year old, but the resurfaced tale made news across the English-speaking world:

‘Annihilate America’: Inside a Secret, Frightening Scheme to Sell Nuclear Material to ISIS

—Salon (10/7/15)

AP: Smugglers Busted Trying to Sell Nuclear Material to ISIS

—CBS News (10/7/15)

FBI Foils Smugglers’ Plot to Sell Nuclear Material to ISIS

—The Independent (10/7/15)

There was only one problem: At no point do the multiple iterations of the AP‘s reporting show that anyone involved in the FBI sting were members of or have any connection to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (aka ISIL or Daesh). While one of several smuggling attempts discussed in AP‘s reporting involved an actual potential buyer–an otherwise unknown Sudanese doctor who four years ago “suggested that he was interested” in obtaining uranium–the “terrorists” otherwise involved in the cases were FBI and other law enforcement agents posing as such. According to the AP and NBC’s Pete Williams:

However, the official emphasized that there was no known ISIS connection. An undercover informant, working with Moldovan police, claimed that he was an ISIS representative.

But that was totally made up,” the official said.

This would not perturb the American press, who once again eager to hype an ISIS threat, either A) heavily implied this “plot” was evidence of ISIS seeking a nuclear weapon or B) actually went step further and said as much despite it being wholly untrue.

First the outlets who heavily implied ISIS was involved but used the qualifiers “attempted,” “tried” or the abstract “plots” so as to not expressly lie:

Smugglers Tried to Sell Nuclear Material to ISIS

—NBC News (10/7/15)

Smugglers Try to Sell Nukes to ISIS

—Fox News (10/7/15)

FBI Has Foiled 4 Attempts by Gangs to Sell Nuclear Material to ISIS Through Russian Connections

—Daily Mail (10/7/15)

(Note that the Daily Mail managed to also work the threat du jour into the headline by means of the reference to “Russian connections”–a phrase so vague as to be virtually meaningless.)

Boston Herald: Nuclear Material Shopped to ISIS

Actually, no nuclear material was shopped to ISIS.

Then there were the publications who said ISIS was involved (a falsehood):

AP Investigation Finds That Nuclear Smugglers Shopped Radioactive Material to ISIS and Other Terrorists
—Business Insider(10/6/15)

Nuclear Smugglers Shopped Radioactive Material to Islamic State, Other Terrorists: AP report
—Chicago Tribune (10/6/15)

Again, there was nothing “shopped” to ISIS, because ISIS was never involved. While it’s accurate–if misleading–to say they “attempted” or had a “plot” to sell radioactive material to ISIS, it is factually incorrect to say anyone “shopped” something to people who weren’t in any way involved in the transaction. While it can be said that smugglers “seeking” ISIS is disturbing in and of itself, it’s untrue that this solicitation is evidence of an actual ISIS threat.

Fox News and CBS would take it one step further, by expressly saying the plot was evidence that “ISIS was trying to buy a nuke.”

National Review's Rich Lowry appears above Fox News' false claim that "ISIS trying to buy nukes."

National Review‘s Rich Lowry appears above Fox News‘ false claim about “ISIS trying to buy nukes.”

Fox’s Gretchen Carlson started off an interview with Rep. Mike Turner by asking, “Congressman, what are we supposed to make of this news that ISIS and other terrorist groups are trying to get their hands on dirty bombs?” CBS, meanwhile, led their broadcast by breathlessly revealing “new fears tonight that ISIS is ready to go nuclear.”

But neither of these statements are true. This sting does not support the claim that ISIS is “trying to buy a nuke,” because “there was no known ISIS connection.”

International Business Times’ Christopher Harress would take misinformation to whole new heights, inventing a Jason Bourne narrative out of whole cloth and, evidently, not bothering to read the AP story:

Members of the Islamic State group with links to Russian gangs were trying to get hold of nuclear material to build a radioactive dirty bomb before Moldovan police and FBI operatives stopped them, according to an investigation reported Wednesday by the Associated Press. The terror group, which is also known as ISIS, had been approached by gangs in Moldova that were specifically seeking a buyer from ISIS.

This is 100 percent false. There is no evidence the Islamic State group (with links to “Russian gangs” or otherwise) were trying to get a hold of radioactive material to build a dirty bomb. What there is evidence of is that FBI and local authorities posed as “ISIS” and conned some Moldovan gangsters into selling them some materials that may or may not have actually been “nuclear,” much less capable of creating a “dirty bomb”–a weapon, it should be noted, that is thus far entirely hypothetical.

So here we are: Fake FBI ISIS setting up ostensibly real post-Soviet mobsters to purchase material for a potentially deadly device that exists only in the minds of counterterrorism threat risk managers. The media, either agnostic to or incapable of understanding what really happened, paints the picture of the FBI swooping in to stop a Russian/ISIS nuclear conspiracy at the 11th hour.

What takes place, before our very eyes, is a kind of War on Terror transubstantiation. Representational terror plots become real ones, fake enemies become Russo-Jihadi crime syndicates, and an American public, once again, is presented with a cartoonish, wildly inflated threat profile that’s increasingly divorced from reality.


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WATCH: Unarmed Black Woman Beaten and Tackled by Florida Cops for Filming Arrest of Her Husband Main RSS Feed
“She was lucky for that video, because without it, I don’t think a judge or jury would believe her against three police officers."

Black woman who was punched and tackled to the ground by two white Jacksonville policemen for filming the arrest of her husband claims the cops stole her phone with a recording on the incident, reports NewsJax4.

According to Kelli Wilson, she went down to a local convenience store to record the arrest of her husband and retrieve their car when she was assaulted by the two cops who demanded her name and told her to put her phone away and stop recording.

“I was beaten, and then falsely arrested, my phone was stolen, my car was taken. It was a traumatic experience. It was definitely an experience you never think you would be going through,” said Wilson.

Although police confiscated her phone, video of her arrest was captured by surveillance cameras that showed the unarmed woman talking to the police before they charged, attempting to grab her phone with one officer seen punching her while the other one held her arms.

According to Wilson, one of the policemen demanded she stop filming and she asked him “why?”

“He asked for it, he demanded it again, and I gave him the same, ‘Why do you want my phone? What do you need my phone for?’ He told me he would punch me in my face,”Wilson explained. “I eventually got punched and beaten and the sergeant that was on the scene joined in the beating.”

According to the police report, officers at the scene said Wilson repeatedly refused to identify herself and she was arrested for interfering with the arrest, although in the video she can be seen backing away from the officers. The officers admitted that they kneed and punched her as they made the arrest. The report also states the arresting officers believed she was reaching for a weapon after they had her face down on the ground. No weapon was discovered.

According to Wilson, the police confiscated and still have her phone that contains the video that she feels will exonerate her.

Her lawyers believe that the surveillance video should be enough to prove that she did nothing wrong.

“She was lucky for that video, because without it, I don’t think a judge or jury would believe her against three police officers,” said her attorney, Dexter Van Davis.

Watch video below from NewsJax4:



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