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Today, Kevin welcomes investigative reporter, Jon Rappoport of NoMoreFakeNews.com, to the show. Find out how the government is using genetic research to redesign the human being and how Big Pharma searches the market to create and twist normal human tendencies into new diseases.
Chicago School Bans Homemade Lunches
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April 12th, 2011
By: Ryan Nakashima and Yuri Kageyama
Japan raised the crisis level at its crippled nuclear plant Tuesday to a severity on par with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, citing high overall radiation leaks that have contaminated the air, tap water, vegetables and seawater.
Japanese nuclear regulators said they raised the rating from 5 to 7 – the highest level on an international scale of nuclear accidents overseen by the International Atomic Energy Agency – after new assessments of radiation leaks from the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant since it was disabled by the March 11 tsunami.
The new ranking signifies a “major accident” that includes widespread effects on the environment and health, according to the Vienna-based IAEA. But Japanese officials played down any health effects and stressed that the harm caused by Chernobyl still far outweighs that caused by the Fukushima plant.
The revision came a day after the government added five communities to a list of places people should leave to avoid long-term radiation exposure. A 12-mile (20-kilometer) radius already had been cleared around the plant.
The news was received with chagrin by residents in Iitate, one of the five communities, where high levels of radiation have been detected in the soil. The village of 6,200 people is about 40 kilometers from the Fukushima plant.
“It’s very shocking to me,” said Miyuki Ichisawa, 52, who runs a coffee shop in Iitate. “Now the government is officially telling us this accident is at the same level of Chernobyl.”
Japanese officials said the leaks from the Fukushima plant so far amount to a tenth of the radiation emitted in the Chernobyl disaster, but said they eventually could exceed Chernobyl’s emissions if the crisis continues.
“This reconfirms that this is an extremely major disaster. We are very sorry to the public, people living near the nuclear complex and the international community for causing such a serious accident,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano.
But Edano told reporters there was no “direct health damage” so far from the crisis. “The accident itself is really serious, but we have set our priority so as not to cause health damage.”
Hironobu Unesaki, a nuclear physicist at Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute, said the revision was not a cause for worry, that it had to do with the overall release of radiation and was not directly linked to health dangers. He said most of the radiation was released early in the crisis and that the reactors still have mostly intact containment vessels surrounding their nuclear cores.
Tsunami Relief: Network for Good
The change was “not directly connected to the environmental and health effects,” Unesaki said. “Judging from all the measurement data, it is quite under control. It doesn’t mean that a significant amount of release is now continuing.”
Prime Minister Naoto Kan, in a national television address, urged the public not to panic and to focus on recovering from the disaster.
“Right now, the situation of the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima plant has been stabilizing step by step. The amount of radiation leaks is on the decline,” he said. “But we are not at the stage yet where we can let our guards down.”
Continued aftershocks following the 9.0-magnitude megaquake on March 11 are impeding work on stabilizing the Fukushima plant – the latest a 6.3-magnitude one Tuesday that prompted plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., or TEPCO, to temporarily pull back workers.
Officials from Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said that the cumulative amount of radioactive particles released into the atmosphere since the incident had reached levels that apply to a Level 7 incident. Other factors included damage to the plant’s buildings and accumulated radiation levels for its workers.
“We have refrained from making announcements until we have reliable data,” said NISA spokesman Hidehiko Nishiyama said. “The announcement is being made now because it became possible to look at and check the accumulated data assessed in two different ways,” he said, referring to measurements from NISA and Japan’s Nuclear Security Council.
NISA and the NSC have been measuring emissions of radioactive iodine-131 and cesium-137, a heavier element with a much longer half-life. Based on an average of their estimates and a formula that converts elements into a common radioactive measure, the equivalent of about 500,000 terabecquerels of radiation from iodine-131 has been released into the atmosphere since the crisis began.
That well exceeds the Level 7 threshold of the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale of “several tens of thousands of terabecquerels” of iodine-131. A terabecquerel equals a trillion becquerels, a measure for radiation emissions.
The government says the Chernobyl incident released 5.2 million terabecquerels into the air – about 10 times that of the Fukushima plant.
If the leaks continue, the amount of radioactivity released in Fukushima could eventually exceed the amount emitted by Chernobyl, a possibility that Naoki Tsunoda, a TEPCO spokesman, said the company considers “extremely low.”
In Chernobyl, in the Ukraine, a reactor exploded on April 26, 1986, spewing a cloud of radiation over much of the Northern Hemisphere. A zone about 19 miles (30 kilometers) around the plant was declared uninhabitable, although some plant workers still live there for short periods and a few hundred other people have returned despite government encouragement to stay away.
In 2005, the Chernobyl Forum – a group comprising the International Atomic Energy Agency and several other U.N. groups – said fewer than 50 deaths could be confirmed as being connected to Chernobyl. It also said the number of radiation-related deaths among the 600,000 people who helped deal with the aftermath of the accident would ultimately be around 4,000.
The U.N. health agency, however, has said about 9,300 people are likely to die of cancers caused by radiation. Some groups, including Greenpeace, have put the numbers 10 times higher.
The Fukushima plant was damaged in a massive tsunami that knocked out cooling systems and backup diesel generators, leading to explosions at three reactors and a fire at a fourth that was undergoing regular maintenance and was empty of fuel.
The magnitude-9.0 earthquake that caused the tsunami immediately stopped the three reactors, but overheated cores and a lack of cooling functions led to further damage.
Engineers have pumped water into the damaged reactors to cool them down, but leaks have resulted in the pooling of tons of contaminated, radioactive water that has prevented workers from conducting further repairs.
A month after the disaster, more than 145,000 people are still living in shelters. The quake and tsunami are believed to have killed more than 25,000 people, but many of those bodies were swept out to sea and more than half of those feared dead are still listed as missing.
April 12th, 2011
An Indonesian woman exhales cigarette smoke into the mouth of a gaunt, naked patient at a Jakarta clinic, where tobacco is openly touted as a cancer cure.
The Western patient is suffering from emphysema, a condition she developed from decades of smoking. Along with cancer and autism, it’s just one of the ailments the Griya Balur clinic claims it can cure with cigarettes.
“I missed this,” says the woman, a regular customer, with an American accent, as Phil Collins’s “I Can Feel It” blares in the background.
Griya Balur would be shut down in many parts of the world, but not in Indonesia, one of the developing-country new frontiers for big tobacco as it seeks to replace its dwindling profits in the health-conscious West.
Long traditions of tobacco use combined with poor regulation and the billions of dollars that flow into government coffers from the tobacco industry mean places like Griya Balur go unchallenged.
The “treatment” for the emphysema sufferer includes the blowing of smoke from “divine cigarettes” infused with “nanotechnology” to remove their cancer-causing “free radicals”, through a tube into her diseased lungs.
Smoke is also blown into her ears and nose, while she holds a cup of aspirin over her right eye. The Phil Collins music, it seems, has no curative properties.
Griya Balur founder Dr. Gretha Zahar told AFP she had treated 60,000 people with tobacco smoke over the past decade.
With a PhD in nanochemistry from Padjadjaran University in Bandung, West Java, Zahar believes that by manipulating the mercury in tobacco smoking can cure all diseases including cancer, and even reverse the ageing process.
“Mercury is the cause of all illnesses. In my cigarettes — we call them Divine Cigarettes — there are scavengers that extract the mercury from the body,” she said.
On her website she says she does not need to subject her theories to clinical tests or publish them in peer-reviewed journals, nor does she have the money to “fight” with “Western medical scientists”.
Zahar’s claims were recently presented to the Constitutional Court where farmers and legislators from the tobacco-growing hub of Central Java are challenging a law that recognises the leaf as addictive.
Aris Widodo, a pharmacology professor at Brawijaya University in Malang, East Java, told the court that he had never heard of anyone dying from smoking. On the contrary, he said, smoking was good for you.
“Smoking can eliminate anxiety, sharpen concentration and calm the nerves. It?s a good cheap alternative to other expensive drugs, like Valium,” he said.
Tobacco is addictive and harmful to health, but Indonesians are taking up the habit in ever larger — and younger — numbers, cheered on by the tobacco industry’s aggressive marketing.
Addicts puff everywhere from beauty salons to dentist?s waiting rooms. Parents give cigarettes to toddlers to keep them quiet. Cigarettes are handed out to teenagers along with concert tickets. Laws banning public smoking are rarely if ever enforced, and tobacco advertising is ubiquitous on the country’s roadsides and television screens.
Cigarettes cost about one dollar for a pack of 20, yet they are often the second biggest item of household expenditure after food for the Southeast Asian country’s poorest families.
According to the World Health Organisation, smoking rates have risen six-fold in Indonesia over the last 40 years. Smoking kills at least 400,000 people every year and another 25,000 die from passive smoking.
Yet Indonesia is the only country in Asia not to have ratified the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which sets policy recommendations and benchmarks for countries concerned about the health impacts of smoking.
Indonesia’s biggest cigarette manufacturer, PT HM Sampoerna, is an affiliate of Philip Morris International. British American Tobacco bought Indonesia?s fourth largest cigarette maker, PT Bentoel, for $494 million in 2009.
The government reaps about seven billion dollars a year in excise taxes from the industry, which employs scores of thousands of people around Temanggung in Central Java.
Anti-smoking activists say industry players are dusting off their old marketing playbook to obscure the science and paint smoking as cool, masculine, glamorous and even healthy, especially to women and children.
During deliberations of smoking regulations in 2009, a clause stating tobacco?s addictiveness went missing from the final draft. The government said the omission was a mere oversight and later reinserted the clause.
Health ministry official Budi Sampurno was questioned but he maintains that tobacco companies had nothing to do with it.
“Never. Is there any proof? We have never been approached by tobacco companies. That is not legal practice,” he said.
Dr. Hakim Sorimuda Pohan, a Democratic Party legislator who helped draft the Health Law, said there was no doubt big tobacco was behind the shenanigans.
“They did the same thing in 1992. Tobacco companies successfully had the same clause omitted from the law,” he said.
April 12th, 2011
By: Kase Wickman
As a treat to history buffs, the FBI has launched a blog called The Vault, displaying old memos and documents that might interest the public. The documents garnering the most attention, however, are about Unidentified Flying Objects. And not just any UFO — the FBI has released the long top-secret Roswell Memo and the letter from Agent Guy Hottel that claims that aliens were aboard a UFO that crash-landed there.
The 1947 incident in Roswell, New Mexico has been the calling card for UFO enthusiasts since the late 70s, so the memo’s official publication caused quite the stir.
However, there’s not much cause to think that the government has suddenly changed its position on UFOs by releasing these documents. The documents have been leaked several times before, they’re just in the news cycle now because the FBI reminded the public of them.
More than that, there’s nothing close to admittance of UFOs in the documents: Agent Hottel’s letter is merely a retelling of an informant’s story about alien autopsies — Hottel isn’t even based in New Mexico, lowering the value of the tale even further — and recommends no follow-up investigation. Similarly, the Roswell memo reinforces that the object was a weather balloon, not a “flying disc,” and also recommends no follow-up.
Those who have always claimed conspiracy or government cover-up in relation to Roswell will continue doing so, and outlets such as the International Business Times will publish wide-eyed reports on the memos that have been in front of us all along, but are now collected in one place and acknowledged by the FBI.
In the meantime, the Hottel memo and the Roswell memo are embedded below, courtesy of the FBI, and The Vault’s other memos about “unexplained phenomenon” can be found online for some fun reading.
April 12th, 2011
CBS 2 Chicago
At one time, $5 per gallon gas seemed like a far-fetched idea, but that is no longer the case.
As of Monday, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in the Chicago area is $4.11, compared with $3.71 a month ago, and about $3.10 a gallon at this time a year ago.
Some experts say $5 per gallon gas is possible by Memorial Day-or sometime in summer. Others caution that reaching that mark is unlikely over the next six weeks. In Chicago, the prices keep rising to near-record levels–with no relief in sight.
Right now, oil markets are so skittish that records set in 2008 could fall.
Drivers Monday morning were practically numb to the price spikes.
“What are you going to do?” said Shannon Thompson. “We’ve become so gas-dependent in this country. There are so many SUVs. I mean, I’ve had a hybrid. It worked great. Right now, I’m just going to deal with it.”
Prices at some gas stations outside the city were still below $4, a bargain compared to the $4.29-$4.40 range at some service stations downtown.
“It’s painful,” said Lamar Magee. “You’ve got to make a decision on where you drive and where you go nowadays.” He said he is “definitely” making changes to his routines.
Magee says it will cost him about $120 to fill up the 30-gallon tank on his van.
But even that pales in comparison to the big rigs. Truck driver Mark Kanarowski says his truck holds 200 gallons.
“It’s got to be a huge expense for the company,” Kanarowski said. “I went to St. Louis over the weekend to fill up my own car, and I was paying about $4.13 a gallon. It hurts.”
A limo driver shared his thoughts as he filled up his tank at the Des Plaines Oasis.
“Normal-sized tank, big price – when you get done at the pump, it’s killing business, and a lot of one-way trips now,” he said, “like I’m going to get somebody this morning, and I’m not bringing him home. His wife will probably bring him home, because everyone’s trying to save a little bit here, a little bit there.”
The Lundberg Survey says the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded as of Monday was $3.76. That is up 19 cents since March 18, and up 91 cents since this time last year.
The sharply rising prices hearken back memories of the summer of 2008.
That year, oil prices were driven well above $100 per barrel, and in June of that year and gas prices were well over $4 a gallon. The highest average record price was $4.34 per gallon, set July 2008.
No one is eager to break that record. But with no end in sight to the turmoil in the Middle East, analysts say we’re likely to do just that – and just as holiday travelers hit the highways for Memorial Day weekend.
April 12th, 2011
By: S.L. Baker
Hopefully, this will never happen to you, but consider this scene: you’ve been diagnosed with a life threatening condition like colon cancer. So you sit down in your doctor’s office to discuss your medical options with your physician and it turns out there are a couple of treatments.
“What would you do, doctor, if you were in my position?” would be a logical question to ask.
And, most likely, you’d expect an honest answer. The trouble is, you might very well not be told the truth.
In fact, according to a survey study published in the April 11 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, what doctors consider the best choices in treatment for themselves is often not what they tell their patients is best for them.
Here’s how Peter A. Ubel, M.D., of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and his colleagues came up with their findings. They surveyed two samples of U.S. primary care physicians. Each group of doctors was presented with one of two clinical treatment possibilities.
For the first scenario, 500 doctors were asked about what sort of treatment they’d recommend if they or one of their patients received a diagnosis of colon cancer. They were given two choices to pick from — both were surgeries they could cure the colon malignancy in 80 percent of patients.
But there was a catch.
One operation had a higher death rate. However, it also had far fewer adverse side effects. On the other hand, the second type of surgery had a lower death rate but a small percentage of patients would be left with serious health problems including chronic diarrhea, intermittent bowel obstruction , a wound infection and/or the need for a colostomy (a surgical procedure that brings one end of the large intestine out through the abdominal wall where stools drain into a bag attached to the abdomen).
Almost half the doctors returned the colon cancer questionnaire and 37.8 percent of them stated that if they had received the cancer diagnosis, they would personally opt for the surgical procedure with a higher rate of death but a lower rate of the serious adverse effects listed above.
On the other hand, the majority of these doctors would have told their patients the operation with a lower death rate but a host of potentially very serious adverse effects was best for them.
The second hypothetical scenario polled 1,600 physicians about how they’d treat patients or themselves if faced with a new strain of avian flu infecting people in the U.S. One group of doctors was asked to imagine they had been infected; the other group was asked to imagine that a patient was infected with this serious influenza.
A single therapy was available for this strain of avian flu — an immunoglobulin treatment. In people with the avian flu who weren’t given immunoglobulin, there would be a 10 percent death rate and a 30 percent hospitalization rate with an average stay of a week. The treatment would reduce the rate of adverse events by half. However, in this scenario, the immunoglobulin therapy would also cause death in one percent of patients and permanent neurological paralysis in four percent of patients.
The avian influenza scenario survey was returned by 698 doctors and a whopping 62.9 percent of them said they’d personally refuse the immunoglobulin treatment when imagining they had been infected, in order to avoid its adverse effects.
But what decision did the docs make when imagining that a patient had been infected with the avian flu? The vast majority stated they’d recommend the immunoglobulin shots.
“Patients facing difficult decisions often ask physicians for recommendations,” the authors stated as background information in the study. “However, little is known regarding the ways that physicians’ decisions are influenced by the act of making a recommendation.”
“In some circumstances, making recommendations could reduce the quality of medical decisions. In at least some circumstances, however, such as when emotions interfere with optimal decision making, this change in thinking could lead to more optimal decisions,” the researchers concluded in their paper.
Curiously, Dr. Ubell and his research team think physicians probably different treatment recommendations for their patients than they would for themselves because of this: “…the very act of making a recommendation changes the way physicians weigh medical alternatives.”
Another common sense alternative explanation could be that doctors are also considering legal ramifications — for example, if they recommend a procedure with a slightly higher mortality rate and the patient dies, a family member might sue.
Whatever the explanation is, one thing is clear. This study is another example of why people should educate themselves about risks and possible benefits of medical treatments and take charge of their own health decisions whenever possible.
Eating good quality food every single day makes a huge difference in how you feel, your energy, your sleep, your skin, and your digestion. So, a lot of people come up to me and ask, “Kevin, what should I eat? What do YOU eat?”
The simplest answer is number one; always avoid high fructose corn syrup. Always avoid monosodium glutamate (MSG), which also goes by the name, hydrolyzed vegetable protein. So, if you are reading the ingredients and it has that in it, do not eat it. Stay away from artificial sweeteners, like Splenda and aspartame, also known as NutraSweet.
Another thing is I would strongly encourage you to do is stay away from conventional meat and conventional dairy products. I absolutely love beef and dairy. I encourage you to eat all the beef you want, but if you’re eating beef, if you’re eating lamb, if you’re eating chicken or turkey; you want to get beyond 100% organic. What you want is 100% grass-fed beef from GrasslandBeef.com. That is where I purchase my beef, lamb, turkey, poultry, and other food. These animals are never injected with bovine growth hormone, never injected with antibiotics, and they walk around and roam free and they eat real wild grass like an animal should.
When you’re buying beef and poultry at the store or restaurant; the animal is given injections of bovine growth hormone, injections of antibiotics, and they’re fed a chemical-produced, genetically modified grain mixture of genetically modified corn and other grains. They are fed massive amounts of chemicals, massive amounts of drugs, and their feed has ground up dead pigs, chickens, horses, and cows that were too diseased to be eaten by humans.
Now, cattle; they’re vegetarians. They’re not supposed to be eating ground up dead pigs, horses, chickens, and other cattle. They’re also not supposed to be eating corn. They’re supposed to be eating grass. So, if you just change the meats that you buy at home and you make your own sandwiches instead of going out to eat, I guarantee a couple of things are going to happen.
Number one, you’re going to lose weight because the CLA content in GrasslandBeef.com’s beef is much higher and it’s heart-healthy. It burns fat. It gives you more energy. There is no bovine growth hormone, so you’re automatically going to lose weight. You’re not giving yourself antibiotic therapy, so your health is going to improve dramatically. Such a small change in your diet can go a long way!
So, I strongly encourage you to go to GrasslandBeef.com. They also have raw cheese and butter from grass-fed cows. I just love their products!
GrasslandBeef.com, that’s where I go and I would recommend you go, as well!
Yours in health…
April 12th, 2011
By: Liz Goodwin
Students who attend Chicago’s Little Village Academy public school get nothing but nutritional tough love during their lunch period each day. The students can either eat the cafeteria food–or go hungry. Only students with allergies are allowed to bring a homemade lunch to school, the Chicago Tribune reports.
“Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school,” principal Elsa CarmonaÂ told the paper of the years-old policy. “It’s about … the excellent quality food that they are able to serve (in the lunchroom). It’s milk versus a Coke.”
But students said they would rather bring their own lunch to school in the time-honored tradition of the brown paper bag. “They’re afraid that we’ll all bring in greasy food instead of healthy food and it won’t be as good as what they give us at school,” student Yesenia Gutierrez told the paper. “It’s really lame.”
The story has attracted hundreds of comments so far. One commenter, who says her children attend a different Chicago public school, writes, “I can accept if they want to ban soda, but to tell me I can’t send a lunch with my child. ARE YOU KIDDING ME????”
For parents whose kids do not qualify for free or reduced price school lunches, the $2.25 daily cafeteria price can also tally more than a homemade lunch. “We don’t spend anywhere close to that on my son’s daily intake of a sandwich (lovingly cut into the shape of a Star Wars ship), Goldfish crackers and milk,” Northwestern education policy professor Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach told the paper in an email. She told The Lookout parents at her child’s public school would be upset if they tried to ban homemade lunches.
“I think that lots of parents at least at my child’s school do think that what they pack is more nutritious [than school lunches],” she said. A Chicago public school teacher started a blog to protest the city’s school lunches, and last year the schools tightened their nutrition standards for cafeteria-served school lunches. Every lunch must contain whole grains, only reduced-fat salad dressings and mayonnaise are offered as condiments, and the meals must feature a different vegetable each day. Meal providers also must reduce sodium content by 5 percent annually. About 86 percent of the district’s students qualify for free or reduced price school lunches because their families live close to the poverty line.
Change in Chicago’s school cafeterias feeds into a larger effort to combat the country’s childhood obesity epidemic. About a third of America’s kids are overweight or obese, and since children consume at least 30 percent of their calories while in school, making lunches healthier is seen as one way to counter that problem. Poorer kids are also more likely to be obese or overweight than middle class kids, and to consume a bigger proportion of their calories while at school. Forty-four percent of American kids living below the poverty line are obese or overweight, according to a 2010 study published in Health Affairs.
While we haven’t been able to track down another school that bans homemade lunches outright, many smaller food battles have been playing out in cafeterias across the country. As principals try to counter obesity in their schools, healthy intentions can come across as overreach, occasionally sparking parent and student anger.
Alabama parents protested a school’s rule that barred students from bringing any drinks from home, as ice water was provided at lunch. East Syracuse, New York schools have outlawed cupcakes and other desserts. And schools around the country have kicked out chocolate milk and soda vending machines. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin even showed up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with dozens of cookies to express her disdain for a debate in the state about recommending teachers limit the number of times per month the sugary treats are eaten in classroom birthday celebrations.
Tucson, Arizona’s Children’s Success Academy allows home-packed lunches–but only if nothing in them contains white flour, refined sugar, or other “processed” foods, the Arizona Republic reported in a story last year. The school has no cafeteria, so some parents told the paper they struggled to find foods to pack that meet the restrictions. Many schools ban fast food or other take-out meals.
Soon, cafeteria offerings across the country will all be healthier, whether students like it or not. Last year’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, championed by First Lady Michelle Obama, calls for higher nutritional standards to serve the 32 million kids who eat lunch every day at school (most of whom qualify for free or reduced price lunches through a federal government program). For the first time, the USDA will set calorie limits for school lunches, and will recommend they contain more vegetables and whole grains, and less salt, USA Today reports. French fries should be replaced by vegetables and fruit, the guidelines say.
The bill also calls for stricter food safety checks on cafeteria food.
(UPDATE: An earlier version of this story was illustrated by an AP photo of a student’s lunch in Gleed, Washington, which was labelled as such but some readers complained was misleading. To see a photo of a sample lunch served at Chicago’s Little Village Academy, click here.)