October 26, 2011
By Mary West
Swedish researchers have contributed the latest glad tidings to a growing number of studies indicating chocolate is beneficial for the cardiovascular system. According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, scientists found that women, who ate the most chocolate, had a 20 percent reduction in their stroke risk: USA Today reports. In this case, the quantity consumed was approximately two candy bars per week.
Author Susanna Larsson explains that the healthful components of cocoa are compounds called flavonoids, which have antioxidant activity and the ability to impede the harmful oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), known as “bad cholesterol.” Since the oxidation of LDL leads to the formation of plaque that causes cardiovascular disease, the hindrance of this process reduces the risk of stroke. In addition to this advantage, previous studies have shown dark chocolate consumption can lower blood pressure and insulin resistance, as well as help prevent the formation of blood clots.
In spite of the positive findings, Larsson cautions against eating too much chocolate. She advises that it be consumed in moderation, due to its high content of calories, fat and sugar. Larsson also states that dark chocolate is superior to milk chocolate because it has more cocoa and less sugar.
The researchers at Karolinska Institute studied 33,000 women between the ages of 49 and 83 over a 10-year period. Scientists compared data from the participants’ questionnaires about their chocolate consumption with their stroke risk to determine if a correlation existed. Results revealed the more chocolate the women consumed, the less stroke incidence they incurred. The findings were significant because those who ate 2.3 ounces of chocolate per week had a 20 percent reduced stroke incidence compared to those who seldom ate chocolate.
Although the study does not prove chocolate was responsible for the reduced incidence, after controlling for other stroke risk factors, the results persisted: Larsson relayed to CBS News. Additionally, she expects the results to apply to men also. Regardless of the suggested benefit, experts are advising people to keep the results in perspective and not substitute chocolate for vegetables.
October 26, 2011
By Elizabeth Walling
If the diagnosis of high cholesterol sounds like a death sentence to your ears, you may be the victim of cholesterol propaganda. It’s not uncommon to believe that lower is better when it comes to cholesterol, but new research shows otherwise. In fact, a recent study in Norway says women with high cholesterol live longer and suffer from fewer heart attacks and strokes than those with lower cholesterol.
Can High Cholesterol Save Your Life?
Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology looked at 52,087 individuals between the ages of 20 and 74. After adjusting for factors like age, smoking and blood pressure, researchers found women with high cholesterol (more than 270 mg/dl) had a 28 percent lower mortality risk than women with low cholesterol (under 193 mg/dl). Risk for heart disease, cardiac arrest and stroke also declined as cholesterol levels rose.
The researchers involved in the study admit this contradicts commonly accepted beliefs about cholesterol. They say current guideline information is misleading because the role of cholesterol in heart disease is overestimated.
These results fly in the face of what most of us have been told about cholesterol. Our misconceptions about cholesterol may in fact be endangering countless lives. For instance, millions of people are prescribed statin drugs to lower their cholesterol levels, believing that this will save their lives. Not only do statin drugs come with a plethora of dangerous side effects, but now the very premise of their existence is also brought into question.
Our focus on lowering cholesterol to prevent heart disease and mortality is misplaced. It also fails to serve in the best interest of our health and wellness. In fact, the dogmatic belief that cholesterol must be lowered appears to best serve pharmaceutical companies, which profit from cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Better results will be achieved when we develop a more well-rounded focus on other risks for heart disease, which include stress, toxins, a sedentary lifestyle and a poor diet. As an added bonus, these factors aren’t treated with dangerous pharmaceutical drugs, but with simple, healthful lifestyle changes.
October 26, 2011
By Jesse Eisinger and Jake Bernstein
In the run-up to the global financial collapse, Citigroup’s bankers worked feverishly to create complex securities. In just one year, 2007, Citi marketed more than $20 billion worth of deals backed by home mortgages to investors around the world, most of which failed spectacularly. Subsequent lawsuits and investigations turned up evidence that the bank knew that some of the products were low quality and, in some instances, had even bet they would fail.
The bank says it has settled all of its potential liability to a key regulator – the Securities and Exchange Commission — with a $285 million payment that covers a single transaction, Class V Funding III. ProPublica first raised questions about the deal in August 2010. In announcing a case, the SEC said it had identified one low-level employee, Brian Stoker, as responsible for the bank’s misconduct.
It made no mention of the dozens of similar collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, Citi sold to investors before the crash.
A bank spokesman said the SEC would not be examining any of those deals. “This means that the SEC has completed its CDO investigation(s) of Citi,’’ the spokesman asserted in an e mail.
“The $285 million settlement resolves only the Class V Funding III CDO, and we will not hesitate to bring further charges where we determine that there has been unlawful conduct,” an SEC spokesman said.
Did Citi get a sweet deal? Some observers think so.
“Citibank arranged countless CDOs that were built to fail, but the SEC apparently limited its case to a single CDO where they had particularly vivid and powerful proof,” says Stephen Ascher, a securities litigator at Jenner & Block, which has sued Citibank on various structured finance transactions.
“This represents extreme caution, at best — and a failure to grapple with the magnitude and harmfulness of the misconduct, at worst.”
ProPublica has been investigating the practices of the investment banks in the lead-up to the financial crisis for three years. Our research found a number of Citi CDOs similar to the deal featured in the SEC’s Class V complaint, and more information on Citi’s CDO business has emerged in lawsuits and subsequent investigations. Responsibility for these practices did not begin or end with Mr. Stoker. Among the questions still unanswered: How much did Stoker’s immediate bosses know? What did the heads of Citigroup’s CDO business, fixed income business and trading businesses know about Citi’s CDO dealings?
In the settlement announced this week, the SEC charged Citigroup with misleading its clients in the $1 billion Class V Funding III. The regulator said that the bank failed to disclose that it, rather than a supposedly independent collateral manager, had played a key role in choosing the assets in the deal when the bank marketed it to clients. Citigroup also failed to tell its clients that it retained a short position, or bet against, the CDO it created and sold. In addition to the $285 million fine, the SEC also charged Credit Suisse Alternative Capital, which was supposed to choose the assets that went into the CDO, and a low-level executive at that firm, with securities law violations.
Stoker becomes only the second investment banker after Goldman Sachs’ Fabrice “Fabulous Fab” Tourre to be charged by the SEC in conjunction with the business of creating CDOs, which were at the heart of the financial collapse in the fall of 2008. According to the SEC, Stoker played a leading role in structuring Class V Funding III. Stoker declined to comment. His lawyer has said he is fighting the charges.
The SEC complaint shows that Stoker was regularly communicating with other Citi executives about his actions. One top Citi executive coaches employees in an email that Credit Suisse should tell potential buyers of Class V about how it decided to purchase the assets, even though Citi, not Credit Suisse, was making the calls.
In October 2006, people from Citi’s trading desk approached Stoker about shorting deals that Citi arranged. Later, in Nov 3, 2006, Stoker’s immediate boss inquired about Class V Funding III. Stoker told his boss that he hoped the deal would go through. He wrote that the Citi trading group had taken a position in the deal. Citi’s trading desk was shorting Class V Funding III, betting that its value would fall. Stoker noted that Citi shouldn’t tell Credit Suisse officials what was going on, and that Credit Suisse had agreed to be the manager of the CDO “even though they don’t get to pick the assets.’’ Less than two weeks later, this executive pressed Stoker to make sure that their group at Citi got “credit” for the profits on the short.
This Citi official, unnamed in the complaint, was not charged by the SEC.
If Class V Funding III was some outlier, the SEC’s action might make more sense. But it wasn’t. Citigroup’s CDO operation churned out at least 18 CDOs around the same period. Often they were large CDOs, created with credit default swaps, effectively a bet that a given bond will rise or fall. Most of the CDOs included recycled Citi assets that the bank couldn’t sell. By purchasing pieces of its older deals, Citigroup could complete deals and keep the prices for CDO assets higher than they otherwise would be. Some investors helped picked the assets and then bet against them, facts that Citi didn’t clearly disclose to other investors in the deals.
Closing the book on Citi’s CDO business means the public may never know the true story of Citigroup’s, and Wall Street’s, actions during the financial crisis. One of the largest victims of the CDOs was the bond insurer Ambac. The now-bankrupt firm settled with Citi in 2010, long before it got to the root of the problems with securities Citi convinced it to insure. A shareholder class action lawsuit that is wending its way through the courts has the potential to reveal some details, but often such cases are settled with evidence then sealed from public view.
Among the unresolved questions: What was Citigroup’s role in a series of deals involving Magnetar, an Illinois-based hedge fund that invested in small portions of CDOs and then made big bets against them? Our investigation showed that Citi put together at least 5 Magnetar CDOs worth $6.5 billion. Did Citi mislead the investors who lost big on these deals?
Here are some other questions about Citi CDOs created around the time of Class V Funding III:
888 Tactical Fund. A February 2007, $1 billion deal, it had a significant portion of other Citi deals in it. Did the bank have influence over the selection of the assets, as it did in Class V Funding III?
Adams Square Funding II. A $1 billion March 2007 deal. The pitch-book to clients for Class V Funding III was adapted almost wholesale from this deal, according to the SEC complaint. Was Citigroup shorting this deal, or adding assets that were selected by others to short the deal? And was that adequately disclosed to clients?
Ridgeway Court Funding II. Completed in June 2007, this $3 billion deal contained a mysterious $750 million position in a CDO index. Experts believe that such positions were included for the purposes of shorting the market. Did Citi disclose why it included these assets to the investors in this CDO? As much as 30 percent of the assets in the deal were from unsold Citi CDOs. Was this a dumping ground for decaying assets the bank could not unload, as a lawsuit by Ambac, which was settled, charged?
Armitage. This $3 billion March 2007 CDO looked a lot like Ridgeway II. It had a large portion of other CDOs, much of which came from other Citi deals, including $260 million from Adams Square Funding II. Did Citi adequately disclose to investors what they were buying?
Class V Funding IV. A $2 billion June 2007 deal, Citi appears to have done this directly with Ambac. The SEC complaint about Class V Funding III makes it clear that Ambac was unaware of Citi’s position in that deal. Did the bank disclose more to Ambac in this deal?
Octonion. This $1 billion March 2007 CDO bought some of Adams Square Funding II. Adams Square II bought a piece of Octonion. A third CDO, Class V Funding III, also bought some of Octonion. Octonion, in turn, bought a piece of Class V Funding III. How did Citi and the collateral managers involved in these deals justify this daisy chain of buying?
October 26, 2011
By: Jana Winter
The former New York office for ACORN, the disbanded community activist group, is playing a key role in the self-proclaimed “leaderless” Occupy Wall Street movement, organizing “guerrilla” protest events and hiring door-to-door canvassers to collect money under the banner of various causes while spending it on protest-related activities, sources tell FoxNews.com.
The former director of New York ACORN, Jon Kest, and his top aides are now busy working at protest events for New York Communities for Change (NYCC). That organization was created in late 2009 when some ACORN offices disbanded and reorganized under new names after undercover video exposes prompted Congress to cut off federal funds.
NYCC’s connection to ACORN isn’t a tenuous one: It works from the former ACORN offices in Brooklyn, uses old ACORN office stationery, employs much of the old ACORN staff and, according to several sources, engages in some of the old organization’s controversial techniques to raise money, interest and awareness for the protests.
Sources said NYCC has hired about 100 former ACORN-affiliated staff members from other cities – paying some of them $100 a day – to attend and support Occupy Wall Street. Dozens of New York homeless people recruited from shelters are also being paid to support the protests, at the rate of $10 an hour, the sources said.
At least some of those hired are being used as door-to-door canvassers to collect money that’s used to support the protests.
Sources said cash donations collected by NYCC on behalf of some unions and various causes are being pooled and spent on Occupy Wall Street. The money is used to buy supplies, pay staff and cover travel expenses for the ex-ACORN members brought to New York for the protests.
In one such case, sources said, NYCC staff members collected cash donations for what they were told was a United Federation of Teachers fundraising drive, but the money was diverted to the protests.
Sources who participated in the teachers union campaign said NYCC supervisors gave them the addresses of union members and told them to go knock on their doors and ask for contributions—and did not mention that the money would go toward Occupy Wall Street expenses. One source said the campaign raked in about $5,000.
Current staff members at NYCC told FoxNews.com the union fundraising drive was called off abruptly last week, and they were told NYCC should not have been raising money for the union at all.
Sources said staff members also collected door-to-door for NYCC’s PCB campaign — which aims to test schools for deadly toxins —but then pooled that money together with cash raised for the teachers union and other campaigns to fund Occupy Wall Street.
“We go to Freeport, Central Islip, Park Slope, everywhere, and we say we’re collecting money for PCBs testing in schools. But the money isn’t going to the campaign,” one source said.
“It’s going to Occupy Wall Street, and we’re not using that money to get schools tested for deadly chemicals or to make their kids safer. It’s just going to the protests, and that’s just so terrible.”
A spokesman for the United Federation of Teachers told FoxNews.com, “The UFT is not involved in any NYCC fundraising on the PCB issue.”
Multiple sources said NYCC is also using cash donations through canvassing efforts in New York’s Harlem and Washington Heights neighborhoods for union-backed campaigns to fund the Wall Street protests.
“All the money collected from canvasses is pooled together back at the office, and everything we’ve been working on for the last year is going to the protests, against big banks and to pay people’s salaries—and those people on salary are, of course, being paid to go to the protests every day,” one NYCC staff member told FoxNews.com.
Those who contribute don’t know the money is going to fund the protests, the source said.
“They give contributions because we say if they do we can fix things – whatever specific problem they’re having in their area, housing, schools, whatever … then we spend the contributions paying staff to be at the protests all day, every day. That’s where these contributions – the community’s money – is going,” the source said.
“They’re doing the same stuff now that got ACORN in trouble to begin with. And yes, we’re still ACORN, there is a still a national ACORN.”
Another source, who said she was hired from a homeless shelter, said she was first sent to the protests before being deployed to Central Islip, Long Island, to canvass for a campaign against home foreclosures.
“I went to the protests every day for two weeks and made $10 an hour. They made me carry NYCC signs and big orange banners that say NYCC in white letters. About 50 others were hired around my time to go to the protests. We went to protests in and around Zuccotti Park, then to the big Times Square protest,” she said.
“But now they have me canvassing on Long Island for money, so I get the money and then the money is being used for Occupy Wall Street—to pay for all of it, for supplies, food, transportation, salaries, for everything … all that money is going to pay for the protests downtown and that’s just messed up. It’s just wrong.”
Neither Kest, NYCC executive director, nor his communications director returned repeated email and telephone requests for comment, nor did his communications director. A Fox News producer who visited the Brooklyn office on Tuesday was told, “The best people to speak to who are involved with Occupy Wall Street aren’t available.”
In a phone interview on Tuesday, Harrison Schultz, an Occupy Wall Street spokesman, said he knew nothing about NYCC’s involvement in the Occupy movement.
“Haven’t seen them, couldn’t tell you,” he said.
He said he couldn’t comment on the Occupy the Boardroom website’s relationship to the movement and to NYCC.
“It’s a horizontal organization, a leaderless organization, it’s difficult to explain it,” Schultz said, “difficult to explain it to people who haven’t worked in this, who haven’t been part of it.”
Kest publicly threw his organization’s support behind the movement in a Sept. 30 opinion piece on HuffingtonPost.com. But top ex-ACORN staff members and current NYCC officials have been planning events like the Occupy Wall Street protests since February, a source within the group told FoxNews.com.
That’s when planning began for May 12 protests against Chase bank foreclosures, which were followed by the formation of the Beyond May 12 campaign, targeting Wall Street and big banks. That campaign was rolled out by a coalition of community groups and unions and led by the revamped former ACORN group.
“What people don’t understand is that ACORN is behind this — and that this, what’s happening now, is all part of the May 12 and Beyond May 12 plans to go after the banks, Chase in particular,” a source said.
Sources said NYCC was a key player behind a series of recent Occupy Wall Street events, including the Oct. 11 Millionaires March, which brought protests and union and community groups on walking tours of Upper East Side homes of wealthy New Yorkers; and the launch of the “Occupy the Boardroom” website, registered to Kest, which encouraged protesters to contact high-profile bankers, among others.
Supreme Court Rules That Thousands Of Home Foreclosures Are Invalid Because Banks Do Not Have Promissory Notes
October 26, 2011
By Ethan A. Huff
More than five million US homeowners and counting have had their homes foreclosed upon by banks since the “economic crisis” first began several years ago. But the Massachusetts Supreme Court recently ruled that the vast majority of the foreclosures that took place in the Commonwealth (and likely in most other states) within the past five years are illegitimate because the banks did not, and do not, actually hold the promissory notes for the properties.
This means that all mortgage payments made to banks for illegitimately foreclosed upon properties are fraudulent since such banks do not technically own the properties in question. It also means that anyone who purchased a foreclosed property, or who is threatened currently with potential foreclosure, does not necessarily have a legal obligation to continue paying their mortgage.
Even homeowners who do not face foreclosure are not necessarily required to continue paying their mortgages — if their lenders are unable to produce valid promissory notes showing true ownership of the property. Then those who follow through with mortgage payments to such lenders are technically participating in fraud because there is no way to verify whether or not mortgage payments are going to the true note holders, or even who the true note holders are in the first place.
“In essence, the ruling [upholds] that those who had purchased a foreclosure property that had been illegally foreclosed upon (which is virtually all foreclosure sales in the last five years), did not in fact have title to the property,” writes The Daily Bail. “Given the fact that more than two-thirds of all real estate transactions in the last five years have also been foreclosed properties, this creates a small problem.”
Recognizing that the federal government’s bailout plan was beneficial only to banks and not homeowners, Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio told those facing foreclosure back in 2009 to “be squatters in [their] own home” (http://articles.sfgate.com/2009-02-…). Now that these foreclosures have been exposed as largely fraudulent, it turns out that her advice was sound.
“Radical though it may seem, we believe the only way to stop the chaos of fraud and the breakdown of the rule of law in our courts, and most importantly to ensure that we ourselves are not participants in the fraud, is for homeowners who can afford their mortgage to stop paying it,” says The Daily Bail.
October 26, 2011
By Art Carden
Somewhere, there are two graduate students in the social sciences who need dissertation topics. Those students should be watching the Occupy Wall Street movement with keen eyes because as it evolves, it’s going to provide us with an interesting set of applications, illustrations, and tests of different principles in the social sciences. One student should study the on-the-ground evolution of the Occupation camps themselves. Another should look at the evolution of perceptions of the Occupations and how they have changed as data on the Occupiers’ views have emerged.
Former Clinton pollster Douglas Schoen has done a valuable service by assembling a poll—which he discusses in the Wall Street Journal—that “probably represent(s) the first systematic random sample of Occupy Wall Street opinion.” According to Schoen, the Occupiers are united by “a deep commitment to left-wing policies.”
I agree with the Occupiers when we both answer “no” to a question like “should we bail out large financial institutions that have made a lot of bad investments?” The more radical Occupiers lose me with demands that we “smash capitalism” and “abolish private property.” It isn’t at all clear to me that they have thought through exactly what this would entail.
Perhaps they see this as the beginning of an anti-capitalist, anti-commercial revolution, but to a certain extent we have already had this conversation. The twentieth century was a long (and bloody) debate about alternative modes of social organization. Even in its present corrupted and cronyized form, “modern capitalism”—which Deirdre McCloskey defines loosely as “private property and unfettered exchange”—is a goose that lays golden eggs, and not merely for the super-rich. If you disagree, ask yourself how many of those claiming to speak for “the 99%” have smart phones, which Louis XIV couldn’t have bought for all the gold in France. The problems the Occupiers blame on “capitalism” were not caused by “private property and unfettered exchange.” They were caused by institutionalized interference with “private property and unfettered exchange.”
At the margin, a little more government intervention isn’t likely to make a huge difference. I expect long-run problems that won’t surface until long after its main proponents and sponsors are out of office, but ObamaCare by itself isn’t going to turn the US into North Korea. Nonetheless, we can’t discard what economics has to teach and expect civilization to endure. Ludwig von Mises, one of the twentieth century’s most prominent defenders of the classical liberal order, finished his magnum opus Human Action with this:
The body of economic knowledge is an essential element in the structure of human civilization; it is the foundation upon which modern industrialism and all the moral, intellectual, technological, and therapeutical achievements of the last centuries have been built. It rests with men whether they will make the proper use of the rich treasure with which this knowledge provides them or whether they will leave it unused. But if they fail to take the best advantage of it and disregard its teachings and warnings, they will not annul economics; they will stamp out society and the human race.
Things were much darker when Mises wrote that (1949) than they are today, but we are only a few years away from graduating the first class of college seniors that hadn’t yet been born when the Soviet Union collapsed. It has been said that those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. We would do well to study the intellectual, political, social, and economic history that made Mises write with such urgency and passion lest we be doomed to repeat it. Tragically, that’s exactly what will happen if those who urge us to “smash capitalism” and “abolish private property” get their wish.
October 26, 2011
By John Rubino
As Europe grinds out yet another doomed banking system rescue plan, it might be helpful to examine the underlying assumption, which is that we need these big banks.
Do we really? If Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, Crédit Lyonnais and five or six of their peers ceased to exist tonight, what would happen? Would their absence change the number of factories, hospitals, farms, biotech research labs, oil wells, or gold mines? Would there be fewer houses or cars? Would computers get slower or TVs lower-def? No. The world of tomorrow morning would have exactly the same amount of real wealth and productive capacity as it does today. The main thing it wouldn’t have is a lot of arcane financial instruments that don’t produce anything edible, and a hundred thousand or so bankers making inordinate amounts of money moving this paper around. To the extent that those bankers would have to take jobs making real things, the post-Goldman world would arguably be richer and more productive.
The big banks’ disappearance might, admittedly, leave some ripples in the pond. Interest rates might rise and stock prices fall as countries like the US and Japan have to suddenly live within their means. Military budgets, public services and pensions would shrink dramatically. But there would be compensations. Where today’s low interest rate regime is devastating to retirees living on the proceeds of bank CDs and Treasury bonds, higher interest rates would give them back their personal incomes, probably more than offsetting lower Social Security and Medicare benefits. For young families, falling real estate prices (also due to higher interest rates) would bring starter homes within closer reach. And all those soldiers now occupying foreign countries, or training to, would be freed up to take real jobs alongside the ex-bankers.
People who have leveraged themselves to the hilt to buy various assets would have to sell, of course, but savers — especially those with a lot of precious metals — would snap up those assets and put them to productive use. Apple and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway between them have over $100 billion of ready cash, which they’ll use to acquire and deploy cheap assets. Community banks that focus on mortgages, business loans, and customer service(!) will thrive as depositors abandon Bank of America for local institutions. Farmers markets and local farms will grow to replace a disrupted global agribusiness supply chain. Freed from all those financial sector campaign contributions, politics might even get a little cleaner.
Viewed this way, the process looks a lot less threatening, and might even be a path to the kind of world most rational people would prefer. So relax, let the big banks go, and let’s see what happens.
October 26, 2011
By: PF Louis
The current model of modern day farming was ostensibly created to produce lots of affordable food. It has succeeded in over feeding a population with high calorie low nutrient foods while making a few multinational corporations rich. But millions still go hungry.
Those corporations – whether grain gatherers, producers of processed foods, artificial fertilizers, pesticides, or GMO seeds – are constantly merging and cross cooperating to ensure their monopoly on food. We need to escape this farmopoly before it becomes farmageddon.
Large monoculture farming is unsustainable and unhealthy
As far back as 1936, a research paper commissioned by Congress in the USA, Senate Document 264 of the 74th Congress made a startling statement on the quality of food: “… 99 percent of the American people are deficient in … minerals, and … a marked deficiency in any one of the more important minerals actually results in disease.”
The report also informed Congress: “It is not commonly realized … that vitamins control the body’s appropriation of minerals, and that in the absence of minerals they have no function to perform. … lacking minerals, the vitamins are useless.”
This finding was based on farming topsoil mineral depletion. Large monoculture farming had become prominent. In the early 1950s, the great cancer healer Dr. Max Gerson announced that we are being exposed to toxins while eating foods lacking nutrition.
Big Ag was born. Pushing rapidly for more yields – using artificial fertilizers year after year without crop rotation or fallow periods (when soil is plowed but not seeded) to allow topsoil to regenerate minerals – had already created topsoil mineral depletion.
Then after WW II, the ‘cides arrived: Pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides. And these ‘cides are used in soil (sprayed on plants then soaked into the soil), seed soaking, and storage preservation. Adding GMOs exacerbates the toxic, non-nutritional commercial food chain to a point of agricultural self destruction, as several GMO farmers are now discovering the hard way.
This is the result of large monoculture factory farming with only a few large corporations in charge of food storage and distribution as well as corporate food processing.
Add large grocery retail chains to this food monopoly. It all stacks up as a huge network of centralized food cartels. Evidently, the food cartels care more about control over the world’s food supply and profit than feeding the world and getting rid of hunger.
Many grains are purchased by large food processing corporations that adulterate those grains even more. Cheap food has proven to take a high price in worsening public health. But even cheap food is threatened by potential food shortages due to excess centralization and commodity traders’ price manipulation.
Yes, Wall Street has gotten into the commodity trading act with derivative “bets”, leading to inflated food commodity price peaks that already have jeopardized millions worldwide.
Escaping the foodopoly matrix
What’s needed is gradual food distribution decentralization phased in by organic farming near enough to urban centers to feed most consumers in those local areas. Farmers need to have their rightful dignity restored and to escape their virtual serfdom from the Cargills, Monsantos, Archer Daniels Midlands, and Wall Street banksters.
Then local markets should be promoting and pushing their foods. Okay, this may not be the way to get bananas in Chicago or cherries in the winter. But at the rate the food cartel octopus is destroying the food chain, there may be a point where bananas and cherries are no longer available anywhere anytime.
A 2110 United Nations commissioned committee report, taking four years to produce by hundreds of international experts, concluded that diverse organic farming, not biotech monoculture forced on the world, is the best option for sustainable food production capable of curbing world hunger. It’s easy to understand why this report has been kept from public awareness.
October 26, 2011
By: Paul Joseph Watson
For the first time, broadcasters will have no choice on whether to partake in the nationwide alert.
Radio host Glenn Beck has spoken of his fear that the upcoming Emergency Alert System test being conducted by Homeland Security and FEMA on November 9 gives the government the pretext to “seize control” of communications in America, because for the first time broadcasters will have no choice on whether to partake.
Beck explained that in every previous instance where the EAS system was tested, broadcasters were in control of whether or not to flip the switch, although they did face losing their broadcast license if they failed to partake. However, for the very first time, the federal government will have complete control over the broadcast frequency and will be able to override all radio and television stations.
Next month’s test also marks the first time that the alert has been conducted nationwide.
“The nationwide test may last up to three and a half minutes. The public will hear a message indicating that “This is a test.” The audio message will be the same for radio, television and cable,” states a FEMA press release.
Beck warned that the first of its kind test gave the government the pretext to take over all civilian communication outlets under the guise of a national emergency.
“If the state wants to take control…they can just take it and there is nothing I can do about it,” Beck stated, adding that the process “seizes control of the broadcast frequency.”
Beck questioned the timing of the test, asking why it was being conducted in the middle of a work day at 2pm and not at midnight on a Saturday.
“Why are we testing this thing at 2pm on a Wednesday when we don’t even know if this damn thing will work – who does that?” asked Beck, drawing attention to the fact that FEMA has indicated it isn’t even sure whether television broadcasts will display a message or not during the test.
“Who takes the nation’s communications and shuts it down in the middle of a work day on a Wednesday when the whole world is in revolution? That doesn’t help calm things, Mr. President,” said Beck.
The fact that the government has also chosen a date which is the reverse of 9/11 (the 9th of November being 11/9), is also unlikely to reduce anxiety surrounding the test.
October 26, 2011
By: Paul Joseph Watson
US Authorities Hit Google With 70% Rise In Takedown Orders
The number of takedown orders received by Google from authorities based in the United States rose dramatically over the past year, with demands to remove information, including videos containing “government criticism,” increasing by 70 per cent.
“In the US, Google received 757 takedown requests across its sites and services, up 70 per cent from the second half of last year.”
“US authorities also called for the removal of 113 videos from YouTube, including several documenting alleged police brutality which Google refused to take down.”
The figures are revealed in Google’s newly released transparency report, which also details how the number of “user data requests” by US authorities increased by 29 per cent compared to the last reporting period.
The reason listed for the removal of a You Tube video in one instance is “government criticism”. The exact identity or content of the video is not divulged. The report states that the removal requests pertaining to “police brutality” were done on the grounds of “defamation” and are included in that separate category, meaning the takedown order on the grounds of “government criticism” was made by the “executive,” ie the federal government.
The report does not indicate whether or not You Tube complied with the removal request, but it did comply with 63 per cent of the total requests made.
The number of “Items requested to be removed” by US authorities was almost seven-fold the number requested to be removed by Chinese authorities, a country much maligned for its Internet censorship policies.
As we have previously documented, Google-owned You Tube has complied with thousands of requests worldwide to remove political protest videos that are clearly not in violation of any copyright or national security interests and do not constitute defamation.
One such example was You Tube’s compliance with a request from the British government to censor footage of the British Constitution Group’s Lawful Rebellion protest, during which they attempted to civilly arrest Judge Michael Peake at Birkenhead county court.
When viewers in the UK attempted to watch videos of the protest, they were met with the message, “This content is not available in your country due to a government removal request.”
Indeed, the latest figures show that takedown requests on behalf of British authorities have also skyrocketed by 71 per cent, including 44 removal orders in the first half of this year which came directly from the UK government, one of which was the Birkenhead protest footage.
In Britain, a total of 135 videos were removed from You Tube on the grounds of “national security” and 43 web search results were also blacklisted by government decree.
These figures illustrate how governments, particularly the United States and Britain, are getting more aggressive in pushing for web censorship as the state increasingly tries to strangle the last bastion of true free speech, the Internet, as authorities simultaneously try to advance draconian cybersecurity measures that would hand them complete control over the world wide web.