China vows penalties as melamine eggs scare spreads


Eggs from mainland China are seen at a wholesale market in Hong Kong Monday. Wal-Mart pulled all the eggs from its store shelves Tuesday across the country over melamine fears.
Bobby Yip/Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) – Authorities in a northeastern Chinese city on Wednesday vowed severe punishment for those responsible for melamine-tainted eggs turning up in Hong Kong, as the health scare spread to another city in eastern China.

At least four children have died and tens of thousands were made ill amid the melamine scandal, the latest in a series of health scares to sully the “made in China” label.

Chinese products ranging from chocolate to milk powder have been recalled throughout the world due to contamination fears. Melamine, used in making plastic chairs among other things, is often added to cheat nutrition tests.

Chinese eggs have now come under the spotlight, after Hong Kong food safety authorities over the weekend found melamine-tainted eggs produced by Hanwei Group in the northeastern port city of Dalian on local shelves.

Problem eggs have now been found in Hangzhou, capital of the eastern province of Zhejiang, the official Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday, citing quality authorities there who had ordered a city-wide recall of all “Ciyunxiang”-brand eggs.

Read moreChina vows penalties as melamine eggs scare spreads

Supermarkets go high-tech to combat shoplifters


Cheese theft is on the rise, but razor blades, confectionary and oysters are still the top shoplifting targets. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Supermarkets are introducing electronic tags on items popular with shoplifters and other thieves.

The Source Tagging Alliance, set up by leading retailers, is encouraging suppliers to use radio frequency identification (RFID) and source tagging on grocery product packaging at the point of manufacture.

Read moreSupermarkets go high-tech to combat shoplifters

Wal-Mart Warns of Democratic Win

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is mobilizing its store managers and department supervisors around the country to warn that if Democrats win power in November, they’ll likely change federal law to make it easier for workers to unionize companies — including Wal-Mart.

In recent weeks, thousands of Wal-Mart store managers and department heads have been summoned to mandatory meetings at which the retailer stresses the downside for workers if stores were to be unionized.

Read moreWal-Mart Warns of Democratic Win

Chertoff: European terrorists trying to enter US

Chertoff reiterated his concern that terrorists could sneak radiological material into the country on small boats or private aircraft. This material could be used to create an explosive device known as a “dirty bomb.”

Do we have to expect another false flag attack???

Related articles and video:

Former Governor: “Absolutely” danger of false flag as pretext to attack Iran
Loose Change Final Cut
9/11 False Flag
Government Insider: Bush Authorized 9/11 Attacks
Rumsfeld: Why not another 9/11?

(After I have seen this photo, I would send Mr. Chertoff to a cancer checkup straightaway.)

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff

WASHINGTON (AP) – European terrorists are trying to enter the United States with European Union passports, and there is no guarantee officials will catch them every time, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Thursday.

Read moreChertoff: European terrorists trying to enter US

McCain Would Give America’s 200 Largest Corporations $45 Billion In Tax Breaks

If you’re a CEO of one of America’s largest corporations and have enjoyed the Presidency of George W. Bush, a contribution to the McCain campaign is looking like a pretty good investment.

A new report from the Center For American Progress Action Fund finds that a key piece of John McCain’s tax plan — cutting the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25% — would cut taxes by almost $45 billion every year for America’s 200 largest corporations as identified by Fortune Magazine.

Eight companies — Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Exxon Mobil Corp., ConocoPhillips Co., Bank ƒƒof America Corp., AT&T, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Microsoft Corp. — would each receive over $1 billion a year.

The following table shows the tax savings to America’s five largest firms. See a full list of all 200 companies and their savings under McCain here:

These giveaways are just one part of McCain’s doubling of the Bush tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy which would create the largest deficits in 25 years and drive the United States into the deepest deficits since World War II.

A recent analysis by the Public Campaign Action Fund found that John McCain’s campaign has received $5.6 million from the PACs and executives of the Fortune 200.

Over the past eight years, under George W. Bush, American workers have seen their wages stagnate as corporate profits have skyrocketed. John McCain’s misguided priorities show he’s more of the same: the same $45 billion in tax cuts for America’s 200 largest companies could be used to lift over 9 million Americans out of poverty.

Read moreMcCain Would Give America’s 200 Largest Corporations $45 Billion In Tax Breaks

China: Police State 2.0 is Ready for Export

Excerpts from the long but excellent article:

“Over the past two years, some 200,000 surveillance cameras have been installed throughout the city. Many are in public spaces, disguised as lampposts.”

“The security cameras are just one part of a much broader high-tech surveillance and censorship program known in China as “Golden Shield.” The end goal is to use the latest people-tracking technology — thoughtfully supplied by American giants like IBM, Honeywell and General Electric — to create an airtight consumer cocoon:”

“Like everything else assembled in China with American parts, Police State 2.0 is ready for export to a neighborhood near you.”

“This is how this Golden Shield will work: Chinese citizens will be watched around the clock through networked CCTV cameras and remote monitoring of computers. They will be listened to on their phone calls, monitored by digital voice-recognition technologies. Their Internet access will be aggressively limited through the country’s notorious system of online controls known as the “Great Firewall.” Their movements will be tracked through national ID cards with scannable computer chips and photos that are instantly uploaded to police databases and linked to their holder’s personal data. This is the most important element of all: linking all these tools together in a massive, searchable database of names, photos, residency information, work history and biometric data. When Golden Shield is finished, there will be a photo in those databases for every person in China: 1.3 billion faces.”

“Here is a small sample of what the company (L-1) does: produces passports and passport cards for American citizens; takes finger scans of visitors to the U.S. under the Department of Homeland Security’s massive U.S.-Visit program; equips U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan with “mobile iris and multimodal devices” so they can collect biometric data in the field; maintains the State Department’s “largest facial-recognition database system”; and produces driver’s licenses in Illinois, Montana and North Carolina. In addition, L-1 has an even more secretive intelligence unit called SpecTal. Asked by a Wall Street analyst to discuss, in “extremely general” terms, what the division was doing with contracts worth roughly $100 million, the company’s CEO would only say, “Stay tuned.””

“It is L-1’s deep integration with multiple U.S. government agencies that makes its dealings in China so interesting: It isn’t just L-1 that is potentially helping the Chinese police to nab political dissidents, it’s U.S. taxpayers. The technology that Yao purchased for just a few thousand dollars is the result of Defense Department research grants and contracts going as far back as 1994, when a young academic named Joseph Atick (the research director Fordyce consulted on L-1’s China dealings) taught a computer at Rockefeller University to recognize his face.”
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Thirty years ago, the city of Shenzhen didn’t exist. Back in those days, it was a string of small fishing villages and collectively run rice paddies, a place of rutted dirt roads and traditional temples. That was before the Communist Party chose it – thanks to its location close to Hong Kong’s port – to be China’s first “special economic zone,” one of only four areas where capitalism would be permitted on a trial basis.

The theory behind the experiment was that the “real” China would keep its socialist soul intact while profiting from the private-sector jobs and industrial development created in Shenzhen. The result was a city of pure commerce, undiluted by history or rooted culture – the crack cocaine of capitalism. It was a force so addictive to investors that the Shenzhen experiment quickly expanded, swallowing not just the surrounding Pearl River Delta, which now houses roughly 100,000 factories, but much of the rest of the country as well.

Read moreChina: Police State 2.0 is Ready for Export

Supermarket Bans Aspartame From Own-Label Products

A food fight is brewing


Help your customers and be sued. (Photos.com)

It might be corny and a bit naive, but I recommend that eating a diet found as close as possible to what is found in nature makes good sense. This means, of course, avoiding, when we can, substances not to be found naturally in the food chain. Perhaps rather predictably, science supports this notion. For instance, the much-reviled but naturally-occurring saturated fat found in red meat and eggs has no strong links with disease, while industrially produced trans fats do.

So, when the food industry introduces a novel food or food ingredient into our diet I admit I generally come at it from a skeptical perspective. This is the case when all the ingredient is doing is making a food a bit bluer or redder or extending its shelf life or palatability. However, I become even more suspicious when claims are made that some new-fangled foodstuff is better for us than, perhaps, something that we’ve had in our diet forever.

Let us not forget, for instance, that the partially hydrogenated fats from which industrially produced trans fats are derived were originally sold to us as a healthy alternative to saturated fat (and what a load of rubbish that turned out to be).

Another example of where we have been sold a bit of a dummy by the food industry concerns artificial sweeteners. In the past I have attempted to highlight the science that shows that artificial sweeteners have considerable potential to cause harm, and at the same time, do not appear to have any obvious benefits for health.

These particular posts have focused mainly on the potential hazards of the artificial sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet, Canderel, Equal). One of the reasons I’ve focused so much on aspartame is that most of the published research on artificial sweeteners has focused on this particular substance.

Read moreSupermarket Bans Aspartame From Own-Label Products

Making a killing from hunger

We need to overturn food policy, now!

GRAIN

For some time now the rising cost of food all over the world has taken households, governments and the media by storm. The price of wheat has gone up by 130% over the last year.[1] Rice has doubled in price in Asia in the first three months of 2008 alone,[2] and just last week it hit record highs on the Chicago futures market.[3] For most of 2007 the spiralling cost of cooking oil, fruit and vegetables, as well as of dairy and meat, led to a fall in the consumption of these items. From Haiti to Cameroon to Bangladesh, people have been taking to the streets in anger at being unable to afford the food they need. In fear of political turmoil, world leaders have been calling for more food aid, as well as for more funds and technology to boost agricultural production. Cereal exporting countries, meanwhile, are closing their borders to protect their domestic markets, while other countries have been forced into panic buying. Is this a price blip? No. A food shortage? Not that either. We are in a structural meltdown, the direct result of three decades of neoliberal globalisation.

Farmers across the world produced a record 2.3 billion tons of grain in 2007, up 4% on the previous year. Since 1961 the world’s cereal output has tripled, while the population has doubled. Stocks are at their lowest level in 30 years, it’s true,[4] but the bottom line is that there is enough food produced in the world to feed the population. The problem is that it doesn’t get to all of those who need it. Less than half of the world’s grain production is directly eaten by people. Most goes into animal feed and, increasingly, biofuels – massive inflexible industrial chains. In fact, once you look behind the cold curtain of statistics, you realise that something is fundamentally wrong with our food system. We have allowed food to be transformed from something that nourishes people and provides them with secure livelihoods into a commodity for speculation and bargaining. The perverse logic of this system has come to a head. Today it is staring us in the face that this system puts the profits of investors before the food needs of people.

Read moreMaking a killing from hunger

Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Club limits rice purchases

NEW YORK, April 23 (Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc’s (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research) Sam’s Club warehouse division said on Wednesday it is limiting sales of several types of rice, the latest sign that fears of a rice shortage are rippling around the world.

Sam’s Club, the No. 2 U.S. warehouse club operator, said it is limiting sales of Jasmine, Basmati and long grain white rice “due to recent supply and demand trends.”

U.S. rice futures hitting an all-time high Wednesday on worries about supply shortages.

On Tuesday, Costco Wholesale Corp (COST.O: Quote, Profile, Research), the largest U.S. warehouse club operator, said it has seen increased demand for items like rice and flour as customers, worried about global food shortages and rising prices, stock up.

Sam’s Club, the No. 2 U.S. warehouse club operator, is limiting sales of the 20-pound (9 kg), bulk bags of rice to four bags per customer per visit, and is working with suppliers to ensure the products remain in stock.

Warehouse clubs cater to individual shoppers as well as small businesses and restaurant owners looking to buy cheaper, bulk goods.

With prices for basic food items surging, customers have been going to the clubs to try to save money on bulk sizes of everything from pasta to cooking oil and rice.

Read moreWal-Mart’s Sam’s Club limits rice purchases

Food Rationing Confronts Breadbasket of the World

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Many parts of America, long considered the breadbasket of the world, are now confronting a once unthinkable phenomenon: food rationing. Major retailers in New York, in areas of New England, and on the West Coast are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks.

At a Costco Warehouse in Mountain View, Calif., yesterday, shoppers grew frustrated and occasionally uttered expletives as they searched in vain for the large sacks of rice they usually buy.

“Where’s the rice?” an engineer from Palo Alto, Calif., Yajun Liu, said. “You should be able to buy something like rice. This is ridiculous.”

Read moreFood Rationing Confronts Breadbasket of the World

Secret FEMA Plan To Use Pastors as Pacifiers in Preparation For Martial Law


Nationwide initiative trains volunteers to teach congregations to “obey the government” during seizure of guns, property, forced inoculations and forced relocation

A Pastor has come forward to blow the whistle on a nationwide FEMA program which is training Pastors and other religious representatives to become secret police enforcers who teach their congregations to “obey the government” in preparation for a declaration of martial law, property and firearm seizures, and forced relocation.

In March of this year the Pastor, who we shall refer to as Pastor Revere, was invited to attend a meeting of his local FEMA chapter which circulated around preparedness for a potential bio-terrorist attack, any natural disaster or a nationally declared emergency.

The FEMA directors told the Pastors that attended that it was their job to help implement FEMA and Homeland Security directives in anticipation of any of these eventualities. The first directive was for Pastors to preach to their congregations Romans 13, the often taken out of context bible passage that was used by Hitler to hoodwink Christians into supporting him, in order to teach them to “obey the government” when martial law is declared.

It was related to the Pastors that quarantines, martial law and forced relocation were a problem for state authorities when enforcing federal mandates due to the “cowboy mentality” of citizens standing up for their property and second amendment rights as well as farmers defending their crops and livestock from seizure. It was stressed that the Pastors needed to preach subservience to the authorities ahead of time in preparation for the round-ups and to make it clear to the congregation that “this is for their own good.”

Read moreSecret FEMA Plan To Use Pastors as Pacifiers in Preparation For Martial Law

Taco Bell, Wal-Mart, NRA hired ‘black ops’ company that targeted environmental groups

Dumpster-diving firm collected Social Security numbers of activists

A private security firm managed by former Secret Service officers spied on myriad environmental organizations throughout the 1990s and the year 2000, thieving documents, trying to plant undercover operations and collecting phone records of members, according to a new report.

Documents obtained by James Ridgeway, a Mother Jones correspondent formerly with the Village Voice, reveals the contractor collected confidential internal records — donor lists, financial statements — even Social Security numbers, for public relations outfits and “corporations involved in environmental controversies.”

Beckett Brown International also offered “intelligence” services to the Carlyle Group, the controversial DC-based investment company; “protective services” for the National Rifle Association; “crisis management” for the Gallo wine company and for Pirelli; “information collection” for Wal-Mart.

“Also listed as clients in BBI records,” Ridgeway reveals: “Halliburton and Monsanto.”

Read moreTaco Bell, Wal-Mart, NRA hired ‘black ops’ company that targeted environmental groups

Empire on the Brink: Republicans and “Free Market” Zealots Bring Disaster to America

March 13, 2008
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

March 12. Crude oil for April delivery hit $110 per barrel. The US dollar fell to a new low against the Euro. It now takes $1.55 to purchase one Euro.

These new highs against the dollar are the ongoing story of the collapse of the US dollar as world reserve currency and corresponding collapse of American power.

Each new decision from the insane Bush regime pushes the dollar a little further along to oblivion. The same Fed announcement that boosted the stock market on March 11 sent the dollar reeling and the price of oil up. The Fed’s announcement that it and other central banks are going to deal with the derivative crisis by monetizing $200 billion of the troubled instruments signaled more dollar inflation.

Read moreEmpire on the Brink: Republicans and “Free Market” Zealots Bring Disaster to America