Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Archive for the ‘BS Buzzer’ Category

Fiscal Cliff notes…

In Around the web, BS Buzzer on November 10, 2012 at 7:02 am

From digby
Hallabaloo

James Galbraith lays down some truth on the Grand Bargain nonsense:

That the looming debt and deficit crisis is fake is something that, by now, even the most dim member of Congress must know. The combination of hysterical rhetoric, small armies of lobbyists and pundits, and the proliferation of billionaire-backed front groups with names like the “Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget” is not a novelty in Washington. It happens whenever Big Money wants something badly enough.

Big Money has been gunning for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for decades – since the beginning of Social Security in 1935. The motives are partly financial: As one scholar once put it to me, the payroll tax is the “Mississippi of cash flows.” Anything that diverts part of it into private funds and insurance premiums is a meal ticket for the elite of the predator state.

And the campaign is also partly political. The fact is, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are the main way ordinary Americans connect to their federal government, except in wars and disasters. They have made a vast change in family life, unburdening the young of their parents and ensuring that every working person contributes whether they have parents, dependents, survivors or disabled of their own to look after. These programs do this work seamlessly, for next to nothing; their managers earn civil service salaries and the checks arrive on time. More…

From Romney’s dog to Ryan’s run, one thing is clear: this election is bullshit…

In BS Buzzer on September 14, 2012 at 7:27 am

From OLIVER BURKEMAN
TheGuardian

There’s truth and there are lies – but we need a third category entirely to understand this malodorous presidential campaign…

How did Mitt Romney first find out about the 9/11 attacks? As Buzzfeed notes, he’s told two versions of this tale: in one, he’s giving a radio interview when a host interrupts to tell him the news; in the other, someone rushes into his office to inform him. Just to be explicit: this really doesn’t matter very much. As with so much about Willard, it’s a little weird, since most people can remember exactly where they were. (I was at my desk in London, researching an article about Bob the Builder, since you asked.) But as an example of his complicated relationship with the truth, it was minor, and quickly dwarfed by his campaign’s attempt to argue that a statement issued by the US embassy in Cairo, prior to yesterday’s violence, was actually a response to it.

Still, the 9/11 discrepancy helped clarify something I’d been finding especially aggravating about this election campaign so far. We’ve heard much talk about truth and lies and the “post-truth campaign”, fuelled by the controversial role of fact-checking operations like Politifact and FactCheck.org. (Here on CiF, last week, Bob Garfield argued that the Republicans are increasingly taking refuge in the “medium lie”, too inconsequential to cause a fuss.) But something’s missing from this conversation. What this campaign has been especially full of, so far, is bullshit.

In his 2005 bestseller, On Bullshit, the Princeton philosopher Harry Frankfurt made a crucial distinction between lies and bullshit. To lie is to intentionally deceive, by saying what you know (or believe) isn’t the truth. Romney does this all the time. To bullshit, though, is to talk without regard for the truth, one way or the other. The liar and the truth-teller, writes Frankfurt, “are playing on opposite sides, so to speak, in the same game”; the bullshitter, by contrast, refuses to play. “He does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all.”

Frankfurt has much more to say More…

Why the Movie ‘Thrive’ is Just Another Crock of Libertarian Bullshit…

In Around the web, BS Buzzer on May 10, 2012 at 6:03 am

From ROB HOPKINS
Transition Culture

[This silly magical-thinking propaganda garbage pisses me off because these smooth smirking self-aggrandizing jerks so dishonestly and deliberately prey on those who care... -DS]

What do you do when you are the heir to the Proctor and Gamble fortune and you have spent years surrounding yourself with new agey thinking and conspiracy theories? You make a film like ‘Thrive‘, the latest conspiracy theory movie that is popping up all over the place.  I’ve lost count of the number of people who have asked me “have you seen ‘Thrive’?” Well I have now, and, to be frank, it’s dangerous tosh which deserves little other than our derision. It is also a very useful opportunity to look at a worldview which, according to Georgia Kelly writing at Huffington Post, masks “a reactionary, libertarian political agenda that stands in jarring contrast with the soothing tone of the presentation”.

Visually the film is like some kind of Star Trek fan movie crossed with a National Geographic wildlife film, and is largely built around Gamble’s own years of ‘research’ into the question of what it is that “stops life on earth from thriving”. A reasonable question to ask, but his approach can hardly be called ‘research’ due to the low standards he accepts as ‘evidence’ and his all-round lack of critical analysis. His research, such as it is, is cherry-picked to deepen and support his established worldview, rather than the worldview being built from a careful analysis of the evidence. As we’ll see, this is a dangerous foundation.

So here’s the film’s argument in a nutshell. Humanity is killing itself and the world around it because free energy sources are being deliberately kept from us, cures for cancer are being kept from us, all because we are controlled by an invisible elite who want to create a ‘new world order’ More…

Community Funding, Not Crowd Funding…

In Around the web, BS Buzzer on April 28, 2012 at 6:00 am

From JOHN ROBB
Resilient Communities

[Crowdfunding is another scam to remove money from our own local communities with no localized oversight or involvement... simply grabbing the funds of the distant naive. We need to develop progressive, Mondragon-style democratically-controlled Credit Unions in our own local communities... -DS]

[...] The good news is that is now easier to raise money for small to medium sized projects than it was in the past.

Why is it easier?

Two recent developments:   Kickstarter and the JOBS Act.

  • Kickstarter is a Web site that makes it easier for people and companies to get funding for their projects.  Recently, the site gained critical mass and some projects, from a computer game to an iPhone accessory, raised millions of dollars in funding.
  • The JOBS Act is a new US law that makes it legal for small companies to “go public” without all of the pesky SEC and accounting paperwork that makes going public so tough and expensive.  So, it’s now possible for companies to sell shares of stock (equity) directly to the public in small amounts.

These developments are great news for those of us building resilient communities. Why? It opens up new options for getting resilient infrastructure built and resilient businesses launched.  Unfortunately, this new freedom will come at a cost.

Avoid Crowdfunding

The bad news is that this funding method is going to be terribly abused by the same broken financial system that gave us the financial meltdown of 2008. Here’s what I mean.

You can see the problem already in the term the press is using to describe this new funding activity.  They are calling it “crowdfunding.”  This name conjures up an image of a nameless faceless mob of people, ready to throw money More…

Four sleezy ways Big Pharma pushes drugs…

In Around the web, Aw, ya selfish greedy bastards ya, BS Buzzer on January 10, 2012 at 6:00 am

From ALTERNET

Big Pharma uses ads that sow hypochondria, raise health fears and sell diseases to adults and their children.

It’s no secret that advertising works. Big Pharma wouldn’t spend over $4 billion a year on direct-to-consumer advertising if it didn’t mean massive profits.

What is more unknown is why drug ads that sow hypochondria, raise health fears and “sell” diseases are often the most common–and effective–even when the drugs themselves are of questionable safety.

The nation’s fourth most frequent drug ads in 2009 for were Cymbalta, making Eli Lilly $3.1 billion in one year, despite the antidepressant’s links to liver problems and suicide. Pfizer spent $157 million advertising Lyrica for fibromyalgia in 2009, despite the seizure pill’s links to life-threatening allergic reactions. The same year, it spent $107 million advertising the antidepressant Pristiq, even though it also had links to liver problems.

So, how does Pharma dupe us into using unsafe drugs? Today’s drug ads, targeted directly to consumers since 1999, seem like they sell diseases and often cast women, children, the elderly and mentally ill in a bad light. But a quick look at ads before direct-to-consumer advertising (DTC) in medical journals shows that drug ads have always done so. It’s just that patients didn’t used to see them.

Here are some of Pharma’s most offensive ad campaigns, then and now.

1. You’re Sicker Than You Think

When psychiatric drugs first became popular for use in the general population, in the late 1960s More…

The concept of ‘free markets’ is a lie

In BS Buzzer on September 16, 2011 at 6:20 am

From RAN PRIEUR

[...] First, “freedom” is the perfect propaganda word: its meaning is vague, we have strong feelings about it, and it is value-loaded. Nobody will stand up and say “I am against freedom.” So if you’re clever with words, you can control the minds of people who are not paying attention, by convincing them that “freedom” means what you say it means. And if you apply “freedom” to economics, it gets even more confusing.

Among the many things that “freedom” can mean, two big ones are absence of constraint and absence of coercion. These two things are not only different — they’re opposite. Constraint means you want to do something but you’re not permitted; coercion means you don’t want to do something but you’re forced. Now, if one person is powerful and another person is weak, can you guess which definition of freedom is most important to each of them? And have you ever met a libertarian living in poverty? “Economic freedom” has been defined by the economically powerful as absence of constraint, so they can control the economically weak. In response, the weak use a weak word: fairness. “Unfair” is the complaint of losers. Instead, the economically weak should claim Freedom, and explicitly define it as lack of coercion.

If freedom is lack of coercion, then a free market is one in which no one is permitted to buy the labor of someone who needs money.

So if you need money More…

Greedy Conservatives Scheming To Steal Social Security Trust Fund

In Around the web, BS Buzzer on August 13, 2011 at 7:27 am

From SIERRA VOICES

The conservative meme that the Social Security trust fund is a “fiction” is based on the banal fact that Social Security contributions are paid into the treasury, and paid out when needed. Note, though, that each such contribution results in an accounting entry in the notional “trust fund” account and in the contributor’s sub-account.

An “accounting entry?”

Sounds like fiction, doesn’t it?

Well, it is, sort of, in exactly the same way that a bank’s ability to loan more money than it has in deposit reserves is a sort of “fiction,” merely an accounting device, a kind of convenient social contract only.

Other “fictions” in our system — as we have seen so vividly recently — include our national debt obligations. Apparently, if we so decide, and as some Tea Party Know-Nothings encourage, we could simply abrogate many of those debt obligations. After all, they’re just accounting entries, right?

One way to identify a radical conservative in these times is by his immoral willingness to dismiss these important social contracts as “mere fictions.”

Here’s Dean Baker’s explanation for the conservative attack on the trust fund:

” … high income people don’t want to pay the taxes to repay the bonds. That is why they are so anxious to convince the public that the trust fund is not real. I calculated that defaulting on the trust fund would transfer more than $1 trillion from the bottom 95 percent of the income distribution to the richest 5 percent (“Defaulting on the Social Security Trust Fund Bonds: Winners and Losers”). The richest 1 percent of families would walk away with nearly $750,000 each.

“In short, there is a lot of money at stake in convincing the public that the Social Security trust fund is not real. That is the reason we hear it called a fiction. In reality, there is nothing more confusing about the trust fund than an ordinary bank account. The public absolutely should demand that the government not default on the bonds held by Social Security and that the politicians and pundits start talking more honestly about the program.”
~~

The last days of the salt-is-bad fad

In Around the web, BS Buzzer on May 28, 2011 at 7:30 am

From KRISTIN WARTMAN

A new study finds that low-salt diets actually increase the risk of death from heart attack and stroke — and in fact don’t prevent high blood pressure.

For something that’s so often mixed with anti-caking agents, salt takes a lot of lumps in the American imagination. Like fat, people tend to think of it as an unnecessary additive — something to be avoided by seeking out processed foods that are “free” of it. But also like fat, salt is an essential component of the human diet — one that has been transformed into unhealthy forms by the food industry.

Historically, though, salt was prized. Its reputation can be found in phrases like, “Worth one’s salt,” meaning, “Worth one’s pay,” since people were often paid in salt and the word itself is derived from the Latin salarium, or salary.

Those days are long over. More Salt…

The last days of the soy-is-good fad

In Around the web, BS Buzzer on May 28, 2011 at 7:29 am

From KRISTIN WARTMAN

Studies have found that soy-fed infants have estrogen levels an average of seventeen thousand times higher than infants fed human or cow’s milk.

Thanks to Michael Pollan, many Americans are now aware that when a food boasts a health claim it usually means it’s actually not that healthy after all. But there’s one food that consistently flies below the radar despite its numerous health claims when found in processed and packaged foods: Soy. A long-time staple in the American health food repertoire, it is a prominent example of Pollan’s observation. And the research is mounting that soy foods are not only questionable in terms of their benefits, but in fact, may be hazardous to your health.

Most recently, the Cornucopia Institute conducted research on the processing of soy foods and found that the industry commonly uses hexane—a petroleum-based solvent and known neurotoxin Less Soy…

The last days of the fat-is-bad fad

In BS Buzzer on May 28, 2011 at 7:27 am

From KRISTIN WARTMAN

If you work out the numbers, you come to the surreal conclusion that you can eat lard straight from the can and conceivably reduce your risk of heart disease.” 

The low-fat trend finally appears to be on its way out. The notion that saturated fats are detrimental to our health is deeply embedded in our Zeitgeist—but shockingly, the opposite just might be true. For over 50 years the medical establishment, public health officials, nutritionists, and dieticians have been telling the American people to eat a low-fat diet, and in particular, to avoid saturated fats. Only recently, have nutrition experts begun to encourage people to eat “healthy fats.”

This past December, the Los Angeles Times reported that excess carbohydrates and sugar, not fat, are responsible for America’s obesity and diabetes epidemics. One of the lead researchers in this field, Dr. Frank Hu, More Fat…

Privatize Public Services? Just Another Stupid Scam…

In Around the web, Aw, ya selfish greedy bastards ya, BS Buzzer on May 5, 2011 at 7:30 am

From ELLEN J. DANNIN
Professor of Law

White Paper On Privatization

Here are some impacts the Cornell University Hebdon Report found that result from privatization:

  • diminished quality and access to services
  • lower employee morale, productivity and training
  • worker exploitation through lower wages and benefits
  • increased discrimination against minorities and women
  • loss of government control and sovereignty
  • lost constitutional and other legal rights
  • decreased efficiency as a result of difficulty monitoring and administrating contracts
  • loss of accountability and control
  • lost infrastructure
  • increased corruption, bribery, kickbacks, bid-rigging, campaign donations, low-ball bids, and contractor bankruptcy

More Stupid Scams…

Social Security: Their numbers are bullshit, they’ll steal us blind, please pass this on!

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around the web, Aw, ya selfish greedy bastards ya, BS Buzzer, Social Security on April 23, 2011 at 7:12 am

From MANNY GOLDSTEIN
Democratic Underground

OK, by now we all know that the Social Security Trust Fund will be depleted in 26 years, and only a portion of benefits will be paid after that. Actually, that “known fact” is pure BS, a product of cooked numbers. What they aren’t telling you is that this projection assumes that over the next 75 years, the US economy will grow at a far lower rate than it has in the past. (They weren’t expecting us to check the calculations, were they?)

Since 1960, US GDP growth has averaged 3.2%. Even in the decade before the 2007 crash, which included a recession and jobless recovery, GDP growth averaged about 3.0%. However, in creating its publicized projection, the Obama administration assumes that the future US economy will grow at a rate of about 2.1%, much lower even than the 2.9% rate in 2010, which most of us would agree was a tough year for our economy. Even in this very pessimistic projection, Social Security is still able to pay more than 75% of promised benefits after 27 years. (Note that we need about 2.5% growth just to break even with our increasing population.)

And what if the economy stays the same as in 2010, and we continue to lurch forward at 2010′s 2.9% growth rate? The same projection showed that at a 2.9% rate, the Trust fund would remain flush with cash as far as they projected (75 years).

So, unless the US economy is about to get even worse than today and stay that way, Social Security should pay full benefits for our lifetimes and beyond.

If you believe otherwise, then the bad guys have already won: they now have a pretext for stealing you blind More Social Security…

The New Republican Landscape of Destruction

In Aw, ya selfish greedy bastards ya, BS Buzzer, Knuckle Dragger Alert on April 18, 2011 at 8:10 am

From NYT Editorial

Six months after voters sent Republicans in large numbers to Congress and many statehouses, it is possible to see the full landscape of destruction that their policies would cause — much of which has already begun. If it was not clear before, it is obvious now that the party is fully engaged in a project to dismantle the foundations of the New Deal and the Great Society, and to liberate business and the rich from the inconveniences of oversight and taxes.

At first it seemed that only a few freshmen and noisy followers of the Tea Party would support the new extremism. But on Friday, nearly unanimous House Republicans showed just how far their mainstream has been dragged to the right. They approved on strict party lines the most regressive social legislation in many decades, embodied in a blueprint by the budget chairman, Paul Ryan. The vote, from which only four Republicans (and all Democrats) dissented, would have been unimaginable just eight years ago to a Republican Party that added a prescription drug benefit to Medicare.

Mr. Ryan called the vote “our generation’s defining moment,” and indeed, nothing could more clearly define the choice that will face voters next year.

His bill would end the guarantee provided by Medicare and Medicaid to the elderly and the poor, which has been provided by the federal government with society’s clear assent since 1965. The elderly, in particular, would be cut adrift by Mr. Ryan. People now under 55 would be required to pay at least $6,400 more for health care when they qualified for Medicare, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Fully two-thirds of his $4.3 trillion in budget cuts would come from low-income programs. Lots More Republican Bullshit…

Lewis Black on Nuclear Holocaust

In Around the web, BS Buzzer on March 13, 2011 at 9:12 pm


[A reminder of past and present BS. NSFW. ~DS]
~

Counterpunch: Don’t Worry, It’s Just a Little Radiation

First the Quake, Then the Lies

From KARL GROSSMAN

And with the major malfunction at the Fukushima nuclear power plant comes the lies…

That’s the way it’s always been when it comes to nuclear technology: deception has always been a central element in the push for it.

As desperate efforts were made Friday to keep coolant flowing—to prevent a nuclear meltdown—“radioactive vapor” was being released from the plant, reported the Associated Press. It quoted Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano as saying the amount of radioactivity was “very small.”

And it “would not affect the environment or human health,” added AP.

Really.

The Nuclear Energy Institute, the U.S. nuclear industry trade group, presented a page on its website devoted to the post-earthquake situation involving nuclear plants in Japan which opened with pronouncement: “The Japanese prime minister and the industry’s safety agency say all plants in the country are safe and that there has been no radiation release from any reactors. Utilities there are managing More Radiation…

Jim Houle to Ukiah City Council: Why Costco?

In Around Mendo Island, BS Buzzer, James Houle on January 20, 2011 at 8:23 am

From JAMES HOULE
Redwood Valley
Member of the County Council of the Green Party

To the Editor:
The following was presented to the City Council of Ukiah on January 19th:

You, the City Council of Ukiah, are scheduled today (Jan. 19th) to approve, in secret session, an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement with Costco. Most of your fellow citizens are at a loss to understand why you would sell 15 acres of land bought with Redevelopment Funds to a retail emporium when it is well established that our real need is affordable housing, not more stores. We hold you answerable to us for your actions and ask for your response to the following questions:

Why is it OK in your view to place a Big Box Retail Outlet in Ukiah after we the voters resoundingly defeated such a Big Box Complex at the Masonite site More Jim Houle…

Stop the BS! Garbage Privitizing Will Pick Our Pockets For Years To Come

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island, BS Buzzer on August 16, 2010 at 8:55 am

Public Letter from Supes Colfax and Smith

[Pure and simple. If a private company says they can do it cheaper and better than the county, then they are either lying, or we have a failure of county government. -DS]

In summary, we urge the public to insist on a cost benefit analysis of this contract, including the need for a 14 year extension to three hauling contracts. Privatization at any cost is not in the public interest, does not provide consumer protection and will cost residents needlessly for years to come.

On August 17, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors will vote to turn five county transfer stations over to a private company. If this contract is approved many county residents will pay more for curbside collection and all residents will see self-haul rates rise at five previously operated county sites. This proposal is harmful, unnecessary and will permanently dismantle a network of transfer stations available to County residents for decades. We feel compelled to alert the public to how their pockets are about to be picked.

We have no philosophical objection to privatization of government work if it can be proven that it saves money more

GOP Wants Tax Cuts for Wealthy While Localities Drown In Red Ink

In Around the web, BS Buzzer on August 10, 2010 at 8:20 am

~~

The Bullshit Lies of Alan Simpson about Social Security

In !ACTION CENTER!, Aw, ya selfish greedy bastards ya, BS Buzzer, Social Security on June 23, 2010 at 8:10 am

From FIREDOGLAKE

[...] Let me elucidate some of the ways that Simpson is wrong about Social Security:

SIMPSON: It’ll go broke in the year 2037.

FACT: The Social Security program faces a modest long-term financing shortfall of tax revenue and interest on Trust Fund assets. The Social Security Trustees estimated in 2009 that the Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program will continue to add tax revenue to their Trust Funds up to 2016. The Trust Funds will continue to grow because of interest earned through 2023, at which time total assets will be $4.3 trillion. Subsequently, Social Security will gradually draw down all reserves before the end of 2037, if Congress takes no action whatsoever, it will have sufficient resources to pay about three-quarters of scheduled benefits. Hardly “going broke.”

SIMPSON: All of them have to do with stabilizing the system, which we are told is insolvent, it’s paying out more then it’s taking in.

FACT: Social Security is currently running a surplus. In 2009, an estimated 94 percent of Social Security tax revenues were spent to meet current expenditures (benefits and administrative costs). The surplus tax revenues, along with interest credited to the Trust Fund, contribute to a growing Trust Fund balance.

SIMPSON: It’s 2.5 trillion bucks in IOUs which have been used to build the interstate highway system and all of the things people have enjoyed since it has been setup.

FACT: The interstate highway system was built in the 1950’s when Social Security’s income and outgo were equal. The build up of the trust fund began after 1983 when Congress consciously chose that route as part of the 1983 amendments.

SIMPSON: When I was your age there were 16 people paying into the system and 1 taking out and today there are 3 people paying into the system and 1 taking out.

FACT: This is the same misleading information that Bush used to sell his privatization plan. The 16 to 1 ratio is a figure plucked from 1950, the year that social security expanded to cover millions of farm and other workers. All pension programs that require a period of employment for eligibility show similar ratios at the start or when expanded because all newly covered workers are paying in, but none of them have yet qualified for benefits. By 1955, the ratio was 8 to 1 and by 1973 the ratio was where it is today…

More here.
~~

Manifesto: I am not a brand

In Around the web, BS Buzzer on June 22, 2010 at 8:15 am

From MAUREEN JOHNSON

[Enough with the brand bullshit already. -DS]

[...] Just to be clear on this thing I am not, maybe I should define my understanding of personal branding. A personal brand is a little package you make of yourself so you can put yourself on the shelf in the marketplace and people will know what to expect or look for when they come to buy you. For example, Coke is a brand. When you see Coke, you expect a dark brown effervescent sweet drink that is always going to taste like . . . Coke. McDonalds is going to sell you inexpensive, fast food. The Ritz or the Four Seasons is going to sell you a luxury experience. BP will now be known as the brand that destroys the costal ecosystem of the southeastern United States.

And yes, authors sometimes have these “brands.” Nicholas Sparks is going to sell you a Roman . . . love story, excuse me . . . where someone dies of cancer/similar disease at the end. V.C. Andrews will sell you something awesomely insane and creepy. Dan Brown will sell you a series of puzzles, facts, and clues leading to the unveiling of a huge secret. Tom Clancy will sell you something with a submarine or some kind of large weapon in it. You get the idea. I don’t know if any of the above actively works on his or her “brand” . . . (well, V.C. Andrews won’t, since she died in 1986 having written only eight books -— her official ghostwriter has written over sixty more in her name since that time, which is pretty impressive work).

I am not saying that it is a bad or dishonest thing to try to sell your work. It is not. What I am saying is that I am tired of the rush to commodify everything, to turn everything into products, including people. I don’t want a brand, because a brand limits me. A brand says I will churn out the same thing over and over. Which I won’t, because I am weird…

I think the divide is pretty basic. I think there are people out there who see the Internet as a way of employing the same old techniques of SHILL, SHILL, SHILL. A hundred years ago, they would have rolled up to you in a wagon, shouting about their tonic. Fifty years ago, they would have rolled their vacuum cleaners up to your door.

The other side, the side I am on, is the one that sees an organic Internet full of people. Sure, when I have a book come out, I will often say, “Please, could you buy a copy? I need to buy food and Post-it notes and hamsters.” But in reality, I wouldn’t suggest it if I didn’t think you would like it. I have a lot of fun writing my books, and hey, if you can buy one, great! I think it’s just as great if you take it out of the library. I write because I actually like doing it, and through some miracle of science, I get paid, so wayhay!…

MY POINT IS . . . it’s early days yet on the Internet, and lines are being drawn. We can, if we group together, fight off the weenuses and hosebags who want to turn the Internet into a giant commercial. Hence, the manifesto. It goes something like this: more

A vote for Wendy Roberts is a vote for the Right Wing, Privatizing, and Dumb Growth

In Around Mendo Island, BS Buzzer on June 5, 2010 at 8:45 am


Excerpts from an article in The Press Democrat

[...] Mendocino business consultant Wendy Roberts’ financial supporters include the North Coast Citizens for a Better Economy, a construction industry lobbying group [from outside Mendocino County -DS], and John Mayfield, a Ukiah land developer who belongs to the conservative Mendocino Employers Council…

Roberts is liberal by Mayfield’s standards, but he said she is more conservative fiscally and on property rights than her opponents. She also favors privatizing some county services and allowing some development on the coast…

More at the PD here
~
See also: Hey Wingnutters! Are Community and Compassion Evil?
~~

Songbirds and Organic Wheat

In BS Buzzer on June 3, 2010 at 2:20 pm



From THE ORGANIC CENTER

A paper by a U.K. research team entitled “Birds select conventional over organic wheat when given free choice” appeared in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. The team reports that birds prefer conventional wheat over organic wheat when given a choice, and attribute the preference expressed by bird feeding behavior to the approximately 10% higher protein content in the conventional wheat.

Because of higher levels of nitrogen fertilizer use on conventional farms, conventional food often includes higher levels of protein than organic food. But because protein is a nutrient present at ample to excessive levels in the typical western diet, this advantage for conventional food does not lead to any significant health benefits in countries like the U.K. and U.S.

The authors go on to make several questionable statements based on their experimental findings. For example, they conclude that –

“Our results suggest that the current dogma that organic food is preferred to conventional food may not always be true, which is of considerable importance for consumer perceptions of organically grown food.”

People do not seek out conventional or organic wheat to increase their average daily protein intakes, nor do preferences expressed by birds in an experiment like this one have anything to do with the reasons some consumers choose to purchase organic wheat and support organic wheat farmers.

The study has attracted considerable press attention and strong criticism for overstating its findings. In a May 19, 2010 story in the Los Angeles Times, one of the authors of the study acknowledged that – “Just because the birds preferred conventional food doesn’t mean it’s better for them.” The study makes no mention of the impacts of pesticide use on bird populations.

Source: Ailsa McKenzie, and Mark Whittingham, “Birds select conventional over organic wheat when given free choice,” Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, in press, 2010.
~~

Liberated from Libertarianism: How’s that whole deregulatey depressiony thing working out for ya?

In Around the web, BS Buzzer on May 23, 2010 at 10:22 am

From DAVID MICHAEL GREEN
Common Dreams

[...] Where libertarianism breaks down is in assuming that we can all just do what we want and it will work out great. And in assuming that all private actors are essentially well intentioned. Neither of these is true, and a libertarian society would leave each of us at the mercy of these twin fallacies. And that’s an ugly place to be, let me tell you.

Suppose you bought a house and had a fat mortgage outstanding on it. Now the guy who owns the plot next door decides to build an abattoir on his land. You can’t live in your house anymore because of the nauseating, permeating, stink. You also can’t sell it, because no one else wants to live there either. And you’re still stuck paying the mortgage, probably plunging you into bankruptcy since you’re now also paying rent to live somewhere else. Why did all this happen? Because you voted for that libertarian city council, and they threw out all the zoning laws on the books, preferring maximum freedom for use of private property instead. Aren’t you thrilled about how that worked out?

So you pack all your belongings in your car and decide to drive away. But you turn around after going just a couple of miles, because everybody drives on any side of the road they want to, whenever they want to, and it’s scary dangerous out there. Why? more→

Fox and Republicans Feigning Outrage Is Showbiz. It’s Bull. It’s Bad For Democracy.

In Around the web, BS Buzzer on April 5, 2010 at 8:13 am

From CROOKS AND LIARS

Video here

Rachel Maddow calls bull-pucky on Fox News and the GOP for fake outrage on everything from fake pimp James O’Keefe who helped take ACORN down, to Climate-gate, to recess appointments, to the individual mandate in the health care plan, to Miranda rights, to trials for terrorists, to the birthers to you name it.

She asks “Has there ever been a time where we shared so few political facts?” and after noting that we need some actual serious political discourse in America and how important that is to our democracy adds this:

Two things disqualify you from this process. You can’t threaten to shoot people, and you have to stop making stuff up.

Amen sister. She’s right, the Republicans and their allies in the press should be disqualified from this process for propagandizing the public and for allowing the violent rhetoric coming out of these Tea partiers, Fox News and Republican members of Congress to continue. Until some more of your cohorts in the media are willing to do the same thing you did here, that’s not going to happen. This dangerous nonsense only going to get worse until we get these media monopolies broken up.

We should have hundreds of those like Rachel Maddow, Amy Goodman, Thom Hartmann, Bill Moyers and others out there that everyone that visits this site is well aware of, giving equal weight to liberal voices that there is a market for, but has been suppressed by our corporate media that wants to pretend to play fair while marginalizing those that care more about facts over hype.

I don’t know what it’s going to take to finally get Glenn Beck off of the air or for someone in the GOP to finally tell Michele Bachmann to sit down and shut up but something’s got to give or we’re headed down a very dangerous path with how this all ends. I truly think some of these useful idiots would rather destroy our country than ever stop what they’re doing, and it saddens and terrifies me. I was happy to see Rachel call some of them out for what is just a small portion of how destructive they’ve been to our democracy and our political discourse.
~~

Team Earth: Another Load Of Corporate Bullshit From Conservation International

In Around the web, BS Buzzer on March 27, 2010 at 8:30 am

From THE UNSUITABLOG

Environmental groups used to be funded largely by their members and wealthy individual supporters. They had only one goal: to prevent environmental destruction. Their funds were small, but they played a crucial role in saving vast tracts of wilderness and in pushing into law strict rules forbidding air and water pollution. But Jay Hair–president of the National Wildlife Federation from 1981 to 1995–was dissatisfied. He identified a huge new source of revenue: the worst polluters.

Hair found that the big oil and gas companies were happy to give money to conservation groups. Yes, they were destroying many of the world’s pristine places. Yes, by the late 1980s it had become clear that they were dramatically destabilizing the climate–the very basis of life itself. But for Hair, that didn’t make them the enemy; he said they sincerely wanted to right their wrongs and pay to preserve the environment. He began to suck millions from them, and in return his organization and others, like The Nature Conservancy (TNC), gave them awards for “environmental stewardship.”

Companies like Shell and British Petroleum (BP) were delighted. They saw it as valuable “reputation insurance”: every time they were criticized for their massive emissions of warming gases, or for being involved in the killing of dissidents who wanted oil funds to go to the local population, or an oil spill that had caused irreparable damage, they wheeled out their shiny green awards, purchased with “charitable” donations, to ward off the prospect of government regulation. At first, this behavior scandalized the environmental community. Hair was vehemently condemned as a sellout and a charlatan. But slowly, the other groups saw themselves shrink while the corporate-fattened groups swelled–so they, too, started to take the checks.

Christine MacDonald, an idealistic young environmentalist, discovered how deeply this cash had transformed these institutions when she started to work for Conservation International in 2006. She told me, “About a week or two after I started, I went to the big planning meeting of all the organization’s media teams, and they started talking about this supposedly great new project they were running with BP. But I had read in the newspaper the day before that the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] had condemned BP for running the most polluting plant in the whole country…. But nobody in that meeting, or anywhere else in the organization, wanted to talk about it. It was a taboo. You weren’t supposed to ask if BP was really green. They were ‘helping’ us, and that was it.”

Looking at the summary above, one is tempted to abandon the idea that NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) have any part to play in the removal of destructive actions upon the natural world. I think that’s a fair assumption. None of the NGOs come out of this well, more→

The Story of Bottled Water

In Around the web, BS Buzzer on March 23, 2010 at 3:03 pm

[More privatizing B.S. exposed. -DS]

See also The Story of Stuff and The Story of Cap & Trade here
~~

The Big Banks want you back. Yeah, see you later Alligator…

In Around the web, Aw, ya selfish greedy bastards ya, BS Buzzer on March 15, 2010 at 8:30 pm

From The New Rules Project

Those who wonder whether public anger at big banks and the Move Your Money sentiment sweeping the country is substantial enough to impact these giants need only look at the banks’ own marketing over the last few weeks to see the proof.

In a spate of new advertisements and PR maneuvers, the nation’s largest banks are working hard to win us back. They are, in effect, standing on our doorstep, flowers in hand, trying to convince us they’ve changed.

They’re using words like “local” and “community,” because they know quite well that there’s a rival for our affections. A recent Zogby poll found that nearly one in ten Americans had moved at least some of their business to small banks or credit unions.

One jilted lover, Citibank, has launched a blog devoted to showcasing the “new Citi.” The site, which Citibank is promoting through newspaper and magazine ads, features a video statement by CEO Vikram Pandit, who offers a few vaguely apologetic statements before detailing how Citi is a changed bank.

We’ve given up boozing and gambling, Citibank seems to be saying as Pandit assures us that the new Citi has embraced “a culture of responsible finance.”

In his opening post, Pandit describes this as a “new chapter” and invites us to participate in a conversation. “We promise we’re listening,” he writes.

So far, many of the user comments, which are moderated, appear to come from Citibank investors, but a few disgruntled customers have managed to get through. “What Cit has done to ‘help’ me in the last year: interest rate increase to 29 percent!” writes Peter. “I have never been late with a payment… [You have] a total lack of caring toward your customer base.” more→

Eco-Grain? 100% Natural? Saving The Earth? Better Than Organic? Phony Balony!

In BS Buzzer on March 10, 2010 at 7:04 am


From MICHAEL LAYBOURN
Hopland

I was reading National Geographic this morning and noticed an ad the featured something called Eco Grain. “What in tarnation is Eco Grain?” the headline said.

Well, according to the ad, it is grown on special farms in Idaho “thanks to a more sustainable farming approach.”

Sounds good to me, I thought, I might get some of this Earthgrain bread. But, wait, maybe I should check this out a little more carefully.

What an ad, tailored for those eco libs that read National Geographic: “The Eco Grain Movement is starting small, but with your help won’t stay that way. ..You’re probably going the store anyway, so why not do a good deed while you’re at it? By simply buying our…. “ “So do the earth a favor…”

I decided to look up this eco grain phrase and found this, by Barry Shlachter:

Sara Lee’s EarthGrains brand has launched an “environmentally friendly” line of bread with a marketing blitz that describes itself as a “plot to save the earth, one field at a time.”

more→

Local Energy and Corporate Power (Part 2)

In BS Buzzer on February 22, 2010 at 7:29 am

From MICHAEL LAYBOURN
Hopland
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

PG&E Spending Millions to Block Local Utilities

From San Jose Mercury News: PG&E is spending millions of dollars on a statewide initiative that would make it tougher for you to get your power from anyone else. The initiative, one of several appearing on the June 8 ballot, would require two-thirds approval from local voters before cities or counties could choose an alternate energy provider. The utility says the initiative, which it refers to as the “Taxpayers Right to Vote Act,” will ensure that voters have a final say on big energy decisions.

“We value our customers very much and we are going to stand up and resist efforts to take over our customers,” said Chairman Peter Darbee.

PG&E has so far spent $6.5 million on the initiative, according to documents on the California secretary of state’s Web site, and has signaled it is prepared to spend millions more. It says money spent on the campaign comes from shareholder dollars, but critics charge that customers are essentially footing the bill.

Pacific Gas and Electric is supporting California Proposition 16 to create a virtual stranglehold on its monopoly.  In a blatant thumbing of its nose at the political process, this corporate giant is attempting to use the proposition system to cement its own power and maintain its monopoly. more→

The World Needs Genetically Modified Foods?

In BS Buzzer, Industrial Agriculture on February 7, 2010 at 7:07 pm

From GM Watch

10 reasons why we don’t need GM foods

If you want to print this article as an A4 leaflet, download a PDF.

With the cost of food recently skyrocketing – hitting not just shoppers but the poor and hungry in the developing world – genetically modified (GM) foods are once again being promoted as the way to feed the world. But this is little short of a confidence trick. Far from needing more GM foods, there are urgent reasons why we need to ban them altogether.

1. GM foods won’t solve the food crisis

A 2008 World Bank report concluded that increased biofuel production is the major cause of the increase in food prices.[1] GM giant Monsanto has been at the heart of the lobbying for biofuels (crops grown for fuel rather than food) — while profiting enormously from the resulting food crisis and using it as a PR opportunity to promote GM foods!

“The climate crisis was used to boost biofuels, helping to create the food crisis; and now the food crisis is being used to revive the fortunes of the GM industry.” — Daniel Howden, Africa correspondent of The Independent[2]

“The cynic in me thinks that they’re just using the current food crisis and the fuel crisis as a springboard to push GM crops back on to the public agenda. I understand why they’re doing it, but the danger is that if they’re making these claims about GM crops solving the problem of drought or feeding the world, that’s bullshit.” – Prof Denis Murphy, head of biotechnology at the University of Glamorgan in Wales[3]

more→

No on A But Yes on CostCo?

In BS Buzzer, James Houle on January 16, 2010 at 1:52 pm

From JIM HOULE
Redwood Valley

Many of us fought against Measure A because we believed that Ukiah had no need for out-of-county retailers stealing business from our local merchants. Yet both the City Council and the County BOS are moving ahead trying to entice CostCo to locate here either as a part of the Airport Blvd. shopping area or as a special use permit on the old Masonite Site.

Many of those who seemed so militant last fall about keeping out the DDR complex now seem to be showing their true colors: they are really well brain-washed Super-Consumers trained in front of TV screen since infancy. They like the idea of a local CostCo in town. They love to push those oversized carts around a store empty of sales help and with an unpredictable inventory. They really don’t give a shit about the fate of our local merchants nor about the seedy look of empty stores on State Street that are the legacy of our previous run-ins with the Bog Box Monster. Yet, but yet, maybe they are actually the Realists: they know Little Ukiah can’t keep fighting the Big Capitalists indefinitely and are willing to make this one compromise so they can frolic along the broad aisles of a Ukiah CostCo and stand for 20 minutes at the checkout.

But how will CostCo impact local business? Who will be hit first? Probably the food stores: The Ukiah Valley cannot support our three big supermarkets plus both CostCo and the planned Walmart food store. Already struggling Raleys will likely go under first and those living in the north end of town without cars will be miles from a food store. more→

FDA approves Crestor drug for people who have no health problem to correct

In Around the web, BS Buzzer on January 2, 2010 at 8:24 am

From NATURAL NEWS

Big Pharma has been trending this direction for a long time: marketing medicines to people who don’t need them and who have nothing wrong with their health. It’s all part of a ploy to position prescription drugs as nutrients — things you need to take on a regular basis in order to prevent disease.

The FDA recently gave its nod of approval on the matter, announcing that Crestor can now be advertised and prescribed as a “preventive” medicine. No longer does a patient need to have anything wrong with them to warrant this expensive prescription medication: They only need to remember the brand name of the drug from television ads.

This FDA approval for the marketing of Crestor to healthy people is a breakthrough for wealthy drug companies. Selling drugs only to people who are sick is, by definition, a limited market. Expanding drug revenues requires reaching people who have nothing wrong with them and convincing them that taking a cocktail of daily pharmaceuticals will somehow keep them healthy.

All this is, of course, the greatest quackery we’ve yet seen from Big Pharma, because once this floodgate of “preventive pharmaceuticals” is unleashed, the drug companies will be positioned to promote a bewildering array of other preventive chemicals you’re supposed to take at the same time. more→

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,526 other followers