Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Food safety

Conagra is recalling close to 3,000 pounds of Chef Boyardee microwavable bowls, which are labeled rice with chicken and vegetables but actually contain beef ravioli. As a result, the ingredients milk and wheat – both allergens – aren't listed on the packaging.
The Chicago-based food manufacturer realized what happened after getting consumer complaints, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service.
The recall is for 7.5-ounce canned microwavable bowls that say "Chef Boyardee rice with chicken & vegetables" on the label and have a package code of 210090151050045L, best-by date of July 8, 2020, and the establishment number “EST. 794” on the bottom.

This is 'minor' unless you have an allergy.  This issue goes to food safety and, again, one candidate for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, Marianne Williamson, is addressing it.  One more time, C.I. posted something "Marianne Williamson discusses our food issues:"

Marianne Williamson is seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  Below she discusses the issues regarding our food supply:


Over the past century, the advent of modern farming techniques, the corporatization of agriculture, the use of petrochemical-based fertilizers, and the subsidizing and encouragement of the growth of genetically modified foods have collectively created a poisonous brew that is now affecting our health and well-being in critical ways.
The function of protecting America’s food supply was given in 1930 to an agency called The Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Most of us have grown up believing the FDA to be a watchdog on the look-out for threats to our health and well-being.
It’s not.  
In fact, the deregulatory trend that began in the 1980s as a financial boon to corporations has resulted in what is now a drastically underfunded and under-resourced FDA. More significantly, it has been turned into a toothless tiger with drastically diminished authority to actually put a stop to the kinds of abuses our government should be protecting us from.
A way-too-cozy relationship between the US government and its corporate benefactors has become the order of the day. In what is commonly called a “revolving door” practice, former corporate leaders now routinely move into positions of governmental authority.

Sources of corruption in our food include the following:

  • Excessive pesticides/herbicides/fertilizers
  • Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
  • Air and water pollution
  • Crowding of animals – chickens, cows, pigs – and feeding them antibiotics and growth hormones
  • Food processing
  • Weak monitoring of and enforcement relating to food borne pathogens
  • Outdated food pyramid guidelines.


Many of our health problems, including obesity, can be traced to the corruption of our food supply. We experience a lack of vitality in our food and, thus, our bodies, from processed foods with poor quality calories, weak in nutrients, containing residue of poisons from chemical farming.

We heavily subsidize unhealthy mass-produced foods like corn syrup and hydrogenated oils, when we need to be supporting the production of healthy, whole foods, making them more affordable and available. We must also update our nation's outdated nutrition guidelines and our food pyramid, which have not caught up to the science of what constitutes healthy food.

While its manufacturers claim that GMOs increase yield and, thus, help feed the starving of the world, scientists question whether that assertion is true. In fact, GMOs contaminate our gene pool, can be poisonous to birds and other living things, and have led to the production of increasingly dangerous herbicides such as Roundup.

Roundup is linked with sterility, hormone disruption, birth defects and cancer. It has been shown to cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths and endocrine disruption, and organ damage in animals even in very low doses.

Due to these and other concerns, over 39 (as of 2016) countries have banned the production of genetically modified foods. Yet the United States, one of only 26 countries that grow GMO crops, has over 180 million acres of GMO crops under cultivation. More than 70% of all U.S. cropland is already planted with GMO crops, and 70% - 80% of all foods sold in the US now contain GMOs – especially processed and non-organic foods.

We should at least know when we are eating food made from GMOs. While the Big 6 pesticide makers – particularly Monsanto and Dupont – spent tens of millions of dollars to defeat GMO labeling propositions in both California and Washington State, as president I would seek to limit their power. I would work to label all GMOs, and to strengthen consumer protection by the FDA and USDA.


A Williamson administration will support local, small family farmers and ranchers far more than we currently do. They have been especially hard hit by the current administration's trade policies, as well as by the impacts of climate change. My presidency will support regenerative, sustainable agricultural practices that not only have highly profitable yields, but can also help turn the tide on climate change.

Once again, until we have limited the influence of moneyed interests on the functioning of our government, we will always be fighting for the interests of the American people against encroachment by huge multinational corporate interests such as Big Ag, Chemical companies and so forth. 
We are no longer a functioning democracy when money gets to talk more than we do.
Republicans in Washington are also currently trying to rid the United States of food stamp programs. For many of our children, our disabled, our elderly, and even members of our military, food stamps make a daily difference in their lives. The idea of stealing from the poor in order to make it easier for the rich is not, in my mind, the way to cut America’s deficit. A moral deficit is as serious as a financial one.
Furthermore, the mistreatment of animals is damaging to the American soul. As custodians of this planet, we are intended to care for the animals that share the land with us. The meat and dairy industry needs to better take into account the treatment of animals. We need to find a way to better respect animals, and stop what in some cases is inhumane treatment—all the while, supporting our farmers and ranchers, financially and otherwise, to help make it so. Each of us must examine, carefully and soulfully, how our dietary choices not only affect our bodies and our planet, but how they literally affect the animals, themselves.

Food safety is important and, if you're not getting just how important, note this:

A warning letter sent to a Minnesota company recently describes rodent droppings in equipment and insect infestation in production areas. The operators also failed to flush old cider from equipment, causing raw cider to contaminate finished product and potentially cause serious illnesses.
In the letter to Theodore and Randall Husinga, president and vice president, respectively, of Sunnyside Orchard, the Food and Drug Administration referenced an inspection from Sept. 27 to Oct. 12, 2018, during which inspectors documented “serious violations” of the Juice Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulation.
“. . . your apple cider is adulterated in that it has been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby it may have been rendered injurious to health,” according to the Feb. 19 warning letter.
“To date, the agency has not received a written response from your firm regarding the violations noted on the Form FDA-483 Inspectional Observations, which was issued to you at the conclusion of the inspection.” 

Imagine taking a sip of that?  Food safety effects us all.  This is from a profile on Williamson last month:

Williamson’s volume climbs and her pitch drops as she reaches the climax. “Too many people now are lost in their negative feelings about what’s going on in our own little personal silo,” she says, gesturing to my own little personal silo. “That’s what makes the fear and the anger so debilitating. If we want to change our lives, we have to ask ourselves, deeply, what part we played. If I don’t tend to my marriage, I’m going to lose my marriage. If we don’t tend to our democracy, there are others who will more than happily take up the space. We [need to] realize, ‘No, I’ll show up for this, [as] other generations have shown up.’ ”
And lo, Marianne Williamson has delivered a surprisingly harsh miracle: For the first time since November 2016, I’m embarrassed enough to stop feeling sorry for myself about the state of America. I’m inspired.
The next day, Jan. 28, Williamson stands in the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, California, packed with 2,000 people – women in business casual; human mannequins serving up capes and blunt bangs; the kind of white hair exclusive to older men of the 1 percent; a lot of turquoise, indoor fedoras and Eileen Fisher draping; two seats reserved for Nicole Richie – and announces her campaign.
The evening begins with a performance by crunchy festival regular Nahko Bear, a beautiful man with a beautiful voice and face tattoos, followed by a short video of uplifting phrases: “STRIVE FOR PEACE,” “CALL A LIE A LIE,” “BLESS THE WORLD.” The projector screen rises and out walks Williamson, resplendent in another blazer. She stands in front of a floor-to-ceiling American flag and soaks up the adoration of the crowd like a Shamwow. After a staggeringly long standing ovation, she starts her speech.
The words are familiar. “It is time for us to rise up, the way other generations have,” she says, repeating her reprimand from our conversation the day before. “Cynicism is just an excuse for not helping. Whining is not an option. And getting all traumatized about how bad things are . . .” Williamson pauses, as if willing herself to move past her disgust. “We are not porcelain dolls. We need to identify the problems in this country. Then we need to identify with the problem solvers.”

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Monday:

Monday, March 11, 2019.  Will the Democrats finally field a presidential ticket without someone who voted for the Iraq War on it, why is THE GUARDIAN offering a b.s. story about a crime that protects and hides the criminal, and much more.

I want to know where Dem Primary Candidates stand, and have stood, on criminal justice, student loans, climate, wages, health care, trade policy, bank regulation, the Iraq War. Issues and not personality will determine who I support. What about you?

It's a solid approach but it underscores something.  2020 could be the first election since the start of the Iraq War where no one on the Democratic Party ticket supported the Iraq War.

2004: John Kerry and John Edwards -- both voted for the Iraq War.

2008: Barack Obama and Joe Biden -- Barack wasn't in the US Congress in 2003 but Biden was and voted for the Iraq War.

2012: Barack and Joe -- see above.

2016: Hillary Clinton and the forgettable Tim Kaine -- Hillary voted for the Iraq War.

Four presidential elections since the start of the Iraq War -- the ongoing Iraq War -- and every time the party has offered and Iraq War supporter.

Get the feeling you aren't listened to?  Because you aren't.

Joe Biden's flirting with an April announcement.


In November of 2020, he'll be 78.  What's he going to do? Steal from old crusty Dianne Feinstein and use his position to attack children?

Cranky old Dianne can't inspire children, she can't even listen to them.  She knows who lines her pockets.  From Branko Marcetic (IN THESE TIMES):

On February 22, footage of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) lecturing pleading children about her opposition to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ed Markey's Green New Deal resolution went viral. Several media commentatorson both sides of the debate cast the video of the 85-year-old senator dressing down the children as a case of generational conflict.
But the episode was also a reminder of the peril of wealth inequality in politics, with Feinstein, one of the very wealthiest members of Congress, having a personal financial stake in industries whose bottom lines would be threatened by the measures in the Green New Deal resolution.
Feinstein, whose net worth stands at $58.5 million, has been married for nearly 40 years to Richard C. Blum, a wealthy investor who still runs the private equity firm he founded in 1975, Richard C. Blum & Associates, Inc. According to Feinstein's most recent financial annual report, filed in May 2018 and covering the 2017 calendar year, Blum owns 100 percent of Yosemite Investments LLC, through which he has hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in several fossil fuel companies, some of which he has sold off since the Green New Deal began gaining increasing national attention.
According to an amendment filed in January, Blum in August 2017 invested more than $1 million in the Osterweis Strategic Income Fund, a mutual fund run by investment firm Osterweis Capital Management. Among Osterweis’s top ten holdingsare logistics firm XPO, a subsidiary of methanol producer Consolidated Energy Limited, a subsidiary of commercial aircraft leaser Avation PLC, and mining company Teck Resources, which holds interests in a number of different oil sands projects across the border in Canada, including the controversial Frontier project.

Like Dianne, Joe carries a lot of baggage.  That includes his voting history.  It also includes moments the press minimized or ignored.  For example, in 2008, in New Hampshire, Hillary's eyes welled and the press distorted that moment -- especially Bill Moyers (Ava and I covered his distortions repeatedly at THIRD) -- but months later when Joe Biden honestly cried, just started letting the tears flow, at a rally, the press acted as if it didn't happen.  We had weeks of what Bill Moyers snidely labeled Hillary's "moisty moment" but there was never any discussion of how weird it was for Joe Biden to sob in public in the  middle of a rally.

Those passes will not exist if he runs in 2020.

Some would argue Joe Biden -- at least when not crying -- is a fighter.  He has fought.  For example, he fought against Anita Hill when she came forward about being harassed by Clarence Thomas.  He fought for the Iraq War.  For the American people?

Not so much.

Opposing desegregation in Delaware in the 70s, championing a tough on crime stance in the 90s, voting for the Iraq War, various racist comments (see below)

Here's the video that's not showing up above.

Go away, You seem like a nice guy, but talk about baggage: Anita Hill Iraq War Vote Violent Crime Control Act Videos galore of touchy-feely with women ... AND we DO NOT need a moderate running against the Orange Mobster!
Joe Biden? See… > Wrote ’94 Crime Bill > Threw Anita Hill under bus > Voted for Iraq War > Gave us no student loan discharge in bankruptcy > Wall Street $$$ friend > Oddly handsy with women & girls > Gaffe-a-minute > No Medicare4All Forget it.
what's not to love about a guy who voted for the Iraq War, referred to the 1994 mandatory minimums tough on crime bill as "the Biden Bill", and is one of the main reasons you can't discharge student loan debt in bankruptcy!

Anyone who wants to run should run.  We need more choices, not fewer.

But there needs to be honesty in the process.

Honesty is stating that Joe Biden has no chance of winning.

Historically, that is the case.  Vice presidents do not take four years out of office and then return as their party's presidential candidate and then win the election.  When has that happened?


Richard Nixon did wait eight years and win but there were many factors at play there including eight years of Democrats in office.

The best example/reference for a Joe Biden run is 1984.  On the left, we were convinced that Ronald Reagan was so impaired everyone could see it.  His supporters couldn't.  They stood with him -- as Donald Trump's will.  An exciting race could have led to a Democrat win.  But we didn't have an exciting candidate.  We had Walter Mondale.  Vice president from 1977 to 1981 under Jimmy Carter.

Gary Hart was the candidate who generated excitement that year on the Democratic side but we went with dull and drab Walter.

That's the reference point here.

Ronald Reagan's supporters were only more entrenched in 1984 and the same will be true of Donald's in 2020.  If you're going to defeat Donald, you need a candidate who generates excitement, new visions, new vistas.  The same-old, same-old will not defeat Donald Trump.

"But he's so awful!"  Similar cries were made of Ronald Reagan.

Joe Biden is yesterday.  He can't lead the party into the future.

If you want four more years of Donald Trump, by all means, get on the Joe Biden train.  You're ignoring polling, you're ignoring history and you're ignoring reality, but choo-choo Biden Time?

Some will immediately point out that Bernie Sanders is older than Joe Biden.  He is.  He also generates excitement which Joe Biden has never done.

We didn't note this story yesterday and a lot of people were upset.

It's a bulls**t story.  Dalya Alberge should be embarrassed to have written it and THE GUARDIAN should be ashamed to have published it.  Did no one read that story closely?

A Border Force officer saw a cuneiform stone and was suspicious.  Turns out it was stolen from Iraq.


WTF.  I really can't grasp the stupidity of some people.

I try to be nice and realize that the media manipulates us.  But you're reading the same story I am.  Possibly, you even read this rewrite of THE GUARDIAN story.

What's missing from the story -- what important detail?

Why is THE GUARDIAN protecting a thief?

Who stole it?

That's the issue.

It didn't steal itself.  They want to tie a bow around it and act like everything's fine because the stone is headed back to Iraq.

No, it's not that simple, it's not that easy.

Someone deliberately stole that and there should be charges filed and this person, who broke the law, should have their name attached to this story.

Why are they being protected?

And THE GUARDIAN damn well knows they're protecting someone.  This fluff that Alberge offered ignored the basics of Who What Where and When.

It's as though they wrote of a murder without ever noting who the police arrested for the crime.

It's a bulls**t story and a functioning press would be calling it out themselves.

In other news, THE TEHRAN TIMES reports:

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran arrived in Baghdad on Monday for a three-day official visit.
He was welcomed by Iraqi President Barham Salih.
The visit by Rouhani is considered a milestone in ties between Iran and Iraq at the current juncture in history.

The trip took place upon official invitations by Salih and Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi.


Link to headline article

Trade ties in focus as Iran’s Rouhani begins Iraq visit

The President asserted that establishing strong ties with Iran and developing them will be for the benefit of Iraq and the region.

Turning to the topic of corruption . . .

The director of Babel Health department ,Nawras al-Kasbi, is accused of corruption and dealing with fictitious companies and the deliberate neglect of health institutions in the province.
LikeShow more reactions
The militias belonging to the politicians in # Baghdad government are controlling the fields of "Ajil and Alaj" in # Kirkuk; and carrying out the smuggling of oil abroad, while all are concealing these operations.
According to the MP Mansour Meraid.
LikeShow more reactions

We'll take on AP's pro-war nonsense and lies tomorrow.  (Don't e-mail, I already saw that garbage.)

In other news, William Arkin explores the issues regarding North Korea (at THE GUARDIAN) and concludes:

The experts insist that despite two summits, Trump has gotten nothing from Kim Jong-un. After Hanoi, everyone seems to want to give the president a history lesson on nuclear weapons, war, military realities and alliances. The experts cite many reasons for the sudden collapse in Hanoi: Trump’s arrogance and lack of preparation, the president going for too much, the mercurial mix of leaders and finally, the “fact” – a fact at least to the establishment – that North Korea will never give up its nukes. It’s all to push the amateur president and his cockeyed fantasy to denuclearize to just get out of the way. 
Reversing the progress that has been made, and returning to brinksmanship would be exactly the wrong course to follow. Yes, the North has reneged on agreements in the past. Yes, Kim is unlikely to embrace the Trump-Pompeo bargain: give up nukes, get sanctions relief, and prosper like your communist brethren in Vietnam. It is tantamount to Kim negotiating his own demise.

The North say they want sanctions relief and an elimination of “the nuclear threat” against them. It isn’t so ridiculous to provide that if one has an eye on a bigger prize: the opening up of the country to commerce and the internet. One can scream loudly about how horrible a regime is (Saddam), about human rights (remember the Marsh Arabs, the Kurds, the Shi’a majority?), and about the horrific consequences left and right. But is it possible that the Pentagon and the national security establishment is just stuck on its blinkered WMD playbook, even more so than it is on actually making progress towards a long and backdoor path to disarmament and ultimate reunification?

Kat's "Kat's Korner: Mavis Staples Live and so much more" and "Kat's Korner: Hozier takes you all the way and then some" went up Sunday.