An Italian study in 2012 found that men’s penises were growing smaller over time — two centimetres lost from grandfather to grandson in the twentieth century. Conservative radio bloviator Rush Limbaugh knew who to blame: ‘feminazis, the chickification, and everything else’ linked to feminism. Other commentators, a bit more scientific, pointed the finger at endocrine disrupting chemicals, such as pesticides and hormones fed to cattle, as likely culprits.
For example, Bucky McMahon at Mediumpinned the blame squarely on plastics, offering that ‘virtually all commercially available plastics leach synthetic estrogens,’ implying that plastics are behind the (allegedly) lost penis stature. According to McMahon, plastic-derived xenoestrogens, chemicals that mimic the effects of estrogen, are also responsible for a fall off in the sperm count in men, first reported in 1992 British Medical Journal paper written by a Danish team led by Elisabeth Carlsen (Carlsen et al. 1992; see also Le Moal et al. 2014 for more recent review; and Sharpe 2003).
Some observers argue that the same culprit leads to an opposite trend among women. In 1997, a paper by Marcia Herman-Giddens and colleagues in Pediatrics reported that girls in the United States developed breasts earlier than previously thought: their findings suggested that Euro-American girls were, on average, experiencing the onset of puberty before 10 years of age, and African-American girls, on average, before the age of 9 (Herman-Giddens et al., 1997). A ‘new normal’ was a more precocious onset of female sexual maturity, in some cases long before the girls were emotionally ready. As Dr. Glenn Braunstein wrote for the Huffington post: ‘childhood for girls is shrinking, while the duration of puberty is expanding.’
The potential causes of early onset for puberty in girls include xenoestrogens, but also obesity and higher childhood body weight, an imbalance between high-energy diet and lower levels of activity, the consumption of sugary soft drinks, even sexual abuse or other severe life stress.
Although all of these findings are controversial — other studies find no decrease in sperm count or penis size, for example (see Bergman et al. 2012) — the worst-case scenario is grim, indeed. McMahon predicts a sad end to our species, driven to sexual dysfunction and the brink of extinction by plastics messing with our hormones:
In the endgame, we’ll be a race of sexed-up tweener girls and sterile dudes with little dicks wandering baffled through a rubbish-filled world. Then those poor mismatched souls will grow old and die. End of story …
As California farmers face a fourth year of the state’s historic drought, they’re finding water in unexpected places — like Chevron’s Kern River oil field, which has been selling recycled wastewater from oil production to farmers in California’s Kern County. Each day, Chevron recycles and sells 21 million gallons of wastewater to farmers, which is then applied on about 10 percent of Kern County’s farmland. And while some praise the program as a model for dealing with water shortages, environmental groups are raising concerns about the water’s safety, according to a recent story in the Los Angeles Times.
Tests conducted by Water Defense, an environmental group founded by actor Mark Ruffalo in 2010, have found high levels of acetone and methylene chloride — compounds that can be toxic to humans — in wastewater from Chevron used for irrigation purposes. The tests also found the presence of oil, which is supposed to be removed from the wastewater during recycling.
“All these chemicals of concern are flowing in the irrigation canal,” Scott Smith, chief scientist for Water Defense, told ThinkProgress. “If you were a gas station and were spilling these kinds of chemicals into the water, you would be shut down and fined.”
Chevron, which produces around 70,000 barrels of oil and 760,000 barrels of water each day at the Kern River oil field, has been selling water to farmers in the surrounding area for two decades. But government authorities have never required that water to be tested for chemicals used in oil production — only naturally occurring toxins like salts and arsenic. And even those standards are “decades-old,” according to the Los Angeles Times. …
Apparently the US military, which has squandered billions on pointless wars half way around the world, seemingly for the purpose of creating future enemies, can’t be troubled to do some cloud seeding off the coast of california.
Public-service unions are asking the federal government for the first time to enshrine scientific integrity language into their collective agreements.
The language is intended to ensure that researchers employed by the government can speak openly about their work, publish results without fear of censorship and collaborate with peers.
With contract negotiations set to resume this week, there will also be a series of demonstrations for the Ottawa area on Tuesday to focus attention on the issue.
If successful, the effort could mark a precedent-setting turn in what the government’s critics portray as a struggle between intellectual independence and political prerogative. …
US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter is willing to risk a war with China in order to defend “freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea. Speaking in Honolulu, Hawaii on Wednesday, Carter issued his “most forceful” warning yet, demanding “an immediate and lasting halt to land reclamation” by China in the disputed Spratly Islands.
Carter said: “There should be no mistake: The United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows, as we do all around the world.” He also added that the United States intended to remain “the principal security power in the Asia-Pacific for decades to come.”
In order to show Chinese leaders “who’s the boss”, Carter has threatened to deploy US warships and surveillance aircraft to within twelve miles of the islands that China claims are within their territorial waters. Not surprisingly, the US is challenging China under the provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, a document the US has stubbornly refused to ratify. But that’s neither here nor there for the bellicose Carter whose insatiable appetite for confrontation makes him the most reckless Sec-Def since Donald Rumsfeld.
So what’s this really all about? Why does Washington care so much about a couple hundred yards of sand piled up on reefs reefs in the South China Sea? What danger does that pose to US national security? And, haven’t Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines all engaged in similar “land reclamation” activities without raising hackles in DC?
Of course, they have. The whole thing is a joke. Just like Carter’s claim that he’s defending the lofty principal of “freedom of navigation” is a joke. China has never blocked shipping lanes or seized boats sailing in international waters. Never. The same cannot be said of the United States that just recently blocked an Iranian ship loaded with humanitarian relief–food, water and critical medical supplies–headed to starving refugees in Yemen. Of course, when the US does it, it’s okay.
The point is, Washington doesn’t give a hoot about the Spratly Islands; it’s just a pretext to slap China around and show them who’s running the show in their own backyard. Carter even admits as much in his statement above when he says that the US plans to be “the principal security power in the Asia-Pacific for decades to come.” China knows what that means. It means “This is our planet, so you’d better shape up or you’re going to find yourself in a world of hurt.” That’s exactly what it means.
So let’s cut to the chase and try to explain what’s really going on, because pretty soon no one is going to be talking about Ukraine, Syria or Yemen because all eyes are going to be focused on China where our madhatter Secretary of Defense is trying to start a third world war.
Here’s the scoop: Washington has abandoned its China policy of “containment” and moved on to Plan B: Isolation, intimidation and confrontation. In my opinion, this is why the powerbrokers behind Obama dumped Hagel. Hagel just wasn’t hawkish enough for the job. They wanted a died-in-the-wool, warmongering neocon, like Carter, who is, quite likely, the most dangerous man in the world.
Carter’s assignment is to implement the belligerent new policy of incitement and conflict. His actions will prove to the skeptics that Washington is no longer interested in integrating China into the US-led system. Rather, China has become a the biggest threat to Washington’s plan to pivot to Asia. And, just to remind readers how important the pivot is to America’s future, here’s an Obama quote I lifted up from Tom Engelhardt’s latest titled “Superpower in Distress”:
“After a decade in which we fought two wars that cost us dearly, in blood and treasure, the United States is turning our attention to the vast potential of the Asia Pacific region….As we end today’s wars, I have directed my national security team to make our presence and mission in the Asia Pacific a top priority.” ….
Carter is wittingly or unwittingly acting out his role in a comprehensive plan to destroy the USA in every conceivable way. We are low-hanging fruit to the satanists and barbarians who control the financial cartels. The supposed loyalists remaining in the US government have proven their utter incompetence. Their pretense of pursuing the national interest should be exposed as the hoax that it is.
Social destabilization on a wholesale basis. The idea is to undermine grassroots social cohesion by introducing masses of people who don’t speak the language or understand shared knowledge or history. The result is that centralized social control will be essential to maintaining domestic order in hard times because communities will not have the basis of trust needed to implement their own alternatives. The refugees themselves are mainly victims of the “humanitarian wars” and the economic dictatorships pushed by western elites for decades. A recipe for further centralization of power at the top. And they can dress it up in “humanitarian concerns” just like their endless wars for global domination.
You aren’t against refugees are you? See how that works? You’d better, before you become a refugee yourself.
At a time when the United States suffers from record high joblessness, unprecedented debt and a failing economy, governors in 49 states across the country have been taking money from the federal government to “resettle” refugees from third world countries in Africa and the Middle East. It’s all part of a little-known program whereby states like Wyoming and Minnesota, which have seen thousands of good-paying, middle-class jobs exported to foreign lands, agree to take in tens of thousands of foreign immigrants, who will no doubt have to depend on taxpayer-funded medical care and other welfare services.
Activist Frank George of Wyoming has been working tirelessly to bring attention to the so-called U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program (RRP). Officially, the program falls under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. But unlike most federal programs, the process is pretty simple. What happens is that the governor of a state, who wants to become a part of the program, contacts the federal government, which works in conjunction with the United Nations (UN) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like the secular Lutheran Services in America. The Catholic Church is also deeply involved in this program along with other denominations that sound like churches but are in reality NGOs.
The NGOs are key to this, because they, with the help of the UN, seek out refugee populations to bring into the U.S. These private organizations are then paid by the head, much as with cattle, by the federal government, and sometimes even state funds are tapped for this purpose. Directors of these NGOs can earn as much as $400,000 a year, and the more people they bring into the U.S., the more money they make. …
Nearly all US packaged food with a “natural” label in fact contains high levels of genetically modified ingredients, tests by the product testing watchdog Consumer Reports reveal.
Consumer Reports said its study included more than 80 different processed foods containing corn or soy – the two most prevalent genetically modified crops in the US – to determine if the “natural” labels was in fact true, Reuters reports.
The conclusion: consumers are being deceived by the “natural” label, Urvashi Rangan, executive director of Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability, told the agency.
While the “non-GMO” and “organic” labels proved trustworthy, the study found that nearly all of the food bearing the natural “label” contained substantial amounts of GMO ingredients. The watchdog tested a minimum of two samples from each of the 80 products, which were purchased between April and July 2014. …
Monsanto’s experimental genetically modified wheat has been discovered growing in the second US field in Montana, about a year after the discovery of the company’s unapproved crop growing in Oregon disrupted US wheat exports.
The plants were discovered at a test site at Montana State University, where back in 2000-2003 Monsanto was conducting field trials of its wheat, genetically modified to tolerate Roundup herbicide.
Although the government believes the wheat never reached market, it has still opened an investigation into finding the rogue plants at a site that was not supposed to host any tests after 2003, USDA’s Department of Agriculture’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service announced on Friday.
“We’ve now opened an investigation into this regulatory compliance issue,” said Bernadette Juarez, director of investigative and enforcement services for APHIS, adding however that “there are no safety issues with this wheat.” …
Three class-action lawsuits filed Friday claim that agribusiness power Syngenta is to blame for depressed corn exports to China since the seed company released a genetically-engineered variant of the crop before it was approved by Beijing.
At issue is Syngenta’s 2009 release and distribution of its MIR162 genetically-modified corn known as Agrisure Viptera, which is engineered to fend off certain insects known to decimate corn crops. While approved for use in the United States, Chinese regulators have yet to sanction the export of Viptera.
Syngenta is responsible for “destroy[ing] the export of US corn to China,” which led to “depressed prices for all domestic corn,” according to Volnek Farms, the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed in an Omaha, Nebraska federal court. Volnek and others are claiming $1 billion in compensation. …
The long-running debate about how WHO interacts with corporations is coming to crisis point. In the context of its Reform Process WHO Secretariat has been working on a new Framework of Engagement with non-State Actors – a term which applies equally to corporations, big philanthropies and public interest groups.
The International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) has been following this issue for many years and is calling for the negotiations to be put on hold and for the work to be informed by an expert meeting on Conflicts of Interest with public participation, with the aim of ensuring that WHO is protected from undue corporate and funder influence and stays true to its constitutional mandate.
During the discussions at regional and global level, the concerns of many Member States have not been taken seriously. African countries, for example, have stressed that“WHO should proceed with caution in developing a policy on engagement with non-State Actors” and specifically called for a “clear policy on how WHO will manage its conflicts of Interest.” In contrast the Regional Committee for Europe has been pushing for speedy adoption of the Framework.
The resulting Framework that Member States will be asked to approve this week, although claiming to address the key issues, is totally inadequate and fails to achieve the safeguards called for. Significantly the entire conflict of interest section is still in brackets (and might even be deleted) and the conflict of interest definition wrongly confuses the legal definition of conflicts of interest which refers to conflicting primary and secondary interests within an institution with conflicts between actors.
There seems to be a lack of political will to sort out this critical component of much needed comprehensive, coherent and effective public interest safeguards in the face of giant companies and private funding for public purposes. Instead the document refers frequently to the need for ‘mutual respect’ and ‘trust’ and proposes that a key principle for relations with WHO is inclusiveness of all actors. …