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Food prices continue to fall, but not everyone can stomach them

by David A. Arnott – 

A dozen eggs costs less than $1. Grass-fed ground beef costs less than $5 per pound. Welcome to low food prices.

For nine straight months, food prices have fallen, a pattern with little precedent outside of recessions, according to a Bloomberg report, and a trend largely attributable to a confluence of low oil and grain prices and tough competition from discounters moving into the grocery space.

Shoppers are learning to seek out bargains wherever they may be instead of shopping for all their groceries at a single store, the report said. That process has been aided by the likes of Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) and Target (NYSE: TGT) pushing into groceries, as well as expansion from Aldi and other lower-priced stores.

While the decline is appealing to consumers, for some of the businesses that supply grocery stores, the ongoing drop is a problem. Marketplace cited one cattle farmer saying that the price for his beef cattle is down about 50 percent, and therefore people like him will likely take losses and have a harder time investing in their businesses moving forward.

The change in food costs is striking. Business Insider went to a Wal-Mart store in Richmond, Virginia, and compared recent prices there to prices at the same store in September 2015. One dozen eggs cost 67 percent less, peanut butter was 28 percent cheaper, and ground beef was 8 percent cheaper. Not all prices were down, though. Business Insider saw that canola oil, for instance, had jumped in price considerably.

Whether more products will turn higher in price in the months ahead is unknown, but Marketplace did quote food industry analyst Phil Lempert arguing that the current low prices could be seen as a correction since prices were extraordinarily high just three years ago.

David A. Arnott is the National News Desk Editor with The Business Journals.

 

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The best analysis of the presidential debate from around the Web

 

Here’s some of the best analysis, reaction, polling and commentary on Monday night’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump posted overnight:

  • Washington’s Post’s three-minute version of the debate, including a breakdown of NBC anchorman Lester Holt’s performance (rated by the news site as a “win”).
  • NPR not only supplies an entire transcript of the entire debate, but its national correspondents fact-check the statements and weigh in on points they make throughout.
  • CNN reports that in a post-debate poll, Clinton was thought to be the winner by 62 percent of voters, versus 27 percent who thought Trump had the better night. The poll is based on interviews with 521 registered voters who watched the debate and included both landline and cell phones, with a 4.5 percent margin of error.
  • Top takeaways from the first presidential debate, as written by the Wall Street Journal’s Aaron Zitner. Here’s one: “Mr. Trump bet that voters would see some of his more assertive business tactics as an example of how he would fight for them in office.” Check it out.
  • CNBC reports that Dow futures traded up last night by more than 100 points as Clinton “appeared to gain momentum” over Trump. Here, the network postedseveral of the most memorable clips from the debate here, including the “she doesn’t have the stamina” exchange.
 

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When This Boat Crew Realized What They Were Seeing, It Was Almost Too Late To Escape.

We don’t really think about it on a daily basis, but the Earth is still changing all the time. It just happens so slowly that we can’t really perceive it. But every now and then, things speed up… a lot.

Recently, the crew of the Maiken was enjoying a leisurely sail through the South Pacific when they spotted a strange discoloration on the water. They moved in closer to inspect it, but by the time they realized what it was, it was too late.
 
The crew of the Maiken was sailing the South Pacific 
when they spotted an unusual shadow.
As they got closer, what they had taken to be a sandbar 
revealed itself to be something else entirely.


A huge amount of pumice stone was floating to the 
surface of the water. It looked like a beach.


They decided to get a closer look and redirected 
their yacht towards it.


It looks like a beach in the middle of the ocean!


The crew decided to sail through it, leaving a break in 
the stone behind them as they went.


They wondered what could have caused this expanse 
of stone to suddenly appear.


The field of pumice was getting even larger as they passed through it. The crew had an uneasy feeling and upped their speed.


Once they were a safe distance away, they heard a faint rumbling. Looking back they saw water bubbling from the surface.


The source of the pumice stone was an underwater volcano 
that was actually erupting at the time!


They anchored to watch this tremendous event. 
Massive plumes of smoke filled the sky.


As the smoke cleared, they noticed something strange 
just at the water’s surface….


It was land! 


The stunned crew couldn’t believe what they were seeing: 
It was the actual birth of a new island. 


They sailed a little bit closer to see if their eyes were 
playing tricks on them.


But it was real. The peaks of this new land mass 
were already taking form. 


It was one of the rarest events imaginable. 
They were so lucky! Not only because they were able to witness such an impossible sight… but also because they apparently very narrowly escaped with their lives!
Many thanks to Boredom Therapy for this incredible story!
 

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Holy Shite! Be Very Careful At The Supermarket – the great China lie

By Tracy Coleman

Smithfield Farms, the largest pork producing farm in the USA was sold in September to China with the unanimous support of its stockholders!! The hogs will still be raised here, but slaughtered and packaged for sale there before being sent back here. This includes labels of Morrell, Eckrich, Krakus, Cudahy, Premium Ham, Cook’s and Gwaltney
The same with many chickens. They can now be shipped there, but when they come back all that needs to be labelled is that they WERE RAISED IN THE USA . Not that they were processed in China !!!
Our great FDA at work again. The chickens will be all processed and most sold to fast food restaurants for sandwiches, along with schools and supermarkets. The China slaughter and processing are not nearly equal to the requirements here.
We recently learned that Starkist Tuna is now owned by Korea , and is in big conflict with the U.S.concerning quality, safety, and records, which Korea refuses to produce.
Read several articles on Google about this, and even one that was defending the eating of tilapia said to avoid the fish that came from China ?
Also, I had just returned home from buying Albertson’s 4-day special of 4 bags of frozen tilapia for the price of one? Sure enough, on the top of the bags, it read “farm raised”, and on the bottom in small print it said, ” China ”
Recently a Food inspector on TV said he had lived overseas and he had seen the filthy conditions their foods are raised and processed in. Some foreign workers have to wear masks as they work in these places, because the food is so rotten, it makes them want to throw up. Many of their fish on Fish Farms are fed raw sewage daily. He said he has seen so much filth throughout their food growing and processing that he would “never” eat any of it. They raise it, put some food coloring and some flavorings on it, then they ship it to the USA & Canada for YOU to consume and feed to YOUR families. They have no Food & Safety Inspectors. They ship it to you to buy and poison your families and friends with.
Imported food we eat and the junk we buy:
Green Giant frozen vegetables are from China,
and so are most of Europe ‘s Best.
Arctic Gardens are OK so is Birdseye.
*Never buy the grocery store garlic unless it is clearly marked from USA or Canada *, the other stuff is grown in people poop (even worse than chicken poop). China is the largest producer of garlic in the world; U.S. is next.
*Buy only local honey*, much honey is shipped in huge containers from China and re-packed here.
Cold-FX is grown and packed in China and is full of fecal bacteria. Doesn’t work anyway, big scam.
If the country of origin is not clearly marked, beware
If produce, ask an employee.
Watch out for packages which state “prepared for”, “packed by” or “imported by”. We don’t understand the lack of mandatory labelling, especially the produce.
The country of origin should be clearly shown on the item in the store.
Go to the local farmers’ markets in season and keep a wary eye open the rest of the year.
Please read this very carefully, and read to the very bottom. It’s important for all of us.
How is it possible to ship food from China cheaper than having it produced in the U. S. or Canada ? It is not, it is part of Obama’s ‘trade agreement’ with China .
FOR EXAMPLE THE “OUR FAMILY” BRAND OF MANDARIN ORANGES SAYS RIGHT ON THE CAN ‘FROM CHINA ‘. – SO, for a FEW MORE CENTS, BUY THE * LIBERTY * BRAND, *GOLD BRAND or DOLE from CALIFORNIA *.
Beware, Costco sells canned peaches and pears in a plastic jar that come from China .
ALL “HIGH LINER” AND MOST OTHER FROZEN FISH PRODUCTS COME FROM CHINA OR INDONESIA . THE PACKAGE MAY SAY “PACIFIC SALMON” ON THE FRONT, BUT LOOK FOR THE SMALL PRINT. MOST OF THESE PRODUCTS COME FROM FISH FARMS IN THE ORIENT WHERE THERE ARE NO REGULATIONS ON WHAT IS FED TO THESE FISH.
*Recently The Montreal Gazette had an article* by the Canadian Government on how Chinese feed the fish: They suspend chicken wire crates over the fish ponds, and the fish feed on chicken poop.
If you search the internet about what the Chinese feed their fish, you’ll be alarmed; eg: growth hormones, expired anti- biotic from humans? Never buy any type of fish or shellfish that comes from these countries: Vietnam , China or the Philippines .
Steinfeld’s Pickles are made in India – just as bad!
Another example is in canned mushrooms. No-Name brand comes from Indonesia .
Also check those little fruit cups. They used to be made in Canada in the Niagara region until about 2 years ago. They are now packaged in China . Most sold in Aldi stores.
While the Chinese export inferior and even toxic products, dangerous toys, and goods to be sold in North American markets, the media wrings its hands! Yet, 70% of North Americans believe that the trading privileges afforded to the Chinese should be suspended.
Well, duh! Why do you need the government to suspend trading privileges?
SIMPLY DO IT YOURSELF, CANADA and the U.S.
Simply look on the bottom of every product you buy, and if it says ‘Made in China ‘ or ‘PRC’ (and that now includes Hong Kong ), simply choose another product, or none at all. You will be amazed at what you can do without.
THINK ABOUT THIS
If 200 million North Americans refuse to buy just $20 each of Chinese goods, that’s a billion dollar trade imbalance resolved in our favor fast! The downside? Some Canadian/American businesses will feel a temporary pinch from having foreign stockpiles of inventory.
Just one month of trading losses will hit the Chinese for 8% of their North American exports. Then they will at least have to ask themselves if the benefits of their arrogance and lawlessness are worth it.
*START NOW and don’t stop, and tell your friends*
Send this to everybody you know. Let’s show them that we are intelligent, and NOBODY can take us for granted *Start reading labels more closely and buy American even if it cost a few cents more*.

 

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How to decipher a coconut oil label

by Katherine Martinko

Dr Bronner's coconut oil

© Dr. Bronner’s (via Facebook)

The labels on coconut oil can be confusing. Learn what all the terms mean so you can buy the best product.

Coconut oil can do almost anything, from cooking to cleaning to beautifying. It tastes delicious, is made of medium-chain fatty acids that are easily digestible, and has antibacterial qualities. Supposedly it can boost your immune system and reduce hypertension. Clean your teeth with it, remove stains, condition hair, scrub the shower, and season pots. It’s no wonder that coconut oil has become the new darling of everyone’s home.

But how do you pick the best coconut oil? There are many varieties now available and the options can be overwhelming. Here is your essential guide to decoding coconut oil labels.

Should I buy organic or non-organic?

This term reveals whether or not the coconuts used to make the oil were grown with pesticides. Look for the green USDA Organic logo, but keep in mind that some smaller-scale producers may harvest coconuts from locations that cannot afford to undergo the expensive organic certification process. If in doubt, do some research on a specific company.

What’s the difference between refined and unrefined?

‘Refined’ may sound nice, but stay away from it! Unrefined is always a better option. In the words of Allie White on the Free People Blog:

“The word ‘refined’ basically means the coconut oil you’re holding was made from copra, a.k.a. old, rotten, dried coconuts that have been left to bake in the sun, then [are] refined and deodorized in order to be sold.” It’s a dirty, labor-intensive process and a “rotten product not only for the people who are making it, but also for the planet… not something you want to be consuming or putting on your skin.”

To offer another perspective, however, refined coconut oil can withstand higher temperatures before reaching its smoke point. Food Renegade argues in favor of refined coconut oil, saying that they’re great for cooking when you need lots of “clean, pure, malleable fat without a dominating coconut flavor.” How the oil is refined is what matters, according to Food Renegade:

“Most are refined using a chemical distillation process dependent on lye or other harsh solvents, or they’re made from the rancid oil byproducts leftover from creating dessicated coconut flakes. Sadly, these are refined, bleached, and deodorized in an effort to create a palatable product that can be sold to consumers. Many coconut oils are even hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated! (Avoid these at all costs as the hydrogenation process creates synthetic trans-fats.) However, there are some quality, non-hydrogenated refined coconut oils available that are refined using a natural, chemical-free cleaning process (usually involving steam and/or diatomaceous earth).

What does raw mean?

This signifies that the coconut oil has been made from fresh, raw coconut meat, and no heat has been used to ‘cook’ it in any way prior to processing. Think of it in terms of vegetables: once you cook a vegetable, it can lose some of the nutrients it had prior to processing.

Should I choose virgin or extra-virgin?

We’ve all gotten used to buying extra-virgin olive oil, but it’s not so important with coconut oil. In fact, the general consensus appears to be that there’s no difference between virgin and extra-virgin coconut oils, nor do these terms mean anything at all; there is no industry standard for determining what falls into these categories.

How is the oil extracted?

There are three main types of extraction.

Cold-pressing is manual extraction to press the oil out of the coconut meat. It results in lower yields than other methods (which use heat to help with extraction), but produces an oil that is fresh, clean, and rich in nutrients. It is never heated above 42 degrees Celsius (107 degrees Fahrenheit).

Centrifuge extraction uses a machine that spins chopped coconut to separate the oil from the meat. The resulting ‘raw’ oil requires no further refining; it has a mild taste that makes it pleasurable to eat straight off the spoon, and tends to be the priciest oil because it retains all its nutrients.

Expeller processing heats the coconut and crushes it to prepare for oil extraction. “The extractor uses a chemical solvent (hexane) to separate the coconut from the oil [and] further refining is often necessary to cleanse the extract,” according to The Beauty Gypsy.

Chemical extraction is basically the process described above for refinement. It should be avoided if possible, as the product quality is far inferior to these other extraction methods.

What does whole kernel mean?

Whole kernel refers to the entire coconut kernel being used to make oil, including the brown inner skin, as opposed to ‘white kernel’ oil that removes the brown skin before processing. As a result, the whole kernel oil has a slightly nuttier taste and may look slightly yellower. It’s not a significant difference.

Is the coconut oil fair trade?

“It’s not just what you grow, it’s how you grow it,” says personal care products giant Dr. Bronner’s. The company now sells certified ‘Fair for Life’ coconut oil that guarantees fair pay for workers, safe working conditions, a fair trade premium to help with community development projects, education for children, and job stability. In an industry rife with injustices and abuses, spending a few extra dollars for fairly traded coconut oil can go a long way toward supporting some of the world’s poorest and most exploited farmers.

Another great company selling certified Fairtrade coconut oil is Level Ground, based in Vancouver. Look at this helpful infographic describing the “9 steps to coconut oil sourcing and production.”

 

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Yahoo acknowledges major data breach, blames ‘state-sponsored actor’

 

Yahoo has acknowledged a data breach that exposed information from hundreds of millions of users’ accounts. The possibility the company would make that announcement was reported by Recode.

In a release posted today, Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) said it has “confirmed that a copy of certain user account information was stolen from the company’s network in late 2014 by what it believes is a state-sponsored actor” and that at least 500 million user accounts had been exposed.

Moving forward, the company said it would notify affected users and has already take steps to secure those accounts. The company also recommended changing passwords on Yahoo accounts if they have not been changed since 2014, which is when the company said the theft occurred.

Recode said the announcement may affect Yahoo’s pending sale of its core assets to Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ). Yahoo had not replied to Recode with a comment about the report as of this morning.

Recode noted that there were reports this summer of a major breach; Yahoo said at the time that it was investigating. A separate report by Motherboard said a hacker, identified as Peace, claimed to have obtained 200 million Yahoo user credentials that he had been selling privately but then decided to sell more openly. That report said the data appeared to include usernames, hashed passwords, dates of birth and some backup email addresses.

Verizon’s $4.8 billion deal with Yahoo was announced in July.

.

 

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‘Camping’ on Your Own Land is Now Illegal — Govt Waging War on Off-Grid Living

Costilla County, CO — Across the U.S., local zoning officials are making it increasingly difficult for people to go off the grid, in some instances threatening people with jail time for collecting rainwater or not hooking into local utilities.
As zoning laws have increasingly targeted the off-grid lifestyle, many have moved to the Southwestern U.S. as an escape from overzealous zoning officials.
In Costilla County, Colorado, there has been a major influx of off-grid residents to the San Luis Valley. The combination of lax zoning regulations, cheap property, and an already thriving community of self-reliant off-grid homesteaders has led to many new residents.
The off-grid lifestyle, enjoyed by an estimated 800 people, is now being threatened as county officials have recently made moves to essentially regulate and license the lifestyle into oblivion.
Tensions boiled over during a county commissioners’ meeting in San Louis, Colorado, devolving into a shouting match between homesteaders and police. One of the major points of contention is the county’s attempt to ban camping on your own property, in an effort to force the off-grid homesteaders back onto the grid.
“We are residents who have come to live off the grid. It’s all our land.” … “These are harsh economic times. We have nowhere to go,” twenty-year resident Paul Skinner said.
“We’ve been regulated out of life,” homesteader Robin Rutan told Colorado Public Radio. “I came here because I couldn’t live by the codes [in other regions].”
The county, which requires residents to have a camping permit to live in an RV, “small house” or other camp style home, has started to simply refuse the renewal of these permits.
This is obviously a major problem for homesteaders, who often live in such accommodations while building their permanent residents.
“They started enforcing the changes before they were actually made,” resident Chloe Everhart said.
Everhart said she performed due diligence prior to buying her land, with one of the most important aspects of the plan being a 90-day camping permit. Without a 90-day permit, camping on residential plots is only allowed for 14 days per every three months.
But just as Everhart was arriving, the board of commissioners instructed the planning and zoning commission to no longer issue camping permits.
In spite of her best efforts, Everhart is now an outlaw.
County land use administrator Matt Valdez disputes the claims that the county is trying to regulate people’s lifestyles out of existence. He says that his office has discretion to deny camping permits under existing code and claims that too many new residents were habitually renewing permits meant to be temporary.
“We’re not trying to drive people off their property,” Valdez said.
Valdez said he simply wants to make sure already established rules are followed for aesthetic and safety reasons.
The vilification of people who choose to live an alternative lifestyle is extremely commonplace in modern America.
While there may be legitimate issues that need to be addressed, people have a right to use land that they own in the manner they see fit. To use the technicalities of the law to essentially evict people from land they own reeks of tyrannical overreach and oppression of personal liberty.
Update: The county has dropped it’s planned zoning changes under increased public scrutiny, but they continue to refuse to issue 90-day camping permits to the off-grid land owners.
By Jay Syrmopoulos
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, free thinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay’s work has been published on Ben Swann’s Truth in Media, Truth-Out, AlterNet, InfoWars, MintPressNews and many other sites. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, onFacebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu
 

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