that Israeli children are to receive compulsory lessons about the
Holocaust provoked an outcry from pundits who were traumatised by
teachers when they were young. But a book for the youngest
schoolchildren aims to avoid this mistake.
It looks like the sort of children's book you find the world
over - illustrations of a chubby three-year-old boy flying a plane or
playing in snow, drawings of different food and animals - a standard
educational tool. But this boy is Tommy and the circumstances of this
book's creation were anything but standard.
In 1944 Tommy and his father, Bedrich Fritta, were trapped in
the Terezin ghetto in Czechoslovakia - Jews caught in the Nazis' net.
During the day Bedrich was forced to draw propaganda posters,
but at night, he secretly painted this watercolour album, to give his
son a vision of normality amid the seething hell of the ghetto.
Now this book is at the centre of a row in Israel, where I
have come for a conference at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial centre
high on a hill in Jerusalem.
"We wonder who your bride will be": Shulamit Imber says the book teaches what life has to offer
So high, in fact, that on the day I meet Shulamit Imber,
pedagogical director of the International School for Holocaust Studies,
the whole complex is enclosed in a thick grey cloud, while rain beats
down ceaselessly across the campus.
Imber, a smiling woman wearing a red felt hat and a
red-and-white polka-dotted dress, complete with Minnie Mouse bow, has
been devising a curriculum for Holocaust education for children as young
This is where Tommy comes in: the book is to be course material for the youngest students.
Continue reading the main story
Haaretz on children's 'trauma'
"Are traumas what kindergartners in Israel lack? Do they need
to add Hitler to the list of Goliath-Pharaoh-Haman-Antiochus?... After
my first Holocaust Memorial Eve, the dream appeared: a squadron of
Messerschmitts adorned with swastikas, diving toward the square in front
of the communal dining room of Kibbutz Ein Hahoresh, their cockpits
open, their pilots and gunners draped in kaffiyehs, raining down
machine-gun fire. The attack has gone on for 30 years now, on nights too
numerous to count." Niva Lanir, Haaretz
"The Holocaust is the most horrific event in human history,
but it has no connection to Israel's security situation today. We must
remember and honor its victims, but we must not make our children imbibe
it with their milk. Every Israeli child has the right to live a life
free of collective traumas, and to deal with those traumas only once he
is ready to do so." Haaretz editorial
The author, says Imber, is teaching Tommy what life has to offer.
"He wants to make him happy in the ghetto," she says. "He
wants to show him that there is a nice world outside the ghetto, and he
wants to tell him he is going to build him a future… He is drawing him a
world he can survive in."
The book is a good tool, she says, because it concentrates on
life rather than death, without ignoring the true circumstances. It
will educate but not traumatise.
The storm which broke out when education minister Shay Piron
announced that Holocaust education was to become compulsory for all
Israeli schoolchildren precisely illustrated why a book like Tommy might
In newspaper opinion pieces, writers recalled the traumas they had suffered when Holocaust education had been done badly.
One remembered being shown the movie Night and Fog
aged 14, with footage from the death camps of "mountains of bodies
being bulldozed", leaving him "tormented", while another still suffered
nightmares 30 years after a teacher showed him, aged seven or eight,
photos of what he called "walking corpses in striped pyjamas
In Imber's office, a modern academic cubbyhole with
children's drawings on the wall, this atmosphere of trauma seems very
She explains that under the new curriculum children will have
15 to 20 hours of Holocaust education a year using materials that are
At the moment teachers deal with the subject as they think
best, often in the run-up to Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January, but
they are rarely suitably trained.
"Cow - moo, cheap, bow wow, baah"
Hence the tales of children being forced to re-enact agonising life-or-death scenarios in the classroom.
One story I heard was of a teacher who showed their class the
nature of the Holocaust by making them write down their dreams, then
putting them in a bucket and burning them.
It is not an easy line to tread, I suggest to Imber. Aged
six, children have already heard the siren which goes off across Israel
on Memorial Day and probably asked their parents about it, so they may
well already have knowledge that six million Jews died.
Continue reading the main story
From Our Own Correspondent
- Insight and analysis from BBC correspondents, journalists and writers from around the world
- Broadcast on Radio 4 and BBC World Service
But the curriculum's approach is
to stress the lives those Jews led. She says: "I do not think numbers
and bodies have meaning. I, in fact, think that this is the Nazis'
method, to dehumanise the people, and actually we rescue the individual
out of the pile of bodies."
As I visited the museums and memorials of Yad Vashem, this emphasis on the individual recurred.
Inside the Children's Memorial, a darkened structure of
glass, mirrors and candles which seem to reflect forever, the names,
ages and countries of some of the boys and girls who died in the
Holocaust are read out.
The art gallery displays piteous and angry portraits and
self-portraits made inside the ghettos and death camps, while the
archive contains diaries and other artefacts left behind by those who
I would not say it was uplifting - but it was not traumatic.
"Trauma is the opposite of education," says Imber. "Education has to lead to hope, and trauma doesn't have a meaning."
Support your local sherriff
Michael Moore postulated in "Bowling for Columbine" that violence in the street causes fear, and fear causes knee jerk thinking. It leads to the creation of police based organizations which, though good short term, are problematic in the long term. Some would suggest that police based organizations are a Conservative, or Republican solution, and the fight starts. I humbly suggest that we draw back a bit, and drop those words as emotional devices which have no place in a rational discussion.
I will reserve the discussion about fear, personal armament, anticipatory retaliation and such for another time, and point out that a police force which walks about the street instilling fear into the inhabitants is, in my opinion, a VERY bad thing. This troubles me more than a group of gang bangers out hanging about looking for trouble!
Is there an answer? Sure there is. Local policing, made up of people of the social-economic-ethnic group should be very active in the community. When was the last time you heard of a group of cops getting involved in a game of shinny? Or a pick-up basketball game? (I know, pretty hard to do when loaded down with all that gear!) What I call "support your local sherriff". There should be community leaders keeping a very high profile...community leaders "taking the air" with a couple of police and a few "hard cases" seeing and being seen about the neighbourhood.
Now I know this doesn't work in a lot of places....graft and corruption are just so part of the culture that some nationalities don't trust their police at all! My reply to that of course is "how did Miami clean up their famously corrupt police force? How did Chicago shake off the mob? Questions difficult to answer in a simple little blog like this one!
Sidney Australia had a "hood" which was very, um...problematic. A town on the suburbs called "blacktown". It was the lightning rod area, about a kilometer square which caused all the crime, gangs, and drug use in the city.
This is what they did about it. I'll shut up now, and humbly suggest you go to that link, watch the video, and you will see what I mean!
Elijah Harper died, 17 May 2013
By: Mia Rabson, Winnipeg Free Press
OTTAWA – Well-respected Manitoba aboriginal leader Elijah Harper has died.
Harper was 64.
He passed away early this morning from a heart attack due to
complications from diabetes. Harper’s wife, Anita Olsen Harper, his
children Bruce and Holly, stepchildren Karen Lawford, Dylan, Gaylen and
Grant Bokvist, released a statement.
"Elijah was a wonderful man, father, partner. He was a true leader and
visionary in every sense of the word. He will have a place in Canadian
history, forever, for his devotion to public service and uniting his
fellow First Nations with pride, determination and resolve. Elijah will
also be remembered for bringing Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people
together to find a spiritual basis for healing and understanding. We
will miss him terribly and Love him forever."
Harper was diagnosed with kidney failure due to his diabetes about six
years ago and has been on dialysis ever since. He underwent a kidney
transplant just before Christmas. However his death was quite sudden and
unexpected, said Darcy Wood, an aboriginal leader from Manitoba who has
known Harper since the 1980s.
"He was a very down-to-earth person," said Wood.
Harper was raised by his grandparents in Red Sucker Lake and spent much
of his childhood on trap lines. He also attended residential schools and
eventually the University of Manitoba. Wood said Harper’s illness did
not slow him down and he continued to travel and do humanitarian work.
He was the first Treaty Indian to be elected as a provincial politician,
and Wood said Harper always encouraged indigenous leaders to
participate in mainstream politics. "He was a pioneer in a lot of ways,"
said Wood. "It is a huge loss."
Harper was born in Red Sucker Lake, and became chief of the reserve when
he was just 29 years old. He went on to be an NDP MLA and MP from
Manitoba, including sitting briefly in the cabinet of Manitoba Premier
Harper’s most well-known moment however was when he stood in the
Manitoba Legislature in 1990, held up a single eagle feather, and voted
no to the Meech Lake Accord. His vote killed Meech Lake, and led to him
being chosen as Newsmaker of the Year in 1990.
Harper has long been considered one of the most well-respected aboriginal leaders in Canada.
Well, thats the basic story. Elijah Harper was so much more than just another Indian leader. Harper was the one who showed a generation of hollywood educated Canadians that the first nations are not poor downtrodden drunken welfare bums, but rather, the landlords of this great nation. His lessons will need to be told and re-told until attitudes change.
Rest in peace Elijah, there are plenty of people ready to take over now that you have shown the way.
These pictures are not for the faint of heart, but they MUST be shown.
This is the park which used to be the site of Vienna Gestapo Headquarters.
A monument is there now.
They have planted some very tough plants in this park. It is not the kind of place where you feel comfortable, you can't lie down on the nettles and thistles and crab grass they intentionally grow there. Not sure if I have much interest in the "plank", but somebody made the effort.
And I am making the effort to show the monuments.
It seems to be endemic these days. Of course, the amount of scientific fraud has risen ten fold in the last ten years, but to be fair, the submission of scientific papers has risen much more than that. But along with fraudulent and bad science is a backlash...the "sceptic movement" if you will, which is holding more and more of the fraudster's feet to the flames.
There is so much, and so much of it sells so well. The Da Vinci Code was the best selling work of fiction of all time, exceeding JK Rowlings derivative
Harry Potter by half again. (though as of this writing, "fifty shades of grey" may have proven that you can titilate even the distaff side with careful pornography and superb marketing enough for them to exercise their purchasing power) Even the author of the Da Vinci code claimed that it was all phoney baloney hype, but people are still going to France and Scotland, disturbing graves and breaking into monuments searching for "something".
Some stunning blogs and web sites....Bad Archaeology
, (no doubt a nod to my favorite sceptic site Bad Astronomy) and Engineering Evil
are happy to point out the fallacies in these oh so attractive pseudo sciences.
Two links, each of which will keep you busy for five or six hours EACH! You can thank me later.
Oh, the picture....thats a picture of the skull of Dawson's "Piltdown Man
Reaction to the Cloyne Report
(The rape and torture of children were used instead to uphold the primacy, power and reputation of the Vatican....Enda Kenny, in an address to the house of Parliament in Ireland.)
Below is the Arch Bishop's response.
David Lewis with a (fake) gold bar and liquid nanoscale gold particles
demonstrates the changes in colour, chemical and electrical properties
that are possible with nanotechnology Professor David Lewis with a
(fake) gold bar and liquid nanoscale gold particles demonstrates the
changes in colour, chemical and electrical properties that are possible
Fake gold bars in Bank of England and Fort KnoxWorld
Monday, January 11th, 2010
one thing to counterfeit a twenty or hundred dollar bill. The amount of
financial damage is usually limited to a specific region and only
affects dozens of people and thousands of dollars. Secret Service agents
quickly notify the banks on how to recognize these phony bills and
retail outlets usually have procedures in place (such as special pens to
test the paper) to stop their proliferation.But what about gold? This
is the most sacred of all commodities because it is thought to be the
most trusted, reliable and valuable means of saving wealth.A recent
discovery — in October of 2009 — has been suppressed by the main stream
media but has been circulating among the “big money” brokers and
financial kingpins and is just now being revealed to the public. It
involves the gold in Fort Knox — the US Treasury gold — that is the
equity of our national wealth. In short, millions (with an “m”) of gold
bars are fake!Who did this? Apparently our own government.BackgroundIn
October of 2009 the Chinese received a shipment of gold bars. Gold is
regularly exchanges between countries to pay debts and to settle the
so-called balance of trade. Most gold is exchanged and stored in vaults
under the supervision of a special organization based in London, the
London Bullion Market Association (or LBMA). When the shipment was
received, the Chinese government asked that special tests be performed
to guarantee the purity and weight of the gold bars. In this test, four
small holed are drilled into the gold bars and the metal is then
analyzed.Officials were shocked to learn that the bars were fake. They
contained cores of tungsten with only a outer coating of real gold.
What’s more, these gold bars, containing serial numbers for tracking,
originated in the US and had been stored in Fort Knox for years. There
were reportedly between 5,600 to 5,700 bars, weighing 400 oz. each, in
the shipment!At first many gold experts assumed the fake gold originated
in China, the world’s best knock-off producers. The Chinese were quick
to investigate and issued a statement that implicated the US in the
What the Chinese uncovered:Roughly 15 years ago — during the
Clinton Administration [think Robert Rubin, Sir Alan Greenspan and
Lawrence Summers] — between 1.3 and 1.5 million 400 oz tungsten blanks
were allegedly manufactured by a very high-end, sophisticated refiner in
the USA [more than 16 Thousand metric tonnes]. Subsequently, 640,000 of
these tungsten blanks received their gold plating and WERE shipped to
Ft. Knox and remain there to this day.According to the Chinese
investigation, the balance of this 1.3 million to 1.5 million 400 oz
tungsten cache was also gold plated and then allegedly “sold” into the
international market. Apparently, the global market is literally
“stuffed full of 400 oz salted bars”. Perhaps as much as 600-billion
dollars worth.An obscure news item originally published in the N.Y. Post
[written by Jennifer Anderson] in late Jan. 04 perhaps makes sense
now.DA investigating NYMEX executive ,Manhattan, New York, –Feb. 2,
2004.A top executive at the New York Mercantile Exchange is being
investigated by the Manhattan district attorney. Sources close to the
exchange said that Stuart Smith, senior vice president of operations at
the exchange, was served with a search warrant by the district
attorney’s office last week. Details of the investigation have not been
disclosed, but a NYMEX spokeswoman said it was unrelated to any of the
exchange’s markets. She declined to comment further other than to say
that charges had not been brought. A spokeswoman for the Manhattan
district attorney’s office also declined comment.”The offices of the
Senior Vice President of Operations — NYMEX — is exactly where you would
go to find the records [serial number and smelter of origin] for EVERY
GOLD BAR ever PHYSICALLY settled on the exchange. They are required to
keep these records. These precise records would show the lineage of all
the physical gold settled on the exchange and hence “prove” that the
amount of gold in question could not have possibly come from the U.S.
mining operations — because the amounts in question coming from U.S.
smelters would undoubtedly be vastly bigger than domestic mine
production.No one knows whatever happened to Stuart Smith. After his
offices were raided he took “administrative leave” from the NYMEX and he
has never been heard from since. Amazingly, there never was any follow
up on in the media on the original story as well as ZERO developments
ever stemming from D.A. Morgenthau’s office who executed the search
warrant.Are we to believe that NYMEX offices were raided, the Sr. V.P.
of operations then takes leave — all for nothing?The revelations of fake
gold bars also explains another highly unusual story that also happened
in 2004:LONDON, April 14, 2004 (Reuters) — NM Rothschild & Sons
Ltd., the London-based unit of investment bank Rothschild [ROT.UL], will
withdraw from trading commodities, including gold, in London as it
reviews its operations, it said on Wednesday.Interestingly, GATA’s Bill
Murphy speculated about this back in 2004;“Why is Rothschild leaving the
gold business at this time my colleagues and I conjectured today? Just a
guess on my part, but [I] suspect something is amiss. They know a big
scandal is coming and they don’t want to be a part of it… [The]
Rothschild wants out before the proverbial “S” hits the fan.” — BILL
MURPHY, LEMETROPOLE, 4-18-2004What is the GATA?The Gold Antitrust Action
Committee (GATA) is an organisation which has been nipping at the heels
of the US Treasury Federal Reserve for several years now. The basis of
GATA’s accusations is that these institutions, in coordination with
other complicit central banks and the large gold-trading investment
banks in the US, have been manipulating the price of gold for
decades.What is the GLD?GLD is a short form for Good London Delivery.
The London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) has defined “good delivery”
as a delivery from an entity which is listed on their delivery list or
meets the standards for said list and whose bars have passed testing
requirements established by the associatin and updated from time to
time. The bars have to be pure for AU in an area of 995.0 to 999.9 per
1000. Weight, Shape, Appearance, Marks and Weight Stamps are regulated
as follows:Weight: minimum 350 fine ounces AU; maximum 430 fine ounces
AU, gross weight of a bar is expressed in troy ounces, in multiples of
0.025, rounded down to the nearest 0.025 of an troy ounce.Dimensions:
the recommended dimensions for a Good Delivery gold bar are: Top
Surface: 255 x 81 mm; Bottom Surface: 236 x 57 mm; Thickness: 37
mm.Fineness: the minimum 995.0 parts per thousand fine gold. Marks:
Serial number; Assay stamp of refiner; Fineness (to four significant
figures); Year of manufacture (expressed in four digits).After reviewing
their prospectus yet again, it becomes pretty clear that GLD was
established to purposefully deflect investment dollars away from
legitimate gold pursuits and to create a stealth, cesspool / catch-all,
slush-fund and a likely destination for many of these fake tungsten bars
where they would never see the light of day — hidden behind the
following legalese “shield” from the law:[Excerpt from the GLD
prospectus on page 11]“Gold bars allocated to the Trust in connection
with the creation of a Basket may not meet the London Good Delivery
Standards and, if a Basket is issued against such gold, the Trust may
suffer a loss. Neither the Trustee nor the Custodian independently
confirms the fineness of the gold bars allocated to the Trust in
connection with the creation of a Basket. The gold bars allocated to the
Trust by the Custodian may be different from the reported fineness or
weight required by the LBMA’s standards for gold bars delivered in
settlement of a gold trade, or the London Good Delivery Standards, the
standards required by the Trust. If the Trustee nevertheless issues a
Basket against such gold, and if the Custodian fails to satisfy its
obligation to credit the Trust the amount of any deficiency, the Trust
may suffer a loss.”The Federal Reserve knows but is apparently part of
the schemeEarlier this year GATA filed a second Freedom of Information
Act (FOIA) request with the Federal Reserve System for documents from
1990 to date having to do with gold swaps, gold swapped, or proposed
gold swaps.On Aug. 5, The Federal Reserve responded to this FOIA request
by adding two more documents to those disclosed to GATA in April 2008
from the earlier FOIA request. These documents totaled 173 pages, many
parts of which were redacted (blacked out). The Fed’s response also
noted that there were 137 pages of documents not disclosed that were
alleged to be exempt from disclosure.GATA appealed this determination on
Aug. 20. The appeal asked for more information to substantiate the
legitimacy of the claimed exemptions from disclosure and an explanation
on why some documents, such as one posted on the Federal Reserve Web
site that discusses gold swaps, were not included in the Aug. 5 document
release.In a Sept. 17, 2009, letter on Federal Reserve System
letterhead, Federal Reserve governor Kevin M. Warsh completely denied
GATA’s appeal. The entire text of this letter can be examined at
http://www.gata. org/files/ GATAFedRespon” onclick=”window. open(this.
href);return false;” onclick=”window. open(this. href);return false;”
onclick=”window. open(this. href);return false;” onclick=”window.
open(this. href);return false;” onclick=”window. open(this. href);return
false;” onclick=”window. open(this. href);return false;”
onclick=”window. open(this. href);return false; … 7-2009.pdf.The first
paragraph on the third page is the most revealing.”In connection with
your appeal, I have confirmed that the information withheld under
exemption 4 consists of confidential commercial or financial information
relating to the operations of the Federal Reserve Banks that was
obtained within the meaning of exemption 4. This includes information
relating to swap arrangements with foreign banks on behalf of the
Federal Reserve System and is not the type of information that is
customarily disclosed to the public. This information was properly
withheld from you.”above statement is an admission that the Federal
Reserve has been involved with the fake gold bar swaps and that it
refuses to disclose any information about its activities!The above
statement is an admission that the Federal Reserve has been involved
with the fake gold bar swaps and that it refuses to disclose any
information about its activities!Why use tungsten?If you are going to
print fake money you need to have the special paper, otherwise the bills
don’t feel right and can be easily detected by special pens that most
merchants and banks use. Likewise, if you are going to fake gold bars
you had better be sure they have the same weight and properties of real
gold.In early 2008 millions of dollars in gold at the central bank of
Ethiopia turned out to be fake. What were supposed to be bars of solid
gold turned out to be nothing more than gold-plated steel. They tried to
sell the stuff to South Africa and it was sent back when the South
Africans noticed this little problem. The problem with making
good-quality fake gold is that gold is remarkably dense. It’s almost
twice the density of lead, and two-and-a-half times more dense than
steel. You don’t usually notice this because small gold rings and the
like don’t weigh enough to make it obvious, but if you’ve ever held a
larger bar of gold, it’s absolutely unmistakable: The stuff is very,
very heavy.The standard gold bar for bank-to-bank trade, known as a
“London good delivery bar” weighs 400 troy ounces (over thirty-three
pounds), yet is no bigger than a paperback novel. A bar of steel the
same size would weigh only thirteen and a half pounds.According to gold
expert, Theo Gray, the problem is that there are very few metals that
are as dense as gold, and with only two exceptions they all cost as much
or more than gold.The first exception is depleted uranium, which is
cheap if you’re a government, but hard for individuals to get. It’s also
radioactive, which could be a bit of an issue.The second exception is a
real winner:tungsten. Tungsten is vastly cheaper than gold (maybe $30
dollars a pound compared to $12,000 a pound for gold right now). And
remarkably, it has exactly the same density as gold, to three decimal
places. The main differences are that it’s the wrong color, and that
it’s much, much harder than gold. (Very pure gold is quite soft, you can
dent it with a fingernail.)A top-of-the-line fake gold bar should match
the color, surface hardness, density, chemical, and nuclear properties
of gold perfectly. To do this, you could could start with a tungsten
slug about 1/8-inch smaller in each dimension than the gold bar you
want, then cast a 1/16-inch layer of real pure gold all around it. This
bar would feel right in the hand, it would have a dead ring when knocked
as gold should, it would test right chemically, it would weigh
*exactly* the right amount, and though I don’t know this for sure, I
think it would also pass an x-ray fluorescence scan, the 1/16″ layer of
pure gold being enough to stop the x-rays from reaching any tungsten.
You’d pretty much have to drill it to find out it’s fake.Such a
top-quality fake London good delivery bar would cost about $50,000 to
produce because it’s got a lot of real gold in it, but you’d still make a
nice profit considering that a real one is worth closer to
$400,000.What’s going to happen now?Politicians like Ron Paul have been
demanding that the Federal Reserve be more transparent and open up their
records for public scrutiny. But the Fed has consistently refused,
stating that these disclosures would undermine its operation. Yes, it
certainly would!Short URL: http://www.daily.pk/?p=14477
The future of public transportation exists in seminal projects all around us. Every thing from sisal bodied electric cars to moving slide walks. They will happen as soon as there is political will to make it happen.
The biggest problem for politicians is not spending money. They can do THAT just fine. That is just a debating point. Its knowing where to spend the money to get the biggest political leverage.
To that end, you must create a grass roots movement to break the back of the present model...it is driving developed nations into bankrupcy just to replace all those bridges! Not to mention the soul crushing horror of the highways deaths and damage.
Your states are as big as European countries. So its not size holding TGV back. (Another red herring debating point) Its the present vested interests. Who got the bail outs? General Motors or the Northern Pacific Railway? Which one moves more people every day, and which one kills a hundred people every day? (see what I mean?
The small university town in Fredicton New Brunswick decided that rather than increase the number of police on the streets to try to keep drunk kids from being, well, kids, they simply issued a heavily subsidised taxi pass (like a bus pass) to the students, and increased the parking fees. Worked like a charm. Reduced the accident rate to nearly zero, and cost much the same as three or four extra constables. A similar E-pass here in Ottawa has had similar results, but has proved to be controvercial. But...thats the kind of thinking we need. Not "well, build bigger roads, more parking areas and put more police on the roads". The problem was dead students and massive downtown congestion on Friday nights. The E-pass fixed that.
Of course, that is not an answer to how to bring TGV trains into the states...it will happen when you can convice these people that they can make a buck on it.
This was in responce to Cerilean Bill's rant
about why there was no high speed trains in the US.
Cloward Piven Strategy
The Cloward Piven Strategy is much better spouted here
on ACORN's site, however it is worth examining purely to discover what the HELL is wrong with people! Here, spelled out in neat concepts is the whole Cloward Piven Strategy.
What the CPS is attempting to do is to collapse the political system of the day with the intention of replacing it with a more socialist one. Interestingly enough, it works. Sort of. For awhile.
I don't know what to say. What do you say about a the light shining on the hitherto unsuspected axe which is in the process of staving in your boat?
Ah well. I am sure I shall come up with something.
How about that one BILLION dollars spent on the last G-8 conference in Toronto. Think for a moment about how expensive it was to pay the salaries of policemen like Officer Bubbles in this video.
Right now, I am wondering how to keep the case of Junior Manon
on the front burner.
Be that as it may, the purpose of the Cloward Piven Strategy was to use up as many of those resources as they can, to burn through as many tax dollars as possible.
I think it is high time to examine these issues, find out what is causing them, and then write some letters.
Some might get the idea that I am opposed to such an organized resistance to "the man". In actual fact, I think that resistance is required in a free and democratic society, and lets face it, the avowed purpose of the CPS is to collapse the wellfare state. As we have seen by microcosms like Attawapascat
that the welfare state is a wolf in sheep's clothing, so its collapse will not be mourned by most.
I used to believe that Canada was the Sociaism that Worked. Then I find out that my Prime Minister is talking about reducing or limiting the Old Age Security benefits.
Well, its not like the boomers are a phenomonon which was not expected! People have been warning about what will happen when the population "hump" will hit retirement age. Well, its here now duded! What planning have you made? Oh right....thirty five billions on fighter jets. Four billions on new prisons.
I wonder if he read poly sci in Cloward's class back in the '60's.
The Society for Creative Anachronism is on its last legs. A remarkable organization, its greatest strength has proved to be its greatest weakness.
I was a member of the SCA for about 20 years, then I drifted out of it some twelve years ago when my contributions were increasingly being ignored. Becoming marginalized in the remarkably inclusive SCA is really hard to do! I might have succeeded! More of that later.
Ostensibly a medieval re-enactment organization, in reality, it is a social club. There are many fascets on that jewel. It can take over your world. It is the reason why I have the words "Honour", "Chivalry","Noblesse Oblige", "Courtesty", "Generosity", "Courage" and "Faith" stenciled in letters 9 inches high around the top of the walls in my dining room. It has been described as so many things. Because it came out of the hippy dippy sixties, many members had the look and feel of aging hippies, but I always felt it was an organization made up of people who had been bullied in school when they were kids. This is important when you examine it. Its not like the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts are made up of people who "fit in". And like to do so.
It is top heavy in bureaucracy
, most of it has no good reason for being. There is a reward system for doing good works, and virtually no punishment system. One way to get the uber reward was to create a new office for the ever expanding bureaucracy. (Yes, they played at bureaucracy as if it was a game!) and when more and more of the University age kids suddenly found themselves married with children, somebody noticed that kids were being left with the group while the parents went off to cake decorating class or whatever programming had been laid on. Often when a few people brought board games for the kids to play, suddenly they became the baby sitters. So somebody had the bright idea of making a "Minister for Children". Ben Schragger was one of those ministers
. He abused his authority, along with several kids. Hence the lawsuit which will end the SCA.
So easy to "close the peppergate
!" now that the damage is done, but I knew that once we had a person in charge of children, we would have a position which would attract a sexual predator like a moth is attracted to a candle flame. I note that all handbooks for the office of "Minister of Children" have been removed from the official SCA web site
, (if they were ever there!), so perhaps this one guy broke all the rules. I hope so, for the SCA's sake. I also know that a great deal of thought and consideration (and compassion) has gone into making a safe environment
for all, including and especially children
. The fact remains however, that the SCA created a job description, they created a bureaucracy which makes them liable under the law for enforcing and maitaining standards for their little day cares and day care providers. And therefore, they will fall on this lawsuit, even though they knew nothing about it, and did nothing
to deserve it. Though it took four years after the incidents
with Mr. Schragger to make a requirement that background checks would be required.
There are dozens of lawyers involved now, and the chips may fall to one side of the log or the other. However, the time to halt the train wreck is long before you see the trains coming towards the broken bridge! I halted my share of trains. I personally pissed off a LOT of people when as an officer in those long ago days I demanded that people stop practicing medicine without a licence. (The study of herbalism is theoretical only nowadays, mostly due to my timely warnings that somebody will get hurt.)
Oh well, it is when you believe in something more than you believe in yourself is when you tread on enough toes to annoy people. I drifted out, not so much resigning in disgust as sort of fading away about the turn of the century. I got a life outside of the corporation.
Anyway, I knew this lawsuit was coming, though I certainly didn't think it was going to come through the Ministry of Children. I THOUGHT it was going to come through the cooks! I figured that some cook someplace would make up a shrimp cocktail laced with Salmonella. I know that there have been a hundred close calls...heck I once personally cooked a pig in a pit roast that was near raw in parts! That's not good! But we know, it takes six hundred close calls before one of them gets serious. So you pay attention to the close calls!
The SCA may well survive this lawsuit. If it does, it will become a much more chastened and somber organization. It will have lost a lot of its innocence and playfulness. The days when a drunken eighteen year old in a bunny fur bikini with teeth chattering, would have a cloak lent to her by an armed man, and be escorted back to her encampment in the expectation (and realization!) of perfect safety. Already by the turn of the century, there were the noise curfews at Pensic, the demands that fly screens surround the funnel cake makers, the creation of a "gasp" food court with Mundane food inspectors...gone are the days when you can dreamily request something from the local witch to quell the period pains, or swim naked in a swimming hole with hundreds of people of all ages and psychiatric conditions or leave your kids with "the group" while you don armour and go off to have fun.
And good riddance.
What will they keep? What will the new SCA look like?
Well, I hope they keep the honour, chivalry and courtesty. Perhaps become a little less inclusive. A little more thoughtful. A little less dependant upon university students and their highly political and emotional natures. But I fear not. What will happen is that the walls will be put up against the wrong people...the regulatory authorities and the police. The shrill lady in the back shouting "won't anybody think of the children" will prompt more and more bureaucracy, more and more bylaws and rules and curfews and lawsuits. The SCA risks becoming as marginalized as the "travelers" in
the UK. Or maybe it won't. Either way, it is something to watch!
I think I might like the "new SCA".
seven commandments of survivors
This was a fascinating article, an audio article by Dee Ann Miller.
The audio can be downloaded here.
I will let this post pretty much speak for itself.
Survivors are fielded with commandments that come from the spiritual community, Creative Commons license: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0
even if you aren't a survivor of clergy abuse.
You have heard many commandments:
Thou shall keep quiet - would be one
Thou shalt preserve the institution
Shall shalt not bear false witness - meaning that you are lying
Shall shalt not speak against your neighbor
on and on it goes as if these were these are the voices of God.
For survivors who have a deep religious faith or have had one
It is important in the renewal of spirituality to understand that everything that one is commanded from the institutional leaders is not necessarily helpful
I thought giving you 7 commandments could be helpful
So here they are:
Commandment one - thou shall NOT blame thy self when others do not get it.
They suffer from short sightedness and blind spots. You are not responsible for changing that. THEY ARE!
Commandment two - thou shall NOT set a timetable for your healing, OR for the healing of the larger community. While time alone can not heal - healing takes time.
Number 3 - thou shall not accept without question anyone else's prescription for your healing. YOU alone can judge when, and how to proceed. When to take a rest, and when to celebrate.
Number 4 - Thou shall not fail to celebrate small successes. You may the only one that recognizes them, and the only one that can reward yourself for them.
Commandment number 5 - thou shall NOT isolate thyself. No matter how strong the temptations seem, or how overwhelming the struggle taking time to be alone may help. But staying in isolation stifles creativity and leads to OVER AWFULIZING!
Commandment #6 - Thou SHALT surround thyself with beauty. Beautiful people, nature beautiful music and enriching experiences. Reminding yourself that all of these good things produces strength, and growth.
Commandment #7 - Thou SHALL stand TALL! even when feeling low. Showing to the world what you are learning about yourself as you overcome.
This audio is part of the collection: Community Audio
Artist/Composer: Dee Ann Miller
Keywords: clergy abuse; domestic violence; verbal abuse; emotional abuse; physical abuse; sexual abuse; faith; church
Wind Power Fraud
This cut and paste is lifted directly from the CR4 web site with permission. The author's pen name is zgm. Personally, I would have liked to see a lot more internal links or foot notes. Does any of my good readers have an opinion?
Excerpts from my book "Conned with the Wind"
Intermittent energy requires reserves for inactive periods.
One cannot expect households to stop their heating or
refrigerators, nor industry to stop its operations, just
because the wind stopped blowing.
Now, reserves must come from plants capable to start, stop,
change the rate in matter of minutes, which practically
restricts them to fossil plants (oil, gas, coal). Fossil
plants are the most polluting even in permanent regime.
In the irregular regime of reserves their pollution ratio
is still increased by a large factor.
An intermittent source provides only that part of its
installed capacity, which corresponds to the periods of
Now, wind turbines shut down for:
-wind too weak,
-wind too strong (for security reasons),
-wind-blasts (for security reasons),
-ideal conditions, when all wind turbines work at full
capacity, because it would heat white the high tension lines,
which were not build to accommodate wind energy picks.
Their productive capacity, corresponding to the periods of
activity has been evaluated in the 2005 report of E.On, the
leading German electricity provider controlling about
15 000 wind turbines.
A quote from E.On report_2005
"In 2004 two major German studies investigated the size of
contribution that wind farms make towards guaranteed capacity.
Both studies separately came to virtually identical conclusions,
that wind energy currently contributes to the secure production
capacity of the system, by providing 8% of its installed
That is, wind power construction must be accompanied by almost
equal construction of new conventional power plants, which will
be used very nearly as much as if the wind turbines were not
Translated to ordinary language, E.On considers wind power
as mere window dressing behind which the real work is done
by fossil reserves.
Internal energy consumption
Large wind turbines require a large amount of energy to operate.
Other electricity plants generally use their own electricity,
and the difference between the amount they generate and the
amount delivered to the grid is readily determined. Wind plants,
however, use electricity from the grid, which does not appear
to be accounted for in their output figures. The manufacturers
of large turbines do not include electricity consumption in
the specifications they provide.
In order not to overcharge the body of the essay, the details
of the internal energy consumption are presented in Appendix.
In their light it seems reasonable to assume that wind turbines
consume more than 50% of energy they produce in their own
With the internal consumption added to intermittency reducing
the productive capacity to 8% of the installed, wind turbines
may produce less energy than they draw - perhaps unpaid for -
from the grid.
E.On's PIR (Productive/Installed Ratio) of 8% does not account
for the internal energy consumption (about 50% of produced
energy). Accordingly adjusted PIR of 4% tallies with the study
of the Deutsche-Energie Agentur, which concludes:
"while wind power capacity will reach 48 GW by 2020 in
Germany, the source is so intermittent and unreliable that
it is equivalent to only 2 GW of stable fossil fuel capacity."
Now, 2/48 is indeed equal to 4%.
Wind share of electricity production
Media give the wind share of electricity production
arbitrarily, without any justification, as 19% for Denmark,
11% for Spain and Portugal, and 7% for Germany and Ireland.
The German Wind Energy Association (BWE), which cannot be
suspected of anti-wind bias claims only 5% for Germany.
This claim is based upon an estimated PIR of 16%.
Corrected for the adjusted E.On's PIR of 4%, the wind share
in German electricity production may be reasonably evaluated
at 1.25% (0.5% * 4/16).
Media overestimate the wind share of German production
by the factor of 5.6 (7 / 1.25).
Applying this factor to media estimates quoted above, we
get corrected estimations for:
Germany - 1.25% instead of 7%
Spain and Portugal - 2% instead of 11%
Denmark - 3.4% instead of the famous 19%.
SOME USUAL CLICHES ADVERTISING WIND POWER
CLICHE: Wind energy is a practical, efficient alternative.
COMMENT: 18 000 German wind turbines produce 1.25% of German
electric energy. To have an idea of wind efficiency, imagine
a train replacing electric or diesel engines with sails.
Wind energy is a NON-ALTERNATIVE.
CLICHE: Wind energy is clean.
COMMENT: True for 8% of time. For the rest, taken integrally
with reserves it is the most polluting form of energy.
CLICHE: Wind energy is an alternative to Nuclear.
COMMENT: False. Shelving for the moment that Wind is a
NON-ALTERNATIVE to anything:
In order to replace French Nuclear one would
have to cover all available places in France
THREE TIMES with turbines, change France to 3 layers of
turbines standing on top of one another. With fossil plants
on top of them for 92% of the installed wind power.
SOME ADDITIONAL CHARACTERISTICS
One does not get a full picture just by negating false cliches.
Let's recall some characteristics of wind power less known to
COST. A wind KWH is 9 times more expensive (in France and
Germany) than the traditional. That, for the operative 8%.
For 92% of reserve use the ratio varies from 14 to 40 under
normal reserves availability (see next paragraph). The extra
cost is carried by the citizen in form of tax increase
(state subventions of wind power), or electricity bill.
IMPACT ON RESERVES AND ON GRID. Reserves control is one of
most complex issues of electric grid management. Reserves
are used, of course, not only to support wind power, but
to compensate any unforeseen drop in supply, like failure
of a transformer, etc. Reserves management is in hands of
a central command unit of a provider. Once facing emergency
(e.g. a meteo message warning of closing the turbines), the
manager considers an internet site offering reserves by
international auction. Offer and demand determine the price,
which usually fluctuates between 14 and 40 times that of
traditional supply. Occasionally it reached 500 and more.
But what if there are no available reserves?
Simply a black-out like that in the US, in Greece and in
Italy. One or two wind turbines of course don't count. But
thousands contribute seriously to disequilibrate the grids.
A study concludes that if the increase trend continues, the
wind power may cause a several months black-out for whole
Europe, with devastation comparable to that of the WWII.
The only way to avoid it is to follow E.On's example and
to build dedicated fossil reserve plants with capacity
nearly equal to that of the new wind plants.
SUBSOIL. Pictures from the energy companies show slim towers
rising cleanly from the landscape or hovering faintly in the
distant haze, their presence modulated by soft clouds behind
them. But a 200- to 300-foot tower supporting a turbine
housing the size of a bus and three 100- to 150-foot rotor
blades sweeping over an acre of air at more than 100 mph
requires, for a start, a large and solid foundation.
On a GE 1.5-MW tower, the turbine housing, or nacelle, weighs
over 56 tons, the blade assembly weighs over 36 tons, and
the whole tower assembly totals over 163 tons.
As FPL (Florida Power & Light) Energy says, "a typical turbine
site takes about a 42Ã-42-foot-square graveled area." Each tower
(and a site needs at least 15-20 towers to make investment
worthwhile) requires a huge hole filled with steel rebarâ€"
reinforced concrete (e.g., 1,250 tons in each foundation at
the facility in Lamar, Colo.). According to Country Guardian,
the hole is large enough to fit three double-decker buses.
At the 89-turbine Top of Iowa facility, the foundation of each
323-foot assembly is a 7-feet-deep 42-feet-diameter octagon
filled with 25,713 pounds of reinforced steel and 181 cubic
yards of concrete. The foundations at the Wild Horse project
in Washington are 30 feet deep. At Buffalo Mountain in Tennessee,
too, each foundation is at least 30 feet deep and may contain
more than 3,500 cubic yards of concrete (production of which is
a major source of CO2). On Cefn Croes in Wales the developer
built a complete concrete factory on the site, which is not
unusual, as well as opened quarries to provide rock for new
roads -- neither of which activities were part of the original
On many such mountain ridges as well as other locations,
it would be necessary to blast into the bedrock, as Enxco's
New England representative, John Zimmerman, has confirmed,
possibly disrupting the water sources for wells downhill.
At the Waymart plant in Pennsylvania, the foundations extend
30-40 feet into the bedrock. At Romney Marsh in southern England,
foundation pillars will be sunk 110 feet. For each 6-feet-deep
foundation at the Crescent Ridge facility in Illinois, another
24 feet was dug out and filled with sand. Construction at a
site on the Slieve Aughty range in Ireland in October 2003
caused a 2.5-mile-long bog slide.
ENVIRONMENT. German League of Landscape Protection compares
wind turbines devastation of environment with that of the 30
BIRDS. The "Bird Grinders" kill millions of birds a year in
NUISANCES. Noise, stroboscopic effects, disco effects, and
infrasounds impact the health and the quality of life of
close residents. These effects were used as tortures by Nazis
and/or Gulag, more acutely of course, but qualitatively alike.
PROJECTIONS. 50 kg blocks of ice projected at 1 km.
In several cases of brakes failure 30m long and 3 tons
heavy blades were projected at 500m.
One may ask, why wind turbines are so progressing, if they
are inefficient, polluting, depletable, costly, devastating
environment, harmful to neighbors' health, life quality and
Money is the answer. Wind power is probably the biggest fraud
of the century. The German wind lobby grifted in the present
decade 50 billion Euros from the taxpayers in form of
subventions, tax reductions, interest free credits and law
obliging providers to buy Wind Energy at 9 times the current
One estimates that 30% of this money goes to bribe involved
politicians from ministers and lawmakers to village mayors.
CHOKING REAL ALTERNATIVES
But we did not yet tell the worst: draining all money and
resources, the Wind Monster chokes other really clean and
In Brittany, traditionally competent in things of the sea,
a company produced an efficient prototype of "hydrolienne",
a sea current turbine. Now, that is clean, permanent (no
reserves) and environment friendly. The company is going
broke for want of 500 thousand Euro.
A small fraction of grifted billions could save it and
Some of crucial assertions of the present essay are supported
by the ABS report, as can be seen in the following excerpts:
The most important findings of this report highlight studies
that raise critical concerns challenging some of the claims
made for wind power.
These studies are the first real evidence showing how wind
actually works, as opposed to what has been claimed, and
come from some of the most authoritative voices on energy
in the world. Reports from E.On Netz, the system operator
with the largest wind power feed-in in the world, and
Eltra of Denmark, which had the largest percentage wind
power contribution, show disturbing results.
E.On cites a study from the Deutsche-Energie Agentur. The
report was sponsored by the German government and all sides
of the industry. Among bombshells contained inside, the study
suggests that while wind power capacity will reach 48 GW by
2020 in Germany, the source is so intermittent and unreliable
that it is equivalent to only 2 GW of stable fossil fuel
... because of this variability in wind, back-up fossil fuel
plants must be operated at low load to maintain system
reliability. There is new evidence that shows that switching
base load fossil fuel plants on and off to balance a system
produces higher carbon emissions than continuous operation,
certainly not a supposed benefit from switching to renewable
Because wind installations tend to be concentrated in areas
with high wind speeds, regional grids are heavily overloaded
at times of maximum feed-in. Each country studied reported
extreme difficulties in balancing the grid. A further 2,700 km
of costly high voltage transmission lines will be required
in Germany to accommodate new wind capacity.
Setting benefits of wind power against its drawbacks we find
on the one hand nearly nothing - wind power boils down to
a political window dressing, concealing the fossil reserves
doing practically all the work in the background;
and, on the other hand:
-highest pollution rate of the irregularly operating
-environment devastation comparable with that of the 30 years
-choking of all pertinent renewable energy options,
-and last, but not least, effects used by the Nazis as
tortures inflicted on neighboring populations.
We read in the ABS report: "ABS Energy Research's report
does not relegate wind power to the dustbin... objective
analysis is essential."
They had to cream their report with a bit of political
cosmetics, but "objective analysis" seems, indeed, essential
and clearly indicates that dustbin is the only suitable place
for wind power and that the citizens are taken for ride by
the fraudulent mafia and corrupted governance.
Internal energy consumption.
NOTE: The present appendix is still a stub. The highly
technical and complex details kept undisclosed by wind
turbine manufacturers request still a lot of probing,
evaluating and editing. Consisting of direct quotations
of several American studies, it may contain confusions
of terms and units such as might appear in the originals.
Among the functions of wind turbines using electricity are
-Yaw mechanism keeping the rotor perpendicular to the wind.
(the nacelle (turbine housing) and blades together weigh 92
tons on a GE 1.5-MW turbine).
-Blade-pitch control keeping the rotors spinning regularly.
-Lights, controllers, communication, sensors, metering, data
-Heating the blades which may require 10%-20% of the nominal
-Heating and dehumidifying the nacelle.
-Oil heater, pump, cooler, and filtering system in gearbox.
-Hydraulic brake locking the blades in very high wind.
-Thyristors graduating the connection and disconnection
between generator and grid.
-Magnetizing the stator. The induction generators used in
most large grid-connected turbines require a large amount of
continuous electricity from the grid to actively power the
magnetic coils around the asynchronous "cage rotor" that
encloses the generator shaft; at the rated wind speeds, it
helps keep the rotor speed constant, and as the wind starts
blowing it helps start the rotor turning (see next item);
in the rated wind speeds, the stator may use power equal to
10% of the turbine's rated capacity, in slower winds possibly
-Using the generator as a motor (to help the blades start
to turn when the wind speed is low or, as many suspect,
to maintain the illusion that the facility is producing
electricity when it is not, particularly during important
site tours) it seems possible that the grid-magnetized
stator must work to help keep the 40-ton blade assembly
spinning, along with the gears that increase the blade rpm
some 50 times for the generator, not just at cut-in (or
for show in even less wind) but at least some of the way
up towards the full rated wind speed; it may also be
spinning the blades and rotor shaft to prevent warping when
there is no wind, or - some cases have been reported - just
to show that turbines are not idling.
-It may be that each turbine consumes more than 50% of its
rated capacity in its own operation. If so, the plant as a
whole, which may produce only a part of its rated capacity
would be using (for free!) twice as much electricity as it
produces and sells.
-Whatever the actual amount of consumption, it could seriously
diminish any claim of providing a significant amount of energy.
Instead, it looks like industrial wind power could turn out
to be a laundering scheme: "Dirty" energy goes in, "clean"
energy comes out. That would explain why developers demand
legislation to create a market for "green credits" -- tokens
of "clean" energy like the indulgences sold by the medieval
church. Ego te absolvo.
-In large rotating power trains such as this, if allowed to
stand motionless for any period of time, the unit will
experience "bowing" of shafts and rotors under the tremendous
weight. Therefore, frequent rotating of the unit is necessary
to prevent this. As an example, even in port Navy ships keep
their propeller shafts and turbine power trains slowly rotating.
It is referred to as "jacking the shaft" to prevent any tendency
to bow. Any bowing would throw the whole train out of balance
with potentially very serious damage when bringing the power
train back on line.
-In addition to just protecting the gear box and generator
shafts and bearings, the blades on a large wind turbine would
offer a special challenge with respect to preventing warping
and bowing when not in use. For example, on a sunny, windless
day, idle wind turbine blades would experience uneven heating
from the sun, something that would certainly cause bowing and
warping. The only way to prevent this would be to keep the
blades moving to even out the sun exposure to all parts of the
-So, the point that major amounts of incoming electrical power
is used to turn the power train and blades when the wind is
not blowing is very accurate, and it is not something the
operators of large wind turbines can avoid.
-In addition, there is the likely need for a hefty, forced-feed
lubricating system for the shaft and turbine blade assembly
bearings. This would be a major hotel load. One can't imagine
passive lubrication (as for the wheel bearings on your car)
for an application like this. Maybe so, but it would be very
surprising. Assuming they have to have a forced-feed lubrication
system, given the weight on those bearings (40 tons on the
bearing for the rotor and blades alone) a very robust (energy
sucking) lubricating oil system would be required. It would
also have to include cooling for the oil and an energy-sucking
lube oil purification system too."
One need only ask utilities to show how much "dirty"
electricity they purchase because of wind-generated power
to see that something is amiss in the wind industry's claims.
If wind worked and were not mere window dressing, the industry
would trot out some real numbers. But they don't. One begins
to suspect that they can't.
Ammonia in Hamburger
Safety of Beef Processing Method Is Questioned
Eight years ago, federal officials were struggling to remove potentially deadly E. coli from hamburgers when an entrepreneurial company from South Dakota came up with a novel idea: injecting beef with ammonia.
Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
Beef Products Inc.’s ammonia-treated beef.
Carol Guzy/Washington Post
A Beef Products Inc. processing plant in South Sioux City, Neb. The company injects fatty beef trimmings with ammonia to remove E. coli and salmonella.
Seth Perlman/Associated Press
Both McDonald’s and Burger King use Beef Products’ processed beef as a component in ground beef.
The company, Beef Products Inc., had been looking to expand into the hamburger business with a product made from beef that included fatty trimmings the industry once relegated to pet food and cooking oil. The trimmings were particularly susceptible to contamination, but a study commissioned by the company showed that the ammonia process would kill E. coli as well as salmonella.
Officials at the United States Department of Agriculture endorsed the company’s ammonia treatment, and have said it destroys E. coli “to an undetectable level.” They decided it was so effective that in 2007, when the department began routine testing of meat used in hamburger sold to the general public, they exempted Beef Products.
With the U.S.D.A.’s stamp of approval, the company’s processed beef has become a mainstay in America’s hamburgers. McDonald’s, Burger King and other fast-food giants use it as a component in ground beef, as do grocery chains. The federal school lunch program used an estimated 5.5 million pounds of the processed beef last year alone.
But government and industry records obtained by The New York Times show that in testing for the school lunch program, E. coli and salmonella pathogens have been found dozens of times in Beef Products meat, challenging claims by the company and the U.S.D.A. about the effectiveness of the treatment. Since 2005, E. coli has been found 3 times and salmonella 48 times, including back-to-back incidents in August in which two 27,000-pound batches were found to be contaminated. The meat was caught before reaching lunch-rooms trays.
In July, school lunch officials temporarily banned their hamburger makers from using meat from a Beef Products facility in Kansas because of salmonella — the third suspension in three years, records show. Yet the facility remained approved by the U.S.D.A. for other customers.
Presented by The Times with the school lunch test results, top department officials said they were not aware of what their colleagues in the lunch program had been finding for years.
In response, the agriculture department said it was revoking Beef Products’ exemption from routine testing and conducting a review of the company’s operations and research. The department said it was also reversing its policy for handling Beef Products during pathogen outbreaks. Since it was seen as pathogen-free, the processed beef was excluded from recalls, even when it was an ingredient in hamburgers found to be contaminated.
The Beef Products case reveals a schism between the main Department of Agriculture and its division that oversees the school lunch program, a divide that underscores the government’s faltering effort to make hamburger safe. The U.S.D.A. banned the sale of meat found to be contaminated with the O157:H7 strain of E. coli 15 years ago, after a deadly outbreak was traced to Jack in the Box restaurants. Meat tainted with salmonella is also a hazard. But while the school lunch program will not buy meat contaminated with salmonella, the agriculture department does not ban its sale to the general public.
Even so, E. coli outbreaks nationwide have increased in recent years. And this summer, two outbreaks of particularly virulent strains of salmonella in hamburger prompted large recalls of ground beef across several states.
Although no outbreak has been tied to Beef Products, officials said they would thoroughly scrutinize any future industry innovations for fighting contamination “to ensure that they are scientifically sound and protect public health,” and that they were examining the government’s overall meat safety policies.
The founder and owner of Beef Products, Eldon N. Roth, declined requests for interviews or access to the company’s production facilities. Responding to written questions, Beef Products said it had a deep commitment to hamburger safety and was continually refining its operation to provide the safest product possible. “B.P.I.’s track record demonstrates the progress B.P.I. has made compared to the industry norm,” the company said. “Like any responsible member of the meat industry, we are not perfect.”
Beef Products maintains that its ammonia process remains effective. It said it tests samples of each batch it ships to customers and has found E. coli in only 0.06 percent of the samples this year.
The company says its processed beef, a mashlike substance frozen into blocks or chips, is used in a majority of the hamburger sold nationwide. But it has remained little known outside industry and government circles. Federal officials agreed to the company’s request that the ammonia be classified as a “processing agent” and not an ingredient that would be listed on labels.
Within the U.S.D.A., the treated beef has been a source of friction for years. The department accepted the company’s own study as evidence that the treatment was effective. School lunch officials, who had some doubts about its effectiveness, required that Beef Products meat be tested, as they do all beef used by the program.
School lunch officials said that in some years Beef Products testing results were worse than many of the program’s two dozen other suppliers, which use traditional meat processing methods. From 2005 to 2009, Beef Products had a rate of 36 positive results for salmonella per 1,000 tests, compared to a rate of nine positive results per 1,000 tests for the other suppliers, according to statistics from the program. Beef Products said its testing regime was more likely to detect contamination.
Despite some misgivings, school lunch officials say they use Beef Products because its price is substantially lower than ordinary meat trimmings, saving about $1 million a year.
Another snapshot of processed beef’s performance emerges from confidential records of tests in 2007 by the food giant Cargill. In the preceding year and a half, Cargill, which used more than 50 vendors, suspended three facilities for excessive salmonella; two were Beef Products plants, records show.
Since introducing the treated meat, Beef Products has faced the challenge of balancing safety with taste, records and interviews show.
Pathogens died when enough ammonia was used to raise the alkalinity of the beef to a high level, company research found. But early on, school lunch officials and other customers complained about the taste and smell of the beef. Samples of the processed beef obtained by The Times revealed lower levels of alkalinity, suggesting less ammonia was used.
Beef Products acknowledged lowering the alkalinity, and the U.S.D.A. said it had determined that “at least some of B.P.I.’s product was no longer receiving the full lethality treatment.”
Beef Products said it had submitted new research to the agriculture department showing that its treatment remained effective with lower alkalinity. Agriculture officials said Beef Products’ latest study is under review.
A Safety Solution
Headstrong and self-assured, Eldon N. Roth had the good fortune of being in the right place at the right time.
Mr. Roth spent the 1990s looking to give Beef Products a competitive edge by turning fatty slaughterhouse trimmings into usable lean beef.
Mr. Roth and others in the industry had discovered that liquefying the fat and extracting the protein from the trimmings in a centrifuge resulted in a lean product that was desirable to hamburger-makers.
The greater challenge was eliminating E. coli and salmonella, which are more prevalent in fatty trimmings than in higher grades of beef. According to a 2003 study financed by Beef Products, the trimmings “typically includes most of the material from the outer surfaces of the carcass” and contains “larger microbiological populations.” Beef Products said it also used trimmings from inside cuts of meat.
Mr. Roth was well suited to tackle the problem, friends say. Though lacking a science background, he had a knack for machinery and obtained patents for over two dozen pieces of equipment and methods used in processing beef.
“He looked and looked at stuff and always wondered, why can’t it be done this way?” said Dr. David M. Theno, a food safety consultant and friend of Mr. Roth. “He is like a lot of inventors. Not everyone sees Eldon’s vision.”
One of Mr. Roth’s early trials involved running electricity through the trimmings to kill bacteria, Dr. Theno and others said. Mr. Roth eventually settled on ammonia, which had been shown to suppress spoilage. Meat is sent through pipes where it is exposed to ammonia gas, and then flash frozen and compressed — all steps that help kill pathogens, company research found.
The treated beef landed in Washington in 2001, when federal officials were searching for ways to eliminate E. coli. Beef Products already had one study showing its treatment would do that; another company-sponsored study by an Iowa State University professor that was published in a professional journal seconded that finding.
Mr. Roth asserted that his product would kill pathogens in untreated meat when it was used as an ingredient in ground beef — raising the prospect of a risk-free burger. “Given the technology, we firmly believe that the two pathogens of major concern in raw ground beef — E. coli O157:H7 and salmonella — are on the verge of elimination,” Mr. Roth wrote to the department.
The Food and Drug Administration signed off on the use of ammonia, concluding it was safe when used as a processing agent in foods. This year, a top official with the U.S.D.A.’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said, “It eliminates E. coli to the same degree as if you cooked the product.”
Carl S. Custer, a former U.S.D.A. microbiologist, said he and other scientists were concerned that the department had approved the treated beef for sale without obtaining independent validation of the potential safety risk. Another department microbiologist, Gerald Zirnstein, called the processed beef "pink slime" in a 2002 e-mail message to colleagues and said, “I do not consider the stuff to be ground beef, and I consider allowing it in ground beef to be a form of fraudulent labeling.”
One of the toughest hurdles for Beef Products was the Agricultural Marketing Service, the U.S.D.A. division that buys food for school lunches. Officials cited complaints about the odor, and wrote in a 2002 memorandum that they had “to determine if the addition of ammonia to the product is in the best interest to A.M.S. from a quality standpoint.”
“It is our contention,” the memo added, “that product should be labeled accordingly.”
Represented by Dennis R. Johnson, a top lawyer and lobbyist for the meat industry, Beef Products prevailed on the question of whether ammonia should be listed as an ingredient, arguing that the government had just decided against requiring another company to list a chemical used in treating poultry.
School lunch officials said they ultimately agreed to use the treated meat because it shaved about 3 cents off the cost of making a pound of ground beef.“Several packers have unofficially raised concern regarding the use of the product since the perception of quality is inferior,” the 2002 memo said. “But will use product to obtain lower bid.”
In 2004, lunch officials increased the amount of Beef Products meat allowed in its hamburgers to 15 percent, from 10 percent, to increase savings. In a taste test at the time, some school children favored burgers with higher amounts of processed beef.
Beef Products does not disclose its earnings, but its reported production of seven million pounds a week would generate about $440 million in annual revenue, according to industry records.
Dr. Theno, the food safety consultant, applauds Mr. Roth for figuring out how to convert high-fat trimmings “with no functional value.”
“There were some issues with that,” Dr. Theno said. “But he, and God bless him, amassed a tidy fortune for it.”
As sales took off, Mr. Roth started offering a buy-back guarantee: If any of the most virulent E. coli was found in ground beef containing Beef Products meat, the company would buy the tainted meat.
This was based on Mr. Roth’s initial prediction that his treated beef could kill E. coli in any meat it was mixed with. The company acknowledges that its subsequent study found no evidence to back that up, although it says it is now trying with an enhanced treatment. The guarantee remains on the company Web site: “Contact a B.P.I. sales representative today to take the challenge!”
Odor and Alkalinity
As suppliers of national restaurant chains and government-financed programs were buying Beef Product meat to use in ground beef, complaints about its pungent odor began to emerge.
In early 2003, officials in Georgia returned nearly 7,000 pounds to Beef Products after cooks who were making meatloaf for state prisoners detected a “very strong odor of ammonia” in 60-pound blocks of the trimmings, state records show.
“It was frozen, but you could still smell ammonia,” said Dr. Charles Tant, a Georgia agriculture department official. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Unaware that the meat was treated with ammonia — since it was not on the label — Georgia officials assumed it was accidentally contaminated and alerted the agriculture department. In their complaint, the officials noted that the level of ammonia in the beef was similar to levels found in contamination incidents involving chicken and milk that had sickened schoolchildren.
Beef Products said the ammonia did not pose a danger and would be diluted when its beef was mixed with other meat. The U.S.D.A. accepted Beef Product’s conclusion, but other customers had also complained about the smell.
Untreated beef naturally contains ammonia and is typically about 6 on the pH scale, near that of rain water and milk. The Beef Products’ study that won U.S.D.A. approval used an ammonia treatment that raised the pH of the meat to as high as 10, an alkalinity well beyond the range of most foods. The company’s 2003 study cited the “potential issues surrounding the palatability of a pH-9.5 product.”
Soon after getting initial approval from the agriculture department, the company devised a plan to make a less alkaline version of the beef, internal company documents show. Beef Products acknowledged in an e-mail exchange that it was making a lower pH version, but did not specify the level or when it began selling it.
In 2008, after the school lunch program temporarily suspended a Beef Products plant for salmonella contamination, the company wrote in a letter that its effort to combat ammonia “aroma” might have reduced the alkalinity below the initial target levels. It said it was taking steps to ensure that the alkalinity remained elevated.
Samples of the treated beef obtained by The Times this month showed a pH as low as 7.75, according to an analysis by two laboratories. Dr. Michael P. Doyle, a food industry consultant and director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia, said one point on the exponential pH scale was a considerable difference, and “could have a significant effect on the antimicrobial effectiveness of the ammonia.”
This month, Beef Products provided The Times with new research that the company said showed that E. coli and salmonella were undetectable at a pH level of 8.5. The agriculture department said it did not learn that Beef Products was using lower levels until October, after inquiries by The Times, and that it was studying the company’s research.
McDonald’s, whose hamburgers have contained Beef Products meat since 2004, declined to say if it monitored it for pH. But Danya Proud, a chain spokeswoman, said, “We expect the pH level to meet the specifications that are approved by the U.S.D.A.”
Contamination and Notification
At 6:36 a.m. on Aug. 10, the Beef Products plant in South Sioux City, Neb., started up its production line for the school lunch program. In 60 minutes, the plant produced a batch of 26,880 pounds of processed beef that tested positive for E. coli.
Six days later at the same plant, another 26,880-pound lot was found to have salmonella, government records and interviews show.
Within hours of confirming the contamination, the school lunch division of the Agriculture Department in Washington began investigating.
Just down the hall at department headquarters, the division that oversees meat for the general public did not conduct its own inquiry for another month and half, after receiving questions from The Times.
The problems in South Sioux City came shortly after school lunch officials had suspended a Beef Products plant in Holcomb, Kan., for excessive salmonella. The main U.S.D.A. was not notified of the suspension by school lunch officials, and the plant continued to supply other customers.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has since directed school lunch officials to share information about their suspensions with the department’s meat safety division.
In addressing the latest contamination cases in Nebraska, Beef Products said it suspected a glitch in its treatment operations, referring to ammonia gas by its chemical name, NH3, according to an e-mail message to school lunch officials.
“The system was stopped for two minutes in order to install a new valve,” the company said. “When the system was restarted, there was product flow for approximately one minute without NH3 flow.”
After the school lunch officials replied that the glitch might explain only one of the two episodes, Beef Products shifted focus to its suppliers, saying it would more closely scrutinize them for contamination.
Under the U.S.D.A.’s new policy for Beef Products, the company itself is also likely to get more scrutiny.
Cargill, one of the nation’s largest hamburger makers, is a big buyer of Beef Products’ ammoniated trimmings for its patties. Company records show that Beef Products, like other suppliers, has periodically exceeded Cargill’s limits on acceptable bacteria levels. That led Cargill to stop buying meat from two Beef Products plants for several months in 2006 after company tests showed excessive levels of salmonella.
But the following year, when Cargill faced an E. coli outbreak, it ruled out Beef Products as a possible culprit, citing the U.S.D.A.’s view that the ammonia treatment provided a “lethality step” for the pathogen. In addition, Cargill officials said recently, they suspect that another supplier, not Beef Products, was the problem. As a result, Beef Products did not face as wide a recall as other Cargill suppliers.
Recently, another E. coli outbreak was traced to a hamburger maker in upstate New York that also used multiple suppliers, including Beef Products. This time, the agriculture department said Beef Products was being recalled with other suppliers, although a source of the contamination had not been identified.
“This will continue to be our approach going forward,” the department said.
Griff Palmer contributed reporting.