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Sunday, 15 February 2015

Study: Junk food more deadly than war, famine, genocide

Food in the end, in our tradition, is something holy. It's not about nutrients and calories. It's about sharing. It's about honesty. It's about identity. ~ Louise Fresco

Junk Food

© youthvoices.net

You may already know that junk food is bad for your health, but you may not realize bad it can be. A new study from the School of Medical Sciences at Australia's University of New South Wales points to profound brain changes that junk food causes, making a junk food habit "more deadly than war, famine, and genocide".

Say what? Yep, the food war is real, and though the UNSW study was conducted on rats, the brain changes observed matter to us humans.

As mammals we share similar brain functioning in the orbitofrontal cortex, the part of our gray matter responsible for sensing and evaluating the pleasurable aspects of food.

Makers of junk food know it is highly addictive, but the UNSW study proves unequivocally that junk food alters behavior by causing near-permanent changes in the brain's reward circuiting, an alteration that can trigger obesity.

The study abstract concluded:

"We observed that rats fed a cafeteria diet for 2 weeks showed impaired sensory-specific satiety following consumption of a high calorie solution. The deficit in expression of sensory-specific satiety was also present 1 week following the withdrawal of cafeteria foods. Thus, exposure to obesogenic diets may impact upon neurocircuitry involved in motivated control of behavior."

While mammals developed a natural trigger over our evolutionary history which prevents us from over-eating, a phenomenon termed "sensory-specific satiety," the consumption of junk food overrides this natural 'kill' switch that allows us to regulate the calories we consume.

Junk food consumption also causes mitochondrial dysfunction and tissue inflammation, which leads to a host of other diseases. Perhaps most troubling, though, is that these fake foods also mess with our internal motivation and reward system - which causes us to seek more nutrition-less junk. It's like programming a time bomb and just waiting for it to blow.

Here is What Happened in the Study

In the UNSW study, rats were fed a standard junk food diet, complete with cookies, cakes, biscuits, and other junk foods for two weeks. Another group of rats were fed a 'standard lab chow' diet. They were then observed under Pavlovian conditions, when a sound cue informed the rats it was time for their next serving. You can guess what happened.

The 'junk-food rats' ate until they were glutinously full, obese, and ill, and the 'healthy - diet rats' stopped eating naturally - when they were full, and not over-stuffed.

What's most interesting though is what happened to the 'junk food rats' once they were returned to a normal diet. They still had the tendency to overeat. Their brains were literally trained to eat too much, and held that habit even after environmental factors were changed.

Dr. Amy Reichelt, lead author of the UNSW study says:

"As the global obesity epidemic intensifies, advertisements may have a greater effect on people who are overweight and make snacks like chocolate bars harder to resist."

Professor Margaret Morris, another UNSW team member added:

"It's like you've just had ice cream for lunch, yet you still go and eat more when you hear the ice cream van come by."

It is no wonder we are facing a global obesity epidemic. The United States is the epicenter of this troubling phenomenon, with 2 our of 3 Americans being clinically overweight or obese.

If we check the numbers against the Historical Atlas of the 20th Century, 203 million people died in the last century from war and oppression - including military and collateral civilian casualties from conflicts, genocide, politicide (i.e., the extermination of people who share a political belief), mass murders, and famines. This equates to an average of 2. million deaths a year - but the junk food habit kills more.

Even at the humble and likely modest estimation of the World Health Organization, at least 2.8 million people die annually from diseases linked to obesity including heart disease, diabetes, and brain stroke.

The junk food habit is killing 40% more people than wars, famine, dictators, murderers, and politicians put-together. Still think there's no reason to fight for food freedom so that Americans and people everywhere can enjoy healthful, non-processed, nutrient-dense, organic food? The toxic food manufactured by corporations like McDonald's, Kentucky Fired Chicken, Pepsi-Co, and Kraft is simply killing us -slowly.

Rodale points to 31 completely pointless foods you can find in your grocery store, but we all know that there are thousands of toxic, genetically modified, high-fructose-corn syrup-containing, MSG-laden foods. The problem is that some of these foods are not so easily recognized.

Concerningly, most Americans have been tricked through brain-piercing marketing ploys into thinking these junk foods are healthful. For example, companies use terms like "healthy" or "natural" as a means to convince us it's a good buy - this is one of many food tricks.

You know the modern food system is broken too, when even are now cause for concern - the GMO, pesticide-laden kind, that is.

So what can one do to counter-balance this literal food war? Start by eating unprocessed foods in organic form. It is really that simple. That, and growing your own food is essential. Eating better is the best weapon against the corporate coup which has us eating toxic junk straight into the hospital.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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Yeti digs out Boston's buried cars

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Nonprofit humanitarian organization to bring solar energy to Gaza


© Solar Gaza Lights Project

Solar Panels in Gaza

Over the past few months an international team of humanitarians have been organizing a project which would bring solar power to Gaza. Gaza engineer, Naji Abu Shaaban, along with his group of engineers in Gaza have been working around the clock to make this solar project a reality.

Outside of Gaza are a number of supporters of this project which include internationally recognized artist, Martha Tjoe Nij, who has supported the project from her home in Suriname. A Turkish webmaster, Hatice, volunteered her time to create a website for the Solar Gaza project, which has evolved from #SolarGaza when it was started on Twitter as an idea, to its new official title Solar Gaza Lights.

The goals of the project are aimed specifically at solar power restoration of electricity for the most needy in Gaza. The organization has teamed up with the Jerusalem Development Fund's office in Gaza to help with alleviating electricity shortages by donating solar power units. The project also intends on creating employment opportunities for project engineers in Gaza. Utilizing local talent is part of the strategy the group decided on from the beginning.

The group is looking to create partnerships with individuals, groups, and organizations who can assist with getting solar units installed, helping get the units imported into Gaza, assisting with funding of these projects, and publicizing the organization around the world.

Following Israel's devestating attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014, a health crisis was created when hospitals lost electricity, while the Israeli blockade continues to create a shortage of medical supplies and medicines. In addition to those issues, shortages of electricity are causing immense problems not just in hospitals, but in the lives of the people of Gaza. Some areas of Gaza are experiencing power cuts stretching up to 48 hours at a time. Abu Shaaban says that living under these conditions, "is unacceptable and a crime against humanity."

© Solar Gaza Lights Project

Founder of Solar Gaza Lights Naji Abu Shaaban.

To find out more about Solar Gaza Lights visit their website at http://bit.ly/1DeMbDs or follow them on Twitter @solargazalights.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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Meteor: Shooting star plummets from New Zealand night sky

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Odd display of red auroras over Manitoba, Canada

For Valentine's Day, night-sky photographer Alan Dyer received not red roses, but red . "It was an odd display. Instead of the usual green, the lights over Manitoba, Canada, on Feb. 14th were a beautiful shade of red," says Dyer, who took this 25 second exposure using a Canon 6D digital camera and a fish-eye lens:

Red Auroras

© Alan Dyer

Taken by Alan Dyer on February 14, 2015 @ Churchill, Manitoba.

"The bright light at the right is Jupiter," he points out. "Later, the aurora took on the more normal appearance with green curtains topped by fringes of red."

Red auroras are not fully understood. They occur some 300 to 500 km above Earth's surface, much higher than ordinary green auroras. Some researchers believe the red lights are linked to low energy electrons from the sun, which move too slowly to penetrate deeply into the atmosphere. When such electrons recombine with oxygen ions in the upper atmosphere, red photons are emitted. At present, space weather forecasters cannot predict when this will occur.

Later today, a solar wind stream is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field, prompting NOAA forecasters to estimate a 40% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on Feb. 15th. Auroras are likely, although no one can say if any of them will be red. Stay tuned to the realtime aurora gallery for sightings.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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Obama adviser John Podesta's biggest regret: Failure to break UFO secrecy


© AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File

John Podesta

Outgoing senior Obama adviser John Podesta reflected on his latest White House stint Friday, listing his favorite moments and biggest regrets from the past year. Chief among them: depriving the American people of the truth about UFOs.

Podesta's longtime fascination with UFOs is well-documented, as his brief political hiatus following four years as President Bill Clinton's chief of staff freed him up to pursue his otherworldly passion.

At a 2002 press conference organized by the Coalition for Freedom of Information, Podesta spoke on the importance of disclosing government UFO investigations to the public.

"It's time to find out what the truth really is that's out there," he said. "We ought to do it, really, because it's right. We ought to do it, quite frankly, because the American people can handle the truth. And we ought to do it because it's the law."

[embedded content]

Following Podesta's tweet, Friday, the recalled an exchange one of its reporters had with Podesta in 2007. Karen Tumulty had asked Podesta about reports that the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Arkansas, had been bombarded with Freedom of Information Act Requests specifically seeking email correspondence to and from the former chief of staff including terms like "X-Files" and "Area 51." Podesta's response, through a spokesperson, was "The truth is out there," the tagline for the TV show of which Podesta was known to be a fan.

A 2010 editorial in Missouri's disparaged reports that Podesta had asked an outspoken UFO photographer to stop discussing his knowledge of extraterrestrial activities in public.

"One wonders why Podesta would do such a radical reversal, given his former plea for UFO disclosure," the editorial implored.

But contrary to the 's concerns, Podesta had clearly not abandoned the cause. He wrote an introduction to the 2010 book

Unfortunately, Podesta will likely have little time to fill out FOIA requests in his new job at Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. Perhaps, as his tweet suggests, he's passing the torch to columnist Maureen Dowd.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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We are trapped in a narrative

© Harris & Ewing

National Capital digs out after storm Jan 14 1939.

I've addressed the issue a hundred times, and it pains me to see it only gets worse. But it does. And it's not my pain that counts, it has no meaning whatsoever, it's the fact that we are inching ever closer to the kind of situations none of us would choose.

That is, war, people dying from sheer misery, people dying because they have no access to the services we take for granted, and even people being shelled by their own government.

All these things are happening as we speak, and we accept them lying down - on our couches - and choose to ignore and even deny them, because we are trapped in narratives spun by those who see a profit in spreading these narratives. And who have a solid grip on what gets spun and what is not.

This is not going to end well. Not unless we speak up. Not for anyone amongst us. This one will not pass by your door, or mine. We're approaching decision time. For the world, for your life and mine. It's time to pick sides.

As I said, I've talked about this numerous times. I suggest you read for example 2014: The Year Propaganda Came Of Age. And then realize that the age of innocence is gone. That 'I didn't know' no longer counts for anything. That 'I'm just trying to make a living' only goes so far. That your life is not only about you.

February 12 seems to have been a busy day. There had been a 16 hour - largely overnight - meeting in Minsk attended by Merkel, Hollande, Petroshenko and Putin. Why Putin was asked to attend - ostensibly representing the Donbass 'rebels' - is up for questioning, but he was there. The rebels themselves were not.

Not long after the cease-fire was announced, perhaps even prior to it, US Senator Jim Inhofe released photos, which he claimed prove Russian troops are in Ukraine. These were subsequently found to be fake. Like every other single 'proof' has been found wanting.

Think about that for a second, another second: it's been a year since Maidan, since Yanukovich was chased out, and still not one piece of 'evidence' has been made to stick. Not one. While the US have the most advanced spy technology ever seen on the planet, it has not been able to produce one piece of information, for a whole year, to prove its assertions that Russia provides weapons to the 'rebels', sends soldiers to fight in the Donbass, or has anything to do with shooting down a plane. Not one single piece of evidence.

And then comes Inhofe. Who's a bigwig, and whose claims may well sway Senate votes towards sending US arms to Kiev:

Inhofe Releases 'Exclusive' Deathly Images To Free Beacon

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) released photographs Thursday of what he says is confirmed Russian military action against Ukraine. He gave them "exclusively" to the . Except there's just one problem — some of the photographs given to WFB from the 80-year-old senator date back to 2008 from the AP and aren't exclusive at all.

The photos are fake. Completely fake. Just like all the other evidence presented over the past year. There is nothing that proves any Russian involvement. And if there were anything, you bet your behind they would trump it all over and until the cows had come home and left again for greener pastures. The US is attempting to start a war out of nothing, and for nothing, just because a group of deluded people think they can, and need to, conquer the largest nation on earth for their own advantage.

At roughly the same time Senator Inhofe tried to peddle his fake pictures, Ukraine ultranationalist leader Dmitry Yarosh, of the Right Sector, proclaimed he wouldn't honor the Minsk deal.

Ukraine Right Sector Leader Rejects Peace Deal, Vows 'To Continue War'

Ukraine's Right Sector leader Dmitry Yarosh said his radical movement rejects the Minsk peace deal and that their paramilitary units in eastern Ukraine will continue "active fighting" according to their "own plans." The notorious ultranationalist leader published a statement on his Facebook page Friday, saying that his radical Right Sector movement doesn't recognize the peace deal, signed by the so-called 'contact group' on Thursday and agreed upon by Ukraine, France, Germany and Russia after epic 16-hour talks. Yarosh claimed that any agreement with the eastern militia, whom he calls "terrorists," has no legal force.

Not only did Yarosh, who now says he wants to keep on fighting, play a pivotal part in the Maidan movement,and was heavily supported by the US and EU, this same man who ignores the agreement his own president signed, is a member of the Ukraine Parliament. And he's on Interpol's wanted list too. Yarosh, an acknowledged neo nazi, fights on 'our' side, and if if people like John McCain get their way, he'll soon be provided with heavy US armory.

Not to be outdone, NATO has this:

Nato Head Says Alliance Has Data On Russian Military Presence In Ukraine

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg claims that the intelligence service of the alliance has some documented data of Russian military presence in eastern Ukraine. Stoltenberg announced it on air of the radio. According to Stoltenberg, the militias of eastern Ukraine wouldn't have been able to achieve the success they are demonstrating without Russia's support. He said that NATO receives data on Russian military presence in Ukraine from the intelligence services, journalists and other sources but presented no concrete facts.

Moscow has repeatedly denied alleged presence of Russian troops in eastern Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in late January that those accusing Russia of sending troops and weapons to the conflict-torn south-eastern Ukraine need to substantiate their accusations with proof. "We hear a lot about the flow of Russian troops and arms," Lavrov said speaking at his annual news conference. "And every time I respond that if one speaks with such certainty, than one should present some facts. However, no one is either capable or willing to present the facts."

Again, if they has any such data, it would be plastered over every news paper and every TV screen in the western world, and likely beyond. But, turns out, Stoltenberg is as reliable as Senator Inhofe and the rest of them are:

OSCE Chief Saw No Russian Troops In Ukraine's East

Lamberto Zannier, secretary general of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), told a forum on OSCE's project coordination in Ukraine he could not confirm the movement or the presence of Russian forces there...

To top off the madness, apparently yesterday, one day after the Minsk cease-fire accord, the EU announced new anti-Russian sanctions for Monday:

New Anti-Russia Sanctions to Enter Into Force Monday

Maja Kocijancic, European Commission's spokesperson for foreign affairs, confirmed Friday that the EU will add 19 individuals, including five Russians, and nine entities to the list of sanctions over Ukraine on February 16. The statement was made a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin, together with the leaders of Germany, France and Ukraine, brokered a new deal on the crisis reconciliation in Minsk. "The political decision of additional listings has been taken on January 29. The [EU] Foreign Affairs Council on Monday adopted a legal act so it made it fulfilled this political commitment and has set to give the diplomatic efforts a chance that entering into force will happen on February 16, which is this coming Monday," Kocijancic said.

The European Union, the United States and other countries have imposed several rounds of sanctions against Russia over its alleged role in the Ukrainian conflict. The restrictions target the country's defense, energy and finance sectors, as well as a number of individuals. Moscow has repeatedly stressed that it is not militarily involved in Ukraine's internal affairs. Following the Minsk talks, EU leaders convened for an informal meeting but a new-wave of anti-Russia sanctions was not on the agenda, European Council President Donald Tusk announced. Meanwhile European leaders agreed that the implementation of Thursday's deal will become a touchstone for further relations with Russia.

That doesn't make any sense at all, to declare new sanctions when you've just signed a deal. That smacks of less than honorable intentions.

Ultra right wing military hothead Yarosh, honorable member of the Ukraine parliament, states he will not abide by what his own superior signed, while the ink he signed it with was still fresh. Which means the Kiev government, and by extension the US and EU, can claim it wasn't them who violated the accord, but it will be violated regardless. And then when the rebels, alternatively labeled pro-Russian or Russian-led, defend themselves against the Right Sector, the west will have its narrative to declare war on Russia.

And that will not turn out well for us, for you and me. There's nothing there that will benefit us. The lives of our children will be sacrificed on the altar of a few handfuls of crazed psychopaths. Unless we stop them. It would seem there's not much time left.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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13 reasons to reject the Measles outbreak hype

Hype a war, sell an invasion.

Hype a disease, sell a vaccine.

That's the business model. Make no mistake about it.

And at the criminal liar's club called the US Centers for Disease Control, men and women are working that business model every day.

Here are 13 reasons to reject the current hype about the "measles outbreak."

One: Above and beyond all other reasons is the CDC's track record of lying. There is no reason to believe anything they say or publish. And I mean anything.

For example, during the so-called Swine Flu epidemic of 2009, as Sharyl Attkisson reported for (10/21), the CDC stopped counting Swine Flu cases in America.

Stopped. Counting.

The real reason, as Attkisson discovered? Almost all the blood samples from likely Swine Flu patients in America, when sent to testing labs, showed no sign of Swine Flu or any flu.

For anyone who could see, the CDC was exposed as a complete and utter fraud. They were hyping the danger of the "epidemic" and the need for people to take the vaccine, based on zero evidence that there was an epidemic.

Then, WebMD reported on November 12, 2009: ("22 million cases of Swine Flu in US," by Daniel J. DeNoon)

The CDC had plunged ahead and estimated there had been 22 MILLION cases of Swine Flu in America. Almost no evidence for any cases of Swine Flu=22 MILLION CASES.

Yes. It sounds impossible, but it happened.

You have to understand that the CDC is THE US reporting agency on numbers of cases and types of cases of disease.

So...believing anything the CDC says now about the "measles outbreak" is like believing someone who wants to sell you condos on the dark side of the moon.

Two: The CDC is in the business of promoting vaccines. That's how you make sense of such egregious lying. But that's not all. The CDC's budget includes huge money for the purchase of vaccines.

Here, from the , we have this statement:

"CDC's $4.8 billion immunization program has two components: the mandatory Vaccines for Children (VFC) program and the discretionary Section 317 program...In FY 2015, the Section 317 Immunization Program will continue to provide federally purchased vaccines to protect uninsured Americans from preventable diseases...CDC will work to...purchase and deliver vaccine for at-risk populations..."

If you buy tons of vaccines, the business model dictates you promote fear about the need for the vaccines; you promote "outbreaks" and "epidemics." It's just business, not science, not truth.

Speaking of science, the CDC is also a research center, where many studies on vaccine safety and efficacy are conducted.

Do you expect that, while spending billions on the purchase of vaccines, the CDC will permit the publication of studies that conclude any of those vaccines (such as the measles vaccine) are unsafe and ineffective? Are you kidding?

Three: Regarding the current measles "outbreak" (a mere purported 150 cases, no deaths), where is the ironclad evidence that cases in more than a dozen states all stemmed from Disneyland—as opposed to occurring naturally in separate areas of the country?

Four: Where is the evidence that the current 150 cases of measles sprang from the natural wild measles virus, as opposed to the measles virus contained in the vaccine? Vaccinated children can shed and spread the measles virus in the vaccine to others.

Five: Among the potential adverse reactions to the measles vaccine is measles. Where is the proof that this has not happened?

Six: Where is the proof that the 150 cases of measles are all actually measles? For instance, conventional research indicates that an adenovirus (not the measles virus) can create the symptoms of measles.

Seven: Where are the lab tests (and which tests did they use?) to confirm that all the 150 current cases of measles are actually measles?

Eight: Children receive the measles vaccine as part of the MMR vaccine. As I've reported many times, there is a major scandal being covered up at the CDC regarding that vaccine.

CDC whistleblower, William Thompson, went public on August 27, 2014, in a written statement released through his whistleblower attorney, Rick Morgan.

Thompson, a long-time researcher at the CDC, confessed that he and his colleagues, Coleen Boyle and Frank DeStefano, omitted vital data from an MMR-autism study in 2004.

Omitting the damning data allowed the study, published in the journal , to conclude there was no connection between the MMR and autism—when there was a connection.

Nine: In 2014, 644 cases of measles were reported in the US. Where is the proof that these cases occurred in unvaccinated children?

Ten: It's clear in the case of the measles vaccine (and every vaccine) that proper standards of informed consent are being violated every day in the US. Doctors are not telling the parents of children about risks associated with the measles vaccine or about toxic substances contained in the vaccine. This violation is a crime.

Eleven: Most cases of measles are mild. Children recover without treatment. I see no studies analyzing the comparative nutritional levels of children who have mild vs. more serious cases of measles. This is an obvious area for analysis.

However, if the results showed that children with good nutrition tend to have milder measles, then the method of prevention would be obvious. Obvious and non-medical. Non-profit-making.

Twelve: What is in MMR vaccines? Aside from the measles/mumps/rubella viruses, the two current MMR vaccines contain a number of items, according to the CDC's Vaccine and Excipient and Media Summary.

You can look up the meanings of these items at vaccines.procon.org and other sites. Keep in mind, as you read the list, that these substances are injected into the bodies of children, thus bypassing several ordinary portals of immune-defense.

Or to put it another way, imagine a doctor telling a mother:

"I want to inject a whole list of chemical and biological substances into your young child. You don't mind, do you?"

The MMR vaccine ingredients/excipients: MSG, formaldehyde, neomycin, sorbitol, chick embryo cell culture, WI-38 human lung fibroblasts, sucrose, bovine calf serum, recombinant human albumin, hydrolyzed gelatin, MRC-5 cells, Medium 199, Minimum Essential Medium, sodium phosphate dibasic, sodium bicarbonate, potassium phosphate monobasic, potassium chloride, potassium phosphate dibasic.

Thirteen: Back to the CDC's history of lying about disease, in order to promote vaccines.

In March 2006, published a stunning article by Peter Doshi: . Author Doshi discussed a key presentation at the 2004 National Influenza Vaccine Summit, where speaker and CDC flack, Glen Nowak, outlined a recipe for promoting vaccines to the public.

One: Sell the idea that the flu can "occur among people for whom influenza is not generally perceived to cause serious complications (e.g., children, healthy adults, healthy seniors)."

Translation: expand the target market for the flu vaccine—pretend that the people who would never need protection from the flu do need it.

Two: "Foster the demand for flu vaccinations" by bringing on board "medical experts and public health authorities publicly (e.g., via media) [to] state concern and alarm (and predict dire [flu] outcomes)—and urge influenza vaccination."

Three: Make sure we are "framing...the flu season in terms that motivate behavior (e.g., as [flu is] 'very severe,' 'more severe than last or past years,' 'deadly')."

Four: Release continuing updates "from health officials and media" to emphasize that "influenza is causing severe illness and/or affecting lots of people - helping foster the perception that many people are susceptible to a bad case of influenza."

Five: Present "visible/tangible examples of the seriousness of the illness (e.g., pictures of children, families of those affected coming forward) and people getting vaccinated (the first to motivate, the latter to reinforce)."

CDC PR flack Nowak, on National Public Radio, explained the real crisis at the CDC by referring to the CDC's client—every PR firm has a client for whom they work: "... the manufacturers were telling us that they weren't receiving a lot of orders for vaccine for use in November or even December ... It really did look like we needed to do something to encourage people to get a flu shot."

Well, sure. That's the job. That's what PR firms do.

And when the CDC has billions of dollars to promote their messages and "do research" that confirms those messages, they're in the driver's seat.

Just in case you think the CDC is engaging in good work by promoting flu-fear, because the flu really is a highly dangerous disease in the US...and "PR hype is a necessary strategy in this modern age"...

The CDC employs straight PR lies when it counts the number of flu deaths every year in the US. Even in its statistical tables, the CDC is carrying out sheer fraud.

Nowak didn't mention that during his dog and pony show at the Vaccine Summit. It would have exposed the whole game.

Some years ago, when I was writing about the flu at nomorefakenews, I received emails from Peter Doshi and Martin Maloney. They fed me data from the CDC's own charts detailing flu deaths in the US. And they pointed out the lies.

Doshi went on to write an analysis for the journal Online (December 2005). Here is a key quote from his report:

"[According to CDC statistics], 'influenza and pneumonia' took 62,034 lives in 2001—61,777 of which were attributable to pneumonia and 257 to flu, and in only 18 cases was the flu virus positively identified."

You might want to chew on that sentence for a while. Only 18 confirmed cases of the flu in a year in the US.

Talk about egregious hype, in order to sell a vaccine.

Believe the CDC?

Believe serial liars?

When selling fear doesn't convince enough of the population to obey, the next step is selling the fear along with calls for mandatory obedience, by law, by force. That's exactly what's happening now. Forced poisoning of babies, children, the whole population.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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Astonishing speech by African-American Mississippi judge to three white murders

Here's an astonishing speech by U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves, one of just two African-Americans to have ever served as federal judges in Mississippi. He read it to three young white men before sentencing them for the death of a 48-year-old black man named James Craig Anderson in a parking lot in Jackson, Miss., one night in 2011. They were part of a group that beat Anderson and then killed him by running over his body with a truck, yelling "white power" as they drove off.

The speech is long; Reeves asked the young men to sit down while he read it aloud in the courtroom. And it's breathtaking, in both the moral force of its arguments and the palpable sadness with which they are delivered. We have decided to publish the speech, which we got from the blog Breach of Peace, in its entirety below. A warning to readers: He uses the word "nigger" 11 times.


Deryl Paul Dedmon, 22, was sentenced to 50 years in prison; John Aaron Rice, 21, to more than 18 years; and Dylan Wade Butler, 23, to seven years, for their roles in the hate crime death of a James Craig Anderson, 48, federal authorities said.

One of my former history professors, Dennis Mitchell, recently released a history book entitled, A New History of Mississippi. "Mississippi," he says, "is a place and a state of mind. The name evokes strong reactions from those who live here and from those who do not, but who think they know something about its people and their past." Because of its past, as described by Anthony Walton in his book, Mississippi: An American Journey, Mississippi "can be considered one of the most prominent scars on the map" of these United States. Walton goes on to explain that "there is something different about Mississippi; something almost unspeakably primal and vicious; something savage unleashed there that has yet to come to rest." To prove his point, he notes that, "[o]f the 40 martyrs whose names are inscribed in the national Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, AL, 19 were killed in Mississippi." "How was it," Walton asks, "that half who died did so in one state?" — my Mississippi, your Mississippi and our Mississippi.

Mississippi has expressed its savagery in a number of ways throughout its history — slavery being the cruelest example, but a close second being Mississippi's infatuation with lynchings. Lynchings were prevalent, prominent and participatory. A lynching was a public ritual — even carnival-like — within many states in our great nation. While other states engaged in these atrocities, those in the Deep South took a leadership role, especially that scar on the map of America — those 82 counties between the Tennessee line and the Gulf of Mexico and bordered by Louisiana, Arkansas and Alabama.

Vivid accounts of brutal and terrifying lynchings in Mississippi are chronicled in various sources: Ralph Ginzburg's 100 Years of Lynching and Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America, just to name two. But I note that today, the Equal Justice Initiative released Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror ; apparently, it too is a must-read.

In Without Sanctuary, historian Leon Litwack writes that between 1882 and 1968 an estimated 4,742 blacks met their deaths at the hands of lynch mobs. The impact this campaign of terror had on black families is impossible to explain so many years later. That number contrasts with the 1,401 prisoners who have been executed legally in the United States since 1976. In modern terms, that number represents more than those killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom and more than twice the number of American casualties in Operation Enduring Freedom — the Afghanistan conflict. Turning to home, this number also represents 1,700 more than who were killed on Sept. 11. Those who died at the hands of mobs, Litwack notes, some were the victims of "legal" lynchings — having been accused of a crime, subjected to a "speedy" trial and even speedier execution. Some were victims of private white violence and some were merely the victims of "nigger hunts" — murdered by a variety of means in isolated rural sections and dumped into rivers and creeks. "Back in those days," according to black Mississippians describing the violence of the 1930s, "to kill a Negro wasn't nothing. It was like killing a chicken or killing a snake. The whites would say, 'niggers jest supposed to die, ain't no damn good anyway — so jest go an' kill 'em.' ... They had to have a license to kill anything but a nigger. We was always in season." Said one white Mississippian, "A white man ain't a-going to be able to live in this country if we let niggers start getting biggity." And, even when lynchings had decreased in and around Oxford, one white resident told a visitor of the reaffirming quality of lynchings: "It's about time to have another [one]," he explained, "[w]hen the niggers get so that they are afraid of being lynched, it is time to put the fear in them."

How could hate, fear, or whatever it was, transform genteel, God-fearing, God-loving Mississippians into mindless murderers and sadistic torturers? I ask that same question about the events which bring us together on this day. Those crimes of the past, as well as these, have so damaged the psyche and reputation of this great state.

Mississippi soil has been stained with the blood of folk whose names have become synonymous with the civil rights movement like Emmett Till, Willie McGee, James Cheney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, Vernon Dahmer, George W. Lee, Medgar Evers and Mack Charles Parker. But the blood of the lesser-known people like Luther Holbert and his wife, Elmo Curl, Lloyd Clay, John Hartfield, Nelse Patton, Lamar Smith, Clinton Melton, Ben Chester White, Wharlest Jackson and countless others, saturates these 48,434 square miles of Mississippi soil. On June 26, 2011, four days short of his 49th birthday, the blood of James Anderson was added to Mississippi's soil.

The common denominator of the deaths of these individuals was not their race. It was not that they all were engaged in freedom fighting. It was not that they had been engaged in criminal activity, trumped up or otherwise. No, the common denominator was that the last thing that each of these individuals saw was the inhumanity of racism. The last thing that each felt was the audacity and agony of hate, senseless hate: crippling, maiming them and finally taking away their lives.

Mississippi has a tortured past, and it has struggled mightily to reinvent itself and become a New Mississippi. New generations have attempted to pull Mississippi from the abyss of moral depravity in which it once so proudly floundered in. Despite much progress and the efforts of the new generations, these three defendants are before me today: Deryl Paul Dedmon, Dylan Wade Butler and John Aaron Rice. They and their co-conspirators ripped off the scab of the healing scars of Mississippi ... causing her (our Mississippi) to bleed again.

Hate comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and from this case, we know it comes in different sexes and ages. A toxic mix of alcohol, foolishness and unadulterated hatred caused these young people to resurrect the nightmarish specter of lynchings and lynch mobs from the Mississippi we long to forget. Like the marauders of ages past, these young folk conspired, planned, and coordinated a plan of attack on certain neighborhoods in the city of Jackson for the sole purpose of harassing, terrorizing, physically assaulting and causing bodily injury to black folk. They punched and kicked them about their bodies — their heads, their faces. They prowled. They came ready to hurt. They used dangerous weapons; they targeted the weak; they recruited and encouraged others to join in the coordinated chaos; and they boasted about their shameful activity. This was a 2011 version of the nigger hunts.

Though the media and the public attention of these crimes have been focused almost exclusively on the early morning hours of June 26, 2011, the defendants' terror campaign is not limited to this one incident. There were many scenes and many actors in this sordid tale which played out over days, weeks and months. There are unknown victims like the John Doe at the golf course who begged for his life and the John Doe at the service station. Like a lynching, for these young folk going out to "Jafrica" was like a carnival outing. It was funny to them — an excursion which culminated in the death of innocent, African-American James Craig Anderson. On June 26, 2011, the fun ended.

© Afro.com

James Craig Anderson

But even after Anderson's murder, the conspiracy continued... And, only because of a video, which told a different story from that which had been concocted by these defendants, and the investigation of law enforcement — state and federal law enforcement working together — was the truth uncovered.

What is so disturbing... so shocking... so numbing ... is that these nigger hunts were perpetrated by our children ... students who live among us ... educated in our public schools ... in our private academies ... students who played football lined up on the same side of scrimmage line with black teammates ... average students and honor students. Kids who worked during school and in the summers; kids who now had full-time jobs and some of whom were even unemployed. Some were pursuing higher education and the Court believes they each had dreams to pursue. These children were from two-parent homes and some of whom were the children of divorced parents, and yes some even raised by a single parent. No doubt, they all had loving parents and loving families.

In letters received on his behalf, Dylan Butler, whose outing on the night of June 26 was not his first, has been described as "a fine young man," "a caring person," "a well mannered man" who is truly remorseful and wants to move on with his life ... a very respectful ... a good man ... a good person ... a lovable, kindhearted teddy bear who stands in front of bullies ... and who is now ashamed of what he did. Butler's family is a mixed-race family: For the last 15 years, it has consisted of an African-American stepfather and stepsister, plus his mother and two sisters. The family, according to the stepfather, understandably is "saddened and heartbroken."

These were everyday students like John Aaron Rice, who got out of his truck, struck James Anderson in the face and kept him occupied until others arrived... Rice was involved in multiple excursions to so-called "Jafrica", but he, for some time, according to him and his mother, and an African-American friend shared his home address.

And, sadly, Deryl Dedmon, who straddled James Anderson and struck him repeatedly in the face and head with his closed fists. He too was a "normal" young man indistinguishable in so many ways from his peers. Not completely satisfied with the punishment to which he subjected James Anderson, he "deliberately used his vehicle to run over James Anderson — killing him." Dedmon now acknowledges he was filled with anger.

I asked the question earlier, but what could transform these young adults into the violent creatures their victims saw? It was nothing the victims did ... they were not championing any cause ... political ... social ... economic ... nothing they did ... not a wolf whistle ... not a supposed crime ... nothing they did. There is absolutely no doubt that in the view of the court the victims were targeted because of their race.

The simple fact is that what turned these children into criminal defendants was their joint decision to act on racial hatred. In the eyes of these defendants (and their co-conspirators) the victims were doomed at birth... Their genetic makeup made them targets.

In the name of White Power, these young folk went to "Jafrica" to "fuck with some niggers!" — echoes of Mississippi's past. White Power! Nigger! According to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, that word, nigger, is the "universally recognized opprobrium, stigmatizing African-Americans because of their race." It's the nuclear bomb of racial epithets — as Farai Chideya has described the term. With their words, with their actions — "I just ran that nigger over" — there is no doubt that these crimes were motivated by the race of the victims. And from his own pen, Dedmon, sadly and regretfully wrote that he did it out of "hatred and bigotry."

The court must respond to one letter it received from one identified as a youth leader in Dylan Butler's church — a mentor, he says — and who describes Dylan as "a good person." The point that "[t]here are plenty of criminals that deserve to be incarcerated," is well taken. Your point that Dylan is not one of them — not a criminal ... is belied by the facts and the law. Dylan was an active participant in this activity, and he deserves to be incarcerated under the law. What these defendants did was ugly ... it was painful ... it is sad ... and it is indeed criminal.

In the Mississippi we have tried to bury, when there was a jury verdict for those who perpetrated crimes and committed lynchings in the name of White Power... that verdict typically said that the victim died at the hands of persons unknown. The legal and criminal justice system operated with ruthless efficiency in upholding what these defendants would call White Power.

Today, though, the criminal justice system (state and federal) has proceeded methodically, patiently and deliberately seeking justice. Today we learned the identities of the persons unknown ... they stand here publicly today. The sadness of this day also has an element of irony to it: Each defendant was escorted into court by agents of an African-American United States Marshal, having been prosecuted by a team of lawyers which includes an African-American AUSA from an office headed by an African-American U.S. attorney — all under the direction of an African-American attorney general, for sentencing before a judge who is African-American, whose final act will be to turn over the care and custody of these individuals to the BOP [Federal Bureau of Prisons] — an agency headed by an African-American.

Today we take another step away from Mississippi's tortured past ... we move farther away from the abyss. Indeed, Mississippi is a place and a state of mind. And those who think they know about her people and her past will also understand that her story has not been completely written. Mississippi has a present and a future. That present and future has promise. As demonstrated by the work of the officers within these state and federal agencies — black and white, male and female, in this Mississippi they work together to advance the rule of law. Having learned from Mississippi's inglorious past, these officials know that in advancing the rule of law, the criminal justice system must operate without regard to race, creed or color. This is the strongest way Mississippi can reject those notions — those ideas which brought us here today.

At their guilty plea hearings, Deryl Paul Dedmon, Dylan Wade Butler and John Aaron Rice told the world exactly what their roles were... it is ugly... it is painful... it is sad... it is criminal.

The court now sentences the defendants as follows: [The specific sentences are not part of the judge's prepared remarks.]

The court has considered the advisory guidelines computations and the sentencing factors under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). The court has considered the defendants' history and characteristics. The court has also considered unusual circumstances — the extraordinary circumstances — and the peculiar seriousness and gravity of those offenses. I have paid special attention to the plea agreements and the recommendations of the United States. I have read the letters received on behalf of the defendants. I believe these sentences provide just punishment to each of these defendants and equally important, I believe they serve as adequate deterrence to others and I hope that these sentences will discourage others from heading down a similar life-altering path. I have considered the sentencing guidelines and the policy statements and the law. These sentences are the result of much thought and deliberation.

These sentences will not bring back James Craig Anderson nor will they restore the lives they enjoyed prior to 2011. The court knows that James Anderson's mother, who is now 89 years old, lived through the horrors of the Old Mississippi, and the court hopes that she and her family can find peace in knowing that with these sentences, in the New Mississippi, justice is truly blind. Justice, however, will not be complete unless these defendants use the remainder of their lives to learn from this experience and fully commit to making a positive difference in the New Mississippi. And, finally, the court wishes that the defendants also can find peace.

Reeves is a U.S. District Court judge for the Southern District of Mississippi. He made waves last November when he ruled Mississippi's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. That case is currently under appeal in the Fifth Circuit Court.

Recommended article: Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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Hysteria: When letting your kids out of your sight becomes a crime

danielle meitiv

© Sammy Dallal

SILVER SPRING, MD - JANUARY 16: Danielle Meitiv waits with her son Rafi, Meitiv, 10, for Danielle's daughter Dvora Meitiv, 6, to be dropped off at the neighborhood school bus stop in Silver Spring MD, Friday January 16, 2015.

We all want what is best for our children. We want them to be happy and successful, and we want to protect them from harm. But what if we are protecting them from extremely remote threats while ignoring the things that most endanger their well-being? What if police and child welfare officials, the experts whom we empower to protect our children, are pursuing phantom problems while neglecting those who are truly at risk?

One recent Saturday afternoon, six police officers and five patrol cars came to my home in Silver Spring. They demanded identification from my husband and entered our home despite not having a warrant to do so. The reason for this show of force? We had allowed our children to walk home from a neighborhood park by themselves.

A few hours later, a Montgomery County Child Protective Services (CPS) social worker coerced my husband into signing a "temporary safety plan" for our children by threatening to take the children "right now" — a threat she backed up with a call to the police. In the weeks that followed, another worker from the agency appeared at our door with the police and insisted that he did not need a warrant to enter our home. He also interviewed our children at school without our knowledge or permission.

When did Americans decide that allowing our kids to be out of sight was a crime?

Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of young children being outside without adult supervision. We're not always comfortable with it, either. We think, however, that giving them an opportunity to learn to make their way in the world independently is the best way to prepare them for adulthood — and that it is safe for them to do so.

Although our fears may tell us one thing about the world, the facts say something quite different. Crime rates across the United States are as low as they've been in my lifetime. Stranger abduction, the bogeyman of most parental fears, has always been exceedingly rare. Far more hazardous are the obesity risks and idleness we subject children to if we do not allow them to run outside and play.

Fear, too, takes a toll. I wasn't there when the police brought my children home in a patrol car, but my 10-year-old called me, sobbing that "Daddy is getting arrested." The incident gave my daughter nightmares. My son told us that the social worker who questioned him asked, "What would you do if someone grabbed you?," and suggested that he tell us that he doesn't want to go off on his own anymore because it's dangerous and that there are "bad guys waiting to grab you." This is how adults teach children to be afraid even when they are not in danger.

We are not the only parents in this position. Last summer, Debra Harrell of North Augusta, S.C., spent 17 days in jail because she let her 9-year-old daughter play at a park while she was working. In Port St. Lucie, Fla.,Nicole Gainey was arrested and charged with neglect because her 7-year-old was playing unsupervised at a nearby playground, and Ashley Richardson of Winter Haven, Fla., was jailed when she left her four kids, ages 6 to 8, to play at a park while she shopped at the local food bank.

The problem with these cases, and ours, was not that police stopped to check on the children involved; that's what we want officers to do if they have concerns about a child's welfare. The problem is that, once it was determined that involved parents had already judged their children to be safe, the authorities didn't move along. Instead they turned to heavyhanded legal and bureaucratic remedies that did far more harm than good.

Nationwide, providers of social services are burdened with overflowing workloads and backlogs of hundreds of cases. So why are they wasting time with us? Even if CPS is mandated to follow up on every call, why aren't there objective, rational criteria to determine which situations warrant attention? As long as the trigger for an investigation is "child left unsupervised," these workers will run themselves ragged and waste precious resources investigating families like ours while neglecting children who really need their help.

CPS's work is vital and necessary, but the pendulum has swung too far. We need to take back the streets and parks for our children. We need to refuse to allow ourselves to be ruled by fear or allow our government to overrule decisions that parents make about what is best for their children. Overpolicing parents in this way does not make children safer; it disrupts families and makes our kids fearful, anxious and unhealthy. We also need to support groups such as the National Association of Parents , which fights for the constitutional rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit, as long as the children are not harmed.

And whether through the legislatures or the courts, neglect laws need to be redefined to safeguard parents' discretion to make reasonable risk-management judgments for their children, including the decision to allow them the freedom and independence that was the norm a generation ago and is still essential to their development and well-being.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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More terrorism circus? Two dead, five injured in Copenhagen shootings

Danish police shot and killed a man early today who investigators believe was behind shootings at a free speech event and a synagogue in Copenhagen, killing two men and wounding five police officers, and was likely inspired by last month's terror attacks in Paris.

The suspected gunman was killed in a shootout with police in the Noerrebro district of Copenhagen, Danish investigator Joergen Skov told The Associated Press.

According to Copenhagen police, at about 5 a.m., the suspect was returning to an address that was under police surveillance. When officers tried to make contact with the suspect, he shot at them. The officers returned fire, killing him.

Skov said "nothing at this point suggests there were other perpetrators" in the Saturday shootings. Police officials said at a news conference Sunday that they knew who the suspect was but have not yet identified him, only saying he was from Copenhagen.

Copenhagen suspect

© Copenhagen Police

Police in Copenhagen released a photo of a man believed to be the gunman who opened fire on a cafe in the Danish city, killing one man and injuring three police officers.

The first shooting happened about 4 p.m. at an event titled "Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression," organized by Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who has faced several threats after caricaturing the Prophet Muhammad. The 55-year-old victim was not identified.

"I'm not sure how many shots but I'd say about 20 or 30 shots," Dennis Myhoff-Brink, who witnessed the attack, told BBC News. "People panicked of course and ran to the doors. Other people were hiding behind tables they had turned over."

Vilks, 68, who was not injured in the shooting, said he believes he was the intended target.

"What other motive could there be? It's possible it was inspired by Charlie Hebdo," he told the AP.

Copenhagen cafe

© Polfoto, Janus Engel/AP Photo

The scene outside the Copenhagen cafe, with bullet marked window, where a gunman opened fire Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015

The shooting happened a month after gunmen opened fire on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris, killing 12 people. The magazine had published cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, angering many Muslims.

In the days that followed, a police officer was killed and four others slain at a kosher grocery store inside the French capital.

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt called the cafe shooting a "terrorist attack."

"We feel certain now that it is a politically motivated attack, and thereby it is a terrorist attack," she said.

Copenhagen cafe2

© Janus Engel/AP Photo

The scene outside the Copenhagen cafe, with bullet marked window, where a gunman opened fire Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015,.

Hours after the shooting at the cafe, police said Dan Uzan, a 37-year-old member of Copenhagen's Jewish community, was killed and two police officers were wounded in a shooting outside a synagogue.

Uzan was standing near the entrance when he was shot, acting as a security guard for a Bat Mitzvah party that was taking place inside, according to Copenhagen's main synagogue.

"It is a very sad morning where we all think of the victims and their relatives," said Thornin-Schmidt. "Two innocent people have lost their lives because of a cynical terror action against Denmark."

Danish police officers synagogue

© Michael Probst/AP Photo

Danish police officers secure the area outside of a synagogue, Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, where a gunman opened fire in Copenhagen, Denmark.

House Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told ABC News that it's "too early to tell" if the shootings in Copenhagen were tied to ISIS or al Qaeda.

"We still don't know. Obviously they [the intelligence community] are working with Danish authorities to try to get to the bottom of - was there an affiliation with al Qaeda or ISIS? Was this self-radicalization? Was this a copycat of what happened in Paris?" said Schiff. "It's still too early to tell."

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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The Food Babe: Enemy of chemicals

© amazon.com

"Cereals here in the United States contain a packaging ingredient called—God, I'm paranoid." The natural-food advocate Vani Hari paused, laughing, looking at a man standing a few feet from our table in a Union Square coffee shop. He was huddled over his phone, just waiting for his coffee—or so it seemed. She lowered her voice, continuing, barely audible: "... called BHT."

Hari looked in my blank eyes. I asked, "In the plastic bags?"

She nodded as if I'd just been let in on the secret to end all secrets. "And in the U.K., they can't use it," Hari, who is better known through her blogging, speaking, and TV appearances as "The Food Babe," continued. "The purpose of it is to leach into the cereal, so it keeps it fresh. And, how many millions of kids are eating this every single day?"

"Why did the U.K. take it out?" I asked.

"They don't allow it," Hari said.

"They must have a reason."

"There are studies that suggest it's linked to cancer, tumors," she said. "It's an endocrine-disrupting chemical."

Such is the gist of many of the food-additive campaigns that Hari has undertaken: A chemical in the U.S. food supply is not allowed in other countries, so why is it being used here? Petition the food companies to take it out. Over the past three years, Hari has rapidly become one of the most popular voices on nutrition in mainstream media. She has lived the American dream: monetizing a lifestyle blog and quitting her job to write about what she's eating and why.

Hari is now working on developing a TV show, and her first book, released yesterday, is bound to lead bestseller lists. The title, a mouthful, leaves little to the imagination: The Food Babe Way: Break Free from the Hidden Toxins in Your Food and Lose Weight, Look Years Younger, and Get Healthy in Just 21 Days! It is more than just another ultra-simple diet plan, or a compendium of claims intended to provoke, devoid of nuance, though it is also those things. ("Could an apple be more fattening than a hot fudge sundae? Quite possibly, especially if you consider the exposure and accumulation of pesticides over time in the body.")

The book also offers the origin story of The Food Babe—how she left her job as a financial consultant and, despite no training in human metabolism, toxicology, or environmental science, became an unintentionally influential figure in public health. The book does little to address that she has also drawn the ire of many scientists who believe her claims are inaccurate or even dangerous. But Vani Hari did not intend to attract attention on the scale that she has. Her crusade began simply enough, with her own health issues, and the recovery that ensued after she discovered an all-natural approach to life. "Everything I had been putting in my body," she writes in the book, "was either made from something out of a chemical factory, sprayed with chemicals, or genetically modified to make companies richer and me sicker."

Hari's secrecy when we met in New York was not because the story of butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) was a particularly hot one. The additive has been widely used in cereal packaging for many years. BHT has to be listed as an ingredient on food labels, and some consumer-protection advocates like the Environmental Working Group have advised people to avoid it when possible. BHT is not a listed carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, but at high levels of exposure, rats have been found to develop lung and liver tumors, as well as problems with motor skills. These issues have not proven themselves to be relevant to humans, so the Food and Drug Administration classifies the chemical "Generally Recognized as Safe."

Rather, Hari had explained that her secrecy was because, five days after we met, she was going to launch a campaign imploring her legion of followers (dubbed "The Food Babe Army") to demand that General Mills and Kellogg's stop using BHT. She made me swear that I wouldn't break the news in advance. I swore. And five days later, Hari posted a petition on her widely read blog FoodBabe.com, and pushed it to her 900,000-plus Facebook followers. Within a few hours, the petition had garnered more than 17,000 signatures. By the end of the day, last Thursday, Hari had published a press release saying that General Mills and Kellogg's had announced that they were going to phase out BHT.

She called it "a giant victory for the Food Babe Army." (General Mills' brand manager said the company was "already well down the path of removing [BHT]," and that the petition played no role in that.) In either case, this is far from the first victory to Hari's name. Since 2012, she has been leading campaigns demanding that food manufacturers remove ingredients that concern her, however remote the odds of serious danger. In March 2013, she successfully implored Kraft to remove one of the chemical dyes that gave its macaroni and cheese that classic yellow-orange glow—because, Hari writes in the book, "at least one study" suggested a correlation between the chemical (yellow 5) and hyperactive behavior. Before that, her blogging and advocacy led to changes by Chipotle and Chick-fil-A, among others.

"I never gave permission for my body to be used as a toxic-waste dump or a science experiment," Hari writes in the book, blaming the food industry for said use. "You'd think our Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would protect us from all of this, wouldn't you? Hell, no. They're part of the problem." Her stance on food additives is an absolute one: "There is just no acceptable level of any chemical to ingest, ever."

Toxicologists the world over dispute that with the fundamental adage "The dose makes the poison." Any substance is toxic at high enough quantities. Even something as banal as carbon dioxide can asphyxiate a person. And, similarly, almost anything is benign at low enough quantities. These are things that Hari knows but gives little due, sticking instead to the messages that are most visceral. She escalates the concerns raised by possible associations to concrete, actionable fear. Chapter One, titled "You've Been Duped," sums up the most divisive elements of her ideology:

Every bite of food that passes through our lips, and every glass of water we drink, are potential sources of toxic chemicals, including pesticide residue, preservatives, artificial flavors and colorings, addicting sugars and fats, genetically modified organisms, and more. These toxins can travel to, and settle into, all the organs of your body, particularly the liver, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, and lungs—and do great damage. Scientists are now blaming chemical-ridden food for the dramatic rise in obesity, heart disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, infertility, dementia, mental illness, and more.

Most of the scientists who have spoken on Hari's work, though, are less than supportive of that sweeping message. Rather, her work has drawn ardent criticism, primarily from a vocal contingent of academic researchers and doctors, who accuse her, in no uncertain terms, of fear-mongering and profiteering. They say that she invokes science when it is convenient, as in the passage above, but demonizes it when it is not—as in her blanket case against any and all genetically modified food.

Last month, NPR ran a critique of Hari's work, quoting several of her outspoken detractors. Science writer Kavin Senapathy, for one, captured the concerns of many in saying that Hari "exploits the scientific ignorance of her followers." Others, including neurologist Steven Novella, have said that she is to food what Jenny McCarthy is to vaccines.

"The Web is cluttered with people who really have no idea what they are talking about giving advice as if it were authoritative," Novella wrote in a blog post. "Often that advice is colored by either an ideological or commercial interest. The Food Babe is now the poster child for this phenomenon." NPR also quoted oncologist David Gorski, who has called Hari "a seemingly-never-ending font of misinformation and fear-mongering about food ingredients, particularly any ingredient with a scary, 'chemically'-sounding name."

In recent months the attacks have escalated, and Hari has mobilized her army for war. Her response to many detractors is a simple and effective charge of corruption: Those who criticize her work are doing so because of ties to the food industry. Rebutting the NPR article, Hari addressed her followers with an impassioned response, opening with a quote she attributes to Mahatma Gandhi: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." (If the Gandhi invocation feels a little self-aggrandizing, compare it to the book's forward, in which 10-Day Detox Diet author Mark Hyman likens Hari's work to that of Martin Luther King, Jr.) That was followed by more than 5,000 words of responses to her critics, including some humility—"I'll admit it. My microwave blog post was not my most impressive piece of work"—all the while imploring her army to stand by her side in these trying times.

Illustrating the depth of what Hari endures, the post also includes images of some of the most hateful vitriol she has received from various dark corners of social media, complete with threats of rape and entreaties to kill herself.

"I'm getting attacked every day with a death threat," she told me. When it first started, the criticism and negativity dissuaded her in her work. Now, she explained, it fuels her. It is becoming part of her identity as a crusader. She implores her followers to join the battle, to resist the influence of the food-industry-fueled opposition.

Hari is a paragon of opportunism in that way, turning criticism in her favor, incorporating it as part of her outsider identity. Her critics are part of an establishment trying to suppress the truths she holds, the truths they don't want you to hear. This week, Hari braced her fans on Facebook for the release of her book:

"The ‪#‎FoodBabeWay‬ is hitting stores everywhere on Tuesday and I'm scared to death. The Food Industry is not going to be happy, they are going to fight back with their detractors leaving dishonest reviews and try to take me down any chance they get. ... " The post generated more than 9,000 likes. In the same way, she opens the book by turning her lack of scientific training into a point in her favor: The establishment is the problem, and she is its antithesis. She is at once the victim and the hero.

"What's really concerning to me is that the majority of the medical establishment, including registered dietitians, have some sort of industry tie," she told me. "It's entrenched. Sometimes it takes an outsider to see the corruption. And to talk about it in a way that people understand."

I asked her about that positioning, as the relatable underdog-outsider going against the medically trained elitists. "It wasn't intentional," she said. "This just isn't stuff that you have to be a doctor or scientist to understand, and the fact that they're telling you that, there's a problem with that. That you have to be a food scientist in order to understand what these chemicals do in your body. Not really."

Nutrition and human metabolism are among the most complex and consequential disciplines in the health sciences, but sentiment like Hari's is not at all rare, evidenced by the many celebrities who feel qualified to write their own weight-loss books. They sell well, at least in part because people who are not scientists tend to be better at using evocative language and less married to conservative "may be related to"-type caveats; the scientific establishment that guardedly posits potential correlations, and ends every statement with "more studies are needed." The deferential language of careful science, unfortunately, lends itself to little influence on the emotion-laden mainstream Internet.

Back in 2011, a public-health program at the University of California, Berkeley advised consumers about the cereal-bag chemical: "The nutritional benefits of, say, a whole­ grain cereal with the additives outweigh any risk. But because [BHT's] health effects are still unclear, limit how much you consume." Alas, the staid article did not lead to the removal of these chemicals from the food supply. That's where one needs a Food Babe.

Hari is also part of an ongoing, escalating challenge to the identities of academics as gatekeepers of knowledge. The role of celebrity in giving public-health advice is not unique to the Internet era; Jane Fonda was the fitness expert of a VHS generation. But the idea of a lone consultant becoming, in three short years, more influential than entire university departments of Ph.D.s, is indicative of a new level of potential for celebrity in health messaging.

"I wanted the hashtag to be #CerealKiller, but people talked me out of that," Hari said, laughing but not unserious. I told her, as a writer who not-infrequently covers food and nutrition, that I worry about making people freak out when they shouldn't. Toxic contamination of the food supply is an incendiary topic, and telling people they've been poisoning themselves or their kids (however innocently) can be a serious burden.

"And that's the problem that we have: too many moderate people," she said. "We need someone demanding change."

NPR posited that its readers cannot simply ignore Hari, because her reach is growing. She wrote an op-ed about her success, and the widespread misuse of the term natural, for The New York Times . Hari is on track to become the next Dr. Oz-level health-media personality. She has already been a guest on the embattled doctor's daytime-television extravaganza, during the macaroni-and-cheese crusades. By the end of the campaign, the petition to remove yellow 5 had almost 250,000 signatures. She's clearly speaking to people in a way that resonates. Analytically-minded people, her scientist critics among them, often with big health ideas of their own, might do well to understand why and how these messages work. Or, as Hari phrases it, as a challenge: "People chastise me for being too simplistic, but it's like, okay, how are you getting through to people?"

* * *

At the heart of her superhero-style name, The Food Babe has a superhero-style origin story. It's the archetypal one of a reluctant rise from humble beginnings; one that involves a transformation, a time at rock bottom, and a rise to fight a clear-cut battle of good versus evil.

One cold winter night, when she was in her early 20s, Vani Hari developed some pain in her lower abdomen. She went to a nearby hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she was born and had returned to live after college. In the emergency department, she remembers being told to relax, that her ovaries were "moving," and she'd be fine. The next morning she went in for a second opinion, and she was diagnosed with appendicitis. Within an hour she was having her appendix laparoscopically excised. Recovering in the hospital that night, she remembers someone took a picture of her, and she ripped it up thinking she looked "so, so bad." And she definitely felt horrible.

Since graduating from college, Hari had been working as a consultant at Accenture. She kept long, exhausting hours. She recalls being afraid to leave to use the bathroom during meetings because the environment was so intense. She ate decadent catered meals from exorbitant expense accounts. "A bunch of stuff that really doesn't serve the body," she recalls. "But I wanted to fit in, I wanted to be a partner. I was ambitious." But the health issues she'd had as a child—allergies, eczema, asthma—flared up. Over the first year of the job, she gained between 30 and 40 pounds. She felt bad and "didn't look that great."

When the appendicitis hit, that was a breaking point. Lying in her hospital bed, Hari said, "I just had this light bulb awakening moment, you know? This isn't how I want to live."

She resolved to pay better attention to her health, and to figure out exactly what foods would best serve her in that. "I avoided processed foods like the poison they are," she recounts in the book. "I fed my body fresh organic foods—fruits, veggies, grains, good fats, and other whole foods—and made time to nourish my body back to health." Her eczema vanished, as did her asthma, anxiety, and gastric issues. "I got back to an attractive, normal weight, and I've stayed there," she recalls, "even by eating 1,800 calories a day, normally a lot for a woman with my frame." And, a message not to be taken as advice to readers, she eventually stopped taking any and all medications, prescription and over-the-counter.

She still stuck with the consulting job for a while, because she says she was raised not to quit. And she was raised a competitor. As a top-tier debater in high school, Hari was a state champion. Even as her grades suffered from her devotion to the debate team, she was still recruited to colleges because of her skill. "It was actually the funnest time of my life, until now," she recalls.

"What made you excel?"

"I love competition," she said. I laughed. She didn't. "I love competition. I love competition of ideas. There's something really gratifying about convincing someone of something. It's probably born into me. And there are so many parallels between what I was doing back then, and what I'm doing now. In that it's competition, and being the underdog, and convincing people that they need to think about healthier eating, drop the processed food, this food is killing you."

She started putting those ideas in writing in 2011. Not wanting to mix her Internet identity with her day job as a consultant, she initially went only by the name The Food Babe. For the first year and half of her blog's existence—which today features an actual photo of Hari examining a nutrition label with a magnifying glass (as does the cover of her book)—the top of the page was illustrated with cartoon characters. One was a woman lifting weights in a bikini. "It was a cartoon, though," Hari said. "It wasn't graphic. But, it was a babe."

Sexuality is an element of health, I said.

"Well, I'm just saying it wasn't, like, graphic."

Her personal brand is always family-friendly, in the traditional sense. She says the "babe" branding—an interesting approach in a scientific arena notoriously dismissive of female voices—was never her idea. When she asked her tech-savvy husband to procure a domain name for her blog, as she recalls, EatHealthierForever.com was taken. So he suggested FoodBabe.com, which was somehow available for $10.

"At first I was like, I'm not calling myself 'The Food Babe,' that's ridiculous," Hari said. "But then I thought, well, why don't I teach everyone to become a food babe?"

In its early days, FoodBabe.com was essentially Hari's aspirational lifestyle blog, divided into three categories. In one, she wrote about workouts. In another she wrote about food. And in the third she recounted her travels. She is, she admits, obsessed with travel.

"I didn't start the blog to take on the industry," Hari said. "I had no idea that this would start to happen. I had no idea that a blog post, something I wrote, would change a company. But when that started to happen, that's when I knew I had to quit my job, that I had this gift that I need to share with the world."

Feeling that she owed it to herself, to her mother-in-law who had recently died from cancer, and to her father who had recently been diagnosed with cancer, to spread her message of health through natural food, she gave up television for Lent (she's not Catholic, but, still) and found time to start blogging after work.

"People ask me, how did you figure out how to write?" she recalls. "I had no copywriting training or anything like that. I put myself in my own shoes as a normal person and thought, what would I want to read? What headline would I click on?"

And there she found an uncanny ability. Her post titled "If You've Ever Eaten Pizza Before, This Will Blow Your Mind (Maybe Literally)," in which she lists which name-brand pizzas contain MSG and GMOs (or "possible GMOs") is a triumph of click-generating headline writing. It has been shared on Facebook 384,000 times. With that acumen, and multiple similar posts before it spreading across the Internet organically, as from concerned pizza consumer to concerned pizza consumer, it was a matter of only a short while before Hari had a sizable readership. But it was the Subway campaign, really, that brought The Food Babe into the national spotlight.

In 2013, Hari filmed herself eating a yoga mat, as she writes in the book, "to drive the point home." The point was that azodicarbonamide, a chemical used in commercial bread production, was the same one used in yoga mats. Hari targeted Subway bread specifically, and implored her Army to "eat fresh—not yoga mats." Within a year after her post, multiple national news-media outlets having picked up the story, Subway agreed to stop using azodicarbonamide. As she was sitting on her couch in Charlotte watching television with her husband, she recalls, a Subway commercial came on, and there was a little asterisk that said "no azodicarbonamide." They gave each other a high five.

"Bread is a foam. Even culinary experts will tell you," argues Kevin Folta, professor and chairman of the department of horticultural sciences at the University of Florida, and one of Hari's most outspoken critics. And azodicarbonamide is used as an agent to maintain the structure of foams. So, what's the problem? Folta considers azodicarbonamide nothing more than a digestible organic molecule, and one that helps bakery products maintain uniformity and structure over time.

"It was a perfectly safe food additive for years," Folta told me, "until she came along and decided that Subway bread was essentially a yoga mat."

The Subway campaign was the first that drew Folta into following Hari's work, with increasing fascination over, as he put it, "the fact that she is able to mobilize this army of blind followers who reject science and follow her words, to smear and harm the reputations of companies that are doing nothing wrong."

Folta is among the scientists who, especially in recent months, have devoted substantial energy to discrediting Hari—or at least, reorienting her. He recently tweeted a photo of her holding an issue of the journal Nature Genetics that included a report on the sequencing of a strawberry genome, writing, in parody of her arguments, "DNA: The 'a' is for 'acid.' Want to feed your kids acid?"

"Safety always has to be the number one concern," Folta said. "And an understanding of safety is contingent on an understanding of the chemical in question. But she lacks the scientific prowess to be able to tell when something is truly a threat, and when something poses no threat."

Hari argues that the campaigns are really about a bigger picture; she wasn't honestly that concerned over the exact effects of azodicarbonamide, in particular. Rather, that campaign and others are allegories, in service of the point that food additives should be thoroughly tested for safety before they are put into food—instead of the current model, in which additives are removed after there is evidence of harm.

"The scientists who argue with me about this minute data, who keep saying 'The dose makes the poison,' Hari says, shaking her head. "Why aren't we more cautious about the ingredients we allow in our food supply? Why are we allowing all these additives? And what's the cumulative effect of all these additives together? That's something people are just starting to study."

Under the current system, food manufacturers can use ingredients without oversight by the Food and Drug Administration under an exemption where that ingredient is approved because it is "Generally Regarded as Safe" (GRAS). Many agree that the process makes sense for some basic substances that have long been in use, like salt. But as the list of chemical additives has grown into the thousands, many believe that safety oversight is lacking, and that the GRAS exemption is not being used as intended. As the Environmental Working Group argues, for one, "This system makes sense for benign additives such as pepper and basil, but there are enormous loopholes that allow additives of questionable safety to be listed as GRAS."

"If there's not enough data to say that these chemicals are safe, I say, use the precautionary principle and don't use them," said Hari. "Especially if other countries have enough concern to ban a chemical," as was the case with azodicarbonamide in Europe. The GRAS process has come under additional scrutiny in recent years, including astudy in JAMA Internal Medicine that tracked GRAS designation for chemicals introduced between 1997 and 2012. It found that 22 percent of the scientists charged with making the determinations of what "generally regarded as safe" meant in each case were employees of company that manufactured the additive in question. In other cases, the scientists were selected by the manufacturers. None were selected by a disinterested third party.

"There's disconnect between the language of science and the language of common communication," Folta said, explaining why, while many people are upset over the GRAS system, it doesn't bother him. "You can never demonstrate that something is 'safe.' Whether it's water or sugar; there's no way. Because you can't test every aspect. All we can say is, of all the things we've looked at, there's no evidence of harm. If you said, can you prove to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that something is safe, I'd say, no way. With vaccines, sure, you can't account for some extremely rare effect that might be seen in someone with a particular metabolic disorder, but that's not to say they're not a tremendous benefit to society as a whole."

Hari understands that science cannot prove a negative—that studies can prove that something can happen, and studies can say that things are unlikely, but not impossible—so some chance of harm can never be totally ruled out. That aside, she believes that testing should be more stringent. Her end game, she says, is to reform the FDA process.

So, she says, "Take McDonald's French fries," as a good example of her approach. "In the U.K., they have four ingredients. In the U.S., they have 19. What are these 15 extra ingredients? Why do we need those in our bodies? Those are the questions I'm asking."

"Even though her heart's in the right place, and I understand what she's going for," Folta conceded, beginning to get at the practicalities of the disconnect, "you don't use coercion and intimidation to achieve a scientific end."

It is the issue of GMOs where Hari's messages come into clearest conflict with Folta's work. The lab next to his at the University of Florida, he tells me, for example, has produced a tomato seed that will yield a fruit that is loaded with folic acid—a vitamin that is proven to dramatically reduce the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida in infants. Folic acid is, for pregnant women, actually, one of the only cases in which vitamin supplementation is proven to be beneficial to human beings. But it must be taken very early in pregnancy, during the period before many women know that they are pregnant. So, at least in theory, a folate-rich tomato that made its way into mainstream use could prevent some serious birth defects.

The tomato is one of many GMOs that exist in laboratories—not just high-vitamin fruits, but plants that can grow in drought, or in extreme heat—that go unused, Folta laments, because the licensing process for new crops, through the FDA and EPA, is costly and arduous. The high-folate tomato would be most-needed outside of the U.S., where nutrient-poor diets are more common. An agricultural biotechnology company is unlikely to spend millions in development where there is no lucrative market.

Moving a gene that gives disease resistance from spinach into strawberries, in order to make them immune from disease is—an example of existing GMO technology—is in Folta's view, an unquestionable triumph of science. It's not unlike the synthetic insulin that is given to people with diabetes around the world, or the pacemakers that can be implanted in a person's chest.

In this way, Hari's anti-GMO messages hit very close to home for Folta. In the book, Hari's case against many foods is predicated on the fact that they contain GMOs, implying that this is a concern for human health, despite the fact that the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the World Health Organization, the U.K. Royal Society, the French Academy of Sciences, and the European Commission have all concluded that foods derived from genetically modified crops pose no risk to human health. No case of human illness or allergy has ever been directly attributed to genetically modified crops. So noted Michael Specter last summer in a New Yorker profile of environmentalist Vandana Shiva, who is leading a global spiritual crusade against genetically modified crops.

Hari described the article as an "industry-funded" attack. She advised me to read Shiva's response. In it, Shiva accuses Specter of poor journalism and outright fraud in service of the biotech industry. She asks if Specter's work is "sponsored by the GMO movement" and if he is involved in publicity for Monsanto on behalf of Condé Nast (publisher ofThe New Yorker), before escalating the charges against Specter to character assassination and slander.

Wariness of commercial interests and financial conflicts is obviously critical to honest discussion about the future of feeding the planet. But to accuse anyone who defends the use of GMOs of industry corruption, of being a shill for industry, stifles much-needed conversation. It is simply impossible that every scientist who argues for the benefits of genetic modification is sacrificing ethics and academic integrity for a paycheck from a biotech company. But that is the party line among detractors. Really the long tails of commercial interests factor, at times, on both sides.

"Vani is very good at marketing herself and telling people what they want to hear," Folta said. "She is very good at playing into the current popularity of vilifying farmers and large-scale agriculture. But really, she's her own company, and she's the spokesperson." Indeed, Hari does sell products through her web site. Readers can choose from among an impressive array of juicers. And if you order the book today, you will also receive The Food Babe's "Guide to Grocery Shopping," including a list of her favorite brands ($29.99 value) for free.

Hari, likewise, accuses Folta of conflicts of interest through ties to Monsanto, specifically due to his involvement with a project called GMO Answers. He admits to having industry friends and open lines of communication with biotechnology companies, and he has spoken at Monsanto. He understands the job of the academic scientist to include helping farmers optimize whatever seeds they have "whether they come from Monsanto or Johnny's Organic Seeds in Vermont"—where he'd also gladly speak. But he denies financial ties.

"I didn't work for 30 years in this business as a public scientist, at half the salary of what I could earn working for industry, so that I could sell out for some company," he explained. "She has called me a professor who works for Monsanto, which is the most insane thing I've ever heard. I work for the state of Florida. But she had to play that card to discredit me, because I'm hitting a little too close to home with her whole scam."

Folta understands his calling on noble terms, his charge to create solutions that help people and the environment and farmers. "That's what we do every day. That's why we get out of bed," he said.

Both believe themselves to be outsiders, fighting an unjust system that locks them out, the result of misinformed public opinion. "We can come up with ideas to solve real problems, and we can't use them because the regulatory system is too stringent," Folta said. "That's in reaction to public outcry. Having solutions that we believe will help people and help the planet, and yet we can't deploy them, is one of the most frustrating things. To have someone like Hari go out and make up nonsense that only digs into public opinion against these technologies is really frustrating for us."

"Do you worry about some kind of nutritional impact of GMOs?" I asked Hari. "Or is it an environmental argument?"

"I worry more about the number of pesticides that are associated with GMOs. For me it's a pesticide issue, when it comes to eating them," she said, pointing me to an article by Tom Philpott in Mother Jones in 2012, "How GMOs Unleashed a Pesticide Gusher" (and applauding the effectiveness of "gusher" in the headline). Folta counters that while herbicides may have increased, because herbicide-resistant seeds have allowed for increased use of weed-killers like glyphosate, insecticide use has actually decreased, because the crop itself can be insect-resistant. When a bug eats certain GMO corn or cotton, for example, a protein in the plant kills the bug, eradicating infestation.

"Now, from a morality and human rights perspective," Hari continued, "it's un-American that companies don't allow us to know if a product contains GMO ingredients." Indeed, a substantial majority of Americans do favor requiring food labels to disclose the use of GMOs, even if that information might imply health concerns that have not been observed. But knowing that labeling would be detrimental to bottom lines, companies have lobbied against that requirement. Or, as Hari sees it, "We've got a whole industry that's scared to tell us that they're serving us GMOs."

"There's value to people having concerns about food and wanting to communicate science to the public, and she's gifted in that regard," Folta said. "I certainly recognize that she has great influence, and that's wonderful. The trick now is, how do you get someone like her to consult me rather than another activist? To talk with scientists who can work with her to give her good information? I don't want to throw her under the bus; I want her to get on the bus."

But as these debates heat, and each side feels beleaguered and attacked, it's more likely that discussion will become more polarized. Each side will lecture the other in the ways of science, even while both believe that everything they do is firmly rooted in science. Each will position itself with only the noblest of aspirations, accusing the other of unduly prioritizing financial gain. And the conflict will, at least, keep these critical topics in the public eye.

Hari told me that she is looking for new campaigns, constantly. And as she learned the business of media and marketing, she is also learning the science of nutrition and sustainability. I could never entirely parse her sense of deep-seated corruption that informs the sweeping claims about entire professions and industries. Convenient as it is as a device, it also feels sincere. And it's pervasive. In the book she writes it most pointedly: "You can't trust anyone but yourself."

At times, even, Hari's suspicions lead her to contradict the basic tenet that natural is good. "Readers of my blog know," she writes in the book, "that the next time you lick vanilla ice cream from a cone, there's a good chance you'll be swirling secretions from a beaver's anal glands around in your mouth." Indeed. "Called castoreum, this secretion is used as a 'natural flavor' not only in vanilla ice cream but also in strawberry oatmeal and raspberry-flavored products." And, similarly, "If you chew gum, you may also be chewing lanolin, an oily secretion found in sheep's wool that is used to soften some gums. What nutritional value do you think these disgusting additives have for your body? None! They exist just to get you to buy something fake or that shouldn't be food, rather than a real alternative."

In her recent campaign against the many ingredients in beer, Hari got into a debate over whether some beers do contain an additive derived from the swim bladder of a fish.

Which is natural, I pointed out.

"Which is natural. It's just a great ingredient to point out. Because people are like, what?"

And unless I am grossly misled by her bodily reactions at their mention, she really does care about fish bladders. Fear-mongering, to me, is intentionally riling people up. Sharing genuine concerns is just in the nature of a wary person. "I have a ton of vegan and vegetarian friends," Hari said. "They would want to know if there are fish bladders in their beer."

Hari recently implemented an editorial policy on the site wherein any change or correction will be noted ("I make mistakes, I'm human."). And she will be announcing an advisory board that will help to review her claims. She will continue to be, as she has already proven, relentless and purposeful and clearly effective. It may be too optimistic to think that both sides of these debates can grow together and learn from one another's concerns and perspectives, but the opportunity is certainly there. Until then, the battle for moral high ground marches on.

"I want to be in a position where, if I die tomorrow," Hari said, "I can say I did everything I possibly could to bring awareness to the public, and to lead some lasting change."

"I hope you don't die tomorrow," I said, struck by the dramatic hypothetical.

"If I die tomorrow," she continued. "I'm going to be so pissed."

She did not. But after two and a half hours of talking with me, she did look down and notice that she had been drinking Tazo, a brand of green tea with which she has taken issue on her blog because it contains "natural flavors," and she was genuinely disappointed.

About the author

James H amblin, MD, is a senior editor at The Atlantic. He writes the health column for the monthly magazine and hosts the video series If Our Bodies Could Talk.

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