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The New York Times Does Energy Storage

By Francis Menton | Manhattan Contrarian | April 20, 2022

If you’ve been reading this blog lately, you know that the mythical transition to an energy future of pure “green” wind and solar electricity faces a gigantic problem of how to provide energy storage of the right type and in sufficient quantity. To make the electrical grid work, the wildly intermittent production of the wind and sun must somehow be turned into a smooth flow of electricity that matches customer demand minute by minute throughout the year. So far, that task has been fulfilled largely by natural gas back-up, which ramps up and down as the sun and wind ramp down and up. But now governments in the U.S., Europe, Canada and elsewhere say they will move to “net zero” carbon emission electricity by some time in the 2030s. Natural gas emits CO2, so “net zero” means that the natural gas must go. The alternative is energy storage of some sort.

Clearly, it is time to start figuring out how much energy storage we’re going to need, and of what type. Indeed, it is well past time to start figuring that out. If our government were even slightly competent, and also serious about “net zero” electricity by 2035, it would by this time have long since put together detailed feasibility and cost studies and demonstration projects showing exactly how this is going to work. Naturally, they don’t have any of that.

So how can this problem be addressed? One approach, discussed multiple times previously on this blog, would be to collect detailed data on hourly electricity usage and also hourly production from existing wind and solar facilities, and use that data to create a spreadsheet that will reveal information like how many gigawatt hours of storage will be needed, how long the energy must be kept in storage, over what period the energy will be discharged, and how much this will likely cost. Examples of such exercises have been reported multiple times previously here, most recently, for example, in this post of January 14, 2022.

But if that’s how you would approach this problem, then you don’t think like a progressive. To get some insights into the progressive approach, we turn as always to the New York Times. The Times has not up to now devoted a lot of its precious time and attention to this energy storage issue, but it so happens that they broached the subject in a substantial article that appeared yesterday on the front page of the business section, headline “Energy Fixes Exist. But They Need Money.” (The online headline is different.). The bylines are Eshe Nelson and Adam Satariano.

You can get the gist from the headline itself. The high status people like Times reporters and government functionaries have decided that the planet must be saved; and they assure us that “fixes exist.” It is now up to someone else to put up the money so that the low status people can do the menial task of working out the details.

The Times articulates the problem as follows:

The problem: how to make wind and solar energy available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even if the sun is not shining or the wind not blowing.

And how do we know that the “fixes exist”?

Solutions are available if given a financial boost, experts said.

Aha! — It’s the usual Times resort to the famous un-named “experts.” None of these experts are either named or quoted in this piece. Nor is there any mention of such issues as how many gigawatt hours of storage might be needed to back up the U.S. grid if powered only by wind and sun (the calculation in the January 14 post came to about 250,000 GWHs), or of how much that might cost, or whether batteries that can do the job can be produced, or are technologically feasible, to store energy for months on end and discharge it over the course of more months. Instead, we learn, for example, about the travails of Jakob Bitner’s battery company, VoltStorage.

VoltStorage needs “significantly” more money to develop its new battery technology, Mr. Bitner said. In 2020 and 2021, the company raised 11 million euros, or $12 million. Now, it is trying to raise up to €40 million more by this summer. “Even though we had great early-stage investors from Germany and Europe that keep supporting us, it becomes very hard to raise the tickets we need right now,” Mr. Bitner said, referring to individual investments.

So if this company and its technology are so promising, why aren’t investors lining up for the chance to put up money? According to the Times, it’s because those stupid venture capitalists have turned their attention to making a quick buck on the latest worthless fads, while the planet suffers.

Venture capitalists, once cheerleaders of green energy, are more infatuated with cryptocurrencies and start-ups that deliver groceries and beer within minutes. Many investors are put off by capital-intensive investments.

Could it be that the smart investors take a look at these proposed new battery technologies and immediately realize that they cannot deliver the necessary storage at affordable cost, or that they cannot meet the tests of being able to store energy for months and discharge over the course of months? Those possibilities are not mentioned here. After all, “experts say” that “solutions are available.”

And what do these “investors” say when confronted about their hesitancy to invest in new energy storage projects? You won’t be surprised:

[I]nvestors say government policy can help them more. Despite climate pledges, the regulations and laws in place haven’t created strong enough incentives for investments in new technologies.

What “government policy”? Well, to start, the government needs to suppress the existing industries that produce the carbon emissions:

Industries like steel and concrete have to be forced to adopt greener methods of production, Mr. Boni, the 360 Capital founder, said.

And as in essentially all Times pieces, it’s only a question of time before we get to the demand for government funds to subsidize the project:

For energy storage . . . and other large-scale projects, the government should expedite permitting, cut taxes and provide matching funds, said Mr. Fadell. . . .

Don’t worry, in New York Times world the government has infinite money. The Times’s job is to demand that it be spent, and then sit back and wait for utopia to arrive.

April 24, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment


OffGuardian | April 24, 2022

The last few days have seen a barrage of warnings and predictions of possible Russian cyber warfare.

The Telegraph warns that work from home software could be vulnerable to Russian cyber attacks. The Guardian says that “cyber crime groups” have “publicly pledged support for Putin”. ITV wants you to be scared of cyberattacks taking down the NHS or a nuclear power stations.

Apparently, those darn Ruskies have already started, attacking not the Western banking system, the NHS OR a nuclear power station… but the Ukrainian post office, for printing propaganda stamps.

It’s all ludicrous propaganda, of course… but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a “cyber attack” (or something they pretend is a cyber-attack).

Remember, Klaus Schwab and the WEF have been predicting a “major cyber attack” with “Covid-like characteristics” (whatever that means) for over a year now, including holding a “cyber pandemic” training exercise as part of Cyber Polygon in October 2021, well before the Russian “special operation” in Ukraine.

With both the energy and food markets beings put under deliberate pressure to raise the cost of living, a “cyberattack” to take out the power grid or further hurt supply lines is not at all out of the question. But if it does come, it will have nothing to do with Russia.

April 24, 2022 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Russophobia | | 1 Comment

Ukraine is a Pawn on the Grand Chessboard

By Rick Sterling | Dissident Voice | April 23, 2022

Zbigniew Brzezinski’s book The Grand Chessboard was published 25 years ago. His assumptions and strategies for maintaining U.S. global dominance have been hugely influential in US foreign policy. As the conflict in Ukraine evolves, with the potential of escalating into world war, we can see where this policy leads and how crucial it is to re-evaluate.

The need to dominate Eurasia

The basic premise of The Grand Chessboard is outlined in the introduction:

  • with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States is the sole global power
  • Europe and Asia (Eurasia) together have the largest land area, population and economy
  • U.S. must control Eurasia and prevent another country from challenging US dominance

Brzezinski sums up the situation: “America is now the only global superpower, and Eurasia is the globe’s central arena.” He adds “It is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of challenging America.”

The book surveys the different nations in Eurasia, from Japan in the east to the UK in the west. The entire land mass of Europe and Asia is covered. This is the “grand chessboard” and Brzezinski analyzes how the US should “play” different pieces on the board to keep potential rivals down and the US in control.

Brzezinski’s Influence

Brzezinski was a very powerful National Security Advisor to President Carter. Before that, he founded the Trilateral Commission. Later he taught Madeline Albright and many other key figures in US foreign policy.

Brzezinski initiated the “Afghanistan Trap”. That was the secret 1979 US program to mobilize and support mujahedin foreign fighters to invade and destabilize Afghanistan. In this period, Afghanistan was undergoing dramatic positive changes. As described by Canadian academic John Ryan, “Afghanistan once had a progressive secular government, with broad popular support. It had enacted progressive reforms and gave equal rights to women.”

The Brzezinski plan was to utilize reactionary local forces and foreign fighters to create enough mayhem that the government would ask the neighboring Soviet Union to send military support. The overall goal was to “bog down the Soviet army” and “give them their own Vietnam”.

With enormous funding from the US and Saudi Arabia beginning in 1978, the plan resulted in chaos, starvation and bloodshed in Afghanistan which continues to today. Approximately 6 million Afghans became refugees fleeing the chaos and war.

Years later, when interviewed about this policy, Brzezinski was proud and explicit: “We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.” When asked if he had regrets for the decades of mayhem in Afghanistan, he was clear: “Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? …. Moscow had to carry on a war that was unsustainable for the regime, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire…. What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some agitated Muslims or the liberation of central Europe and the end of the Cold War?”

Afghanistan was a pawn in the US campaign against the Soviet Union. The amorality of US foreign policy is clear and consistent, from the destruction of Afghanistan beginning in 1978 continuing to the current starvation caused by US freezing of Afghan government reserves.

The blow-back is also clear. The foreign fighters trained by the US and Saudis became Al Qaeda and then ISIS. The 2016 Orlando nightclub massacre, where 49 died and 53 were wounded was perpetrated by the son of an Afghan refugee who never would have come to the US if his country had not been intentionally destabilized. Paul Fitzgerald eloquently describes the tragedy in his article Brzezinski’s vision to lure Soviets into Afghan Trap now Orlando’s nightmare.

US Supremacy and Exceptionalism

The Grand Chessboard assumes US supremacy and exceptionalism and adds the strategy for implementing and enforcing this “primacy” on the biggest and most important arena: Eurasia.

Brzezinski does not countenance a multi-polar world. “A world without US primacy will be a world with more violence and disorder and less democracy and economic growth ….” and “The only real alternative to American global leadership in the foreseeable future is international anarchy.”

These assertions continue today as the US foreign policy establishment repeatedly talks about the “rules based order” and “international community”, ignoring the fact that the West is a small fraction of humanity. Toward the end of his book, Brzezinski suggests the “upgrading” the United Nations and a “new distribution of responsibilities and privileges” that take into account the “changed realities of global power.”

The importance of NATO and Ukraine

With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact, many people in the West believed NATO was no longer needed. NATO claimed to be strictly a defensive alliance and its only rival had disbanded.

Brzezinski and other US hawks saw that NATO could be used to expand US hegemony and keep weapons purchases flowing. Thus he wrote that, “an enlarged NATO will serve well both the short-term and the longer-term goals of U.S. policy.”

Brzezinski was adamant that Russian concerns or fears should be dismissed. “Any accommodation with Russia on the issue of NATO enlargement should not entail an outcome that has the effect of making Russia a de facto decision making member of the alliance.” Brzezinski was skillful at presenting an aggressive and offensive policy in the best light.

Brzezinski presents Ukraine as the pivotal country for containing Russia. He says, “Ukraine is the critical state, insofar as Russia’s future evolution is concerned.” He says, “Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire.” This is another example of his skillful wording because Ukraine as part of a hostile military alliance does not only prevent a Russian “empire”; it presents a potential threat. Kyiv is less than 500 miles from Moscow and Ukraine was a major route of the Nazi invasion.

Brzezinski was well aware of the controversial nature of Ukraine’s borders. On page 104 he gives a quote that shows many people of eastern Ukraine wanted out of Ukraine since the breakup of the Soviet Union. The 1996 quote from a Moscow newspaper reports, “In the foreseeable future events in eastern Ukraine confront Russia with a very difficult problem. Mass manifestations of discontent … will be accompanied by appeals to Russia, or even demands, to take over the region.”

Despite this reality, Brzezinski is dismissive of Russian rights and complaints. He bluntly says, “ Europe is America’s essential geopolitical bridgehead on the Eurasian continent.” and “Western Europe and increasingly Central Europe remain largely an American protectorate.” The unstated assumption is that the US has every right to dominate Eurasia from afar.

Brzezinski advises Russia to decentralize with the free market and a loose confederation of “European Russia, a Siberian Russia and a Far Eastern Republic”.

Afghanistan is the model

Brzezinski realizes that Russia presents a potential challenge to US domination of Eurasia, especially if it allies with China. In the “Grand Chessboard”, he writes, “If the middle space rebuffs the West, becomes an assertive single entity, and either gains control over the South or forms an alliance with the major Eastern actor, then America’s primacy in Eurasia shrinks dramatically.” Russia is the “middle space” and China is the “major Eastern actor”.

What was feared by the US strategist has happened: For the past 20 years, Russia and China have been building an alliance dedicated to ending US hegemony and beginning a new era in international relations.

This may be why the US aggressively provoked the crisis in Ukraine. The list of provocations is clear: moral and material support for Maidan protests, rejection of the EU agreement (“F*** the EU”), the sniper murders and violent 2014 coup, ignoring the Minsk Agreement approved by the UN Security Council, NATO advisors and training for ultra-nationalists, lethal weaponry to Ukraine, refusal to accept Ukrainian non-membership in NATO, threats to invade Donbass and Crimea.

Before Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, active duty soldier and former Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said, “They actually want Russia to invade Ukraine. Why would they? Because it gives the Biden administration a clear excuse to levy draconian sanctions… against Russia and the Russian people and number two, it cements this cold war in place. The military industrial complex is the one who benefits from this. They clearly control the Biden administration. Warmongers on both sides in Washington who have been drumming up these tensions. If they get Russia to invade Ukraine it locks in this new cold war, the military industrial complex starts to make a ton more money …. Who pays the price? The American people … the Ukrainian people … the Russian people pay the price. It undermines our own national security but the military industrial complex which controls so many of our elected officials wins and they run to the bank.”

This is accurate but the reasons for the provocations go deeper. Hillary Clinton recently summed up the wishes and dreams of Washington hawks: “The Russians invaded Afghanistan back in 1980 … a lot of countries supplied arms, advice and even some advisors to those who were recruited to fight Russia… a well funded insurgency basically drove the Russians out of Afghanistan…. I think that is the model people are now looking toward.”

US foreign policy has been consistent from Brzezinski to Madeline Albright, Hillary Clinton and on to Victoria Nuland. The results are seen in Aghanistan, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria and now Ukraine.

As with Afghanistan, the US “didn’t push Russia to intervene” but “knowingly increased the probability that they would.” The purpose is the same in both cases: to use a pawn to undermine and potentially eliminate a rival. We expect the US will make every effort to prolong the bloodshed and war, to bog down the Russian army and prevent a peaceful settlement. The US goal is just what Joe Biden said: regime change in Moscow.

Like Afghanistan, Ukraine is just a pawn on the chessboard.

April 24, 2022 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , | 4 Comments

“A Magnet for Conspiracy Theories”: Wikipedia Kills Entry for Hunter Biden’s Investment Company

By Jonathan Turley | April 24, 2022

Wikipedia editors are under fire this week for removing the entry for Rosemont Seneca Partners, the investment company connected to Hunter Biden and his alleged multimillion dollar influence peddling schemes. The site bizarrely claimed that the company was “not notable.” The timing itself is notable given the new disclosure that Hunter Biden’s business partner, Eric Schwerin, made at least 19 visits to the White House and other official locations between 2009 and 2015. That included a meeting with then-Vice President Joe Biden despite Biden’s repeated claim that he knew nothing about his son’s business dealings. Schwerin was the president of Rosemont Seneca.

Wikipedia has been accused of raw bias in removing the entry at a time when interest in the company is at its peak, including the possibility of an indictment of Hunter Biden over his financial dealings.  Rosemont Seneca is one of the most searched terms for those trying to understand the background on the Biden business operations.

Yet, an editor known only as “Alex” wrote that the company was simply “not notable” — an absurd claim reminiscent of the recent claim by Atlantic Magazine’s writer Anne Applebaum that she did not cover the scandal because it simply was “not interesting.”

Alex wrote: “This organization is only mentioned in connection with its famous founders, Hunter Biden and Christopher Heinz.” That itself is an odd statement. It is mentioned as one of the key conduits of alleged influence peddling money. Alex added that “keeping it around” ran the risk of the page becoming “a magnet for conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden.”

Any Wikipedia page could be a magnet for conspiracy theories, including the page on Hunter Biden himself. The fact is that this is a real company with real dealings that are the subject of a real criminal investigation. Indeed, various Republican members have already pledged to conduct investigations into this and other companies if they secure either house of Congress after the midterm elections.

So Wikipedia killed it just as a United States Attorney is drilling down on financial dealings of Hunter Biden, including money received from foreign sources through Rosemont Seneca.

The bias in the reference to the “conspiracy theories” is glaring. While some clearly misstate the facts of the Hunter Biden dealings (on both sides of the controversy), the central role of the company in these dealings is no conspiracy theory. I have long criticized Hunter Biden and his uncle for engaging in raw influence peddling — a practice long associated with the Biden family.

I have also been highly critical of how media and social media companies killed the Hunter Biden story.  Much like Wikipedia’s explanation this week, they claimed the Hunter Biden laptop story was merely conspiracy theories and Russian disinformation before the election. We are now approaching the midterm elections and suddenly Wikipedia is killing the page on this key company.

Republican senators claim that Hunter Biden was a partner in Rosemont Seneca with Chris Heinz, the stepson of future Secretary of State John Kerry, and their friend, Devon Archer. Archer was recently sent to prison for fraud in a matter that did not involve Hunter Biden.

In 2013, Rosemont Seneca entered into a business partnership with a Chinese investment fund called Bohai Capital. There are references in these transactions to Bohai Harvest RST. “RST” stood for “Rosemont Seneca Thornton,” a consortium of Rosemont Seneca and the Thornton Group, a Massachusetts-based firm.

Hunter Biden’s counsel insists that he did not have an equity interest in RST. However, Rosemont Seneca and RST feature greatly in the controversial transactions with foreign figures. Moreover, the Wall Street Journal reports that:

“Prosecutors have focused in particular, those people said, on the payments from Burisma, which first flowed to a company called Rosemont Seneca Bohai LLC before going on to Mr. Biden. Between 2014 and 2019, Hunter Biden held a Burisma board seat for which he was paid around $50,000 a month.”

The company has been tied to a series of payments to Hunter Biden from car purchases to cash transfers that are under investigation. Wikipedia does not (and should not) take sides in such allegations. Rather, it can serve as a conduit for those searching the company as part of a major and ongoing controversy.

Yet, “Alex” does not consider any of that “notable” and dismisses references to the company in a federal investigation as mere “conspiracy theories.”

Wikipedia was founded on lofty and even revolutionary goals of empowering the world with free access to sources of knowledge. The key minds behind Wikipedia saw the danger of bias creeping into this work and emphasized the need for strict neutrality.

Larry Sanger declared “Wikipedia has an important policy: roughly stated, you should write articles without bias, representing all views fairly.”

Likewise, Jimmy Wales insisted “A general-purpose encyclopedia is a collection of synthesized knowledge presented from a neutral point of view. To whatever extent possible, encyclopedic writing should steer clear of taking any particular stance other than the stance of the neutral point of view.”

I have long been a fan of Wikipedia and its noble purpose. For that reason, I am saddened by this move which seems to reject the essential pledge of the company. Wikipedia’s editors have been increasingly accused of bias in such decisions. However, this move is particularly raw and inexplicable. Wikipedia will lose the trust of many if it goes down the path of companies like Twitter in allowing staff to use its platform for their own political agendas.

Wikipedia should immediately reverse and disassociate itself from the decision of “Alex” on the Rosemont Seneca page.

April 24, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 2 Comments

When will these vaccine zealots wake up to the truth?

By Guy Hatchard | TCW Defending Freedom | April 24, 2022

WE should not understate the naivety of the government, media and scientists during the pandemic. The tabloid-style stories of severe Covid outcomes, the authoritative voice of Dr Anthony Fauci (who has financial conflicts of interest), the allure of the word vaccine, and the exaggerated death toll in foreign lands all combined into a convincing call for immediate and coercive action. Yet behind the stories, the highly profitable pharmaceutical PR system was running at full steam playing on the fear factor. New Zealand fell head over heels in love. Love knows no reason and that was certainly the case here.

New Zealand is a long way from the rest of the world. We have a tradition of proud independence and self-sufficiency, but we rolled over and played Follow the Leader. No one in a position of influence struck a note of caution, especially not our Prime Minister. We instituted the largest public borrowing programme in our history and spent it on a US mega corporation with a poor safety record and a history of punitive malpractice judgments. The government instituted saturation advertising of vaccine safety and efficacy, and then followed up with mandates, sackings and social exclusion. Our media shouted down those few asking questions.

Times, however, have changed. The respected and conservative Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has aired concerns about poor regulatory decisions at the US Food and Drug Agency (FDA) over booster shots. It joins a growing international chorus of highly qualified and influential voices.

On April 3, in an opinion piece entitled ‘FDA Shuts Out Its Own Experts in Authorising Another Vaccine Booster’, Dr Marty Makary, a surgeon and public policy researcher at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, wrote: ‘The FDA last week authorised Americans over 50 to get a fourth Covid vaccine dose. Some of the FDA’s own experts disagreed, but the agency simply ignored them.’

Eric Rubin, editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine (arguably the world’s most influential medical journal) and a member of the FDA advisory committee on vaccines told CNN last month: ‘I haven’t seen enough data to determine whether anyone needs a fourth dose.’

Dr Cody Meissner, also a member of the FDA vaccine advisory committee and chief of paediatric infectious diseases at Tufts Children’s Hospital in Boston, agreed: ‘The fourth dose is an unanswered question for people with a normal immune system.’

A third member of the committee, Dr Paul Offit of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, went further. He told the Atlantic magazine that he advised his 20-something son to forgo the first booster.

Two top FDA officials, Marion Gruber, Director of the FDA Office of Vaccine Research and Review and her deputy Paul Krause, quit the FDA in September last year complaining of undue pressure to authorise boosters and a lack of data to support their use.

Unbelievably, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) rubber-stamped the FDA decision to approve a second booster without even convening its panel of external independent vaccine experts.

The WSJ article described the effect of boosters as fleeting, mild and short-lived. It sounded a note of alarm saying that neither the CDC nor the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) had made a priority of studying vaccine complications. Moreover their VAERS data collection and analysis process is incomplete and inadequate. In other words, the safety investigation to date of adverse effects of mRNA vaccination is incomplete and potentially misleading.

The central question raised by the WSJ opinion piece is, why wouldn’t the US regulators wish to undertake accurate and complete investigation of adverse effects of mRNA vaccination? Have pharmaceutical interests been able to influence decision-making at the FDA to their own commercial advantage at the expense of safety considerations?

The British Medical Journal agrees. On March 16 it published an article which said: ‘Evidence-based medicine has been corrupted by corporate interests, failed regulation and commercialisation of academia.’

The lessons are obvious. We have stifled debate and slavishly followed FDA advice. Now there is a need for revaluation and debate. We have travelled a long way down a one-way street, but it appears to be a dead end. The triumphant articles published about a survey of vaccine-resistant people born in Dunedin was a low point in uncritical mainstream media publishing. We have to regain an objective voice.

paper published on April 5 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that any measurable protective effect of the fourth inoculation (which in any case, it found, is very small in absolute terms) disappeared after just eight weeks. Moreover a paper in the Lancet on April 8 admitted that boosters carry a risk of additional side-effects. Both these papers, however, skirted the obvious safety questions in favour of weak praise for vaccine orthodoxy.

In contrast the WSJ article asked the important question: ‘Who is actually getting serious about measuring the extent of adverse events, rather than continuing to urge uncritical acceptance of a largely ineffective vaccine?’

So far New Zealand media have steered clear of such questions. Dr Ashley Bloomfield, chief executive of the country’s Health Ministry, has refused to institute mandatory reporting of adverse events following mRNA Covid vaccination and he has excelled at denying vaccine exemptions to those injured by the first shot. Silence is no longer tenable, although in actuality it never was. Questions have to be asked. No ifs or buts. Overseas media outlets of the thinking kind are waking up.

If we can’t face debating rationally with our critics, we are drifting on to the rocks of ignorance and prejudice.

Time for us to wake up.

April 24, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Artificial Sweeteners as Persistent Environmental Contaminants

This article was previously published May 8, 2019, and has been updated with new information.

By Dr. Joseph Mercola 

Are artificial sweeteners such as Splenda still part of your daily diet? If so, I would strongly recommend reconsidering. It’s important to realize that while artificial sweeteners have no (or very few) calories, they are still metabolically active,1 and not in a beneficial way.

For example, research2,3 published in the online version of the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health August 21, 2018, shows sucralose — sold under brand names such as Splenda, Splenda Zero, Zero-Cal, Sukrana, Apriva, SucraPlus, Candys, Cukren and Nevella — is metabolized and accumulates in fat cells.

Remarkably, artificial sweeteners have become so ubiquitous, research4 published in the April 2019 issue of Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety refers to them as an “emerging” environmental contaminant, noting they have “high water persistence.”

According to this paper, artificial sweeteners are chemically stable in the environment and water supplies appear to be at greatest risk for contamination. The researchers looked at 24 environmental studies assessing the presence of artificial sweeteners in the environment from 38 locations around the world, including Europe, Canada, the U.S. and Asia.

“Overall, the quantitative findings suggested that the occurrence of non-nutritive artificial sweeteners is present in surface water, tap water, groundwater, seawater, lakes and atmosphere,” the paper states. What the ultimate ramifications for wildlife, especially marine life, and human health might be are still anyone’s guess.

Artificial Sweeteners Promote Obesity, Diabetes and More

As explained in the 2016 paper,5 “Metabolic Effects of Non-Nutritive Sweeteners,” many studies have linked artificial sweeteners to an increased risk for obesity, insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. This is in stark contrast to what you’re told by industry, which continues to promote artificial sweeteners as a way to lower your risk of those conditions.

The paper presents several mechanisms by which artificial sweeteners promote metabolic dysfunction:

1. They interfere with learned responses that contribute to glucose control and energy homeostasis — Studies have demonstrated that when sweet taste and caloric intake are mismatched, your body loses its ability to properly regulate your blood sugar.

2. They interact with sweet-taste receptors expressed in digestive system that play a role in glucose absorption and trigger insulin secretion, thereby inducing both glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, which raises your risk of obesity. Sweet taste without calories also increases appetite6 and subjective hunger ratings.7

3. They destroy your gut microbiota — A 2008 study8 revealed sucralose (Splenda) reduced gut bacteria by as much as 49.8%, preferentially targeting bacteria known to have important human health benefits. Consuming as few as seven little Splenda packets may be enough to have a detrimental effect on your gut microbiome.

More recent research,9 published in the journal Molecules in October 2018, confirmed and expanded these findings, showing that all currently approved artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, neotame, advantame and acesulfame potassium-k) disrupt the gut microbiome — in part by damaging the bacteria’s DNA, and in part by interfering with their normal activities.

Another 201810 found Splenda consumption may exacerbate gut inflammation and intensify symptoms in people with Crohn’s disease by promoting harmful gut bacteria. These results echoed those published in 2014,11 where they found Splenda may exacerbate symptoms of Crohn’s disease by augmenting “inflammatory activity at the biochemical level” and altering microbial-host interactions within the intestinal mucosa.

Similarly, research12 published in 2017 implicated sucralose in chronic liver inflammation by altering “the developmental dynamics of the gut microbiome.”

Why You Should Never Cook With Splenda

Splenda (sucralose) is frequently recommended for cooking and baking,13 and is often used in processed foods in which high heat was involved. This, despite the fact that scientists have warned about the dangers of heating sucralose for years.

In the 2013 paper,14 “Sucralose, a Synthetic Organochloride Sweetener: Overview of Biological Issues,” the authors state that “Cooking with sucralose at high temperatures … generates chloropropanols, a potentially toxic class of compounds.” This paper also warns the acceptable daily intake set for sucralose may in fact be hundreds of times too high to ensure safety.

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) recently issued a report15 on the available data on sucralose, confirming that cooking with sucralose is likely a terrible idea, as chlorinated compounds are formed at high temperatures. As reported by MedicalXpress :16

“When sucralose (E 955) is heated to temperatures higher than 120 degrees C a gradual — and with further continuously increasing temperature — decomposition and dechlorination of the sweetener occurs.

Temperatures of between 120 degrees C [248 degrees Fahrenheit] and 150 degrees C [302 degrees F] are possible during industrial manufacturing and processing of foods, and are also reached in private households during cooking and baking of foods containing sucralose.

This may lead to the formation of chlorinated organic compounds with a health-damaging potential, such as polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDD), dibenzofurans (PCDF) and chloropropanols.”

Chloropropanols, while still poorly understood, are believed to have adverse effects on your kidneys and may have carcinogenic effects.17 One good reason to be suspicious of chloropropanols is because they’re part of a class of toxins known as dioxins, and dioxins are known to cause cancer and endocrine disruption.

The fact that sucralose creates toxic dioxins when heated is also a concern for those who use vaping liquid containing this artificial sweetener. A 2017 study18 found sucralose contributes sweet taste only when used in a cartridge system, and chemical analysis showed the use of a cartridge system also raised the concentration of sucralose in the aerosol.

I find it interesting that these studies are now confirming what I suspected and published in my book, published over 10 years ago — “Sweet Deception” — which was an expose on Splenda.

Sucralose Shown to Have Carcinogenic Potential

Research19 published in 2016 in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health tested the carcinogenic potential of sucralose by adding it to mouse feed, at various concentrations, starting at 12 days of gestation and continuing throughout their natural life span.

Results showed male mice experienced a significant dose-related increase in malignant tumors and hematopoietic neoplasias (cancer of the blood, bone marrow and the lymphatic system). The dosages tested were 0, 500, 2,000, 8,000 and 16,000 parts per million (ppm). The worst results occurred in males given 2,000 ppm and 16,000 ppm. According to the authors:

“These findings do not support previous data that sucralose is biologically inert. More studies are necessary to show the safety of sucralose, including new and more adequate carcinogenic bioassay on rats. Considering that millions of people are likely exposed, follow-up studies are urgent.”

Pregnant Women Beware

More recent research,20 published in 2018, revealed the artificial sweeteners sucralose and acesulfame-potassium transfer into breast milk — a crucial fact that pregnant women need to be mindful of, considering the harmful effects of these compounds. To determine whether the sweeteners could transfer into breast milk, the researchers enrolled 34 women who were exclusively breastfeeding.

Each of the women drank 12 ounces of Diet Rite Cola, which contains 68 milligrams (mg) of sucralose and 41 mg of acesulfame-potassium, before breakfast. Habitual use of artificial sweeteners was also assessed via a diet questionnaire. Breast milk samples were collected before ingestion and every hour thereafter for six hours. As reported by the authors:

“Owing to one mother having extremely high concentrations, peak sucralose and acesulfame-potassium concentrations following ingestion of diet soda ranged from 4.0 to 7387.9 ng/mL and 299.0 to 4764.2 ng/mL, respectively.”

This is believed to be the first time researchers have demonstrated that infants are in fact exposed to artificial sweeteners even when exclusively breastfed (if the mother consumes them). An accompanying commentary21 by pediatric experts notes:

“NNS [non-nutritive sweeteners] were present in the breast milk of all subjects in physiologically significant amounts, and … at concentrations well above the taste thresholds. Why is this important?

NNS or non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NCAS) are ubiquitous in the modern diet … Despite the approval by the FDA and European Food Safety Authority, concerns, admittedly largely unproven, persist about their safety … The concerns about NNS are three-fold.

First, that they may adversely alter taste preferences. Second, that the ultimate effect may be contrary to what is intended and their ingestion may increase food consumption. Third, that they may adversely alter the gut bacterial microbiome and its metabolites.

All of these concerns are magnified with early exposure in life. The evidence to support these concerns is either inductive or based on experimental models and emerging human data.”

‘Diet’ Beverages Linked to Risk of Stroke and Heart Attack

Another 2018 study22 by the American Heart Association (AHA) found that, compared to drinking none or just one “diet” drink per week, women over 50 who drank two or more artificially sweetened beverages per day had a:23

  • 31% increased risk for ischemic stroke
  • 29% increased risk of coronary heart disease
  • 23% increased risk of all types of stroke
  • 16% increased risk of early death

The risk is particularly high for women with no previous history of heart disease, those who are obese and/or African-American women. The study included more than 81,714 women from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, a longitudinal study of the health of 93,676 postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 and 79. The mean follow-up time was close to 11.9 years. According to the authors:

“In women with no prior history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes mellitus, high consumption of ASB [artificially-sweetened beverages] was associated with more than a twofold increased risk of small artery occlusion ischemic stroke … High consumption of ASBs was associated with significantly increased risk of ischemic stroke in women with body mass index ≥30 …”

In an accompanying editorial,24 “Artificial Sweeteners, Real Risks,” Hannah Gardener, assistant scientist in the department of neurology at the University of Miami, and Dr. Michell Elkind at Columbia University, suggest drinking pure water instead of no-calories sweetened beverages, as it is by far the safest and healthiest low-calorie drink there is.

If you want some flavor, just squeeze a little bit of fresh lemon or lime into mineral water. In instances where your cooking, baking or beverage needs a little sweetener, be mindful of your choice.

Sucralose Linked to Liver, Kidney and Thymus Damage

Other recent research25 published in the journal Morphologie found sucralose caused “definite changes” in the liver of treated rats, “indicating toxic effects on regular ingestion.” The researchers warn these findings suggest sucralose should be “taken with caution to avoid hepatic damage.”

In other words, regularly using Splenda could damage your liver. Here, adult rats were given a much higher (yet nonlethal) oral dose of sucralose — 3 grams (3,000 mg) per kilo body mass per day for 30 days, after which the animals’ livers were dissected and compared to the livers of unexposed controls. According to the authors:

“Experimental rats showed features of patchy degeneration of hepatocytes along with Kupffer cells hyperplasia, lymphocytic infiltration, sinusoidal dilatation and fibrosis indicating a definite hepatic damage on regular ingestion of sucralose. Sinusoidal width was also found to be increased in experimental animals as compared to controls.”

Studies have also linked sucralose consumption to liver and kidney enlargement26,27 and kidney calcification.28,29 Another organ affected by sucralose is your thymus, with studies linking sucralose consumption to shrinkage of the thymus (up to 40%30,31) and an increase in leukocyte populations (immune system cells) in the thymus and lymph nodes.32

Sucralose Safety Has Been Repeatedly Questioned

As of April 12, 2022, there are 21,800 references to sucralose in the scientific search engine Google Scholar, so there’s no shortage of studies to review if you’re curious. Here’s a small sampling of papers raising questions about the safety of this artificial sweetener:

Artificial Sweetener Such as Sucralose May Promote Inflammation in Human Subcutaneous Fat-Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells, 2017 33  Research presented at GW Annual Research Days in 2017 shows sucralose consumption caused an increase in superoxide accumulation and cellular inflammation.

The sweetener also Increased expression of a specific sweet taste receptor. According to the researchers, “upregulation of adipogenic genes … cultured in near physiological concentrations of sucralose, indicate possible causality between increased fat deposition and sweetener use.”

The Non-Caloric Sweeteners Aspartame, Sucralose and Stevia sp. Induce Specific but Differential Responses to Compartmentalized Adipose Tissue Accumulation, 201734  In this study, consumption of sucralose resulted in weight gain and elevated blood glucose and body fat accumulation.

Sucralose Activates an ERK1/2–Ribosomal Protein S6 Signaling Axis, 201635  Sucralose was found to stimulate insulin secretion much like glucose, but through completely different and poorly understood pathways. According to the authors, these findings “will have implications for diabetes.”

Changes in the Expression of Cell Surface Markers in Spleen Leukocytes in a Murine Model of Frequent Sucralose Intake, 201636  This study found frequent sucralose intake may affect your immune function. According to the authors:

“Our results show a decrease in the frequency of B lymphocyte population and T lymphocytes in comparison to the control group. In B and T lymphocytes the analysis of co-stimulatory molecules show a lower frequency compared to the control group. The immune response depends on the differentiation and activation of cellular populations.

We hypothesized that chronic ingestion of commercial sucralose might be affecting the immune response by modifying the frequencies of cellular populations, as well as the expression of co-stimulatory and inhibitory molecules … by decreasing the ability of co-stimulation between B an T lymphocytes, with a probable effect on the immune response.

It is necessary to further determine if sucralose intake affects the efficiency of the immune response.”

Popular Sweetener Sucralose as a Migraine Trigger, 200637 — As noted by the authors, “This observation of a potential causal relationship between sucralose and migraines may be important for physicians to remember this can be a possible trigger during dietary history taking.

Identifying further triggers for migraine headaches, in this case sucralose, may help alleviate some of the cost burden (through expensive medical therapy or missed work opportunity) as well as provide relief to migraineurs.”

Sources and References

April 24, 2022 Posted by | Environmentalism, Timeless or most popular | Leave a comment


The Highwire with Del Bigtree | April 21, 2022

The Highwire with Del Bigtree | April 21, 2022

Elon Musk’s attempt to buy the social media giant Twitter has sent shockwaves through the mainstream media. Why are they so threatened by free speech?

OffGuardian :


You’ve probably heard that billionaire Tesla-founder Elon Musk is putting together a financial package to become the sole proprietor of Twitter. Having already purchased 10% of the social media giant’s shares, Musk turned down a seat on the board of directors and decided to just buy the whole place.

To be clear, we don’t much like Musk and trust him less. The whole story is likely just another non-issue for people to squabble over.

… that said, you’d have to be made of stone not to take some bitter pleasure in watching the squirming of “liberal” pundits who are suddenly having their own sophistry turned against them.

Remember how those of us concerned about corporate censorship have always been told that “private companies can do what they want” and “if you don’t like, go make your own platform”? Well, apparently those arguments no longer apply.

In fact, according to Robert Reich in the Guardian, “going to another platform” is not an option. Funny that.

Mehdi Hasan rants about Musk’s “problematic free speech escapade” in his latest show, setting up a strawman so large he could burn it and guarantee a bountiful harvest.

The Conversation hosts an article that argues allowing everyone equal room to express themselves is actually bad for free speech because it doesn’t protect “the vulnerable” from harassment.

But the prize for the most-revealing reaction goes to Max Boot of the Washington Post, who said on twitter:

It’s delightful. From the refusal to acknowledge that the paper he works for was only just recently purchased by Jeff Bezos, the second richest man in the world, to the coy euphemism for censorship, all good stuff.

But why is all this happening? And where is it all going?

There are a few ways this could go. For one, the government might step in and stop Musk from buying the company. Protecting social media from becoming a “monopoly”, scoring some points with the “left” for “standing up to billionaires”, and setting a precedent for state interference in private business.

It could be that Musk does buy twitter, and scraps any limitations in line with his “free speech absolutist” claims… but then nation-states will be “forced” to make new rules limiting speech since “irresponsible tech companies refuse to act to stop hate speech” or something along those lines.

Whatever happens, its easy to see how this could further the war on free speech, one way or another. Or maybe nothing will happen at all, and it’s just fun and games.

April 24, 2022 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Video | | Leave a comment