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Ecuador becomes second Latin American country to implement food price controls against Wall Street wolves' financial speculation

Recently re-elected President of Ecuador Rafael Correa has followed Argentina's example
The Ecuadorian government decreed the implementation of price controls on 46 food products to combat "speculation", it was announced Monday, a measure that was rejected by the country's main business federation.

The decree was signed by President Rafael Correa last Friday, but was only made public Monday.

Once the new regulation enters into force by being published in the Official Registry, officials of various ministries will have to establish reference prices to guarantee "fair access to indispensable foods" and to "control speculation", the document states.

A law approved in 2011 gives the government authority to establish "exceptional and temporary" pricing policies for the benefit "of popular consumption", according to the decree, which does not say how long the controls will be in effect.

The president of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Ecuador, Blasco Penaherrera, said that the measure will be "damaging" for the economy, given that price controls "exaggerate the informal (economy) and create black markets".

Comment: Argentina freezes supermarket prices in attempt to break inflation spiral brought on by skyrocketing food prices

Price controls have not caused shortages in Cuba and Venezuela: embargoes imposed by the U.S. has prevented goods from reaching those countries.


SOTT Focus: King's Crossing: God's Chosen People

Recently, I've been reflecting on what all this bombardment of rocks from the heavens portends. Today I want to head down a different, but probably related, path.

I'm going to ask you to just bear with me as we go through this. There will be a lot of questions popping up, but I'm going to start with several core assumptions for this story.
  • Assumption number one: there is a God.
  • Another assumption: this God is best represented by certain types of people.
  • Another assumption: since people cannot know anything for sure, they must have faith that these representatives can stand in for the all-knowing power of God. These champions therefore best represent humanity and are above the law because of their intimate association with God.
What's with all these assumptions? Well, I'm just venturing into bizzaro world for a minute, to see what it must be like to live there.

Let's begin with the Pope. The Pope is a well known pedophile sympathizer whose 'sacred city' - the Vatican, planted on Earth by God - serves to protect men who hunger for children's bodies and souls. Is this the Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus spoke of, where people who torture children physically, sexually, and emotionally, and those who protect them, are offered holy sanctuary?

Arrow Up

Pediatricians oppose school suspension, expulsion

A group representing pediatricians says disciplining students with out-of-school suspension or expulsion is counterproductive to school goals and should only be used on case by case basis.

The policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that pediatricians familiarize themselves with the policies of their local school districts, and advocate for prevention and alternative strategies.

"The adverse effect of out-of-school suspension and expulsion on the student can be profound," the experts write in the journal Pediatrics on Monday.

"Data suggest that students who are involved in the juvenile justice system are likely to have been suspended or expelled. Further, students who experience out-of-school suspension and expulsion are as much as 10 times more likely to ultimately drop out of high school than are those who do not," they add.

Kathy Cowan, director of communications for the National Association of School Psychologists in Bethesda, Maryland, said their organization largely supports the AAP's statements.

"Sometimes (out-of-school suspension and expulsion) are absolutely necessary, but they're not effective at improving behavior in general," Cowan told Reuters Health.

Comment: While it appears to be good that pediatricians are standing up against harassment of children by school administrations, there is another problem. Often monitoring of children by doctors and counselors result in forced Pharma solutions rather than counseling:

Thought crimes: What's really behind the punishment for fake guns in schools
How kids are getting hooked on pills for life
Is your child mentally ill? "Yes," according to Big Pharma-funded doctors (ka-ching!)


There are more male nurses and they're getting paid way more than their lady colleagues

male nurse
© Dan Kosmayer/Shutterstock.
There are more male nurses than ever before, and - naturally - they're making more money than their female peers, according to a new nationwide study.

The proportion of male registered nurses jumped from 2.7% in 1970 to 9.6% in 2011, according to data from the 2011 American Community Survey. The number of men who are licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses also rose from 3.9% in 1970 to 8.1% in 2011. (Licensed practical nurses work under the direction of doctors and registered nurses.)

"A predicted shortage has led to recruiting and retraining efforts to increase the pool of nurses," report author Liana Christin Landivar, a sociologist in the Census Bureau's Industry and Occupation Statistics Branch, said in a statement. "These efforts have included recruiting men into nursing."

Women still made up 91% of the nursing workforce, but men, on average, earned $60,700 a year in 2011, compared with $51,100 a year for women. The gender wage gap is such a myth though, right?


Rumors about secret gay lobby before Pope's resignation

Christiane Amanpour and John Allen report on rumors of a secret gay lobby within the Vatican and sex abuse allegations.

Alarm Clock

Detained for silence: The return of McCarthyism

seattle three
© The Progressive Press
Civil liberties advocates are raising alarm over the treatment and detention of three Seattle area activists with ties to area anarchist collectives and the Occupy Wall Street movement. "The Grand Jury Refusers," as they're referred to by the area bloggers, have become subculture icons within the activist circles since their detention in September, for refusing to answer questions regarding their political affiliations and contacts.

The questions come purportedly as part of a larger federal investigation into the May 5th "May Day" protests, during which substantial amounts of property were damaged and vandalized.

According to Matthew Duran, Katherine Olejnik and Maddie Pfeiffer, all of whom are presently in solitary confinement at the SeaTac Federal Detention Center under (civil) contempt charges, the questioning and subsequent detentions are part of a greater effort by the federal authorities to crack down on activists and dissidents.

The FDC (Federal Detention Center) has declined to state to the press or to the lawyers of the detained, exactly why the three are being held in solitary. However, Brendan Kiley of the Seattle news site, "The Stranger," notes in his most recent piece that their move from the standard pre-trial general population units to the Special Housing Unit (SHU), came after the publication of an article about visiting with Duran and Olejink in which they describe the events of the secret grand-jury hearing.


North Carolina smoking ban enforcement bill not gathering much support

North Carolina - A bill to give New Hanover beach towns the power to enforce smoking bans on the beaches has hit a 'snag,' according to one local lawmaker.

At the New Hanover County local officials caucus Monday morning, Wrightsville Beach Mayor David Cignotti stressed the need for the law that would give the beach towns municipal authority.

Wrightsville Beach voters approved a smoking ban on the town's beaches in November with the support of about 65 percent of voters. The Carolina Beach Town Council also passed a smoking ban in August.

Ocean beaches in North Carolina are considered state property, but Wrightsville is an exception because it owns a large portion of its beach.

But there's a conflicting law that says parts of the beach that have been nourished are under state control, bringing up serious enforcement questions when it comes to the smoking ban.


Why I'm quitting Facebook

© Corbis
I used to be able to justify using Facebook as a cost of doing business. As a writer and sometime activist who needs to promote my books and articles and occasionally rally people to one cause or another, I found Facebook fast and convenient. Though I never really used it to socialize, I figured it was OK to let other people do that, and I benefited from their behavior.

I can no longer justify this arrangement.

Today, I am surrendering my Facebook account, because my participation on the site is simply too inconsistent with the values I espouse in my work. In my upcoming book Present Shock, I chronicle some of what happens when we can no longer manage our many online presences. I have always argued for engaging with technology as conscious human beings and dispensing with technologies that take that agency away.

Facebook is just such a technology. It does things on our behalf when we're not even there. It actively misrepresents us to our friends, and worse misrepresents those who have befriended us to still others. To enable this dysfunctional situation -- I call it "digiphrenia" -- would be at the very least hypocritical. But to participate on Facebook as an author, in a way specifically intended to draw out the "likes" and resulting vulnerability of others, is untenable.

Cupcake Choco

The Chocolate Wars: A bitter tale of greed and child slavery

Child Labour_1
© Greener Ideal
One wonders with a title as 'provocative' as this, what's to follow; regrettably, nothing more than a truthful and bitter tale of greed and child slave-labour, mainly because of what I like to call "The Chocolate Wars". These corporate battles have been going on for quite some time, and are still, mainly being waged by the major Chocolate companies against their own distant labourers; where, they are knowingly using children as human slaves.

Countless reports and eye witness accounts over just as many countless years have claimed that these young children are being worked to the point of malnutrition, exhaustion, and starvation; under filthy, dangerous, and deplorable working conditions. All the while, these 'Barons of Chocolate' posturingly promote the virtues of their chocolates; as they remain hidden away within their corporate ivory towers of power, many, many thousands of miles away; safely protected and distanced from the deadly reality of, 'life as a child-slave on the cocoa plantation'!

Teetering on the precipice of this 13+ billion dollar industry, is a sad tale of two million children world-wide, working themselves almost to death, just to feed our insatiable chocolate habits! Children as young as 8 can be sold or even forced into slavery by local 'agents', working on behalf of our all too familiar corporate 'Barons of Chocolate'; specifically, in order to recruit the cheapest of workers for their cocoa plantations. In the same way, as in other parts of Africa, where at the same age, they are forced to kill and fight in local wars.

Comment: Our eating one less M&M isn't going to solve the problem. The problem is the psychopathic middlemen between the producers (the farmers and these child-slaves) and the consumers. As with all other industries, we need to excise the parasites at the top.


Wisconsin police crack 1957 case of 7-month-old infant's death

Ruby Klokow
© Eric Litke / The Sheboygan PressRuby Klokow, 76, pleaded guilty Monday to the second-degree murder of a her 7-month-old daughter in 1957.
On March 1, 1957, a 7-month-old girl named Jeaneen Marie Klokow died at home. Sheboygan, Wisc., investigators ruled that she'd fallen off her mother's couch by accident.

For decades, that was that.

Except she'd been killed. And decades would separate the medical advances and nagging consciences that resulted in her mother's guilty plea to second-degree murder in Sheboygan on Monday morning.

"It's really an incredible thing," Sheboygan County District Atty. Joe DeCecco said by phone on Monday, and he would know: Prosecuting someone nearly 56 years after the fact required improvisation.

Hours earlier, 76-year-old Ruby C. Klokow formally pleaded guilty to what she'd recently confessed in front of Sheboygan detectives who had revived the case -- she had abused her daughter to death.

Except the second-degree murder charge she confessed to no longer exists under Wisconsin law. The crime scene was long gone -- knocked over years ago where the county sheriff's department now stands. Case files were missing, and good luck asking the original investigators where they went.

"Half the people that were around then were dead now," DeCecco said. The other half were mostly too old to remember what happened.

But some memories hadn't eroded over half a century.

Within the world of criminal investigation, infant-abuse cases can be among the toughest to prosecute. There are often no witnesses other than the suspect, and investigators often must try to find the difference between a loving mother's bad fall and something more malicious.

A 2008 tip by James Klokow, one of Ruby's sons, captured investigators' interest.