American Elephants

Food Fads and Misinformation by The Elephant's Child


In my trip to Safeway yesterday, I grabbed a small container of key lime flavored Greek yogurt. The brand was “Open Nature,” one of Safeway’s proprietary brands, I assume to reach those who are attracted by the word “natural.” I am not. It was just handy, and key lime sounded good. The line after the brand logo was “Real Food From Natural Ingredients” — well, yes, that’s what I expect from food. Nobody’s going to be attracted by a label that says “Phony Food From Unnatural Ingredients”—though I’d bet that most people wouldn’t notice anyway.

Michelle Obama, in pursuit of thinner kids, is betting millions on getting people to read food labels with larger print. Safeway has probably done more market research than Ms. Obama. regarding the extent to which people read food labels. The Open Nature carton continues to note that the 2% nonfat milk is Grade A. The product contains ‘No Artificial Flavors or Colors, No Artificial Ingredients, and Milk From Cows Not Treated with rBST*. The asterisk points to the footnote—no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rBST-treated and non-rBST-treated cows.

This was a big flap several years ago. Farmers were treating their cows with the forenamed hormone, which helped them to produce more milk. Dairy scientists explained that it was physically and scientifically impossible for the hormone to pass through a cow’s body to enter the milk in any way. Not good enough. Mild panic ensued. Dairy farmers quit using the hormone, cows went back to producing the normal amount of milk and certified that their milk came from cows that were not treated with rBST.

The media, always ready to reproduce anything with the word “study” gives them the chance, I guess to be first with something. Perhaps that is the excuse for failing to vet the “study” or even to be suspicious recognizing that the word “study” does not prove anything. It might all be a mess of pottage.


Attack and Response, and the Shape of the Campaign to Come. by The Elephant's Child

Team Obama came out with a new attack ad directed at Mitt Romney. It’s not just mean, but devastating. It makes Mr. Romney seem like a callous, money-grubbing type. Team Obama must be proud of their work. And of course attack ads always try to show just the very worst. This one shows the same attention to detail that is typical of the Obama operation.

Unfortunately, Mitt Romney had left Bain Capital two years before the events Team Obama pictured here so devastatingly.  Mitt Romney was not with Bain Capital at the time, and no longer was connected to the company. It was being run at the time by one of Obama’s major bundlers.

Mitt was, however, involved in a Bain Capital work with a steel producer.  The Romney campaign responded with this video about Steel Dynamics, which created far more jobs than the other company lost. Steel Dynamics is now the fifth largest producer of carbon steel products in the United States.

The Romney campaign has put up a website called GST STEEL: Get the Facts that provides a full and detailed rebuttal of the Obama campaign claims. Private equity firms attempt to make money for the bottom line— which means  profit for their shareholders who may be retirement funds as well as private investors. Their job is not to create or end jobs, but if they can help to create a thriving business as well as creating a profit for their stockholders, they have done very well indeed.

This is going to be an ugly campaign. Team Obama is stuck with a bad economy that was caused by the explosion of the housing bubble, created a sharp downturn and recession that officially ended in June 2009. After that, it was Obama’s recession to deal with.

He chose to respond with a Keynesian stimulus and pushing money into the economy to create demand, a tactic that has never worked. Obama chose to keep blaming Bush, while he borrowed money like a desperate gambler, and added more to the national debt than all of the presidents who preceded him put together.

It is not a record of accomplishment, and promising that he will do better next time is not convincing. Add in the training for Congressional Democrats in how to play the race card most effectively, the feeble “War on Women,”The Romney’s dog carrier, Ann Romney’s shirt, and the fact that she was a stay-at-home mother of five  gives us an idea of the direction the Obama campaign will take.  Not pretty.


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