Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Iconic Revolutionary Lenin in Pop Culture

 Sculpture named “The hero. The leader. The god” (L to R: V. Lenin, M. Mouse, J. Christ) by Alexandre Kosolapov.
The revolutionary and writer who led the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Russian Federation and the early Soviet Union has always been a popular yet controversial figure.  He was in the news recently when an archival KGB document declassified in Russia proved that Lenin had Jewish heritage in his background.  A report in Time magazine says that the document was on exhibition in Moscow's State Historical Museum documenting that Lenin's maternal grandfather, the son of Moses Blank, was born Jewish in Zhitomir, Ukraine.

Vladimir Lenin Cola-Flavored Head Pops.
It was in a letter to Joseph Stalin in 1932 — six years after Lenin's death — that Anna Ulyanova, Lenin's older sister, wrote that their maternal grandfather "came from a poor Jewish family and was, according to his baptismal certificate, the son of Moses Blank." In the letter, Ulyanova said her brother "had always thought highly of Jews." She also urged the Soviet leader to reveal Lenin's Jewish background, concluding that "it would be wrong to hide it from the masses."

Lenin on a t-shirt.
Lenin gave a speech in which he spoke about Jews and anti-Semitism which was recorded on a gramophone record in 1919.  During the Khrushchev era all of his recorded speeches of that year were published except this one.  He said, in part, 

The tsarist police, in alliance with the landowners and the capitalists, organized pogroms against the Jews. The landowners and capitalists tried to divert the hatred of the workers and peasants who were tortured by want against the Jews. ... It is not the Jews who are the enemies of the working people. The enemies of the workers are the capitalists of all countries. Among the Jews there are working people, and they form the majority. They are our brothers, who, like us, are oppressed by capital; they are our comrades in the struggle for socialism. ... The capitalists strive to sow and foment hatred between workers of different faiths, different nations and different races. ... Rich Jews, like rich Russians, and the rich in all countries, are in alliance to oppress, crush, rob, and disunite the workers. ... Shame on those who foment hatred towards the Jews, who foment hatred towards other nations. 

Lenin advertising the Museum of Communism in Prague, Czech Republic.
Stalin, however, ordered Ulyanova to keep Lenin's Jewish roots to herself. A few years later, Stalin began to purge Jews from among the leaders of the revolution. Stalinism included a strong helping of anti-Semitism beginning in the 1930s.  Prior to his death in 1953, according to the published Time report, he was preparing to send the whole Jewish population living in the Soviet Union to concentration camps in Siberia.
The name "Lenin" has lost its power in his hometown.

A young woman cannot help but give the revolutionary a kiss. All rights reserved by morganfitzp (C).

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

EAT CANDY, LOSE WEIGHT! Propaganda From the Candy Industry That May Kill You

This propaganda is from 1940, but candy industry propaganda in 2011 is saying the same thing.
A study sponsored by the National Confectioners Association was reported in media around the U.S. as if it were news.  In a press release it says, "Children and adolescents who eat candy tend to weigh less than their non-consuming counterparts, according to a new study (1) published in Food & Nutrition Research, a peer-reviewed journal."   

There is a qualifier, however, by the lead researcher Carol O'Neil, PhD, MPH, LDN, RD, of Louisiana State University Agricultural Center.  "The study illustrates that children and adolescents who consume candy are less likely to be overweight or obese," O'Neil said. "However, the results of this study should not be construed as a hall-pass to overindulge. Candy should not replace nutrient-dense foods in the diet; it is a special treat and should be enjoyed in moderation."

Perhaps someone in the candy industry should tell this girl about the study.

The above "study" is one way industry propaganda is used to help kill you in order to make a profit.  The United States has the highest rate of obesity in the developed world.  Here is data from the Center for Disease Control showing the growing percentage rate of obesity in the total population of the U.S. from 2000 to 2010.  These figures do not include overweight people who are not obese:

2000                20.0%
2001                20.9%
       2002                21.9%       
2003                22.9%
2004                23.2%
2005                24.4%
2006                25.1%
2007                26.3%
2008                26.7%
2009                26.9%
2010                27.6%

A marketing tool that promotes eating candy to children.

According to a propaganda booklet distributed to over 60,000 students in the U.S. by the National Confectioner's Association says the following: 
  1. "Candy is vital for weight watchers. To reduce, eat candy before and after each meal. We can promise you it works."
  2. "Candy helps fight fever and can prevent vomiting and diarrhea."
  3. "Candy is not the cause of cavities, but the lack of hard chewing causes tooth decay."

Additionally, the the National Soft Drink Association passes out industry propaganda to children and high school athletes that tell them "soda drinks are a good source of water."  The Hershey Foods Corporation says the following about proper nutrition in their "Nutritional Information" handbook: "Calories are important, and foods which supply only calories can, if used correctly, contribute to good nutrition."


According to a press release from the American Sugar Alliance dated August 2, 2010, "Grocery shoppers paid a lot more for candy this past year despite the fact that other sugar-containing product prices fell, according to the annual Sugar Price Survey ..."   Most candy bars included in the report saw a 10-cent price increase, rising from 99 cents in 2009 to $1.09 in 2010.  "The recession seems to have a sweet tooth,” the New York Times reported in an article cited in the press release.  “As unemployment has risen and 401(k)’s have shrunk, Americans, particularly adults, have been consuming growing volumes of candy…say candy makers, store owners and industry experts.”  According to Business Week, in 2008 Americans spent $8.8 billion on snacks.  The average per capita consumption of candy that year was 25 pounds per person. 

Here is a mixture of M&Ms propaganda and merchandising in Las Vegas.


The NCA released a press release from their SWEETS & SNACKS Expo dated May 24, 2011, that read in part, "From unique flavor blends like chili and mint to more cost conscious bites, new sweets and snacks hitting the store shelves in 2011 aim to satisfy ever-evolving consumer appetites."  As mentioned above, "Candy and snacks continue to represent an affordable indulgence for consumers in a slow economy, demonstrated by industry sales growth over the past two years."  According to the press release, the candy industry saw a 3.6 percent gain in 2010, which outpaced the overall growth of food sales in leading channels. Meanwhile, salty snacks experienced steady growth with a 2 percent gain over the previous year's sales.  

Citing the NPD Group for NCA, "The average American consumes chocolate confectionery about 107 times per year."  The Futures Group for NCA says, "Parents claim children who consume chocolate daily exercise nearly twice as often as children who eat chocolate weekly."  

The press release states that in 2010, thousands of new confectionery and snack products debuted to "meet consumer demand:"
  • 2,655 new confectionery products debuted:
    • Chocolate: 1,480
    • Non-chocolate (sugar confectionery): 1,077
    • Gum: 98
  • 3,805 new snack, cookie and cracker products debuted:
    • Cookies: 786
    • Crackers: 259
    • Potato chips: 526
    • Popcorn: 237
    • Nuts and seeds: 308
    • Cereal bars: 550
    • Other snacks (pretzels, tortilla chips, puffed snacks, fruit snacks, meat snacks, etc.): 1,139
Are you being seduced by candy industry propaganda and marketing?


According to a report in U.S. News and World Report, the total economic cost of overweight and obesity combined in the United States is $270 billion per year while the cost in Canada runs about $30 billion a year.  The $300 billion combined total cost in both nations is the result of:  "increased need for medical care ($127 billion); loss of worker productivity due to higher rates of death ($49 billion); loss of productivity due to disability of active workers ($43 billion); and loss of productivity due to total disability ($72 billion), said the Society of Actuaries (SOA)."  

People are considered overweight if their body-mass index (BMI) is between 25 and 29.9 and obese if their BMI is higher than 30.  Separating the economic cost of overweight and obesity in the United States in 2009, the SOA researchers found that it was $72 billion for overweight and $198 billion for obesity.   

"Overweight and obesity have been shown to increase the rate of several common adverse medical conditions, resulting in this extraordinary economic cost to society," study author Don Behan said in a SOA news release.  "We can't stand back and ignore the fact that overweight and obesity are drivers of cost increases and detrimental economic effects. It's time for actuaries, the employer community and the insurance industry to take action and help consumers make smart, healthy decisions," he added.