Here’s how much it costs to buy organics at Aldi, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Walmart
Megan Leonhardt March 22, 2019
Source: Megan Leonhardt | CNBC
Almost half of Americans buy organic food at least some of the time, according to a recent poll by organic produce company Earthbound Farm. And millennials are particularly enthusiastic, with one in five saying they purchase organic products all the time, the poll finds.
But organic food can be a lot pricier than the conventional kind. Last year, shoppers paid roughly 7.5 percent more for organic items, according to Nielsen Research. For example, the company found, organic milk sells for $4.76 on average, almost double the average cost of regular milk at $2.59.
So which stores generally have the lowest prices for organic food? CNBC Make It worked with grocery price comparison app Basket to determine the average national cost of organics at Aldi, Trader Joe’s, Walmart and Whole Foods. We compared store brands wherever possible.
After crunching the numbers on 19 everyday grocery items — ranging from bananas and canned tomato sauce to white bread and peanut butter — Aldi came out ahead in more categories where all four retailers sold a similar product.
Aldi offered store-brand organic versions of 13 of the 19 items we sought, and its prices were competitive. Its whole frozen strawberries, for example, cost $.17 an ounce, significantly less than frozen strawberries at the other three stores.
Overall, those 13 organic products would set you back a total of $37 at Aldi, compared to $50 for comparable items from Whole Foods.
Why Aldi narrowly beats out the competition
Whether you’re shopping at your local grocery store or a big box store, you’re probably looking for value — good quality at a good price, says John Karolefski, grocery store analyst and editor of Grocery Stories. If you shop at Aldi, you know the grocery chain often delivers.
“Aldi, happily, has a lot of good quality, good-tasting products at good prices,” Karolefski tells CNBC Make It. “It’s one of the reasons they’ve been so successful in the U.S.”
“The best place you can buy organics, and they’re continuing to roll out even more, is probably Aldi,” agrees Phil Lempert, food industry analyst and editor of SupermarketGuru.
Part of the secret to the store’s low prices is that the vast majority of their products are private label, so you’re not paying for the marketing and advertising that many brands must use to attract customers.
It’s a strategy similar to the one used by fan-favorite Trader Joe’s, which also offers a lot of good prices on the organic products we compared. It’s worth noting that Aldi U.S. and Trader Joe’s are independently operated companies with distinct but once-related corporate parents. It could be said that Aldi and Trader Joe’s are “estranged cousins.”
“Aldi, happily, has a lot of good quality, good-tasting products at good prices.”-John Karolefski, editor of Grocery Stories
Aldi’s SimplyNature brand offers shoppers great value on organic products. Elsewhere, those “can be pricey, but you can get them for a good value at Aldi,” Karolefski says.
In addition to being organic, frugal shopping expert Lauren Greutman reports, the SimplyNature products do not contain over 125 ingredients that experts have deemed questionable, including artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup, trans fatty acids, nitrates and propylene glycol.
Yet Aldi’s selection of organic products, while growing, remains somewhat limited. So if you’re shopping at this grocery chain, you may need to visit another store to get everything on your shopping list.
2016-2017 Standing Rock-Prairie Nights hotel, there were “hired” DAPL infiltrators and instigators to target the most vulnerable with temptations of alcohol, drugs, gossip and rumors as well as money! Those with addictions struggled and toxicity excepted the distraction and intellectual manipulation. Many did not accept and continued to protect the sacred. But at the higher level, follow the money of “greed, desperation and division.
The Conquer and divide method is stil…
BREAKING: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez just got the CEO of Wells Fargo to say something under oath that can spell doom for his controversial bank. Well played, Alexandria 👏👏👏Video by Occupy Democrats, Follow us for more!
Marine Corps Boss Slams Border Deployment As ‘Unacceptable Risk’ To Combat Readiness
Mary Papenfuss, HuffPost March 22, 2019
The head of the Marine Corps ripped President Donald Trump’s order to deploy troops to guard the southern border and “emergency” funding transfers from the military to build his wall as an “unacceptable risk” to Marine combat readiness.
The “unplanned/unbudgeted” deployment, as well as funding shifts for border security, has helped lead to the cancellation of military training in at least five countries, Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller wrote in two memos to Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
Trump plans to move about $6.1 billion from Pentagon coffers to pay for building the wall.
Neller’s memos, dated Feb. 19 and March 18, said money and manpower was also being drained by costs to repair bases and housing caused by hurricanes Florence and Michael, new housing allowances and civilian pay raises.
Neller called the demands “fiscal challenges without precedent.” He said “border funding transfers” have eliminated money that would have otherwise been used to address other shortfalls.
Because of the budgeting, Neller wrote that he has canceled training exercises in Scotland, Mongolia and Indonesia, and reduced participation in joint exercises with Australia and South Korea.
Trump has claimed the American military and a multibillion-dollar wall is needed at the southern border to stop an “invasion” of immigrants. But apprehensions of people illegally crossing the border peaked at 1.6 million 19 years ago, and have generally fallen since, to 400,000 last year.
Trump has ordered the deployment of some 6,000 troops from the National Guard, the Marines, Army, Navy and Air Force at the border until September.
Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said Trump has “ignored the facts, ignored the experts, and ignored a big bipartisan vote against his views on border security. I hope he doesn’t try to ignore this memo. Decorated senior military leaders are raising clear warning flags and trying to prevent our military from being damaged,” he added.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), vice chairman of the defense appropriations subcommittee, said Thursday that Neller’s memos expose the danger of Trump’s unilateral decision to divert Pentagon money to build his border wall.
“When will the president wake up and put the U.S. military over his campaign promises?” Durbin asked in a statement. “If the president won’t listen to the American people or Congress, then listen to the commandant of the Marine Corps.”
Neller’s complaints come as the Pentagon is set to review more demands from the Department of Homeland Security.
There was no response from the White House about Neller’s memos.
Marines commandant protests US border deployments, wall
AFP March 21, 2019
Washington (AFP) – America’s top marine warned that deployments to the US-Mexico border and President Donald Trump’s plan for a wall pose an “unacceptable risk” to the force, according to documents revealed Thursday by The Los Angeles Times.
In memos addressed to acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan and Navy secretary Richard Spencer, General Robert Neller wrote that he had been forced to cancel or reduce exercises in five countries.
Marines will miss exercises in Indonesia, Scotland and Mongolia, and their participation in joint exercises in Australia and South Korea will be reduced, Neller said in the documents dated March 18 and 19.
A Marine Corps spokesman confirmed the validity of the documents published by the LA Times.
Neller said Trump’s emergency declaration to secure $6.7 billion from the Pentagon’s 2019 budget for his wall meant the corps could not afford to rebuild hurricane-hit bases in North Carolina and Georgia.
“The hurricane season is only three months away… and we have Marines, Sailors, and civilians working in compromised structures,” Neller wrote.
“While (financial year 2019) was supposed to be a ‘good year’ given an ‘on-time’ enacted budget and topline, those positive attributes are now overcome by the negative factors… imposing unacceptable risk to Marine Corps combat readiness and solvency,” he added.
Shanahan has not yet released the funds claimed by the president.
“Monetarily, recovery for those areas affected by the hurricanes is by far the most significant budgetary pressure listed in the memo,” said Marines spokesman Captain Joseph Butterfield.
Trump Is a Massive Failure — and Getting Exactly What He Wants
By Andrew Sullivan March 22, 2019
The greatest president ever, according to a third of Americans. Photo: Andrew Spear/Getty Images
Every day, the evidence piles up that Trump’s presidency is a failure on its own terms, let alone anyone else’s. And every day, it becomes clearer that this really doesn’t matter at all.
A politically successful policy catastrophe? That’s one way of putting it. Let us count the ways. On trade, we have a record deficit in goods — precisely the opposite of what Trump promised. On immigration, we are facing the biggest crisis since the Bush years — a huge jump in migrants from Central America that is now overwhelming the system. Trump, for his part, is now enabling what he calls “catch and release” on a massive scale. On economic growth, the huge tax cut for the rich has failed. It will not boost growth to levels of 4 or 5 percent — even the president’s own advisers think it’s likely to be a shade less than 3 percent this year and will decline thereafter. The Fed thinks we’ll be lucky to get a little more than 2 percent.
Meanwhile, the budget deficit now looks likely to be more than a trillion dollars annually for the indefinite future, and public debt is hitting new, stratospheric levels. Trump pledged he’d balance the budget. On entitlements, Trump is beginning to backtrack on his promises to protect the safety net. On climate, the denial of reality is exposed almost daily. In just the last week, we’ve seen catastrophic flooding in the Midwest and what could become the Southern Hemisphere’s deadliest cyclone on record.
And what consequences do we see for these massive failures? Staggeringly stable polling numbers. A year ago, Trump’s approval-to disapproval rates were 40.6 to 53.4; today they’re 41.6 to 53.1 percent. Nothing seems to move them. A new survey of Fox News viewers shows that 78 percent of them think that Trump has accomplished more than any other president in history. More than Lincoln, FDR, or Washington, for Pete’s sake. And the enthusiasm of Trump’s base now exceeds that of the Democrats. The usual reassurance — that he’s still underwater, widely unpopular, and easy to defeat next year — is getting less reassuring. When you actually break out the head-to-head polls, you find Trump remains highly competitive. Bernie bests him by just two points right now — and that’s before the GOP attack machine has even gotten started. Everyone else is also neck and neck, although a new poll shows Biden with a ten-point lead. Maybe Biden will save us. I think he would have in 2016. But he failed at both his previous presidential runs, has a huge message-discipline problem, will have a hard time inspiring the grassroots, and looks to be a little too handsy with women for comfort. I’m not saying he cannot win. I’m just saying it’s obviously going to be tough.
And the cult is deepening. For me, the grimmest reality is Congress’s likely inability to override Trump’s veto on wall spending. Here you have a bedrock principle of constitutional conservatism — separation of powers, Congress’s sole power of the purse — and it has been tossed out the window. This is not some minor development. Handing the president the ability to make up national emergencies in order to appropriate funds for purposes Congress has explicitly ruled out — well, it’s textbook authoritarianism. It makes Obama’s attempt to juggle priorities in who gets deported look positively meek.
There is also a collapse in a functioning, accountable government outside the small royal court that has effectively replaced the cabinet. Foreign policy has become a matter of authoritarian whim, or family connection. Yesterday, Trump tweeted — yes, tweeted — an attack on the basis of international law: He recognized Israel’s seizure of the Golan Heights as legitimate and permanent. That piece of land is now, for the U.S., part of “Israel’s Sovereignty.” Reversing decades of policy only took a few seconds.
Trump’s rationale is the idea that the Heights are of “critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!” So if a state decides to annex the territory of a neighboring state, because such an occupation helps the strategy and security of the aggressor nation, the U.S. has no problem with that. What principle is left to oppose Putin’s annexation of Crimea? Why did Trump do this? No one really knows, as is usually the case with monarchs of old. Probably he was trying to please evangelicals, support Bibi’s reelection, and nudge along the son-in-law’s harebrained Mideast scheme. (Yes, the mute dauphin who uses his WhatsApp for official business, and hangs out with the Saudi torturer, MBS.
Trump’s dominance routine has also become more effective the longer it has gone on. Look at the miserable examples of Lindsey Graham or Ben Sasse, eunuchs at the Royal Court. Or think of Trump’s Twitter assaults on George Conway, a man pointing out the bleeding obvious — that Trump is so mentally and psychologically sick that he is unfit to run a lemonade stand. And, for her part, Conway defends Trump rather than her husband! This is Stalinesque. Or think of the insane indecency of Trump’s continued flaying of the ghost of John McCain. Yes, some Republicans have demurred. But primarily those whose own careers are over, time-limited, or beyond accountability because their seats are so safe. Mitt Romney is reduced to saying he cannot “understand” why Trump would do this. Again: the former nominee, safe Senate seat, Mormon rectitude, long Republican loyalist. And he pretends merely to be baffled?
Talk about “ripe for tyranny”! And that, it seems to me, is the real salience of the tweets. Trump is showing his foes and friends that he can say anything, abuse anyone, lie about anything, break every norm of decency, propriety and prudence — and suffer no consequences at all. It’s all a dominance ritual. And just think about what he has actually claimed: that the heads of the FBI and DOJ engaged in treasonous and illegal activity; that Russia, despite the unanimous judgment of U.S. and Western intelligence, did not attempt to intervene in the 2016 election; and that the opposition party cannot “legitimately” win an election. The latter — repeated over the years — is a direct assault on liberal democracy, and on the integrity and legitimacy of the entire system. It opens up the very real possibility that Trump will not concede an election he loses. In any functioning democracy, such statements would end any politician’s career. They merely burnish Trump’s hold.
In this post-truth world, where Trump has allied with social media to create an alternate reality, lies work. This week, he approached the press corps simply repeating, “No Collusion! No Collusion!” And he will continue to say this regardless of what the Mueller report may reveal, because it doesn’t matter what actually happened. Whatever Trump says will become the truth for 40 percent of the country, while the expectations of the opposition, troubled by pesky empiricism, may well be deflated. Fox, a de facto state propaganda channel, will do the rest.
This remains a surreal state of affairs, does it not? Life goes on; politics has the forms of democracy, even if the substance is now monarchical; and the economy continues to grow. And how did we respond to his usurping the power of the Congress with an emergency declaration, or his marshaling of the military for an election-eve stunt on the border, or his refusing any cooperation with the House committees, or his two-hour, delusional rant at CPAC, or his response to white nationalist mass murder by pivoting to an “invasion” of the U.S., or the blizzard of simply deranged tweets last Sunday? How did we react when he said, in the context of a fight with Democrats, “I have the military.” For what? Mr. President. What plans do you exactly have in mind?
Yes, we’re numb. Yes, this has become normal. And yes, as far as liberal democracy is concerned, this is an extinction-level event.
‘It’s over’: Miami Beach tries to outrace climate change’s rising seas
David Knowles, Editor March 18, 2019
MIAMI BEACH — Harold Wanless sits on a bench in Maurice Gibb Memorial Park beside a new concrete sea wall, the sound of hammers and drills emanating from Belle Isle across a cloudy, turquoise inlet of Biscayne Bay. Knowing what he does about how fast the water surrounding these porous barrier islands is rising, Wanless, director of the University of Miami’s geological sciences department and a leading expert on sea level rise, marvels at the level of denial the latest building boom requires.
“Just using the U.S. government projections, we could be at 11 to over 13 feet [of sea level rise] by the end of century,” Wanless, 77, says. “There’s only 3 percent of Miami-Dade County that’s greater than 12 feet above sea level.”
Named after the Bee Gees bass player and keyboardist who lived the later years of his life in Miami Beach before his death there in 2003, the park is in Sunset Harbor, a neighborhood the city set about lifting 2 feet after regular flooding brought on by sea level rise made it increasingly uninhabitable. To Wanless, that amounted to little more than a short-term fix.
“With another 2 feet of sea level rise, I don’t think any of these barrier islands are inhabitable in the normal sense that we live on them today,” Wanless says.
Having spent nearly six decades studying the geologic impacts of rising seas on global coastlines since the last Ice Age, Wanless can foresee the disaster that will overtake his city as surely as critics predicted the death of the cocaine-fueled disco era 40 years ago.
Of late, what worries Wanless most are the “21 climate change feedback loops” that he says are now accelerating the melting of glaciers and the polar ice sheet. Those processes — such as the recent finding that more frequent rain in Greenland has doubled the rate the continent now contributes to sea level rise — have made Wanless increasingly pessimistic about South Florida’s future.
“With sea levels rising at over a foot per decade, it’s over,” Wanless, who owns a home in nearby Coral Gables, says as he glances at a trio of passing jet skiers.
Miami Beach’s existential math problem is all too easy to understand. On the bay side of the island, the elevation averages just 2.4 feet above sea level. Higher ground, 11.41 feet, is found along the island’s famous beachhead, where 9.2 million tourists flock annually to party like there’s no tomorrow.
The initial $500 million solution for Sunset Harbor and other low-lying sections now serves as a template for other parts of the city: Raise roads up to 2 feet, increase the height of the sea wall on city-owned shoreline, require new private construction to be one foot above base flood elevation and install permanent hydraulic pumping stations to protect existing buildings from flooding. That investment is just the start of what will likely be a multi-stage effort to buttress Miami Beach from the coming onslaught.
“We know the sea is rising. We know the climate is warming,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber says outside Barceloneta, a restaurant that still sits at the neighborhood’s former elevation, jarringly below the raised sidewalk and street. “We accept, obviously, those science propositions, but we’ve turned to scientists and engineers to say ‘Well, what can we do about it?’ And we’re following what they say. At no point has our city said, Uh-uh, we’re not going to do that because we know science better than you. We’re not going to do that because I’m a lawyer, I’m not a scientist.”
Gelber, whose father is former Miami Beach Mayor Seymour Gelber, has taken on his share of challenging jobs over the course of his career. A former prosecutor, he led the U.S. Senate investigation into the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Okla. After stints in the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate, Gelber ran for state attorney general in 2010, losing to Pam Bondi. Seven years later, he was elected mayor of Miami Beach, a city that had already begun spending millions to fortify itself from the rising sea.
Gelber, 58, knows the only real hope Miami Beach has is to join the elevational arms race that pits land against water, and build higher. To date, roughly 20 percent of the storm water/sea level mitigation plan has been completed. But when Gelber was elected, he hit pause on the ambitious policy, commissioning studies by Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and the Urban Land Institute to make sure the lift was being done in the most cost-effective way possible. The new master plan incorporates more green spaces, living sea walls instead of concrete and a lot more talk of a future that includes “living with water.”
“These streets are all going to go under another transformation in the next 80 years — it may be a couple different transformations — so this will be a constant thing we’ll be addressing, like a lot of coastal communities,” Gelber says.
‘You’re going to get people upset’
On the short drive from Sunset Harbor to North Bay Road, a well-to-do, flood-prone enclave, for-sale signs dot the landscape. Last year, after learning that the city planned to raise the street 2 feet, many residents on North Bay Road rebelled, and now the project is on hold.
Jean Marie Echemendia, a realtor at Douglas Elliman who splits her time between Manhattan and Miami Beach and owns two houses on the street, opposes the construction.
“I think the city is approaching this mitigation in a haphazard way. For whatever reason, there were quite a few people in the government that wanted to raise the streets,” Echemendia, 42, says when reached by phone. “Now, I have a problem with that because, as everyone knows, water flows down, so if you raise the streets, and the crest is higher than your front stoop, the water is just going to run right into your house.”
Gelber contends that the installation of more pumps will take care of that problem and that homes and businesses at the original grade can connect to the hydraulic network for free. Making that case to the city’s skeptical residents, however, has become a big part of his job.
“The issue with residents is sort of a simple one,” Gelber says. “Any time you’re spending money and you’re creating a disruption, you’re going to get people upset.”
While Echemendia believes in climate change — she notes that she has purchased two Teslas to cut her carbon footprint — she also thinks that worries over sea level rise are overblown. She was among the residents who pushed back on the two-tiered plan.
“Am I afraid that water is going to totally engulf our streets like they’re picturing? No, I’m not. I don’t think it’s going to be in our lifetime,” Echmendia says.
The Union of Concerned Scientists, among others, disagree. In a 2018 study the group found that flooding exacerbated by sea level rise will, by the year 2045, threaten 12,095 homes in Miami Beach valued at $6.4 billion.
By the end of the century, nationwide losses are projected to top $1 trillion, including damage to an estimated 2.4 million homes. With the scale of the coming disruption almost too large to comprehend, NOAA has built a website that lets users glimpse the inundated future on coastal maps and toggle up a dystopian amount of sea level rise.
For Miami Beach, just 2 additional feet subsumes much of the west side of the island, including North Bay Road. Add another 4 feet and all but a sliver of the land where the city’s art deco masterpieces were built is covered in blue.
“That’s if we do nothing,” Gelber says, adding that there’s little time to waste. “If you wait for 10 or 15 years to start it, that’s a mistake.”
Doing nothing on North Bay Road is already problematic. “It floods just about every time it rains,” Kimberley Green, president of the Green Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving global health care services to the poor, says from the front steps of her single-story home.
“Because of climate change, everything is getting worse,” Green says, though, like Echemendia, she’s not in favor of the city’s fix. “The solution doesn’t seem to have worked in other neighborhoods, so I don’t know why that’s our only alternative.”
While Green says she isn’t sure what will happen if the city raises the level of her street, she is decidedly sour about what she has already seen.
“I was a property owner in the Sunset Harbor area, and my family owns some of the retail property there and it [raising the streets] destroyed all of the businesses,” Green says.
When asked whether any of her neighbors support the plain to raise the road, she gestures across the street to a fenced-off bay front lot with a for sale sign planted out front and says it once belonged to Colombian cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar, a real-life “Scarface” whose property went derelict after his 1993 death in Medellín in a shootout with Colombian police.
“But that’s a whole other crazy Miami Beach story,” Green says.
‘Political will and money’
In some ways, Miami Beach is lucky. With high real estate prices and millions in tax revenue from a robust tourist trade, the city has been able to cobble together funds to wage its war with the sea in a way that poorer ones must envy. Under Gelber, it recently appropriated another $140 million, bringing the total program budget to $650 million.
But everyone seems to understand that much, much more will be needed in the coming decades. While money isn’t the most pressing problem for now, what will happen when more banks decide 30-year mortgages are too risky for the island? What if government sea level rise projections are too conservative, as the 21 feedback loops Wanless cites seem to suggest? Even if Washington politicians surprise the world by finding common ground on climate change, 90 percent of global temperature rise since the Industrial Revolution has been stored in the world’s oceans, meaning sea level rise will continue unabated even if carbon emissions are miraculously slowed or reversed.
For his part, Gelber is doing his best to assure the public that investing in Miami Beach still makes sense.
“The sky is not falling down,” Gelber says. “These are manageable challenges. I don’t want anyone to think that one of their pieces of property is going to be under water. The plan works. There’s no question it works, it just takes political will and money.”
Back at Maurice Gibb Memorial Park, the sun is out and the grass is dry. Biscayne Bay still has another few feet to rise before it will top the aptly named Venetian Way Bridge that leads to Belle Isle and its luxury condos.
Nearing retirement, Wanless still hopes that the world will wake up to the fact that sea level rise isn’t some problem for generations not yet born.
“People have to understand how serious this is going to be quickly, in the next two or three decades,” Wanless says. “We’re just seeing the beginning of this accelerated ice melt.”
He closes with an anecdote that you certainly won’t find on a brochure at the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce.
“I had a Wall Street triathlete call me and ask, ‘Can I get 10 years out of a condo on Miami Beach?’ I said, Eh, probably. If you’re going to do it for 30 years, I’d be very careful,” Wanless says.
16 years ago, the United States invaded Iraq. I opposed it at the time, warning of unintended consequences. We are still dealing with those disastrous consequences today and will be for many years. We need a foreign policy that focuses on diplomacy, not war.
16 years ago, the United States invaded Iraq. I opposed it at the time, warning of unintended consequences. We are still dealing with those disastrous consequences today and will be for many years. We need a foreign policy that focuses on diplomacy, not war.