Rancid Open Thread

The desire expressed by some of my commenters for free-flowing discussion coincides with my having far less time, or morale, really, to keep this blog updated. Hence, this thread where you should feel free to post on anything you want.

Here’s some food for thought: Today on Twitter I toyed with the idea of a #BiggestCelebrityLeftAsshole2015 as the logical successor to the #BiggestLiberalAsshole2012 contest that got me on Dancing With The Stars. I think the arc that represents in Rancid World is interesting all by itself. There has been a rupture that goes beyond the dustup with Greenwald. It was inevitable when you think about it.

Additional grist: Most of my aborted posts have been about the Left’s relationship to Animal Liberation and veganism.  That’s a topic that’s always worth going over since it gets so little play elsewhere. I had intended, among other things, to explore Jacobin’s animal rights problem. Two dumb, disingenuous articles in about the space of a month.

But only offering these as potential conversation starters. This thread is for you to let it rip on anything that strikes your fancy. Might be a good time to review my guidelines. Short version: no robo-posting, no trolling, no troll-feeding, and no writing as if you don’t give a fuck if anyone understands what you’re saying.


So we’re at 200+ comments and still going and I’d declare the open thread thing a complete success had it not rapidly gone south today. Part of that is my fault. I’m taking the condescension and tone-trolling  that are seemingly baked into any engagement with vegans by non-vegans far too seriously. I also may be imagining it where it isn’t, though I don’t think so. Still, as the host of this discussion, I should wear a thicker skin. It’s hard, though, when the same discussion descends to accusing me of censorship and lying about it.

In any case, apologies to Mog and Jeff for going overboard, which is not to say there was nothing objectionable about your posts. However I cop to overreacting and regret it. The “censorship” was due to stuff going automatically into my spam folder, which I’d never seen happen before to approved commenters. Hence I didn’t look right off the bat. Charles H got it far worse than Jeff.  Everything everyone posted is now published.

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361 Responses to Rancid Open Thread

  1. Would definitely be interested in your posts on animal liberation and veganism! I became vegan a little more than a month ago. Your post https://ohtarzie.wordpress.com/2015/07/25/unlike-the-so-called-left-government-and-industry-really-get-animal-rights/ was one of the inspirations, particularly the line “The animal rights movement challenges profitable exploitation at its most basic level, aims to change habits that subsidize this exploitation, and attempts to significantly raise the cost of this exploitation.” There’s a lot I still haven’t thought through, so looking forward to any posts.

    • Tarzie says:

      That’s really great to hear, Douglas. I will post more on the topic, just can’t right now. I’m not one of those bloggers who thinks in perfect drafts and churns out multiple posts a day. I’m the opposite of that.

    • Think about the scenario where a being (more intelligent than us as we are than cows) came to earth and decided to farm humans for meat. Think about the long term psychological harm one must endure having to throw one hundred thousand baby male chicks into a meat grinder, or slit the throat of hundreds of cows. Joining the two and those higher beings might kill off most of the male population and invent eugenics to breed a more docile, fat human population. Give it enough generations and they might re-invent the pig. #vampirelivesmatter

  2. tom says:

    Thanks Tarzie.
    As someone who brought up this Idea in the last thread, I really appreciate you doing this.
    I’m curious to see where it could go, which in itself is worth doing?…I think?….well, lets see.

    There’s just so many shit-storms going on in a whole range of political areas, and I thought that the wide-ranging conversations here by the usual contributors – and hopefully some new ones – in one thread here at the Honeytrap could be worthwhile.

    But, for myself, I’m not really that capable of adding to the conversation here in any meaningful/useful sense than whats already posted here by the usual contributors.
    Don’t look at me all funny like that Tarzie 😉 My request was always about other peoples conversations.
    From VV…Verbal Vampire.

  3. diane says:

    Anyone else sniffing a new Teach For America! hybrid ‘education’ trend starring 100% corporate owned schools versus Charters?

    In less than a weeks time, there was this Silicon Valley announcement:

    10/23/15 Facebook’s Zuckerberg, Chan to open new local school – Couple partners with Ravenswood Family Health Center to create new integrated health-education model [http : // www . almanacnews . com / news/ 2015/ 10/ 23/ facebooks-zuckerberg-chan-to-open-new-school-in-east-palo-alto , remove the extra spaces to link to it]

    (and quite the near unsearchable name they chose for it: The Primary School [!]. Its located central to the thoroughly economically captive neighborhoods of East Menlo Park and East Palo Alto, Silicon Valley perimeter, California – historically predominantly black and hispanic – where those who have lived there prior to Facebook taking over could never hope to be employed at Facebook, no matter how ‘smart.’ While not a “Charter School, The Founding Principal [per his linked in page], Andrew Elliott-Chandler, is, of course, a Teach For America! alum, with most of his prior experience at Rocketship Charter School !. The president [and COO!], Meredith Liu, is an “adjunct” from the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation! and previously: Dean [of Enrichment, per her linked in page] of Boston’s [failed its students] Codman Academy Charter School; and Chief Financial Officer [CFO !] of Boston’s Match Charter Public Middle School, now under public inquiry for its lobbying activities.)

    And then there was this announcement:

    10/27/15 Oracle Announces Plan to Build Public High School on Silicon Valley CampusThe school will be free and open to any student living in California, according to the company (http : // www . nbcbayarea .com/ news/ local/ Oracle-Announces-Plan-to-Build-Public-High-School-on-Redwood-Shores-Campus-337731461. html remove the extra spaces to link to it]

    following those brief (horrid, to my instincts) daze apart messages, the New York Times apparently (can’t read it, and refuse to use google which has been mysteriously allowed to breach that “fire wall”) put out a widely ‘shared’ attack on charter schools, which appears to be titled At a Success Academy Charter School, Singling Out Pupils Who Have ‘Got to Go’ which, I admit, added to my suspicions that there is a new sort of, school system coming ‘to town.’

    Poor Deray, still chumping for Charter schools, as The Game has stealthily morphed to something else again?

    • roasty says:

      I think the merger of charter/public schools into some new beast is unfortunately inevitable at this point. While my kids still go to public schools, the amount of private industry bullshit that is woven in now is unbelievable. The schools don’t even handle their own fundraising anymore, they hire a 3rd party for-profit company to do it. A lot of math instruction has been offloaded to various websites/apps as well (and granted, they aren’t bad in terms of quality, but they also are a cost that is paid to the private sector). Charter schools were too much, too fast for a lot of people, so this sort of side-loading of private industry into the schools is a much sneakier way of getting it done.

      • diane says:

        I feel for your kids, and feel for you having kids in these times of utterly privatizing social services and profiteering off of youth, leaving them nothing of real value in return for it unless they are the sons and daughters of an elect handful.

      • charles h. says:

        Private charter schools have cornered the mindshare market for alternative schools. Instead of the public system (and citizens) demanding school reform, all they demand is success. This leaves a giant hole for success to be achieved by corporate entities looking to manipulate local economies for any purpose.

        It is appalling that there is so little interest by the public in different forms of schooling than “eyes forward”, that TFA and the status seeking private/corporate option become the new status symbol every good parent has to have.

        Web apps and online services that transfer money from the public to the private may have taken the place of teachers teaching due to the lack of intellectual culture among teachers. If teachers just can’t teach, all they can do is call the cops to disable a disruptive student while the rest of the class quietly fails, then systems will turn to whatever is available. Right now it’s online educational games or activities that at least are more interactive that kids staring at the blackboard with no idea.

    • no soy yo says:

      Remove the NYT cookies and you’ll be back to your allotted ten articles without having to go through google (any search engine should work also, BTW). For me, nytimes.com is always a great reminder that I’ve left too many cookies on my browser.

      Corporatization of schools remains the same; it’s just part of an “all-of-the-above” strategy with different names, allegedly different formats, etc. “Corporate partnerships,” school vouchers, charter schools, “school reform” are just some of the different iterations. There is no “success story” that corporate/national America is going for. A more compliant workforce trained to act but not to think, with a lot of money going from “public” to private hands, and the disintegration of teachers’ unions and salaries along the way are the only goals. Once in awhile the public needs to be thrown a bone so one format is out another in, but no real change. Just like everything else in our political and Political world. You’re right that it’s time for a new bone, which was also shown via Obama allegedly backtracking on NCLB.

      • diane says:

        Thank you much for the suggestion, no soy yo. It’s not a cookie’s problem though, as, with few exceptions, I daily disable cookies and scripting (disabling scripting is great for not being subjected to most predatory ads) as a matter of course and delete temp and cookie files on an hourly basis. It could be my old browser, though my old browser still works for mainstream major nooz sites, and hundreds of other nooz, and news, sites. The good thing is, it’s a very, very rare occasion that I desire to even read their elite serving blather. ;0)

        As regards:

        Corporatization of schools remains the same; …

        I agree with the main gist that corporatization of schools has been – and will be – going on, I disagree that it remains the same. I think it gets worse and worse, I think Corporations literally 100% owning the “Public” Schools (which they can more than afford. Facebook and Oracle, for instance, virtually pay no taxes to speak of off of their obscene world wide profits) is far worse than Charter Schools, which are already utterly obscene.

      • diane says:

        (oops, added one too many letters during that comment submittal above, which caused a subsequent change in the ‘software’ assigned “avatar” from purple to orange.)

  4. bpg22 says:

    The unhealthy fixation on “celebrity left” especially in emphasizing their persona in critique meets the “celebrity left” on their own terms and only rivals their role in the formation of grand geopolitical narrative, a severely limited, generalized kind of talk with revolutionary meaning only for the excessively privileged who would usurp celebrity. This far flung excursion of privilege is not a critique or even an alternative to the celebrity left but an extension of it, a cottage industry that exists in its shadow. Not to say that this is a totally infertile area of focus, but it comes up against very hard limits especially in terms of left-liberation.

    Evangelical veganism is also a politics of privilege with a left patina that does not offer anything, although it is more expensive in practice and less satisfying for people who often cannot afford shelter or healthcare. Vegan meals for the poor served up by Food Not Bombs is a classist slap in their face — beggars can’t be choosers, but they can be coerced into veganism!

    • Tarzie says:

      Gosh I could just read you making supercilious, unsubstantiated declarations all day! Please continue!

      Lord what a pompous ass, who finally shows what a conformist ignoramus they are with this boilerplate anti-vegan nonsense:

      although it is more expensive in practice and less satisfying for people who often cannot afford shelter or healthcare.

      Seen the price of meat and cheese lately, professor? Compare it to lentils, beans, rice, potatoes, pasta, nutrient rich vegetables and fruits and get back to me. Even with generous government subsidies meat and dairy are still more expensive. And stop erasing poor vegans and vegans of color with this bullshit. Speaking of healthcare, vegans need it far less than fans of blood, flesh, chicken eggs and cow’s milk. Seems to me promoting a healthy, inexpensive plant-based diet in poor communities is a far better use of one’s lefty practice time, than hectoring vegans with the laughable arrogance of someone convinced he’s imparting something new to people who’ve met the idiot a thousand times already.

      But what do I know? I am indebted for your insights on the worthlessness of everything we do here and your demonstration by example of what *real* left practice is: breezing into strange comment sections on obscure blogs and performing superiority in a particularly asinine way. Talk about privilege. Dude, I’m guessing you’re from one of those upper middle class families that tell their children each and every day how special they are, fortifying them through all time from any acquaintance with the conformist mediocrity and philistinism bred in their bones by the same parents. You blather with the showboating unintelligibility of someone who went to grad school, something that, unlike lentils and beans, really is out of reach for all but a privileged few.

      Vegan meals for the poor served up by Food Not Bombs is a classist slap in their face — beggars can’t be choosers, but they can be coerced into veganism

      Vegans don’t believe in meat. So they don’t believe in serving it to anyone, you arrogant moron. They have this choice only: to either serve vegan meals to the poor or to not serve them any food at all. Can you possibly consider that your ethical system is not universally accepted, and is impossible to argue for? Ever wonder why you can only spew entirely false, boilerplate nonsense about privilege and expense? Curious, when was the last time you fed a poor or homeless person?

      I wish all the handwringers vexed by the classist privilege that is apparently uniquely inherent to veganism, would spare a thought or two for the particularly pernicious effect of meat and dairy on poor people’s health, and the extent to which animal agriculture is particularly dependent among industries on the powerlessness of both its mostly Black and latino workers and residents of the poor neighborhoods they disproportionately target to locate their filthy, environmentally poisonous business in.

      I don’t find the anti-racism of people who argue for Mickey D’s as a remedy for so-called “food deserts”, on behalf of communities with a far above average proneness to heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, genuinely heartfelt. Quite the opposite, in fact, just like their habitual erasure of vegans of color. Fun fact: A comprehensive survey of vegans and vegetarians showed that Latins and Black people are, in fact, more likely to be vegetarian or vegan than non-latino white people. Which makes sense, since it’s fucking cheaper.

      Ugh, what a repulsive ass you are. Go practice your true left politics of showing your asscrack as if its peacock plumage on some other nobody’s blog.

      • Kat says:

        Well deserved!

      • roasty says:

        Not much to add here that Tarzie hasn’t already excoriated you with, but I’ll add this: over the last two years, because of some mergers & acquisitions and all the other bullshit my corporate overlords keep telling me are GOOD things, my income has gone down more than 15% (while those overlords are making millions and buying new Mercedes). In real world terms, it decimated my grocery budget (since grocery costs are also on the rise). Coinciding with that, my family has gone almost 100% vegetarian, while I myself have moved to being full vegan over the last several months. The upshot? We’ve made up for about 5% of income loss on simply moving to vegetarian/vegan diets. In fact, the only non-vegan things we buy at this point are fish and yogurt once or twice a month for my wife and kids. I used to be the person that repeated the trope about veganism being more expensive – but in real world terms, it’s FAR cheaper. Vegetarian meals for my wife & kids alone are less expensive – my meals being vegan even more so.

        As a concrete example: I eat a lot of tabouli – it’s filling, has just about everything you’d need in it nutritionally, and extremely tasty: it costs me 8 dollars a month for bulgar wheat, then maybe another 10 dollars a week for the veggies and lemons for it. Each batch I make is enough for about 5 meals, and I make it once a week. So for 48 dollars a month, I get 20 meals. I do the same with hummus, again costs per month are probably around 20-30 bucks, and I get 4 or 5 meals a week.

        Contrast that with when my wife had a craving for red meat a few months ago – minimum cost we could find for steak was around 8 bucks for one person, for one meal.

        As for this being some sort of privileged leftist concern – really? Reducing food cost is privileged? Trying to stop destroying the environment (which, hey, has more marked, immediate, and noticeable effects on the poor than anyone else, shocking I know) is privileged? Please. You’re repeating local news level talking points like they should be considered intelligent opinions, so kindly go fuck yourself.

      • Tarzie says:

        You are the tabouli dude. I need to start eating that too. Great that your new eating habits are saving you cash. It will likely save you on medical copayments, also. I hope you’re taking your B 12 and eating iron rich veggies! *wags finger

        That’s terrible about the decline in your income. This fucking ruling class wants it all.

        The anti-racist angle is so bizarre. Everything awful about animal agriculture — which is everything — affects people of color more: the inefficient use of food, climate change, negative health effects, abusive labor practices etc. Saying Black is White is all the rage on the middle class left. It’s crazy.

      • roasty says:

        I really do need to get on more B12 – but as for iron rich veggies, I have been living on broccoli and potatoes (at your suggestion actually) as well as spinach. Growing up I used to always eat spinach with a little parmesan on it – i’m finding nutritional yeast to be a fantastic parm substitute in that regard.

        The anti-racist argument strikes me as a last ditch propaganda effort by various industries. The food cost argument is falling apart (even people I know who aren’t planning on eating vegetarian/vegan have reduced red meat and chicken consumption a ton for that reason) – so hey, why not shift it to being about race?

      • Tarzie says:

        Your nutritional yeast might be fortified with b 12 and some soy milks are too. I wouldn’t mess around, though. I take a B complex supplement to be sure. I feel the difference when I don’t.

      • bpg22 says:

        A cowardly dodge of the debilitating critique of your most favorite genre – takedowns of the “celeb left.” But I’ll put that, conveniently, aside.

        To suggest that veganism is in practice cheaper is to have your head firmly clenched within the sphincter of privilege, that your lived experience and objective statistics are somehow all one needs to declare that such a strict diet is cheaper and therefore an important issue for left liberation. That’s a mainstream, neoliberal attitude.

        And there is almost no controversy in any of the points you brought up. The love the US has for meat is all out of proportion, costly, and unhealthy. Yet in practice — and you would not likely have this lived experience without a few bites of rural poverty or a brief stint in an urban food desert — the variety of prepared vegan fare in these areas is incredibly disappointing if it’s there at all. A person who works humiliating long hours to scrape by does not generally summon the extra labor, travel, and education necessary to prepare three healthy and ethical meals a day.

        Your typical vegan joint sits on the edge of some upper middle class urban neighborhood, staffed with the wave of college age hipsters who are the vanguard of gentrification, and the walls and patrons are all mocked up with a grungy, edgy costume of the working class — tattoos and so on. These places do not exist in food deserts or in the rural US. Groceries that specialize and carry the wide variety of vegan fare needed to make the diet even halfway palatable are tailored for the upper middle class, out of reach and out of budget.

        Areas where immigrants maintain their unique culture are not food deserts, and generally not caught up in the same kind of excessive meat eating that’s big in the US. They still have convenient and affordable alternatives, and not of the contrived “radical” kind but merely traditional fare.

        A vegan lifestyle is probably cheap and accessible under certain circumstances but the universal evangelism, let’s say, erases the lived experiences vast swathes of rural and urban dwellers that just have better things to worry about than what they eat.

      • Tarzie says:

        A cowardly dodge of the debilitating critique

        Debilitating? You’re hilarious. If you think I dodge arguments, you’re not paying attention. Why didn’t I just ignore you and dodge both “arguments,” nitwit? I actually think you have a point about how Celebrity Left critique is part of the culture of celebrity itself and probably would have taken it up if you weren’t such an ass. A quick perusal of my posts from the past several months, shows that other issues are more interesting to me right now. Had I taken you up on you’re awesomely debilitating “argument” I would have noted that by your own standards, criticizing those who criticize left celebrities is the outer limit of useless, privileged discourse. You’re a carpet bug on my useless fluff bub. Why do you get a pass?

        your lived experience and objective statistics are somehow all one needs to declare that such a strict diet is cheaper

        You’re the one who’s pulling everything out of their ass on this. Objective statistics, like, say, a pound of potatoes is cheaper than a pound of beef and better for you, are actually useful sometimes. Studies comparing typical meat diets and typical vegan diets found them to be roughly equal in cost. That’s useful, too. Cite some evidence that says a vegan diet is more expensive or STFU. I’m sure you think it’s absolutely withering to tell me I have my head up the — cringe — “sphincter of privilege” but it doesn’t prove anything but that you’re a pompous ass who uses language ineptly. Which we already knew.

        I didn’t know rural poverty, true. I only know the urban kind, and I became a vegetarian when I didn’t have two pennies to scrape together by the end of every week. Funny thing, poor people struggle to be better people too! You’re seeing me as a caricature that is entirely out of step with my ‘lived experience.’ I grew up poor. Did you? Hmm…lemme guess. No?

        Your typical vegan joint sits on the edge of some upper middle class urban neighborhood, staffed with the wave of college age hipsters who are the vanguard of gentrification, and the walls and patrons are all mocked up

        It’s a good thing that vegan dishes can be found almost everywhere, including at McDonald’s and Wendy’s. Curious what the meat-eating hipster peers of these gentrifying vegan devils look like and where they live. I don’t deny that veganism is easier for affluent people. But so is everything, including meat consumption. It doesn’t mean veganism is inherently elitist. You’re cherry-picking just as I would be if I judged you based on Kobe beef and foie gras eaters. Do you really think you’re building a case with this bullshit?

        erases the lived experiences vast swathes of rural and urban dwellers that just have better things to worry about than what they eat.

        This is unbelievably stupid as well as callous. Yes, what people eat is a mere trifle. So is the health care they’ll need for entirely preventable diseases. And your indifference to how unhealthy meat and dairy is for poor people, is the awe-inspiring embodiment of an authentic left politics that’s not found in the sphincter of privilege. Why is it that so much venom over “food deserts” is directed at people who simply opt for a plant-based diet, rather than at large food conglomerates that limit options for the poor and government programs that don’t pick up the slack? Any thoughts on how a McDonald’s hamburger would cost eight dollars without all the subsidies it gets on the way to rotting in a poor person’s intestines? And what is your point, exactly. Last time I checked no one was forcing poor people to give up meat, though it would be very much in their interest to do so.

        Since you dismiss objective statistics, I guess it doesn’t matter that the same study that found higher veganism and vegetarianism among non-whites found higher food stamp use as well. You’ve been to a cafe on the edge of an upper middle class neighborhood and that tells you all you need to know.

      • roasty says:

        “Yet in practice — and you would not likely have this lived experience without a few bites of rural poverty or a brief stint in an urban food desert — the variety of prepared vegan fare in these areas is incredibly disappointing if it’s there at all. A person who works humiliating long hours to scrape by does not generally summon the extra labor, travel, and education necessary to prepare three healthy and ethical meals a day”

        Grew up in a poor, rural farming environment – check.
        Had two parents that worked more than 50 hours a week each – check.
        Still ate largely home cooked meals – check (which even back then were more veggie based than meat, because it was way cheaper, even with access to free range non-corporate ranches all around us).

        As for ‘extra labor, travel and education’ let’s examine this. First, in terms of extra labor, sorry to tell you but despite the myths you’ve been fed and are now regurgitating, most of the families I knew growing up (some of whom still can’t afford even internet connections) cooked almost all of their own food. The poorest families I know now do, even the meat eaters (my best friend supports himself and two daughters on 17k a year, as an example – even when he does buy meat, he buys it in bulk and makes his own stuff, because he can’t fucking afford a happy meal you jackass). In terms of travel, what travel? You can eat a perfectly healthy vegan diet for cheaper with the same grocery trips you make now – so what ‘travel’ are you talking about? As for education, you’re doing a hell of a lot to help that by propagating industry-serving myths and sneering at people who ARE actually putting info out where people can find it for free right now, sure sure.

        Again, you’re repeating the same myths you’ve been taught – try thinking a little.

      • gbelljnr says:

        A cowardly dodge of the debilitating critique of your most favorite genre – takedowns of the “celeb left.” But I’ll put that, conveniently, aside.

        Debilitating critique!

        You asserted he was a hypocrite.

        He must be entirely debilitated!

      • Tarzie says:

        He’s a living parody of the self-pleased middle class lefty dipshit.

      • Stephen says:

        I’m not aware of the survey but I was remember realising years ago (back when liberal whites mocking their own whiteness was the height of cool about a decade ago) that almost all the cliches about ‘stuff only white people are into’ are in fact very clearly the reverse in my experience. Eg caring about the enviroment and nature, spirituality, poetry, openness to experimental forms of art, vegetarianism, pacism (left wing politics generally ffs), etc etc. Of course this is precisely because of the narrow limits of mainstream white discourse in itself, like teens thinking black music is conservative because you’re only familiar with Luther Vandross and think Radiohead invented experimental art. Eg heard (white) people say free improvisation is really ultra-white (!)

    • Kat says:

      Yes, every time Tarzie posts on Animal Liberation another unit of affordable housing is lost.

    • gbelljnr says:

      Always entertaining to watch someone depose his priceless education in a landfill of sophistry, instead of bothering to examine his tedious second-hand prejudices about veganism en route to knowing more than fuck all about the topic.

      This doesn’t make you look clever, it makes you look like a stupid chauvinist, with the additional peculiar acquired disability of no longer being able to express yourself in coherent sentences.

    • roasty says:

      “Vegan meals for the poor served up by Food Not Bombs is a classist slap in their face” I didn’t notice this until my second time around reading, but this is such egregiously wrong bullshit. As a longtime FNB supporter, I can assure you that from a cost perspective, vegan food is one of the only reasons FNB survives (when it’s not being harassed out of existence by cops and local officials). Unlike snide sneering shitbags like you, most of the people *actually out supporting* FNB are *gasp* working class themselves – and a pot of black bean soup can be worked into a tight budget a hell of a lot easier than burgers or chicken or whatever the hell else you’d suggest (and goes a lot further in making sure every bite counts nutritionally).

      • Tarzie says:

        most of the people *actually out supporting* FNB are *gasp* working class themselves

        It’s amazing how many assumptions these people make about various communities. No evidence needed.

      • Huelo says:

        Absolutely, plus it’s so much safer to serve vegan food, especially in the conditions that a lot of FNB people are cooking in (bulk, outdoors, minimal refrigeration or heating). Seems like giving the working class diarrhea from undercooked meat or spoiled cheese is more of a “slap in the face” than offering them some vegan soup.

    • bpg22 says:


    • no soy yo says:

      I’m going to pretend that you’re actually interested in engaging on this topic, although there is no proof of that.

      Are animal foods cheaper? Is being a vegan more expensive than being an omnivore or a vegetarian? For anyone who is working class and above, being vegan is cheaper if you’re looking at healthy vegan food (like the foods that Tarzie enumerates) and not faux meats and cheeses and quinoa, etc. Since being a healthy vegan means less likelihood of having the chronic diseases that plague the US, being vegan also means savings in health care costs. The answer is not so simple for low-income people living in low-income neighborhoods. Grocery stores are often miles away, and food in corner markets that can be bought with SNAP may nor be vegan. Until last December, SNAP couldn’t be used for white potatoes which give perhaps the biggest bang for the buck in terms of calories and nutrients. People earning irregular cash can often more easily buy a special deal of fast food rather than trek to a grocery store. If they want or need to eat prepared food, fast food is often the only food available. Free powdered milk and cheese is often available.

      So, yes, being healthy and being vegan are more difficult for poor people than those that shop at Whole Foods. But so is everything more difficult if you’re poor. That’s the point. That’s a feature not some fluke of being vegan. This fucking paternalistic idea that those poor poor people (so to speak) can’t have a moral compass because they’re poor is no more palatable (so to speak) just because you shroud it with talk of privilege.

      Does veganism really offer nothing? It offers health. Black people are more likely to suffer from hypertension with a relatively small increase in weight. Then there’s heart disease, obesity, etc. People of European descent are relatively able to consume lactose, but black people and Latinos are overwhelmingly lactose intolerant. The extreme racism that goes into the decision to give people of color, especially children, free dairy products every day is nauseating and that’s what you’re defending. That is preferable to giving away free bagels? Giving away free bagels is classist, but giving away free food to poor children that causes illness and disease isn’t?

      Veganism gives the opportunity to give a big Fuck You to the USDA and big agra and corporate America. If everyone in the world went vegan the planet would actually have a chance. And when I say planet I mean the people who will suffer first who are the poorest of the world in Bangladesh, Africa, mideast, etc. Then all the other humans who will eventually suffer and die. And all the nonhuman animals. In addition to greenhouse gases, there’s the pollution of lakes, streams, oceans, and groundwater. Your “Oh, but don’t take away the only enjoyment those poor, poor people who have no roof have each day of that tasty McDonald’s hamburger, and USDA-funded and approved ground beef” is pitiful in light of 7 billion + human lives and thousands of species.

      And, veganism gives the opportunity of life for the over trillion nonhuman animals who are killed for human’s blood thirst, palate pleasure, and corporate greed.

      Should people with privilege have to think about the realities of life for those without? Of course. Are there problems with some of the rhetoric around veganism? Yes. One example is calling food or clothing “cruelty-free” just because nonhuman animals haven’t been purposely killed to manufacture them. The life of a farmworker is mighty cruel, whether they’re growing broccoli, or cotton (the latter being especially cruel considering all the pesticides). Privileged vegans need to think about and talk about the barriers to healthy food that I mentioned, and all the others that exist as well. But thinking about and talking about those issues doesn’t mean abandoning other principles. It means taking part in fights for grocery stores in low-income neighborhoods, fighting against those stores charging more in low-income neighborhoods, the donation of vegan food to Food not Bombs if free bagels is seen as a problem, etc.

      You assume that only rich white people can be vegan and are vegan. That is racist and classist in my opinion, much more so than giving away free bagels. We don’t hear much about poor vegans and vegans of color. Is this because they don’t exist or because as usual the media and organizations don’t highlight their issues? You are eating out of Corporate America’s hands (so to speak) with your rhetoric. Let’s keep poor people, especially poor black and Latino people, sick while giving subsidies to cattle farmers because it’s “satisfying” for poor people.

      A. Breeze Harper and her group the Sistah Vegan Project (http://www.sistahvegan.com) address many of the issues that you pretend to care about, the issues I’ve brought up, and a lot more. I don’t agree with everything she says, but I think it’s a good place to go for valuable discussion on these topics. She may critique and criticize privileged white people and traditional vegan organizations, but her response isn’t to defend animal abuse and killing, poisoning of poor people of color, and destruction of the planet, but rather to work to change these institutional issues.

      • roasty says:

        This is a great comment, thank you – particularly for the link.

      • Tarzie says:

        I like this comment, though I think you’re conceding way too much to the talking point about food deserts and the unavailability of vegetable alternatives. I just don’t buy it. Even McDonald’s has salads and their french fries are vegan too. A baked potato with broccoli is available at Wendy’s. I’ve lived in poor urban neighborhoods and I have never seen a store that stocked meat but no plants. Veganism limits choice for everyone. I don’t think this is unique to poor people. I can’t imagine the store that stocks meat and nothing else that’s not a butcher shop. Can you point one out?

        That’s shocking about white potatoes, no doubt the result of agribusiness lobbying. So strange that the finger-wagging over this is directed at vegans, the only people trying to kill this vile industry and its lobbies.

      • gbelljnr says:


      • bpg22 says:

        “Nonhuman animals” !!! Of course a saintly response to my fairly flat, unprovocative posting that nonetheless provoked the shit out of batshit Tarzie. You read correctly to respond like this, and it sounds as if you’re in agreement with my point although for whatever reason I still don’t see the revolutionary potential of vegan evangelism. Vegans are saintly, better and holier than me no doubt, but the evangelism is a pain in my ass, like the bad food I am practically force fed is a pain in my ass. You don’t think vegetables rot in your gut, too, and are cultivated with the suffering and misery for human animals?

        Vegan and vegetarian alternatives are often designed to look and taste like meat, so meat is at least familiar if not satisfying. Many traditional diets, especially among nomadic herders, rely heavily on symbiotic relationship with nonhuman animals. There is no sense to naturalize the monstrosities of factory farms or apologize for them, but I hope all vegan saints starve themselves to death to lessen my suffering, like Jain monks.

      • Tarzie says:

        More evidence of how fucking stupid you are:

        “You don’t think vegetables rot in your gut, too, and are cultivated with the suffering and misery for human animals?”

        Even if your concern is only for human animals, animal agriculture increases the abuse of humans exponentially. You know, of course, that plants are grown for animals, right? You must also know that land is used in poor countries for meat exported to richer countries, right? Do you also know how horrible the meatpacking industry is? And surely you agree that poor people bear the brunt of environmental problems caused by animal agriculture.

        But still you persist with your cliched ad homs about alleged vegan character defects. Its amazing that you presume to lecture on meaningful left engagement in the midst of this silly, and apparently endless, antfuckery.

        You come in here trolling — with your “flat, unprovocative” sneering — but its batshit to tell you to go fuck yourself. I and others have at least burdened ourselves with producing the occasional fact, which is more than you’ve done, unless that cafe on the edge of a wealthy neighborhood counts as one. You’re winging it and every vegan here knows you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. You’ve had your ass handed to you around six times but you’re too sickeningly stupid and arrogant to own it, which suggests to me that you’re the privileged one, since I don’t see this kind of oblivious, stubborn self-love anywhere but in children raised to use people and boss them around. Your privilege call-outs and the patronizing, reductive view of poor people that suggests a complete lack of acquaintance with them are class markers also. Now you’re wishing starvation on us. But I’m the batshit one. Better batshit than a self-adoring bourgie dipshit that doesn’t know when he’s been licked. The most supercilious, self-righteous, doctrinaire person in this discussion is you, which is often how these things go.

        The bottom line is you’re a troll whether you intend to be or not, because all you’ve contributed is a lengthy, deliberately provocative sneer at the two items I presented for possible discussion. You are not challenging or stimulating. You’re a drain. It was fun for a while but I think we’re getting diminishing returns the more you repeat your fact and argument-free spiel. So I’m gonna ask everyone to stop feeding you, since we’ve already been too generous in responding to irrelevant insults that completely skirt the question of whether or not veganism really offers nothing. Later, bub.

      • no soy yo says:

        Hey Tarzie,

        I’m not saying that vegan alternatives are unavailable, I’m just saying that to eat cheaply and healthfully and vegan is more difficult in low income neighborhoods. But, like I said, everything is more difficult. Regarding food, all food is more expensive.

        McDonald’s french fries aren’t vegan, BTW. (http://www.mcdonalds.com/content/us/en/your_questions/our_food/are-your-fries-vegetarian-friendly.html) Their side salads have 15 calories of nutritious food and the only possibly vegan dressing is 50 calories of oil and sugar with 410 mg. And the wine vinegar and sugar may not be vegan either. Wendy’s is a better alternative for a vegan obviously as is subway.

        Corner stores again will surely have canned green beans and peas etc, but they’re only 60-100 calories and hundreds if not thousands of milligrams of sodium. I think healthy animal foods is an oxymoron, so I’m not suggesting that’s healthier. I am only saying that poor people have a more difficult time overall eating cheaply for all the reasons I mentioned. Also like with anything, the more disposable income someone has, the better able they are to take advantage of specials and coupons etc. None of this is specifically about being vegan. My point is that if vegan organizations talk about cruelty-free and food justice I do think it’s appropriate to point out the truths of other types of cruelty and the injustice of food availability on poor neighborhoods.

        BTW, for those doubting the cheapness of vegan food overall, look at this post of eating vegan for $1.50 a day (for a relatively small woman, but still, she had leftovers, and this included buying everything from scratch including spices, etc. ) She ate much better obviously for $5 a day and was able to feed her boyfriend some meals and have leftovers. She provides recipes or links to recipes for this plan. http://www.forksoverknives.com/healthy-food-on-tight-budget/

        It is notable that vegans are often the only group of people that get called self-righteous and judgmental etc etc, when so many of us were non-vegans relatively recently. 90% of my loved ones aren’t racist or sexist or homophobic, but 90% of them are non-vegan. Considering the fact that veganism is something that is so important to me, I am the total opposite of judgmental and self-righteous, because otherwise I wouldn’t spend so much time talking with or hanging out with or writing to non-vegans. And there’s no other moral issue I can think of about which so many people regularly talk about “judgmental,” and “holier than thou,” etc. I don’t hear people say that people who are against slavery are “judgmental.” Or even people who are into rescuing animals and are against puppy mills aren’t called “preachy” unless they’re also vegan.

        Sorry, Tarzie, I know I should resist, but: to bpg22 — no I don’t agree at all with anything you’ve said, and you don’t even understand anything that I’ve said.
        “You don’t think vegetables rot in your gut, too, and are cultivated with the suffering and misery for human animals?”
        I specifically said that plant food is grown on the suffering backs of poor people, and that vegans need to remember this when saying “cruelty-free.” However, if 11(+) times more plant food is needed to grow plants for a pound of cow meat than growing the plants directly for humans, and the cow then suffers and is killed by human workers who are suffering every step along the way, and the process requires hundreds times more water and many times more fossil fuels and contaminates more water, then even looking at only human suffering, eating animal food causes much more suffering. Pointing that out clearly makes me a judgmental saint.

        Oh, and I know you don’t care about facts, since I agree you’re just trolling, but for anyone else who wants to know about gut rot: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/bowel-wars-hydrogen-sulfide-vs-butyrate/

      • Tarzie says:

        God bless and keep you, NSY.

      • Tarzie says:

        I am the total opposite of judgmental and self-righteous, because otherwise I wouldn’t spend so much time talking with or hanging out with or writing to non-vegans.

        Considering how strongly most of us feel about animal agriculture and how many very important issues it touches on, I think even the most belligerent of us — like me — are remarkably generous, of necessity.

        I feel absolutely no obligation to be tolerant of complicity in institutionalized viciousness and quite honestly I wish I could associate only with vegans. I see animal agriculture as an atrocity equal to, or worse, than anything visited on humans and, without any apology at all, think less of people who don’t give a shit about it. But withdrawing is just not practical from the standpoint of sheer numbers. Nor is antagonizing everyone you know. It’s very clear that just saying “I’m a vegan” is an announcement of self-righteousnes for some of the poor lambs who want their diet validated. So it’s social suicide to be too adamant about it regardless of audience. On the web I don’t give a shit, so I let it fly.

      • Tarzie says:

        I was skeptical about the SNAP/white potatoes claim and have found no confirmation of it on line. However, the Women with Infants and Children program, which offers additional food subsidies to pregnant women and mothers, did have such a ban, beginning in 2006. This is certainly significant, but it’s not the same as the food stamp program banning potatoes. The food stamp program provokes conservative ire apparently because of its liberal policy of covering everything that’s intended for home consumption and isn’t hot at the point of sale. So it covers soft drinks, candy and convenience foods. It also covers just about any nutritional thing a recipient wants, including every kind of potato. .

  5. charles h. says:

    I would say that the anti-vegan-anti-racist’s comment was a Tarzie sock, so perfectly set up to push all his buttons that only he could have produced it. Alas, I have seen the ludicrous and pretentious anti-vegan argument in a similar form all too often lately. My question is therefore more general. Why are anti-vegan radicals, who otherwise pride themselves on critical thinking and open mindedness (far beyond what they really demonstrate, IMHO), so snide about their meat eating. Every argument against meat eating that they encounter, they can offer a semi-valid response at best. When they have no response at all because a point about veganism is spot on, they become lazy and rude and drop the conversation. Then they go right back to snidely praising meat. It’s “quality protein” (as if a protein is more quality than others, instead of just the right set of proteins your body needs), an ignorant point they never fail to wave.

    Anti-vegans seem hypocritical in a way that shock them. With so much familiarity accusing every vegan of hypocrisy, you’d think they would be at least a little aware of their own.

    • Tarzie says:

      I would say that the anti-vegan-anti-racist’s comment was a Tarzie sock, so perfectly set up to push all his buttons that only he could have produced it.

      I hope this is facetious. I don’t do socks on my own blog.

      • bpg22 says:

        But you do socks

      • Tarzie says:

        The claim wasn’t that I don’t do socks, idiot. The claim was that I don’t socks here and I stand by it. For me, socks have one purpose, to get past blocks on Twitter and I usually make no effort to conceal who I am since it’s usually pretty evident anyway. Unlike you, I’m not a cardboard cutout finger wagger ticking off talking points.

  6. MarginWire says:

    Oh look

    Jeepers, what an absolutely appalling, unforeseen shock. I mean gosh, what an absolute out of left field play. Golly, how could Glenn ever betray me? Just, gee willikers, what a surprise. Cripes, whodathunkit?

  7. charles h. says:

    Everything about smug anti veganism has an insder/outsdier dynamic to it. Typical ennui of the privileged non activist, be they wealthy or just getting by comfortably. Mugging for the radical interwebs how superior they are to every other activist. They betray ttheir lack of apathy and their buy in to the system when it comes to meat eating, among other issues. They can afford it, ergo everyone else can too. The fact that meat is expensive on many levels, including counter price, is annoying to them to consider. So much for their sympathy for the poor against the rich.

    I call it anti-veganism instead of meat eating because it is beyond mere ignorance, passivity or selfishness in quietly keeping addictive or pleasant habits like eating a sugar filled burger or an applesauce covered steak, jerky, bacon and eggs. Some of them make a special effort to call out vegans. When others argue with aggressive vegans, the same prejudices come out. It seems obvious that they just don’t care, after all, about the issues they claim prove veganism a shell game.

    Social climbers or worse. Even my browser keeps underlining ‘veganism’ as a non-word. They want freedom from police, from surveillance but for what? The inustices they advertise like a hipster trend are just a cover for the murderous consumerism they cherish. You’ll never be arrested for buying meat at a deli counter. They spend their time defending the deli adn the counter and the transaction, along with their critique of capitalism and violence and police. Never once do they blog or tweet about animal activists arrested for simple non violent protest or photography, let alone animal rescue.
    Like the meat eating commenter above, they use big words and buzzwords of the New Inquiry left to dress up a basic prejudice and conformity. That is to make up for their sophomoric, frat house chauvinism they usually spew against vegans. At heart, they are just little shits but their ego won’t allow them to embrace it.

  8. AmishRakeFight says:

    Thanks, Tarzie, for the open thread.
    I have really enjoyed the comments posted so far regarding veganism. Since Tarzie’s post a while back on animal rights that introduced me to Green is the New Red, I’ve been trying to learn more about animal rights, veganism, and radical environmentalism. That led me to the book I’m currently wading through, “Deep Green Resistance.” One of the co-authors, Lierre Keith, wrote a previous book called “The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability,” and I am wondering if any of the blog’s readers have read it or know anything about it.

    Apparently Keith was a vegan for 20-some years but no longer is. I have not read her book, but I have looked into some interviews she has done on the topic, and at this point I have mixed feelings about her arguments (as best as I can interpret from the interviews since I have not read the book). She basically rejects veganism for two reasons. Number 1 because she claims long-term veganism has detrimental health effects. Number 2 is because many of the plant-based foods championed by vegans are agricultural mono-culture commodity crops, and agriculture has devastating ecological and environmental consequences. She in no way means to defend factory farming with that claim, from what I have read. It seems her suggested alternative is to have food produced from local, sustainable farms – including livestock, chickens, etc. I gather that she would argue that eating beef from a local farmer is a net positive compared to eating the equivalent calories from wheat or soybeans.

    I am skeptical of her first reason, because I do not know what she ate as a vegan, and from what I understand there are certainly ways to do veganism incorrectly and have health problems because of it. For many reasons, anecdotal evidence just doesn’t hold much sway when it comes to topics like this that can be scientifically tested. I am aware of scientific studies that show positive health correlations for vegetarian and vegan diets, and it also seems apparent that vegan diets have support from medical/nutritional professionals with the caveats that vegans need to monitor their micro-nutrients, vitamins, and minerals a little more closely.

    But her second reason was the first time I had seen that argument, and I am wondering if any readers here have any thoughts on it or have addressed it before. My initial reaction is again a bit skeptical, primarily because it seems hard from a practical standpoint to simultaneously reject factory farming and large scale agriculture, for the time being at least. I think it would be great if everyone’s food was grown and farmed locally and organically, by small farmers who are part of local communities and whose farming practices coexisted with the wilderness around them, but we are nowhere near that point. Furthermore, vegans and animal rights activists seem to be one of the few groups pushing back against the very power structures and thought processes that entrench factory farming and mono-culture industrial agriculture – so they seem like the last people one would target if they are arguing for a more sustainable, local food system.

    Anyway, I am largely spit-balling with this comment, and I’d really appreciate any thoughts you all have about the arguments above, and particularly if you have read “The Vegetarian Myth.” I have limited time in my life for reading, so I don’t want to waste it reading a shitty, flawed book. Though due to the skepticism I discuss above, I am leaning away from this one at the moment. Thanks in advance for all who read though my rambling here, and double-thanks if you are kind enough to leave a response. Just to be clear, I’m not trying to advance or criticize any argument here, just bring up a few things to discuss in good faith.

    • Tarzie says:

      I’m not familiar with this woman and her arguments, but at first glance she sounds like an ignoramus. There is absolutely no compelling evidence that I’m aware of, showing that a plant-based diet is bad for you. Studies show that meat eaters actually have more vitamin deficiencies on average and they certainly have a higher incidence of heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer. Where are these prematurely dead vegans I keep hearing about? I guess they’re dead which is why they’re not available as evidence.

      And her vision of lovely sustainable farms is also nonsense, since they presuppose ginormous, entirely unsustainable amounts of land use. Animal agriculture already eats up 30% of the earth. Middle class dipshits love the word “sustainable” though they rarely know what it means. In the case of meat, its factory farms because they use less land than more “humane” methods do. The push for sustainability advocated by the World Wildlife Fund and other charlatans is a push to replace meadows in developing countries with meat factories, so as not to eat up so much rain forest. What, exactly, do you and she mean by sustainable in this context?

      I’ll give a fuck about veganism and monocultures when someone demonstrates that its objectively worse than what animal agriculture — including those happy little family farms where animals are objectified and slaughtered “humanely” — is doing to the earth.

      This shit is for people looking for an excuse to objectify animals and exploit them. She may say she is in no way endorsing factory farms, but that’s where this bullshit leads for most people, because her vision *is* genuinely elitist. The local, sustainable foods fetish can only be indulged by people who can pay the 20 to 50 per cent premium. So people read this crap and think themselves good for wringing their hands over factory farms while purchasing factory farm products and wishing they could afford the upper middle class luxury of locally produced everything.

      • AmishRakeFight says:

        I agree with a lot of this, and particularly your last paragraph. I do think advocating for local, sustainable foods is elitist – not just because of the price premium, but also because so few people even have access to it to begin with. I think the same can be said for advocacy of growing one’s own food as a solution. I am all for growing your own food, but to take the step of putting it forth as a major solution or even as activism seems elitist to me, because once again it is inaccessible for people who live in cities or don’t own property.

        I hear you on your last sentence. And if my comment read as a convoluted excuse to not embrace veganism, I certainly didn’t mean it that way. Subconsciously though, I am skeptical of myself. When I first saw that book, I think – being 100% honest – part of me was drawn to it exactly because I recognized it as reinforcing my current behavior and even offering condolence that it was defensible.

        Genuinely though, I am trying to learn, especially from people like you who have made the commitment and shown that it can work. I am sure people like me can get tedious with the questions and excuses, so thank you for the time and effort to respond, and for the kick in the ass.

      • Goldfish Training Institute says:

        I haven’t read Lierre Keith’s books but the first book was “favorably” reviewed by people like that Dr. Eades guy, who has written numerous diet books using an Atkins meat-based approach. Hapless vegan reverts back to meateating or whatever.

        I’m still alive and I’ve been plant based since Ornish presented his research in the mid-1980s. I probably wouldn’t have been into doing it back then except my dad at the time had an MI and a bypass graft, and Ornish was talking about reversing heart disease in his research. I was already eating a vegetarian diet and I just dropped the eggs and dairy products. I dropped oil after reading some of McDougall’s stuff in the 90s.

        I turn off the minute the meateaters start talking about “sustainable,” “locavore,” and “organic.” If they refuse to make the connection between their eating habits, their inhumanity, and the environmental destruction, I can’t be bothered to listen to them.

        As far as the health benefits of plants v. meat, meateaters need to show me the studies. There’s 30 years of research indicating a plant based diet reduces the risks of cancer, heart disease, hypertension, and the associated risks of metabolic syndrome and obesity. There’s actual angiographic evidence of reversing arterial plaque deposits which can halt the progression of CAD. There’s an even larger body of work going back at least 50 years indicating low saturated-fat diets have attendant health benefits. Kaiser Permanente, which is my health plan coverage, encourages the plant based “Engine 2” and other type of oil-free fat-free diets to their patients. They have a large selection of plant-based cookbooks in their bookstore in the San Francisco medical center. That should tell you something, since these HMOs being profit based want to cut costs associated with treating the diseases that are on board with meateating.

        Health benefits aside, the enviro and inhumanity issues are just as huge if not more so. I want to see sociology, biology, geography, philosophy, and psychology courses begin to teach animal sentience. There need to be anti-animal product campaigns just like there have been anti-smoking campaigns and safe-sex campaigns. (As much as neoliberal capitalism actually funds ANY “campaigns” or whatever.) Just like people have to be dragged kicking and screaming to accept social and political changes, animal productarians need to be dragged kicking and screaming away from the defense of their blatant ignorance, inhumanity, and cruelty. I also stand with all activists, organized or not, to destroy the profitability of animal productarianism, just as I support destroying capitalism in total!

      • AmishRakeFight says:

        I know I’m a little late here, but thank you GTI for your reply. You bring up some well-supported points and gave me much to chew on.

    • no soy yo says:

      There are two health problems with being vegan: 1) is vitamin B12 deficiency. For that we need to take a supplement. This is needed because vitamin B12 is produced by bacteria and since humans have drastically reduced our illness from bacteria, we have also reduced the B12 we get from it. 2) Vegans are more susceptible to stroke from hypertension most likely because we tend to have lower total cholesterol, and those with lower cholesterol have this issue. It means we need to watch our sodium intake, which should be done anyway. If vegans followed those two guidelines, we would probably have even better health outcomes than we already do (of course there is a range of vegan food from trans fats to greens). It is strange in a country with 70% of the healthcare costs (and costs are a marker for wellbeing) being for preventable disease, being members of the first generation that will live longer than the next (even disregarding climate change deaths), where huge swaths of children have a disease that previously had the name “adult-onset,” that otherwise intelligent people blame one (or 100) instances of poor health on veganism.

      The biggest monocultures are soy and corn. While vegans probably eat more soy than omnivores, the vast majorities of soy and corn that are grown in monoculture is not soy and corn for humans, but rather soy and corn grown for animals. The soy grown in the Amazon, for which huge swaths of trees are being razed hourly, is soy for cows, not humans. Around 50% of all land (not agricultural land, but all land) in the lower 48 states of US is devoted to livestock: growing their food and grazing. So-called “grass-fed” or “free range” animals need more space — not less. I’m not sure where exactly these idiots think the land will come from to grow their locally sourced “grass fed” beef. Grass-fed beef also results in significantly more greenhouse gas emissions. This is because the animals are alive for longer, and because they need more space, so trees are cut down for them. Now it is true that most organic packaged plant food you’ll find is sourced from the same big ag cos that grow for cattle, etc. But if we can drastically reduce the quantity of plants that we need to grow, then it would be easier to reduce the monocultures that are out there.

      None of this relates to the animal rights reasons to be vegan.

      Cowspiracy is now on Netflix. I highly recommend it for some very important info on livestock and climate change/the environment.

      Regarding the health benefits (not detriments!) of being vegan, nutritionfacts.org is highly valuable. PCRM.org is another site. And Drmcdougall.com

      Or, for documentaries on health issue, Forks Over Knives on Netflix, and Eating (by Mike Anderson) which I think needs to be purchased.

      • Tarzie says:

        Wow, thanks for this. I did not know that about hypertension. I’m a big salt fan. Damn. Always a catch.

      • no soy yo says:

        I should point out I’m not giving advice, just repeating what I’ve heard for entertainment purposes, since in my state you can “stand your ground,” and don’t need to wear a motorcycle helmet, but you can go to jail for giving health advice online even if you point out you’re not a doctor.

        I believe the stroke issue is only for older vegans/older people with lower cholesterol, but never too soon to cut down on the sodium

      • AmishRakeFight says:

        I was aware of the B12 issue for vegans, but wasn’t aware of the risk of hypertension. Thank you for sharing that.

        Regarding land use, I am aware that the big monoculture crops are used primarily for animal feed. It’s one of the litany of catastrophes that culminate in factory farming. I also understand that grass fed beef will require more land, assuming that human population and meat consumption were to remain the same. And I won’t even argue that grass fed meat is a viable option if human population and meat consumption are reduced, because I firmly believe that a great deal of the currently cleared land needs to be re-forested, or returned to grasslands, for ecological and environmental/climate reasons.

        Thank you very much for the links and suggestions, I will spend some time looking at each of them, and thanks again for your thoughtful reply.

    • Coffee Drinker says:

      “Number 2 is because many of the plant-based foods championed by vegans are agricultural mono-culture commodity crops”

      WTF does the author think farm animals eat? Livestock–chickens and cows–eat shitloads of corn. And corn is by far the world’s biggest crop.

      • gnuwb says:

        In most countries pasture / native veg fed beef is the norm. Also the norm for lamb. But is usually even worse environmentally because of the huge amount of low calorie veg they have to consume and trample. Free grazing flattens huge areas of land or if it’s irrigated pasture it might use more water and nitrogen fertilizers that it would take to grow corn for them instead.

      • gnuwb says:

        On top of that they then supplement the diet with grain or silage.

  9. Kat says:

    When someone starts talking “food deserts” I am pretty sure that they probably don’t know any actual poor people. They really seem to believe that poor people are doing their shopping at the corner carryout. The problem is not “food deserts” it is not enough money, not enough jobs, and lack of transportation. “food deserts” are a liberal shibboleth – “Ah yes, food deserts, that explains everything!”
    As for this:Your typical vegan joint sits on the edge of some upper middle class urban neighborhood, staffed with the wave of college age hipsters who are the vanguard of gentrification, and the walls and patrons are all mocked up with a grungy, edgy costume of the working class — tattoos and so on. where do I even begin? Could you not be describing one of thousands of restaurants where animal based fare is prominent? Good lord. And the idea that you are even talking about restaurants– I know it may be hard to believe but the poor people I know do not eat out all that much. I don’t eat out. It saves money, you know. Plus, I am not a big supporter of restaurants. Even the fucking local ones are exploitative. I don’t understand the localist movement anyway. I am not a nationalist, why is it that much better to be a localist? New boss, meet old boss.

    • Ryan C. says:

      The problem I see it is that our welfare system is too complex and is biased towards subsidizing not working. A basic income would be ideal in my opinion as it removes many regulatory burdens and obstacles. Having kids qualify for basic income should require vaccinating them though.

      • no soy yo says:

        There is no “complex welfare system” that is “biased towards subsidizing.” The small bit of welfare system that remains (what we previously had was dismantled by Clinton) is biased towards sustaining poverty. There is a short time limit to receive a cash reward and during this time you must either do workfare or alleged job training which is mostly a joke (One of the only for-profit companies I’ve ever worked for was one of those much-praised “local businesses” Kat refers to that did that “job training.” They didn’t provide the texts that they charged the government for, gave terrible courses taught by non-teachers, etc., etc.). There is no concern for childcare or transportation either for participants or when they stop getting the “subsidy.”

        Around 20% of SNAP (Food stamps) recipients are disabled or over 65%, but of the remaining 80%, the majority work and/or have worked in the year before or after receiving SNAP. (http://www.hungercoalition.org/food-stamp-myths) Speaking of fast food, the majority of fast food workers are probably on SNAP, Wal-Mart brings in the most SNAP dollars and also probably has the highest number of employees receiving SNAP, etc. etc

        Yes, just what poor people need, more special regulation that is only for them.

      • Tarzie says:

        There is simply no way to make cheap, tasty, nutritious and varying food quickly.

        That is some Bullshit. Either you’re not as competent in the kitchen as you think you are, or we seriously differ on what tasty and nutritious are. I’m being blunt because this shit, like so much else in your post, is disinformative.

        The rest. *shrug*

        I hate to be rude — actually I don’t — but there’s so much rationalization there along with a heavy dollop of smug, liberal “we don’t all get to be pure” ‘realism’ I felt increasingly disobliged to wade through the rest. The point seems to be that you’re really really nice and understanding where meat-eating is concerned, and super duper cognizant of what a maze of considerations it all is — not like those bad vegans who don’t find opting out of atrocity a great conundrum that one must spend one’s life pondering. It’s almost rude to eat up so much of my comment section ratifying a sneering ignorant troll but that’s pretty much what your latest wall of text adds up to.

        Frankly it’s even less becoming in you, since you’re leveraging your rationalizations with your and your friends economic struggles, such that anyone who tells you you’re full of shit must be very hardhearted. Well color me hard-hearted then, because I won’t be manipulated. There are a gazillion little human trifles you regard as vastly more important than animals living free of torture and a less spoiled earth. Sorry I don’t think time constraints on harried humans is remotely as weighty as climate change or chickens being boiled alive. Our priorities are different. It’s not about costs. Or time. And I remain confused over how meat resolves the problems of overworked, underpaid people better than vegetables anyway. Apparently this is self-evident for a lot of people, but it isn’t for me. When did a varied, tasty diet of mostly meat dishes get so quick, easy and cheap? Aren’t people eating them with vegetable side dishes?

        So vegetables in your area are 3.00 a pound. First of all, what a strange area! New York City is really not known for how cheap it is, yet I can get a pound of grapes or a standard container of strawberries for that much and they’re among the most expensive fruits in this area. Carrots are 50 cents a bag. A bag of sweet potatoes at Trader Joe’s is 1.49. Kale is 1.49 a pound. Spinach is about the same. You can get three cucumbers for a dollar. A 10-pound bag of potatoes won’t cost you more than a couple bucks. The most expensive bag of apples you will find anywhere is 5.00. Bananas are 79 to 89 cents a pound practically everywhere. Is there a Trader Joe’s within biking distance? Cause there’s a shitload of stuff there that costs much less than three dollars a pound yet they’re not exceptionally cheap for most things.

        Tell me, in this land of super expensive vegetables and fruit, how much does meat cost? If it costs less than 3 a pound your area is very strange indeed.

        Like I said, I became vegetarian when I was flat broke at the end of every week, because there was nothing I had to contend with that came close to what animals are forced to suffer through. Clearly a lot of my readers are practicing veganism on a shoestring too. Research corresponds to our experience: It shows that there is no cost difference between a typical vegan diet and a meat and dairy diet. A world of difference in social and ethical costs, though. And no, those costs are *not* beyond moralizing about for anyone who remotely grasps their scale. There comes a point where the breathtakingly awesome generosity and civility of your sort minimizes and makes an extremely simple matter comfortingly complicated. That’s definitely the case where meat/dairy is concerned. What is civility getting us? We’re called self-righteous no matter what we do. Poor people don’t have to eat meat any more than anyone else does.

    • Tarzie says:

      When someone starts talking “food deserts” I am pretty sure that they probably don’t know any actual poor people.

      I only hear of them when someone’s bashing vegans. I suppose they exist, but as you say, adequate, affordable transportation and more money is really what’s needed. Embedded in food desert talk is a very patronizing view of the poor, who seemingly don’t eat anything they can’t get within two blocks. It’s incumbent on whitey to provide these layabouts with wholesome food. Outside very dense, walkable cities, I venture that very few people in this country are within walking distance of a good supermarket. That this shit is used so often to justify fast food consumption en route to calling vegans racist is just deplorable. Admittedly I’m completely winging it here as much as our new friend was.

      Those are good observations about the silly restaurant example.

      I hear ya on local, but I guess it has environmental benefits because less transportation.

    • no soy yo says:

      I surely don’t want to sound like I’m defending that bpg person, but the lack of grocery stores in low-income neighborhoods and the higher prices charged by chain grocery stores when they do have branches in low-income neighborhoods is real. I have actually been involved in campaigns in East New York and Oakland Ca (years ago) about this issue and it wasn’t made up by liberals although the term “food desert” came later and is cute enough to have been coined by liberals. Of course the issue is better and free public transportation and better wages etc., etc. And everyone should be connecting all the dots. But I still maintain that if one is connecting food dots, then that includes pesticide use, abuse of farmworkers (pay and pesticide exposure etc) and grocery store redlining and price gauging.

      There are many reasons why the ultra-poor don’t or can’t cook: their electricity was turned off, they’re renting a room and don’t have kitchen access, and many more. Many times buying a $5 combo seems like it will net more food than $5 at the corner store. It is certainly faster. And, yes, if someone in an area without grocery stores scores an extra $5 for food the choice is fast food or the corner market — they are not paying $4+ (depending on city) for bus/subway fare out of that $5, or walking five miles round trip. Very poor people do not have a steady income, so I’m not talking about making a monthly food budget and deciding to spend it all at the corner store.

      I see the (food) locavores as just defending their choice to be omnivores. The inputs needed to grow vegetables in Vermont in the winter uses a hell of a lot more greenhouse gases (in part they need to contract actual physical greenhouses, but aren’t concerned that those parts are local and they have to be shipped and are plastic and glass and heated etc) than the bit of diesel to ship it from California. On the other hand, shipping stuff all over the world when not really necessary seems pretty wasteful. Not sure what I think about local vs non-local generally. Yes a small local store is also part of the same capitalist exploitative system, but if it’s not publicly traded it doesn’t have a legal obligation to be exploitative (of humans and the environment), whereas a corporation has a legal duty to think about short-term benefit for stockholders. In the end, you’re probably right, but I can understand clinging to the idea of the small local business.

  10. charles h. says:

    Argumments for localism:
    less facttoy farm, supports more people, helps your local economy in age of globalization, saves transport, more ethical workplace, exploits your own land where you eat instead of a poor foreign country displacing people for farmland to export, keeps crops over there for people to eat instead of exporting them to others

    Arguments against localism:
    just as factory farm or worse, supports people here who don’t need support, denies access to other economies, less ethical work practices.

    Why do anti-vegans think they are so much fun and vegans are evangelical fanatics? Everywhere I see ads for meat, there is pressure to eat meat. Meat eating is far more evangelical.

    Meat eaters seem like prudes. Either very pro American jingos who never get laid or ultra PC liberals who find everything offensive except meat eating. They should get a room.

    • Tarzie says:

      Thanks for illuminating localism, Charles, which I’ve pursued very little because I associate it with high prices.

      Why do anti-vegans think they are so much fun and vegans are evangelical fanatics?

      I see this dynamic all over the place. In these kinds of conflicts, it’s only the non-conformist minority that’s regarded as combative. It’s the same thing with liberal/radical conflict on Twitter. Punching up is in-fighting, punching down is meting out entirely deserved punishment. Majorities just generally suck because they have no incentive to think about anything and are inclined to bullying challengers of the status quo.

      I agree on the prudishess. They find a plant-based diet as unfathomable as some people find homosexuality. “But what do you EAT???” “Where do you get your protein???” “Why don’t vegetables have rights???” These are the kinds of stupid questions only a member of a dug-in, extremely narrow-minded majority would ask.

      • charles h. says:

        I’ll just have a salad.

        You Have To Try the Mutton. It is Dee-vine!

        No, thanks, I’m sure it’s good but I don’t think I can finish it.


      • charles h. says:

        It is bizarre that today when the focus in Europe and North America has shifted to healthy eating to avoid a fat-pocalypse (as some have coined it), that sugar seems to have the whole stage. I never hear even nutriotionists saying you mainly have to cut your portions for milk sugars, refined sugars and greasy meats but if you want to eat like a pig, a vegan diet is, with only some restrictions, one way to do that.

        Aside from potato chips, there are actually very few fattening non milk non meat products that adults consume. But meat and milk are sacred so you can’t touch those. Childhood obesity is all based only on soda drinks, which people grow out of. Adults don’t swim in mountain dew but they still get fat from all the meat and dairy.

        They think it’s wrong to call them fat slobs but they clearly think poor people are such, when they say they need a McD’s to get the calories they need. I don’t know the last time you looked at McD big mac prices but fast food burgers are quite expensive considering how little you get and how greasy they are and how most of the meal is bread. If you eat a little, you aren’t getting enough nutrition and if you eat a lot, you’ll get fat and sick. This knowledge is out there in the public mind, movies, comedy. Yet the defense for it on the left proves that the “left” is not as anti-capitalist as it likes to imagine itself.
        You never hear poor people apoliticals make fancy claims about inaccessibility of healthy food. They buy meat because they like it and they think it’s part of a healthy diet, not because it’s all there is or it’s cheap. Meat eating has a marketing cachet as a sign of economic well beiing, precisely because it’s more expensive.

        The post modern jargon swinging New Inquiry graduate school nerds don’t know anything but tired cliches when it comes to the working class. It’s amazing just how far removed they are and how they can’t hide it. To talk about the poor as flawed humans would not be as politically correct as their circles demand, they have to condescend to them to seem truly liberal. That said, their fallacious defense of the poor’s meat eating is ultimately just used as a defense of their own meat eating. The poor are nothing but a prop for their own advancement and status, like everything else about their discourse.

      • Tarzie says:

        their fallacious defense of the poor’s meat eating is ultimately just used as a defense of their own meat eating. The poor are nothing but a prop for their own advancement and status, like everything else about their discourse.


        It’s such a weird, illogical approach: Food deserts, racist vegans, PETA sucks, Hitler was a vegetarian ergo I’ll continue to eat meat. There is a much stronger case, obviously, for structural racism embedded in meat and dairy. No Soy Yo made a great point about forcing milk on communities with a high rate of lactose intolerance.

        Interesting what you say about the price of fast food, because apparently it would be even more expensive if meat producers/sellers didn’t benefit from so many subsidies. And they pay their workers shit.

        Very few veggies can compete with Wendy’s dollar menu, though. Stuff like that is where they get the edge. Even their far more nutritious plain baked potato costs more. It’s like they wanna poison the poor.

      • no soy yo says:

        Re charles h’s comments below, here’s the extreme of the corporate influence on ideas of health and meat etc: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/05/my-trip-mcdonalds-sponsored-nutritionist-convention

        During the uprising in Egypt, the chants on the street went something like, “They get squirrel every night while we have to eat lentils!” So yes, part of meat’s appeal is that it is more expensive (and also it’s seen as healthy generally). But there are still subsidies to keep it from being more expensive than it is.

      • charles h. says:

        The MoJo article on the dietician conference in California, their academy sponsored by junk food industry heavyweights and consequently featuring conference lectures that are Trojan horse propaganda efforts, does remind me that veganism is refuted by pointing out the uncertainties and moral panics about food.
        It’s a non sequitur, to dismiss any single food issue by pointing to inconsistencies in another issue but it has definite sex appeal.

        Gluten sensitivity, for example, is a diagnosis that provokes health nuts to promote ‘gluten free diets’ everywhere they go. It’s a bit of a fashion at the moment. Very confident non scientists with their heart in the right place, sounding and looking like they don’t what they’re talking about, giving weird sounding advice like “wheat is evil”. This sounds a lot like the peanut allergy panic that, if current studies prove generally applicable, may have been a huge mistake: getting everyone to avoid all allergens that affect only a portion of the population. A safety obsessed precaution that has resulted in widespread allergies and sensitivities as the body has been prevented from interacting with natural chemicals and adapting to them.

        One problem for vegan efforts, is that what can be proven harmful, gets confused with pansy prohibitions that either are excessive or make things worse. The vegan ethic sounds like it’s main purpose is to prevent people from having fun, because somebody might get hurt. Which is exactly what candy banning and peanut banning is. Instead of promoting vegetables, the anti candy people make it either/or and sound like they’d like to force everyone to give out fruit at Halloween, and if fruit can’t be trusted, they’d just ban Halloween.
        Obviously I exaggerate but it’s an exaggeration that is plausible.

        And yet the moderation argument doesn’t appeal to people on meat no matter what. If you said school cafeterias shouldn’t serve sweets or should ban them for kids only every other day, people would approve. If you tell meat lovers to moderate their meat eating, they’re like vampires ready to attack you. They have to eat meat EVERY SINGLE DAY. It’s a carnivore ethic. If you don’t, you’ll be malnutritioned.

    • Kat says:

      Actually I was talking about localism in general- not just about food. Most of the local businesses that I am supposed to support to make my “community” a super wonderful place (quotes because I am so, so tired of that word.) don’t sell any useful things. I guess hardware stores and groceries are the exception (but both have to rely on distributors such as ACE or IGA). Also, local owners are still capitalists telling their stupid BS stories of hard work and risk taking ,editing out the facts that don’t comport with this story. A lot of it is sentimental BS.
      As for prudishness/prissiness tell a bougie militant meat eater that you’re using vegetable shortening for your pie crust. Sparks will fly!

      • charles h. says:

        I agree with that. The goal should be to eliminate human labor and property exclusion and exploitation as much as possible, not fetishize it. Automation in agriculture on crop fields, for example, is one way that is accomplished. The issue of exploited farmhands disappears and presumably, prices for crops go down even further.

        They aren’t prudish about bullying vegans into using meat but they are prudes when it comes to fighting the status quo, when it comes to sex and when it comes to getting in any conflict where they don’t have the upper hand thanks to the mob.

      • Kat says:

        The goal should be to eliminate human labor and property exclusion and exploitation as much as possible, not fetishize it. Yes, this is what I meant. Thanks for saying it more clearly.

  11. charles h. says:

    Wow. A dollar? I never go into Wendy’s so this is unfamiliar to me. I just remember even as a kid who would eat anything, Wendy’s burgers were so gross that they were as impossible to touch as octopus is for most kids. I don’t know if they have improved but I imagine there’s nothing strange about people buying a burger that smells and tastes like bubbling poo. The cheapest McD burger is under two dollars, I believe, but it’s an extremely thin patty. If one wants or needs meat based on nutrition, not an unsatisfying sugar and secret sauce (also sugar) rush, 1 slice of turkey is already strong competition. Like I said, I don’t know Wendy’s these days. Maybe they have a big juicy burger that is more filling these days.

    Wendy’s aside, the fact that so many adults buy their lunch is most often the case for working people, who work in an area where there are food choices, because enough people work there to create a food business opportunity. The often only do it out of laziness and rush. You could try to make yourself a spicy meatball roll or Chinese chicken something-or-other, but it takes longer than just paying four times the price for a portion at the joint around the corner. In any case, aside from Wendy’s, the cost savings issue falls apart.

    All you can eats are also a special case but it should be noted that those aren’t fast food and while you could theoretically go to a buffet every day that mainly features meat dishes, I don’t imagine this is the solution that most poor have made for themselves. At $10 absolute minimum ticket, for a family of just 3, that’s $900 food bill a month.

    It’s come to this, then. The left defends the poor eating fast food burgers on the basis that Wendy’s is good enough for them.

    • Tarzie says:

      I think all meat smells like bubbling poo, maybe because that’s what it is in part.

      On further inspection, it seems Wendy’s swapped out their Dollar Menu for Right Size Right Price, where only some of the items are 99 cents. The regular menu goes all the way up to over 8.00 for some of the combo meals. Unaccompanied sandwiches go up to 6.00. That sure isn’t cheap.

  12. charles h. says:

    One of the reasons that veganism is such a popular topic on this open thread is that it really crucifies liberalism pretending to be something other than status seeking. The left has so many excuses for other conformist positions: ignorance, ostracism, rigid thinking. With veganism there should be no real barrier except resistance from the cartoonishly right wing meat eaters.

    Their attack on veganism as unviable, when at most they should admit they’re being selfish but they know it’s wrong, demonstrates such a creepy hypocrisy they don’t look any better than Cruzy boy there.

    • Lorenzo says:

      I don’t know about anyone else, but for me the gross hyper-macho horseshit around meat-eating is one of the first things that got me skeptical about it. Years ago someone showed me a video from this series “Epic Meal Time,” which has a bunch of 4chan-esque carnivores making 70,000 calorie meals cooked with meat, alcohol, and other crap. The end result was my first time feeling a deep, visceral repulsion at the act of eating meat.

      • charles h. says:

        Yeah it’s like a dare than a culture. Are you man enough to find the prize in the toxic sludge pile ? No, well hopefully at least you’re man enough to eat this red gut. Last one to finish is off the island.

      • Tarzie says:

        Interesting you should say that. One of my fave vegan doctors, John McDougall, believes our primeval carnivorousness is a sexist fairy tale that glamorizes the male role in securing food. Our bodies suggest that we were much more like gorillas. I think he goes overboard, though. Humans just seem like predators to me. It bleeds into everything.

        That video sounds gross, though not nearly as bad as undercover slaughterhouse footage. Seen any of that?

      • Lorenzo says:

        I think I remember you describing his scholarship on twitter. McDougall said that the practices of gathering and hunting became “hunting & gathering,” in order to place an undue emphasis on men’s labor, right? Still carries on today.

        I’ll be honest that I haven’t gone out of my way to seek out too much slaughterhouse footage. The stuff I’ve seen is beyond horrific. I’ve found videos of recently freed animals to be extremely moving, and people are receptive to watching them. This is the video that made a decisive difference for me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUZ1YLhIAg8

      • Tarzie says:

        Yeah, I think the really graphic ones are too much for most people so they don’t do the job. Some youtube vegans do them in short bursts and I find that really effective. Like a few seconds during commentary. It’s a wake up not punishment. I avoid the graphic ones like the plague and I don’t need to see them anyway. I don’t watch police brutality videos either.

        The one of the happy cow is *really* moving. A montage of animals being released into a sanctuary would be nice. There’s another non-graphic one that’s shows a cow reacting to a premature look at the killing floor. That one’s really powerful too, even though you don’t see anything but her reaction. It’s heartbreaking.

      • Lorenzo says:

        I’ve seen another heart-breaking non-graphic one of animals attempting to escape their enclosures. A gorilla trying to bash through a glass wall, a lion trying to jump a fence, that sort of thing. It’s really affecting and makes clear that they don’t want to be captive, and the average person is capable of watching the whole thing.

  13. charles h. says:

    In fact even a wingnut has at least some irony about their meat eating because they’re confident in it. That’s why Ted Cruz can both celebrate and be self aware about how cornpoke it is to cook meat on a gun, while the ever victimized left, wanting its money and its praise from every side, insecurely reaches for nonsense like food deserts, nutrition costs and guilt tripping privilege discourse and uncertainty about the science of it all, when justifying meat instead of just excusing and apologizing for it.

  14. BlanchoRelaxo says:

    Great open thread Tarz + commenters. I really heart the vegan exploration via discussion and links big time and as someone who has gradually migrated away from animal products over the last decade(starting with no red meat/pork, then less to no chicken/dairy, and so on into oblivion! …ha), the focus on this topic here as well as in some of my relationships irl has catalysed my further efforts of late to really be mindful of both what i am participating in and putting into my body.

    In addition to local engagement in my community with organizations and movements that I deem worthwhile and that align with my values/worldview, I see disengagement from the animal product food supply, and discussing this openly within the community where relevant, as more efficacious than, for example, voting(though that is hardly controversial – but more apropo given the recent election here and some haraguings I received for not dancing along with that whole deal).

    Thanks again guys.

  15. erico says:

    I’m excited to see an open thread and wow, exploded already with lots of great comments! Because I find the reply tree thing difficult and a bit confusing, I hope it will be okay if I respond to a few things by picking them out from earlier comments.

    I do realize my posts tend to be ‘walls of text’ lol, which is something I intend to modify if I can. But I hope that they still hold some interest, and I count on others here to tell me if and when that isn’t true.

    This one will be a wall lol, because I’m hoping that some personal anecdotal detail will flesh out some of the issues brought up in a way that contributes. So happy to see more discussion of food issues, and I’m hoping Tarzie will finish some of his analysis.

    First, I should state my own personal allegiance lol. Over 25 years or so, I have had large periods of time where I was vegetarian, and smaller chunks of time where I was vegan. This has been because of a combination of political, ethical, nutritional, and animal welfare issues.

    Sometimes it was due to poverty, but often that was when I was living overseas and not really an issue since ideologically I was already inclined towards vegetarianism. Poverty in the US mostly meant the opposite for me–lots more cheap meat–but more on that below lol. I have also done the Paleo thing for a while, partly out of curiosity and partly because I was basically forced to by my doctor due to some individual health issues. (But I’ll leave the paleo discussion for another time lol.)

    Before I forget: If any of you hasn’t already seen ‘Earthling’, definitely add it to your viewing list, along with the films already mentioned in the comments. I think you can watch it online.

    I too thought that bpg22 sounded surprisingly trollish lol, but amidst some of the real crap that others here already dissected, this person did say a few things worth addressing that I didn’t want to slip by unnoticed.

    bpg22: “A person who works humiliating long hours to scrape by does not generally summon the extra labor, travel, and education necessary to prepare three healthy and ethical meals a day.”

    If only that had been the main comment lol;)

    TIME. This really is a huge issue and not given the importance it deserves. For the last couple of years I’ve become one of the 93 million working aged adults who is out of the labor force and has given up trying to get back in. That means I’m a full time homemaker and yeah surprise I don’t spend all my hours on soccer and porn and reading angry blogs lol;)

    But being a homemaker is actually my preferred role anyway, so its okay. I’ve been cooking since I was old enough to reach the countertop in my mom’s kitchen, so now that makes almost 4 decades. It is my main love and hobby, (reading is the only thing I love more) and I spend a LOT of time at it.

    Cooking vegetarian and vegan meals for even just a family of 2 takes LOTS OF TIME! Even though I consider myself as close to expert in cooking competence as an amateur can be, there is simply no way to make cheap, tasty, nutritious and varying food quickly.

    Vast millions around the world, especially among the poor, eat vegan and vegetarian food and have hundreds of years of cultural traditional knowledge on how to make it taste good and be a pleasure in itself, not just fuel. I’ve travelled and lived in some of those places, and that is the kind of food I cook. Name a world cuisine and I can whip up a menu, easy. Sounds braggy lol, but again, after 4 decades, I do know what I’m doing. And I’ve collected over 100 cookbooks that I read for fun and inspiration, so that helps too lol.

    But the vast majority of this type of cuisine is still in the category of SLOW food (which of course has become yet another focus of elite co-optation and status seeking lol), and is cooked by whoever isn’t doing wage labor. That can be the elderly, pregnant women, wives down the hierarchy, underage kids, somebody home sick from school, fostered kids, the handicapped, whoever it is at home with the TIME to do all that is necessary to prepare and cook the food. Families with just the tiniest bit of extra cash often pay someone to help cook (usually a child), it is often one of the first luxuries on which money is spent.

    Leaving aside the shopping/food desert/transportation issues and the times involved (see further below lol), just the prepping and cooking of food takes me 25-40 hours a week. Beans, grains, salads, and most vegetables are not fast foods, even if some cooking methods are faster than others. I bake bread, I make kimchi, and since we are no longer vegan (which is related to food deserts and transportation and budget lol) I make kefir and cheese. Even making basic foods, not fancy meals or elaborate dishes (which I do love to do) takes a lot of time.

    And over the years I have spent incredible amounts of time learning how to do those things, so they that are even choices available to me. Online access to knowledge and recipes and tips certainly helps anyone with internet access now, but the actions still take time, as does acquiring execution skills so the actions move as quickly and smoothly as they can.

    Having time allows me to provide daily food for me and the spouse on a food budget of about $75 a week. Tight. If I didn’t bake bread, it would be a lot higher. If I bought canned beans and vegetables, it would also be higher. If I bought prepared salads, hummus etc., or pretty much anything where the labor has already been done, then it would be much higher. And if the spouse wants/has to buy lunch during the work week, the budget definitely jumps up.

    One month, back in the days before we were poor and evicted from the city, I decided to try buying prepared or easy versions of the things I make, like bread, hummus, beans, bagged salad, that kind of stuff. And to buy it at the local grocery stores. Our food budget that month was over $700. Without meat. And this was several years ago, before the local food prices really took a significant jump up. Time really is money saved, when it comes to food.

    If there is one big thing that poor people don’t have, all the ones I know anyway, (and the ones I read about) is time. All the people I know around me now here in my new town that aren’t military have several part time jobs and work a lot more than 40 hours a week. Even my military neighbors have very odd and extreme hours, nothing like a normal 9-5 schedule.

    Hell, even the ‘middle class’ people I know, the ones making $30-40,000 a year at one job (including my spouse now, thank goodness), don’t have much time. After jobs that are actually quite a bit more than 40 hours a week, commutes, chores, kids, health care nightmares, the real american life, it would be impossible for them to shop/prep/cook the way I do. If I wasn’t home to do all the cooking, my spouse would absolutely have to eat nothing but packaged food, or fast food. He has no time whatsoever to cook, after work and commute, bathing and sleeping.

    Our food budget, until we were gentrified out into the american wasteland, was so tight that time was actually the luxury lol, it meant I could spend the hours needed to buy the only food we could afford. Our neighborhood grocery stores were unaffordable because our rent was raised to the ludicrous levels. We have more breathing room now in food budget, mostly because rent has become manageable, but time needs are even greater than before because of distance (more below).

    I absolutely do NOT think our family choices are easy, or obvious, or risk free. Or even normal lol. I do not expect anyone I know, even my most privileged friends, to eat the way we do. And the main reason is time.

    “A vegan lifestyle is probably cheap and accessible under certain circumstances but the universal evangelism, let’s say, erases the lived experiences vast swathes of rural and urban dwellers that just have better things to worry about than what they eat.”

    During our roughest times in poverty (which were actually when both my spouse and I worked multiple shitty jobs), our diet suffered dramatically. And yes, we really did have lot of other things to worry about than what we ate, like how not be homeless and unemployed and even more depressed.

    Food became fuel, and cost and ease of access was what mattered. We were simply too exhausted and demoralized to eat well because of lack of time AND money. We were often forced to eat shitty fast food because it was the cheapest and fastest (duh lol). And since calories (not taste) was the purpose, we ate burgers. I hate fast food burgers, never a part of my childhood overseas, I always found them to be disgusting. But no fucking salads when you have very limited funds for food of any kind lol.

    My spouse, who grew up in a particularly meat obsessed latin american country and could only identify onions, garlic (hated both) and carrots as vegetables lol, read Diet For A New America during his english-improving studies during one of our worst spells of poverty. That made him join me in my (previously insane to him) vegetarianism lol. (He at least didn’t suffer our burger diet as much as I did until he learned about factory farms.)

    The very first thing that changed as our income improved, was our diet. We were only able to actually live according to our philosophical and ethical beliefs when we had the money, the time, and the psychic peace of mind to do so. Living vegetarian/vegan really was a luxury for us, something that required a basic foundation of some economic security.

    A bit more about ‘food deserts’ and food availability.

    My less-Precariat friends work long hours, and they pretty much only eat out, but they mostly can eat what they like. They own cars and can drive to what’s available back in the big city where they work (plenty of cheapish ethnic choices), or the less poverty stricken suburbs where they live. Their ‘desert’ is really one of time and convenience, not so much food items themselves and geographical availability.

    In this group are the most obnoxious of my food-concerned friends lol, the ones who are vocally vegan of the worst kind, the ones with endless deficiencies/allergies/issues (whatever the trend is at the moment), people with whom I never go out to eat with, even if they are treating me lol. They are like the worst caricatures of the elite veggie/vegan types that lefties and righties like to scorn, which of course is kinda sad. (Again, why do people actually decide to become negative stereotypes lol?!?). They almost make me want to buy a burger, I really hate the way they speak and act in public about food issues and the ethics/politics involved.

    But in a way, they are ‘rich’ enough to indulge in being obnoxious in this way. And yes here it really is about a certain type of status. In a big liberal city, it seems you have to have a food issue/cause to be ‘cool’. (And within my region there really is a sort of backlash outside the city; go to beer festivals/music festivals/etc. and people refer to certain food booths as being ‘trendy shit from S____’, usually referring to the booths selling something very visibly vegan/vegetarian. The people buying from those booths do often look the stereotype too, its kinda disturbing. Just as the people buying the earth destroying alternatives also look pretty much like stereotypes lol…)

    My poorest friends work even longer hours and they eat whatever they can get on the fly. And every single person I know that works in fast food or ‘restaurants’ gets a pretty huge percentage of their food from their job. Even if that is grounds for getting fired if they get caught. They have no choice. No time for buying and cooking other food, no money to eat out of their own choice. Luckily, everyone there is in the same boat, they mostly all cover for each other lol.

    That was definitely me and my spouse too. For one particularly bad year, we lived on Subway and the leftovers scraped from plates where we both worked at various ‘restaurants’. Rent for our place (a studio) took all our income, and we paid it in order to live near jobs we actually had.

    This form of food constraint, I am positive, is increasing, especially in the big liberal city from which I was recently gentrified out. My spouse still has plenty of friends who still work in the restaurant industry, and since ALL of them have been forced to relocate far from where they work due to exploding rents, they all absolutely rely on food from work in order to have enough to eat. Vegan/vegetarian is likely irrelevant to them, although we do know people who have worked very hard to get jobs at restaurants where they specialize in vegan/vegetarian food, so they can steal it lol.

    Where we live now, I can bike to 2 big chain grocery stores within 3 miles of me with my backpack and stock up, which I do. But sometimes I get rides from my car owning neighbors, so I watch what it is they buy. My new neighbors rely on fast food eaten where they work, and whatever they can get cheap, usually from the frozen section of the grocery store.

    Except for potatoes and onions, most vegetables at Safeway and QFC cost more than $3 a pound. The more nutricious ones, like greens, cost more. Cans are cheaper, but they taste like shit lol, so not something I buy unless it is tomatoes. Frozen can be cheaper, if you are fanatic about paying attention to coupons and sales (which of course I am lol).

    My grocery bill is almost always higher than my neighbors at checkout because I only buy produce (and flour etc.), never anything packaged or prepared. They tease me that we are rich because I’m buying fresh produce, items they think they can’t afford and have no time to cook. They don’t buy meat (but they want to) unless it is in something processed and frozen or a bulk pack on discount because the expiration date is nigh.

    The calorie totals of what they buy is certainly larger than mine, so they are getting more ‘food’ per dollar, but it most definitely is not vegan or vegetarian (I’m not sure some of it is actually food, just a ‘food product’ shudder). And their grandmothers most definitely would NOT know what most of the ingredients are on the label (Pollan’s very useful rule lol).

    Fresh wholesome food here is expensive. Because, again, I am a useless unemployed person lol, I have the option of taking a ferry for two hours round trip to get back into the big city. Then, I can bike several miles to the international section of town where I already know all the best places to get cheap fresh produce.

    It is all produce trucked in from California (mostly), so grown/picked/packed by exploited workers, covered in pesticides, nutritionally impoverished and monoculture/shiny/plastic, and having contributed substantially to global warming by being far from local. (Organic is simply so far removed from our budgetary choices, I had to ditch it years ago.)

    The upside is I also get all kinds of things I can’t get at the big chain stores, so I can actually cook all the fantastic yummy things the poor eat all over the world, with exotic ingredients that otherwise would cost a fortune at Whole Foods lol. Thanks to the hordes of diseased immigrants bringing in their dirty poor people food and taking over Amerikkka lol, even the ‘exotic’ stuff is very cheap, they grow lots of it somewhere in this country.

    Even including the ferry/transportation cost, my bags of groceries are so substantially cheaper that this is the best option for me. But it takes pretty much a whole day, just for the shopping, before I even begin preparing and cooking all that fresh food.

    Last month I did a direct comparison for just one shopping trip, and what cost me $35 (including the ferry) would have cost me $123 at Safeway and $141 at QFC. And those grocery store totals don’t even include the items that they don’t carry, like the starchy tubers and roots and herbs I get at the ethnic grocery stores in the city.

    Food desert doesn’t necessarily mean there are no options within range, just that they aren’t options that make a lot of economic sense. Even if you had the time to cook the fresh food you can buy within a few miles of home, you’d have to be prepared to spend more money, no way around it. And it wouldn’t provide as many calories as just sticking to fast food, which of course is ALWAYS local in poor areas lol.

    Education: I definitely want to avoid assumptions often made about poor people and how stupid/ignorant they are lol, because of course many of them are no more stupid/ignorant than the rich people who are fucking up everything with such competence. I like to think many poor people are actually smarter, because they simply have to be to survive.

    But! There is NO quick way to get to competence in cooking healthy, tasty, affordable, nutritious and ethical food. Not for poor people, not for rich people. It is a time requiring skill, like playing a musical instrument, and while there are ways to minimize the time and effort investment required, there are no real shortcuts.

    Learning the skills to eat well and consciously can seem so intimidating! Especially if you are doing it on your own, or within a family that is quite resistant, or you have no actual living person that you know who can help you ease into it. Even if you buy any of the many trendy lovely vegan cookbooks now found in every mall bookstore (but they ain’t cheap lol), there is a lot of background knowledge required–and often completely ignored–to successfully complete many of the recipes. If you fail a few times at the start, you can easily decide to just give up and head back to Wendy’s.

    Again, TIME to gain this education, where is it going to come from? What will have to give way instead? I do a lot of cooking for my friends, or at least I used to when we lived near each other sigh, and it was often because they had the money to pay me to cook a special meal for a group of friends, but not the time required for them to learn to do the cooking for themselves. And I’m talking about the richer section of my friends. Nobody commuting between several shitty jobs has time for anything as luxurious as learning to cook.

    @roasty: I suspect that rural now is different than rural in your day. Changes in agricultural policy have made it so that finding fresh produce even in farming areas is very difficult and expensive.

    My extended family lives in various areas of the farming rural West and wow, let me tell you, finding enough quality ingredients to cook for them can be very hard those times I go to visit. When my spouse and I go camping, we have to bring almost all our food with us, as buying anything fresh in lots of the half abandoned towns near the nature area is expensive and its usually enragingly bad. (And why do so many western towns have anti-crystal meth murals, its horrifying, clearly people are not cooking food so much as something else…)

    My mom worked and cooked all our meals, we almost never ate out, but she had 4 kids who did almost everything she needed us to do so that was possible, as soon as we were able to walk. Its about time again, which was less of a factor in my family with many kids, but more of a factor when I have to do most of the food work now on my own. Do rural kids these days really enjoy spending lots of time cooking with mom/dad, or would they rather drive to a strip mall for fast food, or do they just eat something previously frozen while they watch tv?

    When I lived in California I had friends who came from agricultural migrant worker families and I got to visit and meet them. Unless there were people at home who could cook, they ate very badly. And since most anyone who is physically able is out in the fields working, food choices with limited time/energy were as bad as in any supposed urban food desert. And obesity, wow, way way way more large people out in the ‘country’ where the food is produced, which I don’t think is due to quality food consumption.

    On the issue of cruelty free: I’ve had to learn to think about it in terms of Harm Reduction. Organic isn’t a financial option, so that’s out. Food produced in virtually every single country that supplies the US relies on oppressed workers (even slavery here and abroad, read Tomato), pesticide use and soil destruction, environmental degradation, fossil fuel use, etc. And that’s just the fruits and veggies lol!

    I think all many of us can do is to take time and carefully analyze what are the least hideous options available to us, in the real world locale where we are, and see if we can’t find a way to choose those. We don’t get to be pure, just perhaps a bit less stained.

    AmishRakeFight: I’d give the Lierre book a miss, although the intense conflict-strewn soap opera it has caused within the anti-civ movement is sorta fun in a train wreck sorta way lol, but only as a spectator.

    However, I would certainly encourage anyone to read the two volumes of Endgame and several of Derrick Jensen’s earlier books, excellent stuff to be found, if you can learn to go with some of the funky flow of his writing (and ignore or postpone engaging with some of the stuff that makes you go WTF lol).

    Kat: “And the idea that you are even talking about restaurants– I know it may be hard to believe but the poor people I know do not eat out all that much. I don’t eat out. It saves money, you know. Plus, I am not a big supporter of restaurants. Even the fucking local ones are exploitative. I don’t understand the localist movement anyway. I am not a nationalist, why is it that much better to be a localist? New boss, meet old boss.”

    Yes, this. Eating out hasn’t been an option for a long time, and I sure as hell won’t pay even the cheap price for something that I can cook far better at home. And I think I’d rather die in the street than ever work in the ‘restaurant’ industry again. Ever.

    charles h: “You never hear poor people apoliticals make fancy claims about inaccessibility of healthy food. They buy meat because they like it and they think it’s part of a healthy diet, not because it’s all there is or it’s cheap. Meat eating has a marketing cachet as a sign of economic well being, precisely because it’s more expensive.”

    In nursing school I was lucky enough to have some excellent instructors when it came to the nutrition classes I took. One of the things we discussed at length was just how incredibly powerful early childhood food experiences can shape adult lives and choices. To the extent that for many people, there really is only a tiny wiggle room for change unless forced by drastic health issues. This has been established by tons of empirical and cross cultural data, its very sobering.

    Like so many things when it comes poverty, oppressive pathways reinforce themselves and reproduce themselves through time. No question that food messages in our culture are often evil. No question that perhaps the most evil of those messages target kids, often in the context of absent parents who are wage slaves. Its as if the most fragile people become the most doomed by certain pathways, especially when it comes to food.

    People are shaped to like what they like, even if it is toxic, unethical, and destructive to the earth and their bodies. Its an enormous serious challenge, and beyond moralizing, blaming or quick fixes. And pathways can get established so quickly, particularly the bad pathway overlaying the good pathway. Look at the obesity and diabetes rates for the children of first generation immigrants, its horrifying.

    Status. I’m sure most of us have had to read through various sickening ‘analyses’ of why poor kids shoot each other over a pair of sneakers, but we can’t ignore the fact that in our intensely hierarchical and competitive society, status absolutely matters, regardless of how you get some of it. This is true in all kinds of cultures, not just ours. We know the Celebrity Left wants it, so it isn’t denigrating to realize that poor people want it too. They aren’t more to blame for being sucked into the game along with the rich, although they often carry less responsibility because they often have more constrained choices.

    When I lived in Brazil, one of my projects was to hold a small class for kids aged 8-16, held several days a week at the house of a priest in a notorious favela. The subject matter wasn’t really that important, it was just a way to give them some time away from home or the street. The priest, a very handsome young Belgian, suggested I try a very basic nutrition/cooking class, as he was pretty horrified by the rampant hunger and malnutrition in the neighborhood.

    Because the favela was in Rio and connected to wealthy parts of town, it wasn’t exactly a food desert; people could go to markets if they were willing to be poked and prodded by the guards holding machine guns to keep out the riff raff (them, of course). It was possible to buy cheap basic vegetables and fruits if you wanted them.

    However, Brazil is an intensely meat oriented society, and inequality is among the worst in the world. I was visually assaulted on a daily basis by scenes that could have been a photoshop of Beverly Hills right next to Somalia.

    My kids in class simply had no interest, none whatsoever in learning about vegetables and fruits or eating healthy. They mostly lived on cheap cookies, cheap baguettes baked daily (like cotton in the mouth, don’t think fancy), cheap sodas, and maybe one plate of rice and beans a day with no flavor at all except lots of salt. (Brazilians outside certain regions do not use any spice in their food, it is bland as hell and often pretty awful.) Fruit was only something you smashed up to drink with cachaca, the cane alcohol which is far cheaper than any food and available absolutely everywhere and at any time. The kids were always hungry, tired, and hyper all at once.

    What they craved was meat, especially hot dogs, burgers, fast food which in Brazil is expensive. On the minimum wage, which the vast majority of their parents earned–if they had a job at all–a burger would cost the equivalent of about $40 here (when I lived there anyway, the minimum wage has risen under the PT government). As out of reach as Kobe beef might be for many of us lol.

    Their ultimate fantasy was to go to a Churrasco restaurant, the famous meat palaces that dot the world now, where for a hefty set price you can eat all the meat you want. The cheapest Churrasco in Rio would cost more than the monthly minimum wage, for one meal.

    This wasn’t just about hunger, this was about wanting a moment where they felt like ‘real’ people, like rich people, like the people at the beach or on tv, who only eat meat for every meal.

    I quickly gave up on that nutrition class idea, we moved on to learning english from terrible violent american movies they wanted to watch together. (My best students were 13 year old girls and boys who earned money as sex workers to feed their younger siblings, and all dreamed of using better english to snag a foreign tourist out at the beach, absolutely heart breaking.)

    I wonder how things would be if I sat in on a food related class here in my local schools, what it is they dream of when it comes to food and what those choices mean in a symbolic way. Maybe some of them want to be vegans because that does carry status nowadays lol.

    Check out this sobering read. And this is in a wealthy school district, just a few miles away is the poor district (I have family in Bozeman).


    Great stuff no soy yo, really liked your comments.

    Okay, definitely enough wall of text lol. I’m hoping some of my experiences were useful. There is so much moralism in discussions about ethical food choices, I hope some of what I write can be taken as opinionated but empirically based observations, even if anecdotal lol.

    • erico says:

      Yikes, more text lol, a quick p.s.

      The Daily Mail is evil, I know that, but I do read the sports news to feed my soccer addiction, so that link caught my eye; its the type of right wing nuttery that occasionally does inform me of something I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. Like some of what you read at Zero Hedge lol.

      Something positive: deeply grooved diet pathways can change, my spouse now eats absolutely everything including fermented tofu lol, even though he once hated all vegetables, anything spicy and unusual, and was actually fearful of food he had never encountered before, meaning anything that wasn’t rice and beans and fried meat. But he faced starvation in our house otherwise lol, so it does takes intense motivation.

      • charles h. says:

        That daily mail article about the kids eating fast food until the school brought back the fast food style cafeteria food. Just more proof that there is too much zeal in health activists. The kids should have been given a mix. So the school abandoned pizza entirely to make way for fascist Queen Obama’s perfect health store menu. And then they abandoned it entirely and brought back pizza lunch. I’m going to guess that it’s a right wing PTA at that school that wanted to make a point?

        Pathways for sure, but they could have offered pizza on alternate days or just less pizza to still draw the kids in. Also the excuse making “you’re not going to tell high school kids what to eat”. I’m not one for denying how oppressed kids are but those parents are awful parents. If they give their kids money for lunch and the kids go waste it on fast food, and the kids are unhealthy, then those kids should be beaten until they eat right. One reason kids develop bad pathways is parental encouragement of bad behaviors. It’s not all rebellion and education, sometimes it’s just a destructive indulgence. Those kids actually sound really disgusting as well. Animals. At least if they’re going to insist on fast food, then even when the school cafeteria offers fast food, they should still go down the block, take a walk outside, see the street, for their lunch break, at McDonald’s. But the kids are so sickeningly gross and lazy that not only are they happy eating the worst kind of fast food, but they prefer to stay inside the cafeteria to do it. So that’s “cool” kids, who eat shit and stay inside the school walls every minute of the school day, if they can.

        I think at that level as well, those people are deserving of critique. That’s literally a definition of a NON food desert, and the kids are actively choosing the worst they can. So much for the anti-vegan “but food deserts” line.

        Thanks for linking to the article. Daily Mail is evil in general but they have an acid take and cover lesser stories you won’t find in the more serious, left British papers. They all get approval for their major stories from the UK government anyway so they’re all basically evil.

      • Tarzie says:

        those kids should be beaten until they eat right.

        You’ve gone too far.

      • charles h. says:

        I bet those “cool” kids who had a strike against healthy cafeteria food until they got back their burgers and pizza and stay inside all lunch also smell really wonderful. For sure that high school isn’t B.O. city and hell to walk through.

      • charles h. says:

        I am serious though. Had it up to Here with this “the kids are alright”. They’re so alright they’d rather eat poop than food. Yeah, they’re alright alright. For poop eaters.

      • Tarzie says:

        you’re making my nipples hard

      • charles h. says:

        Better be from the “kids are not as nice as people say” part and not all the poopy talk. Nah, it’s okay. Poopy is a funny word.

    • charles h. says:

      When I think of people doing without meat and dairy, I don’t think of them having a very varied menu. You sound like a cordon bleu at this point. Don’t understand why you didn’t get a gig in a better restaurant (sorry for being a douche with comments like that).

      I think of giant food preps that last for the whole week (potato/veg stew, oily fried/cooked potatoes, big chickpea vat of hummus, big pasta pot) and every portion warmed up for several days.
      I also think of lots of raw. And bland fruits, maybe bananas. The rest is apples and peanut butter.

      That will not take 40 hours a week under any circumstances. If you find it boring and you need to make really zesty varied vegan meals, then your hours will start adding up.

      Strictly ultra vegan foods are a stretch to guarantee for many people because it requires looking at all the labels and researching. I think you can get quite a bit closer without much effort, despite the tragedy you describe.

      I can’t comment on your particular situation, but if you insist on taste, as you do, then that can be solved with sugar and pepper for almost anything. Again if someone isn’t really interested, they aren’t going to stock up on cinnamon or other fancy spices.

      At the base of extreme poverty, it becomes a question of stocking up. If you like fancy fresh bread, you are indeed fucked. But rice cakes are an optional substitute.

      I’m sorry but I just don’t buy the cheap meat idea of calories. My experience is that fast food is really expensive for what it offers. Every time I used to eat burgers, it just left me feeling unsatisfied and needing more. Burger isn’t a steak. In terms of cost, fast food burgers are absolutely horrible value. A meat eater making 20 burgers at home can eat that with mustard, for the price of a pile of ground beef and an egg tray. An equivalent amount of calories at the fast food chain isn’t coming from those 99cent deals but from the $5 sandwich. That’s a hundred dollars at the fast food joint compared to more like $20 made at home. Veggie burgers at the market are also a good deal to substitute meat but then you might as well just be eating salad for even cheaper.

      You can basically live on cabbage, potato, apples, rice and some sweeter fruit of your choice for a sugar high, if you don’t want to buy cheaper candy. Poor people living hand to mouth would do better to get their energy from candies and coffee than from the kind of last-resort meat they can “afford” anyway.

      As for the issue of horrible conditions for workers for imported foods, such as rice and wheat. Farm agriculture is getting more and more mechanical all the time. This labor issue will never be solved by good will from employers but by which mega corporation can use the most robots most efficiently.

      I agree that in poorer areas supermarkets are sometimes far away. But they aren’t any farther than a McDonalds. If you live in a backwater that’s so bad that fast food is actually the only outlet for food at all, phew, man, what a shit-hole. Seriously, though, any mildly non horrible community at that point has a responsibility not just to be “vegan” but to get together and get some food out there just as a simple matter of availability, vegan or not vegan. I mean, we are beyond issues of ethics in food choices at that point. Just any food at all at an affordable price becomes an issue. And meat ain’t it.
      America is a mess but it is not Somalia. I know you weren’t pushing a line of anti-veganism and I don’t mean to sound like I’m trying to combat your point or your anecdote.

      To the extent that there are such food deserts because the area is so rural and so out of the way and so dominated by either no farmland, desert, oil field or the corporate farm does not offer the locals an affordable price at its entry gate, fine. If that’s what anti-vegans (not you) are riding on when they point out that veganism is elitist because of all the many poor people in urban food deserts, there is still no link. Any sufficiently large community where these decisions take on political dimensions will have access to food or they wouldn’t be out there. While there are food deserts, they certainly aren’t urban.

      Another example is that food is more expensive in Alaska, where throughout most of the year they have to have all of their produce imported. Northern Canada and Siberia. Small towns in the Sahara or the Gobi desert. All these areas have a reliance on eating animals to make up for the calories. How the fuck does that have anything to do with urban food deserts?

      I like your anecdote. You are like the destitute foodie. Can’t afford NUTHIN. But you’re still going to eat like you were traveling the world every week, so help you god!

      • Tarzie says:

        The idea that meat is cheap is so unutterably clueless it boggles the mind. Here’s a chart showing average costs for basic home food items.


      • Tarzie says:

        Strictly ultra vegan foods are a stretch to guarantee for many people because it requires looking at all the labels and researching.

        Yeah, I’m a big believer in “vegan enough,” especially for people who are just starting out. If, say, ghee is the last ingredient on a box of frozen channa masala, I’m not gonna get bent out of shape, and I won’t consider myself non-vegan for having eaten it. A plant-based diet is fundamentally a boycott. There is really nothing to be gained by splitting hairs over trace amounts of this and that. That’s religion and it’s likely to make for very short attempts at veganism.

        I really don’t agree that a vegan diet has to be unvarying and rather bland to not eat up an entire evening. I can whip up a delicious spicy Indian dish in about fifteen minutes not counting cooking time where all I have to do is wait for the bell. Veganism encourages you to do great one-dish wonders, where you get all the tastiness and nutrition into one easy to make dish and if you make double or triple the recipe, you have meals that prepare in three minutes for those days when you really can’t bear to cook. If that’s too much repetition for you, freeze it.

        Green smoothies are great for breakfast and lunch, delicious, packed with nutrients and take less than three minutes.

        And I agree, supplementing this with raw whole foods — fruits, vegetables and nuts — really helps mix things up without a lot of effort and is really good for your health on top. Doing more raw has been great for me. Saves time and is really enjoyable. And it’s more powerful for your mood than anti-depressants.

  16. Hummus says:

    My name is Hummus and I’m here to say:

    Unionize your workplace. Overthrow the g word. Charter schools are Satan.

    I’m glad there’s an open comment thread now and regret I really don’t have more to say since my divorce from Twitter and move to NYC.

    Since reading this blog tho I do find myself considering the whole vegan thing though I’ve done little towards that end besides eating more vegetables and occasionally having a bad feeling when I eat something awful that an animal (or animals) had to die for it. I don’t really have a starting place for vegan recipes though and would appreciate input.

    • Tarzie says:

      Gonna have to tell Sassy you’re one of us, now. He’ll be thrilled.

      • Hummus says:

        Wow what fast service. I’m waiting for the train back from JFK with little else to do.

        One of the other thoughts I had in my absence was on the Celebrity Left shit. They’re terrible, vacuous people (Chuckles Davis, Chuckles Davis, Chuckles Davis!) but upon reflection I think they probably thrive on this sort of negative attention and they have all the socks, volume, narrative backing, and non critical thinkers on their side.

        The time spent on their horseshit is better used informing people wherever you can about charter schools and the corporatization of education in America, especially when championed by Democrats. In my home state, the governor is in bed with charter schools and has actively gutted what remains of our public schools. I’ve also heard he’s angling for Sec. of Education under Clinton. Something really bothers me about fucking with the future of kids who have no control of their destiny because, you know, they’re children. Apparently a lot of people don’t have this hang up.

        But you and I have discussed a little the numeric lack of actual radicals and the limited action you can take from a position like that so no FULL COMMUNISM NOW anytime soon. So what can you even do? I hate “awareness” but a lot of people need to recognize (and are often receptive to) the fact that they are not locked in to this political dichotomy in the US, or that There Is No Alternative.

        Anyway I’m tired since my gf was in town and had to entertain when I should have been sleeping and sort of not going anywhere with this but the train still isn’t here. Nice to read you posting shit again.

      • Tarzie says:

        I think Charlie thrives on the negative. I think the rest of them hate it. Surely Greenwald did. I don’t think they would relish a BiggestCelebrityLeftAsshole contest at all. These are thin-skinned, narcissistic babies. They clearly hate criticism, which is why they mete out punishment so ruthlessly when they get it.

        But the point wasn’t to bother them anyway. It was a side benefit. I just wanted to extend a left media critique to include left media, and to examine how capital is shaping our politics at the present time. The Snowden event and Greenwald’s ascendancy were the perfect medium for doing so. I don’t agree that this kind of thing is a mere trifle compared to “informing people wherever you can about charter schools and the corporatization of education in America, especially when championed by Democrats” or even entirely separate. Why are capitalists appropriating these people so vigorously if they’re inconsequential? Why has Deray been deployed to equate charter schools with the Black Panthers Breakfast Program? Because all of this is so profitable?

        The strategies used to mislead and indoctrinate people are deployed everywhere. Examining them in at least one particularly influential context can help cut through the bullshit anywhere. It’s not the kind of thing you need to do again and again, though, and I’ve moved on. But I regret nothing. I injected some adult ideas into an infantile discourse, which is why it pissed so many people off, and why it was empowering for others.

        It’s good to see you too, by the way.

    • Tarzie says:

      I don’t really have a starting place for vegan recipes though and would appreciate input.

      There’s a lot of online resources. Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is a good basic cookbook. It’s not all vegan but he offers vegan variations for most of the recipes. It’s very no-nonsense and some of the recipes are really good.

      I don’t really focus on vegan recipes, myself. I look at recipes that look good and figure out how they can be vegan.

    • gnuwb says:

      Recipe for lazy unfussy not-super-healthy vegans:

      Get vegies or vegie burgers. I recommend chinese cabbage, carrot and broccolini. Grate the carrots and cut everything else up small. Fry it in sunflower oil, soybean oil, peanut oil, olive oil, no oil, whatever. Medium high. If you like garlic, onion or shallots add that too. If you’re lazy or hate cutting onions like me, just use the powdered stuff. When it’s cooked to your liking and not burnt yet, you add your carbs or legumes, unless you’re usinglegumes that you want to fry like green beans or snow peas, in which case they go in at the start. If you want to use dried legumes it’s harder; gotta google how to cook your variety properly; some need a night soaking plus 2 hours cookibg so innappropriate. For noodles, I use soba (which is ramen but with a little buckweat. Use whatever doesn’t say ‘vegetable’ oil or a million other things in the ingredients). Add the noodles and filtered water to barely cover. Season. I like salt, ginger and coriander but chose whatever suits your tastes or health requirements. If you’re using frozen peas, or canned legumes, or corn instead of noodles, add that now. Cook noodles till soft. If you.re trying to lose weight, maybe add more legumes, vegies and less noodles/corn/donuts. Add B12/D if you think you’d benefit. Serve and chew properly. It’s delicious. Stop complaining.

      • Tarzie says:

        Noodles are a vegan essential. Interesting how you cook them with the other ingredients. I’ve taken half-cooked noodles and finished cooking them with the other ingredients, but never all the way through. I imagine it thickens the liquid a bit and imparts more flavor to the pasta.

        On my new health kick I’ve been eating brown rice pasta and it’s really good. The texture comes close to the traditional stuff and while it doesn’t taste the same, it nevertheless tastes good. I was never able to love whole wheat pasta, but transitioning to this stuff has been really easy. Never thought I could give up white pasta. I probably never will entirely, but this brown rice stuff makes it easy to limit use.

      • gnuwb says:

        I’ve never tried brown rice pasta. In general both brown rice and whole wheat pasta taste a bit too stodgy to me. The soba I eat are mostly white flour and only 20 percent whole buckwheat, which is subtle flavour difference that I actually prefer to ramen. I think I get enough fibre and votamins, or more than enough, from all the vegies and legumes, so I’m not so strict on using whole grains, I just like 10-40% brown for the flavour.

      • Tarzie says:

        I tend to eat white rice, but pasta made from the brown stuff makes a nice alternative pasta. It’s even a nice variation. But I do love everyday factory pasta with all my heart. It’s so wonderful I marvel at how cheap it is.

        I eat a fair amount of pasta, so it’s good to mix it up.

      • gnuwb says:

        I forgot to mention fake meat, which could also added. I think it’s generally pre-cooked, but meat-cravers might want to fry it with the vegies for that meaty carcinogenic edge. I’ve only had fake meat a few times, and didn’t like them, but I believe you can find much better ones if you shop/ask around, but I’m happy enough without it.

      • AmishRakeFight says:

        A great white pasta alternative that I relied on heavily during a recent weight loss stint was to use spaghetti squash. If you’re unfamiliar, you slice it in half, bake it, then scrape it with a fork. You get little strings of squash that, true to its name, make a great substitute for spaghetti. Then just pair it up with whatever sauce, veggies, mushrooms, etc. you like. This one was a life saver for me when I was trying to lose weight because I love pasta, and with the squash substitute, you can basically gorge and eat as much as you like. Very satisfying.

      • gnuwb says:

        I forgot to mention something. If you’re drying a we veggie like cabbage. It’s best not to add any oil until it has dehydrated in the pan so the oil doesn’t spit on you. Then if you’re using oil, add when the cabbage has dried out to spread the heat around and fry them more evenly. I like to brown it a bit but it’s a fine line before they start burning.

        Apart from saving the carbs that leech out of the pasta, cooking the noodles with everything means I can do noodle soop by adding extra water or do unhealthy looking fried noodles by evaporating the excess or make them juicy in between, and I only have to use one pan. Cooking noodles separately is better if you like your noodles or your vegies al dente or dry. You can save some of the water when you strain them and add just a dash at the end if you want them al dente but juicy.

  17. erico says:

    Hey Tarzie, I think your reply to my wall of text ended up further above, I only just saw it.

    I do apologize for clogging the comments, I simply have to learn better etiquette, keep things concise.

    There is absolutely NO QUESTION in my mind that vegan eating is the most ethical and responsible choice there is. None. I really don’t want to give any other impression about what I think in that regard. I have direct personal experience with factory farming and migrant workers, nobody needs to tell me something new to convince me about how awful our food production system is. Really, I’m with you on this. I have felt this way for almost 25 years, as I said.

    I definitely apologize if it sounded like I was defending the troll, as that was totally unintended. It was just the TIME issue came up in his post and seemed to be missed by a lot of the other excellent comments. I’m not sure what the other things are that you felt I was defending. I do know some vegan stereotypes, and I know some meat eating stereotypes. The fact is, some of my friends aren’t really nice people lol, but they are the ones I’ve got, I try not to hate them too much.

    Maybe I was wrong to have used the word confession in some earlier posts, it does imply a sort of seeking forgiveness, or absolution, or something else. I should have said ‘bear witness’, to just simply tell stories as an example of what has been true in our small lives. My detail/slog really was intended to give some ‘story’ to how two people, near the bottom end of the economic spectrum, who are absolutely oriented towards a vegan diet in principle, actually had to live out their choice amidst life’s other struggles over 2 decades with economic ups and downs. Not rationalizing, just trying to describe how tough it has been at times to stay true to what we believe in.

    And not seeking to manipulate sympathy, good grief, there are millions of people who live with similar financial pressures, or are worse off, quite a bit worse off. More than 50% of american workers earn less than $10/hour, so we are already better off than that. And my personal history with food gives me so many advantages over my neighbors, the barriers to them becoming vegan are so much steeper in multiple ways. And even with the time involved, I have so many options here that many people do not have, when it comes to food choices. I am lucky.

    I can’t debate you on food cost comparisons, I can only tell you what its like here and how very motivated I have been to find the cheapest options out of sheer necessity. Anyone who has better options is way lucky, and I hope it is common. Trader Joe’s is a 20 mile bike ride for me (which I have done, just not a regular option), or 2-3 hours round trip on the bus/ferry. Believe me, I miss having that option lol.

    But I totally agree with you that it can be possible to eat vegan for less money than a meat based diet! I’m not sure how it came across otherwise. In nothing I wrote did I want to give that impression.

    It may only be clear in hindsight that I should have mentioned a time frame for when we were at our burger gobbling low point lol. This happened almost 15 years ago, and then again about 8 years ago. Meat was most definitely cheaper back then. And when we felt reduced to mostly fast food, cost was only part of it, that’s what I hoped to convey. Time was a bigger factor, and the fact that we ate so much of our food where we worked. There is absolutely NO QUESTION again that meat now is far more expensive, more expensive than any of the $3 vegetables I wrote about lol.

    During our most recent nightmare of poverty and near homelessness, we lived on the remains of our pantry, and lots of rice and beans. Which is fine, I already have every spice known to mankind and I can make endless types of salsa with small bits of something. Burgers weren’t even an option.

    Maybe we can agree to disagree on definitions of ‘quickly’ lol, which may be more related to how we define ‘tasty’ and ‘worth eating’ lol. That’s fine. But I can absolutely assure you that the number #1 reason, by some large margin, given to me by all the people I know for why they won’t go vegetarian or vegan is time required to cook that way. That’s their choice, not my job to justify it, but I do understand it. Especially for those of my friends who work so fucking hard already.

    What I really hoped to convey was just how steep the barriers are to becoming vegan among all the people around me now and before, in the city too. But especially now, where I live among people who are the ones who actually suffer the most from the worst aspects of the american diet. Time, multiple other stresses, learning curves to changing diets, knowledge deficits, social counter-pressures, and the basic fact that eating at work is so essential to so many people, these are really huge barriers to change! It seems cruel to characterize people who fail to rise to those challenges as lazy, especially when they already face so much.

    My neighbors don’t buy a lot of meat because it is so expensive, but they simply are so intimidated by the time and effort required to cook the fresh food I buy, it doesn’t appear to them as an option. And there is no question that buying prepackaged ‘food products’ also contain a lot more calories. They are mostly high fructose corn syrup, other sugars and hefty starches, maybe with a bit of meat byproduct. But they are easy to prepare and they fill you up. And they taste familiar. That is why they are addictive, and they were designed that way on purpose.

    Tarzie you can be very terrifying, that is something I love but I also had to accept as part of the deal if I was to post here. I’m okay with being chastised, and maybe I deserved it. But I hope when you are in the right mood that you will slog through what I wrote and find what you like a bit more, to realize we are coming from some similar places lol. And please don’t call me ‘liberal’, that is about as insulting as it gets lol, I’m much more fundamentalist than anything else, another hangover from my religious days.

    • Tarzie says:

      Erico, I don’t mind your walls of text at all. That was a cheap shot because of what I saw as a disappointing rationalization for meat and dairy and a ratification of an odious troll. Because I found a lot of it really disagreeable, it was harder going than your other posts. I think people really like your posts. People remark to me about them on Twitter, which they don’t often do, despite how great all my commenters are.

      As to being terrifying, I think every serious political matter needs a few hardasses whose conviction is commensurate with the problem at hand. My inclination, which I can’t even help, is to be one of those people. This insistence on civility minimizes and represses, which is why it is insisted on so much. Animal agriculture is an atrocity on very many levels. What is the appropriate way to respond to atrocity?

      I think if vegans do get worked up enough to be frothy and self-righteous, it’s because they really just can’t imagine any problem that anyone has — short of being tortured and murdered — that comes close to enormous, multi-faceted horror of animal agriculture. I think “I don’t have time” is a thoroughly lame excuse, especially since, as I said already, I’m at pains to see how a meat dinner is self-evidently easy to produce, seemingly in a fraction of the time it takes to whip up a vegetable curry. There’s vegan junk food to swap in for meat junk food. I really just don’t understand this line of reasoning.

      I get that there are all these barriers, but I think they start to fall away when you realize the scope of the evil you’re fostering, and the toll it’s also taking on your health. I just don’t have a lot of patience anymore for people who need a lot of coaxing to not eat extremely abused creatures, when to not eat extremely abused creatures is reason enough. Everyone finds animal agriculture disgusting when they see it up close. So why can’t they take the obvious next step. Changing your diet is just not that fucking hard. Everybody needs to grow the fuck up. If you can’t even change your diet, wtf *can* you do to make the world less shitty?

      • erico says:

        “I get that there are all these barriers, but I think they start to fall away when you realize the scope of the evil you’re fostering”

        I just needed to confirm this to you with yet another anecdote. I mentioned my meat addicted veggie hating spouse who was literally afraid of food. Yet, when he read that book, that classic I mentioned above, that was it. He was done with meat. He had no idea of how he was going to actually eat anything, but it did give him the courage to force himself to adapt to the food I was cooking. It is possible, even if it is difficult.

        Every single person with whom I have watched Earthling (the ones who still decided to watch after I warned them about what they would be seeing) went veg/vegan. Every one. It didn’t last long for some of them, but it most definitely had an impact. Watch it and share it lol!

        But it does absolutely help when there is someone with you to help guide you. I have ‘converted’ some of my friends to vegetarianism and even veganism by being the person who would go shopping with them and cook with them and ‘school’ them in how to do it and not be intimidated by it. This process, with every single one of my friends with whom I did it, took months, even years. It was a real commitment, but if they were willing, so was I.

        That is still something I’m willing to do, if asked, but I don’t volunteer it anymore, not nearly enough mental/energy reserves to do it anymore. But the first thing I would say to anyone here, or anyone in real life, if they want to give up the evil of industrial meat production, is to find a living person they know who has done it and ask them for help.

    • erico says:

      And by fundamentalist I mean I’d choose the survival of other animals over more human animals. That is why some of my friends accuse me of not being Left anymore. If we were talking about ideologies or models for a future (if there is one), than you would get a very different post from me about food issues and people’s responsibilities and compliance with practices that might attempt something like the ‘sustainable’, if that is even possible.

      By Harm Reduction I don’t mean a Kumbaya acceptance–for myself or anyone else–that absolves guilt or makes everything and everyone okay. It is a model for behavior change, starting from wherever you are, moving in steps that are attainable towards something better, that is all. Just because I don’t like moralizing of the facile kind doesn’t mean I don’t have fierce moral convictions. Just wanted to say that lol.

      I am evil, my neighbors are evil, my annoying vegan friends are evil, everyone alive in our society today is evil, and to a substantial degree. And I mean evil in many of the religious aspects although I don’t believe in any god: people engaged in practices and behaviors that cause substantial harm, misfortune, and destruction to others, including non-human others. Even when they know better.

      Being vegan would make people slightly less evil, but it would be just a start. I no longer proselyte about it, I have other issues that I talk about now. Not better issues or more worthy issues, just different issues. I’m glad there are passionate people though who still make it important.

      • charles h. says:

        Interesting your Left friends accuse you of not being Left for valuing animals over humans to some measure.
        “Oh ho ho, you worry about animal cruelty but you don’t care about [deaths of useless, generally cruel humans who were as much a part of the problem as what killed them]” is a fairly unimaginative fallacy that far right meat eaters love to bounce.

        I don’t think it’s that vegans objectively value human intelligence less than animals but that most “intelligent” humans are using their minds only to further a terrible situation, mindlessly consuming in ways that cause suffering to both animals, the environment and as a result, humans. Cut your losses and let’s find a real solution, not sit around justifying all of it with excuses like “but HUMAN happiness!!”

        TBH, every anti vegan who calls vegans hypocrites consistently reveals in so many other aspects that their politics are more destructive to humans than any misanthropy vegans may have.

      • Tarzie says:

        every anti vegan who calls vegans hypocrites consistently reveals in so many other aspects that their politics are more destructive to humans than any misanthropy vegans may have.

        Word. Also racism.

  18. erico says:

    Ha! The joys of posting delay lol:) I posted my addendum before I saw your comment, so I’m glad I talked about evil before you even needed to prompt me.

    And to be clear as well, I absolutely hate the civility bullshit straitjacket, the smarm, the endless talk of ‘tone’ and ‘concern’, it really is why you are so necessary, so vital to just be out there! And if some of that fierceness comes my way, when deserved, I’ll pretend I have courage and deal with it:) After I cry a little on my keyboard and wish I’d watched a soccer game lol:)

    • erico says:

      And in case it really isn’t clear, we are vegetarian. Because of my own individual health issues, I really had to go back to dairy. It wasn’t something I wanted to do, but it has made a big difference in a positive way, for my own individual organism. I am desperate to avoid our health care nightmare as much as possible, so this was required.

      So now I have to live with that added little bit of evil attached to my nonexistent soul. I’m making light of it, but it wasn’t a decision I took lightly. It really is just another way in which I have failed in my life project and been forced to accept limitations. You’ve heard how hard that is for white men lol, we just hate it.

      • Tarzie says:

        Dairy tends to diminish people’s health, so I’m curious what you get from it that you can’t get from plants. What happens when you give it up? Not asking this to start a fight. I’m just curious.

  19. erico says:

    Hey Tarzie, I’ll write and tell you but it isn’t something I’d want you to post. You’ll know why when you read it lol. Is there a way to send you something that isn’t a comment post?

    • Tarzie says:

      it’s no big deal

      • erico says:

        Cool, I just didn’t want you to think I was dodging your curiosity or being weirdly cryptic. If you change your mind, just let me know how to send you the story. You might find it interesting from a dietary point of view lol, but its a bit complicated for this thread.

        Sugar has come up in some of the posts. I’d love to recommend another book, Death Without Weeping. Its not really about sugar per se, and definitely not a nutrition book, but about the people who produce it and the horrific social costs of the sugar industry in Brazil. A fascinating if wrenching book, about mothers and children, hunger and death, how humans cope with intolerable pressures and choices. You will definitely never think about your casual use of sugar in the same way again.

  20. jason says:

    civility is usually the mask of barbarity. smile, and murder, and smile like that POS in the white house and his acolyte, The Burn. (so everybody piss Tarzie off so he’ll write more. got it?)

    dealing with a diabetes-related health crisis in my family right now with someone who insists that heavy meat-eating helps him manage his glucose levels. uh huh, sure. any links or advice on this from Team Tarzie, much appreciated. he lost a few toes.

    part of our deal as americans is our conditioning as children to be addicts of truly terrible “comfort food”. when i tell this family member those sausages w/their nitrates etc., are gonna kill you as surely as diabetes will, the tho’t of giving this garbage up turns him into a whiny 5 yr old brat. maybe it’s natural to regress to the childish state wherein one learned all this nonsense (“I will pass out if i don’t eat meat.” can someone say, addiction?), but it’s annoying as hell, too. cotton candy sprinkled with bacon bits is a security blanket? indeed, watch the pavlovian response when it’s taken away. self-infantilization & learned helplessness really come out. “I can’t eat kale b/c it doesn’t taste like a tootsie roll” kind of thing.

    Apologies in advance for quoting something that i can’t link to, but in the last few days, i’m sure it was on counterpunch, there was an article stating that by 2050 90% of global flora & fauna will be “anthropocenic”: plants & animals existing solely for human consumption & use. lots of corn & soy. what a nightmare. esp. b/c a huge portion of that 90% is directly related to americans and their goddam meat-eating.

    i feel ill walking into places like the supermarket Giant, or Target, etc. I went into a mega Giant yesterday that’s like the size of a football stadium. what % of the food there is not really fit for human consumption? what % of the items there will be in a landfill in a week? what % of items in a typical walmart will be in a landfill w/in a year? 90-95%? i’m nauseous just thinking about it.

    that ted cruze viddy, omg, wtf?

    • Tarzie says:

      Sorry I didn’t reply to this sooner. My favorite source on nutrition and disease is Dr. Michael Gregor, who posts prolifically at nutritionfacts.org.

      Here’s all the stuff that mentions diabetes.


      Tell him to stop eating meat and eat more whole plant foods.

      • jason says:

        i’m onto him, thanks. great resource, i’ve passed his website around.

        “there was an article stating that by 2050 90% of global flora & fauna will be “anthropocenic”:” just the fauna, not flora & fauna. adios lions and tigers and bears.

      • Tarzie says:

        It would be very embarrassing if I recommended something to you that you had already recommended to me. Please tell me that didn’t happen.

      • jason says:

        no worries. that didn’t happen & no embarrassment if it did. dude is on to lots & lots. thanks.

  21. charles h. says:

    This is an open thread. Let us see what happens if someone adds a new topic.

    Why does popular music suck as bad as the Mets but is beloved by all the kids? Taylor Swift, I’m looking at you. She is fifties level social conformity and I want to know if she co-opts rebelliou identity or kids are so dumb they automatically se her as rebellious because she’s a rich skinny blonde, the way they think greasy sweet pepperoni puke pizza is good cuisine because it’s so heavy.

    Youtube commenters had insight: she copied Lana Del Rey’s style. They don’t mention that Lana is an ironist who describes people as consumerist hypocritical crap with a sweet false sentimentality. Taylor takes the irritating singing style, replaces Lana’s voice with Swiftian vocal fry and sells a conventional clean 20 something conservative romance based on being “tall and handsome” and “so bad but he’s so good at it” (bad boy suburban white upper middle class quarterback ). Feels like straight fascism and conformity.

    Co-optation, propaganda or just horrible consumer tastes? Who is responsible for this abomination?

    • jason says:

      the gang at spyculture.com have a really good series up about the cia & hollywood. is similar stuff going on in music, as it clearly is in TV? IIRC, production of garbage music (as well as pornos and the lottery) was part of Big Bro’s Minitruth in 1984, esp. for the proles. not to romanticize the 60’s too much and its music culture, cuz i wasn’t there and don’t know enough about it, but it’s not a stretch to say the PTB’s realized at the least they gotta keep pop culture under tighter control. so recycling styles and series (Star Trek/Wars, Bond, etc.) just becomes the default mode. (so much for the “creativity” of the “capitalist competition.” what a crock that is.)

      • charles h. says:

        I think the recycling phenomenon is certainly a way to restrict the discourse and gate keep, on the pretense that what came before is a sure bet, so it seems on its face to only be about corporations banking on a proven investment. The perfect cover.

        As for porn, porn has various functions and styles and it is critiqued or approved usually as an amorphous mash of everything. Swift is definitely a type of porn, but a very fascist and politically correct kind. Not to promote the Rihanna brand but she provides a contrast of a kinky, or at least branded as outside the box sexuality, and she is far less popular than Swift, who represents porn as a kind of Aryan ideal of clean bodies barely interacting but pairing off based on top sexual status. The Swift phenomenon is really appalling. Swift is bigger than Gaga or any of the other stars who have passed through since Madonna. The Hollywood music industry has proven that you can sell a brand based on completely white, repressed, wealthy conformity and consumerism, and kids will lap it up.

        While the other pop starlets co-opted various cultures and appropriated them to their white supremacist brand, Taylor IS white supremacy as a brand. All the music I grew up with was tainted by consumerism and bland capitalism in some form. But to see the worst of that succeed in Swift is like waking up to a nightmare. As lame as my childhood music was, I feel like I can’t even recognize anything liberal in the kind of music that is at the top today. It’s all unashamedly neoliberal and authoritarian. I mean, subtle and not so subtle CIA propaganda ops are rife in the media. With TaylorSwift, they are not even trying.

    • charles h. says:

      “Wildest Dreams”. Title of a song about a 20 something rich white movie star being sexually interested in the captain of the football team turned 20 something model, cast opposite her on the movie set (or is it nothing but an advertisement set now), wherein they go back to her tent to have missionary sex in private, with their clothes on, otherwise seen standing around together, being “better than everyone else”, who happen to be working people, the wage slave technical crew serving them.
      Wild, wild dreams.

    • Sir Semi-Rancid says:

      ohemgee can’t stay away from this one!

      It seems like most industry people just agree that Swift has a good voice, which I can’t disagree with, not to diminish any of your offerings, Charles. As for the kids, I don’t know that they see her as rebellious really but they lap up what they are given because kids like music, like food, and when you are hungry you eat what is available!

      • Tarzie says:

        She gets a lot of love for her song-writing.

      • charles h. says:

        There is more available than TayTay. Kids choose to listen to Taylor Shit like they choose to listen to meat pizza instead of Asian fusion tofu noodles and salad.

        Lana Deray will have 1 to 5 million views or less, with a couple videos more popular.
        Taylor, a virtual clone, who does it without irony and worse in every way (worse voice, worse lyrics, less sexy, no nudity) will have 200 million views or more.

        And I’ve observed kids in groups outside of school. They love TS. I thought it was all a marketing bluff. I guess only a school dance will be dispositive, though. So if anyone knows, don’t be shy.

        What I also do wonder about is how many ethnic adult men and women are enthusiastic members of club White Jerk Music.

    • stephen says:

      My personal take is that it simply makes sense in basic capitalist terms to set a low bar for culture, as if anyone can do it, the workers (musicians, producers writers etc) are easily disposable, therefore making the capitalist backer all powerful. Therefore it makes sense to cultivate blandness in purely practical terms. No doubt there is a propagandist element but I think this is where the mediocrity itself comes from. And the propagandist elements were always there but become more pronounced because of the greater control of the capitalist backers, brought about by diminishing the level of talent required, and there are less instances of troublesome artists who say the wrong things. Rather an embarrassingly obvious statement I know but I think that’s the main structural issue.

      • Sir Semi-Rancid says:

        (@stephen: Remember Chomsky pointing out how Greenspan would tout “worker insecurity” as a wonderful thing, not just in music but across the board… so sure.)
        @tarzie Sometimes it’s what they *don’t* say.

      • charles h. says:

        Taylor is so mediocre she practically a precarious billionaire. Anyone could take her place.

        It is symbiotic. Capital employs and fosters artistic mediocrity to control it, while the consumers flock to it and avoid smaller, more interesting acts. Every more interesting act that has enough exposure not to be a victim of publishing obscurity, nevertheless has a very small audience.

        If you saw Lana Del rey’s music video movie released on youtube, the view count is pathetic. It’s an hour of salacious strip club and Adam and Eve nude boy imagery. Nobody cares. They’d rather watch Taylor vocal fry over how special she is and how top drawer her men are, all decked out in Target and Old Navy.

  22. diane says:

    For anyone sane remaining who thinks that Silicon Valley, California is a bastion of Intellect, Diversity and Tolerance, … showing the rest of the world just how woes are cured, this from the gut of Silicon Valley (Santa Clara, California):

    10/16/15 SJC Warns Public Military Planes to Fly Over Levi’s Stadium During 49ers Game

    Officials at Mineta San Jose International Airport are warning the public not to get nervous when military jets take to the sky this weekend for Sunday’s San Francisco 49ers football game against the Baltimore Ravens.

    A group of paratroopers will be flying and performing demonstrations above Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara during the game, …

    (Too funny that California Senator Dianne Feinstein/Blum’s beloved 49ers bewilderingly don’t appear to have made it onto a recent senate report on the DOD, public money, Stadium[!] fundings; despite the fact that those [NOW Google resided over] Moffett Field paratrooper flyovers likely cost close to, or over, at least half a Million when one considers all of the background salaries involved due to the population density in that area (The Rooney’s/Steelers historic DOD funding amount is likely far understated also, as Pittsburgh, PA, like Silicon Valley recently, was once the hometown of Multinational Corporate Office Domiciles ).

    And honestly, this connection between the Department of Defense and Sports Stadiums is just now being revealed, over a century later? I understood this, at some level of subconscious, as a junior high school student in the early seventies – with mandatory pep rallies for the sportz stadium boyz (victims).

    Nothing at all against physical fitness, but, … a Soldier Caste, is not physical well being, to my thoughts.

    I suspect that there needs to be a well rounded balance of both physical and mental activity, and that too much of one can be truly disasterous for all involved; especially those – held utterly captive economically, with no voice in the matter – living on the perimiters of such inbalance.)

    • charles h. says:

      Nerd! We are a culture that will die from mindless physical fitness before we accept an intellectual balance of accounts. Only question is if it is our overlords or the majority of the sheeple who are to blame.
      Sheeple is underlined as a spelling error!!

    • charles h. says:

      http://deadsp.in/kfCXsHX Football players striking against racism on campus.

      • diane says:

        Good for them giving that school prez the blues (I’m assuming it’s the Missouri, campus football team you’re referring to, or, something equalling that).

        Physically fit darker skinned people and physically fit ‘white trash’ have been treated as nothing but ultimately, profit making prey: Soldier Caste War Fodder (that multitude not Drafted to the Major Leagues Sports Teamswho still are highly likely to end up with severe brain damage) for nearing two centuries now, especially on School Campuses sucking ass for funding and leaving youths in horrid and … way too many, ….. deadly situations.

        Friendly Fragged California Football Hero! in Afghanistan, Pat Tillman, of San Jose [Silicon Valley], California, just came to mind. It seemed, to me, horridly fitting when a 60 year old San Jose [Silicon Valley] woman found her way to that ‘Hoover Dam bridge’ (it is apparently named that when suicides happen, versus its Legal title: [The!] Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial [Lie] Bridge) – spanning Nevada and Arizona – which InCorporated Pat Tillman’s name, … only after his friendly frag murder, … for her final Swan Song:

        Tragedy at new Hoover Dam bridge: First suicide reported
        April 10, 2012|By John M. Glionna

        LAS VEGAS — In what authorities are calling the first confirmed suicide at the new Hoover Dam bypass bridge [Mike O’Callaghan Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge], a 60-year-old San Jose woman leaped to her death from the 900-foot-high span Saturday.

        Federal police had attempted to convince her to step back from a precipice along the pedestrian walkway, but to no avail.


        Completed in late 2010 at a cost of $240 million, the graceful span known by many as the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, links Nevada and Arizona along U.S. Highway 93.

        (That doesn’t change my thoughts that schools should be public versus Corporate – ACCESSIBLE TO ALL OF THE PUBLIC (not everyone (MANY IN THE US) can afford functional computer access, just for one of thousands of issues with “online education”) – in my comment, a few days ago, above.

        I’m for 100% accessible public education with a FULL ENDING to using students as WAR FODDER, etcetera, VICTIMS.)

      • diane says:

        (I’m also for: walking (most of all), skipping, … jumping rope, … hop scotching … while singing helpful songs; …. – and, at least every once in a while (horridly and utterly dependent on the level of fascist forces governing one’s neighborhood), metaphorically, or physically, running to remain alive – etcetera, uses of ones body.

        as is said, use it or loose it, …the mind, and the body,.. both of which are necessary to survive in any meaningful sense of that word survive, to my thoughts.)

      • Kat says:

        I was kind of hoping they were striking for pay. I wish all the division 1 players would strike.

  23. charles h. says:

    Why is the phphaxtwitter account, that purports to represent the hackers who dumped cia Brenan’s emails and are now dumping and saying they have all the dox of all the cops, feds and army in the USA, getting virtually no coverage except a couple articles in VICE and NYPost, while Snowden was greeted as a unique, once in a lifetime phenomenon?

    I won’t deny I have hacker fatigue but still, seems like a pretty big deal.

    • Tarzie says:

      I’ve posted my answer to this question several times, as in Dr. Rosen and the Snowden Effect. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, scroll down to/find “Which brings us around to the Snowden Effect.”

      An excerpt:

      The problems with The Snowden Effect are the implication that a piece of news is inherently durable on its own merits, and its idealized view of the general public as both the final judge of newsworthiness and the driver of public policy. In Rosen’s view, the cascade of events he attributes to the Snowden Effect followed inevitably from Snowden’s disclosures. In mine, Snowden, like every other news event protagonist, is just the raw material with which people with genuine control of the news cycle tell us the the things they think we should hear in the ways they think we should hear them.

      • charles h. says:

        I read it. The Cracka with tude hacker group claims their hacking is to protest Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Can we conclude they are ignored because any focus on such a group would again put attention on the US’s enabling of Israeli brutality? That is not proof that they are censored for this issue. The PWB may not even care about their story as they have no purpose for it right now. People could point out that the revelations of contacts and hacking are not very substantial, many of the so called doxes are just email addresses you might find at a police department website or FBI “who to contact” list. Time will tell, of course. Very suspicious is that their Twitter account remains up. Despite Twitter’s policy on no doxing as well the obvious cooperation with feds to keep it up. Is it a trap for them or a front for the public?

      • charles h. says:

        On the Rosepenis postulate that there are no automatic consequences from any single piece of journalism but that the story is always co-opted and sculpted as the PWB wish, where is the need to censor anything, as even attention on the Israel Palestine issue would not lead to anything that the PWB press wouldn’t present to their own advantage? All news stories just become anecdotes for the powerless reader who doesn’t buy in to the PWB narrative but can’t react positively against it either.

      • Tarzie says:

        I’m not describing censorship. I don’t think there is often a need to censor, though it does happen. I also mentioned that things they don’t want to talk about get disappeared entirely. No doubt powerful people try to suppress information — see Agribusiness and AgGag — but most of the time it’s not necessary.

  24. davidly says:

    re. The OP & Every Comment*: It really does come down to our diet.

    *my latest fantasy band name

  25. olaasm says:

    So this is where all the cool kids have been hanging out? 😛

  26. gnuwb says:

    I think I might be an evil monoculture vegan. There are problems with capitalism/monopolisation, inefficiencies of non-local transportation and lack of environmental/ethical/labour regulation, but these apply to all industries as much or more, and none if those industries are as essential to weaning humans who have no access to organic permaculture berries off more environmentally and socially destructive means of survival. Permaculture and all that is great too but monoculture generally produces much more food per unit of labour and if workers eat vegan monoculture find some other way of spending that labour like making/repairing bicycles then it could be just as good or better for the environment until the methods of permaculture becomes more efficient. Anyway, it’s a distraction from the unsustainable forced artificial insemination of livestock caused by the production unhealthy luxury animal products for the middle class, the upper class, and a tiny bit of meat for those lucky workers that can afford it.

    • Tarzie says:

      Yeah. I have trouble getting worked up at this stage about the environmental impact of plant-based diets. Just seems like another dodge.

      • gnuwb says:

        The only vegan food I avoid for ethical reasons is oil labelled as ”vegetable oil”, usually palm oil. What’s happening in Indonesia, land clearing by burning, seems horrific and can’t be blamed on the meat industry. Even when it says soybean oil in the fine print, I don’t want to buy something with a dishonest ambiguous label. Obviously many health scientists recommend cutting if for health reasons anyway, and even healthier plant oils can be easily over used.

      • Tarzie says:

        The only oil I touch is EVO and very sparingly.

      • gnuwb says:

        Because it’s in everything and so hard to avoid and so easy to replace and destroying native rainforests so rapidly, literally by wildfire, a few people avoiding it isn’t enough. Needs a global movement to make it illegal, which I guess needs to happen for meat not later.

  27. carolync967 says:

    Several commenters have brought up the negative stereotypes of vegetarians and vegans. I recently watched this clip from Stephen Colbert. He starts in on vegetarians/vegans halfway through the clip. Both the comedian and his raucous, cheering audience get off on the ridicule. Those who choose to get their food from an evil enterprise fucking hate those of us who have opted out. Here’s the clip. Watch the glee as Colbert insults people whose sin it is to try to lead an ethical life.

    • Tarzie says:

      I don’t think I have the stomach for this, but I appreciate your sharing the link. Colbert and his fans are always on smug overload at all times.

    • gnuwb says:

      I watched the whole thing. It’s almost pleasant to see his fascism not pretending to be progressive for once, though the applause is horrifying.

      • Kat says:

        People were protesting Trump on SNL. but this is the guy that danced around with a mass murderer and featured a few in his farewell (did not watch, but saw the picsof his guests). Priorities, people!

  28. davidly says:

    What is it that keeps people who would like to forgo animal product consumption, but do not? I posit that not being able to give up something they like is actually low on the list, that they are more discouraged by the propaganda passed along via the likes of this thread’s official dickwad.

    Now, in fairness and consideration for would-be dickwads the world over, one often hears the “it’s much easier to go vegan than you think – as a matter of fact, it *is* easy”, only to be overwhelmed by the lists that follow. Especially recipes. I’m projecting, of course.

    Almonds, avocados, beans, bell peppers, black pepper, blueberries, broccoli, carrots, chili peppers, cinnamon, coriander, cranberries, dill, garlic, lemons, lentils, linseed, olives & their oil, onions, peanuts, pistachios, potatoes, radishes & their leaves, rice, rucola, spinach, sunflower seeds, strawberries, thyme, tomatoes, vinegar, walnuts.

    Now, I’m no gourmand, certainly not a gourmet, and am not smug. The above list just happens to be what appears most in my diet and the completion of my recipe never requires any more than being able to boil water and let shit simmer. I purchase whatever, whenever I’m out of it, which in the case of the perishables is about every day on my way home. I hate shopping but don’t mind a quick trip that fits in my backpack and I’d rather stop somewhere when I’m already out than make a special trip only for that.

    I should go more often to the Saturday market, but, frankly (and this is not a dodge), most of the stands are courtesy of the same source that I find in the supermarket and the, uh, fruits of the labor and compensation are not comparatively better. Their quality of life certainly may be and I support the local farmer stands whenever my lazy ass permits (that’s a dodge).

    Having once bought the processed frozen veggie stuffs mocked at the end of that ^^ video, I can appreciate the frustrating reaction it might trigger. For those who want to spare their stomach the nauseating Colbert, it begins with the fact that hotdogs contain human DNA and ends with the counter-smug gotcha! that veggie patties and whatnot contain both meat and human DNA, as well. That should be about as big a surprise as the fact that there is zero difference between Colbert’s fake persona and the one he’s regaling his devotees with now. I don’t get it, but there’s no accounting for taste, except when it accommodates one’s identity politics.

    I am not self-satisfied about not having bought veggie burgers & the like for ages; that is, I in no way begrudge or discourage anyone from their consumption; it’s just that I have found, over time, that with a pot of water and the above ingredients, I can quickly and efficiently “cook” at least once a day. Just as often, I’ll do a salad. I consider my diet an experiment on myself — finding what I like and respond to well. As one ages, functionality and digestion dictate a increasingly large part of one’s condition.

    Thinking of your diet as what you eat, and not what you don’t eat, is helpful. Start out with one thing that is super easy for you to prepare. From the list above: radishes & their leaves, rucola, any kind of beans (go with canned if you like, just rinse them well), sunflower seeds, linseed, cherry tomatoes, a half or whole avocado, thyme, oregano, crushed dried chilis, black pepper, olive oil & vinegar.

    I didn’t start there, but it is really easy. I began by eating beans and rice all the time. If you’re lazy like me, you can throw broccoli or spinach or kale into the pot when you bring it down to simmer, thereby forgoing the need to dirty another dish.

    Starting super simple and working your way out may sound like nutritional suicide, but I think the deficiencies you hear about are overblown. Remember when lack of protein was such an issue regarding a veggie diet? That’s been replaced with the B12 scare regarding veganism. I’m still waiting to keel over and die, and goddammit if it still hasn’t happened after I-ain’-sayin’-how many years.

    • charles h. says:

      The deficiency scares are twofold.
      If you go pure vegan without being a supplement geek you’ll die soon.
      If you aren’t a rabid carnivore, you just can’t get enough of those special B12’s, iron, etc.

      I think it’s a war. Meat eaters don’t concede even a moderate position as acceptable. If everyone ate one egg every few days and was vegan otherwise, that won’t satisfy the vegan purists but then how many of them are there? Anti-vegans propagandize about an invasion of Islamic Fundamentalist Veggiephates. So we have to stay strong, and eat as much meat as we can to resist them.

      I wonder if you left out products that have B12 added. Some cereal brands, some breads.

      It does irritate me when a religious socialist eater will have only a single solution. Example: using B12 pills, which scares people into thinking veganism is a medical condition requiring medication, and then refusing to buy Rice Krispies (despite the B12 added) for whatever left wing reason you can imagine. Or that the factory produces non vegan cereal due to its process. Or they don’t like “corporate” products.

      There should be a list of what products have B12 added and how much so people can see just how easy it might be to get it in a diet they already enjoy. There must be, but I’m too lazy to google it.

      However, my situation is different. I live over a sinkhole near a Virginia coal mine. All the supermarkets (and mom and pop grocery shops!) have closed. I have to travel 100 miles through mountain to get to the nearest Walmart and it isn’t even a Walmart, it’s the elite boutique division of Whole Foods where everything is fantastic organic but unfortunately an avocado is about $10. The only source of vegetables I can find out here is the slice of tomato and lettuce leaf put in the BigMac at the local McD’s, which is the only fast food restaurant in “town” (or what’s left of it) that doesn’t have a record of serving rotten e. coli covered menus. 😦
      At least I’m getting 100x the recommended B12 daily requirement so I should just barely be able to avoid the brain damage most vegetarians go through (not to mention vegans).

      • Tarzie says:

        Research on vitamin deficiencies showed that it was consumers of fortified cereal in both camps that did the best on B12. The same research found that meat eaters have more vitamin and mineral deficiencies than vegans. I think it was 3 deficiencies on average for vegans and six or seven for meat eaters.

  29. mog says:

    I thought I’d link to an article about land requirements of different national diets/ agriculture systems. I worked in organic production for part of my life, and through the experiences and reading during my involvement with agriculture, I have been, and remain interested in what constitutes an ethical diet.
    There are so many factors alongside the obvious animal welfare issues; how to feed the soil, how to harvest nutrients from marginal or non-cultivatable land, the amount of work and energy that it takes to produce different crops and where that might come from, the calories going in to that production and those coming out….and so on. I am no apologist for the meat industry, but neither am I an absolutist about veganism. If I think in terms of an imaginary sane system for humans to produce food, then animals probably would play a limited role in that system. However, as we all know the current system is totally insane, demonic even, so I consider that a highly vegan diet is currently the only one with any genuine credentials -all things considered.

    Can Britain feed itself? well yes if the diet changed. The arguments against organics as being too low in productivity are again dependent on assumptions about what we eat. It’s a bit technical in places but some may find interesting:


    [btw the Labour party in the UK has appointed a vegan as shadow minister for agriculture, in case you missed it : http://www.kerrymccarthymp.org/news/westminster_news/news.aspx?p=1091236%5D

  30. charles h. says:

    I will say this about certain vegans. The fake vegan or even the fake activist is the one who merely offers, silently, a vegetable alternative, without ever explaining why they do it. If you bring vegan cookies to pass around at work or at a dinner, and you don’t rudely bring up why you think it’s a good idea.
    This is all too popular with the veggie crowd, who see their veganism as a fashion statement and don’t have any hope for change. It’s neoliberal mythic individualism, where the little choice one person makes absolves them of all responsibility in the world. If a person goes vegan alone, that will not improve the condition of any animals or the environment. I hate all these silent goodies, who are as bad as silent meat eating conformists.

    They’re the ones who also make veganism seem like a pedantic cult. “Don’t eat this, don’t eat that” without explaining why. They make themselves and veganism seem weird and irrational or cultish, by just “eating different” without ever saying that it’s healthier or that it’s a political act. Sure, they avoid people’s overt hostility but they also make veganism seem that much more irrelevant and bizarre. This might be because they Are the ones who are cultish vegans and not motivated, rational ones. They are on the bit about every faddish allergen.

    If you are among a murderous bunch of white supremacists at a BBQ, I can see why you would keep it to yourself. But as a former meat enthusiast, I thought the silent vegans were just phobes and were putting themselves at a bizarre risk. If you’re around people who are happy to argue and understand an issue, it really is unhelpful to be so cowardly as to just avoid any argument at all. Vegans, like everyone else, can also be essentially status seeking, supercilious selfish creeps, and unfortunately this makes their veganism seem as bad as they are.

    It’s not enough to be a vegan if you want to promote it. You have to be better than the herd. No wonder anti vegans resent both vegans but also activist vegans. In the first case they are weird, in the second case they’re objectively braver.

    • charles h. says:

      My point is I would have made an effort to shift off the meat industry much earlier had anyone just explained it to me. And I’ve always been someone open to being splained to, even if I argue back. So are many people. The ordinary coward typer persons who were vegans were in a perfect position to do it, instead they just take an infantilizing approach where they offer some vegan food and you have to infantilize them back with “oh how delicious and refreshing” but it leads to nothing. You still go home and eat a steak. The idea that the anti vegans are all anti-vegetables is also crazy. The bar is not that high or that low. Everyone who gorges themselves on corned beef will still have a salad that week or they’d be long dead or at least suffering from scurvy.

      • Tarzie says:

        I hate all these silent goodies, who are as bad as silent meat eating conformists.

        Nope. Proselytizing feels unnatural to a lot of people. It’s in the public speaking zone. But it’s certainly true that someone has to do it. I agree that those of us who can speak up should be speaking up more.

      • charles h. says:

        I think an example against fear of public speaking might be green party politicians, who are likely vegans themselves but don’t push it even as an ideal solution we should work towards. Similar dynamic on an individual level. Not really due to being a fish out of water in the proselytizing field. For some people, yes.

      • Tarzie says:

        It’s funny how this parallels early LGBTQ focus on coming out. When I place it against that, I pretty much agree with you. Even if it makes people uncomfortable they should make themselves visible.

      • charles h. says:

        Politicaly multivalent veganism.

  31. Jeff says:

    Damnit I hope I’m not late to the party.
    Interesting discussion going on here:
    The commenters here (and I think Tarzie yourself) advocating for an entirely agricultural food supply seem to lack a fundamental understanding of both the intrinsic nature of animal grazing in a landscape and the great potential for harm that stems from a dietary model predicated exclusively on mass cultivation of plants.

    Commenter AmighRakeFight touched on the case against veganism as a global diet but I thinkdoes a poor job in its presentation. I’m not sure I can do it justice myself but I will say Lierre Kieth is not some ignoramus. If we are to believe that human and non-human animals deserve equal footing, and especially if vegetarians and vegans see this issue with such great moral weight and passion, we should be willing to engage in arguments that present compelling evidence that mass agriculture can have devastating effects on an ecosystem and the accompanying animals, plants and organisms that exist within it. The totality of the moral case for and against veganism does not began and end with the notion of meat consumption and murder. There’s much more to explore.

    While I’m not sophisticated enough in my understanding to insist an omnivorous, small-scale farm model is the most sustainable for the global population, I’m well-versed enough to know that the vegan insistence here that mass mono-culture is the least bad option is far less ironclad than the stridency and condescension that accompany it here would suggest.

    Obligatory note that none of this is a defense of the current model of torturous, beyond cruel factory farms.

    ANYWAY, back to my post:
    AmishRakeFight- “Furthermore, vegans and animal rights activists seem to be one of the few groups pushing back against the very power structures and thought processes that entrench factory farming and mono-culture industrial agriculture “

    While I agree with elements of that, it seems a little self-satisfied within the context of this comments thread where anyone willing to commit the heresy of uttering “meat” and “sustainable” in the same sentence is simply some upper-class drone who could not possibly be serious or sincere in their views. I think we should all strive to be more open and free-thinking in our perception of the perspective of others. I’m deeply skeptical of anyone willing to declare, as commenter Erico does, that “there is NO question in my mind”, and particularly to say it with a sense of pride.

    Having been a vegan for a few years, and vegetarian for a few more, I’m also somewhat skeptical of the claims that vegetarian or vegan diets are the most superior in long-term health outcomes. While I’d say a diet comprised of vegetables, simple starches and beans is probably not bad for you- and is most certainly better than one comprised of tortured soy-filled meat and fried foods, though that’s not a high bar to cross- I would bet the truly ideal diet is an omnivorous one. Omitting most grain and nearly all processed, tortured, mass-produced meats and cheeses, while in the process of animal consumption making a point to consume not just burgers or steak but the proportional entirety of a free-roaming animal, including bones and organs.

    Lastly, while I’m sure it’s satisfying to deride meat eaters in a world where vegetarians are definitely belittled and mocked, what kind of upside-down moral universe do you all exist in where a person who would only meat from an animal cared for and provided a relatively safe, serene life prior to its (inevitable, though young) death is despicable but oh you can get a baked potato with ‘broccoli’ from global hegemonic monoculturing AND meat genociding hormone pumping slave wage union busting wendy’s and you’re made in the shade? wtf bros?

    • Tarzie says:

      So very many words, so little of what one usually takes as an argument. It’s a lot of windy declaring. That you were once a vegan makes you an expert on nutrition exactly how? If there’s even one supporting fact cited here, I missed it. Many words, no arguments seems to be a trend with the meat crowd in these parts. Being a condescending jackass while making with the accusations of “stridency”, condescension” and self-satisfaction also seems very much the way of the Meat tribe.

      I am unapologetically inhospitable to those who insist that animal agriculture is sustainable without producing a shred of supporting evidence. There are obvious questions that you haven’t addressed. How, exactly, is a production system dedicated to feeding human beings adequately and efficiently with plants, more destructive than a diet that feeds them inadequately and inefficiently with meat animals that eat plants? What counts as sustainable for you folks? Have you thought about this at all?

      where anyone willing to commit the heresy of uttering “meat” and “sustainable” in the same sentence is simply some upper-class drone who could not possibly be serious or sincere in their views.

      Who said this? It certainly wasn’t me. I said that anyone who thinks the land use required for mass meat farm meadows is is any way realizable, let alone sustainable, is an ignoramus and I stand by it until disproven.

      Current animal agriculture uses 45% of the earth. When environmentalists talk about sustainable meat, they talk about swapping in factory farms where meadows used to be, because the land use required for grazing is untenable. That’s their plan for the Amazon rain forest. What’s elitist is the whole local farm fetish this pie-in-the-sky grazing solution is based on — which owes more to upscale foodie culture than to principled environmentalism — and promotes food sold at prices that only an upper middle class drone can afford.

      Your last paragraph is cringe-makingly arrogant and stupid but we’ve all heard some variation of it a thousand times. Putting aside the question of whether humans should ever eat animals, in what universe are animals well cared for before they’re slaughtered? You guys think that lamenting factory farming — while imagining a utopia of well-treated animals perfectly delighted to die for unhealthy gluttons — is something more lofty than pure vanity when cruel farming remains the norm. I respect unabashed callousness far more than this preening, since they both lead to the same thing: eating the products of factory farms. And why is it incumbent on vegans to solve the problems of capitalism that afflict meat agriculture to a particularly pernicious degree before promoting a plant-based diet? Where do you get off calling us to account for Wendy’s labor practices? Wendy’s is a burger and chicken joint, remember? I mean wtf bro!

      Try again with facts, fewer hackneyed insults, less cringe-making self-satisfaction or fuck off. We keep the bar high here and you’re not up to it yet.

      • mog says:

        I linked further up to an article by Simon Fairlie- I think you would agree with a lot of his politics on other issues. He wrote a book trying to approach the question of sustainability and veganism- coming from a generally sympathetic starting place:
        A review:
        These are not arguments about the ethics of eating animals, or those of farming animals, which have to be considered on their own grounds, although there is a case (I agree with Jeff to a degree) that considerations of things such as habitat and biodiversity (and therefore of wild animals) are linked to sustainability issues. The ethics of food production more generally have to consider ecosystems, and especially the life of the soil.
        As for the critique of :What’s elitist is the whole local farm fetish this pie-in-the-sky grazing solution is based on — which owes more to upscale foodie culture than to principled environmentalism — and promotes food sold at prices that only an upper middle class drone can afford.
        -I can see where you are coming from, although I think that ultimately the principle of promoting small scale local food production stands as a sound one. The perceived elitism of biodynamic, locally reared meat sold in upper middle class farmer’s markets, has to be considered in the context of the fact that factory farmed globally transported supermarket produce is subsidised in many ways, some obvious, some less so. I disagree with pulling in arguments of class and economics (no matter how valid) to counter an argument about sustainability. I would though agree with critiques of anyone who poses with an eco-moral high ground to those who can only just afford to buy the necessary calories to live.
        I would also consider that the peasants of yore knew by direct experience and necessity what is truly sustainable, and that keeping a pig or some chickens just fits into the process of growing vegetable crops in so many ways that are hard to convey to those who haven’t tried to produce their own food.
        Basically it is a lot of work, and the answer to that has variously been : get poor people to do the work, get animals to do the work, get fossil fuels to do the work. None are ideal.
        Finally, having worked with animals a bit, I can say that livestock that is genuinely healthy (i.e. not pumped to avoid illness), are, in my subjective view, also happy. Unhappy animals show their distress clearly by getting sick.
        I think a non-absolutist approach to veganism can be helpful, and as said before, things need to be seen in context : that is that we are living in times of fascism (I agree with your point that this is highlighted in our treatment of animals), and I, as a reaction to that eat almost mainly vegan meals even though I think that a low meat diet is, all things considered more genuinely sustainable.

      • mog says:

        Can one of the “meat is more genuinely sustainable” people explain why? What benefits does meat production uniquely confer?
        That requires a book length answer (NB I said ‘a low meat diet’ not ‘meat’ -which infers a general encouragement to eat more meat). This is why I linked to a book, and a book by someone who has written extensively about capitalism, poverty, sustainable land use, food production and veganism. I don’t think it is clear cut, and that there is a case to be made on both sides. I am persuaded by Fairlie and my own experiences/ thinking. Challenge your own position and read it?

        I worked on a remote Scottish island in a hotel one year. I was strictly vegan at the time. The hotel owner supplied my food as part of my ‘wage’, and was generally sympathetic, although mocking, of my choice of diet. He ordered soya based products which were brought onto the island for me and my partner, foods that were grown in cleared Brazilian forest, processed in English factories and shipped to the Hebrides for us to eat. I tried to specify non-GM, but this was before the labelling regime was such an issue as now, so most likely much of it was modified.
        Meanwhile I served food in the restaurant. Salmon caught in a river about a mile away. Venison shot on the hill that I could see from my caravan. Dairy produce and meat which were the only agricultural crops produced on the island due to the soil and climate. Anyone who works in a restaurant knows how much food gets chucked in the bin.
        I pondered my own choices and the sustainability arguments on which they were based.
        Sustainable has no agreed definition, it has many factors and is relative to arbitrary ‘norms’ and to situations. Is a twenty hectare GM soya bean monoculture sprayed with god-knows-what toxins with no other living thing in sight, owned by a megacorp selling globally, more or less ‘sustainable’ than a smallholding that looks after the hedgerows and sells the village a few farmyard eggs down the road? What do we do with the large tracts of land that cannot grow beans but can only grow grass or trees? And so on…

      • Tarzie says:

        Challenge your own position and read it?

        Why are you meat eaters SO condescending. Ya’know I’d eat meat if you weren’t all such jerks!!!

        You’ll notice that I deleted my question, because you had at least pointed me to a source that would answer my questions. Presumably you were replying while I was deleting.

        But I don’t believe that anything book length can’t be summarized enough to tantalize. What are the bullet points of the argument? Here are some vegan bullet points about animal agriculture:

        1. Inefficiently distributes food
        2. Ruins the environment
        3. Causes ocean dead zones
        4. Aggravates species depletion
        5. Is atrociously vicious
        6. Encourages diets that cause largely preventable diseases

        I’m totally fine with local hunting and fishing because no food production is entirely free of harm to animals & hunting and fishing are more ethical certainly than animal agriculture. But how is it sustainable? It requires huge amounts of land and fishable water. How can you feed billions of people meat if you’re not breeding animals for it? I know I know read the book.

        Believe it or not I love being challenged, and perhaps the book will do that. But you and Jeff with your little “I was a vegan once” anecdotes aren’t cutting it Jeff doesn’t even seem to know what an argument is. You’re right, it’s hard to determine sustainability. But it’s less difficult to know when certain things aren’t sustainable. I see no evidence for the sustainability of animal agriculture, or that it confers anything uniquely beneficial to the earth that agriculture for a vegan world doesn’t.

        The question you pose at the end has the same problems Jeff’s did. You’re acting as if meat production isn’t implicated in all the ills you attribute to plant agriculture and to a far greater extent. Yeah, capitalism sucks and veganism under capitalism does too. But harm reduction at this point in time points to veganism. It certainly doesn’t point to fantasizing happy local animals and “humane” slaughter as a pretext for consuming factory farmed meat. Vanity never helped anyone.

      • mog says:

        Sorry if the comment appeared condescending. I was typing when you were deleting and had linked to a book and a summary of a book; added to that, I like being challenged (and being challenged to challenge myself), so didn’t intend that comment as a snide.

        It is hard to turn into bullet points. The issues to consider would I think include the following:
        1. That not all agricultural land can produce good yields of vegetable protein, and what is more, a lot of the world’s soil that is best for such crops already has other human consumption vegetable crops growing on it already. The same is true to a lesser extent when we consider fats and oils. Land pressure is causing forest depletion in the tropics, this has major implications beyond the empathy for wild animals that are being burned in Indonesia.
        So sustainability in the sense of global habitat protection, or food miles may make a case for a small component of animal protein in our diet.
        2. Soil needs feeding to in order to grow crops. Legumes can make nitrogen from air, but they still need other nutrients, as do the other vegetable crops that we eat. Animals provide one (excellent) source of food for the soil, others being human shit, crop rotation and green manures (plants grown for specifically for feeding the soil). There are merits of all four, again, to be considered in specific contexts- but animals are part of natural ecosystems so it is no surprise that they fit very well into mixed agricultural systems.
        Chemical agriculture uses fossil fuels to feed plants, allowing soils to die and is not sustainable in the sense that dead soil eventually leaves desert and nothing can be grown by any method.
        3. Animals can turn wastes and unusable crops into food. Pigs get a big mention in Fairlie’s writing, and as I wrote before, they were the peasant’s animal. Uplands and marginal land can provide food and livelihoods through animals (-perhaps through other things as alternatives it must be admitted).

        All in all I do not disagree with your criticisms of animal farming, although some of them are specific to the type of intensive farming that we see around us. The problems are twofold: people eat the wrong stuff, so as stated earlier I agree with comments like harm reduction at this point in time points to veganism; also that agriculture is perverted beyond recognition by the forces of capitalism such that sustainable food production is either unachievable or is some pseudo commercial pursuit of hobbyists and consumers who are the beneficiaries of empire.
        Creating food is, in the opinion of many of those who have actually had a go, a fundamentally compromised and compromising activity. ‘Even turning a compost heap kills worms’ as a Buddhist once said to me. I believe though that looking at the problem as a system, looking at the Earth as a being of many beings, puts a different perspective on the killing for me. I guess that is my take.
        It certainly doesn’t point to fantasizing happy local animals and “humane” slaughter as a pretext for consuming factory farmed meat. Vanity never helped anyone.
        I agree, and would add that fantasizing that eating GM soya burgers while orang-utans burn to death in Indonesia and thinking that one is saving the planet (or animals), could be vain as well.
        I do not proselytise, but if I did I would say “go vegan now, things are way out of balance”.

      • Tarzie says:

        Thanks for finally producing the outline of the case for continued meat consumption in some form. It’s interesting enough to merit further study. What took you so long?

        I agree, and would add that fantasizing that eating GM soya burgers while orang-utans burn to death in Indonesia and thinking that one is saving the planet (or animals), could be vain as well.

        I hope you don’t think that’s analogous. I don’t think any vegan thinks they’re saving the world. But certainly people that wring their hands over factory farms and imagine dreamy meadows full of happy bovines, think it somehow mitigates the ramifications of their meat consumption under current conditions. Surely you’ve seen the bizarre tendency to write off all veganism for oneself, with arguments that don’t apply to the person arguing, like middle class bloviating over food deserts. No doubt people read the books you’re citing and disoblige themselves of any attempt at harm reduction. Why do anything if it’s all bad?

        Under capitalism, I’m comfortable making distinctions between extremely bad and atrocious. Animal agriculture is atrocious in ways than anything done to feed plant eaters simply isnt,by a long shot, especially given that animal agriculture is implicated in plant agriculture also. Even burning orangutans to clear land isnt as bad, though it’s certainly atrocious too.

        I’ve already conceded that there is no harm-free eating even where killing animals is concerned — just as your Buddhist does — which is why I ratify hunting. I don’t think that justifies any old use of animals. Presenting this as if you have this almost mystical understanding of the earth as a system, that by implication locates your point of view in the eternal — is really rather unappealing. Bear with us, evolved one. We’re trying.

      • mog says:

        I jump off here.
        I am unapologetically about seeing mysticism in the creation and eating of food, else it is just ‘gassing up the car’…..
        A lot of people who have had a go at growing end up the same, don’t know if you have tried, but I can say that it challenged my beliefs through the experience.

        I won’t come back here, too many unnecessary insults. I was just trying to introduce a nuanced position and a thinker (and do-er) who has wrestled with the issue of animal welfare and the issue of sustainably living. I have been called a fetishist and a ‘jerk’.

        Good luck with all that.

      • Tarzie says:

        One doesn’t have to know they’re being supercilious to be supercilious. You cop to locating your POV in the eternal. I wasn’t lying when I said I found it unappealing. What did I misstate?

        I’m sorry that my drawing attention to this is sending you away, because your contribution is valuable. But if you’re going to get all huffy when someone objects to someone else proffering their POV as if its comes from a sacred place, I’m fine with you moving on.

        If we’re touchy, it’s because we get condescended to and lectured all the time, and I haven’t set this blog up to invite more of it. Your BFF Jeff is busily accusing me of censorship and lying about it as well as being a supercilious jerk. Any objections to that? Perhaps some of my irritation with him is rubbing off.

      • Tarzie says:

        Who called you a fetishist?

    • charles h. says:

      I guess the straw man of monoculture only exists in these dedicated debates because most people don’t even think about this issue at all. Obviously, if you can acknowledge that meat farming has issues with sustainability that can be improved, on a small scale, then you have the ability to imagine that monoculture is also improvable. It’s not like environmentalism doesn’t actively criticise single crop farming all the time. Has nothing to do with vegan diet versus animal husbandry.
      Unless you think “monoculture” means “mono vegetable” without meat. In which case you’re so confused I suggest you go read up.

      I don’t think the monoculture boogeyman would have much effect with anybody. It’s odd that someone brings it up seriously.

      I don’t really get the fetish for family owned farming. It’s an assumption, that’s bullshit, that small farms are all wonderful. In addition to being a very hard market to compete as a small small farm, it’s also harder to ensure standards of ethics. I have no problem with gigantic mega corp farms that employ nobody but robots. There’s no reason to imagine you couldn’t have laws against monoculture farming on such farms. If money cared to make them. Sustainability isn’t a priority for our governance or for consumers right now.

      It’s undoubtedly a straw man since meat farms aren’t exactly labor intensive as they once were. If you have some romantic idea of little farmers all struggling like dweebs milking cows by hand every morning and then rotating their crops (even though ALL farmers might do monoculture, regardless of farm size), then, whatever, enjoy your dumb little fantasy. Better make a painting of it because it’s not good for any use in the real world. Farm work is shit no matter what you grow, after the first year. Rich guys with hobby farms have nothing to do with the reality of feeding a population and running a business. It’s this fetish on the left of “jobs = freedom” but I don’t think it has any effect on veganism versus carnivorous diets debate.

      Grow your own food, if that is something that left environmentalists find interesting, is easier with a vegan diet than with meat too. Speaking of accessibility to the poor. Try raising your own cow when you’re poor with no land. Goat milk is downright gross to most people. Not much easier to raise either. The closest thing to poor being meat farmers is being a peasant chickener. Interesting thing about that: they didn’t have a lot of chickens and so they didn’t eat chicken very often. The only time in history that humans in cultivatable lands have eaten meat so intensely is due to unsustainable massive meat farming. That means that you have to be some form of rich and privileged to take on meat farming as a way to feed a community, today, or you’ll go under right away.

      Just because a guy farming a few hundred chickens in a big barn or free range on a big plot of land isn’t as rich as Monsanto, I don’t see why that’s some kind of victory for the poor. It’s just bourgeois, which is just capitalism as usual. In any case even those farms can’t compete for access to poor people markets. The only ones who can really play there are the big corporations. So poor people buying anything comes back to big corporations at this point in capitalism. It’s so weird to keep hearing the left talk about anti capitalism in Romantic terms of small businesses. Don’t they ever get tired of being wrong?

    • charles h. says:

      It’s obviously trolling. Mr. “Made in the Shade” knows what he’s saying. But I can’t resist pointing out that it’s an irrelevant choice for wages. If you buy meat or vegetables at Wendy’s, you’re supporting Wendy’s labor practices. This issue is entirely separate from meat versus vegetables anyway. You’re better buying vegetables from Wendy’s and you would be still better yet if you bought vegetables from your local grocery store if you have one. It is my understanding, however, that some people can’t find vegetables in their abandoned rural village ghost towns, except at Wendy’s.

      When Wendy’s automates its counter more, there will be fewer wage slaves. I think I’ve read about fast food outlets now filled with touch screens where there is only a manager and a cook for the whole establishment. That’s a step in the right direction, better than restaurants that promise to exploit a human touch experience for your dining pleasure. It’s not like busboys are paid that well.

      It really is disgusting that the left promises $15 minimum wage instead of an end to work.

    • charles h. says:

      Ugh, and the people who are proud of earning a living with bottom rung jobs like waiter and farmhand. Jesus, they have the mind of slaves who have come to believe it is their destiny.

    • Queer Boy says:

      Vegetarians ‘cut heart risk by 32%’

      UN urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet

    • charles h. says:

      @mog I see what you did here:
      “I disagree with pulling in arguments of class and economics (no matter how valid) to counter an argument about sustainability. I would though agree with critiques of anyone who poses with an eco-moral high ground to those who can only just afford to buy the necessary calories to live.”

      You are actually pulling in a class and economics argument when you insist, unfounded, that meat is cheaper for some to get the necessary calories to live.

      The rest of what you said is just more propaganda. If you’re “trying” to be substantive, that was laughable. Global economy isn’t peasant based any more. At this point, growing local is really more relevant as a kind of grow your own food movement. Keep fetishizing the small farm feeding a whole community clap trap though, selling “A few eggs”. Right, because that’s what local farms live by, selling one basket of eggs to the lady in town who makes cakes for every body who wants them in a story book.

      The constant “balancing” act is a red flag to me. Agriculture is enormous both on the vegan and the meat and dairy side. Your hotel restaurant anecdote is even more irrelevant to our general food industry needs than the guy who has to go cross country to shop. Sounds like a nice, country hotel. Not anything to do with general vegetable versus meat and diary based agriculture for the general population.

      “Biodynamic meat” is about as magical thinking as you get. How does meat like that ever become affordable to people for whom affordability of food is at issue? Forget this small town in the woods fetish. How do people in a city use meat like that? Tens of millions of people in the NYC area and other large metropolises. Do they all benefit from “biodynamic meat” living on small farms? Talk about unrealistic.

      • mog says:

        You are actually pulling in a class and economics argument when you insist, unfounded, that meat is cheaper for some to get the necessary calories to live.
        No, I am not saying anything about the relative costs of meat versus vegetables. I agree that vegan is cheaper under any agricultural system. I am saying that someone who holds up that their organic meat diet is some sort of banner of ethical lifestyle stands to be criticised for their privilege.
        I don’t regard the rest of your comment as worth responding to, as I have studied and worked in commercial agriculture, I’ve also lived in self sustaining set ups. I know what it takes to produce food enough to eat, I know what agribusiness does, I know how productive land can be if used well. So I am comfortable that I am not ‘fetishising’.
        Contrarily I don’t think, from what you have written, that you know much about it at all other than some web searches.

      • charles h. says:

        I don’t think you’ll find too much disagreement with your point that organic farmed free range hipster beef is only accessible to a certain level of privilege so I don’t see why you feel it’s a counterpoint to what people have been saying.

        “The rest of my point” was that you referenced an irrelevant small operation and held it up as a model of feeding humans on the scale we now have. I would be very interested to hear a solution that proposes all the fisheries can feed everyone in a sustainable way that a small little operation can do. Or that “what it takes to run a sustainable farm” can be expanded to everyone. So, in broad strokes, you aren’t so much using authority to prove that your opinion is generally right and mine is generally wrong, but you are using it to deflect a direct criticism of what you said. Very compelling.

        As for authority of a farmer, since you bring it up, I know farmers who think most farmers are ignorant incompetents who work hard not smart. Not that I’m saying that but it’s one way to answer a claim of authority.

  32. charles h. says:

    Radiohead is lame. How did it get to be seen as avant garde by aspiring rockers?

  33. Lorenzo says:

    When you say #BiggestLiberalAsshole2012 got you on Dancing with the Stars, does that mean it was the first big exposure for the Honeytrap blog? I only found this blog in late-2013, at the tail end of the Snowwald storm, so I’m curious about the history. Criticizing celebrities on Team “the Good Ones” is really a consequential fissure, so I can only imagine the shitstorm from #BiggestCelebrityLeftAsshole2015!

    • Tarzie says:

      Yeah, that’s what I mean by Dancing with the Stars, but I’m exaggerating. It’s not that it was wildly popular, but I don’t think it’s immodest to say that the people who participated loved it. It didn’t cause too much controversy. Bashing mainstream liberals is way different from bashing Saint Glenn and Angel Snowden saving us from authoritarianism. Twitter didn’t explode when I wrote mean things about Charles Pierce and Rebecca Solnit. My Chris Hayes piece is the first thing that really pissed people off, but not on a huge scale.

      • Lorenzo says:

        That Hayes piece really stands the test of time; so many of the ideas were there in a pretty concrete form. Even the Lawrence O’Donnell one is a pleasure to read years later.

      • Tarzie says:

        Yeah. I had my lens in place for studying Greenwald. I wasn’t even looking for him to fit the pattern. I was dumbfounded when he did.

        I really like that O’Donnell piece also, mostly because O’Donnell furnished such a perfect example of heat vampirism. The old, corrupt Democrat overseeing O’Donell’s compliance in the end makes it particularly dramatic. I was shooting fish in a barrel.

  34. Jeff says:

    ah, mog stated my arguments here very articulately. endorsed.

    • Tarzie says:

      That’s nice, but there’s no argument that I can see there either, just a reference to a book and largely irrelevant personal anecdotes. But at least mog’s not a jackass.

      • Jeff says:

        jackass?? aww 😦 well, look I’d at least hope you’d publish my prior response but whatever, it’s your blog run it how you want. I’m not here to tell you you’re wrong (except maybe in trotting out some highly suspect numbers to prove your point (( a point which I largely agree with!))). I’m here to try to suggest different ways of thinking about an issue and I think both mog and my own perspective are being misrepresented when you reply.

        also I did, in my first post, re-endorse the prior mentioned Lierre Keith as a source for you to look into more, instead of just dismiss as an ‘ignoramus’. I think she can present a compelling counter-argument more effectively than I can. I mean- you ask us for sources, we give you them, you say you can’t be bothered.

        so hey, what more can I say? I rarely want to really upset people so if I made you mad or left you feeling insulted, I apologize. I would hope a blogger so quick to insult others could handle a little ball busting but if it seemed like worse, it’s really not what I intended. Still, I think there’s more to what both mog and I are offering than what you’ve perceived.

        publish this or don’t. I meant this more as note to you but hey message received, it’s your space. I still ❤ you but guess I'll show myself out

      • Tarzie says:

        My dubious numbers come from here, and the guy that wrote that cites all of his sources. Review that and then tell me what I got wrong.

        I find this just read the book shit absolutely ridiculous. There isn’t an extended argument I’ve ever read that I couldn’t outline to show I actually got something from it. You don’t have to make the full arguments, but at least tell us what they fork off of, or what they prove in the end. It seems to me that its the happy conclusion of the argument — veganism is just as bad as meat eating if not worse — you remember but not what led you there. Just give me something that suggests that you know what you’re talking about.

        Here, let’s start with one question:

        With so much land already dedicated to animal agriculture that has a large low land-use factory farm component, how do you propose a sustainable system that requires far greater land use?

        Just try to remember what the answer to that is in broad strokes. You don’t have to provide all the evidence. Just provide evidence of evidence, ok? Otherwise I’m just going to conclude you’re talking out of your ass.

      • Jeff says:

        wait huh? do comments here get filtered? I don’t understand 😦 I wrote a whole ‘thing’ and didn’t see it show up.

      • charles h. says:

        ” but guess I’ll show myself out”

        God. Eye-roll. The sensitivity of meat eaters. When someone who has a good point “shows themselves out” not to offend. Just as gross as when someone with a bad point plays victim. This is what I’m talking about. If you can’t even fight in comments on a blog because you prefer to stay on good terms with other commenters or the blog owner, how do you defend what you believe in real life? Just, ugh.

      • Jeff says:

        charlesH – relax dude, I’m not running some victory lap. I’m currently operating under the assumption that a long, sincere post I wrote in response has been left deleted or unpublished which to me is a clear sign that I really should go. It could also have just disappeared, this comment system sucks. I don’t even see a reply button to your post?

      • Tarzie says:

        . I’m currently operating under the assumption that a long, sincere post I wrote in response has been left deleted or unpublished which to me is a clear sign that I really should go.

        What??? This is bullshit. You think your condescending argument-free piffle is so potent I have to delete it? Perhaps I missed something. Comments quickly go below the fold when a conversation is this active. But please disabuse yourself of the extremely grandiose notion that I feel the need to censor you.

        I’ll go look now for the allegedly censored comment and if it’s not there you’re just gonna have to credit it to a glitch.

        If all you are going to do here is condescend and accuse, yeah you should go. But I won’t censor your posts if you stay and keep within guidelines.

      • Tarzie says:

        I’ve looked and no, there is nothing from you waiting in the queue. Perhaps it didn’t post when you sent it. You know that the conversations are threaded, right? Which means that new comments don’t usually show up at the bottom.

      • Jeff says:

        lol I don’t see myself as some genius you must suppress, but I do see you as someone who would say “eh, no thanks” to a post that’s similar to another one, particularly if it’s someone you apparently consider a jackass. I think even somewhere near the top of the comments here you tell some trolly guy you’re gonna start filtering him if he doesn’t cut it out?

        no big deal. I’m disappointed, I wrote a long ass response I guess i’ll partially recreate, saying I’m not here to prove anyone wrong in regards to their veganism, I’m here to push back against the stridency and moral outrage that accompanies people who present a different perspective. I’m not gonna re-write what mog said, particularly given how you’ve received it.

        however, I will say I’m not arguing in defense of the status quo or eating tortured meat. I’m saying what I think would probably be the most ethical and “sustainable” food supply is one that would out of necessity include livestock to graze and fertilize (as nature intended) but would most respect the totality of human and non-human animal and plant life. I mean, I guess it sounds utopian, but what’s the point of radicalism if you can’t envision radically? The default response seems to be “HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE??”, which is a response I’m sure anyone willing to describe themselves as an anarchist has heard a dozen times.

        The other thing that sticks out in my mind is the 45% of land use for livestock thing you stated, and I object particularly as I’m being dismissed as fact-free. That sounded insane to me, tbh, so I did a little googling and found this: http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts/ right there it says “Livestock or livestock feed occupies 1/3 of the earth’s ice-free land.”, followed up by, “Livestock covers 45% of the earth’s total land.” HUH? Livestock alone take up substantially more than the total land (not including ice) utilized by both livestock and livestock feed? How do we reconcile these two numbers?

        I clicked through the sources they cite. The first states right in the first sentence “Livestock systems occupy 45% of the global surface area” but there’s no source or further explanation of that number. They follow it up with “Livestock industries and value chains employ at least 1.3 billion people globally” which I think is a pretty clear indicator of the wide net they’re casting to define a livestock ‘system’. Also keep in mind that’s a paper arguing in favor of small scale livestock farming as a means to fight global poverty and to improve the health outcomes of impoverished people. The second source the cowspiracy site cite i just skimmed briefly but couldn’t find any indication where the 45% land number was coming from. It’s pretty dense.

        None of this is to deny the environmental devastation wrought by factory farming, but I was basically objecting to this idea of an anecdotal or figurative argument without numbers to back it up being invalid in a context where we’re talking about envisioning radical social change, while these “facts”, presented vanilla, often require much more context or are straight up nonsense if you explore them more.

        That’s mostly from memory but it was pretty sincere and relatively thorough so- Still a jackass? Fair enough. I’ve been posting here, and chatting on twitter, on and off for a long time. If I’m not welcome or there’s a bar I’m not meeting, no big deal- it’s your blog

      • Jeff says:

        AHH I got filtered AGAIN. this time I copied it though. let me try real quick in two parts:
        lol I don’t see myself as some genius you must suppress, but I do see you as someone who would say “eh, no thanks” to a post that’s similar to another one, particularly if it’s someone you apparently consider a jackass. I think even somewhere near the top of the comments here you tell some trolly guy you’re gonna start filtering him if he doesn’t cut it out?

        no big deal. I’m disappointed, I wrote a long ass response I guess i’ll partially recreate, saying I’m not here to prove anyone wrong in regards to their veganism, I’m here to push back against the stridency and moral outrage that accompanies people who present a different perspective. I’m not gonna re-write what mog said, particularly given how you’ve received it.

        however, I will say I’m not arguing in defense of the status quo or eating tortured meat. I’m saying what I think would probably be the most ethical and “sustainable” food supply is one that would out of necessity include livestock to graze and fertilize (as nature intended) but would most respect the totality of human and non-human animal and plant life. I mean, I guess it sounds utopian, but what’s the point of radicalism if you can’t envision radically? The default response seems to be “HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE??”, which is a response I’m sure anyone willing to describe themselves as an anarchist has heard a dozen times.

      • Tarzie says:

        So now you’re accusing me of lying. Fuck you you fucking asshole.

        Yeah, i delete trolls. What you’re doing isn’t trolling but it’s getting closer. If you continue to accuse me of shit I didn’t do, I’ll bounce you. Try assuming good faith among peers, you dishonest, condescending creep.

      • Tarzie says:

        This comment thread is over 200 comments long, but I’m censoring you. You grandiose idiot.

      • Tarzie says:

        I’m here to push back against the stridency and moral outrage that accompanies people who present a different perspective

        Yes, we already know that you’re tone-trolling vegans with cliches about their character defects. And you’re being hypocritically supercilious in doing so. Is this the point that I filtered? Because it’s there plain as day in your published comments.

        I’m saying what I think would probably be the most ethical and “sustainable” food supply is one that would out of necessity include livestock to graze and fertilize

        Yep, we got that too. But alongside tone-trolling and nothing in the way of a fact or the hint of a fact, it’s borderline trolling. Mog at last produced what you both should have produced up front: evidence of evidence. The argument for the argument.

        Ok so this comment recapitulates stuff that has been published already. So what is it that got censored? Or have you made these points three times?

      • Jeff says:

        again my posts disappear. I give up, tried to post in multiple parts but still not showing up.

        honestly just forget it. ignore the prior post because I don’t feel like debating it without the context that comes after. I don’t know if it’s a url or html or length or what but the comments system is devouring my posts. later skaters

      • Tarzie says:

        I’ve looked in spam, and you’re right, for reasons I don’t understand your and a bunch of other comments –including from charles h — got automatically sent to the spam folder. Perhaps if someone is posting a lot of things in a short time WordPress’s filters assume it’s spam. Whatever. This could have been settled amicably if you hadn’t immediately laid in with accusations. So I’m not sorry because I had nothing to do with it and you leaped immediately to most damning possibility. I will publish all of your spammed comments as well as the others post haste.

      • Tarzie says:

        At last he entertains the possibility that I’m not out to get him and then acquits himself. Don’t let the door, etc.

    • Jeff says:

      The other thing that sticks out in my mind is the 45% of land use for livestock thing you stated, and I object particularly as I’m being dismissed as fact-free. That sounded insane to me, tbh, so I did a little googling and found this: http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts/ right there it says “Livestock or livestock feed occupies 1/3 of the earth’s ice-free land.”, followed up by, “Livestock covers 45% of the earth’s total land.” HUH? Livestock alone take up substantially more than the total land (not including ice) utilized by both livestock and livestock feed? How do we reconcile these two numbers?

      I clicked through the sources they cite. The first states right in the first sentence “Livestock systems occupy 45% of the global surface area” but there’s no source or further explanation of that number. They follow it up with “Livestock industries and value chains employ at least 1.3 billion people globally” which I think is a pretty clear indicator of the wide net they’re casting to define a livestock ‘system’. Also keep in mind that’s a paper arguing in favor of small scale livestock farming as a means to fight global poverty and to improve the health outcomes of impoverished people. The second source the cowspiracy site cite i just skimmed briefly but couldn’t find any indication where the 45% land number was coming from. It’s pretty dense.

      None of this is to deny the environmental devastation wrought by factory farming, but I was basically objecting to this idea of an anecdotal or figurative argument without numbers to back it up being invalid in a context where we’re talking about envisioning radical social change, while these “facts”, presented vanilla, often require much more context or are straight up nonsense if you explore them more.

      That’s mostly from memory but it was pretty sincere and relatively thorough so- Still a jackass? Fair enough. I’ve been posting here, and chatting on twitter, on and off for a long time. If I’m not welcome or there’s a bar I’m not meeting, no big deal- it’s your blog

  35. charles h. says:

    Did anybody ever see that video of the black girl on the NYC subway harassing and attacking a tall white guy, who then slaps her back and is then attacked by her male buddy and fights him off too? Everyone in the subway, black and white people, are all freaking out and cheering and having a great time watching it all go down. I can really see where car drivers are coming from, wanting to travel in a private conveyance, and avoid the barbarity of humans on public transit.

    • Tarzie says:

      A little of your misanthropy goes a long way, and is there a good reason for pointing out the races involved in this?

      • charles h. says:

        Helping people identify the situation. I can’t find the video so I wanted to help people remember. Is there a good reason for jumping to a conclusion that mentioning race is tantamount to race-baiting?
        The reason I mentioned that black *and* white passengers together found it entertaining was to avoid any suggestion that I might be race-baiting. My point was about car drivers having a justification.

        I am confused about what you mean about my misanthropy, unless it’s an offhand tease.

  36. diane says:

    pretty fucking ugly:

    Red Kahina

    There is a fake account masquerading as me posting Nazi type remarks.
    8:52 AM – 10 Nov 2015

    Even more ugly: despite (per the above ‘linked’ comment thread) persons reporting the slanderous abuse, the fake account is still active, quite unlike how many thousands (millions plus even?) of Twitter accounts which have been immediately shut down after stepping on the TOE$ of the Powers That Be?

    As someone with cancer who was forced down that Pharma/Insuran$e/Medical $urgery/Medical Devi$e/Med Indu$try/Non PROFIT Organ$ … $nake hole (disguised as a bunnies safe nesting haven) I support Red Kahina and Cordeliers’ rightfully damming commentary regarding the Vac$ine Indu$try; in so far as the many posts they’ve made which I’ve stumbled across.

    I don’t “follow” Red Kahina, or anyone else, and am not a Twitterer yet read twits (since most have abandoned long form writing under deadly and horrendous economic pressure to do so); but, … I have … stumbled onto her twitter comments quite a few times, over the last few years, and am hard put to believe she was actually ridiculing those with Asperger’s Syndrome.

    • Tarzie says:

      It is ugly and I don’t want to send any traffic to it and yeah Twitter is much faster at shutting down accounts that fuck with the big boys. I know this first hand.

      hard put to believe she was actually ridiculing those with Asperger’s Syndrome

      She’s said some very shitty things as a matter of fact, which is totally beside the point of the smear campaign against her. We needn’t whitewash what she does/did, to repudiate the disgusting disingenuousness of calling her a nazi or mischaracterizing her deliberately with a parody account.

    • diane says:

      (by the way, [rather young?] charles h., this is the MAIN reason why I do not support online education only. The Powers That Be have 100% control of what is revealed, or not, online. they still do not have 100% control of what is spoken in private. )

      • charles h. says:

        Private communication is only valuable in school specifically (rather than the way it is everywhere in general) if it expands the mind and engages the audience. It’s a highly romanticized idea that school is a room where a teacher lights up little minds with dangerous ideas. Most teachers speak as if everything they said was on video, because the kids will repeat what was said outside the classroom anyway. As far as kids being stuck in school all day and being denied privacy, every time they pull away from a computer assignment, in a public or corporate owned school, they speak in private. A bigger problem then might be video surveillance in schools.

        Aside from a teacher sleeping with her student, I don’t imagine there is much that teachers ever communicated to students that needed to be private before it was censored or impeded. Perhaps the very rare teacher will be a socialist philosopher provoking their students with dangerous ideas in class but how does that really matter for the vast majority of students in the system thus far?

        What we saw in that video with the cop coming in and slamming the black girl into the floor is not typical education. However the teacher’s decision that you solve an unengaged student with punishment and discipline (in this case calling the principal and the school cop), a total dead end, is the general model of traditional education.

      • charles h. says:

        I shouldn’t have used the term “privacy” but instead meant to say “freedom from corporate computer monitoring”. There is little to no true privacy in a classroom for anyone.

      • diane says:

        Thank you charles h., well, at least for your second above comment:

        I shouldn’t have used the term “privacy” but instead meant to say “freedom from corporate computer monitoring”.

        for at least (finally) acknowledging (after inexplicably and gratuitously referring to that eeny, teeny handful of female teachers who sleep with their students, without whatsoever referring to on line female teachers who may do the same, in likely far higher numbers, …as it is far easier gotten away with when it’s not local) that computer monitoring was the issue I was referring to, as to privacy.

        Computer monitoring of students is a given, when the instruction is on line, it is not a given when it is face to face, don’t throw out what’s important with the dirty bath water.

        I am betting that there are still billions of teachers out there (NOT ON THE WEB. when they can help it) who do everything they can to prevent a student’s entire history of sincerely and deeply questioning school/’Government’ interactions from being open to the entire planet (Future Employer$!), …. on The Web (as used to be stated); ….. that, cannot at all be said for ‘on line’ instruction, which is not only shared with the entire neighborhood, … it is shared with the entire planet we live one.

      • diane says:

        (had intended to write: we live on, not we live one. Sharing a young, very thoughtful and concerned (as most young people are) person’s angry and outraged thoughts about how things are going, …. with the planet at large, which we live on is still deadly to them, sadly enough.)

      • charles h. says:

        Yes it’s always very amusing how when I make concessions online I not only don’t get the slightest reciprocity but I don’t even have my point acknowledged. If you’ll pardon me, you sound like one of these dictatorial and moralistic teachers who imagine they are very indulgent and protective of their students, just so long as their students agree with them.

        Any dissenting student will not innocently hand in a report with stern anti state criticism, to a local teacher or online.

        I guess I would take the charter school criticism seriously and not just a reactionary backlash if the people making the point about charter schools as corporate playgrounds even once demonstrated such a passion against the fact that current schooling is a government playground and that there is such a thing as academic achievement, which current education has failed to provide so spectacularly, it should be flushed down the toilet and rethought completely.a

      • diane says:

        Dictatorial? Moralistic? Odd commentary, especially considering that the entire open thread is absolutely loaded with your prescriptions, and some gratuitously insulting (sheeple and cowards? really? you are the only human being angry at the offenses going on, and trying to fight against it whatever way one is able?) critique, in my opinion.

        And what to make of your comments at the bottom of the page railing against libertarians who, just like you apparently, despise the concept of off line public schools?

        I never stated public schools were a utopia, and your age bracket (if it actually is your age bracket you’re referring to) certainly wasn’t the only group abused in a public school. I do believe that the concept of public schools, accessible to all, is far better, than corporate run/owned schools, which, by the way, are certainly not at all immune to the same types of student abuse you’ve discussed above.

        On that note, I’m done replying to you, have at!

      • davidly says:

        @charles h. who said:

        “It’s a highly romanticized idea that school is a room where a teacher lights up little minds with dangerous ideas. Most teachers speak as if everything they said was on video, because the kids will repeat what was said outside the classroom anyway.”

        “Most teachers speak…” ? Your rhetorical point is pre-empted with these three words. Not every observation requires data to back it up, but this particular nugget would have to unless bullshit is your guide instead of target.

        “If you’ll pardon me, you sound like one of these dictatorial and moralistic teachers who imagine they are very indulgent and protective of their students, just so long as their students agree with them.”

        I believe a point being slightly overlooked here re. the corp vs state, as duelling oppressive educational systems is that teachers are losing the right to light up little minds with dangerous ideas in that they’re going from a previously protected labor position with representation to getting screwed coming and going. Teachers unions are certainly not perfect, no union is, but it doesn’t matter whether the hammer is a moralistic one when the pipeline is purified of anything that is not dictatorial. As someone who had his little mind lit up by a few among the mostly middling and infrequent but too often crappy teachers in both parochial and public schools, I’d take a predominantly faulty faculty with job protection for everyone including those few risk takers over where the educational system is headed.

        “I guess I would take the charter school criticism seriously and not just a reactionary backlash if the people making the point about charter schools as corporate playgrounds even once demonstrated such a passion against the fact that current schooling is a government playground and that there is such a thing as academic achievement, which current education has failed to provide so spectacularly, it should be flushed down the toilet and rethought completely.”

        Well, there are highly romanticized ideas, and then there are pictures painted of public school that predominate certain discourse on the topic. One is a highly demonized school school room where teachers infect little minds with dangerous ideas. That’s where the Right support privatization. Then there’s the idea that current education has failed to provide academic achievement. Spectacularly at that.

        The proffered solution entails the evolution of school vouchers for everyone — at one time largely rejected by Democrats — to the current corporately funded model which they embrace with all the yes we can-ism they can muster. Or, at least the opposition is marginalized. And who administers all of this but the state?

        Based upon your later commentary on libertarian blind-spots, I think you understand that certain distinctions between the corporation and the state are meaningless when they are but different departments in the same org, and I suppose that’s part of the point you’re trying to make. Maybe. In my opinion, however, the human pedagogy factor is an important one without which the imparting of information loses its human quality. The charter model doesn’t address this, but rather seeks to enhance whatever factors benefit the bottom line, and it’s a more efficient way of doing it. And of course free-market champions maintain that that in and of itself is a good thing.

        Sorry, I just gotta pick on this:

        “Yes it’s always very amusing how when I make concessions online I not only don’t get the slightest reciprocity but I don’t even have my point acknowledged.”

        Concessions do not merit reciprocity by default. What? D’you go to public school?

      • diane says:

        yes, davidly, that concessions bit was absolutely priceless, and stunningly sad …. thank you so very much, …. honeybee.

      • charles h. says:

        Concessions are never warranted. Argue your point or flunk it, of course. I’m not whining that I haven’t been conceded to, just taking note that, in a more open minded discourse, people at least try to address each other’s concerns. Yes, of course, you learn this in public school, with “Participant” ribbons for everyone.

        I’m aware that private schools and voucher schools do not solve the problem of academics in public schools. In fact there is motivation for such profit based schooling to grade students easier. Everyone gets A, after all, they paid for it, and nobody is paying for their kids to get bad grades.

        I wasn’t defending the privatization of the public system. I was actually very specific and very responsive on the issue of why privacy for students, or for the educational experience, is moot, but, again, it looks like tough cookie debaters are all susceptible to making personal attacks when they don’t feel people agree with them. You’ll note that I started in with characterization only after being arrogantly assumed to be very young and naive. Not that I’m complaining. It’s just funny, I suppose, if it’s taken as inconsequential. If expecting a certain engagement is wrong, then I don’t wanna be right.

        While some people have an inspiring experience with those rare teachers, I would venture to point out that in that very rareness is all the problem with current education. You can’t rely on teachers to count among their ranks the inspirational ones except rarely. How does that help the great mass of students.

        I never said my generation suffered particularly in school. In fact I don’t see how anyone could honestly interpret it as such, when I’ve been arguing in such broad general terms that it should be unmistakable that I consider the model of classroom schooling for the past century, if not centuries back, even, as an anachronism that was never good to begin with.

        Tenure is a double edged sword and always has been. The things a professor has to do to become tenured are such that tenure track automatically picks people who are naturally averse to rocking the boat.
        In the teaching world, the fact that teachers can not be dismissed except for putting students in harm’s way, but not for gross incompetence in teaching, does more to protect bad teachers than it does to protect intelligent eccentrics.

        While the right wing does push the idea of teachers making commies out of innocent little patriots, this is a myth optimistically shared by the left, who believe it is what makes public school so great. It is a myth, nonetheless.

        School sucks. Railing against its privatization is at best, a misguided obsession. Of course privatization doesn’t create freedom or quality. So what? Neither does publicly funded state control.

        I pointed out, and the silence in response is telling, that there is no discussion of alternative schools. Charter schools have occupied that space and now control the discourse. While the public, for all its concerns over school privatization, is mystifyingly uninterested in the question of What Does Work, Then? I’m not supposed to imagine they think public school is just dandy?

      • charles h. says:

        I do think that putting ones trust is a person in a position of authority, paid by higher authorities, to protect the vulnerable they’ve been charged with by those higher authorities, from those higher authorities, is a deluded fantasy. If you don’t believe it in government or commerce, why school so special that you believe it there?

      • charles h. says:

        Is this because I badmouthed Radiohead and Taylor Swift?

      • davidly says:

        I wasn’t defending the privatization of the public system. I was actually very specific and very responsive on the issue of why privacy for students, or for the educational experience, is moot, but, again, it looks like tough cookie debaters are all susceptible to making personal attacks when they don’t feel people agree with them.

        You know full well that I wasn’t by a long shot accusing you of defending school privatization. I was very specific myself in stating what I believe to be a valid criticism of school privitization and went so far as to include your words to avoid being misunderstood. You, on the other hand, imply that one’s opposition to it is not to be taken seriously unless there some explicit verbiage chastising the fact that “government” is in control of the public school system. Well, no friggin shit. I’m also a ardent opponent of prison privatization, but I shouldn’t have to state the obvious — that prisons are inherently evil — just because I want to point out the insidious nature of their improved industrialization as it relates to the profit margin.

        Here’s a personal attack: Reading through this thread reveals you to be one who employs every method of bad faith discussion. You reply to straw men, beg questions, ingratiate yourself with a suspiciously phony tone while engaging and dodging what suits your being able to continue doing the same. It seems to me that you are doing at least three different kinds of trolling, the specific names of which I never learned.

        I know the drill. I could painstakingly blockquote and respond for hours on end, but you’ll just pull the same shit. That’s not a ride I care to take.

      • charles h. says:

        You really built up my self esteem there. I was doing my best to NOT troll, because I think I suck at it, but apparently, I’m a Triple Threat! 🙂

      • Tarzie says:

        I can see why you get up people’s noses, but I don’t think you’re a troll.

      • charles h. says:

        @davidly, not everything is about You. I debated with myself whether or not to “@” you and Diane in turn but since you both seemed on the same page I responded to both of you. I don’t take her “I’m done responding to you” seriously (nor yours) because it’s classic internet to say “I quit, talk to the hand” and then keep returning for more. I may do so again. I MAY STRIKE AGAIN WITH MY LACK OF “@”-ING.


        No need to blockquote pedantically, unless it’s your thang.

      • charles h. says:

        Gonna blockquote so hard

  37. Claire says:

    Off topic.

    Re-reading “The Sheltering Sky” by Paul Bowles, I’d forgotten how beautiful it is. Last time I read this book was 20 years ago, living in Hamburg, Germany.

    Somewhere between 800,000 and 2 million migrants (from Africa and the Middle East) are expected to arrive in Germany this year alone.

    Here’s a few excerpts from the book:

    “Because we don’t know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps 20. And yet it all seems limitless.”

    “I’ve always wanted to get as far as possible from the place where I was born. Far both geographically and spiritually. To leave it behind … I feel that life is very short and the world is there to see and one should know as much about it as possible. One belongs to the whole world, not just one part of it.”

    “[A]nother important difference between tourist and traveler is that the former accepts his own civilization without question; not so the traveler, who compares it with the others, and rejects those elements he finds not to his liking.”

  38. Queer Boy says:

    Someone brought up French Fries way up the page and that McDonald’s French Fries are not vegan. That’s true, they’re not, according to their website, even though I never eat there. I looked into this and found that French Fries are not good to eat. They’re not healthy at all, especially commercially made. One gets lots of cancer-causing free-radicals with high heat cooking which is all that restaurants and “fast-food” places seem to know.. And how often do they change that frequently-used funky oil — whatever they use — in their fryers that becomes old very quickly from overuse and starts to look dark brown/black? UGH. No gracias! The problem with French Fries is the high starch content in them that become carcinogenic when cooked in very high temperatures, which is what deep frying is.

    The World’s Healthiest Foods website says this:
    “Processed Potato Products and Acrylamides
    Regularly cooked potatoes are not a concern when it comes to acrylamide, a potentially toxic and potentially cancer-causing substance. ***Yet, fried, processed foods made with potatoes—such as potato chips and french fries—are considered among the highest risk of foods when it comes to acrylamide exposure.*** This is yet another reason to avoid or minimize your intake of these foods. For more on acrylamides, see our detailed write-up on the subject.”

    “Acrylamide is a potentially toxic and potentially cancer-causing substance that can be naturally present in uncooked, raw foods in very small amounts. But for this substance to pose a risk of toxicity or cancer, it must be present in foods in much larger amounts, and these larger amounts do not occur unless those foods have been cooked.”

    I make my own fried potatoes — just as good as French Fries — using organic olive oil and organic potatoes that I slice thinly and cook (mostly covered) on #3 or 4, and my apartment stove burner goes up to #10 (High). So I cook them on a rather low heat and they’re delicious and they brown nicely. I heat the pan first, then add the olive oil, carefully place the thinly sliced potatoes on the bottom of the pan and then put the rest of them in. Almost completely cover them and let them do their own thing. I come back maybe 20-30 minutes later and carefully turn them. I leave them another 15-20 minutes or so and turn again. And maybe one more time of turning 5-10 minutes later. Then I take them off the heat and cover them and let them cool. Covering them completely at that point allows the moisture to help release nearly all of the potatoes from the bottom of the pan so they don’t stick. Then I lightly salt them with pink sea salt. They’re delicious and they’re cooked on low heat, which makes them healthy to eat, as opposed to unhealthy high-heat cooking.

    Just thought I’d pass this along.

    • Tarzie says:

      Yummy. I make baked “fries” that are another alternative to deep frying. Cut them up, toss them in olive oil and “fry” them on a cookie sheet.

      Potatoes are great no matter how you cook them. Vegan essential for sure.

      • davidly says:

        I’m addicted to this. I suppose most people know this version: halving the potatoes and placing them flat-side down on the cookie sheet w/ thin layer of olive oil — and/or along with resp. zucchini, yams, pumpkin, carrots, eggplant i.a. — adding sunflower seeds, linseed, garlic, salt and black pepper

      • Tarzie says:

        I don’t know that version. It sounds great.

      • davidly says:

        It’s the potato part I’m addicted to, though, which is alone obviously much quicker, leaves room for more potatoes, and hence equals more fun. The more veggies you adds to the tray, the more you gotta consider varied cooking times.

      • diane says:

        the ice potatoes fork mashed with roasted garlic, salt and black pepper; the yams fork mashed with a squeeze of lime and a sprinkling of coriander and ginger, mmmmmm.

      • Tarzie says:

        Those both sound good. I’ve been trying to think up different things to do with sweet potatoes and I’m going to try that one. Sweet potatoes and ginger are a good combo and the coriander sounds like a great addition. I mash potatoes with lightly browned garlic slices and simmered kale. That’s a great meal all by itself.

      • Queer Boy says:

        Yeah that’s a good idea. I’ve made them like that before. My stove went out on me sometime ago so I haven’t been able to do that. I just got a new small toaster oven I could do that in.

      • diane says:

        I love the scent of coriander almost as much as I love the scent of finely ground white pepper, which you might like (very lightly) on musk or water melon, if you haven’t tried it. I was overjoyed to discover a fairly close by Penzey’s Spices while yearning for some rubbed sage I couldn’t find at an affordable price. Their herbs and spices are far better and far more affordable than anywhere else I’ve found in the area.

        Have you tried mixing up banana chunks with chilled steamed yam chunks (maybe sprinkle a few fennel seeds on it, along with the ginger and coriander), or maybe cook plantains with yams (which I’ve never tried, but it seems like it might be tasty)?

      • Tarzie says:

        wow, you’re full of good advice. Bananas and Sweet Taters sounds great. I love the taste of cooked banana. It’s very different from raw.

      • diane says:

        thank you dear …;0),

        (and neglected to mention that kale (mustard (a personal favorite), chard, collards too,….. yes) addition to the ice potatoes, garlic and salt and pepper, sounded extra yummy.)

        how about, for break fast! – most especially for those having to face mother fucker bosswhomanz in the early morning hours, when they’re still trying to recover from last night’s nightmares of horrid bosswhomanz – …. sliced, slightly mashed and spiced bananas and chilled stewed whole yams, between two pieces of toast, and, on special occasions (kinda link a Remy Martin, versus E&J Brandy), a slathering of almond butter on the toast (I’m fondly reminiscing Nana’s remedy of mashed, ripe bananas on toast); … hmmm, and maybe a slight touch of cinnamon?.

      • diane says:

        (hah, on those occasions when one knows that a particular bosswhomanz is going to be rightfully backed up against that wall, for horrid shit they have done, … maybe (very, very, very slightly [1], as there are usually always bosswhomanz, and bosswhomanz’ paid lackeys lingering – in such an environment – who sacrificed that fellow $nake, to protect their own ass) sprinkle some Remy Martin (or ones favorite fermented fruit juice) atop the spices, bananas, and yams.

        [1] They are allowed to imbibe on those fermented fruit juices 24/7, with no restraint whatsoever; … you, on the other hand – despite the fact that your valid fears about being able to physically survive, are far, far more than theirs – are condemned if you even whiff fermented fruit vapors for the very slightest of relief.)

      • diane says:

        (meant steamed with boiling water (to that point of non crunchyness), versus stewed, yam chunks, a few comments above, very, very sorry for the mistake.)

    • charles h. says:

      Are you achieving something akin to French fries or just a fried/baked potato?

      I find the lower the heat, the longer you have to fry the potato, which gets all the grease into it and it gets soggy. The only way to make fries that have the crisp exterior and the baked, ungreasy interior is to use very high heat for a short time. It sounds like you are all just having greasy baked potatoes, which are delicious, but not fries. The thinner the slice, the longer you have to cook it on low this way, or it will just be a soggy oily fry. You can only cut thin and get a “fry” feeling if you fry on VERY high, for very short time, to create that crisped, oil barrier crust that keeps the inside of the fry white and dry.

  39. charles h. says:

    Why are libertarians all right wing authoritarians at heart? Rand Paul wants to End War and End the Drug War but doesn’t want to end the army or end police.

    Why do libertarians have such a hard time questioning corporations the same way they question “the state” ? Or questioning the family the way they question socialism? Are they brain damaged or just bad people?

    I’ll start. I think they are self interested and it is social advantageous to uphold the sanctity of family, soldiers and entrepreneurship while paying lip service against more obvious symbols of power. This may make them bad people. They are the liberals of the right, and imagine themselves to be civil libertarian across a left-right spectrum.

    Libertarians imagine that we don’t have true capitalism right now. Yet they aren’t interested in getting rid of property rights along with the state. As if property rights don’t underpin the raison d’etre of the state. They don’t think anything is “Free” and yet they won’t cop to the obvious consequence of such thinking, which is that they are nothing but tools of the rich, defending the property rights of the rich.

    They are also profoundly illiterate and uninterested in culture. Even dumber than liberals. It’s no wonder Rand Paul can’t make an appealing message to the Republicans, he can’t even connect any dots. He can’t even find the dots.

    • charles h. says:

      What is so particularly grating about Rand Paul is that, on top of being as simpleton as every other lazy, narcissist libertarian, he isn’t even a true believing libertarian. He is just a good son, following in his father’s footsteps. A man who claims that his first ideal is personal freedom and independent thinking, is basically just following his father’s law. It’s appalling, he is little more than a deluded baby.

    • davidly says:

      It’s tempting for me to think that Rand, with all his folksy earnestness, is simply unable to connect the dots. But I rather believe his approach is precisely the same calculated pandering that everyone in his position demonstrates. Otherwise he’d at least vying for the Libertarian Party nomination.

  40. charles h. says:

    And if that’s not enough to take this thread through 300, here’s another:

    List at least one, and no more than one of each, forbidden topic(s) of dissent among each of:
    radicals, liberals, centrists, right, libertarians.

  41. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    I love the scent of coriander almost as much as I love the scent of finely ground white pepper, which you might like (very lightly) on musk or water melon,

    Have you tried mixing up banana chunks with chilled steamed yam chunks (maybe sprinkle a few fennel seeds on it, along with the ginger and coriander), or maybe cook plantains with yams (which I’ve never tried, but it seems like it might be tasty)?

    I love coriander too, it’s one of those spices I don’t use enough to spark up dishes even though I keep it around. I do make a chile coriander dip with pinto beans. Put the beans in a food processor and blend until consistency of “refried beans” with chopped garlic, coriander, paprika, chile powder, cumin, and a splash of red wine vinegar. I omit olive oil since I’m plant-based no oil, but you can add olive oil and that will add even more flavor. I serve this one all the time at my parties and it’s a big hit and nobody seems to miss the oil. It’s more of a chili based dip but the coriander infuses a lovely aroma and subtle flavor to it.

    A good fat-free oil-free curry is some garbanzo beans, cauliflower, carrots, cooked potato, chopped tomatoes, green beans, whatever else you like in your curry, and frozen thawed or fresh spinach leaves. Add curry powder, cumin, garam masala, garlic, red and black pepper, mustard, or anything else you like to boost your curries. Throw a cup of garbanzo beans in the blender with some water and blend until smooth. Add to the pan with the veggies and beans and it makes a creamy oil-free sauce.

    I’m putting bananas and sweet potatoes on my Thanksliving menu list! ❤

    • Tarzie says:

      I’m loving this food talk. I’m the same way about coriander. Always around but used rarely, mostly for Indian dishes. Before Diane’s comment I hadn’t considered how versatile it could be. Your bean dip sounds great.

    • diane says:

      Hey you! I’ve missed your commenting here!

      The added coriander with the beans (I love beans, and bean dip) sounds great. For anyone with a cancer scare, turmeric (which is included in many curry powders) is a great add, particularly with black pepper, which has been shown in some research to further aid turmeric’s benefits.

      I make my beans (using the overnight soak), thick and creamy (fork mashing while cooking slowly, very lazy about cleaning food processors), so they double as dip, when cold. For basics, I add turmeric, black and white pepper, cilantro and parsley, plenty varied (combination of red, yellow, and white, dependent on what’s on the counter) largely chopped onions, plenty chopped garlic cloves, and plentiful chopped celery (particularly the center, heart, area) cilantro and parsley, I’m now going to add the coriander, thank you!

      The most use I’ve made with coriander is in fruit salads (divine, when you like coriander). I’m now thinking it would also be great added to the dates (with maybe even a wee tad fresh orange squeezed in? oh hell, let’s add some sprinkled cognac too! … ;0) …) my mom always had us prepare for Thanksgiving: stuffing pitted dates with medium ground walnuts (sigh, cannot, at all, afford nuts anymore – a life long, always expensive for as long as I can remember, favorite – as much as I feel the gut need for them; but just might buy a special bag to dole out for those special occasions), closing them back up, then rolling them in confectioner’s sugar.

      Ooh, and an easy extra dip for the holidays: one’s favorite green salsa (Mrs. Renfro’s works for me), spooned onto ripe avocado, lime squeezed in (added benefit, as with bananas and apples, lime (or lemon) wards off fruit browning), fork mashed to desired chunkiness, or mashed to creamy smooth.

      A most wonderful Thanksliving party to you, Goldfish Training Institute (just don’t send me the bill for those dates, nuts and Remy)!

      • diane says:

        (almost forgot, yeah I at least some very light salt sprinkling in those beans, just before they’re near done, as a basic addition.

        as you’ve noted below, it would seem that much of the oversalting has to do with processed foods. I’m guessing that a body needs at least a bit of sodium in its chemistry, and that a light salting is normally harmless, and tasty!)

    • charles h. says:

      What is the spice in curry powder that gets in the walls and leaves a lingering stink forever. Don’t act like curry doesn’t do this, I’ve read threads on the internet with Indians saying they need to get the smell out of their house. Lots of recommendations. What is the stink part?

      I love curry btw. One of my favorite.

    • dmantis says:

      Coriander is very under rated! I make my beans (used in nachos, bean tacos and beans+rice) with the final touch being a healthy dose of the stuff. Adds such a complementing flavor.

      The beans are an evolutionary necessity growing up with my Spanish grandmothers (extremely NOT vegetarian) beans. My version starts with red onion, chili pepper, oregano and cumin. After cooking I add tomatoes, tomato paste, cooking wine and the beans (black, kidney and garbanzo). Once it all simmers a good 15 minutes or so, I add the coriander and it just completely livens it up.

      I make a healthy amount each time as they are so versatile. My partner often ends up eating them by themselves with a little avocado and sour cream.

  42. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    I did not know that about hypertension. I’m a big salt fan. Damn. Always a catch.

    Yeah, I went off salt altogether for years, not adding it or eating it in any foods except if I was in a social situation where it couldn’t be avoided. Then I started slowly adding some back. I felt like my food just started being kinda blah or something, so I would add pinches here and there to food on my plate. I think if you keep it under whatever the upper limit recommendation is, it’s probably fine. Especially if you have no history of heart disease or hypertension. Even if you cut out salt altogether and avoid processed foods (which are probably the real culprit and not adding it at the table), you’ll find if you start adding it back in, you still don’t need much.

    Some people have to use tons more salt-free spices to substitute for not using salt in the beginning, but your taste buds eventually change. 🙂

    • charles h. says:

      Salt is a much more blue collar, or just American, kind of obsession. Pepper is a good substitute if you just need the punch. I can’t understand why people like salt so much. Many of my packaged foods just have too much of it and if feels sickening after awhile. Feels like drinking seawater.

  43. charles h. says:

    I am so fatigued of news and terrorism and false flag and real flag and Syria and the cold war that never ends and cops and I’m thinking of just going ahead and not even reading up on, or watching news about, or paying much attention at all to the PARIS ATTACKS except to tell people “whatever, I don’t know”. I mean, what is my responsibility, here? Is it still possible to be a decent person if I’m oblivious to the latest biggest story dealie?

    Also, in reference to comments above,
    saying that it’s insulting or in any way wrong to call people “Sheeple” has to be the lamest level of egalitarianism in the universe by now. Very uncool. Not uncool in the sense of “bad” but uncool in the sense of, “ha ha, dweebs, where did you buy Your Ugly Shirt?”

    • Tarzie says:

      I associate sheeple with smug libertarians and obnoxiously certain conspiracy theorists. I put it in a class with Guy Fawkes masks. In other words, I fucking hate it. It is the opposite of cool, bub.

      • charles h. says:

        You can associate it with lame people but I’m not sure what you think it implies in and of itself. If all you want to let it be property of smug libertarians, that’s your prerogative. I’m not willing to let the libertarians win so easily.

        As for obnoxious conspiracy theorists, those weirdos are usually harmless and cute in their lunacy. I hope you don’t dismiss conspiracy theorists in general as obnoxious, since that’s exactly what power wants you to do.

        What’s wrong with Guy masks? I thought that was Anonymous and also that people have a right to hide their face from cameras at political events. Anonymous is pretty big on fighting the power and saving the people.

        Your retort that “it’s the opposite of cool”, is your opinion. You are entitled to one. I think “sheeple” is cool, when it was invented, and it should be celebrated no matter how old it gets. Fine wine, etc.

    • Goldfish Training Institute says:

      saying that it’s insulting or in any way wrong to call people “Sheeple” has to be the lamest level of egalitarianism in the universe by now. Very uncool

      It’s wrong because its speciesist. I learned the hard way when years ago I got called out by a vegan for using “pigs” when referring to cops. And I’m a vegan! There’s been stuff written about the co-optation of animal words and language to describe humans derogatorily. If we want to change cultural and social attitudes around animal cruelty, animal productarianism, and animals as food, it’s not just in actions, it’s in language.

      • charles h. says:

        Yeah, language is a favorite target to substitute genuine progressivism.

        Calling cops “pigs” or people “sheeple” does have a reinforcing effect: animals are inferior. However, this is very interesting dynamic that vegans propose.

        If we value a creature because it is our equal, then we save it’s life. If we see it as inferior, we are a danger to it.

        I won’t deny there is some truth to this. It mirrors our disregard for animals.

        However, point me out where people don’t murder each other or seek to destroy superior people and animals just to feel big. In fact, the whole Carnivore-dude ethic revolves around the fact that humans are brutal neanderthals, awesome hunters, sinking their teeth into these great beasts. I ate a Burger, therefore I Am Awesome.

        I can’t get too worked up about language, in the same way I can’t get too worked up about the constitution. It isn’t magical phrases that will make us a more just society.

        I like the idea of mentioning it when people haven’t thought of it. I also think that calling glorious gun toting police officers, fat little balls of smelly pink making cute sounds, is an effective way to strip cops of their guardians of the universe aura. Sheeple sounds cute, and let’s not pretend that sheep don’t move in flocks.

        What if “sheeple” enlightens people about their own lack of species superiority and makes the sheep a creature worth more consideration?

        If the only reason people won’t kill something is because they see it as their equal, then this battle is lost forever.

        “Don’t use mocking language” because it’s speciesist (underlined spelling error) is the kind of speciesist critique that begs to be mocked by meat eating liberals posing as anarcho-radicals. Don’t make it so easy for them. They already make fools of themselves by deriding speciesism as a phony idea, since they take their own speciesism as a given. Let’s point out how dumb they are to do that, not give them ludicrous word policing they can circle jerk at.

      • Tarzie says:

        Charles, you’re really starting to seem like the most splainy kind of bro. At first you sound like you’re conceding. But then suddenly your reasoning becomes so silly it seems intended to contradict rather than make any kind of sense, which makes an earlier accusation of trolling somewhat credible. You can’t possibly believe this bullshit: “What if “sheeple” enlightens people about their own lack of species superiority and makes the sheep a creature worth more consideration?” And I can’t believe a vegan would refer to pigs as “fat little balls of smelly pink” let alone defend its use to bring police down a peg.

        Here’s an idea, being sensitive to language isn’t a substitute for genuine movement action, but rather a necessary supplement to or perhaps even part of. It certainly doesn’t take away from more militant engagement, so why make a fuss, so long as people are nice when they attempt a correction? There is absolutely no question that vegans should avoid language that fortifies the idea that animals are inferior in some way, since the assumed inferiority of animals is the foundation of their exploitation and abuse. The case GTI described was a vegan checking another vegan, which is indisputably appropriate.

        I despise the use of “pigs” in reference to police — who are all too fucking human — and when it branches off into sending actual pig heads in the mail or throwing them, it’s genuinely vile. I hadn’t noticed that sheeple is speciesist, and as you suggest, to liken humans to an animal based on a quality the animal actually has makes it more ambiguous. But do we know how sheep behave when they’re not commodities? What are herding dogs and fences for? In ambiguous cases, I think erring on the side of not making derogatory comparisons is the best practice, if one entertains the possibility that consciousness raising is part of the game.

        Don’t use mocking language” because it’s speciesist (underlined spelling error) is the kind of speciesist critique that begs to be mocked by meat eating liberals posing as anarcho-radicals. Don’t make it so easy for them.

        Every movement has its “we’d win if we wore suits” crowd and they are invariably useless. The animal abusers sneer at us no matter what we do. There are far better prospects for conversion than that crowd. I find thoughtful people very receptive to the idea of speciesism. Using animal comparisons to insult people doesn’t just fortify speciesism. It is speciesism and we should oppose it — at least in each other — like we oppose speciesism in all other ways.

      • charles h. says:

        Will somebody around here fuck off with all the “you’re trolling” shit?
        It isn’t even sensitivity at this point, it’s obviously a lazy bullying tactic for people who can’t offer a rebuttal except by saying “no”.

        I concede that awareness of language is useful. It isn’t “necessary” to oppose it like an invasion. Once people know it, that’s what counts.

        Question: what word would you use to get impact on people’s perception of cops? That is NOT an animal and that does not impress people with your resentment more than with cops behavior?
        Cops are garbage. Okay. What is garbage? Who cares. That’s just some cop haters saying nothing that makes me think. Who is opposing what now?

        No I don’t think a true vegan has to worship animals or see them as wonderful to not support eating them, let alone treating them cruelly. That’s hindus, not vegans. See the music video below for your worship service. I hadn’t intended it as such but you’re very good at living in your own little world where everyone shares your views and all you have to do is oppose the wrong and uphold the right.

        I stand by everything I said. I’m not a vegan but I’m trying. “No true vegan” garbage.
        Just get this thread to 300 and you won’t have to deal with me again. That’s all I want.

        P.S. You look like you’re defending your sensitive blog friends from the new meanie. Don’t worry, I won’t be around hurting people’s feelings much longer.

      • Tarzie says:

        Charles, pipe down.

        In addition to accusing you of borderline trolling I included a rebuttal so I truly am not in flight from your superhuman intelligence. Believe it or not, sometimes when people accuse other people of trolling, that’s really all they mean to do, in an effort to get the person to stop. It seemed to me that your argument for sheeple and pigs for police was so lame you were starting a pissing contest for its own sake, which is really the essence of trolling.

        I don’t want you to leave. I just would like you to comment as if you’re among peers, not “sheeple”.

      • charles h. says:

        But I am among sheeple. I use straw men but you call me out for my delusions of superhuman intelligence. Of course you don’t want me to leave, you got three days with 10 comments. I didn’t ask to be kept or invited, I just let you know that I had fun commenting on this vegan issue but generally I don’t find this blog that great to want to be a commenter. This was an exception and I think it would be fun to see 300 comments because 300 is a fun number and more than usual.

        And I feel bad hurting people’s feelings here anyway. Really, it tears me up.

      • Tarzie says:

        Of course you don’t want me to leave, you got three days with 10 comments.

        God you’re an asshole. I was trying to be nice. I truly don’t care if you leave, and may actually take the choice away from you. My comment section was just fine without you. I think you drop levels here and I would hate if you attracted more of your splainy ilk.

      • Tarzie says:

        You’re done here, troll.

      • charles h. says:

        I wasn’t trying to be “not nice” just stating my position clearly. Whether you were trying to be nice is of no interest to me.

        No hard feelings. Like I said, I wasn’t planning on sticking around your kool-aid cult longer term, so I don’t feel like you’ve denied me any particular interaction. It’s not like anyone here was going to suddenly demonstrate creativity and offer a response that would really make me think. No hard feelings.

      • charles h. says:

        You son of a bitch! I didn’t intend that last comment to show up for everyone here to read. “You’re done here” implied my comments wouldn’t be posted.

        This is why I care about stating a position accurately. I hope everyone doesn’t take my abrasiveness too seriously. It’s just one nobody’s opinion and I am playing.

      • Tarzie says:

        You’re still here. I guess you can just keep switching IPs to get around the block.

        When can we expect your disgust with the lack of stimulation and creativity around here to take the customary form of doing something else?

        That’s a rhetorical question. I don’t really care because I’ll be deleting everything you post so that hanging around is a waste of *your* time as opposed to mine. You’re bringing everything down. The first time you said sheeple, I suspected you were *that* guy that we’ve all met 10,000 times. An arrogant little prick — probably libertarian — that thinks people are evading the searing laser of his intelligence when they’re simply tired of humoring an incorrigible asshole. You didn’t disappoint.

        Your abrasiveness is obnoxious along with your arrogance. I don’t give a fuck how you intend it. A person with a less shitty character would know his intentions don’t matter to the people he’s insulting. And I don’t believe that you don’t intend it anyway. Being a cardboard cutout creep appears to be a hobby of yours, and is the only thing you’ve demonstrated any command of.

        Now run along and fuck yourself, you self-regarding jackass.

      • Tarzie says:

        I am so sorry. Truly.

        No one gives a shit about your “positions.”

      • babaganusz says:

        cumin is my favorite umami-enhancer by far. much love for coriander as well (and see some clever uses mentioned elsewhere here, thanks to all), but am definitely always looking for new bloodless applications of cumin! at an Indian restaurant in Bangkok we finally stumbled over jaljeera–highly recommended for fellow cumin lovers; found at least one solid recipe/demo on yt (though i haven’t personally included the fascinating asafoetida component in my home version).

      • Tarzie says:

        I just used small amounts of cumin and coriander in lentil soup. Gave it more depth without making it taste like a curry or chili. It was delicious.

  44. charles h. says:

    Kids report on their learning experience at the end of music video.

  45. jason says:

    has the Vegan Mono-culture Free Love Collective taken over yet and replaced everything with soy? oh well, maybe tomorrow morning…

  46. Jacob says:

    [Tarzie says:
    November 10, 2015 at 11:24 pm
    “It really is disgusting that the left promises $15 minimum wage instead of an end to work.”


    This is a subject dear to my heart, but I just know as automation ramps up even more, the creeps are going to latch right onto the work abolition and the Basic Minimum Income movements, and start formulating initiatives to end all rights in the work place and replace every aspect of the welfare state with some nonsense like an “inverted income tax.” The logic being something like: “Now that we have this new thing, we don’t need all those other old crusty entitlements anymore!” As much as I want to be an optimist about the BMI, all I can see is another lethal trojan horse for the economic rightwing.

    • Jacob says:

      I sound defeatist in retrospect. I guess what I want to say is that we should think about how we’re going to distinguish ourselves from them when they come to absorb this issue.

  47. jason says:

    maybe banal…”the earth is rich.” despite his pejorative & kind of throw-away comparison of men with cows/cattle/beasts….

  48. diane says:

    Re the daze nooz:

    Priceless, the United States’ Governing Global Entitie$, have instituted policies which have historically and ‘white’ gloved killed thousands and thousands of the United States’ own citizens, … of all colors (while bombing the fuck out of over seas, darker skinned countries ….even HOSPITALS…) – DAILY – in absolutely horrid sloooooow ….. motion, …….. (those Governing Global Entitie$, over a century ago, realized … that murdering people slowly receives no ‘press’ whatsoever) …

    yet, those United States’ Governing Entitie$ still have not tired of asking those same United States’ citizens, they are slo mo murdering, … to cheer them in murdering the teeny handful of over seas ‘lackeys’ they deliberately ‘bred’ ….along with billions who were just trying to stay alive and do no harm.

    (I have a comment (#18610), prior to this one, in spam, no hurry, just to let you know.)

    • diane says:

      (very sorry (fucking hate html coding required to highlight anything, unlike face to face vocal and body language conversations among humans), I should have added an end itallics ‘html’ code between asking those same United States’™, and citizens, they are slo mo murdering, … to cheer them in murdering the teeny handful of over seas ‘lackeys’ they deliberately ‘bred’ ….along with billions who were just trying to stay alive and do no harm..

      I had meant to note:

      yet, those United States’ Governing Entitie$ still have not tired of asking those same United States’ citizens, they are slo mo murdering, … to cheer them in murdering the teeny handful of over seas ‘lackeys’ they deliberately ‘bred’ ….along with billions who were just trying to stay alive and do no harm.)

      (I have a comment (#18610), prior to this one, in spam, no hurry, just to let you know.)


  49. Goldfish Training Institute says:


    The truth is that being vegan is the very least one can do for the animals.

    To put things in perspective, how impressed would you be if I announced that I wasn’t a child molester? Or a rapist?

    My guess is that your response would be “Duh! Of course you aren’t. So what?”

    That is my general response to someone announcing they are vegan. “Duh! Of course you are. You care about animals! Right? Why wouldn’t you be?”

    Of all the people in the world who should be locked in solidarity for the animals, it should be vegans.

    But instead of radical political action and revolutionary planning, we find vegans sharing recipes and becoming food groupies.

    Websites dedicated to nutrition information, vegan recipes, and food preparation, are far more common than ones educating the public on revolutionary theory and political strategy.

    The war for animals is political because it requires government to intervene on their behalf. Only government can make animal slaughter illegal.

    As our present government is not disposed to do so, our goal must be implementing one that will.

    Our forebears were faced with a similar moral imperative on the issue of human slavery. Had they adopted the attitude that many vegans have, to simply refrain from buying slaves instead of fighting proactively to end slavery, we would still have slavery today.

    Merely being vegan is no different from refusing to buy or own slaves. That would hardly have stopped anyone else from doing so.

    Ending slavery required direct action, sabotage, riots, violence, and eventually war.It will take MUCH MORE to end the Animal Holocaust. The only hope for animals is a revolution which will end capitalism (the primary cause of animal murder in the world) and end the legal system which considers animals to be the private property of owners to do with as they wish.

    • charles h. says:

      And yet,

      slavery had an economic reason to exist beyond enriching the slave owners alone. Meat eating agriculture serves no purpose except fashion, in the age of abundant nutritional plant sources.
      Historically the world was never as meat eating as it is today and the result is epidemic disease.
      You can raise awareness about the evils of slavery but before modern mechanization, slavery still makes mass agriculture possible and competitive. Show me how meat eating provides any economic advantage the way slavery did before giant tractors, to say nothing of drone robot pickers.
      Slavery had no reason to end. Environmental collapse is a natural limit on meat eating. As is death through obesity and uncontrollable infectious diseases.

    • BlanchoRelaxo says:

      Such a bad ass excerpt. This perspective screams at me with a rationale and logic that follow directly from the independent facets of veganism that drew me in on the front end, and which continue to be compelling to me. The first step in correcting for a blind spot (reads: ignorance), is to be disabused of one’s denial that it exists. The connections made so succintly here are very much that for me, as pedestrian as that may be. It really isn’t just about my own journey/diet after all. It needs to be as much more than that as it can be. Thank you.

    • charles h. says:

      There is also a difference in that child molesters and rapists are publicly loathed as a test for ostracism, while vegans can choose to say they are vegan and not be ostracized but still loathed as much as rapists and child molesters. If you could say, “yeah, I’m a rapist, and you should be too”, and still be a member of society, that would be powerful (right or wrong). A vegan can have that kind of impact just by declaration.

      The excerpt can’t seem to decide if it is direct action or social and economic transformation that are needed. Maybe all are complementary but maybe only one is needed.

  50. charles h. says:

    We’ve been making fun of how the left is hypocritical in its rejection of capitalism and veganism but what if this is more telling. I can’t figure out in my head what it means for someone to hate capitalism, racism, rape, religion and veganism all at once. Why is veganism even in there? Is it truly hypocrisy or does it show something deeper about veganism or about SJW or ….?

    I hadn’t considered there might be more to it and now I have a hunch but it leads nowhere.

  51. charles h. says:

    What if they are viscerally, emotionally reacting to the seeming apolitical nature of veganism they perceive, highlighted in that article and elswhere.
    Veganism is not as overtly political as it could/should be and so SJWs se it as a fashion statement more than a political act. Yet if every vegan discussion included a “up with Marxism, down with Capitalism” chant, I get the feeling SJWs would conveniently ignore that too.

    This is as far as my hunch got me.

  52. diane says:

    I wish people would think before they blurt (trying to taking the high road in assuming they did not think first, just fucking UUUGHHHH ).

    Someone from one of the ‘Developed Nations,’ just hours ago, blamed the inability of tracking physical currency, on how certain people are able to extort others.

    Problem is, in my thoughts, the inability to track physical money, is the only thing currently allowing billions of poverty ridden humans to have money for shelter and food (especially when billions have no horrid ‘WealthyTechnoWhiteBoyBitCoin,’ Pay Pal!, or, Bank Accounts, because they utterly cannot afford the PREDATORY FEES/Fraud on them). A problem which way outweighs the above noted extortion issue; especially since only the handful of extremely and outrageously wealthy are generally the only ones extorted.

    In the so called Developed [White Based/US/European] Nations, by themselves, the so called economic safety nets – for those who have devotedly tried to live on fair play and lived a life absolutely absent of major criminal activity, restrict a person from living a life without daily fear unless they engage in that underground physical currency.

    Not to even mention the fact that paying physical currency is the only way to go without having to pay totally unwarranted extra On Line/Bank fees, and prevents business entities from storing, and hideously abusing, extremely personal data which they have should have no right to.

    If the person was referring to gold and silver ingots – though that doesn’t at all seem the case – versus dollar bills and small change, they should have made that perfectly clear.

    • davidly says:

      I am puzzled by the hacker-boy belief in technology as the way to utopia. It seems to me that it is only ever the next step in co-opting people’s energies. It’s fatal flaw is that it is not sustainable, which I suppose might likewise be it’s only saving grace.

      • Tarzie says:

        Off topic: I sincerely apologize for defending Charles H when you called him a troll. You were absolutely right.

      • diane says:

        So many times that [Libertarian] Hacker Boy mentality seems to go hand in hand with a marked proud ignorance, contempt, … an utter lack of regard and concern, … for the realities of others not of their ‘tribe’; .. along with an absolute blind zealotry for their pet cause[s]. Pet cause[s] which they oddly phrase as a righteous issue[s], despite both: ignoring the reasons why so many are unable to instantaneously take up their pet concern; and slamming and/or ignoring all other issues which warrant major concern.

        In my bleaker moments, I keep waiting for a mini solar storm that leaves them with the same level of fear that billions live with daily: no money for food and shelter and an utter shutdown of support and communication systems.

        On a more optimistic note, I think you’d make a wonderful, open minded and very gentle and caring teacher of youth, David.

      • davidly says:

        @Tarzie: Thanks. Ain’t no thing. You were responding to a guest in your home how any normal person with a modicum of empathy would – by at least giving him the benefit with relatively gentle admonishment. I still think it was only semi-witting on his part, but the result is the same.

      • davidly says:

        Thank you, Diane. I try to avoid those bleaker moments, as well. And I agree with you about the teacher thing, except that it’d be in a parallel universe. I seriously missed that boat this time round.

      • diane says:

        well, honey, my (‘primitive,’ I’ll readily admit) understanding of regenerating energy (versus deadly energy), is that it is near boundless.

        So maybe ‘next time,’ … if not, ‘this time’ (as ‘they’ say: ya never know).

    • davidly says:

      I think you got that right: Ya never know indeed.

      • diane says:

        as usual, really, really … like your latest expressions [excerpt]:


        I would maintain that the truly unspeakable tragedies are those that go unspoken.


        [MSN/NBC/Stephen Colbert’s – diane] Colonel’s conclusion: More war. “A quarter of a million of troops in Syria alone”. This is immediately concluded with superfluous comic relief about the hotel the colonel is staying in to the hearty laughter and applause from those who love to love this shit in spite of everything. And, my goodness, because of it. They probably went to sleep feeling smarter.


        My take: If you’re on about how “we” need to take in refugees without just as passionately maintaining that “we” need to stop taking war to the rest of their world, I cannot take you seriously. “Either, or” does not work here. If you wanna be “we”, then you gotta own this shit. This includes not passing weapons out to everybody who serves some shady long- or short-term interest.

        If you’re answer is, “But they will at best only allow us the one thing!” then it’s time to stop calling yourself “we” and distance yourself from they who would promote anything less. Don’t be a tool.


        If you think that your guy or gal in office doesn’t have a choice, that certain shadowy powers have captured their every bloody move, then they owe it to you to say so. Explicitly. Otherwise I’m not buying it.

        Colbert’s assertion that “we got out of that business” of bedding blood thirsty despots is a bald-faced lie, but it serves the brand’s narrative to hand-wring out half-truths. Call it truthiness. It is increasingly clear that CBS is paying Stephen Colbert to sit high up on the propagator of the lesser evil brand of the Project for the New American Century.


        (And then there were also tool Cobert’s NBC years. Forever revolving MSN! – ABC, CBS, NBC, CABLE!, etal … – doors for death cultists and their owned actors.

        It became stunningly evident to me – shamefully and sadly, after the horrid fall out – that under Big Dawg Clinton, in the nineties, MSN NBC was a stunningly powerful (BIPARTISAN) death hawking, citizen finger wagging Left Wing! propaganda bludgeon when they repeatedly aired OWNED actor millionaires from Hollow Wood in those weird … (who the fuck paid for them, other than the DOD Corp.?), … 1 minute: Shower Of The Stars[!] spots; where that OWNED actor millionaire lectored the captive public ‘no ones’ on how to live while Actor$ own lives were many times suicide inducing; and sordid quasi-‘legal ‘cesspools of being owned.)

  53. Ryan C. says:

    Many conceptions of the world ignore key aspects, such as institutions, and the meaningless of words when people do not take actions to support them.

    An obvious example is the Soviet Union, no where in their constitution did they express that people should be sent to Siberia if you disagree with the government in any way. In fact, their constitution stated that everyone is entitled to a printing press. There is no free speech when a source of power can intimidate a large minority into silence.

    The deterioration of society over the years can be directly attributed to massive institutional failures. A House committee passed a measure to impeach Koskinen. Not Clapper. Not anyone else. For all their protests, this means that they support the current programs. They support lying to Congress – if you have sufficient approval by Congress to lie to Congress. This idea that Congress is powerless seems to forget that Radical Republicans overruled the President in implementing Reconstruction. Congress can impeach all the current and former federal officials they condemn as violating laws that the DoJ has chosen not to prosecute.

    I don’t have much respect for Snowden. He’s another pathological liar who tells people what they want to hear. It’s real nice of him to wait and say NSA analysts pass around nudes at the office. A year later.

    • Tarzie says:

      It’s real nice of him to wait and say NSA analysts pass around nudes at the office. A year later.

      Yeah, you’d think the way they’re dragging out these revelations would bother people. But then you realize the people following this show the most avidly don’t really give a fuck about surveillance. They like this cheap spectacle of resistance. It’s pathetic what credulous boobs they are.

      • Ryan C. says:

        Well, what bothers me is that people are so fine with the hypocrisy and hollow world views (I can respect a person if most of their views hold up to critical analysis). Do we have no collective memory, beyond a clearly senile retelling of our past feats (we fought evil… and we won. Great Britain was our ally and we’ve never been at war with the British)?

        It’s not that hard to remember key facts about Snowden (he claims to be morally outraged at the mass surveillance), and compare that to the latest attempt of attention from him. It doesn’t fit. It doesn’t pass a glancing inspection.

    • jason says:

      nsa is passing around nude photos? i’ll flood their server w/pix of my fat middle-aged hairy pot-smokin’ happily-underacheivin’, misspellin ass.

      how many years ago was it that there was dancin’ in the streets (as it were) over the “liberation” of libya? a few months, really. just like fuckin’ last week for some of us. people can’t/won’t remember major, super-serious shit that happened yesterday, that flooded all our tv sets, radios, supertubes, etc.

  54. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    White supremacists open fire on anti-racism protesters. Good thing we’ve got people like Greenwald defending the rights of these “unrepresented” and “marginalized” racists!


  55. Ryan C. says:

    In other news, Canada believes a man tortured by the US under the pretext of false charges will receive a fair trial, while Poland believes Roman Polanski will not receive a fair trial after Roman Polanski fled the country after he served a month in prison.

  56. jason says:

    Fox Noooz reported the other day a bit i hadn’t heard about that clock science kid down in texas that got invited to the white house b/c amurka luvs scients. They said SEVEN TEACHERS tried to pressure the kid into signing a confession that he was intending to bring a lethal device on campus.
    seven of them.

    • Tarzie says:

      Maybe because no one at the school did anything wrong. If you look at the details, Ahmed’s clock looks more like a publicity seeking provocation than an ingenious “invention.” And I’ll believe that they wanted him to sign a “confession” when I see the confession myself. That story is stenchful with bullshit, but it affords liberals and coastal people a chance to feel superior, so they lap it up uncritically.

      • Ryan C. says:

        Pretty sure you’re supposed to ask for approval before bringing anything not school approved to school. Somehow a college professor does not understand this process.

        Interestingly, if you go to a class with poor kids, you’re likely to be subjected to a mid-class search of your backpack, while in the “Magnet” / rich kid class, I never was searched.

      • jason says:

        as a practical matter in a police state no, one should probably not bring unauthorized materials to school. i think that’s the 11th commandment for going anywhere. one should maybe expect hysterical reactions from administrators with armed guards supporting them. expect easy provocations. frame ups and entrapment.

        yes, at this school, “one of the best high schools in the nation”:


        this was all a set up? a stunt? well fuck man, more power to ’em. more power to those who stick their tongue out and boo and hiss at the incessant, incoherent babbling of retarded security theater. but be careful: someone might get shot.

      • Tarzie says:

        “as a practical matter in a police state no, one should probably not bring unauthorized materials to school.”

        I get my bag randomly searched in new york, and if I were carrying a beeping pencil box full of wires and a digital time display I would expect to be pulled aside, despite my white skin.

        My sympathy for Ahmed diminishes considerably at the start of his story, where a sober-minded teacher, fully aware of the possible reaction brown-nosing Ahmed’s not at all clockish clock might elicit, advises him to not show it around and he does it anyway. This guy was clearly looking out for Ahmed’s interests, as well as those of his classmates, but in Ahmed’s account he’s just one more racist buffoon blind to the young genius’s gifts. This despite Ahmed himself acknowledging the potential for a misunderstanding when he said he closed his clock with a cable rather than locking it because “I didn’t want it to look like a threat.”

        As far as I know, he was accused not of making a bomb but of making a hoax bomb, and it’s not at all obvious at first glance that he didn’t. Can we agree that hoaxes designed to make people think they’re going to be blown up are a bad thing?

        There are two pieces here — one is administrators concerns about what, exactly, is this beeping pencil box full of electronic components that The New Kid is carrying from room to room. The other is the way law enforcement officials handled it. I don’t think it’s fair to paint them all with the same brush.

    • jason says:

      not everyone is motivated by being an east coast liberal needing to feel superior to those in flyoverville. certainly not the ghouls at Fox. that default criticism of yours tarzie is sometimes just nonsense.

      • Tarzie says:

        not everyone is motivated by being an east coast liberal needing to feel superior to those in flyoverville. certainly not the ghouls at Fox. that default criticism of yours tarzie is sometimes just nonsense.

        I don’t know what this means. Would you deny that this story is particularly shiny to liberals, with it’s backward white southwesterners, reassuringly middle class brown victim and its technocratic appeal to science education? Are you going to say that elitist self-superiority isn’t, if not the gas on which liberalism runs, at least the lubricant?

        What is my default criticism? That liberals gonna liberal?

        this was all a set up? a stunt? well fuck man, more power to ’em. more power to those who stick their tongue out and boo

        Booing at The Man is only one of several explanations for a stunt of this kind, if that’s what it was, and the least likely, considering how Ahmed welcomed Obama, MIT, Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter onto his bandwagon. Are they booing The Man? No, they are The Man, plucking a largely meaningless event from nowhere, making it a spectacle, and instructing us all in its Lesson, creating distraction and offloading responsibility for conditions that they fortify and benefit from onto largely powerless, caricatured nobodies.

      • jason says:

        i admit i might have been too glib about the “theatrical” value of this lone incident. but zuckerberg, obama, etc., responded pretty quickly didn’t they? as soon as it was safe: “2 cc’s of ‘America Hearts Science’ stat!”

      • Tarzie says:

        It was safe from day one. It’s their story.

      • jason says:

        you don’t know that.

      • Tarzie says:

        You don’t know that

        Uh, yeah I do. It’s all their story, ya ditz.


        I can’t believe you think a story like this just emerges and propagates all over the world, via social and mainstream media organically. Because of what? It’s singular importance? You’ve been suckered, dude. We’re only looking at it because they want us to.

        Think of the day this happened. Where do you think the severity of Ahmed’s shitty day would rank in relation to all the injustices suffered in this country at the same time? Why no hashtag crusades, White House invites or Twitter internships for them?

      • Tarzie says:

        I have to walk back one thing I wrote, which is that you’re espousing the prescribed lesson. That’s not really the case. Your objection is to the security state. Ahmed and his family object to racist disproportionality in the taking of security measures.

        We’re seeing this a lot lately: anti-racism that seeks equality within fascism’s terms, which is what identity politics does generally. Another reason why Ahmed is absolutely useless as a cause célèbre and why he’s been given such a warm welcome by the media establishment and elites.

        Anti-racism is the only context in which the security state can be discussed because if done the right way it further normalizes the police state far more than it tempers its racism. You would think that white people are never victims, but of course they are when they step over the line. See anarchists, animal rights activists, whistleblowers, just about any protest etc.

    • jason says:

      this story confirmed my biases, i’ll admit. i heard about this, by accident, not being a FOX watcher, while reading about that Lacquan fellow in Chicago. another brown man down and lied about. I assumed: this is the way our institutions act. i swallowed it. hopefully the lawsuit will determine.

      in any case, i side w/the kid. there’s nothing you said, Tarzie, to disconfirm my bias. quite the opposite. “a well-meaning school teacher said something and the kid agreed and then went and did the opposite.” how many different ways can one read that? “they search my bags in NYC.” so children are supposed to accommodate themselves to this brutal fact? or are they “supposed” to show us how ridiculous this adult facade is? which is what they will do by doing “normal” kid type stuff, not having internalized all the shit we utterly pragmatic and repressed adults take for granted? Zuckerberg & co did/said xyz…and? is it the kid that’s being a fame whore here? President Spotlight w/the kids at the “Quaker” Sidwell Friends school: “that could have been my daughter!” (not bloody likely, asshole.) something about “liberalism”…which of course you are right about Tarzie, generally speaking, but how does that apply to FOX and the Dallas Morning News? (i know, consistency in these venues is not to be expected.)

      and that’s what bothers me about your reply: suspicion of the child rather than the adults & institutions.

      and not having anything more to go on than probabilism and bias, i’ll leave it at that.

      • Tarzie says:

        “a well-meaning school teacher said something and the kid agreed and then went and did the opposite.” how many different ways can one read that?

        How about the way I clearly intended it: As showing that not everyone was a narrow-minded bigot out to get him. Apparently the engineering teacher lavished the ostensible kiss-up with praise before warning him — presciently — about the impact the not at all clockish clock, which had nothing to do with any assigned work, might have on some of Ahmed’s teachers and fellow students, who barely knew the newly arrived student at the time. Impact that by Ahmed’s own account — “I didn’t lock it because I didn’t want it to threaten anyone” — Ahmed was aware of without the engineering teacher pointing it out.

        This however did not keep Ahmed and his handlers from putting this obviously well-intended, not obviously racist teacher among the villains. That you would also is simply more evidence of a liberalism that isn’t satisfied until every element of a *prescribed* liberal narrative is reduced to some archetype that puts you on the side of THE VERY VERY GOOD! which also happens to be the side The Washington Post, Obama and Silicon Valley are on.

        “they search my bags in NYC.” so children are supposed to accommodate themselves to this brutal fact?

        Nope not at all. My point was that we can have no certainty that, all other things being equal, a white student with a clock that looked more like a bomb than a clock, wouldn’t have encountered the same resistance. The point that everyone wants to miss, is that Ahmed traipsed through school with his “invention” uneventfully, until it started beeping in the middle of a class, at which point it was simply an annoyance to the teacher. It only became an emergency when The New Kid opened it up and the teacher felt it looked like a bomb, *which it did*.

        Since it looked suspect even by Ahmed’s reckoning, I have absolutely no problem with a teacher discouraging him from carrying it around any more than I would fault a teacher for advising against an authentic looking fake gun. Since I don’t idealize children *at all*, I’m on very good terms with adults telling them what they should do from time to time, and this teacher only made a recommendation anyway. A good one. Seems Ahmed’s a winner to you no matter what he was — well-meaning student innocently showing off his clock that didn’t look like a clock, or cynical hoaxster saying fuck you to the security state.

        I don’t know how Fox and The Dallas Morning News covered it, but if sympathetic the story and its lightening fast propagation are even more suspect.

        and that’s what bothers me about your reply: suspicion of the child rather than the adults & institutions.”

        You’re the one deferring to institutions. What do you know of this story that you haven’t gotten from the mainstream media? What part of its lesson are you not espousing? I don’t trust the media or their lesson-imparting spectacles: I don’t trust Mark Zuckerberg or MIT or Twitter and I sure don’t trust the president. Therefore I am left to analyze what few facts our lesson about bias came with, which is what I normally attempt to do about everything. Here are the facts I think are important: that the clock looked more like a bomb than a clock, that Ahmed even acknowledged this himself, that the clock didn’t arouse suspicion until it started beeping in the middle of class, and that Ahmed has shown himself to be quite the dishonest little opportunist in his various accounts of the story, particularly in the uncharitable depiction of his not obviously evil engineering teacher. There is also his father to consider, who has ambitions to be president of Sudan, via a “reform” party that wants more harmonious relations with the US, and has one other publicity stunt to his credit.

        It’s like the Snowden story. It’s got way too much traction in all the wrong places. Which makes me skeptical, as it should you. Which brings us around to that confession the blue-eyed Texas evil-doers want him to sign. I’ll believe it when I see it.

      • jason says:

        “Not of a woman’s tenderness to be,
        Requires nor child nor woman’s face to see.”

        you don’t idealize children *at all*? great. that’s just super. there’s way too much of that going around. i can’t imagine why someone would say that except as pseudo-sophisticated macho posturing. maybe you can do a follow up post on this issue.

        hopefully your sober clarity in looking at children for what they really are does not preclude you from accepting children as legal minors, esp. when cops are involved.

        i’m not responding to rest of this nonsense. “ahmed & his handlers”. what a crock of shit, tarzie.

      • Tarzie says:

        you don’t idealize children *at all*? great. that’s just super. there’s way too much of that going around.

        Why am I obliged to idealize children? I don’t think they should be mistreated, but I also don’t think they should be credited with special qualities by virtue of being new humans. It’s a simple fact that children’s consciences and ethical systems are not as highly developed as adults. So I find your anti-intellectual sentimentalism with regard to Ahmed coupled to this moral indignation for my not sharing it truly repulsive, especially given that presuming Ahmed’s unblemished innocence is a license to condemn all the adults around him on the flimsiest evidence. In the same way, and for similar reasons, I find your uncritical immersion in this mediated, fake spectacle idiotic, made risible by your delusions of bold iconoclasm. You and Mark Zuckerberg and Obama. True rebels. Doubtlessly accomplished baby-killer Obama would look upon my “sober clarity” with disdain also.

        How do you feel about children that falsely accuse adults they don’t like of sexual predation? Or doesn’t that ever happen? Or the ones that put firecrackers up cat’s asses, or throw rocks at dogs like my next door neighbors kids, do you idealize them? How about the ones that ridicule fat kids and stutterers?

        If you allow for Ahmed’s imperfection you might have to let the humanity of his persecutors intrude. You might have to consider that you’re no better than they are. You already confessed that the story appealed to your prejudices, which means you lost this argument quite a a while back, which is likely why you’ve shifted from disingenuous and baseless intimations of my accommodation to the police state to outright insults about macho posturing and delusions of “sober clarity.” Because you’re such a *good* person. You know, the kind that loves television children and despises real adults.

        Do you honestly think Ahmed doesn’t have handlers and by that I mean high-powered attorneys and a PR team?? This is what rich families do when they get the limelight. It has nothing to do with whether or not Ahmed deserves to be a proxy for your great rebellious virtue or not. Since undoubtedly Ahmed’s shiny, well-spoken affluence is among the reasons you find him such a compelling victim, I’m surprised you don’t know this already.

        Of course you’re “not going to respond to the rest of this nonsense.” Like everyone else who froths at the mouth while refusing to engage further, you’re out of arguments. Which is also why you’re mendaciously intimating an endorsement of the cops I explicitly withheld. One can, if one is not childishly Manichaen, grant that Ahmed may well be a lying opportunist and that the cops and some school officials were wrong to treat him as they did. Of course you know this, or maybe you don’t.

        Admit that the problem is that you’ve been completely had by an entirely stage-managed spectacle that appeals to finger-waving self-admirers, situated in a garden of dehumanized archetypes: evil white racist authoritarians vs The Victim whose dark skin and youth make empty-headed advocacy so awesomely virtuous. Your Ahmed is no more human than the evil authorities. Which is fitting, since you don’t know him except as corporate media renders him.

      • jason says:

        a kid says “yes” to a teacher & then goes & does the exact opposite. unheard of. suddenly he (he, not his parents or other adults), he has “handlers” and lawyers.

        i already said this story confirmed my biases (which are obama’s & zuckerberg’s & wapo’s? huh?). the bias being: teachers are being coopted into being snitches and spies on students (just how does that conform to obama & zuckerberg?), even if students do something stupid. this doesn’t make every teacher a Stasi asshole! (didn’t i already say this? i know you gots other commenters here. and this is such a tiny issue.)

        i could be wrong about this (for the nth time), suggesting that it’s obama and zuckerberg & co being the opportunists, not per se the kid. you know, despite the police state they are building,they take an opportunity to tout how much they really love science despite this big misunderstanding. aren’t we all one big science-loving american multi-c. family here?

        i don’t see that that’s so far-fetched, esp. that you no know more about this than anyone else does. (right? will you admit that?)

        you talk like ahmed had zuckerberg on his fucking speed dial tarzie. rather than the exact opposite, that zuckerberg (& obama & co) had “self-aggrandizing opportunity” on their speed dial, b/c that’s all they ever have on their speed dials (wait, am i siding w/obama here? wtf?)

        no point in beating this dead horse.

      • Tarzie says:

        no point in beating this dead horse.

        then why are you beating it?

        you’ve got a false dichotomy going. I think the kids a prankster and an opportunist, with an ambitious publicity-seeking father. His “invention” which was apparently just clock parts reassembled in a pencil case looked more like a bomb than a clock, something Ahmed even obliquely acknowledged. Why was that? Of all the things a clock could be made to look like, why did ahmed’s resemble a miniature suitcase bomb? That Zuckerberg and Obama are creeps is entirely irrelevant to the question, as is his rough handling by state authorities, which no one’s defending.

        I don’t see the teachers involved as one-dimensional racist authoritarians, especially not the engineering teacher who was kind to Ahmed and got smeared by the little angel in return. As to the teacher that made an issue of his clock, I’m curious when you think it’s appropriate for a teacher to become alarmed when a little-known, new student carries what looks like a weapon. Never? As I said already, Ahmed trotted his “invention” around his school uneventfully until it started beeping and he showed its creepy internals to his teacher. Got any curiosity about why it was beeping? Of course, you don’t. Which proves my original point. That this story is concocted of caricatures especially appealing to elitist liberal rubes, and any analysis that takes a more sympathetic view of Ahmed’s teachers and a view of Ahmed that allows for deliberate provocation, kills the buzz.

        Why do you continue to act like this kid isn’t lawyered and pr flacked up to the hilt? Did you not follow the links when I addressed that? That he has handlers is not at all speculative. I suppose a multimillion dollar suit isn’t opportunism either. It’s teaching the police state a lesson. Y’know, the way sucking up to Obama and broadcasting that your fondest wish is to go to MIT and accepting an internship at Twitter teaches the police state a lesson.

        Your sentimentalism toward children continues to gross me out as bourgie anti-intellectual treacle as well as elision of what an accomplished little defamer Ahmed is. It’s possible, y’know, for kids to have a clue about all kinds of things, including parlaying a bad day into dreams come true, especially when dad secures the best coaches money can buy.

  57. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    LOL. The editor must have been out of the office when this piece slipped through.


    • Tarzie says:

      I dunno. It manages to stand above consumerism while nevertheless pushing the merchandise and trivializing Marx. Looks like just another day at Vice to me.

  58. diane says:

    it always bleakly ‘amuses’ (an understatement, it is actually horrifying to watch unfold, as it is intended to) how foul stains, and their minions – incredibly well versed and trained in speaking to, and playing on, the, no power whatsoever, public no ones’ sense of fairness – ‘Save the Youth’ [but Fuck the only adults either trying to save those children from doom, or lightly admonishing those children for acting like miniature PREDATORS] -only seem to haunt those tiny websites totally going against the grain (versus the huge orange fonted and techno utopia, Pwogwessive websites; ultimately Investor Class Sanctioned).

    Hilarious how I’ve never witnessed those same foul stains repeatedly, under various names, haunting such places as Daily Kos, Fire Dog Lake, Pando Daily, Naked Capitalism, Zero Hedge, etcetera; despite the fact that there are those who do comment at those places and get labelled as trolls, even when they are making quite valid points. Must have something to do with the fact that all of the above named site ‘owners’still represent and worship the Investor Class they reside among …. above all else?

    • diane says:

      The youth versus age game has always been the carrot of the obscenely wealthy to violate both: the youth, and everyone old enough to realize how violated by the obscenely wealthy they were, in their youth.

      One can witness this in the fact that ‘Law’ Firms and ‘Accounting’ Firms (the average person cannot afford a Lawyer, nor an ‘Accountant’), for centuries, have not been interested in hiring staff old enough to realize that the predominance of ‘successful’ Law and Accounting Firms are successful only because they serve the obscenely wealthy by mowing over everyone else.

      • Sir Semi-Rancid says:

        successful accounting-law brainwash, for sure.

      • diane says:

        Yes, Sir … ( ..;0)…) and ‘goodness[!]’ those forced Disclosure Agreement signings required; particularly in that Elite Accounting Whirled. I can (ideally only) understand why an attorney shouldn’t be able to trash their own Defendant/Client.

        Furthering the centuries old unexperienced Youth versus experienced Older Game, after it proved so very successful for the benefactors of the Law and Accounting Indu$tries, it was applied to all Industrie$. It was particularly applied to the AI/Computer, etcetera, Technology Indu$try- as regards staff hiring only. Certain ‘Elder’ AI Experts[!] (predominantly pale male sociopaths), such as Ray Kurzweil, are excluded from that slightly older than 24 exemption ….while those far more wise and humane ….and certainly at least (generally far more) as intelligent as the likes of the ELDERLY Ray Kurzweils, populate cardboard boxes under interstate overpasses and along drought ridden water ways.

      • diane says:

        Oh, and goodness, how could I neglect to also highlight the $ocial $cience Indu$try?

        Yet another Indu$try where only less than a handful of ‘tried and true’ predominantly pale male Elder$ (while under ‘retirement age,’ youngsters in comparison, are utterly tossed under the bus when they allude to – or insist on – the fact that a Social Science Indu$try is an oxymoron), such as MIT’s Chomsky, are allowed to be employed (employed as in: have monetary ease of vital access to: non toxic food, water, and air; and a secure shelter over one’s head, and underneath one’s feet) and ‘taken seriously.’

  59. Sir Semi-Rancid says:

    Re: @tarzie & @jason discussing Ahmed and the clock spectacle.

    Ahmed does seem like a bit of a narcissist, which, in line with Tarzie’s comments about the mainstream media and not trusting it’s lessons nor the thrust of the establishment institutions, makes sense to moi, because the PTB rarely let anyone into the narrative that they can’t control and the narcissist-type in general is a very easy person to steer around and the PTB certainly have the experience quota filled in this department.

    Personally this story came to my own attention via Greenwald’s twitter, and, given Tarzie’s point about not idealizing children, an argument could probably be made that be GG kind of does idealize children based on his glowing defense of Ahmed, should one want to analyze things through that kind of a microscope.

    Moving to Qatar after meeting the president and suing for 15 million dollars suggests also quite a bit of ego and entitlement, to be fair to the ‘counter’ side of this one. IMHO lawsuits over money are rarely if ever the way to get justice, for a number of reasons, but in particular, the kind of obvious logical one that the state is not going to sell out the state, and the court system is very much a creation of, and under the thumb of, the state writ large.

    ….Merry monday!

  60. Ryan C. says:

    The worst heat vampire liberal in the history books.


    The most shocking moment occurred from 7:15 to 8:45—a 90-second segment where he described Albizu Campos as a lunatic who constantly wrapped himself in cold wet towels, in order to protect himself from “mysterious machines throwing nuclear rays at him from a great distance.”

    On national TV, Muñoz Marín and Pearson scoffed at this madman from Puerto Rico. The implicit message was that anyone who believed in the independence of Puerto Rico was as crazy as Albizu Campos.

    But Albizu Campos was not crazy.

    He was, in fact, being subjected to lethal TBI (Total Body Irradiation) in his prison cell. This radiation continued for several years, until it finally killed him.

    During that time, Muñoz Marín had rushed up to Washington, D.C. to assure the world that he (and the rest of Puerto Rico) did not condone the actions of these “lunatics, fanatics, fascists and Communists.” This is how Muñoz Marín described the Nationalists to The New York Times, prior to the TV interview.

    The interview was an installment of Washington Merry Go Round, which was the 1950s equivalent of today’s 60 Minutes, Meet the Press or Face the Nation. It was moderated by Drew Pearson, the top political columnist of that era. For nearly 10 minutes, Muñoz Marín filled America with lies about Pedro Albizu Campos and the Nationalist movement in Puerto Rico.


    NELSON DENIS: Yeah. It was the equivalent of Mount Quarantania, where the devil takes you to the top of the mountain and says, “All this shall be yours, if you will just come with me.” And they took him to El Escambrón, this very famous, as you said, a very elaborate casino in San Juan, and E. Francis Riggs, the police chief, offered Albizu Campos $150,000. And this is not apocryphal, it’s not fringe journalism. It was reported in the pages of El Imparcial and El Mundo the next day, and there were multiple witnesses there. It was written in his wife’s autobiography. A hundred and fifty thousand dollars if he would basically back off of the sugarcane strike and sort of soften his nationalist demands. Albizu Campos rightfully and politely refused the offer and said that his island wasn’t for sale. That offer was repeated to Luis Muñoz Marín, and he took it. He became the governor of Puerto Rico.

    • diane says:

      evil, does exist.

      • diane says:

        I suspect it has been embedded at Lockheed, and Raytheon [Marketing a “Pain Ray” ??????????????], et al , for closing in on a century; not to even even their – far older than a century – mentors.

      • diane says:

        oopsie, a clarification:

        I suspect it has been embedded at Lockheed, and Raytheon [Marketing a “Pain Ray” ??????????????], et al , for closing in on a century; not to even mention their – far older than a century – mentors.

  61. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    As of this moment, the U.S. backed imperialist candidates are leading the Bolivarian Revolution candidates in the National Assembly election in Ven by 99 to 44. There are 19 seats remaining but even if all of those go to the PSUV, the imperialists will control the National Assembly. Maduro will be president until 2019, but the imperialist majority in the N.A. means they will have the power to impeach him.

    Yet another reason why revolution, and not reforms or elections, is the only solution.

    • Ryan C. says:

      They ran out of toilet paper in Venezuela. This is the last problem I would blame on the CIA. Maybe the Saudis, Venezuela is dependent on high oil prices.

      • Sir Semi-Rancid says:

        I was wondering what was up with the toilet paper situation. That there gorramm TP analysis holds watah.

  62. Ryan C. says:


    ACLU no longer believes in magic paper theory, they believe in I have no idea.

  63. Sir Semi-Rancid says:

    Justifiable? “good kill”? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xf2DLAf3hM

    Was recently chatting with some cops wanting to know where I blog (@tarzie) contribute. So I post that with uhh… potential “rancid” cops in mind.

    Not meant as a troll! Really. Honest.

  64. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    I just made this potato salad and it’s really good. Didn’t have gold potatoes so I used reds and a small Russet.


  65. diane says:

    I thought this piece slammed quite a few nails square on the head as to how venal Capitalism is, and always has been:

    12/17/18 On Social Sadism

    This wasn’t, then, some generalised, timeless jeer. It was more specific and pointed, gleeful malice at those whose lives were, at that very moment, being ruined, directed at them by those doing the ruining.

    In the photos, props embody favourite ideologemes of the rich: the booze, the misspelt signs denouncing the injustice. The homeless are drunkards; the homeless are stupid; the homeless take no responsibility. But these gestures are perfunctory; they make no attempt to convince. The anonymous former employee who leaked the images in 2011 did so aghast at what she called a ‘cavalier attitude’, but what’s on display is the opposite: not cavalier, but considered. She decried a ‘lack of compassion’, but what’s visible is a swaggering presence – of cruelty.

    ‘Will worke [sic]’, one sign reads, ‘for Food.’ The sign’s the prop of a comedian waiting for the laugh. The homeless are starving. We made them homeless and now they’re starving. Laugh laugh laugh laugh.


    [Stephen J., of 2010 Halloween Partay Infamy] Baum’s quivering lip should provoke only piss and vinegar. It’s true, too, that the ritual slaying of a designated scapegoat, however just, can serve as exoneration by and for the system that threw up, nurtured, rewarded their behaviour. Our rulers and their media clercs are shocked, shocked by such Baum moments, these cruelties-too-far. As if there hasn’t always been, in capitalism’s marrow, a drive not only to repression but to cruelty, to down- punching sadism. They denounce it, partake of it, propagate it.

    (Bolding mine. Thanks much for the link, Frank Pasquale.)

    • diane says:

      (sorry for the clearly bad date, the piece was dated 12/17/15.)

    • diane says:

      Further into the very long piece:

      Social sadism relies on complicity for legitimation. Most defences of such sadism, particularly surplus supersadism, focus less on the necessity of the measures, and more on insisting that everyone has these drives, that we all understand and share them. We are all sinners, all fallen, all always-already sadists.

      The tactic of complicity goes back to slave management.

      On the 28 January 1756, Thomas Thistlewood, enlightenment gent, autodidact, successful Jamaican farmer, caught his slave Derby eating sugarcane. ‘Had Derby well whipped’, Thistlewood wrote in his diaries, ‘and made Egypt’ – another slave – ‘shit in his mouth’.

      Thistlewood was to repeat ‘Derby’s Dose’, as it became known, each time forcing the victim immediately into a gag, their mouth full, for several hours. He did not use his own waste. Each time, part of this inventive act of sadistic degradation was to force another slave to do the shitting or the pissing.

      ‘Shame’, writes Jeremy Seabrooke, ‘is the most persistent attribute of contemporary poverty’ – and, we can add, of capitalism in general. As regards poverty in particular, in the culture of neoliberalism, as Seabrooke puts it, ‘under the barrage of resentment and loathing this incapacity’ – the failure to avail themselves of the ‘opportunities’ about which capitalism crows – ‘incurs’, the self-image of many is an echo of the culturally dominant ideology.

      There is also the Thistelwoodian, Amisian, Goldwaterian, Foxian dimension: the social sadist can be expert at projecting shame. And no matter how blank-faced their indifference at the distress they cause – or how gleeful their pleasure – a source of the shame they project, at some chthonic level, is their own.


      (Bolding mine.)

  66. wendyedavis says:

    knowing how you dig into funding sources for ‘liberal’ allegedly anti-status quo groups, you may be interested in these two twitter accounts and internal links, tarzie.


    they’re linking quite a bit to older posts now because of Flop21 and the built-in assholery of it all. the arundhati roy links showed more about the global versions of the non-profit industrial complex, lots of it new to me.

  67. wendyedavis says:

    My previous comment is being held in moderation, so that must mean you have it set that only one hyperlink gets through automatically. I’ll just include one in this comment.


  68. Sir Semi-Rancid says:

    Any thoughts on the o’malmal f-bomb? (Yes, I am in fact assuming at least one person watched the debate yesterday- and knows to which bomb I am referring.)
    Cannot remember a comparable use of said munition type on a nationally televised stage.

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